Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes Against Nestorius Pt 5
Jewish disbelief in Christ followed by some Christian teachers. The SON GOD by Nature gave His own body to death to free us, albeit His Godhead might not suffer. “Glory before the world was,” can be no man’s glory but that of GOD. Father most strictly God the FATHER though He permit such relations to us. ‘Crucified out of weakness,’ yet, Lord of glory. ‘Servant’s form.’ ‘Not Mine own will.’ The forsaking on the Cross. He raised His own Body. S. Thomas’ confession. Nicene Fathers. Testimony of GOD and man to the SON.
THE Divine-uttering Paul glories in the Sufferings of Christ and says, one while, But to me be it not that I should glory save in the Cross of Christ through Whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world, another while again, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth, to the Jew first and to the Greek. And thus did the Spirit-clad deem right both himself to think and besides to teach others, for he hath written not without purpose, but that he might persuade us to be zealous for the rightness of the faith that was in him, choosing to delight us in the Sufferings of Christ. But some are ashamed of the Cross and impiously rising up against them that have been made teachers of all below the sun, by reason that they choose to think contrarily, they (wretched ones!) all but smile at Christ’s sufferings and and are ashamed of the Gospel, sick with the Jewish unlearning and in no way inferior to them in infatuation. For the Saviour’s Cross hath become to them an offence: and verily they beholding the Prince of Life, the fulfilment of the Law, affixed to the wood, they were wagging at Him their impious heads, not believing that God is of a truth made Man and come down unto emptiness, but supposing rather that He was simply a man as we, and they said, putting forth as out of the evil treasure of their heart evil things, Thou That destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days save Thyself; if Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross: and again, He saved others, Himself He cannot save, if He be the king of Israel, let Him now come down from the Gross and we will believe on Him. For they thought not, as I said just now, that He was God by Nature, nor yet in truth Son of God the Father but rather that He was bragging and daring to allot to Himself the glory of the Godhead. Hence they used to say, one while, For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy, because THOU being a man makest Thyself God; another while they brought Him to Pilate and besought that He should be crucified, and when he demanded that they should tell the reason of their awkwardness towards Him, they straightway began to accuse Him saying that He made Himself the Son of God. But lo now too, not at the hands of them of Israel nor yet from the multitude of the Pharisees, but at their hands who seem to be Christians and are ranked among teachers and them whose lot is the Divine Priesthood, doth He manifestly suffer equal case. For He is disbelieved to be both God by Nature, and One and Alone and Verily Son of God the Father, and the plea of their ill-counsel as to this very thing, that He chose to suffer death in the flesh, albeit for this cause He descended unto emptiness economically, in order that suffering for us in the flesh, He might bring to nought the mastery of death, as being Himself by Nature Life and sprung of Life, God the Father. For the nature of man was sick of decay, in its firstfruits and original root, i. e., Adam. For since it offended through its disobedience its Law-giver and God and That brought it forth unto being, straightway it was accursed and liable to death, and death hath reigned from Adam unto Moses, the doom for this extending over the whole seed and race that is from him. For as sprung from corruptible root, corruptible are WE too, and abide (wretched!) holden in the meshes of death. But when the Creator planned good things concerning us and willed to transelement the nature of man, decay being taken away, unto what it was at the beginning, He adorned a new root (so to speak) for us, which endured not to be overmastered by death, the One Lord Jesus the Christ, that is, God the Word out of His Essence made man as we, made of a woman.For we do not say that just a man is God-bearing, but that the Word out of God has been of a truth Its very Self united to flesh, in order, having laid down His Life for us, and given to death His own Body for our sakes economically, and then shewn it superior to corruption through the Resurrection from the dead, to give pledge to all who believe on Him that He will raise up us too, and make us superior to the bonds of death, and little heedful of the nets of decay.
Hence I deem it is that the Divine-uttering Paul too, makes a matter of much speech and marvel, the love towards us of God the Father. For he said thus, What shall we say therefore to these things? if God he for us, who is against us? He that spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him too freely give us all things 1 ? albeit exceeding many are the sons by grace and of adoption (for we too have been called gods and all are sons of the Most High), but One and Alone is He Who is so by Nature and is His Own, that is, God the Word Who is out of Him even when He was made Flesh. For thus do we say that He has been given even for all, as Himself too somewhere saith, For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Only-Begotten therefore is He Who was given, for He Alone sprung from the Essence of God the Father, the Word both out of Him and in Him: but since He hath, been made Man, therefore do we make our faith in Him declaring His death after the Flesh and confessing His Resurrection, knowing that the Same is both Son before the ages and Man economically in the last times and that He suffered in the flesh for our sakes and hath risen from the dead.
But (I know not how) the advocate of the Jews’ unlearning is indignant at our words, for he said again,
“That therefore the divine Scripture puts, Son, of the birth from the Virgin, Mother of Christ, we have shewn. Hear of His death also, whether God is any where put, so as we might bring in a passible God: Being enemies, it says, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it said not, Through the death of God the Word.”
§1. True is it, according as it is written, There is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness: for that whoso nature is to hurt, putting on sometimes the shew of being helpful, turns aside from what is right, even the well stablished mind. For he thinks he is pious in no slight degree, essaying to confirm what is confessed by all, therefore saying, In His own Nature the Word out of God the Father is as God beyond sufferings and superior to death; for how should Life die? Yet he not a whit the less too offends against the doctrines of the Church, wholly unrecking of the economy with flesh of the Only-Begotten, and in no wise considering the depth of the mystery.
