Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes Against Nestorius, Pt 4
Brazen serpent a type: how to be cured of the stings. In HOLY TRINITY Each Person exists yet each work is the work of the Whole TRINITY. Meaning of “Made flesh.” Christ gives the SPIRIT as His own, and works as God through His own SPIRIT. Nicene Fathers spake through the HOLY GHOST. “Commended.” The HOLY GHOST Spirit of the Truth, i. e., of CHRIST. All Divine Work work of Whole TRINITY. HOLY GHOST out of the FATHER and the Own of the SON. S. John xvii. 1. Flesh of CHRIST quickens in the Eucharist, because it is the flesh of the WORD. Its type the Lamb, its mode a mystery. Nestorius confessed that Godhead and manhood belong to the Same, and contradicts himself: yet the Eucharist does quicken us: and He is Man having remained GOD. No one taught confusion of Person in Christ.
The Divine-uttering Paul, shewing that not ineffective for the profit of those who have elected to live piously, is the shadow in the Law and besides full well setting before the minds of all, as a picture and representation of the truer, the things which long ago befell them of old, says, But these things happened unto them typically, but were written for our admonition unto whom the ends of the world are come.Come now therefore selecting out of the writings of the Law let us say, that they of Israel were camping in the desert of old time when they departed out of the land of the Egyptians and were speeding unto the Land of Promise: but when (wretched ones!) unmindful of the wonders in Egypt and of their love to Godward, they began unholily to murmur, they were destroyed of serpents, as it is written. Yet they escaped the bites of the venomous creatures, Moses having reared up for them the brazen Serpent, God the Saviour of all having commanded, Make thee a serpent and set it for a sign and it shall be, if a serpent have bitten a man, that every one that is bitten, seeing it shall live. The figure then was the mystery Christ-ward, for the Only-Begotten Word of God being God, and Good by Nature out of a Good Father, partook of flesh and blood, i. e., was made man, and like unto us wicked ones, in regard I mean that He is man as we. And He has been set up on high too, that is, He endured the cross on the wood and death after the flesh, even though He rose again the third day having trampled on the might of death.
When therefore of exceeding great lack of understanding murmuring against the economy with flesh and charging it with uncomeliness, we are ashamed to think or say that the Word of God became Man as we and was united to flesh in verity, then will the dragon, the prince of evil, slay us, infusing into our minds error, as it were the venom of his own perverseness: yet shall we escape and repel the damage of his crookedness, if with the eyes of our heart we look on the serpent, that is, if we consider with accurate mind the mystery of Christ. For then, then, deeming right shall we confess unhesitatingly that the Word of God has been made flesh, and proceeded forth of a woman along with remaining God, and is the Same God alike and Man, neither shaming of the measures of the human nature by reason of the Dignity of the Excellence, nor yet reft of His God-befitting Authority and Supreme Glory on account of the human nature. And they who are used full well to discern such things, clearly and by accurate scrutiny understanding through both the one, and the Mystery regarding Him, say, O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable His judgements and His ways not to be tracked; for who knew the mind of the Lord?
Yet doth somehow this man thrusting away these things as impossible and uncomely, dare to make no small accusal against the glory and excellence of our Saviour, and allotting to Him our measure and nought else, says that He has been glorified by the Holy Ghost, not using as His own Power, that through Him to work signs, but gaining from without and introduced, the power of achieving ought miraculous, that He may appear as we the recipient of a gift haply of healing, and be bound to say with blessed Paul, By the Grace of God I am what I am. For to whom being and being able to achieve ought is imported and from without, these will with reason utter such word as this.
For he desiring (as he thinks) to prove the Holy Trinity equal in operation unto all things, says again thus;
“God the Word was made Flesh and tabernacled in us. The Father co-seated with Himself the manhood which was assumed: for (it saith) The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My Right Hand; the Spirit descending consummated the glory of that which was assumed, for when (He saith) the Spirit of Truth is come, He shall glorify Me. Desirest thou also another operation of the Trinity in respect of these very things? The Son indwelt in the body, the Father commended Him when baptized, the Spirit fashioned him in the Virgin.” Then again he says of the holy Apostles, “The Son chose them out, for I (He says) chose you forth; the Father sanctified, for (He says) Father, sanctify them in Thy Truth, the Spirit rendered them orators.”
§1. That his whole discourse has been framed both unwisely and unhappily, is full easy to shew. And in this too he wanders, and how, I will say. For One indeed is the Nature of the Godhead, but the Father exists in His Proper mode and the Son too and likewise the Spirit: yet are all things wrought by the Father and through the Son in the Spirit, and when the Father is (so to say) moved to ought, yet does the Son surely work in the Spirit; and though the Son or the Spirit be said to fulfil ought, this is full surely of the Father: and through the whole Holy and Consubstantial Trinity runs the Operation alike and Will unto everything.
