The Indiculus Luminosus (which can be translated as 'Luminous Little Guide' or 'Luminous Little List') is the magnum opus of Álvaro of Córdoba. Composed in 854 CE, the work can be divided into two major parts in terms of descriptive content. The first part is a defence of the martyrs of Córdoba who were being executed by the Muslim authorities of the Emirate of Córdoba for blasphemy against Islam (some were executed for additional charge of apostasy from Islam). This defence of the martyrs is written in response to the critics of the martyrs from within the Christian community. The second part attempts to demonstrate in detail that Islam and its founder the Prophet Muhammad embody the Antichrist. This thesis is based on three lines of argument: (i) the prophecies in the Book of Daniel, (ii) the descriptions of the Behemoth and Leviathan in the Book of Job supplemented by the Moralia commentary of Saint Gregory the Great and (iii) conceptions of the Antichrist in the New Testament and the mark of the beast in the Book of Revelation. On a light-hearted note, therefore, I strongly recommend this work as a primer for any prospective charlatan seeking to defraud American evangelical churches by giving lectures at prophecy conferences on how Islam embodies the Antichrist.
To return to more serious overview and analysis: the overarching point of this work, which is directed at the Christian community, is to convince the Christians of the necessity of hostility to Islam, Muslims and Arabic culture and language. In Álvaro's telling, too many Christians have become too integrated into the culture of their Muslim overlords, participating in the local administration and even excelling in Arabic beyond the Muslim while forgetting how to write letters in Latin. At the same time, they downplay or ignore the negative aspects of Muslim rule over the Christians, such as the enforcement of poll and census taxes (likely referring to the jizya and perhaps the kharaj tax as well) and the mockery to which Christian priests are subjected by Muslim locals.
In terms of academic theory, a possibly useful way to understand the Indiculus Luminosus may be through the lens of 'in-group critique' as outlined by JM Berger in a recent paper of his for the Resolve Network. The 'in-group' is to be contrasted with 'out-group' and has roots in social identity theory in that humans often think of their identities according to various categories, such as religious identity. Fellow members of a person's given identity/identities are the in-group, while those outside the given identity/identities are the out-group. The concept of an in-group versus an out-group does not necessarily entail a hostile binary. However, a line is crossed into 'extremism' when there is an insistence that an in-group's survival/success cannot be separated from hostility to an out-group, whether in the form of hate, vituperation, harassment and (at the violent and most extreme end) warfare and genocide. Berger's point regarding in-group critique can be summarised as follows in his paper:
'But while in-group/out-group conflict lies at the centre of the extremist worldview, the foundational primacy of that conflict is not always reflected in the content of ideological texts. Sometimes extremist propagandists and ideologues focus their strongest and voluminous rhetorical attacks on members of their own identity in-groups.'
When we consider the Indiculus Luminosus in this framework, we can see that the author's concern is that his in-group (the Christians) faces a crisis threatening its identity and existence. This crisis is fundamentally caused by the out-group (i.e. the Muslims, their system of rule and their culture), but this crisis is being facilitated and aggravated by Christian openness to the out-group and participating in the system imposed by the out-group and adopting its culture and language. The solution posited to this crisis is for the in-group to understand that the out-group embodies the Antichrist, reject and be hostile to the out-group's culture and language, and reclaim its own linguistic, religious and cultural heritage (the Latin language and Catholicism). In addition, the in-group must honour and venerate as martyrs its members who denounce Islam publicly. This kind of solution goes well beyond merely regarding Islam as a false religion: after all, Islam and Christianity make opposing claims about issues like the status of Jesus that cannot both be true at the same time. But it would be perfectly possible to regard Islam as false while also acting courteously with the Muslim population and treating them with kindness and dignity, rather than envisioning them as an out-group that is destined by its nature to threaten, undermine and destroy the in-group.
Two themes of in-group critique highlighted by Berger are the passivity and complicity of the in-group. There are examples of these themes in the Indiculus Luminosus. For instance, Álvaro laments the 'tepidity of our people' (i.e. the Christians: the in-group), asserts that Christians serving in the palace functions of the Muslim administration have been implicated in the errors of the Muslims, and complains that instead of reviling the Christians who ally with the Muslim authorities to ingratiate themselves with the king (i.e. the amir of Córdoba), the in-group casts with anathema those who strive openly for the true God (i.e. those who publicly profess the faith, denounce Islam and become martyrs). The Christian community as a whole has thus become tantamount to mute dogs who are unable to bark in defending their faith and advocating for it, which is portrayed as a fulfilment of a prophecy of Isaiah as explained by Saint Jerome's commentary. The various aspects of passivity and complicity, which include adopting aspects of the Muslim culture like the practice of circumcision and the Arabic language, are also tied at the end of the work to prophecies in the Book of Revelation about the mark and number of the beast.
Álvaro contrasts the in-group passivity and complicity with what he sees as the correct attitudes to adopt. The in-group, he argues, should strive to attack error openly, and those who are humble and only know Christ and His crucifix rightly despise Islam and Muslims and are not submissive and clement towards them. To support his argument that pious cruelty and harshness are necessary in this case, Álvaro invokes a number of historical narratives- relayed in condensed form likely as his audience is presumed to have some familiarity with them- from the authoritative source of history for the Christian faith (the Bible). For example, Álvaro invokes Elijah's killing of the prophets of Baal, Moses' breaking of the tablets on discovering idolatry among the Israelites and an ordered massacre of transgressors, and Samuel's killing of the king of the Amalekites contrasted with Saul's sparing of the same king, and also instances of severity by Peter and Paul in the New Testament. To be sure, the point of these examples is not to say that Christians should start killing the Muslims in their midst: but rather that they should be disdainful of and hostile towards them and their culture.
Álvaro tries to reinforce the need for this solution through the extended exposition equating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad with the Antichrist in order to demonstrate that the out-group is by its very nature a threat to the in-group. In addition, he engages in repeated demonisation of the out-group, referred to in various derisive terms and phrases such as 'enemies of the greatest God,' disciples of the Antichrist, demon-worshipping people and impure. They are also compared to lewd horses and bellowing asses in pursuit of carnal lust, and are compared to the groups of the Amalekites. The comparison with the Amalekites can be seen as an example of a historical reference narrative: the audience is presumed to have familiarity with stories in the Bible regarding the group's status as the enemies of Israel and God. Similarly, the Muslims are compared to the Chaldeans/Babylonians, recalling Habbakuk's prophecies about them and similarly conjuring up images of evil.
In Álvaro's arguments we have some hints of the sentiments of Christian critics of the martyrs of Córdoba, which can also be found in the works of Álvaro's friend Eulogius. The critics that the current era was not a true time of persecution, likely contrasting the period with the Roman era in which Christians were persecuted by the pagans because of their Christianity, whereas under Muslim rule an official toleration of Christians existed, and the martyrs were being executed not simply because they were Christians but because they had openly come forward and denounced Islam. Álvaro's response is that the second-class dhimmi status imposed on the Christians and degradation and insults hurled against Christians by Muslims amount to persecution. The critics also blame the measures taken by the Muslim authorities against Christians in response to the martyrs' movement (e.g. arrests of Christian clergymen) on the provocative actions of the martyrs, to which Álvaro responds with yet another form of in-group critique: it was the in-group's own iniquity (i.e. its passivity and complicity) that begot these troubles. Álvaro asserts that some Christians have even defamed the martyrs in front of the judges.
in short, then, I contend that while Álvaro's exposition of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad as the Antichrist is an interesting early example of Christian polemic against Islam and Muslims, the exposition should not be understood as the primary point of this work. It is actually a subordinate part of the overall function and purpose of this work as in-group critique.
I would like to dedicate this translation and commentary on the Indiculus Luminosus to JM Berger and Haroro Ingram, two dear friends who developed the framework of analysis I have used to examine this work. Berger and Ingram, I would be curious to know your views of the Indiculus Luminosus and Álvaro. Do you regard Álvaro as an extremist? Why or why not? How would you analyse this text?
Below is the text translated with context footnotes. For the edition of the original Latin text as well as the references to Biblical texts and commentaries, I primarily rely on the Indiculus Luminosus as contained in Juan Gil's Corpus Scriptorum Muzarabicorum. I welcome any suggestions for amendments to the translation. Note also that I have mostly preserved the original transliterations of names in the text for the sake of authenticity.
In defence of your servants, of Lord, not relying on slight arbitrary human whim but relying on the fine particular recourse, and not elevated by unjust pride or inflated by the zeal of envy, but rather relying on the help of the gratuity of Your mercy and trusting in Your most clement and unconquered arm I assign to You in the beginning- my God and Jesus Christ the Lord of all things- every good thing that I know, invoking You in the beginning, imploring You through the whole text, asking You with the knee bent at the heart until the end of the book. You Whom I firmly believe to be the light of men of the ages, from Whom I have known that the source of all virtues emanates, in Whom I know that the hidden ineffable sweetness of the saints resides: You Who are the way of the believers without error, the way of the living without death, the rest of those who enjoy without end. I invoke You, indescribable light, the source of true knowledge and life of sound doctrine, so that You may make serene the darkness of my heart by Your coming light and abundantly satiate and make ubiquitously fertile the clod of my bosom scaling with the dew of dirt through the river of Your law- the four-flowing river of Paradise. I invoke this so that the true rising Sun may illuminate our dark breasts and the river that makes the city of God joyful may water the land of my breast overgrown with thorns, so that the tongue of the most wretched dog, which longs to please You through these things, will not bring together the vice of loquacity, as it rushes upon errors. Rather, it will bring forth for the future generation with Your inspiration those things, which may run through all the turnings of the ages in the preservation of souls, to the benefit of the readers, and for the extirpation of all improper things before the sight of the admirable glory of Your throne.
May this such small offering of Your servant be accepted, Lord God, before the clemency of Your majesty, and may the votive offering of this vessel of clay not be disapproved, and though it may be lowered by any human squalor that does not care intently, may it be cleansed by Your gratuitous and favourable judgement. Be, oh Lord, the lamp for my feet and the light for my paths,[i] and teach me Your justifications and defend Your sense by my mouth. You, oh Lord, make Your words sound through my mouth, feed from the morsels of Your table Your dog as he barks for You against the rabid wolf. For I have not risen to these things out of faith in myself, but out of faith in You, who make eloquent the tongues of the infants and mute. Bringing together from You the loosened reins I have offered forth two small things not as ordinances of this devotion, but as a person in need.[ii] For what is man deprived of Your help, oh Lord, except merely a case of danger to himself, while he lies submerged in the depth of error? And indeed, oh most clement Artisan, oh most pious Craftsman, oh most merciful Judge, because You have inspired with completeness, because You have ordered justly, because You have given consecration, and have restored the one worthy to this talent, so that through this he may not come upon the recklessness of temerity, but rather obtain the most fruit of humility that is most acceptable to You: care for those things in which You flow with immeasurable goodness.
For You have given me, oh pious Creator, the strength of understanding, and have sown faith in my heart and from the womb of my mother have preserved me thus far not as a heathen, but as a faithful person with no preceding merit, and no following justice, and no work meriting this. For something not extant could not in any way be merited, nor could something unformed be retained from debt. Also those things which foul deed and my lot, which is none, have denied in feebleness, Your generous benevolence has granted. But from that which You, oh most excellent Lord, have granted, may I not be deemed reckless, may I not be driven out as an unjust person, and condemned as a usurper: trembling and pale therefore, I sigh in fear while decaying and lamenting, that I will walk everyday devoted to bad works through remote things and broken things, through empty things and fallen things, through tumid things and foolish things, through disgraceful things and elevated things, through light things and inflated things, while speaking also against those things I consider acceptable to You, and thus bear the blemish of iniquity, and as I ought to have made small somehow the weights of my wicked acts, then- and may it be far by Your command- I should pile on crimes a hundred fold. Be present, oh Lord, for Your very poor and needy servant and direct him filled with the zeal of Your faith. Cut short, oh Lord, the foreskin of the tongue worn out with heathen uncleanliness and purify the mystery of my mind with that fire by which You have been known to kindle the hearts of the saints, by which You are chiefly believed to light up the affections of the martyrs, so that with Your inspiration I may bring those things that suffice for this work and which for me on that day of the terrible consideration of Your just judgement will not top off an accumulation of sins against me as I stand upright, but rather through their being brought in from the area will grind and throw down 1000 columns of crimes opposed to me.
Precede me, oh most invincible Lord Christ, and lead the way for your servant now redeemed by the grace of your Holy Gospel: you who presided over the Israelite people in a column of cloud and light through the desert, so that with your leadership the troops of the Amalacites would be devastated, and your cross placed over or soil, laying waste to the filthy sins of all by its light, would in one blink of a struggle would both rain upon the faithful with a brilliant star and suppress and submerge those wicked demons by that same vigor, as you stood out oh Lord Jesus Christ: He who reigns as one God with the Father and Holy Spirit trough the never-ending ages. Amen. The end.
This book is thus called Indiculus Luminosus because it teaches luminously those things which are to be followed and shows with open lines of evidence the enemy of the church, which every Christian must avoid. The end.
From the first principle itself it is obligatory for the minds of the most skilled people of the Catholic Church to rise up with the spiritual vigor of faith against the enemies of God and cut short with the blade of the Gospel all the polluting errors that arise from the adversary side with the two-edged sword: so that with an axe placed at the root of the trees that do not bear fruit and an axe brandished with strong arm, the high branches that are infertile because of their height, green in leaves but not fruit, may rightly be cut out with legal harshness and the axe of the Gospel and be destined to be burned in eternal and perpetual fire.[iii] From the number of these people although we are stinking in manner, fragile in act, and brutish in instinct, we strive to prove right to the following generation and desire to bark as dogs for the Lord with the zeal of God, and moved by the love of our religion, we render the service of this servitude of ours, and we offer to our Creator those things that He has granted in us out of His largess, in which we have presumed nothing from our own part, but rather we, unworthy as we are, attribute to Him those things freely granted by His kindness as He has made us to be strong with vigour. And we do not rise against the fellow people of faith out of vindictive ill-will, but rather we scatter and trample down the earthly horns of the Caldeans[iv] by the dripping of the truthful things. We have put this forth by way of preface and have covered this in the first front of our disputation, lest the biting wit of the malevolent ones and the innately usual impudence of detraction of the brothers should claim that we have embarked on wars against the church, through which they think that we bring about corruption and imagine that their busy complaints have brought about strengthening. But perish the thought that the Catholic and universal church should fight against its own inner parts, and again perish the thought that the sons should take up arms against the mother. For the church does not repel the martyrs but rather receives them, and does not defame them but rather praises them, and does not detract them but rather extolls them, and we following the sense of the same venerable mother and lauding the glory of the beauty of the bride of our Redeemer venerate and reverse those whom we rejoice have placed their lives for Christ and the truth. And we do not distort the gesture of one work through the varying of the times. And how universal our faith is, the authority of the ancestors will establish in the second book of this work.