If it were under examination by us, what were the Nature of the Word, or we had to declare it to them who asked and were desirous of learning it; it would I suppose be of a surety meet and necessary, hastening to go through every wise and true thought, to shew that It is unapproachable by death and utterly removed from sufferings. But since the mode of the Incarnation gives Him, so far as pertains to the plan of the Economy, even though He choose to die in the flesh, to suffer nought in His own Nature, why bereavest thou us of our fairest boasts? for thou heard’st Him say. The Good Shepherd layeth down His Life for His sheep. Hence even though He be said to suffer, we know that He is Impassible as God, we say that He hath suffered death economically in His own Flesh, in order that treading it and risen in that He is Life and Life-giving, He might transelement unto incorruption that which is tyrannized over by death, i. e., the body: and so unto us too spreadeth the might of the achievement, extending unto the whole race. And verily the Divine-uttering Paul saith, I through the Law died to the law that I might live unto God, I am crucified with Christ, I live, no longer I, but Christ liveth in me, and wherein I now live, I live in faith, in the flesh of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God. For no longer do we live our own life but rather that in Christ, and true is it that One died for all that they who live should no more live unto themselves but to Him which died for them and rose. For before that the Only-Begotten Word of God beamed on us, mastered by unlearning and darkness and having the yoke of sin and impiously ascribing worship to the creature rather than our Creator and Maker and practising unblamed every kind of baseness, we wretched abode in severance [from Him], in mind hostile to Him, but we have beenreconciled through the death of His Son, as it is written.
But THOU again hast made but slight account of the truth, and putting forth unto us thy speech unbridled unto vapidness, sayest that the world has been reconciled to God, not through the Only-Begotten, i. e. the Word That sprang of the Father; and hearing, the death of His Son, and investigating subtilly as thou supposest, the words of the Divine, thou fearedst not to say, “He said not, Through the death of God the Word.” Then how (tell me) were such a word wise, yea rather, how were it not replete with utter distraction? for how were it meet (tell me) to set forth the Life as subject to death; and to the Nature Which quickeneth all things to lay a charge of decay, how were it not wholly distraught and would it not be, and that with reason, a charge of blasphemy reaching unto the very extreme? By no means therefore does the mind of the saints go along with thy subtilties herein, or rather thy idle words: for it knows, it knows that the Word of God suffered in the flesh for our sakes, and through the death of His own Body hath called the world unto reconciliation with the Father Which is in Heaven. And verily when making His discourse with one of the holy disciples He somewhere said, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me: but Truth and Life and Way, who else may be, save the Word which sprang of God, even though He have been made as we, by taking servant’s form?
And that through Him we have been manifested partakers of the Divine Nature and, we who once were far, have been made nigh, united participatively through Him to the FATHER and besides to one another in one faith and unity of soul by reason of being made participant of One Spirit; Himself will give assurance saying unto God the Father in Heaven, Not for these alone do I ask but for them also which believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as THOU Father art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that THOU sentest Me, and I. the glory which Thou hast given Me, have given them, that they may be one even asWE are one, both I in them, and THOU in Me that they may be perfected into one. Understand therefore how Himself is of Nature in His own Father but is set forth a Mediator and Reconciler through being made as we: He is in us, both through His own Flesh Which quickeneth us in spirit and through partaking of His holiness, I mean again through the Holy Ghost. And He asketh as glory from the Father to make His own Nature manifest unto us, that It is both Life-giving and superior to corruption as God. And verily He said again, I glorified Thee on the earth by perfecting the work which Thou hast given Me to do, and now do Thou glorify Me, o Father, with Thyself with the glory which I had before the world was, with Thee. And a perfected work are WE, in Him first overcoming decay and treading on the might of death, for He lived anew from the dead, having all in Himself.
But haply bearing off to other ideas what has been said, thou sayest that not of God the Word ought these things to be understood, but removing from Him and putting apart by himself him that is born of the holy Virgin as another son, thou affirmest that him it is whom such things befit and art zealous to teach others also to think and say with thee: and wilt (I suppose) surely say that the Only-Begotten Word of God being Lord of glory, would not as though lacking glory, have sought it from the Father. Hear therefore from us too, If thou sayest that the Only-Begotten Son Who is out of God by Nature is not He Who here asketh glory from the Father; who was it who said, Glorify Me with the glory which I had before the world was, with Thee? How then (tell me) was he that is of the holy Virgin, conceived of according to thee as man separately, before the world? will it not pertain to the Creator of the ages, to have a being elder than the world and Co-eternal with the Father? no one will doubt it of those who are accustomed to think aright. When therefore He emptied Himself receiving servant’s form, then, then, desirous to mount up unto the glory inherent in Him by Nature and along with the Flesh which was united to Him, in fit season does He say, Do THOU Father glorify Me with Thyself with the glory that I had before the world was with Thee; that the world may believe that THOU sentest Me, and I, the glory which Thou hast given Me, have given them, that they may be one as WEare One, I in them, and THOU in Me that they may be perfected into one. Through Him therefore have we had the reconciliation, for thus hath He perfected the work which the Father hath given Him for consummation. And the supporter of my words will I make again the most holy Paul who thus wrote to those who have been called out of the Gentiles, But now in Christ Jesus YE who sometime were far off were made nigh in the Blood of Christ: for He is our Peace, Who made both one and undid the middle wall of partition, having abolished in His Flesh the enmity, the law of commandments in ordinances, for to make in Himself of twain one new man, making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body through the cross, having slain the enmity therein, and came and preached peace to you which were afar off and to them that were nigh, and again elsewhere too, Justified therefore by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have been reconciled to God the Father through the death of His Son, who brought to nought or slew the enmity in His Flesh, according to the faith of the sacred scriptures.
