Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes Against Nestorius Pt 3
Ps. xviii. 11 hints at the depth of Christ’s mystery. Gifts through Incarnation. Is, xlv. 14, 15 the Incarnate Son. S. John i. 14. 2 Sam. vii. 12-14 explained by S. Paul. 1 Sam. ii. 35. The WORD Incarnate worshipped by Angels worships with us and is our High Priest. GOD the WORD sent and how: so our High Priest. Sent and High Priest when Incarnate., Possessor of Godhead, a misnomer. Heb. v. 1. He makes us His brothers. ‘Yesterday to-day and for ever.’ S. John i. 30: iii. 13: Micah v. 2, Is. liii. 8. Gen. xxxii. 24 sqq. High Priesthood belongs to Incarnation. ‘Sent’ of God is a human word and to be understood worthily of God. The Son Incarnate gives the Holy Ghost as God, receives as man. High priesthood. Growth “in wisdom and stature and favour.” Union alone permits to attribute to One the properties of either manhood or Godhead. The Paschal Lamb and the sacrifice for sin of a young bullock types of the sinlessness of our Sacrifice.
Great confessedly is the mystery of godliness, and marvelled at by the holy Angels themselves also, and hereto the most wise Paul confirms us saying, To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith. For wisdom verily, and that not human (how could it?) but Divine rather and deposited in certain ineffable depths and incomprehensibilities, is the Mystery of Christ. And the blessed David singeth, And He made darkness His secret place, around Him His pavilion dark water in clouds of the skies, palling darkness (I suppose) nought else save altogether the dim conception of ideas, falling like mist upon the eyes of the understanding.
We say therefore that the mystery of Christ hath by no means needed subtil investigations and search beyond the reach of mind, but faith rather that holds the tradition simple and guileless. Thus we ourselves also have been taught and believed that God the Father sent His own Son who is by Nature God, made Man and born of a woman after the flesh, that He might justify them that believe on Him and having freed from stumblings through ignorance, by His Good and most gentle authority, might present them clean and undefiled through Him to God the Father, and might make partakers of His own Divine Nature them who are under death and decay, yea and might preach recovery of sight to the blind, and might bring over the flocks which had strayed into the light of the true knowledge of God, and might teach at length who it is Who is by Nature and truly God and the Creator of all. For He became the savour of the knowledge of God the Father, and in Him we have beheld Him out of Whom He was begotten by Nature and know clearly the way that leadeth us unto everlasting life. That thus the Son should beam upon the crowd of the Gentiles too, hath the blessed Prophet Isaiah cried beforehand saying, Thus saith the Lord, Egypt toiled and the merchandise of the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall pass over unto Thee and they shall be Thy servants, and they shall come after Thee bound in fetters: and they shall worship Thee, and in Thee shall they pray; for in Thee is God, and there is no God save Thee, for THOU art God and we knew it not, the God of Israel the Saviour. And it is said somewhere to the Son, as from the Person again of God the Father, Lo, I have set Thee for a covenant of the race, for a light of the nations, that Thou mayest be for salvation unto the end of the earth. For He hath instituted to them of the blood and race of Israel, the new covenant, the first having waxen old, and He beamed as far as the boundaries of that beneath the sky also, to the nations and people in every place and city. For they have worshipped Him yea and they follow Him spiritually, holden by the indissoluble chains of love, as infetters and well-nigh say what is in the Prophet Jeremiah, Behold WE will be Thine for THOU art the Lord our God. See (I pray) the vigilance of the Prophet’s thoughts, They shall worship Thee (he says) and in Thee shall they pray, for in Thee is God, and there is no God beside Thee. He knew then confessedly as being Spirit-clad the Word Out of God the Father, Who should tabernacle in us, as saith the blessed Evangelist John: therefore he saith that God is in Thee; yet hath he not suffered Emmanuel to be Severed into two gods, but even though the Only-Begotten was made man, he acknowledged Him even so as One and straightway added, There is no God save Thee. For Consider accurately the Prophet’s utterance. For having first declared (as I said) that God is in Thee, he hath not added, And there is no God save He that is in Thee, but gathering it into the Unity of the Economy, says There is no God beside Thee.
But that the Only-Begotten Word of God made man, is declared to us by the (so to speak) whole God-inspired Scripture, is easy to shew without toil by very many proofs: but I think it is enough for the present to say this. God said somewhere to blessed David, And I will set up out of thy seed after thee Him who shall proceed out of thy bowels and I will prepare His Kingdom: He shall build an house for My Name and I will stablish His Throne for ever, and\ will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son. But some one (I suppose) will say that these things were said not of Emmanuel, but of Solomon rather: yet the most wise Paul will strenuously oppose those who would thus understand it, for he takes the words of Christ and says that it is He to Whom it has been said by God the Father, I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son. But that when made like unto us, i. e., Man, He should offer to God the Father, all beneath the sky saved through faith in Him, He made known saying elsewhere, And I will raise Me up a faithful Priest who shall do all which is in Mine heart and in My soul, and I will build Him a sure house and He shall walk before Me for ever. Observe (I pray) that having elsewhere said, He shall build an house for My Name, the Father here promises to rear the house for the Son. And the Divine Paul understanding this, said that Moses was faithful in all My house having the measure pertaining to a servant, but Christ as a Son over His own house, Whose House are WE; and the mode of the ministry, things pertaining to us, not the blood of bulls and of calves, but the confession of the faith of us all. And blessed Paul will again certify it, writing thus, Wherefore holy brethren partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus, who was faithful to Him That appointed Him. We say therefore that the Word out of God the Father, when receiving servant’s form He is said to have been emptied for our sake, then too did abase Himself in the measure of the human nature, whereto will pertain (and very reasonably) both the seeming to be sent and the accounting the ministry the token of the very highest honour. For if when He became as we, He have worshipped with us as Man, albeit the Host above and the holy spirits worship Him, and Moses says of Him, Rejoice O ye heavens with Him and let all the sons of God worship Him; what is there strange or what inconvenient to the nature of the Economy if He have been called High Priest as offering for us for an odour of a sweet smell Himself and us through Himself and in Himself to God the Father? for we are a sweet savour of Christ, as it is written. But this noble person again affirms that these things have been wrought in no fit order, and all but smiles at those who conceive that these things were so, and impiously finding fault with the Divine purposes, says thus:
“For they hearing the name of Apostle, deem that God the Word was Apostle; reading the name High Priest, they fancy that the Godhead was High Priest, by a species of paradoxical craziness: for who learning of the ministry of an Apostle, would not forthwith know that a man is indicated? who on hearing the appellation of High Priest, would suppose that the Essence of Godhead were High Priest? for if the Godhead be High Priest, who is he who is served by the ministry of the High Priesthood? if God be the Offerer, there is none to whom offering is made: for what is there worthy of Godhead that as less It should offer to the greater?” And hereto he adds, “Whence then is God supposed by them to have been now called High Priest Who needeth not sacrifices for His own advancement like the high priests? Is the possessor of Godhead, taken from among men, ordained for men in things God-ward?”
§1. Therefore dost thou say that the Word of God has not been even sent into the world? The most wise Paul hath cozened (it appears) those who were called through him, for he said, God sent forth His Son made of a woman, made under the law: the blessed David too will be found according to thee idly romancing and seeking impossible things, for he said somewhere to God the Father in Heaven, O send out Thy Light and Thy Truth. And what (tell me) will not the Son Himself too speak falsely in saying, For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might he saved, and again, I came forth from the Father and am come. The wise John too writes somewhere of Him, He that receiveth His testimony set to his seal that God is true, for He Whom God sent speaketh God’s words. But we say that the Word of God hath been sent, having with the measures of the emptying the name and fact of being sent: but YOU why do you unlearnedly fear and blush to allot to Him the name and fact both of the apostolate and the High-priesthood? would it befit (do you suppose) as other than He, the man born of a woman having (according to you) a mere connection and that in equality of dignity only? how then is the Word being God seen to profit any longer our condition, if we have been even presented to God the Father through another? for no longer have we had the access through Him, but a man like us has become our mediator having the name of Godhead put on.