But as several have been rendered unworthy of the spiritual ardour, cold in the love of the faith, terrified by earthly fear and the blow of the sword, and not with suppressed voice, but with raucous throat, lips loosened and twisted tongue detract the martyrdom carried out in our time with less suitable invective and chide it and do not object to handing over to the devil the palm of victory as far as they can, let them acknowledge us as we respond to their senses. Our inclination, most dear ones, even if it errs (perish the thought), concords with the truth and Christ, but the truth ministers the knife of vengeance to the minister of the demons who assert another thing. And I wonder with what sort of character it will be able to called truth, when falling for Christ and the truth is ascribed to error. Indeed one must strive in the beginning of the work, not with vanity, but with constancy, as with brothers, to engage in the fight and discuss those things which concord for both sides. Let the weak and infirm flee, let the brave and those armed with the goodness of mind struggle. And certainly He has ordered them not to suppress the truth, but to flee those who persecute on account of the seminary of the Gospel. 'Let them flee from one city into another,'[v] preaching those things which are true and good, not (perish the thought) covering up those things which are holy and modest. For these people are outstanding fugitives of preaching to all generations with no ordinary praise, because although they appear to be timid and fleeing, nonetheless they wander through the whole world and rush about in different directions like flashing lightning bolts, singing the mercies of the Lord in the synagogues and the assembly of the peoples, and they bring forth in eloquent and outstanding tongue that which they know how to accomplish for the holy listeners. They are put to flight so that the they should be silent about the great works of the Lord, but they embrace exile so that they may preach more freely the prohibited things not to one people, but to various nations. And so that what we say should not seem to be wholly ours, let us bring forth what from there the saint and abyss of knowledge Iheronimus feels in agreement with us.
'This,' he says, 'is to be preferred to that time when the apostles were sent to preach, to whom it was also appropriately said: 'Do not wander into the ways of the Gentiles and do not enter into the cities of the Samaritans,'[vi] because they should not fear persecution and they should shun it. Indeed we see that the believers did this in the beginning, when they dispersed into all of Iudea after the persecution of Jerusalem arose, so that the occasion of tribulation should become the seminary of the Gospel.'[vii] Notice and consider more diligently in heart that on account of no other reason were the apostles ordered to turn aside except that the occasion of withdrawing should become the seminary in all the cities of the kingdom. For the true teacher could say, if he followed your cold perception with divine chill: 'Suppress the truth, hide justice and those things which are true, whenever fear has struck your sense, retain only in heart, that you may live secure with no one terrorising.' For when the preaching has ceased, all the persecution has ceased, and when the persecution has been removed, there will be no flight and through this remains safe whosoever does not contradict the Gentiles, whosoever does not attack the error, whosoever does not reveal the fraud, whosoever does not contradict the sinners, whosoever does not break the bonds of the heretics. This the blessed Gregorius explains with sufficient lucidity in the twenty-first book of Moralia: 'For in general,' he says, 'we are left quiet and undisturbed, if we do not care to oppose depraved people for justice. But if the mind already burns for desire of eternal life, if already it looks back on the true light within, if it alights the flame of holy fervour in itself, as much as the place admits, as much as the cause demands, we ought for the defence of justice to cast ourselves in the way and oppose the perverse ones breaking out into unjust things even as we are not sought by them. For when they strike in others the justice that we love, nonetheless they pierce us by their striking, even if they seem to be disburdened. So therefore the holy man places himself in opposition to the wicked and those doing evil even when he is not sought. Rightly about the horse of God it is said: 'He goes to confront the armed ones.'[viii]
The apostles and apostolic men, teachers and all the preachers were ordered to attack in words the errors of the Jews, Gentiles and all the heretics through true and brave reasoning, as I have proven. They strove all the way to death as the most brave athletes; as they gladly suffered persecution on account of the justice that they defended, they were crowned and adorned. Surely it is open and clear to all who see the light that it is not persecution that was begotten by the Gentiles, but rather preaching arose first from our own people? Read the various struggles of the passions of the holy martyrs, waging battle as the columns of the Lord, cutting down the enemies of the Lord with the sword of the word, and you will plainly see that many jumped forth voluntarily, not expecting that the orders of the persecutors or the snares of the furious reporters would be untested, but spontaneously per the example of the Lord they offered their own welcome libations and themselves over the altar consecrated with the blood of Christ the eternal God and they carried pure sacrifices, and- what you have been more accustomed to rebuke- you will see that they wore out the governors and rulers with many insults. They are above all those who were first in the struggle and fortified with the good of faith, to whom the free virtue of the mind had clung and fearful fantasy had not invaded their hearts. They are those whom the spiritual fervour aroused with the zeal of the Lord as the love of Christ ran about in different directions back and forth, making them more steadfast and filling them with manliness, such that it compelled them to bring forth outside the flame of the burnt offering that had been covered within. And although savage persecution assailed many of them, nonetheless- what you cannot deny- you read that countless people struggled voluntarily, fulfilling by the greatest effort that which is said: 'Voluntarily I will sacrifice to you, oh Lord.'[ix] You add: 'It is not the time of persecution.' But indeed I say more: 'It is not the time of the apostles, but the apostolic vigour has been undiminished, as it should have always roused the spiritual flames against the adversaries in the pastors of Christ with the fervour of constancy and the zeal of justice all the way to consummation, and with the tinder of illumination lit up, it should have illuminated the darkness of eternity with the gleaming star of the dawn of the climate.' I fear that they bear with trouble the response not of temerity, as they imagine, but of truth as Catholics approve, as they behold with silence the persecution of the Antichrist constituted in the most recent times. Whoever denies the persecution of hatred to these parts of the land, is either sleeping and carrying the yoke of servitude with the sleep of indolence, or elated with the heathens is trampling with the foot of arrogance on the subject recruits of Christ. Surely we have been bound to the yoke of servitude, burdened with an unbearable poll tax, stripped of property, oppressed with the bundles of insults, turned into proverb and song, and made a theatre for all the heathens? They say that it is not the time of persecution, but I submit to them on the contrary amid their claims that we have come upon deadly times. They assert that these people have come forward without hostile impulse, but I will affirm with the profession of these very assertors that they have been oppressed by the heathen zeal.
And let us consider the first priest Perfectus,[x] killed by the heathen zeal, decorated with the faith of constancy, adorned with the martyr's glory and indeed added to the number of the elect, and let us bring forth sincerely by what pact he came to the killing. Certainly as he was going to another matter and intending for other secular works and engaging in nothing concerning what happened, he was driven by the assertions of the demon-worshipping people. From them he asked for a trust with caution and circumspection, as seems to those people, but indeed timidly to me, and he begged them that he should not be impeded by his own responses, saying: 'I have had many things from which I could most abundantly break your assertions and destroy your inane stories of history, if I should not fear incurring the pronouncements of your vengeance rushing back and forth with avenging sword.' When they had given him the trust and they implored him, with an oath given beforehand, that he should expound things as they seemed to him, he accepted the trust of speaking and took up their lying oaths as truth, and after many and various struggles of controversies he scolded with the words by which he could and demonstrated with splendid oration the lustful lewdness of their prophet and the promiscuous luxury of enticement. But after they had some conflict of words regarding the insulting of his promiscuity and the collusion of the group of spouses of adultery, they gnashed their teeth and were raging with their dog-like mouths wide-open, and were hissing with the viper's mouth and roaring with the ferocity of lions, they allowed him to go away unharmed on account of the oath they had recently given. But after some course of time, always retaining the deceitful poison in their hearts, and as though thinking the prior unfaithful pact thrown upon him had been abolished with the oldness of time, they surrounded him by a trick and had him apprehended and gaping most savagely through their lying they brought him impiously before the judge, as though the man were destroying the right of their faith, and the cheapest little men affirmed that he was cursing their prophet by his testimony. He, terrified by the unexpected mishap and perplexed by the unaccustomed carrying around, ignored their fraudulent counsels which the fraudulent lying had drawn up against him, and revealed with rather weak follow-up that he had not at all said this. But when he was sent into prison he turned into himself, and began to attack their entire law with bold proposition and manly step and he began not only to heap up that which he had said previously, which the faction of lack of skill was asserting against him, but also many other more potent things and he began to await more the glory of death than demise. Then he was led out on the dreaded Easter of their own day,[xi] in which they have been accustomed to enjoy carnal pastures and minister various foods with the lust of the stomach, and they killed him with the avenging sword. And as though they had gained victory over the enemy, believing that they had presented obedience to God, and elated and bespattered with the blood of the innocent, they came to the assembly of prayer to accomplish their rite as they have been accustomed to do so every year.
Be now just judges and bring forth a judgement that is not biased, windy and airy, but rather true of reason and bound by the bonds of justice? From whom now, I ask, do you see that the persecution arose? Surely it is clear that they are the inciters of evil things, the assertors of errors, the ones who bring about tricks, who did not fear to break with audacity for the zeal of their faith, mutilate with impudence and destroy in a heathen manner the pact that they had first offered to the innocent man (finished as it was with the fraud of poison), since they were overcome with fury, inflamed with anger, and filled with iniquity? Behold the boldness, or rather the constancy which you drag into condemnation, which you adduce to crime, this priest did not have that. Timid as he was, he proceeded timidly to war, he came to the killing by the zeal of the devil and he received the passion not from the worshippers of God, but from the disciples of the Antichrist. Surely it is not veiled, hidden and concealed that the persecution arose from them, was founded, begun, defended and fulfilled by them?
Let us proceed again to expound the case of the second person. After the cycle of a year or some more that eye of the fury of the heathens did not rest, but as has been accustomed for them to mock Christianity and insult all us Christians, they tried to aggravate this Ioannes,[xii] whom the confines of prison had retained for much time, through the negotiation of selling goods on the market day and they tried to have him annoyed and burned with fury on account of the grace of selling goods, they tried to bring many charges against him in rebuking him, saying: 'Deeming our prophet to be little, you always bring his name into derision, and you often affirm your lying through false oaths (as seems to you) of our religion to ears that do not know that you are a Christian.' Even he was acting in good faith and suspected no trick towards him and he wanted to show to them that he was innocent of the things that were being placed against him, as the fury was rattling and the same headlong anger was repeating, kicking and replicating rather frequently, he intended the things that he had often said. Then he, not bearing the cloud of such aggravations, became angry and bound with rather fine urbanity, responded as he was brought out with his elegant mind: 'May the one who wishes to name your prophet be cursed by God.' Immediately a huge shout arose and the group of people doomed to perdition gathered around, with a gathering of hateful iniquity, like bees gathered into one mound of perfidy, with the cumulation of one mass and defiled with the sprinkling of wickedness, they dragged him half-alive to the judge. And with the presentation of less suitable witnesses who arose from that mass of perfidious people, they threatened things more powerful and greater against him by their own testimony. He denied all these things and replied with suitable discourse on the matter revealed the rivalry of their envy. But the judge of iniquity had him beaten with 400 lashes of the whips and had him rush about through the homes of all the saints proclaiming under a preaching voice: 'He who derides the prophet of God must suffer such things.' And from there he ordered him confined to prison with tight custody, threatening to bring greater things upon him.
Is there still someone possessed perhaps by the cloud of error, defiled by the filth of iniquity, who denies that this time of persecution exists? And what will be able to be a greater persecution, a more severe persecution of what kind is now to be expected, when that which is rationally believed in the heart cannot be brought forth in public proclamation? For behold the public law hangs and the legal order runs through all of their kingdom, that the one who blasphemes is to be whipped, and the one who strikes is to be killed. Behold also everyday in the hours of the day and night in their towers and dark mountains they curse the Lord, while they extoll in the voice of testimony the unchaste prophet, the perjurer, mad and unjust one together with the Lord. And alas and woe for this time of ours lacking knowledge of Christ, full of Satanic zeal, in which there is no one found who per the order of the thundering Lord of the sky should raise the banner of the cross of the faith over the mountains of Babilonia and the dark towers of vanity, offering the evening sacrifice to God. And not only with pleasant mind, serene acceptance, and modest regard do we receive the poisons, offer the drinks as libations, and taste beforehand the death-bearing sprouts, but, what is more pernicious, we oppose those striving in opposition and who are zealous with the zeal of God as Elias, and with deaf ear we forge friendships with the enemies of the greatest God and in pleasing them we deride our faith. And certainly it is more befitting for us to strive with the sword as Elias than to oppose with the tongue as our heroes do. Everyday we are overwhelmed with disgraces and one thousand bundles of insults, and we say we do not have persecution? For so that I should be silent about other things, certainly when they see the carrying of the bodies of the dead by the priests, as is the ecclesiastical custom, in order for them to be buried, surely they say with open voices and the most impure cheeks: 'God, do not have mercy on them.' And they attack the priests of the Lord with stones, and denounce the people of the Lord with ignominious words, scatter with wicked filth and the dung of filthiness the Christians as they pass by, while they snarl and threaten greater things. And alas again for the second and third time, innumerable woes for us, as we carry this derision of their insult and we have doubts about the times of the persecution of the Antichrist. Thus also and when the priests of God in the even in which they go on their route and meet someone, they unroll stones and very small bricks before their footsteps and deride them with improper and defaming names and revile them with vulgar proverb and indecent song and dishonour the sign of the faith with disgraceful utterance. But when they hear the sign of the basilica- that is, the sound of the ringing bronze, which is struck to bring together the congregation of the church at all the canonical hours, they engage in derision and contempt, and moving their heads they repeatedly invoke wicked things, and they wickedly attack and deride every sex and every age and the flock of the whole Christ the Lord not with uniform insult, but with one thousand-fold disgrace of insults.
Surely they are those people who curse Jerusalem and destroy and burn the walls of the faith of holy Syon?[xiii] About them is said: 'Cursed are all who reject you and all who blaspheme you; cursed are all who hate you all who have spoken the harsh word against you; cursed are all who lay you aside and all who destroy your walls and all who subvert your towers and all who burn your dwellings.'[xiv] And although all these things are fulfilled by them through contempt and derision and hatred as we have said, nonetheless even carnally crimes are committed everyday against the dwellings of the Lord and the houses of the sanctuary, while the churches of God are destroyed and the temples strengthened with the old solidness are levelled to the ground. And is there still someone who does not profess that these people are worthy of being cursed, whom he absolves even as they have been cursed for such great time per the church's teachings? For this cursing is proclaimed annually by the church over those who hate it not secretly, but openly and with luminosity, and with sublime voice and suave sweetness exalts sufficiently through the mouths of its faithful. For the angel of the Lord ordered to curse the inhabitants of that land who did not come into such great help of the brave of the Lord. And are we to profess that it is not worthy that those who trample upon the brave of the Lord and mock the sacred rites of God and indeed the holy things of the saints should be driven back with curses, but rather we instruct that this conduct should be deemed undistinguishable and unjust?
