Cyril of Alexandria, Scholia on the incarnation of the
Only-Begotten. LFC 47, Oxford (1881) pp.185-236.
A library of fathers of the holy Catholic church: anterior to the division of the East and West, vol. 47
BISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA
[Translated by P.E. Pusey]
1. What is Christ?
The name Christ hath neither the force of a definition, nor does it denote the essence of any of what kind it is, as for example a man or a horse or an ox, but it rather makes declaration of a thing wrought. For some of them of old were anointed with oil, as then pleased God, and the anointing was a token to them of kingdom: Prophets too were spiritually anointed with the Holy Ghost, so as thence too to be named christs (and 1 the blessed David sings in the Person of God and says, Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm: the Prophet Habuccuc too says, Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, to save Thy christs): but in regard of Christ the Saviour of all we say that an anointing took place, yet neither symbolic, as though done with oil, nor as for the grace of Prophet's office, nor yet that which is understood as in destination for the achievement of ought, such as we say took place in the case of Cyrus, who reigned over the Persians and Medes, for he led an army against the land of the Babylonians, God Almighty over all instigating him thereto. For it was said, Thus saith the Lord to Cyrus My christ, whose right hand I held. Albeit the man was an idolater, he was called christ, by reason of being as it were anointed king by the decree from above and fore-ordained by God to mightily |186 subdue the land of the Babylonians:----but this rather do we say 2.
Since on account of the transgression in Adam, sin hath reigned against all, and then the Holy Ghost fled away from the human nature and it came therefore to be in all ill, and it needed that by the Mercy of God, it mounting up to its pristine condition should be accounted worthy of the Spirit:----the Only-Begotten Word of God became Man, and appeared to them on earth with Body of earth, and was made free from sin, that in Him Alone the nature of man crowned with the glories of sinlessness, should be rich in the Holy Ghost, and thus be re-formed unto God through holiness: for thus does the grace pass through to us too, having for its beginning Christ the First-born among us. And therefore does the blessed David teaching us sing to the Son, Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst wickedness, therefore God, Thy God anointed Thee with the oil of gladness.
The Son therefore has been anointed like us in human wise 3 with the praises of sinlessness, as I said: the nature of man having in Him been made illustrious and now become worthy of partaking of the Holy Ghost, no more departing, as at the beginning, but delighting to dwell therein. Wherefore it is also written that the Spirit soared down upon Christ and hath abode upon Him. Christ therefore is the Word of God called Who because of us and as we is Man and in servant's form: both anointed as Man after the Flesh, and anointing Divinely with His own Spirit them that believe on Him.
2. How we must understand Emmanuel.
God the Word is named Emmanuel, because He laid hold of the seed of Abraham and like as partook of flesh and blood. Now Emmanuel is interpreted, With us is God. But we confess that the Word of God was with us, not |187 locally (for in what place is God not, Who fills all things?) nor because He is seen to come to us by way of aid (for thus was it said to Jesus, As I was with Moses, so I will be, with thee too), but because He was made in our condition, i. e. in human nature, without forsaking His own Nature, for the Word of God is Unchangeable in Nature.
But why was it, when it was said to Jesus, As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee, that he was nevertheless not called Emmanuel? this is the reason, even though He be said to be with any of the saints. We therefore say that He God the Word became with us, at that time of which Baruch says, He did shew Himself upon earth and conversed with men, and found out all the way of instruction and gave it to Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved, for He is our God and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison with Him. As far then as pertained to His being God by Nature, He was not with us; for incomparable is the difference between Godhead and manhood and exceeding great the difference of the natures.
And therefore was the Divine David calling to Mystic relationship God the Word Who had not as yet come to us and saying in spirit, Why hast Thou departed far from us, O Lord, despisest us in season in tribulation? Therefore He departed not 4 from us, but was with us, Who while He remained what He was, took hold of the seed of Abraham, as I said; received moreover the form of a servant, and was beheld as Man upon the earth.
But Christ and Emmanuel signify to us the Same Son, the one, because He was anointed as we in human wise, receiving the Spirit for the nature of man in Himself first (for He is set forth as the first beginning of the race), |188 Himself again anointing, as God, with the Holy Ghost those who believe in Him; the other, because He was with us in the way I have explained, whereof the Prophet Isaiah tells us saying, Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His Name Immanuel. For when the holy Virgin conceived out of the Holy Ghost, but bare according to the flesh a Son, then too was He called Emmanuel; for the Incorporeal was with us by carnal birth, and that took place which was told by David, God shall appear openly, our God and shall not be silent, and that (I deem), I Who speak am at hand. For the Word spake through the Prophets as yet Unembodied, He came Embodied.
3. What is Jesus.
By the force of the ideas 5 whereby we are bound to speak of One Son of God, Christ and Emmanuel and Jesus are the Same, and this name too from the fact, for He shall save (it says) His people from their sins. For just as the name Emmanuel meant, that the Word of God through His Birth of a woman was made with us; and Christ again, that made Man. He is said to be anointed as we in human wise; so too Jesus, that He saved us His people, which specially proves Him to be truly God and by Nature Lord of all. For the creature is not said to belong to a mere man 6, but rather it will befit to say that all things are the Only-Begotten's even though He was made Man.
Some one haply will say, Yet the people of Israel were called Moses'.
To this we will say, The people was called God's and that was true; but because they passed into revolt, and made a calf in the desert, they were dishonoured of God, He vouchsafed not any more to call them His people, but made them over to a man. Not so we, for we are Jesus' own, in that He is God and all things created through Him. For so saith David, For He hath made us and not we ourselves, we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His |189 Hand. And Himself again says of us, My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me, and again, And other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring and there shall be one fold, one Shepherd. And He bade too the blessed Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? feed My lambs.
4. Why the Word of God was called Man.
The Word out of God the Father was called Man, albeit by Nature God, in that He partook of blood and flesh like we. For thus was He seen of those on the earth, and not letting go what He was, but assuming human nature like us, perfect as regards itself; yet in human nature too hath He remained God and Lord of all, by Nature and in truth Begotten of God the Father. And this the most wise Paul most clearly shews us, for he says, The first man is of the earth earthy, the second Man the Lord 7 out of Heaven. Albeit the holy Virgin hath borne the Temple united to the Word, yet is Emmanuel said to be (and rightly) out of heaven, for from above and out of the Essence of God the Father was His Word begotten. Yet He descended unto us when He was made Man; yet thus too is He from above. And John testified, saying of Him, He that cometh from above is above all, and Christ Himself saith to the people of the Jews, Ye are from beneath, I am from above, and again, I am not of this world, albeit He was as Man . called part of the world; yet therewith also was He above: the world as God. For we remember that He plainly says, And no man hath ascended up to heaven but He That came down from Heaven, the Son of man. But we say that the |190 Son of Man came down from Heaven by an economic union, the Word allotting to His own Flesh the endowments of His glory and God-befitting Excellency.
5. In what way the Word of God is said to have been emptied.
God the Word full by nature and in every way Perfect, and distributing out of His own Fullness His own goods to the creature, we say was emptied: in no wise wronged in His own Proper Nature, nor changed so as to become otherwise, nor made in ought inferior, for inconvertible and unchangeable is Himself also even as He Who begat Him, and never may He be capable of passion. But when He was made Flesh, i.e. Man, He made (as He said, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh) the poverty of human nature His own; first, in that He was once made man, albeit He remained God; next in that He took the form of a servant, Who is in His own Nature free, as Son, and while He is Himself the Lord of glory He is said to receive glory: Himself Life, He is said to be quickened: and receives power over all, Himself King of all and with God, and Ho was obedient to the Father, suffered the Cross and so on. But these things befit the measure of the human nature, yet He makes them His own with flesh and fulfils the economy, remaining what He was.
6. How Christ is One.
The Divine Paul writes, Though there be gods many and lords many in heaven and in earth, yet to us One God the Father of Whom all things and we of Him, and One Lord Jesus Christ through Whom all things and we through Him. Yea and the very wise John said of God the Word, that All things were made through Him, and without Him was nothing made, and the blessed Gabriel declared the Gospel to the Holy Virgin saying, Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and, bear a Son, and shalt call His Name Jesus. Since then the Divine Paul declares that all things were made through Jesus Christ, and the Divine Evangelist confirms the force of the sentence and preaches that He |191 was God the Maker of all things, speaking truly, and the Angel's voice too points out that Jesus Christ was truly born of the Holy Virgin: yet we do not say that Jesus Christ was mere man 8, nor do we conceive of God the Word apart from His human nature but, we say that He was made One out of both, as God made Man, the Same begotten Divinely out of the Father as Word, and humanly out of woman as Man: not as though called to a second beginning of being then when He is said to have been born after the flesh: but begotten indeed before all ages, yet when the time came wherein He must fulfil the economy, born also of a woman after the flesh. Therefore, albeit others are called by like name christs, yet is there One Jesus Christ through Whom are all things, not that a man was made Maker of all things, but that God the Word, through Whom all things were made, like as we took part of flesh and blood, and was called Man, yet lost not what He was; for so, so made in flesh is He rightly understood to be Maker of all.
7. How Emmanuel is One.
Once for all in the last ages is God the Word said to have been made Man, and (as Paul saith) was manifested by the Sacrifice of Himself . And what is the Sacrifice? He offered His own Body for us for an odour of a sweet savour to God the Father, and entered in once into the holy place not by the blood of goats and hulls, but by His own Blood, for so to them who believe on Him obtained He eternal redemption. Therefore very many before Him were saints but no one of them was called Emmanuel. Why? For not yet had the time come, when He was to be with us, i.e., to come in our nature through flesh, Who is superior to every creature. One therefore is Emmanuel, for once was the Only-Begotten made Man, when He underwent fleshly Birth through the holy Virgin. For it was said to Jesus too, I |192 will be with thee, yet was he not Emmanuel; He was also with Moses, yet neither was he called Emmanuel. As often therefore as we hear the name, With us is God, given to the Son, let us wisely conceive that not so was He with us in the last times, as He is sometimes said to have been with the saints, for with them He was as a helper only: but with us He was, because He was made like us, not losing His own nature, for He is unchangeable as God.
8. What we say the union is.
Union is arrived at in many ways: for some severed in disposition and mind and at variance one with another are said to be united in friendly agreement, laying aside their differences. And we say that things are united which are joined to one another or brought together in other ways, either by juxta-position or mixture or composition. When therefore we say that the Word of God was united to our nature, the mode of union is clearly above man's understanding; for it is not like one of those mentioned, but wholly ineffable and known to no one of those who are, save only to God Who knoweth all things.
And no marvel, if we are overcome by such ideas, when if we accurately investigate our own matters how they be, we confess that the grasp of them is beyond the understanding that is in us. For after what mode we conceive that the soul of man is united to his body, who can tell? But if we, who are wont to conceive and avail to speak scantly and with difficulty must form our judgement of things so subtil and beyond understanding and speech; we say that it will befit to conceive (yet altogether less than the truth is our word) that of such sort is the union 9 of |193 Emmanuel, as one reckons that the soul of man too has with its own body. For the soul makes its own the things of the body although in its own nature imparticipate of its sufferings, both physical and those brought on it from without. For the body is moved to natural desires and the soul which is in it shares the perception thereof by reason of the union, but participates in no way, yet thinks that the achievement of the desire is its own enjoyment. And even though the body be struck by any or be cut with steel, it co-grieves, its own body suffering, yet will itself in its own nature suffer nought of the things inflicted.
