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But if I by Beelzebub cast out the devils, by whom do your C. xi. 19sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out the devils, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When the strong man armed guardeth his house, his goods are in peace: but when He Who is stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, He taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth for Me. When the unclean spirit hath gone σкоρπíε forth from the man, it wandereth about in places where μL S. there is no water, seeking rest: and not having found it, then it saith, I will return to my house, whence I came out. Tóre déYEL And when it cometh, it findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then it goeth, and bringeth seven other spirits GTs. worse than itself, and they enter in and dwell there. And the last state of that man is made worse than the first.
add. oxoλάζοντα S.
THE God of all, blaming the haughtiness of the Jews, and their constant tendency to run into disobedience, thus spake by the voice of Isaiah; "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; Is. i. 2. "for the Lord hath spoken. I have begotten, and brought up
sons; and they have rejected Me." For they rejected God the Father, by setting in manifold ways the Son at nought, Who, though sprung from Him by nature, yet afterwards was made like unto us for our sakes: and yet He called them unto the grace that is by faith, and would have fulfilled the promise given unto their fathers. For of this the sacred Paul bears witness, where he writes, "For I say that Christ was a Rom. xv. 8. "minister of the circumcision, to fulfil the promises of the "fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for mercy." The Only-begotten Word of God therefore was made man, that He might fulfil the promise of the blessing granted unto
them. And that they might know that it was He Whom the law had prefigured by shadows, and Whom the company also of the holy prophets had foretold, He wrought these godlike deeds, and rebuked the unclean spirits. But they, though it was their duty to have praised Him, as doing wonders, as One Who possessed a power and authority beyond that of nature, and incomparable in degree, on the contrary disparaged His glory, saying, "This man casteth not out devils but by Beel"zebub the prince of the devils." And what doth Christ reply to this?" If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out?"
Now this subject was explained by me to you at length at our last meeting. But inasmuch as it is right that the wickedness of the Jews, in thus idly prating against Him, should still further be rebuked by many and convincing arguments, He adds on this account to what had been already said, an unanswerable consideration. And what this is, I will now mention to you as to my children.
The blessed disciples were Jews, and the children of Jews, according to the flesh; but they had obtained authority from Christ over unclean spirits, and set free those that were possessed by them, by calling over them these words, "In the "Name of Jesus Christ." For Paul also once with apostolic Acts xvi. authority commanded an unclean spirit, saying, "I command "thee, in the Name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her." When therefore He says, your own children in My Name trample upon Beelzebub, by rebuking his satellites, and expelling them forthwith from those in whom they are, what else is it but manifest blasphemy, joined with great ignorance, to say that I borrow this power from Beelzebub? Ye are convicted therefore, He says, by the faith of your own children, if, as is the case, they having received of Me authority and power, overthrow Satan, and against his will drive him from those in whom he dwells; while ye affirm, that I make use of his agency in working divine miracles. But inasmuch as what ye say is not true, but, on the contrary, empty and false, and liable to the charge of calumny, it is plain that I cast out Mat. xii. devils by the finger of God. And by the finger of God He means the Holy Ghost. For the Son is called the hand and arm of God the Father; for He doeth all things by the Son,
and the Son in like manner worketh by the Spirit. For just as the finger is appended to the hand, as something not foreign from it, but belonging to it by nature, so also the Holy Ghost, by reason of His being equal in substance, is joined in oneness to the Son, even though He proceed from God the Father. For, as I said, the Son does every thing by the consubstantial Spirit. Here, however, purposely He says, that by the finger of God He casts out devils, speaking as a man: because the Jews in the infirmity and folly of their mind, would not have endured it, if He had said, "by My own Spirit I cast out "devils." Appeasing therefore their excessive readiness to anger, and the proneness of their mind unto insolence and phrensy, He spake as a man, although He is by nature God, and Himself the Giver of the Spirit from God the Father to those who are worthy, and employs as His own that power which is from Him. For He is consubstantial with Him, and whatsoever is said to be done by God the Father, this necessarily is by the Son in the Spirit. If therefore, He says, I, being a man, and having become like unto you, cast out devils in the Spirit of God, human nature has in Me first attained to a godlike kingdom. For it has become glorious by breaking the power of Satan, and rebuking the impure and abominable spirits: for such is the meaning of the words, that "the kingdom of God has come upon you." But the Jews did not understand the mystery of the dispensation of the Onlybegotten in the flesh and yet how ought they not rather to have reflected, that by the Only-begotten Word of God having become man, without ceasing to be that which He was, He glorified the nature of man, in that He did not disdain to take upon Him its meanness, in order that He might bestow upon it His own riches.
And inasmuch as it was necessary, as I shewed, that the argument upon this subject should travel through many considerations, He makes use of a most plain and evident comparison, by means of which those who will may see, that He has conquered the ruler of this world, and having, so to speak, hamstrung him, and stripped him of the power which he possessed, has given him over for a prey unto His followers. "For when, He says, the strong man being armed guardeth "his house, all his goods are in peace: but when One That is
stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, "He taketh away all his armour wherein he trusted, and divi"deth his spoil." This is, as I said, a plain demonstration, and type of the matter depicted after the manner of human affairs. For as long as a strong man retains the superiority, and guards his own property, he is in no danger of being plundered. But when one who is stronger than he, and more powerful, comes upon him, and prevails against him, then forthwith he is spoiled. And such has been the fate of our common enemy, the wicked Satan, that many headed serpent, the inventor of sin. For before the coming of the Saviour, he was in great power, driving and shutting up, so to speak, in his own stall flocks not his own, but belonging to God over all, like some rapacious and most insolent robber. But inasmuch as the Word of God Who is above all, the Giver of all might, and Lord of powers assailed Him, having become man, all his goods have been plundered, and his spoil divided. For those who of old had been ensnared by him into ungodliness and error have been called by the holy apostles to the acknowledgment of the truth, and been brought near unto God the Father by faith in His Son.
Wouldst thou also hear and learn another convincing argument besides these?" He that is not with Me," He against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth for Me." For I, He says, have come to save every man from the hands of the devil; to deliver from his guile those whom he had ensnared; to set the prisoners free; to give light to those in darkness; to raise up them that had fallen; to heal the broken-spirited: and to gather together the children of God who were scattered abroad. Such was the object of My coming. But Satan is not with Me; on the contrary he is against Me. For he ventures to scatter those whom I have gathered and saved. How then can he, who wars against Me, and sets his wickedness in array against My purposes, give Me power against himself? How is it not foolish even barely to imagine the possibility of such a thing as this?
The cause however which made the Jewish multitudes fall into such thoughts concerning Christ He Himself makes plain, by saying; "When the wicked spirit hath gone forth from the man, it returneth with seven other spirits more bitter