Indeed the pronouncement of the prophet, rather of God intones: 'Curse the land of Meroz, said the angel of the Lord; curse its inhabitants who did not come to help His most brave. Bless Iahel the wife of Barcenneus; she gave milk to the one who asked for water and offered butter in the dish of the chief. With the left hand she reached for the nail and with the right for the hammer of the craftsmen and struck Sisara, seeking in the head the place of the wound and piercing the temple strongly.'[xv] And it is more appropriate, as I think, for the temples to be pierced by the nail than to wound the enemies of the Lord with true words, and there is more ample reward in waging spiritual battles for the holy things of the saints, as I have already said, and for the state of eternal life that is to come without end, rather than to fight with nails and hammers for the periodic and carnal Jerusalem and the earthly kingdom that is at some point to be cut off with brief end. But both the prophetic spirit in that time blessed this, and today all the group of the church preaches this in the same manner as all the holy universal congregation then lauded it. Certainly he who affirms that those who curse the enemies of the church have been cursed, shrinks from the truth and hates the sacred religion. In addition it follows for him that after defaming the people of the present, he infringes on the very renowned struggle of the prior saints. Let him curse Iahel, whom the prophetic inspiration blessed in the gathering of the people. Let him curse Iudit,[xvi] who through a trick killed the flock per the sense of the deriders. Let him also curse innumerable other forefathers, who waging war to death with the zeal of the Lord butchered the enemies of God not only with words, but also with swords. Even if they do not accept from the strenuous men of severity the battle to be intended for the faith, let them at least learn from the women that the manly trophy of renown is to be raised from the enemies, and let the stronger sex be ashamed that it is overpowered by the feminine sex. Finally that which will seem to be sacrilegious to all: if certainly he is only an opponent, let him curse the holy church, as he curses those who curse him everyday. And certainly he who curses the insides of the church is the curser of the church, indeed as he is the profane defamer of the very church, which is reckoned as no more in other people than in the very martyrs. Surely our teacher, the master of the churches of Christ, Paul the apostle of the peoples, the chosen vessel of Christ, as though marking out this angel by his finger cursed with presaging spirit, saying: 'If anyone preaches to you another gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema, Amen. Even if an angel from heaven preaches to you another gospel, let him be anathema, Amen.'[xvii] Behold that cursed angel is shown who, as per the warning by the authority of Paul, is trying to cause destruction by another way, unless by chance you should either say that the good angel was cursed by such a great apostle or you claim that this most impure person, who provided himself to the most impure angel for the purpose of dwelling, preached the same thing as Paul to the world that cried against it with impudent banter. And it is the case that from the time of the aforementioned greatest master, no one else has dared to adduce things against his preaching and contrary to the sect of the Gospel, except that man who lied that he brought another law of God to men in the name of Gabriel. And although many authors of heresies had been deluded by the invasion of the angels of darkness, nonetheless none of them presumed to usurp a testament in the manner of God. But if the angel from heaven bringing things contrary to our faith is declared anathema by the mouth of the apostle, what is to be thought to be appropriate for that most wicked vessel, if its dweller is condemned with such bitter wound of cursing? But this is for another time and place.
Now let us reflect the article of narration on the tepidity of our people and let us expound in a few words the state of our entire tepidity with regards to the just divine judgement that is to be approved. Surely these very people of ours, who serve the orders of those people in the palace duty, have been openly implicated in their errors? And the polluted of them say that they are glowing with the stenches: they do not pray openly in the presence of the heathens, do not fortify the front by making the sign of the cross, do not profess Christ as God openly in their presence, but with words put to flight, professing (as they assert) the word of God in spirit and keeping their confessions in their heart as though God inspects all things. What do they show to all these people except that they have the changeability of the panther to those who fight zealously with the zeal of God, while they defend Christianity not wholly, but half-heartedly? Nonetheless we defend all these things as good and we preach that they are not damnable but very good, and we do not curse or detest the Christians waging battle against the allies of their faith for the sake of the grace of the king, vendible rewards and defending the heathens, but we charge and defame with anathema the religious who strive for the true God. And we do all these things on account of the fear of the earthly king driving us on, whom we hold with undoubtable faith to be lacking a swift end, while we cast behind and trample down the terror of the eternal king, to whom we actually believe and hold that we will be dragged more quickly. And we judge as heretics and ignorant the one who contradicts their errors. Our arms fight against us and on our head descends our iniquity.[xviii] Oh outstanding preachers and the admirable elect of the flocks, good and tutoring pastors, did thus Christ teach us, did thus all the apostles and doctors teach us, did thus teach us all who putting their lives on the line for the truth sweated through various struggles?
I ask from where did this new clemency arise in the churches that has spewed forth these hellish dogmas, or if you think this to be the voice of temerity, please tell me which pious apostle ordered these things. If the error is not to be openly attacked, then why did the Lord Jesus Christ come down, why did he apply the voluntary light to the blind who did not ask or inquire about their conversion? Why were the prophets and apostles sent? Why were doctors and pastors foreseen, except that lack of skill should be combatted and all perfidy should receive revenge? How will there be fulfilled that which the Lord said would happen if there is no preaching thundering among the peoples? 'When this Gospel is preached among every creature, then the end will be.'[xix] Notice and discuss the words of such a great worker: 'When this Gospel is preached among every creature.' And as preaching is induced to the ignorant and the non-believers, does it not already intend those things which are to be believed by those who venerate and are rather often noted by those who worship? For the well-known coming together and confession are known to thrust upon the faithful. Nonetheless, unless I am mistaken, that preaching is truly named when it is thrust- opportunely or inopportunely- as though from effort, as all the apostles did, with also the danger to the head, and so that the non-believers should receive the light of the faith, it is frequently sought even if it encounters the mishap of danger. And certainly he did not say literally that every creature should receive the preaching of the Gospel, but that the preaching of the church should shine in general to the whole world, through which the due prize may be brought in for the ministry and preachers with the most just eternal punishment without end for the ones who despise. Not only are those apostolic times to be handed over wholly to the preaching of the faith, but indeed the preaching of the church must be planted through every age until every people and tongue should believe in the Gospel of Christ. I think that in this Ismahelitic people there has so far been no preacher through whom the debtors of the faith should be held. For these people,[xx] as I shall say, have fulfilled the place of the apostleship for the same people[xxi] as well as the preaching of the Gospel and have rendered them debtors of the faith, but we, covered with the thick cloud of ignorance, do not see that the mystery of the eternal Gospel is running and we madly claim that madness (and not completeness and the foreboded foreknowledge of those who preach the Gospel) is in those who preach the Gospel to this people, in whom the preaching of no one has so far provided a way. For as much as they boast they are philosophers above all of the other peoples, they are deservedly despised by the humble and those who know nothing except Christ and this crucifix, against whom congruously and usually the Truth sends its little disciples who are untaught and uncultivated in mundane discipline, so that the rustic and those who seem contemptible may attack with words and wear down with their feet the philosophers decorated with this world and royal ornament, and consider every tumour of power to be worth nothing by the heel of their faith. This is what the outstanding doctor Arnobius explained regarding the eighteenth Psalm: 'There is no one,' he says, 'who can hide from His heat.' 'So there will be no people,' he says, 'in this world to whose notice the heat of the Christian faith will not come, in which there is the irreprehensible law of the Lord converting minds, inviting them from error to the right way, from lying to truth, where there are joys that delight the hearts.' Indeed this Ismahelitic people does not know the heat of the Christian faith and did not know up to this point the ministers of the Lord besprinkled with the burning fire. We have become- oh fellow people of our faith if nonetheless you deign to be so- mute dogs unable to bark. The saying of the most holy Iheronimus, the cultivator of the heavenly library, has been fulfilled in us, as he expounds that prophetic saying: 'All the blind watchmen, all the mute dogs unable to bark.'[xxii] 'We are mute to speak against our adversaries, rabid dogs against our own people. But let us rather follow the ways of God.'[xxiii] Indeed the wolves who rage around the sheep-pen have brought the voice of rebuke on us. With the kind unheard and unseen, the wolves and dogs have returned in peace.
Indeed this proudness, which our humble ones laud as to be held in the causes of God: let us inquire after it per the stories of the forefathers and let us prove how truly they profess it. Surely Helias[xxiv] is considered a great prophet by all? And certainly he is the one who armed not only with words in the zeal of God, but also the sword, did not fear to cut down more than 400 prophet worshippers of Bahal,[xxv] and consuming two captains and their companies of fifty men with fire, he allowed the third to go unharmed not because he deprecated himself with softness of mind and humility, but rather because the merit of his own work was proven, as he called on the merciful Lord to take revenge and consumed the impious with fire before the Day of Judgement.[xxvi] Surely he is the one who by the zeal of God and the passed over faith closed the sky, prohibited the clouds and afflicted the land of idolatry with irremediable poverty of bread for three years and six months, prohibiting the rain clouds and holding back the most merciful God from piety by the accustomed oration, being pious to no one, but remaining harsh and rigidly cruel for reason and not sparing the elderly age?[xxvii] And what could be the sign of more cruelty and an irreligious mind, such a great prophet did not fear to butcher the innocent age of the infants for the parental perfidy, with much severe zeal- per your interpretation- contrary to the opinion of God, by which it is ordered that one should not take vengeance with the life of the small person on account of the wickedness of the father. This cruelty was exercised by Moyses- the lawbearer of God and disciple of the school of the One Thundering on High through forty days[xxviii]- not only against Egypt through the zeal of God, but also against the tablets written by the finger of God which he did not refuse to break in rashness. He did so in a most holy manner and with ample fortitude, and for this he merited not the anger of God, but His grace. Perhaps this most tame man was imbued with this severity during the forty days in which he tarried with the Lord, as he soon descended to the transgressing people, broke the tablets of God as I said and coming to the people said: 'Let the man place a sword around his thigh. Go and recede from gate to gate through the middle of the camp and let each person kill his brother, friend and neighbour. And there fell on that day some 20,000 men.'[xxix] But seeing both Datan and Aviron devoured by the land as they rose against him unjustly,[xxx] he was not swayed or moved by the usual piety, by which he often prayed to the Lord for the people in error, but intending for the future purification of the many, he tolerated with just mind the killing of the few. The examples of these cruelties abound and the divine pages written by these cruel authors, while bringing tameness upon us and arousing the harassing of the enemies of God with perfect hatred, assert in both words and deeds this cruelty, which you reckon, over the acceptable sacrifice. From there the cruel Samuel, indeed rather the faithful servant of the Creator, cut down the most fat king whom your king Saul the pious spared.[xxxi] But the God of all, approving the cruel one and rebuking the mild one, rejected the pious Saul and chose the cruel Samuel. For Samuhel, in experiencing the undisciplined softness, knew that both Eli the expelled master and the people of the Lord had been reduced with the ark of the law into the power of foreign people.[xxxii] And David says: 'Surely I have hated those who have hated you, oh Lord, and I was wasting away against Your enemies? I have hated them with perfect hatred. They have become enemies to me.'[xxxiii] Or is one to ignore the zeal of Finees[xxxiv] and his appeasement as he mitigated the anger of the Lord, such that the divine spirit says with prophetic mouth about him: 'Finees stood and appeased and the shaking ceased'?[xxxv] And certainly the appeasement sung before in the voice of the psalmist was the pronouncement of the harsh sword against the haters. Let our merciful ones see that this cruelty is an appeasement and let them cease to pretend piety and humility in these matters consecrated by the divine word, as they read that Saul was cast down from the kingdom and Eli lost his priesthood and life for these things. Let them consider the severity of Peter and Paul against Simon and Elimas the mages or against Ananias and Saffira.[xxxvi] And those who have stood straight in their insults while being elated and proud, and appear bent and humble as well as tame, simple and quiet towards the enemies of God, let them learn from both Christ the God of all things and from all the prophets, apostles or forefathers that they are to be humble and cast down towards their own disgraces brought within, and that they ought to be strong and harsh in order to avenge the contempt of the divinity and that they should not employ the unsuitable piety of these people, but this holy cruelty. 'For piety for the sake of God is not cruelty,' as the blessed Iheronimus says.[xxxvii] This I will prove in the second book with more open indications and more evident proofs from the oracles of the doctors. But this is for another time and place. Now let us return to the matter placed before us.
It has been openly clear from where the persecution arose and so let us hurry to our own spontaneous martyrs. The religious Ysaac[xxxviii] by the zeal of God was moved not by human instigation, but the divine, and he treaded not on the familiar path in our times, but the one obliterated a long time ago, and not standing up to the smoke of the persecution with equal mind, approached the judge. And those things which he denied as he had been vexed by the terrible whip, which amid the beatings the weak loudmouth claimed he had not said: he then affirmed them as the brave athlete and warrior soldier amid the more abundant persecution, as he engaged in more powerful battle and set out with candid mind, accomplished, consummated and fulfilled, so that he should show to all that he was moved with the zeal of faith, not prevented by the fear of necessity, so that the church, with constant faith, should openly wage the wars and bring them forth, and openly bring forth that which they were hard pressed to strengthen with some lines of evidence over what was comprehended, so that the Lord should bring forth the victory of His athletes to the world and reveal in a simple and plain manner the constancy of His soldiers to the world and show that He had victors in the most recent times who should wage the wars of the Lord and by the instinct by which they had originally intended. What in this do you deduce is to be condemned? Behold, we have proven that the persecution was born from the heathens, behold also we have established that our men rose up by the zeal of God, not that of men. What in this do you think is to be condemned? I beseech, do not hesitate to say. They beheld the battle of the struggle, they arose for the most beautiful war having put on the breastplate of the faith. With hurrying course, with active step, after they saw that the one was killed and the other was wounded, they rushed to the field of the struggle for the palm of glory.
They were strenuous men and warriors and those seeking the struggle of the spiritual fight. Where such action provided itself as the occasion is chosen, they were not able to prevent the course, as they tried to fulfil the justice of their eternal Lord. Why do you put in the way imbecilic weakness and break the strong so that the weak should not be terrified? If you are infirm, weak, inane, timid and inflated, rest and do not wage a battle against those striving against the citizens, but rest, await the outcome of the matter and learn to restrain your tongue by being quiet. If you are capable, if you are brave, if you are daring, if you are constant and have been elected for the war of God, throw the javelins against the enemies as a strenuous person and not as a coward against your own people. Why do you not notice the wondrous, fiery intention, the trust of the resurrection to be admired, the constancy of the glorious hope, and the zeal of the faith and the glory of the Catholic religion? Why by your prosecution do you infringe on the overseer of life, the sacred order, the prolix disposition of the confession, the long, internal battle of the mind, and the banner that is to be raised against the devil and the groups of the Amalacites? Why do you induce the blemish of lying against the Catholics, the sons of the holy church, the ones erudite in the pious dogma, the followers of Christ, those separated from the action of this world and those clinging to God alone? Why do you not fear to oppose those who choose the good party as Maria and those emulating Christ in a pronouncement of revenge brought perfidiously against the saints, as far as it is agreeable to you? They have killed with the swords those whom they have proven to be adversaries of their faith, while you will kill by your pronouncements those whom you know agree with your faith. The have tried to remove them from the life of this world, while you strive to separate them from the eternal life. But perish the thought that those who have lost their souls for that life should be separated from the life. And indeed perish the thought that, far removed from our senses as worshippers of the truth and confessors of Christ in such a great time, they should have concluded the final course in mendacity through the devil's play. Let the faction of lack of skill and the multitude hardened beforehand and insensitive to the hidden just judgement of Christ say these things, and let any petulant person lay down before the devil in the end the highest grade of the order of Christianity, and staying awake, and elaborating carefully let him expound to us what he feels concerning the rest of the orders, if he can by chance do so. But our simplicity, lacking tricks, and the pure, chaste sincerity of the church with us both celebrate that the order of confession is led by the divine spirit and assert that those who declare the truth to the kings are illustrated with the happy regard of Christ.