Yea (says he) the priest’s office is petty to the Word begotten out of God the Father. Petty confessedly, I agree with you enunciating the truth, but not in bare Godhead did He dawn on those upon the earth, but rather made man as we, to whom the priesthood is some great and choice thing. But if He refused the priest’s office as belonging to man, or indeed ought that appertains to the measure of bond-service, how were it not better far, before this to refuse too the Incarnation?
Yet He rejected not for our sakes the Birth. But this man (as I said) is ashamed of the truth, shewing himself unwise and unskilled, albeit the blessed Paul saith, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. And one may well marvel that the Word of God for the salvation and life of all endured to suffer so great abasement, which the inventor for us of idle teachings is (I know not how) ashamed merely to acknowledge, albeit he ought to wonder hereat and to cry with the blessed Prophet,O Lord, I have heard Thy report and was afraid, I considered Thy works and was amazed. But since the whole God-inspired Scripture in a manner rises up against him, and arrays against him the truth, shewing that his discourse in favour of his own inventions, cold and without any real being and destitute of support from any quarter, lacks in no small degree the conceptions and ideas that tend unto Tightness and truth; hence what no one of those well reported of for rightness of doctrine, ever either thought or said, this he makes the occasion of his discourse, and fights with shadows and strains himself to no purpose, no one opposing him or wishing to contend about these matters. And this (I deem) is to beat the air. For he said “Who on learning of the ministry of an apostle would not forthwith know that a man is indicated? who on hearing the appellation of High Priest would suppose that the Essence of Godhead were High-Priest?”Since therefore there is no one who says this, with whom (tell me) are you striving, and as though yourself alone were overthrowing what is condemned by the voice of all, are haply thinking that your opposition is worthy even of honours? albeit how is it not true that since no one saith this, it is you who are bringing forward what it were better to be silent on and not to instil into the souls of the more simple? For who is so crazed as to, suppose that the Essence ‘of Godhead were High Priest?’ Aaron was a man, albeit he obtained preeminence of the rest in Divine Priesthood. How then will any one suppose that the Essence of Godhead is High Priest, or how will he not wholly and surely confess that mention is made of a man when the brother of Moses is named to us as High Priest? Yet he putting forth some language that commonly belongs to and befits every High Priest of those among us, essays to undo the marvel of the Economy understood in Christ, and dares to shake from the very foundations our Divine Mystery, not considering that Christ hath founded the Church upon a rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her. For he no wise condescends to follow the common doctrine and that of all who are wont to think aright, but he alone innovates without examination what he pleases. For WE (as I said before) say that the Word out of God the Father, made Man, offered to Himself and to the Father the confession of our faith and wrought an Economy befitting and by no means out of harmony with the measures of the emptying. But not so does it seem to him, but he taking separately and apart him that is from forth the holy Virgin as though another Christ than the Word That is out of God the Father, says that he became the Apostle and high priest of our confession and supposes that he is thinking what conduce unto piety when he says, “If God be the offerer, there is none to whom offering is made, for what is there worthy of Godhead that as though less It should make offering to the greater?” Now if there were any who were contending and saying that He That is truly Word out of God the Father had been appointed to office of priesthood even before the Incarnation and were in the measure of ministry and were for this reason to be called High Priest and Apostle, he would have given a wise rebuke, and one would say that his argument hereon had been made in season. For not in lack of priests is the Nature That rules all, that Himself should minister therein. But since the Only-Begotten, being God by Nature and receiving from the hands of those who execute the Priest’s office their ministrations, hath descended unto the measure of those appointed unto the priesthood, having become Man (as I said), nought strange will it be if He be called by us High Priest too. Hath He not come down in servant’s form, having taken that is the form of a servant, albeit Impress and Brightness of the Father’s Glory? None will doubt it. When therefore He Who is in His own Nature Free as God, He Who is in the Form and Equality of the Father, has been called bond, economically not thrusting from Him the measure of those who are under the yoke of bondage, why dost thou fear to call Him High Priest too by reason of the Manhood? for He dedicates us for an odour of a sweet smell through faith, and Himself hath He offered for us as a most sweet-smelling offering to the Father.
But he (saying I know not what) straightway subjoins to these things; “Whence then were God supposed by them to have been now called High Priest Who needeth not sacrifices for His own advancement? is the possessor of Godhead taken from among men appointed for men in things God-ward?” Whence then Christ, i. e., the Word out of God made man, was, or why He was called, Apostle and High Priest, our discourse has already clearly shewn, but I think it right not to leave unexamined his unwonted and strange utterance. For doth he say that the Word out of God is Possessor of Godhead, even though any should wish to conceive of Him apart and without flesh? doth he define His Godhead as other than He? whereof I don’t know how (as he saith) He hath become possessor, as though it accrued to Him and came to Him from without, although once not God by Nature, like what was said by that ancient woman, I mean Eve, when she bare Seth, I gat a man through God. But this I deem is wholly to be spurned by him and by all. Why then doth he speak with inexactness, and fling about words without understanding, in matters so cogent? would not one earn laughter and accusal of insanity, if one chose to say that any among us were the possessor of human nature, or a horse of horse-nature? who then is the possessor of Godhead, who taken from men is ordained in things to Godward? Haply he will say severing into two the One Christ, Him that is forth of the Holy Virgin: for to this I suppose now too is his aim directed.
Hath the Godhead then (tell me) become the acquisition of a man, and hath it befallen any one of us, to become God by Nature and in truth and to be rich in the excellence of the Essence that is above all and Supreme? Away with the ill-counsel, o man, for none of those accounted among things generate may acquire and have as his own the Nature of Godhead: His own was the Body of the Word and as one therewith God and Christ and Son and Lord hath the creation worshipped, and the Heavens do praise and we with them. For as the Prophet saith, His Goodness covered the Heavens and of His Praise was the earth full, not as though a man gat Godhead (for how or whence could he?) but that the Word out of God the Father had come into possession of flesh of man. But be it that he who was taken out of men was owner of Godhead (as seems good to yourself), how is he ordained in things to Godward, i. e., as High Priest? will he therefore bare of the Godhead which he gat, minister in the Priest’s office to God, or already having it as his own? for this and nought else will the saying that he gat it signify. But if bare of it, he gat it not; if having it as his own, Godhead will surely minister in the Priest’s office to God. Why then do you wander distractedly and jumble all together and blush not, stamping with false mark the tradition of the Faith?
The Word out of God the Father hath cogent reason even though He be said to execute the Priest’s Office before the Father; for He has been styled Priest not apart from flesh, but made (as I said) as we, to whom the glory of the priesthood is accounted an honour.
In another way too it is not hard to see that it is the absurdest possible thing and replete with much folly to say that he who was taken out of men and ordained unto God-ward, is possessor of Godhead; for if he were taken by God, how possessed he the Nature Which took him? for that which is taken will rather belong to him who took it, as a possession, not that which is taken be the possessor. As for example, A man has become the possessor of wealth, or again of skill unto anything: is it not plain to all that he will not himself be the possession of wealth or again of the skill that accrued to him, but rather the possessor of what he has gotten? but this is I think in no way doubtful.
Hence if on enquiring into the mode of the Incarnation of the Only-Begotten, we find that man became God as coming into possession of Godhead, let him be called (after your phrase) possessor of Godhead, for his hath the Godhead become. But if the Word being God came into possession of the seed of Abraham, and being in the form of the Father, hath become Man, receiving the servant’s form, how would one not be distraught, if he chose to say that that which was taken possessed the Nature That acquired it and hath not rather become the very own of Him Who took it?
