Q. S. FLORENTIS TERTULLIANI libellum DE PUDICITIA. praefatione, interpretatione, adnotationibus instructum edidit Gösta Claesson.


INTRODUCTION
by Roger Pearse

The Swedish philologist Dr. Gösta Claesson performed two great services for the study of the text of Tertullian: the discovery of the Codex Ottobonianus, and the compilation of the Index Tertullianeus.  

In 1946, he discovered in the Vatican a manuscript of the 13th century containing long excerpts from four works of Tertullian.  One of these was De Pudicitia. No other manuscript now exists of this work, and editors had to use the 16th century editions as a basis.  The discovery was reported by J. W. Ph. BORLEFFS, Un nouveau manuscrit de Tertullien, Vigiliae Christianae 5, 1951, pp.65-79.

Dr. Claesson then began work on a new critical edition of De Pudicitia, to take account of his discovery.   Some scholars when making a critical text, first translate the existing standard text into a modern language - perhaps one not their own - as a way of familiarising themselves with the text and its difficulties.  Perhaps this is why Dr. Claesson prepared an English translation of the text, on a typewriter, with facing Latin text, and an introduction only in Swedish of some 50 pages.  The manuscript is foolscap, double-spaced, and further corrections in type and handwritten.  The pages of the introduction are numbered - the text is not.  

After the Latin & English, there follow a further 15 mysterious pages, which seem to be derived from a manuscript.  The title page reads:

Exkurs 
betr. Fulvii Ursini Emendationes ad Tertullianum, 
/Cod. Lat. Vat. 5398/. 

I. Som textprov ĺterger jag nedan de rader, som behandls Tertullianus 
skrift de pudicitia:

There are then 2 pages in Latin - it seems to be extracts of some sort, with reference to a 'vetus codex', on f.7r-8 of the Vatican MS. - and then a table of readings from Fulvio Orsini from this MS, in tabular form, with Wouwer's version alongside.  (I would be grateful if someone with some knowledge of Swedish or of an online translator would volunteer to help me work out what these are - they look as if they might be valuable, and if so, I will place them online).

I believe there are also pages of notes on the text in Swedish, but these I have not seen.  The whole thing is in a box in the possession of Dr. Charles Munier of the University of Strasbourg, and was used for his recent edition of De Pudicitia for the Sources Chrétiennes series.

At first sight, the project is very far advanced.  But Dr. Claesson found that his work was being hampered by the absence of a proper lexicon of Tertullian's Latinity.  No dictionary of all the words used, and where they were used, existed.  Indeed a modern critical text of all Tertullian's works did not exist to use as a basis - the CSEL edition was only completed in 1957, and many scholars had grave doubts about the validity of many of the editorial conjectures.  The index of editions used in the MS seems to predate 1957.

Dr. Claesson was not the first to discover this problem.  Indeed the lack of this essential tool had been noted by Alexander Souter in his English translations for SPCK, as long ago as 1919, but no-one had undertaken the immense labour.  But Dr. Claesson did something about it; he put the edition of De Pudicitia to one side, not without a wrench, one may be sure, and compiled the necessary lexicon, based upon the CSEL text.  The process took many years, but was finally published in four volumes in 1977 as Index Tertullianeus. 

Sadly Dr. Claesson never completed the edition of De Pudicitia.  However, by the kindness of Dr. Munier, I was able to take a photocopy of the introduction and Latin-English pages in early 2002.  The pages are browned with time, and the typescript uneven; the handwritten additions now difficult to read.  The photocopy itself was thus not of wonderful quality; it then had to be reduced to a size fit for the scanner, and the scan from this was really very poor.   I have done my best to make my transcription accurate - for the rest I ask your indulgence.

Engish was not the author's first language, and had he chosen to publish, he would have undoubtedly rewritten it.  The English spelling has been partially corrected in the manuscript - I have incorporated these corrections - but the syntax is often strange, and the choice of words eccentric.  I have removed words overtyped with XXXX - and I have tried to incorporate handwritten changes to the text.  I have not intentionally corrected the text otherwise. The Latin word pudicitia itself has no exact equivalent in English.  Dr. Claesson simply rendered it with the Latinization pudicity and left it at that.  No doubt he would have made a final choice at some subsequent stage, when he dealt with all the other issues.  

Ipswich, 30th August 2002










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Pudicity, the flower of morality, the honor of the body, the
adornment of sex, the integrity of blood, the safeguard of pro-
geny, the foundation of inviolability, the proof of soundness
of all mankind, this pudicity may be rare, hardly perfect
and scarcely lasting, but could in some degree be found
among the Gentiles, had nature been favourable, discipline affor-
ding her teaching, conviction compelling. For all intellectual
virtue is the outcome either of nature or of erudition or of
coercion. But while evil is more and more prevailing, which is
the very presage of the latter days, good things can no more be
born, while the seed is corrupted nor result from education, while
study is deserted, nor be wrung out, while justice has no longer
any authority. At last, this quality mentioned above has to
such a degree been done away with, that no longer the conception
of it, but the moderation of passions is called pudicity and one
is called chaste enough, who has not been proven - as we are?
saying - "not very chaste". But neither is the pudicity of the
Gentiles of any interest to us nor are the Gentiles themselves,
neither if it was born with its quality not as a result of educa-
tion with its study nor of force with its drudgery; moreover we
can state, that it would have been even more unfortunate, had it
been standing, so idle, while it was not working in God. It is
an evil thing, not a good one, while the existance of a false use
is of no use at all. At this moment the good position of ours
is in danger of being inundated, the very conception of Christian
pudicity is shaken, this pudicity, which derives all its virtue
from Heaven, both its nature by the baptism of regeneration
and its discipline by the aid of preaching and its constraint
by precedents from the two Testaments, and all scourged to greater


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constancy by fear of the eternal fire and by the longing for
the eternal kingdom. For now I hear a thing so horrible, that I
could never be silent in the face of it, viz. that in addition
a decree against our pudicity has been issued, and that a
mortal one. In fact - our good pontifex maximus, as the bishop
of the bishops solemnly declares:
"We do forgive even the cords of adultery and fornication."
   I think it not possible to add to that decree: For the sake of all!
And where will this generous pronouncement be made? I think at
the same place - most probably placarded on the very doors of the
dens of vice, below the very nameplates of the women. The penitence
of such things must of course be proclaimed at the same place, where
the vice itself is at work. About such a forgiveness it should be
read at the same place, where you enter, expecting to get it. But
this is issued in church, this; is loudly proclaimed in church and
the church is a virgin! God forbid, god forbid such preaching
from the bride of Christ. She, who is true, chaste, holy, may not
be contaminated even by hearing this. She has no right to give
such a promise, and if she had, she would not promise this, while
Our Lord would rather that mundane temple of God be sooner called
a den of thieves than of adulterers and fornicators.
   Now this tract against the psychici can even be said to be di-
rected against me, because earlier I was one of them, and so they
much more reproach me with this fact as a proof of inconstancy.
But never was the refusal of communication a testimony of a fault.
As if it were not easier to err with the multitude - but a minority
loves truth. But if I consider myself, a vain inconstancy will
never bring greater dishonour to me than a mischievous one that
ever brought me honour. I act not ashamed of a fault, to which I no
longer submit, because I am glad to have got rid of it and feel
better and more chaste as a result. And nobody, who has made an
improvement, is ashamed. Even the knowledge in Christ has its
stages, which even the apostle has passed through, "When I was
a child," he says, "I spake as a child, I understood as a child;
but when I became a man, I put away childish things."


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That is why he left previous conceptions and so he did not sin, when
he became a zealot, not against his parent's traditions but against
those of the Christians and wanted to eject those, who were
speaking for the maintenance of circumcision. Oh, if that would
happen even to those, who are destroying the entire and true in-
tegrity of flesh, not removing only the surface of flesh but
extirpating the very marrow of pudicity, forgiving adultery and
fornication contrary to the material discipline of all that bears
the name of Christ, to which even the Gentiles are testifying in
such a degree, that they sometimes try to abolish it by contamination
of flesh rather than by torture in our own women, because they want
to steal that, to which our women attach more value than to their own
lives. But to-day this glory is abolished and abolished by those, who
with the greatest consistancy ought to be prevented from con-
doning such contamination of flesh, because for this reason they can
remarry as often as they like, thus not yielding to adultery and for-
nication, because "it is better to marry than to burn."
   Of course - because of continence incontinence is necessary, con-
flagration is to be extinguished by fire. And so - why do they after-
wards indulge by this supposed penitence in such crimes too, of which
they already have given remedies in the right of remarrying? For both
the remedies will be without efficacy, when the crimes are indulged
in; and the crimes will remain, if the remedies have no effect,
And so they are mocking both their solicitude and their carelessness,
by providing in vain against things, which they are protecting . and
like fools they are protecting things against which the are provi-
ding. But there ought not to be any prevention, if you are protecting,
and no protection if you are preventing. For they are preventing as if
they did not want such things to be done, but they are forgiving
some things as if they wanted them to be done. But if they do not
want such things to be done, they ought not to forgive them, and if
they want to forgive them, it is not necessary to prevent them.
Because adultery and fornication are not to be regarded both as
inconsequential and terrible, sins, to which can be conveniently
ascribed both the solicitude, with which they are prevented and the
confidence, with which they are forgiven. But because they are
really holding the highest place among the sins, it is impossible
to forgive them like inconsequential sins as well as to prevent them
like the most terrible sins. '


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But we, the montanists, want to prevent the greatest or the most
serious sins even in that manner, that we do not allow the existence
of a second marriage after taking the Creed, while it is only separated
from adultery and fornication by stipulations written about the marriage 
and perhaps about the dower, and consequently we sternly
shut the door Before remarried persons, as they are dishonouring
the Holy Ghost with 'their' practice of the Christian doctrine.
The threshold of the church is the common frontier, to which even
adultery and fornication may advance, and where they have to beg
with tears for our blessing, but they will gain nothing more from
the church than the exposition of their sinfullness.
    II. 'But' are they saying 'Our Lord is good and the best, most
merciful, both a commiserator and the first in mercy, and he desires
this more than all offerings; he has not so great pleasure in the
death of the wicked as in his penitence; he is giving his salvation
to all men, especially to those that believe. And so even the
children of Cod ought to be merciful and peaceable, forgiving each
other as even Christ has forgiven us, not judging that we be not
judged. "Then to his own master every one standeth and falleth: who
art than that judgest another man's servant!" Forgive and ye shall
be forgiven!
   Such phrases, chosen from so many different contexts, with which
they both desire to obtain the favour of God and make a pretext of
their own immorality, which more distracts than adds to the force of
practicing the Creed, can from our point of view be confuted with
likewise good arguments, proving just the contrary, arguments, which
both will threaten the severity of Hod and give good reason for our
constancy. Because - although God is good by nature, he is however
even just for reasons of his own: he knows both how to bring health
and to punish, to bless and to cause evil; he desires more the peni-
tence of a sinner, but he can say to Jeremiah not to pray for a
people of sinners. For "even when they fast" - says the Lord - "I will
not hear their cry." And later on, " And pray not thou for this people
neither lift up a cry nor prayer for them, for 1 will not hear them in
the time that they pry unto me, in the time of their trouble." And
also he, who desires mercifulness more than offerings, had said just
above, "Therefore pray not thou for this people,





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neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercessions
to me; for I will not hear them," people, who of course were im-
ploring his mercy and of course were weeping in penitence and fasting
as a result and offering their trouble to God. For God is a jealous
God, who is not mocked, certainly by those, who try to fawn his
goodness, a God, who can be patient but who can as well by Isaiah
threaten with the end of his patience, "I have been still. But shall
I for ever be still and refrain myself? I have been quiet: like a
travailing woman I will now stir up and make drought." "Then a
fire goeth before himself, and burneth up his enimies," destroying
not only the body but also the soul in hell.
    But he himself has pronounced how the menace against those
who are judging others is to be understood, "with what judgment ye
judge, ye shall be judged." In this way he did not forbid judgment
but indicated how to judge. That is the reason why even the apostle
is judging and is doing so in a case of fornication, namely that
such a one should be delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the
flesh; moreover he reprehended that the brothers were not judged
before the saints and so he added, "what have I to do to judge them
also, that are without?"
    But you are forgiving in order to be forgiven. So far the faults,
which are committed against a brother, are cleansed but not those
against God. And accordingly we promise in the paternoster to forgive
our debtors. But it is not proper in addition to distort the
authority of such pronouncements alternately now here, now there -
like pulling on a rope - to their very opposite, so that one page
seems to pull the bridle of the doctrine and the next to relax it,
while, if they are uncertain, the one seems to destroy even the
value of penitence by weakness, the other to deny it completely by
austerity. For both the authority of the Scripture will remain
within her limits without mutual contradiction and the virtue of
penitence might be defined without universal consent and primarily
the causes of the latter are to be distinguished without confused
expounding. Even we admit that the sins are the causes of penitence.