But thyself art undoing the words of the economy and deignest not to confess that the Word of God hath suffered in the flesh for our sakes, making use of certain unskilful loquacity: for thou sayest that Son is a name common to the Word Which sprang of God and to ourselves. Then having made God the Word, through Whom we have been saved, no worker of the good things that have been wrought to us-ward, thou wilt be evidently caught allotting the things wherein He is glorified to one as we, conceived of as other than He and apart, and thou supposest that community of name will suffice full well for demonstration of what thou saidst and unrightly thoughtest; not considering that even though with things which obtain by nature the being ought, certain other of things that be, be said to be co-named, one must not therefore thrust away the things that are by nature, ever putting their properties about those which are by adoption or imitation. But we must (I deem) ever test the natures of things done and allot them to whomsoever they rightly pertain. As for example, the Father is named and is in truth God, and from Him is every father-hood both in heaven and upon earth named, as it is written, yet are there with us other fathers too both fleshly and spiritual. If therefore ought of things most God-befitting be said of God the Father, will it belong to those too who by adoption obtain the same title with Him, and will the identity of name thrust Him away from the things which in the highest degree befit Him alone? yet how is it not evident to all that it is both absurd and discordant that any of ours should be minded thus to think and say? Why then dost thou ever talking to us of community of name, dishonour the by Nature and truly Son, putting Him forth and rendering Him alien from kindly deeds to usward? albeit thou oughtest to gather into union what thou blushest not utterly to sever, and [oughtest] to deem one with His own Flesh the Word that is out of God the Father: for thus wilt thou free thyself from much toil, and deeming aright wilt at length be praised. And thou wilt in no wise say that the Godhead of the Only-Begotten is passible, but wilt with us confess that He is Life and Life-giving by Nature and moreover beyond all suffering; next that the flesh suffering which was united to Him, He by the grace of God, as it is written, tasted death for every man, that having shewn His own Temple superior to him who had conquered all that are on the earth, He might be called the firstfruits of them that slept and the firstborn from the dead: transmitting to us too the grace, that being One and Only Son, both before the Incarnation and after it He might yet be called Saviour and Redeemer of all: and freeing (as I said) from sin all who believe on Him, might become peace to them that are afar and to the near, reconciling through Himself to God the Father them who of old worshipped the creature and through sin were at enmity with the All-good God.
But severing again into a pair of sons the One Lord Jesus Christ, he says after this wise:
“Hear their other testimony also; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Lo he says the Lord of glory, he calls not so the manhood but the Godhead. But this belongs to those who pluck asunder the accurate connection, for when thou sayest, This is not Lord, but the other is, THOU makest Christ a mere man. What then dost thou say, o heretic in clerical form? is the man too Lord or not? if then he be Lord, the things said agree; if he be not Lord, do not THOU making Christ a mere man, fasten the reproach of it on me.” Then he says, “Hear we the blessed Paul openly crying out who He is who is crucified. Hear then most plainly the voice, For (says he) He was crucified out of weakness, yet He liveth out of the Power of God. If He were crucified out of weakness, who was it who was weak, heretic? God the Word?”
§2. He is carried away unto absurd thoughts and unto a reprobate mind, in no wise understanding the force of the mystery, as seems to me, but rather every way following his own devices and haply afraid, lest he should be caught either thinking or saying ought that pertains to Tightness or truth. For he arrays against himself, as he supposes, the words of the orthodox, but is caught again putting those things which no one of those who are wont to walk aright as to the Faith, would even so much as endure another saying. For we say that He which was crucified is Lord of glory, and He is so of a truth: yet acknowledging that the Word of God is inseverable and one with the flesh united, to Him having a reasonable soul, we say that He it is Who offered Himself, as it were the Immaculate Offering and most sweet-smelling Sacrifice of His Own Body, to God the Father, and nailed to the wood the handwriting that was against us. And one may hear Him say by the mouth of David, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not but a Body preparedst Thou Me, whole burnt sacrifices and for sin Thou tookest no pleasure in: then said I, Lo I come (in the volume of the book it has been written of Me) to do Thy Will, o God. The commandment according to the Law now availing nought, and perfecting nothing, and God the Father holding the sacrifices through blood unacceptable;—-He says that a Body has been prepared for Himself, in order that giving it a Ransom for the salvation and life of all, He might redeem all, from both death and decay and yet more from sins.
We say then that the very Word out of God the Father chose even to suffer for us in the flesh, according to the Scriptures: thus hath the most holy Paul instructed us, Who being in the Form of God held not the being Equal with God a thing to seize, but emptied Himself taking servant’s form, made in likeness of man and found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, the death of the cross, wherefore God also highly exalted Him. View now how He That is in the Form of God the Father as God, the Impress of His Person and in no wise falling short, being and being conceived of in Equality in everything, hath emptied Himself and brought Himself down of His own will unto lowliness.
What then (tell me) will be the mode of the emptying, how again has He been abased receiving servant’s form and made obedient unto death, the death of the Cross? is it not clear to all that the High is abased, not that which from itself and of its own nature is in abasement and brought low; that (I suppose) is emptied which is full and in need of nought; receives the servant’s form which before it was free by nature, He is found to be man too Who was not so, before He was so found when He was not? Who then is He That was High by Nature and abased Himself unto lowliness? who the full, that He may be conceived of as emptied? who He That is beyond the measures of bondage, that so He may be said to take the bondman’s form? who that not being aforetime man as we is said to have been so found? For I suppose that to dare to allot this to one of those as we and to a common man, would be folly and verily replete with the uttermost of all unwit, but it will pertain with all reason to the Supreme Nature.
