CYRIL THE MOST HOLY ARCHBISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA
Cyril of Alexandria, Five Tomes Against Nestorius. Pt 1
Truth of human writings must be tested by Scripture. Arian errors and against Holy Ghost. Errors of heretics on their heads. Nestorius’ book of Homilies. S. John i. 1,3,14,18. True Union of Person. Mother of God. “Made Flesh;” Manichees have no plea; without it, the curse and decay would still have been our lot. ” Mother of God” except it express a Truth, may no ways be allowed. ‘Passed through,’ objected to. To be Incarnate, belongs to one who was, before He was Man. ” Mixture ” of old used in right sense. One of Nestorius’ sermons quoted as owning God and Man in one. συνάφεια. A mother, mother of a man, though the body only is taken of her. Elizabeth mother of S. John the Baptist. Eusebius of Dorylaeum opposes Nestorius in church. GOD the SON had two Births. The Creed of Nicea on the Incarnation. The Creed recited. Nestorius cites from that of Constantinople. “Incarnate” begotten after the flesh. If it did but mean indwelt it would be common to all. S. John’s most careful accurate language. That the Virgin Mary bare God, does not exclude the Eternal Generation, nor render her an object of worship.
THOSE who wish to explore the holy Scripture and who drive away negligence in doing so, and thirst rather for the attainment thereof, and apply themselves vigorously and apart from all sloth—-the being in every good shall be their’s, for they fill their mind with the Divine Light: and then applying it to the doctrines of the Church, they admit every thing that is right and un-adulterate, and that most readily, and lay it up in the hidden treasures of their soul, and rejoice as much in what they in their desire of knowledge have collected, as others who are worldly, in insatiably collecting Indian gems or gold, yea rather, yet more: for wisdom is better than costly stones, and every precious thing is not worthy of her, as it is written. For I say that they who are wise and prudent and skilled in the Divine doctrines, ought to remember what has been profitably written by one of the holy Disciples, Brethren try the spirits whether they he of God. And the Divine Paul says that to the saints has been given discerning of spirits.
For the one who say Lord Jesus, will say it none otherwise than through the Holy Ghost: and they who out of unlearning let loose a contradicting tongue against them, and wherein those think rightly, these all but say Jesus Anathema, from Beelzebub will they do so. We must then studying to prove all things subtilly and in a finished manner and with mind awake, light on the writings of certain, and test skillfully what words they use of Christ the Saviour of us all, and imitate, and that aright, the most approved and experienced of money dealers, who admit proved coin, and diligently reject the counterfeit and amiss. And to this the blessed Paul invites us saying, Be ye skilful bankers, prove all things, hold fast that which is good, abstain from every form of evil. And it is in other ways also all-disgraceful and unseemly, that in the affairs of this life we should be seen no whit sparing of what conduceth to profit, but rather make it of moment to aim and strive after those things whereby we may live splendidly, and neglect things so sacred and count for nothing the salvation of the soul, but let it sink down in pits and swamps, sometimes exposing unto the mere pleasure of those who choose to say what they ought not, our mind, not vigilant for the truth, nor choosing to search diligently what is the true and profitable meaning of what has been read, what the perverted one and that outsteps accuracy in doctrine and works loss in the soul that looks to it. Yet to the soul is there nought equal in value in their sight who are perfect in understanding.
We must try therefore and that most straitly, writings on the Divine doctrines, and if any should go along with the sacred Scriptures and speed its clear and most unerring way therein, let it be acclaimed by us too with testimonies to its orthodoxy: but if it form its language cold and astray and amiss, yea rather giver of destruction to the readers, let it hear from every mouth, But ye are uttering and telling us another error.
Therefore either let them make the tree good and his fruit good, or let them make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt; for the good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bring eth forth evil things, according to the unlying word of the Saviour. For the god of this world blinded the understandings of the unbelieving heretics, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine:and they have been deceived manifoldly. For some (miserable!) say that the Word sprung of God the Father is lesser than He that begot Him, and have not shuddered at apportioning to Him an alien and slave-befitting measure; others, whetting against the Holy Ghost their unholy and intemperate mouth, do rightly hear the Prophet say, But draw YE near hither, ungodly sons, seed of the adulterers and the whore, against Whom did ye sport yourselves? and against Whom opened ye your mouth and on Whom let loose your tongue? are YE not children of destruction, a lawless seed? But these shall walk in their own lightand find the flames that themselves kindled: for us whose care is orthodoxy, it is meet that we should give a wise and accurate account of each of the Divine doctrines and should shun the charges [put forth by] their unbridled mouth, lest in ought stumbling and sinning against the brethren and wounding their weak conscience, we sin against Christ, Let us therefore hearken unto Him Who saith, If the enemy had reproached Me, I could have borne it, and if he that hated Me had spoken proudly against Me, I would have hid Myself from him, but THOU, a man Mine intimate, My guide and My friend, who sweetenedst food together with Me, in the house of God we went in harmony. But let these things go upon the heads of the enemy, who war against the glory of our Saviour, and esteem blasphemy against Him, their delicate meat: for us it is meet and necessary (as I said) that we, zealous to savour those things that please Him, should not follow [doctrine] which is alien from truth or which diverges in any other direction, and tends to decay, [but follow] that which is for the good of our flock and is crowned by the Truth itself with testimonies to its rightness.
And this I say having met with a certain book compiled by some one, having a large collection of homilies, orderly and systematically arranged and in no wise lacking in due appliances for the reader. And if ought had been said by its author, which by passing into forgetfulness should come to nought, I would have deemed it a duty both myself to hold my peace and to counsel others to do the same; lest things so unmeetly and unheedfully said should become known to many others, and to those after us. But since a multitude of blasphemies has been heaped into this book and some great accusation has been made, baying against the doctrines of the truth, how was it not necessary that we in turn should (so to say) strip for combat and should fight in behalf of its readers, that they may not take harm thence, but may rather know how to repulse bravely the damage from what is unrightly said? For the Divine John was called by Christ the Saviour of us all the Son of thunder, and with reason, for that he well-nigh sounded forth o’er all beneath the heaven and thundered over the earth, uttering something vast and immense. For he makes known full well the truly dread and mighty Mystery of the Incarnation of the Only-Begotten: for he said, In the, beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: all things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made.But when he had made accurate and complete initiation, and declared that the Only-Begotten being God and ineffably begotten of God by Nature, is Maker and Creator of all things; then, then, in fit season, does he at length begin the allwise economy that for our sakes and in our behalf was wrought, and says, 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. For he said that the Word was flesh, shewing the force of the true union, i.e., understood as one “of Person:” and by saying that He tabernacled in us, he does not allow us to conceive that the Word which is out of God by Nature passed into flesh which is of the earth. For one not thoroughly exact as to what the Divine Nature Which surpasses every thing generate is, might (I suppose) have deemed that It was haply recipient of change and could become regardless of Its own Essentially-accruing goods, and change (so to say) into something other than what It is, and be brought down to the measures of the creation, subjected in unlooked-for way to changes and alterations. But that this is utterly impossible (for the Nature of God is stablished and hath unshaken abidance in that wherein it is), he hath testified saying, that the Word tabernacled in us, albeit made flesh: both skilfully explaining the wisdom of the Economy and guarding full well that the Nature of the Word be not accused by any as though It had become flesh by change and turning aside.