But you charge in objection: 'Because of them the basilicas of God are widowed of priests and with the assault of the persecution, the sacrifice has been instantly prohibited.' To these things thus responds the true profession: 'Our, our transgression did these things, as it dares to rise against the martyrs of God, indeed against the Lord himself.' Let your brotherly college recall how great and what sort of arms of madness it has taken up in the storm of the rebellion stirred up against God, and then induces this blemish against the holy martyrs if it can. Surely those who seemed to be columns, who were thought to be the rocks of the church, who were believed to be the elect- even as no one was compelling and no one was calling forth- approached the judge and in the presence of the cynics and indeed the Epicureans, they defamed the martyrs of God? Surely the pastors of Christ, the doctors of the church, the bishops, the abbots, the presbyters, chiefs and magnates claimed publicly that they were heretics and with public profession, without disquisition, without interrogation, brought forth by their own will and the free decision of mind those things which should not be sent when the pronouncement of death is overhanging? Indeed with conscience trampled upon and the faith despised, all, alas, have come to serve mendacity and those they knew were born in the Catholic faith and were suckled by the breasts of the mother church: they have affirmed that those people have grazed on intercourse with the harlot and the food of the adulterers.
And is there anyone who can still complain worthily about the whip, when he sees the cause of that very whip lying in the open? Surely it is clear, that all these people have professed mendacity and as per the saying of the truth, which indicates the danger of this last time, they are the 'elect who have stumbled'?[xxxix] The elect because they are the overseers of the flock of God and have been decorated with the sacred orders, but they have stumbled because while they fear to contest publicly the truth which is Christ, they have tried to recall falsehood. 'You will destroy those,' says the scripture, 'who speak lies.'[xl] And: 'The mouth that lies kills a soul,'[xli] much more its own than that of another. For as the truth is Christ the Lord, so falsehood is the Antichrist the devil. Also rejecting the truth (as the apostle says),[xlii] they will receive falsehood: that is, the utmost enemy condemned by the ultimate judgement, the organ of the devil and the most apt title of all falsehoods. Indeed nothing contravenes the truth except falsehood, and there is no doubt that the one who speaks the falsehood, soon recedes from God who is the truth. And not only do we incur mendacity in light and medium causes, but also in the greatest matters and those consecrated in the principal name. In the very truth of faith in particular, bound by the article of persecution, we have contaminated ourselves with much shedding of bitterness, and we have clothed the worshippers of Christ with stinking clothing amid the stumbling of heresies, in so far as it exists in us. These things that have been done outside in public and with the wild powers destroying us, perhaps will be able to seem unavenged to someone. What must be obtained from those whom we have prohibited ecclesiastically and from whom we have extorted an oath so that they should never rise to the palm of martyrdom? Those whom we have forbidden to infringe on the errors of the heathens and we have dishonestly made to swear a foul oath so that they should not attack their curses through the Gospel and the cross led out by force? Indeed we have compelled ferociously and with beastly terror, threatening unheard punishments, and promising various monstrosities of butchering of limbs and floggings that are horrible to speak or hear of. And woe is us, we have used the Gospel against the Gospel. For whoever prohibits cursing, thus orders blessing. Let us consider in this place, if it seems just to you, our false professions in public and their true professions. They have said that which the whole church preaches, we have said that which all Christianity defames. They have cursed the pseudoprophet, we have detracted the worshippers of Christ. They are the persecutors of the heathens, we are the persecutors of the Christians, they are bold and stood firm against the devil, while we are haughty against the Lord. They have been proud against the earthly king, we against the immortal, eternal king. They have professed by mouth those things they retained in heart, while we have professed one thing in heart, and another in mouth. They are confessors and true witnesses as I have said, we, woe is me, are lying fabricators. Indeed in carnal and less skilled things the stumbling is born in the time of martyrdom as the blessed Ysidorus our light announces in the book De Natura Rerum with evident speech and the apt figure of the start of a certain Orion: 'But the Horions,'[xliii] he says, 'signify the martyrs, for as they are born in the sky in winter time, so they proceed as martyrs in the church in the time of persecution. As the Horions proceed, the sea and earth are disturbed, indeed as the martyrs have risen, the hearts of the earthly ones and infidels are tossed in the storm.'[xliv]
But perhaps someone asserts worthy pretending in such causes on the grounds of dispensation and tries to assert this frivolously by the authority of the apostles and the law. Let them briefly peruse the dispensatory accounts and they will openly find that they did not observe any dutiful lying in the main causes and they did not make use of this on account of danger to the soul, but where they knew that they were giving birth to the well-being of the many and their own principal arrangement for the future. The pretending of the king of Srahel[xlv] will bring this forth to the surface, as he professed that he wanted to worship the idol, such that he cast down those wandering through the various hiding places of the priests in an easy event, saying: 'Gather to me all the priests of Baal. For if Acab served Bahalim in few things, I will serve in many things.'[xlvi] Thus David also considered that the death of the body, not of the soul, was overhanging, so he feigned insanity and he avoided the fateful mishap not of faith, but of the limb which he had incurred.[xlvii] In this way, Paul and the rest of the senior apostles are to be believed to have feigned fulfilling the ceremonies of the law, so that there should be consulting of the interest of the well-being of the Gentiles through this dispensation, giving little weight to this private loss in comparison with the whole world for which the remedy was imminent from this, and they were not turned to the worship of idols, but they were turned to the ceremonies of the living God, although they were already abolished in that time.
These authorities are to be observed in another time and they are not to be used, as we have said, in the primary cult of the holy faith, but subsequently they are to be approved for the safety of the body and of all removed from detriments to the faith. Indeed Eleazarus teaches luminously in the second book of Maccabees that lying and pretending are to be avoided within as regards the divine matter when authority has been consecrated.[xlviii] He was advised by his friends that secretly he should eat other fleshes besides the ones of sacrifice and the fleshes of pigs and he should pretend that he was eating the prohibited ones, which the impious king was insistently pressing to be eaten, in order that he might avoid death and not transgress the decree of the law. However, he despised the feigned trickery in order that he might uphold the trophy made manifest, insinuating through this the exemplary teaching of his virtue for the generations to come. He said: 'For it is not worthy of our age to feign, so that many of the young men should think that Eleazarus of 90 years of age has crossed over to the life of the foreigners and they themselves should be deceived on account of my pretending and on account of the short time of the corruptible life, and through this I should procure the staining and curse of my old age. For even if in the present time I should be snatched away from the punishments of men, nonetheless I will not escape the hands of the Omnipotent alive or dead. On account of this matter in departing from this life I will seem to be worthy of old age, and for the young men I will leave the brave example if with prompt mind and bravely I will fulfil the honest death for the most grave and holy laws.'[xlix] So this man could have pretended without illicit transgression and could have performed licit things not in feigning, but in truth. But he rejected and willingly incurred precious death for the Lord and His legitimate things, saying in the hour of his transit: 'Oh Lord, You who have holy knowledge, You know manifestly that although I can be liberated from death, I sustain the harsh pains of the body, but in the soul indeed on account of fear of You I gladly bear these things.'[l] It has been fitting to imitate the commendable deed of this man and it has been necessary to struggle to the point of pouring out of blood not on account of the fleshes of pigs (as this venerable old man did), but for the sake of the truth which is God. These things are the teaching of the faith instead of the simulation of these things. But this has been sufficiently discussed in this place.
Now I turn the joint to those things which I had begun and I will try to prove that the whip has again been brought on our vice. Our evil idleness, brothers, our evil idleness gave rise to these things, as did our impurity, our levity, our obscenity of morals. While we fear where there is no fear and we pay little heed because the eternal punishment is deferred, we have followed the death to be shuddered and the unpleasant hell. So also the Lord who loves justice and whose face decrees equity has handed us over to the beast to be gnawed apart. For He has raised over us this curse seemingly in an appropriate manner, which has worn down every grade of Christianity and the state of the whole church and levelled us worthily and justly with the ground on account of what we have earned. For while our levity has not feared to curse lightly the saints of God and defend the cursing, indeed everyday in public conversation our temerity has tried to praise it in the church from a superior place, we have grieved about the one seemingly brought forth directly from hell, whom we defend with preaching voice as though we have praised, while the just judgement of God has been erected at the apex over us: which we sustain so far not as something mild, but as something cruel, wicked and slaughter pointed at our necks. For our iniquity has descended on our head and the evil of our heel has surrounded us.[li] And we ought to complain not about the insurrection of certain Christians, but rather the publicans, as we ourselves have arisen against the worshippers of our faith, and we have defiled with cursing through wicked words the saints of God as far as we could. And although this publican persecutor of the church has arisen very rabidly against the dogs of his faith by the permission of God and has provided the sword to the heathens to butcher the people of the Lord, nonetheless, as it is to be confessed that this has happened to the faithful justly and on account of our transgression, so on the other hand it must be admitted that he has clung to the limbs of the devil and has jumped forth by the instinct of the demon and the sting of sin to the testing of the church and the ventilation of the chaff. His rise, although it is so far brought forth by the permission of the Omnipotent, as we have said, nonetheless after the conclusion of the judgement of ventilation and testing, indeed it will be punished by the true judgement, so that both the church of Christ may grow clear by the fire of approval and His enemies may grow dark by the worthy pronouncement. For what do the inconveniences of airs, what does the inclemency of the sky, what does the immensity of rains, what do the hungers of the peoples proclaim except the anger of the Lord, and what do they threaten and intend except that His vengeance is ever more imminent? For the temples of Christ made desolate of sacrifice, and the holy places extirpated by the heathens and the census tax cruelly aggravated by the publican will be avenged through the inconveniences of the airs and the disturbances of the heathens and the incursions of battles. For this whole plague comes to benefit the faithful, and grows to punish the infidels. For we are cleansed by the pressures of this life, if nonetheless looking back we arrange to deal with our faults that we have accumulated. But if we persist in the original error and we trample in advance the oblique paths with obstinate mind and indomitable heart, one must beware lest we provoke the judgement of the most merciful Father to greater vengeance and we incur not redemption, but the temporal sword, and indeed perpetual death.
Nonetheless I am amazed to find some very small men, perhaps not men but rather they should be called little men with the diminution, who defame the cursed praesul[lii] and regard the martyrdom as something to be detested with equal mind: they venerate the just opinions that go against the praesul of the bishops and are filled with curses and detestations, and with the same vigour of mind they honour the contrary decree of the bishops of the faith, contrived with sacrilege and blasphemies (as they lightly think) against the recruits of Christ, as they also bring forth the curses of men on the praesul and venerate the human laws with the greatest conservatism, but at the same time they dishonour the divine sanctions against the enemy of the church and damn those who praise the martyrs of Christ. And not with open eyes and revealed light do they see that they are justly bound to the curse, so long as they have despised the friends of Christ while they do not wish for the benediction. For I do not know why they reject the twice-dead praesul, while they assert that the witnesses of Christ and the ministers of the truth are indeed subject to damnation and just judgement. Therefore let us open the eyes of the heart and let us see that the just judgement of the Lord has raged against us and let us cease from insulting the martyrs, lest the vengeance of the eternal king should seize us and lead us unreformed to Tartarus. Let us ensure that bombastic language should not come out from our mouth and let us avoid putting our mouth against heaven,[liii] knowing that mercy and anger are a short distance away from it, and fearing lest suddenly His fury should come and destroy us, lest that saying of Iheremias should apply to us: 'I have killed and lost my people and they have not turned back from their ways.'[liv] And again: 'There has been sweating with much labour and there did not go out from its excess rust nor through the fire. Your execrable filthiness, although I have wanted to cleanse you, and you have not been cleansed from your filth.'[lv] Considering these things and things similar to these things and making up for the deeds of the many saints and extolling the victories of the faithful, let us glorify the Lord and let us fix the knot with the reproaches, and even as we are not mindful of ourselves with our rabid tooth, let us now rejoice in the eternal quiet and serve its King up to His face and let us not attack with beastly bites.
But if we do not preach the faith of the Lord as is worthy, let us at least preach secretly and give the right hands of support, asking the most merciful Lord Jesus Christ who usually helps the delinquent that He should indulge both the previous acts and the things intended now many times, and that He should keep hold of the hearts of the infirm by His unconquered power, so that from there the action should not fall forth and crash down in the usual manner. We have said these things not malevolently to our people, but pacifically. But we have inclined with constancy and elevation towards the adversaries, as has been enjoined on the sons of the Catholic Church, and with uncouth speech we have explained in brief passing, as far as we have been able to try, those things which have appeared to our own faulty knowledge. And although uncomposed diction enervates the sense of the reader, nonetheless the devotion of the one who presses on will not be thought uncultivated, if consideration is given in the Christian manner regarding the mindset in which it has been begun. For I am not by such dense dullness, that having forgotten myself through the things in which I fear displeasing strenuous men, I should think that I have incurred the glory of praise through these things; for I am not unaware of the fact that my own study in the discipline of the liberal arts is not outstanding, and I am not unaware of my own lack of knowledge, and that which I have not learnt through human magisterium, I have not been able to display to others, as indeed I am ignorant. And certainly rustic uncouthness, which clings in a servile manner to my uncultivated tongue, should have imposed silence, and lest I should behave inappropriately towards the most skilled people and those glowing with the splendour of eloquence, someone may perhaps think most wisely that I should have avoided these things. But as I have considered not how elegantly, but how truly I have been writing, I have given little heed to the praise of all philosophers, nor has my inerudite tongue prevented my lips from defending justice, because the foreskin of the mouth is not to be imputed to the one for whom circumcision of the heart has been ordered. For the deceiving and flattering invective, and heaped up majesty leaping across and the fatuous composition dissolved with anger and laughter have a foreskin, but also accurate and refined eloquence in perishable and transient matters without end and discourse polluted in mundane manners and things opposed to the faith have been uncircumcised and made unjust with the filth of impurities. But fructuous rustic uncouthness and lack of skill, even if not elegant in extolling the sacred mysteries, do not become swollen sordid with the dirt of lack of faith and the roughness and the chasms, but rather glow specifically through themselves with the humility and décor of truth. And thus if I have expounded in negligence by chance any things that oppose Catholic dogma, having done so not deliberately, but with the blindness of the mind causing it, I ask, my readers, that they should dissolve them with weepings, wipe them away with entreaties and cleanse them with prayers, but I ask that they leave alone all the undefiled vices of discourse. For that judge to whom I have dedicated this intention of devotion discerns not the leaves of words, but the root of the heart, and intends not the shining care of prose, but the end goal of the work. Let the philosophers engage in noisy inquiries, and let the Donatists belch with the impure cheeks, the barking of the dogs, and the grunting of the pigs, with scratched throat and gnashing teeth and with the saliva of the spuming grammarian. But we the servants of the Gospel, the disciples of Christ, followers of the rusticans, on whom full things are enjoined, to whom brave things are commanded and not hollow, light and inflated, but rather the internally-made burnt offerings have been enjoined: let us follow the solid things and the things that are perspicuous with the liveliness of opinions, not- perish the thought- the vacuous things and those swelling with the lethal pest and smoking hither and thither from human praise, which more stain the mind of the author and treatise writers rather than opening the text and illustrating the minds of reading that have been contaminated with tragic filth, as it proceeds everywhere removed from the restraint of reason and with the reins loosened, more crosses the boundaries of measures rather than fulfilling them. For it lays low the editor and observer with one blow of arrogance, while it takes up both the beginning from vane glory and does not pour itself except into the breasts of those who praise. Let it suffice to have said these things against the Donatists.