But that he carries round the force of his own words and inventions and moreover the very name of high Priesthood in unlearned wise unto a mere man born from forth a woman, bearing it away from the Only-Begotten and Word That is out of the Father, he will make manifest by what follows too: for he has written again on this wise:
“Not Angels doth He take hold of, but Abraham’s seed He taketh hold of. Is the Godhead Abraham’s seed? Hear the following utterance too: Wherefore it behoved Him, he saith, in all things to be made like unto His brethren. Had God the Word any brothers like unto His Godhead? Mark what is straightway joined on to these, That He might be made a merciful and faithful High Priest in things to God-ward, for in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. Therefore He Who suffered is a merciful High Priest: passible is the Temple, not the quickening God of him that has suffered: the seed of Abraham is he which is yesterday and to-day, as Paul saith, not He That saith, Before Abraham was I am. Like to his brethren in all things is he which assumed brother-hood of human soul and flesh and not He which saith, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
§2. The Word therefore being God took (as he too hath just now confessed) Abraham’s seed; how then is he that is forth of the seed of Abraham any longer possessor of Godhead, if he were taken by God, did not himself take Godhead? The seed of Abraham then will by no means be the Nature of Godhead, but rather hath become the Body of God the Word, according to the Scriptures, and His Own, and He Who in His own proper Nature is uncounted among the creation as God, when He became Man who is part of the creation, then, then and with reason deigns He to call us brothers saying, I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren. But that by reason of the measure of emptiness, the Word out of God the Father hath descended even to having to call those upon the earth His brothers, the most wise Paul will clearly shew, writing of Him and us, For both He That sanctifieth and they who are being sanctified are all out of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren saying, I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren. For before the Incarnation, exceeding petty to the Word Which sprang of God was the name of brotherhood with us: but when He had descended unto voluntary emptiness, petty was it thus too, yet hath it come fitly in, for He hath partaken of blood and flesh and of those in flesh and blood has been styled Brother. For if He is sanctified in that He have become Man albeit God by Nature and Himself the Giver of the Spirit, how if He be called Brother too, will it not be so said in due order? for for this cause He hath become as we that He might render us brothers and free, for as many (it says) as received Him, to them gave He authority to become children of God, to them that believe on His Name, which were begotten not out of blood nor out of the will of the flesh nor out of the will of man but out of God. For the Word out of God the Father has been with us born after the flesh that we too might be enriched with the birth out of God through the Spirit, no longer termed children of flesh but transelemented rather into what was above nature and termed sons of God by grace: for He has been made as one of us who is by Nature and truly Only-Begotten Son.
And unerring is the word; the Divine-uttering Paul will give us assurance thereto, saying on this wise, And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father. Why then do you offer violence to the wisdom of the economy as though it appeared to have been wrought in no fitting order, in that you say, “Is the Godhead Abraham’s seed? had He any brothers like to the Godhead?” Is not this clear madness? for the absurdly enquiring into and bearing away unto blasphemy, things so right and unblameable in respect of the Economy in Christ, what else is it than proof of the most utter distraction? for confessedly in respeot of the nature of the body or of human nature perfect as far as itself is concerned, has the Word out of God the Father been made like unto us and in every thing like save sin alone. But I will ask him who says “Had God the Word any brothers like to the Godhead?” what idea (I pray) had the most holy Paul in his mind when he wrote to certain, Little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, and elsewhere too to those who through faith are perfected in spirit, But WE all with unveiled face reflecting the glory of the Lord are changed into His image from glory to glory as by the Lord the Spirit; now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord, there liberty? Doth he therefore say this to the Galatians as not having the impress in regard to bodily freedom, of that which is of the seed of David after the flesh, but is he travailing again with them that Christ after the flesh may somehow be engraven on them and formed in them? albeit how will not every body (I suppose) unhesitatingly say, that all who are on the earth are conformed one to another and to Christ Himself, in so far as He is conceived of as man, Who is both Man and with us? what formation then unto Christ was it that was sought for in them? or how are WE transformed from glory to glory, what form leaving, unto what are we transelemented? Let therefore the Divine initiator come forward and teach us, the Priest of the Divine Mysteries, the teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity; for whom (says he) He knew, and predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, them, He also called. Therefore (as I said just now) in that He was made man and was of the seed of Abraham, we all are conformed to Him: all therefore who are on earth, the Father both fore-knew and fore-ordained;and these having called He sanctified and glorified. But verily not all were fore-ordained, not all were sanctified or glorified:—-the fact therefore of conformation unto the Son will not be conceived of as existing in the nature alone of the flesh or of manhood, but in another way also, and this the blessed Paul sets before ua saying, And as we bare the image of the earthy we shall bear the image too of the heavenly; calling the image of the earthy, that of our forefather Adam, of the heavenly, that of Christ. What then first is the image of our forefather? proneness to sin, becoming under death and decay. What again that of the heavenly? being in no wise overcome of passions, not knowing to transgress, not being subject to death and decay, holiness, righteousness, and whatever are akin to and like these. But these (I suppose) will befit the Divine and Untaint Nature to possess: for superior to both sin and decay is Holiness and Righteousness. Herein does the Word out of God the Father restore us too, rendering us partakers of His own Divine Nature through the Spirit.
He has therefore brothers like to Himself and bearing the image of His Divine Nature, in regard of holiness; for thus is Christ formed in us, the Holy Ghost as it were transelementing us from things human unto those that are His own. Therefore to us too said the blessed Paul,But YE are not in the flesh, but in the spirit. Therefore the Son transfers not ought at all of things that have been made into the Nature of His own Godhead (for that were impossible): but there is impressed on those who have been made partakers of His Divine Nature through their partaking of the Holy Ghost the spiritual Likeness with Him, and the Beauty of the Ineffable Godhead flashes upon the souls of the saints. Why then dost thou assigning the mere and alone likeness of the flesh, not blush, disregarding the Divine and Spiritual forming, yea rather taking it utterly away? Yet the Lord of all and Only-Begotten God lowered Himself unto emptiness for our sakes, that He might bestow on us the Dignity of brother-hood with Him and the Beauty worthy of all love, of His Innate Nobility: and this man, bereaving us of all that is most lovely, says that a mere man hath become our brother and shews that sure (as he supposes) is his account hereof, adding “Mark too what is straightway joined on to these, That He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things God-ward, for in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. Therefore a merciful High Priest is He That suffered: passible is the Temple, not the quickening God of him which hath suffered.” Therefore that by choosing thus to think and moreover daring to say it too, he severs again into distinct hypostases and into two Persons, the Word from forth God the Father and him whom himself has just introduced to us as a God-bearing man, if so be that one and apart by himself is he that suffered, and another he that quickeneth, I suppose that no one whatever will doubt.
But in another way also is he beside himself, having quaffed wine from forth the vine of Sodom, and drunk with error and haply not even knowing what he saith: for where hath the Word out of God the Father been called (I shudder at saying it) the God of Christ? for there is One Lord Jesus Christ, and one faith in Him, not as though in two distinct persons, but as through one Baptism into One Son and God and Lord, the Word out of God the Father even when He became Man. For not because He became as we, will He lose the being God (how should He?) nor yet because He is God by Nature, doth He hold the likeness to us inadmissible nor will He reject the being man; but as He hath remained in human nature God, so being both in the Nature and Pre-eminence of the Godhead, none the less is He Man. Both therefore in the Same, and One God and Man is Emmanuel.
But this good man rejecting the mode of the Economy as uncomely, removeth from God the Word the human, that He may at last be clearly seen to have in no way aided our condition. For he says that not He became an High Priest both Merciful and Faithful, but allots this rather to him that suffered as being other than He. Yet how should he not, if he had desired to be a wise initiator, have made an exact muster of the expressions and ideas that are in the God-inspired Scripture and considered that this is a thing which is both truly God-befitting and not apart from what befits and beseems the emptying: and how we will say as briefly as we can.
