Writings of Athanasius. The Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word.

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Edited by Archibald Robertson
Principal of Bishop Hatfield's Hall, Durham, Late Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford

Under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Semimary, New York, and Henry Wace, D.D., Principal of King's College, London

Published in 1892 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

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Introduction to the Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word.

The tract `against the Gentiles' leaves the reader face to face with the necessity of restoration by the Divine Word as the remedy for corrupt human nature. How this necessity is met in the Incarnation is shewn in the pages which follow. The general design of the second tract is to illustrate and confirm the doctrine of the Incarnation by shewing (1) its necessity and end, (2) the congruity of its details, (3) its truth, as against the objections of Jews and Gentiles, (4) its result. He begins by a review (recapitulating c. Gent. 2-7) of the doctrine of creation and of man's place therein. The abuse by man of his special Privilege had resulted in its loss. By foregoing the Divine Life, man had entered upon a course of endless undoing, of progressive decay, from which none could rescue him but the original bestower of his life (2-7). Then follows a description in glowing words of the Incarnation of the Divine Word and of its efficacy against the plague of corruption (8-10). With the Divine Life, man had also received, in the knowledge of God, the conscious reflex of the Divine Likeness, the faculty of reason in its highest exercise. This knowledge their moral fall dimmed and perverted. Heeding not even the means by which God sought to remind them of Himself, they fell deeper and deeper into materialism and superstition. To restore the effaced likeness the presence of the Original was requisite. Accordingly, condescending to man's sense-bound intelligence--lest men should have been created in vain in the Image of God--the Word took Flesh and became an object of Sense, that through the Seen He might reveal the Invisible (11-16).

Having dwelt (17-19) upon the meaning and purpose of the Incarnation, he proceeds to speak of the Death and Resurrection of the Incarnate Word. He, Who alone could renew the handiwork and restore the likeness and give afresh the knowledge of God, must needs, in order to pay the debt which all had incurred (to para panton opheilomenon), die in our stead, offering the sacrifice on behalf of all, so as to rise again, as our first-fruits, from the grave (20-32, note especially 20). After speaking of the especial fitness of the Cross, once the instrument of shame, now the trophy of victory, and after meeting some difficulties connected with the manner of the Lord's Death, he passes to the Resurrection. He shews how Christ by His triumph over the grave changed (27) the relative ascendancy of Death and Life: and how the Resurrection with its momentous train of consequences, follows of necessity (31) from the Incarnation of Him in Whom was Life.

The two main divisions of contemporary unbelief are next combated. In either case the root of the difficulty is moral; with the Greeks it is a frivolous cynicism, with the Jews, inveterate obstinacy. The latter (33-40) are confuted, firstly, by their own Scriptures, which predict both in general and in detail the coming of Jesus Christ. Also, the old Jewish polity, both civil and religious, has passed away, giving place to the Church of Christ.

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Turning to the Greeks (41-45), and assuming that they allow the existence of a pervading Spirit, whose presence is the sustaining principle of all things, he challenges them to reject, without inconsistency, the Union of that Spirit, the Logos (compare St. Augustine Conf. VII. ix.), with one in particular of the many constituents of that Universe wherein he already dwells. And since man alone (43. 3) of the creatures had departed from the order of his creation, it was man's nature that the Word united to Himself, thus repairing the breach between the creature and the Creator at the very point where it had occurred.

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God did not restore man by a mere fiat (44) because, just as repentance on man's part (7) could not eradicate his disease, so such a fiat on God's part would have amounted to the annihilation of human nature as it was, and the creation of a fresh race. Man's definite disorder God met with a specific remedy, overcoming death with life. Thus man has been enabled once more to shew forth, in common with the rest of Creation, the handiwork and glory of his Maker.

Athanasius then confronts the Greeks, as he had the Jews, with facts. Since the coming of Christ, paganism, popular and philosophic, had been falling into discredit and decay. The impotence and rivalries of the philosophic teachers, the local and heterogeneous character, the low moral ideals of the old worships, are contrasted with the oneness and inspiring power of the religion of the Crucified. Such are the two, the dying and the living systems; it remains for him who will to taste and see what that life is which is the gift of Christ to them that follow Him (46-end).

The purpose of the tract, in common with the contra Gentes, being to commend the religion of Christ to acceptance, the argument is concerned more with the Incarnation as a living fact, and with its place in the scheme of God's dealing with man, than with its analysis as a theological doctrine. He does not enter upon the question, fruitful of controversy in the previous century at Alexandria, but soon to burst forth into furious debate, of the Sonship of the Word and of His relation to God the Father. Still less does he touch the Christological questions which arose with the decline of the Arian tempest, questions associated with the names of Apollinarius, Theodore, Cyril, Nestorius, Eutyches, Theodoret, and Dioscorus. But we feel already that firm grasp of soteriological principles which mark him out as the destined conqueror of Arianism, and which enabled him by a sure instinct to anticipate unconsciously the theological difficulties which troubled the Church for the century after his death. It is the broad comprehensive treatment of the subject in its relation to God, human nature, and sin, that gives the work its interest to readers of the present day. In strong reaction from modern or medieval theories of Redemption, which to the thoughtful Christian of to-day seem arbitrary, or worse, it is with relief that men find that from the beginning it was not so; that the theology of the early Church interpreted the great Mystery of godliness in terms which, if short of the fulness of the Pauline conception, are yet so free from arbitrary assumptions, so true to human nature as the wisest of men know it, so true to the worthiest and grandest ideas of God (see below, p. 33 ad fin.). The de Incarnatione, then, is perhaps more appreciated in our day than at any date since the days of its writer.

It may therefore be worth while to devote a word or two to some peculiarities incidental to its aim and method. We observe first of all how completely the power of the writer is absorbed in the subject under discussion. It is therefore highly precarious to infer anything from his silence even on points which might seem to require explanation in the course of his argument. Not a word is said of the doctrine of the Trinity, nor of the Holy Spirit; this directly follows from the purpose of the work, in accordance with the general truth that while the Church preaches Christ to the World, the Office and Personality of the Spirit belongs to her inner life. The teaching of the tract with regard to the constitution of man is another case in point. It might appear (3, cf. 11. 2, 13. 2) that Athanasius ascribed the reasonable soul of man, and his immortality after death, not to the constitution of human nature as such, but to the grace superadded to it by the Creator (he tou kat' eikona charis), a grace which constituted men logikoi (3. 4) by virtue of the power of the Logos, and which, if not forfeited by sin, involved the privilege of immortality. We have, then, to carefully consider whether Athanasius held, or meant to suggest, that man is by nature, and apart from union with God, (1) rational, or (2) immortal. If we confine our view to the treatise before us, there would be some show of reason in answering both questions in the negative; and with regard to immortality this has been recently done by an able correspondent of The Times (April 9, 1890).

But that Athanasius held the essential rationality and immortality of the soul is absolutely clear, if only from c. Gent. 32 and 33. We have, then, to find an explanation of his language in the present treatise. With regard to immortality, it should be observed (1) that the language employed (in 4. 5, where kenothenai tou einai aei is explained by to dialuthentas menein en to thanato kai te phthora) suggests a continued condition, and therefore something short of annihilation, although not worthy of the name of existence or life,--(2) that even in the worst of men the image of God is defaced, but not effaced (14. 1, &c.), and that even when grace is lost (7. 4), man cannot be as though the contact with the divine had never taken place;--(3) that in this work, as by St. Paul in 1 Cor. xv., the final destiny of the wicked is passed over (but for the general reference 56. 3) in silence. It may be added (4) that Athanasius puts together all that separates man from irrational creatures without clearly drawing the line between what belongs to the natural man and what to the kat' eikona charis. The subject of eschatology is nowhere dealt with in full by Athanasius; while it is quite certain (c. Gent. 33) that he did not share the inclination of some earlier writers (see D.C.B. ii. p. 192) toward the idea of conditional immortality, there is also no reason to think that he held with the Universalism of Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and others (see Migne, Patr. Gr. xxvii. p. 1404 A, also 1384 C, where `the unfortunate Origen's' opinions seem to be rejected, but with an implied deprecation of harsh judgment). As to his view of the essential rationality of man (see c. Gent. 32) the consideration (4) urged above once more applies (compare the discussion in Harnack, Dg. ii. 146 sqq.). Yet he says that man left to himself can have no idea of God at all (11. 1), and that this would deprive him of any claim to be considered a rational being (ib. 2). The apparent inconsistency is removed if we understand that man may be rational potentially (as all men are) and yet not rational in the sense of exercising reason (which is the case with very many). In other words, grace gives not the faculty itself, but its integrity, the latter being the result not of the mere psychological existence of the faculty, but of the reaction upon it of its highest and adequate object. (The same is true to a great extent of the doctrine of pneuma in the New Testament.)

A somewhat similar caution is necessary with regard to the analogy drawn out (41, &c.) between the Incarnation and the Union of the Word with the Universe. The treatise itself (17. 1, ektos kat' ousian, and see notes on 41) supplies the necessary corrective in this case. It may be pointed out here that the real difference between Athanasius and the neo-Platonists was not so much upon the Union of the Word with any created Substance, which they were prepared to allow, as upon the exclusive Union of the Word with Man, in Contrast to His essential distinctness from the Universe. This difference goes back to the doctrine of Creation, which was fixed as a great gulf between the Christian and the Platonist view of the Universe. The relation of the latter to the Word is fully discussed in the third part of the contra Gentes, the teaching of which must be borne in mind while reading the forty-first and following chapters of the present treatise.

Lastly, the close relation between the doctrine of Creation and that of Redemption marks off the Soteriology of this treatise from that of the middle ages and of the Reformation. Athanasius does not leave out of sight the idea of satisfaction for a debt. To him also the Cross was the central purpose (20. 2, cf. 9. 1, 2, &c.) of His Coming. But the idea of Restoration is most prominent in his determination of the necessity of the Incarnation. God could have wiped out our guilt, had He so pleased, by a word (44): but human nature required to be healed, restored, recreated. This (anaktisai) is the foremost of the three ideas (7. 5) which sum up his account of the `dignus tanto Vindice nodus [191] .

The translation which follows is that printed in 1885 (D. Nutt, second edition, 1891) by the editor of this volume, with a very few changes (chiefly 2. 2, 8. 4, 34. 2, 44. 7, 8): it was originally made for the purpose of lectures at Oxford (1879-1882), and the analytical headings now prefixed to each chapter are extracted verbatim from notes made for the same course of lectures. The notes have mostly appeared either in the former edition of the translation, or appended to the Greek text published (D. Null, 1882) by the translator. A few, however, have now been added, including some references to the Sermo Major, which borrows wholesale from the present treatise (Prolegg. ch. III. 1. 37). Two other English translations have appeared, the one (Parker, 1880) previous, the other (Religious Tract Society, n.d.) subsequent to that of the present translator. The text followed is that of the Benedictine editors, with a few exceptions. Of those that at all affect the sense, 43.6 (kai to soma) and 51. 2 (kata tes eid;) are due to Mr. Marriott (Analecta Christiana, Oxf. 1844). For the others (13. 2, omission of me, 28. 3, kata tou puros rejecting conjectures of Montf. and Marriott, 42. 6, omission of pepoiekenai 57. 3, kai ta for ta kai) the present editor is alone responsible.

Synopsis of the Treatise.

Introduction. The Redemptive work of the Word based on His initial relation to the Creature.

FIRST PART.--The Incarnation of the Word.

Doctrine of Creation:

(1) Three erroneous views (2) rejected:

The Epicurean (materialistic) as failing to recognize a differentiating Principle.

The Platonic (matter pre-existent) as not satisfying the idea of God

The Gnostic (dualistic) as contradictory to Scripture

(2) The true doctrine (3) and its application to the Creation of Man

This directly brings us to a

First Reason for the Incarnation:

By departing from the Word, men lost the Principle of Life, and were wasting away (4, 5)

God could neither avert nor suffer this (6)

The latter would argue weakness, the former changeableness (7) on God's part

The Word alone could solve this dilemma (7. 4). This done by His becoming man (8) and dying for us all (9). Reasonableness, and results of this (10)

Second Reason for the Incarnation:

In departing from the Word, men had also lost the Principle of Reason, by which they knew God. In spite of God's witness to Himself, they were sunk into superstition and mental degradation (11, 12)

How none but the Word could remedy this (13, 14)

How He actually did so (15, 16). The Incarnation, a revelation of the Invisible Godhead

Transition to Second Part:

The Incarnation an irresistible revelation of God. This is especially true of the Death of Christ.

SECOND PART.--The Death and Resurrection of Christ.

His Death:

1.--Why necessary

2.--Why death by Crucifixion--

a.--Why public, and not natural, but at the hands of others (21-23)

b.--Why not of His own choosing (24)

c.--Why the Cross, of all deaths (25)

His rising again:

1.--Why on the third day

2.--Changed relation of Death to mankind

3.--Reality of His Resurrection--This:

a.--To be tested by Experience (28)

b.--Implied by its visible effects (29-31. 3)

c.--Involved in the Nature of the Incarnate Word (31. 4)

d.--Confirmed by what we see; as is the case with all truth about the unseen God (32. 1-5)

Summary of what is thus proved to be true (32. 6)

THIRD PART.--Refutation of Contemporary Unbelief.

A.--Refutation of Jews:

1.--From principles admitted by them--i.e., from prophecies relating to the Messiah

2.--From facts: cessation of the Jewish dispensation, as foretold by Daniel

B.--Refutation of Gentiles:

1.--From principles admitted by them-

a.--The Word, whose existence contemporary philosophy allowed, might reasonably be supposed to unite Himself to some particular nature: consequently, to human nature

b.--Reasons for His Union with Man in particular

c.--Reasons why man should not be restored by a mere fiat

d.--Results of the Scheme actually adopted

2.--Refutation of Gentiles from facts--

a.--Discredit and decay, since the coming of Christ, of philosophic and popular paganism

b.--Influence of Christian morals on Society

c.--Influence of Christ on the individual

d.--Nature and glory of Christ's Work: summary of His victory over paganism

CONCLUSION: the enquirer referred to the Scriptures. Indispensable moral conditions of the investigation of Spiritual Truth


Footnotes

[191] The corrections were made before he could obtain the essay carefully and gratefully used, but his text is defective, especially and text of Sievers (Zeitsch. Hist. Theol. 1868), where he now from the accidental omission of one of the key-clauses of the finds them nearly all anticipated. Sievers' discussion has been whole (17).


On the Incarnation of the Word.

1. Introductory.--The subject of this treatise: the humiliation and incarnation of the Word. Presupposes the doctrine of Creation, and that by the Word. The Father has saved the world by Him through Whom he first made it.

Whereas in what precedes we have drawn out--choosing a few points from among many--a sufficient account of the error of the heathen concerning idols, and of the worship of idols, and how they originally came to be invented; how, namely, out of wickedness men devised for themselves the worshipping of idols: and whereas we have by God's grace noted somewhat also of the divinity of the Word of the Father, and of His universal Providence and power, and that the Good Father through Him orders all things, and all things are moved by Him, and in Him are quickened: come now, Macarius [192] (worthy of that name), and true lover of Christ, let us follow up the faith of our religion [193] , and set forth also what relates to the Word's becoming Man, and to His divine Appearing amongst us, which Jews traduce and Greeks laugh to scorn, but we worship; in order that, all the more for the seeming low estate of the Word, your piety toward Him may be increased and multiplied. 2. For the more He is mocked among the unbelieving, the more witness does He give of His own Godhead; inasmuch as He not only Himself demonstrates as possible what men mistake, thinking impossible, but what men deride as unseemly, this by His own goodness He clothes with seemliness, and what men, in their conceit of wisdom, laugh at as merely human, He by His own power demonstrates to be divine, subduing the pretensions of idols by His supposed humiliation--by the Cross--and those who mock and disbelieve invisibly winning over to recognise His divinity and power. 3. But to treat this subject it is necessary to recall what has been previously said; in order that you may neither fail to know the cause of the bodily appearing of the Word of the Father, so high and so great, nor think it a consequence of His own nature that the Saviour has worn a body; but that being incorporeal by nature, and Word from the beginning, He has yet of the loving-kindness and goodness of His own Father been manifested to us in a human body for our salvation. 4. It is, then, proper for us to begin the treatment of this subject by speaking of the creation of the universe, and of God its Artificer, that so it may be duly perceived that the renewal of creation has been the work of the self-same Word that made it at the beginning. For it will appear not inconsonant for the Father to have wrought its salvation in Him by Whose means He made it.


Footnotes

[192] See Contra Gentes, i. The word (Makarie) may be an adjective only, but its occurrence in both places seems decisive. The name was very common (Apol. c. Ar. passim). `Macarius' was a Christian, as the present passage shews: he is presumed (c. Gent. i. 7) to have access to Scripture. [193] tes eusebeias. See 1 Tim. iii. 16, and note 1 on De Decr. 1.

2. Erroneous views of Creation rejected. (1) Epicurean (fortuitous generation). But diversity of bodies and parts argues a creating intellect. (2.) Platonists (pre-existent matter.) But this subjects God to human limitations, making Him not a creator but a mechanic. (3) Gnostics (an alien Demiurge). Rejected from Scripture.

Of the making of the universe and the creation of all things many have taken different views, and each man has laid down the law just as he pleased. For some say that all things have come into being of themselves, and in a chance fashion; as, for example, the Epicureans, who tell us in their self-contempt, that universal providence does not exist, speaking right in the face of obvious fact and experience. 2. For if, as they say, everything has had its beginning of itself, and independently of purpose, it would follow that everything had come into [194] mere being, so as to be alike and not distinct. For it would follow in virtue of the unity of body that everything must be sun or moon, and in the case of men it would follow that the whole must be hand, or eye, or foot. But as it is this is not so. On the contrary, we see a distinction of sun, moon, and earth; and again, in the case of human bodies, of foot, hand, and head. Now, such separate arrangement as this tells us not of their having come into being of themselves, but shews that a cause preceded them; from which cause it is possible to apprehend God also as the Maker and Orderer of all.

3. But others, including Plato, who is in such repute among the Greeks, argue that God has made the world out of matter previously existing and without beginning. For God could have made nothing had not the material existed already; just as the wood must exist ready at hand for the carpenter, to enable him to work at all. 4. But in so saying they know not that they are investing God with weakness. For if He is not Himself the cause of the material, but makes things only of previously existing material, He proves to be weak, because unable to produce anything He makes without the material; just as it is without doubt a weakness of the carpenter not to be able to make anything required without his timber. For, ex hypothesi, had not the material existed, God would not have made anything. And how could He in that case be called Maker and Artificer, if He owes His ability to make to some other source--namely, to the material? So that if this be so, God will be on their theory a Mechanic only, and not a Creator out of nothing [195] ; if, that is, He works at existing material, but is not Himself the cause of the material. For He could not in any sense be called Creator unless He is Creator of the material of which the things created have in their turn been made. 5. But the sectaries imagine to themselves a different artificer of all things, other than the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in deep blindness even as to the words they use. 6. For whereas the Lord says to the Jews [196] : "Have ye not read that from the beginning He which created them made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall become one flesh?" and then, referring to the Creator, says, "What, therefore, God hath joined together let not man put asunder:" how come these men to assert that the creation is independent of the Father? Or if, in the words of John, who says, making no exception, "All things [197] were made by Him," and "without Him was not anything made," how could the artificer be another, distinct from the Father of Christ?


Footnotes

[194] Or, "been made in one way only." In the next clause I formerly translated the difficult words hos epi somatos henos `as in the case of the universe;' but although the rendering has commended itself to others I now reluctantly admit that it puts too much into the Greek (in spite of 41. 5). [195] eis to einai. [196] Matt. xix. 4, &c. [197] John i. 3.

3. The true doctrine. Creation out of nothing, of God's lavish bounty of being. Man created above the rest, but incapable of independent perseverance. Hence the exceptional and supra-natural gift of being in God's Image, with the promise of bliss conditionally upon his perseverance in grace.

Thus do they vainly speculate. But the godly teaching and the faith according to Christ brands their foolish language as godlessness. For it knows that it was not spontaneously, because forethought is not absent; nor of existing matter, because God is not weak; but that out of nothing, and without its having any previous existence, God made the universe to exist through His word, as He says firstly through Moses: "In [198] the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;" secondly, in the most edifying book of the Shepherd, "First [199] of all believe that God is one, which created and framed all things, and made them to exist out of nothing." 2. To which also Paul refers when he says, "By [200] faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the Word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which do appear." 3. For God is good, or rather is essentially the source of goodness: nor [201] could one that is good be niggardly of anything: whence, grudging existence to none, He has made all things out of nothing by His own Word, Jesus Christ our Lord. And among these, having taken especial pity, above all things on earth, upon the race of men, and having perceived its inability, by virtue of the condition of its origin, to continue in one stay, He gave them a further gift, and He did not barely create man, as He did all the irrational creatures on the earth, but made them after His own image, giving them a portion even of the power of His own Word; so that having as it were a kind of reflexion of the Word, and being made rational, they might be able to abide ever in blessedness, living the true life which belongs to the saints in paradise. 4. But knowing once more how the will of man could sway to either side, in anticipation He secured the grace given them by a law and by the spot where He placed them. For He brought them into His own garden, and gave them a law: so that, if they kept the grace and remained good, they might still keep the life in paradise without sorrow or pain or care besides having the promise of incorruption in heaven; but that if they transgressed and turned back, and became evil, they might know that they were incurring that corruption in death which was theirs by nature: no longer to live in paradise, but cast out of it from that time forth to die and to abide in death and in corruption. 5. Now this is that of which Holy Writ also gives warning, saying in the Person of God: "Of every tree [202] that is in the garden, eating thou shalt eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ye shall not eat of it, but on the day that ye eat, dying ye shall die." But by "dying ye shall die," what else could be meant than not dying merely, but also abiding ever in the corruption of death?


Footnotes

[198] Gen. i. 1. [199] Herm. Mand. 1. [200] Heb. xi. 3. [201] c. Gent. xli. and Plato, Timæus 29 E. [202] Gen. ii. 16, sq.

4. Our creation and God's Incarnation most intimately connected. As by the Word man was called from non-existence into being, and further received the grace of a divine life, so by the one fault which forfeited that life they again incurred corruption and untold sin and misery filled the world.

You are wondering, perhaps, for what possible reason, having proposed to speak of the Incarnation of the Word, we are at present treating of the origin of mankind. But this, too, properly belongs to the aim of our treatise. 2. For in speaking of the appearance of the Saviour amongst us, we must needs speak also of the origin of men, that you may know that the reason of His coming down was because of us, and that our transgression [203] called forth the loving-kindness of the Word, that the Lord should both make haste to help us and appear among men. 3. For of His becoming Incarnate we were the object, and for our salvation He dealt so lovingly as to appear and be born even in a human body. 4. Thus, then, God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption; but men, having despised and rejected the contemplation of God, and devised and contrived evil for themselves (as was said [204] in the former treatise), received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened; and from thenceforth no longer remained as they were made, but [205] were being corrupted according to their devices; and death had the mastery over them as king [206] . For transgression of the commandment was turning them back to their natural state, so that just as they have had their being out of nothing, so also, as might be expected, they might look for corruption into nothing in the course of time. 5. For if, out of a former normal state of non-existence, they were called into being by the Presence and loving-kindness of the Word, it followed naturally that when men were bereft of the knowledge of God and were turned back to what was not (for what is evil is not, but what is good is), they should, since they derive their being from God who IS, be everlastingly bereft even of being; in other words, that they should be disintegrated and abide in death and corruption. 6. For man is by nature mortal, inasmuch as he is made out of what is not; but by reason of his likeness to Him that is (and if he still preserved this likeness by keeping Him in his knowledge) he would stay his natural corruption, and remain incorrupt; as Wisdom [207] says: "The taking heed to His laws is the assurance of immortality;" but being incorrupt, he would live henceforth as God, to which I suppose the divine Scripture refers, when it says: "I have [208] said ye are gods, and ye are all sons of the most Highest; but ye die like men, and fall as one of the princes."


Footnotes

[203] Cf. Orat. ii. 54, note 4. [204] c. Gent. 3-5. [205] Eccles. vii. 29; Rom. i. 21, 22. [206] Rom. v. 14. [207] Wisd. vi. 18. [208] Ps. lxxxii. 6, sq.

5. For God has not only made us out of nothing; but He gave us freely, by the Grace of the Word, a life in correspondence with God. But men, having rejected things eternal, and, by counsel of the devil, turned to the things of corruption, became the cause [209] of their own corruption in death, being, as I said before, by nature corruptible, but destined, by the grace following from partaking of the Word, to have escaped their natural state, had they remained good. 2. For because of the Word dwelling with them, even their natural corruption did not come near them, as Wisdom also says [210] : "God made man for incorruption, and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death came into the world." But when this was come to pass, men began to die, while corruption thence-forward prevailed against them, gaining even more than its natural power over the whole race, inasmuch as it had, owing to the transgression of the commandment, the threat of the Deity as a further advantage against them.

3. For even in their misdeeds men had not stopped short at any set limits; but gradually pressing forward, have passed on beyond all measure: having to begin with been inventors of wickedness and called down upon themselves death and corruption; while later on, having turned aside to wrong and exceeding all lawlessness, and stopping at no one evil but devising all manner of new evils in succession, they have become insatiable in sinning. 4. For there were adulteries everywhere and thefts, and the whole earth was full of murders and plunderings. And as to corruption and wrong, no heed was paid to law, but all crimes were being practised everywhere, both individually and jointly. Cities were at war with cities, and nations were rising up against nations; and the whole earth was rent with civil commotions and battles; each man vying with his fellows in lawless deeds. 8. Nor were even crimes against nature far from them, but, as the Apostle and witness of Christ says: "For their [211] women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."


Footnotes

[209] Cf. Concil. Araus. II. Can. 23. `Suam voluntatem homines faciunt, non Dei, quando id agunt quod Deo displicet.' [210] Wisd. ii. 23, sq. [211] Rom. i. 26, sq.

6. The human race then was wasting, God's image was being effaced, and His work ruined. Either, then, God must forego His spoken word by which man had incurred ruin; or that which had shared in the being of the Word must sink back again into destruction, in which case God's design would be defeated. What then? was God's goodness to suffer this? But if so, why had man been made? It could have been weakness, not goodness on God's part.

For this cause, then, death having gained upon men, and corruption abiding upon them, the race of man was perishing; the rational man made in God's image was disappearing, and the handiwork of God was in process of dissolution. 2. For death, as I said above, gained from that time forth a legal [212] hold over us, and it was impossible to evade the law, since it had been laid down by God because [213] of the transgression, and the result was in truth at once monstrous and unseemly. 3. For it were monstrous, firstly, that God, having spoken, should prove false--that, when once He had ordained that man, if he transgressed the commandment, should die the death, after the transgression man should not die, but God's word should be broken. For God would not be true, if, when He had said we should die, man died not. 4. Again, it were unseemly that creatures once made rational, and having partaken of the Word, should go to ruin, and turn again toward non-existence by the way of corruption [214] . 5. For it were not worthy of God's goodness that the things He had made should waste away, because of the deceit practised on men by the devil. 6. Especially it was unseemly to the last degree that God's handicraft among men should be done away, either because of their own carelessness, or because of the deceitfulness of evil spirits.

7. So, as the rational creatures were wasting and such works in course of ruin, what was God in His goodness to do? Suffer corruption to prevail against them and death to hold them fast? And where were the profit of their having been made, to begin with? For better were they not made, than once made, left to neglect and ruin. 8. For neglect reveals weakness, and not goodness on God's part--if, that is, He allows His own work to be ruined when once He had made it--more so than if He had never made man at all. 9. For if He had not made them, none could impute weakness; but once He had made them, and created them out of nothing, it were most monstrous for the work to be ruined, and that before the eyes of the Maker. 10. It was, then, out of the question to leave men to the current of corruption; because this would be unseemly, and unworthy of God's goodness.


Footnotes

[212] Gen. ii. 15. [213] Gal. iii. 19 (verbally only). [214] Cf. Anselm cur Deus Homo, II. 4, `Valde alienum est ab eo, ut ullam rationalem naturam penitus perire sinat.'

7. On the other hand there was the consistency of God's nature, not to be sacrificed for our profit. Were men, then, to be called upon to repent? But repentance cannot avert the execution of a law; still less can it remedy a fallen nature. We have incurred corruption and need to be restored to the Grace of God's Image. None could renew but He Who had created. He alone could (1) recreate all, (2) suffer for all, (3) represent all to the Father.

But just as this consequence must needs hold, so, too, on the other side the just claims [215] of God lie against it: that God should appear true to the law He had laid down concerning death. For it were monstrous for God, the Father of truth, to appear a liar for our profit and preservation. 2. So here, once more, what possible course was God to take? To demand repentance of men for their transgression? For this one might pronounce worthy of God; as though, just as from transgression men have become set towards corruption, so from repentance they may once more be set in the way of incorruption. 3. But repentance would, firstly, fail to guard the just claim [216] of God. For He would still be none the more true, if men did not remain in the grasp of death; nor, secondly, does repentance call men back from what is their nature--it merely stays them from acts of sin. 4. Now, if there were merely a misdemeanour in question, and not a consequent corruption, repentance were well enough. But if, when transgression had once gained a start, men became involved in that corruption which was their nature, and were deprived of the grace which they had, being in the image of God, what further step was needed? or what was required for such grace and such recall, but the Word of God, which had also at the beginning made everything out of nought? 5. For His it was once more both to bring the corruptible to incorruption, and to maintain intact the just claim [217] of the Father upon all. For being Word of the Father, and above all, He alone of natural fitness was both able to recreate everything, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be ambassador for all with the Father.


Footnotes

[215] Literally "what is reasonable with respect to God," i.e. what is involved in His attributes and in His relation to us, cf. Rom. iii. 26, cf. Anselm, ib. I. 12, who slightly narrows down the idea of Athan. `Si peccatum sic dimittitur impunitum, similiter erit apud Deum peccanti et non peccanti, quod Deo non convenit....Inconvenientia autem iniustitia est.' [216] See previous note. [217] See previous note.

8. The Word, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present ; and saw all these evils. He takes a body of our Nature, and that of a spotless Virgin, in whose womb He makes it His own, wherein to reveal Himself, conquer death, and restore life.

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us [218] before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to shew loving-kindness upon us, and to visit us. 2. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that [219] before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what was come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how by little and little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery--lest the creature should perish, and His Father's handiwork in men be spent for nought--He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. 3. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear [220] . For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own [221] as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. 4. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father--doing this, moreover, of His loving-kindness, to the end that, firstly, all being held to have died in Him, the law involving the ruin of men might be undone (inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord's body, and had no longer holding-ground against men, his peers), and that, secondly, whereas men had turned toward corruption, He might turn them again toward incorruption, and quicken them from death by the appropriation [222] of His body and by the grace of the Resurrection, banishing death from them like straw from the fire [223] .


Footnotes

[218] Acts xvii. 27. [219] Cf. vi. 3. [220] Cf. 43. 2. [221] Cf. Orat. iii. 33, note 5, also ib. 31, note 10. [222] Cf. Orat. iii. 33, note 5, also ib. 31, note 10. [223] The simile is inverted. Men are the `straw,' death the `fire.' cf. xliv. 7.

