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Irenaeus of Lyons

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Page 10


BOOK IV, CHAP. XII,5 - On lack of property 

NOW, that the law did beforehand teach mankind the necessity of following Christ, He does Himself make manifest, when He replied as follows to him who asked Him what he should do that he might inherit eternal life: «If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.» But upon the other asking «Which?»» again the Lord replies: «Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, hon-our father and mother, and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,» — setting as an ascending series (velut gradus) before those who wished to follow Him, the precepts of the law, as the entrance into life; and What He then said to one He said to all. But when the former said, «All these have I done» (and most likely he had not kept them, for in that case the Lord would not have said to him, «Keep the commandments»), the Lord, exposing his covetousness, said to him, «If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast, and distribute to the poor; and come, follow me;» promising to those who would act thus, the portion belonging to the apostles (apostolorum partem). And He did not preach to His followers another God the Father, besides Him who was proclaimed by the law from the beginning; nor another Son; nor the Mother, the enthymesis of the AEon, who existed in suffering and apostasy; nor the Pleroma of the thirty AEons, which has been proved vain, and incapable of being believed in; nor that fable invented by the other heretics. But He taught that they should obey the commandments which God enjoined from the beginning, and do away with their former covetousness by good works, and follow after Christ. But that possessions distributed to the poor do annul former covetousness, Zaccheus made evident, when he said, «Behold, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one, I restore fourfold.»

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