The God of all uttered the Law to them of old, Moses being mediator. But there was not in the Law the power of achieving good without any blame, to those who wished it (for it hath perfected nothing). But neither was the first covenant found faultless, but the all-wise Paul called it the ministry of condemnation. I hear him say, We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become under sentence before God, because by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight, (for the Law worketh unto wrath, and the Letter killeth), and as himself somewhere saith, He that despised Moses’ law dieth without mercy under two or three witnesses. Seeing therefore that the Law condemneth them that sin and decreeth sometimes the uttermost punishment to them that disregard it, and in no wise pitieth, how was not the manifestation to them on the earth of a Compassionate and truly Merciful High Priest necessary? of One Who should make the curse to cease, should stop the condemnation and free sinners with forgiving grace and with the bending of clemency? for I (He says) am He that blotteth out thy transgressions and will not remember. For we have been justified by faith and not out of the works of the Law, as it is written. On Whom then believing are we justified? is it not on Him who suffered death for us after the flesh? is it not on One Lord Jesus Christ? have we not on declaring His Death and confessing His Resurrection been redeemed? If therefore we have believed on a man like us and not rather on God, the thing is man-worship, and confessedly nothing else: but if we believe that He That suffered in the flesh is God, Who hath been made also our High Priest, we have no ways erred, but acknowledge the Word out of God made Man: and thus is required of us faith God-ward, Who putteth out of condemnation and freeth from sin those that are taken thereby. For the Son of man hath authority on the earthalso to forgive sins, as Himself too saith. Contrasting therefore with the salvation and grace that is through Christ the harshness (so to speak) of the law’s severity, we say that Christ was made a Merciful High Priest. For He was and is God Good by Nature and Compassionate and Merciful always, and hath not become this in time but was so manifested to us. And He has been named Faithful, 3 as abiding what He is always, according to what is said of the Father Himself too, But God is faithful Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.
A merciful and faithful High-Priest therefore has Emmanuel been made unto us; for (as Paul saith) the one were many priests because they were by death hindered from remaining, He, because He continneth for ever, hath a priest-hood that passeth not, wherefore He is able to save also unto the uttermost them that come unto God through Him, ever living to intercede for them. That the Word out of the Father hath remained God, albeit made priest, as it is written, on account of the fashion and mode that befitteth the Economy with flesh, the word of the blessed Paul hath been sufficient unto our full assurance, for he said again, Now of the things which have been said this is the sum, We have such an High Priest, Who sat at the Right Hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the Very Tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man. Yiew therefore view the Word Which sprang of God illustrious as God in supremest excellencies and in the Seat of Godhead, and the Same executing the Priest’s Office as man and offering to the Father no sacrifice of earth but Divine rather and spiritual and how He has Heaven as His Holy Tabernacle. For not after the law of a carnal commandment has He been made High Priest, but after the power of an indissoluble life, as it is written. Faithful therefore is He in this too, and sure to them who come to Him, that He is able full easily to save them quite, for with His own Blood and with One Offering hath He perfected for ever them that are sanctified. For this I deem doth the holy Paul shew us saying, for in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. Why then unrecking of thoughts which pertain unto piety and straying from words of rightness and truth, does he say, “He That suffered is a Merciful High Priest, Passible the Temple, not the Life-giving God of Him Who suffered?”
That the Word of God then hath of His own Will suffered in the flesh for our sakes, shall be shewn in its own time: but that he is severing the Inseverable and setting forth two christs by the effect of his ideas, even though he clearly say One Christ, he shall be no less convicted through what has been forthwith subjoined, for he said again,
“Abraham’s seed is He Who was yesterday and to-day, according to the voice of Paul, not He Who saith, Before Abraham was, I am. Like to His brethren in all things, He Who assumed brotherhood of human soul and body, not He Who saith, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, He was sent Who is consubstantial with us and has been anointed to preach remission to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, for the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, wherefore He anointed Me.”
§3. Thou severest therefore into two again and that patently, then how art thou not convicted of being sensual and having not the Spirit, as saith the disciple of the Saviour? but the might of the Truth will array itself (o man) against thy words. For we affirm that the Word Himself out of God the Father took hold of Abraham’s seed, and made His own body having a reasonable soul the body which was assumed of the holy Virgin. And verily by true union do we say that One and the Same is He Who was yesterday and to-day and for ever, and Whobefore Abraham Divinely, was made man after and underwent birth of a woman. Hence He will not lie in saying, Verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.
But he does not the least understand what yesterday and to-day and for ever is. For that he may shew that the Word of God is Eternal and that by Nature and superior to change and turn, even though He have been made Man, he parted the whole of time into three periods, and puts yesterday of past time, to-day of the present, and for ever of the future. But this boorish man against reason [says] that yesterday and to-day are spoken by him of a common man, not considering that it will full surely shew Him to have been older and pre-existent to His own Birth, if He were at all of yesterday, which is indicative of time past. That not one is He that is yesterday and to-day, Jesus Christ, another He Who saith, before Abraham was I am, but One and the Same by a true Union, the Word having been made Man as we and having preserved to His own Nature, even when He was made man, the being without beginning in time, one may see and that without trouble, in the God-inspired Scripture. For as the blessed Evangelist John saith of Christ the Saviour of us all, John beareth witness of Him and hath cried saying, He That cometh after me has been made before me, for He was before me, and again, The next day he looketh at Jesus coming unto him and saith, Behold the Lamb of God Which taketh away the sin of the world, This is He of Whom I said, After me cometh a Man Which has been made before me, for He was before me. Thou seest then and that very clearly the Divine-uttering Baptist calling Jesus a Man and coming after, as being late-born and after him, yet preceding him and pre-existing, for this, I deem, the words, forHe was before me and has been made before me, mean. How then if He is a Man, is He conceived of as pre-existing and is said to be before: him who had the start of Him in time and had his birth in the flesh older than His? For if this were said of a man like us, every body would (I suppose) be at a loss to defend it, but in regard to Christ the Saviour of us all, there is no difficulty. For He Who is out of God makes His own the birth of His own flesh, yet is He not ignorant that He is Maker of the worlds and hath pre-existence as God, and is Co-eternal with His own Father. For we do not say that He hath His Being contemporaneous with the birth of His own body, but was (as I said) ineffably begotten of the Essence of God the Father. Therefore having His Being before Abraham as God even though He was made Man, He will not speak falsely in saying, as One in truth both Son and Lord, Before Abraham was I am.
And marvel not if He hath apportioned to His own Nature the being before Abraham, but consider rather that albeit He had taken a body of the holy Virgin, He said to Nicodemus, If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things? and no man hath ascended up into heaven but He That came down from Heaven, the Son of Man, albeit He was called son of mantoo, born of a woman after the flesh. Will He then be false in saying that there hath come down from Heaven the son of man, i. e., Himself? Not so, for He is Himself the Truth. How then will the son of man be rightly conceived of as from above? because the Word being God and out of the Essence That is above all, is said to have come down and to have taken the servant’s form. Therefore He converseth with us, not as any longer bare Word, but man as we, and as already conceived of as One with the Flesh united to Him. And as by reason of what beseemeth the emptiness, He maketh His own all that belongs to His own Flesh, albeit by Nature unembodied; so Himself being from above and out of Heaven, He allotteth again the coming from above to Himself even when He hath been made Man, even though He hath been born according to the flesh with us of a woman. The properties therefore of the human nature have become the very own of the Word, those again of the Word Himself, the very own of the human nature: for thus is conceived of One Christ and Son and Lord.
But since this innovator has added that “like to His brethren in all things is He Who assumed brotherhood of human soul and flesh, not He Who saith, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” come now let us again consider as we can what it is which he here saith. For that the Son is the Image and Impress of God the Father, he too hath confessed: who again “He is Who of human soul and body assumed brotherhood,” i. e., with us, let him come forward and teach; for no one would say that a man like us, such as (for example) Barnabas or Paul or any other of those who are reckoned among men, would be said to take brotherhood of human soul and body, as though he were ought else than this, and so took it, but he is so rather in being what he is. Not one therefore who is man could be conceived as taking the being what he is, as though it were other than he: but it will beseem rather the Word which sprang forth of God, having no rank among us in regard to the count of His own Nature, to take “brotherhood of human soul and body” with us. And the word of the truth contends on our side and the tradition of the undefiled Faith. It holds then that God the Word in the Form of God the Father has been made our Brother in all things, taking “brotherhood of human soul and body,” and will not speak falsely in saying, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. For if any among us had fallen into such unlearning in his ideas as to suppose that God the Father Himself Which is in Heaven must needs come down, even to the having likeness with us (I mean bodily); he might well have feared lest that when Christ says, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, he might be imagining that He too out of Whom He is, was in form as we, and in fashion of body. But since when He was made man, He preserved the being God, and holdeth the Beauty of His own Nature untarnished, I would no wise shrink from saying that He possesseth likeness with us, in respect of His being man as we, Who is of soul and body, albeit God by Nature and Impress of the Person of Him Who hath begotten Him. One therefore and the Same is He, like to His brethren after the flesh, yet shewing in His own Nature Him too Who begat Him, in regard I say to His being God.