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which we are dividing into two groups according to their future
destination: the first group includes such sins, which may gain for-
giveness, the second those which cannot do so. And accordingly every-
one will understand that the first part will be the object of casti-
gation, the second of damnation. Every sin can only be dissolved
either by forgiveness or by punishment, by forgiveness after casti-
gation, by punishment after damnation. That is the difference between
some of my repugnant quotations, yet given above, sometimes condemning
the sins, sometimes forgiving them, but even St. John teaches us,
"If any man know his brother sin a sin which is not to death, he
shall ask and he shall give him life; while that sin were not unto
death," (and so possible to forgive). "There is a sin unto death:
I do not say that anybody shall pray for it," (while impossible
to forgive). But if you or one side have the right to pray, there
may in the same way be some possibility for forgiveness and if you
do not have the right to pray, likevise you cannot have any
possibility of forgiveness. According to this difference of the sins,
you must make a difference between the possibilities of mercy.
Sometimes you may gain forgiveness, that is to be understood, when
your sin may be forgiven; sometimes you cannot under any circumstances
gain forgiveness, i. e. of course - when your sin is not to be for-
given. And now we have to determine, to which group of sins this
adultery and fornication especially is to be ascribed.
    III. But before I do so - I will reject an objection, raised by
the opposite party, regarding that form of penitence for which I have
said, that no forgiveness is; possible at all. They are saying, 'if
there is some form of penitence, that cannot gain forgiveness, then
penitence is no more to be dealt with in every case. For nothing is
to be done in vain. For penitence would be in vain, if it cannot
gain forgiveness. But every penitence is to be used. And so every
penitence will gain forgiveness, thus not to be used in vain, because
it would be divided up, if it sometimes were in vain. And actually
it is in vain, if it cannot gain forgiveness. Of course, I can under-
stand it - and they are making this objection, because they have
usurped the fruit, I mean the forgiveness even of this penitence in
their possession - I can understand it, if I think of them, who
now take it upon themselves to give their human blessing;




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but for us, who have not yet forgotten, that it is only Our Lord that
forgives sins, and especially sins unto death, it is not in vain.
For if it is praying to God and so lying on its knees before Him, it
will in this manner do much more to gain forgiveness, while it is
invoking the help of God alone, if it does not presume the blessing
of a bishop to be solely satisfactory for its sin, as it would thus
be living in shame rather than in church. Because standing at the
front of the church it will be an example of chastisement, preaching
to the congregation, moving the brethren to tears also for its
sake and returning, having obtained more and more every time: viz.
compassion rather than communion. And even if it shall not reap a
blessing on earth, it will sow it for God. Not losing but preparing
its harvest, at last it will have its reward, if it is unfailing. In
this sense neither this penitence will be in vain nor our interpreta-
tion of the discipline severe. Both are giving their honour to God.
The first will prosper sooner without any presumption and the
latter give greater aid without conceitedness.
    IV. Now - having given the difference according to penitence we
can take up the examination of the sins themselves and inquire
if they are such, that they can be forgiven by man. At first I
will mention, that it is according to the common use of speech to call
even fornication adultery. Even we Christians know about such an
affinity of some words and I am going to observe this custom through-
out this short tract. And if I should mention for instance lewdness
or betrayal, these will only be different names for the same contamina-
tion of flesh. There is no difference whether you have the wife of
your neighbour or an unmarried woman, if it is not your own wife, as the
place has nothing to do with it whatsoever, if pudicity is done in
secret cells or in magnificent buildings. All this homicide is a mean
robbery and murder in an open field. And so, in every place and with
every woman, with whom a man in doing this otherwise than in marriage,
he will commit adultery and fornication against his own person. That
is why we execrate even secret alliances of permanent nature, I mean
those not announced before to the church. They are considered to
be of the same peril as adultery and fornication and even compleated
( ? and unveiled) they will never elude penalty as if they were in
fact matrimonies. Further furious impiousness













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of the passions in other creatures or the other sex, which are beyond
the laws of nature, we repel not only from the front but from the
very vicinity of the church, because such things are not sins but
monstrosities.
    V. In summing up - the first law of Our Lord will immediately
enlighten, for what sort of a crime adultery is to be taken, which
as we have stated as a crime is the same thing as fornication. Having
forbidden superstitious worship of other gods and making idols of
these gods, after behest of observance of the sabbath, after filial
piety due to parents next to God enjoined, he had consequently no
other commandment to give in order to strengthen and advise on such
essential matters than, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." After
the chastity and inviolability of spirit followed the purity of flesh
and even this he advised on, forbidding its opposite, adultery. And
now you can imagine how severe this sin is, which is placed with and
immediately after idolatry. Nothing that follows is far away from
the first. In fact - nothing is so near to the first as the second,
and born from the first in some way is a new first thing. That is
why adultery, closely connected with idolatry - by the name of adultery
and fornication idolatry has often been punished in Our Lord's
own people - is joined with it, with respect to fate as well as to
order; and in the same way they will join in damnation as well as in
rank, and what is more - when he said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery,"
he continued, "Thou shalt not kill." At any rate he laid greater
stress on adultery, which he mentioned before homicide and which
therefore is on the first page of the most holy law among the first
lines of this message of Heaven marked with the sign of the utmost
cordinal sin. Do you now understand its extension from their place,
its quality in their mutual order, its quilt by their neighbourhood?
There is a graduation list even for evil: it can be placed on the
highest rank or alternatively among the most wicked.
    I can behold before my inward eyes a pageant with all its arrange-
ments for this adultery: the procession is conducted by idolatry and
homicide follows after. And among these high dignitaries of crime
it takes its place with inborn worthyness and fills so to say the gap
between them by equal notoriety of crime. Who would have the courage
to carry it away, on both sides attended by such a suite, encircled
by such a guard from the corps




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of similars, out of the embrace of near crimes, out of the bonds
of kindred vices, to take it alone apart and let it only gain the
fruit of penitence. Necessarily adultery will cling to it on one
side and homicide on the other and if they could, they would cry:
'It is in our midst separating but at the same time joining us
closely together. We are all making whoredom, even idolatry,
we are united by its favour (i.e. of adultery), adoring it in our
midst! The Holy writ has made a union of us, the Sacred Scriptures
are our amalgamation; it cannot itself existe any longer without us.
And idolatry may say: 'I am usually offering the opportunity to
adultery. My copses, my mountains, the vivid waters, the temples
themselves of the towns know how much we are doing to corrupt pudi-
city.' And homicide can declare: 'Sometimes even I can grant
assistance to adultery. If we except tragedy, to-day poisoners and
magicians can tell you that I take vengeance of condemnable love,
that I keep rivals aloof, that I take away sentinels, accusers, con-
spirators. Even midwifes can tell about children of adultery, killed
in their mother's womb. And even for the Christians adultery cannot
existe without us. Where unclean spirits are at work, you will find
idolatry; where man is brought to death by contamination,
you will find homicide. Now we exact, that our penitence shall help
us, if it can help her. Either she must remain or we must follow
her. That is what they are saying in defence of their common case.
If they cannot speak in person, they will be helped by idolaters,
by murderers end of course by adulterers in the midst of them. In the
same way in sackcloth and ashes they will frighten you by the same
case, the same bad position, the same task of penitence; they will cry
the same cry, fawn your mercy with the same prayers, on their knees
they will call the same way, and try to relent the same mother (i.e.
your church). But you, discipline, so forbearing and human, what
are you doing? Either you must be that to all of them - "Blessed
are the meek" - or if not to all of them, agree with us. Do you
condemn the idolater and the murderer irrevocably taking the adulterer
out of their midst? He, who follows the idolater, who is followed
by the murderer, colleague of them both?









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That is nepotism; you are leaving others in greater need of the
aid of penitence.
    VI. Indeed, if you make clear upon which examples and summons
of God you are depending, opening the door of penitence to adultery
(and at the same time to fornication), so our battling will take
place on this very line. Nevertheless I think it necessary to deter-
mine the form in advance that you turn not hand to the bygone and look
back behind you. For the things of old are gone according to
Isaiah and now newness is born anew according to Jeremiah, and, for-
getting those things which are behind, we try to reach forth unto
those things which are before according to St. Paul, and the law and
all prephets prophesied until St. John according to our Lord. So if
we above ail begin our interpretation of adultery with the law, it
must of course be that law, which Christ has not destryed but ful-
filled. For the burden of the law exists unto St.John, not the re-
lief. The yoke of the deeds is lifted off, not that of discipline.
Liberty in Christ does not wrong innocence. And remaining is the whole
law of piety, Inviolability, humanity, truth, chastity, justice,mercy,
benevolence, pudicity, and "blessed is the man who doth meditate
day and night in this law." Futhermore David says about this law,
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, the statutes
of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the
Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." And so even the apostle says,
"therefore the law is holy and the commandment holy and the best one,"
(particulary, "Thou shalt not commit adultery!"). And just above,
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: Yea, we
establish law." Of course we do that by such things, which are even now
forbidden in the New Testament and forbidden by more extensive
commandments. Instead of "Thou shalt not commit adultery" we have
"whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery with her already in his heart" and instead of "Thou shalt
not kill" we have "whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall
be in danger of hell fire." Can you find the law of adultery to be
in the same state, which yet forbids even to covet? And moreover
if some examples from the Holy Scripture strike









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your imagination, they are not to be opposed to our discipline. For
the law has been fulfilled in vain, this law, which now even condemn
the sources of sin - I mean coveting and bad will - as well as the
very facts, if for this reason forgiveness for adultery
may be given to-day, because absolution has been given in older times.
To what a benefit is this forgiveness of to-day kept within closer
limits by a more strengthened discipline? Maybe the meaning is to
make your forgiveness more akin to fornication? Consequently you
must forgive everything in the idolator, you apostate, while we find
his own people guilty of this so many times, rising up as many times
again. And you will give your communion even to a murderer, because
Ahab by deprecation has expunged the blood of Naboth and David by
confession has purged himself from the death of Uriah as well as from
the cause of it, adultery. And then you must forgive incest with
consideration to Lot and fornication combined with incest according
to Judah and heinous marriages of whoredom after Hosea and those not
only renewed but several at the same time like our patriarchs.
Of course it is necessary to show even today the same mercy according
to every thing forgiven in older times, if you will find a pretext to
forgive adultery in some ancient cases. But I can as well find
precedents for my opinion, that the damnation of fornication so far
from being forgiven in reality is fulfilled. It will be
enough to recall, that 24000 souls were damned by one blow, because
they had committed whoredom with the daughters of Madiam (i.e. Moab).
But I prefer for the glory of Christ to deduce our discipline from
Christ himself. But in olden times people really had this permission
for all impudicity, which the psychici now want to have. Flesh may
have been uncheecked, or sooner damned before the resumption by her
Lord: it was not yet worthy of the Lord of salvation, nor yet equal
to the virtue of inviolability. It still was believed to live in
the old man with its sinfulness, yearning facilely for all beauty
he looked on and trying to soil it but even then retaining a
slight shame from the knowledge of the fig leaves. The venom of
passion was everywhere



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and impurity was common, which could not be washed out with
water, because He himself had not yet mede the water clean. But as
soon as the Word descended into this prison - which has not been
opened for marriage - and the Word was made flesh - which flesh was
not to be opened for marriage - which had to go to the tree, not of
intemperance but of tolerance, and to taste of it, not something
delicious but something bitter, which was connected, not with Hell
but with Heaven, which was crowned, not by the wreaths of pleasure
but by the flowers of inviolability, which should give its embellish-
ments to the water, from this very moment every flesh in Christ has
been loosed from every impurity of late, now it is quite another
thing, renewed it has emerged, born not out of the mud of seed, not
from the fumes of passion, but from pure water and clean spirit.
Why do you seek excuses for it in the past? It was not yet called
the body of Christ, not yet the members of Christ, not yet the
temple of God, when it gained forgiveness for adultery. And so,
if you can give some important example or commandment or new under-
standing or sentence, when flesh, after having go its new form and
having been baptized in Christ put on Christ and was bought off so
dearly with the blood of Our Lord, proving that fornication and
adultery have been forgiven or are to be forgiven, then you are (really)
observing also our statement, from which time this question is to
be considered.
    VII. You can begin with those parables, wherein the lost sheep
is spoken about, searched for by its pastor and brought back on
his shoulders. Even the images themselves on your chalices may be
adduced, if possibly by them any light can be shed upon the inter-
pretation of this sheep, whether it will with regard to restoration
be applicable to a Christian sinner or to a pagan. But we must at once
appoint in accordance with the discipline of nature, with aural and
lingual laws, with mental soundness, that that which is the result
of a question ever is responding and of course to that, which has
caused the answer. As I think, the cause of the answer was, that
the indignant Pharisees murmured, saying that Our Lord received
publicans and pagan sinners and was sharing nourishment together
with them.


