Cyril of Alexandria: That Christ is One; by way of dispute with Hermias
Wrong thought of Christ either before the Incarnation or when Incarnate. Nestorius. If Virgin not Mother of God, Christ not God. Objection to the word “was made.” He takes ours, gives us His. Meaning of name “Christ.” The Incarnation gives to the Son names no longer common to the Father and the Holy Ghost. „Connection.,, „Reference, ,, ἀναφορά. Not Two Natures after the Incarnation : yet no confusion. The Burning Bush a type. Union. Phil. ii. 5-9. The “emptying.” A man not “made man.” 2 Cor. i. 19. „Connection,, undoes union. “Yesterday To-day and for ever.” S. John i. 29-31: S. Matth. xiv. 32, xiii. 41. ἀνθρωπαῖος. The Incarnate Son called in O.T. ” the glory of the Lord.” Objections put forward: Sanctifier and sanctified, received glory and exalted, learning obedience and forsaken, fear of death, weariness, sleep, advancing in wisdom. Perfect through sufferings. Impassible yet “suffered in the flesh.” 2 Cor. xiii. 3, 4. Equality of honour involves duality. S. John iii. 16. Phil. ii. 5-11. S. John xvii. 5, vi. 38. S. Matth. xxviii. 19. 1 Cor. i. 22-25. Suffering in the flesh. ONE SON begotten from Eternity from forth the FATHER, in the last times born of a woman.
A. There shall no satiety of holy teachings ever come to them who are truly sound in mind and who have gathered the life-giving knowledge into their understanding. For it is written, Not by bread alone shall a man live but by every word that goeth forth through the mouth of God. For the mind’s nourishment and spiritual bread which stayeth man’s heart, as is sung in the book of Psalms, is the word which is from God.
B. You say well.
A. The wise therefore and eloquent among the Greeks admire elegancy of speech, and good language is among their chiefest aims and they make their boast in mere refinements of words and revel in bombast of language : and their poets have for their material falsehood, wrought by proportions and measures unto what is graceful and tuneful; but of the truth they reck full little, sick with a scarcity of right and profitable doctrine, I mean regarding God Who is by Nature and truly, yea rather as the most holy Paul says, They became vain in their imaginations and their heart void of understanding was darkened. Saying that they were wise they became foolish and changed the glory of the Incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.
B. True, verily of them said God by the voice of Isaiah, Know ye that their heart is ashes and they are deceived.
A. Thus much for them : but they who have become inventors of unholy heresies, profane and apostate and enlarging their unbridled mouth against the Divine glory and uttering things perverted, will be caught as having of their folly slipped into charges not slighter than those of the infatuation of the Greeks or haply into charges even surpassing theirs. For it were better for them not to have known the way of truth than having known it to turn back from the holy commandment given to them : for the true proverb hath come to them, The dog returned to his own vomit, and, The washed sow to the wallowing in the mire.For they parted amongst themselves the charges of blasphemy against Christ and like fierce and bitter wolves they waste the flocks for which Christ died, and despoil what is His, multiplying to themselves that which is not theirs, as it is written, and weighting their yoke heavily, of whom may be said with much reason, They went out from us but they were not of us.
A. Seasonably does our discourse contend about such things. For some in their lack of understanding do bring down the Only-Begotten Word of God from His Supreme Excellence and lower Him from Equality with God the Father, affirming that He is not Consubstantial, nor liking to crown Him with an Identity Exact and of Nature : others going as it were along the same road with these and falling into the snare of death and pitfall of Hades turn aside the mystery of the Economy with flesh of the Only-Begotten and pursue a folly fraternal (so to speak) with the former. For the one will be caught dragging down as it were (so far as in them lies) from the heights of His Godhead the Word sprung of God the Father ere yet Incarnate; the others have elected to make war with Him Incarnate, well-nigh finding fault (daring ones!) with His Pitying grace, maintaining forsooth that it counselled not well for that He underwent flesh and the measures of our emptiness, i. e. was made man and was seen on earth and conversed with men though God by Nature and co-seated with the Father.
B. You say rightly.
A. God-inspired Scripture therefore will cry out against the unlearning of them both, setting forth to us the truth and shewing that feeble and of none account is their speech, and establishing on the path of the Godhead them who are used to view with subtil and accurate eye of understanding the Mystery thereof. But who they will be who in unhallowed wise debase the so august and ineffable Economy of the Saviour (for you seem to be in no small degree troubled about this very thing) I would fain ask you.
B. You testify rightly, for with jealousy am I jealous for the Lord, and, yet more, goaded am I distraught and that exceedingly. And I fear when I look whither their words will end. For they adulterate the faith that was delivered to us, using the inventions of the new-seen dragon and pouring like venom into the souls of the simpler certain frigid and perverse things and full of infatuation.
A. But who is this new-seen dragon and what his triflings against the doctrines of the Truth tell to me who ask.
B. The new-seen dragon, this crooked one and who has his tongue drunk with venom, who all-but bids farewell to the tradition of the initiators of the world, yea rather to all the God-inspired Scripture, and who innovates what seems good to him and says that the holy Virgin is not Mother of God, but mother of Christ and mother of man, bringing in moreover other things discordant and senseless, upon the right and sincere doctrines of the Catholic Church.
A. You say (I ween) Nestorius, for I understand, but I do not know, my friend, the actual state of his words: how does he say that the holy Virgin is not Mother of God?
B. She bare not (he says) God: for the Word was before her too, yea rather before every age and time, Co-eternal with God the Father.
A. They will therefore manifestly deny this too, that Emmanuel is God, and to no purpose as it seems, does the Evangelist interpret the name saying, Which is interpreted, With us is God, for thus did God the Father clearly affirm through the voice of the Prophet that He was to be called Who has been born of the holy Virgin after the flesh, as God Incarnate.
B. Yet it appears to them to be not so, but they would say that with us is God or the Word out of God, in the way of succouring us: for He hath saved all under heaven through him who was born of woman.
A. And was He not (tell me) with Moses too freeing Israel from the land of the Egyptians and the tyranny there, in a strong hand and a high arm, as it is written? shall we not find Him after this also saying clearly to Joshua, And as I was with Moses so will I be with thee too?
A. Why then was none of these called Emmanuel, but the name befitted Him alone Who was wondrously born after the flesh of a woman in the last times of the world?
B. How then shall we deem that God has been born of a woman? that the Word partook of Being, in her and from forth her?
A. Away with so frigid ill-advice! For these are the words of one who wanders, and of a mind diseased with a turning aside to what it ought not, to think that the Ineffable Being of the Only-Begotten has become fruit of flesh: He was as God Co-Eternal with the Father Who begat Him and Ineffably begotten of Him by Nature. But to those who would know clearly how and in what manner He appeared in likeness to us and became man, the Divine Evangelist John will make it known, saying, And the Word was made flesh and tabernacled in us (and we saw His glory, (the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.
B. Yet if the Word has become (they say) flesh, no longer hath It remained Word but hath left being what It was.
A. Verily this is jugglery and humbug and the inventions of a mind beside itself and nought else. For they (it appears) are supposing that the word Was made indicates as of unavoidable necessity, turning and change.
B. Yes (they say), and they moreover confirm their affirmation, taking proofs out of the God-inspired Scripture itself. For it has been somewhere said (he says) of Lot’s wife that she WAS MADE a pillar of salt, and besides of Moses’ Rod that he cast it on the ground and it WAS MADE a serpent. For in these cases a change of nature took place.
A. Therefore when certain sing, And the Lord WAS MADE to me a refuge, and again, O Lord, Thou WERT MADE a refuge, to us in generation and generation, what now will they say? hath He Who is hymned, letting go His being God, passed by a change into being a refuge, and removed He by Nature into something other than what He was at first?
B. How is such a thing not incongruous and unbefitting Him Who is by Nature God: for being by Nature without change, He abideth full surely what He was and ever is, even though He be said to be made a refuge to any?
A. You spoke most excellently, and very right. Hence the mention of God being brought forward, if Was made be said by any body, how is it not unlearned and unholy exceedingly to suppose that it means change, and not rather to strive to conceive of it in some other way, and to turn in wisdom to what most especially befits and is congruous to the Unchangeable God?
B. How then do we say that the Word WAS MADE flesh, preserving to It ever Unchangeableness and without-turning, as Its own and Essentially innate to It?
A. The all-wise Paul, the steward of His mysteries, the Priest of the Gospel preachings, will make it clear saying, He ye thus minded each one in yourselves according to what was in Christ Jesus also, Who being in the Form of God held not the being Equal to God a thing to seize, yet emptied Himself taking bondman’s form, MADE in likeness of men, and, found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, MADE obedient unto death, the death of the Gross. For His Only-Begotten Word albeit God and out of God by Nature, the Brightness of the glory and the Impress of the Person of Him Who begat Him, WAS MADE man and that not turned into flesh, or undergoing commingling or mixture or ought else of such like, but rather abasing Himself unto emptiness, and for the joy set before Him despising shame and not dishonouring the poverty of the human nature. For He willed as God to render the flesh which is holden of death and sin, superior to both death and sin, and to restore it to what it was in the beginning, having made it His own, not (as some say) soulless but ensouled with intellectual soul: yet, not disdaining to go along the path hereto befitting, He is said to undergo a birth like ours, abiding what He was. For He has been born in wondrous wise according to flesh of a woman: for no otherwise was it possible that He being God by Nature should be seen by them on earth than in likeness of us, the Impalpable and without body, yet Who thought good to be made man and in Himself Alone to shew our nature illustrious in the dignities of Godhead: for He the Same was God alike and man, and in likeness of man, in that herewith He was also God, but in fashion as a man. For He was God in appearance as we, and in bondman’s form the Lord, for thus do we say that He was MADE FLESH.
Therefore do we affirm that the holy Virgin is also mother of God.
B. Does it like you that arraying their words against yours we make a subtler scrutiny of the conceptions, or shall we yield it simply to your word that the matter has been well apprehended?
A. Irreprehensible as I deem is all that will be said by us, wisely and skilfully and not repugnant to the God-inspired Scriptures. But say, yourself too, what seems good to you: for a counter-plea will beget something profitable.
B. The Divine Paul writes (they say) of the Son as having BEEN MADE both curse and sin 3: for he says, Him that knew not sin He made for our sakes sin,and again, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, MADE for our sakes a curse. They say that He was not MADE actual curse and sin, but the holy Scripture is indicating hereby something else: thus they say that And the Word WAS MADE flesh is conceived of by us.
A. And verily as in saying that He WAS MADE a curse and sin, so this that He WAS MADE flesh introduces with it and has in its horizon the conception of what follows thereupon.
B. How say you? for when one says of Him, He that knows not sin has BEEN MADE sin for us, and has bought from the curse of the law also them who were under the law, MADE for their sakes a curse, how should one doubt that this is in the times wherein the Only-Begotten was Incarnate and MADE man?
A. It introduces therefore with the mention of the Incarnation the things too that on account thereof are economically brought upon Him Who underwent the voluntary emptying, as are hunger and weariness. For as He would not have been wearied Whose is all might, neither would He have been said to hunger, Himself the Food and life of all, had He not made His own the body whose nature it is to hunger and be weary: so neither would He ever have been numbered among transgressors (for thus do we say that He WAS MADE sin), He would not have been MADE a curse, enduring the cross for our sakes, had He not been MADE flesh, i. e., been Incarnate and made man, enduring generation like ours in human wise, that I mean through the holy Virgin.
B. I assent, for you deem aright.
A. It is without understanding another respects too to think and to say that the Word was in such sort MADE flesh as He WAS MADE a curse and sin.
B. What way do you mean?
A. Was He not accursed that He might undo the curse and did not the Father make Him sin that He might end sin?
B. Thus do they too say.
A. Therefore if it is true, as it is understood by them to mean rightly, that the Word has in such sort been MADE flesh, as He has been MADE both curseand sin; i. e. to the destruction of the flesh; how will He render it incorruptible and indestructible, as having achieved this in His own Flesh first? for He did not leave it to remain mortal and under decay, Adam transmitting to us the punishment for the transgression, but rather as the flesh of the uncorruptible God, Own and His, rendered it superior to death and to decay.
B. You say well.
A. The sacred Scripture somewhere says, that the first man, i. e. Adam, WAS MADE a living soul. Him that was after, i. e. Christ, a quickening spirit. Do we then say that as for the destruction of curse and sin He was MADE curse and sin, so that for the overthrow of being a living soul was He MADE a quickening spirit? for they twisting into what is incongruous the force of MADE, say that He was in such wise MADE flesh, as He was made both curse and sin. We must therefore take away the Incarnation, or being made man, of the Word. Which when it is received as a verity, gone is the whole plan of the Mystery; neither was Christ born, nor died, nor raised, according to the Scriptures. Where therefore is the Faith, the word of faith which we preach? for how did God raise Him from the dead except He also died? how died He except He was born after the flesh? where too is the living again of the dead, bringing in for the saints a hope of the undying life, except Christ have been raised? where too the quickening of our human bodies, which is wrought by the participation of His holy Flesh and Blood?
B. We say then that the Word WAS MADE flesh in regard of the birth after the flesh from a woman, which in the last ages of the world He is said to undergo, albeit before every age as God.
A. Full surely: for thus WAS He MADE in likeness to us in everything except sin. And the all-wise Paul will testify saying, For since the little ones have partaken of blood and flesh He too likewise partook of the same that through death He might destroy him that hath the sway of death, that is the devil, and might free them who in fear of death were through their whole life subject to bondage: for verily He taketh not hold of angels but taketh hold of Abraham’s seed, whence He ought in all things to be likened to His brothers. The likeness in all things has as a sort of beginning and introduction thereof the birth of a woman, and the manifestation in flesh of Him Who in His own Nature is not visible, and the economic habitation in our estate of Him of mightiest Name, and the lowliness in human nature of Him Who is high on the Thrones above, and that He Who is in Lordship of Nature WAS MADE in servants’ degree: for the Word was God.
B. You deem aright: yet know that those men say this too, that it is impossible and uncomely to deem and to say that the Word Born of God the Father Ineffably and above our understanding should undergo yet a second generation from out of woman: for it were enough for Him (they say) to be once begotten of the Father in God-befitting wise.