9. The Word, since death alone could stay the plague, took a mortal body which, united with Him, should avail for all, and by partaking of His immortality stay the corruption of the Race. By being above all, He made His Flesh an offering for our souls; by being one with us all, he clothed us with immortality. Simile to illustrate this.

For the Word, perceiving that no otherwise could the corruption of men be undone save by death as a necessary condition, while it was impossible for the Word to suffer death, being immortal, and Son of the Father; to this end He takes to Himself a body capable of death, that it, by partaking of the Word Who is above all, might be worthy to die in the stead of all, and might, because of the Word which was come to dwell in it, remain incorruptible, and that thenceforth corruption might be stayed from all by the Grace of the Resurrection. Whence, by offering unto death the body He Himself had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from any stain, straightway He put away death from all His peers by the offering of an equivalent. 2. For being over all, the Word of God naturally by offering His own temple and corporeal instrument for the life [224] of all satisfied the debt by His death. And thus He, the incorruptible Son of God, being conjoined with all by a like nature, naturally clothed all with incorruption, by the promise of the resurrection. For the actual corruption in death has no longer holding-ground against men, by reason of the Word, which by His one body has come to dwell among them. 3. And like as [225] when a great king has entered into some large city and taken up his abode in one of the houses there, such city is at all events held worthy of high honour, nor does any enemy or bandit any longer descend upon it and subject it; but, on the contrary, it is thought entitled to all care, because of the king's having taken up his residence in a single house there: so, too, has it been with the Monarch of all. 4. For now that He has come to our realm, and taken up his abode in one body among His peers, henceforth the whole conspiracy of the enemy against mankind is checked, and the corruption of death which before was prevailing against them is done away. For the race of men had gone to ruin, had not the Lord and Saviour of all, the Son of God, come among us to meet the end of death [226] .


Footnotes

[224] antipsuchon. [225] Possibly suggested by the practice of the emperors. Constantinople was thus dignified a few years later (326). For this simile compare Sermo Major de Fide, c. 6. [226] Or, "to put an end to death."

10. By a like simile, the reasonableness of the work of redemption is shewn. How Christ wiped away our ruin, and provided its antidote by His own teaching. Scripture proofs of the Incarnation of the Word, and of the Sacrifice He wrought.

Now in truth this great work was peculiarly suited to God's goodness. 1. For if a king, having founded a house or city, if it be beset by bandits from the carelessness of its inmates, does not by any means neglect it, but avenges and reclaims it as his own work, having regard not to the carelessness of the inhabitants, but to what beseems himself; much more did God the Word of the all-good Father not neglect the race of men, His work, going to corruption: but, while He blotted out the death which had ensued by the offering of His own body, He corrected their neglect by His own teaching, restoring all that was man's by His own power. 2. And of this one may be assured at the hands of the Saviour's own inspired writers, if one happen upon their writings, where they say: "For the love of Christ [227] constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died, and He died for all that we should no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Him Who for our sakes died and rose again," our Lord Jesus Christ. And, again: "But [228] we behold Him, Who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that by the grace of God He should taste of death for every man." 3. Then He also points out the reason why it was necessary for none other than God the Word Himself to become incarnate; as follows: "For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering;" by which words He means, that it belonged to none other to bring man back from the corruption which had begun, than the Word of God, Who had also made them from the beginning. 4. And that it was in order to the sacrifice for bodies such as His own that the Word Himself also assumed a body, to this, also, they refer in these words [229] : "Forasmuch then as the children are the sharers in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might bring to naught Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." 5. For by the sacrifice of His own body, He both put an end to the law which was against us, and made a new beginning of life for us, by the hope of resurrection which He has given us. For since from man it was that death prevailed over men, for this cause conversely, by the Word of God being made man has come about the destruction of death and the resurrection of life; as the man which bore Christ [230] saith: "For [231] since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive:" and so forth. For no longer now do we die as subject to condemnation; but as men who rise from the dead we await the general resurrection of all, "which [232] in its own times He shall show," even God, Who has also wrought it, and bestowed it upon us. 6. This then is the first cause of the Saviour's being made man. But one might see from the following reasons also, that His gracious coming amongst us was fitting to have taken place.


Footnotes

[227] 2 Cor. v. 14. [228] Heb. ii. 9, sq. [229] Heb. ii. 14, sq. [230] Cf. Gal. vi. 17 [231] 1 Cor. xv. 21, sq. [232] 1 Tim. vi. 15.

11. Second reason for the Incarnation. God, knowing that man was not by nature sufficient to know Him, gave him, in order that he might have some profit in being, a knowledge of Himself. He made them in the Image of the Word, that thus they might know the Word, and through Him the Father. Yet man, despising this, fell into idolatry, leaving the unseen God for magic and astrology; and all this in spite of God's manifold revelation of Himself.

God, Who has the power over all things, when He was making the race of men through His own Word, seeing the weakness of their nature, that it was not sufficient of itself to know its Maker, nor to get any idea at all of God; because while He was uncreate, the creatures had been made of nought, and while He was incorporeal, men had been fashioned in a lower way in the body, and because in every way the things made fell far short of being able to comprehend and know their Maker--taking pity, I say, on the race of men, inasmuch as He is good, He did not leave them destitute of the knowledge of Himself, lest they should find no profit in existing at all [233] . 2. For what profit to the creatures if they knew not their Maker? or how could they be rational without knowing the Word (and Reason) of the Father, in Whom they received their very being? For there would be nothing to distinguish them even from brute creatures if they had knowledge of nothing but earthly things. Nay, why did God make them at all, as He did not wish to be known by them? 3. Whence, lest this should be so, being good, He gives them a share in His own Image, our Lord Jesus Christ, and makes them after His own Image and after His likeness: so that by such grace perceiving the Image, that is, the Word of the Father, they may be able through Him to get an idea of the Father, and knowing their Maker, live the happy and truly blessed life. 4. But men once more in their perversity having set at nought, in spite of all this, the grace given them, so wholly rejected God, and so darkened their soul, as not merely to forget their idea of God, but also to fashion for themselves one invention after another. For not only did they grave idols for themselves, instead of the truth, and honour things that were not before the living God, "and [234] serve the creature rather than the Creator," but, worst of all, they transferred the honour of God even to stocks and stones and to every material object and to men, and went even further than this, as we have said in the former treatise. 5. So far indeed did their impiety go, that they proceeded to worship devils, and proclaimed them as gods, fulfilling their own [235] lusts. For they performed, as was said above, offerings of brute animals, and sacrifices of men, as was meet for them [236] , binding themselves down all the faster under their maddening inspirations. 6. For this reason it was also that magic arts were taught among them, and oracles in divers places led men astray, and all men ascribed the influences of their birth and existence to the stars and to all the heavenly bodies, having no thought of anything beyond what was visible. 7. And, in a word, everything was full of irreligion and lawlessness, and God alone, and His Word, was unknown, albeit He had not hidden Himself out of men's sight, nor given the knowledge of Himself in one way only; but had, on the contrary, unfolded it to them in many forms and by many ways.


Footnotes

[233] Cf. 13. 2. [234] Cf. Rom. i. 25 [235] auton may refer to the daimones, in which case compare c. Gent. 25. sub fin. [236] See c. Gent. 25. 1, ta homoia tois homoiois. Or the text may mean simply "as their due."

12. For though man was created in grace, God, foreseeing his forgetfulness, provided also the works of creation to remind man of him. Yet further, He ordained a Law and Prophets, whose ministry was meant for all the world. Yet men heeded only their own lusts.

For whereas the grace of the Divine Image was in itself sufficient to make known God the Word, and through Him the Father; still God, knowing the weakness of men, made provision even for their carelessness: so that if they cared not to know God of themselves, they might be enabled through the works of creation to avoid ignorance of the Maker. 2. But since men's carelessness, by little and little, descends to lower things, God made provision, once more, even for this weakness of theirs, by sending a law, and prophets, men such as they knew, so that even if they were not ready to look up to heaven and know their Creator, they might have their instruction from those near at hand. For men are able to learn from men more directly about higher things. 3. So it was open to them, by looking into the height of heaven, and perceiving the harmony of creation, to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father, Who, by His own providence over all things makes known the Father to all, and to this end moves all things, that through Him all may know God. 4. Or, if this were too much for them, it was possible for them to meet at least the holy men, and through them to learn of God, the Maker of all things, the Father of Christ; and that the worship of idols is godlessness, and full of all impiety. 5. Or it was open to them, by knowing the law even, to cease from all lawlessness and live a virtuous life. For neither was the law for the Jews alone, nor were the Prophets sent for them only, but, though sent to the Jews and persecuted by the Jews, they were for all the world a holy school of the knowledge of God and the conduct of the soul. 6. God's goodness then and loving-kindness being so great--men nevertheless, overcome by the pleasures of the moment and by the illusions and deceits sent by demons, did not raise their heads toward the truth, but loaded themselves the more with evils and sins, so as no longer to seem rational, but from their ways to be reckoned void of reason.

13. Here again, was God to keep silence? to allow to false gods the worship He made us to render to Himself? A king whose subjects had revolted would, after sending letters and messages, go to them in person. How much more shall God restore in us the grace of His image. This men, themselves but copies, could not do. Hence the Word Himself must come (1) to recreate, (2) to destroy death in the Body.

So then, men having thus become brutalized, and demoniacal deceit thus clouding every place, and hiding the knowledge of the true God, what was God to do? To keep still silence at so great a thing, and suffer men to be led astray by demons and not to know God? 2. And what was the use of man having been originally made in God's image? For it had been better for him to have been made simply like a brute animal, than, once made rational, for him to live [237] the life of the brutes. 3. Or where was any necessity at all for his receiving the idea of God to begin with? For if he be not fit to receive it even now, it were better it had not been given him at first. 4. Or what profit to God Who has made them, or what glory to Him could it be, if men, made by Him, do not worship Him, but think that others are their makers? For God thus proves to have made these for others instead of for Himself. 5. Once again, a merely human king does not let the lands he has colonized pass to others to serve them, nor go over to other men; but he warns them by letters, and often sends to them by friends, or, if need be, he comes in person, to put them to rebuke in the last resort by his presence, only that they may not serve others and his own work be spent for naught. 6. Shall not God much more spare His own creatures, that they be not led astray from Him and serve things of nought? especially since such going astray proves the cause of their ruin and undoing, and since it was unfitting that they should perish which had once been partakers of God's image. 7. What then was God to do? or what was to be done save the renewing of that which was in God's image, so that by it men might once more be able to know Him? But how could this have come to pass save by the presence of the very Image of God, our Lord Jesus Christ? For by men's means it was impossible, since they are but made after an image; nor by angels either, for not even they are (God's) images. Whence the Word of God came in His own person, that, as He was the Image of the Father, He might be able to create afresh the man after the image. 8. But, again, it could not else have taken place had not death and corruption been done away. 9. Whence He took, in natural fitness, a mortal body, that while death might in it be once for all done away, men made after His Image might once more be renewed. None other then was sufficient for this need, save the Image of the Father.


Footnotes

[237] The Bened. text is corrected here on the ground (1) of ms. evidence, (2) of construction (for which see 6, 7, and c. Gent. 20. 3).

14. A portrait once effaced must be restored from the original. Thus the Son of the Father came to seek, save, and regenerate. No other way was possible. Blinded himself, man could not see to heal. The witness of creation had failed to preserve him, and could not bring him back. The Word alone could do so. But how? Only by revealing Himself as Man.

For as, when the likeness painted on a panel has been effaced by stains from without, he whose likeness it is must needs come once more to enable the portrait to be renewed on the same wood: for, for the sake of his picture, even the mere wood on which it is painted is not thrown away, but the outline is renewed upon it; 2. in the same way also the most holy Son of the Father, being the Image of the Father, came to our region to renew man once made in His likeness, and find him, as one lost, by the remission of sins; as He says Himself in the Gospels: "I came [238] to find and to save the lost." Whence He said to the Jews also: "Except [239] a man be born again," not meaning, as they thought, birth from woman, but speaking of the soul born and created anew in the likeness of God's image. 3. But since wild idolatry and godlessness occupied the world, and the knowledge of God was hid, whose part was it to teach the world concerning the Father? Man's, might one say? But it was not in man's power to penetrate everywhere beneath the sun; for neither had they the physical strength to run so far, nor would they be able to claim credence in this matter, nor were they sufficient by themselves to withstand the deceit and impositions of evil spirits. 4. For where all were smitten and confused in soul from demoniacal deceit, and the vanity of idols, how was it possible for them to win over man's soul and man's mind--whereas they cannot even see them? Or how can a man convert what he does not see? 5. But perhaps one might say creation was enough; but if creation were enough, these great evils would never have come to pass. For creation was there already, and all the same, men were grovelling in the same error concerning God. 6. Who, then, was needed, save the Word of God, that sees both soul and mind, and that gives movement to all things in creation, and by them makes known the Father? For He who by His own Providence and ordering of all things was teaching men concerning the Father, He it was that could renew this same teaching as well. 7. How, then, could this have been done? Perhaps one might say, that the same means were open as before, for Him to shew forth the truth about the Father once more by means of the work of creation. But this was no longer a sure means. Quite the contrary; for men missed seeing this before, and have turned their eyes no longer upward but downward. 8. Whence, naturally, willing to profit men, He sojourns here as man, taking to Himself a body like the others, and from things of earth, that is by the works of His body [He teaches them], so that they who would not know Him from His Providence and rule over all things, may even from the works done by His actual body know the Word of God which is in the body, and through Him the Father.


Footnotes

[238] Cf. Luc. xix. 10. [239] See John iii. 3, 5.

15. Thus the Word condescended to man's engrossment in corporeal things, by even taking a body. All man's superstitions He met halfway; whether men were inclined to worship Nature, Man, Demons, or the dead, He shewed Himself Lord of all these.

For as a kind teacher who cares for His disciples, if some of them cannot profit by higher subjects, comes down to their level, and teaches them at any rate by simpler courses; so also did the Word of God. As Paul also says: "For seeing [240] that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the word preached to save them that believe." 2. For seeing that men, having rejected the contemplation of God, and with their eyes downward, as though sunk in the deep, were seeking about for God in nature and in the world of sense, feigning gods for themselves of mortal men and demons; to this end the loving and general Saviour of all, the Word of God, takes to Himself a body, and as Man walks among men and meets the senses of all men half-way [241] , to the end, I say, that they who think that God is corporeal may from what the Lord effects by His body perceive the truth, and through Him recognize [242] the Father. 3. So, men as they were, and human in all their thoughts, on whatever objects they fixed their senses, there they saw themselves met half-way [243] , and taught the truth from every side. 4. For if they looked with awe upon the Creation, yet they saw how she confessed Christ as Lord; or if their mind was swayed toward men, so as to think them gods, yet from the Saviour's works, supposing they compared them, the Saviour alone among men appeared Son of God; for there were no such works done among the rest as have been done by the Word of God. 5. Or if they were biassed toward evil spirits, even, yet seeing them cast out by the Word, they were to know that He alone, the Word of God, was God, and that the spirits were none. 6. Or if their mind had already sunk even to the dead, so as to worship heroes, and the gods spoken of in the poets, yet, seeing the Saviour's resurrection, they were to confess them to be false gods, and that the Lord alone is true, the Word of the Father, that was Lord even of death. 7. For this cause He was both born and appeared as Man, and died, and rose again, dulling and casting into the shade the works of all former men by His own, that in whatever direction the bias of men might be, from thence He might recall them, and teach them of His own true Father, as He Himself says: "I came to save and to find that which was lost [244] ."


Footnotes

[240] 1 Cor. i. 21. [241] Lit. "draws toward Himself." [242] Lit. "infer." [243] Lit. "draws toward Himself." [244] Cf. 14. 2.

16. He came then to attract man's sense-bound attention to Himself as man, and so to lead him on to know Him as God.

For men's mind having finally fallen to things of sense, the Word disguised Himself by appearing in a body, that He might, as Man, transfer men to Himself, and centre their senses on Himself, and, men seeing Him thenceforth as Man, persuade them by the works He did that He is not Man only, but also God, and the Word and Wisdom of the true God. 2. This, too, is what Paul means to point out when he says: "That ye [245] being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God." 3. For by the Word revealing Himself everywhere, both above and beneath, and in the depth and in the breadth--above, in the creation; beneath, in becoming man; in the depth, in Hades; and in the breadth, in the world--all things have been filled with the knowledge of God. 4. Now for this cause, also, He did not immediately upon His coming accomplish His sacrifice on behalf of all, by offering His body to death and raising it again, for by this [246] means He would have made Himself invisible. But He made Himself visible enough by what [247] He did, abiding in it, and doing such works, and shewing such signs, as made Him known no longer as Man, but as God the Word. 5. For by His becoming Man, the Saviour was to accomplish both works of love; first, in putting away death from us and renewing us again; secondly, being unseen and invisible, in manifesting and making Himself known by His works to be the Word of the Father, and the Ruler and King of the universe.


Footnotes

[245] Eph. iii. 18, sq. [246] dia toutou, perhaps, in both places--"by it," viz. His body. [247] dia toutou, perhaps, in both places--"by it," viz. His body.

17. How the Incarnation did not limit the ubiquity of the Word, nor diminish His Purity. (Simile of the Sun.)

For He was not, as might be imagined, circumscribed in the body, nor, while present in the body, was He absent elsewhere; nor, while He moved the body, was the universe left void of His working and Providence; but, thing most marvellous, Word as He was, so far from being contained by anything, He rather contained all things Himself; and just as while present in the whole of Creation, He is at once distinct in being from the universe, and present in all things by His own power,--giving order to all things, and over all and in all revealing His own providence, and giving life to each thing and all things, including the whole without being included, but being in His own Father alone wholly and in every respect,--2. thus, even while present in a human body and Himself quickening it, He was, without inconsistency, quickening the universe as well, and was in every process of nature, and was outside the whole, and while known from the body by His works, He was none the less manifest from the working of the universe as well. 3. Now, it is the function of soul to behold even what is outside its own body, by acts of thought, without, however, working outside its own body, or moving by its presence things remote from the body. Never, that is, does a man, by thinking of things at a distance, by that fact either move or displace them; nor if a man were to sit in his own house and reason about the heavenly bodies, would he by that fact either move the sun or make the heavens revolve. But he sees that they move and have their being, without being actually able to influence them. 4. Now, the Word of God in His man's nature was not like that; for He was not bound to His body, but rather was Himself wielding it, so that He was not only in it, but was actually in everything, and while external to the universe, abode in His Father only. 5. And this was the wonderful thing that He was at once walking as man, and as the Word was quickening all things, and as the Son was dwelling with His Father. So that not even when the Virgin bore Him did He suffer any change, nor by being in the body was [His glory] dulled: but, on the contrary, He sanctified the body also. 6. For not even by being in the universe does He share in its nature, but all things, on the contrary, are quickened and sustained by Him. 7. For if the sun too, which was made by Him, and which we see, as it revolves in the heaven, is not defiled [248] by touching the bodies upon earth, nor is it put out by darkness, but on the contrary itself illuminates and cleanses them also, much less was the all-holy Word of God, Maker and Lord also of the sun, defiled by being made known in the body; on the contrary, being incorruptible, He quickened and cleansed the body also, which was in itself mortal: "who [249] did," for so it says, "no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth."


Footnotes

[248] Cf. St. Aug. de Fid. et Symb. 10, Rufin. in Symb. Apost. 12. So also Tertull. adv. Marc. `Quodcunque induerit ipse dignum fecit.' [249] 1 Pet. ii. 22.

18. How the Word and Power of God works in His human actions: by casting out devils, by Miracles, by His Birth of the Virgin.

Accordingly, when inspired writers on this matter speak of Him as eating and being born, understand [250] that the body, as body, was born, and sustained with food corresponding to its nature, while God, the Word Himself, Who was united with the body, while ordering all things, also by the works He did in the body shewed Himself to be not man, but God the Word. But these things are said of Him, because the actual body which ate, was born, and suffered, belonged to none other but to the Lord: and because, having become man, it was proper for these things to be predicated of Him as man, to shew Him to have a body in truth, and not in seeming. 2. But just as from these things He was known to be bodily present, so from the works He did in the body He made Himself known to be Son of God. Whence also He cried to the unbelieving Jews; "If [251] I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do them, though ye believe not Me, believe My works; that ye may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." 3. For just as, though invisible, He is known through the works of creation; so, having become man, and being in the body unseen, it may be known from His works that He Who can do these is not man, but the Power and Word of God. 4. For His charging evil spirits, and their being driven forth, this deed is not of man, but of God. Or who that saw Him healing the diseases to which the human race is subject, can still think Him man and not God? For He cleansed lepers, made lame men to walk, opened the hearing of deaf men, made blind men to see again, and in a word drove away from men all diseases and infirmities: from which acts it was possible even for the most ordinary observer to see His Godhead. For who that saw Him give back [252] what was deficient to men born lacking, and open the eyes of the man blind from his birth, would have failed to perceive that the nature of men was subject to Him, and that He was its Artificer and Maker? For He that gave back that which the man from his birth had not, must be, it is surely evident, the Lord also of men's natural birth. 5. Therefore, even to begin with, when He was descending to us, He fashioned His body for Himself from a Virgin, thus to afford to all no small proof of His Godhead, in that He Who formed this is also Maker of everything else as well. For who, seeing a body proceeding forth from a Virgin alone without man, can fail to infer that He Who appears in it is Maker and Lord of other bodies also? 6. Or who, seeing the substance of water changed and transformed into wine, fails to perceive that He Who did this is Lord and Creator of the substance of all waters? For to this end He went upon the sea also as its Master, and walked as on dry land, to afford evidence to them that saw it of His lordship over all things. And in feeding so vast a multitude on little, and of His own self yielding abundance where none was, so that from five loaves five thousand had enough, and left so much again over, did He shew Himself to be any other than the very Lord Whose Providence is over all things?


Footnotes

[250] Compare Orat. iii. 31, note 11. [251] John x. 37, sq. [252] Cf. 49. 2.

19. Man, unmoved by nature, was to be taught to know God by that sacred Manhood, Whose deity all nature confessed, especially in His Death.

But all this it seemed well for the Saviour to do; that since men had failed to know His Providence, revealed in the Universe, and had failed to perceive His Godhead shewn in creation, they might at any rate from the works of His body recover their sight, and through Him receive an idea of the knowledge of the Father, inferring, as I said before, from particular cases His Providence over the whole. 2. For who that saw His power over evil spirits, or who that saw the evil spirits confess that He was their Lord, will hold his mind any longer in doubt whether this be the Son and Wisdom and Power of God? 3. For He made even the creation break silence: in that even at His death, marvellous to relate, or rather at His actual trophy over death--the Cross I mean--all creation was confessing that He that was made manifest and suffered in the body was not man merely, but the Son of God and Saviour of all. For the sun hid His face, and the earth quaked and the mountains were rent: all men were awed. Now these things shewed that Christ on the Cross was God, while all creation was His slave, and was witnessing by its fear to its Master's presence. Thus, then, God the Word shewed Himself to men by His works. But our next step must be to recount and speak of the end of His bodily life and course, and of the nature of the death of His body; especially as this is the sum of our faith, and all men without exception are full of it: so that you may know that no whit the less from this also Christ is known to be God and the Son of God.

20. None, then, could bestow incorruption, but He Who had made, none restore the likeness of God, save His Own Image, none quicken, but the Life, none teach, but the Word. And He, to pay our debt of death, must also die for us, and rise again as our first-fruits from the grave. Mortal therefore His Body must be; corruptible, His Body could not be.

We have, then, now stated in part, as far as it was possible, and as ourselves had been able to understand, the reason of His bodily appearing; that it was in the power of none other to turn the corruptible to incorruption, except the Saviour Himself, that had at the beginning also made all things out of nought and that none other could create anew the likeness of God's image for men, save the Image of the Father; and that none other could render the mortal immortal, save our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Very Life [253] ; and that none other could teach men of the Father, and destroy the worship of idols, save the Word, that orders all things and is alone the true Only-begotten Son of the Father. 2. But since it was necessary also that the debt owing from all should be paid again: for, as I have already said [254] , it was owing that all should die, for which especial cause, indeed, He came among us: to this intent, after the proofs of His Godhead from His works, He next offered up His sacrifice also on behalf of all, yielding His Temple to death in the stead of all, in order firstly to make men quit and free of their old trespass, and further to shew Himself more powerful even than death, displaying His own body incorruptible, as first-fruits of the resurrection of all. 3. And do not be surprised if we frequently [255] repeat the same words on the same subject. For since we are speaking of the counsel of God, therefore we expound the same sense in more than one form, lest we should seem to be leaving anything out, and incur the charge of inadequate treatment: for it is better to submit to the blame of repetition than to leave out anything that ought to be set down. 4. The body, then, as sharing the same nature with all, for it was a human body, though by an unparalleled miracle it was formed of a virgin only, yet being mortal, was to die also, conformably to its peers. But by virtue of the union of the Word with it, it was no longer subject to corruption according to its own nature, but by reason of the Word that was come to dwell [256] in it it was placed out of the reach of corruption. 5. And so it was that two marvels came to pass at once, that the death of all was accomplished in the Lord's body, and that death and corruption were wholly done away by reason of the Word that was united with it. For there was need of death, and death must needs be suffered on behalf of all, that the debt owing from all might be paid. 6. Whence, as I said before, the Word, since it was not possible for Him to die, as He was immortal, took to Himself a body such as could die, that He might offer it as His own in the stead of all, and as suffering, through His union [257] with it, on behalf of all, "Bring [258] to nought Him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."


Footnotes

[253] autozoe, see c. Gent. 40, 46, and Orat. iv. 2, note 4. [254] See especially 7. [255] e.g. viii. 4; x. 5, &c. `It is quite a peculiarity of Ath. to repeat, and to apologise for doing so,' (Newman in Orat. ii. 80, note 1). [256] epibasis, compare epibainein, 43. 4, &c. [257] epibasis, compare epibainein, 43. 4, &c. [258] Cf. 10. 4, above.

21. Death brought to nought by the death of Christ. Why then did not Christ die privately, or in a more honourable way? He was not subject to natural death, but had to die at the hands of others. Why then did He die? Nay but for that purpose He came, and but for that, He could not have risen.

Why, now that the common Saviour of all has died on our behalf, we, the faithful in Christ, no longer die the death as before, agreeably to the warning of the law; for this condemnation has ceased; but, corruption ceasing and being put away by the grace of the Resurrection, henceforth we are only dissolved, agreeably to our bodies' mortal nature, at the time God has fixed for each, that we may be able to gain a better resurrection. 2. For like the seeds which are cast into the earth, we do not perish by dissolution, but sown in the earth, shall rise again, death having been brought to nought by the grace of the Saviour. Hence it is that blessed Paul, who was made a surety of the Resurrection to all, says: "This corruptible [259] must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; but when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?" 3. Why, then, one might say, if it were necessary for Him to yield up His body to death in the stead of all, did He not lay it aside as man privately, instead of going as far as even to be crucified? For it were more fitting for Him to have laid His body aside honourably, than ignominiously to endure a death like this. 4. Now, see to it, I reply, whether such an objection be not merely human, whereas what the Saviour did is truly divine and for many reasons worthy of His Godhead. Firstly, because the death which befalls men comes to them agreeably to the weakness of their nature; for, unable to continue in one stay, they are dissolved with time. Hence, too, diseases befall them, and they fall sick and die. But the Lord is not weak, but is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life. 5. If, then, He had laid aside His body somewhere in private, and upon a bed, after the manner of men, it would have been thought that He also did this agreeably to the weakness of His nature, and because there was nothing in him more than in other men. But since He was, firstly, the Life and the Word of God, and it was necessary, secondly, for the death on behalf of all to be accomplished, for this cause, on the one hand, because He was life and power, the body gained strength in Him; 6. while on the other, as death must needs come to pass, He did not Himself take, but received at others' hands; the occasion of perfecting His sacrifice. Since it was not fit, either, that the Lord should fall sick, who healed the diseases of others; nor again was it right for that body to lose its strength, in which He gives strength to the weaknesses of others also. 7. Why, then, did He not prevent death, as He did sickness? Because it was for this that He had the body, and it was unfitting to prevent it, lest the Resurrection also should be hindered, while yet it was equally unfitting for sickness to precede His death, lest it should be thought weakness on the part of Him that was in the body. Did He not then hunger? Yes; He hungered, agreeably to the properties of His body. But He did not perish of hunger, because of the Lord that wore it. Hence, even if He died to ransom all, yet He saw not corruption. For [His body] rose again in perfect soundness, since the body belonged to none other, but to the very Life.


Footnotes

[259] 1 Cor. xv. 53, sqq.

22. But why did He not withdraw His body from the Jews, and so guard its immortality? (1) It became Him not to inflict death on Himself, and yet not to shun it. (2) He came to receive death as the due of others, therefore it should come to Him from without. (3) His death must be certain, to guarantee the truth of His Resurrection. Also, He could not die from infirmity, lest He should be mocked in His healing of others.

But it were better, one might say, to have hidden from the designs of the Jews, that He might guard His body altogether from death. Now let such an one be told that this too was unbefitting the Lord. For as it was not fitting for the Word of God, being the Life, to inflict death Himself on His own body, so neither was it suitable to fly from death offered by others, but rather to follow it up unto destruction, for which reason He naturally neither laid aside His body of His own accord, nor, again, fled from the Jews when they took counsel against Him. 2. But this did not shew weakness on the Word's part, but, on the contrary, shewed Him to be Saviour and Life; in that He both awaited death to destroy it, and hasted to accomplish the death offered Him for the salvation of all. 3. And besides, the Saviour came to accomplish not His own death, but the death of men; whence He did not lay aside His body by a death of His own [260] --for He was Life and had none--but received that death which came from men, in order perfectly to do away with this when it met Him in His own body. 4. Again, from the following also one might see the reasonableness of the Lord's body meeting this end. The Lord was especially concerned for the resurrection of the body which He was set to accomplish. For what He was to do was to manifest it as a monument of victory over death, and to assure all of His having effected the blotting out of corruption, and of the incorruption of their bodies from thenceforward; as a gage of which and a proof of the resurrection in store for all, He has preserved His own body incorrupt. 5. If, then, once more, His body had fallen sick, and the word had been sundered from it in the sight of all, it would have been unbecoming that He who healed the diseases of others should suffer His own instrument to waste in sickness. For how could His driving out the diseases of others have been believed [261] in if His own temple fell sick in Him [262] ? For either He had been mocked as unable to drive away diseases, or if He could, but did not, He would be thought insensible toward others also.


Footnotes

[260] Cf. Joh. x. 17, 18. [261] Cf. Matt. xxvii. 42. [262] i.e. when sustained by its union with Him.

