So here we continue to gather and share the quotes of the early Christians: Now from where we left off, learning about characters like Cyprian, the bishop of the fabled city of Carthage. Where was Carthage you might ask? Well, probably, based on the known whereabouts of Egypt, a people the Phoenicians drew much of their culture and beliefs from, the Phoenician state Carthage was in South-Eastern Africa. And not in North-Africa as proposed by mainstream historians. If you read the historian Strabo you will find many mentions of several hundreds (more than 300) of Tyrian colonies on the West African coast (which could have been somewhere else than what we know as West Africa). The Tyrians (Phoenicians worshipped ancient gods like Astarte, Tanit and Baal Hammon, drawing on their inspired sourced of their neighbours, Egypt and Greece. Gods like Amen-Ra and Zeus Ammon are still being called upon today. In almost every church, almost every day.
Then we have characters like Cyril of Jerusalem, a bishop writings that should be studied very closely to understand the teachings being taught in Jerusalem at the time, Then there are people like Origen of Alexandria and Aphrahat the Syrian. And they all something to say. Now, all interested in Scripture will see that they quote freely from books now not included in the Bible. As for the doctrines being promoted, some can argued to be genuine. But we are heading more towards the scenery of today. Where much is borrowed from Egypt and Greece, with a little dash of the Gospel in there. All mixed up. The result is you get pretty much many of the surviving faiths of today. A well watered down gospel. Not intended on setting you free, but teaching doctrines of men, Enslaving you to their practises and indoctrinating you with twisting of Scripture. But the watering down has happened over time. And these men did at least read the books included in the Apocryphal genre. Now these books seem long gone. Lets bring them back.
“In Genesis: ‘And God, tempted Abraham, and said to him, Take thy only son whom thou loves, Isaac, and go into the high land, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell thee'[Gen 22:1,2]. Of this same thing in Deuteronomy: ‘The Lord your God proves you, that He may know if ye love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul’[Deut 13:3]. Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon: ‘Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality; and having been in few things distressed, yet in many things they shall be happily ordered, because God tried them, and found them worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace He proved them, and as a burnt-offering He received them. And in their time there shall be respect of them; they shall judge the nations, and shall rule over the people; and their Lord shall reign for ever'[Wisdom 3:4-8]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees: ‘Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness?'[1 Macc 2:52].”
-Cyprian, Treatises, 12:3:15 (A.D. 248).
“For since it is written, ‘God did not make death, neither hath He pleasure in the destruction of the living'[Wisdom 1:13].”
-Cyprian, Epistle 51/55:22 (A.D. 252).
“[T]his the faith of the sacred Scripture assures us, and in telling us how such as these prayed, gives an example which we ought to follow in our prayers, in order that we may be such as they were: ‘Then these three,’ it says, ‘as if from one mouth sang an hymn, and blessed the Lord'[3 Youths-Daniel 3:51].”
-Cyprian, Treatise 4,8 (A.D. 252).
“And thus Holy Scripture instructs us, saying, ‘Prayer is good with fasting and almsgiving'[Tobit 12:8].”
-Cyprian, Treatise 4,32 (A.D. 252).
“Holy Scripture teaches and forewarns, saying, ‘My son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in righteousness and fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation'[Sirach 2:1,4]. And again: ‘In pain endure, and in thy humility have patience; for gold and silver is tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.[Sirach 2:5].”
-Cyprian, Treatise 7,9 (A.D. 252).
“In all these cases consider whether it would not be well to remember the words, ‘Thou shalt not remove the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.’ Nor do I say this because I shun the labour of investigating the Jewish Scriptures, and comparing them with ours, and noticing their various readings. This, if it be not arrogant to say it, I have already to a great extent done to the best of my ability, labouring hard to get at the meaning in all the editions and various readings; while I paid particular attention to the interpretation of the Seventy, lest I might to be found to accredit any forgery to the Churches which are under heaven, and give an occasion to those who seek such a starting-point for gratifying their desire to slander the common brethren, and to bring some accusation against those who shine forth in our community.”