Nevertheless above this too do we say that the union is in the case of Emmanuel. For it were necessary that the soul united thereto should grieve along with its own body, that so, fleeing the disgrace, it might submit a tractable neck to God. But of God the Word, it were absurd to say that He were co-percipient of the contumelies (for free from passion is the Godhead and not in our condition), yet has He been united to flesh possessed of a reasonable soul, and when it suffered, He was impassibly in cognizance of what befell it and brought to naught as God the infirmities of the flesh, yet made them His own as belonging to His own Body: thus is He said both to hunger and be weary and suffer for us.
Hence the union of the Word with the human nature may be not unaptly compared with our condition. For as the body is of other nature than the soul, yet is one man |194 produced and said to be of both; so too out of the Perfect Person of God the Word, and of manhood perfect in its own mode, is One Christ, the Same God and Man in the Same. And the Word (as I said) makes its own the sufferings of Its own Flesh, because Its own is the Body and not another's: and It shares with Its own Flesh the operation of the God-befitting might that is within It; so that it should be able both to quicken the dead and to heal the sick.
But if we must, using examples out of the God-inspired Scripture, shew as in type the mode of the union, come let us say it, as we are able.
9. Of the coal.
The Prophet Isaiah says, There was sent unto me one of the Seraphim and in his hand a live coal which he took with the tongs from off the altar and he said to me, Lo this touched thy lips and shall take away thine iniquities and purge thy sins. But we say that the live coal fulfils to us the type and image of the Incarnate Word, Who, if He touch our lips, i. e., when we confess the faith Him-ward, doth then both make us pure from every sin and free us from the pristine charges against us.
Natheless one may see in the coal, as in an image, the Word of God united to the human nature, yet not losing the being what He is, but rather trans-elementing what He had taken, or united, unto His own glory and operation. For as fire having to do with wood and entering into it, seizes hold of it, and removes it not from being wood, but transmutes it rather into the appearance and force of fire, and inworks all its own property therein, and it is now reckoned one with it, so shall you conceive of Christ too. For God united ineffably with the manhood, hath kept it what we say that it is, and Himself hath remained what He was; but once united, is accounted one with it, making His own what is its, and Himself too introducing into it the operation of His own Nature. |195
10. That the flesh having a reasonable soul hath become the Body of the unembodied Godhead, and that by severing them one from another, we shall wholly and surely undo the plan of the economy in Christ.
In the Song of Songs our Lord Jesus Christ Himself has been introduced to us saying, I am the flower of the plain, the lily of the vallies. As then the smell is something unembodied, for it uses as its own body that wherein it is, yet is the lily conceived of as one out of both, and the failing of one utterly destroys the plan thereof, for in the object is the smell and the object is its body: so shall we conceive of the Nature of the Godhead in Christ too, that it sheds forth on the world the savour of His own more than earthly Excellence 10, as in the object His human Nature, and that the unembodied by Nature became by economic union all-but embodied also, because It willed to be recognized through the Body; for It hath wrought therein things God-befitting. Hence will the Unembodied be rightly conceived of as in His own Body, even as in the flower too, the object, is the scent, yet both together is called lily.
11. That the Word being co-brought to true union with the human nature, the things united 11 have remained unconfused.
The holy Tabernacle was reared by the will of God in the wilderness and in it was manifoldly typified Emmanuel. The God of all said therefore to the divine Moses, And thou shalt make an ark of incorruptible wood, two cubits and a half its length, and a cubit and half its breadth and a cubit and a half its height, and thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it. But the wood that will not rot will be a type of the incorruptible Body (for cedar does not rot); gold as matter surpassing all others will indicate to us the Excellence of the Divine Essence. |196
But observe how the whole ark 12 was overlaid with pure gold within and without. For God the Word was united to the holy Flesh, and this (I deem) is it that the ark was overlaid without. But that He made His own the reasonable Soul also that was within the Body, will this shew, viz., that He bade that it should be overlaid within also. And that the Natures or Hypostases have remained unconfused, shall we see hence. For the gold that was spread upon the wood, remained what it was, and the wood was rich in the glory of the gold; yet it ceased not from being wood.
But that the ark is taken as a type of Christ one may be assured of through many proofs. For it used to precede them of Israel, seeking rest for them; Christ too somewhere says, I go to prepare a place for you.
12. That the Word being God was made Man, and that not man merely honoured with bare connection was called to equal Dignity or Authority with God the Word, as some suppose.
The Divine Paul says that great is the Mystery of godliness. And this is true, for the Word was manifested in the flesh, since He is God; justified in Spirit, for in no wise is He seen to be holden by our infirmities, albeit for us made Man, for He did no sin; seen moreover of angels, for neither were they ignorant of His generation after the Flesh; He was preached moreover unto the Gentiles, as God made Man; and thus believed on in the world. And this the Divine Paul proved thus writing, Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, that at that time ye were without Christ, aliened from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without |197 God in the world. The Gentiles were therefore without God in the world, when they were without Christ; but when they acknowledged Him to be truly and by Nature God, themselves too were acknowledged by Him confessing the faith. And He was received up into glory, Divine glory that is; for blessed David sings, God is gone up in joy. For He went up verily with Body, not in bare Godhead, for God was Incarnate.
We believe therefore, not in one like us honoured with Godhead by grace, lest we be caught worshippers of a man, but rather in the Lord Who appeared in servant's form, and Who was truly like us and in human nature, yet remained God, for God the Word, when He took flesh, laid not down what He was, but is conceived of the Same God alike and Man.
Thus is the faith and rightly. But if any say, What harm if a man like us be conceived of as laying hold on Godhead and not God rather be made man? we shall answer that there are a thousand things which may be brought to bear against this, and which all but tell us that we ought firmly to strive against it and not thus to believe.
For come before ought else, let us look at the mode of the economy with Flesh and thoroughly investigate the nature of our condition; the nature of man was perilled and was brought down to the extreme of ill, condemned to curse and death and involved in the toils of sin, was straying and was in darkness, it knew not Him Who is by Nature and truly God, it worshipped the creature more than the Creator. How then could it be freed from such ills? Or do we say that it was lawful for it to lay hold on the Divine Nature, albeit it did not at all know what the Dignity of the Supreme Nature is, it which was holden of unlearning and darkness, and denied by the soil of sin? how was it like that it could mount up to the All-Pure Nature and lay hold on glory which none can lay hold of, except he receive it? For let it be supposed that by knowledge for example, and through knowing we say that it lays hold thereof: who is to teach it? For how shall they believe |198 except they hear? But this is not at all to take hold of Godhead, and to seize the glory that beseems It.
Hence it will be more meet (and reasonably so) to conceive that God the Word through Whom are all things, desiring to save that which was lost; by co-abasement unto us, lowered Himself to what He was not, in order that the nature of man too might become what it was not, eminent in the Dignities of the Divine Supremacy by union with Him, and should be rather brought up to what was above nature, than bring down unto what was alien from His Nature, the Unchangeable, as God. It behoved that the Incorruptible should lay hold on the nature subject to corruption, that He might free it from the corruption, it behoved that He Who knew not to sin should be made conformal with those who were under sin, that He might make sin to cease: for as where is light, there surely darkness will have no work, so where incorruption is present, is all necessity that corruption flee, and that, since He Who knew not sin hath made His own that which was under sin, sin should come to nought.
But that the Word, being God, was made Man, and not rather that Christ was Man deified, I will endeavour to shew from the Holy Scriptures also. Blessed Paul says therefore of the Only-Begotten, Who being in the Form of God thought not the being equal with God a thing to seize, but emptied Himself taking servant's form, made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow of heavenly and earthly and infernal and every tongue confess Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.
Whom therefore shall we say was in the Form of God and Equality of the Father, and thought these things not a thing to seize; but descended rather into emptiness and into servant's form, and humbleth Himself and was made in our likeness? If man made of a woman bare and sole, |199 how was he in the Form and Equality of the Father? or how has he fulness that he may be conceived of as emptied? or in what height placed afore, is he said to have humbled himself? or how was he made in the likeness of men, who was so formerly too by nature, even though haply he were not said to be so made? yea where was he emptied, taking the fulness of the Godhead? or how was he not made most high who mounted up into glory supernal?
Therefore we say that not man was made God, but rather that the Word of God Who was in Equality and Form of the Father was made in emptiness because of: the human nature, for He was emptied in this way, by reason of our likeness, being Full, as God: He was humbled on account of the Flesh, while He departeth not from the Throne of the Divine Majesty, for He hath His Seat Most High: He was made in the likeness of men, being of the Same Form with the Father, of Whose Essence He is the Form. Yet since He was once made as we, He is said to have ascended with Flesh too into the glory of the Godhead, which indeed He had evident as His own, yet was He in it after another sort, on account of the Human Nature, for He is believed to be Lord of all, even with Flesh.
But to Him boweth every knee, and that not to the grief or dishonour of the Father, but rather to His glory: for He rejoiceth and is glorified when the Son is adored by all, albeit made like us; for it is written again, For He took not on Him angels but He took on Him the seed of Abraham, wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren. Lo the Word took hold of the seed of Abraham, in that He is God, not some man like us took hold of Godhead, and He is Himself made like unto us, and is called our Brother as Man, not we to Him as regards the Nature of the Godhead. And again: Forasmuch then as the children partook of blood and flesh, He also Himself likewise partook of them, that through death He might destroy him who holdeth the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Lo again Himself just as |200 we partook of blood and flesh; and this hath a reason most closely united and kin, for it is written, For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. Observe again that not man is shewn to be affecting the Divine Nature, and mounting up to His Dignity; but God the Father sending rather His Son in the likeness of flesh of sin to destroy sin. Therefore the Word, being God, made Man let Himself down into emptiness; and Christ is seen to be no mere man, affecting the Divine Glory.
13. That the Word of God made Man is called Christ Jesus.
Desiring to investigate the Mystery of the economy with flesh of the Only Begotten, we say this, holding true doctrine and right faith, that the Word Himself out of God the Father, Very God out of Very God, the Light That is out of Light, was Incarnate and made Man, descended suffered rose from the dead: for thus defined the holy and great Synod the Symbol of the Faith;
But investigating and desiring to learn what is the true meaning of the Word being Incarnate and made Man; we see that it is not to take man in connection in regard of equality of dignity or authority or of mere community of name of sonship; but rather to be made man as we, together with His preserving to His own Nature Its being unchanged and without turn, Who economically became in assumption of flesh and blood.
One therefore is He Who before the Incarnation is called by the God-inspired Scripture, Only-Begotten, Word, God, Image, Brightness, Impress of the Person of the Father, Life, Glory, Light, Wisdom, Power, Arm, Right Hand, Most Highest, Magnificence, Lord of Sabaoth, and other like names, truly most God-befitting; and after the Incarnation, Man, Christ Jesus, Propitiation, Mediator, Firstfruits of them that slept, First-begotten of the dead, Second Adam, Head of the Body the Church; the first |201 names also following Him: for all are His, both the first and those in the last times of the world.
One therefore is He Who both before the Incarnation was Very God and in the human nature hath remained That He was and is and shall be. We must not then sever the One Lord Jesus Christ into Man separately and into God separately, but we say that Jesus Christ is One and the Same, yet knowing the distinction of the Natures and keeping them unconfused with one another.
When therefore Holy Writ says that in Christ dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, we do not therefore say that the Word by Himself dwelt in another, the man Christ, nor plucking asunder one from another things united do we conceive of two sons, but this rather, that holy Writ calls by the name Christ sometimes separately the human nature of the Word of God which He having as His own, used as a Temple. And it has been written somewhere of human souls also, Them that dwell in houses of clay, whereof we too are of the same clay. Do we then, since he calls the bodies of men houses of clay, and affirms that their souls dwell in them, sever one man into two? yet how is it not wholly without blame 13, that in a man should be said to dwell his spirit? so that even though the form of speech passes through this mode, unable to do otherwise, it does not beseem that the natures of things are therefore injured, but rather we must conceive that they hasten the straight way of the truth.