A. They find fault therefore with the Son and say that He counselled not aright in undergoing the voluntary emptiness for our sake: brought to nought too and empty is now the august and mighty Mystery of godliness, and the fair scheme of the Economy with flesh of the Only-Begotten they represent as useless to them on the earth. But not to their stutterings does the Word of truth give the mastery, but rather it will convict them as babbling things most senseless and knowing not a whit the mystery of Christ. For God the Father hath begotten of His own Self the Son by a single generation, yet did it please Him in Him to save the human race by the means of Incarnation or being made man, which must full surely take place through birth of a woman, in order that by the likeness to us of the Word that is born from God, the law of sin in the members of our flesh might be condemned, death be brought to nought in the likeness of the death of Him Who knows not death: for if we have been co-planted (it says) in the likeness of His death so shall we be also in the likeness of His Resurrection. Hence needs has He Who is and Who existeth been born after the flesh, transferring ours into Himself in order that the offspring of flesh, that is we, corruptible and perishing, might abide in Him Who at length has ours for His own in order that WE too may have His. For for our sakes became He poor who is Rich in order that WE by His Poverty might be rich.
But they by affirming that not Himself, the Word from out of God, WAS MADE flesh, or underwent generation after the flesh from out of woman, take away the Economy. For unless He being Rich became poor, lowering Himself out of His Clemency to our estate, neither have WE gained the riches that are His, but are yet in poverty and holden of curse and death and sin: for the Word BEING MADE flesh is the undoing and overthrow of the things which from curse and penalty befell the nature of man. Therefore if they undermine the root of our salvation and dig up the foundation of our hope, where will be that which follows? For (as I said) if the Word have not been MADE flesh, neither is the sway of death overthrown, sin is in no wise brought to nought, and we are yet subject to the transgressions of the first man, i. e. Adam, having no return unto what is better, through (I mean) Christ the Saviour of us all.
B. I understand what you say.
A. And besides who is he to be understood to be who in like manner with us hath partaken of blood and flesh, as though other than we by nature? for one will not say that that it pertains to a man to partake of human nature: for what one is by nature how can one be conceived of as taking as though it were something else than what he is? does not my argument seem very reasonable?
B. Quite so.
A. Consider in another way too that it is both unhallowed and discordant to attempt to take away from God the Word His Birth of woman according to the flesh: for how will His Body quicken except it be His Who is Life? how does the Blood of Jesus cleanse us from all sin, if it is that of a common man and one who is under sin? how did God the Father send His Son, made of a woman, made under the law? how condemned He sin in the flesh? for it pertains not to a common man and who has with us his nature despotized by sin to condemn sin. But since it has BEEN MADE the body of Him Who knows not transgression, therefore with reason did it shake off the despotism of sin and is rich in the Property of the Word which is Ineffably and in mode unutterable united with it, and is holy and life-giving and replete with God-befitting operation. And as in Christ our first-fruits, we too are trans-elemented into being superior to both decay and sin. And it is true that according to the voice of blessed Paul, As we hare the image of the earthy we shall hear the image too of the heavenly, i.e. of Christ. Christ is called an heavenly man, not as though He brought down to us His flesh from above and from Heaven, but because the Word being God hath come down from Heaven, and entering our likeness, that is, undergoing birth after the flesh from out a woman, hath remained what He was, i. e. above and out of Heaven and above all as God even with flesh. For thus somewhere says the Divine John of Him, He that cometh from above is above all. For He hath remained Lord of all even when economically made in bondman’s form, and truly marvellous therefore is the mystery of Christ. And verily God the Father said somewhere to the Jews by one of the Prophets, See ye despisers and perish and marvel because I am working a work in your days, a work which ye shall not believe if one should detail it to you. For the mystery of Christ is in peril of being disbelieved by reason of the intensity of its marvellousness: GOD was in human nature, and in our estate He that is over all creation; the Invisible, visible by reason of flesh; He that is out of Heaven and from above in likeness of things earthy; the Impalpable subject to touch; He that is in His own Nature Free in bondman’s form; He Who blesseth the creation WAS MADE subject to curse, among the transgressors All-Righteousness, and in guise of death Life. For the Body which tasted death, was not another man’s but His who is by Nature Son. Have you ought to find fault with in these things as not right or rightly said by us?
B. By no means.
A. Consider I pray this too in addition.
B. What do you mean?
A. Christ somewhere said to them who would take away the resurrection of the dead, Read ye not that He which made man at the beginning made them male and female, the Divine Paul too writes, Marriage is honourable in all and the bed pure. Then how did the Only-begotten Word of God, minding to enter the likeness to us-ward, not permit the laws of human nature to prevail, for the subsistence or birth of His own flesh: for not from marriage-bed and wedlock did He endure to take it but from a Virgin august and unwedded, with child of the Spirit, the Power of God over-shadowing her, as it is written. Since God therefore dishonoured not marriage yea rather honoured it with blessing, why did the Word being God make a Virgin with child of the Spirit the mother of His flesh?
B. I cannot tell.
A. Yet how is not the reason hereof clear to all who consider this? the Son came (as I said) or was made man, translementing our estate as in Himself first unto a holy and admirable and truly marvellous birth and life: and Himself first became born of the Holy Ghost, I mean as to the flesh, in order that, the grace passing through as by a path unto ourselves too, we having not from blood nor from the will of the flesh nor from the will of man but from God through the Spirit our souls’ new birth and spiritual conformation unto the SON Who is by Nature and truly, might call God Father and might thus abide undecaying, as possessing no longer the first father, Adam, in whom we decayed. And verily Christ said, at one time, And call no one your father on the earth, for one is your Father which is in Heaven, at another, for that He therefore descended in our estate in order that He might bring us to His own God-befitting dignity, I am going to My Father and your Father and My God and your God. For His Father by Nature is He Who is in Heaven, our God; but since He that is SON by Nature and truly has BEEN MADE as we, He says that He has had Him as His God, after the manner that is which beseems the emptying, and has given His own Father to us too; for it is written, But as many as received Him He gave them authority to BE MADE children of God, them which believe on His Name. But if we in our unlearning take away from being MADE in birth as we the Word from out God the Father, Him who in all things hath the preeminence, as the most wise Paul saith; after whom shall WE any more formed, be called begotten of God through the Spirit? whom shall we take as a first-fruit for us in this, or who at all will bring the Dignity unto us?
B. They too will say, I suppose, The Incarnate Word.
A. How will this be true, except He have BEEN MADE flesh, i. e. man, making the human body His own by a union which may not be plucked asunder, in order that it may be conceived of as His and not anyone’s else? for thus will He send unto us too the grace of the sonship and we too shall be born of the Spirit, in that in Him first the nature of man attained this. And the Divine Paul appears to me, thinking over with himself something of this sort, to have said full rightly, For as we bare the image of the earthy we shall bear the image too of the heavenly: and he said that the first man was from out of earth, earthy, the second from out of Heaven. But as the earthy such (he says) are the earthy ones too, and as the Heavenly One such the Heavenly ones also. For we are earthy, in that there stole in upon us as from the earthy one, Adam, the curse, decay, through which the law of sin too entered in, which is in the members of our flesh: but we have been MADE heavenly, receiving this in Christ. For He being God by Nature and out of God and from above, hath come down in our estate, in an unwonted and strange way, MADE offspring of the Spirit according to the flesh, in order that WE too as He might remain holy and undecaying, the grace descending upon us as from out a second beginning and root, i. e., Him.
B. You speak excellently.
A. How do they say that He has been made like also in all things to His brethren, i. e., us? or who at all will He be conceived to be who entered into this likeness, unless He were other by Nature and not in our estate? for that which is made like to any, must full surely be different from them and not like to them but rather of other form, other nature. The Only-Begotten therefore being by Nature unlike us is said to have been made like when MADE as we, i. e. man: and this will take place rightly and solely, in birth in our estate, even though in wondrous wise in Him, for He Who was Incarnate was GOD. Yet let it be acknowledged that the body united to Him has been rationally ensouled: for the Word being God, would not, letting alone that which is superior in us, i. e., the soul, have taken thought for the earthy body only, but in wisdom provided for soul and body alike.
B. I agree, for you deem rightly.
A. Hence if the opponents say that the holy Virgin ought to be called in no wise mother of God, but mother of Christ, they blaspheme openly and drive away Christ from being God and Son: for if they believe that He is really God, in that the Only-Begotten has been MADE as we, why do they shudder at calling her mother of God, who bare Him, I mean after the flesh?
B. Yea (they say): for the name Christ because of his having been anointed with the Holy Ghost beseems only him who is of a woman and of the seed of David: the Word out of God will never need so far as belongs to His own Nature such grace, seeing He is holy by Nature. For does not the Name Christ indicate that some anointing took place?
A. You said right, that because of the anointing alone is He called Christ, just as Apostle by reason of Apostolate, and Angel from bearing tidings, (for such kind of names signify certain things, not special persons or known individuals; for the Prophets too have been called christs, as is sung in the psalms, Touch not My christs and deal not wickedly with My prophets; the Prophet Habbacuc too said, Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, to save Thy christs): yet tell me this, Do not themselves too say that the Only-Begotten Word of God is One Christ and Son, as being Lord Incarnate and made man?
B. Perchance they say so, yet they want the name Christ not to belong to the Word born from out of God the Father, by reason that Ho has not been anointed according to His own Nature as God, but they add this as well: For it is not (they say) one of the names by which we should speak of the Father Himself or of the Holy Ghost.
A. The statement is not yet quite clear; explain it therefore, for you will do well.
B. Listen then: for one can see the appellation of the Son most manifold and diversely brought out by the God-inspired Scriptures, for He has been named God and Lord and Light and Life and besides King and Lord of hosts and Holy and Almighty. But if one pleased to say these things of the Father too or the Holy Ghost, one would not miss what is befitting. For of One Nature, one full surely is the Excellence of the dignities. If therefore Christ is a name truly befitting the Only-Begotten, let it pass (they say) without distinction with the rest both to the Father Himself and the Holy Ghost: but seeing it is utterly unmeet to accommodate it to the Father and the Holy Ghost, neither will it rightly pertain to the Only-Begotten Himself but rather has been apportioned in truth to him of the seed of David in regard to whom anointing by the Spirit may without any blame be conceived and said.
A. We too ourselves say that the names of the God-befitting dignities are common to Father Son and Holy Ghost, and with equal glories are we wont to crown together with Him Who begat Him the Son Who is begotten out of Him and the Holy Ghost besides.
Yet, o most excellent (would I say), the name Christ and the fact itself, that is, the Anointing, along with the conditions of the emptiness have accrued to the Only-Begotten, introducing to the hearers a manifest proof of the Incarnation: for that He has been anointed in that He has been made man, it will very well betoken. If therefore we were investigating not the plan itself of the Economy with flesh but it were proposed to us to look on the Only-Begotten Word of God as yet external to the measures of the emptiness, it were with good reason wholly dishonouring to call Him Christ Who has not been anointed: but since the Divine and most holy Scripture says that He WAS MADE flesh, the anointing too will now befit Him, which took place in regard to the Incarnation which is His. And truly the all-wise Paul says, For both the Sanctifier and the sanctified are all out of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers saying, I will declare Thy Name to My brothers: for He was sanctified together with us when He WAS MADE in our estate.
And that truly SON was He Who is anointed in that He WAS MADE flesh, i. e. perfect man, the Divine David will testify saying to Him, Thy Throne o God is for ever and ever, a sceptre of Tightness the sceptre of Thy Kingdom: Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst transgression wherefore God Thy God anointed Thee with the oil of rejoicing above Thy fellows. Understand therefore how having both said that Ho is God and given Him a Throne for ever, he says that He has been anointed by God, clearly the Father, with some choice anointing above those who partake of Him, i. e. ourselves. For if the Word have BEEN MADE man too, albeit God, yet was He thus too without lack of the Goods of His proper Nature; being Self-Perfect and full of grace and truth,according to the voice of John: and Himself Perfect in every kind of thing God-befitting, while from His fulness all we received, as it is written. Making His own therefore along with the measures of His own human nature what also belong thereto, He is called Christ, even though He be conceived of as not anointed, according (I mean) to the Nature of the Godhead or as He is conceived of as God. Since (tell me) how else will He be conceived of as Christ Son and Lord, if the Only-Begotten have disdained the anointing and abide not the measures of the emptiness?
B. They hasten along another path than ours, unskilfully interpreting the mystery of piety. For they say that God the Word hath taken a perfect man from out the seed of Abraham and David according to the declaration of the Scriptures, who is by nature what they were of whose seed he was, a man perfect in nature, consisting of intellectual soul and human flesh: whom, man as we by nature, fashioned by the might of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin andmade of a woman, made under the law, in order that he might buy us all from the bondage of the law, receiving the sonship marked out long before, He in new way connected to Himself, preparing him to make trial of death according to the law of men, raising him from the dead, taking him up into Heaven and setting him on the Right Hand of God. From whence he being now far above all rule and authority and might and lordship and every name named not in this world only but in that to come also, receives worship from all creation as having a connection inseverable with the Divine Nature, the whole creation allotting to him its worship in reference to and in idea of God. And we say neither two sons nor two lords: but since God the Word the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, to Whom this man is connected and partakes, is Son by Essence, he shares the name and honour of Son: and God the Word is Lord by Essence, to Whom connected, this man shares the honour. And therefore we say neither two sons nor two lords: seeing that He Who is by Essence is clearly Lord and Son, he who for our salvation is assumed, having an unseverable connection with Him, is borne up up along with Him to name and honour of son and of lord.
A. Fie! the folly and distraught mind of them who imagine somehow that these things are so: for it is unbelief and nought else, and the novelty of impious inventions and the subversion of the divine and sacred preachings which have proclaimed One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Word that is out of God the Father made man and incarnate, so that the Same is God alike and man; and to One belongs all, the God-befitting and moreover the human. For He being and existing ever in that He is God underwent the birth after the flesh from out a woman. To One therefore and the Same pertaining both that He Eternally is and existeth and that He in the last times is born after the flesh, Who, by Nature Holy as GOD, was hallowed with us in that He became man to whom it befitteth to be hallowed; Who, both in rank of Lord and, having as His own bondman’s form, did call the Father His God; Life and Life-giving as God, is said to be quickened by the Father in that He became Man. All things therefore are His, and He does not dishonour the economy which the Father Himself too praised, if it be true which is said by Paul’s voice: for in one place he said, Him who knew not sin He made sin for our sakes in order that WE might be made God’s righteousness in Him, in another. Who verily spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for all us in order that with Him also He might bestow on us all things. Does not therefore our discourse go after the scope of the sacred Scriptures?
