Text:The Truth About the Christian Faith (Mar Odisho, 1298 C.E.)
From the writings of Mar Odisho, Metropolitan of N'siwin and Armenia, AD 1298, of the Assyrian Church of the East
True Christianity is the belief in One Divine Nature, in three hypostasis, (Matthew 28:3) and the confession of Messiah (John 17:3), and the belief in a resurrection of the dead, (Matthew 22:29-32; Luke 14:14 John S:28-29; Hebrews 6:2) and a judgement to come, (Hebrews 6:2; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16) and in a new and eternal life (John 6:68; 17:3), all which Articles of Faith are spiritual and unworldly.
For the rational soul has a threefold power, lust, anger, and discriminating judgement, from the excess or the want of a due proportion of which, evil acts and follies proceed, and from the harmony of which proceed virtues. Our Gospel, moreover, discourses with regard to each of these in their relation to nature. Thus, with regard to lust:
"Whoever looks at a woman to with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).
Again: "Be like the birds of heaven, and like the wild flowers." (Matthew 6:26-28) And, again: "Do not be anxious about tomorrow". (Matthew 6:34) Of anger, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and do good to them that hate you." (Matthew 5:44) Of discriminating judgement: that the Kingdom of God is within you and it is evident that the Kingdom of God is life Everlasting and life everlasting is knowledge of the truth. (Luke 17:21)
"These are life everlasting, that they might know you, that you are the Only True God, and Him that you sent Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah" (John 17:3). What doctrine is more exalted than this! Or what truth can be more accurate than this, or superior?
The truth of Christianity is indicated by this also, that like philosophy, it is divided into theory and practice. The end of its theory is truth; and the end of its practice is virtue, in regard of which it demands purity of thought, and the sanctification of the spirit, and enjoins good to be done to evil-doers, the love of our enemies, and that we should bless those who curse us.
The truth of the Christian Faith is still further established by the credibility of those who preached it - who preached and wrote of Messiah - men, who without exercising any compulsions, and without holding out any lure, were received by people of various tongues, by kings, sages, and philosophers; for whoever abandons the religion of his forefathers, and follows him who calls him to embrace another, must do so either from fear, or because of the allurement held out to him; or he is led by the supernatural signs and wonders by which it is attested.
But the Blessed Apostles had neither weapons nor power to terrify any; neither had they possessions or riches wherewith to allure; it results, then, that the world bowed to listen to them on account of the supernatural signs and wonders which they wrought. But God does not work miracles by the hands of false men, so that they may not cause His servants to err, and corrupt the work of His hands.
The Holy Apostles, therefore, were true and not false men; and because they were true, those things which we confess of Messiah, and which we have received from their preaching and writings, hence Christianity professes in verified truths, because those who delivered them were most definitely true.
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