Fathers of the Church
An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Books III-IV
by John of Damascus in Unknown | translated by S. D. F. Salmond, D.d
Concerning the Divine Oeconomy and God's care over us, and concerning our salvation.
MAN, then, was thus snared by the assault of the arch-fiend, and broke his Creator's command, and was stripped of grace and put off his confidence with God, and covered himself with the asperities of a toilsome life (for this is the meaning of the fig-leaves); and was clothed about with death, that is, mortality and the grossness of flesh (for this is what the garment of skins signifies); and was banished from Paradise by God's just judgment, and condemned to death, and made subject to corruption. Yet, notwithstanding all this, in His pity, God, Who gave him his being, and Who in His graciousness bestowed on him a life of happiness, did not disregard man. But He first trained him in many ways and called him back, by groans and trembling, by the deluge of water, and the utter destruction of almost the whole race, by confusion and diversity of tongues, by the rule of angels, by the burning of cities, by figurative manifestations of God, by wars and victories and defeats, by signs and wonders, by manifold faculties, by the law and the prophets: for by all these means God earnestly strove to emancipate man from the wide-spread and enslaving bonds of sin, which had made life such a mass of iniquity, and to effect man's return to a life of happiness. For it was sin that brought death like a wild and savage beast into the world s to the ruin of the human life. But it behoved the Redeemer to be without sin, and not made liable through sin to death, and further, that His nature should be strengthened and renewed, and trained by labour and taught the way of virtue which leads away from corruption to the life eternal and, in the end, is revealed the mighty ocean of love to man that is about Him. For the very Creator and Lord Himself undertakes a struggle in behalf of the work of His own hands, and learns by toil to become Master. And since the enemy snares man by the hope of Godhead, he himself is snared in turn by the screen of flesh, and so are shown at once the goodness and wisdom, the justice and might of God. God's goodness is revealed in that He did not disregard the frailty of His own handiwork, but was moved with compassion for him in his fall, and stretched forth His hand to him: and His justice in that when man was overcome He did not make another victorious over the tyrant, nor did He snatch man by might from death, but in His goodness and justice He made him, who had become through his sins the slave of death, himself once more conqueror and rescued like by like, most difficult though it seemed: and His wisdom is seen in His devising the most fitting solution of the difficulty. For by the good pleasure of our God and Father, the Only-begotten Son and Word of God and God, Who is in the bosom of the God and Father, of like essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Who was before the ages, Who is without beginning and was in the beginning, Who is in the presence of the God and Father, and is God and made in the form of God, bent the heavens and descended to earth: that is to say, He humbled without humiliation His lofty station which yet could not be humbled, and condescends to His servants, with a condescension ineffable and incomprehensible: (for that is what the descent signifies). And God being perfect becomes perfect man, and brings to perfection the newest of all new things, the only new thing under the Sun, through which the boundless might of God is manifested. For what greater thing is there, than that God should become Man? And the Word became flesh without being changed, of the Holy Spirit, and Mary the holy and ever-virgin one, the mother of God. And He acts as mediator between God and man, He the only lover of man conceived in the Virgin's chaste womb without will or desire, or any connection with man or pleasurable generation, but through the Holy Spirit and the first offspring of Adam. And He becomes obedient to the Father Who is like unto us, and finds a remedy for our disobedience in what He had assumed from us, and became a pattern of obedience to us without which it is not possible to obtain salvation.
Concerning the manner in which the Word was conceived, and concerning His divine incarnation.
The angel of the Lord was sent to the holy Virgin, who was descended from David's line. Far it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe no one turned his attention to the altar, as the divine apostle said: but about this we will speak more accurately later. And bearing glad tidings to her, he said, Hail thou highly favoured one, the Lord is with thee. And she was troubled at his word, and the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God, and shalt bring forth a Son and shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins. Hence it comes that Jesus has the interpretation Saviour. And when she asked in her perplexity, How can this be, seeing I know not a man? the angel again answered her, The Holy Spirit shall came upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And she said to him, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to Thy word.
So then, after the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her, and granting her power to receive the divinity of the Word, and likewise power to bring forth. And then was she overshadowed by the enhypostatic Wisdom and Power of the most high God, the Son of God Who is of like essence with the Father as of Divine seed, and from her holy and most pure blood He formed flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, the first-fruits of our compound nature: not by procreation but by creation through the Holy Spirit: not developing the fashion of the body by gradual additions but perfecting it at once, He Himself, the very Word of God, standing to the flesh in the relation of subsistence. For the divine Word was not made one with flesh that had an independent pre- existence, but taking up His abode in the womb of the holy Virgin, He unreservedly in His own subsistence took upon Himself through the pure blood of the eternal Virgin a body of flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, thus assuming to Himself the first-fruits of man's compound nature, Himself, the Word, having become a subsistence in the flesh. So that He is at once flesh, and at the same time flesh of God the Word, and likewise flesh animated, possessing both reason and thought. Wherefore we speak not of man as having become God, but of God as having become Man. For being by nature perfect God, He naturally became likewise perfect Man: and did not change His nature nor make the dispensation an empty show, but became, without confusion or change or division, one in subsistence with the flesh, which was conceived of the holy Virgin, and animated with reason and thought, and had found existence in Him, while He did not change the nature of His divinity into the essence of flesh, nor the essence of flesh into the nature of His divinity, and did not make one compound nature out of His divine nature and the human nature He had assumed.
Concerning Christ's two natures, in apposition to those who hold that He has only one.
For the two natures were united with each other without change or alteration, neither the divine nature departing from its native simplicity, nor yet the human being either changed into the nature of God or reduced to non-existence, nor one compound nature being produced out of the two. For the compound nature cannot be of the same essence as either of the natures out of which it is compounded, as made one thing out of others: for example, the body is composed of the four elements, but is not of the same essence as fire or air, or water or earth, nor does it keep these names. If, therefore, after the union, Christ's nature was, as the heretics hold, a compound unity, He had changed from a simple into a compound nature, and is not of the same essence as the Father Whose nature is simple, nor as the mother, who is not a compound of divinity and humanity. Nor will He then be in divinity and humanity: nor will He be called either God or Man, but simply Christ: and the word Christ will be the name not of the subsistence, but of what in their view is the one nature.
We, however, do not give it as our view that Christ's nature is compound, nor yet that He is one thing made of other things and differing from them as man is made of sold and body, or as the body is made of the four elements, but hold that, though He is constituted of these different parts He is yet the same. For we confess that He alike in His divinity and in His humanity both is and is said to be perfect God, the same Being, and that He consists of two natures, and exists in two natures. Further, by the word "Christ" we understand the name of the subsistence, not in the sense of one kind, but as signifying the existence of two natures. For in His own person He anointed Himself; as God anointing His body with His own divinity, and as Man being anointed. For He is Himself both God and Man. And the anointing is the divinity of His humanity. For if Christ, being of one compound nature, is of like essence to the Father, then the Father also must be compound and of like essence with the flesh, which is absurd and extremely blasphemous.
How, indeed, could one and the same nature come to embrace opposing and essential differences? For how is it possible that the same nature should be at once created and uncreated, mortal and immortal, circumscribed and uncircumscribed?
But if those who declare that Christ has only one nature should say also that that nature is a simple one, they must admit either that He is God pure and simple, and thus reduce the incarnation to a mere pretence, or that He is only man, according to Nestorius. And how then about His being "perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity"? And when can Christ be said to be of two natures, if they hold that He is of one composite nature after the union? For it is surely clear to every one that before the union Christ's nature was one.
But this is what leads the heretics astray, viz., that they look upon nature and subsistence as the same thing. For when we speak of the nature of men as one, observe that in saying this we are not looking to the question of soul and body. For when we compare together the soul and the body it cannot be said that they are of one nature. But since there are very many subsistences of men, and yet all have the same kind of nature: for all are composed of soul and body, and all have part in the nature of the soul, and possess the essence of the body, and the common form: we speak of the one nature of these very many and different subsistences; while each subsistence, to wit, has two natures, and fulfils itself in two natures, namely, soul and body.
But a common form cannot be admitted in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ. For neither was there ever, nor is there, nor will there ever be another Christ constituted of deity and humanity, and existing in deity and humanity at once perfect God and perfect man. And thus in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ we cannot speak of one nature made up of divinity and humanity, as we do in the case of the individual made up of soul and body. For in the latter case we have to do with an individual, but Christ is not an individual. For there is no predicable form of Christlihood, so to speak, that He possesses. And therefore we hold that there has been a union of two perfect natures, one divine and one human; not with disorder or confusion, or intermixture, or commingling, as is said by the God-accursed Dioscorus and by Eutyches and Severus, and all that impious company: and not in a personal or relative manner, or as a matter of dignity or agreement in will, or equality in honour, or identity in name, or good pleasure, as Nestorius, hated of God, said, and Diodorus and Theodorus of Mopsuestia, and their diabolical tribe: but by synthesis; that is, in subsistence, without change or confusion or alteration or difference or separation, and we confess that in two perfect natures there is but one subsistence of the Son of God incarnate; holding that there is one and the same subsistence belonging to His divinity and His humanity, and granting that the two natures are preserved in Him after the union, but we do not hold that each is separate and by itself, but that they are united to each other in one compound subsistence. For we look upon the union as essential, that is, as true and not imaginary. We say that it is essential, moreover, not in the sense of two natures resulting in one compound nature, but in the sense of a true union of them in one compound subsistence of the Son of God, and we hold that their essential difference is preserved. For the created remaineth created, and the uncreated, uncreated: the mortal remaineth mortal; the immortal, immortal: the circumscribed, circumscribed: the uncircumscribed, uncircumscribed: the visible, visible: the invisible, invisible. "The one part is all glorious with wonders: while the other is the victim of insults."
Moreover, the Word appropriates to Himself the attributes of humanity: for all that pertains to His holy flesh is His: and He imparts to the flesh His own attributes by way of communication in virtue of the interpenetration of the parts one with another, and the oneness according to subsistence, and inasmuch as He Who lived and acted both as God and as man, taking to Himself either form and holding intercourse with the other form, was one and the same. Hence it is that the Lord of Glory is said to have been crucified, although His divine nature never endured the Cross, and that the Son of Man is allowed to have been in heaven before the Passion, as the Lord Himself said. For the Lord of Glory is one and the same with Him Who is in nature and in truth the Son of Man, that is, Who became man, and both His wonders and His sufferings are known to us, although His wonders were worked in His divine capacity, and His sufferings endured as man. For we know that, just as is His one subsistence, so is the essential difference of the nature preserved. For how could difference be preserved if the very things that differ from one another are not preserved? For difference is the difference between things that differ. In so far as Christ's natures differ from one another, that is, in the matter of essence, we hold that Christ unites in Himself two extremes: in respect of His divinity He is connected with the Father and the Spirit, while in respect of His humanity He is connected with His mother and all mankind. And in so far as His natures are united, we hold that He differs from the Father and the Spirit on the one hand, and from the mother and the rest of mankind on the other. For the natures are united in His subsistence, having one compound subsistence, in which He differs from the Father and the Spirit, and also from the mother and us.
Concerning the manner of the Mutual Communication.
Now we have often said already that essence is one thing and subsistence another, and that essence signifies the common and general form of subsistences of the same kind, such as God, man, while subsistence marks the individual, that is to say, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, or Peter, Paul. Observe, then, that the names, divinity and humanity, denote essences or natures: while the names, God and man, are applied both in connection with natures, as when we say that God is incomprehensible essence, and that God is one, and with reference to subsistences, that which is more specific having the name of the more general applied to it, as when the Scripture says, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee, or again, There was a certain man in the land of Uz, for it was only to Job that reference was made.
Therefore, in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, seeing that we recognise that He has two natures but only one subsistence compounded of both, when we contemplate His natures we speak of His divinity and His humanity, but when we contemplate the subsistence compounded of the natures we sometimes use terms that have reference to His double nature, as "Christ," and "at once God and man," and "God Incarnate;" and sometimes those that imply only one of His natures, as "God" alone, or "Son of God," and "man" alone, or "Son of Man;" sometimes using names that imply His loftiness and sometimes those that imply His lowliness. For He Who is alike God and man is one, being the former from the Father ever without cause, but having become the latter afterwards for His love towards man.
When, then, we speak of His divinity we do not ascribe to it the properties of humanity. For we do not say that His divinity is subject to passion or created. Nor, again, do we predicate of His flesh or of His humanity the properties of divinity: for we do not say that His flesh or His humanity is uncreated. But when we speak of His subsistence, whether we give it a name implying both natures, or one that refers to only one of them, we still attribute to it the properties of both natures. For Christ, which name implies both natures, is spoken of as at once God and man, created and uncreated, subject to suffering anti incapable of suffering: and when He is named Son of God and God, in reference to only one of His natures, He still keeps the properties of the co-existing nature, that is, the flesh, being spoken of as God who suffers, and as the Lord of Glory crucified, not in respect of His being God but in respect of His being at the same time man. Likewise also when He is called Man and Son of Man, He still keeps the properties and glories of the divine nature, a child before the ages, and man who knew no beginning; it is not, however, as child or man but as God that He is before the ages, and became a child in the end. And Ibis is the manner of the mutual communication, either nature giving in exchange to the other its own properties through the identity of the subsistence and the interpenetration of the parts with one another. Accordingly we can say of Christ: This our God was seen upon the earth and lived amongst men, and This man is uncreated and impossible and uncircumscribed.
Concerning the number of the Natures.