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According to this, of whom else do we think he wanted this
restoration of the lost animal to be a symbol than is of a pagan
At this time this had reference only to a pagan, and not to a Christian
because nobody was yet a Christian. Or how can you explain, that Our Lord
as a sophist only cares for the future as answering neglecting the
afore mentioned question, which he had to retort?
    'But the sheep is a special Christian symbol and the herd of this
pastor is the people of the church and the good pastor is Christ
and for this reason we must understand the Christian as the sheep,
which has strayed from the herd of the church.'
    Well, and so you really think, that Our Lord has not given any reply
to the murmur of the Pharisees, but to your own supposition? And yet
you ought to prove this, showing nothing to coincide with the pagan,
which you think to be applicable to the Christian. But harken,
You will not admit, that all mankind is one herd of God? You will
not admit, that God is the same Lord and pastor of all people? Who
can be more lost by God than the pagan, as long as he is erring?
Who can be more required by God, when he is called back by Christ?
Finally this series of events is primarily applicable to the pagans.
For in no other way can Christians be evolved from earlier pagans,
had they not been lost and required by God and restored by Christ.
And in a like manner we must preserve this series of events, that we
are applying this series to those, to whom it first has happened.
    But, you want, I can understand, Our Lord to let the sheep be lost,
not from the flock, but from a pen or a sheepfold. And even if he
is saying that the remaining number of pagans is just, he does not
on this account show them to be Christians, while he was discussing
with the Jews, and wanted, as much as he could, to fight them down,
because they realised with indignation the hope of the pagans, but,
wanting to express his grace and benevolence for one single pagan,
compared with the envy of the Pharisees, he prefered the salvation
of one sinner after penitence to their's after righteousness. Or do
you really think, that the Jews were not just and in no need of peni-
tence, because they knew the guiding principles of discipline and
had the instruments of the fear of God, the law and the prophets?






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And so he simply mentioned the pagans in his parables and if not
as such they were, surely such as they ought to be, in order to
make them, the Jews, more ashamed, when they heard that penitence was
necessary for the others but not for them.
    In the same way we apply the parable of the piece of silver.
Caused by the same circumstances, we think it in the same way to be
applicable to the pagans, even if it was lost in the house as
if in the church, and found by the light of a candle as if at the
word of God. But all our world is one house for all mankind, where
the light of God's grace is of more use to the pagan, who is found
in the dark, than to the Christian, who already is wandering in the
light of God.
    In brief - it is the same error committed both in the parable
of the sheep and in that of the piece of silver. For if they are
yet falsely applied to the Christian, they would after his losing of
faith allude to the repeated omission and the repeated restoration
of both of them.
    Now I want for a moment to give up this position, if I can even in
this manner unveil the mistake of the opposite party. I admit that a
sinner, who is already a Christian, is aimed at in those two
parables, but I do not admit that there is any reason to assert that
such a one is meant, who having committed crimes of adultery and
fornication could be restored by penitence. When it is said, that
he is lost, we have to examine what kind of getting lost is meant
in each case, while both the sheep is lost, not by dying but by
going astray and the piece of silver is in the same way lost, not by
being abolished but concealed. So things can be said to be lost,
though they are saved.
    Thus he is now lost - and although a Christian he has taken part
in some spectacles for instance - the madness of chariot races or of
bloody gladiatorial combats, the foolery of the theatres or the emptiness 
of athletics, in the plays or
in the banquets of the pagan festivals, in the duties or in the
ceremonies of extraneous idolatry, he has made use of the ash of some 
improper science, he has fallen in with some ambiguous
dealing or ambiguous talk, For this or a similar reason he is put out
from the herd or perhaps has even gone away himself because of
wrath or exitement of grudge or - what in the end is most common -
disdaining of punishment.



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He ought to be sought for and called back. For what can be
restored, is not lost, if it does not remain outside. You will inter-
pret this parable well, when you let it restore the sinner, who is
yet alive. But who will not state, that an adulterer or fornicator
is dead, when just such a crime admitted? How do you dare to restore
a dead man because of this parable, which does not recall a dead
sheep? Finally - if you remember how the prophets are inveighing
against the shepherds - I should think it is in the words of Ezekiel,
"Shepherds, ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool; that
which was strong, ye have killed, the diseased ye have not healed,
that which was broken, ye have not bound up, that which was driven
away, ye have not brought back again, that which was lost, ye have not
 sought." Does he reproach them for not having brought back
even the dead sheep to ths flock? Evidently he attrudes them, having
let the sheep get lost and swallowed up by the wild animals of the
fields - it is impossible not to be last to death and not to be
devoured, if they are left alone - but not to have them to bring
back these sheep, which were lost to death or devoured.
    According also to the example of the piece of silver there can be
some sins even inside the house of God, the church, but as little as
the piece of silver is as to measure and weight, which for a moment
concealing themselves there, are immediately even discouvered there
and soon in the same house absolved with rejoicing at the amendment.
But these adultery and fornication are not resembling a silverpiece
but a talent; in searching for these we have no use for the
little gleam of a candle; of course we need light, but much
more a lance. Once revealed this man will be ejected immediately from
the church; he can not remain there; he does not bring any delight,
only grief to the church, which has found this out; they do not cause
the felicitation of the brotherhoods of neighbours but the suffering
of the nearest.
    Having now compared even this our interpretation with theirs,
we can see that more than ever the examples of the sheep of of the
piece of silver will point to the pagan, because they cannot be
applicable to a Christian, who has committed these very sins. And so
they are applied with evident difficulty to the Christian though
belonging to the other side.









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    VIII. But many interpreters of parables are deceived by an
outcome like this, which must happen very often to you, when you are
patching clothes with pieces of purple. When you suppose you have
composed the tones of the colours in the best manner and are con-
vinced, that their nuances will be in harmony with each other and
then the two materials are polished and a light is brought to bear
on the gloss, a disharmony will be evident and all the mistakes clear.
And so because of such an obscurity even about the parables of the
two brothers they are leaving the light of verity, because some
details for a moment are coincident in this parable, but the meaning
of the parable is settled by its own circumstances, in which it was
told. For they think the two peoples to be symbolised by these two
brothers, viz. the Jews by the elder brother and the Christians by
the younger one. For it is accordingly impossible to have the
Christians as the younger son, who will gain forgiveness, if they
have not the Jews as the elder one. But if I now will show
that the Jews cannot be compared with the elder brother, so
the consequence will surely be, that the Christians can
neither be symbolised by the younger one. For the Jews may be
mentioned as sons and even the elder sons, because they were first
adopted by God, the Jews may be envious of the Christians for their
restoration to God, the father, which perhaps before all is made use
of by the opposite party, but the Jews can never say to the father,
"Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at
any time thy commandment." For when were the Jews not transgressors
of the law, having ears and not hearing, hating him that rebukes at
the gate and showing contempt for the commandment of the Lord?
Consequently the father cannot say to the Jews, "Thou art even with
me, and all that I have is thine." On the contrary the Jews are
called the sons of apostate, they are born and brought up, but do
not consider God but foresake the Lord and provoke the Holy One of
Israel unto anger. For of course we must say that all are given to
the Jews, to whom even every more agreable composition as to meat
is forbidden, not to speak of their land, vowed by the father. ,





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That is why the Jews exactly like the younger son, having wasted
the substance of God, today must in foreign countries be begging
and serving this very day the nobles of these lands, that is of
this world. No, the Christians do want an other brother of theirs,
because the parable is not applicable to the Jews. You had better say
the Christian to be the elder brother and the Jews the younger one,
if the order between those two peoples from the womb of Rebecca, would
allow such a change. But in this case the end of the parable would
not fit. For the Christian must be glad at and not grieve over the
restoration of the Jews, because all our expectations are the same
as that of the Jews still left. And so some things may be quite equal:
when other things are arguing the opposite, the entire similarity of the
parables will be destroyed.
    And even if everything can correspond as in a mirror, there is
one danger left and the principal one with regard to parables, that
happy circumstances while comparing parables end facts, will be
interpreted in another direction than that, which is predestinated
by the circumstances of each parable. For I think you can remember
the actors, how they accompany their songs with allegorical gestures,
expressing things, which are compleately absent from the present tale
or scene or part but nevertheless in a most convenient manner.
But we can leave out of consideration this extraordinary gift! For now
we are not speaking of Andromache. In such a manner even the heretics
are expounding the same parables as they wish but not as they
ought. They are manufacturing their eggs in the most suitable manner.
Why most suitable? Because they from the beginning out of accidental
circumstances in the parables have composed the contents of their
doctrines. But for such, liberated from every rule of truth of course
they are allowed to gather and compose things, which the parables
seem to contain.
    IX. As to us, the Montanists, while we do not compose the content
out of the parables but interpret the parables out of their own
circumstances, we have not this heavy task to distort everything
in our interpretation, if we can only avoid every inconsequence. Why is
he talking about a hundred sheep? And why for instance about ten
pieces of silver? What is the meaning of the besom? It was
simply necessary, that he, who wanted to express that the
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mention some definite greater number, from which one in the payable
had been lost, it was necessary to furnish the person searching for
the piece of silver in the house with both a besom and a candle.
But such curiosity will both place things in a dubious light and
by forced subtlety in the expounding they often diverse from the
truth. Because there are things, which are even simply used to
build up and to set in order or to fit the parable together so
they gain that aim, for which the example is invented.
    And certainly the parable of the two brothers has the same purpose
as that of the piece of silver and that of the sheep, with which it
is connected. They have the same origin, viz. the same murmur of
the Pharisees against the communication of the Lord and the pagans.
And if anybody is in doubt, if the publicans in Judaea were pagans,
this land being occupied long before by the troops of Pompey or
Lucullus, he may read the Deuteronomy, "There shall be no impost
on the sons of Israel." And the name of the publicans would not
have been so execrable to Our Lord, had they not been foreigners,
selling the transit of the air itself, and the same on land and at sea.
And when he mentioned sinners in connection with publicans, he did
not at once point out these as Jews, anyone may have been implicated.
But among this kind of pagans he both distinguished and put together
in same rank the sinner by duty, viz. the publican, and the sinner
by nature, viz. the non-publican. For the rest he would not have been
censured for having eaten with Jews, but with pagans, whose food
was kept aloof by the discipline of the Jews.
    Now we must at first consider concerning this prodigal son, what
is the most useful. For it is impossible to admit the conformity
of the examples, were the pair of scales exactly balancing, if it
is not useful for our salvation. Because we consider the very
existence of salvation, founded on the strength of discipline, to
be shaken, by that interpretation, which is pursued by the opposite
party. For if it is the Christian, who, having got the substance
of God his father, certainly the substance of baptism and so of the
Holy Ghost and consequently of the hope of eternal life, has gone
far away from his father and has wasted his fortune with pagan living,
if he, having lost his soundness of mind, is serving the lord of this
world (who can it be except the devil?) and having been by him
ordered to feed swine, viz. to take care of unclean spirits,
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not only adulterers but fornicators and idolaters and blasphemers
and deniers and all kind of apostates will by this parables be able
to satisfy the Father. And so in truth all the substance of sacra-
ment is more in this way wasted. For who will be afraid to waste that,
which he later must regain? Who will take care to conserve for ever
that, which he is not able to lose for ever? The possibility to sin
without risk is an invitation to sin. Consequently even an apostate
will regain his earlier vestment, the garment of the Holy Ghost and
regain the ring, the seal of baptism, and for him Christ will be
victimized once again and he will lay at the table, from which those,
having no wedding garment, usually are taken away by the servants and
cast into the outer darkness, not to mention the plundered. So you
can realize, that it is of great importance, if it is of no
benefit to us, if these events of the prodigal son are applicable
to the Christian.
    But because the interpretation of that son does not entirely fit
the Jew, the expounding is simply to direct according to the purpose
of the Lord himself. Our Lord had assuredly come to save that which
was lost, as a healer more necessary for the feeble than for the
sane. This he both expressed figuratively in his parables and
preached in his sermons. Who in mankind is lost, who is suffering
by illness, if not he who does not know God? Who is saved and sane,
if not he who knows God. These two groups like brother relations
are aimed at even in this parable. And reflect: have not the pagans
a substance of a part in God the Father and of wisdom and of natural
knowledge of God; even the apostle remarks that "in the wisdom of
God the world by wisdom knew not God," which wisdom of course had
come from God. And so - this he had wasted, having got far away from
his father by his manners among the faults and allurements and passions
of the world, when he longing for the truth surrendered to the lord
of this world, the devil. This one put him to watch swine, and to
feed these animals, familiar with devils, where he himself had not
bread to save his life and at the same time he can see others, who
are serving God, being abundant of the bread of God.