We ourselves too then say, tracking the aim of the inspired, and in no way outstepping the definition of the Faith, that He Who is out of God by Nature, the Only-Begotten, He Which is in the Bosom of the Father, He through Whom are all things and in Whom all things, albeit having before every age and time His Own Existence, and ever co-existing with Him Who begot Him, descended unto voluntary emptiness in the last times of the world, and took the servant’s form, i.e., became in our condition and Man economically, and was made like in all things unto His brethren, by partaking similarly of blood and flesh, and that He thus underwent birth with us and like us, and took into Himself the passing into being of His own Flesh, not as needing a second beginning unto being (for the Word was in the beginning and was God) but, that He might gather together the human race, a second first-fruits of all things after that first one, born after the flesh of a woman, according to the Scriptures. For so being Rich, became He poor, bringing us again unto His own wealth and having all in Himself through the flesh which was united to Him. For thus have we been buried with Christ through Holy Baptism, have been raised and made to sit with Him in heavenly places. For so hath written the steward of His mysteries, the herald and Apostle, and minister of the Gospel oracles, the most wise Paul. Necessary therefore, alike to the faith of the Mystery and to the exact demonstration thereof, is the fact of true Union, I mean of Person, that the mode of generation according to the flesh of the Only-Begotten may be without blame, Who was (as I said) called to no second existence (for Himself is the Maker of the worlds), but lowered Himself economically to manhood for our sakes, and despised not the laws of human nature but chose rather to have as His own together with the flesh the fleshly generation too. Therefore do we say that He was born after the flesh Who is ever Co-existent with the Father. For thus condemned He sin in the flesh and He hath brought to nought the might of death in us, made as we, Who knew no sin, in Whom we live and move and are.
But some (I know not how) wrong the most sacred beauty of the dogmas of the Church and wrinkle the holy and all-pure Virgin, bringing her down to the unseemly rottenness of their own ideas and arming against us a multitude of new-fangled inventions. For they accuse, as something bastard and uncomely, yea rather as going beyond all fit language, the word Mother of God, which the holy fathers before us have constructed for the holy Virgin; and sunder, dividing into two several sons, the One Lord Jesus Christ, and take away from God the Word the sufferings of the Flesh, though not even we have said that He suffered in His own Nature, as God, but we attribute rather to Him along with the Flesh the Sufferings also that befel the Flesh, that He too may be confessed to be Saviour (for with His stripes were WE healed, as it is written, and He has been wounded for our transgressions, albeit not recipient of suffering any wound): and WE have been saved by His undergoing death for us through His own Body.
But I will essay to demonstrate clearly what I said, for I will now read the words of him who has compiled this book, and first of all those which he made, inveighing in no slight terms against the word Mother of God. But since he repeatedly goes through the same words, and it is necessary that we should repeatedly go through the same ideas, pardon (I pray) pardon us who do not wilfully repeat ourselves but have resolved that in whatever direction the aim of his words goes off, thither we too ought to oppose. He then spake thus, debasing the title of the Holy Virgin, I mean Mother of God:
Nestorius. “I often (he says) asked them” (i. e., those who contradict him) “do you say that the Godhead has been begotten of the holy Virgin? They straightway recoil at the saying: who (says one) is sick of such exceeding blasphemy, as to say that in her who bare the temple by the Spirit, in her was God formed? then when I reply to this, What then that is incongruous do WE say in advising to flee the word, and come to the common phrase significant of the two natures? then seems it to them that what is said is blasphemy. Either clearly acknowledge that the Godhead has been born of the blessed Mary, or if you flee this expression as blasphemy, why saying the same as I, dost thou feign thou sayest it not?”
§1. They therefore who think contrary to what yourself said and think good (I know not how) to hold, these have been clearly testified to by your own mouth as having a right and most unerring opinion in regard to Christ the Saviour of us all, and as holding with their mind the faith which they had delivered to the churches which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word and priests of our Mysteries and faithful stewards. For they shake off (and that most rightly) as a patent proof of unlearning alike and extremest impiety, the mere imagining that the Word from forth God the Father has been called unto a second beginning of being or took flesh of the holy Virgin as a root of His own existence: still they call her Mother of God, as having borne Immanuel Who is by Nature God: for the Word has been made with us, being God by Nature and above us. Do they therefore say contrary to what they think? For some one of those who think with thee will (I suppose) say, “If thou say that the Nature of the Word is not Offspring of the flesh, and free thyself from this charge, how dost thou affirm that the holy Virgin bare God?” But thou in turn wilt hear from us, The God-inspired Scripture says that the Word out of God the Father was made Flesh, i. e., was without confusion and Personally united to flesh: for not alien to Him is the Body which was united to Him and born of a woman, but as with each of us his body is his own, in this same way is the Body of the Only Begotten His own and none other’s: for thus was He also born according to the flesh. Then how (tell me) would He have been made Flesh, except He had received birth of a woman, the laws of human nature calling Him thereto, and bodily existence being able no otherwise to have its beginning? For not (I suppose) giving heed to the juggleries of the Greeks, shall we too romance that the bodies of men are born of oak or rock: but our laws nature set us, yea rather nature’s Creator, for as of each of existing things is the kin to it born, so of ourselves too, and no otherwise (how could it be?) For nought at all of what It willeth to accomplish is impracticable to the Divine and Ineffable Power, yet doth It proceed through what befits the nature of things that are, not dishonouring the laws set by Itself. And it were not impracticable to the Word That can do all things, having determined indeed for our sakes to become as we, yet to refuse the birth of a woman, and from without to fashion to Himself a body by His own Power, just as we say was done in the case of our forefather, Adam: for God took (it says) dust of the ground and formed man. But since this were occasion to the unbelievers who desire to accuse the Mystery of the Incarnation, and (before all) to the unholy Manichees, whom thou sayest over and over that thou fearest lest they should spring upon those who call the holy Virgin Mother of God, as though they were affirming that the Incarnation of the Word existed in mere phantasy; needs did He progress through the laws of human nature, and since His aim was to assure all that He hath become truly Man, He took hold of the seed of Abraham, and the blessed Virgin being the mean to this same end, He took part like us in blood and flesh; for so and no otherwise could He become God with us. Most needful in another way too unto those on the earth was the Incarnation or Inhumanation of the Word. For if He had not been born as we according to the flesh, if He had not taken part like us of the same, He would not have freed the nature of man from the blame [contracted] in Adam, nor would He have driven away from our bodies the decay, nor would the might of the curse have ceased which we say came on the first woman; for it was said to her, In sorrows shalt thou bring forth children.