A. If now as our opponents say and choose to hold, the Only-Begotten Word of God, taking a man of the seed of Divine David and of Abraham prepared him to be fashioned in the holy Virgin and connected this man with Himself and hath made him to come into experience of death, yea and raising him from the dead took him up into heaven and seated him on the Right Hand of God: superfluously (it seems) is He said both by the holy fathers and by ourselves and the whole God-inspired Scripture to be made man (for this I deem and nought else did the all-wise John signify when he wrote, The Word was made flesh), and the mystery of the Economy with flesh has been (it is like) turned right round to the exact opposite. For one cannot see that the Word being by Nature God and beaming forth from God, abased Himself to emptiness, taking bondman’s form, and hath humbled Himself, but on the contrary, man was brought up into the glory of the Godhead and the excellency that is over all, and took God’s Form and was rather exalted, co-throned with the Father: is it not true which I say?
B. Full surely.
A. If it be true as they say, and the Only-Begotten disdained the Economy, what shame did He despise? how hath He become obedient to the Father unto death yea the death of the cross? and if taking a man, He led him both to experience of death, and bringing him into Heaven too, shewed him co-throned with the Father; where now at last will His own Throne be seen, if they say not two sons, but one who co-sitteth, him that is who is of the seed of David and Abraham? how will He too be said to be Saviour of the world and not rather patron or bringer-forward of a man through whom we have been also saved, and a man, other than He, has become the completion of law and Prophets? for the Law uttereth the mystery of Christ and of Him hath Moses written, who hath also become the bringer of us to Him. Our faith hath come I ween to nought, for it streamed away; wholly nought is pur august mystery, which the all-excellent Paul too openeth to us saying, Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven? that is to bring down Christ; or, Who shall go down into the deep? that is to bring up Christ from the dead. But what saith the Scripture? Nigh thee is the word, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is the word of faith which we are preaching: that if thou say in thy mouth, Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
How then is the mystery of piety any longer great and famous and in supremest admiration, if we are to believe that (as the perverted ones say) a man taken and connected by way of accident to God the Word, died and lived again: and he was borne up into Heaven, yet is it I suppose to some past belief, if not being by Nature and truly God, he delights him in the seat of Godhead, the Son by Nature haply thrust forth therefrom: and there stand in ministering position Angels and Archangels and the Seraphim who are higher yet, before—-not Him Who is in truth Son and God but before—-a man who is rich in name of sonship by participation and importation and in fashion as we and who has been vouchsafed the so God-befitting honour? for in no wise do our opponents blush at saying this too. Is not their dogma replete with the uttermost impiety and blasphemy? for that which is given and brought in may be lost, and that which is imported from without, has the loss of it not inconceivable. I pass over the farther blasphemy and incongruity.
Why then do they drag down the choiceness of the Economy unto what is uncomely, and make our Divine and most holy worship, a man-worship and nothing else, taking it from Him Who is in truth Son and persuading us to worship one connected with Him by way of accident, whom they say also spedabove all rule and authority and lordship, imposing the blame of having been deceived, not only on them on earth but also on the very rational powers above, if with us they worship, not the by Nature and truly Son and the Word which beamed forth of the Essence of God the Father, Incarnate, but as other than He, a man from forth the seed of David, a god modelled by mere will perchance of His and by external embellishments, not so in truth?
B. Yet although he is conceived of as man severally (say they), he hath worship from the whole creation, in reference to and in conception of God.
A. Then how (tell me) will this reference they talk of be meetly conceived and spoken of by us? And come, investigating the Divine and sacred Scripture, let us seek the solution from it. They of Israel therefore, recking little at one time of reverence to God, bitterly attacked Moses and Aaron: then Moses addressed them, And who is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? for not against us but against God is this your murmuring. For they were sinning against Moses and Aaron, but what they did touched the Divine glory, and the covert intent of them who insult has reference to that glory. Yet Moses and Aaron were not gods, nor has the creation worshipped them in reference to God.
God reigned over Israel after the flesh through Prophets. And they came and said to the Divine Samuel, Make us a king like the rest of the nations. At this the Spirit-clad was grieved and with good reason, yet he heard God say, Not thee have they set at nought but Me that I should not reign over them. See again here too the mode of the setting at nought has reference to God.
And indeed the Saviour and Lord of all Himself too says respecting those in need, Inasmuch as ye did it to one of these least, to Me ye did it. Is it then in this way that if any be said to honour him that is of the seed of David, he hath done it to the Son? and if any do not believe, hath he surely offended against the by Nature Son, Who haply wishes him too to be honoured and believed in by us in equal and exact manner? How then hath not the bond been brought into equal honour with the Lord, that which hath been made and a new god (according to the Scriptures) is in the excellencies of Godhead, and to the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity there hath been appended that which is of unequal nature with It and with It is worshipped and partaketh of equal glory with It?
B. They say that the reference must be taken in some such manner as this: viewing God the Word inseverably connected to him of the seed of David we worship him as God.
A. Suffices it then in order to his duly taking the glory that befits God and to his being borne above the measures of creation, that he should be only connected with Him, and will this render him that is not God an object of worship? Yet I find one saying to God through the Psalmist’s lyre, My soul is fast joined after Thee: blessed Paul too writes, He that is fast joined to the Lord is one spirit. Shall we then (tell me) worship those too in reference to God as having been fast joined to Him? Yet the word fast-joining has I suppose a greater and more forcible significance than the word connected, if it be true to say that what is fast-joined to any has its connection most strait.
B. It seems so.
A. Why now dropping union, though a word in wonted use amongst us, yea rather that has come down to us from the holy Fathers, do they call it connection? though the term union by no means confounds them whereof it is said, but rather shews the concurrence into one of the things conceived of as united: and not (full surely) will that which is simple and of one kind be alone said to be One, but those too which are compounded out of two or more and out of diverse kinds. For so they think to be right who are skilled in these matters.
Most mischievously therefore do they, severing into two the One and by Nature and Truly SON Incarnate and made Man, reject the Union and call it connection, which any one else too may have with God, being almost tied to Him by virtue and holiness, according to that which is by one of the Prophets rightly said to them who fall back into carelessness, Be ye gathered together and tied together, o undisciplined nation, ere ye become as a flower that passeth away: a disciple too may be connected with his teacher by means of love of learning, and ourselves, one with another, not in one way but in many. Or perchance he too who is an assistant in any work will be reasonably conceived as not unconnected in point of good-will with him who took him to that service. And this rather is what the word connection appears to signify to us on the part of the innovators. For you learnt that they unlearnedly maintain that God the Word taking a man, as some son other than Himself, set him forth, as a sort of minister of His Will, so as to make trial of death, and live again, and ascending into the very heaven, sit on the Throne of the Ineffable Godhead! For is he not through these words full surely seen to be altogether other than the by Nature and truly Son?
B. I admit it.
A. But since they have slipped down to this depth of unlearning, as to think and say that not the Only-Begotten Word of God Himself was made as we, but that He took a man; in what way do they want the assumption to be conceived by us? is it as fore-ordained by Him for the accomplishment of somewhat that He willed, just as one of the holy Prophets says, I was not a prophet nor son of a prophet but I was a goatherd and dressing mulberries, and the Lord took me from the sheep and said to me, Go, prophesy to My people Israel? A goatherd, He set him to be a prophet and appointed him minister of His Pleasure.
B. They will say perhaps that not of this kind was the taking, but just as taking bondman’s form is conceived of by us.
A. Hence that which is taken will with reason be conceived of as the own of the Taker by an inseverable Union; so that Jesus is both God and Son, One and Only, of Very God, as being Word from forth of God the Father, begotten Divinely before every age and time, and in the last times of the world, the same after the flesh forth of a woman: for not any one’s else, but His has the bondman’s form been made.
B. How do you mean?
A. Will (tell me) that which is by nature bond be said not incongruously to take bondman’s form, or that which is truly free and is Essentially above the measures of bondage?
B. The free I suppose: for how will it be made what it was by nature?
A. Consider then that the Only-Begotten Word of God albeit made as we and having entered on the measures of bondage according to the human nature, hath witnessed to Himself freedom by Nature, saying in His joint-contribution of the didrachma, Surely free are the sons. He receives therefore bondman’s form, making His own the results of the emptying and not spurning the likeness to usward: for it were not possible otherwise to honour the bond unless that which befitteth the bond had been made His that it might be made illustrious by the glory that is from Him: for that which excelleth ever hath the pre-eminence and the shame from our bondage was wiped out by us. For He Who is above us has been made as we and the Free by Nature was in the measure of the servants. Hence the dignity hath passed unto us too: for WE too have been called sons of God and inscribed as our Father Him Who is properly His Father; for our human things have been made His also.
Therefore in saying that He took bondman’s form, is the whole mystery of the Economy with flesh. But if confessing One Son and Lord, the Word from forth of God the Father, they say that a man, him who is forth of the seed of David has been simply connected with Him, a partaker of His Sonship and of His glory, time is it that we in friendly grief over them who choose thus to think should say, Who will give to my head water and to my eyes a fountain of tears, and I will weep this people day and night? for they are turned aside to a reprobate mind, denying the Lord Who bought them. For a pair of sons unequal in nature is proclaimed to us, and the bond is crowned with God-befitting glory, and some supposititious son is glorified with equal excellencies with the by Nature and truly Son, albeit God says plainly, My glory I will not give to another: for how is he not other and apart from the by Nature and truly Son, who has been honoured with mere and sole connection and taken as an assistant and vouchsafed sonship even as we ourselves are, and has partaken of glory from another and attained thereto by gift and grace?
B. We must not therefore sever Emmanuel into man severally and into God the Word.
A. By no means: I affirm that we must say that He is God Incarnate, and that He is in the Same both One and Other. For neither hath He, made man, ceased from being God, nor doth He hold the Economy unacceptable, despising the measure of the emptying.
B. Therefore (they say) consubstantial with the Word was His body, for thus and no otherwise will He be deemed One Only Son.
A. Yet how is not this now raving and clear proof of a mind wandering? for how can one behold in sameness of essence things so far removed one from another in respect of their nature? for one thing is Godhead, and another manhood. For of what do we say that the Union was made? for a person will not say that the things united are one in number, but either (it may be) two or more.
B. We must therefore sever (they say) the things named.
A. We must not sever (as I said) into a several diversity, in regard I mean to their being away from each other and apart, but must rather bring them together into an indissoluble union. For the Word has been made flesh, as John saith.
B. Have they therefore been confused and both become one nature?
A. But who will be thus distraught and unlearned as to suppose that either the Divine Nature of the Word has been turned into what it was not, or that the flesh went over by way of change into the Nature of the Word Himself (for it is impossible)? but we say that One is the SON and One His Nature even though He be conceived of as having assumed flesh with a rational soul. For His (as I said) hath the human nature been made, and He is conceived of by us none otherwise than thus, God alike and man.
B. There will then be not two natures, of God and of man?
A. Godhead and manhood are one thing and another, according to the mode [of being] existing in each, yet in Christ have they come together, in unwonted wise and passing understanding, unto union, without confusion and turning. But wholly incomprehensible is the mode of the Union.
B. And how out of two things, Godhead and manhood, will One Christ be conceived of?
A. In no other wise (I suppose) than that whereby the things brought together one to another unto a union indissoluble and above comprehension will be One.
B. As for example?
A. Do we not say that a man like us is One and his nature one, although he has not simpleness [of nature] but is compounded out of two, I mean soul and body?
B. We do.
A. Does anybody, taking anew the flesh apart by itself, and sundering from it the soul that was united to it, divide a single person into two and not thereby destroy the right description of him?
B. Yet the all-wise Paul writes, For even though our outward man perish yet is the inward renewed each day.
A. You said right: for he knew, he knew well from whence he is one, and makes the distinction [between the two] one to be grasped in idea only: he calls the soul, the inward man, and the flesh, the outward. For I call to mind the holy Scriptures which sometimes signify to us the whole living thing from a portion, as when God says, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh, and Moses says to them of Israel, In seventy five souls did thy fathers go down into Egypt. And we shall find that this has been done in regard to Emmanuel Himself: for after the Union, I mean that with the flesh, if any call Him Only-Begotten and God from forth of God, he will be conceiving of Him as not apart from flesh or manhood, and if he say that He is man, he will not be excluding Him from being God and Lord.
B. But if we say that the Nature of the Son is One, even though He be conceived of as Incarnate, all need is there to confess that confusion and commixture take place, the nature of man being lost as it were within Him. For what is the nature of man unto the excellency of Godhead?
A. In highest degree, my friend, is he an idle talker who says that confusion and commixture have place, if one Nature of the Son Incarnate and made man, is confessed by us: for one will not be able to make proof thereof by needful and true deductions. But if they set their own. will as a law to us, they devised a counsel which they cannot establish, for we must give heed, not to them but to the God-inspired Scripture: if they think that needs, on account of the nature of man being nothing compared to the Divine Excellency, must it be lost and consumed as they say, we again will say, Ye do err not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God: for it were not impossible for God Who loves man to make Himself endurable to the measures of the manhood. And this He foresignified to us darkly, when initiating Moses and limning the mode of the Incarnation as yet in types, for He came in likeness of fire on the bush in the wilderness, and the fire kept playing on the shrub yet was it not consumed. And Moses marvelled at the sight. Yet how is not a tree a thing that has no alliance with fire? and how is the readily consumed wood patient of the onslaught of flame? But this matter was (as I said) a type of a mystery, which exhibited endurable to the measures of the human nature, the Divine Nature of the Word, at His Will, for to Him is nothing impossible.
B. Know well that they will not choose so to think.
A. Their speech will be caught setting forth to us most undoubtedly two sons and two christs.
B. Not two: they say that the Son by Nature, the Word from forth God the Father is One; he that is assumed is a man by nature son of David, but is son of God by reason of his having been assumed by God the Word, and that by reason of God the Word dwelling in him hath ho come to this dignity and hath by grace the sonship.
