Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume VI/Archelaus/Acts of Disputation/Chapter XLV
45. On receipt of this letter, Diodorus made himself master of its contents, and then entered the lists against Manes. This he did too with such spirit, that he was commended greatly by all for the careful and satisfactory demonstration which he gave of the fact that there is a mutual relationship between the two testaments, and also between the two laws. Discovering also more arguments for himself he was able to bring forward many points of great pertinency and power against the man, and in defence of the truth. He also reasoned in a conclusive manner against his opponent on verbal grounds. For example, he argued with him in the following manner:—Did you say that the testaments are two? Well, then, say either that there are two old testaments, or that there are two new testaments. For you assert that there are two unbegottens belonging to the same time, or rather eternity: and if there are in this way two, there should be either two old testaments or two new testaments. If, however, you do not allow this, but affirm, on the contrary, that there is one old testament and that there is also another new testament, that will only prove again that there is but one author for both; and the very sequence will show that the Old Testament belongs to Him to whom also the New Testament pertains. We may illustrate this by the case of a man who says to some other individual, Lease me your old house. For by such a mode of address does he not pronounce the man to be also the owner of a new house? Or, on the other hand, if he says to him, Show me your new house; does he not by that very word designate him also as the possessor of an old house? Then, again, this also is to be considered, that since there are two beings, having an unbegotten nature, it is also necessary from that to suppose each of them to have (what must be called) an old testament, and thus there will appear to be two old testaments; if indeed you affirm that both these beings are ancient, and both indeed without a beginning. But I have not learned doctrine like that; neither do the Scriptures contain it. You, however, who allege that the law of Moses comes from the prince of evil, and not from the good God, tell me who those were who withstood Moses to the face—I mean Jamnes and Mambres? For, every object that withstands, withstands not itself, but some other one, either better or worse; as Paul also gives us to understand when he writes in the following terms in his second Epistle to Timothy: “As Jamnes and Mambres withstood Moses, so have these also resisted the truth: men of corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly is manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Do you observe how he compares Jamnes and Mambres to men of corrupt mind, and reprobate concerning the faith; while he likens Moses, on the other hand, to the truth? But the holy John, the greatest of the evangelists, also tells us of the giving and diffusing of grace for grace; for he indicates, indeed, that we have received the law of Moses out of the fulness of Christ, and he means that for that one grace this other grace has been made perfect in us through Jesus Christ. It was also to show this to be the case that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself spake in these terms: “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye hope. For had ye believed Moses, ye would indeed have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” And besides all these words, there are still many other passages that might be adduced both from the Apostle Paul and from the Gospels, by which we are able to prove that the old law belongs to no other one than that Lord to whom also the new testament appertains, and which it would suit us very well to set forth, and to make use of in a satisfactory manner. Now, however, the evening prevents us from doing so; for the day is drawing to its close, and it is right that we should now bring our disputation to an end. But an opportunity will be given you to-morrow to put questions to us on any points you are pleased to take up. And after these words they went their way.
- [See p. 215, supra.]
- Ex nominibus. The Codex Bobiensis offers the extraordinary reading, ex navibus.
- We read, with the Codex Bobiensis, “dicat homini, Loca mihi,” etc. The Codex Casinensis has the meaningless reading, “homini diviti,” etc.
- The text of this obscure passage runs thus: “Quia ex quo duo sunt, ingenitam habentes naturam, ex eo necesse est etiam habere unumquemque ipsorum vetus Testamentum, et fient duo vetera Testamenta; si tamen ambos antiquos et sine initio esse dicis.” The Codex Bobiensis gives a briefer but evidently corrupt reading: “ex quo duo sunt ingenita habentes naturam ipsorum Testamentum, et fient,” etc.
- Jamnem dico et Mambrem. [So in Vulg., except “Jannes.”]
- 2 Tim. iii. 8, 9.
- Gratiam gratia præstare et differre. John i. 16.
- John v. 45–47.
- The Codex Bobiensis gives, “exponere et a Patre ut convenit.” For these meaningless words Valesius proposed to read, “exponere et aperire ut convenit.” The Codex Casinensis, however, offers the satisfactory reading, “exponere et aptare convenit.”
- Here ends the section edited by Valesius.