On this subject we say thus. But view again how clearly and evidently, although he says that the Word out of God has been made Flesh, he mis-coins the force of the ideas, and bears it far away from rightness, representing the Incarnation as an operation of His: for he adds forthwith, “wilt thou another operation of the Trinity besides these?” as though he had already shewn the first operation of God the Word, His being made Flesh according to the Scriptures. And what is the other after the first operation, he shews as he supposes. He says, “The Son indwelt in the body:” a God-clad man therefore is Christ. Next the Word of God the Father is shewn operating this alone for man: so that even though the blessed Evangelist say, The Word was made Flesh and tabernacled in us, it indicates nothing else to us but just this alone, that the Word being God dwelt in a man just as in ourselves too. For we are temples of the living God, and herein know we that He is in us because He gave us of His Spirit. But thou wilt not (I suppose) say this, shuddering at the blasphemy, but wilt confess with us, that the Word of God has been made Man (and this is the Incarnation): and wilt agree that He hath remained God, and kept the Beauty of His proper Nature, even though He have the name, Sow of Man, and have been made so of a truth. What then didst thou learn, and say that the Father co-seated with Himself the manhood that was assumed, and not rather that there sitteth on the Throne of His proper Godhead, in the Good-Pleasure of God the Father, the Word That sprang from Him, when made Man too: in order that His Human Nature be not conceived and spoken of by us as something other than He, albeit the union that is of truth shews us that He is One and that His Flesh is not alien from Him?
In this too thou wilt therefore be caught speaking falsely and in no slight degree erring from fit reasoning. And if to say that the Word has been made Flesh is nought else than that He being in the Excellence of Godhead and abiding what He was, hath become Man, what glory from without will He be in need of, Himself the Lord of Glory? For confessedly was He being glorified, the Spirit working Divine signs;yet not as a God-clad man, gaining this thing from an alien and superior Nature, even as do WE, but rather as using of His own Spirit: for He was God by Nature and not alien to Him is His Spirit. Hence we say that not from without nor by adoption has the operation of the Spirit been given to Him, even as unto us, or to the holy Apostles: for to them hath Christ given authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, and commanded them to heal both every sickness and every ailment in the people.
From within therefore and from Himself is His Spirit, And an evident demonstration of this will be His being able to supply It to others too and not of measure, as the blessed Evangelist saith. For the God of all measured to the saints the grace through the Spirit, and to one He gave the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge, to another, gifts of healing: and this I think is that those who have the operation have power of measure: but our Lord Jesus Christ, putting forth the Spirit out of His own fulness, even as doth the Father Himself, gives It not as of measure to those who are worthy to receive It. Why then, most excellent sir, dost thou make Him Who giveth the Spirit not of measure, connumerate with those who have It in measure, saying that His glory has been cemented by the Spirit and that He has been operated on, like one of us, receiving as a grace support from Him, rather than working Divine signs through His own Spirit.
For the all-daring Jews, whetting against Him a bitter tongue, unholily said, This man casteth not out devils save in Beelzebub the prince of the devils; but our Lord Jesus Christ convicting them of no small folly yea rather of impiety, says, If I in Beelzebub, prince of devils, cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? for the glorious and mighty choir of the holy Apostles, performing miracles in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is marvelled at: and of a truth they returned rejoicing and saying, Lord even the devils are subject to. us in Thy Name. But if it be possible that in the name of any one of those operated on, others too should avail to accomplish the like, let him come, let him tell us why no ono is marvelled at for rebuking unclean spirits or having accomplished ought else that passes reason, in the name of any saint.
But they are operated upon by the Spirit and have a measured grace, He, as God in-worketh, and through His own Spirit achieveth without toil the things whereby He is marvelled at. And verily the woman who was sick of the issue of blood came one time secretly behind Him (thus is it written) and touched the border of His garment and immediately her issue of blood stanched, which Christ now understanding, says Who touched Me? and when at this the Divine-speaking disciples said, Master, the multitude are thronging Thee and pressing Thee,He said again, Somebody touched Me, for I know that might went forth of Me. Understandest thou then that not as introduced from without, but from within and out of Himself hath He the power to inwork and to free from weaknesses?
And the blessed Evangelist Matthew too somewhere writeth, And the whole multitude were seeking to touch Him, for there went might out of Him and healed all. His might then is His Spirit, and the Divine-uttering David will give us proof, saying, By the Word of the Lord were the Heavens stablished and by the Spirit of His Mouth all their might. The Mouth of God the Father he says is the Word That is out of Him, by Whose Spirit the things made through Him, are stablished in being. I have now therefore said that he brings down to nothing the Mystery of Godliness, which has been marvelled at by the holy Angels themselves too, and recking nought of the dogmas that pertain unto truth, he makes light of them saying, “Wilt thou another operation of the Trinity besides these? the Son dwelt in the body, the Father commended him when baptized, the Spirit fashioned him in the Virgin.” And that the truth will follow surely upon the things which we have said, and that we have made no mere condemnation of his words, but rather a clear and true conviction of them, himself will shew saying elsewhere on this wise,
“And the proof of co-work is evident, The Son became man, the Father enthroned Him, the Spirit honoured Him by signs.”
§2. Will any one doubt even after this that the aim of his ideas looks to unlearning alike and unholiness, and is bold against the doctrines of piety? for like as he unwisely casts forth the Word of God from being made Flesh and says that He wrought an indwelling in man, so too again does he take the being made man, albeit the holy Churches in every region under Heaven, and the venerable Fathers themselves who put forth unto us the definition of the right and undefiled Faith, viz. (the Holy Ghost speaking in them) that the Word of God was made flesh and became Man, conceiving that this is nought else save only the being made man as we, and being born after the flesh of a woman, because He hath also been made with us under the Law, Who as God is above the Law.
But since (as I have already full often said) his aim is to undo the Truth, therefore he alone (and that strenuously) lifts himself up, and opposes the opinions of all, and brandishes arms against the Ineffable glory, and what he alone thinks, endeavours to bring in secretly as a kind of rubbish upon the churches of God: for he maintains that the Incarnation is indwelling, and not rather that the Word out of God partook like us of blood and flesh, albeit the Word hath indwelt and indwells yet in all the saints, but has once been made as we, and has partaken Personally in a single flesh, wherein He is believed both to have died and to have risen for us: for of His own will He suffered in the flesh.