But the nature of man hath fallen into the disease of disobedience in Adam, it has become now approved in Christ through the utter obedience: for it is written.As by one mail’s disobedience many were made sinners, so too by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. For in Adam hath it suffered, Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return, in Christ hath it gained the riches of being able to be superior to the toils of death, and (so to say) to exult over decay, saying those words of the Prophet, O death, where thy victory? o grave, where thy sting? it became accursed, as I said, but in Christ was this too brought to nought. And verily it has been said somewhere to the holy Virgin, Elizabeth prophesying in spirit, Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Sin hath reigned over us and the inventor and father of sins behaved himself proudly over all beneath the skies, objecting [to them] the transgression of the Divine Laws: but in Christ we see the nature of man, as in a second firstfruits of our race, having confidence with God. For He said clearly, The prince of this world cometh, and in Me shall find nothing.
But, good sir (would I with reason say) except the Only-Begotten had become as we, had become as we no otherwise than by means of birth in the flesh from forth a woman, WE had not been enriched with what is His. For as the most wise Paul writeth to us, Emmanuel the second Adam hath appeared to us, not from the earth like the first, but from Heaven. For the Word That is from above and from forth the Father hath come down not into the flesh of any one nor into alien flesh (as I already said), nor again hath He descended upon any one of those like us to dwell in him, as He was in the Prophets; but having made His own the body which was from forth a woman and born from her after the Flesh, He gathered up man’s birth through Himself, made as we after the flesh, Who is before all ages from the Father. This confession of faith the Divine Scriptures delivered to us. But THOU feignest to fear lest any of us should suppose that the Word Begotten of God had the beginning of His Being from earthly flesh: thou takest away utterly the Mystery of the Economy with flesh, saying that the holy Virgin ought not to be called by us Mother of God: thou turnest round those who call her Mother of God unto a confession inevitable and as of necessity, of supposing that the Word out of God became fruit of flesh. But it is not so, far from it. For He That hath His Being of God the Father before all time (for He is the Framer of the ages), in the last times of the age, since He became Flesh, is said to have been begotten after the flesh. For if the Body is conceived of as His own, how will He not wholly and entirely appropriate the birth of His own Body? Yea yourself too would have approved the right and undefiled faith of these who thus hold, if you would have persuaded yourself to reason and to confess that Christ is truly God, the One and Only of God the Father, not severed into man separately and likewise into God, but the Same, both Word out of God the Father and Man out of woman as we, while He abideth God.
But that thou dost accuse the Birth after the flesh of the Word, every way declaring two sons and dividing the One Lord Jesus Christ, shall be shewn not by my words but by thine own.
“Look what follows, heretic. I grudge not the word to the Virgin mother-of-Christ, but I know that she is august who received God, through whom the Lord of all passed, and through whom the Sun of righteousness beamed. Again I suspect your applause: how did ye understand passed through? I have not said passed through, in the sense of born, for not so quickly do I forget my own words: that God passed through from out the Virgin mother of Christ was I taught by the Divine Scripture, that God was born from her, was I nowhere taught.” And after more; “Never therefore does the Divine Scripture say that God was born of the mother of Christ, but that Jesus, Christ, Son, Lord, [was so born].”
And hereto he subjoins that Christ was not truly God, but rather a God-bearing man, as he supposes, putting forward the Angel’s voice saying to blessed Joseph, Arise take the young child, and says that the Angels too, though wiser than we, knew that He was a child.
§2. Herein therefore he stiles heretic him who holds the right and admirable faith about Christ, and who since He is truly God, calls her mother of God who bare Him. But there will be no doubt to any of those who think aright, that it is himself who, fastening the blame of heresies on them who choose to deem aright, is establishing the unbeauty of his own words, and has all but confessed openly that he is being borne outside of the straight way, and is making crooked paths. Next how (tell me) do you not grudge this title to the holy Virgin, albeit you take away the dignity of the Divine Birth, and say that she is notMother of God? but debasing the expression and affirming that it is full of blasphemy, how do you bid those who so will, to apply it to the holy Virgin (though I hear you call her august)? and then deem the so blasphemous word (as you alone think it) meet to adorn the most august one, and you feign to crown her, putting about her as some choice honour, a calumny against God the Word? For if it be wholly abhorrent to the Word Who is sprung of God to endure fleshly birth and you permit her who did not bear God to be called Mother of God, is it not true to say that you have openly depised the Lord’s will? will you not be caught insulting rather the august one, than (as you suppose and say) electing to honour her, by allotting to her a name hated of God? For not to those whom we determine to honour [do] we give names whereby the glory of the Supreme Nature is dishonoured, first of all we shall unawares be involving our own selves in the charge of such impiety, next we shall do them no slight wrong, decking as if in honour those we praise with what is no praise, and weaving for them a laudation hated of God.
One may moreover marvel at this too: that striking right and left at the words of the unholy heretics and in no wise allowing them to prevail, because they take away the truth of the Divine doctrines, next allotting no slight blame to the word Mother of God and accusing it amongst other things as untrue and impious, you said that you pardon it and will not grudge it to the Virgin even if one should choose to call her Mother of God. Will you permit it therefore to those too who are diseased with the madness of Arius, to say that the Son is inferior to the Father? or again to the rest who bring down the Nature of the Holy Ghost from its God-befitting excellency? But you would not choose to do this; and if any one desire to learn why, you will (I suppose) surely say, I do not endure a blasphemous word. Hence if she be not Mother of God, and you permit this to be said, know that you are deserting the truth, and reck little about any longer appearing wise. For do you not say that Elisabeth too or any other of the holy women is worthy of all reverence? will you then not grudge it, if any one choose to call them too mothers of God? But I suppose that you will surely and utterly withstand them and say, This is not so; for they bare sanctified men and none among them was God by Nature. Hence either drive away this from every woman; or if you allow the holy Virgin alone among all to have it, what words will you use for your defence? For if it be true of her and she has truly borne God, in that the Word of God has been made flesh, confess this with us, and you will free yourself from the charge of impiety: but if she hath not borne God, to permit any to call her Mother of God is to partake of their impiety. But she is Mother of God, because the Only-Begotten has been made man as we, united of a truth to flesh, and enduring fleshly birth and not dishonouring the laws of our nature, as I said before.