-Origen, To Africanus, 5 (defending the canonicity of Susanna [Daniel 13], Bel and the Dragon[Daniel 14], the prayers of Azarias[Daniel 3], and the hymn of praise of the three youths in the fiery furnace[Daniel 3]) (ante A.D. 254).
“And I make it my endeavour not to be ignorant of their various readings, lest in my controversies with the Jews I should quote to them what is not found in their copies, and that I may make some use of what is found there, even although it should not be in our Scriptures. For if we are so prepared for them in our discussions, they will not, as is their manner, scornfully laugh at Gentile believers for their ignorance of the true reading as they have them.” Origen, To Africanus, 5 (defending the canonicity of Susanna [Daniel 13], Bel and the Dragon[Daniel 14], the prayers of Azarias[Daniel 3], and the hymn of praise of the three youths in the fiery furnace[Daniel 3]) (ante A.D. 254).“And, forsooth, when we notice such things, we are forthwith to reject as spurious the copies in use in our Churches, and enjoin the brotherhood to put away the sacred books current among them, and to coax the Jews, and persuade them to give us copies which shall be untampered with, and free from forgery! Are we to suppose that that Providence which in the sacred Scriptures has ministered to the edification of all the Churches of Christ, had no thought for those bought with a price, for whom Christ died.”
-Origen, To Africanus, 4 (defending the canonicity of Susanna [Daniel 13], Bel and the Dragon [Daniel 14], the prayers of Azarias[Daniel 3], and the hymn of praise of the three youths in the fiery furnace[Daniel 3]) (ante A.D. 254).
“[T]hat they worship Him alone, saying: ‘O king Nebuchodonosor, there is no need for us to answer thee in this matter. For the God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of the furnace of burning fire; and He will deliver us from thy hands, O king. And if not, be it known unto thee, that we do not serve thy gods, and we do not adore the golden image which thou hast set up'[Dan 3:16-18]. And Daniel, devoted to God, and filled with the Holy Spirit, exclaims and says: ‘I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who founded the heaven and the earth'[Dan 14:5 Bel & Dragon]. Tobias also, although under a royal and tyrannical slavery, yet in feeling and spirit free, maintains his confession to God, and sublimely announces both the divine power and majesty, saying: ‘In the land of my captivity I confess to Him, and I show forth His power in a sinful nation'[Tobit 13:6].”
-Cyprian, Treatises, 11:11 (A.D. 257).
“Also in Daniel: ‘There was a man dwelling in Babylon whose name was Joachim; and he took a wife by name Susanna, the daughter of Helchias, a very beautiful woman, and one that feared the Lord. And her parents were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses'[Susanna-Daniel 13:1-3]. Moreover, in Daniel: ‘And we are lowly this day in all the earth because of our sins, and there is not at this time any prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt-offering, or oblation, or sacrifice, or incense, or place to sacrifice before Thee, and to find mercy from Thee. And yet in the soul and spirit of lowliness let us be accepted as the burnt-offerings of rams and bulls, and as it were many thousands of lambs which are fattest. If our offering may be made in Thy presence this day, their power shall be consumed, for they shall not be ashamed who put their trust in Thee. And now we follow with our whole heart, and we fear and seek Thy face. Give us not over unto reproach, but do with us according to Thy tranquility, and according to the multitude of Thy mercy deliver us'[3 Youths-Daniel 3:37-43].” Cyprian, Testimonies, 20 (ante A.D. 258).“But listen to the divine oracles: ‘The works of the Lord are in judgment; from the beginning, and from His making of them, He disposed the parts thereof. He garnished His works for ever, and their principles unto their generations'[Sirach 16:24-25].” Dionysius the Great, On Nature, 3 (ante A.D. 265).“He is a Spirit–for says He, ‘God is a Spirit'[John 4:24]–fittingly again is Christ called Breath; for ‘He,’ saith He, ‘is the breath of God’s power'[Wisdom 7:25].” Dionysius the Great, To Dionsyius of Rome, 4 (ante A.D. 265).“Solomon also shows that it is the Word of God, and no other, by whose hands these works of the world were made. ‘I,’ He says, ‘came forth out of the mouth of the Most High before all creatures: I caused the light that faileth not to arise in the heavens, and covered the whole earth with a cloud. I have dwelt in the height, and my throne is in the pillar of the cloud'[Sirach 24:3-5].”