When then any of those things which do not possess like nature one with another, are seen brought together to unity by composition, and the one (for example) is said to dwell within the other; we must not sunder them into two, seeing that the concurrence unto unity is in no wise injured, even though one of the things united be separately called by us what the two together are. For in man too (as I said) is said to dwell his spirit; yet both the spirit separately and likewise the body are called man. |202 And some such thing as this doth the most wise Paul indicate to us saying, For though our outward man perish yet the inward man is renewed day by day. When then any saith that our inward man dwelleth in our outward man, he speaks true, yet he does not sever the one into two. The Prophet Isaiah too somewhere saith, By night does my spirit rise early unto Thee, O God. Is then his spirit said to rise early to God, as being other than himself? albeit how is it not absurd to say any thing of this kind? Therefore we must know figures of speech, yet not depart from what is reasonable, but fetch about the force of the things signified to the aim befitting each.
And although Jesus be said to advance in age and wisdom and grace, this will pertain to the economy. For the Word of God permitted His Humanity to advance by reason of the habits of its proper nature, and willed as it were by little and little to extend the illustriousness of His own Godhead, and along with the age of the Body to put out therewith what is Its own; so that nought strange should be seen and terrify any with its overmuch unwontedness: while even so they spake, How knoweth this man letters having never learned? Therefore bodily is the increase; and the advance in grace and wisdom will befit the measures of the Human nature: yet we say that the Word out of God is Himself in His own Nature All-Perfect, not lacking advance, nor wisdom, nor grace, but that He imparts rather to the creature wisdom and grace and the things whereby it is in good case.
And though Jesus be said also to suffer, the suffering will belong to the economy; but is said to be His, and with all reason, because His too is that which suffered, and He was in the suffering Body, He unknowing to suffer (for He is Impassible as God); yet as far as pertained to the daring of those who raged against Him, He would have suffered, if He could have suffered.
Therefore since the Only-Begotten has been made as we, as often as He is called Man by the God-inspired Scripture, considering the economy, let us confess that even so is He God by Nature. |203
14. Proofs of Divine Scripture, that the Word of God even when made Man remained God.
God says somewhere to the hierophant Moses, And thou shalt make a mercy seat, by inlaying of pure gold: two cubits: and a half the length thereof and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work, and shalt put them on either side, one cherub on this end the other cherub on that end of the mercy seat, and, thou shalt make the two cherubim on the two ends thereof. The cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings and, their faces one to another, looking to the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. A most sure image will this be that God the Word even in the human nature remained God and in His own Glory and Majesty even though for the economy's sake made like unto us; for a propitiation through faith was Emmanuel made unto us. And this the most wise John proved saying to us, My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not; and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He is the Propitiation for our sins; so too Paul says, Whom God set forth a propitiation through faith in His Blood.
But see the Cherubim standing round about the Mercy seat and overshadowing it with their wings, but turned toward the Mercy seat and all but fixing their eye on their Lord's beck. For to the will of God alone looketh the whole multitude of the heavenly spirits, and is never sated with the sight of God. So doth the Prophet Isaiah say that he saw the Son on a throne high and lifted up, the Seraphin standing around and waiting on Him as God.
The Divine Moses was of old appointed to free Israel from the violence of the Egyptians. But since it was needful that they who were under the yoke of an unwonted servitude, should first learn that God was now reconciled to them, He bade him work miracles: for a miracle |204 oft-time brings us to belief. Moses therefore says to God Almighty, But if they shall not believe me nor hearken to my voice, saying, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee, what shall I say to them? the Lord then said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod: and He said to him, Cast it on the ground: and he cast it on the ground 14 and it became a serpent and Moses fled from before it: and the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail; and he put forth his hand and took it by the tail and it became a rod in his hand. And He said to him, That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob hath appeared unto thee. Observe herein 15 the Son of God by Nature and in truth, as a Rod of the Father (but the Rod is the ensign of Kingdom), for in the Son hath He power over all. Whence Divine David also saith, Thy Throne, O God is for ever and ever, a Rod of Equity the Rod of Thy Kingdom. But He cast it on the ground, i. e., surrounded it with an earthly Body, or through the human nature sent it upon the earth, for then, then was it made in likeness of the wicked, men that is, for of wickedness is the serpent a token.
And that this is true, thou wilt hence know. For our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in image and figure of the economy wrought with flesh is taken for the brazen serpent which Moses reared to cure the serpents' bites. For He says, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For as the serpent made of brass was an occasion of salvation to those in peril (for looking on it they were saved), so our Lord Jesus Christ too to those who see Him in the likeness of bad men in that He was made Man, yet are |205 not ignorant that He is God Who quickens, will be the Bestower of Life and the power of escaping bitter and venomous beasts, I mean the powers that oppose us.
It will be a figure too of this that Moses' Rod devoured the other rods, which the Magi had cast on the ground. The Rod therefore was indeed cast on the earth, yet did not abide a serpent, but taken again it was what it had been; for although the Father's Rod, i.e., the Son, through Whom He hath power over all was made (as I said before) in our likeness: yet when the economy was fulfilled He hastened back into Heaven and was again as in the Father's Hand a Rod of Righteousness and of Rule; for He sitteth at the Right Hand of His Father in His own Majesty, possessing the Supreme Throne even with Flesh.
And the Lord God said again to him, Put thine hand into thy bosom, and he put his hand into his bosom and took forth his hand out of his bosom and his hand became as snow. And He said again, Put thine hand into thy bosom, and he put his hand into his bosom and brought it forth of his bosom, and it was turned again to the colour of his flesh. The Hand and the Right Hand of God the Father the Divine Scripture calls His Very Son. For it introduces Him saying, I by Mine Hand founded the Heaven, and the Divine David too singeth, By the Word of the Lord the Heavens were stablished. See therefore that Moses' hand was as yet hidden in his bosom and had not yet become leprous; brought forth and immediately it became leprous; then after a while put in and again brought forth, and for the future not leprous; for it was restored (it says) to the colour of his flesh. Therefore as long as God the Word was in the Bosom of the Father, He shone with the brightness of Godhead, but when He was in a manner forth of it because of the Incarnation or being made Man, He became in the likeness of flesh of sin and was numbered among the wicked: for the Divine Paul saith, Him who knew not sin |206 He made sin for us, that we might he made the Righteousness of God in Him. This I think is what the leprosy means, for the leper was unclean according to the Law. But when He was again in the Bosom of the Father (for He was taken up at the Resurrection from the dead), the Hand again brought forth was seen clean; for our Lord Jesus Christ will come, He will come in His season in the brightness and glory of the Godhead, although He have not cast away our likeness. For blessed Paul too saith of Christ, For He once died to take away the sins of many, and unto them that look for Him unto salvation shall He appear the second time without sin.
Therefore as often as the Divine Scripture names Christ Jesus, do not think of man by himself, but think rather that Jesus Christ is the Very Word out of God the Father, even 16 when He became Man.
17. That Christ was not a God-clad man, nor did the Word of God merely dwell in a man, but rather that He was made Flesh, or Perfect Man, according to the Scriptures.
They who have their faith in Christ undefiled, and approved by right votes of all men, will say that God the Word Himself out of God the Father descended into emptiness, taking servant's form and, making His own the Body which was born of the Virgin, was made as we and called Son of Man. He is indeed God according to the Spirit, yet the Same Man according to the flesh 17. And the Divine Paul also addressed the people of the Jews saying, God Who manifoldly and in many ways of old spake to the fathers in the prophets, in these last days spake to us in the Son. And how is God the Father understood to have spoken in the last days in His Son? For He spake to them of old the Law through Him; and hence the Son Himself says that they are His Words through the most wise |207 Moses. For He says, Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfil: for I say unto you that one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the Law till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away: there is also the Prophet's voice, I that speak am at hand. Hence when He was made in flesh, then spake to us the Father through Him, as saith blessed Paul, in the last days. But lest we should not believe that He it is Who before the ages also was Son, he added immediately, Through Whom He made the worlds too: he also mentions that He is the brightness of the glory and the Impress of the Person of the Father.
Man therefore was He truly made, through Whom God the Father made the worlds too; and was not (as some suppose) in a man, so as to be conceived of by us as a man who has God indwelling in him. For if they believe that these things are really so, superfluous will seem to be the blessed Evangelist John, saying, And the Word was made Flesh. For where the need of being made man? or why is God the Word said to be Incarnate, unless was made flesh means that He was made like us, and the force of the being made man declares that He was made like us, yet remained even so above us, yea also above the whole creation?
But I think it due by instances also to prove what I have said and to persuade that the Only-Begotten has been made Man and is God even with Flesh and hath not rather indwelt in a man, rendering him God-clad, like others too who have been made partakers of His Godhead.
18. Ideas or thoughts 18.
God says somewhere of us, I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people. And our Lord Jesus Christ Himself too saith, Lo I am coming and if any man open to Me, I will enter both I and the Father and we will dwell with him and sup with him. We are also called temples of God, for Ye (he |208 says) are the Temples of the Living God, and again, Know ye not that your bodies are the Temples of the Holy Ghost Which is in you Which ye have of God? But if they say that He is Emmanuel, as each one of us has had God indwelling in him, let them confess it openly, that when they see Him worshipped as well by us as by the Angels, in Heaven alike and upon earth, they may blush as thinking otherwise, and ignorant of the drift of the holy Scriptures, and not having in them the faith which they delivered to us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word.
But if they say that He is therefore God and glorified as God because the Word of God the Father merely dwelt in Him, and not because He was made Man, let them hear again from us, If to them who had God indwelling in them, it suffices that they might therefore be truly gods and adored by all, all are gods and to be adored, for He dwelleth in the holy Angels, and we have Him ourselves too in us through the Spirit; but this is not enough to shew that they are by nature gods and to be adored who have the Spirit in them. Not therefore for this is Emmanuel. God and to be worshipped because the Word of God dwelt in Him as in a mere man, to be considered by himself and apart, but because He was made flesh, i. e. Man, for He remained therefore God who is to be worshipped.
19. Apostolic sayings wherein Christ is called God.
Speaking of the Mystery Christward, he says, Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His saints, unto whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you the hope of glory, Whom we preach. If 19 therefore He is God-clad and not truly God, how is Himself the riches of the glory of the Mystery which is proclaimed to the Gentiles? or how is God at all proclaimed? |209
For I would that ye knew what conflict I have for you and for them at Laodicea and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgement of the Mystery of God of Christ 20. Lo he calls the Mystery of God the Mystery of Christ, and wishes certain to have full understanding unto the acknowledgement of it. Of what understanding therefore was there need to those who would learn the Mystery of Christ, if they were to hear that God dwelt in a man? for there would be need of exceeding understanding to know on the other hand that the Word being God was made Man.
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to Godward is gone forth. Lo again he makes mention that their faith was Godward, while Christ too saith, He that believeth in Me hath everlasting Life: and the word of the Lord he calls the preaching of Him.
For yourselves know our entrance in unto you that it was not in vain, but after that we had suffered many things before and been reviled as ye know in Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God. Lo speaking in God, he made mention of the Gospel of God, who preaches Christ to the Gentiles.