But this man doth not understand this (whence should he?) but adulterating (so to speak) the plan of the mystery which is right and unalloyed, he introduces to us one and another christ, and caught in Jewish accusals, perceives not where he is nor in what reach of ills he hath come. For they of the blood of Israel heard God crying aloud through one of the holy Prophets respecting Emmanuel, And THOU Bethlehem house of Ephratha, little art thou to be among the thousands of Judah; out of thee shall He come to Me to be ruler in Israel, and His goings forth from the beginning from the days of eternity: and again, His generation who shall tell? because His life is raised from the earth. And they, no wise understanding the mystery nor yet knowing that albeit God by Nature and having the origin of His Being Invisible and Incomprehensible, He was called Bethlehemite as being there born after the flesh out of the root of Jesse and David, said one to another, Is not this He Whom they seek to hill? lo, He speaketh boldly and they say nothing unto Him; do the rulers know that This Man is the Christ? Yet we know this Man whence He is, but Christ when He cometh, no man knoweth whence He is. For they heard (as I said) the Prophet saying plainly, His generation who shall tell? and that He hath His goings forth or His Being before every age. View again (I pray) the vastness of Jewish stupor: for on saying The Christ when He cometh, no one knoweth whence He is, they said again one to another, Of a truth this is the Prophet: others (it says) said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? said not the Scripture that out of the seed of David and from Bethlehem the village where was David, the Christ cometh? Seest thou how they stagger, confessing both His being apart from beginning, Divinely, and His fleshly Generation in time? But they would not have been carried away into mis-counsel thus extravagant, if they had known truly that the Word being God, proceeded Man out of the root of Jesse and David and of the holy Virgin, and that the Lord of earth and Heaven and of all was called a Bethlehemite too, for He shared poverty with us being Rich, as it is written.
Why therefore plunging thee in the sleights of the Jews dost thou both deem and say what it is neither lawful to say nor yet harmless to conceive of? confess with us One Christ, and do not severing into two again say this, “He was sent that is consubstantial with us and has been anointed to preach remission to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.“ Whither then will go the word of the divines, who have been initiators of all under Heaven? for they have cried aloud that the very Word out of God the Father, was made Saviour and Redeemer of all, not as though a man other than He were mediating, like as Moses, but rather as come down to us in bodily likeness and form, for thus has He been anointed as High Priest and Apostle. And indeed He rebuked the Jews saying, Is it not written in your Law, Isaid, Ye are gods? if he called them gods to whom the word of God came and the scripture cannot be broken: Him Whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, do YE say [to Him], thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? why (I pray) shall we put Him Who abased Himself unto emptiness that He might save all under Heaven, forth of the most God-befitting and truly admirable achievements that have been wrought unto us-ward, by saying that there has been sent some other than He consubstantial with ourselves? albeit how were it not better to say and thus to chuse to think, that He has been both sent and hath been made consubstantial with us, i. e., man: yet abiding Consubstantial with God the Father Himself too, as He is both conceived of and was and is God? for He is, He is what He was, even when He assumed the humanity, and having sameness of Essence with God the Father Which is in Heaven, He grasped in wisdom the likeness with us too; as Mediator too has He been set forth, combining through Himself unto an union of relation things completely dissevered one from another as to the plan of their nature. For He being God by Nature has been made man in truth, that we too might be called offspring, no more of the first, that is, of the earthy, to whom it was said by God, Earth thou art and unto earth shalt thou return, who conducteth even unto death, but of the second, from above and out of Heaven, Christ I mean Who bringeth us again unto purest life, and rendereth incorrupt that which is holden of death and freeth from sins that which was enfolden by the toils of sin. Thus saith somewhere the Father Himself to the Son, Behold I have given Thee for a Covenant of the race for a Light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring forth of chains the bound and of the prison-house them that sat in darkness; and again by the voice of Isaiah, The beasts of the field shall honour Me, the Sirens and the daughters of the ostriches, because I gave water in the wilderness and rivers in the thirsty land to give drink to Mine offspring, chosen, My people whom I won for Myself, to declare My Virtues. The which understanding very well of those of the Gentiles called through faith unto true knowledge of God, the Divine-uttering Peter writeth and saith, But YE area chosen race, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should tell out the Virtues of Him Who calleth you out of darkness into His wondrous light, of old not a people, but now a people.
But if as seems good to thee to think and say, “he was sent who is consubstantial with us,” no longer with the Father, in no wise have WE been made partakers of the Divine Nature, but have abode as I said, and are yet offspring of the first, of him who conducteth unto curse and death and under penalty of sin. We have therefore been deceived and are no less now too in that case wherein we were of old and before the Advent. How then did old things pass away and lo they have become new? and where is, If any be in Christ, he is a new creature?
But are you ashamed to confess the Word of God God made man as we? do you therefore chide Him and say that He hath planned no wise matter when He emptied Himself for our sakes? Therefore thou shalt hear Him say, Get thee behind Me Satan, thou art an offence unto Me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God but those of men. Search with us the God-inspired Scripture; He appeared of old to the Patriarch Jacob too when he was departing from Laban’s hearth, and was at the very fords of Jabok, as it is written: for Jacob was left alone and there was wrestling a man with him until morning, and he knows that he prevaileth not against him and he touched the flat of his thigh and the flat of Jacob’s thigh stiffened in his wrestling with him; and he said to him, Dismiss me for the dawn hath gone up, and he said, I will not dismiss Thee except Thou bless me. And after other again, And Jacob called the name of that place, The Form of God, for I saw God Face to face and my life was preserved; and the sun rose upon him when he passed by the Form of God. Understand therefore how not as incorporeal and impalpable Word did He deign to shew Himself then to the Patriarch, foreshewing to him the type of the mystery, but He Who wrestled and consumed the whole night thereupon was a man. But when the day was dawning and it was morning, He says, Dismiss Me, which was clearly the word of one who was bringing to an end the wrestling.
And what is the plan of the mystery, it is necessary to say. With them who abide as it were in night and darkness, and have a spiritual mist o’er mind and heart and I cannot yet understand the mystery Him-ward, He useth to wrestle and fight and overcome; but with them who are now in light and so to speak in spiritual morning and have good understanding of the Mystery, He thinketh not good any longer to wrestle, but dispenseth to them instead spiritual blessings. Hence if even at length and hardly you should enter in yourself too into the light and so to speak into the morning, He Who conquereth all would cease fighting with you. And see how whereas it was a man who wrestled, the Divine-uttering Jacob says that he had seen God Face to face: and the sacred Scripture added that the sun arose upon him when he passed by the Form of God. Why therefore (I pray) are you ashamed at the measures of the emptiness, albeit every one (I suppose) who both holds the right faith and examines accurately the aim of the God-inspired Scripture says that the Word out of God the Father was both Incarnate and made Man? He therefore Who is consubstantial with us, in that He has been made Man, and to the Father Himself, in that He hath remained God even in human nature, was sent preaching remission to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to heal the broken in heart, and to call the acceptable year of the Lord: for His Alone and of none other are the deeds which have been wrought us, and one of the holy Prophets shall be our pledge, thus saying, No ambassador, no angel, but the Lord Himself saved us, who also most clearly saith to us, Therefore My people shall know My Name in that day, I Who speak am present. Albeit if he who has been sent were some mere man, how would Himself be conceived of as having spoken the Law which was long ago given to them of old? for not at all proceeding as man, would He be said to have been made man, lest He should be seen to have an existence elder to His coming into being: but preexisting as God, He hath spoken indeed the Law, but says that He is present in some strange and unwonted way when He has been made Man.