But the Word of God, of His exceeding Clemency and Kindness towards us, hath offered for us His own Body and having taken the servant’s form, hath become obedient to God the Father unto death: and the choice to suffer in the Flesh, He made not a thing to be spurned, albeit by Nature Impassible as God. Yet does this man foolishly blush at His most God-befitting schemes for us, and thinking he honours Him, wrongs Him: for he bears Him away from the suffering, though no one else says that He suffers in His own Nature; and does not perceive that he forbids Him to be confessed Saviour and Redeemer of all, if so be that he is son and lord other than He, separately and apart, through whom we have been saved and redeemed through the precious Cross. And if so be he be simply man, and not rather the Word out of God the Father appearing in human form, let him come, let him shew that he is both in the Form of the Father and in Equality with Him (for He thought not the being equal with God a thing to seize) and moreover that he took the form of the servantas at one time not possessing it, and came to be in emptiness, as possessing fulness in his own nature: for the Divine-uttering Paul says that He Who is in the Form and Equality with God the Father, was made obedient unto Him even to death, the death of the Cross.
Is not then the absurdity of their notions manifest? when blessed Paul calls Him that was crucified Lord of glory, no one will say, ‘He is not speaking of the human nature but the Godhead.’ For we confess One Christ and Son and Lord of Glory, the Word out of God the Father made man for our sakes and suffering for us in the flesh, according to the Scriptures.
But he in no small measure blaming, as wishing to pluck asunder the accurate connection (as himself says), those who allot to God the Word the name of Lordship and bear it away from the human nature:—-he falling into forgetfulness of what he said, is caught plucking asunder into two the One, and little recking of accurate (according to him) connection. For he unlearnedly enquires, “Is the man too lord or not? if then he be lord, the things said harmonize.” Hence if according to thy witless enquiry, the Word is Lord by Himself and the man lord, two surely are the lords and sons. The force then of accurate connection will in no wise profit them who have believed that one ought to conceive of One Christ and Son and Lord with the Flesh united to Him. For the Person of Immanuel being put and brought forward, though one should say man, we conceive of the Word out of God the Father having taken the servant’s form and say that He is shewn by the measures of emptiness: and if [we say] Only-Begotten God, we believe the Same now Incarnate and made Flesh. But he (as I said) allotting to a man, individual and alone and considered apart from the Word Which is out of the Father, the achievements of the Economy with flesh, says that he too endured the cross for us and affirms that he is the Lord of glory, putting about a mere creature the glories of the Supreme Nature, for he says, “Let us hear the blessed Paul openly exclaiming who he is that is crucified; for verily He was crucified out of weakness but He liveth out of the Power of God; who is weak o heretic, is it God the Word?”
Utterly imparticipate therefore of all weakness is the Word out of God the Father by us believed to be: for He is the Lord of Hosts. But tell me this, art thou afraid to admit the appellation of weakness in respect to Him? why? albeit the Economy with flesh puts Him apart from all blame, even though He be said to suffer ought of what is beside His own Nature and glory: for if being Rich He became poor and was made as we receiving servant’s form, even though He should be said to be weak by reason of the human nature, there is nought repugnant, that you should see the Hich poor, the High in low estate, the Lord of Hosts in weakness as we. Marvellous on this account also is the mystery respecting Him. For how is He said also to hunger, albeit Himself the Bread of Life and Who came down from Heaven and giveth Life to the world? how was He wearied with the journey, Who stablisheth the Heavens with His own Spirit?
But thou wilt not endure (it seems) if one say these things of the Only-Begotten Himself, albeit investigating thine own words I find them clearly saying, as of the Person of the Only-Begotten,
“The form of God, I am clad in servant’s form: being God the Word, am seen in flesh: Lord of all, am clad for your sakes in person of a poor man: hungering visibly, I supply food to the hungry.”
§3. How then, say, didst thou fearing the appellation of weakness and bearing it away from Him, albeit the plan of the economy will it not, say that He hungers visibly, i. e., humanly, yet Divinely supplies food to the hungry? dost thou not say that it is a form of weakness to be in need of food and to be said to hunger as we? but against them who desire to be fault-finders, full strong will the mode of the economy array itself. We must therefore, either bearing Him away from all things that are said humanly and in mean wise, put such passions about a mere man, or considering that He being God has been made as we, confess that He is impassible in respect of the Nature of the Godhead, but say besides that He endured the weakness in our behalf, according to the human nature and after the flesh, I mean. Since, tell me who ask thee again, The Divine-uttering Paul says that He has been crucified out of weakness; but dost thou bear away this thing from God the Word, saying (I suppose) that it is small and ignoble and not worthy of Him? Other therefore than He is he that was crucified, Whom also our Divine instructor calls Lord of glory, saying, For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Hath He, then yet remained Lord of Glory Who put it aside and endured this ignoble and mean suffering? If therefore He hath remained so, neither hath He any loss through being weak. How then fearedst thou to say that the Word of God came to be in this case economically? But if He truly fell from being any longer Lord of glory, and any one affirm that it is so, he will incur the charge of the most utter blasphemy and that with reason: for to Him boweth every knee and every tongue shall confess Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. For over all that is under Heaven extendeth the glory of Christ Who suffered for us in the flesh, as we have full often said. When therefore thou nearest the Spirit-clad saying, He was crucified out of weakness but He liveth of the Power of God, understand it piously: for he says that He hath suffered humanly, albeit He hath a nature utterly beyond passion. And so having, He bare with the weak flesh and having suffered death humanly, He lived again Divinely, Himself quickening His own Temple, as the Might of the Father.