23. Necessity of a public death for the doctrine of the Resurrection.

But even if, without any disease and without any pain, He had hidden His body away privily and by Himself "in [263] a corner," or in a desert place, or in a house, or anywhere, and afterwards suddenly appeared and said that He had been raised from the dead, He would have seemed on all hands to be telling idle tales [264] , and what He said about the Resurrection would have been all the more discredited, as there was no one at all to witness to His death. Now, death must precede resurrection, as it would be no resurrection did not death precede; so that if the death of His body had taken place anywhere in secret, the death not being apparent nor taking place before witnesses, His Resurrection too had been hidden and without evidence. 2. Or why, while when He had risen He proclaimed the Resurrection, should He cause His death to take place in secret? or why, while He drove out evil spirits in the presence of all, and made the man blind from his birth recover his sight, and changed the water into wine, that by these means He might be believed to be the Word of God, should He not manifest His mortal nature as incorruptible in the presence of all, that He might be believed Himself to be the Life? 3. Or how were His disciples to have boldness in speaking of the Resurrection, were they not able to say that He first died? Or how could they be believed, saying that death had first taken place and then the Resurrection, had they not had as witnesses of His death the men before whom they spoke with boldness? For if, even as it was, when His death and Resurrection had taken place in the sight of all, the Pharisees of that day would not believe, but compelled even those who had seen the Resurrection to deny it, why, surely, if these things had happened in secret, how many pretexts for disbelief would they have devised? 4. Or how could the end of death, and the victory over it be proved, unless challenging it before the eyes of all He had shewn it to be dead, annulled for the future by the incorruption of His body?


Footnotes

[263] Acts xxvi. 26. [264] Luke xxiv. 11.

24. Further objections anticipated. He did not choose His manner of death; for He was to prove Conqueror of death in all or any of its forms: (simile of a good wrestler). The death chosen to disgrace Him proved the Trophy against death: moreover it preserved His body undivided.

But what others also might have said, we must anticipate in reply. For perhaps a man might say even as follows: If it was necessary for His death to take place before all, and with witnesses, that the story of His Resurrection also might be believed, it would have been better at any rate for Him to have devised for Himself a glorious death, if only to escape the ignominy of the Cross. 2. But had He done even this, He would give ground for suspicion against Himself, that He was not powerful against every death, but only against the death devised for [265] Him; and so again there would have been a pretext for disbelief about the Resurrection all the same. So death came to His body, not from Himself, but from hostile counsels, in order that whatever death they offered to the Saviour, this He might utterly do away. 3. And just as a noble wrestler, great in skill and courage, does not pick out his antagonists for himself, lest he should raise a suspicion of his being afraid of some of them, but puts it in the choice of the onlookers, and especially so if they happen to be his enemies, so that against whomsoever they match him, him he may throw, and be believed superior to them all; so also the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, even Christ, did not devise a death for His own body, so as not to appear to be fearing some other death; but He accepted on the Cross, and endured, a death inflicted by others, and above all by His enemies, which they thought dreadful and ignominious and not to be faced; so that this also being destroyed, both He Himself might be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be brought utterly to nought. 4. So something surprising and startling has happened; for the death, which they thought to inflict as a disgrace, was actually a monument of victory against death itself. Whence neither did He suffer the death of John, his head being severed, nor, as Esaias, was He sawn in sunder; in order that even in death He might still keep His body undivided and in perfect soundness, and no pretext be afforded to those that would divide the Church.


Footnotes

[265] i.e. suggested as endoxon (supra, 1); a reading par' eautou has been suggested: (devised) "by Himself."

25. Why the Cross, of all deaths? (1) He had to bear the curse for us. (2) On it He held out His hands to unite all, Jews and Gentiles, in Himself. (3) He defeated the "Prince of the powers of the air" in His own region, clearing the way to heaven and opening for us the everlasting doors.

And thus much in reply to those without who pile up arguments for themselves. But if any of our own people also inquire, not from love of debate, but from love of learning, why He suffered death in none other way save on the Cross, let him also be told that no other way than this was good for us, and that it was well that the Lord suffered this for our sakes. 2. For if He came Himself to bear the curse laid upon us, how else could He have "become [266] a curse," unless He received the death set for a curse? and that is the Cross. For this is exactly what is written: "Cursed [267] is he that hangeth on a tree." 3. Again, if the Lord's death is the ransom of all, and by His death "the middle [268] wall of partition" is broken down, and the calling of the nations is brought about, how would He have called us to Him, had He not been crucified? For it is only on the cross that a man dies with his hands spread out. Whence it was fitting for the Lord to bear this also and to spread out His hands, that with the one He might draw the ancient people, and with the other those from the Gentiles, and unite both in Himself. 4. For this is what He Himself has said, signifying by what manner of death He was to ransom all: "I, when [269] I am lifted up," He saith, "shall draw all men unto Me." 5. And once more, if the devil, the enemy of our race, having fallen from heaven, wanders about our lower atmosphere, and there bearing rule over his fellow-spirits, as his peers in disobedience, not only works illusions by their means in them that are deceived, but tries to hinder them that are going up (and about this [270] the Apostle says: "According to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience"); while the Lord came to cast down the devil, and clear the air and prepare the way for us up into heaven, as said the Apostle: "Through [271] the veil, that is to say, His flesh"--and this must needs be by death--well, by what other kind of death could this have come to pass, than by one which took place in the air, I mean the cross? for only he that is perfected on the cross dies in the air. Whence it was quite fitting that the Lord suffered this death. 6. For thus being lifted up He cleared the air [272] of the malignity both of the devil and of demons of all kinds, as He says: "I beheld [273] Satan as lightning fall from heaven;" and made a new opening of the way up into heaven as He says once more: "Lift [274] up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors." For it was not the Word Himself that needed an opening of the gates, being Lord of all; nor were any of His works closed to their Maker; but we it was that needed it whom He carried up by His own body. For as He offered it to death on behalf of all, so by it He once more made ready the way up into the heavens.


Footnotes

[266] Gal. iii. 13. [267] Deut. xxi. 23. [268] Eph. ii. 14. [269] John xii. 32. [270] Eph. ii. 2, and see the curious visions of Antony, Vit. Ant., 65, 66. [271] Heb. x. 20. [272] Cf. Lightfoot on Coloss. ii. 15, also the fragment of Letter 22, and Letter 60. 7. [273] Luc. x. 18. [274] Ps. xxiv. 7, [LXX.]

26. Reasons for His rising on the Third Day. (1) Not sooner for else His real death would be denied, nor (2) later; to (a) guard the identity of His body, (b) not to keep His disciples too long in suspense, nor (c) to wait till the witnesses of His death were dispersed, or its memory faded.

The death on the Cross, then, for us has proved seemly and fitting, and its cause has been shewn to be reasonable in every respect; and it may justly be argued that in no other way than by the Cross was it right for the salvation of all to take place. For not even thus--not even on the Cross--did He leave Himself concealed; but far otherwise, while He made creation witness to the presence of its Maker, He suffered not the temple of His body to remain long, but having merely shewn it to be dead, by the contact of death with it, He straightway raised it up on the third day, bearing away, as the mark of victory and the triumph over death, the incorruptibility and impassibility which resulted to His body. 2. For He could, even immediately on death, have raised His body and shewn it alive; but this also the Saviour, in wise foresight, did not do. For one might have said that He had not died at all, or that death had not come into perfect contact with Him, if He had manifested the Resurrection at once. 3. Perhaps, again, had the interval of His dying and rising again been one of two days [275] only, the glory of His incorruption would have been obscure. So in order that the body might be proved to be dead, the Word tarried yet one intermediate day, and on the third shewed it incorruptible to all. 4. So then, that the death on the Cross might be proved, He raised His body on the third day. 5. But lest, by raising it up when it had remained a long time and been completely corrupted, He should be disbelieved, as though He had exchanged it for some other body--for a man might also from lapse of time distrust what he saw, and forget what had taken place--for this cause He waited not more than three days; nor did He keep long in suspense those whom He had told about the Resurrection: 6. but while the word was still echoing in their ears and their eyes were still expectant and their mind in suspense, and while those who had slain Him were still living on earth, and were on the spot and could witness to the death of the Lord's body, the Son of God Himself, after an interval of three days, shewed His body, once dead, immortal and incorruptible; and it was made manifest to all that it was not from any natural weakness of the Word that dwelt in it that the body had died, but in order that in it death might be done away by the power of the Saviour.


Footnotes

[275] Literally `at an even' [distance], as contrasted with (a) the same day (2, above), (b) the third day (en tritai& 251; diastemati (6, below). en iso must therefore be equivalent in sense to deuteraiou. Possibly the literal sense is `[had the Resurrection taken place] at an equal interval between the Death and the [actual day of] the Resurrection.'

27. The change wrought by the Cross in the relation of Death to Man.

For that death is destroyed, and that the Cross is become the victory over it, and that it has no more power but is verily dead, this is no small proof, or rather an evident warrant, that it is despised by all Christ's disciples, and that they all take the aggressive against it and no longer fear it; but by the sign of the Cross and by faith in Christ tread it down as dead. 2. For of old, before the divine sojourn of the Saviour took place, even to the saints death was terrible [276] , and all wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Saviour has raised His body, death is no longer terrible; for all who believe in Christ tread him under as nought, and choose rather to die than to deny their faith in Christ. For they verily know that when they die they are not destroyed, but actually [begin to] live, and become incorruptible through the Resurrection. 3. And that devil that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its [277] pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead. And a proof of this is, that before men believe Christ, they see in death an object of terror, and play the coward before him. But when they are gone over to Christ's faith and teaching, their contempt for death is so great that they even eagerly rush upon it, and become witnesses for the Resurrection the Saviour has accomplished against it. For while still tender in years they make haste to die, and not men only, but women also, exercise themselves by bodily discipline against it. So weak has he become, that even women who were formerly deceived by him, now mock at him as dead and paralyzed. 4. For as when a tyrant has been defeated by a real king, and bound hand and foot, then all that pass by laugh him to scorn, buffeting and reviling him, no longer fearing his fury and barbarity, because of the king who has conquered him; so also, death having been conquered and exposed by the Saviour on the Cross, and bound hand and foot, all they who are in Christ, as they pass by, trample on him, and witnessing to Christ scoff at death, jesting at him, and saying what has been written against him of old: "O death [278] , where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting."


Footnotes

[276] Cf. Ps. lv. 4, lxxxix. 47; Job. xviii. 14. [277] Cf. Acts ii. 24 [278] Cf. above, 21. 2.

28. This exceptional fact must be tested by experience. Let those who doubt it become Christians.

Is this, then, a slight proof of the weakness of death? or is it a slight demonstration of the victory won over him by the Saviour, when the youths and young maidens that are in Christ despise this life and practise to die? 2. For man is by nature afraid of death and of the dissolution of the body; but there is this most startling fact, that he who has put on the faith of the Cross despises even what is naturally fearful, and for Christ's sake is not afraid of death. 3. And just as, whereas fire has the natural property of burning, if some one said there was a substance which did not fear its burning, but on the contrary proved it weak--as the asbestos among the Indians is said to do--then one who did not believe the story, if he wished to put it to the test, is at any rate, after putting on the fireproof material and touching the fire, thereupon assured of the weakness attributed [279] to the fire: 4. or if any one wished to see the tyrant bound, at any rate by going into the country and domain of his conqueror he may see the man, a terror to others, reduced to weakness; so if a man is incredulous even still after so many proofs and after so many who have become martyrs in Christ, and after the scorn shewn for death every day by those who are illustrious in Christ, still, if his mind be even yet doubtful as to whether death has been brought to nought and had an end, he does well to wonder at so great a thing, only let him not prove obstinate in incredulity, nor case-hardened in the face of what is so plain. 5. But just as he who has got the asbestos knows that fire has no burning power over it, and as he who would see the tyrant bound goes over to the empire of his conqueror, so too let him who is incredulous about the victory over death receive the faith of Christ, and pass over to His teaching, and he shall see the weakness of death, and the triumph over it. For many who were formerly incredulous and scoffers have afterwards believed and so despised death as even to become martyrs for Christ Himself.


Footnotes

[279] kata tou puros kata appears to have the predicative force so common in Aristotle. The Bened. translation `the weakness of fire against the asbestos' is based on a needless conjecture.

29. Here then are wonderful effects, and a sufficient cause, the Cross, to account for them, as sunrise accounts for daylight.

Now if by the sign of the Cross, and by faith in Christ, death is trampled down, it must be evident before the tribunal of truth that it is none other than Christ Himself that has displayed trophies and triumphs over death, and made him lose all his strength. 2. And if, while previously death was strong, and for that reason terrible, now after the sojourn of the Saviour and the death and Resurrection of His body it is despised, it must be evident that death has been brought to nought and conquered by the very Christ that ascended the Cross. 3. For as, if after night-time the sun rises, and the whole region of earth is illumined by him, it is at any rate not open to doubt that it is the sun who has revealed his light everywhere, that has also driven away the dark and given light to all things; so, now that death has come into contempt, and been trodden under foot, from the time when the Saviour's saving manifestation in the flesh and His death on the Cross took place, it must be quite plain that it is the very Saviour that also appeared in the body, Who has brought death to nought, and Who displays the signs of victory over him day by day in His own disciples. 4. For when one sees men, weak by nature, leaping forward to death, and not fearing its corruption nor frightened of the descent into Hades, but with eager soul challenging it; and not flinching from torture, but on the contrary, for Christ's sake electing to rush upon death in preference to life upon earth, or even if one be an eye-witness of men and females and young children rushing and leaping upon death for the sake of Christ's religion; who is so silly, or who is so incredulous, or who so maimed in his mind, as not to see and infer that Christ, to Whom the people witness, Himself supplies and gives to each the victory over death, depriving him of all his power in each one of them that hold His faith and bear the sign of the Cross. 5. For he that sees the serpent trodden under foot, especially knowing his former fierceness no longer doubts that he is dead and has quite lost his strength, unless he is perverted in mind and has not even his bodily senses sound. For who that sees a lion, either, made sport of by children, fails to see that he is either dead or has lost all his power? 6. Just as, then, it is possible to see with the eyes the truth of all this, so, now that death is made sport of and despised by believers in Christ let none any longer doubt, nor any prove incredulous, of death having been brought to nought by Christ, and the corruption of death destroyed and stayed.

30. The reality of the resurrection proved by facts: (1) the victory over death described above: (2) the Wonders of Grace are the work of One Living, of One who is God: (3) if the gods be (as alleged) real and living, a fortiori He Who shatters their power is alive.

What we have so far said, then, is no small proof that death has been brought to naught, and that the Cross of the Lord is a sign of victory over him. But of the Resurrection of the body to immortality thereupon accomplished by Christ, the common Saviour and true Life of all, the demonstration by facts is clearer than arguments to those whose mental vision is sound. 2. For if, as our argument shewed, death has been brought to nought, and because of Christ all tread him under foot, much more did He Himself first tread him down with His own body, and bring him to nought. But supposing death slain by Him, what could have happened save the rising again of His body, and its being displayed as a monument of victory against death? or how could death have been shewn to be brought to nought unless the Lord's body had risen? But if this demonstration of the Resurrection seem to any one insufficient, let him be assured of what is said even from what takes place before his eyes. 3. For whereas on a man's decease he can put forth no power, but his influence lasts to the grave and thenceforth ceases; and actions, and power over men, belong to the living only; let him who will, see and be judge, confessing the truth from what appears to sight. 4. For now that the Saviour works so great things among men, and day by day is invisibly persuading so great a multitude from every side, both from them that dwell in Greece and in foreign lands, to come over to His faith, and all to obey His teaching, will any one still hold his mind in doubt whether a Resurrection has been accomplished by the Saviour, and whether Christ is alive, or rather is Himself the Life? 5. Or is it like a dead man to be pricking the consciences of men, so that they deny their hereditary laws and bow before the teaching of Christ? Or how, if he is no longer active (for this is proper to one dead), does he stay from their activity those who are active and alive, so that the adulterer no longer commits adultery, and the murderer murders no more, nor is the inflicter of wrong any longer grasping, and the profane is henceforth religious? Or how, if He be not risen but is dead, does He drive away, and pursue, and cast down those false gods said by the unbelievers to be alive, and the demons they worship? 6. For where Christ is named, and His faith, there all idolatry is deposed and all imposture of evil spirits is exposed, and any spirit is unable to endure even the name, nay even on barely hearing it flies and disappears. But this work is not that of one dead, but of one that lives--and especially of God. 7. In particular, it would be ridiculous to say that while the spirits cast out by Him and the idols brought to nought are alive, He who chases them away, and by His power prevents their even appearing, yea, and is being confessed by them all to be Son of God, is dead.

31. If Power is the sign of life, what do we learn from the impotence of idols, for good or evil, and the constraining power of Christ and of the Sign of the Cross? Death and the demons are by this proved to have lost their sovereignty. Coincidence of the above argument from facts with that from the Personality of Christ.

But they who disbelieve in the Resurrection afford a strong proof against themselves, if instead of all the spirits and the gods worshipped by them casting out Christ, Who, they say, is dead, Christ on the contrary proves them all to be dead. 2. For if it be true that one dead can exert no power, while the Saviour does daily so many works, drawing men to religion, persuading to virtue, teaching of immortality, leading on to a desire for heavenly things, revealing the knowledge of the Father, inspiring strength to meet death, shewing Himself to each one, and displacing the godlessness of idolatry, and the gods and spirits of the unbelievers can do none of these things, but rather shew themselves dead at the presence of Christ, their pomp being reduced to impotence and vanity; whereas by the sign of the Cross all magic is stopped, and all witchcraft brought to nought, and all the idols are being deserted and left, and every unruly pleasure is checked, and every one is looking up from earth to heaven: Whom is one to pronounce dead? Christ, that is doing so many works? But to work is not proper to one dead. Or him that exerts no power at all, but lies as it were without life? which is essentially proper to the idols and spirits, dead as they are. 3. For the Son of God is [280] "living and active," and works day by day, and brings about the salvation of all. But death is daily proved to have lost all his power, and idols and spirits are proved to be dead rather than Christ, so that henceforth no man can any longer doubt of the Resurrection of His body. 4. But he who is incredulous of the Resurrection of the Lord's body would seem to be ignorant of the power of the Word and Wisdom of God. For if He took a body to Himself at all, and--in reasonable consistency, as our argument shewed-- appropriated it as His own, what was the Lord to do with it? or what should be the end of the body when the Word had once descended upon it? For it could not but die, inasmuch as it was mortal, and to be offered unto death on behalf of all: for which purpose it was that the Saviour fashioned it for Himself. But it was impossible for it to remain dead, because it had been made the temple of life. Whence, while it died as mortal, it came to life again by reason of the Life in it; and of its Resurrection the works are a sign.


Footnotes

[280] Heb. iv. 12.

32. But who is to see Him risen, so as to believe? Nay, God is ever invisible and known by His works only: and here the works cry out in proof. If you do not believe, look at those who do, and perceive the Godhead of Christ. The demons see this, though men be blind. Summary of the argument so far.

But if, because He is not seen, His having risen at all is disbelieved, it is high time for those who refuse belief to deny the very course of Nature. For it is God's peculiar property at once to be invisible and yet to be known from His works, as has been already stated above. 2. If, then, the works are not there, they do well to disbelieve what does not appear. But if the works cry aloud and shew it clearly, why do they choose to deny the life so manifestly due to the Resurrection? For even if they be maimed in their intelligence, yet even with the external senses men may see the unimpeachable power and Godhead of Christ. 3. For even a blind man, if he see not the sun, yet if he but take hold of the warmth the sun gives out, knows that there is a sun above the earth. Thus let our opponents also, even if they believe not as yet, being still blind to the truth, yet at least knowing His power by others who believe, not deny the Godhead of Christ and the Resurrection accomplished by Him. 4. For it is plain that if Christ be dead, He could not be expelling demons and spoiling idols; for a dead man the spirits would not have obeyed. But if they be manifestly expelled by the naming of His name, it must be evident that He is not dead; especially as spirits, seeing even what is unseen by men, could tell if Christ were dead and refuse Him any obedience at all. 5. But as it is, what irreligious men believe not, the spirits see--that He is God,--and hence they fly and fall at His feet, saying just what they uttered when He was in the body: "We [281] know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God;" and, "Ah, what have we to do with Thee, Thou Son of God? I pray Thee, torment me not." 6. As then demons confess Him, and His works bear Him witness day by day, it must be evident, and let none brazen it out against the truth, both that the Saviour raised His own body, and that He is the true Son of God, being from Him, as from His Father, His own Word, and Wisdom, and Power, Who in ages later took a body for the salvation of all, and taught the world concerning the Father, and brought death to nought, and bestowed incorruption upon all by the promise of the Resurrection, having raised His own body as a first-fruits of this, and having displayed it by the sign of the Cross as a monument of victory over death and its corruption.


Footnotes

[281] Cf. Luc. iv. 34, and Marc. v. 7.

33. Unbelief of Jews and scoffing of Greeks. The former confounded by their own Scriptures. Prophecies of His coming as God and as Man.

These things being so, and the Resurrection of His body and the victory gained over death by the Saviour being clearly proved, come now let us put to rebuke both the disbelief of the Jews and the scoffing of the Gentiles. 2. For these, perhaps, are the points where Jews express incredulity, while Gentiles laugh, finding fault with the unseemliness of the Cross, and of the Word of God becoming man. But our argument shall not delay to grapple with both especially as the proofs at our command against them are clear as day. 3. For Jews in their incredulity may be refuted from the Scriptures, which even themselves read; for this text and that, and, in a word, the whole inspired Scripture, cries aloud concerning these things, as even its express words abundantly shew. For prophets proclaimed beforehand concerning the wonder of the Virgin and the birth from her, saying: "Lo, the [282] Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us." 4. But Moses, the truly great, and whom they believe to speak truth, with reference to the Saviour's becoming man, having estimated what was said as important, and assured of its truth, set it down in these words: "There [283] shall rise a star out of Jacob, and a man out of Israel, and he shall break in pieces the captains of Moab." And again: "How lovely are thy habitations O Jacob, thy tabernacles O Israel, as shadowing gardens, and as parks by the rivers, and as tabernacles which the Lord hath fixed, as cedars by the waters. A man shall come forth out of his seed, and shall be Lord over many peoples." And again, Esaias: "Before [284] the Child know how to call father or mother, he shall take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria before the king of Assyria." 5. That a man, then, shall appear is foretold in those words. But that He that is to come is Lord of all, they predict once more as follows: "Behold [285] the Lord sitteth upon a light cloud, and shall come into Egypt, and the graven images of Egypt shall be shaken." For from thence also it is that the Father calls Him back, saying: "I called [286] My Son out of Egypt."


Footnotes

[282] Matt. i. 23; Isa. vii. 14. [283] Num. xxiv. 5-17. [284] Isa. viii. 4. [285] Isa. xix. 1. [286] Hos. xi. 1.

34. Prophecies of His passion and death in all its circumstances.

Nor is even His death passed over in silence: on the contrary, it is referred to in the divine Scriptures, even exceeding clearly. For to the end that none should err for want of instruction in the actual events, they feared not to mention even the cause of His death,--that He suffers it not for His own sake, but for the immortality and salvation of all, and the counsels of the Jews against Him and the indignities offered Him at their hands. 2. They say then: "A man [287] in stripes, and knowing how to bear weakness, for his face is turned away: he was dishonoured and held in no account. He beareth our sins, and is in pain on our account; and we reckoned him to be in labour, and in stripes, and in ill-usage; but he was wounded for our sins, and made weak for our wickedness. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we were healed." O marvel at the loving-kindness of the Word, that for our sakes He is dishonoured, that we may be brought to honour. "For all we," it says, "like sheep were gone astray; man had erred in his way; and the Lord delivered him for our sins; and he openeth not his mouth, because he hath been evilly entreated. As a sheep was he brought to the slaughter, and as a lamb dumb before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth: in his abasement his judgment was taken away [288] ." 3. Then lest any should from His suffering conceive Him to be a common man, Holy Writ anticipates the surmises of man, and declares the power (which worked) for Him [289] , and the difference of His nature compared with ourselves, saying: "But who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken away [290] from the earth. From the wickedness of the people was he brought to death. And I will give the wicked instead of his burial, and the rich instead of his death; for he did no wickedness, neither was guile found in his mouth. And the Lord will cleanse him from his stripes."


Footnotes

[287] Isa. liii. 3, sqq. [288] Or, "exalted." [289] ten huper autou dunamin. The Ben. version simplifies this difficult expression by ignoring the huper. Mr. E. N. Bennett has suggested to me that the true reading may be hupera& 203;lon for huper autou (aulos supra 8. 1, huperaulos in Philo). I would add the suggestion that autou stood after huperaulon, and that the similarity of the five letters in ms. caused the second word to be dropped out. `His exceeding immaterial power' would be the resulting sense. (See Class. Review, 1890, No. iv. p. 182.) [290] Or, "exalted."

35. Prophecies of the Cross. How these prophecies are satisfied in Christ alone.

But, perhaps, having heard the prophecy of His death, you ask to learn also what is set forth concerning the Cross. For not even this is passed over: it is displayed by the holy men with great plainness. 2. For first Moses predicts it, and that with a loud voice, when he says: "Ye shall see [291] your Life hanging before your eyes, and shall not believe." 3. And next, the prophets after him witness of this, saying: "But [292] I as an innocent lamb brought to be slain, knew it not; they counselled an evil counsel against me, saying, Hither and let us cast a tree upon his [293] bread, and efface him from the land of the living." 4. And again: "They pierced [294] my hands and my feet, they numbered all my bones, they parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots." 5. Now a death raised aloft and that takes place on a tree, could be none other than the Cross: and again, in no other death are the hands and feet pierced, save on the Cross only. 6. But since by the sojourn of the Saviour among men all nations also on every side began to know God; they did not leave this point, either, without a reference: but mention is made of this matter as well in the Holy Scriptures. For "there [295] shall be," he saith, "the root of Jesse, and he that riseth to rule the nations, on him shall the nations hope." This then is a little in proof of what has happened. 7. But all Scripture teems with refutations of the disbelief of the Jews. For which of the righteous men and holy prophets, and patriarchs, recorded in the divine Scriptures, ever had his corporal birth of a virgin only? Or what woman has sufficed without man for the conception of human kind? Was not Abel born of Adam, Enoch of Jared, Noe of Lamech, and Abraham of Tharra, Isaac of Abraham, Jacob of Isaac? Was not Judas born of Jacob, and Moses and Aaron of Ameram? Was not Samuel born of Elkana, was not David of Jesse, was not Solomon of David, was not Ezechias of Achaz, was not Josias of Amos, was not Esaias of Amos, was not Jeremy of Chelchias, was not Ezechiel of Buzi? Had not each a father as author of his existence? Who then is he that is born of a virgin only? For the prophet made exceeding much of this sign. 8. Or whose birth did a star in the skies forerun, to announce to the world him that was born? For when Moses was born, he was hid by his parents: David was not heard of, even by those of his neighbourhood, inasmuch as even the great Samuel knew him not, but asked, had Jesse yet another son? Abraham again became known to his neighbours as [296] a great man only subsequently to his birth. But of Christ's birth the witness was not man, but a star in that heaven whence He was descending.


Footnotes

[291] Deut. xxviii. 66, see Orat ii. 16, note 1. [292] Jer. xi. 19. [293] Properly "let us destroy the tree with its bread" (i.e. fruit). The LXX, translate b^elahm `upon his bread,' which is possible in itself; but they either mistook the verb, or followed some wrong reading. Their rendering is followed by all the Latin versions. For a comment on the latter see Tertull. adv. Marc. iii. 19, iv. 40. [294] Ps. xxii. 16, sqq. [295] Isa. xi. 10. [296] Or `only after he had grown great,' i.e. to man's estate.

36. Prophecies of Christ's sovereignty, flight into Egypt, &c.

But what king that ever was, before he had strength to call father or mother, reigned and gained triumphs over his enemies [297] ? Did not David come to the throne at thirty years of age, and Solomon, when he had grown to be a young man? Did not Joas enter on the kingdom when seven years old, and Josias, a still later king, receive the government about the seventh year of his age? And yet they at that age had strength to call father or mother. 2. Who, then, is there that was reigning and spoiling his enemies almost before his birth? Or what king of this sort has ever been in Israel and in Juda--let the Jews, who have searched out the matter, tell us--in whom all the nations have placed their hopes and had peace, instead of being at enmity with them on every side? 3. For as long as Jerusalem stood there was war without respite betwixt them, and they all fought with Israel; the Assyrians oppressed them, the Egyptians persecuted them, the Babylonians fell upon them; and, strange to say, they had even the Syrians their neighbours at war against them. Or did not David war against them of Moab, and smite the Syrians, Josias guard against his neighbours, and Ezechias quail at the boasting of Senacherim, and Amalek make war against Moses, and the Amorites oppose him, and the inhabitants of Jericho array themselves against Jesus son of Naue? And, in a word, treaties of friendship had no place between the nations and Israel. Who, then, it is on whom the nations are to set their hope, it is worth while to see. For there must be such an one, as it is impossible for the prophet to have spoken falsely. 4. But which of the holy prophets or of the early patriarchs has died on the Cross for the salvation of all? Or who was wounded and destroyed for the healing of all? Or which of the righteous men, or kings, went down to Egypt, so that at his coming the idols of Egypt fell [298] ? For Abraham went thither, but idolatry prevailed universally all the same. Moses was born there, and the deluded worship of the people was there none the less.


Footnotes

[297] Isa. viii. 4, where note LXX. [298] Cf. Letter 61. 4.

37. Psalm xxii. 16, &c. Majesty of His birth and death. Confusion of oracles and demons in Egypt.

Or who among those recorded in Scripture was pierced in the hands and feet, or hung at all upon a tree, and was sacrificed on a cross for the salvation of all? For Abraham died, ending his life on a bed; Isaac and Jacob also died with their feet raised on a bed; Moses and Aaron died on the mountain; David in his house, without being the object of any conspiracy at the hands of the people; true, he was pursued by Saul, but he was preserved unhurt. Esaias was sawn asunder, but not hung on a tree. Jeremy was shamefully treated, but did not die under condemnation; Ezechie suffered, not however for the people, but to indicate what was to come upon the people. 2. Again, these, even where they suffered, were men resembling all in their common nature; but he that is declared in Scripture to suffer on behalf of all is called not merely man, but the Life of all, albeit He was in fact like men in nature. For "ye shall [299] see," it says, "your Life hanging before your eyes;" and "who shall declare his generation?" For one can ascertain the genealogy of all the saints, and declare it from the beginning, and of whom each was born; but the generation of Him that is the Life the Scriptures refer to as not to be declared. 3. Who then is he of whom the Divine Scriptures say this? Or who is so great that even the prophets predict of him such great things? None else, now, is found in the Scriptures but the common Saviour of all, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. For He it is that proceeded from a virgin and appeared as man on the earth, and whose generation after the flesh cannot be declared. For there is none that can tell His father after the flesh, His body not being of a man, but of a virgin alone; 4. so that no one can declare the corporal generation of the Saviour from a man, in the same way as one can draw up a genealogy of David and of Moses and of all the patriarchs. For He it is that caused the star also to mark the birth of His body; since it was fit that the Word, coming down from heaven, should have His constellation also from heaven, and it was fitting that the King of Creation when He came forth should be openly recognized by all creation. 5. Why, He was born in Judæa, and men from Persia came to worship Him. He it is that even before His appearing in the body won the victory over His demon adversaries and a triumph over idolatry. All heathen at any rate from every region, abjuring their hereditary tradition and the impiety of idols, are now placing their hope in Christ, and enrolling themselves under Him, the like of which you may see with your own eyes. 6. For at no other time has the impiety of the Egyptians ceased, save when the Lord of all, riding as it were upon a cloud, came down there in the body and brought to nought the delusion of idols, and brought over all to Himself, and through Himself to the Father. 7. He it is that was crucified before the sun and all creation as witnesses, and before those who put Him to death: and by His death has salvation come to all, and all creation been ransomed. He is the Life of all, and He it is that as a sheep yielded His body to death as a substitute, for the salvation of all, even though the Jews believe it not.