“But yes (says he) the Word being God fulfils all things: how then was He also sent, for where was He not Who fulfils all things?” what (tell me) shall we admit that the Divine and Consubstantial Trinity has been contracted rather than that it is spread over all and fulfils all things? Then how hath the great Moses, when some of them of old were building the Heaven-reaching tower, introduced God saying,Come let us go down and there confound their tongues? what descent needed the Nature That fills both Heaven and earth? it is written of the Holy Ghost too, The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the earth; the blessed David sings and says of them that lie in the earth to God Who is mighty to quicken, Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. How is That sent forth which filleth all things? Do not therefore (putting forward as something clever and hard to be overturned, that He Who is mighty to fulfil all things, the Word out of God the Father, has His mission an impossibility) hasten to undo the truth and to overturn the power of the Mystery; but consider rather that He speaketh in human wise of the things that belong to God and they are conceived of by us in such sort as both Himself Alone may know, and as He is wont to act.
But since as little and human and in boundless degree below the dignity of the Only Begotten He receives the unction, come let us say what is reasonable upon this point too, undoing occasions of offence. If therefore He have not been made Man, let Him shake off things human, let Him repudiate the Economy as putting Him in inferior position and setting Him behind the Supreme Glory and God-befitting Excellence; for petty to the Word is what is ours. But since the Mystery is of a truth wise and the fact of the emptying not to be rejected by Him, why dost thou foolhardily find fault with things that are right? and turn away as uncomely what is crowned with His Approval? didst thou see Him anointed humanly? behold the same also anointing Divinely: for it is written that John too bare record saying, I saw the Spirit descending like a dove and abiding upon Him and I knew Him not, but He That sent me to baptize with water, He said unto me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, This is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, and I have seen and borne record that This is the Son of God, For dost thou say that it is the work of the human nature to have power to baptize with the Holy Ghost them that believe? albeit how were it not folly to think that this were so? for how would the less bestow the participation of that which is immeasurably superior? And observe that this very person upon Whom the Spirit is said to soar down and to remain upon Him, baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, anointing (it is plain) as God with His own Spirit them that believe. And verily He rose from the dead, and breathed on His disciples, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. And they receiving, say, WE received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit Which is out of God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. The most wise Paul too writes, They that are in the flesh cannot please God, but YE are not in the flesh but in the spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you: if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, this man is not His. And elsewhere too, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Therefore when thou seest Him anointed with His own Spirit, remember the economy with flesh and take count of the human nature: when thou seest Him give the Spirit, with this marvel at God in human nature too.
But taking no account of these things this contentious man says again thus:
“This is he who was made a faithful High Priest to God, for he was made so, he was not so from eternity, this, heretic, is he who by little and little advanced unto the dignity of the high priesthood. Hear a clearer voice calling out to thee, Who in the days (it says) of His Flesh, when He offered up prayers and supplications with mighty cry and tears unto Him That was able to save Him from death and was heard for His Piety, though He were Son, He learned obedience by the things He suffered and, made perfect, became unto them that obey Him the Author of indissoluble salvation. That is perfected which advances by little and little, heretic. Respecting which John too cries out in the Gospels, Jesus was advancing in stature and wisdom and grace, conformably to which things Paul too speaking says, Made perfect He became unto all them that obey Him the Author of eternal salvation, called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedelc, this is he who is compared with Moses in regard to generalship, that is called seed of Abraham, that is like in all things to his brethren, that was made High Priest in time, that was perfected through sufferings, that in that he suffered beting tempted is able to succour them that are tempted, that is called an High Priest after the order of Melchisedek. Why then interpret contrary to Paul, commingling the Impassible God the Word with earthly body and making Him a passible High Priest?”
§4. Most vigorous onslaught, my friend, and truly spirited hast thou made upon the doctrines of piety. And the Divine-uttering Baruch, pointing out the Word of God already Incarnate and seen in likeness to us, says, This is our God, there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him, He found out all the way of knowledge and gave it to Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved: afterward did He shew Himself upon earth and conversed with men. But THOU calling out and that full often, This, yea all but putting forth thine hand;—-who is it that you manifest to believers and cause to be seen of them, yea, and say that he advanced by little and little unto High Priesthood? I suppose it is surely he of whom but now specifying thou saidst, “Therefore a Merciful High Priest is he that suffered, not the quickening God of him that suffered: the seed of Abraham he who is yesterday and to-day, as Paul saith, not he who saith, Before Abraham was I am; like to his brethren in all things he that assumed brotherhood of human soul and flesh, not He Who saith, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” And that in affirming that the Life-giving Word of God is God of him who suffered, involving yourself in the charge of inevitable blasphemy, you have done no slight wrong, sufficient reasoning made clear to us. But I marvel that thyself oblivious of thine own words, thou deemest right to say alike and think that He by little and little advanced unto the dignity of the High Priest, Whom thou sayest is even God Almighty. For the Epistle written to the Hebrews being before thee, thou art caught saying, “Yet is This man Who after the flesh is akin to Israel, Who in that which is visible is Man, Who according to Paul’s speech was made out of the seed of David, by connection God Almighty.” How did He yet advance, according to that idle talk, to the dignity of High Priest albeit testified by thy voice too as Almighty God?
And though you utter the ill-famed connection and invented I know not whence by yourself alone, I will pass it over for the present: but I will ask, bidding the argument advance straight on its own befitting and proper course, Does not that which advances unto Priesthood and glory make its advance or progress unto the better and more excellent? and how will not every one whatever give his vote for the truth of this? Greater therefore than the being Almighty God, is the High Priesthood. Then how does he whose lot is the Priesthood minister too and stand as a worshipper by God, and as a servant by his master, offering what is customable and bringing sacrifices, and He Who is crowned with the Supreme glory receives the sacrifices and is honoured by the service?
But thou sayest (I suppose) this, Being God Almighty the Same hath become High-Priest. He hath been emptied therefore and hath abased Himself by descent into the inferior. How therefore did He yet advance unto dignity when made an High Priest? Remember again thine own words, for thus thou saidst a little above, “If the Godhead be High Priest, who is He who is served by the ministry of the High Priesthood? if He Who offereth be God, there is none to whom the offering is made, for what is there worthy of Godhead that as inferior It should make offering to a greater?” Stand now at least to your own words; but this you cannot do, for you will be borne about (so to say)by every wind, and perceive not that you are being driven about, one while springing off from those into these, other while again from these into those, and in no wise are you afraid of what Paul saith, For if what I destroyed this I build again, I make myself a transgressor.
But you will perhaps say, Affirming that the Word out of God the Father is everywhere One Christ and Son and Lord, with His own Flesh, how sayest thou now that He has been set forth as an High Priest and Apostle? dost thou not in so saying insult the Supreme Dignity of His Divine Glory?
Because, good Sir, (shall I say) the Only Begotten Word of God has been made man and in the measures of the human nature, the fact of Priesthood will not unbefit Him, and moreover the saying that He has been sent, for He despised the shame, as the Divine-uttering Paul writes, and endured yet lower and worser things for our sakes: for He gave His bach to the scourges, His Face He turned not away from the shame of spittings, and endurant He bore the contumelies of the Jews. But thou deemest not meet to call Him Priest, as being God? admit the words pertaining to the Economy, consider the emptying, the descent unto the servant’s form. For we say not that the Word of God advanced and hastened unto dignity, if He have been styled our High Priest, but rather that He descended herein too unto emptiness. Since how has He been emptied and is He said to have been abased, albeit He possesseth unchangeableness and is in Form and Equality in everything with His Father? how too advanced He by little and little and this (as thyself sayest) unto the dignity of the High Priesthood? what sort of growth received He hereunto? If then it were a bodily one, I will ask again, Doth bodily growth lead up to the glory of the Priesthood: be then this common [to all] and let this method of reasoning of yours belong to every one who advanceth bodily, But of a truth the Priesthood beseemeth not all those who customably advance unto bodily growth; how therefore blushest thou not in putting forth unto us for demonstration of those things which thou saidst, what was spoken by the Divine-uttering Luke, But Jesus was advancing in stature and wisdom and grace?