Now let us return to these things after the departure of our defence, which may impose a culmination of perfection on this very little work and easily repress and drown the precursor of the Antichrist with all liberty through the bundle of testimonies- this material only requires slight support! Let us take the beginning from Daniel and from the part which is explained on the Antichrist by the blessed Iheronimus, let us affirm the things that are becoming and related to this most wicked individual. From here let us then probe the words of the blessed Job concerning the Behemoth and Leviathan and as we agree with the exposition of Saint Gregorius let us show that the things which have been specially applied on the Antichrist have been similarly enjoined on this man. Thus in the third place acceding to the Apocalipsis[lvi] and discussing some appearances with similar tenor, let us leave the material of discussing all things to the doctors and rather illustrious people to follow and after the expounded oracles of certain prophets and saints, let us end the little work with the due end. And in the second little book let us bring together the opinions of the doctors and let us affirm our painstaking fables with the illumination of the true things. For if some have affirmed Domitius Nero[lvii] to be the Antichrist on account of the monstrosity of the crimes and have claimed that Antiochus represents the same individual and the most approved doctors have taught that the rest of the pests rising against the church are the precursors of the wicked beast, why will those who try to place a blemish on the works of others prattle that we have made an incongruous placement after today? Behold discussing the prophecy of Danihel in the first place, I will serve the conclusions that are brief and have consequence, and I will expound not all things in depth, but some things in part and I will not divert this away from the regulations of the forefathers into a side-path. For he says about the eleventh horn of the beast: 'The fourth beast,' he says, 'which you have seen will be the fourth kingdom, which will be greater than all kingdoms.'[lviii] Or it is doubtful that he means the Roman, many times elevated and spread wider than the rest of the kingdoms. 'Moreover the ten horns are the ten kings of the kingdom, and another will rise after them and he will be more powerful than those before, and he will humble three kings and he will speak words against the One on High and he will wear down the saints of the Most High. And he will think that he could change the times and laws and they will be handed into his hand all the way for the time, the times and half of the time.' All of these things Porfirus[lix] applied historically and appropriately to Antiocus,[lx] but our people have applied it typically in Antiocus and more truly and specifically more correctly to the Antichrist. Nonetheless we say for our part that it matches this precursor of the damned man of our time. For rising in the eleventh number, which is always sinister in the sacred scriptures, he dominated three kingdoms, while he has occupied the provinces of the Greeks and Franks that were strong under the name of the Romans and trampled the necks of the western Goths[lxi] with the conquering foot and while he has tried to dissipate the Decalogue- that is, the whole religion and the number which is generally inserted for the whole- and has tried to be proud against the faith of the Trinity that has been fortified with hope, faith and kindness. For he fabricates with petulant swelling discourses against the God on High, weighs those grand things and conceals those smoking things that are truly prior to the Antichrist and sufficiently adverse against our humble religion. And he thinks to conceal the law of the Lord, shining with the Sun of miracles, with the nebulous darkness, and he contrives for his supporters false and risible stories for his supporters with ridiculous audacity as if they were from the order of the Most-High Lord. He has done this fabricating fabulous lies with false pen, impure front and theatrical craft, even as they are bound with no vigour of strength and reason. He wears down the saints of God and from the stars of heaven, that is, the sons of the church, he tramples a part with scurrilous foot, which is more proven by the evidence of the eyes than our discourse of exposition. But also then the part of 'time, times and half of the time' regarding his head is to be applied in particular to the Antichrist and it is to be asked why he did not openly say three and a half years, but obscurely the divine discourse used that term which has been accustomed to give birth to diverse sense in the hearts of the doctors. For the year has both four times and one year is called a time, and designated by the name of times are fifty and one hundred and brief and long space of hours, days, months and years. For the Hebrews accept one time as 70 years according to the following- 'The days of our years are for seventy years'-[lxii] and according to the number of years in which they were bound by the yoke of servitude under Nabuquodnosor.[lxiii] And led by that sense of understanding, the Hebrews in this place consider 'a time, times and a half of a time' to be 245 for the people of the Ysmahelites,[lxiv] and after they have been completed they are confident with rather audacious words that their kingdom will be brought to an end, so note that in this year of the incarnation of the Lord- that is, 854- and the current era of 892,[lxv] there are reckoned 240 lunar years of Arabs,[lxvi] but 229 solar years, from which sum there remain 16 solar years.
But we leave these things to the sole understanding of God and to those who touched with the divine spirit can ascend the cloud with Moyses and gaze on the hidden things of God with clear face through his revealing. But with skill one must consider and take measures through the legal zeal of discussion lest the mad mind should try to expound rashly on this enveloped obscurity and detested insanity should presume to retract the manifold designated opinion of the audacious and insolent. For he says in the end of the volume: 'Very many will go across and knowledge will be multiplied.'[lxvii] He announces with presaging spirit the diversity of those interpreting, and he foregrounds not the commentaries of the stupid, but of the wise. For there will be manifold knowledge while many have opined many things, not in error, but in discussion, and the causes of the various times have been revealed with one discourse. So also I opine as per the primary meaning of the figures and the manifold inductive analysis of the issues that one and the same thing has been repeated very often multiple times, and that in three and four places under other things and far removed from the prior figure of demonstration, it figures the very same thing as the first. And this ought to be understood in all the works of prophecy, as I think, and it should signify through one book of prophecy the causes of the whole time under the various appearances of repetition. This opinion, if it is considered with worthy and friendly mind, will not be disapproved by the exaggeration of ill-will, but confirmed by the outcomes of evident causes. And confirmed by this kind of understanding, we can thus proceed without error, so that not only do we say that the prophets of announced with divine spirit those things which occurred in their own time, but also presaged most evidently those things of all ages that were to occur, so that the divine discourse should expound in one context of discourse the occurrences of every age. Behold in Abbacuc[lxviii] discourse is directed against Nabuquodnosor: soon what is clear is revealed to those who see things that resemble and befit everything, and it will not deviate from the path of truth if the prophecy directed against the Caldeans is expounded also against them. This indeed more befits the wisdom of God and the Catholic dogma which we serve rather than our saying that the story of this madman and of other kingdoms was not foreseen prophetically. Indeed as it seems to me, what has been said in particular about the head of the damned, serves enigmatically those who see sharply regarding the limb, or so that I should say more evidently, regarding its throat. And the Catholic faith does not abhor this sense of intelligence, for those things which the prophetic spirit says eloquently at the end of the volume regarding the head of the proud and which are ventilated with subtle investigation, are discussed with a view to being directed at this host of the most wicked spirit: 'He will be elevated,' he says, 'and magnified against every god,'[lxix] that is, of the Gentiles, whom he has worn down with the foot of contempt, even as he seemingly magnifies them by the religion of his God. 'And against the God of gods he will speak wondrous things.' That is, against the Lord of lords, the eternal Creator of heaven and earth, he spoke that law which he composed by poisonous instinct of demons in His name and composed for his followers as the false third testimony through false subreption. 'And he will not regard the god of his forefathers': that is, the idols of the Ismahelites that they used to worship all the way up to that time. 'And he will be lustful for women.' Who cannot see in this place that this unchaste man is designated by this pronouncement? And although in Hebrew these words are read as dubiously placed, that namely he has and does not have lust for women, with Aquila saying: 'And he will not have understanding regarding the god of his forefathers, and he will not have understanding regarding desire for women and regarding every god.'[lxx] With these words, as I have said, he is understood both to have lack of lust for women and not to have, because I think it has been dubiously placed, so that it should reveal both with one sense of pronouncement to those who know, namely in affirming lust for women in this prior beast and declaring it is not present in the latter, while having and not having can be understood in one treatment of sense. It is not right that the discord of works should be assigned to one person, but as I have said, thus it indicates one person with one text of discourse such that it does not dismiss another, and in such a way does the prophetic discourse strike the prior one, that the divine spirit does not leave the later one untouched.
It is suiting, and it befits very well, as I think, that the derided errors of these Gentiles should be surveyed in this place and to expound to the whole church the stenches to be considered as execrable. For they say and chatter with inappropriate disciplines, as though with egregious shouting, that this man, occupied with the womanising work of those lovers, obtained the power of Afrodisia[lxxi] above all men and that the will of Venus more abundant than all was granted to him as a gift by his God and that he had the fluidity of the most foul work and more abundant than the rest and managed it with easier effect than others and that flux in sex and vigour, indeed the abundance of forty men in exercising lust for women, were brought to him by the gods. The same unchaste man called alkaufeit[lxxii] this filthy and fat abundance of his stinking loins which came not from God the parent of things, as that most unjust criminal dreamed, but from Venus the disgraceful wife of Vulcan, that is, the wife of hellfire, who was also called Afrodis[lxxiii] on account of the foaming liquid, to whom also venereal work is ascribed. Certainly egregious praise and the elegant gift of abundance in carnal lusts, for which that invective of exaggeration is aptly suitable among the Srahelic[lxxiv] people, as it drips from the prophet's mouth concerning the flux of the Egyptians. 'She will be mad,' he says, 'for intercourse with them, whose fleshes are as the fleshes of asses and whose fluxes are as the fluxes of horses.'[lxxv] And this: 'They became horses raging in madness for the women. Each one went to lie carnally with the wife of his neighbour.'[lxxvi] This most impure prophet is said to have done this and is renowned to have preached this, for seduced and enticed by his desire he took the wife of his next of kin who was agreeing with his faith, and he falsely claimed that she was joined by God to him through the revelation of Gabrihel.[lxxvii] His most impure followers, practising with their utmost impurity this sect, have all become lewd and adulterers, as both through an oath they annul marriage, which they join with greater disgrace by committing adultery again, and by multiplying the concubines they are womanisers through devotion in marriage to three or four women,[lxxviii] indeed more truly they are all lewd horses going to have intercourse or bellowing asses. Indeed it is shameful to make known again all those things which, sought and permitted to them, they do with plausibility (woe is me) regarding women, usurping the natural law and seeking out new ways of lusts. And the redness of our cheeks does not permit us to cast discourse against the enemy, particularly when shame commands silence. And although the accurate invective with exerted effort brings forth all things into the field and expounds and explains the things to be attacked by the javelins of the warriors, nonetheless the troubling action and the parts not worthy of the effort desire more to be exposed lightly with brief signification of meaning rather than to be exposed as disgraces for the modest readers with the bearing of word, uncovered discourse and unashamed tongue, lest we should also lose in our discourse the shame which they have come to lack in their deeds.
But no one is so lost in lust and dirty with the filth of the pigsty than this pimp made unjust in his filthy acts, who also, as we have said, enjoyed in his lust the wives of other people, hid the sordid nature of his filth by angelic order and promised his believers that they would come to possess continually harlots everywhere who would be worn out by no sufficient copulation in the paradise of his God as the gift of remuneration. This is such that the extreme heat is not finished by the instinct of one with the accustomed mouth in the space, but the delight of the asses flowing forth in particular is extended through the delight of 70 men, so each spiritless colonist of Paradise will have his flux amplified and his rather fat desire extended, and through every copulation the virginity lost with such broad crime and perforated with such an inflexible rod will serve again those who enjoy it after it has been restored and the recent mutilation of the very disrupted small skin and again the putting together of the bur anew will not terrify those enduring by the pain of performance, but will delight both with the sweetness of the delight. This will make the desire of possession through this more avid for the minds and not put an end to the most ardent renewal of gluttony, but will extend it, and many other very great things which concerning both sexes and both natures the enticing invective has not shamed to top off for the lost people with impure cheeks out of the persona of the most omnipotent Lord. All these things we will discuss in another work in a clearer manner and with more polished invective, if God grants life.