Footnotes

[299] Cf. 35. 2, and 34. 3.

38. Other clear prophecies of the coming of God in the flesh. Christ's miracles unprecedented.

For if they do not think these proofs sufficient, let them be persuaded at any rate by other reasons, drawn from the oracles they themselves possess. For of whom do the prophets say: "I was [300] made manifest to them that sought me not, I was found of them that asked not for me: I said Behold, here am I, to the nation that had not called upon my name; I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people." 2. Who, then, one might say to the Jews, is he that was made manifest? For if it is the prophet, let them say when he was hid, afterward to appear again. And what manner of prophet is this, that was not only made manifest from obscurity, but also stretched out his hands on the Cross? None surely of the righteous, save the Word of God only, Who, incorporeal by nature, appeared for our sakes in the body and suffered for all. 3. Or if not even this is sufficient for them, let them at least be silenced by another proof, seeing how clear its demonstrative force is. For the Scripture says: "Be strong [301] ye hands that hang down, and feeble knees; comfort ye, ye of faint mind; be strong, fear not. Behold, our God recompenseth judgment; He shall come and save us. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be plain." 4. Now what can they say to this, or how can they dare to face this at all? For the prophecy not only indicates that God is to sojourn here, but it announces the signs and the time of His coming. For they connect the blind recovering their sight, and the lame walking, and the deaf hearing, and the tongue of the stammerers being made plain, with the Divine Coming which is to take place. Let them say, then, when such signs have come to pass in Israel, or where in Jewry anything of the sort has occurred. 5. Naaman, a leper, was cleansed, but no deaf man heard nor lame walked. Elias raised a dead man; so did Eliseus; but none blind from birth regained his sight. For in good truth, to raise a dead man is a great thing, but it is not like the wonder wrought by the Saviour. Only, if Scripture has not passed over the case of the leper, and of the dead son of the widow, certainly, had it come to pass that a lame man also had walked and a blind man recovered his sight, the narrative would not have omitted to mention this also. Since then nothing is said in the Scriptures, it is evident that these things had never taken place before. 6. When, then, have they taken place, save when the Word of God Himself came in the body? Or when did He come, if not when lame men walked, and stammerers were made to speak plain, and deaf men heard, and men blind from birth regained their sight? For this was the very thing the Jews said who then witnessed it, because they had not heard of these things having taken place at any other time: "Since [302] the world began it was never heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing."


Footnotes

[300] Isa. lxv. 1, 2; cf. Rom. x. 20, sq. [301] Isa. xxxv. 3, sqq. [302] John ix. 32, sq.

39. Do you look for another? But Daniel foretells the exact time. Objections to this removed.

But perhaps, being unable, even they, to fight continually against plain facts, they will, without denying what is written, maintain that they are looking for these things, and that the Word of God is not yet come. For this it is on which they are for ever harping, not blushing to brazen it out in the face of plain facts. 2. But on this one point, above all, they shall be all the more refuted, not at our hands, but at those of the most wise Daniel, who marks both the actual date, and the divine sojourn of the Saviour, saying: "Seventy [303] weeks are cut short upon thy people, and upon the holy city, for a full end to be made of sin, and for sins to be sealed up, and to blot out iniquities, and to make atonement for iniquities, and to bring everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint a Holy of Holies; and thou shalt know and understand from the going forth of the word to restore [304] and to build Jerusalem unto Christ the Prince" 3. Perhaps with regard to the other (prophecies) they may be able even to find excuses and to put off what is written to a future time. But what can they say to this, or can they face it at all? Where not only is the Christ referred to, but He that is to be anointed is declared to be not man simply, but Holy of Holies; and Jerusalem is to stand till His coming, and thenceforth, prophet and vision cease in Israel. 4. David was anointed of old, and Solomon and Ezechias; but then, nevertheless, Jerusalem and the place stood, and prophets were prophesying: God and Asaph and Nathan; and, later, Esaias and Osee and Amos and others. And again, the actual men that were anointed were called holy, and not Holy of Holies. 5. But if they shield themselves with the captivity, and say that because of it Jerusalem was not, what can they say about the prophets too? For in fact when first the people went down to Babylon, Daniel and Jeremy were there, and Ezechiel and Aggæus and Zachary were prophesying.


Footnotes

[303] Dan. ix. 24, sq. [304] Lit. "answer," a misrendering of the Hebrew.

40. Argument (1) from the withdrawal of prophecy and destruction of Jerusalem, (2) from the conversion of the Gentiles, and that to the God of Moses. What more remains for the Messiah to do, that Christ has not done?

So the Jews are trifling, and the time in question, which they refer to the future, is actually come. For when did prophet and vision cease from Israel, save when Christ came, the Holy of Holies? For it is a sign, and an important proof, of the coming of the Word of God, that Jerusalem no longer stands, nor is any prophet raised up nor vision revealed to them,--and that very naturally. 2. For when He that was signified was come, what need was there any longer of any to signify Him? When the truth was there, what need any more of the shadow? For this was the reason of their prophesying at all,--namely, till the true Righteousness should come, and He that was to ransom the sins of all. And this was why Jerusalem stood till then--namely, that there they might be exercised in the types as a preparation for the reality. 3. So when the Holy of Holies was come, naturally vision and prophecy were sealed and the kingdom of Jerusalem ceased. For kings were to be anointed among them only until the Holy of Holies should have been anointed; and Jacob prophesies that the kingdom of the Jews should be established until Him, as follows:--"The ruler [305] shall not fail from Juda, nor the Prince from his loins, until that which is laid up for him shall come; and he is the expectation of the nations." 4. Whence the Saviour also Himself cried aloud and said: "The [306] law and the prophets prophesied until John." If then there is now among the Jews king or prophet or vision, they do well to deny the Christ that is come. But if there is neither king nor vision, but from that time forth all prophecy is sealed and the city and temple taken, why are they so irreligious and so perverse as to see what has happened, and yet to deny Christ, Who has brought it all to pass? Or why, when they see even heathens deserting their idols, and placing their hope, through Christ, on the God of Israel, do they deny Christ, Who was born of the root of Jesse after the flesh and henceforth is King? For if the nations were worshipping some other God, and not confessing the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses, then, once more, they would be doing well in alleging that God had not come. 5. But if the Gentiles are honouring the same God that gave the law to Moses and made the promise to Abraham, and Whose word the Jews dishonoured,--why are they ignorant, or rather why do they choose to ignore, that the Lord foretold by the Scriptures has shone forth upon the world, and appeared to it in bodily form, as the Scripture said: "The [307] Lord God hath shined upon us;" and again: "He [308] sent His Word and healed them;" and again: "Not [309] a messenger, not an angel, but the Lord Himself saved them?" 6. Their state may be compared to that of one out of his right mind, who sees the earth illumined by the sun, but denies the sun that illumines it. For what more is there for him whom they expect to do, when he is come? To call the heathen? But they are called already. To make prophecy, and king, and vision to cease? This too has already come to pass. To expose the godlessness of idolatry? It is already exposed and condemned. Or to destroy death? He is already destroyed. 7. What then has not come to pass, that the Christ must do? What is left unfulfilled, that the Jews should now disbelieve with impunity? For if, I say,--which is just what we actually see,--there is no longer king nor prophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them, but even the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, and Gentiles, leaving their godlessness, are now taking refuge with the God of Abraham, through the Word, even our Lord Jesus Christ, then it must be plain, even to those who are exceedingly obstinate, that the Christ is come, and that He has illumined absolutely all with His light, and given them the true and divine teaching concerning His Father. 8. So one can fairly refute the Jews by these and by other arguments from the Divine Scriptures.


Footnotes

[305] Gen. xlix. 10. [306] Matt. xi. 13. cf. Luc. xvi. 16. [307] Cf. Ps. cxviii. 27, and for the literal sense, Num. vi. 25 [308] Ps. cvii. 20. [309] Isa. lxiii. 9 (LXX.), and the note in the (Queen's Printers') `Variorum' Bible.

41. Answer to the Greeks. Do they recognise the Logos? If He manifests Himself in the organism of the Universe, why not in one Body? for a human body is a part of the same whole.

But one cannot but be utterly astonished at the Gentiles, who, while they laugh at what is no matter for jesting, are themselves insensible to their own disgrace, which they do not see that they have set up in the shape of stocks and stones. 2. Only, as our argument is not lacking in demonstrative proof, come let us put them also to shame on reasonable grounds,--mainly from what we ourselves also see. For what is there on our side that is absurd, or worthy of derision? Is it merely our saying that the Word has been made manifest in the body? But this even they will join in owning to have happened without any absurdity, if they show themselves friends of truth. 3. If then they deny that there is a Word of God at all, they do so gratuitously [310] , jesting at what they know not. 4. But if they confess that there is a Word of God, and He ruler of the universe, and that in Him the Father has produced the creation, and that by His Providence the whole receives light and life and being, and that He reigns over all, so that from the works of His providence He is known, and through Him the Father,--consider, I pray you, whether they be not unwittingly raising the jest against themselves. 5. The philosophers of the Greeks say that the universe is a great body [311] ; and rightly so. For we see it and its parts as objects of our senses. If, then, the Word of God is in the Universe, which is a body, and has united Himself with the whole and with all its parts, what is there surprising or absurd if we say that He has united Himself [312] with man also. 6. For if it were absurd for Him to have been in a body at all, it would be absurd for Him to be united with the whole either, and to be giving light and movement to all things by His providence. For the whole also is a body. 7. But if it beseems Him to unite Himself with the universe, and to be made known in the whole, it must beseem Him also to appear in a human body, and that by Him it should be illumined and work. For mankind is part of the whole as well as the rest. And if it be unseemly for a part to have been adopted as His instrument to teach men of His Godhead, it must be most absurd that He should be made known even by the whole universe.


Footnotes

[310] Athan. here assumes, for the purpose of his argument, the principles of the Neo-platonist schools. They were influenced, in regard to the Logos, by Philo, but even on this subject the germ of their teaching may be traced in Plato, especially in the Timæus, (See Drummond's Philo, i. 65-88, Bigg's Bamp. Lect. 14, 18, 248-253, and St. Aug. Confess. in `Nicene Fathers,' Series 1, vol. 1, p. 107 and notes.) [311] Especially Plato, Tim. 30, &c. [312] epibebekenai, cf. above, 20. 4, 6. The Union of God and Man in Christ is of course `hypostatic' or personal, and thus (supra 17. 1), different in kind from the union of the Word with Creation. His argument is ad homines. It was not for thinkers who identified the Universe with God to take exception to the idea of Incarnation.

42. His union with the body is based upon His relation to Creation as a whole. He used a human body, since to man it was that He wished to reveal Himself.

For just as, while the whole body is quickened and illumined by man, supposing one said it were absurd that man's power should also be in the toe, he would be thought foolish; because, while granting that he pervades and works in the whole, he demurs to his being in the part also; thus he who grants and believes that the Word of God is in the whole Universe, and that the whole is illumined and moved by Him, should not think it absurd that a single human body also should receive movement and light from Him. 2. But if it is because the human race is a thing created and has been made out of nothing, that they regard that manifestation of the Saviour in man, which we speak of, as not seemly, it is high time for them to eject Him from creation also; for it too has been brought into existence by the Word out of nothing. 3. But if, even though creation be a thing made, it is not absurd that the Word should be in it, then neither is it absurd that He should be in man. For whatever idea they form of the whole, they must necessarily apply the like idea to the part. For man also, as I said before, is a part of the whole. 4. Thus it is not at all unseemly that the Word should be in man, while all things are deriving from Him their light and movement and light, as also their authors say, "In [313] him we live and move and have our being." 5. So, then, what is there to scoff at in what we say, if the Word has used that, wherein He is, as an instrument to manifest Himself? For were He not in it, neither could He have used it; but if we have previously allowed that He is in the whole and in its parts, what is there incredible in His manifesting Himself in that wherein He is? 6. For by His own power He is united [314] wholly with each and all, and orders all things without stint, so that no one could have called it out of place for Him to speak, and make known Himself and His Father, by means of sun, if He so willed, or moon, or heaven, or earth, or waters, or fire [315] ; inasmuch as He holds in one all things at once, and is in fact not only in all but also in the part in question, and there invisibly manifests Himself. In like manner it cannot be absurd if, ordering as He does the whole, and giving life to all things, and having willed to make Himself known through men, He has used as His instrument a human body to manifest the truth and knowledge of the Father. For humanity, too, is an actual part of the whole. 7. And as Mind, pervading man all through, is interpreted by a part of the body, I mean the tongue, without any one saying, I suppose, that the essence of the mind is on that account lowered, so if the Word, pervading all things, has used a human instrument, this cannot appear unseemly. For, as I have said previously, if it be unseemly to have used a body as an instrument, it is unseemly also for Him to be in the Whole.


Footnotes

[313] See Acts xvii. 28. [314] epibainon, see supra, note 3. [315] The superfluous pepoiekenai is ignored, being untranslateable as the text stands. For a less simple conjecture, see the Bened. note.

43. He came in human rather than in any nobler form, because (I) He came to save, not to impress ; (2) man alone of creatures had sinned. As men would not recognise His works in the Universe, He came and worked among them as Man; in the sphere to which they had limited themselves.

Now, if they ask, Why then did He not appear by means of other and nobler parts of creation, and use some nobler instrument, as the sun, or moon, or stars, or fire, or air, instead of man merely? let them know that the Lord came not to make a display, but to heal and teach those who were suffering. 2. For the way for one aiming at display would be, just to appear, and to dazzle the beholders; but for one seeking to heal and teach the way is, not simply to sojourn here, but to give himself to the aid of those in want, and to appear as they who need him can bear it; that he may not, by exceeding the requirements of the sufferers, trouble the very persons that need him, rendering God's appearance useless to them. 3. Now, nothing in creation had gone astray with regard to their notions of God, save man only. Why, neither sun, nor moon, nor heaven, nor the stars, nor water, nor air had swerved from their order; but knowing their Artificer and Sovereign, the Word, they remain as they were made [316] . But men alone, having rejected what was good, then devised things of nought instead of the truth, and have ascribed the honour due to God, and their knowledge of Him, to demons and men in the shape of stones. 4. With reason, then, since it were unworthy of the Divine Goodness to overlook so grave a matter, while yet men were not able to recognise Him as ordering and guiding the whole, He takes to Himself as an instrument a part of the whole, His human body, and unites [317] Himself with that, in order that since men could not recognise Him in the whole, they should not fail to know Him in the part; and since they could not look up to His invisible power, might be able, at any rate, from what resembled themselves to reason to Him and to contemplate Him. 5. For, men as they are, they will be able to know His Father more quickly and directly by a body of like nature and by the divine works wrought through it, judging by comparison that they are not human, but the works of God, which are done by Him. 6. And if it were absurd, as they say, for the Word to be known through the works of the body, it would likewise be absurd for Him to be known through the works of the universe. For just as He is in creation, and yet does not partake of its nature in the least degree, but rather all things partake [318] of His power; so while He used the body as His instrument He partook of no corporeal property, but, on the contrary, Himself sanctified even the body. 7. For if even Plato, who is in such repute among the Greeks, says [319] that its author, beholding the universe tempest-tossed, and in peril of going down to the place of chaos, takes his seat at the helm of the soul and comes to the rescue and corrects all its calamities; what is there incredible in what we say, that, mankind being in error, the Word lighted down [320] upon it and appeared as man, that He might save it in its tempest by His guidance and goodness?


Footnotes

[316] This thought is beautifully expressed by Keble :-- `All true, all faultless, all in tune, Creation's wondrous choir Opened in mystic unison, to last till time expire. And still it lasts: by day and night with one consenting voice All hymn Thy glory Lord, aright, all worship and rejoice: Man only mars the sweet accord".... (`Christian Year,' Fourth Sunday after Trinity.) [317] Cf. 41. 5, note 3. [318] Cf. Orig. c. Cels. vi. 64, where there is the same contrast between metechein and metechesthai [319] Ath. paraphrases loosely Plat. Politic. 273 D. See Jowett's Plato (ed. 2) vol. iv. pp. 515, 553. [320] Lit. "sate down," as four lines above.

44. As God made man by a word, why not restore him by a word? But (1) creation out of nothing is different from reparation of what already exists. (2) Man was there with a definite need, calling for a definite remedy. Death was ingrained in man's nature: He then must wind life closely to human nature. Therefore the Word became Incarnate that He might meet and conquer death in His usurped territory. (Simile of straw and asbestos.)

But perhaps, shamed into agreeing with this, they will choose to say that God, if He wished to reform and to save mankind, ought to have done so by a mere fiat [321] , without His word taking a body, in just the same way as He did formerly, when He produced them out of nothing. 2. To this objection of theirs a reasonable answer would be: that formerly, nothing being in existence at all, what was needed to make everything was a fiat and the bare will to do so. But when man had once been made, and necessity demanded a cure, not for things that were not, but for things that had come to be, it was naturally consequent that the Physician and Saviour should appear in what had come to be, in order also to cure the things that were. For this cause, then, He has become man, and used His body as a human instrument. 3. For if this were not the right way, how was the Word, choosing to use an instrument, to appear? or whence was He to take it, save from those already in being, and in need of His Godhead by means of one like themselves? For it was not things without being that needed salvation, so that a bare command should suffice, but man, already in existence, was going to corruption and ruin [322] . It was then natural and right that the Word should use a human instrument and reveal Himself everywhither. 4. Secondly, you must know this also, that the corruption which had set in was not external to the body, but had become attached to it; and it was required that, instead of corruption, life should cleave to it; so that, just as death has been engendered in the body, so life may be engendered in it also. 5. Now if death were external to the body, it would be proper for life also to have been engendered externally to it. But if death was wound closely to the body and was ruling over it as though united to it, it was required that life also should be wound closely to the body, that so the body, by putting on life in its stead, should cast off corruption. Besides, even supposing that the Word had come outside the body, and not in it, death would indeed have been defeated by Him, in perfect accordance with nature, inasmuch as death has no power against the Life; but the corruption attached to the body would have remained in it none the less [323] . 6. For this cause the Saviour reasonably put on Him a body, in order that the body, becoming wound closely to the Life, should no longer, as mortal, abide in death, but, as having put on immortality, should thenceforth rise again and remain immortal. For, once it had put on corruption, it could not have risen again unless it had put on life. And death likewise could not, from its very nature, appear, save in the body. Therefore He put on a body, that He might find death in the body, and blot it out. For how could the Lord have been proved at all to be the Life, had He not quickened what was mortal? 7. And just as, whereas stubble is naturally destructible by fire, supposing (firstly) a man keeps fire away from the stubble, though it is not burned, yet the stubble remains, for all that, merely stubble, fearing the threat of the fire--for fire has the natural property of consuming it; while if a man (secondly) encloses it with a quantity of asbestos, the substance said [324] to be an antidote to fire, the stubble no longer dreads the fire, being secured by its enclosure in incombustible matter; 8. in this very way one may say, with regard to the body and death, that if death had been kept from the body by a mere command on His part, it would none the less have been mortal and corruptible, according to the nature of bodies; but, that this should not be, it put on the incorporeal Word of God, and thus no longer fears either death or corruption, for it has life as a garment, and corruption is done away in it.


Footnotes

[321] With this discussion compare that upon `repentance' above 7. (esp. 7. 4). [322] Restoration by a mere fiat would have shewn God's power, the Incarnation shews His Love. See Orat. i. 52, note 1, ii. 68, note 1. [323] Cf. Orat. i. 56, note 5, 65, note 3. [324] See above 28. 3. He appears not to have seen the substance.

45. Thus once again every part of creation manifests the glory of God. Nature, the witness to her Creator, yields (by miracles) a second testimony to God Incarnate. The witness of Nature, perverted by man's sin, was thus forced back to truth. If these reasons suffice not, let the Greeks look at facts.

Consistently, therefore, the Word of God took a body and has made use of a human instrument, in order to quicken the body also, and as He is known in creation by His works so to work in man as well, and to shew Himself everywhere, leaving nothing void of His own divinity, and of the knowledge of Him. 2. For I resume, and repeat what I said before, that the Saviour did this in order that, as He fills all things on all sides by His presence, so also He might fill all things with the knowledge of Him, as the divine Scripture also says [325] : "The whole earth was filled with the knowledge of the Lord." 3. For if a man will but look up to heaven, he sees its Order, or if he cannot raise his face to heaven, but only to man, he sees His power, beyond comparison with that of men, shewn by His works, and learns that He alone among men is God the Word. Or if a man is gone astray among demons, and is in fear of them, he may see this man drive them out, and make up his mind that He is their Master. Or if a man has sunk to the waters [326] , and thinks that they are God,--as the Egyptians, for instance, reverence the water,--he may see its nature changed by Him, and learn that the Lord is Creator of the waters. 4. But if a man is gone down even to Hades, and stands in awe of the heroes who have descended thither, regarding them as gods, yet he may see the fact of Christ's Resurrection and victory over death, and infer that among them also Christ alone is true God and Lord. 5. For the Lord touched all parts of creation, and freed and undeceived all of them from every illusion; as Paul says: "Having [327] put off from Himself the principalities and the powers, He triumphed on the Cross:" that no one might by any possibility be any longer deceived, but everywhere might find the true Word of God. 6. For thus man, shut in on every side [328] , and beholding the divinity of the Word unfolded everywhere, that is, in heaven, in Hades, in man, upon earth, is no longer exposed to deceit concerning God, but is to worship Christ alone, and through Him come rightly to know the Father. 7. By these arguments, then, on grounds of reason, the Gentiles in their turn will fairly be put to shame by us. But if they deem the arguments insufficient to shame them, let them be assured of what we are saying at any rate by facts obvious to the sight of all.


Footnotes

[325] Isa. xi. 9. For the arguments, compare 11-14. [326] See DÜllinger, Gentile and Jew, i. 449. [327] Col. ii. 15. [328] The Incarnation completes the circle of God's self-witness and of man's responsibility.

46. Discredit, from the date of the Incarnation, of idol-cultus, oracles, mythologies, demoniacal energy, magic, and Gentile philosophy. And whereas the old cults were strictly local and independent, the worship of Christ is catholic and uniform.

When did men begin to desert the worshipping of idols, save since God, the true Word of God, has come among men? Or when have the oracles among the Greeks, and everywhere, ceased and become empty, save when the Saviour has manifested Himself upon earth? 2. Or when did those who are called gods and heroes in the poets begin to be convicted of being merely mortal men [329] , save since the Lord erected His conquest of death, and preserved incorruptible the body he had taken, raising it from the dead? 3. Or when did the deceitfulness and madness of demons fall into contempt, save when the power of God, the Word, the Master of all these as well, condescending because of man's weakness, appeared on earth? Or when [330] did the art and the schools of magic begin to be trodden down, save when the divine manifestation of the Word took place among men? 4. And, in a word, at what time has the wisdom of the Greeks become foolish, save when the true Wisdom of God manifested itself on earth? For formerly the whole world and every place was led astray by the worshipping of idols, and men regarded nothing else but the idols as gods. But now, all the world over, men are deserting the superstition of the idols, and taking refuge with Christ; and, worshipping Him as God, are by His means coming to know that Father also Whom they knew not. 5. And, marvellous fact, whereas the objects of worship were various and of vast number, and each place had its own idol, and he who was accounted a god among them had no power to pass over to the neighbouring place, so as to persuade those of neighbouring peoples to worship him, but was barely served even among his own people; for no one else worshipped his neighbour's god--on the contrary, each man kept to his own idol [331] , thinking it to be lord of all;--Christ alone is worshipped as one and the same among all peoples; and what the weakness of the idols could not do--to persuade, namely, even those dwelling close at hand,--this Christ has done, persuading not only those close at hand, but simply the entire world, to worship one and the same Lord, and through Him God, even His Father.


Footnotes

[329] Cf. notes on c. Gent. 10, and 12. 2. [330] On the following argument see DÜllinger ii. 210 sqq., and Bigg, Bampt. Lect. 248, note 1. [331] On the local character of ancient religions, see DÜllinger i. 109, &c., and Coulanges, La Cit Antique, Book III. ch. vi., and V. iii. (the substance in Barker's Aryan Civilisation).

47. The numerous oracles,--fancied apparitions in sacred places, &c., dispelled by the sign of the Cross. The old gods prove to have been mere men. Magic is exposed. And whereas Philosophy could only persuade select and local cliques of Immortality, and goodness,--men of little intellect have infused into the multitudes of the churches the principle of a supernatural life.

And whereas formerly every place was full of the deceit of the oracles [332] , and the oracles at Delphi and Dodona, and in Boeotia [333] and Lycia [334] and Libya [335] and Egypt and those of the Cabiri [336] , and the Pythoness, were held in repute by men's imagination, now, since Christ has begun to be preached everywhere, their madness also has ceased and there is none among them to divine any more. 2. And whereas formerly demons used to deceive [337] men's fancy, occupying springs or rivers, trees or stones, and thus imposed upon the simple by their juggleries; now, after the divine visitation of the Word, their deception has ceased. For by the Sign of the Cross, though a man but use it, he drives out their deceits. 3. And while formerly men held to be gods the Zeus and Cronos and Apollo and the heroes mentioned in the poets, and went astray in honouring them; now that the Saviour has appeared among men, those others have been exposed as mortal men [338] , and Christ alone has been recognised among men as the true God, the Word of God. 4. And what is one to say of the magic [339] esteemed among them? that before the Word sojourned among us this was strong and active among Egyptians, and Chaldees, and Indians, and inspired awe in those who saw it; but that by the presence of the Truth, and the Appearing of the Word, it also has been thoroughly confuted, and brought wholly to nought. 5. But as to Gentile wisdom, and the sounding pretensions of the philosophers, I think none can need our argument, since the wonder is before the eyes of all, that while the wise among the Greeks had written so much, and were unable to persuade even a few [340] from their own neighbourhood, concerning immortality and a virtuous life, Christ alone, by ordinary language, and by men not clever with the tongue, has throughout all the world persuaded whole churches full of men to despise death, and to mind the things of immortality; to overlook what is temporal and to turn their eyes to what is eternal; to think nothing of earthly glory and to strive only for the heavenly.


Footnotes

[332] On these, see DÜllinger, i. 216, &c., and Milton's Ode on the Nativity, stanza xix. [333] i.e. that of Trophonius. [334] Patara. [335] Ammon. [336] See DÜllinger, i. 73, 164-70: the Cabiri were pre-Hellenic deities, worshipped in many ancient sanctuaries, but principally in Samothrace and Lemnos. [337] Cf. Vit. Ant. xvi.-xliii., also DÜllinger, ii. 212, and a curious catena of extracts from early Fathers, collected by Hurter in `Opuscula SS. Patrum Selecta,' vol. 1, appendix. [338] For this opinion, see note 1 on c. Gent. 12. [339] See DÜllinger, ii. 210, and (on Julian) 215. [340] In Plato's ideal Republic, the notion of any direct influence of the highest ideals upon the masses is quite absent. Their happiness is to be in passive obedience to the few whom those ideals inspire. (Contrast Isa. liv. 13, Jer. xxxi. 34.)

48. Further facts. Christian continence of virgins and ascetics. Martyrs. The power of the Cross against demons and magic. Christ by His Power shews Himself more than a man, more than a magician, more than a spirit. For all these are totally subject to Him. Therefore He is the Word of God.

Now these arguments of ours do not amount merely to words, but have in actual experience a witness to their truth. 2. For let him that will, go up and behold the proof of virtue in the virgins of Christ and in the young men that practise holy chastity [341] , and the assurance of immortality in so great a band of His martyrs. 3. And let him come who would test by experience what we have now said, and in the very presence of the deceit of demons and the imposture of oracles and the marvels of magic, let him use the Sign of that Cross which is laughed at among them, and he shall see how by its means demons fly, oracles cease, all magic and witchcraft is brought to nought. 4. Who, then, and how great is this Christ, Who by His own Name and Presence casts into the shade and brings to nought all things on every side, and is alone strong against all, and has filled the whole world with His teaching? Let the Greeks tell us, who are pleased to laugh, and blush not. 5. For if He is a man, how then has one man exceeded the power of all whom even themselves bold to be gods, and convicted them by His own power of being nothing? But if they call Him a magician, how can it be that by a magician all magic is destroyed, instead of being confirmed? For if He conquered particular magicians, or prevailed over one only, it would be proper for them to hold that He excelled the rest by superior skill; 6. but if His Cross has won the victory over absolutely all magic, and over the very name of it, it must be plain that the Saviour is not a magician, seeing that even those demons who are invoked by the other magicians fly from Him as their Master. 7. Who He is, then, let the Greeks tell us, whose only serious pursuit is jesting. Perhaps they might say that He, too, was a demon, and hence His strength. But say this as they will, they will have the laugh against them, for they can once more be put to shame by our former proofs. For how is it possible that He should be a demon who drives the demons out? 8. For if He simply drove out particular demons, it might properly be held that by the chief of demons He prevailed against the lesser, just as the Jews said to Him when they wished to insult Him. But if, by His Name being named, all madness of the demons is uprooted and chased away, it must be evident that here, too, they are wrong, and that our Lord and Saviour Christ is not, as they think, some demoniacal power. 9. Then, if the Saviour is neither a man simply, nor a magician, nor some demon, but has by His own Godhead brought to nought and cast into the shade both the doctrine found in the poets and the delusion of the demons and the wisdom of the Gentiles, it must be plain and will be owned by all, that this is the true Son of God, even the Word and Wisdom and Power of the Father from the beginning. For this is why His works also are no works of man, but are recognised to be above man, and truly God's works, both from the facts in themselves, and from comparison with [the rest of] mankind.


Footnotes

[341] Cf. Hist. Arian. 25, Apol. Const. 33.

49. His Birth and Miracles. You call Asclepius, Heracles, and Dionysus gods for their works. Contrast their works with His, and the wonders at His death, &c.

For what man, that ever was born, formed a body for himself from a virgin alone? Or what man ever healed such diseases as the common Lord of all? Or who has restored what was wanting to man's nature, and made one blind from his birth to see? 2. Asclepius was deified among them, because he practised medicine and found out herbs for bodies that were sick; not forming them himself out of the earth, but discovering them by science drawn from nature. But what is this to what was done by the Saviour, in that, instead of healing a wound, He modified a man's original nature, and restored the body whole. 3. Heracles is worshipped as a god among the Greeks because he fought against men, his peers, and destroyed wild beasts by guile. What is this to what was done by the Word, in driving away from man diseases and demons and death itself? Dionysus is worshipped among them because he has taught man drunkenness; but the true Saviour and Lord of all, for teaching temperance, is mocked by these people. 4. But let these matters pass. What will they say to the other miracles of His Godhead? At what man's death was the sun darkened and the earth shaken? Lo even to this day men are dying, and they died also of old. When did any such-like wonder happen in their case? 5. Or, to pass over the deeds done through His body, and mention those after its rising again: what man's doctrine that ever was has prevailed everywhere, one and the same, from one end of the earth to the other, so that his worship has winged its way through every land? 6. Or why, if Christ is, as they say, a man, and not God the Word, is not His worship prevented by the gods they have from passing into the same land where they are? Or why on the contrary does the Word Himself, sojourning here, by His teaching stop their worship and put their deception to shame?