Call to mind, brethren, our labour and travail, labouring |210 night and day that we might not be burdensome to any of you, we preached the Gospel of God among you: and again, For this cause we too thank God without ceasing, because when ye received, from us the word of hearing of God, ye received it not as the word of men but as it is in truth the Word of God which worketh in you which have believed. Does he not plainly call the preaching about Christ the Gospel of God and word of God? this surely is plain to all.
24. Another 21.
For the grace of God our Saviour 22 hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly and uprightly and piously in this world awaiting the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Lo our Lord Jesus Christ is most openly called God and Great: for He it is Whose coming of glory we awaiting, are diligent to live soberly and unblameably. But if He be a God-clad man, how is He also great God? or how is the hope in Him a blessed one? if so be that the Prophet Jeremiah is true in saying, Cursed the man that putteth his trust in man. For neither could his bearing God (as I said before) render him God Himself: next let them teach us what hinders that all others be gods and to be worshipped who have God in them? But blessed Paul calls Christ God and Great and that hath a blessed coming, he who is found saying of the Jews, and of Emmanuel, Whose are the fathers and the covenant and the promises and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ Who is over all God 23 blessed for ever. Amen.
But that by Divine revelation he did make his preaching, is clear in that himself saith, Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus with me also; but I went up by revelation and set forth to them the Gospel which I preach to the Gentiles, but privately to them who seemed to be somewhat, lest haply I should run or had run in vain. He preaching Christ to the Gentiles |211 as God, every where calls His Mystery Divine 24. He went up to Jerusalem by revelation and set forth to them who seemed to be somewhat, i. e., to the holy Apostles and Disciples, lest perchance he should run in vain or had run. But when he had gone down from Jerusalem and was again among the multitude of the Gentiles, did he correct ought of his former [teaching]? did he not persevere in confessing that Christ is God? and indeed he writes to certain, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him who called you, unto another gospel which is not another, save there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ: and he says again, But though we or an Angel from Heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema. For what reason therefore leaving all else albeit they had God indwelling, did he preach Jesus Alone as God?
It is written of Christ, But when He was at Jerusalem in the feast day many believed in His Name, when they saw the signs which He was doing, but Jesus Himself trusted not Himself to them, because He knew all men and because He needed not that any one should bear witness of a man, for Himself knew what was in man. If He were a God-clad man, how were not the many deceived who at Jerusalem believed on His Name? or how doth He Alone know the things which are in man when none else knoweth them 25? for God is said to have fashioned our hearts one by one. Or why doth He Alone forgive sins? for He saith, That the Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sins. Why is He Alone apart from others the Co-sessor of God the Father? why do the Angels worship Him Alone, and did He teach us to deem of the Father as our common Father which is in Heaven, but ascribeth Him in special manner to Himself?
But perchance you will say that words of this sort are to be attributed to the indwelling Word. Ought He not |212 therefore, according to the measure beseeming Prophets, Himself too to have said, Thus saith the Lord 26? But when He would ordain the things that are above the Law, taking to Himself authority befitting a Legislator, He used to say, I say to you.
How says He that He is free and not indebted 27 to God? It is because He is Son in truth. And if He were a God-clad man, would He be also free by Nature? For God Alone is free and unbound: for He Alone exacts as it were tribute from all, and receives from all as from debtors due observance. And if Christ is the end of the Law and the Prophets, yet is a God-clad man, might one not say that the end of the prophetic preachings has brought upon us the charge of man-worship?
Again, the Law set forth, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve. By which teaching it led us unto Christ, as unto a knowledge more excellent than they had who were in the shadow: shall we therefore, making light of worshipping God, worship a man who has God indwelling? for where were it best that God be conceived to be? in heaven or in a man? in Seraphim or in earthly body?
If therefore He were God-clad man, how partook He like as we in flesh and blood? For if because He indwelt him, this were enough for Him that He should partake of ours like as we, and if His so participating is the being made man: He indwelt in many saints too: He was therefore not once but full often made man. Why therefore is He said once in the end of the world to have appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself? how do the Divine Scriptures preach to us one Coming of the Word?
26. If 28 He were a God-clad man, He too (it seems) was made the Temple of God, and how is Christ in us also? as a Temple in temples? or rather as God in the temples through |213 the Spirit? If He were a God-clad man, why is His Body alone Life-giving? for such should have been the bodies of others also, wherein indwelt Almighty God.
And the Divine Paul also wrote somewhere, He that despised Moses' Law died without any mercy at the hands of two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath deemed polluted the Blood of the Covenant? Yet Divine was the Law, and the Commandments spoken through Angels: how then will he be thought worthy of sorer punishment who hath deemed polluted the Blood of Christ? or how is the faith Christ-ward better than the worship after the Law? But (as we have already said) Christ is not as other saints, a God-clad man, but rather God in truth and He possesses glory higher than all the world, because, being the Word of God by Nature, God was made flesh or perfect man; for we believe that the Body which was united to Him is ensouled and endowed with reason, and wholly true is the union.
27. How we must understand The Word was made Flesh and dwelt in us, and how the Word is sent which is God, and how the Body is said to be His own.
The blessed Paul makes mention that the Only-Begotten Word of God took hold of Abraham's seed and also that He partook of flesh and blood as we. We remember too the voice of John, for he says, And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt in us. Was it therefore the aim of these men, being spiritual, to teach that the Word of God suffers change, or that it is right that He should undergo the mutation which belongs rather to the creature? so that that too which He was not, He should haply either come to of His own will, or another against His will drive Him into another nature? God forbid: for He remains the Same, excluding from His Nature every change, unknowing to suffer a shadow of turning: for That Supreme and Heavenly Nature is ever fixed in Its own.
How then the Word has been made Flesh it is needful to see. First then the Divine Scripture full often calls man |214 flesh and as it were from part makes declaration of the whole animal, and does the same sometimes no less from the soul alone, for it is written that all flesh shall see the salvation of God, and moreover the Divine-uttering Paul saith, I conferred not with flesh and blood, and the hierophant Moses addressed them of Israel, Thy fathers went down into Egypt in threescore and fifteen souls. And one would not therefore say that bare and fleshless souls made their descent into Egypt, nor again that to soulless bodies and mere flesh God gave bounteously of His salvation.
As often therefore as we hear that the Word was made Flesh, let us conceive of man made out of soul and body. But the Word being God was made perfect man taking a body endowed with soul and mind, and having united this to Himself in truth, as He knows (for thoughts of this kind are utterly unattainable by our mind), was called son of man. Yet if one must say somewhat, looking as in a mirror, the human mind defines that the Word was united to the Body having a reasonable soul, much as is the soul of man too to its own body, which is of other nature than it, yet obtains even thus participation and union with the body, so as to appear not other than it, in that by composition one living thing is effected out of both, it nevertheless remaining (as I mentioned before) in its own nature. Hence we say that not by mutation or change has the Word of God been made Man, nor yet that It recked not of being God (how could it be so?) but that taking flesh of a woman and united to it from the womb, He proceeded forth, the Same, Man and God, for not as casting away the Ineffable Generation out of God the Father, did He endure that of a woman, inviting Him to a beginning so to say of being, but rather permitted to His own Flesh to be called into being by means of the laws of its own nature, in regard I mean to the mode of its birth: nevertheless the human nature hath in Him something special, for He was born of a Virgin and hath Alone a mother incognizant of marriage. And he says that made Flesh He also tabernacled in us, that through both he might shew that He both was made Man |215 and let not go His own, for He hath remained what He was.
For that which dwelleth is full surely conceived of as one thing in another, to wit, the Divine Nature in the human, not undergoing mixture or any commingling or passing into what it was not. For that which indwells in another, becomes not that which it is wherein it dwells; but is conceived of rather as one thing in another. But in respect of the Nature of the Word and of the Manhood, the diversity herein indicates to us only the difference [of natures]. For One Christ is conceived of out of both. Preserving well therefore (as I said before) the inconfusion, he says that the Word tabernacled in us. For he knows that the Only-Begotten Incarnate and made Man is One Son.
But see (I pray) that the Divine Evangelist is wisely crowning the whole nature of men, for he says that the Word dwelt in us, not saying that the Incarnation of the Word took place for any other reason (as seems to me) save that we too, enriched by the participation of Himself through the Holy Ghost might gain the benefit of adoption. Therefore we believe that in Christ took place an union most complete and true: but in us even though He be said to dwell, He will make His Indwelling non-essential 29. For in Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, i. e., not by participance or relation only, as when light shineth in or fire infuseth into other things its innate heat, but (so to say) that Very Divine and Untaint Nature is to be understood as that which is making for Itself an Indwelling by means of a true (as we said before) Union in the Temple which is born of the Virgin: for thus Christ Jesus both is and is conceived of as One.
And that our speech is overcome in its utmost possible expression, I will not deny, but let not the Mystery of Christ be therefore disbelieved, but let it be deservedly |216 more marvellous: for the more it overpasses all mind and speech, the more must it be put beyond all marvel.
But we do not say that the Word made Flesh, i. e., Perfect man, is comprehended by the limit of the body (for that were most silly), but we believe that thus too It fills (as It useth) Heaven and earth and the things below: for all things are full of God, and all things little to Him. But how is He wholly both in each and in all, is hard to understand and say, yea rather is even impossible.
And He possesses this too (as I suppose) that He is without Body and Unportioned; yet is the Body called by us the own of the Word, not in the same way as laughing is proper to a man or neighing to a horse, but because it was made His by true union, accomplishing the use of an instrument unto whatever was its nature to work, save only what belongs to sin.
Yea and if God the Word be haply said to have been sent, let not any one of you be terrified, thinking, Whither shall the Unembodied advance? or whither He withdraw of Whom all things are full? but let him know that the mode of mission is of another kind: not that He Who is sent should change from place to place but rather that He should take on Him a sacred ministry, which we learn was also enjoined to the disciples by Christ the Saviour of all. Again, the Divine Paul too says of Christ, Wherefore, holy brethren partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus Christ, Note that when he shews Him ministering in human wise albeit He is by nature God, then does he also attribute to Him the office of the Apostolate: but it is nought unreasonable (as we said before) if God the Word be said to be sent by the Father, for He most surely fills all things and in no place at all is He absent: but we interpreting things Divine by human words, are wont to understand economies of the Immortal Nature by bodily outlines.
Again though the Holy Ghost fills all things, the blessed Paul writes and says, And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, wherein we cry Abba, |217 Father: and the Saviour Himself too saith, It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but when I depart I will send Him to you 30. We must therefore referring all things to the Rule of piety, follow sure knowledge, for so doing shall we best profit ourselves.
28. How the holy Virgin is conceived of as Mother of God.
The Word out of God the Father was begotten in some ineffable way (for beyond all understanding is His Generation, and as befits the Unembodied Nature): yet is That which is begotten conceived of as the Own Offspring of the Generator and Consubstantial with Him, for therefore is It called also Son: the Name indicating to us the Verity of the (so to say) Birth and Parturition. And since the Father ever liveth and hath being, it must needs be that He on account of Whom He is Father co-live and have co-Being Eternally with Him. The Word therefore was in the beginning and was God and, was with God (as saith the most wise Evangelist), but in the last times of the world for us men and for our salvation was made flesh and was made Man: and not at all letting go what He was, but having His own Nature unchanged and existing ever in the excellences of Godhead, yet undergoing for us economically the emptiness and not despising the poverty that belongs to the human measures. For being Rich He became poor (as it is written), that we by His poverty might become rich. He was made therefore Man and is said to have endured Generation after the flesh of a woman, because of His taking of the holy Virgin the Body that was united to Him of a truth: whence we say that the holy Virgin is Mother of God, as having borne Him in fleshly or human wise, albeit that He hath His Generation before the ages out of the Father 31. |218
And this, that some suppose that the Word was then called to a beginning of being when He became Man, is utterly impious and exceeding discordant. For the Saviour Himself shews them to be most unwise, saying in regard to Himself, Verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am: for how was He before Abraham Who was born after the flesh many ages after him? The Divine-uttering John too will I deem suffice to convict them saying, This was He of Whom I said, After me cometh a Man Who was made before me, for He was before me.