A. Then wherever will they go as regards mind and understanding who thus think? or how do they say ‘not a pair of sons,’ when they are severing one from another man and God, if (according to them) the One has the sonship by Nature and truly, the other „ by grace and came „to this dignity, God the Word indwelling him?„ Hath he then ought greater than we? for He indwelleth in us too. And the most holy Paul confirms us in this, saying, For this cause bend I my knees to the Father from Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that He would give you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might through His Spirit that Christ may dwell in your hearts: for He is in us through the Spirit wherein we cry Abba Father. Hence our position is in no wise inferior, if we have been vouchsafed the equal by God the Father (for by grace WE too are sons and gods): we have been surely brought unto this supernatural and marvellous dignity as having the Only-Begotten Word of God in-dwelling.
But profane and distraught altogether is it that they should say that JESUS has been vouchsafed the sonship and has won the glory thereof as a matter of favour.
B. Would you say how?
A. Certainly. For first (as I said) He will be thus conceived of as separately another son and christ and lord from Him Who is so truly and by Nature: besides this, another impossibility is brought in and which not unreasonably militates against right reasoning.
B. What is that?
A. The all-wise John says of Christ, He came unto His own and His own received Him not, but as many as received Him He gave them authority to become God’s children. Will then he who has the sonship of grace and has it as an adventitious dignity that he won the being what he is; will such an one bestow freely on others also what he has with difficulty grown rich in? does not this appear to you incongruous?
A. That which accrues not by nature but has been introduced from without, will it not be to be lost, as far as possibility goes?
B. How should it be otherwise?
A. Hence it will be a possible contingency that the son should some time be able to fall from his sonship: for what is not based on laws of nature is not free from a suspicion of being lost.
B. It is so.
A. In another way too one may see that their dogma is both uncomely and of a truth replete with the supremest ill-counsel: for if it is true that that which is by adoption and grace is ever in the likeness of that which is by nature and in truth, how are WE sons by adoption, having reference to Him Who is truly Son if He too along with us is among them who are so by grace? how too in the Gospel-parables is He sent as Son after the servants [had been sent]? whom when the guardians of the vineyard saw they said, This man is the heir, come let us kill Him.
He therefore Who hath appeared in flesh and Who made trial of the crooked ways of the Jews is SON in truth and Free, as born of the Nature that is Free and is not among those who are under the yoke, in that He is conceived of as God, even though He hath been made, as we who are under the yoke, son of bondage, He the SON (as I said) by Nature and truly, Who is beyond the yoke and above the creation: after Whom WE too who are sons by adoption and grace have been formed.
B. We do not say (say they) that the man is Son of God, lest we should speak of two sons by Nature. For as the Word Who came down from Heaven is not by nature son of David, thus neither is he who is forth of the seed of David, Son of God by Nature.
A. They will therefore sever into two sons, and both of them will be proved to be falsely so called, and I think one may say that the mystery of Christ is idle trickery if it is thus as our opponents foolishly say. Where then is the Union and in regard to what do they say that it has been wrought? or haply this that the Word was made flesh is found to be untrue and to have been superfluously brought in, if the Word from forth God the Father have not been called son of David by reason of His being made from forth his seed after the flesh. But I think that they ought to hear from us too what was said by Christ Himself to the chiefs of the Jews, What think ye of Christ? whose son is He? and should they say, David’s, they will hear from us, How therefore does David in spirit call Him. Lord saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My Right Hand until I put Thine enemies the footstool of Thy Feet? if therefore David in spirit call Him Lord, how is He his Son? does he who is not by Nature and truly Son (as our opponents say) co-sit with God, and is he co-Throned (tell me) with Him Who ruleth all things? albeit, as saith the all-wise Paul, to no one of the angels hath the Father at any time said, My Son art THOU, nor yet, Sit on My Right Hand. How then is he who is forth of a woman in supremest dignity and on the seat of the Godhead and beyond all Rule and Lordship, Thrones and Authority and every name that is named?
And note how the Lord saying, If therefore David in spirit call Him Lord how is He his Son, induces those who would be searchers of the truth, to hold that the Word when in participation of flesh and blood hath remained even thus One Son: witnessed to that He is God from God-befitting Excellency and Lordship, while His being called also Son of David signifieth full well that He is Man.
B. Perhaps they will say to this (for I am pointing out [their reply]), “Are we then to admit that he too who is forth of the seed of David is forth of the Essence of God the Father?,”
A. Yet how hath not such a question exceeding worthlessness? and it is incongruous to the might of the mystery and to them who delight in the truth.
B. Tell me how.
A. Do not divide, saying that he who is forth of the seed of David is other than the One Christ and Son and Lord: for right utterance wills that the Only-Begotten Son Who hath His Being forth of God the Father is Himself, and none other, him who is forth of David after the flesh. Let them not therefore of their boundless stupidity say that as the Word Who came down out of heaven is not by nature David’s Son, thus neither is he who is forth of the seed of David Son of God by Nature. For the Word Who by Nature and in truth beamed forth of the Father, having assumed flesh and blood, as I just now said, hath remained the Same, that is, by Nature and truly Son of the Father, being One Only and not as if one with another, that His Person may be conceived of as One. For thus gathering unto union true and above mind and speech things which by the count of their nature had been sundered unto unlikeness, we shall advance on the unerring path of the faith. For we say that One and the Same Christ Jesus is forth of God the Father as God the Word, forth of the seed of Divine David after the flesh. Do not I seem to you to have most rightly considered these things?
A. I will ask the opponents something else too.
B. What is that?
A. Are they not assured that the Only-Begotten God the Word hath His Being from forth God the Father and do they not affirm that the man taken (as they say) by connection is made from forth the seed of Divine David?
B. So they say.
A. The Word therefore being God will most assuredly surpass both in Nature and in glory him who is forth of the seed of David and will overpass to the extent of the difference of the natures. Or if it be not as I say, why do they sever and allot to the one the right to the glory, and bring in the other as recipient, and as gaining what he is by way of a prize and in the light of a largess? but less full surely and inferior is the receiver to the giver and to him who gives the glory that which is participant of the glory from him.
B. I suppose that they too would say that most vast is the difference between God and men.
A. Then how does the all-wise Paul, the priest of the Divine mysteries, he that hath indwelling Him Who is preached, and who speaketh in the Spirit: how does he both call Him that after the flesh is of the Jews, God and say that He is blessed for ever, amen? what is there above God Who is over all? what will a man behold in the Word Who is forth of the Father greater than he is who after the flesh is of the Jews if he be a son other than He and separate and not truly so?
B. But he who is forth of the seed of David was admitted (they say) by connection and, seeing that the Word being God indwelt him, he shares His Dignity and His Honour: and this the most holy Paul will teach writing of him that he was made subject to the Father unto death, yea the death of the cross, wherefore God also super-exalted him and gave him a name which is above every name: and this name is God.
A. Do they then say that to him that is of the seed of David separately and as to another son apart by himself has been given by God the name which is above every name?
B. Yea (they say), for to the Only-Begotten Who is God and forth of God by Nature, how could that be given which He hath?
A. Therefore, if the receiving is not put respecting Him, let accurate investigation be made from what the Divine Paul himself hath written: For let each one of yourselves be of the mind which was also in Christ Jesus Who being in the form of God held not the being Equal to God a thing to seize, yet did He empty Himself taking bondman’s form, made in likeness of men, and found in fashion as a man He abased Himself made subject unto death, yea the death of the cross: wherefore God also super-exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name. If therefore it is, according to them, the man that is forth of the seed of David conceived of separately and by himself who received the name that is above all, let them shew him pre-existing in the Form of God, and not holding the being equal to God a matter for robbery and moreover taking bondman’s form, as though that is he had it not and was not so ere he took it: albeit as themselves say and choose to think, himself is the bondman’s form. Then how can he take it as though he had it not? how too will a man be conceived of as made in likeness of men, and be found in fashion as a man? The force of the ideas then will turn them round even against their will to know the truth.
B. What truth?
A. God the Word Who is in the Form of God the Father, the Impress of His Person, Who is in all Equal to Him Who begat Him, hath emptied Himself.
B. And what is the emptying 29?
A. The being in assumption of flesh and in bondman’s form, the likeness to us of Him Who is not as we in His own Nature but is over the whole creation. Thus hath He abased Himself, lowering Himself economically into the measures of the human nature; yet was He even so God, as having not by gift That which comes to Him by Nature. Therefore He also said to God the Father Which is in Heaven, Father glorify Me with the glory which I had before the world was, with Thee. For I do not suppose that they will say that he is asking for the glory which was before the world as being his own, he [I mean] who in the last times of the world was born of the seed of David, if so be he is son by himself other than He Who is so by Nature and truly: but this utterance will rather be a most God-befitting one. For it needed, it needed that He should be co-fashioned in the measures of the manhood and should have the Excellence of the God-befitting Dignity Unimpaired and Essentially in Himself just as it is in the Father too. For how will that be true, There shall he in thee no new god, if according to them a man is made god by connection with the Word and is declared co-enthroned and sharer of the Father’s Dignity? b. You say well.
A. How is one to conceive of that which is wisely spoken by voice of Paul, For even though there be many gods both in heaven and on earth yet to us is One God the Father from Whom are all things and we from Him, and One Lord Jesus Christ through Whom are all things and we through Him? For there being One Lord Jesus Christ and Paul having full well affirmed that through Him all things have been brought to their birth, what shall we do, noble sirs, when ye distinguish from the assumed man as ye call him, the Word from forth God the Father? which are we to say was the Creator of all?
B. The Son by Nature from forth God the Father, i. e., the Only-Begotten.
A. Yet does the priest to us of the Divine Mysteries say that through Jesus Christ were all things brought to being, and that He is One and Only. I will recall that when investigating the name Christ we said that it introduces to us the declaration of anointing: for on account of having been anointed would any be called christ . Either therefore let them say that the Word from forth God the Father has been anointed in His proper Nature and that He was in need of sanctification through the Spirit and of participation from Him, or let them teach how He is to be conceived of as Christ Who has never been anointed, and how the Only-Begotten Word of God will be called separately Jesus, although blessed Gabriel says to the holy Virgin, Fear not Mary, for lo thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bear a Son and shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.
B. Do we then say that all things have been made through a man and that he who in the last times of the world hath birth of a woman is Creator of heaven and earth and in short of all things that are in them?
A. Do thou too say, for I will ask: Has not the Word been made flesh? has He not been called son of man? took He not bondman’s form? emptied He not Himself, made in likeness of men and found in fashion as man? If therefore they deny the Economy, the Divine Disciples will withstand them saying, AndWE saw and testify that the Father hath sent the Son Saviour of the world: whoso shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God God abideth in him and he in God, and again, Herein is known 31 the Spirit of God, every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not from God. Besides what sense has it, to conceive of a man that he has come in flesh? to one who is external to flesh and who is of Nature not ours, will rather belong the being made in flesh also and therewith coming into this world together with remaining what He is. Hence even though He have been made man, there is nothing to hinder our conceiving that through Him were all things brought into being, in that He is conceived of as God and co-eternal with the Father. For the Word being God has not been changed, even though He have assumed flesh ensouled with a reasonable soul, not connecting a man with Himself, as they say who innovate the Faith, but Himself made flesh as I said, i. e., man: for thus will the having been anointed befit Him nor meet with any objection; and He will be called Jesus too, being Himself in truth He Who underwent birth in the flesh from forth a woman. For thus hath He saved His own people, not as a man connected with God but as God made in the likeness of the imperilled, in order that in Him first the human race might be re-formed to what it was in the beginning: for all things were new in Him.
B. Hence we must refuse to think or to say that a man has been connected with God the Word and been made partaker of His Dignity and that he possesses the sonship as a grace.
A. Most entirely: for the sense of the sacred Scriptures acknowledges it not, but it is the invention rather of a mind loving novelty and feeble and weak and unable to see the depth of the mystery: for where has anything of this kind been said by the holy Scripture? for the Divine Paul stating full clearly the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Only-Begotten, says, For since the little ones have partaken of blood and flesh, He too likewise partook of the same in order that through death He might bring to nought him that has the power of death, i. e. the devil, and elsewhere, For the impossibility of the law wherein it was weak through the flesh God sending His own Son in likeness of flesh of sin and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. But we say that there has partaken of blood and flesh according to the mind befitting the inspired writers—-not he who is in flesh and blood of his proper nature and cannot be otherwise but—-He Who is not so and is of other Nature than ours; and that He has been made both from forth a woman and in likeness of flesh of sin Who is for our sakes as we together with being above us too in that He is conceived of as God. For the Word has been made flesh, yet not flesh of sin: but in likeness of flesh of sin did He converse with them on the earth as man and has been made in likeness as we, yet not along with us under sin but removed from knowing transgression (for the Same was God alike and Man): but they who bear away (I know not how) from the Only-Begotten the so august and admirable Economy, connect with Him a man by way of accident, embellished with honours from without and adorned with glory not his; and no true God but partner and partaker with God, and son falsely so named, saviour that is himself saved, redeemer who is redeemed: albeit the blessed Paul has written thus, For the saving grace of God appeared to all men, in order that denying impiety and worldly lusts we might live soberly and religiously in the present life, awaiting the blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
B. Yea, they say: for seeing that He was altogether vouchsafed connection with God the Word, he too was called great God albeit made of the seed of David.
A. For shame, what madness: affirming that they are wise they became foolish, as it is written. For they transform (as I said) the force of the mystery of Christ into all that is opposite; and their saying that he has been vouchsafed will be nought else than declaring that he is mere man and in ill counsel severing him into an utter diversity, so that a pair of sons be conceived of, to be worshipped, whereof One is so by Nature and truly, the other adopted and bastard and having nothing that is his own, that to him too along with ourselves it may be said, For what hast thou that thou receivedst not: and then whither will the all-wise Paul go who says, For the Son of God Christ Jesus Who was preached among you through me and Silvanus and Timothy was not Yes and No but in Him was Yes? For how was He not Yes and No, if He is said to be God and is not God? if the names SON and LORD are falsely attributed to Him? and if He be thus as they say, it will belong to Him to have to say, But by the grace of God I am what I am. For that which belongs not by nature but is from without and introduced and given by another, will not belong to the recipient but to Him who imparts it and bestows it. And how did He also say, I am the Truth, if there is nothing true about Him? haply too He was comprehended by the darkness, if He lies. But He did not sin neither was guile found in His mouth, as it is written. b. No surely.