But thou sayest that the growth was unto wisdom, albeit how is not this without learning? for we believe that out of the very belly and womb of the Virgin, Emmanuel being God proceeded forth Man, full surely of the wisdom and grace that are inherent of Nature. What sort of growth then will He admit of, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom, Who is with God the Father Co-giver of the grace from above? how then is He said to advance? it is, I deem, by God the Word co-measuring with the increase and stature of His own Body, the manifestation of the most God-befitting goods that are in Him. For let us consider that although He has been made Man as we, He was zealous to lie hid at the first, and administered by little and little as it were noiselessly and in silence the might of the Mystery; and of this God the Father Himself will be our assurance saying, Jacob My Servant, I will defend Him, Israel My chosen, My Soul received Him, I gave My Spirit upon Him, He shall bring forth judgement to the Gentiles: He shall not cry nor lift up, nor shall His voice be heard without: a bruised reed. He shall not break and smoking flax He shall not quench. And He was somewhere rebuking the holy Apostles themselves that they should not make Him, known. Hence a thing unwonted and strange and worthy of looking into, would have been shewn, if being yet a babe, He had made a God-befitting demonstration of wisdom: but He little and little and proportionably to bodily stature, extending it and making it manifest to all, will be said to advance and that with reason.8 How therefore did He advance by little and little unto the Priesthood, tell me, by being perfected in virtue? Then how or whence may one doubt that that which faileth of perfection in virtue, will be under blame, and not wholly an object of admiration, yea rather haply under charge of sin? But it is indeed true that He hath done no sin neither was guile found in His Mouth, as it is written. Full-perfect therefore is He being such unto every thing, and in no wise will He have the lack of being complete unto the achievement of virtue. And when was He That was God in the womb too not Perfect unto good, of Whom the Prophet Isaiah too saith, Butter and honey shall He eat, before He have knowledge to prefer evil, He shall choose the good, because before the Child shall know good or ill, He shall disobey vice to choose the good? where then will you be able to demonstrate Christ’s yet imperfectness unto good? or what advance will He need who is so Perfect as to disobey vice and to prefer to it, yea only choose, good?
Yet I know not how he who affirmeth and saith “This is he who by little and little advanced to the dignity of the high priesthood,” and who brought forward in proof of his words, Jesus advanced in stature and wisdom and grace, all but marking out the uncomeliness of his own words and gliding into forgetfulness of the things of which he assumed were right, affirms to us that the mode of perfection was wrought in another way, saying, “This is he who in time has been made High Priest, who was perfected through sufferings.” Is not this manifest distraction? yea rather a proof of utter recklessness? for our Lord Jesus Christ has been made perfect through sufferings, but this man albeit he was not ignorant of the mode of being made perfect, carries away the minds of the simpler unto certain strange perversions of ideas and says that He advanced unto being High Priest and has been perfected unto this, “Who is said to have been emptied because this took place. And as though he had full clearly shewn that neither was the Word of God made flesh, nor yet proceeded Man out of woman, he chides those who have chosen thus to hold and says, “Why therefore doth thou mis-interpret Paul, commingling with earthly body the Impassive God the Word and making Him a passible High Priest?” Hear therefore from us too, to whom rather the truth is dear, Why dost thou mis-interpret Paul, yea rather slanderest the whole God-inspired Scripture, withdrawing the Word of God from the economy with flesh, and settest over us as priest a man honoured with mere connection? albeit thou hearest that the Same is at once High Priest and Co-Throned with God the Father, as we have already said. For Paul said, We have such an High Priest, Who sat on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the heavens. For that the Word out of God the Father is Impassible, is I suppose clear to every one: that He hath suffered for us in the flesh, the voice of inspired men will seal up for a truth. But if thyself bear away the Word out of God from earthly body, the whole will come to nothing. For if He have not been made Man, neither did He die for us, and if He have not given unto death His own Body, how is He said to be the first begotten from the dead? Hence Christ neither died nor revived. Let the Divine-uttering Paul therefore come forward, let him cry aloud saying, If the dead are not raised, neither has been Christ raised, if Christ have not been raised, vain is your faith, ye are yet in your sins: they also which fell asleep in Christ perished. But Christ has been raised from the dead, for the Only-Begotten Word of God has been made Man and, taking an earthly body and uniting it Personally to Him, by the grace of God, as it is written, tasted death for every man. He has been named first-fruits of them that slept, having been raised from the dead. Sure therefore and not vain is now our faith, which we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast, as it is written.
And he, as though he had in no wise wronged the plan of the economy with flesh, through saying such things and pouring forth untempered and foulest vomit upon the doctrines of the truth, proceeds to another mis-counsel, yea rather manifest blasphemy and says,
“This man alone therefore being our High Priest, feeling and kin and sure, turn ye not away from the faith Him-ward; for He was sent, the blessing which was proraised us out of the seed of Abraham, as offering the sacrifice of His Body for Himself alike and His race.”
§5. Thou sayest that a High Priest both kin to us and feeling and sure and moreover only, is he whom thy discourse but now clearly taught us of. For thou saidst, “The seed of Abraham is he who is yesterday and to-day, as Paul saith, not He Who saith, Before Abraham was Iam; Like to His brethren in all things, he who assumed brother-hood of human soul and flesh, not He Who said, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; sent was he who is consubstantial with us and has been anointed to preach remission unto the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.“ This man therefore will be conceived of as of kin too to those on the earth, and not as THOU sayest, He That saith,He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. For if gathering both into one according to true union thou with us confessest One Son, thou hast laboured in vain, in bearing away each separately and apart from other, severing into hypostases and persons, completely, not in the mere knowledge that the nature of flesh is other than the Divine Nature yet by concurrence unto true union hath become Its own: if on the other hand desiring to shew thyself irreconcileable in opinion with us and utterly repudiating the union, thou sayest that He is one and another, and that the One has been begotten out of God the Father, the other of kin and consubstantial with us; how (tell me) dost thou say that we ought not now to turn aside from faith to Him-ward? and we shall believe him to be our kin, letting go Him Who saith, Before Abraham was I am: we shall take as our god him who assumed brotherhood with us of human soul and flesh, letting go Him Who saith,He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, albeit Himself saith, For so God loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, and again, He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the Only-Begotten Son of God. Is he therefore who is forth of the seed of Abraham conceived of as Only-Begotten apart and by himself, albeit John hath clearly written, The Only-Begotten Son which is in the Bosom of the Father, He declared Him, and moreover another Holy Scripture, But when He bringeth in the First-begotten into the world, He saith, And let all Angels of God worship Him? But First-born wholly and surely will He be Who is among many brethren, not He Who is begotten Alone of the Alone God the Father: for thus far will we follow, sir, thy distinctions, keenly awaiting for the economy’s sake, whither the words burst through upon us. Hence (for I will call back the argument to its commencement) “he that assumed brotherhood with us of human soul and flesh,” yet was made out of the seed of Abraham, will be the Firstborn among many brethren, but He that is in the Bosom of God the Father, the Only-Begotten God the Word. Then when the God-inspired Scripture says that our faith must be had in the Only-Begotten Son of God, why dost thou, putting forward one kin and consubstantial with us, say that we ought not to turn away from faith in him-ward? It is therefore necessary to link together in One Lord and Christ, by personal coalescence that is, in order that the Same may be conceived of as Only-Begotten and First-Begotten in the Same, in that the Word out of God the Father being God by Nature has been made Man as we and out of the seed of Abraham.
But now something clever has been found out as he thinks by him and thus again says he:
“Remember by all means what I have full often said to you, refusing two-fold natures in our Lord Christ, two-fold in nature, single in dignity: for the sway of the natures is for the connection’s sake, one, the natures abiding ever in their own order, but the dignity connected as I said before unto a single sway.”