And verily when the time was now at hand in which He must endure the Cross for us, He went away and prayed saying, Father if it he possihle, let this cup pass from Me, but added hereto at the close of His Prayer, Nevertheless not as I will but as THOU. But since He albeit Word and God all-Powerful, has once been held to be in weakness like we, He giving the cause of this most economically, says, The spirit indeed is willing, the flesh weak. Consider therefore how He though Himself letting go nought, nor yet suffering weakness in His own Nature, permitted His Flesh to go after its own laws, and this thing is said to be His, because His Body is His own. Hence the being weak according to the Flesh proved to us that He was Man, the not enduring death and scaring away decay from His own Body that He is God Who knows not to be weak: for He is the Life and Might of the Father. For that the weakness herein unwonted and unwilled by Him, He made voluntary in the good-pleasure of God the Father, to save all under Heaven, Himself will teach saying, For I have come down from Heaven, not to do Mine own Will but the Will of Him That sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up at the last day.
Yet how, if the will of the Father be good, does the Son say that He has His own Will, a good one surely, and other than this? For if it be not good, how is He any longer believed to be His Image and Impress? how will He be true, saying, I and the Father are One, and, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father? for not in the not good, would one behold the Good by Nature. But verily the Son being Good hath sprung from a Good Father and is His exact Image in everything. What Will therefore, which He says is His own, does He letting go, say that He hath done that of the Father? He was about by the death of His own Flesh to set free from death those who had become subject thereto, i. e., us. But to die in the Flesh was ignoble, and unwonted (as I said) and repugnant to Him: yet hath He endured this too for our sakes in the Good-pleasure of the Father. For He knew, He knew and that well that a little dishonoured by reason of the sufferings of the Flesh He should save all, transforming them unto what was incomparably better. For if any be in Christ, a new creature, old things are gone by, behold all things have become new, as it is written.
The God-inspired Scriptures therefore proclaim to the world One Christ and Son and Lord and say that He is the Lord of Glory and that He of His own Will bare for our sakes the contumelies of the Jews, and economically endured Death upon the wood, not in order with us to remain dead, but that having undone the might of death which none might withstand, He might bring again to immortality the nature of man: for He was God in Flesh.
But this man again essaying to gather to himself from all quarters occasions of severing into two the One, arrays himself to no purpose against those who exist not at all, and makes accusal of certain as though they spake against the truth and desired to adulterate the plan of the mystery, and says,
“Here I would gladly enquire of the heretics who mix up into one essence the Nature of the Godhead and of the Manhood, who he is here who is by the traitor betrayed to the Jews: for if there have been a mixture of both, both were together holden of the Jews, both God the Word and the nature of the manhood: which is it that endured the slaughter? I am obliged to use meaner words that what I say may be plain to all. To whom (tell me) befell this deed? for if the Nature of the Godhead, how darest thou commingle both? God hath both remained unholden of the Jews and hath not shared with the flesh in its slaughter: whence (tell me) dost thou get in the mixture?
§4. If then there be who say that there has been a commingling of the natures one with another and that they undergo an impossible fusion, and who maintain that the Nature of the Word could suffer change into flesh, or the Flesh united to Him ever pass into Godhead; they have erred from the truth and, out of their right mind, yea rather sick with the veriest distraction, they shall hear from us, Ye do err not knowing the Scriptures nor the Power of God; for steadfast is the Nature of God the Word, nor knows it to suffer a shadow of turning, but participate in flesh and blood and taking part with us in the same, as it is written, He abode the Same. But if every one who is educated in the Holy Scriptures holds it repugnant to so much as hear that any change was wrought in the Only-Begotten, why dost thou admitting as true and really spoken things so disgraceful and condemned by one voice by all and utterly rejected, essay to sever the Indivisible and that after the Union? For if thou wouldest indeed of a truth learn who it is who is by the traitor given up to the Jews, and endured slaughter, thou wilt clearly hear, The One and Only Christ and Son and Lord, that is the Word out of God Who took the servant’s form, made man and Incarnate: for He was sold by the traitor to the rulers of the Jews, and was holden humanly, because He was Man too along with abiding God, but Divinely He was convicting the weakness of them who hold Him. And this the Divine-uttering Evangelist John makes manifest to us, thus writing, Judas therefore having received the band and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees cometh thitherwith torches and lanterns and weapons; Jesus knowing all things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said unto them, Whom seek ye? they answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am. And Judas which betrayed Him was standing with them. When therefore He said unto them, I am, they went backward and fell to the ground. Hearest thou that He does not let them who have been gathered together by the traitor behave themselves proudly against His Glory? for He offered Himself saying, I am, but they unstrung by the voice alone, went backward.
And that it was no work of their own strength to hold Him, but that in his season and in need He made death for us welcome, He hath proved saying, As a robber came ye forth with swords and staves to take Me? daily did I sit in the Temple teaching, and ye laid no hold on Me, but all this has been done that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled. For what He hath of old foretold through the holy Prophets, this hath He fulfilled, abasing Himself unto emptiness Who is above all the creation, and found in fashion as a man Who is in the Form and Equality with the Father.
Why then dost thou, essaying to bring in privily the name of mixture, wrong in the ears of the more simple the marvel of the economy with flesh? for it does not befit thee bitterly and harshly to come forward saying, “Was God the Word holden? did the nature of the Godhead undergo slaughter?” That of no accurate . . . . thou art saying such things, thou wilt know hence and that easily. We say that the holy Martyrs have been perfected, choosing to suffer all things in order that having striven the good strife, finished their course, kept the faith,they might bind on them the crown of true relationship to Christ. If then any were to come forward and ask, When the bodies of the saints were torn by the steel or wasted by fire or again when they first became prisoners, were their souls holden along with their bodies? did they too become the work of fire and sword? albeit we say that they [the souls] were apart from their bodies, enduring nought of such contumelies in their own nature. Will they therefore (tell me) be for this reason imparticipate of the crowns, because they have not suffered the things of the body? But verily the word of truth does not put them apart from suffering, for they suffered the things of their own, not those of others’ bodies.