But since he says that he knows that she, i.e. the holy Virgin, is august, come I pray come let us consider the reason too of the reverence that was done her: “for I know (he says) that she is august, through whom the Lord of all passed, through whom the Sun of righteousness beamed.” How then do you say that she received God? or in what way did the Lord of all pass through her? or how beamed the Sun of righteousness? For if she hath not borne God, after the flesh I mean, how received she God? how passed He through her? But haply you will say this wise word of yours as you think and dare to speak it ” The Word was God both connected with man and indwelling him.” But the tradition of the faith makes itself ready against your words as to this, No God-bearing man, but God Incarnate have we been taught to worship: but not so speakest THOU: how then do you not see that you are babbling and falsely marking the truth that is in the Divine dogmas? For the Word has been made flesh. How did you now say that she received God except you have believed that she hath borne Emmanuel Who is God by Nature? how passed the Lord of all through her and how beamed the Sun of righteousness? And who is he that you think fit to embellish by such names? is he a common man, like one of us, yet hallowed, as having the Word of God indwelling? Then how will such an one be Lord of all, and Sun of righteousness? For the power of lordship and dominion over all and of illumining things possessing intelligence, will pertain not to our measures, but will be attributed to the Supreme and Most High Nature alone.
But since taking (I know not whence) the word passed through, you have applied it to God, explain the word; the meaning of the passage through here spoken of, will belong to your wisdom to tell us who know it not. For if the Word of God so passed through her, as to pass from one place to another, you cast Him down forthwith; for you will hear Him saying by the voice of the saints, Do not I fill Heaven and earth saith the Lord? For not in place is the Godhead nor knoweth It bodily changes of place, for it filleth all things. But if while awaiting the fit period of birth, He made an incidental indwelling in man, and so you say that God made passage through the holy Virgin, or passed through her (for I will use in all thy holy words): we see nought in the holy Virgin more than in other women. For Elisabeth bare the blessed Baptist who had been hallowed through the Spirit through Whom the Son Himself also makes His abode in us. And the wise John will witness saying, Hereby know we that He is in us, because He gave us of His Spirit. The Word of God therefore passed through Elisabeth herself too, indwelling in the babe through the Spirit even before its birth.
But you feel suspicious of the applause as though it came to you from the people for having chosen to speak right things? for having called Him Who was born of the holy Virgin Sun of righteousness and Lord of all; you then again feign to speak with precision, and find fault with the applause, and accuse again those who are rejoicing over you of not having understood. O great strength which is in your words! you have made no delay in the needed vexing of them, you turned straightway their joy into mourning, you rent off their rejoicing and girt them with sackcloth, straightway adding, “Again I suspect your applause, how did ye understand passed through? I have not said passed through in the sense of was born, for not so quickly do I forget my own words. That God passed through from out the Virgin Mother of Christ, was I taught by the Divine Scriptures, that God was born of her, was I nowhere taught.”
Those therefore are thy perverted sayings; the applause was of love, in that your mind had some guise of orthodoxy. But I will press on now too no less and say, What is passed through, if it mean not birth? will you say that the Word out of God Himself by Himself and apart from flesh hastened through the Virgin? yet how would not this be replete with all folly? For it would be necessary to suppose that the Godhead were recipient of quantity, and of movementwhich bears from one place to another; or if the Godhead be unembodied, at large and everywhere, and not in place and circumscript, how will it pass through a single body? But whatever it be that you are saying, how do you not need to clear it up and say it more openly, if confident in your own opinions about it, you are able to testify to their incorruption? where (I pray) have you heard the God-inspired Scripture say that the Word of God passed through the holy Virgin? For that brief and contracted is the life of those upon earth, the blessed David taught saying, Man, I his days as grass, as a flower of the field so he flourisheth; for the wind passeth through him and he shall not be, but of the holy Virgin what thing of this sort can you say has been written? That God has been born of her, after the flesh I mean, God-inspired Scripture has clearly shewn.
But I will go again to your own words, O all-excellent, for you have yourself too confessed and this most often that the Word has been made Flesh, and you reject it not. And this too you say besides: for you say that the Godhead of the Only-Begotten was clearly and openly Incarnate. You have written in this wise,
“Thus it says elsewhere too, He spoke to us in His Son Whom He appointed Heir of all things through Whom also He made the worlds, Who being the Brightness of His Glory:having put Son, it calls Him fearlessly both Brightness of His Glory, and appointed Heir; Heir, appointed after the Flesh, Brightness of the Father’s Glory after the Godhead: for He departed not, made flesh, from likeness to the Father. And in addition it again says thus, for the times of ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men to repent, because He fixed a Day in which He will judge the world by the Man Whom He appointed, having given assurance unto all men in that He raised Him from the dead. Having first said, By the Man, he then adds, In that He raised Him from the dead, that no one might suppose that the Godhead Incarnate had died.”
§3. Who then is He Who was Incarnate, or in what way was He incarnate, what Godhead was incarnate, tell (O most excellent sir) to us who would learn it. Shall we grant that the Word, God out of God, was Incarnate, and say that He was made Man, as having been made as we and born in flesh? or shall we allow this in no wise, but suppose that a man came hereto, connected with God, according to thee? But you will (I suppose) say, that it is better and wise to think that the Word out of God was Incarnate and made flesh, according to the Scriptures: for one is not I suppose seen assuming that wherein one is, but if one come somehow to be in that wherein one was not at first, reason will forthwith admit that something new has been wrought regarding him. Hence it is unlearned to say that any of us having stepped forth of the definitions of human nature have been incarnate and been made flesh; but the Incarnation, or being made flesh, will beseem (and that with much reason) the Nature That is beyond humanity. But if He was truly Incarnate and has been made flesh, He is accredited as Man, and not connected with a man, by mere indwelling or external relation or connection, as you say. Yet even though He became Man, He possesseth the being God in all security, nor do we say that any change took place of the flesh into the Nature of Godhead, and we hold that neither did the reverse take place, for the nature of the Word hath remained what it is even when united to flesh. What no one therefore even in bare idea thinks of holding, why do you putting this in your book, as though actually uttered, pretend to be contending for the doctrines of piety? For the name mixture, some of the holy fathers too have put: but since you say that you are afraid lest any confusion be deemed to take place, as in the case of liquids mingled with one another, I rid you from your fears, for not so did they deem (how could they?) but they used the word improperly, anxious to declare the extreme union of the things that had come together; and we say that the Word of God came together with His proper Flesh, in union indissoluble and unalterable. And we find that the God-inspired Scripture itself too, does not look minutely into the word, but uses it rather improperly and simply. And verily the Divine Paul hath written of some,But the Word preached did not profit them, who wore not mixed in faith with its hearers. Were they of whom he spoke going to be mixed one with another, after this fashion, as wine with water, and to undergo a confusion of persons, or were they rather to be united in soul, as it is written in the Acts of the holy Apostles, And of the multitude of them that believed was the heart and the soul one? But this I suppose is the truth, not the other. Be free then from all fear on this score, for firmly established is the mind of the saints.