A. And where is the emptiness? and of whom will it be conceived to have happened? for one cannot see any one emptied but on the contrary being filled albeit he has not fulness in his own nature: for he would not have needed what was another’s and it would have been superfluous to him to have received, if he had had, of his own, self-completeness and sufficiency unto every thing, but of Christ’s fulness did all WE receive, and the preaching of the inspired will not lie. For full is Christ and nothing whatever is given to Him so far as He is conceived of as, and is, God, even though to receive have been made His by reason of the measure of the manhood and in that He became as we, to whom it will be said full rightly, For what hast thou that thou receivedst not?
B. Yea, he says, the Word from forth God the Father is One Christ and Son and Lord, he who is forth of David’s seed being connected with Him.
A. But, most excellent sirs, may one say to them, he who has another connected with him will not be conceived of as one, how could he? but as one with one, i.e. with another, and these are full surely two. But He will be conceived to be in truth One Son, if we say that the Same is God the Word Divinely begotten from God, and in marvellous manner man and from a woman after the flesh.
But if setting apart and severing him that is from the seed of David, they dismiss him from being in truth God and Son and say rather that he is partner in sonship and partaker of glory not his own, not idly (as I suppose) shall we find the accusations against Him by the Jews to have been made. For they said, For a good work we stone Thee not but for blasphemy because THOU being man makest Thyself God.
B. And indeed they do say that both Very God and Son is the One Christ, i. e., the Word out of God taking by connection him who is of David’s seed.
A. But if the Word out of God the Father is not He Who is also according to the flesh from a woman, but is Other with other, how will ho be called Christ who has not been anointed as we already said?
B. Therefore if he who is of the seed of David is none other than the Word from forth God the Father, let him be called also before time: then how does the all-wise Paul, repelling the opinion, demand as it were with a question, and say, Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day, is he the same for ever too? Or in another way too: for Jesus, he says, who is yesterday and to-day, will be the same for ever too, i. e., recent and yesterday and to-day, albeit God the Word co-existeth with His own Father.
A. They do wrong exceedingly, turning aside the truth unto that which in their unwisdom seems good to them and corrupting the accuracy of the sacred Scriptures. If now one say that Christ Jesus is also before time, he will not miss of the truth, if the Word which is before time is One Son and Lord, Who in the last times underwent birth after the flesh of a woman. And that the Word made man as we has not been changed, the Spirit-clad has shewn saying, Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day, the Same too for ever. And yesterday indicates past time, to-day present time, for ever that which is future and to come.
But if they think that they have thought out something clever, in taking yesterday and to-day to mean recent, asserting and saying, He that is yesterday and to-day how will he be also for ever, WE too will transfer the force of the question unto the direct opposite: The Word which is for ever how will He take to Himself Yesterday and to-day, if Christ is One and has not been divided, as says the Divine Paul? For that thus He would be known by us, you will know hence also. For although seen in the flesh and having entered on the measures of the human nature, He has testified to Himself His Eternal Being saying,Verily I say to you, Before Abraham was I am, and again, If I told you the things of earth and ye believe not, how will ye believe if I tell you those of Heaven? and no one hath gone up into Heaven except He which descended from heaven, the Son of man. For as Word Which ever is and before the ages, come down from heaven, and then the Same appearing man as we; as One Christ and Lord even when He was made flesh, does He say these things.
B. Another argument too has been discovered by them, it is this: they say that he which is of the seed, of David, ought so to be called son of God as the Word Which is forth of God the Father is said to be son of David: for neither is so by nature.
A. Now let the mode of the true Union come in, that so the Word be believed to have been made flesh, i. e. man, and therefore son of David not falsely but as from forth him according to the flesh, having remained too what He was, i. e. God out of God. And verily the priests of the gospel preachings, knowing that the Same is God alike and man, have told us of Him. It is written of the blessed Baptist that, On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming to him and saith, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world: this it is of whom I said, After me cometh a Man which has been made before me because He is prior to me, and I knew Him not, but in order that He should be manifested to Israel, therefore came I baptizing in water. Understand therefore how he saying, a Man, and calling Him a Lamb, says that none other is He who taketh away the sin of the world, and hath allotted to Him this great and truly vast and God-befitting Dignity. And he says that He is before and prior to him, albeit made after him, I mean according to the time of the generation after the flesh. For if Emmanuel is late-born as man, yet was He before every time as God. His therefore is both the recent humanly and the Eternal Divinely: hence the all-excellent Peter too, looking on the Word not bare nor without flesh, but appearing in flesh and blood, clearly and unerringly made his tribute of faith in Him, saying, THOU art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and heard in reply, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood revealed it not to thee, but My Father which is in Heaven. But were not the Mystery deep, and God in the flesh, but [only] a man having according to them the sonship by grace, how should he have needed an Initiator so great, that no one of them on the earth revealed it to the disciple, but that he had the Father Himself as his Instructor in this?
And the Divine Disciples too, seeing Him once traversing the expanse of the sea, were astonished at the miracle and confessed the Faith, saying, Truly Thou art the Son of God. Yet if he is bastard and falsely-called and has from adoption that he is son, let them accuse the disciples of falsehood, and that when they sware it. For they have added Truly, affirming that He is the Son of God the Father.
B. You speak most excellently.
A. How too has the Son of man His own angels, and shines forth in the glory of His Father? for He says, The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and again. And the Son of Man will send His Angels. And if they disbelieve yet, even seeing Him crowned in God-befitting glory and dignities so splendid and supreme, they shall hear Him say, If ye believe Me not believe My works, and again, If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not For the beholding in a man the excellency of the unspeakable glory, supplied not as Another’s nor in the light of a favour, but His very own: how will it not persuade us that He was God in likeness as we and truly Son of God Who is over all?
B. He affirmed (he says) that His were the angels, and He was made the worker of these signs, the Word indwelling Him and having imparted to Him His own glory and operation: for it is written, Jesus of Nazareth how God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and power, Who went about doing good and healing all that are oppressed by the devil. Anointed therefore both with power and with the Spirit, was He a wonder-worker.
A. Then, since the Word being God, both Holy and having Essentially and by Nature All-Might, will never need either power from another or an imparted holiness: who now is He Who has been anointed with power and the Holy Ghost?
B. They will perhaps say, The man who is assumed by connection.
A. He therefore is Jesus Christ by himself and separately, of Whom too the all-wise Paul says, Yet to us One God the Father from Whom all things andwe from Him and One Lord Jesus Christ through Whom all things and we through Him. How then (tell me) are all things through a man? why is he ranked as Son with the Father and that immediately, no one intervening? and wherever shall we put the Only-Begotten when we have brought into His place the man; and that (as he says) inwrought by Him and honoured because of Him?
Has not their argument outstepped what is reasonable, is it not borne beyond bound, and as having utterly missed of the truth, will it not reasonably incur laughter?
B. The Word of God (he says) has been called man in some such way as this: as the man who was assumed by Him was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, but is called a Nazarene because he dwelt at Nazareth, so too God the Word is called man because He dwelt in man.
A. O understanding senile and mind unstrung and knowing how to stutter and nought else! Rouse ye, ye drunkards, from their wine, let one say to the opponents: why do ye violence to the truth and, turning aside the force of the Divine doctrines, are borne forth of the King’s way? The Word (as it seems) hasno longer been made flesh, according to the Scriptures, but rather a dweller in man, and it were meet that He should be called, of-man, not man, just as he who dwelt at Nazareth was called, of-Nazareth, not Nazareth. And I think that there is nothing at all to hinder, if they think that their foolish invention is right, that together with the Son, the Father and also the Holy Ghost should be called man: for the fulness of the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity dwelleth in us through the Spirit. And verily Paul saith, Do ye not know that ye are God’s Temple and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you, yea, and Christ Himself, If a man love Me he will keep My word, and My Father will love him and we will come to him and make Our Abode with him. Yet the Father has never been called man, nor yet has the Holy Ghost, by reason of indwelling in us: but those men laugh at the Mystery of the Incarnation and twist round unto what is discordant, the doctrines of the Church which are so right and worthy of being heard.
But let our argument proceed again on its course, bidding farewell to their vomit. For if, because of the Word being in him, he have been made a worker of signs, they perchance say that he is one of the holy Prophets, for [the Word] has wrought Divine signs through the hands of the saints too: but if they say that the Son is in these, they lower Him into the measure of Prophets or Apostles.
B. Yea, they say, for has He not been called Prophet and Apostle?
A. You are not wrong; for Moses said to them of the race of Israel, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you out of your brethren, as me: the Divine Paul too has written, Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High priest of our confession Jesus.
Let them tell then, for I will ask: Would the grace of Prophecy or the being vouchsafed apostolic prerogative, and being called High Priest too, be an honour to a man?
A. Yet they would say that to Christ in that He is conceived of as God these things are petty and not worthy of receiving, even though through these very things He is seen emptied and receiving them with the manhood. But as being God by Nature and Lord in truth, He took bondman’s form, made therein and assuming our estate, so, both giving the Spirit of Prophecy and ordaining Apostles and establishing Priests, He was made like in all things to His brethren: for thus was He named, Prophet, Apostle, High Priest.
B. But even though they grant that He was a Prophet, they say that He was not so as one of the Prophets, but that He was placed far above their measure. For they had the grace meted to them and accruing to them in time, He was full of the Godhead even straightway from His very Birth, for the Word being God was with Him.
A. It was then in the amount of grace and in length of time that Christ has surpassed the holy Prophets which were before Him, and it is this which is His special privilege. The point for investigation is whether He was a Prophet at all, and not His having more or less or even excelling, seeing that in His being a Prophet and in His not passing beyond our measure does His low estate consist, even though He be conceived of as this from the beginning, just as was the holy Baptist too, of whom the blessed angel says, And he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb. How then was the one a servant, the Other All-glorious in the dignity of Lord? And of himself blessed John says, He that is of the earth of the earth he speaketh, but of Emmanuel, He that cometh from above is superior to all.
B. Yet (will they perchance say) the Word which hath beamed forth of God the Father is above, yea and superior to all; and they are afraid to allot to Him what belong to man, lest haply He be wronged thereby and brought down to dishonour. Therefore they affirm that He took a man and connected with Himself this person in regard to whom what belong to man might have place and be spoken of, and no damage should accrue to the Nature of the Word Himself.
A. Hence he who is assumed will confessedly be conceived of and said to be other than He. But we will not follow their fatuity nor make them definers and innovators of our Faith, neglecting the sacred Scripture and dishonouring the Tradition from forth the holy Apostles and Evangelists: nor, for that a mind weak and most empty of learning has taken up its abode in them, and one that cannot look into the depth of the mystery, let us also go astray, sharing their unlearning and refusing to go the straight way of the truth. But we know that the most holy Paul hath written that we ought to throw down reasonings and every height which reareth itself against the knowledge of God and to reduce captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ.
But now, can you tell whereat they are offended and in Jewish wise stumble at the stone of offence?
B. I can, for how should I not? they are very many, but they shall be told one by one.
They say therefore that Christ has been sanctified by the Father: for it has been written, And John witnessed saying, I have seen the Spirit descending out of heaven and It abode on Him and I did not know Him but He who sent me to baptize in water, He said to me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, This is He Who baptizes with the Holy Ghost; and I have seen and have witnessed that this is the Son of God: Paul too hath written of Him, For He Who sanctifieth and the sanctified are all out of One. For the Word being God and Holy by Nature will by no means be sanctified; it remains therefore to say that the man assumed by Him in the way of connection has been sanctified.
A. How then does He Who has been baptized and Who received the open Descent of the Spirit, baptize with the Holy Ghost and perform what belong to and beseem the Divine Nature alone? for He is the Bestower of holiness. And in proof of this the Incarnate Word breathed, as a bodily act, His own proper good, upon the holy Apostles saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whosesoever sins ye remit they have been remitted, whosesoever ye retain they have been retained. And how has the divine Baptist, most clearly indicating Him Who has been sanctified, borne witness that This is the Son of God, alone and with the article? For the initiator of the world should, if he knew that it was another son beside Him Who is truly Son, have signified the Truth, saying clearly, This is he who by connection with the Son Who is by Nature and in truth has been made son by gift and grace: but he said nothing of the kind but, knowing that He is One and the Same, both Word from forth of God the Father, and from forth the seed of David according to the flesh, says that He was sanctified, as man, and again sanctifies, in that He is conceived of as God: for He was (as I said) this and that in the Same. If therefore He have not been made man, if He have not been born after the flesh, from a woman, let us drive away from Him what belong to man: but if it is true that lowering Himself unto emptiness He hath been made as we, why do they part from Him the things through, which He will be conceived of as emptied, with utter ill-counsel undoing the fair scheme of the Economy with flesh?
B. If therefore He be said both, to have received glory and been made Lord and to be exalted by the Father, to be set King also, shall you attribute these too to God the Word and will you not full surely be damaging His glory?
A. That the Nature of God the Word has been filled with true glory, Royalty and Lordship, how can one doubt? and that He is firmly to be conceived of as being in heights the most God-befitting? but since He appeared as man to whom all things are a gift and imparted: therefore He, Full and giving to all from out His own fulness, in human wise receives, making our poverty His own: and in Christ was an unwonted and strange marvel, in servant’s form Lordship, in human mean estate God-befitting glory, that which is under the yoke (as to the measure of manhood) crowned with the dignities of Royalty, and in Supremest Excellences that which is low. For the Only-Begotten hath been made man, not in order that He might remain in the |287 measure of the emptying, but in order that taking along therewith what is its. He might thus too be known to be God by Nature and might ennoble because of Himself the nature of man, rendering it participate of holy and Divine dignities. And we shall find the saints themselves too calling the Son even when He was made man, the glory of God the Father, and King and Lord. For Esaias somewhere says, As if a man gleaneth an olive-tree, thus shall they glean them, and when the vintage ceaseth, these shall shout with their voice, and they that are left in the earth shall rejoice together with the glory of the Lord, and again another of the saints says, Shine o Jerusalem for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee: lo darkness and gloom shall cover the earth hut upon thee shall the Lord appear and the glory of the Lord shall he seen on thee: and James His disciple says, Brethren, have not in respect of persons the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory, the Divine Peter again, If ye are reproached for Christ, ye are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God hath rested upon you.
B. Enough, good sir, of such testimonies: but tell us how we ought to understand what is written of Christ, Who in the days of His flesh having offered supplications and entreaties with mighty cry and tears to Him that is able to save Him from death and, heard for His fear, although Son, learned obedience from the things which He suffered and, perfected, became author to them that obey Him of salvation indissoluble; I will add to what I said, this too, My God, My God, why forsookest Thou Me? for they say that such things are incongruous to God the Word and I would say that they come very far short of His inherent Excellence.