-Lactanius, Institutions, 4:8 (A.D. 310).
“Therefore, I do not think men ought to be considered pious who presume to investigate this subject, in disobedience to the injunction, ‘Seek not what is too difficult for thee, neither enquire into what is too high for thee'[Sirach 3:21]. For if the knowledge of many other things incomparably inferior is beyond the capacity of the human mind, and cannot therefore be attained, as has been said by Paul, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared far them that lave Him'[1 Cor 2:9], and as God also said to Abraham, that the stars could not be numbered by him; and it is likewise said,’ Who shall number the grains of sand by the sea-shore, or the drops of rain?'[Sirach 1:2].”
-Alexander of Alexandria, To brother Alexander, fragment in Theodoret of Cyrus’ Ecclesiastical History, 1:3 (A.D. 324).
“For this was accomplished at that time, when the venerable and aged Eleazar was slain, and the sons of the blessed Samuna, seven in number [2 Maccabees 6:18-31], and when Judas (Maccabeus) and his brethren were struggling on behalf of their people [2 Maccabees 5:27].” Aphraates the Persian Sage, Demonstrations, 5:19 (A.D. 345).“He leads away to himself the wealthy, the sons of luxury; And ‘they leave their possessions as the waves of the sea'[Sirach 29:17].”
-Aphraates the Persian Sage, Demonstrations, 22:7 (A.D. 345).
“Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch [1-5] and Lamentations and the Epistle[of Jeremiah-Baruch 6]; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament.”
-Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 4:33 (A.D. 350).
“The Divine Nature then it is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says, ‘For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the Maker of them is seen'[Wisdom 13:5]. He said not that from the creatures the Maker is seen, but added proportionably. For God appears the greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when his heart is uplifted by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God. Wouldest thou learn that to comprehend the nature of God is impossible? The Three Children in the furnace of fire, as they hymn the praises of God, say ‘Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the Cherubim'[Daniel 3:55-Three Youths].”
-Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 9:2,3 (A.D. 350).
“[L]earn from this instance the mightiness of God: for ‘He hath numbered the drops of rain'[Job 26:27], which have been poured down on all the earth, not only now but in all time. The sun is a work of God, which, great though it be, is but a spot in comparison with the whole heaven; first gaze steadfastly upon the sun, and then curiously scan the Lord of the sun. ‘Seek not the things that are too deep for thee, neither search out the things that are above thy strength: what is commanded thee, think thereupon'[Sirach 3:20,21].”
-Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 6:4 (A.D. 350).
“Hear the Prophet saying, ‘This is our God, none other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him. He hath found out every way of knowledge, and given it to Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterwards He[she] was seen on earth, and conversed among men'[Baruch 3:36-38].” Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 9:15 (A.D. 350).“He says to Daniel; young though thou be, convict old men infected with the sins of youth; for it is written, ‘God raised up the Holy Spirit upon a young stripling'[Daniel 13:45-Susanna].”
-Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 16:31 (A.D. 350).
“For when they speak against the ascension of the Saviour, as being impossible, remember the account of the carrying away of Habakkuk: for if Habakkuk was transported by an Angel, being carried by the hair of his head[Daniel 14-Bel & the Dragon], much rather was the Lord of both Prophets and Angels, able by His own power to make His ascent into the Heavens on a cloud from the Mount of Olives.”
-Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 14:25 (A.D. 350).