But that to no purpose is he flinging about words, and recking little of the absurdity of his language, says that Christ was ennobled by signs through the Spirit, the words which have been just cited, sufficiently (as I think) shewed: but let us examine, if you please, his other words. ‘The Father (he says) commended;’ what then commended here is, I cannot understand: for the word is confessedly a word of the market and the mob, and replete with commonplace trickery; but I suppose that he wanted to indicate, set forth, for example, or, hath witnessed to.How then (tell me) did the Father commend? did He exhibit one counted worthy of Divine Indwelling? or was it not this at all, but rather His own Son made man, yet abiding even in Flesh, what He was and is and shall be, i. e. God? For Jesus Christ Who was yesterday and to-day is the Same even for ever.
Come then, let us examine what is spoken of Him. What says the Evangelist? And John bare record, saying, I have seen the Spirit descending from, Heaven like a dove, . . . . 3 and abiding upon Him, This is He That baptizeth with the Holy Ghost: and I have seen and testified that This is the Son of God. For our Lord Jesus Christ was about to sanctify economically the Jordan, and deigned with us to be baptized, ordering the Mystery of the Economy with flesh through the ways that beseem it: for it was necessary that the Word out of God the Father should be known to have been made Man. Yet was He baptized as Man, He baptized Divinely in the Holy Ghost. And we do not say that He ministered the participation of the Holy Ghost to the baptized either as a servant or by means of any other, but hallowed them, Himself infusing into them out of His own Fulness as God by Nature. How then dost thou, disregarding words alike and thoughts that belong to rightness, say that indwelling in man was wrought by God the Word; albeit whereas very many saints have had the God of all indwelling in them, none of them baptized with his own spirit or has been said to indwell Divinely in any and has so indwelt? and Christ Himself dwells in us through the Holy Ghost, Which is His own too, even as God the Father’s. And this Himself ratifies to us saying, But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of the Truth, Which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.
See then how He says that the Spirit Which proceedeth from God the Father is the own Spirit of the Truth also: and He Himself is of a surety the Truth. How then, if He be of a truth not rather God made man, but man having the Divine Indwelling as His Energy, doth He promise to send down, as His own, the Spirit of God the Father upon them who believe on Him? Yea, as I said, he shakes to nothing the glory of the Mystery, distributing the operation of the Holy Trinity in respect of the things done, and allotting to each of the Persons by Himself what the other hath not wrought.
Again he says on this wise, “The Son chose forth, for I, He says, chose you: the Father sanctified, the Spirit made orators.” O distraction without measure! if all things have been done by the Father through the Son in the Spirit and nothing be done by God the Father, save in this very way;—-how is he not surely distraught, who distributes to the Persons severally the Operations unto ought of the Untaint and One Godhead, and doth not rather maintain that each thing that is done has been wrought by the Father through the Son in the Spirit? For if the Son is both the Counsel and Wisdom and Might of the Father, full surely will the Father work all things through the Son, as through His Counsel and Wisdom and Might. Thus chose He for their excellence His disciples, thus do we say that those who were chosen out were sanctified, thus that they were made orators, from out One Godhead; that is, by the Father through the Son in the Spirit. For He says,Holy Father, sanctify them in Thy Truth. The Truth therefore sanctifies, i. e. the Son; He infuses …. too and renders them wise and through the operation of the Holy Ghost; devoutly eloquent. And verily He said in the book of Matthew to His own Disciples, When they deliver you up take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given yon in that hour what ye shall speak, for not YE are the speakers, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you; and through that of Luke, Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate before what ye shall answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist.Hearest thou how when the Holy Ghost speaketh in them, Himself gives the mouth? For He is as Word Giver of word and Bestower of the Spirit, as having It as His own Naturally; even as the Father Himself too. The Holy Trinity has therefore the same Operation, and whatsoever things the Father doth and willeth to accomplish, these things doth the Son too in equal manner, likewise the Spirit also. But the giving of the Operations severally to Each of the Persons individually is nought else than to set forth three gods severally and wholly distinct from one another. For the count of Natural Unity in regard to the Holy Trinity, shews I suppose one motion unto every thing that is done. But if now we say that while One Person is moved, e. g., to work, the Two remain ineffective, how is not a gross severance privily introduced, allotting as a certain position to each Person, the being conceived of external to and isolated from the rest, not in respect of His Individual Being (for that were true), but in respect of utter diversity which does not endure language that gathers them into Natural Union? For One Nature of Godhead is conceived of in the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity.
But this good man dares to abridge God the Word Consubstantial with God the Father as though he knows not that He has been made Man, not casting away what He was, but assuming rather what He was not: for he is an advocate for (as has been said) the Holy Ghost and insults the Son, thus saying to some who have elected to think with Arius,
“They (he says) contriving greater insult against Him, and severing from the Divine Nature the Spirit Which having formed His Human Nature (for that, it says, which is conceived in Mary is of the Holy Ghost), reformed unto righteousness that which was formed (for He was manifested, it says, in flesh, was made righteous in Spirit), Which made Him terrible to devils (for I,He says, in the Spirit of God, cast out devils); Which made His Flesh a Temple (for I saw, it says, the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove and it abode upon Him); Which granted Him to be taken up (for, it says, having given commandment to the holy Apostles whom He chose forth, He was taken up through the Holy Ghost): This I say which bestowed on Christ so great glory they make Christ’s bondman.”