A. I myself too know that these things would not befit the Word which is sprung forth of God the Father, if the mode of the Economy be put aside and if we do not admit that He have been made flesh according to the Scriptures: but since we rest firmly on this, and the doubting one whit abont it involves a charge of impiety, come let us view closely, as far as we may, the depth of the economy.
The Word therefore from forth of God the Father appeared in likeness of us, to aid in countless ways our human condition and to shew full well the path that leads us to everything that is admirable. It was then necessary that we should learn, when temptation attacks them who are in peril for the love of God, what sort of people they ought to be who have chosen to live a life and conversation noble and excellent; whether they should be seen by their Saviour remiss and falling back into negligence and out of due season revelling and spreading themselves out for delight: or intent unto prayer and bathed in tears and thirsting for aid from Him and for manliness, if He should be pleased that we should also suffer. It needed besides what we should know to our profit, whither the goal of obedience ends and through what prizes it goes, what and how great the reward of endurance. Christ therefore became a pattern of such things, and hereto the divine Peter confirms us saying, For what renown if sinning and buffeted ye endure? but if well-doing ye endure, this is thank from God, because Christ too died for us, leaving us an ensample that ye should follow His steps. Hence the Word of God no longer bare and imparticipate in the measures of the emptying but in the days of His flesh has been made a pattern to us; in that then without any blame He could use the measures of the human nature and prolong His prayer and shed the tear and seem now both to need a Saviour and to learn obedience, albeit Son. For the Spirit-clad was as it were astonished at the Mystery, that being by Nature and truly Son and Eminent in the glories of the Godhead He let Himself down unto low estate, so as to undergo the meanness of our human poverty. Yet was the pattern (as I said) comely and helpful, so as one might learn hence, and that full easily, that we ought not to hasten another road, when the season calls us to manliness. And indeed Christ said at one time, And fear not them that slay the body but cannot slay the soul, but rather fear Him Who can destroy both soul and body in Hell, at another again, If any man will come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. The duty of following Him, what else is it than that we must be all-manly against temptations, and with that, ask the aid that is from above not negligently nor remissly but using rather intensest prayers and letting fall from our eyes the tear of godly fear?
B. You say well.
A. If moreover He say, My God My God why forsookest Thou Me, how will they understand it?
B. They would deem, as I suppose, that these are the words of the man who is assumed.
A. Of one who has broken down and who considers the onslaught of the trial as not to be borne, as intolerable, or how?
B. Of one who is distraught (as appears) out of human faint-heartedness: since to the disciples too He said, Exceeding sorrowful is My Soul unto death, and fell down before the Father Himself saying, Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from Me, yet not as I will but as THOU.
A. And verily this is nothing else than what we said just now, Who in the days of His flesh having offered both supplications and entreaties to Him Who could save Him from death with a mighty cry and tears. If any think that Christ had come down to this point of faint-heartedness and that He was sorrowful and very heavy, holding it intolerable to suffer, overcome with fear and mastered by weakness, he clearly accuses Him of not being God, and shews that to no purpose, as it seems, did He rebuke Peter.
B. How do you say?
A. For Christ said, See we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of man will be betrayed into the hands of sinners, and they shall mock Him and crucify Him, and the third day He shall rise. He being pious, says, [God be] propitious to Thee, Lord, this shall not be to Thee. And what said Christ to him? Get thee behind Me satan, thou art an offence to Me, because thou dost not think the things of God but the things of men. And yet how did the disciple miss of what is fitting, in wanting the trial to be taken away from his Master, if it were insufferable to Him and by no means tolerable but rather lowering unto impotence and apt to shiver in pieces Him Who charged His disciples to be stout against the fear of death and to count suffering nothing, so that the good-pleasure of God should be accomplished by them?
And I wonder that they, saying that he has been connected with the Only-Begotten, and declaring him partaker of the Divine dignities, subject him to the fear of death, that so he may be seen to be bare man as we are and to have gained nothing from the Divine Dignities.
B. What then is the plan of the Economy herein?
A. Clearly mystical and deep and to be marvelled at by them who know aright the mystery of Christ. For view I pray, the words which beseem the emptying and are not incongruous to the measures of the manhood, how they were uttered in due and needful season, that He Who is over all creation might be seen to have been made in every respect as we. Hereto will follow again this also.
A. Seeing that we have been made accursed because of the transgression in Adam and forsaken of God have fallen under the snare of death, and that all things have been made new in Christ, and a return of our condition to what it was in the beginning [has taken place]; need was it that the second Adam which is out of Heaven, He Who is superior to all sin, the All-holy and Undefiled second first-fruits of our race, Christ, should free from sentence the nature of men and call again upon it the good favour that is from above and from the Father and undo the forsaking through His Obedience and entire subjection. For He did no sin, and the race of man in Him has gained the riches of spotlessness and entire blamelessness, so that it at length may with boldness cry out, My God my God why forsookest Thou me?
For consider that the Only-Begotten having been made man, gave forth such words as one of us and in behalf of our whole nature, as though He said, The first man hath transgressed, he slipped down into disobedience, he heeded not the command given him, by the wiles of the dragon he was carried off into wilfulness: therefore fall rightly has he been subjected unto decay and has become subject to doom, but Thou didst plant Me a second beginning to them on the earth, I am called, Second Adam. In Me Thou seest the race of man purged, achieving sinlessness, holy, all-pure. Give now the good things of Thy Clemency, undo the forsaking, rebuke decay and let wrath reach its period. I have conquered Satan himself too who of old prevailed, for he found in Me no whit of what was his.
Such then, as I think, is the meaning of the Saviour’s words; for He was inviting the good favour of the Father not on Himself but on us rather. For as the [fruits] of wrath passed through as from the first root, I mean Adam, unto the whole nature of man (for death hath reigned from Adam unto Moses over them too which sinned not after the likeness of Adam’s transgression): thus too will the [fruits] from our second first-fruits, Christ, pass through unto the whole human race. And the all-wise Paul will be our warrant, saying, For if by the transgression of one man the many died, much more by the righteousness of the One shall the many live, and again, For as in Adam all die so too in Christ shall all be quickened.
B. Unwise therefore and utterly incongruous to the holy Scriptures is it both to deem and to say that the man assumed used human expressions as forsaken by the Word which was connected with him.
A. Blasphemy, my friend, and a proof of the uttermost stupefaction, and that full clear, will this be, yet is it not incongruous to those who understand not to think aright. For since they sever and divide utterly both words and facts and have allotted the one to the Only-Begotten alone and by Himself, the other as it were to a son other than He and from a woman, therefore have they missed of the straight and most unerring way and of clearly knowing the mystery of Christ.
B. We must not then divide either words or facts, when the Gospel and Apostolic preachings are brought forward?
A. By no means, as far as pertains to two persons and hypostases severed from one another and diverging altogether apart and separately: for in that there is One Son, the Word made Man for our sakes, I would say that all are His, both words and facts, both the God-befitting and besides the human.
B. Hence even if He be said to be weary from the journey. to be hungry and to share in sleep: will it be fit (tell me) to allot to God the Word things thus mean and abased?
A. The Word still bare and not yet Incarnate and ere He descended unto the emptying, it will by no means befit (for you deem aright), but to Him made man and emptied what hurt can this inflict on Him? for as we say that His flesh was made His own, so again His are the weaknesses of the flesh through the Economic appropriation of them and after the mode of the emptying, for He was made like in all things to His brethren, without sin alone. And marvel not that we say that He has made the weaknesses of the flesh His own along with the flesh: whence to Himself again hath He allotted the contumelies too from without, which were put upon Him by the frowardness of the Jews, saying through the voice of the Psalmist, They parted My garments among themselves and upon My vesture they cast the lot, and again, All that see Me sneered at Me, they spake with their lips, they wagged the head.
B. Hence though He say for example, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, I and the Father are One, and to the Jews, Why are ye seeking to kill Me, a man Who have told you the truth which I heard of God, shall we allow that the words both one and other belong to One and the Same?
A. Most certainly, for Christ has never been divided, but is believed to be One and Only and Very Son by all who worship Him. For the Image of the Invisible God, the Brightness of the glory of the Person of the Father, the Impress of His Essence, took bondman’s form, not as though connecting a man to Himself, as they say, but rather Himself made in that form, yet even so abiding in likeness to God the Father. And the all-wise Paul hath written, For it is God Who said that the light should shine forth of darkness, Who shone in our hearts unto the illumining of the knowledge of His glory in the Face of Christ Jesus. For view how it is in the Person of Christ that the illumining of the Divine and Ineffable glory of God the Father shines forth: for the Only-Begotten albeit made man shews in Himself the glory of the Father, for This Alone and none other is conceived of and called Christ. Else let our opponents teach us how one can behold in a mere man the illumining or the knowledge of the Divine glory? for not in the form of man shall we see God: yet in the Word Alone Which has been made as we and made Man and hath even thus remained by Nature and truly Son, might one in wondrous wise see this too, in that He is conceived of as God. And verily the steward of His Mysteries, having called Him Christ Jesus as having been made as we and Incarnate, knows that He is so together with being God by Nature and in truth: for he writes after this wise, More boldly in part I have written to you, as reminding you because of the grace given me by God that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus, ministering the Gospel of God, Zacharias too prophesieth to his own child, I mean the Baptist, And thou, little one, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare a people for Him: and the Divine Baptist pointed out the Most High and Lord saying, See the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world: This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a Man who has been made before me because He was prior to me. Is it then lawful to doubt that One and Only and Truly Son is the Word forth of God the Father together with the flesh united to Him and that not without soul, as some say, but ensouled with reasonable soul and in all respects One Person with it?
B. I would not doubt it in the least, for One Lord, One faith, One Baptism. But if Jesus be said to advance in stature and wisdom and grace, who is it that has been made in these? for the Word Who is forth of God the Father being full and Perfect in Himself, what and whereunto will He take accession or advance? being Himself Wisdom, He will not be said to be recipient of wisdom. We must enquire then, they say, to whom these things belong.
A. We must then (it is like) bring in another son and lord, because some cannot reach the depth of the holy Scriptures. The wise Evangelist therefore, having first brought in that The Word has been made fleshy sets Him forth Economically charging His own flesh to proceed by the paths of its own nature; and it belongs to human nature to advance in stature and wisdom, I may say in grace also, in that the understanding too that is in each springs upward conjointly with the measures of the body: for it is one in babes, other again in those that are now children and upwards. For it were not impossible or impracticable to the Word from forth of the Father as God, to rear on high even from the very swaddling-clothes the body which was united to Him and to bring it up to the measure of perfect stature; I will say too that to shew forth admirable wisdom even in His baby-state would have been both easy and without obstacle to Him, yet would it have savoured of wonderworking and been incongruous to the plan of the Economy; for the Mystery was performed noiselessly. He permitted therefore economically the measures of human nature to prevail in His own case, for this too will have been arranged in the meet order of the likeness to usward, whose advance is by little and little to what is greater, as the season calls us to accession of stature and of understanding not out of harmony therewith.
All-Perfect therefore, and un-lacking of ought whatever, and too of increase, is the “Word from forth the Father, as God: yet makes He His own what is ours seeing He has been made as we: yet we know that He is even so above us as God. And verily Paul dares, albeit knowing that He has been made flesh, looking at the Excellences of the Godhead, in places to say that He is not even man: he writes to them of Galatia, Paul an apostle not from men nor through man but through Jesus Christ, and elsewhere too, I declare to you the Gospel which was gospelled by me that it is not after man, for neither did I receive it from man nor was I taught it, but through revelation of Jesus Christ.
B. We must therefore adapt to Him both the being said to progress in wisdom and stature and grace, just as [we do] the hungering and being weary and the like: and perhaps even if He be said to suffer and to have been quickened by the Father, we shall allot to Him these things too.
A. Yes, for we say that His are the human by an Economic appropriation, and along with the flesh that which is its: seeing that no other son beside Him is conceived of by us, but the Lord Himself hath saved us, giving His own Blood a ransom for the life of all; for we were bought with a price, not with things corruptible silver or gold but with the Precious Blood as of a Lamb Immaculate and without blemish,, Christ, Who offered Himself in our behalf for an odour of a sweet smell to God the Father. And hereto will be our warrant Paul most learned in the law, who hath written, Be therefore imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love as Christ too loved us and delivered Himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for an odour of a sweet smell. But since Christ hath been made a sweet smell for us shewing in Himself the nature of man in possession of sinlessness, we have had confidence through Him and in Him with God the Father Which is in Heaven: for it is written, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy in the blood of Christ, which He inaugurated for us, a new and living way through the veil, that is, through His flesh. Understand therefore how he says that His is the Blood and His the flesh, which he also calls the veil and with good reason, in order that whatever in the temple the sacred veil used to effect, concealing full well the holy of holies, somewhat of the same might the flesh too of the Lord be conceived of as doing, not permitting the marvellous and choice Excellence and glory of God the Word to it united, to be seen by any bare so to say and unhidden. And verily some imagined that Christ was Elias or one of the Prophets, but the Jews, not a whit understanding the mystery respecting Him, railing said, Is not this the carpenter’s son? how saith He now, I have come down from heaven? for invisible by Nature is the Godhead, yet was He seen of those on earth in likeness with us Who in His own Nature is not visible, and the Lord God appeared to us. And this I think the Divine David teaches saying, God shall come manifestly, our God, and shall not be passed over in silence.
B. You think aright, but they maintain that these things are not so, far from it. For in no wise do they choose to attribute the suffering on the cross to the Word Who sprang from God, but they say that He prepared the man who was connected with Him in equal honour, to undergo the contumelies of the Jews and the sufferings on the cross, yea and death itself and that he became the captain of our salvation, in the might of the Word Who was co-with him coming back to life and doing to nought the power of death.
A. Will they then be able out of the Holy Scriptures to prove to us that their account hereof is true? or do they innovate the Faith, uttering things out of their heart and not out of the mouth of the Lord, as it is written, or haply unable to say, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Christ through which the world hath been crucified to me and I to the world?
B. Yea, they say, for the all-wise Paul confirms us hereto having written thus, For it became Him because of Whom all things and through Whom all things, bringing many sons to glory, to perfect through sufferings the Captain of their salvation. For He (they say) in Whom are all things and throughb Whom all things will be none other than the Word Which sprang from forth of God. He therefore perfected through sufferings the captain of our salvation, i. e. him from forth the seed of David.