But since to say that the Nature of the Word was Incarnate is (I deem) nought else than to hold that It has been made Man and not without birth of woman (for this only way does the nature of human bodies know of), how were you not taught by the God-inspired Scripture the Birth after the flesh of the Only-Begotten? albeit yourself too, when the prophetic lessons were before you, Unto us a Child was horn, unto us a Son was given, say thus of the Child that was born, ” Great the mystery of the gift, for this is the Babe That is seen, this the new-born That appears, this that needed bodily swaddling bands, this the just-born after the Essence that is seen, in the hidden part Everlasting Son, Son Creator of all, Son Who by the swaddling-bands of His own aid binds the instability of the creation. ” And elsewhere again, ” And the Babe is God All-free, so far removed is God the Word, O Arius, from being subject to God.” In which words he styled even the body connected with Him God. And again, We recognise therefore the human nature of the Babe and His Godhead, we preserve the oneness of the Sonship in the nature of manhood and Godhead. ” Lo here with all clearness you say that the Babe, the just-born, the visible, the new-born, the swaddled, is Son and Creator of all; and the Babe the holy Virgin hath borne to us. You know therefore that God has been born after the flesh, and this you have learnt out of the God-inspired Scripture. For who will be conceived to be Creator of all, save He alone through Whom the Father hath made all?
But I said (you will haply say) ” in the secret part Son and Creator of all.” Well, I agree, but I will ask you: You say that the hidden is the Word of God and that this is the Creator of all: how then did you but now point out as with your finger the Babe just-born and new-born and in swaddling clothes, and called this same both Son of God and Creator of all? or do you haply suppose that the Word out of God has been transformed into the nature of the flesh, and accuse yourself, not others, of daring to say this? Surely if the Babe be the hidden Son and Creator of all, and have been born of the holy Virgin, you have acknowledged with us even against your will that she is Mother of God in some unlooked-for way, since how is a babe God all-free? For if you use the word, all-free, in the sense in which each one of us too may be so conceived, as entrusted by God with the reins of his own free-will, what is there special in Him beyond the rest? or why do you put about Him the freedom, as some God-befitting and truly choice Dignity? albeit it is in the power of all upon the earth to possess it and indeed they already have it. But if the freedom here signify the being not subject to the laws of another, and He be free in such sort as the Divine Nature itself too is conceived of, how do you say that the new-born Babe is in case so august and befitting only the Supreme Nature and glory? albeit that all which is called into being is subject unto God and runs under the yoke of bondage. But you will perchance deem that that empty word of yours suffices unto all this, that I mean in respect of the natures being connected one with another, and that, not Personally, but rather in honour unvarying [in each] and equality of rank: for this is what you are always unlearnedly saying to us. But that in saying such things, you will be caught to be staying yourself upon rotten and fragile conceptions, will be shewn and not at length, when opportunity offers to us to speak upon this too.
But to these he subjoins some others by which he deems that he can shew and that skillfully that the mode of a generation like ours is unmeet and impossible. And our words he arrays against himself, and deems that he can over-master them easily and shew that they are nothing although they set forth the truth. He says thus:
“‘If Christ (says he ) be God, and Christ be born of the blessed Mary, how is not the Virgin mother of God?’ I hide none of their objections: for the lover of the truth takes and objects to himself all that comes of the falsehood;” and then he endeavours to apply the solution, using some such conceptions as these. ” For the babe (he says) is formed in the womb, but so long as it have not yet been formed, it hath no soul, but being formed at length, it has a soul made it of God. As then the woman bears the body, God ensouls it, and the woman is not called mother of soul, because she bare a man endowed with soul, but rather mother of man, so (he says) the blessed Virgin too, even though she have borne a man, the Word of God passing forth along with him” (for this word did he use) “not therefore is she mother of God.”
§4. Is therefore (tell me) that blamed by you which is said by us? does it seem right to you without understanding to find fault with what is so rightly and purely said, and do you not rather attach the blame of not being able to think aright to your own understanding? For they to whom the truth is repugnant, to them will belong (and too readily) the receptivity of what is not so, and the rebuke of those who are wont to speak most excellently, will not be without its harm, yea rather will be even a manifest demonstration of the having declined unto falsehood and of choosing to honour what it would be more right to hate, in that one has missed of right reason. But no man, having conceived of things so base. . . , he said that himself was the lover of the truth, and that we had contrived the lie; albeit one may see on the contrary that ours is right and true. For the advocate of the lie and fraud endeavours to fasten the blame of his falsehood on the champions of the truth, haply driven to forgetfulness of the Prophet who says, Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness.
But I will endeavour to shew by the example adduced by him that he does not even clearly know what he is saying. For flesh confessedly is born of flesh, and the Artificer of all performs the ensouling in the mode and way that He knows. Yet is the woman who bears, albeit she is the source of the flesh only, believed to bear the whole man, made up (I mean) of soul and body, although she contribute nothing of her own to the being of the soul. Yet when one saysman, one signifies surely the soul united to the body. As therefore the woman, albeit she bear the body alone, is said to bear him that is made up of soul and body, and this no wise damages the account of the soul, as though it found in flesh the origin of its being; so will you conceive as to the blessed Virgin too: for even though she be mother of the holy Flesh, she hath nevertheless borne God the Word out of God truly united thereto , and though any call her Mother of God, he will not be defining a more recent beginning of God the Word nor that the flesh hath been made the commencement of His Being: but will understand rather the mode of the economy and wondering at it will say, O Lord, I have heard Thy hearing and was afraid, I considered Thy works and was astonished.
Bat our all-wise and prudent expounder, having pondered the force of the example says, “Thus the holy Virgin, too, even though she hath borne man, God the Word passing along with him, yet not therefore is she Mother of God: for not from the blessed Virgin was the Dignity of the Word, but He was God by Nature.”