§3. The daring then to sever the Spirit from the Divine and Untaint Nature, is (I assent) the part of a bad and sinful mind and one far removed from what is fit (for He is Consubstantial with God the Father, and moreover with the Son Himself and is believed to be God and out of God): but I think that we should, letting this be for the present, examine the words before us and with all attention see whither they look. For says he “Doing a greater insult against Him (i. e., the Word out of God the Father) and severing from the Divine Nature the Spirit Which formed His Human Nature.” Whose Human Nature, most excellent sir, sayest thou has been formed through the Spirit? albeit thou hadst but now made discourse to us about the Only-Begotten Himself Who was begotten Ineffably out of God the Father; for thou wert calling Him “Divine Nature,” and His I suppose and none else’s you say the Human Nature is. Therefore call to mind thine own words, for thou saidst it was the own Flesh of the Word, i. e., with a reasonable soul therein, for thus will the manhood be His. Then how, if the Word out of God the Father be One with His own Flesh, dost thou suppose that he lacks God-befitting Might and that the Holy Ghost made him terrible to devils, as though he could not do this of his own nature? and again the being able to crush Satan, as by the gift of another and hardly borrowed?
If then thou knowest that to sever the Spirit from His Divine Nature is (and justly) the most disgraceful of charges, His (it is manifest) is the Spirit, as proceeding through His Ineffable Nature Itself and Consubstantial with Him, and He will not need the might that is from It as something external and adventitious, but will use Him rather as His own Spirit, and will render Himself terrible to the devils through Him. But if it seem good to thee to shew that they who sever are unimplicated in charges of impiety, how didst thou just now call them to us insolent? and how dost thou not perceive that thou art numbering thyself with them, if thou sayest that the Word out of God the Father united to flesh, needed just like any of ours and a mere man, the aid of the Spirit that He might be terrible to the unclean spirits? For even though He say that He casts out devils in the Spirit of God, how must one not see that the economy of the expression is worthy of marvel? For the chiefs of the Jews, envious of the renown of our Saviour and opening against Him an unbarred mouth, used to babble (miserable ones!) saying that He cast out devils in Beelzebub prince of the devils: but He with His innate clemency toward all, drawing unto what was better and true those who have erred or who were choosing to let loose their tongues upon Him, was attributing rather to God Who is by Nature, the glory of being able to crush Satan, saying that in the Spirit of God He chased away the wicked spirits: and not as putting Himself outside of being God by Nature and of having the Holy Ghost as His own: but since it was meet and worthy of God-befitting skill to intercept the wrath of those who were desiring His death and to cut off occasions from those who were offended at Him, for they were attacking Him saying, For a good work we stone Thee not but for blasphemy, because THOU, being a man, makest Thyself God: therefore skilfully does He condescending to them who were yet weak say, the Spirit of God,: for He knows, as I said, that He is God by Nature together with Him Who begot Him, and has all things of His, save only the being Father. Wherefore did He also say to Him, All Mine are Thine and Thine Mine and I have been glorified in them, and to ourselves making discourse concerning the Holy Ghost, He says, All things that the Father hath are Mine, therefore I said unto you that of Mine shall He take and, declare it unto you. For as the Holy Ghost proceedeth out of the Father being His by Nature, in equal wise is He through the Son Himself too, His Naturally and Consubstantial with Him. Hence even though He be glorified through the Spirit, yet is He conceived of as glorifying Himself through His own Spirit, and not as though it came to Him from without even though He be seen as made Man like us.
It is besides unsafe to say this also concerning the Spirit, “Which hath made His Flesh a Temple.” For it was the own Flesh of the Word, and this thyself has just now acknowledged to us, for thou saidst that His is the human nature, and the Holy Body taken out of the holy Virgin is called His Temple: His own again is His Spirit, and never will the Word out of God the Father be conceived of without His own Spirit. Better therefore were it and wiser, to say that the Body is the Temple of the Word and the flesh His own, and to believe that with the Word is ever His Spirit, just as also with the Father Himself too.
Not without blame moreover would I say that is his saying that Assumption into Heaven has been given Him by the Spirit as to a mere man. For He chose His Disciples through the Holy Ghost, He was taken up as God, not receiving this as a gift from Another; but Himself rather as a first-fruit of the human nature renewed unto immortality presenting Himself to God the Father and consecrating for us a new and living way and that entereth into the inner part of the veil, whither the forerunner is said to have entered in our behalf, after the order of Melchiscdech made an High Priest for ever. But that when Christ ascended above, the Holy Ghost was in Him as His own, none will doubt. How then didst thou not fear (tell me) to say that “This Which gave this so great glory to Christ, they make Christ’s bondman?” For they who make Him Christ’s bondman are confessedly impious and dishonour the Very Word Who is Consubstantial with God Himself, arraying in slave-befitting measures the Spirit Which is of Him and in Him by Nature and His own: but the saying that the glory was given Him by the Spirit, is a manifest proof of the uttermost infatuation.
But you will be caught idly babbling herein, and not understanding the Mystery to Him-ward, yea rather both thinking and saying clean contrary to yourself. For if thou hast believed that the Word being God has been made Flesh (for thou saidst that His was the human nature) why dost thou say that the Lord of glory, as though He had not glory of His own, needed it from the Spirit, and reckonest Him in the measures of the creature to which all things are from without and given? for what hast thou that thou receivedst not, will it befit the creature to hear.