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He remembers his own father, and having got his sanction he returns,
accepting the old garment, viz. the position, which Adam lost by
his fall. At this moment he will at first gain the ring, with
which he can, if asked, seal the covenant of faith and so from
this very moment he will eat the richness of Christ's body, viz. the
eucharist. Here you have the prodigal son, who never before had
been honest, who from the beginning was prodigal, which the Christian
was not from the beginning. And it was he that the Pharisees were
murmuring about, when they saw him return in his father's arms
as did the publicans and the sinners. And for this purpose only
the envy of the elder brother is invented, not because the Jews were
innocent and obedient to God but because they were envious of the
Gentiles for their salvation, they who surely ought to be with the
Father for ever. And surely the Jew will grumble immediately at the
first calling of the Christian, and not at his restoration a second
time. For this first event is of course evident even to the Gentiles,
but the second one is enacted in the churches and so unknown even
to the Jews.
    I should think that I have given now interpretations, better adapted
both to the circumstances of the parables and to the conformity
of the details and to the maintenance of the discipline. For the
rest if that is the reason why the opposite party will have the
sheep and the piece of silver and the prodigality of the son to
symbolize the Christian sinner, in order by penitence to forgive
adultery and fornication, so they have either to forgive even other
sins likewise capital or to maintain adultery and fornication like-
wise capital as impossible to forgive. But it is of more importence,
that it is forbidden to introduce other meanings in addition to that,
which the parables are dealing. But if we were allowed to apply
the parables to something foreign, I would like to combine their
promises with the martyrdom, which can only, when all substance
is wasted, restore the prodigal sop. and show, that the piece of silver,
found among other things perhaps in filth, can cause delight, and
carry such a sheep, gone astray in all the hinderness and the depths,
on the shoulders of the Lord to the herd. But we prefer to be
less clever, if possible, in the Scriptures than contrariwise. In the
same way we have to watch over the intention of Our Lord and his
Commandments. A lapse is not less minor in interpretation
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    X. When we now have solved this heavy task of interpreting these
parables of the Gentiles, and understood or accepted that it is neces-
sary to give no other interpretation than that which is required by
the circumstances of the parable, now they will declare that this
talk of penitence cannot be applicable to the Gentiles, because they
are not obliged to such a thing because of their sins, which of course
have been committed in ignorance and for this only nature can be held
responsible to God. For the remedies are of no use for those, to whom
the perils themselves have no reality. But so far there is a meaning
with the penitence, if the sin is committed by conscience and determina-
tion, when both guilt and the mercy are known; he will grieve, he will
prostrate himself, who really knows both what he has lost and what he
will gain, if he has offered his penitence to God and God will surely
more readily show his mercy to his own sons than to foreigners.
    And that is why - I think - Jonah did not consider penitence neces-
sary to the people of Nineveh, when he wanted to evade his duty
of preaching or did he not provide at the beginning and did he not
fear, that the mercy of Cod would be extended even to those foreigners
and so to say abolish his message? And that is why this prophet was
almost sacrified for the sake of a pagan people, who did not know God
but further more was sinning through ignorance, notwithstanding that
he would have been an example of the Lord's passion, which was to
redeem even pagans after penitence. It is good, that even John the
Baptist, making straight they way of the Lord was a harbinger for
penitence in the same way for soldiers and publicans as for the sons
of Abraham. And the Lord himself did presume - I think - penitence
to be necessary for the people of Sidon and Tyre, if they had seen
the works of wonder documented.
    But I would like to declare, that this penitence would better fit
sinners by nature than those by determination. Because they have more
right to the fruit of penitence, who have not yet made use of it than
those, who have yet put it to a wrong use, and remedies have greater
efficacy the first time, than when grown out of use. No wonder, Our
Lord is more propitious to his unthankful sons than to those, who do
not know him and sooner merciful to the disapproved ones than to those,
whom he has not yet proved? And will he not sooner be wrathful than
appeased at the insult of his mercy and rather hive it to foreigners
than lose it on his sons, because upon that condition he has taken
the Gentiles in his arms, whereas the Jews are mocking at his for-
bearance.


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The psychici however are thinking that God, the judge of justice, pre-
fers the penitence to the death of that sinner, who himself prefers
death to penitence. This being the case, we would gain merits by sin-
ning.
    So, my dear friend, you who are treating pudicity and chastity and every
inviolability according to sex like a ropedancer, you are treading in
your discipline with care on the thinnest rope leading away from the
true way of truth by such a discipline, balancing the flesh by spirit,
bridling your passion by faith, governing your look by fear. Why are
you so anxious as to how you are stepping? Why do you not go your
way, if you can, if you want, when you really are so sure - and if I
may say so - on firm ground? For if any vacillation of the
flesh, any diversion of the attention, any accidential sidelong glance
will put you off from your direction - God is good. He is taking his
own in his arms, not the Gentiles, penitence will save you even a
second time; you can again be a Christian, having been an adulterer. --
That is your opinion, my kind interpreter of God! I should admit you
were right, if the tract, called "Pastor", which only stands up for the
adulterers, had deserved to be taken up in the Holy Writ, if it were
not considered by every congregation, even your own, to be apocryphal
and forged, adulterous even itself and for that reason a spokeman
for its compeers, therefrom you even in other ways are initiated and
which perhaps is supported by that pastor, which you have carved on
your chalice, even this one dishonouring the Christian sacrament, as
both a symbol of ebriety and a sanctuary for that whoredom, which may
follow after ebriety, and out of which you readily are drinking nothing
other than the sheep of the second penitence. But I want to empty the
Scripture of that "Pastor", who cannot be broken. Such a One St.John
will give me saying on the first page about baptism and duty of peni-
tence,"Bring forth fruits meet for repentence, and think not to say,
we have Abraham to our father" - that they should not again resume
the pleasures of sin because of his grace against their parents -
"for he is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
And so he can do the same thing with us too as with those stones:They
who were sinning before, may now bring forth fruits meet for re-
pentence. What else can however grow up from penitence except the re-
sult of amendment? But if forgiveness is the fruit of penitence, even
this will not be possible without the cessation of the faults. And
likewise this cessation of the faults is the root of forgiveness, and
so forgiveness is the fruit of penitence.











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    XI. And now as to the Gospel, the revocation of the parables will be
our theme. But if our Lord himself did anything like this for sinners
even in his own dealing, e.g. when he permitted the sinful woman
to touch his body, washing his feet with tears and drying them with
her hair and so with her oil inaugurating his own decease, or when he
indicated to the woman of Samaria, who with her sixth matrimony was not
only an adulteress but a mere prostitute, who he was, which he did not
like to do, none of these things will speak for the meaning of the
opposite party, as if he had given his forgiveness for sins even to
Christians. But now we must declare: such things are allowed only to
Our Lord, to-day only his power to give forgiveness may be at work.
But what was done at that very time, when he was living on earth,
about that we have definitely to say: it will not be any precedent,
if he has given his foregiveness even to sinners, who were Jews.
For the Christian discipline has its origin in the renewing of the
testament and as already said in the ransom of the flesh, viz. the
passion of Our Lord. Nobody was perfect before order was found in
faith, nobody was Christian, before Christ was taken up unto Heaven,
nobody was holy before the Holy Ghost had descended from Heaven as the
confirmer of just that discipline.
    XII. But about those, who think there is a difference between
that paraclet, which was in the apostles and that, which was working
by them, and which, recognised nowadays in their special prophets,
they can no longer see in the apostles, now they may show anyhow
by means of the scriptures of the apostles, that the commaculation
of the flesh and especially stained after baptism can be cleansed by
penitence, not, that the form of the old law has been dissolved
even in the apostles; and they may not think according to the con-
ception of the criminality of adultery, that this form is thought
to be less severe in our new discipline than in the old. When the
Gospel was first heard and had shaken the old conception to such a
degree, that one began to discuss, whether the old form of the law
was to be retained as matters stood, at this moment the Holy apostles,
by the authority of the Holy Ghost emitted this commandment,"For it
seemed good," they are saying to those, who among the Gentiles had
begun with the first things in the law (i.e. circumcision) "to the
Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these
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and from fornication and from blood: from which if ye keep yourself
ye shall do well according to the will of the Holy Ghost.
    It may be enough to state, that even at this point adultery and
fornication have their place of honour between idolatry and homicide.
(For as to blood I would prefer to think of human blood.)
    For how severe must such crimes be regarded by the apostles, which
they before all are excepting from that old law as to observation,
which they before all decide are to be avoided of necessity? Of course,
they do not permit others, but they before all put these crimes as
impossible to forgive, these apostles, who have for the Gentiles
made the other burdens of the law excusable. Why do you think they
are lifting away such a yoke from our neck, if not for ever to impose
on us this more simple discipline? Why do they relax so many bonds,
if not to tie us for ever to more necessary things? They have absolved
us from so many burdens, thus taking us obliged to avoid that which
is more pernicious. There has been an exchange made. We have gained
much end must offer a little. But it is not possible to cancel
this exchange, if of course it is not cancelled by the renewal of
this very adultery or homicide or idolatry. For the law is to be
accepted in its full extent, if the condition for forgiveness is
solved. But the Holy Ghost has not made this bond with us inadvisedly
but has made it of his own accord and so it is to be held more
sacred. Nobody will annihilate his covenant, if not the ungrateful.
And now he will not take back that which he has given away, and he has
not given away that which he has reserved for himself. The statements
of a last testament are ever prevailing and of course / the statement
of this decree/ and this commandment will remain to the end of the
world. He has sufficiently refused the forgiveness of such things,
which he has elected to be observed, and he has provided for that,
which he has not sanctioned in the same way. That is why no forgive-
ness is given by the church either for idolatry or for homicide.
It is not allowed to presume - as I think - that the apostles have
made any exception of this statement of theirs; or if someone can
presume that, he will have to give proof of it.








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    XIII. We know well their suspicions even about these matters.
For in fact they are suspecting that St. Paul, the apostle, has
given his forgiveness in the second epistle of the Corinthians to the
same fornicator, whom he in the first epistle had said was to deliver
unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, the impious heir of his
father's wife, as if he had later on changed his mind, writing:
"But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part,
that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient... is the punishment
which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to
forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be
swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you, that ye
would conform your love toward him. For to this end also did I
write that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient to
me in all things. To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also. For if
I too forgave anything, I forgave it in Christ. Lest Satan should get
an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices."
    Have you a word here about the fornicator, about the contaminator
of his father's bed, about a Christian, who has surpassed the shame-
lessness of the Gentiles, whereas he in the same way would certainly
have absolved him with a special pardon, whom he had condemned with
his special wrath? Can he be more inexplicit in his pity than in
his indignation? Or more plain in his severity than in his mercy?
but on the contrary the wrath can easier than the forbearance be
unjust. And that which is mournful tends to be retained more than
good news.
    This had of course only reference to forgiveness of a slight sin
and so it would be regarded perhaps in our days, because all great
sins are not usually forgiven without any admonition and of course
not without any indication.
    And even you are introducing the fraternity in the church to pray
to God for a penitent adulterer and make him fall in the midst on
his knees in sackcloth and ashes and arrayed in shame and dread 
before the widows and the priests,
making every eye moist, kissing every foot, embracing every knee.