Leaving therefore as exceeding foolish to contend about what is superfluous, come let us rather go on to what is beyond, I mean unto what is profitable. Let not any be troubled, hearing the holy Virgin called Mother of God, nor let them fill their souls with Jewish unbelief, yea rather with Gentile impiety. For the Jews attacked Christ saying, For a good work we stone Thee not but for blasphemy because Thou, being a Man, makest Thyself God: and the children of the Greeks, hearing the doctrines of the Church that God hath been born of a woman, laugh.
But they shall eat the fruit of their own impiety, and shall hear of us, The fool will utter folly and his heart imagine vain things. But the plan of our Mystery, albeit to the Jews it be an offence, to the Gentiles folly, yet to us who know it, verily admirable is it and saving and far removed from being to be disbelieved by any. For if there were any whatever who should dare to say that this flesh made of earth had become mother of the bare Godhead, and that she bare out of her own self the Nature which is over the whole creation, the thing would be madness and nothing else: for not of earth has the Divine Nature been made, nor will that which is subject to decay become the root of immortality nor that which is subject to death bear the Life of all things, nor yet the Unembodied be the fruit of the palpable body, that which is subject to birth [bear] that which is superior to birth, that which hath its beginning in time, that which is without beginning.
But since we affirm that the Word became as we and |219 took a body like to our bodies and united this of a truth unto Himself, in a way namely beyond understanding and speech, and that He was thus too made Man and born after the flesh, what is there incredible therein or worthy of disbelief? albeit the human soul (as we have already full often said) being of other nature than the body, is yet born with it, just as we say that it too has been united therewith. Yet will no one (I deem) suppose that the soul has the nature of the body as the beginning of its own existence, but God inplaces it ineffably in the body and it is born along with it; yet do we define as one the animal that is made up out of both, i. e., man. Therefore the Word was God but was made Man too, and since He has been born after the flesh by reason of the human nature, she who bare Him is necessarily Mother of God. For if she have not borne God, let not Him Who is born of her be called God; but if the God-inspired Scriptures call Him God, as God Incarnate and made Flesh, and it be not possible in any other way to be Incarnate, save through birth of a woman, how is she not Mother of God, who bare Him?
But that He is truly God Who was born, we shall know from the God-inspired Scripture too.
29. Sayings about Christ.
Behold a Virgin shall conceive in the womb and bear a Son and they shall call His Name Emmanuel. How then (tell me) is that which is born of the holy Virgin called Emmanuel? Emmanuel (as I already said) signifying, that the Word out of God which is in truth God was made by reason of the Flesh in nature as we. But He is Emmanuel, for He emptied Himself, having undergone a generation like to ours, and so had His conversation with us. Hence He is God in flesh and she truly Mother of God, who bare Him carnally or after the flesh.
For they shall lay down every robe that was gathered by guile and garment with its change and shall be willing if |220 they shall have been burnt with fire; for a boy has been born to us and a son given unto us whose rule is upon His Shoulder and His Name is called The Messenger of the great Counsel. Hearest thou that He was called a Boy because He underwent a birth like us? But Him a Boy by brightest star did the sky point out, did the Magi worship coming from the uttermost limits of the earth, did the Angels bear good tidings of to the Shepherds saying that a Saviour was born, and proclaiming Peace and the Good will of the Father. He is also the Messenger of the Great Counsel: for He made known to us the Good-will of the Father, Who in Him was pleased to save the earth, and through Him and in Him to reconcile the world unto Himself: for being reconciled to Christ, we are reconciled to God: for God and truly Son of God the Father is He 32. That He is therefore the Counsel of the Father Whose Messenger He has been to us, Himself will teach saying, For so God loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son, that every one that believeth in Him should not perish but should have everlasting life. But the Only-Begotten Son is He Who was born of the holy Virgin, for the Word Himself was made Man, Who was God in the flesh and thus appeared to those on earth. Finally He says, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. And that through Him and in Him we believe on the Father, He hath set forth saying, 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.
Hear Me, ye isles, and give ear, ye nations: after long time shall He stand, saying, The Lord from the womb of My mother shall they call My Name. The Word being God, was not ignorant that He should undergo birth, Incarnate of a woman for our sakes: He knew that He shall be called Christ Jesus, God the Father afore proclaiming unto us the New Name of His Son which is blessed in the |221 earth 33. And note how He mentions His own Mother who bare His Body. Hence if He knows that He is Very God, she who bare Him after the flesh is called Mother of God, and rightly so: but if He be not God, as some daringly, yea rather wickedly, think: let them deprive the holy Virgin herself of this name, that she be not called Mother of God.
32. That the Only-Begotten is called God even when appearing as Man.
Solomon praying says, And now, O Lord God of Israel, let Thy word be credible which Thou spakest unto Thy servant David: shall God in very deed dwell with men on earth? Observe that he marvels at the Incarnation of the Word, for it seemed a thing incredible: for then did He dwell with men upon the earth when He was made Man. Else how is this anything special or how worthy of marvel, that God should not depart from these things which Himself had created, cherishing them that is, and holding together the things which had been already made, creating those which have not been yet made? But verily it is a special miracle that God made Man should have dwelt on earth with men, according to the promises long before given to the Divine David. For it is written, The Lord sware unto |222 David and will not reject him, Of the fruit of thy belly shall I set upon thy seat. But verily he, albeit he believed that the Almighty God would never deny His Promise, yet did more carefully search out the place itself of the Birth and say, If I go up upon my bed, if I give sleep to mine eyes or slumber to mine eyelids or rest to my temples, until I find a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. At length when he had found out this too through the Spirit, and knew the place of the Birth after the flesh of the Only-Begotten, then did he preach it and say, Lo we heard of it at Ephratah, that is, in Bethlehem, we found it in the fields of the wood. And that in saying Ephratah, he means Bethlehem, the Prophet hath proved, And thou, Bethlehem, house of Ephratah. But note that Him, Whom he believed to have been created 34 as we in Ephratah, he names the God of Jacob, Whose dwelling was in the Tabernacle: for there did the holy Virgin bear Jesus.
Elsewhere too does he call Him the God of Abraham, saying, The princes of the people are gathered together with the God of Abraham. For well-nigh, instructed in the knowledge of things to come, did he see with the eyes of his mind and the illumination of the Holy Ghost, the princes of the people, i. e., the holy Apostles, in the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Seeing therefore that He is named God of Abraham and God of Jacob, Who is born of a woman, why is not the holy Virgin Mother of God?
The Prophet Habaccuc says, O Lord, I have heard Thy hearing and feared, I have thought on Thy works and shuddered. In the midst of the two living creatures shalt Thou be known, in the coming of the times shalt Thou be shewn, while my soul was troubled, shalt Thou in anger remember mercy. God shall come from Teman, the Holy One from mount Paran. How shall He be known in the midst of the two living creatures? for when He had been born of a woman and had |223 lived even unto the time of the Precious Cross, by the grace of God (as saith blessed Paul) did He by His Body taste death for every man. But since He was by Nature God, He rose again unto everlasting life. He therefore is known, Who for us endured the Precious Cross, in the midst of the two living creatures. And Himself says somewhere to the Jews, When ye have lifted up the son of man, then shall ye know that I am. But how, calling Him also God, does he fore-announce that He shall come from Teman and from mount Paran? Teman is interpreted South: for Christ was manifested, not from northern regions, but from the southern Judaea, wherein Bethlehem is.
Since therefore He Who has been named Lord and God, cometh out of the southern Judea, for He was born in Bethlehem, how is not the holy Virgin Mother of God?
In 35 Genesis it is written, And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled with him a Man until the morning: but he saw that he was not prevailing against him and he touched the flat of his thigh as he was wrestling with him 36 and said to him, Let me go for the morning ascendeth. But he said, I do not let thee go, except thou bless me. And after more, And He blessed him there: and he called the name of that place, The Face of God: for I saw (he said) God face to face and my life is preserved. And the sun rose when he passed the face of God: and he hailed on his thigh. Mystic is the sense of that which is written, for it appears to hint at the wrestling of the Jews which they used in regard to Christ, well-nigh wrestling with Him, nevertheless they were overcome and will themselves implore His Blessing, if through faith they turn them to Him at the last times. But note this, it was a man who was wrestling, and Jacob called him The Face of God: nor that alone, for he knew that He is God in truth. For I have seen (he said) God face to face and my life is preserved. For |224 Emmanuel is by Nature God, yet is He called also The Face of God: for He is the Image of the Father's Substance: thus did He call Himself to the Jews, saying respecting God the Father, Nor have ye seen His Face and ye have not His Word abiding in you, for Whom He sent, Him ye believe not.
But that Very God is that Man Who was wrestling with Jacob, holy Writ will again give proof, for it says, And the Lord said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, and make there an Altar to God that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. For returning from Mesopotamia and being then in fear of Esau, he sent over Jabok his children and all his stuff, and he was left alone and there wrestled a man with him.
Blessed Daniel setting forth to us a dread vision says, I was seeing in a night vision, and lo with the clouds of Heaven came as it were the Son of Man and came even unto the Ancient of Days and they brought Him, into His Presence and there was given Him dominion and honour and a kingdom, and all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him: His Power a Power for ever which shall not pass, and His Kingdom shall not be destroyed. Hearest thou how he does not mention that he had seen simply a man, lest Emmanuel should be believed to be one of us and like as we, but as it were the Son of Man? For the Word being by Nature God was made in the likeness of men and was found in fashion as a Man, in order that in the Same might Both be conceived of, neither bare man nor yet the Word apart from manhood and flesh. Yet does he tell that to Him was given the princedom and honour which He ever had; for he says that all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him. Since therefore even when in the human nature the Only-Begotten Word of God hath the creature serving Him and the Princedom of His Father and Himself, and the holy Virgin bare Him after the flesh: how is not the holy Virgin conceived of as Mother of God? |225
36. Of the Passion of Christ, and that it is profitable that we speak in one manner and another of One and the Same, nor do we divide Him into twain.
Saint Paul sets forth to us the Saving Passion, for he saith at one time, By the Grace of God for all tasted He death and also, For I delivered to you in the first place that which I too received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day: moreover the most wise Peter also saith, Forasmuch as Christ suffered for us in the Flesh. Seeing therefore we believe that One is our Lord Jesus Christ, i. e. God the Word beheld in human form or made man as we, in what manner can we attribute Passion to Him and still hold Him impassible, as God?
The Passion therefore will belong to the Economy, God the Word esteeming as His own the things which pertain to His own Flesh, by reason of the Ineffable Union, and remaining external to suffering as far as pertains to His own Nature, for God is Impassible. And no wonder, since we see that the soul itself of a man, if its body suffer somewhat, remains external to the suffering as far as belongs to its own nature, yet is it not conceived of as external to suffering, in that the body which suffers is its very own: and albeit it be impalpable and simple, yet is that which suffers not foreign to it. Thus will you understand of Christ too the Saviour of all.
