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Chapter XI.—That the Word Instructed by the Law and the Prophets.

The mode of His love and His instruction we have shown as we could. Wherefore He Himself, declaring Himself very beautifully, likened Himself to a grain of mustard-seed; 1290 and pointed out the spirituality of the word that is sown, and the productiveness of its nature, and the magnificence and conspicuousness of the power of the word; and besides, intimated that the pungency and the purifying virtue of punishment are profitable on account of its sharpness. By the little grain, as it is figuratively called, He bestows salvation on all humanity abundantly. Honey, being very sweet, generates bile, as goodness begets contempt, which is the cause of sinning. But mustard lessens bile, that is, anger, and stops inflammation, that is, pride. From which Word springs the true health of the soul, and its eternal happy temperament (εὐκρασία).

Accordingly, of old He instructed by Moses, and then by the prophets. Moses, too, was a prophet. For the law is the training of refractory children. “Having feasted to the full,” accordingly, it is said, “they rose up to play;” 1291 senseless repletion with victuals being called χόρτασμα (fodder), not βρῶμα (food). And when, having senselessly filled themselves, they senselessly played; on that account the law was given them, and terror ensued for the prevention of transgressions and for the promotion of right actions, securing attention, and so winning to obedience to the true Instructor, being one and the same Word, and reducing to conformity with the urgent demands of the law. For Paul says that it was given to be a “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” 1292 So that from this it is clear, that one alone, true, good, just, in the image and likeness of the Father, His Son Jesus, the Word of God, is our Instructor; to whom God hath entrusted us, as an affectionate father commits his children to a worthy tutor, expressly charging us, “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.” 1293 The divine Instructor is trustworthy, adorned as He is with three of the fairest ornament”—knowledge, benevolence, and authority of utterance;—with knowledge, for He is the paternal wisdom: “All Wisdom is from the Lord, and with Him for evermore;”—with authority of utterance, for He is God and Creator: “For all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made;” 1294 —and with benevolence, for He alone gave Himself a sacrifice for us: “For the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep;” 1295 and He has so given it. Now, benevolence is nothing but wishing to do good to one’s neighbour for his sake.



Matt. xiii. 31; Luke xiii. 19.


Ex. xxxii. 6; 1 Cor. x. 7.


Gal. iii. 24.


Matt. xvii. 5.


John i. 3.


John x. 11.

Next: Chapter XII.—The Instructor Characterized by the Severity and Benignity of Paternal Affection.