He continues: 'And he has not cared for any of the gods, as he arises against all things.'[lxxix] Of course he has despised the religion of the heathens, Jews and even that of the Christians and he has arisen against all. 'But He will venerate the god Maozim in his place.' Maozim is called great and greater or mighty and most mighty. But if someone may say that it means not greater, but most mighty, we respond to him that this religion pretends that it venerates the most mighty, that is, god, in His place. But thus he does, 'so that he may fortify Maozim with another god whom he has known.' This is explained more openly by Teudotion: 'And these things,' he says, 'he says so that he may fortify the garrisons with another god; and when he shows them'- that is, his own people- 'he will multiply the honour and will bring about domination over many and the land will be divided as a free gift.'[lxxx] So he pretends that he worships the most mighty God, so that he may introduce to his people another god and through veneration of God multiply honour among the peoples and accumulate domination. This is done by that man in the smoking towers everyday[lxxxi] with enormous and monstrous bellowing and in the manner of wild beasts, with the lips loosened and the breathing of the throat opened as those who suffer from heat-burn cry out and in crying out as the people afflicted with madness exclaim, so that they may fortify Maozim with another god whom he has known, that is, so that he may fortify with one name of veneration Maozim, whom they call Cobar (which means 'greater'),[lxxxii] with another god, who is that demon that appeared to him in the form of Gabrihel. And through this he may thus cover his error in the hearts of the believers, while he extols in the name of the greater God the ritual of crying out and infects the minds of the noble people with his superstitious effort and wicked spirit. But lest I should seem to be saying this in an enigmatic way and not appropriately and lest I should be thought to be bringing forth things sought through human ingenuity rather than elucidated through divine spirit, more open proofs should be brought in. For behold devoted to the same ritual they still call by the same name those days in which they consecrate insanity in the house of the idol, and on account of the diversity of the Arabic language, which differs only slightly in most nouns from Hebrew, the same festival days are called Almozem,[lxxxiii] and in that very time in which already from antiquity that people placed in heathenism rushed from all parts to the aforementioned idol, now the same lost crowd rushes together annually and they continuously serve the same demon, whom they think is extirpated from that very place by the magnitude of their faith. Maozim in His place, as the prophet reported with divine spirit, they worship even today, as they both call the days by the accustomed name and that month which they call Almoarram:[lxxxiv] as the worshippers of idolatry once held it up, thus these people today with more abundant perfection, as they seem to themselves, carry it through all the way to heaven. It is shameful to expound his madness bit by bit to the home and the aim is not to attack some things to be derided from the many javelins, when it is held in our minds to publicise all the things at some point to the faithful. 'And his glory will be multiplied and he will give them power over many and he will divide for them the land for free.'[lxxxv] So he has divided for them the land more than he has given heaven and glory for free, while he has established a law which they did not know all the way up to that time. Nonetheless the Hebrews assert that not for free, but rather selling of the land with a price has been put in place. This is explained more openly by Teodotion: 'And these things,' he says, 'he says so that he may fortify the garrisons with another god; and when he shows them'- that is, his own people- 'he will multiply the honour and will bring about domination over many and the land will be divided for those beloved to him.' Through this let the action of this people and kingdom be revealed evidently. For these people even sell for precious money those places that they mark out for the institutes of business, in which the market day is normally carried out, even as they lack covering and are laid open to the Sun and sky. They do this in such a manner that no audacious and presumptuous person will take up in any case, except with the price lowered, the thought of dealing in those things which the appropriate necessity demands. All these things were instituted by the eleventh horn who spoke huge things. He arose from a modest tribe and grew with rather augmented influence not through his own power, but through trickery and emulation of the law. And he gradually invaded the realm and subdued the arms of the Romans- that is, the fortifications of the Emperor Eraclius[lxxxvi]- in certain places. So from the part this whole prophecy matches that man, in which the beast is said to come forth from a modest people, from where they are said to have been seen in the horn of the beast like the eyes of man. For what is signified through the eyes through which the vision is directed except that law, which on the instinct of demons he brought to these lost people with the judgement of God hidden? 'So the lucid precept of the Lord illuminating the eyes.'[lxxxvii] But as they have been revealed not in the tenth number, but in the eleventh and as they have been marked out not as eyes but quasi-eyes, then in the same way it should not be called the law in the proper sense of the word, but rather it should be believed to be a quasi-law, usurped as it is, and to be approved in truth through this as something in opposition to the divine testaments. This is that huge discourse against God, this is the fortitude elevated against the Most High, this is that presumption of the stars of heaven, partly trampled down through the foot of victory. I pass over many things because I am very much hurrying.
Let us come to the blessed Job and hurriedly expound the power of the Behemoth from his most holy words.[lxxxviii] He said that he was rising as the Dawn over the sons of the earth and with open mouth through the revelation of the divine spirit to him he demonstrated to the following generation all his smoky light that was preceding the darkness of the night and enveloping the hearts of all with darkness. In the beginning of these words the name is to be seen in a rather neat manner and from the name the brutish insensibility of his works is to be expounded. For he is called an animal, as the Behemoth translates from Hebrew to Latin as animal. Openly or doubtful that his stupidity is divulged through this name, if indeed he is illiterate and does not know how to read and write anything. Also he chooses hay in eating, not wheat, preaching things that are wholly empty and have nothing from the stupidity of the religion, but only dressed with the error of insanity and perfidy. But also the filth that he eats, empty men can understand from the law as being those he has deceived, as all had been infected with the heathen filth and evil of idolatry, whom he found empty and devoured and bound to himself with perpetual bond. Possessing fortitude in the loins and in the belly, as above, he expounded on the texts of the exposition alone rather clearly. Also how much luxury and headlong lust retain these regions in both sexes. Stretching through the rather increased authority of the law the fourth seminary licentiously and with wandering freedom, he imagined himself as expanded in power and he managed to obtain a generation numerously through the vines of his propagations. 'He has drawn together his tail as the cedar tree,' while foreseeing for the future he solidified the followers of his faith through the severity of the law and the diabolical regulations, and this tail we have come to know as we, established in the most recent time, have been sustaining the rather vicious persecution of the beast. For he himself is that 'impudent king' with his 'face' in lusts and adulteries and 'understanding the tricks of his unjust schemes.'[lxxxix]
'Having the intricate nerves of testicles,' flowing with lusts and saturated with germination, or preachers against the humanity of God and those robust with the assertion of the acumen of our Lord. 'His bones like tubes of bronze.' All the robust of that man rendering incomprehensible the plausible sound of the Arabic language, doubtless as the blessed Gregorius says: 'In the manner of metal they have the incomprehensible sound of speaking well, but they do not have the sense of living well.'[xc] 'His cartilage like sheets of iron.' For cartilage has the appearance of bone, but does not retain the arduous firmness.[xci] In that way also the ministers of this most unjust leader show superficially the appearance of piety to the lost, but they lack the fruit of the same most chaste piety, imitating the vigour of the hypocrites, not the saints, but emulating the virtue of sincerity of the crafty, not the humble, dissimulators and clever, who always provoke the anger of the Lord. After the exposition of their tricks, He strikes the inspirer of the word with the sword. 'He himself,' he says, 'is the beginning of the ways of God,' as if he were saying: thus does the most unjust man suffice for so many great and greater things multiplied in a manifold way, as his inspirer the devil has been previously established in the nature of things through substance. But the most wise Creator, who made him the first of all creatures, has justly rolled up his sword in certain people, since He has not permitted him to rave against the elect as much as his malign will desires. 'The mountains bring grasses to this person.' Indeed the elated generations and most savage tyrants offer to him their wills and to him certainly the demons, who are called dark mountains in the scriptures, or the chiefs of the earth and the philosophers, who offer to him exquisite tricks and cultivated foods of various doctrines of mendacity. 'All the beasts of the field will play there,' and in the heart the most impious demons and in the law the innovations of many heresies. From these sects he imbibed a coloured poison with open mouth, assiduously infected the confection, and finished his euphrasy with the thousand-fold rite of sects: that euphrasy which he composed from the doctrines of the heathen philosophers and the Jews and provided for the various peoples as a covering with the colour of faith as he handed over the digging of the vineyard to all the light elements. 'He sleeps under the shade,,' that is of the darkness and death or darkness and error, not from Christ who is believed to be the true and eternal Sun and is illustrated with the thin ray of light, 'in the secret of the reed and in the moist places,' where there is grassy will and where there are fluid liquid and hateful wantonness, and where there are unrestrained barbarity and execrable fury and intricate luxury and propagation and initiation of marriages, while the dissolution and enervation of souls flow about, and in which there are packed together those who outwardly appear bright and are inwardly devoid of marrow. 'The shades protect his shade.' Certainly all the unjust defend that man's mendacity by their own mendacity in due obedience. For just as truth is in the body, so falsity is in the shade of the body. For all, as I have said, who are unjust and full of the filth of savagery protect that man's mendacity by their own mendacity and where he by chance has not paid due attention and has become lame with weak step and has not cared to defend himself after being overcome by the truth, these leaders both flourishing with secular wisdom and flowering with the crafty skill of assertions defend him ornately with exquisite pronouncements and engage in elated composition through their art and erudite falsity, and they colour the open mendacity of his work with the coloured falsity of words. But also the shades can be interpreted as other demons, who imagine that they protect this inhabitant of the most wicked body through their own obsequiousness. For they will say that he brought about peace among the most wicked spirits dissenting among themselves and brought over many of the demons to his faith and handed over his law to them to be committed to memory. So also in the horrible law itself frequently from the person of God the words of preaching are brought to demons and men and it is frequently implied that they believe him. 'Burning willows will surround him,' that is the unfruitful and which grow green again through the flux of lusts. For the seed of this tree, taken up in the food, renders them sterile. Such are the ministers of the enemy of the church, arid with the sterility of faith and killing the sowing of the doctrine within. 'He will absorb a river and he will not wonder,' that is the multitude of peoples from the notice of the law, which he has devoured at the roots. 'And he has confidence that the Jordan will flow into his mouth,' thinking also that he can consume by the viperous trick those whom the water of the sacred baptism has washed and the character of the law has dedicated by the sign of the cross to Christ our God and king.
Now those things which follow pertain more to the inhabitant of the small vessel prepared for perpetual insult rather than that twice-dead man, who seeing bait and ignoring the hook was pierced while attaching the bite, seeing as he who felt the break-in of Zabulus[xcii] and wrongly believed it was the angel of light and was captured not without his own knowledge. 'And he perforated his nostrils with pikes.' Through the nostrils odour is drawn up and the things placed outside are immediately indicated by the smell. Indeed our Master and Lord pierces his nostrils until today with pikes, for through the prudence of the saints he weakens all the tricks of those people's crafty strategies.[xciii] Now the divine word puts an apostrophe at another word and with more expressed name reveals his arts and plans. 'Or can you extract Leviathan with a hook?' The addition of them is called Leviathan; of whom of course if not of haughty men who always strive to be seen as more than they are?[xciv] This applies most aptly to this man, who through his own rashness devised, in addition to those things that had been brought out by the mouth of God, to bring in seemingly other novelties. He is deservedly designated by the name of the serpent, because proceeding like the serpent he has crept through and filled up the whole world in general, and he was then captured truly by the hook of divinity when in striving for the body he was pierced by the acumen of the word. 'And the circle placed on the nostrils,' he holds it, because although he strikes mighty things astutely, nonetheless he runs inside the circle of the craftsman, and not so much tempting as he strives and not so much striving as he tempts. Also his 'perforated jaw' is mentioned, because in general those he invades with avid mind, he dismisses with rather powerful ordination. But once he was seized, he could not go out, if the jaw of the snake did not have an opening.[xcv] 'He multiplies prayers to God,' while his limbs address the Lord for individual moments on his behalf; the prayers are to be interpreted as the laws which he bound with outlandish mockery. And 'he speaks soft things' which through their mouths resound everyday as akin to a call for mercy with much splendour of eloquence, as they continuously say: 'Oh Lord, spare that prophet,' and not in the more usual manner of locution by which it has been accustomed to speak on behalf of others, but figuratively and with much conversation accommodated to other matters they say: 'May God sing psalms over him and keep him safe.' But just as we unceasingly through every action and ever conversation from the authority of the Gospel when storms drive on we say as taught by the apostles: 'Oh Christ, save us,' so they through all moments unceasingly repeat the aforementioned phrase and exclaim this in familiar and preaching voice in the homes and towers, and they repeat it and proclaim it, and he who flows through many things and leaves behind from many whom he has lost is commended with frequent prayer. But he will not be able to be cleansed by the prayers of the transgressors, for he has blinded by the deception of his error those who pray for him so that they should not be heard. Nonetheless all his doctrine made exquisite by his trickery amounts to soft words, for promising transitory and fluctuating things, it remains bound tight with slipping and enticing sweetness; and soft are those words that he forged in an argumentative and exquisite manner that he dreamt up in that horrible law of his. And as the law of God intonates to the angels and men from the lord, so this doctrine from the region of the devil offers to the demons and lost men the word of faith, repeatedly and assiduously saying: 'Oh multitude of demons and men,' which in Arabic is pronounced as iemahascar algen.[xcvi] And indeed the author of that was destroyed as a bird, for while seeking the food with the gullet leading him, he did not foresee the traps of the snare. He is deservedly called a bird because he is the king of that air, in which the birds fly and the princes of darkness hold sway. Indeed he arose uncouth and illiterate, Behemoth, that is- the animal- was he called; indeed he appeared deceitful, cunning and clever, so he was called the serpent and dragon. And he is called a bird because he proceeded haughty, elated and wandering and with no restraint of temperance has he fortified himself. 'Friends will fell him,' indeed of the Lord, these people who expose that man's tricks to the whole world and contend with public profession that he leapt in as the enemy of the church. So he is felled as often as he is marked out with anathema. 'Negotiators will divide him': the holy men who dividing the limbs of the snake from the perfidious head join them to themselves. And 'you will fill the fishing nets with his skin and the hovel of fish with his head.' He designates the exterior things by the skin, and the greater and more splendid things by the head. 'With the order preserved, it is the nets and the hovel of the fish- that is- his church and the vows of the faithful- he asserts that he will first fill with his skin and later his head. Indeed he has first chosen the weak things so that afterwards he should confound the strong things.' Inside the church he first gathers the outer and weak of the faithful like the skin of the devil and afterwards he subjects the prudent adversaries to himself through his head.[xcvii] 'And the Lord will place His hand over him,' for He represses him by His strong power and does not permit him to rage more than it is expedient. It is said to the church: 'Remember the war and do not seek to speak further,' beyond that which has been put in place and received with sacraments. Recall to mind his internal battles against you and do not accuse the Lord concerning the exterior thing that you behold with much power elevated; and certainly remember that the struggle of fight is placed against you for this purpose, so that the one who struggles legitimately should be crowned, provided that as he bears the attacks of the temptations with patience he presumes nothing concerning his due beyond that which he sees has been elevated in the extremity by the authority of the law of the Lord, lest incurring any addition of haughtiness, the Leviathan of him should be justly figured in his body. Indeed 'hope will frustrate him' to escape the hand of the Craftsman and in his delusion thinks he will not suffer the eternal punishment of the dark angel, or he will be frustrated in that hope by which he believes that he can spread with the largess of flux the passive lust in the future generation through various harlots.