50. Impotence and rivalries of the Sophists put to shame by the Death of Christ. His Resurrection unparalleled even in Greek legend.

Many before this Man have been kings and tyrants of the world, many are on record who have been wise men and magicians, among the Chaldæans and Egyptians and Indians; which of these, I say, not after death, but while still alive, was ever able so far to prevail as to fill the whole earth with his teaching and reform so great a multitude from the superstition of idols, as our Saviour has brought over from idols to Himself? 2. The philosophers of the Greeks have composed many works with plausibility and verbal skill; what result, then, have they exhibited so great as has the Cross of Christ? For the refinements they taught were plausible enough till they died; but even the influence they seemed to have while alive was subject to their mutual rivalries; and they were emulous, and declaimed against one another. 3. But the Word of God, most strange fact, teaching in meaner language, has cast into the shade the choice sophists; and while He has, by drawing all to Himself, brought their schools to nought, He has filled His own churches; and the marvellous thing is, that by going down as man to death, He has brought to nought the sounding utterances of the wise [342] concerning idols. 4. For whose death ever drove out demons? or whose death did demons ever fear, as they did that of Christ? For where the Saviour's name is named, there every demon is driven out. Or who has so rid men of the passions of the natural man, that whoremongers are chaste, and murderers no longer hold the sword, and those who were formerly mastered by cowardice play the man? 5. And, in short, who persuaded men of barbarous countries and heathen men in divers places to lay aside their madness, and to mind peace, if it be not the Faith of Christ and the Sign of the Cross? Or who else has given men such assurance of immortality, as has the Cross of Christ, and the Resurrection of His Body? 6. For although the Greeks have told all manner of false tales, yet they were not able to feign a Resurrection of their idols,--for it never crossed their mind, whether it be at all possible for the body again to exist after death. And here one would most especially accept their testimony, inasmuch as by this opinion they have exposed the weakness of their own idolatry, while leaving the possibility open to Christ, so that hence also He might be made known among all as Son of God.


Footnotes

[342] e.g. Iamblichus, &c., cf. Introd. to c. Gent.

51. The new virtue of continence. Revolution of Society, purified and pacified by Christianity.

Which of mankind, again, after his death, or else while living, taught concerning virginity, and that this virtue was not impossible among men? But Christ, our Saviour and King of all, had such power in His teaching concerning it, that even children not yet arrived at the lawful age vow that virginity which lies beyond the law. 2. What man has ever yet been able to pass so far as to come among Scythians and Ethiopians, or Persians or Armenians or Goths, or those we hear of beyond the ocean or those beyond Hyrcania, or even the Egyptians and Chaldees, men that mind magic and are superstitious beyond nature and savage in their ways, and to preach at all about virtue and self-control, and against the worshipping of idols, as has the Lord of all, the Power of God, our Lord Jesus Christ? 3. Who not only preached by means of His own disciples, but also carried persuasion to men's mind, to lay aside the fierceness of their manners, and no longer to serve their ancestral gods, but to learn to know Him, and through Him to worship the Father. 4. For formerly, while in idolatry, Greeks and Barbarians used to war against each other, and were actually cruel to their own kin. For it was impossible for any one to cross sea or land at all, without arming the hand with swords [343] , because of their implacable fighting among themselves. 5. For the whole course of their life was carried on by arms, and the sword with them took the place of a staff, and was their support in every emergency; and still, as I said before, they were serving idols, and offering sacrifices to demons, while for all their idolatrous superstition they could not be reclaimed from this spirit. 6. But when they have come over to the school of Christ, then, strangely enough, as men truly pricked in conscience, they have laid aside the savagery of their murders and no longer mind the things of war: but all is at peace with them, and from henceforth what makes for friendship is to their liking.


Footnotes

[343] Cf. Thucy. i. 5 6: `pasa gar he ;'Ellas esiderophorei,' &c.

52. Wars, &c., roused by demons, lulled by Christianity.

Who then is He that has done this, or who is He that has united in peace men that hated one another, save the beloved Son of the Father, the common Saviour of all, even Jesus Christ, Who by His own love underwent all things for our salvation? For even from of old it was prophesied of the peace He was to usher in, where the Scripture says: "They [344] shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their pikes into sickles, and nation shall not take the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." 2. And this is at least not incredible, inasmuch as even now those barbarians who have an innate savagery of manners, while they still sacrifice to the idols of their country, are mad against one another, and cannot endure to be a single hour without weapons: 3. but when they hear the teaching of Christ, straightway instead of fighting they turn to husbandry, and instead of arming their hands with weapons they raise them in prayer, and in a word, in place of fighting among themselves, henceforth they arm against the devil and against evil spirits, subduing these by self-restraint and virtue of soul. 4. Now this is at once a proof of the divinity of the Saviour, since what men could not learn among idols [345] they have learned from Him; and no small exposure of the weakness and nothingness of demons and idols. For demons, knowing their own weakness, for this reason formerly set men to make war against one another, lest, if they ceased from mutual strife, they should turn to battle against demons. 5. Why, they who become disciples of Christ, instead of warring with each other, stand arrayed against demons by their habits and their virtuous actions: and they rout them, and mock at their captain the devil; so that in youth they are self-restrained, in temptations endure, in labours persevere, when insulted are patient, when robbed make light of it: and, wonderful as it is, they despise even death and become martyrs of Christ.


Footnotes

[344] Isa. ii. 4. [345] St. Augustine, Civ. D. IV. xvi. commenting on the fact that the temple of `Repose' (Quies) at Rome was not within the city walls, suggests `qui illam turbam colere perseveraret...doemoniorum, eum Quietem habere non posse.'

53. The whole fabric of Gentilism levelled at a blow by Christ secretly addressing the conscience of Man.

And to mention one proof of the divinity of the Saviour, which is indeed utterly surprising,--what mere man or magician or tyrant or king was ever able by himself to engage with so many, and to fight the battle against all idolatry and the whole demoniacal host and all magic, and all the wisdom of the Greeks, while they were so strong and still flourishing and imposing upon all, and at one onset to check them all, as was our Lord, the true Word of God, Who, invisibly exposing each man's error, is by Himself bearing off all men from them all, so that while they who were worshipping idols now trample upon them, those in repute for magic burn their books, and the wise prefer to all studies the interpretation of the Gospels? 2. For whom they used to worship, them they are deserting, and Whom they used to mock as one crucified, Him they worship as Christ, confessing Him to be God. And they that are called gods among them are routed by the Sign of the Cross, while the Crucified Saviour is proclaimed in all the world as God and the Son of God. And the gods worshipped among the Greeks are falling into ill repute at their hands, as scandalous beings; while those who receive the teaching of Christ live a chaster life than they. 3. If, then, these and the like are human works, let him who will point out similar works on the part of men of former time, and so convince us. But if they prove to be, and are, not men's works, but God's, why are the unbelievers so irreligious as not to recognise the Master that wrought them? 4. For their case is as though a man, from the works of creation, failed to know God their Artificer. For if they knew His Godhead from His power over the universe, they would have known that the bodily works of Christ also are not human, but are the works of the Saviour of all, the Word of God. And did they thus know, "they would not," as Paul said [346] , "have crucified the Lord of glory."


Footnotes

[346] 1 Cor. ii. 8.

54. The Word Incarnate, as is the case with the Invisible God, is known to us by His works. By them we recognise His deifying mission. Let us be content to enumerate a few of them, leaving their dazzling plentitude to him who will behold.

As, then, if a man should wish to see God, Who is invisible by nature and not seen at all, he may know and apprehend Him from His works: so let him who fails to see Christ with his understanding, at least apprehend Him by the works of His body, and test whether they be human works or God's works. 2. And if they be human, let him scoff; but if they are not human, but of God, let him recognise it, and not laugh at what is no matter for scoffing; but rather let him marvel that by so ordinary a means things divine have been manifested to us, and that by death immortality has reached to all, and that by the Word becoming man, the universal Providence has been known, and its Giver and Artificer the very Word of God. 3. For He was made man that we might be made God [347] ; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality. For while He Himself was in no way injured, being impossible and incorruptible and very Word and God, men who were suffering, and for whose sakes He endured all this, He maintained and preserved in His own impassibility. 4. And, in a word, the achievements of the Saviour, resulting from His becoming man, are of such kind and number, that if one should wish to enumerate them, he may be compared to men who gaze at the expanse of the sea and wish to count its waves. For as one cannot take in the whole of the waves with his eyes, for those which are coming on baffle the sense of him that attempts it; so for him that would take in all the achievements of Christ in the body, it is impossible to take in the whole, even by reckoning them up, as those which go beyond his thought are more than those he thinks he has taken in. 5. Better is it, then, not to aim at speaking of the whole, where one cannot do justice even to a part, but, after mentioning one more, to leave the whole for you to marvel at. For all alike are marvellous, and wherever a man turns his glance, he may behold on that side the divinity of the Word, and be struck with exceeding great awe.


Footnotes

[347] theopoiethomen. See Orat. ii. 70, note 1, and many other passages in those Discourses, as well as Letters 60. 4, 61. 2. (Eucharistic reference), de Synodis 51, note 7. (Compare also Iren. IV. xxxviii. 4, `non ab initio dii facti sumus, sed primo quidem homines, tunc demum dii,' cf. ib. præf. 4. fin. also V. ix. 2, `sublevat in vitam Dei.' Origen Cels. iii. 28 fin. touches the same thought, but Ath. is here in closer affinity to the idea of Irenæus than to that of Origen.) The New Test. reference is 2 Pet. i. 4, rather than Heb. ii. 9 sqq; the Old Test., Ps. lxxxii. 6, which seems to underlie Orat. iii. 25 (note 5). In spite of the last mentioned passage, `God' is far preferable as a rendering, in most places, to `gods,' which has heathenish associations. To us (1 Cor. viii. 6) there are no such things as `gods.' (The best summary of patristic teaching on this subject is given by Harnack Dg. ii. p. 46 note.)

55. Summary of foregoing. Cessation of pagan oracles, &c.: propagation of the faith. The true King has come forth and silenced all usurpers.

This, then, after what we have so far said, it is right for you to realize, and to take as the sum of what we have already stated, and to marvel at exceedingly; namely, that since the Saviour has come among us, idolatry not only has no longer increased, but what there was is diminishing and gradually coming to an end: and not only does the wisdom of the Greeks no longer advance, but what there is is now fading away: and demons, so far from cheating any more by illusions and prophecies and magic arts, if they so much as dare to make the attempt, are put to shame by the sign of the Cross. 2. And to sum the matter up: behold how the Saviour's doctrine is everywhere increasing, while all idolatry and everything opposed to the faith of Christ is daily dwindling, and losing power, and falling. And thus beholding, worship the Saviour, "Who is above all" and mighty, even God the Word; and condemn those who are being worsted and done away by Him. 3. For as, when the sun is come, darkness no longer prevails, but if any be still left anywhere it is driven away; so, now that the divine Appearing of the Word of God is come, the darkness of the idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are illumined by His teaching. 4. And as, when a king is reigning in some country without appearing but keeps at home in his own house, often some disorderly persons, abusing his retirement, proclaim themselves; and each of them, by assuming the character, imposes on the simple as king, and so men are led astray by the name, hearing that there is a king, but not seeing him, if for no other reason, because they cannot enter the house; but when the real king comes forth and appears, then the disorderly impostors are exposed by his presence, while men, seeing the real king, desert those who previously led them astray: 5. in like manner, the evil spirits formerly used to deceive men, investing themselves with God's honour; but when the Word of God appeared in a body, and made known to us His own Father, then at length the deceit of the evil spirits is done away and stopped, while men, turning their eyes to the true God, Word of the Father, are deserting the idols, and now coming to know the true God. 6. Now this is a proof that Christ is God the Word, and the Power of God. For whereas human things cease, and the Word of Christ abides, it is clear to all eyes that what ceases is temporary, but that He Who abides is God, and the true Son of God, His only-begotten Word.

56. Search then, the Scriptures, if you can, and so fill up this sketch. Learn to look for the Second Advent and Judgment.

Let this, then, Christ-loving man, be our offering to you, just for a rudimentary sketch and outline, in a short compass, of the faith of Christ and of His Divine appearing to usward. But you, taking occasion by this, if you light upon the text of the Scriptures, by genuinely applying your mind to them, will learn from them more completely and clearly the exact detail of what we have said. 2. For they were spoken and written by God, through men who spoke of God. But we impart of what we have learned from inspired teachers who have been conversant with them, who have also become martyrs for the deity of Christ, to your zeal for learning, in turn. 3. And you will also learn about His second glorious and truly divine appearing to us, when no longer in lowliness, but in His own glory,--no longer in humble guise, but in His own magnificence,--He is to come, no more to suffer, but thenceforth to render to all the fruit of His own Cross, that is, the resurrection and incorruption; and no longer to be judged, but to judge all, by what each has done in the body, whether good or evil; where there is laid up for the good the kingdom of heaven, but for them that have done evil everlasting fire and outer darkness. 4. For thus the Lord Himself also says: "Henceforth [348] ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven in the glory of the Father." 5. And for this very reason there is also a word of the Saviour to prepare us for that day, in these words: "Be [349] ye ready and watch, for He cometh at an hour ye know not." For, according to the blessed Paul: "We [350] must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may receive according as he hath done in the body, whether it be good or bad."


Footnotes

[348] Matt. xxvi. 64. [349] Cf. Matt. xxiv. 42; Marc. xiii. 35. [350] 2 Cor. v. 10; cf. Rom. xiv. 10.

57. Above all, so live that you may have the right to eat of this tree of knowledge and life, and so come to eternal joys. Doxology.

But for the searching of the Scriptures and true knowledge of them, an honourable life is needed, and a pure soul, and that virtue which is according to Christ; so that the intellect guiding its path by it, may be able to attain what it desires, and to comprehend it, in so far as it is accessible to human nature to learn concerning the Word of God. 2. For without a pure mind and a modelling of the life after the saints, a man could not possibly comprehend the words of the saints. 3. For just as, if a man wished to see the light of the sun, he would at any rate wipe and brighten his eye, purifying himself in some sort like what he desires, so that the eye, thus becoming light, may see the light of the sun; or as, if a man would see a city or country, he at any rate comes to the place to see it;--thus he that would comprehend the mind of those who speak of God must needs begin by washing and cleansing his soul, by his manner of living, and approach the saints themselves by imitating their works; so that, associated with them in the conduct of a common life, he may understand also what has been revealed to them by God, and thenceforth, as closely knit to them, may escape the peril of the sinners and their fire at the day of judgment, and receive what is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven, which "Eye hath not seen [351] , nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man," whatsoever things are prepared for them that live a virtuous life, and love the God and Father, in Christ Jesus our Lord: through Whom and with Whom be to the Father Himself, with the Son Himself, in the Holy Spirit, honour and might and glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Footnotes

[351] 1 Cor. ii. 9.

.

Depositio Arii.

Introduction to the `Deposition of Arius' and Encyclical Letter of Alexander.

The following documents form the fittest opening to the series of Anti-Arian writings of Athanasius. They are included in the Benedictine edition of his works, and in the Oxford Collection of Historical Tracts, of which the present translation is a revision. The possibility that the Encyclical Letter was drawn up by Athanasius himself, now deacon and Secretary to Bishop Alexander (Prolegg. ch. ii. 2), is a further reason for its inclusion. The Athanasian authorship is maintained by Newman on the following grounds, which his notes will be found to bear out. (1) Total dissimilarity of style as compared with Alexander's letter to his namesake of Byzantium (given by Theodoret, H. E. i. 4). That piece is in an elaborate and involved style, full of compound words, with nothing of the Athanasian simplicity and vigour. (2) Remarkable identity of style with that of Athanasius, extending to his most characteristic expressions. (3) Distinctness of the `theological view' and terminology of Alexander as compared with Athanasius; the Encyclical coinciding with the latter against the former. (4) Athanasian use of certain texts. These arguments are of great weight, and make out at least a prima facie case for Newman's view. The latter has the weight of BÜhringer's opinion on its side, while the counter-arguments of KÜlling (vol. 1. p. 105) are trivial. Gwatkin, Studies, 29, note 4, misses the points (Nos. 1 and 3) of Newman's argument, which may fairly be said to hold the field. The deposition of Arius at Alexandria took place (Prolegg, ubi supra) in 320 or 321; more likely the latter. Whether the Encyclical was drawn up at the Synod which deposed Arius, as is generally supposed, or some two years later, as has been inferred from the references to Eusebius of Nicomedia (D. C. B. i. 80, cf. Prolegg. ubi supra, note 1), is a question that may for our present purpose be left open. In any case it is one of the earliest documents of the Arian controversy. It should be noted that the homoousion does not occur in this document, a fact of importance in the history of the adoption of the word as a test at Nicæa, cf. Prolegg. ch. ii. 3 (1) and (2) b. At this stage the Alexandrians were content with the formulæ homoios kat' ousian (Athan.), aparallaktos eikon, apekribomene emphereia (Alex. in Thdt.), which were afterwards found inadequate.

The letter, after stating the circumstances which call it forth, and recording the doctrine propounded by Arius, and his deposition, points out some of the leading texts which condemn the doctrine (3, 4). The Arians are then (5) compared to other heretics, and the bishops of the Church generally warned (6) against the intrigues of Eusebius of Nicomedia. The letter is signed by the sixteen presbyters of Alexandria, and the twenty-four deacons (Athanasius signs fourth), as well as by eighteen presbyters and twenty deacons of the Mareotis. The scriptural argument of the Epistle is the germ of the polemic developed in the successive Anti-Arian treatises which form the bulk of the present volume.

Deposition of Arius.

Alexander's Deposition of Arius and his companions, and Encyclical Letter on the subject.

Alexander, being assembled with his beloved brethren, the Presbyters and Deacons of Alexandria, and the Mareotis, greets them in the Lord.

Although you have already subscribed to the letter I addressed to Arius and his fellows, exhorting them to renounce his impiety, and to submit themselves to the sound Catholic Faith, and have shewn your right-mindedness and agreement in the doctrines of the Catholic Church: yet forasmuch as I have written also to our fellow-ministers in every place concerning Arius and his fellows, and especially since some of you, as the Presbyters Chares and Pistus [352] , and the Deacons Serapion, Parammon, Zosimus, and Irenæus, have joined Arius and his fellows, and been content to suffer deposition with them, I thought it needful to assemble together you, the Clergy of the city, and to send for you the Clergy of the Mareotis, in order that you may learn what I am now writing, and may testify your agreement thereto, and give your concurrence in the deposition of Arius, Pistus, and their fellows. For it is desirable that you should be made acquainted with what I write, and that each of you should heartily embrace it, as though he had written it himself.

A Copy.

To his dearly beloved and most honoured fellow-ministers of the Catholic Church in every place, Alexander sends health in the Lord.

1. As there is one body [353] of the Catholic Church, and a command is given us in the sacred Scriptures to preserve the bond of unity and peace, it is agreeable thereto that we should write and signify to one another whatever is done by each of us individually; so that whether one member suffer or rejoice, we may either suffer or rejoice with one another. Now there are gone forth in this diocese, at this time, certain lawless [354] men, enemies of Christ, teaching an apostasy, which one may justly suspect and designate as a forerunner [355] of Antichrist. I was desirous [356] to pass such a matter by without notice, in the hope that perhaps the evil would spend itself among its supporters, and not extend to other places to defile [357] the ears [358] of the simple [359] . But seeing that Eusebius, now of Nicomedia, who thinks that the government of the Church rests with him, because retribution has not come upon him for his desertion of Berytus, when he had cast an eye [360] of desire on the Church of the Nicomedians, begins to support these apostates, and has taken upon him to write letters every where in their behalf, if by any means he may draw in certain ignorant persons to this most base and antichristian heresy; I am therefore constrained, knowing what is written in the law, no longer to hold my peace, but to make it known to you all; that you may understand who the apostates are, and the cavils [361] which their heresy has adopted, and that, should Eusebius write to you, you may pay no attention to him, for he now desires by means of these men to exhibit anew his old malevolence [362] , which has so long been concealed, pretending to write in their favour, while in truth it clearly appears, that he does it to forward his own interests.

2. Now those who became apostates are these, Arius, Achilles, Aeithales, Carpones, another Arius, and Sarmates, sometime Presbyters: Euzoïus, Lucius, Julius, Menas, Helladius, and Gaius, sometime Deacons: and with them Secundus and Theonas, sometime called Bishops. And the novelties they have invented and put forth contrary to the Scriptures are these following:--God was not always a Father [363] , but there was a time when God was not a Father. The Word of God was not always, but originated from things that were not; for God that is, has made him that was not, of that which was not; wherefore there was a time when He was not; for the Son is a creature and a work. Neither is He like in essence to the Father; neither is He the true and natural Word of the Father; neither is He His true Wisdom; but He is one of the things made and created, and is called the Word and Wisdom by an abuse of terms, since He Himself originated by the proper Word of God, and by the Wisdom that is in God, by which God has made not only all other things but Him also. Wherefore He is by nature subject to change and variation as are all rational creatures. And the Word is foreign from the essence [364] of the Father, and is alien and separated therefrom. And the Father cannot be described by the Son, for the Word does not know the Father perfectly and accurately, neither can He see Him perfectly. Moreover, the Son knows not His own essence as it really is; for He is made for us, that God might create us by Him, as by an instrument; and He would not have existed, had not God wished to create us. Accordingly, when some one asked them, whether the Word of God can possibly change as the devil changed, they were not afraid to say that He can; for being something made and created, His nature is subject to change.

3. Now when Arius and his fellows made these assertions, and shamelessly avowed them, we being assembled with the Bishops of Egypt and Libya, nearly a hundred in number, anathematized both them and their followers. But Eusebius and his fellows admitted them to communion, being desirous to mingle falsehood with the truth, and impiety with piety. But they will not be able to do so, for the truth must prevail; neither is there any "communion of light with darkness," nor any "concord of Christ with Belial [365] ." For who ever heard such assertions before [366] ? or who that hears them now is not astonished and does not stop his ears lest they should be defiled with such language? Who that has heard the words of John, "In the beginning was the Word [367] ," will not denounce the saying of these men, that "there was a time when He was not?" Or who that has heard in the Gospel, "the Only-begotten Son," and "by Him were all things made [368] ," will not detest their declaration that He is "one of the things that were made." For how can He be one of those things which were made by Himself? or how can He be the Only-begotten, when, according to them, He is counted as one among the rest, since He is Himself a creature and a work? And how can He be "made of things that were not," when the Father saith, "My heart hath uttered a good Word," and "Out of the womb I have begotten Thee before the morning star [369] ?" Or again, how is He "unlike in substance to the Father," seeing He is the perfect "image" and "brightness [370] " of the Father, and that He saith, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father [371] ?" And if the Son is the "Word" and "Wisdom" of God, how was there "a time when He was not?" It is the same as if they should say that God was once without Word and without Wisdom [372] . And how is He "subject to change and variation," Who says, by Himself, "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me [373] ," and "I and the Father are One [374] ;" and by the Prophet, "Behold Me, for I am, and I change not [375] ?" For although one may refer this expression to the Father, yet it may now be more aptly spoken of the Word, viz., that though He has been made man, He has not changed; but as the Apostle has said, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." And who can have persuaded them to say, that He was made for us, whereas Paul writes, "for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things [376] ?"

4. As to their blasphemous position that "the Son knows not the Father perfectly," we ought not to wonder at it; for having once set themselves to fight against Christ, they contradict even His express words, since He says, "As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father [377] ." Now if the Father knows the Son but in part, then it is evident that the Son does not know the Father perfectly; but if it is not lawful to say this, but the Father does know the Son perfectly, then it is evident that as the Father knows His own Word, so also the Word knows His own Father Whose Word He is.

5. By these arguments and references to the sacred Scriptures we frequently overthrew them; but they changed like chameleons [378] , and again shifted their ground, striving to bring upon themselves that sentence, "when the wicked falleth into the depth of evils, he despiseth [379] ." There have been many heresies before them, which, venturing further than they ought, have fallen into folly; but these men by endeavouring in all their cavils to overthrow the Divinity of the Word, have justified the other in comparison of themselves, as approaching nearer to Antichrist. Wherefore they have been excommunicated and anathematized by the Church. We grieve for their destruction, and especially because, having once been instructed in the doctrines of the Church, they have now sprung away. Yet we are not greatly surprised, for Hymenæus and Philetus [380] did the same, and before them Judas, who followed the Saviour, but afterwards became a traitor and an apostate. And concerning these same persons, we have not been left without instruction; for our Lord has forewarned us; "Take heed lest any man deceive you: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and the time draweth near, and they shall deceive many: go ye not after them [381] ;" while Paul, who was taught these things by our Saviour, wrote that "in the latter times some shall depart from the sound faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, which reject the truth [382] ."

6. Since then our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has instructed us by His own mouth, and also hath signified to us by the Apostle concerning such men, we accordingly being personal witnesses of their impiety, have anathematized, as we said, all such, and declared them to be alien from the Catholic Faith and Church. And we have made this known to your piety, dearly beloved and most honoured fellow-ministers, in order that should any of them have the boldness [383] to come unto you, you may not receive them, nor comply with the desire of Eusebius, or any other person writing in their behalf. For it becomes us who are Christians to turn away from all who speak or think any thing against Christ, as being enemies of God, and destroyers [384] of souls; and not even to "bid such God speed [385] ," lest we become partakers of their sins, as the blessed John hath charged us. Salute the brethren that are with you. They that are with me salute you.

Presbyters of Alexandria.

7. I, Colluthus, Presbyter, agree with what is here written, and give my assent to the deposition of Arius and his associates in impiety.

Alexander [386] , Presbyter, likewise

Dioscorus [387] , Presbyter, likewise

Dionysius [388] , Presbyter, likewise

Eusebius, Presbyter, likewise

Alexander, Presbyter, likewise

Nilaras [389] , Presbyter, likewise

Arpocration, Presbyter, likewise

Agathus, Presbyter

Nemesius, Presbyter

Longus [390] , Presbyter

Silvanus, Presbyter

Peroys, Presbyter

Apis, Presbyter

Proterius, Presbyter

Paulus, Presbyter

Cyrus, Presbyter, likewise

Deacons

Ammonius [391] , Deacon, likewise

Macarius, Deacon

Pistus [392] , Deacon, likewise

Athanasius, Deacon

Eumenes, Deacon

Apollonius [393] , Deacon

Olympius, Deacon

Aphthonius [394] , Deacon

Athanasius [395] , Deacon

Macarius, Deacon, likewise

Paulus, Deacon

Petrus, Deacon

Ambytianus, Deacon

Gaius [396] , Deacon, likewise

Alexander, Deacon

Dionysius, Deacon

Agathon, Deacon

Polybius, Deacon, likewise

Theonas, Deacon

Marcus, Deacon

Comodus, Deacon

Serapion [397] , Deacon

Nilon, Deacon

Romanus, Deacon, likewise

Presbyters of the Mareotis.

I, Apollonius, Presbyter, agree with what is here written, and give my assent to the deposition of Arius and his associates in impiety.

Ingenius [398] , Presbyter, likewise

Ammonius, Presbyter

Dioscorus [399] , Presbyter

Sostras, Presbyter

Theon [400] , Presbyter

Tyrannus, Presbyter

Copres, Presbyter

Ammonas [401] , Presbyter

Orion, Presbyter

Serenus, Presbyter

Didymus, Presbyter

Heracles [402] , Presbyter

Boccon [403] , Presbyter

Agathus, Presbyter

Achillas, Presbyter

Paulus, Presbyter Thalelæus, Presbyter

Dionysius, Presbyter, likewise

Deacons

Sarapion [404] , Deacon, likewise

Justus, Deacon, likewise

Didymus, Deacon

Demetrius [405] , Deacon

Maurus [406] , Deacon

Alexander, Deacon

Marcus [407] , Deacon

Comon, Deacon

Tryphon [408] , Deacon

Ammonius [409] , Deacon

Didymus, Deacon

Ptollarion [410] , Deacon

Seras, Deacon

Gaius [411] , Deacon

Hierax [412] , Deacon

Marcus, Deacon

Theonas, Deacon

Sarmaton, Deacon

Carpon, Deacon

Zoilus, Deacon, likewise


Footnotes

[352] Cf. Apol. Ar. 24. [353] (Eph. iv. 4.) St. Alexander in Theod. begins his Epistle to his namesake of Constantinople with some moral reflections, concerning ambition and avarice. Athan. indeed uses a similar introduction to his Ep. g., but it is not addressed to an individual. [354] paranomoi. vid. Hist. Ar. 71 init. 75 fin. 79. [355] prodromon 'Antichristou. vid Orat. i. 7. Vit. Ant. 69. note on de Syn. 5. [356] kai eboulomen men siope....epeide de....ananken eschon. vid. Apol. contra. Ar. 1 init, de Decr. 2. Orat. i. 23 init. Orat. ii. init. Orat. iii. 1. ad Serap. i. 1. 16. ii. 1 init. iii. init. iv. 8 init. Letters 52. 2, 59. 3 fin. 61. 1. contra Apollin. i. 1 init. [357] rhupose, and infr. rhupon. vid Hist. Ar. 3. 80, de Decr. 2. Ep. g. 11 fin. Orat. i. 10. [358] akoas, and infr. akoas buei. vid. Ep. g. 13. Orat. i. 7. Hist. Ar. 56. [359] akeraion. Apol. contr. Ar. 1. Ep. g. 18. Letters 59. 1, 60. 2 fin. Orat. i. 8. [360] epophthalmisas also used of Eusebius Apol. contr. Ar. 6. Hist. Ar. 7. [361] rhematia. vid. de Decr. 8, 18. Orat. i. 10. de Sent. 23 init S. Dionysius also uses it. Ibid. 18. [362] kakonoian. vid Hist. Ar. 75. de Decr. 1. et al. [363] ouk aei pater. This enumeration of Arius's tenets, and particularly the mention of the first, corresponds to de Decr. 6. Ep. g. 12. as being taken from the Thalia. Orat. i. 5. and far less with Alex. ap. Theod. p. 731, 2. vid. also Sent. D. 16. katachrestikos, which is found here, occurs de Decr. 6. [364] ousian; ousia tou logou or tou huiou is a familiar expression with Athan. e.g. Orat. i. 45, ii. 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 18 init. 22, 47 init. 56 init. &c., for which Alex. in Theod. uses the word hupostasis e.g. ten idiotropon autou hupostasin; tes hupostaseos autou aperiergastou; neoteran tes hupostaseos genesin; he tou uonogenous anekdiegetos hupostasis; ten tou logou upostasin [365] (2 Cor. vi. 14.) koinonia photi. This is quoted Alex. ap. Theod. H. E. i. 3. p. 738; by S. Athan. in Letter 47. It seems to have been a received text in the controversy, as the Sardican Council uses it, Apol Ar. 49, and S. Athan. seems to put it into the mouth of St. Anthony, Vit. Ant. 69. [366] tis gar ekouse. Ep. g. 7 init. Letter 59. 2 init. Orat. i. 8. Apol. contr. Ar. 85 init. Hist. Ar. 46 init. 73 init. 74 init. ad Serap. iv. 2 init. [367] John i. 1. [368] John i. 3, 14. [369] Ps. xlv. 1. and cx. 3. [370] Heb. i. 3. [371] (Joh. xiv. 9, 10; x. 29.) On the concurrence of these three texts in Athan. (though other writers use them too, and Alex. ap. Theod. has two of them), vid. note on Orat. i. 34. [372] alogon kai asophon ton theon. de Decr. 15. Orat. i. 19. Ap. Fug. 27. note, notes on Or. i. 19, de. Decr. 15, note 6. [373] (Joh. xiv. 9, 10; x. 29.) On the concurrence of these three texts in Athan. (though other writers use them too, and Alex. ap. Theod. has two of them), vid. note on Orat. i. 34. [374] (Joh. xiv. 9, 10; x. 29.) On the concurrence of these three texts in Athan. (though other writers use them too, and Alex. ap. Theod. has two of them), vid. note on Orat. i. 34. [375] (Mal. iii. 6.) This text is thus applied by Athan. Orat. i. 30. ii. 10. In the first of these passages he uses the same apology, nearly in the same words, which is contained in the text. [376] Heb. xiii. 8; ii. 10. [377] John x. 15. [378] chamaileontes. vid. de Decr. 1. Hist. Ar. 79. [379] Prov. xviii. 3 [cf. Orat. iii. 1, c. Gent. 8. 4, &c.] [380] 2 Tim. ii. 17. [381] Luke xxi. 8. [382] (1 Tim. iv. 1.) Into this text which Athan. also applies to the Arians (cf. note on Or. i. 9.), Athan. also introduces, like Alexander here, the word hugianouses, e.g. Ep. g. 20, Orat. i. 8 fin. de Decr. 3, Hist. Arian. 78 init. &c. It is quoted without the word by Origen contr. Cels. v. 64, but with hugious in Matth. t. xiv. 16. Epiphan, has hugiainouses didaskalias, Hær. 78. 2. hugious did. ibid. 23. p. 1055. [383] propeteusainto. vid. de Decr. 2. [384] phthoreas ton psuchon. but S. Alex. in Theod. uses the compound word phthoropoios. p. 731. Other compound or recondite words (to say nothing of the construction of sentences) found in S. Alexander's Letter in Theod., and unlike the style of the Circular under review, are such as he philarchos kai philarguros prothesis; christemporian; phrenoblabous; idiotropon; homostoichois sullabais; theegorous apostolous; & 135;ntidiastolen tes patrikes maieuseos; melancholiken; philotheos sapheneia anosiourgias; phlenaphon muthon. Instances of theological language in S. Alex. to which the Letter in the text contains no resemblance are achorista pragmata duo; ho hui& 232;s ten kata panta homoioteta autou ek phuseos apomaxamenos; di' esoptrou akelidotou kai empsuchou theias eikonos; mesiteuousa phusis monogenes; tas te hupostasei duo phuseis [385] 2 John 10. [386] Vid. Presbyters, Apol. Ar. 73. [387] Vid. Presbyters, Apol. Ar. 73. [388] Vid. Presbyters, Apol. Ar. 73. [389] Vid. Presbyters, Apol. Ar. 73. [390] Vid. Presbyters, Apol. Ar. 73. [391] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [392] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [393] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [394] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [395] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [396] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [397] Vid. Presbyters, ib. [398] Apol. Ar. 75. [399] Apol. Ar. 75. [400] Apol. Ar. 75. [401] Apol. Ar. 75. [402] Heraclius? ib. [403] Apol. Ar. 75. [404] Ib. [405] Ib. [406] Ib. [407] Ib. [408] Ib. [409] Ib. [410] Ib. [411] Ib. [412] Ib.