Yea but (he says) I find Emmanuel saying. Father, glorify Thy Son: add therefore what remains; this is, That Thy Son too may glorify Thee. If thou assert that the Son, as lacking glory, desires that of the Father, what dost thou say, when the Father too is glorified of the Son? is it as not having glory or needing it of another? away with the mis-counsel! for verily is it trickery and unholy thought and nought else. For the Divine Nature and that passeth all natures dwelleth in the light unapproachable and hath authority over all things and to Him is ascribed the glory which most befits it alone: but when the Only-Begotten Word of God was made man and was about by the grace of God through His own flesh to taste death for every man, and undo its might hard-to-withstand, quickening as God His own Temple, He devises the prayer as Man, and wills the Father to consent with Him Who was transforming the nature of man to what it was at the beginning and renewing it unto incorruption, and displaying it superior to the meshes of death: that ancient curse and the sentence upon the First-formed being undone.
Hence since visible in flesh, He is preached Son of God by Nature and in truth, He says, Father glorify Thy Son, rendering Him as Man, superior to both death and decay, that He may be believed to be Thine, being as God Life by Nature, according to the count of His own Nature: for then will the Son too glorify Thee. Glory truly is it to God the Father that it be believed by us, that He, Very God and Life and Life-giving, begat equal and like to Himself in everything, ineffably and beyond understanding, the Son, Who was in no lesser state, even though He have been made in flesh, but preserved wholly unimpaired the Supernatural and Choice Beauty of His inherent Natural Nobility, being Himself too Life as out of Life, and all-availing and achieving without toil and bestowing in-corruption on those subject to death and decay.
Hence even though the Son be said to be glorified by the Father, consider the measure of the human nature, sever not into two [after the Union] the One Christ and Son and Lord, but confess One and the Same, God made Man, and the Same in like manner Lord of glory as God, and recipient of glory in His Human Nature. For consider that, albeit by Nature and in verity God and King of all and Lord, He is said to have been set King, when, made man as we, He hath humbled Himself and been made obedient to God the Father and with us under the Law. In no wise therefore will the things that pertain to the measures of the emptiness trouble the wise and understanding and settled in the faith; but from them alike and from the things that befit the Divine Nature, do they acknowledge the Son, the Same God and Man.
But he comes not forward with sound words, but having swerved exceedingly to what is unruly, he busies himself without understanding, and deems fit to hold what please himself alone and what he thinks well to deem are understood aright. And he destroys others too, in addition to to what he has said severing into two the One Lord Jesus Christ, calumniating also our Divine Mystery itself from not enduring to confess with us, that not like one of the holy Prophets, or again Apostles and Evangelists, was Christ a God-clad man, but God rather made Man, and hath partaken in verity of blood and flesh. He said in this wise again, putting forth his words as of the Person of Christ,
“He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me and I in him. Remember that what is said is about the flesh. As the Living Father sent Me, Me, the visible: but sometimes I misinterpret. Let us hear from what follows: As the living Father sent Me, he says the Godhead, I the Manhood: let us see who it is who is mis-interpreting. The heretic says [he says ] here the Godhead, Sent Me God the Word. As the living Father sent Me, according to him, and I live, God the Word, because of the Father. After this, And he that eateth Me he too shall live. Whether do we eat, the Godhead or the flesh?”
§4. Thou sayest therefore that the flesh alone has been sent, and affirmest that it it is which is seen: it therefore suffices also alone by itself to quicken that which is tyrannized by death. Why then do the God-inspired Scriptures tell a tale to no purpose and over and over assert that the Word out of God the Father was made Flesh? for what need at all would there be of the Word, if the human nature sufficeth for us, even though conceived of alone and by itself, so as to be able to bring to nought death and to undo the might of decay? and if it is as you suppose and choose to think, not God the Word Who has been sent through being made as we, but the flesh alone which is seen has been sent by the Father, how is it not clear to all, that we have been made participant of a human body and one in no wise whatever differing from our own? how therefore do you elsewhere laugh at those who so think? for thou saidst again,
“I will speak the words too of offence. Of His own Flesh was the Lord Christ discoursing to them; Except ye eat, He says, the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, ye have no Life in you: the hearers endured not the loftiness of what was said, they imagined of their unlearning that He was bringing in cannibalism.”
§5. And how is the thing not plain cannibalism, and in what way is the Mystery yet lofty, unless we say that the Word out of God the Father has been sent, and confess that the mode of that sending was the Incarnation? For then, then we shall see clearly, that the Flesh which was united to Him and not another’s flesh, avails to give Life, yet ‘because it has been made the very own of Him who is mighty to quicken all things,’ For if this visible fire infuses the force of its natural inherent power into those substances with which it comes in contact, and changes water itself though cold by nature into that which is contrary to its nature and makes it hot; what wonder or how can one disbelieve that the Word out of God the Father being the Life by Nature rendered the Flesh which is united to Him, Life-giving? for it is His very own and not that of another conceived of as apart from Him and of one of us. But if thou remove the Life-giving Word of God from the Mystical and true Union with His Body and sever them utterly, how canst thou shew that it is still Life-giving? And Who was it who said, He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me and I in him? If then it be a man by himself and the Word of God have not rather been made as we, the deed were cannibalism and wholly unprofitable the participation (for I hear Christ Himself say,The flesh profiteth nothing, it is the Spirit that quickeneth, for as far as pertains to its own nature, the flesh is corruptible, and will in no wise quicken others, sick itself of the decay that is its own): but if thou say that it is the Own Body of the Word Himself, why dost thou speak portentously and utter vain things, contending that not the very Word out of God the Father has been sent, but some other than of Him, “the visible,” or His Flesh, albeit the God-inspired Scripture every where proclaimeth One Christ, full well affirming that the Word was made Man as we and defining herein the tradition of the right Faith.