'With all seeing'- the elected and the spurious and those he has deceived- 'he will be thrown headlong' into the pool of burning fire. 'I will not raise him as if I am cruel'- for I who am more merciful through him impose the due reward for the just and the appropriate punishment for the unjust who have merited it. 'For who will be able to resist My face?' From whom proceeds this consecrated and just ordination in the world? No one certainly, oh Lord, You who are merciful and enduring above the evils of men. And 'who previously gave to Me that I should render to him?' Again we say most truly to You, oh most just Creator and most pious God, 'no one,' for from You every creature has received the vigour of subsisting. If therefore, we wretches one cannot resist the Omnipotent and we do not retain from our work the eternal debtor, transitory as we are, let us not try to discuss the accounting of His works, which we see is just through punishment of the sinners and generous from rewarding the just. But lest despair should tear through the souls of those who hear, soon the divine censure will promulgate the sentence to come that has been brought against him, saying: 'I will not spare him for powerful words that are also composed for entreaty.' The composition, as I have already said, of words and the entreaties of all his limbs everyday for him with elegant eloquence and discourse finely contrived: through their volumes we today read these things with our eyes and in general are amazed. But he is not to be spared for such great things, for the prayer of the transgressors is done in sin, and through ceaseless bending and the multiple pressings of the head, which they fix very frequently to the ground in ostentatious display, it acquires not remedy for them, but eternal punishment.[xcviii] Through this it is given to be understood in particular hat every prayer and deed, which are not based on the faith of God, will be found empty and harmful in the time of the judgement. For without Christ every virtue is in vice, as he says: 'I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but he will have the light of life.' And again: 'I am the way, the truth and the life.' But whoever does not hold the light, truth, life and way, will walk in darkness and retain falsehood and wandering through the off-paths will incur the eternal death. 'Who will reveal the faith of his garment?': that is, who will lay bare his wickedness that feigns piety all the way up to his face? 'And who will enter in the middle of his mouth?' Who will penetrate the cleverness of his unjust law, and who will bring out to the air through most sharp discussion the convoluted error and the number of letters, which he covered in certain places of his fabulous law? 'Who will open his gates?': that is, the ones which he shut closed and covered with poison? It is understood: 'except Me': I who make openly manifest to My elect and weak flock, indeed to all my small ones the cunningly deceitful wisdom of the teachers of that man and the subtle fraud and the trickery covered with the evident knowledge of the devil, brought together as it is with poison.[xcix] 'Fear through the circle of his teeth': the meaning here is the terror of power through evident signs, which arises to punish his deceit and the word of the most deceitful mouth with the severe revenge of the law. 'The body of that person: molten shields.' Molten shields are those that resist the blows of the weapons, but they are fragile through a fall.[c] So the preachers of that most cruel beast are through the obstinacy of their minds harsh against those who preach the true things and are wretched and transitory through the conversation of their works, as they, inflated with the wind of haughtiness, contradict the church and kill themselves by their own will through the lapse of flesh. 'Himself compacted with pressing scales.' The body of the dragon has been compacted with the scales so that it should lie open to the javelins of the preachers, as it casts its scales in opposition to the church so that it cannot be pierced by the arrow of truth, but it presses itself, and not others, as the shield of defences thinks that is covered. 'One is joined to one and not even a breathing proceeds through them.' That is the breathing of life, for they have been hardened and joined obstinately to evil, rendering the scent of good odour to no one. 'They will adhere to each other and holding themselves will not in any way be separated.' Indeed tied together as one and the same through strong binding and tenacious glue of iniquity they have been glued together by the vice of evils. 'His sneezing is the splendour of fire.' What is meant by sneezing except the inflation of the chest and the commotion of the head? And what is meant by the commotion of the head and inflation of the chest except haughtiness, fury, anger and inconstancy of the mind? By splendour is meant that force of fury, because an insane madness rages against the worshippers of Christ as through it is with the vengeance of the law, feigning itself to have the splendour of the law, which retains not the small torch of light, but the most black flame of burning. But, as I have said, putting on the colour of truth it feigns to defend justice in the eyes of those who gaze on, but in truth It is the dark fire of Gehennam, because it does not illuminate creation but burns it. 'His eyes as the eyelids of dawn.' Through the eyes we absorb light. And what are the eyes of the Behemoth except either his orders, through which he falsely claims to pour in light, or the wise through whom the cunning stretched rather broadly runs in various directions? They pledge that they repel the darkness and proclaim the light of truth with clear signs, asserting that the faith of Christ is darkness and that they designate for the believers in the morning the truth with certain deceptive lines of evidence. They can thus also be understood by the saying of 'as the eyelids of dawn,' because he has tried to imitate in dissimulation the prior old law in some tenuous aspect, as though by certain decrees of judgements and rigours of precepts. But 'lamps proceed from his mouth,' not full of light with the glow of faith, but dark for those who behold because of the smoke of blackness. For it follows: 'As the resinous pinewood torch of a lit-up fire.' When the resinous pinewood torch is lit, it bears the dark fire and pours forth groups of clouds and sends them as they stretch through empty things into the sky. Thus also the law of this man is not lit with the fire of vengeance of the Lord but through the cunning of dissimulation it bears the darkness of error in the place of splendour.
'Smoke proceeds from his nostrils.' For through the nostrils odour is drawn. And what are indicated by the noses except his conjurers of odour? That is, the wise and distinguished men. He will not bring forth as a scent of nectar and ambrosia and thyme to those who smell, but a cadaverous rancidness to those who always suffice themselves. And deservedly it is designated by the noun of fire, so that the material of hypocrisy should be exposed by a rather apt term. 'His breath makes coals burn'; indeed the breath is the respiration of life and the life of men is the law of God, which corrects the customs of men and directing the state of human health puts it together with desired peace. But the law-bearing sanction of this person makes coals burn, because he fills his own followers with carnal desire and transitory love and with continual ambition so that they should burn, he teaches them certain examples and rules. One can also take as their breath the burning sword which he threatens as he glows, which he has most cruelly cast on the whole world with universal execution as we have said after the world had been put together with the peace and patience of the Lord, as he is truly the Antichrist proceeding on the path opposite to that of the Redeemer. The follow-up of the book explains this more overtly as it says: 'And flames come out from his mouth,' which pressing on the Christians and servants of the Omnipotent Lord has made hearts burn with the lust of carnal things and has made them burn with the mixing of many filthy things. 'On his neck fortitude will linger,' the power and regal vigour and running far-and-wide in different directions the princeps' degree mighty with imperial authority. But 'poverty will precede his face;' the poverty of promising something of truth and certainly the poverty of true doctrine, which from the day of the coming out of the best has been diminished and broken, or the signs of powers and miracles, which shine moderately and not as in the beginning with multiple flowering. 'The limbs of his flesh clinging to themselves.' The divine words frequently repeat the same things and as they have designated the strong of them clinging together by the name of their own mouth, so they have distinguished the soft and weak by the limbs of the flesh, so that they may affirm the whole mass of the lost that is also shown here by the filth of the iniquity brought together and they may teach that it has in no way been separated from the punishments in the future. For everywhere they stand clinging to themselves and not disjoined, for they have both been joined to themselves in this life through wicked will and in future damnation they have not been divided from each other by the most just equity of the just judge. 'He sends against him lightning bolts and they are not carried to another place,' for the divine threats, when they apprehend him and his limb, will not cross over to the punishments of others, for that which burns in them, they will have abundantly. 'His heart will be hardened like a stone,' because no one or certainly the small will revert to the faith of truth from his limb. 'And he will be bound like the anvil of the hammerer.' Bound by the ropes of the sinners they will be hardened like the anvils of the hammerer. The anvil of the hammerer is thus bound so that it may be struck with assiduous blows; and these people thus bound with persistent perfidy as per their prior merits, so that they may be beaten in the places of hell with continual beating. 'When he is raised, the angels will fear and the terrified will be purged.' The preachers of the church sent by Christ, who are purged in the end from the lighter sins through the vision of that terror. 'When the sword apprehends, it will not be able to resist, nor the spear, nor the breastplate.' He is apprehended by the sword but it will not be able to control his anger, neither the spear nor the breastplate resists him because he has both killed those who preach the true things to him and he has insistently condemned those who suffer; or the spear and breastplate will not resist him in the time of war, while both dreaded fear terrifies the heads flourishing in the duty of preaching and the robust of the holy church, having been weakened, agree. This is explained more manifestly in the following words. 'He will reject,' he says, 'the iron' of the fear of the church 'and the bronze' of the continual office, ringing through the songs of the world, 'as chaff and putrid wood,' while he wears down the brave and he mocks the deluded leaders. 'The archer will not put him to flight,' that is the church preacher; this very luminously suits this time of ours and grants to the Catholics the victory of triumphs against the stupid invective of reprehension. 'Into stubble the stones of the sling have been turned for him'; that is the sanctuary stones that strike the hearts in the manner of stones and certainly by which the home of the Lord, that is, that heavenly Jerusalem, is decorated with eternal fortification with the most beautiful crafts; but as stubble they are reckoned because either they will be dissolved into nothing through the sword, or through the deceptions of enticement, agreeing with the error they will be reduced into the softness of filth. But what is wondrous if stones are cast down by him who despises the hammer striking him? 'He will reckon the hammer as stubble' and with the human form taken his striker the Lord of things Jesus Christ. Or is not the reckoning of the hammer for him as stubble the imagining of the king of all ages as equal and similar to the first man?
'And he will mock the spear as it is brandished': the threat of this holy law, continually causing ruin to rattle for him, while he mocks the arrows of God, that is, His preachers, and despises their words which presage ruin for them as the delirious words of insane people. 'He stretches out gold for himself like mud,' as he despises the spiritual sense like mud and tramples down the Christian people with the foot of victory and profaning the holy things of God and detracting and treading down the law of God with unremitting derision. 'A profound sea boils up as a pot,' while he harasses the world with wars and while he lights up the hearts with desire and lust of secular things as he displays with legal instinct and the zeal of God. 'He will place as ointments when they boil up,' as all these things which are done wickedly with the zeal of rightness and faith, he boasts to turn against the adversaries and contrarians, fulfilling that Gospel: 'All who kill us will think that they are displaying obedience to God.'[ci] This we see has happened in our time, when we consider the blood of the faithful that has been offered to the Lord as though in defence of the law and we have seen with our eyes the bodies of the martyrs burned by the heathens, and what is to be cried over with more abundant weeping, we have wondered at most of the fathers declaring as anathema those who suffer such things. 'After him the path will be clear.' Clear things do not need exposition and this is so open and clear that it does not need a teacher as the matter itself is glowing. For after the ignominious departure of that wicked man the path glows with such great doctrines and superstitions, that if the most clement Arbiter did not rule the hearts of the best citizens with inspiration from above, the flow of that man of this world would deceive all people. And there is no need for exhaustive exposition on the matter which is clearer than light, which has brought explanation with exquisite washing through all supplications in cleanliness and the overflowing things of the bath, as well as in the most subtle discipline of many arts, which has been inflicted only on the corporeal limbs and by which the eloquence of the orators will be able to be elucidated. For the whole path of theirs that is clear glows most of all in that, which ministers the fomentation of extravagancy and the substance of delinquency to the flesh, not that which may constrain the soul from the lapse of deception and from the flux of immorality through the correction of morals. 'He will think of the abyss as growing old.' Although the blessed Gregorius explains this in his own shining manner against the Origenists,[cii] nonetheless as the multiple sense of Catholic doctrine does not obstruct and in general the sacred scripture through one discourse and figure designates many things, let us follow the order of our exposition. The abyss is understood in many places of scripture as the law of God, and this individual has thought of the abyss as growing old, while in the disparaging of the Gospel he arranged a testament as something new and contrary to it. 'There is no power over the Earth which can be compared with him.' This means that nothing similar to him is to be found on earth that thus would both rage with the feigning of the law and oppress with the terror of power, for his inspirer was not from the inhabitants of the Earth, but rather one of the apostate angels, and in receding he twisted the prudence that had fallen from heaven with him into the contrary of wisdom. 'He was made so that he should fear no one' except God, who had filled him with such great décor of excellence, but he not content with the honour of all creatures to whom he had been preferred, desiring to have forever the addition of pride, did not show regard for the factor of fear in reverence nor did he preserve his own rank in being content with the blessedness, by which he was endowed and shone above the rest. From there flowing down to the bottom also he fell under the creatures of those who fear God. 'He sees everything sublime,' not desiring to be inside all things, but swelling with the wind of arrogance over all things and desiring to be extolled with power more sublime than all things. But also this clause can be interpreted without violence concerning his limb. For all that is concerned more precious in worldly affairs is subjected and offered to their diction. 'He himself is the king over all the sons of haughtiness.' In its manner the sacred scripture very often repeats and intents things once said, and it does not suffice to have depicted only once for the weak minds his pride and the swelling of the elated mind Not only does it call him haughty in the simple sense, but also it affirms that he has leadership over all haughty people. For all the heretics and the unjust authors of various heresies, this author of crime has ruled, and he who has openly betrayed himself through the mouth of this man, has brought to mind secretly and hissed huge fabrications through the doubt of the heretics, while taking cover with hidden appearance among them, plundering for this man all the open beautiful things, discussing malevolently through the tongues of those people the holy law, composing new things through the organ of this man. But also he will be confirmed more aptly as the king over all the sons of haughtiness, if all who come under his regime are dealt with in a clear manner. For they are swelling in haughtiness, elated in the swelling of the heart, fluid in the delight of carnal works, overflowing in gluttony, invaders and desirous in the acquisition of things and the plundering of the poor, stubborn in their removal from piety, lying without shame, deceptive without discretion, impudent without modesty of mind, cruel without mercy, invaders without justice, without honour, removed from truth, not knowing kindness as an affection, ignoring the turning of piety, full of tropes, ornated, clever, cunning and dirtied with the filth of all impieties not in a medial sense but rather a primary sense, deriding humility as insanity, rejecting chastity as filth, deriding virginity as the dirtiness of filth and trampling down the virtues of the mind in preference to vice, indicating their own customs by deed and habit.
In these things which I have touched on in summary concerning the book of the blessed Job even as I sense the weakness of my own powers, I have followed the comments of the blessed Gregorius. And that which he derived through certain schemes for the limbs of the dragon in general and for the small ruler in particular as he spoke with copious eloquence and made findings with eloquence, I have managed to explain appropriately regarding this beast that has arisen in our times utilising that authority by which I have known not to deviate in any respects from the rules of the explainers. For I have not relied on my own temerity and fixed new understandings for matters, but rather I have been following the forefathers and have been deferring to the significations through which I have been imbued with the disciplines, so not disagreeing in their sense or in the prefiguration of matters I have transplanted the whole image of the Antichrist onto this man. For what else is called the Antichrist besides the contrary of Christ? And what is this man if not an adversary of Christ who has waged battles with exerted muscles against the most holy dogmas of that man? Let us examine in this place, if it is expedient, his fabrication of machination from another angle.
He rejected the day of the resurrection of the Lord as an occasion for joy[ciii] and dedicated to the stomach and lust the sixth day of the passion of the Lord, which is itself dedicated to grieving and fasting.[civ] Christ taught peace and endurance, that man besmirched and sharpened war and the sword with the necks of the innocents, so that he should affirm that it was said about him and his people: 'Disperse the peoples who want wars.'[cv] For these people desire wars so much, that they carry out these things against all peoples as though from the order of God. Christ has illuminated the people handed to him by the gift of virginity and the good of chastity. That man (as I have said) has sullied the minds and bodies of his followers through the most fat delight, the crass liquor of pleasure and the incestuous intercourse. Christ taught marriage, that man divorce, Christ taught parsimony and fasting, that man did not keep in check with any restraint of law the banquets and enticements of feasts, offering forth extravagant luxury and extending the disgraceful pleasures. Christ restrained in all laws of continence and the limit of temperance the natural motion, without which human nature is found with difficulty, while this man, with the reins disrupted, granted in ever direction the license of committing innumerable sins to the lascivious people. Christ in the time of fasting ordains abstinence from the proper and licit banquet, while that man as much as possible in those days consecrated as vows the fat things for his followers in the reward of Venus. Christ promised the angelic and spiritual state for his servants, that man brings corporeal, or rather equine flux for his lost people. But both all heretics up to this point and all the errors previously from the time of the nativity of our Lord and the Son of God the Redeemer emanated from Judaea and the church, that is, from those whom the pure truth retained under the diction of the law, and no one else has carried power against the clear kingdom of Christ in the whole world except this most unjust dreamer of inane vanities, spreading this deceptive and cunning Antichrist, stretched forth wickedly with evil creeping through the whole circle of the world. And so as he was erected against Christ the teacher of humility and employed disparagement, beating and the sword against his most mild and pleasant precepts, he has been rightly called the Antichrist, as he has been found to be the most open defamer and most subtle destroyer of the Christian religion. Christ the Lord, who was affirming that he would come in certain figures before his corporeal birth in gesture and habit, had and that man has the precursors of his wickedness who represent him entirely in the trickery of transgression. If my readers want to rebuke this, let them first read the volumes of the teachers and through the meditation of reading consider further and not rule out those things which have been put in place openly.