.

Epistola Eusebii.

Introduction.

The letter which follows, addressed by Eusebius of Cæsarea to his flock, upon the conclusion of the great Synod, is appended by Athanasius to his defense of the Definition of Nicæa (de Decretis), written about a.d. 350. It is, however, inserted here in the present edition, partly in accordance with the chronological principle of arrangement, but principally because it forms the fittest introduction to the series of treatises which follow. Along with the account of Eustathius in Theodoret H. E. i. 8, and that given by Eusebius, in his life of Constantine (vol. I. pp. 521-526 of this series), it forms one of our most important authorities for the proceedings at Nicæa, and the only account we have dating from the actual year of the Council. It is especially important as containing the draft Creed submitted to the Council by Eusebius, and the revised form of it eventually adopted. The former, which contained (in the first paragraph of 3, from `We believe' down to `One Holy Ghost') the traditional Creed of the Church of Cæsarea, which Eusebius had professed at his baptism, was laid by him before the Council, and approved: but at the Emperor's suggestion the single word homoousion was inserted (not by `the majority' as distinct from the Emperor, as stated by Swainson, Creeds, p. 65). This modification opened the door for others, which eventually resulted in the Creed given in 4. It is not altogether easy to reconcile this account with that given by Athanasius himself (below de Decr. 19, 20, Ad Afr. 5), according to which the Council were led to insist on the insertion of the homoousion by the evasions with which the Arian bishops met every other test that was propounded, signalling to each other by nods winks and gestures, as each Scriptural attribute of the Son was enumerated, that this also could be accepted in an Arian sense. Probably (see Prolegg. ch. ii. 3 (1) note 5) the discussions thus described came first (cp. Sozom. i. 17): then Eusebius of Nicomedia presented the document which was indignantly torn up: then came the Confession of Eusebius of Cæsarea, which was adopted as the basis of the Creed finally issued. In any case the Emperor's suggestion of the insertion of homoousion must have been prompted by others, most likely by Hosius (Hist. Ar. 42, Cf. Hort, Two Dissertations, p. 58. Gwatkin, Studies, pp. 44, 45, puts the scene described by Athanasius during the debate upon the final adoption of the Creed).

The translation which follows, with the notes and Excursus A, is the unaltered work of Newman (Library of the Fathers, vol. 8, pp. 59-72), except that the word `essence' (for ousia), as throughout this volume, has been substituted for `substance,' and the translation of genetos by `generate' altered wherever it occurs, as explained in the preface. Additions by the editor of this volume are here as elsewhere included in square brackets.

.

Council of Nicæa.

Letter of Eusebius of Cæsarea to the people of his Diocese [413] .

1. What was transacted concerning ecclesiastical faith at the Great Council assembled at Nicæa, you have probably learned, Beloved, from other sources, rumour being wont to precede the accurate account of what is doing. But lest in such reports the circumstances of the case have been misrepresented, we have been obliged to transmit to you, first, the formula of faith presented by ourselves, and next, the second, which [the Fathers] put forth with some additions to our words. Our own paper, then, which was read in the presence of our most pious [414] Emperor, and declared to be good and unexceptionable, ran thus:--

2. "As we have received from the Bishops who preceded us, and in our first catechisings, and when we received the Holy Laver, and as we have learned from the divine Scriptures, and as we believed and taught in the presbytery, and in the Episcopate itself, so believing also at the time present, we report to you our faith, and it is this [415] :"--

3. "We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God from God, Light from Light, Life from Life, Son Only-begotten, first-born of every creature, before all the ages, begotten from the Father, by Whom also all things were made; Who for our salvation was made flesh, and lived among men, and suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended to the Father, and will come again in glory to judge the quick and dead. And we believe also in One Holy Ghost:"

"believing each of these to be and to exist, the Father truly Father, and the Son truly Son, and the Holy Ghost truly Holy Ghost, as also our Lord, sending forth His disciples for the preaching, said, "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost [416] ." Concerning Whom we confidently affirm that so we hold, and so we think, and so we have held aforetime, and we maintain this faith unto the death, anathematizing every godless heresy. That this we have ever thought from our heart and soul, from the time we recollect ourselves, and now think and say in truth, before God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ do we witness, being able by proofs to shew and to convince you, that, even in times past, such has been our belief and preaching."

4. On this faith being publicly put forth by us, no room for contradiction appeared; but our most pious Emperor, before any one else, testified that it comprised most orthodox statements. He confessed moreover that such were his own sentiments, and he advised all present to agree to it, and to subscribe its articles and to assent to them, with the insertion of the single word, One-in-essence, which moreover he interpreted as not in the sense of the affections of bodies, nor as if the Son subsisted from the Father in the way of division, or any severance; for that the immaterial, and intellectual, and incorporeal nature could not be the subject of any corporeal affection, but that it became us to conceive of such things in a divine and ineffable manner. And such were the theological remarks of our most wise and most religious Emperor; but they, with a view [417] to the addition of One in essence, drew up the following formula:--

The Faith dictated in the Council.

"We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible:"--

"And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Only-begotten, that is, from the essence of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God, begotten not made, One in essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth; Who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and cometh to judge quick and dead."

"And in the Holy Ghost."

"And those who say, `Once He was not,' and `Before His generation He was not,' and `He came to be from nothing,' or those who pretend that the Son of God is `Of other subsistence or essence [418] ,' or `created' or `alterable,' or `mutable,' the Catholic Church anathematizes."

5. On their dictating this formula, we did not let it pass without inquiry in what sense they introduced "of the essence of the Father," and "one in essence with the Father." Accordingly questions and explanations took place, and the meaning of the words underwent the scrutiny of reason. And they professed, that the phrase "of the essence" was indicative of the Son's being indeed from the Father, yet without being as if a part of Him. And with this understanding we thought good to assent to the sense of such religious doctrine, teaching, as it did, that the Son was from the Father, not however a part of His essence [419] . On this account we assented to the sense ourselves, without declining even the term "One in essence," peace being the object which we set before us, and stedfastness in the orthodox view.

6. In the same way we also admitted "begotten, not made;" since the Council alleged that "made" was an appellative common to the other creatures which came to be through the Son, to whom the Son had no likeness. Wherefore, say they, He was not a work resembling the things which through Him came to be [420] , but was of an essence which is too high for the level of any work; and which the Divine oracles teach to have been generated from the Father [421] , the mode of generation being inscrutable and incalculable to every originated nature.

7. And so too on examination there are grounds for saying that the Son is "one in essence" with the Father; not in the way of bodies, nor like mortal beings, for He is not such by division of essence, or by severance, no, nor by any affection, or alteration, or changing of the Father's essence and power [422] (since from all such the unoriginate nature of the Father is alien), but because "one in essence with the Father" suggests that the Son of God bears no resemblance to the originated creatures, but that to His Father alone Who begat Him is He in every way assimilated, and that He is not of any other subsistence and essence, but from the Father [423] . To which term also, thus interpreted, it appeared well to assent; since we were aware that even among the ancients, some learned and illustrious Bishops and writers [424] have used the term "one in essence," in their theological teaching concerning the Father and Son.

8. So much then be said concerning the faith which was published; to which all of us assented, not without inquiry, but according to the specified senses, mentioned before the most religious Emperor himself, and justified by the forementioned considerations. And as to the anathematism published by them at the end of the Faith, it did not pain us, because it forbade to use words not in Scripture, from which almost all the confusion and disorder of the Church have come. Since then no divinely inspired Scripture has used the phrases, "out of nothing," and "once He was not," and the rest which follow, there appeared no ground for using or teaching them; to which also we assented as a good decision, since it had not been our custom hitherto to use these terms.

9. Moreover to anathematize "Before His generation He was not," did not seem preposterous, in that it is confessed by all, that the Son of God was before the generation according to the flesh [425] .

10. Nay, our most religious Emperor did at the time prove, in a speech, that He was in being even according to His divine generation which is before all ages, since even before He was generated in energy, He was in virtue [426] with the Father ingenerately, the Father being always Father, as King always, and Saviour always, being all things in virtue, and being always in the same respects and in the same way.

11. This we have been forced to transmit to you, Beloved, as making clear to you the deliberation of our inquiry and assent, and how reasonably we resisted even to the last minute as long as we were offended at statements which differed from our own, but received without contention what no longer pained us, as soon as, on a candid examination of the sense of the words, they appeared to us to coincide with what we ourselves have professed in the faith which we have already published.


Footnotes

[413] This Letter is also found in Socr. H. E. i. 8. Theod. H. E. i. Gelas. Hist. Nic. ii. 34. p. 442. Niceph. Hist. viii. 22. [414] And so infr. "most pious," 4. "most wise and most religious," ibid. "most religious," 8. 10. Eusebius observes in his Vit. Const. the same tone concerning Constantine, and assigns to him the same office in determining the faith (being as yet unbaptized). E.g. "When there were differences between persons of different countries, as if some common bishop appointed by God, he convened Councils of God's ministers; and not disdaining to be present and to sit amid their conferences," &c. i. 44. When he came into the Nicene Council, "it was," says Eusebius, "as some heavenly Angel of God," iii. 10. alluding to the brilliancy of the imperial purple. He confesses, however, he did not sit down until the Bishops bade him. Again at the same Council, "with pleasant eyes looking serenity itself into them all, collecting himself, and in a quiet and gentle voice" he made an oration to the Fathers upon peace. Constantine had been an instrument in conferring such vast benefits, humanly speaking, on the Christian Body, that it is not wonderful that other writers of the day besides Eusebius should praise him. Hilary speaks of him as "of sacred memory," Fragm. v. init. Athanasius calls him "most pious," Apol. contr. Arian. 9; "of blessed memory," ad Ep. g. 18. 19. Epiphanius "most religious and of ever-blessed memory," Hær. 70. 9. Posterity, as was natural, was still more grateful. [415] "The children of the Church have received from their holy Fathers, that is, the holy Apostles, to guard the faith; and withal to deliver and preach it to their own children....Cease not, faithful and orthodox men, thus to speak, and to teach the like from the divine Scriptures, and to walk, and to catechise, to the confirmation of yourselves and those who hear you; namely, that holy faith of the Catholic Church, as the holy and only Virgin of God received its custody from the holy Apostles of the Lord; and thus, in the case of each of those who are under catechising, who are to approach the Holy Laver, ye ought not only to preach faith to your children in the Lord, but also to teach them expressly, as your common mother teaches, to say: `We believe in One God,'" &c. Epiph. Ancor. 119 fin., who thereupon proceeds to give at length the [so-called] Constantinopolitan Creed. And so Athan. speaks of the orthodox faith, as "issuing from Apostolical teaching and the Fathers' traditions, and confirmed by New and Old Testament." Letter 60. 6. init. Cyril Hier. too as "declared by the Church and established from all Scripture." Cat. v. 12. "Let us guard with vigilance what we have received...What then have we received from the Scriptures but altogether this? that God made the world by the Word," &c., &c. Procl. ad Armen. p. 612. "That God, the Word, after the union remained such as He was, &c., so clearly hath divine Scripture, and moreover the doctors of the Churches, and the lights of the world taught us." Theodor. Dial. 3 init. "That it is the tradition of the Fathers is not the whole of our case; for they too followed the meaning of Scripture, starting from the testimonies, which just now we laid before you from Scripture." Basil de Sp. 16. vid. also a remarkable passage in de Synod. 6 fin. infra. [416] Matt. xxviii. 19. [417] [Or, `taking the addition as their pretext.'] [418] The only clauses of the Creed which admit of any question in their explanation, are the "He was not before His generation," and "of other subsistence or essence." Of these the former shall be reserved for a later part of the volume; the latter is treated of in a note at the end of this Treatise [see Excursus A.]. [419] Eusebius does not commit himself to any positive sense in which the formula "of the essence" is to be interpreted, but only says what it does not mean. His comment on it is "of the Father, but not as a part;" where, what is not negative, instead of being an explanation, is but a recurrence to the original words of Scripture, of which ex ousias itself is the explanation; a curious inversion. Indeed it is very doubtful whether he admitted the ex ousias at all. He says, that the Son is not like the radiance of light so far as this, that the radiance is an inseparable accident of substance, whereas the Son is by the Father's will, kata gnomen kai proairesin, Demonstr. Ev. iv. 3. And though he insists on our Lord being alone, ek theou, yet he means in the sense which Athan. refutes, supr. 6, viz. that He alone was created immediately from God, vid. next note 6. It is true that he plainly condemns with the Nicene Creed the ex ouk onton of the Arians, "out of nothing," but an evasion was at hand here also; for he not only adds, according to Arian custom, "as others" (vid. note following) but he has a theory that no being whatever is out of nothing, for non-existence cannot be the cause of existence. God, he says, "proposed His own will and power as `a sort of matter and substance' of the production and constitution of the universe, so that it is not reasonably said, that any thing is out of nothing. For what is from nothing cannot be at all. How indeed can nothing be to any thing a cause of being? but all that is, takes its being from One who only is, and was, who also said `I am that I am.'" Demonstr. Ev. iv. 1. Again, speaking of our Lord, "He who was from nothing would not truly be Son of God, `as neither is any other of things generate.'" Eccl. Theol. i. 9 fin. [see, however, D.C.B. ii. p. 347]. [420] Eusebius distinctly asserts, Dem. Ev. iv. 2, that our Lord is a creature. "This offspring," he says, "did He first produce Himself from Himself as a foundation of those things which should succeed, the perfect handy-work, demiourgema, of the Perfect, and the wise structure, architektonema, of the Wise," &c. Accordingly his avowal in the text is but the ordinary Arian evasion of "an offspring, not as the offsprings." E.g. "It is not without peril to say recklessly that the Son is originate out of nothing `similarly to the other things originate.'" Dem. Ev. v. 1. vid. also Eccl. Theol. i. 9. iii. 2. And he considers our Lord the only Son by a divine provision similar to that by which there is only one sun in the firmament, as a centre of light and heat. "Such an Only-begotten Son, the excellent artificer of His will and operator, did the supreme God and Father of that operator Himself first of all beget, through Him and in Him giving subsistence to the operative words (ideas or causes) of things which were to be, and casting in Him the seeds of the constitution and governance of the universe;...Therefore the Father being One, it behoved the Son to be one also; but should any one object that He constituted not more, it is fitting for such a one to complain that He constituted not more suns, and moons, and worlds, and ten thousand other things." Dem. Ev. iv. 5 fin. vid. also iv. 6. [421] Eusebius does not say that our Lord is "from the essence of" the Father, but has "an essence from" the Father. This is the Semi-arian doctrine, which, whether confessing the Son from the essence of the Father or not, implied that His essence was not the Father's essence, but a second essence. The same doctrine is found in the Semi-arians of Ancyra, though they seem to have confessed "of the essence." And this is one object of the homoousion, to hinder the confession "of the essence" from implying a second essence, which was not obviated or was even encouraged by the homoiousion. The Council of Ancyra, quoting the text "As the Father hath life in Himself so," &c., says, "since the life which is in the Father means essence, and the life of the Only-begotten which is begotten from the Father means essence, the word `so' implies a likeness of essence to essence." Hær. 73. 10 fin. Hence Eusebius does not scruple to speak of "two essences," and other writers of three essences, contr. Marc. i. 4. p. 25. He calls our Lord "a second essence." Dem. Ev. vi. Præf. Præp. Ev. vii. 12. p. 320, and the Holy Spirit a third essence, ibid. 15. p. 325. This it was that made the Latins so suspicions of three hypostases, because the Semi-arians, as well as they, understood hupostasis to mean essence [but this is dubious]. Eusebius in like manner [after Origen] calls our Lord "another God," "a second God." Dem. Ev. v. 4. p. 226. v. fin. "second Lord." ibid. 3 init. 6. fin. "second cause." Dem. Ev. v. Præf. vid. also heteron echousa to kat' ousian hupokeimenon, Dem. Ev. v. 1. p. 215. kath' heauton ousiomenos. ibid. iv. 3. And so heteros para ton patera. Eccl. Theol. i. 60. p. 90. and zoen idian echon. ibid. and zon kai huphestos kai tou patros huparchon ektos. ibid. Hence Athan. insists so much, as in de Decr., on our Lord not being external to the Father. Once admit that He is in the Father, and we may call the Father, the only God, for He is included. And so again as to the Ingenerate, the term does not exclude the Son, for He is generate in the Ingenerate. [422] This was the point on which the Semi-arians made their principal stand against the "one in essence," though they also objected to it as being of a Sabellian character. E.g. Euseb. Demonstr. iv. 3. p. 148. d.p. 149. a, b. v. 1. pp. 213-215. contr. Marcell. i. 4. p. 20. Eccl. Theol. i. 12. p. 73. in laud. Const. p. 525. de Fide i. ap. Sirmond. tom. i. p. 7. de Fide ii. p. 16, and apparently his de Incorporali. And so the Semi-arians at Ancyra Epiph. Hær. 73. 11. p. 858. a, b. And so Meletius ibid. p. 878 fin. and Cyril Hier. Catech. vii. 5. xi. 18. though of course Catholics would speak as strongly on this point as their opponents. [423] Here again Eusebius does not say "from the Father's essence," but "not from other essence, but from the Father." According to note 5, supr. he considered the will of God a certain matter or substance. Montfaucon in loc. and Collect. Nov. Præf. p. xxvi. translates without warrant "ex Patris hypostasi et substantiâ." As to the Son's perfect likeness to the Father which he seems here to grant, it has been already shewn, de Decr. 20, note 9, how the admission was evaded. The likeness was but a likeness after its own kind, as a picture is of the original. "Though our Saviour Himself teaches," he says, "that the Father is the `only true God,' still let me not be backward to confess Him also the true God, `as in an image,' and that possessed; so that the addition of `only' may belong to the Father alone as archetype of the image....As, supposing one king held sway, and his image was carried about into every quarter, no one in his right mind would say that those who held sway were two, but one who was honoured through his image; in like manner," &c. de Eccles. Theol. ii. 23, vid. ibid. 7. [424] Athanasius in like manner, ad Afros. 6. speaks of "testimony of ancient Bishops about 130 years since;" and in de Syn. 43. of "long before" the Council of Antioch, a.d. 269. viz. the Dionysii, &c. vid. note on de Decr. 20. [425] Socrates, who advocates the orthodoxy of Eusebius, leaves out this heterodox paragraph [9, 10] altogether. Bull, however, Defens. F. N. iii. 9. n. 3. thinks it an interpolation. Athanasius alludes to the early part of the clause, supr. 4. and de Syn. 13. where he says, that Eusebius implied that the Arians denied even our Lord's existence before His incarnation. As to Constantine, he seems to have been used on these occasions by the court Bishops who were his instructors, and who made him the organ of their own heresy. Upon the first rise of the Arian controversy he addressed a sort of pastoral letter to Alexander and Arius, telling them that they were disputing about a question of words, and recommending them to drop it and live together peaceably. Euseb. vit. C. ii. 69. 72. [426] [Rather `potentially' both here and three lines below.] Theognis, [one] of the Nicene Arians, says the same, according to Philostorgius; viz. "that God even before He begat the Son was a Father, as having the power, dunamis, of begetting." Hist. ii. 15. Though Bull pronounces such doctrine to be heretical, as of course it is, still he considers that it expresses what otherwise stated may be orthodox, viz. the doctrine that our Lord was called the Word from eternity, and the Son upon His descent to create the worlds. And he acutely and ingeniously interprets the Arian formula, "Before His generation He was not," to support this view. Another opportunity will occur of giving an opinion upon this question; meanwhile, the parallel on which the heretical doctrine is supported in the text is answered by many writers, on the ground that Father and Son are words of nature, but Creator, King, Saviour, are external, or what may be called accidental to Him. Thus Athanasius observes, that Father actually implies Son, but Creator only the power to create, as expressing a dunamis; "a maker is before his works, but he who says Father, forthwith in Father implies the existence of the Son." Orat. iii. 6. vid. Cyril too, Dial. ii. p. 459. Pseudo-Basil, contr. Eun. iv. 1. fin. On the other hand Origen argues the reverse way, that since God is eternally a Father, therefore eternally Creator also: "As one cannot be father without a son, nor lord without possession, so neither can God be called All-powerful, without subjects of His power;" de Princ. i. 2. n. 10. hence he argued for the eternity of matter.

.

Excursus [427] A.

On the meaning of the phrase ex heteras hupostaseos e ousias in the Nicene Anathema.

Bishop Bull has made it a question, whether these words in the Nicene Creed mean the same thing, or are to be considered distinct from each other, advocating himself the latter opinion against Petavius. The history of the word hupostasis is of too intricate a character to enter upon here; but a few words may be in place in illustration of its sense as it occurs in the Creed, and with reference to the view taken of it by the great divine, who has commented on it.

Bishop Bull, as I understood him (Defens. F. N. ii. 9. 11.), considers that two distinct ideas are intended by the words ousia and hupostasis, in the clause ex heteras hupostaseos e ousias; as if the Creed condemned those who said that the Son was not from the Father's essence, and those also who said that He was not from the Father's hypostasis or subsistence; as if a man might hold at least one of the two without holding the other. And in matter of fact, he does profess to assign two parties of heretics, who denied this or that proposition respectively.

Petavius, on the other hand (de Trin. iv. I.), considers that the word hupostasis is but another term for ousia, and that not two but one proposition is contained in the clause in question; the word hupostasis not being publicly recognised in its present meaning till the Council of Alexandria, in the year 362. Coustant. (Epist. Pont. Rom. pp. 274. 290. 462.) Tillemont (Memoires S. Denys. d'Alex. 15.), Huet (Origenian. ii. 2. n. 3.), Thomassin (de Incarn. iii. 1.), and Morinus (de Sacr. Ordin. ii. 6.), take substantially the same view; while Maranus (Præf. ad S. Basil. 1. tom. 3. ed. Bened.), Natalis Alexander, Hist. (Sæc. 1. Diss. 22. circ. fin.), Burton (Testimonies to the Trinity, No. 71), and [Routh] (Reliqu. Sacr. vol. iii. p. 189.), differ from Petavius, if they do not agree with Bull.

Bull's principal argument lies in the strong fact, that S. Basil expressly asserts, that the Council did mean the two terms to be distinct, and this when he is answering the Sabellians, who grounded their assertion that there was but one hupostasis, on the alleged fact that the Council had used ousia and hupostasis indifferently.

Bull refers also to Anastasius Hodeg. 21. (22. p. 343.?) who says, that the Nicene Fathers defined that there are three hypostases or Persons in the Holy Trinity. Petavius considers that he derived this from Gelasius of Cyzicus, a writer of no great authority; but, as the passage occurs in Anastasius, they are the words of Andrew of Samosata. But what is more important, elsewhere Anastasius quotes a passage from Amphilochius to something of the same effect. c. 10. p. 164. He states it besides himself, c. 9. p. 150. and c. 24. p. 364. In addition, Bull quotes passages from S. Dionysius of Alexandria, S. Dionysius of Rome (vid. below, de Decr. 25-27 and notes), Eusebius of Cæsarea, and afterwards Origen; in all of which three hypostases being spoken of, whereas antiquity, early or late, never speaks in the same way of three ousiai, it is plain that hupostasis then conveyed an idea which ousia did not. To these may be added a passage in Athanasius, in Illud, Omnia, 6.

Bishop Bull adds the following explanation of the two words as they occur in the Creed: he conceives that the one is intended to reach the Arians, and the other the Semi-arians; that the Semi-arians did actually make a distinction between ousia and hupostasis, admitting in a certain sense that the Son was from the hupostasis of the Father, while they denied that He was from His ousia. They then are anathematized in the words ex heteras ousias; and, as he would seem to mean, the Arians in the ex heteras hupostaseos.

Now I hope it will not be considered any disrespect to so great an authority, if I differ from this view, and express my reasons for doing so.

1. First then, supposing his account of the Semi-arian doctrine ever so free from objection, granting that they denied the ex ousias, and admitted the ex hupostaseos, yet who are they who, according to his view, denied the ex hupostaseos, or said that the Son was ex heteras hupostaseos? he does not assign any parties, though he implies the Arians. Yet though, as is notorious, they denied the ex ousias, there is nothing to shew that they or any other party of Arians maintained specifically that the Son was not [from] the hupostasis, or subsistence of the Father. That is, the hypothesis supported by this eminent divine does not answer the very question which it raises. It professes that those who denied the ex hupostaseos, were not the same as those who denied the ex ousias; yet it fails to tell us who did deny the ex hupostaseos, in a sense distinct from ex ousias.

2. Next, his only proof that the Semi-arians did hold the ex hupostaseos as distinct from the ex ousias, lies in the circumstance, that the three (commonly called) Semi-arian confessions of a.d. 341, 344, 351, known as Mark's of Arethusa [i.e. the `fourth Antiochene'], the Macrostich, and the first Sirmian, anathematize those who say that the Son is ex heteras hupostaseos, not anathematizing the kai me ek tou theou, which he thence infers was their own belief. Another explanation of this passage will be offered presently; meanwhile, it is well to observe, that Hilary, in speaking of the confession of Philippopolis which was taken from Mark's, far from suspecting that the clause involved an omission, defends it on the ground of its retaining the Anathema (de Synod. 35.), thus implying that ex heteras hupostaseos kai me ek tou theou was equivalent to ex heteras hupostaseos e ousias. And it may be added, that Athanasius in like manner, in his account of the Nicene Council (de Decret. 20. fin.), when repeating its anathema, drops the ex hupostaseos altogether, and reads tous de legontas ex ouk onton,....e poiema, e ex heteras ousias, toutous anathematizei k. t. l.

3. Further, Bull gives us no proof whatever that the Semi-arians did deny the ex ousias; while it is very clear, if it is right to contradict so great a writer, that most of them did not deny it. He says that it is "certissimum" that the heretics who wrote the three confessions above noticed, that is, the Semi-arians, "nunquam fassos, nunquam fassuros fuisse filium ex ousias, e substantia, Patris progenitum." His reason for not offering any proof for this naturally is, that Petavius, with whom he is in controversy, maintains it also, and he makes use of Petavius's admission against himself. Now it may seem bold in a writer of this day to differ not only with Bull, but with Petavius; but the reason for doing so is simple; it is because Athanasius asserts the very thing which Petavius and Bull deny, and Petavius admits that he does; that is, he allows it by implication when he complains that Athanasius had not got to the bottom of the doctrine of the Semi-arians, and thought too favourably of them. "Horum Semi-arianorum, quorum antesignanus fuit Basilius Ancyræ episcopus, prorsus obscura fuit hæresis.....ut ne ipse quidem Athanasius satis illam exploratam habuerit." de Trin. i. x. 7.

Now S. Athanasius's words are most distinct and express; "As to those who receive all else that was defined at Nicæa, but dispute about the `One in essence' only, we must not feel as towards enemies....for, as confessing that the Son is from the essence of the Father and not of other subsistence, ek tes ousias tou patros einai, kai me ex heteras hupostaseos ton huion,...they are not far from receiving the phrase `One in essence' also. Such is Basil of Ancyra, in what he has written about the faith" de Syn. 41;--a passage, not only express for the matter in hand, but remarkable too, as apparently using hupostasis and ousia as synonymous, which is the main point which Bull denies. What follows in Athanasius is equally to the purpose: he urges the Semi-arians to accept the homoousion, in consistency, because they maintain the ex ousias and the homoiousion would not sufficiently secure it.

Moreover Hilary, while defending the Semi-arian decrees of Ancyra or Sirmium, says expressly, that according to them, among other truths, "non creatura est Filius genitus, sed a natura Patris indiscreta substantia est." de Syn. 27.