But I will make use of examples which may shew us by way of shadow, that the Only-Begotten shared in the suffering as far as belongs to the ownness of His Body, yet remained free from suffering, as God. Almighty God then was bidding the most wise Moses to work miracles, that Israel might believe him that he was sent from God, and that they should be set free from violence: He says, And thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the earth, and the water which thou shalt take from the river, shall he blood upon the earth. But we say that the water is an image of life, and that the Son proceeding out of the Father as out of a river, by reason of being of the |226 Same Essence, is by Nature Life, and therefore quickens all things. But when (He says) thou shalt have poured forth the water, it shall be blood upon the earth. Hence, when He was made flesh of the earth, i. e., when He girt Himself with flesh from the earth, then is He said to have suffered death in it like to our death, albeit He is by Nature Life.
In Leviticus God intimates that the leper is polluted and impure and therefore bids that he should be put forth of the camp, and that if the disease be healed, he should thus be cleansed. And they shall take for him that is cleansed two clean birds and cedar wood and scarlet wool and hyssop, and the priest shall command and they shall hill one of the birds in an earthen vessel in living water, and the living bird shall he take and shall bathe it in the blood of the bird that was killed in the living water and he shall sprinkle upon him who is cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and he shall be clean. Us there rendereth clean and washeth away the soils of our uncleanness and driveth off the mortality of fleshly desire the Most Precious Blood of Christ and the purification of all-holy Baptism. But note this (for letting alone subtil search into the force of the Scriptures, we will for the present make mention of what helps to the mystery): he compares Christ to two birds 37, not as though there were two sons, but rather one out of two, the Godhead and the manhood, gathered together into union. The birds are clean, for our Lord Jesus Christ did no sin, but the Word was holy, in Godhead and in Manhood: He is likened again to flying things, by reason of His being high above the earth and from above, for Christ is the Man out of Heaven, albeit the holy Virgin bare His Flesh 38. |227 How then is He from above and out of Heaven? God the Word from above and out of the Father, taking flesh from the holy Virgin and manifesting it as His own, as though He had brought it down from above and out of Heaven, said, No man hath ascended up into Heaven, save He That came down from Heaven, the Son of Man: for He ever allotteth to His own Flesh that which is His own, and once united to it is accounted one with it.
Yet see, when the one bird is slain, the other is dipped in his blood, yet died not. And what is this? The Word lived, even though His Flesh died, and He was participant in the Passion, through ownness and union with it. Therefore the Same was living, as God, but like as He made His Body His own, so did He receive into Himself in all ownness the sufferings too of His Body, Himself suffering nought in His own Nature. It is therefore helpful and necessary unto profit that in regard to Christ we should admit the after one manner and another, as belonging to one and the same person, yet should not permit Him to be severed into two sons, albeit the things done be said to be of diverse kind and in no ways harmonizing with one another.
This is what I mean: we say that God the Word is born out of a woman after the flesh, albeit Himself give to all to be born, and call to the birth the things which are not yet |228 born. How then doth the Same both undergo birth and call to being? After one manner and another. For He was born, in that He is conceived of as Man like us, He calleth into being the things that are not, in that He is God by Nature; for it is written of Him, The Little one waxed and grew strong, filled with wisdom and grace, albeit He is by Nature all-Perfect as God, and out of His own Fulness imparteth spiritual gifts to the saints, and is Himself Wisdom and the Giver of grace. How then waxeth the Little one and is filled with wisdom and grace? After one manner and another. For the Same, Man alike and God, makes His own the human, by reason of the union, and is all-Perfect and Giver of wisdom and grace as God.
He is called First-born and Only-Begotten, but if one should examine the force of the words, the First-born will be He Who is First-born among many brethren, the Only-Begotten as Sole, no longer First-born among many brethren. Yet is the Same one and other; how then? After one manner and another. First-born among many brethren by reason of the human nature, the Same again Only-Begotten, as Alone Begotten of the Alone God the Father. He is said to have been sanctified through the Spirit and moreover to sanctify 39 those who come to Him; He was baptized according to the Flesh and was baptizing in the Holy Ghost; how then doth the Same both sanctify and is sanctified, baptizeth and is baptized? After one manner and another; for He is sanctified humanly, and thus is He baptized: He sanctifies Divinely and baptizeth in the Holy Ghost.
Himself raising the dead was raised from the dead, and being Life by Nature is said to quicken. And how again? After one manner and another. For the Same was raised from the dead and is said to be quickened after the Flesh, yet quickens and raises the dead as God. He suffers and does not suffer 40, after one manner and another: for He |229 suffers humanly in the Flesh as Man, He is impassible Divinely as God.
Himself hath adored with us, for Ye worship (He says) what ye know not, we worship what we know: yet is He to be adored also, for to Him every knee boweth: and this again after one manner and another. For He worshippeth as having assumed the nature that payeth worship, He again the Same is worshipped as surpassing the nature that worshippeth in that He is conceived of as God. Yet must we not sever the worship unto man by himself and God by Himself, nor yet as connected with God by equality of dignity, while the Persons are dissevered, do we say that the man is worshipped with Him (for it were replete with the uttermost impiety): but we must worship One Word of God Incarnate and made man, and at the same time believe that the Body united to Him was ensouled with a reasonable soul like ours. For neither did God Almighty bid two first-borns to be worshipped as well by us as by the holy Angels (for One is He Who was brought into the world): and if we look more carefully into the mode of this bringing in, we find it to be the mystery of the Economy with flesh. But He was brought into the world then when He was made Man, albeit He be seen to be in His own Nature most far removed from the earth and be believed to be truly in the Excellence of Godhead: for Other than the elements is their Maker. Therefore above the things which Himself made is He by Nature in that He is God by Nature. Yet is One (as I said before) to be worshipped then too when He is among many brethren: for then is He for that reason called First-born.
One 41 did the blind from the birth when wondrously healed worship: for Jesus (it says) finding him in the temple said, Dost thou believe on the Son of God, and he said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? Christ |230 manifesting Himself embodied to him says, Thou had both seen Him and He That speaketh with thee is He. Seest thou how He used the singular number, not permitting God and man to be conceived of separately? yea rather if one were to call Emmanuel man, it signifies not bare man (far from it) but the Word of God united to our nature. As One did the Divine disciples worship Him, when beholding Him wondrously borne on the waters they worshipped saying, Truly 42 Thou art the Son of God.
When therefore Ave say that man is co-worshipped with God, we have brought in a gross severance. For the word, With, except it be said of one by composition, will always full surely persuade us to conceive of two. For like as no one will be said to live with himself nor again to eat with to pray with and to walk with himself (for the with prefixed to the word introduces a declaration of two persons): so if one say that the man is co-worshipped with God, he will without question say two sons and severed one from another: for the plan of union, if it be |231 conceived of in regard to mere equality of dignity or authority, is convicted of being untrue. And this has been shewn by us in many words.
37. Against those who say the human befit God the Word by reference only.
Some prate concerning the Economy with flesh of the Only-Begotten and, bringing down to our frail perceptions the Mystery venerable and great and most dear to the Spirits above, whereby also we are saved, pollute the comeliness and beauty of the Truth, whereas they ought, not to try and prop up whatever seems to them right, but rather with subtil and keen eye of the mind to look into the aim of the Sacred Writings and thus to go on the right road, following what the most holy fathers have searched out, who taught by the illuminings of the Holy Ghost, denned for us the Symbol of faith, saying that the God the Word Himself Which was in mode ineffable 43 begotten out of the Essence of the Father, by Whom all things were made which are in Heaven and which are in earth, for us men and for our salvation came down, was made flesh, was made man, suffered, ascended into heaven, will in his season come to judge quick and dead.
But there are certain who deem that they are learned and knowing and are puffed up with pride and swelling, who if they hear these words, mock, and deem that those things which are so rightly said, are mad ravings: while we specially believe that the knowledge of the Truth lay open through the illumination of the Holy Ghost to the holy Fathers. But they, as if they alone could think what is better, deem that not the Only-Begotten Son of God Himself, God the Word Which is out of His Essence, suffered in His own Flesh for us humanly, albeit conceived of as God He have in His own Nature the inability to suffer; but putting as man separately and by himself him that was born of the holy Virgin, and attributing to him to what extent it seems good to them, a kind of glory, they say that he was united to the Word of God the Father. And |232 explaining the mode of the union, they say that there was given him by God equality of dignity or authority and to be called by like name both Christ and Son and Lord. But if the man who is invented by them be said to suffer ought, it must (they say) be referred to God the Word Himself, in that he is connected to Him by equality of worth, while in their severed natures each is what he is.
I will open the force of their opinions, so far as I can, bringing forward instances from the Sacred Writings. Christ hungered, was wearied with the journey, slept, entered into the boat, was stricken with blows by the attendants, was scourged by Pilate, received the spittle of the soldiers, who piercing with the spear His Side, offered vinegar mingled with gall to His Mouth: yea and He tasted death, suffering the Cross and other contumelies of the Jews. All these things they declare to have befallen indeed the man, but to be referred to the Person of the Very Son. But we believe, as in One God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible, so too in One our Lord Jesus Christ His Son. And we refuse to divide Emmanuel into man by himself and into the Word by Himself: but knowing that the Word became truly Man too as we, we say that Himself the Same is God of God, and in human wise Man as we of a woman. And we assert that by reason of the ownness of the flesh He suffered indeed infirmities, yet reserved to His Nature its impassibility, in that He was not Man alone but the Same therewith also God by Nature. And like as the Body was His own, so too the natural and blameless passions of the body and the things which by the frowardness of some were put upon Him.
He suffered without suffering Who did not therefore humble Himself that He might only be like us, but because (as I said before) He had reserved to His Nature superiority to all these things. But if we should say that through conversion or mutation of His own Nature He had passed into the nature of the flesh 44, it would be in all ways |233 necessary for us even against our will to confess that the Hidden and Divine Nature was passible. But if He have remained unchanged albeit He have been made man as we, and it be a property of the Heavenly Nature that It cannot suffer, and the passible body have become His own through the union:----He suffers when the Body suffers, in that it is said to be His own body. He remains Impassible in that it is truly His property to be unable to suffer.
And if Emmanuel have been glorified through suffering, as Himself says when about to suffer for us the Precious Cross, Now is the son of man glorified, why do they not blush, attributing the glory of the Passion to a man having connection only with Him in Equality of dignity? for as they deem, He connected with Himself according to the Will and Good-pleasure of the Father a man only and made him equal to His own glory, and permitted that by like name he should be styled both Christ and Son and God and Lord:----hence neither is the Word truly Incarnate nor was He at all made man. And haply to call the holy doctors of the whole world false and liars, will do no harm? for either let them say, yea rather come forward and prove that the mode of connection which is brought in by |234 them has the force of incarnation and that that is that the Word was made flesh; or if they think that these things are not so, why do they invent for us a mode of unconnected connection, the truth being neglected? whereas it would be fitting that they should say that the Word of God the Father was united to our humanity, for thus in His own flesh is He conceived to have suffered what belongs to man, but so far as pertains to the Nature of the Godhead, He is free from all that disturbs, as God.
And that by speaking of reference 45, which I know not how they invented, they withdraw Emmanuel from His Glory and make Him barely one of the Prophets, and set Him amid the measure of the many, and are full surely caught thus doing, I will prove, giving examples from the Divine Scripture.
There once murmured 46 in the wilderness against Moses and Aaron the people of Israel saying, Would we had died, stricken by the Lord in Egypt when we were sitting at the flesh pots and were eating bread even to fulness. Therefore the most wise Moses says (for it were like that he should reply to men so rashly impatient), But who are we? for neither against us is your murmuring but against God. And in those times even God Almighty used to reign through the holy Prophets over the people of Israel, but they in this too, slack of courage approached the Divine Samuel saying, Lo THOU hast grown old and thy sons walk not in thy ways and now set over us a king which may judge us even as the other nations. The Prophet felt this grievously but Almighty God said, Hear the voice of the people even as they have spoken to thee, for not thee have they rejected but Me they have rejected that I should not reign over them.