But out of overmuch reverence, he blushes (it appears) at the measures of emptiness and endures not to see the Son Co-Eternal with God the Father, Him who is in the Form and Equality in everything with Him Who begat Him, come down unto lowliness: he finds fault with the economy and haply leaves not unblamed the Divine Counsel and Plan. For he pretends to investigate the force of the things said by Christ, and as it were taking in the depth of the ideas; then bringing round (as he thinks) my words to a seeming absurdity and ignorance; “Let us see, he says, who it is that mis-interprets. As the Living Father sent Me, for I live (according to him) God the “Word, because of the Father, and he that eateth Me he too shall live: which do we eat, the Godhead or the flesh?” Perceivest thou not therefore at length how thy mind is gone? for the Word of God saying that He is sent, says, he also that eateth Me, he too shall live. But WE eat, not consuming the Godhead (away with the folly) but the Very Flesh of the Word Which has been made Lifergiving, because it has been made His Who liveth because of the Father. And we do not say that by a participation from without and adventitious is the Word quickened by the Father, but rather we maintain that He is Life by Nature, for He has been begotten out of the Father who is Life. For as the sun’s brightness which is sent forth, though it be said (for example) to be bright because of the sender, or of that out of which it comes, yet not of participation hath it the being bright, but as of natural nobility it weareth the Excellence of him who sent it or flashed it forth: in the same way and manner, I deem, even though the Son say that He lives because of the Father, will He bear witness to Himself His own Noble Birth from forth the Father, and not with the rest of the creation promiscuously, confess that He has Life imparted and from without.
And as the Body of the Word Himself is Life-giving, He having made it His own by a true union passing understanding and language; so WE too who partake of His holy Flesh and Blood, are quickened in all respects and wholly, the Word dwelling in us Divinely through the Holy Ghost, humanly again through His Holy Flesh and Precious Blood. The most holy Paul will confirm the truth of what I said, writing thus to those in Corinth who believed in our Lord Jesus Christ, I speak as to wise men, judge YE what I say, the Cup of Blessing which we bless is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? the Bread which we break is it not the communion of the Body of Christ? for one bread one body are we who are many, for we all are partakers of One Bread. For having partaken of the Holy Ghost, we are made one both with Christ Himself the Saviour of all and with one another: we are of the same body in this way, that we being many are one bread one body, for we all are partakers of the One Bread. For the Body of Christ which is in us binds us together into unity and is in no way divided. But that through the Body of Christ wo have been brought together into unity with Him and with one another, the blessed Paul will confirm, writing, For this cause I Paul the Prisoner of Jesus Christ in behalf of you Gentiles, if ye heard of the economy of the grace of God which was given me to you-ward, how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men as now it is revealed unto His holy Apostles and prophets in the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body and co-participant in the promise in Christ.
But since some of those who at first believed, ignorant of the tradition and force of the Mystery were pleased to be borne aside from what was right, celebrating in the churches banquetings and public feastings, the blessed Paul found fault with those who used so to do, writing,For have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the Church of God and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not; for I received of the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was delivered up, took bread and gave thanks and brake and said, This is My Body given for you, this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise the Cup too after supper saying, This Cup is the New Testament in My Blood, do this as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of Me: for as oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye are declaring the Lord’s death, till He come.
And that the Mystery is Divine and the participation Life-giving and the might of this unbloody Sacrifice far better than the worship under the Law, is easy to see even from his saying that the things ordained through Moses to them of old time were a shadow, but Christ and what is His the truth. The most wise Paul too will help us herein, thus writing, One that despised Moses’ Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who trod under foot the Son of God and accounted common the Blood of the covenant wherein he was sanctified, and did despite unto the Spirit of grace? For they that of old did sacrifice the lamb ate thereof, but the force of the eating amounted not simply to the satisfying of the belly, nor was it for this that the sacrifices were performed under the Law: but that when death fell on the rest, they might be superior to its suffering and might escape the destroyer. And verily in one night were the first-born of the Egyptians destroyed, but these fenced by the bare type, alone were saved by it, and having the shadow for their shield, prevailed gloriously over death itself too. The types then saved those before us; in what condition are our matters, on whom at length beamed the Truth itself, that is, Christ, Who setteth before us His own Life-giving Flesh to partake of? is it not clear to all? For very exceedingly better and in vast superiority are they. And the might of the Mystery our Lord Jesus Christ making manifest saith, Verily I say to you, he that helieveth on Me hath everlasting life, I am the Bread of Life: your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and died, this is the Bread which cometh down from Heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die, I am the Living Bread Which came down from Heaven, if any man eat of this Bread he shall live for ever and the Bread Which I will give is My Flesh Which is for the Life of the world. For since they of the blood of Israel had marvelled at Moses for the largess of manna sent down to those of that time in the desert, which fills up a type of the Mystic Eucharist (for the Law is a shadow), therefore with exceeding skill doth our Lord Jesus Christ minish the type, driving them [from it] unto the truth. For not that (He says) was the Bread of Life, but rather, I Who am out of Heaven and Who quicken all things and infuse Myself into them that eat Me, through My Flesh too that is united to Me. Which indeed He made clearer saying, Verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, ye have not Life in you: he that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath eternal Life and I will raise him up at the last day, for My Flesh is true meat and My Blood is true drink; he that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me and I in him. As the Living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, he also that eateth Me, he too shall live. Consider then how He abideth in us and maketh us superior to corruption, infusing Himself into our bodies, as I said, through His own Flesh too, which is true meat, whereas the shadow in the Law and the worship under it possess not the truth.