Petavius, however, in the passage to which Bull appeals, refers in proof of this view of Semi-arianism, to those Ancyrene documents, which Epiphanius has preserved, Hær. 73. and which he considers to shew, that according to the Semi-arians the Son was not ex ousias tou patros. He says, that it is plain from their own explanations that they considered our Lord to be, not ek tes ousias, but ek tes homoiotetos (he does not say hupostaseos, as Bull wishes) tou patros and that, energei& 139; gennetike, which was one of the divine energeiai, as creation, he ktistike, was another. Yet surely Epiphanius does not bear out this representation better than Athanasius; since the Semi-arians, whose words he reports, speak of "hui& 232;n homoion kai kat' ousian ek tou patros, p. 825 b, hos he sophia tou sophou hui& 232;s, ousia ousias, p. 853 c, kat' ousian hui& 232;n tou Theou kai patros, p. 854 c, exousi& 139; homou kai ousi& 139; patros monogenous huiou. p. 858 d, besides the strong word gnesios, ibid. and Athan. de Syn. 41. not to insist on other of their statements.

The same fact is brought before us even in a more striking way in the conference at Constantinople, a.d. 360, before Constantius, between the Anomoeans and Semi-arians, where the latter, according to Theodoret, shew no unwillingness to acknowledge even the homoousion, because they acknowledge the ex ousias. When the Anomoeans wished the former condemned, Silvanus of Tarsus said, "If God the Word be not out of nothing, nor a creature, nor of other essence, ousias, therefore is He one in essence, homoousios, with God who begot Him, as God from God, and Light from Light, and He has the same nature with His Father." H. E. ii. 23. Here again it is observable, as in the passage from Athanasius above, that, while apparently reciting the Nicene Anathema, he omits ex heteras hupostaseos, as if it were superfluous to mention a synonym.

At the same time there certainly is reason to suspect that the Semi-arians approximated towards orthodoxy as time went on; and perhaps it is hardly fair to determine what they held at Nicæa by their statements at Ancyra, though to the latter Petavius appeals. Several of the most eminent among them, as Meletius, Cyril, and Eusebius of Samosata conformed soon after; on the other hand in Eusebius, who is their representative at Nicæa, it will perhaps be difficult to find a clear admission of the ex ousias. But at any rate he does not maintain the ex hupostaseos, which Bull's theory requires.

On various grounds then, because the Semi-arians as a body did not deny the ex ousias, nor confess the ex hupostaseos, nor the Arians deny it, there is reason for declining Bishop Bull's explanation of these words as they occur in the Creed; and now let us turn to the consideration of the authorities on which that explanation rests.

As to Gelasius, Bull himself does not insist upon his testimony, and Anastasius [about 700 a.d.] is too late to be of authority. The passage indeed which he quotes from Amphilochius is important, but as he was a friend of S. Basil, perhaps it does not very much increase the weight of S. Basil's more distinct and detailed testimony to the same point, and no one can say that that weight is inconsiderable.

Yet there is evidence the other way which overbalances it. Bull, who complains of Petavius's rejection of S. Basil's testimony concerning a Council which was held before his birth, cannot maintain his own explanation of its Creed without rejecting Athanasius's testimony respecting the doctrine of his contemporaries, the Semi-arians; and moreover the more direct evidence, as we shall see, of the Council of Alexandria, a.d. 362, S. Jerome, Basil of Ancyra, and Socrates.

First, however, no better comment upon the sense of the Council can be required than the incidental language of Athanasius and others, who in a foregoing extract exchanges ousia for hupostasis in a way which is natural only on the supposition that he used them as synonyms. Elsewhere, as we have seen, he omits the word e hupostaseos in the Nicene Anathema, while Hilary considers the Anathema sufficient with that omission.

In like manner Hilary expressly translates the clause in the Creed by ex altera substantia vel essentia. Fragm. ii. 27. And somewhat in the same way Eusebius says in his letter, ex heteras tinos hupostaseos te kai ousias.

But further, Athanasius says expressly, ad Afros,--"Hypostasis is essence, ousia, and means nothing else than simply being, which Jeremiah calls existence when he says," &c. 4. It is true, he elsewhere speaks of three Hypostases, but this only shews that he attached no fixed sense to the word. [Rather, he abandons the latter usage in his middle and later writings.] This is just what I would maintain; its sense must be determined by the context; and, whereas it always stands in all Catholic writers for the Una Res (as the 4th Lateran speaks), which ousia denotes, when Athanasius says, "three hypostases," he takes the word to mean ousia in that particular sense in which it is three, and when he makes it synonymous with ousia, he uses it to signify Almighty God in that sense in which He is one.

Leaving Athanasius, we have the following evidence concerning the history of the word hupostasis. S. Jerome says, "The whole school of secular learning understanding nothing else by hypostasis than usia, essence," Ep. xv. 4, where, speaking of the Three Hypostases he uses the strong language, "If you desire it, then be a new faith framed after the Nicene, and let the orthodox confess in terms like the Arian."

In like manner, Basil of Ancyra, George, and the other Semi-arians, say distinctly, "This hypostasis our Fathers called essence," ousia. Epiph. Hær. 74. 12. fin.; in accordance with which is the unauthorized addition to the Sardican Epistle, "hupostasin, hen autoi hoi hairetikoi ousian prosagoreuousi." Theod. H. E. ii. 6.

If it be said that Jerome from his Roman connection, and Basil and George as Semi-arians, would be led by their respective theologies for distinct reasons thus to speak, it is true, and may have led them to too broad a statement of the fact; but then on the other hand it was in accordance also with the theology of S. Basil, so strenuous a defender of the formula of the Three Hypostases, to suppose that the Nicene Fathers meant to distinguish hupostasis from ousia in their anathema.

Again, Socrates informs us that, though there was some dispute about hypostasis at Alexandria shortly before the Nicene Council, yet the Council itself "devoted not a word to the question," H. E. iii. 7.; which hardly consists with its having intended to rule that ex heteras hupostaseos was distinct from ex heteras ousias.

And in like manner the Council of Alexandria, a.d. 362, in deciding that the sense of Hypostasis was an open question, not only from the very nature of the case goes on the supposition that the Nicene Council had not closed it, but says so in words again and again in its Synodal Letter. If the Nicene Council had already used "hypostasis" in its present sense, what remained to Athanasius at Alexandria but to submit to it?

Indeed the history of this Council is perhaps the strongest argument against the supposed discrimination of the two terms by the Council of Nicæa. Bull can only meet it by considering that an innovation upon the "veterem vocabuli usum" began at the date of the Council of Sardica, though Socrates mentions the dispute as existing at Alexandria before the Nicene Council, H. E. iii. 4. 5. while the supposititious confession of Sardica professes to have received the doctrine of the one hypostasis by tradition as Catholic.

Nor is the use of the word in earlier times inconsistent with these testimonies; though it occurs so seldom, in spite of its being a word of S. Paul [i.e. Heb. i. 3], that testimony is our principal evidence. Socrates' remarks deserve to be quoted; "Those among the Greeks who have treated of the Greek philosophy, have defined essence, ousia, in many ways, but they had made no mention at all of hypostasis. Irenæus the Grammarian, in his alphabetical Atticist, even calls the term barbarous; because it is not used by any of the ancients, and if anywhere found, it does not mean what it is now taken for. Thus in the Phoenix of Sophocles it means an `ambush;' but in Menander, `preserves,' as if one were to call the wine-lees in a cask `hypostasis.' However it must be observed, that, in spite of the old philosophers being silent about the term, the more modern continually use it for essence, ousias, H. E. iii. 7. The word principally occurs in Origen among Ante-Nicene writers, and he, it must be confessed uses it, as far as the context decides its sense, to mean subsistence or person. In other words, it was the word of a certain school in the Church, which afterwards was accepted by the Church; but this proves nothing about the sense in which it was used at Nicæa. The three Hypostases are spoken of by Origen, his pupil Dionysius, as afterwards by Eusebius of Cæsarea (though he may notwithstanding have considered hypostasis synonymous with essence), and Athanasius (Origen in Joan. ii. 6. Dionys. ap. Basil de Sp. S. n. 72. Euseb. ap. Socr. i. 23. Athan. in Illud Omnia, &c. 6); and the Two Hypostases of the Father and the Son, by Origen, Ammonius, and Alexander (Origen c. Cels. viii. 2. Ammon. ap. Caten. in Joan. x. 30. Alex. ap. Theod. i. 3. p. 740). As to the passage in which two hypostases are spoken of in Dionysius' letter to Paul of Samosata, that letter certainly is not genuine, as might be shewn on a fitting occasion, though it is acknowledged by very great authorities.

I confess that to my mind there is an antecedent probability that the view which has here been followed is correct. Judging by the general history of doctrine, one should not expect that the formal ecclesiastical meaning of the word should have obtained everywhere so early. Nothing is more certain than that the doctrines themselves of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation were developed, or, to speak more definitely, that the propositions containing them were acknowledged, from the earliest times; but the particular terms which now belong to them are most uniformly of a later date. Ideas were brought out, but technical phrases did not obtain. Not that these phrases did not exist, but either not as technical, or in use in a particular School or Church, or with a particular writer, or as hapax legomena, as words discussed, nay resisted, perhaps used by some local Council, and then at length accepted generally from their obvious propriety. Thus the words of the Schools pass into the service of the Catholic Church. Instead then of the word hupostasis being, as Maran says, received in the East "summo consensu," from the date of Noetus or at least Sabellius, or of Bull's opinion "apud Catholicos Dionysii ætate ratum et fixum illud fuisse, tres esse in divinis hypostases," I would consider that the present use of the word was in the first instance Alexandrian, and that it was little more than Alexandrian till the middle of the fourth century.

Lastly, it comes to be considered how the two words are to be accounted for in the Creed, if they have not distinct senses. Coustant supposes that ex ousias was added to explain ex hupostaseos, lest the latter should be taken in a Sabellian sense. On which we may perhaps remark besides, that the reason why hupostasis was selected as the principal term was, that it was agreeable to the Westerns as well as admitted by the Orientals. Thus, by way of contrast, we find the Second General Council, at which there were no Latins, speaking of Three Hypostases, and Pope Damasus and the Roman Council speaking a few years sooner of the Holy Ghost as of the same hypostasis and usia with the Father and the Son. Theod. H. E. ii. 17. Many things go to make this probable. For instance, Coustant acutely points out, though Maran and the President of Magdalen [Routh, Rel. Sac. iii. 383] dissent, that this probably was a point of dispute between the two Dionysii; the Bishop of Alexandria asserting, as we know he did assert, Three Hypostases, the Bishop of Rome protesting in reply against "Three partitive Hypostases," as involving tritheism, and his namesake rejoining, "If because there are Three Hypostases, any say that they are partitive, three there are, though they like it not." Again, the influence of the West shews itself in the language of Athanasius, who, contrary to the custom of his Church, of Origen, Dionysius, and his own immediate patron and master Alexander, so varies his own use of the word, as to make his writings almost an example of that freedom which he vindicated in the Council of Alexandria. Again, when Hosius went to Alexandria before the Nicene Council, and a dispute arose with reference to Sabellianism about the words hupostasis and ousia, what is this too, but the collision of East and West? It should be remembered moreover that Hosius presided at Nicæa, a Latin in an Eastern city; and again at Sardica, where, though the decree in favour of the One Hypostasis was not passed, it seems clear from the history that he was resisting persons with whom in great measure he agreed. Further, the same consideration accounts for the omission of the ex ousias from the Confession of Mark and the two which follow, on which Bull relies in proof that the Semi-arians rejected this formula. These three Semi-arian Creeds, and these only, were addressed to the Latins, and therefore their compilers naturally select that synonym which was most pleasing to them, as the means of securing a hearing; just as Athanasius on the other hand in his de Decretis, writing to the Greeks, omits hupostaseos and writes ousias.


Footnotes

[427] [This excursus supports the view taken above, Prolegg. ch. ii. 3 (2) b; the student should supplement Newman's discussion by Zahn Marcellus and Harnack Dogmengesch. as quoted at the head of that section of the Prolegg. The word `Semi-arian' is used in a somewhat inexact sense in this excursus, see Prolegg. ch. ii. 3 (2) c, and 8 (2) c.]

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Introduction to Expositio Fidei.

The date of this highly interesting document is quite uncertain, but there is every ground for placing it earlier than the explicitly anti-Arian treatises. Firstly, the absence of any express reference to the controversy against Arians, while yet it is clearly in view in 3 and 4, which lay down the rule afterwards consistently adopted by Athanasius with regard to texts which speak of the Saviour as created. Secondly, the untroubled use of homoios (1, note 4) to express the Son's relation to the Father. Thirdly, the close affinity of this Statement to the Sermo Major de Fide which in its turn has very close points of contact with the pre-Arian treatises. But see Prolegg. ch. iii. 1 (37).

If we are to hazard a conjecture, we may see in this "ekthesis" a statement of faith published by Athanasius upon his accession to the Episcopate, a.d. 328. The statement proper (Hahn 119) consists of 1. 2-4 are an explanatory comment insisting on the distinct Existence of the Son, and on His essential uncreatedness.

The translation which follows has been carefully compared with one made by the late Prof. Swainson in his work on the Creeds, pp. 73-76. Dr. Swainson there refers to a former `imperfect and misleading' translation (in Irons' Athanasius contra Mundum) which the present editor has not seen. Dr. Swainson expresses doubts as to the Athanasian authorship of the Ecthesis, but without any cogent reason. The only point of importance is one which acquaintance with the usual language of Athanasius shews to make distinctly in favour of, and not against, the genuineness of this little tract. Three times in the course of it the Human Body, or Humanity of the Lord is spoken of as ho Kuriakos anthropus. Dr. Swainson exaggerates the strangeness of the expression by the barbarous rendering `Lordly man' (How would he translate kuriakon deipnon?). But the phrase certainly requires explanation, although the explanation is not difficult. (1) It is quoted by Facundus of Hermiane from the present work (Def. Tr. Cap. xi. 5), and by Rufinus from an unnamed work of Athanasius (`libellus'), probably the present one. Moreover, Athanasius himself uses the phrase, frequently in the Sermo Major de Fide, and in his exposition of Psalm xl. (xli.). Epiphanius uses it at least twice (Ancor. 78 and 95); and from these Greek Fathers the phrase (`Dominicus Homo') passed on to Latin writers such as Cassian and Augustine (below, note 5), who, however, subsequently cancelled his adoption of the expression (Retr. I. xix. 8). The phrase, therefore, is not to be objected to as un-Athanasian. In fact (2) it is founded upon the profuse and characteristic use by Ath. of the word anthropos to designate the manhood of our Lord (see Orat. c. Ar. i. 41, 45, ii. 45, note 2. Dr. Swainson appears unaware of this in his unsatisfactory paragraph p. 77, lines 14 and foll.). If the human nature of Christ may be called anthropos (1 Tim. ii. 5) at all, there is no difficulty in its being called ho anthr. tou soteros (Serm. M. de F. 24 and 30), or kuriakos anthropos, a phrase equated with to [kuriakon] soma in Serm. M. de F. 19 and 28-31 (see also a discussion in Thilo Athan. Opp. Dogm. select. p. 2). This use of the word anthropos, if carelessly employed, might lend itself to a Nestorian sense. But Athanasius does not employ it carelessly, nor in an ambiguous context; although of course he might have used different language had he foreseen the controversies of the fifth century. At any rate, enough has been said to shew that its use in the present treatise does not expose its genuineness to cavil.

Statement of Faith.

1. We believe in one Unbegotten [428] God, Father Almighty, maker of all things both visible and invisible, that hath His being from Himself. And in one Only-begotten Word, Wisdom, Son, begotten of the Father without beginning and eternally; word not pronounced [429] nor mental, nor an effluence [430] of the Perfect, nor a dividing of the impassible Essence, nor an issue [431] ; but absolutely perfect Son, living and powerful (Heb. iv. 12), the true Image of the Father, equal in honour and glory. For this, he says, `is the will of the Father, that as they honour the Father, so they may honour the Son also' (Joh. v. 23): very God of very God, as John says in his general Epistles, `And we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ: this is the true God and everlasting life' (1 Joh. v. 20): Almighty of Almighty. For all things which the Father rules and sways, the Son rules and sways likewise: wholly from the Whole, being like [432] the Father as the Lord says, `he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father' (Joh. xiv. 9). But He was begotten ineffably and incomprehensibly, for `who shall declare his generation?' (Isa. liii. 8), in other words, no one can. Who, when at the consummation of the ages (Heb. ix. 26), He had descended from the bosom of the Father, took from the undefiled Virgin Mary our humanity (anthropon), Christ Jesus, whom He delivered of His own will to suffer for us, as the Lord saith: `No man taketh My life from Me. I have power to lay it down, and have power to take it again' (Joh. x. 18). In which humanity He was crucified and died for us, and rose from the dead, and was taken up into the heavens, having been created as the beginning of ways for us (Prov. viii. 22), when on earth He shewed us light from out of darkness, salvation from error, life from the dead, an entrance to paradise, from which Adam was cast out, and into which he again entered by means of the thief, as the Lord said, `This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise' (Luke xxiii. 43), into which Paul also once entered. [He shewed us] also a way up to the heavens, whither the humanity of the Lord [433] , in which He will judge the quick and the dead, entered as precursor for us. We believe, likewise, also in the Holy Spirit that searcheth all things, even the deep things of God (1 Cor. ii. 10), and we anathematise doctrines contrary to this.

2. For neither do we hold a Son-Father, as do the Sabellians, calling Him of one but not of the same [434] essence, and thus destroying the existence of the Son. Neither do we ascribe the passible body which He bore for the salvation of the whole world to the Father. Neither can we imagine three Subsistences separated from each other, as results from their bodily nature in the case of men, lest we hold a plurality of gods like the heathen. But just as a river, produced from a well, is not separate, and yet there are in fact two visible objects and two names. For neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father. For the Father is Father of the Son, and the Son, Son of the Father. For like as the well is not a river, nor the river a well, but both are one and the same water which is conveyed in a channel from the well to the river, so the Father's deity passes into the Son without flow and without division. For the Lord says, `I came out from the Father and am come' (Joh. xvi. 28). But He is ever with the Father, for He is in the bosom of the Father, nor was ever the bosom of the Father void of the deity of the Son. For He says, `I was by Him as one setting in order' (Prov. viii. 30). But we do not regard God the Creator of all, the Son of God, as a creature, or thing made, or as made out of nothing, for He is truly existent from Him who exists, alone existing from Him who alone exists, in as much as the like glory and power was eternally and conjointly begotten of the Father. For `He that hath seen' the Son `hath seen the Father (Joh. xiv. 9). All things to wit were made through the Son; but He Himself is not a creature, as Paul says of the Lord: `In Him were all things created, and He is before all' (Col. i. 16). Now He says not, `was created' before all things, but `is' before all things. To be created, namely, is applicable to all things, but `is before all' applies to the Son only.

3. He is then by nature an Offspring, perfect from the Perfect, begotten before all the hills (Prov. viii. 25), that is before every rational and intelligent essence, as Paul also in another place calls Him `first-born of all creation' (Col. i. 15). But by calling Him First-born, He shews that He is not a Creature, but Offspring of the Father. For it would be inconsistent with His deity for Him to be called a creature. For all things were created by the Father through the Son, but the Son alone was eternally begotten from the Father, whence God the Word is `first-born of all creation,' unchangeable from unchangeable. However, the body which He wore for our sakes is a creature: concerning which Jeremiah says, according to the edition of the seventy translators [435] (Jer. xxxi. 22): `The Lord created for us for a planting a new salvation, in which salvation men shall go about:' but according to Aquila the same text runs: `The Lord created a new thing in woman.' Now the salvation created for us for a planting, which is new, not old, and for us, not before us, is Jesus, Who in respect of the Saviour [436] was made man, and whose name is translated in one place Salvation, in another Saviour. But salvation proceeds from the Saviour, just as illumination does from the light. The salvation, then, which was from the Saviour, being created new, did, as Jeremiah says, `create for us a new salvation,' and as Aquila renders: `The Lord created a new thing in woman,' that is in Mary. For nothing new was created in woman, save the Lord's body, born of the Virgin Mary without intercourse, as also it says in the Proverbs in the person of Jesus: `The Lord created me, a beginning of His ways for His works' (Prov. viii. 22). Now He does not say, `created me before His works,' lest any should take the text of the deity of the Word.

4. Each text then which refers to the creature is written with reference to Jesus in a bodily sense. For the Lord's Humanity [437] was created as `a beginning of ways,' and He manifested it to us for our salvation. For by it we have our access to the Father. For He is the way (Joh. xiv. 6) which leads us back to the Father. And a way is a corporeal visible thing, such as is the Lord's humanity. Well, then, the Word of God created all things, not being a creature, but an offspring. For He created none of the created things equal or like unto Himself. But it is the part of a Father to beget, while it is a workman's part to create. Accordingly, that body is a thing made and created, which the Lord bore for us, which was begotten for us [438] , as Paul says, `wisdom from God, and sanctification and righteousness, and redemption;' while yet the Word was before us and before all Creation, and is, the Wisdom of the Father. But the Holy Spirit, being that which proceeds from the Father, is ever in the hands [439] of the Father Who sends and of the Son Who conveys Him, by Whose means He filled all things. The Father, possessing His existence from Himself, begat the Son, as we said, and did not create Him, as a river from a well and as a branch from a root, and as brightness from a light, things which nature knows to be indivisible; through whom to the Father be glory and power and greatness before all ages, and unto all the ages of the ages. Amen.


Footnotes

[428] See de Syn. 3, 46, 47, and the Excursus in Lightfoot's Ignatius, vol. ii. pp. 90 and foll (first ed.). [429] Cf. note by Newman on de Synodis, 26 (5). [430] Cf. Newman's note (8) on de Decr. 11. [431] Or `development' (Gr. probole) a word with Gnostic and Sabellian antecedents, cf. Newman's note 8 on de Synodis, 16. [432] This word, which became the watchword of the Acacian party, the successors of the Eusebians, marks the relatively early date of this treatise. At a later period Athanasius would not use it without qualification (see Orat. ii. 22, note 4), and later still, rejected the Word entirely as misleading (de Synodis, 53. note 9). Yet see ad Afros. 7, and Orat. ii. 34. [433] ho kuriakos anthropos (see above, introductory remarks). The expression is quoted as used by Ath., apparently from this passage, by Rufinus (Hieron. Opp. ix. p. 131, ed. 1643), Theodoret, Dial. 3, and others. The expression `Dominicus Homo' used by St. Augustine is rendered `Divine Man' in Nicene and P. N. Fathers, Series i. vol. vi. p. 40 b. [434] monoousion kai ouch homoousion (see Prolegg. ch. ii. 3 (2) b sub fin.). The distinction cannot (to those accustomed to use the `Nicene' Creed in English) be rendered so as to imply a real difference. The real distinction lies, not in the prefixes mono- and homo-, but in the sense to be attached to the ambiguous term ousia [435] Heb. For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall encompass a man.' Cf.Orat. ii. 46, note 5. [436] The same phrase also in Serm. M. de Fid. 18. [437] kuriakos anthropos, see above. [438] egennethe (1 Cor. i. 30, egenethe). The two words are constantly confused in mss., and I suspect that egenethe, which (pace Swainson p. 78, note) the context really requires, was what Ath. wrote. [439] See also de Sent. Dionys. 17.

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Introduction to In Illud `Omnia,' Etc.

This memorandum or short article was written, as its first sentence shews, during the lifetime of Eusebius of Nicomedia, and therefore not later than the summer of a.d. 342. The somewhat abrupt beginning, and the absence of any exposition of the latter portion of the text, have led to the inference that the work is a fragment: but its conclusion is evidently perfect, and the opening words probably refer to the text itself. The tract is a reply to the Arian argument founded upon Luke x. 22 (Matt. xi. 27). If `all things' had been delivered to the Son by the Father, it would follow that once He was without them. Now `all things' include His Divine Sonship. Therefore there was a time when the Son was not. Athanasius meets this argument by totally denying the minor premise. By `all things,' he argues, Christ referred to His mediatorial work and its glories, not to His essential nature as Word of God. He then adduces Joh. xvi. 15, to shew at once the Son's distinctness from the Father, and that the Father's attributes must also be those of the Son.

The interpretation of the main text given in this tract was not subsequently maintained by Athanasius: in Orat. iii. 35, he explains it of the Son, as safeguarding His separate personality against the Sabellians. It should, however, be noted that this change of ground does not involve any concession to the Arian use of the passage: it merely transfers the denial of Athanasius from their minor to their major premise. Beyond the fact that the tract was written before 342 there is no conclusive evidence as to its date. But it is generally placed (Montfaucon, Ceillier, Alzog) before the `Encyclical,' which was written in 339, and in several particulars it differs from the later anti-Arian treatises: perhaps then we may conjecturally place it about 335, i.e. before the first exile of the `Pope.'

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On Luke X. 22 (Matt. XI. 27).

1. This text refers not to the eternal Word but to the Incarnate.

"All things were delivered to Me by My Father. And none knoweth Who the Son is, save the Father; and Who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him."

And from not perceiving this they of the sect of Arius, Eusebius and his fellows, indulge impiety against the Lord. For they say, if all things were delivered (meaning by `all' the Lordship of Creation), there was once a time when He had them not. But if He had them not, He is not of the Father, for if He were, He would on that account have had them always, and would not have required to receive them. But this point will furnish all the clearer an exposure of their folly. For the expression in question does not refer to the Lordship over Creation, nor to presiding over the works of God, but is meant to reveal in part the intention of the Incarnation (tes oikonomias). For if when He was speaking they `were delivered' to Him, clearly before He received them, creation was void of the Word. What then becomes of the text "in Him all things consist" (Col. i. 17)? But if simultaneously with the origin of the Creation it was all `delivered' to Him, such delivery were superfluous, for `all things were made by Him' (Joh. i. 3), and it would be unnecessary for those things of which the Lord Himself was the artificer to be delivered over to Him. For in making them He was Lord of the things which were being originated. But even supposing they were `delivered' to Him after they were originated, see the monstrosity. For if they `were delivered,' and upon His receiving them the Father retired, then we are in peril of falling into the fabulous tales which some tell, that He gave over [His works] to the Son, and Himself departed. Or if, while the Son has them, the Father has them also, we ought to say, not `were delivered,' but that He took Him as partner, as Paul did Silvanus. But this is even more monstrous; for God is not imperfect [440] , nor did He summon the Son to help Him in His need; but, being Father of the Word, He makes all things by His means, and without delivering creation over to Him, by His means and in Him exercises Providence over it, so that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father (Matt. x. 29), nor is the grass clothed without God (ib. vi. 30), but at once the Father worketh, and the Son worketh hitherto (cf. Joh. v. 17). Vain, therefore, is the opinion of the impious. For the expression is not what they think, but designates the Incarnation.


Footnotes

[440] See Orat. ii. 24, 25, De Decr. 8, and Harnack, Dogmgesch. (ed. 2) vol. 2. p. 208, note.

2. Sense in which, and end for which all things were delivered to the Incarnate Son.

For whereas man sinned, and is fallen, and by his fall all things are in confusion: death prevailed from Adam to Moses (cf. Rom. v. 14), the earth was cursed, Hades was opened, Paradise shut, Heaven offended, man, lastly, corrupted and brutalised (cf. Ps. xlix. 12), while the devil was exulting against us;--then God, in His loving-kindness, not willing man made in His own image to perish, said, `Whom shall I send, and who will go?' (Isa. vi. 8). But while all held their peace, the Son [441] said, `Here am I, send Me.' And then it was that, saying `Go Thou,' He `delivered' to Him man, that the Word Himself might be made Flesh, and by taking the Flesh, restore it wholly. For to Him, as to a physician, man `was delivered' to heal the bite of the serpent; as to life, to raise what was dead; as to light, to illumine the darkness; and, because He was Word, to renew the rational nature (to logikon). Since then all things `were delivered' to Him, and He is made Man, straightway all things were set right and perfected. Earth receives blessing instead of a curse, Paradise was opened to the robber, Hades cowered, the tombs were opened and the dead raised, the gates of Heaven were lifted up to await Him that `cometh from Edom' (Ps. xxiv. 7, Isa. lxiii. 1). Why, the Saviour Himself expressly signifies in what sense `all things were delivered' to Him, when He continues, as Matthew tells us: `Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Matt. xi. 28). Yes, ye `were delivered' to Me to give rest to those who had laboured, and life to the dead. And what is written in John's Gospel harmonises with this: `The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand' (Joh. iii. 35). Given, in order that, just as all things were made by Him, so in Him all things might be renewed. For they were not `delivered' unto Him, that being poor, He might be made rich, nor did He receive all things that He might receive power which before He lacked: far be the thought: but in order that as Saviour He might rather set all things right. For it was fitting that while `through Him' all things came into being at the beginning, `in Him' (note the change of phrase) all things should be set right (cf. Joh. i. 3, Eph. i. 10). For at the beginning they came into being `through' Him; but afterwards, all having fallen, the Word has been made Flesh, and put it on, in order that `in Him' all should be set right. Suffering Himself, He gave us rest, hungering Himself, He nourished us, and going down into Hades He brought us back thence. For example, at the time of the creation of all things, their creation consisted in a fiat, such as `let [the earth] bring forth,' `let there be' (Gen. i. 3, 11), but at the restoration it was fitting that all things should be `delivered' to Him, in order that He might be made man, and all things be renewed in Him. For man, being in Him, was quickened: for this was why the Word was united to man, namely, that against man the curse might no longer prevail. This is the reason why they record the request made on behalf of mankind in the seventy-first Psalm: `Give the King Thy judgment, O God' (Ps. lxxii. 1): asking that both the judgment of death which hung over us may be delivered to the Son, and that He may then, by dying for us, abolish it for us in Himself. This was what He signified, saying Himself, in the eighty-seventh Psalm: `Thine indignation lieth hard upon me' (Ps. lxxxviii. 7). For He bore the indignation which lay upon us, as also He says in the hundred and thirty-seventh: `Lord, Thou shalt do vengeance for me' (Ps. cxxxviii. 8, LXX.).


Footnotes

[441] This dramatic representation of the Mission of the Son stands alone in the writings of Athanasius, and, if pressed, lends itself to a conception of the relation of the Son to the Father which, if not Arian, is at least contrary to the more explicit and mature conception of Athanasius as formulated for example in Orat. ii. 31 (and see note 7 there). The same idea appears in Milton's Paradise Lost (e.g. Book X.). See Newman, Arians 4, p. 93, note.