In the case, therefore, of the Godhead we confess that there is but one nature, but hold that there are three subsistences actually existing, anti hold that all things that are of nature and essence are simple, and recognise the difference of the subsistences only in the three properties of independence of cause and Fatherhood, of dependence on cause and Sonship, of dependence on cause and procession. And we know further that these are indivisible and inseparable from each other and united into one, and interpenetrating one another without confusion. Yea, I repeat, united without confusion, for they are three although united, and they are distinct, although inseparable. For although each has an independent existence, that is to say, is a perfect subsistence and has an individuality of its own, that is, has a special mode of existence, yet they are one in essence and in the natural properties. and in being inseparable and indivisible from the Father's subsistence, and they both are and are said to be one God. In the very same way, then, in the case of the divine and ineffable dispensation, exceeding all thought and comprehension, I mean the Incarnation of the One God the Word of the Holy Trinity, and our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that there are two natures, one divine and one human, joined together with one another and united in subsistence, so that one compound subsistence is formed out of the two natures: but we hold that the two natures are still preserved, even after the union, in the one compound subsistence, that is, in the one Christ, and that these exist in reality and have their natural properties; for they are united without confusion, and are distinguished and enumerated without being separable. And just as the three subsistences of the Holy Trinity are united without confusion, and are distinguished and enumerated without being separable, the enumeration not entailing division or separation or alienation or cleavage among them (for we recognise one God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), so in the same way the natures of Christ also, although they are united, yet are united without confusion; and although they interpenetrate one another, yet they do not permit of change or transmutation of one into the other. For each keeps its own natural individuality strictly unchanged. And thus it is that they can be enumerated without the enumeration introducing division. For Christ, indeed, is one, perfect both in divinity and in humanity. For it is not the nature of number to cause separation or unity, but its nature is to indicate the quantity of what is enumerated, whether these are united or separated: for we have unity, for instance, when fifty stones compose a wall, but we have separation when the fifty stones lie on the ground; and again, we have unity when we speak of coal having two natures, namely, fire and wood, but we have separation in that the nature of fire is one thing, and the nature of wood another thing; for these things are united and separated not by number, but in another way. So, then, just as even though the three subsistences of the Godhead are united with each other, we cannot speak of them as one subsistence because we should confuse and do away with the difference between the subsistences, so also we cannot speak of the two natures of Christ as one nature, united though they are in subsistence, because we should then confuse and do away with and reduce to nothing the difference between the two natures.
That in one of its subsistences the divine nature is united in its entirety to the human nature, in its entirety and not only part to part.
What is common and general is predicated of the included particulars. Essence, then, is common as being a form, while subsistence is particular. It is particular not as though it had part of the nature and had not the rest, but particular in a numerical sense, as being individual. For it is in number and not in nature that the difference between subsistences is said to lie. Essence, therefore, is predicated of subsistence, because in each subsistence of the same form the essence is perfect. Wherefore subsistences do not differ from each other in essence but in the accidents which indeed are the characteristic properties, but characteristic of subsistence and not of nature. For indeed they define subsistence as essence along with accidents. So that the subsistence contains both the general and the particular, and has an independent existence, while essence has not an independent existence but is contemplated in the subsistences. Accordingly when one of the subsistences suffers, the whole essence, being capable of suffering, is held to have suffered in one of its subsistences as much as the subsistence suffered, but it does not necessarily follow, however, that all the subsistences of the same class should suffer along with the suffering subsistence.
Thus, therefore, we confess that the nature of the Godhead is wholly and perfectly in each of its subsistences, wholly in the Father, wholly in the Son, and wholly in the Holy Spirit. Wherefore also the Father is perfect God, the Son is perfect God, and the Holy Spirit is perfect God. In like manner, too, in the Incarnation of the Trinity of the One God the Word of the Holy Trinity, we hold that in one of its subsistences the nature of the Godhead is wholly and perfectly united with the whole nature of humanity, and not part united to part. The divine Apostle in truth says that in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, that is to say in His flesh. And His divinely-inspired disciple, Dionysius, who had so deep a knowledge of things divine, said that the Godhead as a whole had fellowship with us in one of its own subsistences. But we shall not be driven to hold that all the subsistences of the Holy Godhead, to wit the three, are made one in subsistence with all the subsistences of humanity. For in no other respect did the Father and the Holy Spirit take part in the incarnation of God the Word than according to good will and pleasure But we hold that to the whole of human nature the whole essence of the Godhead was united. For God the Word omitted none of the things which He implanted in our nature when He formed us in the beginning, but took them all upon Himself, body and soul both intelligent and rational, and all their properties. For the creature that is devoid of one of these is not man. But He in His fulness took upon Himself me in my fulness, and was united whole to whole that He might in His grace bestow salvation on the whole man. For what has not been taken cannot be healed.
The Word of God, then, was united to flesh through the medium of mind which is intermediate between the purity of God and the grossness of flesh. For the mind holds sway over soul and body, but while the mind is the purest part of the soul God is that of the mind. And when it is allowed by that which is more excellent, the mind of Christ gives proof of its own authority, but it is under the dominion of and obedient to that which is more excellent, and does those things which the divine will purposes.
Further the mind has become the seat of the divinity united with it in subsistence, just as is evidently the case with the body too, not as an inmate, which is the impious error into which the heretics fall when they say that one bushel cannot contain two bushels, for they are judging what is immaterial by material standards. How indeed could Christ be called perfect God and perfect man, and be said to be of like essence with the Father and with us, if only part of the divine nature is joined in Him to part of the human nature?
We hold, moreover, that our nature has been raised from the dead and has ascended to the heavens and taken its seat at the right hand of the Father: not that all the persons of men have risen from the dead and taken their seat at the right hand of the Father, but that this has happened to the whole of our nature in the subsistence of Christ. Verily the divine Apostle says, God hath raised us up together and made us sit together in Christ.
And this further we hold, that the union took place through common essences. For every essence is common to the subsistences contained in it, and there cannot be found a partial and particular nature, that is to say, essence: for otherwise we would have to hold that the same subsistences are at once the same and different in essence, and that the Holy Trinity in respect of the divinity is at once the same and different in essence. So then the same nature is to be observed in each of the subsistences, and when we said that the nature of the word became flesh, as did the blessed Athanasius and Cyrillus, we mean that the divinity was joined to the flesh. Hence we cannot say "The nature of the Word suffered;" for the divinity in it did not suffer, but we say that the human nature, not by any means, however, meaning all the subsistences of men, suffered in Christ, and we confess further that Christ suffered in His human nature. So that when we speak of the nature of the Word we mean the Word Himself. And the Word has both the general element of essence and the particular element of subsistence.
Concerning the one compound subsistence of God the Word.
We hold then that the divine subsistence of God the Word existed before all else and is without time and eternal, simple and uncompound, uncreated, incorporeal, invisible, intangible, uncircumscribed, possessing all the Father possesses, since He is of the same essence with Him, differing from the Father's subsistence in the manner of His generation and the relation of the Father's subsistence, being perfect also and at no time separated from the Father's subsistence: and in these last. days, without leaving the Father's bosom, took up His abode in an uncircumscribed manner in the womb of the holy Virgin, without the instrumentality of seed, and in an incomprehensible manner known only to Himself, and causing the flesh derived from the holy Virgin to subsist in the very subsistence that was before all the ages.
So then He was both in all things and above all things and also dwelt in the womb of the holy Mother of God, but in it by the energy of the incarnation. He therefore became flesh and He took upon Himself thereby the first-fruits of our compound nature, viz., the flesh animated with the intelligent and national soul, so that the very subsistence of God the Word was changed into the subsistence of the flesh, and the subsistence of the Word, which was formerly simple, became compound, yea compounded of two perfect natures, divinity and humanity, and bearing the characteristic and distinctive property of the divine Sonship of God the Word in virtue of which it is distinguished from the Father and the Spirit, and also the characteristic and distinctive properties of the flesh, in virtue of which it differs from the Mother and the rest of mankind, bearing further the properties of the divine nature in virtue of which it is united to the Father and the Spirit, and the marks of the human nature in virtue of which it is united to the Mother and to us. And further it differs from the Father and the Spirit and the Mother and us in being at once God and man. For this we know to be the most special property of the subsistence of Christ.
Wherefore we confess Him, even after the incarnation, the one Son of God, and likewise Son of Man, one Christ, one Lord, the only-begotten Son and Word of God, one Lord Jesus. We reverence His two generations, one from the Father before time and beyond cause and reason and time and nature, and one in the end for our sake, and like to us and above us; for our sake because it was for our salvation, like to us in that He was man born of woman at full tithe, and above us because it was not by seed, but by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Virgin Mary, transcending the laws of parturition. We proclaim Him not as God only, devoid of our humanity, nor yet as man only, stripping Him of His divinity, nor as two distinct persons, but as one and the same, at once God and man, perfect God and perfect man, wholly God anti wholly man, the same being wholly God, even though He was also flesh and wholly man, even though He was also most high God. And by "perfect God" and "perfect man" we mean to emphasize the fulness and unfailingness of the natures: while by "wholly God" and "wholly man" we mean to lay stress on the singularity and individuality of the subsistence.
And we confess also that there is one incarnate nature of God the Word, expressing by the word "incarnate" the essence of the flesh, according to the blessed Cyril. And so the Word was made flesh and yet did not abandon His own proper immateriality: He became wholly flesh and yet remained wholly uncircumscribed. So far as He is body He is diminished and contracted into narrow limits, but inasmuch as He is God He is uncircumscribed, His flesh not being coextensive with His uncircumscribed divinity.
He is then wholly perfect God, but yet is not simply God: for He is not only God but also man. And He is also wholly perfect man but not simply man, for He is not only man but also God. For "simply" here has reference to His nature, and "wholly" to His subsistence, just as "another thing" would refer to nature, while "another" would refer to subsistence.
But observe that although we hold that the natures of the Lord permeate one another, yet we know that the permeation springs from the divine nature. For it is that that penetrates and permeates all things, as it wills, while nothing penetrates it: and it is it, too, that imparts to the flesh its own peculiar glories, while abiding itself impossible and without participation in the affections of the flesh. For if the sun imparts to us his energies and yet does not participate in ours, how much the rather must this be true of the Creator anti Lord of the Sun.
In reply to those who ask whether the natures of the Lord are brought under a continuous or a discontinuous quantity.
If any one asks concerning the natures of the Lord if they are brought under a continuous or discontinuous quantity, we will say that the natures of the Lord are neither one body nor one superficies, nor one line, nor time, nor place, so as to be reduced to a continuous quantity. For these are the things that are reckoned continuously.
Further note that number deals with things that differ, and it is quite impossible to enumerate things that differ from one another in no respect: and just so far as they differ are they enumerated: for instance, Peter and Paul are not counted separately in so far as they are one. For since they are one in respect of their essence they cannot be spoken of as two natures, but as they differ in respect of subsistence they are spoken of as two subsistences. So that number deals with differences, and just as the differing objects differ from one another so far they are enumerated.
The natures of the Lord, then, are united without confusion so far as regards subsistence, and they are divided without separation according to the method and manner of difference. And it is not according to the manner in which they are united that they are enumerated, for it is not in respect of subsistence that we hold that there are two natures of Christ: but according to the manner in which they are divided without separation they are enumerated, for it is in respect of the method and manner of difference that there are two natures of Christ. For being united in subsistence and permeating one another, they are united without confusion, each preserving throughout its own peculiar and natural difference. Hence, since they are enumerated according to the manner of difference, and that alone, they must be brought under a discontinuous quantity.
Christ, therefore, is one, perfect God and perfect man: and Him we worship along with the Father and the Spirit, with one obeisance, adoring even His immaculate flesh and not holding that the flesh is not meet for worship: for in fact it is worshipped in the one subsistence of the Word, which indeed became subsistence for it. But in this we do not do homage to that which is created. For we worship Him, not as mere flesh, but as flesh united with divinity, and because His two natures are brought under the one person and one subsistence of God the Word. I fear to touch coal because of the fire bound up with the wood. I worship the twofold nature of Christ because of the divinity that is in Him bound up with flesh. For I do not introduce a fourth person into the Trinity. God forbid! but I confess one person of God the Word and of His flesh, and the Trinity remains Trinity, even after the incarnation of the Word.
In reply to those who ask whether the two natures are brought under a continuous or a discontinuous quantity.
The natures of the Lord are neither one body nor one superficies, nor one line, nor place, nor time, so as to be brought under a continuous quantity: for these are the things that are reckoned continuously. But the natures of the Lord are united without confusion in respect of subsistence, and are divided without separation according to the method and manner of difference. And according to the manner in which they are united they are not enumerated. For we do not say that the natures of Christ are two subsistences or two in respect of subsistence. But according to the manner in which they are divided without division, are they enumerated. For there are two natures according to the method and manner of difference. For being united in subsistence and permeating one another they are united without confusion, neither having been changed into the other, but each preserving its own natural difference even after the union. For that which is created remained created, and that which is uncreated, uncreated. By the manner of difference, then, and in that alone, they are enumerated, and thus are brought under discontinuous quantity. For things which differ from each other in no respect cannot be enumerated, but just so far as they differ are they enumerated; for instance, Peter and Paul are not enumerated in those respects in which they are one: for being one in respect of their essence they are not two natures nor are they so spoken of. But inasmuch as they differ in subsistence they are spoken of as two subsistences. So that difference is the cause of number.
In reply to the question whether there is Nature that has no Subsistence.
For although there is no nature without subsistence, nor essence apart from person (since in truth it is in persons and subsistences that essence and nature are to be contemplated), yet it does not necessarily follow that the natures that are united to one another in subsistence should have each its own proper subsistence. For after they have come together into one subsistence, it is possible that neither should they be without subsistence, nor should each have its own peculiar subsistence, but that both should have one and the same subsistence. For since one and the same subsistence of the Word has become the subsistence of the natures, neither of them is permitted to be without subsistence, nor are they allowed to have subsistences that differ from each other, or to have sometimes the subsistence of this nature and sometimes of that, but always without division or separation they both have the same subsistence—a subsistence which is not broken up into parts or divided, so that one part should belong to this, and one to that, but which belongs wholly to this and wholly to that in its absolute entirety. For the flesh of God the Word did not subsist as an independent subsistence, nor did there arise another subsistence besides that of God the Word, but as it existed in that it became rather a subsistence which subsisted in another, than one which was an independent subsistence. Wherefore, neither does it lack subsistence altogether, nor yet is there thus introduced into the Trinity another subsistence.
Concerning the Trisagium ("the Thrice Holy").