And elsewhere too has Christ said to the holy Apostles, He who receiveth you hath received Me: and He promiseth that He will address the merciful before His Tribunal, Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And |235 acknowledging as His own their righteous ways towards those to whom they had dealt kindly, He says, In that ye did it to one of these least, to Me did ye it.
Lo in these instances is clearly recognized the mode of reference of what kind it is. The people of Israel were murmuring against Moses and Aaron and the matter had reference to God, yet were Moses and Aaron men as we. In the same way too will you conceive as to the others whereof we have just made mention, yet were some (as I said before) holy men and worthy of admiration, yet men as we. Is it then in this way that the man too who is connected (as they call it) with God the Word, will have reference of his sufferings to Himward? And how will he not now be mere man and apart and nought else? Hence Emmanuel is not truly God, is not Only-Begotten Son, is not God by Nature.
Why then was no one of the rest honoured by God the Word with equality of dignity or of sway, but they contend that this man alone obtained all things equal? specially seeing that God, the Saviour of all men, judgeth not according to the person hut righteous judgement, as Himself maketh mention. Why then doth He co-sit Alone? how will He come as Judge, with Angels waiting on Him? why is He Alone worshipped as well by us as by the spirits above?
But in good truth it is so (says he), for we find that thou also dost the same, for thou confessest that He suffered, in that thou attributest to Him the sufferings of the flesh, albeit thou keepest Him impassible as God.
But we, good sirs, (shall I say) having first united to the Word the human, have to the flesh allotted the sufferings, have kept Him impassible as God: for though He hath become as we, yet are we cognizant of His God-befitting Excellence and of His Supreme Endowments.
Hence first putting the Union as a basis and foundation to the Faith, we confess that He suffered in the flesh, that He remained again superior to suffering in that He possesses Impassibility in His own Nature. But if we are |236 diligent to put apart God and Man, severing the Natures one from another, and then say that in reference only does the Word of God make His own what have befallen His Body; He That is born of the holy Virgin, Emmanuel, which is, interpreted, With us is God, will haply have but the measure of Moses and Aaron.
Thus even though He say through the holy Prophets, My Back have I given to scourges, My Cheeks to blows, My Face I turned not from the shame of spittings, and again, They dug My Hands and My Feet, they told all My Bones, and again, They gave for My meat gall and for My thirst they gave Me to drink vinegar: we shall allot all these things to the Only-Begotten Himself, Who suffered Economically in the flesh according to the Scriptures (for with His wheal were we healed, and Himself hath been weakened because of our sins), yet do we know that He is Impassible by Nature. For if (as I just said) Himself is Man alike and God, with reason do the Sufferings belong to His Manhood, His own as God is it to be conceived of as superior to suffering.
Thus minded shall we be pious and through such right thoughts advancing, we shall attain unto the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus, through Whom, and with Whom to God the Father be glory with the Holy Ghost unto ages of ages, Amen.
[Footnotes moved to the end and numbered. Biblical references (in the margins) omitted.]
1. a See Ep. 1 to the Monks, pp. 6 e, 7, 10.
2. b The Latin translation of Marius Mercator here adds (to fill up the sense) de christo, of christ, which is not in the Greek or Syriac.
3. c ἀνθρωπίνως, and so Syr. The Lat. version omits this word.
4. d In his first Paschal homily, some fifteen years before (A. D. 414) S. Cyril had quoted this verse and explained it, "For the Saviour having not vet assumed our likeness, was departed far from us, as regards the plan of the Incarnation: since much is the interval between the nature of man and that of God the Word: for of us says one of the saints, I am earth and ashes, of the Being of the Only-Begotten the prophet Isaiah says, who shall declare His Generation? Seasonably therefore on us in our much affliction beamed the Saviour made of a woman after the flesh, in order to save man who is out of woman, and that, loosing him from the bonds of death, He might teach him to say rejoicing, where thy victory death, where thy sting o grave?" Hom. Pasch. i. pp. 4e 5 a.
5. e intentionum = θεωρημάτων.
6. f "He is therefore God who has the angels His own." de recta fide to the Princesses p. 82 a.
7. g I have retained the words, the Lord, on the authority of John of Caesarea (who has preserved us the Greek in his Apology for the Council of Chalcedon; of this John nothing else seems to be known, his Defence exists in Rome in a syriac translation as mentioned by Card. Mai, Nova Bibl. Patr. ii. 415, and anonymously in Greek in ms, both at Venice and at Cairo), and of the syriac translation of these scholia. In the ecumenic Epistle to John, Archbishop of Antioch, the syriac translation has the words. On the other hand in S. Cyril's Apology for his 11th chapter against the Eastern Bishops, p. 194 c, the principal mss., the syriac translation (the manuscript of which is as old as the century after S. Cyril) and Mercator all omit the words, as does Mercator here. In the two citations of these words in the Quod Unus Christus (to be given below), the syriac version likewise omits the words. See also below, p. 226.
8. h The words, yet we do not say that Jesus Christ was mere man, are wanting in the Latin, apparently from omission by homoeoteleuton, but the Syriac has supplied them.
9. i "Paul somewhere says of the Son of God, Who being in the form of God deemed not the being Equal with God a thing to seize but emptied Himself, taking servant's form and found in fashion as a man. The Word of God therefore hath been made man; He came not into a man like as He was in the Prophets [comp. dial. i. p. 398 c, hom. pasch. x, A.D. 423, p. 159 c] but has been made in truth this which we too are, without only sin. He is therefore God in that He is Word of the Father, and the own of His Essence; man, in that He hath been made flesh as it is written, and put about Him our flesh. The faith respecting our Lord Jesus Christ having this definition, let the words [spoken] of Him be discerned according to the ratio befitting them; and if thou hear, I and the Father are One, view the One Godhead of the Son and of the
Father and conceive of the Son as God out of the Essence of the Father; if again thou hear of Him that He wept and was grieved and was in fear and began to be in sore distress, conceive of Him again as being man along with being also God and attribute to the human nature what is due thereto. For since He took a Body mortal and subject to decay and liable to such like passions, needs does He with the flesh make His own its sufferings, and when it endures them, Himself is said to be enduring them. For thus do we say that He was both crucified and died, the flesh suffering this, not the Word apart and by Himself, for He is Impassible and Immortal. Hence we shall orthodoxly receive what is said, allotting to the Godhead the God-befitting, attributing to the flesh the things spoken of because of it and as it were forth of it through the natural motions that are in us: of which the mind having the perception, gushes up through the tongue the things voicelessly whispered in the depth out of sight." Thes. cap. 24 p. 232 b c d e. Near the close too of his 4th Paschal homily (A. D. 417) S. Cyril says, "The Word makes His own (full rightly) the Suffering (for His was the Body and none other's), seeing that when the Body was scourged, and besides spat on by the all-daring Jews, Himself through the Prophet Isaiah says, My Back I have given to scourges, My cheeks to blows." Hom. Pasch. 4 p. 58 d.
10. j "Being therefore the savour of God the Father, He will not be of other Essence than He; but as the scent naturally and essentially issuing forth from flowers, is indicative of the species which begat it, thus the Son too, being as it were a savour of the Father's Essence whence Himself is, makes known Him That begat Him: hence no creature is He, seeing that the Father is not." Thes. cap. 32, p. 274 d.
11. k τὰ ἡνωμένα. substantiae, Lat. αἱ ὑποστάσεις, syr.
12. l The idea that the Ark was a type of Christ's Body is very ancient, see the fragment preserved to us of S. Irenaeus (p.558 O.T.). S. Irenaeus speaks of the pure gold, somewhat similarly, "For as the Ark was gilded with pure gold both within and without, so was the Body of Christ too pure and resplendent: within adorned by the "Word and without kept by the Spirit." [The latter part of the note ought to be cancelled, for S. Irenaeus (as Severus understood him) followed 2 Sam. vi. 1. in the LXX which gives 70,000 as the number which David gathered.]
13. m ἀμώμητον, and so also the Syriac translation; the Latin version gives inrationabile, as though it had read ἀνόητον in place of ἀμώμητον.
14. n The words and he cast it on the ground, omitted in the Latin, are given in the Syriac version.
15. ° See a most interesting chapter on the two miracles mentioned in this and the next section, in S. Cyril's Glaphyra pp. 298 sqq. In the Glaphyra, S. Cyril goes on to speak of the third miracle, the water turned into blood, see below § 30 p. 225. In his second Paschal homily (A.D. 415) S. Cyril speaks of the rod become a serpent, but there likens God's own people to a rod springing up from the earth, but becoming a serpent when it fell away from its lawgiver, and again becoming fair and good (p. 28 fin.).
16. p I have supplied even from the Syriac; καὶ ὅτε ἄνθρωπος being S. Cyril's usual way of stating this.
17. q See a very similar expression in a little treatise of S. Athariasius on the Incarnation, quoted by S. Cyril, de recta fide to the Princesses Arcadia and Marina, p. 48 a c, and in S. Cyril's Defence of his eighth chapter against the strictures of the Eastern Bishops, p. 178 b and c.
18. r The Syriac gives a very similar title, Cogitationes ad fidem aptae.
19. s see de recta fide to the Princesses, p. 71 fin.
20. t of God, of Christ. The word and is omitted in the Latin (and there is great manuscriptal variation in these words of S. Paul). The syriac translation gives, of God and of Christ. In Thes. 287 c, the best manuscript gives, τοῦ θεοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ χριστοῦ; the Cod. Coislin 248 written in the year 1066, has τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς καὶ χριστοῦ: the syriac translation of the Thesaurus curiously has, of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Thesaurus too S. Cyril cites the text to prove that the Son is God.
21. u This title I have introduced from the Syriac The Latin goes straight on.
22. v The Syriac translates as we, for salvatoris, salutaris, saving, or, quickening.
23. x I have added God from the Syriac.
24. y The Syriac reads nomino for nominat, i. e. had run in vain who preach Christ as God to the Gentiles and everywhere call His Mystery Divine.
25. z See S. Cyril's commentary on this verse, on S. John, pp. 165 fin., 166 O.T., and above, p 56.
26. a see above, p. 57 and note x.
27. b obnoxium = ἔνοχον. The syriac translation has, owes the tribute-money: see above p. 53 note t.
28. c The syriac supplies the fresh section-number 26 here; the Latin gives no break.
29. d σχετικὴν the Greek word is retained in the Latin translation. The reasoning is, Christ made Man was thoroughly and essentially united to His own Body: that was a habitation of real union, His inhabitation of our souls is of grace only. See the careful explanation of Col. ii. 9 in p. 35.
30. e The words, but when I depart, I will send Him to you, are omitted, from homoeoteleuton, by the latin; but given in the syriac translation, and are necessary, since S. Cyril's whole argument turns on the word, sent, as used of God, although He fill all things.
31. f See S. Cyril's first Chapter and defence of it against Andrew, above p. 24 note q.
32. g "God therefore is Christ, to whom we reconciled, are reconciled to God (2 Cor. v. 20)." de recta fide to the Princesses p. 67 b.