3. By `all things' is meant the redemptive attributes and power of Christ.

Thus, then, we may understand all things to have been delivered to the Saviour, and, if it be necessary to follow up understanding by explanation, that hath been delivered unto Him which He did not previously possess. For He was not man previously, but became man for the sake of saving man. And the Word was not in the beginning flesh, but has been made flesh subsequently (cf. Joh. i. 1 sqq.), in which Flesh, as the Apostle says, He reconciled the enmity which was against us (Col. i. 20, ii. 14, Eph. ii. 15, 16) and destroyed the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might make the two into one new man, making peace, and reconcile both in one body to the Father. That, however, which the Father has, belongs also to the Son, as also He says in John, `All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine' (Joh. xvi. 15), expressions which could not be improved. For when He became that which He was not, `all things were delivered' to Him. But when He desires to declare His unity with the Father, He teaches it without any reserve, saying: `All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine.' And one cannot but admire the exactness of the language. For He has not said `all things whatsoever the Father hath, He hath given to Me,' lest He should appear at one time not to have possessed these things; but `are Mine.' For these things, being in the Father's power, are equally in that of the Son. But we must in turn examine what things `the Father hath.' For if Creation is meant, the Father had nothing before creation, and proves to have received something additional from Creation; but far be it to think this. For just as He exists before creation, so before creation also He has what He has, which we also believe to belong to the Son (Joh. xvi. 15). For if the Son is in the Father, then all things that the Father has belong to the Son. So this expression is subversive of the perversity of the heterodox in saying that `if all things have been delivered to the Son, then the Father has ceased to have power over what is delivered, having appointed the Son in His place. For, in fact, the Father judgeth none, but hath given all judgment to the Son' (Joh. v. 22). But `let the mouth of them that speak wickedness be stopped' (Ps. lxiii. 11), (for although He has given all judgment to the Son, He is not, therefore, stripped of lordship: nor, because it is said that all things are delivered by the Father to the Son, is He any the less over all), separating as they clearly do the Only-begotten from God, Who is by nature inseparable from Him, even though in their madness they separate Him by their words, not perceiving, the impious men, that the Light can never be separated from the sun, in which it resides by nature. For one must use a poor simile drawn from tangible and familiar objects to put our idea into words, since it is over bold to intrude upon the incomprehensible nature [of God].

4. The text John xvi. 15, shews clearly the essential relation of the Son to the Father.

As then the light from the Sun which illumines the world could never be supposed, by men of sound mind, to do so without the Sun, since the Sun's light is united to the Sun by nature; and as, if the Light [442] were to say: I have received from the Sun the power of illumining all things, and of giving growth and strength to them by the heat that is in me, no one will be mad enough to think that the mention of the Sun is meant to separate him from what is his nature, namely the light; so piety would have us perceive that the Divine Essence of the Word is united by nature to His own Father. For the text before us will put our problem in the clearest possible light, seeing that the Saviour said, `All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine;' which shews that He is ever with the Father. For `whatsoever He hath' shews that the Father wields the Lordship, while `are Mine' shews the inseparable union. It is necessary, then, that we should perceive that in the Father reside Everlastingness, Eternity, Immortality. Now these reside in Him not as adventitious attributes, but, as it were, in a well-spring they reside in Him, and in the Son. When then you wish to perceive what relates to the Son, learn what is in the Father, for this is what you must believe to be in the Son. If then the Father is a thing created or made, these qualities belong also to the Son. And if it is permissible to say of the Father `there was once a time when He was not,' or `made of nothing,' let these words be applied also to the Son. But if it is impious to ascribe these attributes to the Father, grant that it is impious also to ascribe them to the Son. For what belongs to the Father, belongs to the Son. For he that honoureth the Son, honoureth the Father that sent Him, and he that receiveth the Son, receiveth the Father with Him, because he that hath seen the Son hath seen the Father (Matt. x. 40; John xiv. 9). As then the Father is not a creature, so neither is the Son; and as it is not possible to say of Him `there was a time when He was not,' nor `made of nothing,' so it is not proper to say the like of the Son either. But rather, as the Father's attributes are Everlastingness, Immortality, Eternity, and the being no creature, it follows that thus also we must think of the Son. For as it is written (Joh. v. 26), `As the Father hath life in Himself, so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself.' But He uses the word `gave' in order to point to the Father who gives. As, again, life is in the Father, so also is it in the Son, so as to shew Him to be inseparable and everlasting. For this is why He speaks with exactness, `whatsoever the Father hath,' in order namely that by thus mentioning the Father He may avoid being thought to be the Father Himself. For He does not say `I am the Father,' but `whatsoever the Father hath.'


Footnotes

[442] Cf. Orat. iii. 36.

5. The same text further explained.

For His Only-begotten Son might, ye Arians, be called `Father' by His Father, yet not in the sense in which you in your error might perhaps understand it, but (while Son of the Father that begat Him) `Father of the coming age' (Isa. ix. 6, LXX). For it is necessary not to leave any of your surmises open to you. Well then, He says by the prophet, `A Son is born and given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Angel of Great Counsel, mighty God, Ruler, Father of the coming age' (Isa. ix. 6). The Only-begotten Son of God, then, is at once Father of the coming age, and mighty God, and Ruler. And it is shewn clearly that all things whatsoever the Father hath are His, and that as the Father gives life, the Son likewise is able to quicken whom He will. For `the dead,' He says, `shall hear the voice of the Son, and shall live' (cf. John v. 25), and the will and desire of Father and Son is one, since their nature also is one and indivisible. And the Arians torture themselves to no purpose, from not understanding the saying of our Saviour, `All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine.' For from this passage at once the delusion of Sabellius can be upset, and it will expose the folly of our modern Jews. For this is why the Only begotten, having life in Himself as the Father has, also knows alone Who the Father is, namely, because He is in the Father and the Father in Him. For He is His Image, and consequently, because He is His Image, all that belongs to the Father is in Him. He is an exact seal, shewing in Himself the Father; living Word and true, Power, Wisdom, our Sanctification and Redemption (1 Cor. i. 30). For `in Him we both live and move and have our being' (Acts xvii. 28), and `no man knoweth Who is the Father, save the Son, and Who is the Son, save the Father' (Luke x. 22).

6. The Trisagion wrongly explained by Arians. Its true significance.

And how do the impious men venture to speak folly, as they ought not, being men and unable to find out how to describe even what is on the earth? But why do I say `what is on the earth?' Let them tell us their own nature, if they can discover how to investigate their own nature? Rash they are indeed, and self-willed, not trembling to form opinions of things which angels desire to look into (1 Pet. i. 12), who are so far above them, both in nature and in rank. For what is nearer [God] than the Cherubim or the Seraphim? And yet they, not even seeing Him, nor standing on their feet, nor even with bare, but as it were with veiled faces, offer their praises, with untiring lips doing nought else but glorify the divine and ineffable nature with the Trisagion. And nowhere has any one of the divinely speaking prophets, men specially selected for such vision, reported to us that in the first utterance of the word Holy the voice is raised aloud, while in the second it is lower, but in the third, quite low,--and that consequently the first utterance denotes lordship, the second subordination, and the third marks a yet lower degree. But away with the folly of these haters of God and senseless men. For the Triad, praised, reverenced, and adored, is one and indivisible and without degrees (aschematistos). It is united without confusion, just as the Monad also is distinguished without separation. For the fact of those venerable living creatures (Isa. vi.; Rev. iv. 8) offering their praises three times, saying `Holy, Holy, Holy,' proves that the Three Subsistences [443] are perfect, just as in saying `Lord,' they declare the One Essence. They then that depreciate the Only-begotten Son of God blaspheme God, defaming His perfection and accusing Him of imperfection, and render themselves liable to the severest chastisement. For he that blasphemes any one of the Subsistences shall have remission neither in this world nor in that which is to come. But God is able to open the eyes of their heart to contemplate the Sun of Righteousness, in order that coming to know Him whom they formerly set at nought, they may with unswerving piety of mind together with us glorify Him, because to Him belongs the kingdom, even to the Father Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.


Footnotes

[443] treis hupostaseis. This expression is a link between this tract and the Expositio (2), and is one of the indications it bears of an early date. At this time we see that Athanasius speaks of Three `Hypostases,' but qualifies his language by the caveat (Expos. 2) that they are not memerismenai. In this he follows his Origenist predecessor Dionysius, and the language of the present passage is that of Basil or the Gregories. But it is not the language of Athan. himself in his later years. See above, Prolegg. ch. ii. 3 (2) b, and Introd. to Tom. ad Ant. and to Ad Afr.

.

Introduction to the Encyclical Epistle to the Bishops Throughout the World.

Athanasius wrote the following Epistle in the year 339. In the winter at the beginning of that year the Eusebians held a Council at Antioch. Here they appointed Gregory to the see of Alexandria in the place of Athanasius (see Prolegg. ch. ii. 6). `Gregory was by birth a Cappadocian, and (if Nazianzen speaks of the same Gregory, which some critics doubt) studied at Alexandria, where S. Athanasius had treated him with great kindness and familiarity, though Gregory afterwards took part in propagating the calumny against him of having murdered Arsenius. Gregory was on his appointment dispatched to Alexandria' (Newman). The proceedings on his arrival, Lent, 339, are related in the following Encyclical Epistle, which Athanasius forwarded immediately before his departure for Rome to all the Bishops of the Catholic Church. `It is less correct in style, as Tillemont observes, than other of his works, as if composed in haste. In the Editions previous to the Benedictine, it was called an "Epistle to the Orthodox everywhere;" but Montfaucon has been able to restore the true title. He has been also able from his mss. to make a far more important correction, which has cleared up some very perplexing difficulties in the history. All the Editions previous to the Benedictine read "George" throughout for "Gregory," and "Gregory" in the place where "Pistus" occurs. Baronius, Tillemont, &c., had already made the alterations from the necessity of the case' (Newman). After comparing the violence done to the Church with the outrage upon the Levite's wife in Judges, ch. xix., he appeals to the bishops of the universal Church to regard his cause as their own (1). He then recounts the details of what has happened; the announcement by the Prefect Philagrius of the supersession of Ath. by Gregory, the popular indignation, and its grounds (2); the instigation of the heathen mob by Philagrius to commit outrages upon the sacred persons and buildings (3); the violent intrusion of Gregory (4); the proceedings against himself (5). He warns them against Gregory as an Arian, and asks their sympathy for himself (6), and that they will refuse to receive any of Gregory's letters (7). The `Encyclical' was written just before his departure from Alexandria, where he must have been in retirement for three weeks (Index to Festal Letter, 339) previously, as he appears (5) to have remained in the town till after Easter-day. Dr. Bright (p. xv. note) sees here a proof of the inaccuracy of the `Index:' but there are other grounds for regarding it as correct (see Prolegg. ch. v. 3, c, and Introd. to Letters): its chronology is therefore adopted by the present editor. The events which led up to the scenes described in the letter are more fully dealt with in Prolegg. ch. ii. 6 (I), sub fin. and (2). It may be added that Sozomen, iii. 6 in describing this escape of Athan., inserts the scene in the Church which really took place in Feb. 356, while Socrates ii. 11 confuses the two occasions even more completely. Internal evidence shews that Soz. partially corrected Socr. by the aid of the Hist. Aceph. The confusion of Gregory with George (especially easy in Latin), to which almost every historian from Socrates and Theodoret to Neander and Newman has fallen an occasional victim, appears to have vitiated the transcription of this encyclical from very early times. But Sievers (p. 104) goes too far in ascribing to that cause the insertion of a great part of 3-5.

.

Circular Letter.

To his fellow-ministers in every place, beloved lords, Athanasius sends health in the Lord.

1. The whole Church affected by what has occurred.

Our sufferings have been dreadful beyond endurance, and it is impossible to describe them in suitable terms; but in order that the dreadful nature of the events which have taken place may be more readily apprehended, I have thought it good to remind you of a history out of the Scriptures. It happened that a certain Levite [444] was injured in the person of his wife; and, when he considered the exceeding greatness of the pollution (for the woman was a Hebrew, and of the tribe of Judah), being astounded at the outrage which had been committed against him, he divided his wife's body, as the Holy Scripture relates in the Book of Judges, and sent a part of it to every tribe in Israel, in order that it might be understood that an injury like this pertained not to himself only, but extended to all alike; and that, if the people sympathised with him in his sufferings, they might avenge him; or if they neglected to do so, might bear the disgrace of being considered thenceforth as themselves guilty of the wrong. The messengers whom he sent related what had happened; and they that heard and saw it, declared that such things had never been done from the day that the children of Israel came up out of Egypt. So every tribe of Israel was moved, and all came together against the offenders, as though they had themselves been the sufferers; and at last the perpetrators of this iniquity were destroyed in war, and became a curse in the mouths of all: for the assembled people considered not their kindred blood, but regarded only the crime they had committed. You know the history, brethren, and the particular account of the circumstances given in Scripture. I will not therefore describe them more in detail, since I write to persons acquainted with them, and as I am anxious to represent to your piety our present circumstances, which are even worse than those to which I have referred. For my object in reminding you of this history is this, that you may compare those ancient transactions with what has happened to us now, and perceiving how much these last exceed the other in cruelty, may be filled with greater indignation on account of them, than were the people of old against those offenders. For the treatment we have undergone surpasses the bitterness of any persecution; and the calamity of the Levite was but small, when compared with the enormities which have now been committed against the Church; or rather such deeds as these were never before heard of in the whole world, or the like experienced by any one. For in that case it was but a single woman that was injured, and one Levite who suffered wrong; now the whole Church is injured, the priesthood insulted, and worst of all, piety [445] is persecuted by impiety. On that occasion the tribes were astounded, each at the sight of part of the body of one woman; but now the members of the whole Church are seen divided from one another, and are sent abroad some to you, and some to others, bringing word of the insults and injustice which they have suffered. Be ye therefore also moved, I beseech you, considering that these wrongs are done unto you no less than unto us; and let every one lend his aid, as feeling that he is himself a sufferer, lest shortly ecclesiastical Canons, and the faith of the Church be corrupted. For both are in danger, unless God shall speedily by your hands amend what has been done amiss, and the Church be avenged on her enemies. For our Canons [446] and our forms were not given to the Churches at the present day, but were wisely and safely transmitted to us from our forefathers. Neither had our faith its beginning at this time, but it came down to us from the Lord through His disciples [447] . That therefore the ordinances which have been preserved in the Churches from old time until now, may not be lost in our days, and the trust which has been committed to us required at our hands; rouse yourselves, brethren, as being stewards of the mysteries of God [448] , and seeing them now seized upon by others. Further particulars of our condition you will learn from the bearers of our letters; but I was anxious myself to write you a brief account thereof, that you may know for certain, that such things have never before been committed against the Church, from the day that our Saviour when He was taken up, gave command to His disciples, saying, `Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost [449] .'


Footnotes

[444] Judg. xix. 29. [445] eusebeia, orthodoxy, see de Decr. 1, note. [446] Vid. Beveridg. Cod. Can. Illustr. i. 3. 2, who comments on this passage at length. Allusion is also made to the Canons in Apol. contr. Arian. 69. [447] Vid. de Syn. 4. Orat. i. 8. Tertull. Præscr. Hær. 29. [448] 1 Cor. iv. 1. [449] Matt. xxviii. 19.

2. Violent and Uncanonical Intrusion of Gregory.

Now the outrages which have been committed against us and against the Church are these. While we were holding our assemblies in peace, as usual, and while the people were rejoicing in them, and advancing in godly conversation, and while our fellow-ministers in Egypt, and the Thebais, and Libya, were in love and peace both with one another and with us; on a sudden the Prefect of Egypt puts forth a public letter, bearing the form of an edict, and declaring that one Gregory from Cappadocia was coming to be my successor from the court. This announcement confounded every one, for such a proceeding was entirely novel, and now heard of for the first time. The people however assembled still more constantly in the churches [450] , for they very well knew that neither they themselves, nor any Bishop or Presbyter, nor in short any one had ever complained against me; and they saw that Arians only were on his side, and were aware also that he was himself an Arian, and was sent by Eusebius and his fellows to the Arian party. For you know, brethren, that Eusebius and his fellows have always been the supporters and associates of the impious heresy of the Arian madmen [451] , by whose means they have ever carried on their designs against me, and were the authors of my banishment into Gaul.

The people, therefore, were justly indignant and exclaimed against the proceeding, calling the rest of the magistrates and the whole city to witness, that this novel and iniquitous attempt was now made against the Church, not on the ground of any charge brought against me by ecclesiastical persons, but through the wanton assault of the Arian heretics. For even if there had been any complaint generally prevailing against me, it was not an Arian, or one professing Arian doctrines, that ought to have been chosen to supersede me; but according to the ecclesiastical Canons, and the direction of Paul, when the people were `gathered together, and the spirit' of them that ordain, `with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ [452] ' all things ought to have been enquired into and transacted canonically, in the presence of those among the laity and clergy who demanded the change; and not that a person brought from a distance by Arians, as if making a traffic of the title of Bishop, should with the patronage and strong arm of heathen magistrates, thrust himself upon those who neither asked for nor desired his presence, nor indeed knew anything of what had been done. Such proceedings tend to the dissolution of all the ecclesiastical Canons, and compel the heathen to blaspheme, and to suspect that our appointments are not made according to a divine rule, but as a result of traffic and patronage [453] .


Footnotes

[450] Assembling in the Churches seems to have been a sort of protest or demonstration, sometimes peaceably, but sometimes in a more exceptionable manner;--peaceably, during Justina's persecution at Milan, Ambros. Ep. i. 20. August. Confess. ix. 15, but at Ephesus after the third Ecumenical Council the Metropolitan shut up the Churches, took possession of the Cathedral, and succeeded in repelling the imperial troops. Churches were asylums, vid. Cod. Theodos. ix. 45. 4. &c.; at the same time arms were prohibited. [451] areiomaniton, vid. note on de Syn. 13. [452] 1 Cor. v. 4. [453] Orat. i. 8, note.

3. Outrages which took place at the time of Gregory's arrival.

Thus was this notable appointment of Gregory brought about by the Arians, and such was the beginning of it. And what outrages he committed on his entry into Alexandria, and of what great evils that event has been the cause, you may learn both from our letters, and by enquiry of those who are sojourning among you. While the people were offended at such an unusual proceeding, and in consequence assembled in the churches, in order to prevent the impiety of the Arians from mingling itself with the faith of the Church, Philagrius, who has long been a persecutor of the Church and her virgins, and is now Prefect [454] of Egypt, an apostate already, and a fellow-countryman of Gregory, a man too of no respectable character, and moreover supported by Eusebius and his fellows, and therefore full of zeal against the Church; this person, by means of promises which he afterwards fulfilled, succeeded in gaining over the heathen multitude, with the Jews and disorderly persons, and having excited their passions, sent them in a body with swords and clubs into the churches to attack the people.

What followed upon this [455] it is by no means easy to describe: indeed it is not possible to set before you a just representation of the circumstances, nor even could one recount a small part of them without tears and lamentations. Have such deeds as these ever been made the subjects of tragedy among the ancients? or has the like ever happened before in time of persecution or of war? The church and the holy Baptistery were set on fire, and straightway groans, shrieks, and lamentations, were heard through the city; while the citizens in their indignation at these enormities, cried shame upon the governor, and protested against the violence used to them. For holy and undefiled virgins [456] were being stripped naked, and suffering treatment which is not to be named and if they resisted, they were in danger of their lives. Monks were being trampled under foot and perishing; some were being hurled headlong; others were being destroyed with swords and clubs; others were being wounded and beaten. And oh! what deeds of impiety and iniquity have been committed upon the Holy Table! They were offering birds and pine cones [457] in sacrifice, singing the praises of their idols, and blaspheming even in the very churches our Lord and Saviour Jesus-Christ, the Son of the living God. They were burning the books of Holy Scripture which they found in the church; and the Jews, the murderers of our Lord, and the godless heathen entering irreverently (O strange boldness!) the holy Baptistery, were stripping themselves naked, and acting such a disgraceful part, both by word and deed, as one is ashamed even to relate. Certain impious men also, following the examples set them in the bitterest persecutions, were seizing upon the virgins and ascetics by the hands and dragging them along, and as they were haling them, endeavoured to make them blaspheme and deny the Lord; and when they refused to do so, were beating them violently and trampling them under foot.


Footnotes

[454] The Prefect of Egypt was called [after 367, see Sievers, p. 119, and Prolegg. ch. v. Appendix, yet see Apol. Ar. 83] Augustalis as having been first appointed by Augustus, after his victories over Antony. He was of the Equestrian, not, as other Prefects, of the Senatorian order. He was the imperial officer, as answering to Proprætors in the Imperial Provinces. vid. Hofman. in voc. [on Philagrius, see Apol. c. Ari. 72, Prolegg. ch. ii. 5 (1) note]. [455] Cf. Hist. Ar. 9 and 10. Apparently the great Church of `Theonas' is meant, see Fest. Index xi. [456] The sister of S. Antony was one of the earliest known inmates of a nunnery, vit. Ant. 2. 3. They were called by the Catholic Church by the title, "Spouse of Christ." Apol. ad Const. 33. [457] The thuos or suffitus of Grecian sacrifices generally consisted of portions of odoriferous trees. vid. Potter. Antiqu. ii. 4. Some translate the word here used (strobilous), "shell-fish."

4. Outrages on Good Friday and Easter Day, 339.

In addition to all this, after such a notable and illustrious entry into the city, the Arian Gregory, taking pleasure in these calamities, and as if desirous to secure to the heathens and Jews, and those who had wrought these evils upon us, a prize and price of their iniquitous success, gave up the church to be plundered by them. Upon this license of iniquity and disorder, their deeds were worse than in time of war, and more cruel than those of robbers. Some of them were plundering whatever fell in their way; others dividing among themselves the sums which some had laid up there [458] ; the wine, of which there was a large quantity, they either drank or emptied out or carried away; they plundered the store of oil, and every one took as his spoil the doors and chancel rails; the candlesticks they forthwith laid aside in the wall [459] , and lighted the candles of the Church before their idols: in a word, rapine and death pervaded the Church. And the impious Arians, so far from feeling shame that such things should be done, added yet further outrages and cruelty. Presbyters and laymen had their flesh torn, virgins were stript of their veils [460] , and led away to the tribunal of the governor, and then cast into prison; others had their goods confiscated, and were scourged; the bread of the ministers and virgins was intercepted. And these things were done even during the holy season of Lent [461] , about the time of Easter; a time when the brethren were keeping fast, while this notable Gregory exhibited the disposition of a Caiaphas, and, together with Pilate the Governor, furiously raged against the pious worshippers of Christ. Going into one of the churches on the Preparation [462] , in company with the Governor and the heathen multitude, when he saw that the people regarded with abhorrence his forcible entry among them, he caused that most cruel person, the Governor, publicly to scourge in one hour, four and thirty virgins and married women, and men of rank, and to cast them into prison. Among them there was one virgin, who, being fond of study, had the Psalter in her hands, at the time when he caused her to be publicly scourged: the book was torn in pieces by the officers, and the virgin herself shut up in prison.


Footnotes

[458] Churches, as heathen temples before them, were used for deposits. At the sack of Rome, Alaric spared the Churches and their possessions; nay, he himself transported the costly vessels of St. Peter into his Church. [459] en to toichi& 251;. [Reference uncertain.] [460] apomaphorizomenai; see Sophocles' Lexicon under maphorion [461] Lent and Passion Week was the season during which Justina's persecution of St. Ambrose took place, and the proceedings against St. Chrysostom at Constantinople. On the Paschal Vigils, vid. Tertull. ad Uxor. ii. 4. [Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. iv. p. 46] p. 426, note n. Oxf. Tr. [462] paraskeue, i.e., Good Friday. [Apr. 13, 339,] The word was used for Friday generally as early as S. Clem. Alex. Strom. vii. p. 877. ed. Pott. vid. Constit. Apostol. v. 13. Pseudo-Ign. ad Philipp. 13.

5. Retirement of Athanasius, and tyranny of Gregory and Philagrius.

When all this was done, they did not stop even here; but consulted how they might act the same part in the other church [463] , where I was mostly living during those days; and they were eager to extend their fury to this church also, in order that they might hunt out and dispatch me. And this would have been my fate, had not the grace of Christ assisted me, if it were only that I might escape to relate these few particulars concerning their conduct. For seeing that they were exceedingly mad against me, and being anxious that the church should not be injured, nor the virgins that were in it suffer, nor additional murders be committed, nor the people again outraged, I withdrew myself from among them, remembering the words of our Saviour, `If they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another [464] .' For I knew, from the evil they had done against the first-named church, that they would forbear no outrage against the other also. And there in fact they reverenced not even the Lord's day [465] of the holy Feast, but in that church also they imprisoned the persons who belonged to it, at a time when the Lord delivered all from the bonds of death, whereas Gregory and his associates, as if fighting against our Saviour, and depending upon the patronage of the Governor, have turned into mourning this day of liberty to the servants of Christ. The heathens were rejoicing to do this, for they abhor that day; and Gregory perhaps did but fulfil the commands of Eusebius and his fellows in forcing the Christians to mourn under the infliction of bonds.

With these acts of violence has the Governor seized upon the churches, and has given them up to Gregory and the Arian madmen. Thus, those persons who were excommunicated by us for their impiety, now glory in the plunder of our churches; while the people of God, and the Clergy of the Catholic Church are compelled either to have communion with the impiety of the Arian heretics, or else to forbear entering into them. Moreover, by means of the Governor, Gregory has exercised no small violence towards the captains of ships and others who pass over sea, torturing and scourging some, putting others in bonds, and casting them into prison, in order to oblige them not to resist his iniquities, and to take letters [466] from him. And not satisfied with all this, that he may glut himself with our blood, he has caused his savage associate, the Governor, to prefer an indictment against me, as in the name of the people, before the most religious Emperor Constantius, which contains odious charges, from which one may expect not only to be banished, but even ten thousand deaths. The person who drew it up is an apostate from Christianity, and a shameless worshipper of idols, and they who subscribed it are heathens, and keepers of idol temples, and others of them Arians. In short, not to make my letter tedious to you, a persecution rages here, and such a persecution as was never before raised against the Church. For in former instances a man at least might pray while he fled from his persecutors, and be baptized while he lay in concealment. But now their extreme cruelty has imitated the godless conduct of the Babylonians. For as they falsely accused Daniel [467] , so does the notable Gregory now accuse before the Governor those who pray in their houses, and watches every opportunity to insult their ministers, so that through his violent conduct, many are endangered from missing baptism, and many who are in sickness and sorrow have no one to visit them, a calamity which they bitterly lament, accounting it worse than their sickness. For while the ministers of the Church are under persecution, the people who condemn the impiety of the Arian heretics choose rather thus to be sick and to run the risk, than that a hand of the Arians should come upon their heads.


Footnotes

[463] [On the difficulties of this part of the history, see Prolegg. ch. ii. 6 (1) ad fin., and ch. v. 3, c. It must be noted that according to the following passage Ath. had left the `other church' before Easter Day. It was probably that of `Quirinus,' Hist. Ar. 10.] [464] Cf. Ap. Fug. 11, and Matt. x. 23. [465] Easter Day [Apr. 15]. [466] i.e. letters of communion. [467] Dan. vi. 13.

6. All the above illegalities were carried on in the interest of Arianism.

Gregory then is an Arian, and has been sent to the Arian party; for none demanded him, but they only; and accordingly as a hireling and a stranger, he makes use of the Governor to inflict these dreadful and cruel deeds upon the people of the Catholic Churches, as not being his own. For since Pistus, whom Eusebius and his fellows formerly appointed over the Arians, was justly anathematized [468] and excommunicated for his impiety by you the Bishops of the Catholic Church, as you all know, on our writing to you concerning him, they have now, therefore, in like manner sent this Gregory to them; and lest they should a second time be put to shame, by our again writing against them, they have employed extraneous force against me, in order that, having obtained possession of the Churches, they may seem to have escaped all suspicion of being Arians. But in this too they have been mistaken, for none of the people of the Church are with them, except the heretics only, and those who have been excommunicated on divers charges, and such as have been compelled by the Governor to dissemble. This then is the drama of Eusebius and his fellows, which they have long been rehearsing and composing; and now have succeeded in performing through the false charges which they have made against me before the Emperor [469] . Notwithstanding, they are not yet content to be quiet, but even now seek to kill me; and they make themselves so formidable to our friends, that they are all driven into banishment, and expect death at their hands. But you must not for this stand in awe of their iniquity, but on the contrary avenge: and shew your indignation at this their unprecedented conduct against us. For if when one member suffers all the members suffer with it, and, according to the blessed Apostle, we ought to weep with them that weep [470] , let every one, now that so great a Church as this is suffering, avenge its wrongs, as though he were himself a sufferer. For we have a common Saviour, who is blasphemed by them, and Canons belonging to us all, which they are transgressing. If while any of you had been sitting in your Church, and while the people were assembled with you, without any blame, some one had suddenly come under plea of an edict as successor of one of you, and had acted the same part towards you, would you not have been indignant? would you not have demanded to be righted? If so, then it is right that you should be indignant now, lest if these things be passed over unnoticed, the same mischief shall by degrees extend itself to every Church, and so our schools of religion be turned into a market-house and an exchange.


Footnotes

[468] Apol. c. Ar. 19, 24. [469] Apol. c. Ar. 3. [470] 1 Cor. xii. 26; Rom. xii. 15.

7. Appeal to the bishops of the whole Church to unite against Gregory.

You are acquainted with the history of the Arian madmen, beloved, for you have often, both individually and in a body, condemned their impiety; and you know also that Eusebius and his fellows, as I said before, are engaged in the same heresy; for the sake of which they have long been carrying on a conspiracy against me. And I have represented to you, what has now been done, both for them and by them, with greater cruelty than is usual even in time of war, in order that after the example set before you in the history which I related at the beginning, you may entertain a zealous hatred of their wickedness, and reject those who have committed such enormities against the Church. If the brethren at Rome [471] [last year], before these things had happened, and on account of their former misdeeds, wrote letters to call a Council, that these evils might be set right (fearing which, Eusebius and his fellows took care previously to throw the Church into confusion, and desired to destroy me, in order that they might thenceforth be able to act as they pleased without fear, and might have no one to call them to account), how much more ought you now to be indignant at these outrages, and to condemn them, seeing they have added this to their former misconduct.

I beseech you, overlook not such proceedings, nor suffer the famous Church of the Alexandrians to be trodden down by heretics. In consequence of these things the people and their ministers are separated from one another, as one might expect, silenced by the violence of the Prefect, yet abhorring the impiety of the Arian madmen. If therefore Gregory shall write unto you, or any other in his behalf, receive not his letters, brethren, but tear them in pieces and put the bearers of them to shame, as the ministers of impiety and wickedness. And even if he presume to write to you after a friendly fashion, nevertheless receive them not. Those who bring his letters convey them only from fear of the Governor, and on account of his frequent acts of violence. And since it is probable that Eusebius and his fellows will write to you concerning him, I was anxious to admonish you beforehand, so that you may herein imitate God, Who is no respecter of persons, and may drive out from before you those that come from them; because for the sake of the Arian madmen they caused persecutions, rape of virgins, murders, plunder of the Church's property, burnings, and blasphemies in the Churches, to be committed by the heathens and Jews at such a season. The impious and mad Gregory cannot deny that he is an Arian, being proved to be so by the person who writes his letters. This is his secretary Ammon, who was cast out of the Church long ago by my predecessor the blessed Alexander for many misdeeds and for impiety.

For all these reasons, therefore, vouchsafe to send me a reply, and condemn these impious men; so that even now the ministers and people of this place, seeing your orthodoxy and hatred of wickedness, may rejoice in your concord in the Christian faith, and that those who have been guilty of these lawless deeds against the Church may be reformed by your letters, and brought at last, though late, to repentance. Salute the brotherhood that is among you. All the brethren that are with me salute you. Fare ye well, and remember me, and the Lord preserve you continually, most truly beloved lords.


Footnotes

[471] Apol. Ar. 22, 30, Hist. Ar. 9. [The word perusin, `last year, is absent from the best ms. used by Montfaucon.']
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