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And at all this like a good pastor and blessed father you are holding
your speech about the fate of this man with all possible allurement
to mercy. Using the parable of the sheep you will implore your own goats,
that the whole family will not again go away from your herd - as if
this now from this moment was mot permitted, which never was permitted.
And so you are frightening all the others at a moment, when you sre
forgiving at your optimum? But the apostle in so mean a manner
would have forgiven a guilty passion of fornication, moreover combined
with incest, that he had not demanded not so much as this attire, the
spokesman for penitence, and which you even ought to have learned
from the apostle! And he has not given any precepts for the future
nor any preaching for other things? On the contrary he moreover is
beseeching; them, that they should confirm their love towards him, as
if he wanted to get things right again, not us if he was giving for-
giveness. And the more: he wrote only about love, not about communion.
    The same thing he said to the Thessalonians, "If any man obey
not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with
him, that he may be ashamed; yet count him not as an enemy, but ad-
monish him as a brother."
    And so he would likewise say, that to an adulterer only love is
allowed, and not even entrance to the church but to the incestuous
not so much as love, whom he had ordered simply to be ejected from
their midst, and surely even more from their thoughts.
    'But they feared that Satan would get an advantage over them by
the loss of that person, whom he himself had given unto Satan, or
that that one would be swallowed up with this overwhelming sorrow,
whom he had condemned for the destruction of the flesh.
    In such a case he shall only with this "destruction of the flesh",
which they expound as the manifestation of penitence, which seems to
be given by doing the flesh harm by fasting and soiling and every
neglect and deliberate mistreatment, he shall give satisfaction to God,
that they could for this reason presume, that this fornicator or sooner
this incestuous one had not been given unto Satan by the apostle for
the destruction of the flesh, but for his own improvement, as if he,
who possibly could gain forgiveness at last because of the destruction
i.e. harassment of the flesh, consequently even had gained it in
reality. It is evident, that the seme apostle delivered Hymenaeus
and Alexander unto Satan, that they might learn not to






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blaspheme, as he writes to his friend Timothy. - 'But he says himself,
that there was given unto him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of
Satan, by whom he was to be buffeted, lest he should be exalted above
measure.
    If they really think to adduce even this, to make more likely, that
those were given unto Satan by him for their own improvement, not for
destruction, hear ye: is there any resemblance between blasphemy
end incest - and also to a soul freed from all this, which was on the
contrary of quite another origin, while it was of the highest invio-
lability and mere innocence and could, if the apostle should perhaps
be exalted, be corrected by buffets, or what is called the suffering
of the ears or the head? But incest and and blasphemy are able to
give the sinners entirely into the possession of the Devil himself,
not of one of his angels. And there will be even some difference,
or rather it will be of the greatest importance to hear, that
those were given by the Apostle unto Satan, but about the Apostle
however, that an angel of Satan was given unto him. And finally,
when St. Paul was praying to God, what did he hear from him, "My
grace is sufficient for thee; for the strength is made perfect
in weakness." Such a thing would never had been said to those, who
ware given unto Satan.
    As to the crime of Hymenaeus and Alexander however, which is
impossible to forgive both in this world and in eternity, I mean
blasphemy, surely the Apostle would never have given those, who
had fallen from faith to blasphemy, against the commandment of Our
Lord unto Satan with any hope of forgiveness. And so he is calling
them shipwrecked as to faith, having no longer the consolation
of the ship he thought of, the church. For such as those cannot gain
forgiveness, who have fallen from faith into blasphemy. But on the
contrary pagans and heretics every day are emerging from blasphemy.
And so - if he has said, "I have delivered them unto Satan, that
they may learn not to blaspheme," he meant the others, who had to
learn not to blaspheme, because these two were given unto Satan, i.e.
were ejected from the church. In this very sense I think even this
incestuous fornicator was delivered unto Satan, not for his own
improvement but for the destruction of the flesh, to whom they
already had gone over by sinning more than the Gentiles, that the
others might learn, not to fornicate.


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Finally he said "to the destruction of the flesh", not to the
suffering of it and so he condemned the very substance, by means
of which he had fallen and which indeed already from this very
moment had perished as having lost the baptism, "that" as he
says "the spirit may be saved in the day of Our Lord."
    And now we may ask concerning these words, if the spirit of that
man himself was saved. Then a soul, contaminated with so terrible a
crime, would be saved, but the flesh had to perish for this very
crime. Can he be saved though punished? Then the opposite inter-
pretation would lead to a punishment without the flesh. In this way
we lose the resurrection of the flesh.
    The only thing left is - as I can see - that he has meant, that
the spirit of the church was to be preserved saved i.e. pure to the
day of Our Lord from the contamination of such impurity, this in-
cestuous fornicator ejected. For he has continued, "Know ye not
that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" And an incestuous
fornication however was not a little, but a large leaven.
    XIV. Having in this manner solved this intervening question, I
return to the second epistle of the Corinthians and now I will show,
that the following words of the apostle, "sufficient to such a man
is this punishment, which is inflicted of many," cannot have reference
to the character of a fornicator. While if he had staged, that such
a one was to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,
surely he had condemned rather than inflicted him. Then it must have
been another person, to whom he did not think such an infliction
enough, because the fornicator had not according to this statement been
inflicted but condemned. And so I would like you to consider this
very question, if there were any other in the first epistle, who had
caused the apostle grief by their irregular living and who were
grieving as inflicted by him as we can see from the second epistle,
and if among these anybody could gain forgiveness from its words.
    Here I will remark, that all the first epistle is written - as I
would like to call it - not with ink but with gall, violent, impatient,
disdaining, menacing, rancourous and for certain reasons directed at
certain persons as representatives of these. That was indeed a result
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and superciliousness and combat, that this must be both beaten down
with hatred and rejected with censure and triturated with pride and
averted with severity. And what kind of hatred could be a stimulus
to humbleness? "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but
Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine
own name." For I determined not to know anything among you save
Jesus Christ and him crucified." "And I think that God hath chosen
us, the apostles, last like gladiators; for we are made a spectacle
unto the world, and to angels and to men... and we are made as the
offscouring of all things and are the filth of the world." And
"am I not free? am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus Christ,
Our Lord?" And on the other side, what was his superciliousness
like, with which he felt himself compelled to speak? "But with me
it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you or of a man's
judgement... For I know nothing by myself..." and "nobody may
make my glorying void. . . Know ye not that we shall judge angels?"
And moreover but - how obvious the liberty in his disapproval, how sharp
the edge of the sword of spirit... "Now ye are full, now ye are rich,
now ye reign as kings" and "if any man think that he knoweth
any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." And now -
does he not strike anybody in the face, saying: "For who maketh thee
to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not
receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if
thou hadst not received it?" Does he not strike even these on
their mouths? "For some with conscience unto this hour eat as if
they ate things offered unto an idol... when you sin so and wound
the weak conscience of your brethren ye sin against Christ."
And further on with specific mention of a name, "Have we not power
to eat and to drink? and to lead about a sister or a wife as well
as other apostles and as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas?" And
"if others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather?"

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In the same way he scourges even them, saying in his particular manner:
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,"
and "if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom
neither the church of God." And with such a conclusion with its un-
veiled execration, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him
be Anathema Maranatha," he at any rate wanted to strike a certain
person. But I would like to seize on that point, where the apostle
is most incensed, where the fornicator himself has made difficulties
even to the others. "Some are puffed up as though I would not come
to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will
know, not the speech of them, which are puffed up, but the power.
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye?
Shall I come unto you with a rod or in the spirit of meekness?"
What was then behind? "It is reported commonly, that there is for-
nication among you and such fornication as is not even among the
Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed
up and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might
be taken away from among you."
    For whom would they mourn? Surely for a dead one. To whom would
they mourn? Surely to God, that he in any way would be taken aut of
their midst, and not of course, that he should be ejected from the
church - because they would never pray to God for such a thing, as
belonging to the duty of the principal - but that he by the death as
proper and common to the flesh itself, now more a dead body, while
evil, and contaminated by unforgivable impurity, would be taken away
in a more absolute manner from the church. And so he determined
that such a one should be given unto Satan for the destruction of the
flesh, the only manner, in which he could be taken away in the
meantime. To be condemned was of course the fate of that flesh, which
was thrown to the devil, and so he was loosed from the holy oath
to the Christian standard and never will he return to the encampment
of the church.
    And so we see, that in this passage the severity of the apostle
is directed towards someone vainglorious and towards someone incestuous.






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Towards the first he is using his whip, towards the second his right
of condamnation; the whip, with which he is menacing; the condemna-
tion, which he has carried out; the whip is still shaking; the con-
demnation has struck at once; with the first he inflicted, but with
the second he condemned. And so to be sure from that moment the
inflicted one has been frightened at the menace of the whip, but the
condemned has perished by the fulfillment of the punishment. The
first is meanwhile standing, fearing the blow, but the other has gone
his way suffering his punishment. And when the same apostle writes
a new epistle to the Corinthians, it is evident that forgiveness is
given but it is uncertain to whom, because he does not mention either
the person or the fall: I will compare the facts to the general
content.
    If we have to think of this incestuous person, we even regard
the vainglorious one. And surely there will be enough consequence
in it, when this vainglorious person is inflicted, the incestuous one
however is condemned. The vainglorious one is forgiven after infliction
but the incestuous seems not to be forgiven, while yet condemned. If he
had forgiven him, whom they feared might be swallowed up by too
great a sorrow, he was still in danger of this while inflicted, suffer-
ring the menace and mourning over the infliction, but the con-
demned was thought to be swallowed up both by his guilt and by his
damnation and he had not to mourn, but suffer that which he before his
punishment could have been mourning over. But if the reason for
forgiving him was, that we should not be mocked by Satan, so this
calamity was surely prevented in him, because he had not yet perished.
Nothing is prevented concerning a person, who is dead already, but
concerning that one, who is yet saved. But he who was condemned
and moreover in the possession of Satan, was in that very moment
perished for the church, when he had committed such a terrible crime,
if not when he was execrated even by the church itself. How could they
be afraid to be deceived concerning him, whom on one hand they had
already lost by being taken away and on the other being condemned they
could not have at all.
    And finally, what would a judge be likely to forgive, that which
he has decided with this solemn pronouncement or that which he had
left undecided in an interlocution and particularly a judge, who like
him does not rebuild again the things, which he has destroyed, thus
not to be regarded a transgressor. Well - if he had not caused grief
to so many persons by his first epistle, if he had not inflicted
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the incestuous one, if he had not filled anybody with awe as to his
own conduct, not confounded anybody, who was vainglorious, then you
had better suspect and could more likely conclude, that someone
but quite another person at that moment among the Corinthians was
in the same situation, that he, being inflicted and fearing
and wounded by sorrow, for this reason later on had gained forgiveness,
while his sin was not of any importance, rather than to interpret this
forgiveness in this incestuous fornicator. Because you ought to
have heard about that, if not from the epistle; from the meeting
itself of the apostle, and better characterized by his decency than
expressed by all his writing, and so you would surely not have
accused St.Paul of such an inconstancy, the apostle of Christ, the
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth, "the chosen vessel," the
founder of churches, the examiner of disciplines, that he had
either inconsiderately condemned him, whom he ere long should absolve
or inconsiderately absolved him, whom he considerately had condemned,
maybe only because of fornication and simply impudicity, but more so
because of incestuous marriage and impious lewdness, a passion,
causing his father's death, which he would not have compared to the
morals of the Gentiles, that it should not be thought to be
common, which he though absent had judged, that the accused would not
in any way take advantage of his absence, which he had condemned
invoking even the power of Our Lord, that it would not be regarded as
a human judgement. To be sure - he was mocking both with his own
spirit and the angel of the church and the power of Our Lord, if he
abolished that he had solennly pronounced as such a determination.
    XV. If you are bringing even the following part of the Epistle in
connection with the menace of the apostle, even these things may not be
alleged in order to forget the incest, while even in this respect the
apostle may not be ashamed for lack of consequence in his following
statements. For how can he, having just prodigally given the earlier
right to return peacefully to the church to an Incestuous fornicator
immediately begin to speak of something to avoid all impurity, to
cut off the contagion of sin, to exhort to chastity, as if he had in
no way declared a little above just exactly the contrary. Finally - can
you realize, that he could have said, "Therefore having this ministry
accordingly we have received mercy, we faint not, but have renounced
the hidden things of dishonesty," he, who with this statement has con-
demned the obvious things, not only of dishonesty, but even of crime,
that this man