This being so, we declare that the addition which the vain-minded Peter the Fuller made to the Trisagium or "Thrice Holy" Hymn is blasphemous; for it introduces a fourth person into the Trinity, giving a separate place to the Son of God, Who is the truly subsisting power of the Father, and a separate place to Him Who was crucified as though He were different from the "Mighty One," or as though the Holy Trinity was considered possible, and the Father and the Holy Spirit suffered on the Cross along with the Son. Have done with this blasphemous and nonsensical interpolation! For we hold the words "Holy God" to refer to the Father, without limiting the title of divinity to Him alone, but acknowledging also as God the Son and the Holy Spirit: and the words "Holy and Mighty" we ascribe to the Son, without stripping the Father and the Holy Spirit of might: and the words "Holy and Immortal" we attribute to the Holy Spirit, without depriving the Father and the Son of immortality. For, indeed, we apply all the divine names simply and unconditionally to each of the subsistences in imitation of the divine Apostle's words. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him: and one Lord Jesus Christ by Whom are all things, and we by Him And, nevertheless, we follow Gregory the Theologian when he says, "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, in Whom are all things:" for the words "of Whom" and "through Whom" and "in Whom" do not divide the natures (for neither the prepositions nor the order of the names could ever be changed), but they characterise the properties of one unconfused nature. And this becomes clear from the fact that they are once more gathered into one, if only one reads with care these words of the same Apostle, Of Him and through Him and in Him are all things: to Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
For that the "Trisagium" refers not to the Son alone, but to the Holy Trinity, the divine and saintly Athanasius and Basil and Gregory, and all the band of the divinely-inspired Fathers bear witness: because, as a matter of fact, by the threefold holiness the Holy Seraphim suggest to us the three subsistences of the superessential Godhead. But by the one Lordship they denote the one essence and dominion of the supremely-divine Trinity. Gregory the Theologian of a truth says, "Thus, then, the Holy of Holies, which is completely veiled by the Seraphim, and is glorified with three consecrations, meet together in one lordship and one divinity." This was the most beautiful and sublime philosophy of still another of our predecessors.
Ecclesiastical historians, then, say that once when the people of Constantinople were offering prayers to God to avert a threatened calamity, during Proclus' tenure of the office of Archbishop, it happened that a boy was snatched up from among the people, and was taught by angelic teachers the "Thrice Holy" Hymn, "Thou Holy God, Holy and Mighty One, Holy and Immortal One, have mercy upon us:" and when once more he was restored to earth, he told what he had learned, and all the people sang the Hymn, and so the threatened calamity was averted. And in the fourth holy and great (Ecumenical Council, I mean the one at Chalcedon, we are told that it was in this form that the Hymn was sung; for the minutes of this holy assembly so record it. It is, therefore, a matter for laughter and ridicule that this "Thrice Holy" Hymn, taught us by the angels, and confirmed by the averting of calamity, ratified and established by so great an assembly of the holy Fathers, and sung first by the Seraphim as a declaration of the three subsistences of the Godhead, should be mangled and forsooth emended to suit the view of the stupid Fuller as though he were higher than the Seraphim. But oh! the arrogance! not to say folly! But we say it thus, though demons should rend us in pieces, "Do Thou, Holy God, Holy and Mighty One, Holy and Immortal One, have mercy upon us."
Concerning the Nature as viewed in Species and in Individual, and concerning the difference between Union and Incarnation: and how this is to be understood, "The one Nature of God the Word Incarnate."
Nature is regarded either abstractly as a matter of pure thought (for it has no independent existence): or commonly in all subsistences of the same species as their bond of union, and is then spoken of as nature viewed in species: or universally as the same, but with the addition of accidents, in one subsistence, and is spoken of as nature viewed in the individual, this being identical with nature viewed in species. God the Word Incarnate, therefore, did not assume the nature that is regarded as an abstraction in pure thought (for tiffs is not incarnation, but only an imposture and a figment of incarnation), nor the nature viewed in species (for He did not assume all the subsistences): but the nature viewed in the individual, which is identical with that viewed in species. For He took on Himself the elements of our compound nature, and these not as having an independent existence or as being originally an individual, and in this way assumed by Him, but as existing in His own subsistence. For the subsistence of God the Word in itself became the subsistence of the flesh, and accordingly "the Word became flesh" clearly without any change, and likewise the flesh became Word without alteration, and God became man. For the Word is God, and man is God, through having one and the same subsistence. And so it is possible to speak of tile same thing as being the nature of the Word and the nature in the individual. For it signifies strictly and exclusively neither the individual, that is, the subsistence, nor the common nature of the subsistences, but the common nature as viewed and presented in one of the subsistences.
Union, then, is one thing, and incarnation is something quite different. For union signifies only the conjunction, but not at all that with which union is effected. But incarnation (which is just the same as if one said "the putting on of man's nature") signifies that tile conjunction is with flesh, that is to say, with man, just as the heating of iron implies its union with fire. Indeed, the blessed Cyril himself, when he is interpreting the phrase, "one nature of God the Word Incarnate," says in the second epistle to Sucensus, "For if we simply said 'the one nature of the Word' and then were silent, and did not add the word 'incarnate.' but, so to speak, quite excluded the dispensation, there would be some plausibility in the question they feign to ask, 'If one nature is the whole, what becomes of the perfection in humanity, or how has the essence like us come to exist?' But inasmuch as the perfection in humanity and the disclosure of the essence like us are conveyed in the word 'incarnate,' they must cease from relying on a mere straw" Here, then, he placed the nature of the Word over nature itself. For if He had received nature instead of subsistence, it would not have been absurd to have omitted the "incarnate." For when we say simply one subsistence of God the Word, we do not err. In like manner, also, Leontius the Byzantine considered this phrase to refer to nature, and not to subsistence. But in the Defence which he wrote in reply to the attacks that Theodoret made on the second anathema, the blessed Cyril says this: "The nature of the Word, that is, the subsistence, which is the Word itself." So that "the nature of the Word" means neither the subsistence alone, nor "the common nature of the subsistence," but "the common nature viewed as a whole in the subsistence of the Word."
It has been said, then, that the nature of the Word became flesh, that is, was united to flesh: but that the nature of the Word suffered in the flesh we have never heard up till now, though we have been taught that Christ suffered in the flesh. So that "the nature of the Word" does not mean "the subsistence." It remains, therefore, to say that to become flesh is to be united with the flesh, while the Word having become flesh means that the very subsistence of the Word became without change the subsistence of the flesh. It has also been said that God became man, and man God. For the Word which is God became without alteration man. But that the Godhead became man, or became flesh, or put on the nature of man, this we have never heard. This, indeed, we have learned, that the Godhead was united to humanity in one of its subsistences, and it has been stated that God took on a different form or essence, to wit our own. For the name God is applicable to each of the subsistences, but we cannot use the term Godhead in reference to subsistence. For we are never told that the Godhead is the Father alone, or the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone. For "Godhead" implies "nature," while "Father" implies subsistence just as "Humanity" implies nature, and "Peter" subsistence. But "God" indicates the common element of the nature, and is applicable derivatively to each of the subsistences, just as "man" is. For He Who has divine nature is God, and he who has human nature is man.
Besides all this, notice that the Father and the Holy Spirit take no part at all in the incarnation of the Word except in connection with the miracles, and in respect of good will and purpose.
That the holy Virgin is the Mother of God: an argument directed against the Nestorians.
Moreover we proclaim the holy Virgin to be in strict truth the Mother of God. For inasmuch as He who was born of her was true God, she who bare the true God incarnate is the true mother of God. For we hold that God was born of her, not implying that the divinity of the Word received from her the beginning of its being, but meaning that God the Word Himself, Who was begotten of the Father timelessly before the ages, and was with the Father and the Spirit without beginning anti through eternity, took up His abode in these last days for the sake of our salvation in the Virgin's womb, and was without change made flesh and born of her. For the holy Virgin did not bare mere man but true God: and not mere God but God incarnate, Who did not bring down His body from Heaven, nor simply passed through the Virgin as channel, but received from her flesh of like essence to our own and subsisting in Himself. For if the body had come down from heaven and had not partaken of our nature, what would have been the use of His becoming man? For the purpose of God the Word becoming man was that the very same nature, which had sinned and fallen and become corrupted, should triumph over the deceiving tyrant and so be freed from corruption, just as the divine apostle puts it, For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. If the first is true the second must also be true.
Although, however, he says, The first Adam is of the earth earthy; the second Adam is Lord from Heaven, he does not say that His body is from heaven, but emphasises the fact that He is not mere man. For, mark, he called Him both Adam and Lord, thus indicating His double nature. For Adam is, being interpreted, earth-born: and it is clear that man's nature is earth-born since he is formed from earth, but the title Lord signifies His divine essence.
And again the Apostle says: God sent forth His only-begotten Son, made of a woman. He did not say "made by a woman." Wherefore the divine apostle meant that the only-begotten Son of God and God is the same as He who was made man of the Virgin, and that He who was born of the Virgin is the same as the Son of God and God.
But He was born after the bodily fashion inasmuch as He became man, and did not take up His abode in a man formed beforehand, as in a prophet, but became Himself in essence and truth man, that is He caused flesh animated with the intelligent and reasonable to subsist in His own subsistence, and Himself became subsistence for it. For this is the meaning of "made of a woman." For how could the very Word of God itself have been made under the law, if He did not become man of like essence with ourselves?
Hence it is with justice and truth that we call the holy Mary the Mother of God. For this name embraces the whole mystery of the dispensation. For if she who bore Him is the Mother of God, assuredly He Who was born of her is God and likewise also man. For how could God, Who was before the ages, have been born of a woman unless He had become man? For the son of man must clearly be man himself. But if He Who was born of a woman is Himself God, manifestly He Who was born of God the Father in accordance with the laws of an essence that is divine and knows no beginning, and He Who was in the last days born of the Virgin in accordance with the laws of an essence that has beginning and is subject to time, that is, an essence which is human, must be one and the same. The name in truth signifies the one subsistence and the two natures and the two generations Of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But we never say that the holy Virgin is the Mother of Christ because it was in order to do away with the title Mother of God, and to bring dishonour on the Mother of God, who alone is in truth worthy of honour above all creation, that the impure and abominable Judaizing Nestorius, that vessel of dishonour, invented this name for an insult. For David the king, and Aaron, the high priest, are also called Christ, for it is customary to make kings and priests by anointing: and besides every God-inspired man may be called Christ. but yet be is not by nature God: yea, the accursed Nestorius insulted Him Who was born of the Virgin by calling Him God-bearer. May it be far from us to speak of or think of Him as God-bearer only, Who is in truth God incarnate. For the Word Himself became flesh, having been in truth conceived of the Virgin, but coming forth as God with the assumed nature which, as soon as He was brought forth into being, was deified by Him, so that these three things took place simultaneously, the assumption of our nature, the coming into being, and the deification of the assumed nature by the Word. And thus it is that the holy Virgin is thought of and spoken of as the Mother of God, not only because of the nature of the Word, but also because of the deification of man's nature, the miracles of conception and of existence being wrought together, to wit, the conception the Word, and the existence of the flesh in the Word Himself. For the very Mother of God in some marvellous manner was the means of fashioning the Framer of all things and of bestowing manhood on the God and Creator of all, Who deified the nature that He assumed, while the union preserved those things that were united just as they were united, that is to say, not only the divine nature of Christ but also His human nature, not only that which is above us but that which is of us. For He was not first made like us and only later became higher than us, but ever from His first coating into being He existed with the double nature, because He existed in the Word Himself from the beginning of the conception. Wherefore He is human in His own nature, but also, in some marvellous manner, of God and divine. Moreover He has the properties of the living flesh: for by reason of the dispensation the Word received these which are, according to the order of natural motion, truly natural.
Concerning the properties of the two Natures.
Confessing, then, the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, to be perfect God and perfect man, we hold that the same has all the attributes of the Father save that of being ingenerate, and all the attributes of the first Adam, save only his sin, these attributes being body and the intelligent and rational soul; and further that He has, corresponding to the two natures, the two sets of natural qualities belonging to the two natures: two natural volitions, one divine and one human, two natural, energies, one divine and one human, two natural free-wills, one divine and one human, and two kinds of wisdom and knowledge, one divine and one human. For being of like essence with God and the Father, He wills and energises freely as God, and being also of like essence with us He likewise wills and energises freely as man. For His are the miracles and His also are the passive states.
Concerning the volitions and free-will of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since, then, Christ has two natures, we hold that He has also two natural wills and two natural energies. But since His two natures have one subsistence, we hold that it is one and the same person who wills and energises naturally in both natures, of which, and in which, and also which is Christ our Lord: and moreover that He wills and energises without separation but as a united whole. For He wills and energises in either form in close communion with the other. For things that have the same essence have also the same will and energy, while things that are different in essence are different in will and energy; and vice versa, things that have the same will anti energy have the same essence, while things that are different in will and energy are different in essence.
Wherefore in the case of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit we recognise, from their sameness in will and energy, their sameness in nature. But in the case of the divine dispensation we recognise from their difference in will and energy the difference of the two natures, and as we perceive the difference of the two natures we confess that the wills and energies also are different. For just as the number of the natures of one and the same Christ, when considered and spoken of with piety, do not cause a division of the one Christ but merely bring out the fact that the difference between the natures is maintained even in the union, so it is with the number of wills and energies that belong essentially to His natures. (For He was endowed with the powers of willing and energising in both natures, for the sake of our salvation) It does not introduce division: God forbid! but merely brings out the fact that the differences between them are safeguarded and preserved even in the union. For we hold that wills and energies are faculties belonging to nature, not to subsistence; I mean those faculties of will and energy by which He Who wills and energises does so. For if we allow that they belong to subsistence, we will be forced to say that the three subsistences of the Holy Trinity have different wills and different energies.
For it is to be noted s that willing and the manner of willing are not the same thing. For to will is a faculty of nature, just as seeing is, for all men possess it; but the manner of willing does not depend on nature but on our judgment, just as does also the manner of seeing, whether well or ill. For all men do not will in the same way, nor do they all see in the same way. And this also we will grant in connection with energies. For the manner of willing, or seeing, or energising, is the mode of using the faculties of will and sight and energy, belonging only to him who uses them, and marking him off from others by the generally accepted difference.