What therefore is the meaning of, that the Word passed forth along with the flesh, he alone knows, but I marvel much at his subtil refinement. For the word of truth sets forth that the Word of God has been Personally united to the Flesh; and he keeps affirming the passing forth along with, meaning I know not what. Next, when our discussion was all about nature and Personal Union, and aimed at enquiring not what the Word out of God is in respect to Dignity, but whether He has been made Man economically, making His own the flesh born of a woman: he removing the question to quite other matters says, “Not from the holy Virgin was the Dignity of the Word, but He was God by Nature:” albeit how are not Dignity and Nature two entirely different things? But our discourse hereupon does not need overmuch skill: we must therefore see what comes next. For he fortifies yet another outpost against what has been said by us, as he thinks invincible and competent to shew with all force that the Birth out of woman of Emmanuel is empty talk of ours: he says again thus,
“The blessed John Baptist is fore-heralded by the holy Angels, that the babe shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb,and having the Holy Ghost, was this blessed Baptist born. What then? call you Elizabeth mother of the Spirit? apply your mind here, although there be some among you who are startled at what is said, pardon their inexperience.”
§5. And who on hearing such words will not straightway say in Prophet’s voice, For the fool will utter folly and his heart will conceive vanity, to accomplish iniquity and to utter error against the Lord? For error confessedly is it and nought else, to trust in such frigid and childish thoughts as though they were true. One may then marvel at him for his gentleness, for he said that they ought to be esteemed worthy of pardon and clemency who had no acquaintance with those words of his: yet were it a thing thrice-longed for by us ourselves (if so be), yea rather by all too who are Christians; for how should not all long to be rid from words so burdensome and perverse? But we say this: Elizabeth hath confessedly borne the blessed Baptist anointed in the womb with the Holy Ghost: and if it had been any where said by the God-inspired Scriptures, that the Spirit too was made flesh, rightly would you have said that she ought to be called by us mother of the Spirit; but if the bairn is said to have been honoured with bare anointing only, why deem you it right to put the fact of incarnation on an equal footing with the grace of participation? for it is not the same thing, to say that the Word was made flesh and that one has been anointed through the Spirit with prophetic spirit. For of the holy Virgin it is written, Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and He who is born is called the fruit and moreover Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us; but of Elizabeth, she shall bear a son who shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias,and shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways. By no means therefore is Elizabeth mother of the Spirit, for she bare a prophet of the Highest:but the holy Virgin is truly mother of God, for she hath borne carnally, i. e., according to the flesh, God united to flesh. For since she is human who bare, therefore and rightly do we say that the mode of generation has been wrought in human wise; for thus and no otherwise was it possible that He Who is over all nature could become as we, not slighting the being what He is (how could He?) but rather abiding what He was and is and will be: for superior to change is the Divine and Most High Nature.
That we therefore think aright in affirming that God has been born according to the flesh for the salvation of all,.. God-inspired Scripture hath testified: but since to his most novel dogmas he opposes the truth and the very symbol of the Church’s Faith, which the fathers once gathered together at Nicea through the illumination of the Spirit defined; he, fearing lest any should keep whole the Faith, instructed unto the Truth by their words, endeavours to calumniate it and alters the significance of the words, and dares to coin with false stamp the very force of its ideas. For while himself in the midst of the Church was using profane babblings, a certain man of those who were of great piety and yet among the laity, but who had gathered within himself no mean learning, was moved with fervent and devout zeal and with piercing cry said that the Word Himself Who is before the ages endured a second Generation also, viz., that after the flesh and forth of a woman; the people being disturbed hereat, and the more part and wiser having honoured him with no mean praises, as pious and most full of wisdom and not imparticipate in uprightness of doctrine, the rest being mad against him, he [Nestorius] interrupting, straightway approves those whom by teaching his own he had destroyed, and whets his tongue against him who could not endure his words, yea and against the holy fathers who have decreed for us the pious definition of the Faith which we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, as it is written.
“For (said he) I rejoice at beholding your zeal; but from the thing itself is a clear confutation of what has been said by the pollution of this wretched man; for whereof the births are two, two sons are they, but the Church knoweth one Son Christ the Lord.”
§6. Most foolishly therefore put he forth the definition of his ideas on this matter saying, “for whereof the births are two two sons are they.” But letting alone for a while his subtil accuracy herein, come, come let us gather what pertains to accurate investigation for the consideration of the matter. He therefore made it inadmissible [to speak of two generations] but says that one ought to be confessed by us, that we conceive not of two sons (as though it were necessary if the births be two, that two sons also should be introduced): let him come forward and tell us which of the generations he will admit, that before the ages from out the Father, wherein the Word was God not yet Incarnate, or this one, recent and out of a woman.
If then he say that alone, I mean the one before the ages from out the Father, that one alone will be Son Who is out of Him by Nature and not yet participate of flesh and blood: and vainly (as it seems) is the Mystery of the Incarnation uttered, and in no wise hath He emptied Himself nor been made in servant’s form, but hath remained thus, rejecting the true concurrence with flesh even until now. But he who is in the last times out of woman, shall be styled by himself son, and we will admit this one generation, I mean out of woman; needs has the Word out of God the Father fallen away from being by Nature Son.