Unlearned then is it to want to ask whether the nature of the Godhead have been betrayed along with the flesh, or whether It were holden in the meshes of the Jews or endured the slaughter also: but it is pious to conceive rather that the Word will surely and entirely make His own the sufferings that have befallen His own Flesh, but abode Impassible as God yet not external to His suffering Body 7. But he involving in charges of absurdity the things so economically wrought, and again and again saying that the Nature of the Godhead ought not to be said by any to have undergone slaughter, unholily arrays the force of the Mystery about a man by himself, and says that he it is who was crucified and endured death for the life of the world. For I hear him saying in another exposition of his,
“This is he who was encircled in the thorny Crown, this he who saith, My God, My God why forsookest Thou Me? this he who endured a three days’ death.”
§5. Such things then doth he say, following his own aim, but WE will shew him a wiser and truer Emmanuel, the whole world’s Saviour and Redeemer. For the Word, as we have full often said, was made flesh, and making His own, a Body which knew to suffer contumelies and death, He hath given it for us and, as the Divine-uttering Paul saith, endured the cross, despising the shame. For was it not shame and a sort of abashment to Him that hath a Nature All-Strong and Quickening and above suffering, to seem to be crucified out of human weakness and to come to death after the flesh? And verily the Same saith through the voice of Isaiah, My Back I have given to scourges, My Cheeks to blows, My Face turned I not away from the shame of spittings, and again, Therefore was I not confounded, but I set My Face as a firm rock and I know that I shall not be ashamed, for He is near that justifieth Me. For as far as regards the impious multitudes of the Greeks and also of the Jews, the Mystery of Christ is reputed a stumbling block alike and foolishness, for they deride (miserable ones!) the Precious Cross; but the end of the weakness (as it seemed to them) resulted in might of glory most truly God-befitting. For through the Resurrection from the dead it has been testified that He is God and Son of God in truth, as superior to death and decay, and is worshipped by all together with Him Who begat Him.
And hear the sacred Scriptures proclaiming to us this very thing: Thus saith the Lord, Sanctify Him That holdeth light His Soul, Him that is abhorred by the nations, the servants, the rulers: kings shall see Him and princes shall rise up and worship Him. Confess (it said) that He is Holy by Nature as God, Who held cheaply His own Soul, i. e., despised His own life (for He hath laid it down for His sheep, as Good Shepherd): Him Whom the nations vilely esteemed, servants and officers insulted with blows, while the multitudes of the Pharisees impiously outraged Him, Him shall kings see and rise up, Him shall princes worship, as God, that is, who descended into emptiness, in order that suffering in the flesh, He might save all under Heaven. This is He Who for us was encircled with the Thorny Crown, this, not another, He Who as Man is crucified and says, My God My God why forsookest Thou Me? yet who restrains as God the Light of the sun, and makes it night in mid-day that we should not confess Him Man, simply honoured with mere connection (according to thee) with the Word I mean That is out of God, but should believe rather that He is God, in likeness as we, and in servant’s form, remembering Him Who saith by a Saint’s voice, And I will clothe the Heavens with darkness, and I will make their covering as sackcloth. For He Who speaketh is at hand, and what He of old hath as God foresignified would be, He in due season was fulfilling, crucified as Man. For the Heaven put on darkness, all but a mourning dress, the sun no longer giving the brightness of its rays to them who had durst outrage the Lord and God of all, hath foresignified the darkness which they should have in mind and heart. For the blessed David too sings somewhere of them, Let their eyes he darkened that they see not and bow down their back alway. And the veil too of the Temple was rent, revealing now to those who believe on Him the holy of holies and shewing the most inward parts, the first tabernacle no longer standing,but the way into the holy now made manifest, that is into the holy of holies. For holy confessedly was the Law too, in that it was the furnisher of righteousness, our guide too unto Christ: yet incomparably holier is the life in Christ esteemed, and more excellent and in better case the worship in spirit and in truth than that in shadows and types. Will not such achievements then be God-befitting and above the nature of man? hath not the saving Passion shamed the waving sword, brought man again into Paradise? for Christ said to the robber who hung with Him, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise: beamed He not on them that were in darkness, uttering with authority, Shew yourselves? For He has emptied Hell as God, and loosed from their bonds those who were in it: and He it was Who of old crieth out to the most enduring Job, Camest thou into the springs of the sea? walkedst thou in the tracks of the depth? are the gates of death open to thee in fear [of thee]? did the doorkeepers of hell seeing thee tremble?
Wherefore then blushest thou not allotting things that are yet God-befitting to one as we and to a mere man? For that the Word of God Himself, taking servant’s form, participate in flesh and blood, endured to give His own Body to death for our sakes and, being Impassible by Nature, suffered in the Flesh of His own will, the all-wise Paul will give us proof, writing, Giving thanks unto the Father Which made us meet to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, Who delivered us from the authority of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, Who is the Image of the Invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for in Him were created all things in Heaven and upon earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or lordships or principalities or authorities, all things were created through Him and unto Him, and He is before all things and in Him all things consist, and He is the Head of the body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence. See now the Priest of His Mysteries said and that very clearly that the Very God the Word, through Whom are all things and in Whom are all things, Who is the Image of the Invisible God; He through Whom were brought into being both the things which are in Heaven and those on earth, the visible and invisible; He Who is before all things, in Whom all things consist; has been given as Head to the Church, and is Himself the firstborn from the dead.