Simple willing then is spoken of as volition or the faculty of will, being a rational propension and natural will; but in a particular way willing, or that which underlies volition, is the object of will, and will dependent on judgment. Further that which has innate in it the faculty of volition is spoken of as capable of willing: as for instance the divine is capable of willing, and the human in like manner. But he who exercises volition, that is to say the subsistence, for instance Peter, is spoken of as willing.
Since, then, Christ is one and His subsistence is one, He also Who wills both as God and as man is one and the same. And since He has two natures endowed with volition, inasmuch as they are rational (for whatever is rational is endowed with volition and free-will), we shall postulate two volitions or natural wills in Him. For He in His own person is capable of volition in accordance with both His natures. For He assumed that faculty of volition which belongs naturally to us. And since Christ, Who in His own person wills according to either nature, is one, we shall postulate the same object of will in His case, not as though He wills only those things which He willed naturally as God (for it is no part of Godhead to will to eat or drink and so forth), but as willing also those things which human nature requires for its support, and this without involving any opposition in judgment, but simply as the result of the individuality of the natures. For then it was that He thus willed naturally, when His divine volition so willed and permitted the flesh to suffer and do that which was proper to it.
But that volition is implanted in man by nature is manifest from this. Excluding the divine life, there are three forms of life: the vegetative, the sentient, and the intellectual. The properties of the vegetative life are the functions of nourishment, and growth, and production: that of the sentient life is impulse: and that of the rational and intellectual life is freedom of will. If, then, nourishment belongs by nature to the vegetative life and impulse to the sentient, freedom of will by nature belongs to the rational and intellectual life. But freedom of will is nothing else than volition. The Word, therefore, having become flesh, endowed with life and mind and free-will, became also endowed with volition.
Further, that which is natural is not the result of training: for no one learns how to think, or live, or hunger, or thirst, or sleep. Nor do we learn how to will: so that willing is natural.
And again: if in the case of creatures devoid of reason nature rules, while nature is ruled in man who is moved of his own free-will and volition, it follows, then, that man is by nature endowed with volition.
And again: if man has been made after the image of the blessed and super-essential Godhead, and if the divine nature is by nature endowed with free-will and volition, it follows that man, as its image, is free by nature and volitive. For the fathers defined freedom as volition.
And further: if to will is a part of the nature of every man and not present in some and absent in others, and if that which is seen to be common to all is a characteristic feature of the nature that belongs to the individuals of the class, surely, then, man is by nature endowed with volition.
And once more: if the nature receives neither more nor less, but all are equally endowed with volition and not some more than others, then by nature man is endowed with volition. So that since man is by nature endowed with volition, the Lord also must be by nature endowed with volition, not only because He is God, but also because He became man. For just as He assumed our nature, so also He has assumed naturally our will. And in this way the Fathers said that He formed our will in Himself.
If the will is not natural, it must be either hypostatic or unnatural. But if it is hypostatic, the Son must thus, forsooth, have a different will from what the Father has: for that which is hypostatic is characteristic of subsistence only. And if it is unnatural, will must be a defection from nature: for what is unnatural is destructive of what is natural.
The God and Father of all things wills either as Father or as God. Now if as Father, His will will be different from that of the Son, for the Son is not the Father. But if as God, the Son is God and likewise the Holy Spirit is God, and so volition is part of His nature, that is, it is natural.
Besides, if according to the view of the Fathers, those who have one and the same will have also one and the same essence, and if the divinity and humanity of Christ have one and the same will, then assuredly these have also one and the same essence.
And again: if according to the view of the Fathers the distinction between the natures is not seen in the single will, we mast either, when we speak of the one will, cease to speak of the different natures in Christ or, when we speak of the different natures of Christ, cease to speak of the one will.
And further, the divine Gospel says, The Lord came into the borders of Tyre and Sidon and entered into a house, and would have no man know it; but He could not be hid. If, then, His divine will is omnipotent, but yet, though He would, He could not be hid, surely it was as man that He would and could not, and so as man He must be endowed with volition.
And once again, the Gospel tells us that, He, having come into the place, said 'I thirst': and they gave Him same vinegar mixed with gall, and when He had tasted it fare would not drink. If, then, on the one hand it was as God that tie suffered thirst and when He had tasted would not drink, surely He must be subject to passion s also as God, for thirst and taste are passions. But if it was not as God but altogether as man that He was athirst, likewise as man He must be endowed with volition.
Moreover, the blessed Paul the Apostle says, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. But obedience is subjection of the real will, not of the unreal will. For that which is irrational is not said to be obedient or disobedient. But the Lord having become obedient to the Father, became so not as God but as man. For as God He is not said to be obedient or disobedient. For these things are of the things that are trader one's band, as the inspired Gregorius said. Wherefore, then, Christ is endowed with volition as man.
While, however, we assert that will is natural, we hold not that it is dominated by necessity, but that it is free. For if it is rational, it must be absolutely free. For it is not only the divine and uncreated nature that is free from the bonds of necessity, but also the intellectual and created nature. And this is manifest: for God, being by nature good and being by nature the Creator and by nature God, is not all this of necessity. For who is there to introduce this necessity?
It is to be observed further, that freedom of will is used in several senses, one in connection with God, another in connection with angels, and a third in connection with men. For used in reference to God it is to be understood in a superessential manner, and in reference to angels it is to be taken in the sense that the election is concomitant with the state, and admits of the interposition of no interval of time at all: for while the angel possesses free-will by nature, he uses it without let or hindrance, having neither antipathy on the part of the body to overcome nor any assailant. Again, used in reference to men, it is to be taken in the sense that the state is considered to be anterior in time to the election. For than is free and has free-will by nature, but he has also the assault of the devil to impede him and the motion of the body: and thus through the assault and the weight of the batty, election comes to be later than the state.
If, then, Adam obeyed of his own will and ate of his own will, surely in us the will is the first part to suffer. And if the will is the first to suffer, and the Word Incarnate did not assume this with the rest of our nature, it follows that we have not been freed from sin.
Moreover, if the faculty of free-will which is in nature is His work and yet He did not assume it, He either condemned His own workmanship as not good, or grudged us the comfort it brought, and so deprived us of the full benefit, and shewed that He was Himself subject to passion since He was not willing or not able to work out our perfect salvation.
Moreover, one cannot speak of one compound thing made of two wills in the same way as a subsistence is a composition of two natures. Firstly because the compositions are of things in subsistence (hypotasis), not of things viewed in a different category, not in one proper to them: and secondly, because if we speak of composition of wills and energies, we will be obliged to speak of composition of the other natural properties, such as the uncreated and the created, the invisible and the visible, and so on. And what will be the name of the will that is compounded out of two wills? For the compound cannot be called by the name of the elements that make it up. For otherwise we should call that which is compounded of natures nature and not subsistence. And further, if we say that there is one compound will in Christ, we separate Him in will from the Father, for the Father's will is not compound. It remains, therefore, to say that the subsistence of Christ atone is compound and common, as in the case of the natures so also in that of the natural properties.
And we cannot, if we wish to be accurate, speak of Christ as having judgment (gnw'mh) and preference. For judgment is a disposition with reference to the decision arrived at after investigation and deliberation concerning something unknown, that is to say, after counsel and decision. And after judgment comes preference, which chooses out and selects the one rather than the other. But the Lord being not mere man but also God, and knowing all things, had no need of inquiry. and investigation, and counsel, and decision, and by nature made whatever is good His own and whatever is bad foreign to Him. For thus says Isaiah the prophet, Before the child shall know to prefer the evil, he shall choose the good; because before the child knows good or evil, he refuses wickedness by choosing the good. For the word "before" proves that it is not with investigation and deliberation, as is the way with us, but as God and as subsisting in a divine manner in the flesh, that is to say, being united in subsistence to the flesh, and because of His very existence and all-embracing knowledge, that He is possessed of good in His own nature. For the virtues are natural qualities, and are implanted in all by nature and in equal measure, even if we do not all in equal measure employ our natural energies. By the transgression we were driven from the natural to the unnatural. But the Lord led us back from the unnatural into the natural. For this is what is the meaning of in our image, after our likeness. And the discipline and trouble of this life were not designed as a means for our attaining virtue which was foreign to our nature, but to enable us to cast aside the evil that was foreign and contrary to our nature: just as on laboriously removing from steel the rust which is not natural to it but acquired through neglect, we reveal the natural brightness of the steel.
Observe further that the word judgment (gnw'mh) is used in many ways and in many senses. Sometimes it signifies exhortation: as when the divine apostle says, Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment: sometimes it means counsel, as when the prophet David says, They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people: sometimes it means a decree, as when we read in Daniel, Concerning whom (or, what) went this shameless decree forth? At other times it is used in the sense of belief, or opinion, or purpose, and, to put it shortly, the word judgment has twenty-eight different meanings.
Concerning the energies in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We hold, further, that there are two energies in our Lord Jesus Christ. For He possesses on the one hand, as God and being of like essence with the Father, the divine energy, and, likewise, since He became man and of like essence to us, the energy proper to human nature.
But observe that energy and capacity for energy, and the product of energy, and the agent of energy, are all different. Energy is the efficient (drastikh') and essential activity of nature: the capacity for energy is the nature from which proceeds energy: the product of energy is that which is effected by energy: and the agent of energy is the person or subsistence which uses the energy. Further, sometimes energy is used in the sense of the product of energy, and the product of energy in that of energy, just as the terms creation and creature are sometimes transposed. For we say "all creation," meaning creatures.
Note also that energy is an activity and is energised rather than energises; as Gregory the Theologian says m his thesis concerning the Holy Spirit: "If energy exists, it must manifestly be energised and will not energise: and as soon as it has been energised, it will cease."
Life itself, it should be observed, is energy, yea, the primal energy of the living creature and so is the whole economy of the living creature, its functions of nutrition and growth, that is, the vegetative side of its nature, and the movement stirred By impulse, that is, the sentient side, and its activity of intellect and free-will. Energy, moreover, is the perfect realisation of power. If, then, we contemplate all these in Christ, surely we must also hold that He possesses human energy.
The first thought that arises in us is called energy: and it is simple energy not involving any relationship, the mind sending forth the thoughts peculiar to it in an independent and invisible way, for if it did not do so it could not justly be called mind. Again, the revelation and unfolding of thought by means of articulate speech is said to be energy. But this is no longer simple energy that revolves no relationship, but it is considered in relation as being composed of thought and speech. Further, the very relation which be who does anything bears to that which is brought about is energy; and the very thing that is effected is called energy. The first belongs to the soul alone, the second to the soul making use of the body, the third to the body animated by mind, and the last is the effect. For the mind sees beforehand what is to be and then performs it thus by means of the body. And so the hegemony belongs to the soul, for it uses the body as an instrument, leading and restraining it. But the energy of the body is quite different, for the booty is led and moved by the soul. And with regard to the effect, the touching and handling and, so to speak, the embrace of what is effected, belong to the body, while the figuration and formation belong to the soul. And so in connection with our Lord Jesus Christ, the power of miracles is the energy of His divinity, while the work of His hands and the willing and the saying, I will, be thou clean, are the energy of His humanity. And as to the effect, the breaking of the loaves, and the fact that the leper heard the "I will," belong to His humanity, while the multiplication of the loaves and the purification of the leper belong to His divinity. For through both, that is through the energy of the booty anti the energy of the soul. He displayed one and the same, cognate and equal divine energy. For just as we saw that His natures were united and permeate one another, and yet do not deny that they are different but even enumerate them, although we know they are inseparable, so also in connection with the wills and the energies we know their union, and we recognise their difference and enumerate them without introducing separation. For just as the flesh was deified without undergoing change in its own nature, in the same way also will and energy are deified without transgressing their own proper limits. For whether He is the one or the other, He is one and the same, and whether He wills and energises in one way or the other, that is as God or as man, He is one and the same.
We must, then, maintain that Christ has two energies in virtue of His double nature. For things that have diverse natures, have also different energies, and things that have diverse energies, have also different natures. And so conversely, things that have the same nature have also the same energy, and things that have one and the same energy have also one and the same essence, which is the view of the Fathers, who declare the divine meaning. One of these alternatives, then, must be true: either, if we hold that Christ has one energy. we must also hold that He has but one essence, or, if we are solicitous about truth. and confess that He has according to the doctrine of the Gospels and the Fathers two essences, we must also confess that He has two energies corresponding to and accompanying them. For as He is of like essence with God and the Father in divinity, He will be His equal also in energy. And as He likewise is of like essence with us in humanity He will be our equal also in energy. For the blessed Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, says, "Things that have one and the same energy, have also absolutely the same power." For all energy is the effect of power. But it cannot be that uncreated and created nature have one and the same nature or power or energy. But if we should hold that Christ has but one energy, we should attribute to the divinity of the Word the passions of the intelligent spirit, viz. tear and grief and anguish.
If they should say, indeed, that the holy Fathers said in their disputation concerning the Holy Trinity, "Things that have one and the same essence have also one and the same energy, and things which have different essences have also different energies," and that it is not right to transfer to the dispensation what has reference to matters of theology, we shall answer that if it has been said by the Fathers solely with reference to theology. and if the Son has not even after the incarnation the same energy as the Father s, assuredly He cannot have the same essence. But to whom shall we attribute this, My Father worketh hitherto and I work: and this, What things soever He seeth the Father doing, these also doeth the Son likewise: and this, If ye believe not Me, believe My works: and this, The work which I do bear witness concerning Me: and this. As the Father raised up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For all these shew not only that He is of like essence to the Father even after the incarnation, but that He has also the same energy.
And again: if the providence that embraces all creation is not only of the Father and the Holy Spirit, but also of the Son even after the incarnation, assuredly since that is energy, He must have even after the incarnation the same energy as the Father.
But if we have learnt from the miracles that Christ has the same essence as the Father, and since the miracles happen to be the energy of God, assuredly He must have even after the incarnation the same energy as the Father.
But, if there is one energy belonging to both His divinity and His humanity, it will be compound, and will be either a different energy from that of the Father, or the Father, too, will have a compound energy. But if the Father has a compound energy, manifestly He must also have a compound nature.