A. We have therefore been redeemed by God no more (for how or whence could we?) but by another’s blood, and some counterfeit man and falsely-called son hath died for us, and the august and mighty mystery of the Only-Begotten was then idle talk and quackery, and neither hath He been made man, but we will register as our saviour and redeemer, not Him but that other rather, who hath given his own blood for us. Yet the most holy Paul hath written to The Syriac translation transposes in and through some, It was therefore necessary that the patterns of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these; for not into sanctuaries made with hands, figures of the true, entered Christ, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us, nor that oftentimes He should offer Himself as the High Priest entereth into the sanctuary yearly with another’s blood, since He must needs often have suffered from the foundation of the world; but now once in the completion of the ages hath He been manifested for the abolition of sin through His sacrifice. Hence the type hath, that certain make their entry with another’s blood and are cleansed: the reality, i. e. the Truth, will surely possess what is better, i. e., that Jesus does this, entering with His own blood, not into any temporary tabernacle and made with hands, as it were in shadow and type, but into that which is above and true, into Heaven: for it was necessary that the patterns of the things in the heavens should be purified with these (i. e. with the typical and another’s) but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
We must therefore necessarily seek for in Christ what is superior to the types, I mean the truth, which is in His own Blood.
B. You say right.
A. But since they set up against us the Apostle’s saying, as though it were put forth of a common man, come let us say, taking from the beginning of what is written unto a sufficient close of it. It is written therefore, But we behold Jesus Who has been some little abased below the angels because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour: for it beseemed Him because of Whom all things and through Whom all things, bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Captain of their salvation through sufferings: for the Sanctifier and the sanctified are out of one, all of them, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers saying, I will declare Thy Name to My brothers, and again, Behold I and the children which God gave Me. Since therefore the children have partalcen of blood and flesh, He too likewise |300 shared the same, in order that through death He might do to nought him that hath the power of death, i.e., the devil, and might rid those who in fear of death through all their life were subject to bondage: for not I suppose of angels taketh He hold but of Abraham’s seed He taketh hold, whence He ought in all things to be likened to His brothers. See, see and that most clearly, saying that He has been abased below the Angels because of the suffering of death, yet has been crowned therefore with honour and glory, he makes evident Who it is of Whom he is discoursing, the Only-Begotten: for he says that He has partaken of blood and flesh like us, and that He took hold not of angels but of Abraham’s seed. For it beseemed God the Father because of Whom all things and through Whom all things, to perfect the Son Who had descended to emptying and become man, having taken bondman’s form, through sufferings in that He consecrates His own flesh a Ransom for the life of all. For Christ hath been sacrificed for us, the spotless Victim, and by One offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, re-forming man’s nature into what it was in the beginning: for all things in Him are new.
For that God the Father hath given His own Son for us, no less will the all-wise Paul be our warrant, writing of . Him, Who spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not with Him too bestow on us all things? and we say that the own Son of God is the Word Who beamed forth of His Essence, and that He has been given for us, not still bare and without flesh but when He was made flesh. And His being said to suffer is free from any blame, for He suffered not in the nature of the Godhead but in His own flesh: for God the Father as I said above, made Him Who knew not sin sin for us, in order that we might be made the righteousness of God with Him.
B. Do we therefore conceive that He was made sin, or rather because He was made like to them who are under sin, is He therefore said to be sin?
A. You say right: as therefore He made Him Who knew not sin sin for us in order that WE might be made the righteousness of God in Him (for the nature of man has been justified in Him): so Him Who knows not death (for the Word is Life and lifegiving) He caused to suffer in the flesh, though He remained external to suffering in that He is conceived of as God, in order that we might live through Him and in Him. Hence also the suffering of Christ has been named, ‘the likeness of death.’ It is written therefore, For if we have been co-planted in the likeness of His death so shall we be too of His resurrection: for the Word was living, even while His holy flesh was tasting death in order that, death worsted and decay trodden down, the might of the resurrection might come unto the whole human race. For it is true, that as in Adam all die so too in Christ all shall be quickened. Since, how do we say that the Mystery of the Economy with flesh of the Only-Begotten aided man’s nature, unless the Word being God has been made flesh? unless He Who is above all the creation lowered Himself unto emptying and hath come down to be in our estate? unless that have been made the body of Life which is subject to decay in order that it might become superior to death and decay?
B. We say therefore that the Word which is forth of God the Father Himself suffered in the flesh for us?
A. Surely, if Paul is true in saying of Him, Who is the Image of the Invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, because in Him were created all things, visible and invisible, whether thrones or lordships or governments or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him: and He is before all things, and all things consist in Him, and He is the Head of the Body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, in order that He may become in all pre-eminent. For see, see, he says and that full clearly, that the Image of the Invisible God, the first-born of all creation, both visible and invisible, through Whom all things and in Whom all things, has been given a Head to the Church, and that He is First-born from the dead too. For He makes His own, as I said, the properties of His own flesh, and endured the cross, despising the shame. For we do not say that a man simply, honoured (I know not how) by connection with Him, has been given for us, but it is the Lord of glory Himself Which was crucified for us (for had they known, he says, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory): but He hath suffered for our sake and in our behalf in the flesh, according to the Scriptures, Who according to the flesh is of the Jews, Who is over all God and blessed for ever Amen. For thus hath the most holy Paul written, His herald and apostle and who hath Christ in him.
And tell me this besides, how they would understand what has been said by Christ to the woman out of Samaria, YE worship ye know not what, WE worship what we know, for salvation is from forth the Jews? albeit there hath saved us, not elder, not angel, but the Lord Himself, not with another’s death and the mediation of a mere man but, with His own Blood. Hence, with good reason, said the all-wise Paul, One who disregards Moses’ law dieth without compassion at the hands of two or three witnesses: of how much worser punishment, suppose ye, shall be be accounted worthy who trampled on the Son of God and accounted common the blood of the covenant and insulted the Spirit of grace in Whom he was sanctified? But if it be not the precious Blood of the in truth Son Incarnate but of some spurious one other than he and one that possesses the sonship of favour, how do they say that it is not common?
Therefore even though He be said to have suffered in the flesh, freedom from suffering even thus is kept to Him in that He is conceived of as God. Therefore the Divine Peter too says that Christ once for our sins died for us, the Righteous for the unrighteous, in order that He might bring us to God, put to death in the flesh, quickened in the Spirit. For why, might one I suppose say, did the Spirit-clad say not simply or indefinitely that He suffered, but added, in the flesh? for he knew, he knew that of God was he speaking. Therefore he hath allotted to Him impassibility in that He is conceived of as God, most skilfully adding, in the flesh, in respect to which suffering exists.
B. Yet they say that it savours of the marvellous and inclines much to the incredible, that we should have to say that the Same both suffers and does not suffer. For either surely He hath as God not suffered or if He is said to have suffered, how will He be God? hence he who suffered will be said to be only he which is from forth the seed of David.
A. Yet how will it not be a most manifest proof of a feeble understanding, to choose so to say and to think? for God the Father hath given for us, not a common man, taken aside to be in the rank of a mediator, and having a made-up glory of sonship and honoured with an accidental connection, but, made in likeness with us for our sakes, Him Who is above the whole creation, the Word Which beamed forth of His Essence, in order that He might be seen an equivalent for the life of all. It is (I deem) of all things most absurd, when the Only-Begotten has been made flesh according to the Scriptures (as I said) and disdained not the Economy, to find fault as it were with Him as though He had militated against His own glory and had chosen to suffer in the flesh apart from what was fit. Yet, good sir, the matter was salvation to the whole world: and since He for this cause willed to suffer Who is beyond the power of suffering because He is God by Nature, He put about Him flesh recipient of suffering and made it His own, that His too might the suffering be called, because it was no one’s else’s but His own Body which hath suffered. Hence, for that the mode of the Economy gives Him without blame, both to be pleased to suffer in the flesh, and in the Godhead not to suffer (for He was God alike and Man in the Same) the opponents speak idly, and most unwisely debasing the force of the mystery haply deem that they have made a contention replete with praise. For His being at all pleased to suffer in the flesh seemed to attach some blame to Him, yet it was glorious in another way: for the Resurrection has testified that He is superior to death and decay, being Life and Lifegiving as God, for He hath raised His own Temple. Therefore the Divine Paul says, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one that believeth, and again, For the word of the cross is to them that perish folly, to us who are saved it is the Power of God, to them that are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ God’s Power and God’s wisdom: and indeed the Son too when about to ascend unto the saving Passion says, Now is the Son of man glorified and God is glorified in Him, and God will glorify Him in Himself and will straightway glorify Him. For He lived again, having spoiled Hades and this not after a long while but as it were straightway and on the very heels of the Passion.
B. Albeit the all-wise Paul says, Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, Who is not weak but is mighty in us: for verily He was crucified out of weakness yet lives out of the power of God. Then how will one say that the Word Himself is weak and moreover that He lives out of the power of God?
A. Do we not over and over again say that the Word of God was Incarnate and made man?
B. Yes, for how should it be otherwise?
A. Therefore He Who is weak in the flesh in that He appeared as man, This lived out of the power of God, a power not alien but inherent in Him, for He was God in flesh.
B. And verily the Father is said to raise Him, for it is written, According to the inworking of the mastery of His might which He hath inwrought in Christ, having raised Him from the dead and set Him on His Right Hand in the heavenly places above all rule and authority and lordship and every name that is named.
A. Yet we say that He is the life-giving Power of the Father and it is like that He rejoices in the Dignities of Him Who begat Him even though He have been made flesh. And Himself will come in, His own witness, saying, For as the Father quickeneth whom He will, so the Son too quickeneth whom He will. And able to accomplish this full well without toil, He hath addressed the people of the Jews saying, Undo this Temple and in three days I will rear it. But He Who rose hath sat on the Right Hand of the Father in the heavenly places above all rule and authority and throne and lordship and every name that is named. Is it therefore as being another son than the Word Which sprang from forth Him, honoured with mere connection, and receiving the Name of Godhead as a favour; or rather He Who is by Nature and truly Son, made in likeness of man and found in fashion as a man economically?
B. They would perhaps say that it was the man from forth the seed of David connected with Him by equality of honour, to whom the suffering death too would belong.
A. But that which is said to be of equal honour with ought, will be not one in number (as I already said) but one with one; this is I suppose two and they unequal in nature, if the honoured is in lower case than the honourer: but since one son hath sat down, let them instruct us who it is that hath been honoured with the seats on high and co-sitteth with the Father, if it be a thing most exceeding perilous to venture to bring up to equality of honour the bond with the Lord, the made with the Creator, with the King of all that which is under the yoke, with Him Who is above all that which is ranked among all.
B. You will then clear this up to us still more.
A. Albeit as I suppose a clear and sufficient discourse has already been worked out by me on these subjects, I will without any backwardness add to what I said other things also, and taking up a not ignoble advocacy of the Divine dogmas as a sort of full armour I will rear up the truth against them who think perverse things.
For that the Only-Begotten Word of God, no other son than He mediating the Economy and connected with Him accidentally, hath made void the mastery of death; but that He by His own Self hath done it, He will prove saying, God so loved the world that He gave His Son the Only-Begotten in order that every one who believeth on Him should not perish but have life everlasting. When God the Father exalteth highly His Love for the world and says that it is exceeding great and vast, why do our opponents disparage it, saying that not the truly Son has been given for us, but bring up one of those who are as we, who has the grace of sonship from adoption, into the place of the Son by Nature, whereas it was the Only-Begotten Who was given for us? and whereas John hath clearly written, The Only-Begotten God which is in the Bosom of the Father, how will not one marvel at them for their unlearning who thrust out the Only-Begotten God the Word from the Economy and bring in in His place (as I said) a certain one embellished with glories from without him and having the name of Godhead put upon him? and what great and worthy of admiration will there be any longer apparent in the Love of the Father if He hath given for it some piece of the world and that a small one? or perhaps it would be even unblameable to say that the world hath been redeemed, having nothing from God but, ministered to in this behalf by its own parts.
B. They say that the Only-Begotten has been given by the Father, that He should administer our affairs, not in order that He should suffer ought of what is human Himself in His own Nature, for it is impossible.
A. He will suffer in His own Nature nothing at all (for being unembodied as God He will full surely be external to suffering), but since according to His own voice, I mean that through the Psalmist’s lyre, a body has been prepared for Him by the Father, He came, embodied, to do His Will. And this was the redemption through the Precious Cross and the summing up anew of all things, full well accomplished through Him and in Him. And the most excellent Paul will aid to what I said, having written on this wise, Be ye thus minded each one of you as was also Christ Jesus Who being in the Form of God deemed not the being equal with God a thing to seize, yet emptied Himself taking bondman’s form, made in likeness of men, and found in fashion as a man abased Himself, made obedient to death, yea the death of the cross: wherefore God also highly exalted Him and gave Him a Name which is above every name, in order that at the Name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow of heavenly and earthly and neath the earth and every tongue confess Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. For whom dost thou say is He Who is in the Form of God the Father, and when He might have remained in Equality with Him deemed the so pre-eminent and God-befitting Dignity and the excellency above all to be not a thing to seize? is it not God the Word Who beamed forth from Him? how is this not obvious to all? But this He Who was in the Form and Equality of the Father, taking bondman’s form, not by an accidental connection, made in likeness of men and found in fashion as a man (for He was together herewith God too) abased Himself and became obedient also unto death, yea the death of the cross.
B. But it is said (they say) of Him that God gave Him a Name which is above every name, in order that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow. That which the Word was, i.e., God, how will He be conceived as taking? need therefore is it to say rather that to the assumed man has been given the Name which is above all, that we be not caught deeming ought incongruous respecting the Only-Begotten.
A. Then how were it not incomparably better to say that it has been given by the Father to the by Nature Son made man for our sakes, in order that He may be conceived of as God even in human nature and in supremest heights He Who endured abasement as we, in order that no new and late-appearing god may be introduced to both angels and men, having the glory of the Godhead not essentially in existing but come in from without and as it were at the mere Will of God the Father.
B. To the Word Himself therefore which sprang from forth God the Father do we say that the Name which is above every name has been given.
