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Chapter XVI.

He shows that like the devil when tempting Christ, the heretics garble and pervert holy Scripture.

Why then, you heretic, did you not in this way quote the whole and entire passage which you had read? So you see that the Apostle laid down that the Lord was “without mother” in the same way in which he laid down that He was born “without father:” that we might know that He is “without mother” in the same way in which we understand Him to be “without father.” And as it is impossible to believe Him to be altogether “without father,” so we cannot understand that He is altogether “without mother.” Why then, you heretic, did you not in this way quote what you had read in the Apostle, entire and unmutilated? But you insert part, and omit part; and garble the words of truth in order that you may be able to build up your false notions by your wicked act. I see who was your master. We must believe that you had his instruction, whose example you are following. For so the devil in the gospel when tempting the Lord said: “If Thou art the Son of God, cast Thyself down. For it is written that He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee to keep Thee in all Thy ways.” 2628 And when he had said this, he left out the context and what belongs to it; viz., “Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.” 2629 Surely he cunningly quoted the previous verse and left out the latter: for he quoted the one to deceive Him: he held his tongue about the latter to avoid condemning himself. For he knew that he himself was signified by the asp and basilisk, the lion and dragon in the Prophet’s words. So then you also bring forward a part and omit a part; and quote the one to deceive; and omit the other for fear lest if you were to quote the whole, you might condemn your own deception. But it is now time to pass on to further matters, for by dwelling too long on particular points, as we are led to do by the desire of giving a full answer, we exceed the limits even of a longish book.



S. Luke 4:9, 10.


Psa. 91.13.

Next: Chapter XVII. That the glory and honour of Christ is not to be ascribed to the Holy Ghost in such a way as to deny that it proceeds from Christ Himself, as if all that excellency, which was in Him, was another's and proceeded from another source.