But if they should say that together with energy is also introduced personality, we shall reply that if personality is introduced along with energy, then the true converse must hold good that energy is also introduced along with personality; and there will be also three energies of the Holy Trinity just as there are three persons or subsistences, or there will be one person and one subsistence just as there is only one energy. Indeed, the holy Fathers have maintained with one voice that things that have the same essence have also the same energy.
But further, if personality is introduced along with energy, those who divine that neither one nor two energies of Christ are to be spoken of, do not maintain that either one or two persons of Christ are to be spoken of.
Take the case of the flaming sword; just as in it the natures of the fire and the steel are preserved distinct, so also are their two energies and their effects. For the energy of the steel is its cutting power, and that of the fire is its burning power, and the cut is the effect of the energy of the steel, and the burn is the effect of the energy of the fire: and these are kept quite distinct in the burnt cut, and in the cut burn, although neither does the burning take place apart from the cut after the union of the two, nor the cut apart from the burning: and we do not maintain on account of the twofold natural energy that there are two flaming swords, nor do we confuse the essential difference of the energies on account of the unity of the flaming sword. In like manner also, in the case of Christ, His divinity possesses an energy that is divine and omnipotent while His humanity has an energy such as is our own. And the effect of His human energy was His taking the child by the hand and drawing her to Himself, while that of His divine energy was the restoring of her to life. For the one is quite distinct from the other, although they are inseparable from one another in theandric energy. But if, because Christ has one subsistence, He must also have one energy, then, because He has one subsistence, He must also have one essence.
And again: if we should hold that Christ has but one energy, this must be either divine or human, or neither. But if we hold that it is divine we must maintain that He is God alone, stripped of our humanity. And if we hold that it is human, we shall be guilty of the impiety of saying that He is mere man. And if we hold that it is neither divine nor human, we must also hold that He is neither God nor man, of like essence neither to the Father nor to us. For it is as a result of the union that the identity in hypostasis arises, but yet the difference between the natures is not done away with. But since the difference between the natures is preserved, manifestly also the energies of the natures will be preserved. For no nature exists that is lacking in energy.
If Christ our Master has one energy, it must be either created or uncreated; for between these there is no energy, just as there is no nature. If, then, it is created, it will point to created nature alone, but if it is uncreated, it will betoken uncreated essence alone. For that which is natural must completely correspond with its nature: for there cannot exist a nature that is defective. But the energy that harmonises with nature does not belong to that which is external: and this is manifest because, apart from the energy that haromonises with nature, no nature can either exist or be known. For through that in which each thing manifests its energy, the absence of change confirms its own proper nature.
If Christ has one energy, it must be one and the same energy that performs both divine anti human actions. But there is no existing thing which abiding in its natural state can act in opposite ways: for fire does not freeze and boil, nor does water dry up and make wet. How then could He Who is by nature God, and Who became by nature man, have both performed miracles, and endured passions with one and the same energy?
If, then, Christ assumed the human mind, that is to say, the intelligent and reasonable soul, undoubtedly He has always thought, and will think for ever. But thought is the energy of the mind: and so Christ. as man, is endowed with energy, and will be so for ever.
Indeed, the most wise and great and holy John Chrysostom says in his interpretation of the Acts, in the second discourse, "One would not err if he should call even His passion action: for in that He suffered all things, tie accomplished that great and marvellous work, the overthrow of death, and all His other works."
It all energy is defined as essential movement of some nature, as those who are versed in these matters say, where does one perceive any nature that has no movement, and is completely devoid of energy, or where does one find energy that is not movement of natural power? But, as the blessed Cyril says, no one in his senses could admit that there was but one natural energy of God and His creation. It is not His human nature that raises up Lazarus from the dead, nor is it His divine power that sheds tears: for the shedding of tears is peculiar to human nature while the life is peculiar to the enhypostatic life. But yet they are common the one to the other, because of the identity in subsistence. For Christ is one, and one also is His person or subsistence, but yet He has two natures, one belonging to His humanity, and another belonging to His divinity. And the glory. indeed, which proceeded naturally from His divinity became common to both through the identity in subsistence. and again on account of His flesh that which was lowly became common to both. For He Who is the one or the other, that is God or man, is one and the same, and both what is divine and what is human belong to Himself. For while His divinity performed the miracles, they were not done apart from the flesh, and while His flesh performed its lowly offices, they were not done apart from the divinity. For His divinity was joined to the suffering flesh, yet remaining without passion, and endured the saving passions, and the holy mind was joined to the energising divinity of the Word, perceiving and knowing what was being accomplished.
And thus His divinity communicates its own glories to the body while it remains itself without part in the sufferings of the flesh. For His flesh did not suffer through His divinity in the same way that His divinity energised through the flesh. For the flesh acted as the instrument of His divinity. Although, therefore, from the first conception there was no division at all between the two forms, but the actions of either form through all the time became those of one person, nevertheless we do not in any way confuse those things that took place without separation, but recognise from the quality of its works what sort of form anything has.
Christ, then, energises according to both His natures and either nature energises in Him in communion with the other, the Word performing through tile authority and power of its divinity all the actions proper to the Word, i.e. all acts of supremacy and sovereignty, and the body performing all the actions proper to the body, in obedience to the will of the Word that is united to it, and of whom it has become a distinct part. For He was not moved of Himself to the natural passions, nor again did He in that way recoil from the things of pain, and pray for release from them, or suffer what befel from without, but He was moved in conformity with His nature, the Word willing and allowing Him oeconomically * to suffer that, and to do the things proper to Him, that the truth might be confirmed by the works of nature.
Moreover, just as He received in His birth of a virgin superessential essence, so also He revealed His human energy in a superhuman way, walking with earthly feet on unstable water, not by turning the water into earth, but by causing it in the superabundant power of His divinity not to flow away nor yield beneath the weight of material feet. For not in a merely human way did He do human things: for He was not only man, but also God, and so even His sufferings brought life anti salvation: nor yet did He energise as God, strictly after the manner of God, for He was not only God, but also man, and so it was by touch and word and such like that He worked miracles.
But if any one should say, "We do not say that Christ has but one nature, in order to do away with His human energy, but we do so because human energy, in opposition to divine energy, is called passion pa'tthos." we shall answer that, according to this reasoning, those also who hold that He has but one nature do not maintain this with a view to doing away with His human nature, but because human nature in opposition to divine nature is spoken of as passible pathtikh'. But God forbid that we should call the human activity passion, when we are distinguishing it from divine energy. For, to speak generally, of nothing is the existence recognised or defined by comparison or collation. If it were so, indeed, existing things would turn out to be mutually the one the cause of the other. For if the human activity is passion because the divine activity is energy, assuredly also the human nature must be wicked because the divine nature is good, and, by conversion and opposition, if the divine activity is called energy because the human activity is called passion, then also the divine nature must be good because the human nature is bad. And so all created things must be bad, and he must have spoken falsely who said, And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.
We, therefore, maintain that the holy Fathers gave various names to the human activity according to the underlying notion. For the called it power, and energy, and difference, and activity, and property, and quality, and passion, not in distinction from the divine activity, but power, because it is a conservative and invariable force; and energy, because it is a distinguishing mark, and reveals the absolute similarity between all things of the same class; and difference, because it distinguishes; and activity, because it makes manifest; and property, because it is constituent and belongs to that alone, and not to any other; and quality, because it gives form; and passion, because it is moved, For all things that are of God and after God suffer in respect of being moved, forasmuch as they have not in themselves motion or power. Therefore, as has been said, it is not in order to distinguish the one from the other that it has been named, but it is in accordance with the plan implanted in it in a creative manner by the Cause that framed the universe. Wherefore, also, when they spoke of it along with the divine nature they called it energy. For he who said, "For either form energises close communion with the other," did something quite different froth him who said, And when He had fasted forty days, He was afterwards an hungered :(for He allowed His nature to energise when it so willed, in the way proper to itself,) or from those who hold there is a different energy in Him or that He has a twofold energy, or now one energy and now another. For these statements with the change in terms(5a) signify the two energies. Indeed, often the number is indicated both by change of terms and by speaking of them as divine and human. For the difference is difference in differing things, but how do things that do not exist differ?
In reply to those who say "If man has two natures and two energies, Christ must be held to have three natures and as many energies."
Each individual man, since he is composed of two natures, soul and body, and since these natures are unchangeable in him, could appropriately be spoken of as two natures: for he preserves even after their union thee natural properties of either. For the body is not immortal, but corruptible; neither is the soul mortal, but immortal: and the body is not invisible pot the soul visible to bodily eyes: but the soul is rational and intellectual, and incorporeal, while the body is dense and visible, and irrational. But things that are opposed to one another in essence have not one nature, and, therefore, soul and body cannot have one essence.
And again: if man is a rational and mortal animal, and every definition is explanatory of the underlying natures, and the rational is not the same as the mortal according to the plan of nature, man then certainly cannot have one nature, according to the rule of his own definition.
But if man should at any time be said to have one nature, the word "nature" is here used instead of "species," as when we say that man does not differ from man in any difference of nature. But since all men are fashioned in the same way, and are composed of soul and body, and each has two distinct natures, they are all brought under one definition. And this is not unreasonable, for the holy Athanasius spake of all created things as having one nature forasmuch as they were all produced, expressing himself thus in his Oration against those who blasphemed the Holy Spirit: "That the Holy Spirit is above all creation, and different from the nature of things produced and peculiar to divinity, we may again perceive. For whatever is seen to be common to many things, and not more in one and less in another, is called essence. since, then, every man is composed of soul and body, accordingly we speak of man as having one nature. But we cannot speak of our Lord's subsistence as one nature: for each nature preserves, even after the union, its natural properties, nor can we find a class of Christs. For no other Christ was born both of divinity and of humanity to be at once God and man."
And again: man's unity in species is not the same thing as the unity of soul and body in essence. For man's unity in species makes clear the absolute similarity between all men, while the unity of soul and body in essence is an insult to their very existence, and reduces them to nothingness: for either the one must change into the essence of the other, or from different things something different must be produced, and so both would be changed, or if they keep to their own proper limits there must be two natures. For, as regards the nature of essence the corporeal is not the same as the incorporeal. Therefore, although holding that man has one nature, not because the essential quality of his soul and that of his body are the same, but because the individuals included under the species are exactly the same, it is not necessary for us to maintain that Christ also has one nature, for in this case there is no species embracing many subsistences.
Moreover, every compound is said to be composed of what immediately composes it. For we do not say that a house is composed of earth and water, but of bricks and timber. Otherwise, it would be necessary to speak of man as composed of at least five things, viz., the four elements and soul. And so also, in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ we do not look at the parts of the parts, but at those divisions of which He is immediately composed, viz., divinity and humanity.
And further, if by saying that man has two natures we are obliged to hold that Christ has three, you, too, by saying that man is composed of two natures must hold that Christ is composed of three natures: and it is just the same with the energies. For energy must correspond with nature: and Gregory the Theologian bears witness that man is said to have and has two natures, saying, "God and man are two natures, since, indeed, soul and body also are two natures." And in his discourse "Concerning Baptism" he says, "Since we consist of two parts, soul and body. the visible and the invisible nature, the purification is likewise twofold, that is, by water and Spirit."
Concerning the deification of the nature of our Lord's flesh and of His will.
It is worthy of note that the flesh of the Lord is not said to have been deified and made equal to God and God in respect of any change or alteration, or transformation, or confusion of nature: as Gregory the Theologian says, "Whereof the one deified, and the other was deified, and, to speak boldly, made equal to God: and that which anointed became man, and that which was anointed became God." For these words do not mean any change in nature, but rather the oeconomical union(I mean the union in subsistence by virtue of which it was united inseparably with God the Word), and the permeation of the natures through one another, just as we saw that burning permeated the steel. For, just as we confess that God became man without change or alteration, so we consider that the flesh became God without change. For because the Word became flesh, He did not overstep the limits of His own divinity nor abandon the divine glories that belong to Him: nor, on the other hand, was the flesh, when deified, changed in its own nature or in its natural properties. For even after the union, boil the natures abode unconfused and their properties unimpaired. But the flesh of the Lord received the riches of the divine energies through the purest union with the Word, that is to say, the union in subsistence, without entailing the loss of any of its natural attributes. For it is not in virtue of any energy of its own but through the Word united to it, that it manifests divine energy: for the flaming steel burns, not because it has been endowed in a physical way with burning energy, but because it has obtained this energy by its union with fire. Wherefore the same flesh was mortal by reason of its own nature and life-giving through its union with the Word in subsistence. And we hold that it is just the same with the deification of the will; for its natural activity was not changed but united with His divine and omnipotent will, and became the will of God, made man. And so it was that, though He wished, He could not of Himself escape, because it pleased God the Word that the weakness of the human will, which was in truth in Him, should be made manifest. But He was able to cause at His will the cleansing of the leper, because of the union with the divine will. Observe further, that the deification of the nature and the will points most expressly and most directly both to two natures and two wills. For just as the burning does not change into fire the nature of the thing that is burnt, but makes distinct both what is burnt, and what burned it, and is indicative not of one but of two natures, so also the deification does not bring about one compound nature but two, and their union in subsistence. Gregory the Theologian, indeed, says, "Whereof the one deified, the other was deified," and by the words "whereof," "the one," "the other," he assuredly indicates two natures.
Further concerning volitions and free-wills: minds, too, and knowledges and wisdoms.
When we say that Christ is perfect God and perfect man, we assuredly attribute to Him all the properties natural to both the Father and mother. For He became man in order that that which was overcome might overcome. For He Who was omnipotent did not in His omnipotent authority and might lack the power to rescue man out of the hands of the tyrant. But the tyrant would have had a ground of complaint if, after He had overcome man, God should have used force against him. Wherefore God in His pity and love for man wished to reveal fallen man himself as conqueror, and became man to restore like with like.
But that man is a rational and intelligent animal, no one will deny. How, then, could He have become man if He took on Himself flesh without soul, or soul without mind? For that is not man. Again, what benefit would His becoming man have been to us if He Who suffered first was not saved, nor renewed and strengthened by the union with divinity? For that which is not assumed is not remedied. He, therefore, assumed the whole man, even the fairest part of him, which had become diseased, in order that He might bestow salvation on the whole. And, indeed, there could never exist a mind that had not wisdom and was destitute of knowledge. For if it has not energy or motion, it is utterly reduced to nothingness.