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could excuse any impurity, he who among his merits having mentioned
his afflictions and necessities, his fastings end watchings, has
spoken even about his pureness; that this man could receive into the
community all wicked men, he, who is writing, "For what fellowship
hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath
light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? and
what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement
hath the temple (i.e. of God) with idols?" Will he not immediately
hear, and how are you separating that which you just above have put
together in the restitution of the incestuous one? For when he has
been joined again to the church both righteousness has fellowhip with
unrighteousness and light has communion with darkness and Belial has
concord with Christ and they who do not believe are participating in
the sacrament with a believer and - we can leave the idols - he him-
self, the violator of the temple of God, has agreement with this
temple. For about these very things he has said, "for ye are the
temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and
walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people,
therefore come out from among them, and be ye separate and touch
not the unclean thing..." And they will remark, 'Dear apostle, you
have given a rather good interpretation about this: at the same time
before all else you yourself are giving a hand to such an abyss of
impurity, on the contrary you will in addition join,' " having
therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness
in the fear of God." Be sure - he, who is implanting such things in
our minds, had he called back a fornicator to the church? Or is he
writing so for that reason, that he would not now appear to you to
have done it. And these things might be a model even for the bygone
as well as a precedent for the future. For at the end of the epistle
he says "lest when I come again my








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God will humble me and that I shall bewail many, which have sinned
already and have not repented of the uncleanness, which they have
committed by fornication and lasciviousness." With this he surely
has meant those not to be received after having repented, whom he
was to find in the church, but mourned for end without doubt ejected,
losing their right of penitence.
    And in every case it will not be consequent of him to establish a
connection in this respect, who above had denied the possibility of
such a connection between light and darkness, between righteousness
and unrighteousness, but all those do not know the apostle, who
can suppose anything against the character and the task of this man,
against the understanding and the statement of his doctrines and so
about this man, who is a teacher ef all purity even by himself,
the execrater and the abolisher of all impurity - and in every case
the same - that they presume him to have given to en incestuous one
the right to return to the church sooner than to a man accused of a
more human crime.
    XVI. For this reason it is necessary to describe
continuously for them the character of the apostle and I will assert
that he even in the second epistle to the Corinthians is the same as
I know him in all the other epistles. Yet in the first epistle he
first of all has dedicated a temple to God, "Know ye not, that ye
are the temple of God and that Our Lord dwelleth in you?" And he
has also in order to sanctify and cleanse this temple written
the law for guardianship, "If any man defile the temple of God, him
shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are." But now - who could rebuild at all that which has been de-
stroyed by God, I mean that which is given unto Satan for the destruc-
tion of the flesh, when he for this reason has continued, "Let no
men deceive himself" i.e. no man may presume that that which has been
destroyed by God, can be rebuilt again. And in the same manner once
again he denied among other things - or better even before other things
that neither adulterers nor fornicators nor effeminate nor abusers
of themselves with mankind should inherit the kingdom of God, having
just said "be not deceived," of course, if you had the idea, that
they should. But those, who are deprived of the kingdom, will
surely not have the life, which is in the kingdom. And when he
says, "But such have ye been, but ye are washed, but ye are sancti-
fied in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of Our
God" he has stated about these sins that, as acceptable they were
before the baptism, as irremissible they are after the baptism



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because they cannot be washed away a second time.
    Even in the following you will find St.Paul to be the firm
pillar of discipline, "meats for the body, and the body for meats;
but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for
fornication, but for the Lord... Let us so make man in our image,
God said, and after our likeness... and so God created man, and he
created him in the image, after the likeness of God... and the Lord
for the body... and the Word was made flesh... and God hath both
raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his own power... be-
cause of the connection of the body to him - I think. And was not
that the reason for this, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members
of Christ?" - because even Christ was a temple of God. "Destroy this
temple and in three days I will raise it up....Shall I then take
the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot?...
Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For
two shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one
spirit. Flee fornication!" This being possible to wash off with forgiveness, how can
I flee this, when I must be once again an adulterer? That would have
no meaning! Consequently if I had escaped fornication, I will be one
flesh with her, to whom I am connected by any community. "Every
sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth
fornication sinneth against his own body." And that you might not
make use of these words to justify fornication, saying that you will
be sinning against yourself, not against the Lord, he has deprived
you of this possibility and given you to Christ, as he has stated,
saying, "and ye are not your own," which at once is explained with
the words, "for ye are bought with a price," of course the blood of
Our Lord, "therefore glorify Our Lord and let him be in your body."
Is it possible that he, who has given these commandments, has for-
given him, who has desecrated God and who has expelled him



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from his body, and that by incest.
    If you want to learn all about the apostle, so that you can under-
stand how he is cutting down and tearing up by the roots all the
forest of passions with his axe of censure, and just listen, and not
permitting anything to grow up again and so we se him desire mankind
to abstain from the just fruit of nature, I mean the apple of matri-
mony, "now concerning the things whereof ye wrote, it is not good
for a man not to touch a woman; nevertheless, to avoid fornication let
every man have his own wife. Let the husband render unto the wife
due benevolence and also the wife unto the husband." Who can ignore,
that he unwillingly has relaxed the lock to this good thing, only to
oppose fornication. And if he has forgiven this a single time or
if he is forgiving it at all, he has surely weakened the purpose
of his own remedy and so he is compelled to forbid those matrimonies
of continence, if fornication as the cause of permission of matrimony,
is not held in fear. For nobody will fear that which is for-
given. And nevertheless he is clearly saying, that he has permitted
the use of matrimony, not ordered it. For he desires all to imitate
himself. But that union once was allowed to Adam, is forgiven; How
can they fix their hope on that, which only is allowed? Even for
unmarried and for widows he says, that it is good to follow his
example, but if they cannot contain, they may marry "for it is better
to marry than to burn." And tell me, by which fire is it worse to
burn, by that of passion or by that of punishment? But if fornication
can gain forgiveness, the passion has no right to exist. But it is
more consequent that the apostle provides the fire of punishment,
and if the fire of punishment is burning, then fornication cannot
gain any forgiveness while being punished by this fire, meanwhile he is
forbidding even divorce and instead of that he is recommending
either the maintenance of widowhood or the re-establishment of peace
according to the commandment of Our Lord against adultery, for
"whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of forni-
cation, causeth her to commit adultery, and whosoever shall marry
her that is divorced committeth adultery." These important remedies
the Holy Ghost has renewed, in order of course that such a thing be
not committed a second time, which he does not like to forgive once
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if he in every case is stating, that it is best for a man to act
in this manner, "art thou bound unto a wife, seek not to be loosed."
thus not leaving room for adultery; "art thou loosed from a wife,
seek not a wife," thus serving for yourself this good opportunity;
"but and thou marry a wife... and if a virgin marry, she hath not
sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh" - even
now he gives his permission to save them trouble. "Moreover the
time is short, that both they that have wives may be though they had
none... for the fashion of this world passeth away," no longer desir-
ing of course this "be fruiful and mutiply!"
    In the same manner he desires us to live without anxiety for "he
that is unmarried careth for the Lord, how he may please God, but he
that is married careth for the world, how he may please his wife."
    In the same manner he says that he will be doing better who preserves
a virgin than he who gives her away. In the same manner he can
declare, that she is happier, who having lost her husband and taken
the Creed, takes hold of this good opportunity of widowhood. In the
same manner he is stating all these commandments of continence as
given by God, saying, "and I think also that I have the spirit of
God."
    Who is this most shameless protector of impurity, this most certain
and true advocate of adulterers and fornicators and incestuous
persons, to whose honour he has espoused this cause against the
Holy Ghost, and so to bear false witness of his Apostle? St.Paul
has never forgiven anything like this, he who essays to oblitterate
all this necessity of the flesh even by most honourable terms. He
is permitting surely, not adultery but matrimony. Sure he can suffer
matrimony, not unchastity. He is trying not to forgive that which
is natural - how could he be supporting crime? He is wanting to
bridle the matrimony of benediction, not to excuse that of maledic-
tion. It was left to hin to cleanse the flesh from at least the
filth of sin; from the contagion of it he had no power. But that is
the method of all perverse and idiotic heretics, and even of all
these psychici, to take their arms from some accidental circumstance
in some ambiguous chapter against an army of quotations from the
whole Bible!






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    XVII. Is it possible that he takes the chance of a battle with
the Apostle? Look at his epistles! They are all protecting pudicity,
chastity, sanctity, they are all directed against the working of
unchastity, lasciviousness and passion. What is he really writing
even to the Thessalonians? "For our exhortation was not of deceit,
nor of uncleanness," and "This is the will of God, your sancti-
fication, that ye should abstain from fornication, that every one of
you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and
honour, not in the lust of concupiscence even as the Gentiles, which
know not God." And what can the Galatians read? "Now the works of
the flesh are manifest.." which are these? Among the first ones
he mentioned "fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.... of
the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that
They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?"
    And had he anything more urgent to teach the Romans than not to
leave the Lord after accepting the Creed? "What shall we say
then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.
How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know
ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized
into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, even so we
also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been buried
together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the
likeness of his resurrection, knowing this that our old man is
crucified with him.... Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe
that we shall also live with him, knowing that Christ being raised
from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more domination over him.
For in that, he died into sin, he died unto sin once: but in that he
liveth, he liveth unto God.



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Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but
alive unto God through Jesus Christ." That is why once Christ has
died, nobody, who has died after Christ, can be alive unto sin and
especially unto such a sin. Or - if fornication and adultery
can gain forgiveness again, even Christ could die again, but the
Apostle is earnestly forbidding the sins to reign in our mortal body,
because he knew (?) the infirmity of the flesh," for as ye have
yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity, even
so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."
Because it is true that he has said, that in his own flesh "dwelleth
no good thing," that was of course according to the law of letter,
within which he then was; but according to that of spirit, to which
he will connect us, he makes us free from the infirmity of the flesh,
"because" as he says "the law of Spirit of life hath made me free
from the law of sin and death."
    Even if he seems to speak to some extent like the Jews, it is to
us that he directs the integrity and fullness of discipline. For the
sake of us, who are pained by the law, "God has sent his own Son in
the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh,
that" as he says "the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled
in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For they
that walk after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they
that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." For he has
affirmed that to be carnally minded is death, and further on "enmity
even against God," and thus those, who are in the flesh, that is to
say, the carnally minded, cannot please God. And further on still
"And if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." But how is this
"mind" or "life" of the flesh to understand, if by this is meant
not, those things, about which we are shamed to speak. For other
things according to the flesh even the Apostle would have mentioned.
And thinking in the same way of the past he wrote to the Ephesians
about the future "among whom also we had our conversation in times
past fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind."




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And so after deprecating those who had denied themselves to be
Christians, of course by grace, giving themselves over to work all
uncleanness, he says, "But ye have not so learned Christ." And a
second time he likewise says, "Let them that stole steal no more."
Let let him that committed adultery, commit adultery no more, and
let him that committed fornication, commit fornication no more? This
he ought to have added, if he usually had forgiven even such sinners
or at least desired them to be forgiven. He who did not even allow
them to hear about such things, saying, "let no corrupt communication
proceed out of your mouth," and "but fornication and all uncleanness
let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints," - he is
so long from excusing this - "for this ye know, that no whoremonger,
nor unclean person... hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things
cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." But who
is deceiving you with vain words, if not he who is officially
stating, that adultery is possible to forgive? He who has not seen,
that even the Fundaments of this are now removed by the Apostle, when
he has debarred the Christians from ebriety and junketing, saying,
"and be not drunk with wine, therein is excess."
    Even to the Colossians he has demonstrated, which members are morti-
fying upon earth, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, evil
concupiscence and defamatory speeches.
    For so many and so important sentences you must give up your single
quotation. The few must yield to the many, the dubious to the certain,
the obscure to the manifest.
    And even if it were certain, that the Apostle had forgiven for-
nication to a Corinthian, that would have been something he did in
contradiction to his own statement, according to circumstances of
time. He circumcised Timothy alone and nevertheless he did away with the circumcision.
    XVIII. 'But this' he (i.e. the bishop) can say - 'might have
reference to impurity in its entirety and to the condemnation of impudicity
in its entirety. But there will be room for forgiveness: this is
possible, if this is not denied immediately the sins are condemned,
because the date for forgiveness is opposite to that of condemnation,
which is excluded by forgiveness.'