§6. Yea apt at learning wert thou, who hast chosen to follow the God-inspired Scripture, which says One Lord Jesus Christ and does not put apart Him Who is out of the seed of Abraham and the Word out of God the Father. And besides one must consider this too: for one thing indeed is Godhead, another, manhood like ours, according to the inherent nature of things; but by coalescence unto true union, One Christ out of both, as we have full often said. But when the hypostases, as YOU say, have been severed into two and are conceived of as existing separately and apart, how will there be a coalescence in one Person, except one be conceived of as the property of the other: just as of a man’s soul his body will be conceived of as the property, albeit of other nature than it, for not the same things are soul and body?
But (one may perchance say) how is the Holy and Adorable Trinity distinguished into Three Hypostases, yet issues in One Nature of Godhead? Because (I would say) the identity of Essence following of necessity upon the difference of …., carries up the mind of believers unto One Nature of Godhead: but in respect to Emmanuel, since Godhead is something other than manhood, unless we say that the Body of the Word became His own by true Union, how will One Person be effected, when either hypostasis, apart by itself, brings before us the property of both? And except the assumed have been made the own of the assumer, connection by concurrence simply in dignity alone and sway will not suffice to effect One Only Christ, the Same God Alike and Man. For then, then, in very sooth, [it will behove not] to turn aside from the faith unto Himward, even though He be conceived of as out of the seed of Abraham after the flesh. But if you say that He is one and other and then affirm that our faith must be put in him that is out of the seed of Abraham, be well assured that you are pouring down upon your own head the charge of man-worship, albeit you repudiate and rightly the repute of being a man-worshipper.
Yea and thinking it too little to deem aright, he slanders in another way too the great Mystery of godliness. For he subjoins forthwith,
“For he was sent to us, the blessing being promised out of the seed of Abraham, offering the sacrifice of his body for himself alike and his race.”
Was Christ then Himself too made under sin? He through whom sin’s mouth against us is stopped, according to the Psalmist’s voice? did the darkness of accursed crime touch the Very Light Himself? needed then with us He through Whom is all redemption and hope of salvation a redeemer and Saviour? it will befit him (it seems) with us to offer thanksgiving, when God in His Clemency says, I am He That blotteth out thy sins and I will not remember them; him too even as we will the father of sin accuse. And then how will he not speak falsely saying, The prince of this world cometh, and in Me he shall find nothing? The presidents of the synagogue of the Jews once blasphemed against Him, for when they were worn out by the darts of envy, at seeing the blind from his birth in unwonted manner healed, they impiously said. Give glory to God, WE know that this man is a sinner, but our Lord Jesus Christ, convicting them of unbridled utterance said plainly, Which of you convicteth Me of sin? and if I say the truth, why do YE not believe Me? Hence, if He have offered sacrifice, both for us and moreover for Himself too, He surely hath needed it, even as we too who are under the yoke of sin: convict Him therefore of sin; if He hath offered sacrifice with us, shew Him co-sinner with us. Being the Good Shepherd, for whom hath He laid down His Life, for Himself rather or for the sheep? I hear Him saying of us, For their sakes do I sanctify Myself, and as the Divine-speaking Paul saith, By the grace of God for every man tasted He death, and again, He was delivered up because of our transgressions and was raised because of our justification, and as the Prophet Esaias saith, The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, with His stripes were WE healed, not Himself has been healed by the suffering of His own Flesh. He was delivered up because of our transgressions (not because of His own, far from it, for confessedly has the nature of man been borne down by the transgression in Adam unto curse and death, it is moreover sick of proneness to sin in the flesh), in order that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in its who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. For therefore was He also named the last Adam, not enduring to be sick of the things of the first one, but rather ridding in Himself first the nature of man from the blame of that ancient transgression. For it was condemned in Adam, but in Christ was seen most approved and worthy of wonder. Earthy therefore is he, but Christ heavenly. And it was put to shame in the first, borne down to disobedience which is sin, but in Christ hath it preserved untransgression, and as in a second firstfruits of the race, was seen both unwounded by sins, and superior to curse and doom and death and decay. And the most wise Paul confirms us herein, thus writing, For as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so too by its obedience of one shall the many be made righteous. Every one who has become guilty of sin needs therefore sacrifice for his own transgressions: and Christ hath offered Himself for His kin according to the flesh, i. e., for us; but for Himself not a whit, being superior to sin, as God. For if He have been sacrificed for Himself, not WE alone have been bought by His Blood according to the Scriptures but Himself too will have been co-bought with us, no longer according to Isaiah’s voice did the Lord give Him up for our sins, but He has been given rather for His own. For where is at all sacrifice and offering, there surely is also remission of sins. The Divine-uttering Paul therefore hath beguiled those throughout all under heaven by writing regarding Him, For such an High Priest became us, holy harmless undefiled, separated from sinners and made higher than the heavens, Who needeth not daily as the high priests to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins then for the people’s, for this He did once when He offered up Himself: for the Law maketh men high priests which have infirmity, but the word of the oath which was since the Law, the Son Who hath been perfected for evermore. How therefore is Christ an holy High Priest? or in what way harmless and undefiled? And if He need with us sacrifice, having made His offering for remission of transgressions and for justification of them that have sinned, how has He beenseparated from sinners, if He be justified along with them, the sacrifice having been offered for none else than these very persons? But I marvel that whereas Paul hath cried aloud and that full clearly that He is not like those who have been bidden to offer for their own transgressions, and then for the people’s, thou wert not afraid to put forth the contrary to what he said, and durst say that after the likeness of them who were made priests according to the Law, He too offered up sacrifice for Himself. And if it be true that the Law maketh men High Priests which have infirmity, but the word of the oath which was since the Law, the Son Who hath been perfected for evermore, why makest thou connumerate with those who are used to infirmity Him Who has been removed from their multitude; and possesses the perfection which is above the Law, of His own and by Nature, if so be He be Son of a truth and therefore God?
But let us see from the legal and more ancient scripture too in what manner and for whom, Emmanuel hath offered Himself for an odour of a sweet smell unto God the Father. For a shadow confessedly was the Law, yet hath it the outline of the mystery Christ-ward and travails with the form of the Truth. And indeed Christ said somewhere when conversing with the Jews, Had ye believed Moses ye would have believed Me, for of Me he wrote. How therefore did they of the blood of Israel when about to depart out of the Land of the Egyptians sacrifice the Lamb? for their own selves alone or for the Lamb’s sake too? whom did it redeem by its blood? was it them who were under the yoke of bondage, and were enduring the oppression hard to bear of the Egyptians, or itself too? whose destroyer did it scare away? to whom said the God of all, And I will see the blood and will shelter you? was it to those who needed His shelter or to the Lamb itself too?
For God the Father was representing the sacrifices that were to be made for sins, in the Law as on a tablet, outlining yet the mystery of Christ, and thus He said to the hierophant Moses, If the whole congregation of the children of Israel sin unwillingly and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly and they have done one of all the commandments of the Lord which should not be done, and have transgressed and the sin be known to them which they have sinned therein, the congregation shall offer a young bullock without blemish from among the herd for the sin. And having fully gone through how the details of the sacrifice should be done, He adds and says, And the priest shall make an atonement for them and the sin shall be forgiven them. Observe then that the bullock was offered as a type of Christ the All-Pure and That hath no spot, and they who offer and not surely the bullock were set free from their guilt. For He has been sacrificed not rather for Himself, as THOU sayest, but for the infirm, for whom the high priest according to the Law used to make supplication, that you may again understand Him That was made an Advocate for us, a High Priest undefiled and holy, separated from sinners.
Since therefore our opponent is on all sides sick of uncomeliness of speech, we say that the Word out of God the Father was made the High Priest and Apostle of our confession when He was made Man, abasing Himself unto emptiness and in our condition: in order that having offered Himself to the Father for an odour of sweet smell in behalf of all, He might win all under Heaven, might remove the ancient guilt, might justify by grace through faith, might render superior to death and decay, holy and hallowed and full well versed in every kind of virtue, confessing Him their Saviour and Redeemer, through Whom and with Whom to God the Father be glory with the Holy Ghost for evermore. Amen.