Therefore, God the Word, wishing to restore that which was in His own image, became man. But what is that which was in His own image, unless mind? So He gave up the better and assumed the worse. For mind s is in the border-land between God and flesh, for it dwells indeed in fellowship with the flesh, and is, moreover, the image of God. Mind, then, mingles with mind, and mind holds a place midway between the pureness of God and the denseness of flesh. For if the Lord assumed a soul without mind, He assumed the soul of an irrational animal.
But if the Evangelist said that the Word was made flesh, note that in the Holy Scripture sometimes a man is spoken of as a soul, as, for example, with seventy-five souls came Jacob into Egypt: and sometimes a man is spoken of as flesh, as, for example, All flesh shall see the salvation of God. And accordingly the Lord did not become flesh without soul or mind, but man. He says, indeed, Himself, Why seek ye to kill Me, a Man that hath told you the truth? He, therefore, assumed flesh animated with the spirit of reason and mind, a spirit that holds sway over the flesh but is itself under the dominion of the divinity of the Word.
So, then, He had by nature, both as God and as man, the power of will. But His human will was obedient anti subordinate to His divine will, not being guided by its own inclination, but willing those things which the divine will willed. For it was with the permission of the divine will that He suffered by nature what was proper to Him. For when He prayed that He might escape the death, it was with His divine will naturally willing and permitting it that He did so pray and agonize and fear, and again when His divine will willed that His human will should choose tire death, the passion became voluntary to Him. For it was not as God only, but also as man, that He voluntarily surrendered Himself to the death. And thus He bestowed on us also courage in the face of death. So, indeed, He said before His saving passion, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me," manifestly as though He were to drink the cup as man and not as God. It was as man, then, that He wished the cup to pass from Him: but these are the words of natural timidity. Nevertheless, He said, not My will, that is to say, not in so far as I am of a different essence from Thee, but Thy will be done, the is to say, My will and Thy will, in so far as I am of the same essence as Thou. Now these are the words of a brave heart. For the Spirit of the Lord, since He truly became man in His good pleasure, on first testing its natural weakness was sensible of the natural fellow-suffering involved in its separation from the body, but being strengthened by the divine will it again grew bold in the face of death. For since He was Himself wholly God although also man, and wholly man although also God, He Himself as man subjected in Himself and by Himself His human nature to God and the Father, and became obedient to the Father, thus making Himself the most excellent type and example for us.
Of His own free-will, moreover, He exercised His divine and human will. For free-will is assuredly implanted in every rational nature. For to what end would it possess reason, if it could not reason at its own free-will? For the Creator hath implanted even in the unreasoning brutes natural appetite to compel them to sustain their own nature. For devoid of reason, as they are, they cannot guide their natural appetite but are guided by it. And so, as soon as the appetite for anything has sprung up, straightway arises also the impulse for action. And thus they do not win praise or happiness for pursuing virtue, nor punishment for doing evil. But the rational nature, although it does possess a natural appetite, can guide and train it by reason wherever the laws of nature are observed. For the advantage of reason consists in this, tire free-will, by which we mean natural activity in a rational subject. Wherefore in pursuing virtue it wins praise and happiness, and in pursuing vice it wins punishment.
So that the soul s of the Lord being moved of its own free-will willed, but willed of its free-will those things which His divine will willed it to will. For the flesh was not moved at a sign from the Word, as Moses and all the holy men were moved at a sign from heaven. But He Himself, Who was one and yet both God and man, willed according to both His divine and His human will. Wherefore it was not in inclination but rather in natural power that the two wills of the Lord differed from one another. For His divine will was without beginning and all-effecting, as having power that kept pace with it, and free from passion; while His human will had a beginning in time, and itself endured the natural and innocent passions, and was not naturally omnipotent. But yet it was omni-potent because it truly and naturally had its origin in the God-Word.
Concerning the theandric energy.
When the blessed Dionysius says that Christ exhibited to us some sort of novel theandric energy, he does not do away with the natural energies by saying that one energy resulted from the union of the divine with the human energy: for in the same way we could speak of one new nature resulting from the union of the divine with the human nature. For, according to the holy Fathers, things that have one energy have also one essence. But Ire wished to indicate the novel and ineffable manner in which the natural energies of Christ manifest themselves, a manner befitting the ineffable manner in which the natures of Christ mutually, permeate one another, and further how strange and wonder-rid and, in the nature of things, unknown was His life as man, and lastly the manner of the mutual interchange arising from the ineffable union. For we hold that the energies are not divided and that the natures do not energies separately, but that each conjointly in complete community with the other energises with its own proper energy. For the human part did not energise merely in a human manner, for He was not mere man; nor did the divine part energise only after the manner of God, for He was not simply God, but He was at once God and man. For just as in the case of natures we recognise both their union and their natural difference, so is it also with the natural wills and energies.
Note, therefore, that in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, we speak sometimes of His two natures and sometimes of His one person: anti the one or the other is referred to one conception. For the two natures are one Christ, and the one Christ is two natures. Wherefore it is all the same whether we say "Christ energises according to either of His natures," or "either nature energises in Christ in communion with the other." The divine nature, then, has communion with the flesh in its energising, because it is by the good pleasure of the divine will that the flesh is permitted to suffer and do the things proper to itself, and because the energy of the flesh is altogether saving, and this is an attribute not of human but of divine energy. On the other hand the flesh has communion with the divinity of the Word in its energising, because the divine energies are performed, so to speak, through the organ of the body, and because He Who energises at once as God and man is one and the same.
Further observe that His holy mind also performs its natural energies, thinking and knowing that it is God's mind and that it is worshipped by all creation, and remembering the times He spent on earth and all He suffered, but it has communion with the divinity of the Word in its energising and orders and governs the universe, thinking and knowing and ordering not as the mere mind of man, but as united in subsistence with God and acting as the mind of God.
This, then, the theandric energy makes plain that when God became man, that is when He became incarnate, both His human energy was divine, that is deified, and not without part in His divine energy, and His divine energy was not without part in His human energy, but either was observed in conjunction with the other. Now this manner of speaking is called a periphrasis, viz., when one embraces two things in one statement. For just as in the case of the flaming sword we speak of the cut burn as one, and the burnt cut as one, but still hold that the cut and the burn have different energies and different natures, the burn having the nature of fire and the cut the nature of steel, in the same way also when we speak of one theandric energy of Christ, we understand two distinct energies of His two natures, a divine energy belonging to His divinity, and a human energy belonging to His humanity.
Concerning the natural and innocent passions(2a).
We confess, then, that He assumed all the natural and innocent passions of man. For He assumed the whole man and all man's attributes save sin. For that is not natural, nor is it implanted in us by the Creator, but arises voluntarily in our mode of life as the result of a further implantation by the devil, though it cannot prevail over us by force. For the natural and innocent passions are those which are not in our power, but which have entered into the life of man owing to the condemnation by reason of the transgression; such as hunger, thirst, weariness, labour, the tears, the corruption, the shrinking from death, the fear, the agony with the bloody sweat, the succour at the hands of angels because of the weakness of the nature, and other such like passions which belong by nature to every man.
All, then, He assumed that He might sanctify all. He was tried and overcame in order that He might prepare victory for us and give to nature power to overcome its antagonist, in order that nature which was overcome of old might overcome its former conqueror by the very weapons wherewith it had itself been overcome.
The wicked one, then, made his assault from without, not by thoughts prompted inwardly, just as it was with Adam. For it was not by inward thoughts, but by the serpent that Adam was assailed. But the Lord repulsed the assault and dispelled it like vapour, in order that the passions which assailed him and were overcome might be easily subdued by us, and that the new Adam should save the old.
Of a truth our natural passions were in harmony with nature and above nature in Christ. For they were stirred in Him after a natural manner when He permitted the flesh to suffer what was proper to it: but they were above nature because that which was natural did not in the Lord assume command over the will. For no compulsion is contemplated in Him but all is voluntary. For it was with His will that He hungered and thirsted and feared and died.
Concerning ignorance and servitude.
He assumed, it is to be noted, the ignorant and servile nature. For it is man's nature to be the servant of God, his Creator, and he does not possess knowledge of the future. If, then, as Gregory the Theologian holds, you are to separate the realm of sight from the realm of thought, the flesh is to be spoken of as both servile and ignorant, but on account of the identity of subsistence and the inseparable union the soul of the Lord was enriched with the knowledge of the future as also with the other miraculous powers. For just as the flesh of men is not in its own nature life-giving, while the flesh of our Lord which was united in subsistence with God the Word Himself, although it was not exempt from the mortality of its nature, yet became life-giving through its union in subsistence with the Word, and we may not say that it was not and is not for ever life- giving: in like manner His human nature does not in essence possess the knowledge of the future, but the soul of the Lord through its union with God the Word Himself and its identity in subsistence was enriched, as I said, with the knowledge of the future as well as with the other miraculous powers. Observe further that we may not speak of Him as servant. For the words servitude and mastership are not marks of nature but indicate relationship, to something, such as that of fatherhood and sonship. For these do not signify essence but relation.
It is just as we said, then, in connection with ignorance, that if you separate with subtle thoughts, that is, with fine imaginings, the created from the uncreated, the flesh is a servant, unless it has been united with God the Word. But how can it be a servant when t is once united in subsistence? For since Christ is one, He cannot be His own servant and Lord. For these are not simple predications but relative. Whose servant, then could He be? His Father's? The Son, then, would not have all the Father's attributes, if He is the Father's servant and yet in no respect His own. Besides, how could the apostle say concerning us who were adopted by Him, So that you are no longer a servant but a son, if indeed He is Himself a servant? The word servant, then, is used merely as a title, though not in the strict meaning: but for our sakes He assumed the form of a servant and is called a servant among us. For although He is without passion, yet for our sake He was the servant of passion and became the minister of our salvation. Those, then, who say that He is a servant divide the one Christ into two, just as Nestorius did. But we declare Him to be Master and Lord of all creation, the one Christ, at once God and man, and all-knowing. For in Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, the hidden treasures.
Concerning His growth.
He is, moreover, said to grow in wisdom and age and grace, increasing in age indeed and through the increase in age manifesting the wisdom that is in Him; yea, further, making men's progress in wisdom and grace, and the fulfilment of the Father's goodwill, that is to say, men's knowledge of God and men's salvation, His own increase, and everywhere taking as His own that which is ours. But those who hold that He progressed in wisdom and grace in the sense of receiving some addition to these attributes, do not say that the union took place at the first origin of the flesh, nor yet do they give precedence to the union in subsistence, but giving heed to the foolish Nestorius they imagine some strange relative union and mere indwelling, understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm. For if in truth the flesh was united with God the Word from its first origin, or rather if it existed in Him and was identical in subsistence with Him, how was it that it was not endowed completely with all wisdom and grace? not that it might itself participate in the grace, nor share by grace in what belonged to the Word, but rather by reason of the union in subsistence, since both what is human and what is divine belong to the one Christ, and that He Who was Himself at once God and man should pour forth like a fountain over the universe His grace and wisdom and plenitude of every blessing.
Concerning His Fear.
The word fear has a double meaning. For fear is natural when the soul is unwilling to be separated from the body, on account of the natural sympathy and close relationship planted in it in the beginning by the Creator, which makes it fear and struggle against death and pray for an escape from it. It may be defined thus: natural fear is the force whereby we cling to being with shrinking. For if all things were brought by the Creator out of nothing into being, they all have by nature a longing after being and not after non-being. Moreover the inclination towards those things that support existence is a natural property of them. Hence God the Word when He became man had this longing, manifesting, on the one hand, in those things that support existence, the inclination of His nature in desiring food and drink and sleep, and having in a natural manner made proof of these things, while on the other hand displaying in those things that bring corruption His natural disinclination in voluntarily shrinking in the hour of His passion before the flee of death. For although what happened did so according to the laws of nature, yet it was not, as in our case, a matter of necessity. For He willingly and spontaneously accepted that which was natural. So that fear itself and terror and agony belong to the natural and innocent passions and are not under the dominion of sin.
Again, there is a fear which arises from treachery of reasoning and want of faith, and ignorance of the hour of death, as when we are at night affected by fear at some chance noise. This is unnatural fear, and may be thus defined: unnatural fear is an unexpected shrinking. This our Lord did not assume. Hence He never felt fear except in the hour of His passion, although He often experienced a feeling of shrinking in accordance with the dispensation. For He was not ignorant of the appointed time.
But the holy Athanasius in his discourse against Apollinarius says that He did actually feel fear. "Wherefore the Lord said: Now is My soul troubled. The 'now' indeed means just 'when He willed,' but yet points to what actually was. For He did not speak of what was not, as though it were present, as if the things that were said only apparently happened. For all things happened naturally and actually." And again, after some other matters, he says," In nowise does His divinity admit passion apart from a suffering body, nor yet does it manifest trouble and pain apart froth a pained and troubled soul, nor does it suffer anguish and offer up prayer apart from a mind that suffered anguish and offered up prayer. For, although these occurrences were not due to any overthrow of nature, yet they took place to shew forth His real being." The words "these occurrences were not due to any overthrow of His nature," prove that it was not involuntarily that He endured these things.
Concerning our Lord's Praying.
Prayer is an uprising of the mind to God or a petitioning of God for what is fitting. How then did it happen that our Lord offered up prayer in the case of Lazarus, and at the hour of His passion? For His holy mind was in no need either of any uprising towards God, since it had been once and for all united in subsistence with the God Word, or of any petitioning of God. For Christ is one. But it was because He appropriated to Himself our personality and took our impress on Himself, and became an ensample for us, and taught us to ask of God and strain towards Him, and guided us through His own holy mind in the way that leads up to God. For just as He endured the passion, achieving for our sakes a triumph over it, so also He offered up prayer, guiding us, as I said, in the way that leads up to God, and "fulfilling all righteousness" on our behalf, as He said to John, and reconciling His Father to us, and honouring Him as the beginning and cause, and proving that He is no enemy of God. For when He said in connection with Lazarus, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I know that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me, is it not most manifest to all that He said this in honour of His Father as the cause even of Himself, and to shew that He was no enemy of God?