“[T]he sacred writers to whom the Son has revealed Him, have given us a certain image from things visible, saying, ‘Who is the brightness of His glory, and the Expression of His Person;'[Heb 1:3] and again, ‘For with Thee is the well of life, and in Thy light shall we see lights;'[Ps 36:9] and when the Word chides lsrael, He says, ‘Thou hast forsaken the Fountain of wisdom'[Baruch 3:12]; and this Fountain it is which says, ‘They have forsaken Me the Fountain of living waters'[Jer 2:13].”
-Athanasius, Defense of the Nicene Faith, 2:12 (A.D. 351).
“[F]or it is written of the other, ‘The foolish person will speak foolishness’ [Is 32:6 LXX]; but of these, ‘Ask counsel of all that are wise'[Tobit 4:18].” Athanasius, Defense before Constantius, 17 (A.D. 357).“The Lord is now making trial of your love for Him. Now there is an opportunity for you, through your patience, to take the martyr’s lot. The mother of the Maccabees [2 Maccabees 7] saw the death of seven sons without a sigh, without even shedding one unworthy tear.”
-Basil, To the Wife of Nectarius, Epistle 6:2 (A.D. 358).
“They say that the Father has prescience of all things, as the blessed Susanna says, ‘O eternal God, that knowest secrets, and knowest all things before they be'[Daniel 13:42-Susanna].” Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 4:8 (A.D. 359).“As you have listened already to Moses and Isaiah, so listen now to Jeremiah inculcating the same truth as they:–‘This is our God, and there shall be none other likened unto Him, Who hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He shew Himself upon earth and dwelt among men'[Baruch 3:36-38].
-Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 4:42 (A.D. 359).
“Such suggestions are inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture. For all things, as the Prophet says[2 Maccabees 7:28], were made out of nothing; it was no transformation of existing things, but the creation into a perfect form of the non-existent.”
- Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 4:16 (A.D. 359).
“Then, while the devout soul was baffled and astray through its own feebleness, it caught from the prophet’s voice this scale of comparison for God, admirably expressed, ‘By the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He hath made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned'[Wisdom 13:5].”
- Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 1:7 (A.D. 359).
” And where the sacred writers say, Who exists before the ages,’ and ‘By whom He made the ages,'[Heb 1:2] they thereby as clearly preach the eternal and everlasting being of the Son, even while they are designating God Himself. Thus, if Isaiah says, ‘The Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth ‘[Is 40:28]; and Susanna said, ‘O Everlasting God'[Daniel 13:42-Susanna]; and Baruch wrote, ‘I will cry unto the Everlasting in my days,’ and shortly after, ‘My hope is in the Everlasting, that He will save you, and joy is come unto me from the Holy One'[Baruch 4:20,22;].”
- Athanasius, Discourses Against the Arians, 1:4 (A.D. 362).
“[I]t is written that ‘all things were made through the Word,’ and ‘without Him was not made one thing,'[John 1:3] and again, ‘One Lord Jesus, through whom are all things'[1 Cor 8:9], and ‘in Him all things consist'[Col 1:17], it is very plain that the Son cannot be a work, but He is the Hand of God and the Wisdom. This knowing, the martyrs in Babylon, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, arraign the Arian irreligion. For when they say, ‘O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord'[Daniel 3:57-Three Youths].” Athanasius, Discourses Against the Arians, 2:71 (A.D. 362).“Daniel said to Astyages, ‘I do not worship idols made with hands, but the Living God, who hath created the heaven and the earth, and hath sovereignty over all flesh;'[Daniel 14:5-Bel & the Dragon].”
- Athanasius, Discourses Against the Arians, 3:30 (A.D. 362).
For the keen eye, you will see that the dates (although they are highly speculative and should not be trusted) are now moving further and further from when Christ with the disciples was alive. Meaning the Gospel is already being watered down and inn-prisoned by the influences of the heathen faiths so very much prevalent in Africa, hence mirrored in the rest of the world.
Now, for the next post in this series watch out for that time around when Islam made its claim on the African coastal cities. The writings of these men most certainly change and the faith was probably, just like under the Romans, outlawed. Times of trouble. And Israel and Jerusalem, was forgotten. Hidden by The Most High Himself. Its time the people know again.