But the pious man sees full surely the absurdity of such ideas and its exceeding swerving unto impiety. In order then that we may proceed along the royal road, we say. that two were the Births, one the Son through both, the Word out of God not yet made in flesh, the Same afterwards Incarnate and enduring for us the birth of a woman after the flesh. For if one said in regard of men that two sons must surely be conceived of, if we speak of two births, he would say rightly and it would be true; but since the Mystery of Christ and the mode of the Incarnation hath another path, and is not beheld in like wise with what is ours, why is he, looking at our habits, and then fastening his mind on what is marvellous and above speech, caught fall ing into feeblest and unlearned pettiness of belief? What surprises me is this: he confessing herein that the Church knows one Son, and adding, The Lord Christ, hath no longer kept One, for he sunders one from another things united, and putteth each apart, not enquiring what the Word is by Nature, what the flesh also; but gathering rather into one, man and God in equality of glory only, as he deemeth, which is a thing utterly implausible, yea rather impossible, he casts down the scheme of the mystery unto uncomeliness. Thus he saith:
“But we must (for it has now come into my mind) learn that the Synod of Nicea too nowhere durst say that God was born of Mary; for it said, We believe in One God the Father Almighty and in One Lord Jesus Christ. Observe that having first put the word Christ, which is the indication of the two natures, they did not say, in one God the Word, but took the name that signifies both, in order that when lower down you hear of death, you think it not strange; in order that the words crucified and buried may not strike the ear as though the Godhead suffered these things.” Then it goes on, “We believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son, the Begotten out of the Father, the Consubstantial with the Father, Who came down from the heavens for our sakes, and was Incarnate of the Holy Ghost. They said not, and begotten of the Holy Ghost.” And he says that the holy fathers interpreting what is the meaning of Incarnate say, Made Man. And what being made Man means he himself making clear, said again, “His own Nature not undergoing change into flesh, but inhabitation in man. “
§7. Will any one of those who rank as Christians endure either the infatuation that there is in these words or the impiety of his ideas? To those of really sound mind are not these things a manifest ribaldry, and no mean kind of openmouthedness against Christ? for he slanders the truth, he says that He is not truly Son, allotting this to another (for ” observe, he says, that having first put the word Christ which is the indication of the two natures, they did not say, We believe in One God the Word).” And as regards the Name, I mean Christ, I will presently enquire whether it be significative of the two Natures or not, but what is before us we will exercise ourselves in, as we can. For in no wise to be borne may those things be that are so absurdly and heedlessly babbled forth by him, but one might (I deem) say, speaking in behalf of the holy fathers, What art thou doing, noble sir, putting forth rude tongue against holy men, to whom will beseem that which was said by Christ Himself the Saviour of us all, It is not YE that speak, but the Spirit of your Father Which speaketh in you? for what has there not been conceived of by them of things exceeding well polished unto an admirable subtilty? what of needful doctrines has been overlooked, or what method of safeguard neglected by them? ” They have not dared (he says) insert in their words concerning the Faith that God the Word was born of Mary.” If therefore thou for this reason accuse those who have been before us, and sayest thou art aggrieved because they are not found to use thy exact words, it is time (I suppose) to accuse along with them the holy Apostles and Evangelists too, for they have compiled the books of instruction concerning Christ, yet one will not find them using word for word your expressions. But (if it please you) pass this over as ……..but consider rather that they have well wrought out their explanation of this matter, for faith in the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity is exacted of us. But since they say that they believe in One God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things both visible and invisible, and in One Lord Jesus Christ His Son, and none other (according to us) is Jesus Christ the Lord than the One and by Nature and truly Son, Who beaming from out of God and being God the Word has been made Man, by birth (that is) out of woman, how will they who proclaim the mode of the economy not be found to speak also of His Birth of a woman after the flesh? for then in truth has the Word which is God and Wisdom and Life and Light, the Son, been named Christ Jesus. It is manifest therefore that the time of such naming has concurrent with it the Birth, that I mean through the holy-Virgin. That believing on Christ Jesus, we believe in the One and by Nature and truly Son, our faith mounting up unto the Father through Him, will be clear, in that He Himself hath cried aloud to the whole world, He that believeth on Me believeth not on Me but on Him that sent Me, and he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me, and again, Believe on God, and believe on Me. And we do not (I suppose) say that He asks of us two faiths, but rather He teaches that if any admit the faith to Himward, he hath believed on the Father Himself.
But since (as is probable) he will be making use of the community of the names, saying that Christ and Lord, yea and Son, are common titles, and will be affirming that they suit the Word That sprung of the Father even though He be conceived of as alone and not yet participate of flesh, and likewise the Temple that sprang of a virgin, this matter needs (I think) considerable investigation: putting it off’ for the present to a season (as I said) fitly belonging to it, let us go to another utterance of the holy Synod which this man perverting unto his own liking, does violence to the force of truth. For he says that the fathers have written, We believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son, the Begotten from forth the Father, the Consubstantial with the Father, Who came down for our sakes, and was Incarnate of the Holy Ghost. He adds hereto and says of che holy fathers, ” lower down they interpret that He who was made man, He it is who is said to be Incarnate, the Divine Nature not enduring change into flesh but inhabitation in man.” In his explanation he again keeps hold of the same mind and moreover says thus;
“They followed the Evangelist, for the Evangelist too when he comes to the being made man, shunned saying Birth in respect of God the Word, and hath put Incarnation. Where? Hear, And the Word was made flesh; he said not, Was born through the flesh. For where the Apostles or the Evangelists make mention of the Son, they put that He was born of a woman. Give heed to what is said, I beseech you; for where they utter the name of the Son, and that He was borne from forth a woman, they put the word, Born; where they mention the Word, no one of them durst speak of birth through the human nature. For the blessed John the Evangelist, when he came to the Word and to His Incarnation, hear what he says, The Word was made flesh.”
§8. Come therefore putting beside what he said, the definition of our Creed, let us see if ought has been innovated by this man regarding it too.
WE BELIEVE IN ONE GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF ALL THINGS VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, AND IN ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, BEGOTTEN OUT OF THE FATHER, ONLY-BEGOTTEN THAT IS OUT OF HIS ESSENCE, GOD OUT OF GOD LIGHT OUT OF LIGHT VERY GOD OUT OF VERY GOD, BEGOTTEN NOT MADE, CONSUBSTANTIAL WITH THE FATHER, THROUGH WHOM ALL THINGS WERE MADE, BOTH THOSE IN HEAVEN AND THOSE ON EARTH: WHO FOR US MEN AND FOR OUR SALVATION CAME DOWN AND WAS INCARNATE AND MADE MAN, SUFFERED AND ROSE THE THIRD DAY, ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS, COMETH TO JUDGE QUICK AND DEAD, AND IN THE HOLY GHOST.
Come now therefore, noble sir, where (tell me) have they put of the Son, Incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary ? but this he can by no means shew. But consider this. They say that the Word out of God, the Only-Begotten, He That is from forth the Essence of the Father, He through Whom are all things, the Very Light, was both incarnate and made man, suffered and rose, and too, that He will in season come again the Judge.
But in order that submitting to accurate scrutiny his words also, we may see what is the amount of the unlearning that is in them, he affirms in plain terms that they say that the Word out of God was both incarnate and made man, and he crowns them with his vote unto their truth as saying what was convenient. Do they therefore (tell me) in saying that He was both Incarnate and made Man mean ought else than that He was begotten after the flesh? for this would be (and alone) the mode of incarnation to one who has his existence both external to flesh and in his proper nature; for no one would say (I suppose) that flesh has been made flesh nor will any one be made what he was [already]. But if one should conceive a certain economic change to have been made regarding him unto somewhat else which he was not, the expression will then have great fitness. Hence if they say that the Only-Begotten has been Incarnate, and this would be wrought (I suppose) through fleshly generation and in no other way, how have they not plainly said that the Word being God has been begotten after the flesh?