And the plan of the Mystery is simple and true, not overwrought with varied devices of imaginations unto unholiness but simple as I said. For we believe that to the body born through the holy Virgin, having a reasonable soul, the Word out of God the Father having united Himself (unspeakable is the union, and wholly a Mystery!) rendered it Life-giving, being as God Life by Nature, that making us partakers of Himself spiritually alike and bodily, He might both make us superior to decay and might through Himself bring to nought the law of sin which is in the members of the flesh, might condemn sin in the flesh, as it is written. But this no wise (I deem) pleases this dogmatist of new inventions, who like some straying calf runs after only what pleases himself: and minishes the force of the mystery saying,
“Hear the word Lord too, sometimes put of the human nature of Christ, sometimes of His Godhead, sometimes of both. As oft as ye eat this Bread and drink this Cup, ye declare the Lord’s Death. Hear from the foregoing the unlearning of the gainsayers, how they read the mighty profit of the mystery, and whose memorial it imparts to men, and hear not me saying these things, but the blessed Paul, As oft as ye cat this bread, he said not, As oft as ye eat this Godhead. As oft as ye eat this bread. See what is before us concerning the Lord’s Body. As oft as ye eat this Bread, whereof the Body is the antitype. Let us see therefore whose is the Death. As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this Cup, ye declare the Lord’s Death. Hear yet plainer in what follows, Till He come, who is it Who is coming? They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great glory. And greater still, the Prophet before the Apostles did more clearly shew Him Who is coming and hath cried aloud proclaiming of the Jews, They shall look on Him Whom they pierced. Who then is he that was pierced? the Side: belongs the Side to the body, or the Godhead?”
§6. Again must we speak for the doctrines of the Truth, and oppose, sir, thy words, and before all else must say this to those who will hear: Thy aim is and with all diligence to represent two christs, to whom severally may belong the title of lordship, but it shall be shewn by us, without any great toil, that you go to this in most unlearned wise. For come tell me who ask thee, what Christ you are defining, whose you say is both the manhood and likewise the Godhead: if the Word out of God the Father, you have clearly confessed that the Same is man also, for you said that His is the human nature: but if him that is born of the Virgin according to thee, you will be caught no less pronouncing that He is God too: for you said that His is the Godhead also. On all sides therefore driven even against thy will to the Truth, confess with us One Christ and Lord: for thus will you cease from saying, “Hear the word Lord too, one while put of the human nature of Christ, one while of His Godhead, other while, of both:” for where there is One Son, what room is there to speak of both? and why dost thou smile at those who honour our Divine Mystery, saying most unholily, “As oft as ye eat this bread and drink the cup, ye declare the Lord’s death? Hear from the foregoing the unlearning of the gainsayers, how they read the mighty profit of the mystery and Whoso memorial is set before men.”
There is therefore nothing excellent in the unbloody sacrifice, but it profits exceeding little, and he will put the force of the gain thereof in just merely declaring a man’s death and making a memorial of one like us. Therefore He lies in saying that He is Life-giving Who knows not how to lie, Christ: “WE too have been cozened having a vain opinion of Him: and now late and with difficulty are we being guided unto the finding of the truth, by reading these thy words. But to you who choose to think thus, shall be said what is spoken through the Prophet’s voice, Lo thine eyes are not, nor thine heart comely. For he by no means understandeth, that we setting forth the Death of Christ, confessing too His Resurrection, and gaining thereby perfection in the faith, then becoming partakers of His Divine Nature and that through participating of unity with Him, are sanctified spiritually alike and bodily and are quickened. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal put on immortality: and the robe that is out of Heaven and undecaying and productive of immortality hath Christ become to us. And our proof is the most holy Paul writing, one while, Put ye on our Lord Jesus Christ, at another again, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ put on Christ, Who saith in God-befitting way and truly, I am the Resurrection and the Life.
To those things does he fearing nought put forth yet fouler impiety, adding, “Hear not me saying these things but the blessed Paul, As oft as ye do eat this bread, whereof the Body is the antitype. Let us see therefore herefrom whose is the death. As oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this Cup, ye declare the Lord’s death. Hear yet plainer in what follows, Till He come: who then is he that is to come? They shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with great glory. And greater yet, the Prophet before the Apostles did more clearly shew Him Who is coming and hath cried proclaiming concerning the Jews, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. Who then is He which was pierced? The Side, belongs the Side to the Body, or to the Godhead?” Petty therefore as I said, is the profit of the Unbloody Sacrifice, because perchance it hath not been, feasible that the Nature of the Godhead too should be consumed along with the Flesh, because we are not in possession of impossibilities, having the Incorporeal by Itself to eat. But you seem to me to forget that it is by no means the Nature of Godhead that lieth upon the holy Tables of the Churches, yet is it the own Body of the Word Begotten of God the Father: and God by Nature and in truth is the Word. Why therefore dost thou confound all things and jumble them without understanding, all but mocking at our Bread Which is out of Heaven and giveth Life to the world, because it is not called Godhead by the voice of the Divines, but rather the Body of Him Who hath become Man for us, that is, of the Word out of God the Father? And why (tell me) dost thou call it the Lord’s Body at all, save because thou knowest it to be Divine and God’s? for all things serve their Maker.
