Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/The Prescription Against Heretics/Chapter XXVI
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Chapter XXVI.—The Apostles Did in All Cases Teach the Whole Truth to the Whole Church. No Reservation, Nor Partial Communication to Favourite Friends.
Besides which, it must have followed, that, for the man to whom he committed the ministration of the gospel, he would add the injunction that it be not ministered in all places, and without respect to persons, in accordance with the Lord’s saying, “Not to cast one’s pearls before swine, nor that which is holy unto dogs.” Openly did the Lord speak, without any intimation of a hidden mystery. He had Himself commanded that, “whatsoever they had heard in darkness” and in secret, they should “declare in the light and on the house-tops.” He had Himself foreshown, by means of a parable, that they should not keep back in secret, fruitless of interest, a single pound, that is, one word of His. He used Himself to tell them that a candle was not usually “pushed away under a bushel, but placed on a candlestick,” in order to “give light to all who are in the house.” These things the apostles either neglected, or failed to understand, if they fulfilled them not, by concealing any portion of the light, that is, of the word of God and the mystery of Christ. Of no man, I am quite sure, were they afraid,—neither of Jews nor of Gentiles in their violence; with all the greater freedom, then, would they certainly preach in the church, who held not their tongue in synagogues and public places. Indeed they would have found it impossible either to convert Jews or to bring in Gentiles, unless they “set forth in order” that which they would have them believe. Much less, when churches were advanced in the faith, would they have withdrawn from them anything for the purpose of committing it separately to some few others. Although, even supposing that among intimate friends, so to speak, they did hold certain discussions, yet it is incredible that these could have been such as to bring in some other rule of faith, differing from and contrary to that which they were proclaiming through the Catholic churches,—as if they spoke of one God in the Church, (and) another at home, and described one substance of Christ, publicly, (and) another secretly, and announced one hope of the resurrection before all men, (and) another before the few; although they themselves, in their epistles, besought men that they would all speak one and the same thing, and that there should be no divisions and dissensions in the church, seeing that they, whether Paul or others, preached the same things. Moreover, they remembered (the words): “Let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil;” so that they were not to handle the gospel in a diversity of treatment.
- Matt. vii. 6.
- John xviii. 20.
- Matt. x. 27.
- Luke xix. 20–24.
- Matt. v. 15.
- Literally, “the violence of neither Jew nor Gentile.”
- Luke i. 1.
- Domesticos. [All this interprets Clement and utterly deprives the Trent System of its appeal to a secret doctrine, against our Præscription.]
- Catholice, or, “which they were bringing before the public in catholic way.”
- 1 Cor. i. 10.
- Matt. v. 37.