Again, when he said, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: yet, not as I will but as Thou wilt, is it not clear to all that He said this as a lesson to us to ask help in our trials only from God, and to prefer God's will to oar own, and as a proof that He did actually appropriate to Himself the attributes of our nature, and that He did in truth possess two wills, natural, indeed, and corresponding with His natures but yet in no wise opposed to one another? "Father" implies that He is of the same essence, but "if it be possible" does not mean that He was in ignorance (for what is impossible to God?), but serves to teach us to prefer God's will to our own. For that alone is impossible which is against God's will and permission. "But not as I will but as Thou wilt," for inasmuch as He is God, He is identical with the Father, while inasmuch as He is man, He manifests the natural will of mankind. For it is this that naturally seeks escape from death.
Further, these words, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? He said as making our personality His own. For neither would God be regarded with us as His Father, unless one were to discriminate with subtle imaginings of the mind between that which is seen and that which is thought, nor was He ever forsaken by His divinity: nay, it was we who were forsaken and disregarded. So that it was as appropriating our personality that He offered these prayers.
Concerning the Appropriation.
It is to be observed that there are two appropriations: one that is natural and essential, and one that is personal and relative. The natural and essential one is that by which our Lord in His love for man took on Himself our nature and all our natural attributes, becoming in nature and truth man, and making trial of that which is natural: but the personal and relative appropriation is when any one assumes the person of another relatively, for instance, out of pity or love, and in his place utters words concerning him that have no connection with himself. And it was in this way that our Lord appropriated both our curse and our desertion, and such other things as are not natural: not that He Himself was or became such, but that He took upon Himself our personality and ranked Himself as one of us. Such is the meaning in which this phrase is to be taken: Being made a curse for our sakes.
Concerning the Passion of our Lord's body, and the Impassibility of His divinity.
The Word of God then itself endured all in the flesh, while His divine nature which alone was passionless remained void of passion. For since the one Christ, Who is a compound of divinity and humanity, and exists in divinity and humanity, truly suffered, that part which is capable of passion suffered as it was natural it should, but that part which was void of passion did not share in the suffering. For the soul, indeed, since it is capable of passion shares in the pain and suffering of a bodily cut, though it is not cut itself but only the body: but the divine part which is void of passion does not share in the suffering of the body.
Observe, further, that we say that God suffered in the flesh, bat never that His divinity suffered in the flesh, or that God suffered through the flesh. For if, when the sun is shining upon a tree, the axe should cleave the tree, and, nevertheless, the sun remains uncleft and void of passion, much more will the passionless divinity of the Word, united in subsistence to the flesh, remain void of passion when the body undergoes passion. And should any one pour water over flaming steel, it is that which naturally suffers by the water, I mean, the fire, that is quenched, but the steel remains untouched (for it is not the nature of steel to be destroyed by water): much more, then, when the flesh suffered did His only passionless divinity escape all passion although abiding inseparable from it. For one must not take the examples too absolutely and strictly: indeed, in the examples, one must consider both what is like and what is unlike, otherwise it would not be an example. For, if they were like in all respects they would be identities, and not examples, and all the more so in dealing with divine matters. For one cannot find an example that is like in all respects whether we are dealing with theology or the dispensation.
Concerning the fact that the divinity of the Word remained inseparable from the soul and the body, even at our Lord's death, and that His subsistence continued one.
Since our Lord Jesus Christ was without sin (for He committed no sin, He Who took away the sin of the world, nor was there any deceit found in His mouth) He was not subject to death, since death came into the world through sin. He dies, therefore, because He took on Himself death on our behalf, and He makes Himself an offering to the Father for our sakes. For we had sinned against Him, and it was meet that He should receive the ransom for us, and that we should thus he delivered from the condemnation. God forbid that the blood of the Lord should have been offered to the tyrant. Wherefore death approaches, and swallowing up the body as a bait is transfixed on the hook of divinity, and after tasting of a sinless and life-giving body, perishes, and brings up again all whom of old he swallowed up. For just as darkness disappears on the introduction of light, so is death repulsed before the assault of life, and brings life to all, but death to the destroyer.
Wherefore, although He died as man and His Holy Spirit was severed from His immaculate body, yet His divinity remained inseparable from both, I mean, from His soul and His body, and so even thus His one hypostasis was not divided into two hypostases. For body and soul received simultaneously in the beginning their being in the subsistence(9a) of the Word, and although they were severed from one another by death, yet they continued, each of them, having the one subsistence of the Word. So that the one subsistence of the Word is alike the subsistence of the Word, and of soul and body. For at no time had either soul or body a separate subsistence of their own, different from that of the Word, and the subsistence of the Word is for ever one, and at no time two. So that the subsistence of Christ is always one. For, although the soul was separated from the body topically, yet hypostatically they were united through the Word.
Concerning Corruption and Destruction.
The word corruption has two meanings. For it signifies all the human sufferings, such as hunger, thirst, weariness, the piercing with nails, death, that is, the separation of soul and body, and so forth. In this sense we say that our Lord's body was subject to corruption. For He voluntarily accepted all these things. But corruption means also the complete resolution of the body into its constituent elements, and its utter disappearance, which is spoken of by many preferably as destruction. The body of our Lord did not experience this form of corruption, as the prophet David says, For Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine holy one to see corruption.
Wherefore to say, with that foolish Julianus and Gaianus, that our Lord's body was incorruptible, in the first sense of the word, before His resurrection is impious. For if it were incorruptible it was not really, but only apparently, of the same essence as ours, and what the Gospel tells us happened, viz. the hunger, the thirst, the nails, the wound in His side, the death, did not actually occur. But if they only apparently happened, then the mystery of the dispensation is an imposture and a sham, and He became man only in appearance, and not in actual fact, and we are saved only in appearance, and not in actual fact. But God forbid, and may those who so say have no part in the salvation. But we have obtained and shall obtain the true salvation. But in the second meaning of the word "corruption," we confess that our Lord's body is incorruptible, that is, indestructible, for such is the tradition of the inspired Fathers. Indeed, after the resurrection of our Saviour from the dead, we say that our Lord's body is incorruptible even in the first sense of the word. For our Lord by His own body bestowed the gifts both of resurrection and of subsequent incorruption even on our own body, He Himself having become to us the firstfruits both of resurrection and incorruption, and of passionlessness. For as the divine Apostle says, This corruptible must put an incorruption.
Concerning the Descent to Hades.
The soul when it was deified descended into Hades, in order that, just as the Sun of Righteousness rose for those upon the earth, so likewise He might bring light to those who sit under the earth in darkness and shadow of death: in order that just as He brought the message of peace to those upon the earth, and of release to the prisoners, and of sight to the blind, and became to those who believed the Author of everlasting salvation and to those who did not believe a reproach of their unbelief, so He might become the same to those in Hades: That every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth. And thus after He had freed those who had been bound for ages, straightway He rose again from the dead, shewing us the way of resurrection.
Concerning what followed the Resurrection.
After Christ was risen from the dead He laid aside all His passions, I mean His corruption or hunger or thirst or sleep or weariness or such like. For, although He did taste food after the resurrection, yet He did not do so because it was a law of His nature (for He felt no hunger), but in the way of economy, in order that He might convince us of the reality of the resurrection, and that it was one and the same flesh which suffered and rose again. But He laid aside none of the divisions of His nature, neither body nor spirit, but possesses both the body and the soul intelligent and reasonable, volitional and energetic, and in this wise He sits at the right hand of the Father, using His will both as God and as man in behalf of our salvation, energising in His divine capacity to provide for and maintain and govern all things, and remembering in His human capacity the time He spent on earth, while all the time He both sees and knows that He is adored by all rational creation. For His Holy Spirit knows that He is one in substance with God the Word, and shares as Spirit of God and not simply as Spirit the worship accorded to Him. Moreover, His ascent from earth to heaven, and again, His descent from heaven to earth, are manifestations of the energies of His circumscribed body. For He shall so come again to you, saith he, in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven.
Concerning the sitting at the right hand of the Father.
We hold, moreover, that Christ sits in the body at the right hand of God the Father, but we do not hold that the right hand of the Father is actual place. For how could He that is uncircumscribed have a right hand limited by place? Right hands and left hands belong to what is circumscribed. But we understand the right hand of the Father to be the glory and honour of the Godhead in which the Son of God, who existed as God before the ages, and is of like essence to the Father, and in the end became flesh, has a seat in the body, His flesh sharing in the glory. For He along with His flesh is adored with one adoration by all creation.
In reply to those who say "If Christ has two natures, either ye do service to the creature in worshipping created nature, or ye say that there is one nature to be worshipped, and another not to be worshipped."
Along with the Father and the Holy Spirit we worship the Son of God, Who was incorporeal before He took on humanity, and now in His own person is incarnate and has become man though still being also God. His flesh, then, in its own nature, if one were to make subtle mental distinctions between what is seen and what is thought, is not deserving of worship since it is created. But as it is united with God the Word, it is worshipped on account of Him and in Him. For just as the king deserves homage alike when unrobed and when robed, and just as the purple robe, considered simply as a purple robe, is trampled upon and tossed about, but after becoming the royal dress receives all honour and glory, and whoever dishonours it is generally condemned to death: and again, just as wood in itself is not of such a nature that it cannot be touched, but becomes so when fire is applied to it, and it becomes charcoal, and yet this is not because of its own nature, but because of the fire united to it, and the nature of the wood is not such as cannot be touched, but rather the charcoal or burning wood: so also the flesh, in its own nature, is not to be worshipped, but is worshipped in the incarnate God Word, not because of itself, but because of its union in subsistence with God the Word. And we do not say that we worship mere flesh, but God's flesh, that is, God incarnate.
Why it was the Son of God, and not the Father or the Spirit, that became man: and what having became man He achieved.
The Father is Father and not Son: the Son is Son and not Father: the Holy Spirit is Spirit and not Father or Son. For the individuality(9a) is unchangeable. How, indeed, could individuality continue to exist at all if it were ever changing and altering? Wherefore the Son of God became Son of Man in order that His individuality might endure. For since He was the Son of God, He became Son of Man, being made flesh of the holy Virgin and not losing the individuality of Sonship.
Further, the Son of God became man, in order that He might again bestow on man that favour for the sake of which He created him. For He created him after His own image, endowed with intellect and free-will, and after His own likeness, that is to say, perfect in all virtue so far as it is possible for man's nature to attain perfection. For the following properties are, so to speak, marks of the divine nature: viz. absence of care and distraction and guile, goodness, wisdom, justice, freedom from all vice. So then, after He had placed man in communion with Himself (for having made him for incorruption, He led him up through communion wills Himself to incorruption), and when moreover, through the transgression of the command we had confused and obliterated the marks of the divine image, and had become evil, we were stripped of our communion with God (for what communion hath light with darkness?): and having been shut out from life we became subject to the corruption of death: yea, since He gave us to share in the better part, and we did not keep it secure, He shares in the inferior part, I mean our own nature, in order that through Himself and in Himself He might renew that which was made after His image and likeness, and might teach us, too, the conduct of a virtuous life, making through Himself the way thither easy for us, and might by the communication of life deliver us from corruption, becoming Himself the firstfruits of our resurrection, and might renovate the useless and worn vessel calling us to the knowledge of God that He might redeem us from the tyranny of the devil, and might strengthen and teach us how to overthrow the tyrant through patience and humility.
The worship of demons then has ceased: creation has been sanctified by the divine blood: altars and temples of idols have been overthrown, the knowledge of God has been implanted in men's minds, the co-essential Trinity, the uncreate divinity, one true God, Creator and Lord of all receives men's service: virtues are cultivated, the hope of resurrection has been granted through the resurrection of Christ, the demons shudder at those men who of old were under their subjection. And the marvel, indeed, is that all this has been successfully brought about through His cross and passion and death. Throughout all the earth the Gospel of the knowledge of God has been preached; no wars or weapons or armies being used to rout the enemy, but only a few, naked, poor, illiterate, persecuted and tormented men, who with their lives in their hands, preached Him Who was crucified in the flesh and died, and who became victors over the wise and powerful. For the omnipotent power of the Cross accompanied them. Death itself, which once was maws chiefest terror, has been overthrown, and now that which was once the object of hate and loathing is preferred to life. These are the achievements of Christ's presence: these are the tokens of His power. For it was not one people that He saved, as when through Moses He divided the sea and delivered Israel out of Egypt and the bondage of Pharaoh; nay, rather He rescued all mankind from the corruption of death and the bitter tyranny of sin: not leading them by force to virtue, not overwhelming them with earth or burning them with fire, or ordering the sinners to be stoned, but persuading men by gentleness and long-suffering to choose virtue and vie with one another, and find pleasure in the struggle to attain it. For, formerly, it was sinners who were persecuted, and yet they clung all the closer to sin, and sin was looked upon by them as their God: but now for the sake of piety and virtue men choose persecutions and crucifixions and death.
Hail! O Christ, the Word and Wisdom and Power of God, and God omnipotent! What can we helpless ones give Thee in return for all these good gifts? For all are Thine, and Thou askest naught from us save our salvation, Thou Who Thyself art the Giver of this, and yet art grateful to those who receive it, through Thy unspeakable goodness. Thanks be to Thee Who gave us life, and granted us the grace of a happy life, and restored us to that, when we had gone astray, through Thy unspeakable condescension.
In reply to those who ask if Christ's subsistence is create or uncreate.
The subsistence of God the Word before the Incarnation was simple and uncompound, and incorporeal and uncreate: but after it became flesh, it became also the subsistence of the flesh, and became compounded of divinity which it always possessed, and of flesh which it had assumed: and it bears the properties of the two natures, being made known in two natures: so that the one same subsistence is both uncreate in divinity and create in humanity, visible and invisible. For otherwise we are compelled either to divide the one Christ and speak of two subsistences, or to deny the distinction between the natures and thus introduce change and confusion.
Concerning the question, when Christ was called.