Yea the things in thy mind are not right, but thou believest Emmanuel to be merely a God-clad man. And then utterly heedless of thoughts and words that belong to piety, thou supposest that the Priest of the Truth, the wise master-builder and teacher of the Gentiles, the truly holy and all-wise Paul will support thee in thy calumniating, bearing away from the straight and most approved path the force of what are rightly and without adulteration said by him.
For “let us see (he says) herefrom whose is the death. Till He come. Who is He Who is coming? they shall look 13 on Him Whom they pierced.“ He will come therefore Who suffered death humanly, has been raised Divinely, Who ascended too into the Heavens, Who with all state is on the Throne of the Ineffable Godhead and co-sitteth with the Father, the Seraphim standing around, and the Highest Powers, not unknowing of the measure of their subjection to Him; every Authority and Power and Lordship worshipping Him: for to Him shall bend every knee and every tongue shall confess, Lord Jesus, to the glory of God the Father. He shall come (as I said) seen not in our littleness, but rather in most God-befitting glory. Heaven and the Spirits above encompassing Him as their God and King and standing by the Lord of all. If therefore the Word of God the Father be not rather in flesh, or made Man, but a God-clad man with bodily side and who endured the piercing, how is He seen on the Throne of the Supreme Godhead, revealed to us as a new god fourth after the Holy Trinity? hast thou not shuddered at a mere man, devising worship for the creature? are we then holden in the ancient snares? have we then done insult to God and has the holy multitude of the spirits above gone astray with us? if we have been set free from the ancient deceit, refusing as blasphemous to worship the creature, why dost thou casting us again into the old charges, exhibit us man-worshippers? for WE know and believe that the Word out of God the Father assumed flesh and blood: but since He hath remained the Same, i.e., God, He retained the Dignity of His inherent Excellence over all, albeit in flesh as we, yet being no less God, now too than of old, even though He have been made Man, He hath the Heaven His adorer and the earth worshipping Him: for it is written, that the earth is full of Thy praise, Thy Virtue covered the Heavens, O Lord.
But THOU again, of thy over much infatuation, seest not that thus He is in Nature and Glory: for thou saidst, “Who is he who cometh?they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven,” as though thou fearedst lest any should disbelieve thee saying that He Which cometh is son of man. Thou confirmest the proof thereof with prophetic testimony also: for thou sayest that it is written, They shall look on Him Whom they pierced. And yet mightier for proof as thou supposedst, most foolishly adding, “Who then is it (he says) that is pierced? the Side: belongs the Side to body or to the Godhead?” If there were any who say that the Word of God have not been made as we, but came among those on earth in bare Godhead, i.e., in semblance and as it were in shadow, as some of the unholy heretics thought good to think, you would have had some plea for such like framing of words; not passing the bound of what was meet: but since the preaching of the truth says clearly and manifestly that the Word of God was made Flesh and was called as we son of man too and suffered for us in the flesh and will also so come as He went up into Heaven, according to the Angel’s voice too: whom (tell me) dost thou opposing, and whose opinion cutting off as unlearned and of no account, dost thou strive to shew us that HE Who cometh is a man with bodily side which has been pierced through with the spear?
But thine aim (as I said) is to bring in privily to us Emmanuel as a God-clad man and not rather God made Man, for the Word of God has been made Man. And this faith goes along with the holy and Divine Scriptures and the aim of the Apostolic and Evangelic Tradition tends to this same thing. But THOU again art talking big in another way too: for thou pretendest to be finding fault with those who mingle into one essence, the nature of the flesh and of the Godhead (albeit there is no one as I deem who mingles them up or mixes them one with other), and sayest,
“Why, as we were just now hearing, when both are according to thee mingled, does our Lord, delivering to the disciples the force of the Mystery, thus say, He took bread and gave thanks and gave to His disciples saying, Take, eat all of you forthis is My Body. Why said He not, This is My Godhead Which is being broken for you? and again giving the cup of the Mysteries, He said not, This is My Godhead Which is being poured forth for you, but This is My Blood which is being shed for you for the remission of sins.”
§7. That it is therefore an exceeding folly to want to oppose oneself to those who are not at all, and to no purpose to march forth, taking for contradiction that which no one (I suppose) cared either to think or say, how is it not manifest to all? for if one chose to contend that the ox is not by nature an horse, nor yet man an horse, whereas no one would even endure to think or say this;—-how would he not be laughed at and besides a vain talker, beating the air and fighting against things uncertain and devising for himself sweat and toil against what was not there? For I say that something confessed ought first to be laid down, in order that then in duo order ours may be ranged against it.
But let us come to this: for if there be any who should dare to say the Word out of God had been transformed into the nature of the body, one might very reasonably object to him, that He on giving His Body did not rather say, Take eat this is My Godhead which is being broken for you, and, this is not My Blood but rather My Godhead which is being poured forth for you. But since the Word being God made His own the Body born of a woman, without undergoing any alteration or turning, how must not He who saith no untruth say, Take eat this is My Body? for being Life as God, He rendered it Life and Life-giving.
Having therefore opened your eyes but a little to the Truth, you will I suppose charge, yourself against yourself, your superfluity of language, on all sides stuttering and unlearnedly arraying against the Doctrines of piety this thy counterfeit and joyless discourse.