33. h Either Immanuel, With us is God, or, Jesus, Saviour, are new names, as specially belonging to the time of the Incarnation. S. Cyril elsewhere speaks of each: in his Thesaurus he had said, "Except the Son were God by Nature, He would not have been called, With us is God, which took place when He was born through a woman, assuming likeness with us. Not at all of an angel or of any other generate being is the word, Emmanuel, the invention, but the Father thus named the Son. And the holy Prophet will be our witness, saying of the Divine Offspring, And they shall call His name that new Name which the Lord shall give Him (Isa. lxii. 2 LXX). For a new name verily to the Son is Emmanuel, that is, With us is God. For before His Presence in the world with flesh, He was and was called merely God; after the Birth from the Virgin, no longer merely God, but, with us, i. e. God made man. Since therefore the Father calls His own Son God, let them blush who impiously and unlearnedly say that He was made. For what is by Nature God, is not a creature," cap. 32 p. 303 b c. "This new Name (Jesus) we say has been given to the Word through the Angel's voice." de recta fide to the Emperor, p. 2p d. "Before the times of the Incarnation no one is found naming the Word out of God, Jesus or Christ, unless by foreknowledge that He should be called this in due time when He also was made flesh. A new name therefore to Him is the Name Jesus, when He was made man." de recta fide to the Princesses, p. 120 d. "For a new name to the Word is Jesus, concurrent with the birth of the flesh. And the Prophet's oracle will support us, which says, And they shall call His Name the new name which the Lord shall give Him." Dial. v. 551 d. "For when will any shew that the Word was called Jesus or Christ, save because He was made man? for He is Jesus, because He saves His people, Christ, because anointed for our sakes. Therefore not the Word out of God the Father, as yet bare before the Incarnation, but made in flesh does he call both Jesus and Christ: and of Him questionless does he say that He was yesterday and to-day, The Same too for ever." Hom. Pasch. vii. (A.D. 420) p. 101 b c.
34. i Creatum, made, = γεγενηαένον: the Syriac version gives γεγεννημένον, born.
35. k see above pp. 106, 107.
36. l Thus too the Syriac version, not adding, and the flat of Jacob's thigh was out of joint.
37. m We still possess a long Letter of S. Cyril's to Acacius Bishop of Scythopolis (or Bethshan), illustrating the unity of Godhead and Manhood in Christ, as typified, 1, in the two goats (Lev. xvi. 7 sqq.), whereof one was sacrificed, one went free, yet both were needed to make up the perfect Atonement: 2, in the two birds for the cleansing of the leper, as here. Epp. pp. 121 -132.
38. n See Ecumenic Letter to John archbishop of Antioch, 3 Epp. p. 72, and above p. 44 note e. S. Gregory of Nazianzum, in his famous Letter to Cledonius (Ep. ad Cled. 1) speaks of that Apollinarian error, of which S. Cyril was suspected, in these words, "If any one say that the Flesh hath come down out of Heaven, and is not hence and of us (παρ' ἡμῶν), be he anathema. For that the second Man is out of Heaven, and As is the Heavenly, such too they that are heavenly, and, No one hath gone up into Heaven except He Who came out of Heaven, the Son of Man, and whatever else there is, is to be understood as said, because of the union with the Heavenly (διὰ τῆν πρὸς τὸν οὐράνιον ἕνωσιν)." t.1 p. 740 ed. Par. 1609.
S. Cyril in 7th Paschal homily (A.D. 420, probably almost ten years before his books against Nestorius) had said, " God the Word was born on earth through the holy Virgin, after the flesh, but came down from heaven. How then does He say that the Son of man came down out of Heaven? how again does He say that He will go up where He was before (S. John vi. 62)? Thou seest therefore how drawing in the ineffable concurrence in union unparted and unsevered (ἀδιαστάτῳ τε καὶ ἀδιορίστῳ . . . ἑνότητι), He would have One Christ both before flesh and with flesh confessed by us. Therefore He says that His flesh albeit by nature of earth came down from above and out of Heaven, and will ascend into Heaven too where it was before. For that which is inherent in Him by Nature He puts about His own flesh as being not other than it as regards the Economic union. And we will not because of the utter union of things unlike in their nature, take away the fact that One is properly the Radiance of the Father, the other again the little flesh (τὸ σαρκίον) of earth or perfect man: but even thus distinguishing and in mere ideas (see above p. 78 note z) parting the plan of each, we will draw them in to union again unparted. For the Word was made flesh, according to the holy Evangelist, not turned into flesh." p. 102 b c d. See also de recta fide to the Emperor, p. 36 a b.
39. o "He sanctifies, being Holy by Nature, as God; He is sanctified with us humanly, when taking the likeness with us (and in this respect I mean He is sanctified albeit having authority over all as God), He is not ashamed to call us brothers." dial. vi. p. 596 e.
40. p "If being God Immortal, He is said to die as man, being; Most High as God He is said to be exalted as man." Thes. cap. 20 p. 196 c. See the very similar words near the end of the Quod Unus, pp. 302-304, and the notes f, g, h.
41. q See this same argument in the treatise de Recta Fide to the Emperor Theodosius p. 31, put forth anew in the little Dialogue De Incarnatione Unigeniti, p. 703: see also above, p. 76.
42. r S. Cyril's argument on those words in his Thesaurus, against the Arians who denied the Son's Godhead, equally holds here as to its being no mere man apart by himself who was walking on the water. S. Cyril says, "What then will they say who contend against the Truth and follow only their own likings, when they seethe whole choir of the holy Apostles together worshipping the Son as God and saying with an oath that Truly He is the Son of God? for if according to their unlearning He is one of the creatures how is He truly Son of God? for it were impossible that one who has not by nature come forth out of any, and who has not the own (τὸ ἴδιον) of the essence of him who begat him, be truly son. And how if the disciples made a mistake in saying this, was the Saviour silent, albeit He did not disregard them when they made mistakes? and verily to Peter when on one occasion he answered not aright, He says, Get behind Me satan, thou art an offence to Me because thou savourest not God's but man's. But since He was silent, when called truly the Son of God, in that He rebuked them not as mistaken, it is clear that He accepts them as saying aright. Seeing then that the holy Apostles say that He is Son and truly so, and that Christ Himself assents to it, who will endure them who bruit something else?" Thes. cap. 32, pp. 308 d e. "What did the most wise disciples, esteeming Him as Son not as creature? For when stepping on edge of wave, strewing neath His Feet with ineffable might the moist and soon-dissolving nature of the waters, He coursed the wide expanse, and gave the holy disciples an unwonted wonder, and at length of His own will vent with them and sailed in their little skiff, albeit He might most easily, had He willed to do it, have been borne on the waves themselves: they in astonishment and reflecting on that resistless authority, began to worship saying, Truly Thou art Son of God. Will they then, doing this with an oath and saying that He is truly Son of God, be reasonably accused of falsehood and be taken and convicted of aberration from the truth? For if He is not Son, sprung of the Essence of Him Who begat Him, but a creature, gilded with the glory of sonship and having the appellation in mere words, why did they worship Him? why did the initiators and heralds of the Truth call Him Son?" Dial ii. p.437 d e.
43. s inaestimabiliter, put at the beginning of § 28 to translate ἀπορρήτως; the Syriac version too gives unspeakably.
44. t This most carefully guarded language of S. Cyril is not the effect of any necessity arising from controversy with Nestorius, but of a mind from the beginning educated in careful precision of thought and utterance as regards the Mystery of the Incarnation. In his 7th Paschal homily (A.D. 420), after speaking of great agricultural distress in various degrees of severity in different villages in Egypt, S. Cyril points out that it is the due punishment of their sin and speaks of the proneness to pity of the Only-Begotten, and that He is God and Man in One. See a passage quoted from this Homily, above p. 227 note n, and the closing words of the extract, "For the Word was made flesh, as saith the holy Evangelist, not turned into flesh; for he says not this, but called Him flesh, instead of saying in full man." Hom. Pasch. vii. 102 d. And in the Thesaurus, "It was then the aim of the Incarnate Word to shew clearly that He really put about Him flesh and has been made man, not casting away the being God the Word: for it was not possible that the human race should in other way be saved. Yet lest any hearing that He has been made flesh should suppose that the Unchangeable Word of God has been transformed and become ought else than He was from the beginning, needs does He at one time utter words befitting man, at another displays deeds belonging to Godhead alone, in order that both together (τὸ συναμφότερον) may be conceived of.... Sin, as sinless and unknowing to have it Me rightly rejects, but suffers His body and His human nature to suffer what belong to the nature itself, as a proof that He really and truly bears flesh and was made man, according to the Scriptures. But since (as we said above) it behoved Him to be shewn forth as God even in flesh, He works sometimes what belong to God and says to them who see Him, If ye believe not Me, i. e. by reason of looking on a man, yet believe My works, that ye may know and believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. Hence the things said and wrought in God-befitting wise shew that the Saviour is God: and again the things said and done humanly shew that He is of a truth man. For this is the force of the mystery." Thes. cap. 24 p. 231 a b c d.
45. u Probably ἀναφορὰ, which S. Cyril uses several times in the Quod Unus est Christus, below pp. 255, 257 &c, and especially on this very subject, p. 259.
46. x See the same illustrations in the treatise Quod Unus est Christus below, p. 259.
Christ signifies an anointing or setting apart to some work.
186 Christ, Incarnate God, restores us the Holy Ghost.
Emmanuel aided them of old, is with us as God and Man. 187
188 Emmanuel, Christ, Jesus ---- God, with us, anointed, Saviour.
Emmanuel out of Heaven, yet Man. 189
190 The Full made His own the emptiness.
The Word has Two Generations: He our Sacrifice. 191
192 Modes of union: that of the Son God Alone knows.
Closest connection of body and soul, that of Emmanuel higher. 193
194 Types of that Ineffable Union.
Types of that Ineffable Union. 195
196 Ark overlaid within, the Soul, without, the Body.
Christ God by Nature: Godhead cannot be grasped by earth. 197
198 God the Word lowered Himself, not man raised himself.
He humbled, emptied Himself: is in His own glory with flesh. 199
200 Incarnate =born as we yet God. Two sets of
names are His. One, yet natures inconfused. 201
202 Jesus makes His own what belong to His Manhood.
Mercy-seat type of Emmanuel, God and Man. 203
204 Brazen serpent type of Incarnate Son:
on the Father's Throne with Body. Leprous hand. 205
206 Jesus Christ Incarnate Word: spake the Law,
spake to us. Made flesh = God made Man. 207
208 If Emmanuel God as God-dwelt, we too.
: S. Paul says that Christ is God. 209
210 Christ the Great God: in Him our blessed Hope:
S. Paul preached, knows hearts, forgives, Co-sits. 211
212 Christ God: else indwelling and man-worship..
The Son made Man without change. 213
214 The Word has a second Birth, yet changes not.
The Word with His manhood One, in us an indwelling. 215
216 God fills all as He knows: sent, His Divine work for us.
The Son Eternal Offspring of the Father, Mary's Child. 217
218 B. V. bare God, not Godhead apart by Itself.
Soul not born of body, yet the two man: Christ God and man. 219
220 God the Son a Boy and saved us.
God made Man by birth. 221
222 King David's testimony.
Habakkuk's testimony: the Patriarch Jacob's. 223
224 Daniel testifies God in man's likeness.
The Son, Unsuffering, not apart from that which suffers. 225
226 Types of Life dying:
His what befall His Flesh, yet One. 227
228 All His, yet in different mode.
He worships and is worshipped: One. 229
230 One with flesh too. Truly an oath. With intimates two.
Nicene Fathers spake by Holy Ghost: their gainsayers mad. 231
232 The Son's the Body, its passions and sufferings. His Nature
Impassible: Himself Unchanging. 233
234 Union true, relation untenable.
The Word One, suffered in the flesh. Impassible. 235
236 God superior to suffering, suffered in His Manhood.
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