More expediently, as I think, is expounded that which is seen than that which is obscured by certain veils of problems, and we more follow the story of the present evils rather than the future of expected matters, while that which we read was once announced in prophecy, we expound through the yoke of servitude by which we are oppressed. And I think that those who have affirmed that Antiocus, Nero and others whom the blessed teachers repeat are the previews of the Antichrist, would say this man is the organ to the Antichrist if they came into these times of ours. For both the admirable teacher our Iheronimus, although he opposes Porfirius regarding Antiocus and contradicts other most learned people on Domitius Nero, nonetheless did not deny that they had presented the figure of the Antichrist in part, but refuted with probable refutation that they were in particular the Antichrists as far as he could do so, and affirmed Antiocus himself was conceived in part as he said: 'Therefore just as the Saviour has Solomon and other saints in the type of his arrival, thus also the Antichrist is rightly believed to have had as his type the very evil king Antiocus, who persecuted the saints and violated the temple.'[cvi] And 'the things that preceded in part in him, are to be fulfilled in the Antichrist.'[cvii] The same admirable teacher says in the fourth book of Cata Matheum concerning all the heretics: 'I,' he says 'think that all the heresiarchs are Antichrists and teach in the name of Christ those things that are contrary to Christ. It is no wonder if we should see some seduced by these people, as the Lord said: 'And they will seduce many.'[cviii] Also the blessed Ihoannes says luminously in his epistle: 'You have heard that the Antichrist will come. But now there are many Antichrists.'[cix] Also there were other things that have supported this assertion of ours from the works of the teachers, but as the light glows with considerable clarity in the matter I have avoided superfluous delay. But lest we should be said to trust only our teacher Iheronimus and not be reckoned to be relying on the testimony of another, let us now bring forth a second time Ilarius the outstanding confessor into the battle-line and let us affirm the truth by the profession of the two people.
'That there are many Antichrists,' he said, 'we have also known through the preaching of the apostle Ioannes. For whoever has denied Christ as he was preached by the apostles is an Antichrist. The propriety of the name of Antichrist is to be contrary to Christ.'[cx] But having been placed into the transition of the work, we note that this is to be considered by the prudent reader: namely, those things that many teachers have said about the Antichrist, for that man coming bustles about to revive the Mosayc law, while he institutes the injustice of circumcision for the sake of exercising the firmness of the faith, and so he is seen to have revived in part, sharpening the knife of circumcision with plausibility and prohibiting impiously and restraining the followers of his sect from the flesh of pigs. But as we have promised that things congruous to this very narrow work would be expounded from the Apocalipsis, although, as I have frequently said, the Antichrist exhibits all these things in himself presently, nonetheless let us deal with these things by the lead of the spirit as the ecclesiastical habit retains very frequently: therefore let us discuss most evidently the things fulfilled in part concerning the aforementioned enemy; and we have no doubt about this evil loquacious one. For no one is found during this time of ours under their kingdom who buys or sells immune from the name of the very vicious beast.[cxi] For all most frequently provide a shelter for him in the front, that is, in the main area of the heart, and in the hand, that is, in regarding works with sluggishness. This is so as we have his mark, while we deem the neglected and most approved customs of the holy fathers as pest-bearing sects of the Gentiles, and we have his name in the fronts, while with the standard of the Cross obliterated we use the argument of this most wicked man. For while we practise- with grief that is also not in the middle of the body- the circumcision that is to be avoided on account of the ignominy of those who rebuke, the despised things of the heart that are commanded by the leadership, what else do we bear other than his mark in mind and limb? And while we delight in their verses and Milesian tales and also we have bought at a price service to them and obeying these most wicked people and we lead from this the life in this world and we fatten our bodies, bringing together from illicit servitude and disgraceful ministry more abundant wealth, we make provisions of honours, fragrances and the opulence of clothes and various wealth for the long term for ourselves, our sons and grandsons and we make preeminent by our hands for their sake the name of the wicked beast with honour and prayer as something usual for them, surely we bear openly in our right hand the name of the beast by these affections? For thus while we accuse of crime to the impious kings the brothers for the sake of the honours of this age and we stretch forth the sword and vengeance of the enemy of the greatest God to kill the flock of the Lord, and we have bought through money the palace position and ministry to carry out the crime, what else are we doing other than engaging in the market days in a most cruel manner with the name and character of the beast and committing sin by exposing the sheep of the Lord to the teeth of the wolves through the evil of our business dealing? Thus also while we seek out the sacraments of these people and we gather to know the sects of the philosophers, or rather the braggarts not in order to refute the errors of these people, but rather for the sake of the elegance of charm and the locution eloquently elaborated while our own sacred readings have been neglected, we place nothing other than the number of his name in our bedroom like an idol.[cxii] Who, I ask, is to be found today skilled among our faithful lay people, who intent on the sacred scriptures looks back on the volumes of any of the teachers written in Latin? Who is held burning with Gospel, prophetic, apostolic love? Surely all the Christian youth who are outstanding in appearance, eloquent in tongue, conspicuous in habit and gesture, outstanding in heathen erudition, adorned with Arabic eloquence engage most avidly with the volumes of the Caldeans, and read them most intently, and discuss them most ardently and bringing them together with huge zeal they spread them through praise with broad and restricted tongue, ignoring the beauty of the church and the rivers of the church, despising the things emanating from Paradise as the most cheap things? Alas, the Christians do not know their law and the Latins do not pay attention to their own language, such that there is hardly found in all the Christian college one man among every thousand men who direct salutary letters reasonably to his brother, and there is found besides the multiple crowds in number those who can deploy the Caldaican pomposities of words with erudition, such that metrically with more erudite poetry than these peoples and with more sublime beauty they decorate final clauses with the abridgement of one letter, and besides that which is required by the idiom of the language itself, which closes all the vocal points with a comma and a colon, rhythmically-speaking, or rather as suits them, metrically-speaking, the letters of the whole alphabet varying through very many different dictions are bound with one end and a similar point. There were many other things that should support this exposition of ours, and indeed would bring the strength of it openly into the light.
[i] Cf. Psalm 118:105.
[ii] Cf. Mark 12:42.
[iii] Cf. Matthew 3:10.
[iv] The Chaldeans, also called the Babylonians. Other Christian writings equate the Muslims/Arabs with the Chaldeans/Babylonians. This can be traced to two factors. First, some tied the rise of the Muslims/Arabs to a prophecy in the Book of Habbakuk (cf. Eulogius' defence of the martyrs of Córdoba featuring a biography of Prophet Muhammad). Second, the Fertile Crescent constituted the centre of power for the Umayyad caliphate, which oversaw the initial Muslim conquest of Spain.
[v] Matthew 10:23.
[vi] Matthew 10:5.
[vii] Jerome's Commentary on Matthew Book 1 (10:23).
[ix] Psalm 53:8.
[xi] Referring to Eid al-Fitr.
[xii] His story also occurs in Eulogius' works.
[xvi] Judith, who killed Holophernes.
[xvii] Galatians 1:8-9.
[xviii] Cf. Psalm 7:17.
[xix] Cf. Matthew 26:13, though the more conventional rendering is: 'Wherever this Gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in her memory.'
[xx] i.e. Those who have come forth and denounced Islam and became martyrs.
[xxi] i.e. The Muslims.
[xxii] Isaiah 56:10.
[xxiii] Jerome: Commentary on Isaiah (Book 15; 56:10-12).
[xxv] Cf. 1 Kings 18, which features the story of the massacre of the 450 prophets of Baal by Elijah.
[xxvi] Cf. 2 Kings 1:9 ff.
[xxvii] Cf. 1 Kings 17.
[xxviii] Cf. Exodus 24:18.
[xxix] Cf. Exodus 32:27-28, but the number of slain is given in the original scripture as around 3,000.
[xxx] Cf. Numbers 16.
[xxxi] Referring to the slaying of Agag, the king of the Amalekites, by Samuel. Agag had been spared by King Saul. Cf. 1 Samuel 15:32 ff.
[xxxii] Cf. 1 Samuel 3-4. The author is referring to the death of Eli and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines.
[xxxiii] Psalm 138:21-22.
[xxxv] Referring to the killing of an Israelite man and Midianite woman and thus his appeasement of the Lord's anger. Cf. Numbers 25:7 ff. and Psalm 105:30 (from which the quotation is taken).
[xxxvi] The story of Ananias and Sapphira is narrated in Acts 5. They were rebuked by Peter and died after they sold a property and kept part of the money for themselves and brought the rest to the apostles. Simon here refers to Simon Magus, who offered the apostles money in the hope of receiving the powers of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8). Elimas refers to Elymas, who was also called Barjesus and was in Paphos in Cyprus. He tried to dissuade Sergius Paulus away from the new Christian faith, and so he was blinded by Paul's curse (Acts 13).
[xxxvii] Jerome: Epistle 109:3.
[xxxix] Matthew 24:24.
[xl] Psalm 5:7.
[xli] Wisdom 1:11.
[xlii] Cf. Romans 1:25.
[xliv] Isidore of Seville: De Rerum Natura 26:1.
[xlvi] 2 Kings 10:18. Referring to the gathering of the priests of Baal by Jehu under false pretences in order to destroy them.
[xlvii] Cf. 1 Samuel 21:10 ff., where David feigns insanity as he feared King Achish of Gath.
[xlviii] Cf. 2 Maccabees 6.
[xlix] 2 Maccabees 6:24-28.
[l] Ibid., verse 30.
[li] Cf. Psalm 7:17 and 48:6.
[lii] The exact identity of this individual is not certain.
[liii] Cf. Psalm 72:9.
[liv] Jeremiah 15:7.
[lv] Ezekiel 24:12-13.
[lvi] Apocalypse: i.e. the Book of Revelation.
[lvii] Nero, the fifth Roman emperor (54-68 CE).
[lviii] The verses quoted and discussed here are Daniel 7:23-25.
[lix] Porphyry of Tyre, known for his work against the Christians and his criticism of the idea that the prophecies in the Book of Daniel were real prophecies.
[lx] Referring to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of the Seleucid Empire in the period 175-164 BCE.
[lxi] The Visigoths: i.e. their kingdom of Spain that was conquered by the Muslims.
[lxii] Psalm 89:10.
[lxiv] The Ishmaelites: i.e. the Arabs/Muslims.
[lxv] Referring to the Spanish system of dating. Subtract 38 from the era year to get the corresponding AD/CE date. Hence, 892-38=854.
[lxvi] Referring to the Islamic calendar, which is lunar and not solar.
[lxvii] Daniel 12:4.
[lxix] The verses quoted and discussed here are Daniel 11:36-37.
[lxx] Quoted in Jerome's Commentary on Daniel 11:37-39.
[lxxi] i.e. Aphrodite, whose Roman equivalent was Venus. The names of Aphrodite and Venus are used metaphorically here to refer to carnal lust.
[lxxii] The exact Arabic equivalent of this transliterated word has been disputed. The best explanation I have read so far comes from Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala Ulisse Cecini, who notes that the context of the passage is the supposed sexual prowess of the Prophet Muhammad and ties it to the Arabic word الكفيت, which is tied to traditions in Islamic literature about the Prophet's sexual prowess. Note for example:
قال الرسول: "كنت من أقل الناس في الجماع حتى أنزل الله عليَّ الكفيت [ثم يفسر معنى الكفيت] قائلا: [هو قِدْرٌ أنزلت من السماء فأكل منها الرسول وقوىَّ على الجماع] [وأضاف أنه جاء في الحديث]: "حبب إلي النساء والطيب ورزقت الكفيت" [ويكمل قائلا]: "أتاني جبريل بقدر يقال له الكفيت فأكلت منه أكلة فأعطيت قوة أربعين رجلا في الجماع"
'The Messenger said: I was among the least of people in lying carnally until God brought upon me al-Kafeet. (Then he explains the meaning of al-Kafeet) saying: 'It is a jar brought down from the sky so the Messenger ate from it and became strong in lying carnally.' (And he added that it has come in the hadith): 'Women and what is good became desirable to me and al-Kafeet was provided.' (And he finishes saying): 'Gabriel brought me a jar called al-Kafeet so I ate from it and I was given the strength of forty men in lying carnally.'
[lxxv] Ezekiel 23:20.
[lxxvi] Jeremiah 5:8.
[lxxviii] Referring to the fact that in Islam, it may be permitted to have up to four wives.
[lxxix] The verses quoted and discussed here are Daniel 11:37-39.
[lxxx] Quoted in Jerome's Commentary on Daniel 11:37-39.
[lxxxi] Referring to the minarets of the mosques.
[lxxxii] Cobar is a transliteration of the Arabic elative أكبر, which means 'greater' and is frequently used in the phrase الله أكبر ('God is greater'), particularly in the call to prayer that Álvaro is discussing here. In other words, Álvaro takes Cobar to be a reference to the Maozim mentioned in the Book of Daniel.
[lxxxiii] The author confuses the Hajj pilgrimage with الموسم
[lxxxiv] The month of al-Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar.
[lxxxv] Daniel 11:39.
[lxxxvi] Heraclius, Byzantine emperor in the period 610-641 CE. Many of his empire's holdings in the Middle East and North Africa fell to the Arab conquests.
[lxxxvii] Psalm 18:9.
[lxxxviii] The verses quoted in this section of the work come from Job 40-41.
[lxxxix] Daniel 8:23.
[xci] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 32:18:31.
[xciii] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 33:8:15.
[xciv] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 4:9:15.
[xcv] Cf. Gregory's Homiliae in Evangelium 2:25:9.
[xcvi] Arabic equivalent of this transliteration: يا معشر الجن ('oh group of Jinn'). But the full phrase is missing, which is in fact: يا معشر الجن والإنس ('oh group of Jinn and men'). This phrase comes from Qur'an 55:33.
[xcvii] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 33:18:34.
[xcviii] Referring mockingly to the rituals of prostration in Islamic prayers.
[xcix] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 33:26:46.
[c] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 33:28:49.
[ci] John 16:2.
[cii] Cf. Gregory's Moralia 34:19:38.
[ciii] i.e. Sunday.
[civ] i.e. Friday, which is not a day of rest in Islam akin to the Sabbath but is rather a day of meeting of the Muslim congregation. Álvaro contrasts this marking of Friday in Islam with the occasion of Good Friday when Christ was crucified.
[cv] Psalm 67:31.
[cvi] Jerome's Commentary on Daniel 11:24.
[cviii] Jerome's Commentary on Matthew, Book 4 (24:5).
[cix] 1 John 2:18.
[cx] Hilarius' Against the Arians and Auxentius of Mediolanum (2).
[cxi] Cf. Revelation 13:17.
[cxii] Cf. Revelation 13:18.