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    I thought it possible, that the psychici would find out even this,
and that is why I have spared the sentences, which yet in olden times
are clearly given to forbid the communion of the church for such
reasons. For even in the proverbs of Solomon, which we are calling
........ he is saying particularly about the adulterer, who is
never pardonable, "but whoso committeth adultery... lacketh under-
standing und destroyeth his own soul . A wound and dishonour shall
he get and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For His rage
caused by jealousy will not spare such a man in the day of vengeance."
And if you think this to be said about the Gentiles, certainly you
have already heard in vain about those who believe, "Go ye out of
the midst of them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing."
And in the Psalms on the first page you have, "Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the
way of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." And later on
these are his words, "I have not sat with vain persons, neither
will I go in with dissemblers" - that is said about the church of the
evil men and "I will not sit with the wicked." And "I will wash
mine hands with the innocent, so will I compass thine altar, O Lord."
And just as this single man is, so the others will be, while certainly,
"with the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright
man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew
thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward."
And in another psalm, "But unto the sinner God saith, What hast thou
to do to declare my statutes and that thou shouldest take my
covenant in thy mouth? ... When thou sawest a thief, then thou
lopedst with him and hast been partaker with adulterers." This the
Apostle too had learned, when he said, "I wrote unto you in an
epistle, not to company




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with fornicators, yet not altogether with fornicators of this kind"
and the rest. "For the must ye needs go out of the world....
But now I have written unto you... if any man that is called a brother
be a fornicator.. or an idolater "(for what is more conjoint?) "or
extortioner" (what can be closer?) and what follows... "with such
an one no not to eat," still less the Eucharist - a little one of
course: even "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
    In the same manner to Timothy, "Lay hands suddenly on no man
neither be partaker of other men's sins!" And likewise to the
Ephesians, "Be not ye therefore partakers with them; for ye were
sometimes darkness.." And even more directly, " and have no fellow-
ship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
For it is a shame even to speak of those things, which are done of
them in secret.." But what can be more shameful than impudicity?
And if he writes to the Thessalonians to withdraw themselves from
every brother that walketh disorderly, would he not have more com-
manded to withdraw even fron a fornicator? Because those are the
commandments(?) of Christ, who loves the church "and gave himself
for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of
water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious
church, not having spot or wrinkle," after baptism of course -
"but that it should be holy and without blemish;" from this very
moment without the wrinkles of years like a virgin, without the
spots of fornication like a bride, without the malediction
of venality like a clean woman.
    How if you even here want to answer, that you are not giving
communion to sinners and especially to those, who are carnally
polluted, but for the moment and so of course take them back after
having done penitence, according to that clemency of God, who
prefers the penitence of one single sinner to his death, then I will
say - because this fundament of your opinion must be attacked at
every point - that if it belonged to the clemency of God to repeat
its demonstration even for those, who had lapsed after taking
the Creed, then the Apostle would have said,







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"Have no fellowship with the works of darkness," if they have not
done penitence and "with such an one no not to eat" if they have not
thrown themselves down and licked the boots of the brethren and
"if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy," if
he has not shaken the ashes of all hearths over his head in the
church. Then he would likewise have given his decision about the
extent of this condemnation and would have condemned with a certain
condition, if he had meant to condemn with a temporal or conditional
and not eternal severity. And so when he in all his epistles is
both forbidding such a one to be admitted to communion, and if ad-
mitted turns him away from communion without mention of any condition
or time, then he takes to our meaning, saying, that our Lord
prefers that penitence of a sinner, which before the Creed is accepted,
before baptism, is more acceptable than his death, which is once only
repaid by the grace of Christ, who once has been dead for our sins.
    And that our Apostle has demonstrated in his own person. Stating
that Christ is come to save sinners, of whom he himself had been
the worst one, what is he saying? "And I obtained mercy, because
I did it ignorantly in unbelief?" And so this clemency of God, who
prefers the penitence of a sinner to his death, is directed to the
yet ignorant and to the yet Gentiles, while Christ has come to
liberate them, not to those, who yet know God and have learned the
sacrament of faith. But if this clemency of God is to refer to the
yet ignorant, and to the Gentiles, surely even penitence will have
this clemency in its company. And that form of penitence after
the Creed is not engaged herein, which can gain forgiveness either
for minor sins by the bishops or for major or irremissible sins
by God alone.
    XIX. But how much more about St.Paul? Even St.John seems to have
in some detail pleased the opposite party. As if he had obviously
in the Revelation given the aid of penitence to fornication, while he



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says that the Holy Ghost writes unto the angel of the church of
Thyatira that he had against him, that the woman Jezebel, "which
calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants
to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrified unto idols. And
I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not of
this named fornication. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them
that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they re-
pent of their deeds."
    But it is a good thing that the Apostles have the same interpreta-
tion of the faith and discipline. "Whether it were I or they" he
has said "so we preach." Because it is of importance for the
whole sacrament, that so do not think that there are things that
have been admitted by St.John, which are forbidden by St. Paul.
If you have observed this feature of consequence of the Holy Ghost,
you will by himself be handed to his vary meanings. This heretic
woman, who began to teach what she had learned by the Nicolaitans,
was secretly introduced into the church and deservedly so she was
urged to penitence. Then who can be in doubt that a heretic, who
has been falsely educated, can both gain forgiveness, when his case
afterwards is known and expiated by penitence, and be admitted to
the church. That is why even among us a heretic, although as sinful
or rather more so than a pagan after the baptism of truth will be
admitted, now absolved from his two earlier personalities. Or -
he (i.e. the Holy Ghost) is sure that this woman has gone to death
in herecy after having known the living faith,(he is doing so, intro-
ducing her) in order to do penitence for herself not like a heretic
but like a sinner, who believes, and for him you at least think
forgiveness possible after penitence. but she will gain the Creed
by her fornication, not however restoration as well. And this is
a form of penitence which even we think necessary and much more, but
as to forgiveness we will reserve this for God.
    And finally - in this book of Revelation it is later on said, that
the abominable and whoremongers as well as the fearful and unbelieving
and murderers and sorcerers end idolaters - who have done such
things as Christians - are all damned unto the lake which burneth
with fire without any mention of conditions. Because it may not be
interpreted to concern the Gentiles, when he has said about those
who believe, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things;






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and I will be their God and they shall be my sons," and then he con-
tinued in this manner, "But the fearful and unbelieving and the
abominable and whoremongers and murderers and sorcerers and idolaters
may be in the lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone, which
is the second death." And further on in the same way; "Blessed are
they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree
of life and may enter in through the gates into the holy city. For
without are dogs and sorcerers and whoremongers and murderers,"
of course those who are not doing, his commandments. But only those
can be shut out, nho have been within. And moreover he had declared
once before, "What have I to do to judge them also that are without?"
    But also in an epistle of St.John they have found something. There
is said right at the beginning, "the blood of his Son cleanseth
us irom all sin. And so let us sin always and in all respects, if he
will clean us always and from every sin; or - if not always,
particulary not after acceptance of the Creed, and if not from every
sin, particularly not from fornication. But how was the beginning?
He had said that God is light and in him is no darkness at all and
we are lying if we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in
darkness. "But if we walk" he continued, "in the light, we have no
fellowship with him and the blood of Jesus Christ, Our Lord,
cleanseth us from all sin." And so we can, walking in the
light, commit sins and having none that in the light we will be
cleansed. But that is impossible! He who sins, is not in the light
but in the darkness. And so he is demonstrating how we will be
cleansed from sin, walking in that light, in which we can do sins."
His meaning is that we in that manner are cleansed by God, not as
if we did sins but because we do not sin at all. For walking
in the light and having no fellowship with the darkness we remain
cleansed: not laying off the sin but not admitting it. That is
the power of the blood of our Lord, to let those, whom he has
cleansed from sin and from that moment placed in the light, from
just that moment


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remain cleansed, if they continue walking in the light. But he has
added, you say, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful
and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Do you believe, even from impurity? Or if he does, consequently
even from idolatry. But the meaning is otherwise. Now hear
what follows. "If we say" he says "that we have not sinned, we
make him a liar and his word is not in us." And he continues, "My
little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And
if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ,
the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins." According
to this, you will say, we surely can both sin and gain forgiveness.
    But how can you explain, if further on I will find something
contrary? He is forbidding us to sin at all and is laying stress
upon not to forgive such things, declaring that the sins are
extinguished once and for all by Christ and will not gain forgive-
ness again, therein we find that we are exhorted by the meaning
to preach chastity. And every man" he says, "that hath his hope
in him may purify himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth
sin, transgresseth also the law: for sin is transgression of the
law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins,"
which is to be done only to this very moment. Because he continues,
"Whosoever abideth in him, may not sin; whosoever sinneth, hath
not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man
deceive you: he that doth righteousness is righteous, even as he is
righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil
sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was
manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil." Because
by making the man free he destroyed even them by baptism and gave
him the seal of death. And so "whosoever is born of God, doth not
commit sin; for his seed




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remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God. In this
the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil."
How are they manifest, if not: the former by not committing sins
after that moment when they are born by God and the latter by
sinning because they are of the devil, exactly as if they had never
been born of God? But when he says "whosoever doeth not
righteousness is not of God" how could he who is not chaste, again
be of God, which he has just ceased to be?
    And so it would be a near conclusion to say that St.John has
contradicted himself, when he in the beginning of the Epistle says
that we are not without sins and now is commanding not to sin at all:
there flattering a little with forgiveness but here firmly declaring
that sinners cannot be the sons of God. God forbid. For
we have not contradicted ourselves with that distinction of the sins,
with which we were beginning. For this distinction St.John considered
here that there are some sins occuring every day, to which we all
object. Who can avoid either to be angry unjustly and let the sun
go down upon his wrath or perhaps to put forth one's hand against
somebody or to calumniate easily or to swear inconsiderately or
to break one's promise or to lie either by necessity or by considera-
tion? In business, in duty, in earning, in life, in sight,
in hearing how often are we tempted? That if there were no for-
giveness for all that, no flesh would ever be saved! These sins
can consequently gain forgiveness and for these Christ will pray to
his Father. But there are even others, contrary to these, because
being greater as well as pernicious, which cannot gain forgiveness,
homicide, idolatry, betrayal, negation of God, blasphemy, certainly
both adultery and fornication and perhaps some other violation
of the temple of Cod. For these sins Christ will not again pray;
these sins he will not at any rate commit, who was born of God and
who will not be of God if he has committed them. So this contra-
diction in St. John is to be understood; It is a distinction made
among the sins, when he is at first permitting the sons of God to sin
and then forbidding it. Because he knew the ending of his epistle
and thought of this, wherein he should more obviously set down these
sentences, "If any man see his brother sin a sin, which is not unto
death, he shall ask and he shall give him



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life, who sin not unto death: There is a sin unto death: I do not
say that he shall pray for it." And he himself remembered that
God had forbidden Jeremiah to pray for a people sinning unto death,
"all unrighteousness is sin and there is a sin unto death. But we
know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not," i.e. not a sin
that is unto death.
    And now nothing is left to you; either you must ennunciate that
adultery and fornication are not sins unto death, or admit that
these are irremissible sins, for which it is not even permissible
to pray.
    XX. And so the discipline of the Apostles is properly determing
the commandments of the two Testaments, especially the sanctity of
all sanctity as to the temple of God, and so in every respect
eraticating from the church all sacrilege against pudicity without
any word of restoration, but I will even because of the super-
abundance add a testomony from one of the companions of the Apostles,
who can confirm with almost the same authority the discipline of
the first masters. For there is even an epistle to the Hebrews,
written by Barnabas, who has been authorized by God sufficiently,
because St. Paul has mentioned him at his own side in observance of
abstinence, 'for I only and Barnabas, have we not power to
forbear working.' At any rate this epistle of Barnabas is more
accepted by the churches, than that apocryphal "Pastor" of the
adulterers. And so without any introduction he exhorted his
disciples rather to go on unto perfection not laying again the founda-
tion of repentence from the dead works, "for it is impossible for
those" - he says - "who were once enlightened and have tasted of
the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost and have
tasted the good word of God... - when time is out - if they shall
fall away, to renew them again unto penitence, when they crucify to
themselves the Son of God and put him to an open shame. For the
earth, which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and
bringeth forth