A. Full surely; and our argument will not err from its course, if it is not false that He deemed the being Equal with God to be not a thing to seize, but hath descended unto the not being in glory in that He appeared as man. Therefore He also said, The Father is greater than I, although He had the right, in that He ever existeth in Him (as He is conceived of and is God) and hath been begotten from forth Him by Nature, to have exactness with Him in every thing and to rejoice in the glory of the Godhead. One must therefore not suppose that He Who for our sakes descended into the measure of the human nature, fell from His inherent Natural splendour and Excellence, but that in emptiness that belongs to us He has fullness Divinely and in abasement loftiness, and that which belongs to Him by Nature, to be worshipped by all, [He has] as a gift by reason of His human nature: for to Him boweth every knee of things both in Heaven and upon earth and every rank praiseth, for Christ Jesus is believed to be Lord unto the glory of God the Father. And verily He said to God the Father which is in Heaven, Father glorify Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. Was then (tell me) the man prior to the world, whom they say has been assumed by the Only-Begotten by a non-essential connection?
B. By no means.
A. Who then is it who is asking for glory which He says was inexistent in Himself oven before the very foundation of the world, He ever and continually being with God? is it not God the Word Co-eternal with the Father, Co-throned and Co-existent with Him, of Whom the all-wise Evangelist John saith, The Word was with God and the Word was God?
B. How should it not be so?
A. As therefore being Lord of glory and then letting Himself down to the ill-repute of bondman’s form, He asks for a recovery of His ever inherent glory, doing this too as beseemeth man: thus being always God He goes up from the measures of our estate to the excellence and glory of His Proper Godhead, in order that as to One Son henceforth by Nature and Very, albeit made as we and Incarnate, every knee should bow, as I just said. For I think that so minded and thus believing, we shall rid heaven and earth from the charge of worshipping a man. For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shall thou adore.
B. The argument hereon will need very much support: proceed therefore I pray and elucidate the Mystery to us by means of other conceptions also.
A. I will then proceed very gladly, but I would say that they have missed the truth in coupling, as though another son, him who is of the seed of David with Him Who is by Nature and truly, I mean the Only-Begotten, albeit holy Writ clearly cries aloud, The first man of earth earthy, the second out of Heaven, and moreover the Son Himself, I have come down from heaven not in order to do Mine Own Will but the Will of Him that sent Me, and this is the will of Him that sent Me that everything which He hath given Me I should not lose ought from it but should raise it at the last Day.Whom then do they say is He Who hath come down out of Heaven? for the body hath been born of a woman.
B. The Word that is begotten from forth God the Father, for I suppose that they will not please to think anything else than this.
A. Right my friend, and the all-wise John too hath somewhere written, He that cometh from above is above all. Then how, when it pleaseth the Father that all which is given Him should rise, and the thing is good and moreover God-befitting (for to save is like God), does He say that He came down not to do His own will but that of the Father? will then any man among us suppose that the Son Who is born of Him comes behind the Clemency of God the Father and is in no wise good, but that raising up that which is given and ridding it of decay is a thing uncongenial to Him?
B. There is risk of it.
A. Yet we should with reason deem that since He is the genuine Offspring of a Good Father, He will be conceived of as Himself also Good, or Goodness itself. For from the fruit the tree is known, according to His own voice, and He will be True, saying He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, I and the Father are One.
B. You say well: clear up then yourself what seems to have been obscurely said.
A. We say that annulling death and driving away decay from men’s bodies was a thing not unwilled by the Son, for He delighteth not in the destruction of the living, and the generations of the world were healthful, as it is written, but by envy of the devil death entered into the world. But in no other way was it possible to shake off the cheerless mastery of death save by only the Incarnation of the Only-Begotten. Therefore hath He appeared as we and He made His own a body subject to decay according to the inherent plan of its nature, in order that since Himself is Life (for He hath been begotten of the Father Which is Life) He might implant therein His Proper Good, life. And when He had once chosen out of His Clemency and Loving-kindness to undergo likeness with us, needs must the Passion too befall Him, when the impiety of the Jews was raging against Him. But the disrepute in His Passion was burdensome to Him. And in truth when the time was coming on, wherein He had to endure the cross for the life of all, in order that He might shew that the Passion was not willed, He made His approach as beseems man and in form of prayer, saying, Father if it be possible let this cup pass from Me, yet not as I will but as Thou. He says that He came down out of Heaven, to make that which was grievous, not unwilled, in order that He might achieve resurrection for then on the earth, which He Alone hath new-wrought for the race of man. For He has been made First-born from forth the dead according to the flesh and first-fruits of them that are fallen asleep.
B. His therefore and not another’s will be said to be the Passion in that He hath appeared as man, even though He hath remained Impassible as He is conceived of as God.
A. Thus I say: call to mind the God-inspired Scripture which says, The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam a quickening spirit.
B. Do we then say that the Word from forth God, has been called the last Adam?
A. Not bare (as I said), but made in likeness with us. We say therefore that He is, if to quicken be no work of man but God-befitting. He has too the name of the last Adam, as made out of Adam according to the flesh and a second beginning of those on earth, the nature of man being transelemented in Him unto newness of life, life in holiness and incorruption through the resurrection from the dead: for thus was death done to nought, in that the Life by Nature endureth not to submit its own body to decay, because it was not possible that Christ should be holden of it, according to the voice of the most wise Paul, and thus passed through unto us too the good from this achievement.
B. You say well.
A. Look now at this besides.
B. What do you mean?
A. Christ said somewhere to the holy Apostles, Go disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. We have therefore been baptized into the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity, Father Son and Holy Ghost. Is it not true what I say?
B. How should it not?
A. Do we not conceive of Him Who hath begotten as Father, the Only-Begotten God the Word again begotten from forth Him as Son?
A. How then have we been baptized into His Death as blessed Paul saith? for as many (he says) of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death. Yet One Lord, one faith, one baptism: and we will not say that we have been baptized into Him that is forth of the seed of David as into another and several son: but since being by Nature God He is conceived of as beyond suffering, and was pleased to suffer in order that He might save those who are subject to decay, He was made like in all things unto them who are on earth and underwent birth after the flesh from forth a woman and made (as I said) His own a body capable of tasting death and living again, in order that Himself abiding Impassible, He might be said to suffer in His own flesh. For He it is Who hath saved that which was lost. And verily He said in plain terms, I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd layeth down His Life for His sheep, and again, No one taketh My life from Me but I lay it down of Myself, I have authority to lay it down and have authority to take it again. But it belongs not to one of us nor to a common man to have authority to lay down his life and to receive it back, but the Only-Begotten and truly Son hath laid it down, and He took it back, placing us outside of death’s meshes.
And one may very easily see this outlined in the Mosaic books too in shadow unto them of old: for the sacrifice of the sheep rescued from death and decay them of Israel and abashed the destroyer, but it was a type of Christ, for Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us, in order that He might undo the cheerless mastery of death and might by His own Blood win all under heaven: for we were bought with a Price and arc not our own, for One died for all, He He Whose worth surpasses all, in order that they which live no longer live to themselves but to Him Who died for them and rose; Paul too will aid saying, For I through the Law died to the Law in order to live to God, I have been co-crucified with Christ: no longer live I, hut Christ liveth in me: and what I now live in the flesh I live in faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me. Christ’s therefore are we all and through Him have we been reconciled to the Father, Christ having suffered in the flesh for us, in order that He might manifest us cleansed. For it has been written, Wherefore Jesus too, in order that He might cleanse the people through His own blood suffered outside the gate, and again, And you who once were estranged and enemies in your understanding by wicked wories, He hath now reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and spotless before Him. Understand therefore how He says that it was His Proper Blood and His Proper Flesh which was given for us, in order that we should not say that it belonged to a son other than He, conceived of individually and honoured with a bare connection and having an adventitious glory and non-essential excellence and, as a cloak and sort of mask thrown over him, the name of sonship and of the Godhead that is over all things. For if he is by nature in such case as the opponents like to think, in no wise will it befit him to have to say, I am the truth: for how is that true which is not as it is said to be, but is something bastard and falsely-called? But verily CHRIST is truth and over all as God: for the Word hath remained what it was even though it have been made flesh, in order that He Which is over all and hath been made among all by reason of the human nature may have preserved to Him the being above every thing and beyond the measures of the creation.
B. But (he says) the being said to suffer will impress on God the Word much ill-repute and will besides perchance bring accusation upon our august mystery.
A. Yet despising the shame He chose to suffer in the flesh for our sakes according to the Scriptures: and I would account it a frailty of Jewish mind and a dread charge of Gentile infatuation, to think it right to be ashamed of the suffering on the cross. The Divine Paul writes, Seeing that both Jews ask for signs and Greeks seek for wisdom, but WE preach Christ Crucified, to the Jews an offence, to the Gentiles foolishness, but to them which are called, Jews and Greeks, Christ God’s Power and God’s wisdom, because the folly of God, is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
B. How? for I do not at all understand.
A. Does he not say that the Suffering on the cross was an offence to the Jews, foolishness to the Greeks? for the one said, when they saw Him hanging from the wood, wagging their blood-thirsty heads at Him, If Thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross and we will believe Thee (for they supposed that worsted by their might He was taken and suffered, for they were in error, supposing that He was not truly Son of God but looking to the flesh alone): and the Greeks able in no wise to understand the depth of the Mystery deem it folly that it should be said by us, that Christ died for the life of the world. Yet is this very thing that seemeth to he folly, wiser than men. For deep is the word and verily replete with the highest wisdom, that I mean in regard to Christ the Saviour of us all, and that which is thought to be weakness by the people of the Jews, is stronger than men. For the Only-Begotten Word of God hath saved us, putting on likeness to us in order that having suffered in the flesh and risen from the dead He might set forth our nature superior to death and decay. And that which has been achieved is beyond the reach of |316 our estate. Hence stronger than men is that which seemeth to have been wrought in infirmity as ours and as it were in suffering, and it affords proof of God-befitting power.
B. Then how will the Same (they say) suffer and not suffer?
A. By suffering in His own flesh and not in the Nature of Godhead. And wholly ineffable is the plan of these things and no mind can attain ideas so subtil and exalted: yet following reasonings which tend to right belief and viewing the plan of what is fit, we neither alienate Him from being said to suffer, lest we first say that the Birth too after the flesh is not His but another’s, nor do we define that the things pertaining to the flesh have been wrought upon His Divine and Supremest Nature: but He will be conceived of (as I said) as suffering in His own flesh, albeit not suffering in His Godhead after some such mode as this. And every force of illustration is feeble and comes behind the truth, yet it sends into the mind a subtil imagination of the reality and as it were from what is before it, brings it up unto the height which is beyond the reach of words. For as iron or other such matter in contact with the onset of fire gives it admission and travails with the flame: and if now it chance to be struck by ought, the matter [struck] admits of injury, but the nature of the fire is in nought damaged by that which strikes; thus will you conceive in regard of the Son being said to suffer in the flesh, not to suffer in His Godhead. And petty (as I said) is the force of the illustration, but it bears nigh to the truth them who choose not to disbelieve the holy Scriptures.
B. You say well.
A. For if the flesh ineffably and above mind and reason united to Him were not made absolutely the Word’s own, how will it be conceived of as life-giving? For I am (He says) the Living Bread Which came down from Heaven and giveth life to the world, if any one eat of this bread he shall |317live for ever, and the bread which I shall give is My flesh for the life of the world. But if so be the flesh, belong to a son other than He, appropriated to Him by a non-essential connection, and called by favour to equality of honour, how doth He name it His own, though He cannot lie? and how will another person’s flesh too quicken the world, if it have not been made the own flesh of Life, i. e. of the Word which is forth of God the Father, of Whom the Divine John says, And we know that the Son of God is come and He gave us understanding in order that we might know Him and we are in His Very Son Jesus Christ: this is the true God and Everlasting Life?
B. But I suppose that they would say to this, that it had been clearly said by Him, Verily verily I say to you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have not life in you. WE therefore understand (they say) that the honoured body and blood are not those of God the Word but of the son of man which has been connected with Him.
A. Then wherever will they put the mighty Mystery of piety? for destroyed is the emptying of God the Word, Who was in the Form and Equality of the Father and chose for our sakes to take bondman’s form and be made in likeness of us, and to partake blood and flesh, and to make the economy of the Incarnation His largess to all under Heaven. For through it have been saved, the Father summing up all things in Him, both the things in Heaven and the things on earth, as it is written. If therefore they say that not He is the Only-Begotten, Who says in God-befitting way and human wise alike, And the bread which I will give is My flesh for the life of the world, but that some son of man other than He conceived of apart by himself hath saved us, it is not the Lord Himself, as it is written, but one from among ourselves: and the things which are subject to decay are quickened henceforth, not through God Who is mighty to quicken, but by one of them who are subject to decay, who received along with us life of favour: but if it is true that the Word has been made flesh according to the Scriptures and appeared on earth and conversed with men, having bondman’s form as His own, He will be called also son of man; and if some feel ashamed at this, they will be caught placing themselves under charge of unlearning. For in no other way was it possible that flesh should become life-giving, albeit of its own nature subjected to the need of decaying, except it have become the Proper flesh of the Word Which quickeneth all things; for thus it inworks what is His, replete with His Life-giving Power. And no marvel. For if it is true that fire having intercourse with matter, renders it warm, though not warm of its own nature (for it puts into it full richly the operation of its inherent power): how does not rather the Word being God put His own Life-giving Power and Operation into His Proper flesh, united to it and making it His own, without confusion, without turning and in mode as Himself knoweth?
B. It is therefore necessary to confess that it hath entirely become (none other intervening) the Proper Body of the Word that is forth of the Father, though ensouled with reasonable soul.
A . Most certainly, if we define aright the unerring word of the faith and are lovers of the doctrines of the truth and track the faith of the holy Fathers, not borne aside from the right way nor letting go the King’s path-way, carried off by the vain-speakings of some unto a debased mind, but rather built up on the very Foundation, i. e. Christ: for other foundation can no man lay than is laid, as the in truth wise master-builder and Priest of His Mysteries has written.
We believe therefore that One is the Son of God the Father and conceived of in One Person, our LORD JESUS CHRIST, begotten forth of God the Father Divinely as Word before every age and time: in the last times of the age the Same made according to the flesh from forth a woman: and to Him we allot both the God-befitting and the human, and His we say was the birth after the flesh and the suffering upon the cross, for that He made His own the whole that belonged to His Proper flesh, yet hath remained Impassible in the Nature of the Godhead. For thus to Him boweth every knee and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father, Amen.