But (he says) the Birth is not named in plain terms. Yes, but the nature of the thing knows (as I already said) no other way of being incarnate. So that, although it be not in plain terms said in matters of this kind, we will not for this, forsaking the only way recognized by nature, go off to another. For it is written in the Book of Genesis, And to Seth there was made a son, and he called his name Enos. Shall we then, because the Scripture has put, was made, not admit the mode of birth? how would not this be unlearned? for the very nature of the thing will all but compel us even against our will to confess the idea of birth. How then on hearing of the Incarnation does he not forthwith admit the idea of Birth? and when the being made man has been plainly mentioned, how did he not straightway understand, that being made man would befit not a man, lest he should seem to be made that he already was, but the Word originating from God? But where being made man is believed to truly take place, there is full surely the birth whereby he may be seen to be made man.
But not thus does it seem to you is the saying to be conceived of, that the Word of God was both Incarnate and was made Man; for you said again, endeavouring to oppose the idea of every one else, that the being made man, means, not the change into flesh of the Divine Nature, but its indwelling in man. He says then that the conversion into flesh of the Divine Nature is both impossible and that it in no wise befalls it (and very rightly, for we will approve him who herein has chosen to speak aright; for I say that It is stable and that It will not be transformed into ought else than what It is believed to be): but that his discourse hath missed of the fitting and true, in that he maintained that the being made Man is the indwelling in man, I shall essay to shew. For if he says that this matter is true of Emmanuel singly and alone, let him teach the reason why (for I cannot learn it), or no one will tolerate him as a definer and layer down of the law in respect of those things as to which he is pleased to speak inconsiderately. But perchance the force of the things defined does not extend unto one [alone], there will then be no blame, even though it extend unto all. Hence not once for all but many times over shall we find that God has been made man, and not only the Word out of God the Father, but I will add both the Father Himself and besides, the Holy Ghost. For He said through one of the holy Prophets of them that have been justified in faith, I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be their God and they shall be My people. And Christ Himself also said, And if any man hear Me, we will come I and My Father and make Our abode with him and lodge in him. The most wise Paul too hath somewhere written, And Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of the things which were to be spoken of, but Christ as a Son over Bis own house whose house are WE; and moreover of the Holy Ghost too, Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? Hence if when the God of all is said to dwell in any, if this be the being made man or the incarnation, let it be said in respect of each one also of those who were made partakers of the Divine Nature and have moreover had Him indwelling them, that he has both been made man and besides was incarnate. This now being so and admitted as true, the Word out of God the Father might even be said to have been most often made flesh, yea and He indwelleth even now in many of those who fear Him.
Yea (he says) for it is written of God the Word, that He tabernacled in us; the Divine-uttering Paul too said of Christ the Saviour of us all, that in Him hath dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
He tabernacled in us confessedly, for so it is written; and moreover that He hath dwelt: I will not oppose you saying it, but rather will I search into the words of the Divines. For the blessed Evangelist, having aforesaid, And the Word was made flesh, profitably added too the, tabernacled in us, that by means of both he might work in us unmutilated the knowledge of the mystery Christward. For that the Word out of God the Father was united Personally to flesh, he hath openly declared by saying that He was made flesh: that made flesh, He hath not passed into the nature of flesh, undergoing change into what He was not, but together with becoming as we, hath abode what He was, he again clearly states, adding to the former, the tabernacled in us. And the Divine-uttering Paul saith that in Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, that no one might suppose that the Indwelling was simple or accidental but (as I said just now) Very and Personal. For that the Word of God is Incorporeal and not subject to touch, the Spirit-clad was not ignorant; but since it was needful that the declaration of the mystery should be seen to be in no wise a matter of blame, but should be made so accurate and exact unto what is right and true as to be beyond all marvel:—-he is doing violence (it seems) and all but overlooking what befits the Unembodied and Supreme Nature, for he hath added, Bodily,being able in no other way to speak than may be attained by our mind and tongue.
Do not therefore, when he tells us of simple indwelling, think that he is saying ought that needs not the strongest reprobation. For overthrowing as he thinks and that with vigour the birth according to the flesh of the Son, he compounds an argument befitting old wives and foolish and having no foundation of truth. For he writes again after this manner; his discourse was made touching the Arians:
“Yet though they prate that God the Word is junior to the greater Godhead, these make Him second to the blessed Mary, and over the Godhead, Creator of times, they set a mother born in time, yea rather they do not even allow that she who bare Christ is mother of Christ. For if not the nature of man but God the Word was, as these say, that which is of her, she that bare was no mother of that which was born. For how will any one be mother of him who is alien from her nature? But if she be called mother by them, that which is born is manhood not Godhead, for it is the property of every mother to bear what is consubstantial [with her]. Either then she will not be mother, not bearing what is consubstantial with herself, or being called mother by them, she bare that which was in essence like to herself.”
§9. How deep the matter of his cogitations! dread and hard to escape is clearly the compulsion resulting from the reasonings of him who hath compiled such things! Whence comes he having gathered into the midst unto us such fables? or who ever sank down to this extent of unlearning in his conceptions, as to think or say that the Godhead of the Only-Begotten has not its existence before the ages from the Father but rather makes flesh and blood the beginning of its passing into being? who is so distraught and slight of understanding and wholly without ear for the holy Scriptures? who remembereth hot Isaiah who hath cried aloud of Him, Who shall declare His generation? John too who hath written clearly, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God; all things were made through Him and without Him was not any thing made? And if all things through Him, how will He Who is before every age and time be later in birth than the things that were made through Him? why then do you bring in what is repudiated by all, as though it had been said? cease accusing those who rightly blame what you say, and who laugh at the vastness of the unlearning that is therein. Since therefore there is no one who says that the Virgin hath borne from forth her own flesh the nature of the Godhead, do not contend to no purpose, twining for us reasonings not made out of premises that are true and acknowledged by all.
But what was it that persuaded you to let loose a tongue so sheer and unguarded against those who are zealous to think aright, and to pour down accusal dire and all-cruel upon every worshipper of God? For you said again in Church,
“But I have already full often said that if any simpler one either among us or any other, rejoice in the word Mother of God, I have no grudge against the word; only let him not make the Virgin a goddess.”
§10. Again dost thou rail upon us, and put on a mouth so bitter? and reproachest the congregation of the Lord, as it is written? But WE, my friend, who call her mother of God, have never at all deified any one of those that are numbered among creatures, but are accustomed to know as God the One and by Nature and truly so: and we know that the blessed Virgin was woman as we. But thyself wilt be caught, and that at no long interval, representing to us Emmanuel as a God-bearing man, and putting upon another the condemnation due to your own essays.