But (you will perhaps say) the Word out of God the Father is by Nature Life; how then or in what way might Life die? well: necessary and useful is your question. Therefore unto the force of the mystery is serviceably taken, that we conceive and say that the ever-living and Life-giving Word of God was made Flesh, i. e., made His own a Body recipient of death, that Himself might be conceived to suffer, because His Very own Body suffered. For thus do we say that He became the firstfruits of them that slept, and the firstborn from the dead: for He is said to have been laid with us in a tomb through His own flesh, Who raiseth the dead, that we too might be co-raised with Him: for this way did He inaugurate for us and for this hath He humbled Himself, abasing Himself unto emptiness and unto manhood with us; albeit the Only-Begotten is God by Nature and beamed from God the Father.
But he thinks (it seems) that they who suppose that these things are so, and who deem aright, have advanced to the goal of the uttermost distraction; and everywhere alleging that we ought to confess the Word out of God the Father to be Impassible, he removes from Him and that utterly the mode of His Economy: and thinks it not meet either to think or say that He suffered for us, albeit the God-inspired Scripture says that He suffered in the Flesh, He both Impassible and Unembodied, because the Body suffered that is His own and united to Him. He says again thus,
“Therefore concerning our first-fruits, blessed Peter telling, and relating the exaltation by the Godhead of the nature that is seen, says, This Jesus God raised up. God did not dio, He raised up. Hear, o Apolinarius, the words of Peter, hear with Apolinarius, thou too Arius. This Jesus, he says, God raised up, the visible, him who was seen with the eyes, affixed to the wood, handled by the hands of Thomas, who cried to him, Handle Me, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have. And by these words the disciple persuaded, and by the handling of the crucified body persuaded of the resurrection, began to glorify the wonder-working God, Glory to Thee, my Lord and my God: not addressing as God that which was handled, for not by handling is the Godhead discerned.” And after other, “Of this that was handled was Peter too exclaiming, This Jesus God raised up, being therefore by the Right Hand of God exalted. God the Word had no need of an aiding right hand, o Arius.” §6. The Son raiseth up the dead and we say that He is superior to death, for we remember Him Who hath openly said, I am the Resurrection and the Life: yet when the Divine-uttering Peter announces to us saying, This Jesus God raised up, we believe that the Word made man is Jesus Himself. How then will one say that He has been raised by the Father and exalted by His Right Hand? for I think that this should be clearly set forth to those who cannot understand, in order that cutting off occasion of stumbling, we may set forth the way of truth straight and most unerring.
He gave therefore His own Body to death for a little while: for by the grace of God, as Paul saith, He tasted death for every man. Then being Himself the Life-giving Right Hand and Power of God the Father, He rendered it superior to decay and death: and of this He gives us assurance saying to the Jews, Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up. Understand therefore that Himself promises to rear His own Temple, albeit God the Father is said to raise it: for the Son is, as I said, the Life-giving Right Hand and Power of the Father. So that even though the Father be said to work the quickening of the Divine Temple, He hath wrought it through the Son, and though the Son again be seen to work it, yet not without the Father in the Spirit. For One is the Nature of Godhead, conceived of in three several Persons, and having Its motion and Operation, spiritual I mean and God-befitting, in regard to all things that are done.
The body therefore yielded to the laws of its own nature, and admitted the taste of death, the Word united thereto permitting it for profit’s sake to suffer this: but was quickened by the Divine power of the Word Personally united to it. We conceive then of Whole Emmanuel, which is interpreted, With us is God, when we hear the Divine-uttering Peter say, This Jesus God raised up; and though thou speak of the visible and affixed to the wood, of “him who was handled by the hands of Thomas,” no less do WE conceive of the Word out of God the Father Incarnate, and confess One and the Same Son. For being Invisible by Nature He hath become visible, because His too was the visible Body. And verily the Divine David sings to us, God shall come manifestly, our God and shall not keep silence, and moreover the blessed Habaccuc, God shall come from Teman and the Holy One from the deep-shaded mountain. He being also Impalpable is said to have become palpable by reason of the Body united to Him. And Luke writes, Since many essayed to set forth in order an account of those things which have been most surely believed among us, even as they handed them to us which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, and to this the wise John saith, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked on and our hands handled, of the Word of Life, and the Life was manifested and we have seen and bear witness and declare to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. Yet had He not become palpable and visible, as having for His own a Body which is subject to touch and sight, how had the all-wise disciples been made eye-witnesses of the Word? how had they both seen, and say that they handled the Word of Life, Which was with the Father and was manifested to us? This very Same therefore Which was both palpable and visible, Which was affixed to the wood, Thomas recognized and did rightly confess to be God and Lord: for he said immediately, My Lord and my God. Then said to him our Lord Jesus Christ, Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed, blessed they which have not seen and believed. Believed what, tell me? is it not that being God by Nature, He raised from the dead His own Temple? yet how could there be any doubt of this?
But this good man, all but foolishly ashamed of the words of the disciple, says not, ‘He confessed Him that He is both Lord and God, the Firstborn from the dead:‘ but rather he perverts to his own pleasure the force of the word and says that he “began to glorify the wonder-working God, saying, My Lord and my God,” and subjoins, “Not addressing as God that which was handled, for not by the touch is the Godhead discerned.”