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herbs meat for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing
from God. But that which beareth thorns... is nigh to cursing, whose
end is to be burned." He who had himself learned this from the
Apostles and who was so teaching in their company, he had never heard
that penitence was allowed a second time by the Apostles.
He knew how to interpret the law well and the Apostles preserved
to him the symbols still in their first meaning.
    According to this part of the discipline the old law provided
concerning a leper, "and if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin,
and the leprosy cover all the skin from his head even to his foot
all over the body, wheresoever the priest looketh, the the priest
... shall pronounce him clean; it is all turned white: he is clean.
But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean." That is
to be understood about the man, who is amended from the old garment
of the flesh to the splendour of faith, which among the Gentiles
is regarded as fault and spot, and in every respect renewed to be
understood as clean, while now he has the same colour, and is not
now old, now new; But if after the abolition of sin something of the
old is grown up in its old fashion in his flesh - which was of a dreadful
sin - he must be declared unclean and cannot be cleansed by the
priest. In that sense adultery is a relapse into the old malady.
And spoiling the unity of the new colour, from where it had been
excluded, it is a fault impossible to wash out.
    Likewise about the house, "If some spots and hollow strakes are
told the priest to be in the walls, the priest shell command that
they empty the house of everything, before the priest go into it to
see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean.
And afterward the priest shall go in to see and... if he findeth
hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than
the wall, then the priest shall go out... to the door of the house
and shut up the house seven days. And then the priest shall come
again the seventh day and... behold if the plague be spread in the
walls of the house; then the priest shall command that they take
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into an unclean place without the city... And they shall take other
stones, dressed and firm, and put them in the place of those stones;
and he shall take other morter and shall plaister the house."
Because it is our duty, when we are approaching Christ, the highest
priest of our Father, to carry out firstly all hindrances from the
house of our flesh during the "time of the week" that the house
that remains i.e. soul and body, is clean and when the word of God
has made its entrance and found spots "greenish or redish," to take
away all deathly and cruel thoughts of old and cast them out
for even Revelation is speaking of death on his pale horse and of
the warrior on his red one - and instead of these to insert othar
stones, well dressed and adapted to the surrounding ones and firm,
such as they will be among the sons of Abraham, that God can be in
that man. But if the priest after reopening and repairing again
has seen in the same house something of the old contagion and spot,
he shall declare it unclean and order to break down the timber and
stones and all the house and cast them into an unclean place.
    This is a symbol for that man, soul and body, who after the baptism
and the entrance of the priest has been renewed, but again is vomiting
out the filth and spots of the flesh, and so is thrown into an unclean
place without the city, i.e. is delivered unto Satan for the destruc-
tion of the flesh and never will he be rebuilt again in the church
after his destruction.
    It is the same thing with a man "that lieth carnally with a bond-
maid, betrothed to an husband, and not yet redeemed nor freedom
given her. "It will be taken care of her," he says to his subject;
"and not be put to death, because she had not got freedom by that
man, for whom she were reserved." And so the flesh, which had not
got its freedom by Christ, to whom it was reserved, could be con-
taminated without chastisement. And in the same manner having got
its freedom, it cannot gain forgiveness.
    XXI. If the Apostles did know these things very well, they surely
well attended it. But I will now go over even to this position and
make the difference clear between the doctrine of the Apostles and
their power. The discipline is governing the man, the power is giving
him the stamp of an elected, which is possible either for the Spirit
or for God.


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But what was he teaching? Not to participate with the works of
darkness. Mark his commandments! But who could condone sins? That
is only possible for Himself. For "who can foregive sins but God
only" and especially sins unto death, which are committed in Him
and His temple? For the sins, which are committed against you
yourself, you are ordered to condone even seventy times seven, as
he said unto St.Peter. For this reason even if we were sure that
the blessed apostles had forgiven such a thing, which is to be for-
given by God, not by man, they would have done this not by discipline,
but by power. Because they both have raised from the dead, which
God only has done, and reintegrated cripples, which nobody except
Christ has done; on the contrary they have inflicted wounds, which
Christ did not want: for it did not beseem him to be violent, who
had come to suffer. Ananias and Elimas were beaten, Ananias with
death and Elimas with blindness, that even in this manner it should
be testified that Christ could do even this. In the same manner
even the prophets have condoned homicide and even adultery combined
with this after penitence, while they have given proofs even of
severity. Give me now, you apostolic, such examples of prophetical
power and I will recognise your divinity and you will be
entitled to forgive such sins. But if you have got to do the duties
of discipline only, not to be a chief but a servant, who or how
great are you that you dare condone, who being neither a prophet
nor an apostle have not this power, by which you can condone.
    But you are saying, "the church has the power to forgive sins."
That I myself both recognize even more and make the difference clearer as to
this, as knowing the Paraclete himself, who says to us through the
prophets: "The church can forgive a sin, but I will not do so, that
they may not sin even in other ways." And how, if a spirit of a
false prophet has said this? Surely it had been more convenient to
the destroyer both to make himself popular by clemency and prepare
the others for delinquency. On the other side if he has desired
falsely to assume this to ape the true spirit, consequently even
he can indulge forgiveness, to adulterers, but does not want to
do so because of the evil caused to the rest of them.
    From your own point of view I now will ask why you yourself
have








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usurped this dubious right of the church. If it is because Our Lord
has said to St. Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my church...
and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" or "and
whatsoever thou shalt bind or loose on earth, shall be bound and
loosed in heaven," is it for this reason that you presume the power
to bind and loose had transfered to you, i.e. to every church with
some connection with St.Peter? But how is it possible that you are
destroying, and altering the evident intention of Our Lord, who is
giving this right alone to St.Peter and in person. "Upon thee" he says
"I will build my church," and "I will give unto thee the keys" not
unto the church, "and whatsoever thou shalt bind or thou shalt loose,"
not that which they shall bind nor they shall loose. For that we
can learn even by the events. On him himself the church is erected,
that is to say by him, he himself consecrated the keys of faith,
because he said, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of
Nasareth, a man approved of God among you" and what follows.
He himself finally opened first of all the gate to the kingdom of
Heaven in the baptism in Christ and by the baptism are loosened the
sins, earlier bound and are bound those which never were loosened
according to the true salvation and he has bound Ananias with the
chain of death and loosened the cripple from the palsy in his legs.
But in the discussion how to maintain the law, St.Peter was the first
of all to be filled with the Holy Ghost and having spoken about the
vacation of the Gentiies, he said, and "now why tempt ye God to put
a yoke upon the necks of the brethren, which neither we nor our
fathers were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace
of Jesus we shall be saved, even as they." By this statement he
has solved that in the law, which now is abandoned and bound that
which now is retained. In so far no power has been given to St.Peter
to solve and bind mortal sins of those who already are Christians.
And to whom Our Lord had prescribed to condone a brother that had
sinned against him, St.Peter, even seventy times seven, to him
he surely never would have ordered to bind i.e. to retain anything
at all afterwards, if not those sins which anybody had committed not against
a brother but against Our Lord. For the conclusion is that sins
against God are not to be forgiven, when sins against a man are
to be forgiven.


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But what has that to do with the church and especially yours,
psychice? For according to the person of St.Peter this power will
be suiable to men of the Holy Ghost either an apostle or a prophet.
For the church itself is properly and essentially the Holy Ghost
himself, wherein is the trinity of our single God, the Father, the
Son and the holy Ghost. He is tying together this church,
which Our Lord has stated, can be built on only three souls. And
consequently in this manner even any number of persons, who have
had the same spirit as the church to build up this faith, has its
origin in the founder and dedicator. And in this sense the church
of course will condone sins, but the church of the Spirit by means
of a man of the Spirit, not a church as a number of bishops.
For a lord has rights and freedom of decision, not a servant, that
belongs to God himself, not to the priest.
    XXIII But now you are ascribing this power even to your dear
martyrs. As soon as someone of his own accord has taken on the
fetters - in the beginning a little troublesome in the new so-called
custody - at once the adulterers are swarming about, at once the
fornicators are coming, then prayers are humming in the air, then
tears are swashing round about, tears of all maculated of Rome and
nobody will more willingly buy his entrance to the goal than those
who have destroyed the church. Men and women crowd in the darkness
well known to them from their usual practice of passions and beg for
the blessing of those, who are in danger for their own salvation.
But others of them flee to the mines, and return from there as par-
takes of the community and now you stand in need of a new martyrdom
for all sins committed after the last one. For who can be without
guilt in this earth and in this flesh?
    Yes, but who can be a martyr at the same time as an inhabitant
of this world, negotiating favours by money and being dependant on
doctors and usurers? Just fancy, his head trembling under the exe-
cutioner's axe, or his body already stretched out on the cross, or
at the pile, when the lion is already released, or at the pole, when
the flames gather, I mean, in the utmost secure possession of may-
tyrdom, who can permit a man to condone that which is reserved for
God, who has condemned such things without any subterfuge, which
even the Apostles, as far as I know martyrs themselves, have not de-
clared possible to forgive. For the rest St.Paul had already fought
with wild beasts in Ephesus, when he condemned this incestuous one unto








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destruction. It may be enough for a martyr to wash out his own sins,
And it belongs to an ungrateful or arrogant person to waste even in
others, that which he has gained et such a price. Who has absolved
others from death by his own death, except the Son of God only. For
he saved - as we know - a malefactor even in Passion. For this purpose
he had come to die for sinners, being himself free from all sin
and saintly in every respect. In the same manner even you, who are
contending with him as to forgive sins, if you are yourself without
sins, you may have to die for me. But if you are a sinner, how could
the oil of your little lamp be sufficient both for you and me?
But I know how we can even now prove a Christ? If Christ is in
the martyr for that reason that this martyr may condone adulterers
and fornicators, then he the martyr, may have to reveal the hidden
things of the heart, so he can in this way forgive sins and he is a
Christ. For in that way Our Lord Jesus Christ has proven his power,
"Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is not easier
to say to the sick of palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say
Arise, and walk. But that ye may know that
the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, I say unto thee,
thou, sick of palsy, Arise and walk."
    But if Our Lord was so careful to prove his power that he revealed
their secret thoughts and so ordered him to be healthy that they
would not doubt his power to forgive sins, it is impossible for
me to ascribe the same power to anybody without the same proofs.
But when you demand forgiveness of a martyr for adulterers and for-
nicators, you admit yourself that such sins are not to be solved ex-
cept by the martydom of the sinner himself, and you falsely think
this possible by that of another. As far as I know, even the
martyrdom may be a second baptism, "But I have" he has said," even
another baptism. (That is why water and blood came out even from
the wound of the side or Our Lord, the essential things of the bap-
tisms.) And so I may even in the first baptism have the possibility
to save another, if we can do this in the second.
    And it is necessary to repeat until the end whosoever is giving
the blessing of the church to an adulterer and a fornicator, the same
one must help both the murderer and the idolater and




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certainly the negator and especially him, who has in contest for
his persuasion been beaten down by horrible torture.
    And for the rest it would be unworthy of God and his
mercy - of him who prefers the penitence of a sinner to his death,
that they would more easily return to the church who have fallen by
passions than in the fight. We are compelled to say, Unworthiness!
Do you rather recall those, whose bodies are contaminated
than those bloody ones? What penitence will sooner move pity, that
which prostrates in the mud a man tickled by vice or
lacerated by torture? What forgiveness is in all cases more just,
that implored by a sinner of free will or that of constraint. Nobody
is willingly compelled to deny Christ, nobody is reluctantly a
fornicator. No force is necessary to vice, if not vice itself: it
needs not to be forced in any respect. But the negation of Christ,
what and how many arts of the executioner, what and how many kinds
of cruelties may be used to compel it? Who has more denied, he who
lost Christ after suffering or he after allurement. He, who has
suffered, when he lost him or he who has revelled. And yet, these
very scars, engraved in a fight for Christ and possibly expressing
their envy in Christ, while having desired to gain the victory and
even in this way glorious, while having broken down before
the victory, to which even the Devil himself has some expectations,
these ones being unfortunate but chaste, these penitent ones,
having reasons to mourn but not to be ashamed, they may be
again restored to their Lord by forgiveness. They only can state
that flesh is weak. But no flesh is so firm as that which has
dislodged the Spirit.

This text appears here by permission of Dr G. Claesson's son, Dr. Johan Claesson and the Claesson family.


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