Blamest thou therefore (tell me) the disciple calling Christ Lord and God? though our argument has but just now shewn that the Only Begotten being by Nature God, Impalpable and Invisible, became palpable and visible. But when thou sayest, “for not by the touch is the Godhead discerned,” we again will say, Why dost thou, thrusting aside the Economy discourse of Godhead as though bare? and rushing full speed to forgetfulness that the Impalpable and Unembodied was both Incarnate and made Man, endurest not the God-inspired Scripture naming Him God, because that He had been both handled in flesh and likewise seen of the holy Apostles? But WE, my friend, together with blessed Thomas, crowning with the praises befitting Him, Him That was affixed to the wood, Him That was handled by hands and seen of human eyes, say, My Lord and my God.
But that though a man should say that the Word of God suffered in His own Flesh, he would not be without share in being praise-worthy nor in having chosen to think the truth (for even thus hath He abode Impassible): I will essay to shew again from what thyself hast written or saidst in Church. For thou deemest worthy of praise our holy Fathers, those (I mean) who were in their season gathered together at Nicea, as having formed full well for us an accurate and finished confession of faith: yet thou thinkest not what they do (whence should’st thou?) nor yet fixing thy mind on the doctrines of the truth, dost thou long to go straight, but haltest on both thighs, as it is written: foolishly blaming the lovers of right doctrine, yet holding for truth what liketh thyself, yea rather not even caring to abide in what thyself saidst, for I find thee saying of the holy fathers,
“For since if they had said, We believe in One God the Word, death would have been imputed to the Divine Nature, they admit a common term, Christ Jesus, that they may indicate both Him That died, and him that did not die.” And he adds, “So that if a man should say, Such an one is dead, though the soul is immortal, yet since he said the word which iudicates the two natures, both the mortal body and the immortal soul, the expression is free from risk: for both are called man, both the body and the soul: thus it is therefore that that great band spake of Christ.”
§7. That in naming Christ Jesus, they did not indicate two several sons, having a common name, Christ Jesus, but rather the Word out of God made Man, I think no one that deems aright will gainsay, and I think it superfluous for us to yet array many words on this matter besides what have been already said. Yet if thou be not persuaded by our words to think that though we say that the Word of God hath suffered in the Flesh for our sakes, we hold Him even thus Impassible as God, at least allow to thine own words that they appear to have been rightly framed. For just as he who said man, indicated the soul together with the body although it be of other nature than it; and even though such an one’s body were said to be dead, the whole person would reasonably be held to have suffered this, albeit he possess a soul which is not recipient of death: so of Christ too the Saviour of us all. For since the Word out of God the Father (as we have repeatedly said) hath partaken of blood and flesh in like manner as we, and made His own the Body that is of the holy Virgin and has thus been called Son of man too; for this reason when His Flesh died, the plan of true union attributes the suffering to Him, yet knows that He hath remained apart from suffering because He is both God by Nature and Life. And verily the Divine-uttering Peter setting before us this teaching says of Him somewhere to them that believe on Him, Whom having not seen ye love, on Whom, though now ye see Him. not, yet believing, ye exult with joy unutterable and glorified, receiving the fulfilment of your faith, the salvation of your souls, of which salvation the prophets searched out and examined into, who prophesied of the grace to youward, searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ Which was in them was signifying, when It testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves but to us they were ministering the things which are now declared unto us through them that preached the Gospel unto us with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven: which things the Angels long to look into.
Hearest thou that the Spirit of Christ was in the holy Prophets too, and that they proclaimed beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow? Did they then proclaim to the world as though a mere man were suffering for us? and is this the mystery which through our holy Apostles and Evangelists hath been given in trust, and into these things does he say that the Angels long to look? yet how is not he to be utterly repudiated who essays to shut up the might of the mystery within the limits of the human nature alone? God the Word Himself, Who is in the Form of God the Father, hath emptied Himself taking servant’s form and hath undergone birth in the flesh for our sakes, Himself hath suffered for us in His own Flesh, and He lived again as God, having emptied Hades and said to them that were in bonds, Come forth, and to them that were in darkness, Shew yourselves. Why then essayest thou to overturn the so dread and marvellous economy through which we have been both saved and have been brought within all good? for what we gained through it, thou wilt know and that very clearly, since blessed Paul hath thus written, And you that were sometime alienated and enemies n your mind in wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body oj His flesh through death to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight if so be ye endure in the Faith. Therefore the faith profits them who will hold it unshaken; how it profits, the all-wise John will assure us saying, Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He that came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not in water only, but in water and blood, and the Spirit is Truth; for three testify, the Spirit, the water and the Blood, and the Three are One. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, for this is the witness of God, because He hath witnessed concerning His Son: he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself, he that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believed not the testimony which He hath testified regarding His Son. And how God the Father hath testified to His Son, the Divine-uttering John the Baptist will declare saying. And I knew Him not, but He That sent me to baptize with water, He said to me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, This is He Which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw and have testified that This is the Son of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ therefore is witnessed to through the Father’s Voice, that He is by Nature and in truth His Son, He is witnessed to no less through the water and the Blood and the Spirit. For by the holy water He purgeth away the sins of them that believe, He quickeneth through His own Blood and connecteth to God them on the earth: and since He is God by Nature He maketh also richly the grant of the Holy Ghost, pouring It forth as His own into the hearts of them who believe, and making them partakers of the Divine Nature, and crowning them with the hope of the good things to come.
We confess therefore One Son, Christ Jesus the Lord, that is, the Word of God made Man and Incarnate and Him crucified and raised from the dead and to come in due time in the Glory of God the Father with the holy Angels; through Him and with Him to God the Father be glory with the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.