The mind was not united with God the Word, as some falsely assert, before the Incarnation by the Virgin and from that time called Christ. That is the absurd nonsense of Origen who lays down the doctrine of the priority of the existence of souls. But we hold that the Son and Word of God became Christ after He had dwelt in the womb of His holy ever-virgin Mother, and became flesh without change, and that the flesh was anointed with divinity. For this is the anointing of humanity, as Gregory the Theologian says. And here are the words of the most holy Cyril of Alexandria which he wrote to the Emperor Theodosius: "For I indeed hold that one ought to give the name Jesus Christ neither to the Word that is of God if He is without humanity, nor yet to the temple born of woman if it is not united with the Word. For the Word that is of God is understood to be Christ when united with humanity in ineffable manner in the union of the oeconomy." And again, he writes to the Empresses thus: "Some hold that the name 'Christ' is rightly given to the Word that is begotten of God the Father, to Him alone, and regarded separately by Himself. But we have not been taught so to think and speak. For when the Word became flesh, then it was, we say, that He was called Christ Jesus. For since He was anointed with the oil of gladness, that is the Spirit, by Him Who is God and Father, He is for this reason called Christ. But that the anointing was an act that concerned Him as man could be doubted by no one who is accustomed to think rightly." Moreover, the celebrated Athanasius says this in his discourse "Concerning the Saving Manifestation:" "The God Who was before the sojourn in the flesh was not man, but God in God, being invisible and without passion, but when He became man, He received in addition the name of Christ because of the flesh, since, indeed, passion and death follow in the train of this name."
And although the holy Scripture says, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, it is to be observed that the holy Scripture often uses the past tense instead of the future, as for example here: Thereafter He was seen upon the earth and dwelt among men. For as yet God was not seen nor did He dwell among men when this was said. And here again: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea wept. For as yet these things had not come to pass.
In answer to those who enquire whether the holy Mother of God bore two natures, and whether two natures hung upon the Cross.
age'nhton and genhto'n, written with one 'n' and meaning uncreated and created, refer to nature: but age'nnhton and gennhto'n, that is to say, unbegotten and begotten, as the double 'n' indicates, refer not to nature but to subsistence. The divine nature then is age'nhtos, that is to say, uncreate, but all things that come after the divine nature are ge'nhhta, that is, created. In the divine and uncreated nature, therefore, the property of being age'nnhton or unbegotten is contemplated in the Father (for He was not begotten), that of being ge'nnhton or begotten in the Son (for He has been eternally begotten of the Father), and that of procession in the Holy Spirit. Moreover of each species of living creatures, the first members were age'nnhta but not age'nhta: for they were brought into being by their Maker, but were not the offspring of creatures like themselves. For ge'nesis is creation, while ge'nnhsis or begetting is in the case of God the origin of a co-essential Son arising from the Father alone, and in the case of bodies, the origin of a co-essential subsistence arising from the contact of male and female. And thus we perceive that begetting refers not to nature but to subsistence. For if it did refer to nature, to` ge'nnhton and to age'nnhton, i.e. the properties of being begotten and unbegotten, could not be contemplated in one and the same nature. Accordingly the holy Mother of God bore a subsistence revealed in two natures; being begotten on the one hand, by reason of its divinity, of the Father timelessly, and, at last, on the other hand, being incarnated of her in time and born in the flesh.
But if our interrogators should hint that He Who is begotten of the holy Mother of God is two natures, we reply, "Yea! He is two natures: for He is in His own person God and man. And the same is to be said concerning the crucifixion and resurrection and ascension. For these refer not to nature but to subsistence. Christ then, since He is in two natures, suffered and was crucified in the nature that was subject to passion. For it was in the flesh and not in His divinity that He hung upon the Cross. Otherwise, let them answer us, when we ask if two natures died. No, we shall say. And so two natures Were not crucified but Christ was begotten, that is to say, the divine Word having become man was begotten in the flesh, was crucified in the flesh, suffered in the flesh, while His divinity continued to be impossible."
How the Only-begotten Son of God is called first-born.
He who is first begotten is called first-born, whether he is only- begotten or the first of a number of brothers. If then the Son of God was called first-born, but was not called Only-begotten, we could imagine that He was the first-born of creatures, as being a creature. But since He is called both first-born and Only-begotten, both senses must be preserved in His case. We say that He is first-born of all creation since both He Himself is of God and creation is of God, but as He Himself is born alone and timelessly of the essence of God the Father, He may with reason be called Only-begotten Son, first-born and not first-created. For the creation was not brought into being out of the essence of the Father, but by His will out of nothing. And He is called First-born among many brethren, for although being Only-begotten, He was also born of a mother. Since, indeed, He participated just as we ourselves do in blood and flesh and became man, while we too through Him became sons of God, being adopted through the baptism, He Who is by nature Son of God became first- born amongst us who were made by adoption and grace sons of God, and stand to Him in the relation of brothers. Wherefore He said, I ascend unto My Father and your Father. He did not say "our Father," but "My Father," clearly in the sense of Father by nature, and "your Father," in the sense of Father by grace. And "My God and your God." He did not say "our God," but "My God:" and if you distinguish with subtle thought that which is seen from that which is thought, also "your God," as Maker and Lord.
Concerning Faith and Baptism.
We confess one baptism for the remission of sins and for life eternal. For baptism declares the Lord's death. We are indeed "buried with the Lord through baptism," as saith the divine Apostle. So then, as our Lord died once for all, we also must be baptized once for all, and baptized according to the Word of the Lord, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, being taught the confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Those, then, who, after having been baptized into Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and having been taught that there is one divine nature in three subsistences, are rebaptized, these, as the divine Apostle says, crucify the Christ afresh. For it is impossible, he saith, for those who were once enlightened, &c., to renew them again unto repentance: seeing they crucify to themselves the Christ afresh, and put Him to an open shame. But those who were not baptized into the Holy Trinity, these must be baptized again. For although the divine Apostle says: Into Christ and into His death were we baptized, he does not mean that the invocation of baptism must be in these words, but that baptism is an image of the death of Christ. For by the three immersions, baptism signifies the three days of our Lord's entombment. The baptism then into Christ means that believers are baptized into Him. We could not believe in Christ if we were not taught confession in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For Christ is the Son of the Living God, Whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit: in the words of the divine David, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And Isaiah also speaking in the person of the Lord says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me. Christ, however, taught His own disciples the invocation and said, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For since Christ made us for incorruption, and we transgressed His saving command. He condemned us to the corruption of death in order that that which is evil should not be immortal, and when in His compassion He stooped to His servants and became like us, He redeemed us from corruption through His own passion. He caused the fountain of remission to well forth for us out of His holy and immaculate side, water for our regeneration, and the washing away of sin and corruption; and blood to drink as the hostage of life eternal. And He laid on us the command to be born again of water and of the Spirit, through prayer and invocation, the Holy Spirit drawing nigh unto the water. For since man's nature is twofold, consisting of soul and body, He bestowed on us a twofold purification, of water and of the Spirit the Spirit renewing that part in us which is after His image and likeness, and the water by the grace of the Spirit cleansing the body from sin and delivering it from corruption, the water indeed expressing the image of death, but the Spirit affording the earnest of life.
For from the beginning the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and anew the Scripture witnesseth that water has the power of purification. In the time of Noah God washed away the sin of the world by water. By water every impure person is purified, according to the law, even the very garments being washed with water. Elias shewed forth the grace of the Spirit mingled with the water when he burned the holocaust by pouring on water. And almost everything is purified by water according to the law: for the things of sight are symbols of the things of thought. The regeneration, however, takes place in the spirit: for faith has the power of making us sons (of God), creatures as we are, by the Spirit, and of leading us into our original blessedness.
The remission of sins, therefore, is granted alike to all through baptism: but the grace of the Spirit is proportional to the faith and previous purification. Now, indeed, we receive the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit through baptism, and the second birth is for us the beginning and seal and security and illumination s of another life.
It behoves as, then, with all our strength to steadfastly keep ourselves pure from filthy works, that we may not, like the dog returning to his vomit, make ourselves again the slaves of sin. For faith apart from works is dead, and so likewise are works apart from faith. For the true faith is attested by works.
Now we are baptized into the Holy Trinity because those things which are baptized have need of the Holy Trinity for their maintenance and continuance, and the three subsistences cannot be otherwise than present, the one with the other. For the Holy Trinity is indivisible.
The first baptism was that of the flood for the eradication of sin. The second was through the sea and the cloud: for the cloud is the symbol of the Spirit and the sea of the water. The third baptism was that of the Law: for every impure person washed himself with water, and even washed his garments, and so entered into the camp. The fourth was that of John, being preliminary and leading those who were baptized to repentance, that they might believe in Christ: I, indeed, he said, baptize you with water; but He that cometh after me, He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire. Thus John's purification with water was preliminary to receiving the Spirit. The fifth was the baptism of our Lord, whereby He himself was baptized. Now He is baptized not as Himself requiring purification but as making my purification His own, that He may break the heads of the dragons on the water, that he may wash away sin and bury all the old Adam in water, that He may sanctify the Baptist, that He may fulfil the Law, that He may reveal the mystery of the Trinity, that He may become the type and ensample to us of baptism. But we, too, are baptized in the perfect baptism of our Lord, the baptism by water and the Spirit. Moreover, Christ is said to baptize with fire: because in the form of flaming tongues He poured forth on His holy disciples the grace of the Spirit: as the Lord Himself says, John truly baptized with water: but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, not may days hence: or else it is because of the baptism of future fire wherewith we are to be chastised. The sixth is that by repentance and tears, which baptism is truly grievous. The seventh is baptism of blood and martyrdom, which baptism Christ Himself underwent in our behalf, He Who was too august and blessed to be defiled with any later stains. The eight is the last, which is not saving, but which destroys evil: for evil and sin no longer have sway: yet it punishes without end.
Further, the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form as a dove, indicating the firstfruits of our baptism and honouring the body: since even this, that is the body, was God by the deification; and besides the dove was wont formerly to announce the cessation of the flood. But to the holy Apostles He came down in the form of fire: for He is God, and God is a consuming fire.
Olive oil is employed in baptism as significant of our anointing, and as making us anointed, and as announcing to us through the Holy Spirit God's pity: for it was the fruit of the olive that the dove brought to those who were saved from the flood.
John was baptized, putting his hand upon the divine head of his Master, and with his own blood.
It does not behove us to delay baptism when the faith of those coming forward is testified to by works. For he that cometh forward deceitfully to baptism will receive condemnation rather than benefit.
Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith cometh by hearing. For by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ, believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the command of Him Who restored us. For he that believeth not according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, or who hath intercourse with the devil through strange works, is an unbeliever.
But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of what God hath promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first, therefore, belong to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the Spirit.
Further, observe that by baptism we cut off all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and become spiritual Israelites and God's people.
Concerning the Cross and here further concerning Faith.
The word 'Cross' is foolishness to those that perish, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For he that is spiritual judgeth all things, but the natural man receiveth not the thing of the Spirit. For it is foolishness to those who do not receive in faith and who do not consider God's goodness and omnipotence, but search out divine things with human and natural reasonings. For all the things that are of God are above nature and reason and conception. For should any one consider how and for what purpose God brought all things out of nothing into being, and aim at arriving at that by natural reasonings, he fails to comprehend it. For knowledge of this kind belongs to spirits and demons. But if any one, under the guidance of faith, should consider the divine goodness and omnipotence and truth and wisdom and justice, he will find all things smooth and even, and the way straight. But without faith it is impossible to be saved. For it is by faith that all things, both human and spiritual, are sustained. For without faith neither does the farmer cut his furrow, nor does the merchant commit his life to the raging waves of the sea on a small piece of wood, nor are marriages contracted nor any other step in life taken. By faith we consider that all things were brought out of nothing into being by God's power. And we direct all things, both divine and human, by faith. Further, faith is assent free from all meddlesome inquisitiveness.
Every action, therefore, and performance of miracles by Christ are most great and divine and marvellous: but the most marvellous of all is His precious Cross. For no other thing has subdued death, expiated the sin of the first parent, despoiled Hades, bestowed the resurrection, granted the power to us of contemning the present and even death itself, prepared the return to our former blessedness, opened the gates of Paradise, given our nature a seat at the right hand of God, and made us the children and heirs of God, save the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. For by the Cross s all things have been made right. So many of us, the apostle says, as were baptized into Christ, were baptized into His death, and as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Further Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Lo! the death of Christ, that is, the Cross, clothed us with the enhypostatic wisdom and power of God. And the power of God is the Word of the Cross, either because God's might, that is, the victory over death, has been revealed to us by it, or because, just as the four extremities of the Cross are held fast and bound together by the bolt in the middle, so also by God's power the height and the depth, the length and the breadth, that is, every creature visible and invisible, is maintained.
This was given to us as a sign on our forehead, just as the circumcision was given to Israel: for by it we believers are separated and distinguished from unbelievers. This is the shield and weapon against, and trophy over, the devil. This is the seal that the destroyer may not touch you, as saith the Scripture. This is the resurrection of those lying in death, the support of the standing, the staff of the weak, the rod of the flock, the safe conduct of the earnest, the perfection of those that press forwards, the salvation of soul and body, the aversion of all things evil, the patron of all things good, the taking away of sin, the plant of resurrection, the tree of eternal life.
So, then, this same truly precious and august tree, on which Christ hath offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sakes, is to be worshipped as sanctified by contact with His holy body and blood; likewise the nails, the spear, the clothes, His sacred tabernacles which are the manger, the cave, Golgotha, which bringeth salvation, the tomb which giveth life, Sion, the chief stronghold of the churches and the like, are to be worshipped. In the words of David, the father of God, We shall go into His tabernacles, we shall worship at the place where His feet stood. And that it is the Cross that is meant is made clear by what follows, Arise, O Lord, into Thy Rest . For the resurrection comes after the Cross. For if of those things which we love, house and couch and garment, are to be longed after, how much the rather should we long after that which belonged to God, our Saviour, by means of which we are in truth saved.
Moreover we worship even the image of the precious and life-giving Cross, although made of another tree, not honouring the tree (God forbid) but the image as a symbol of Christ. For He said to His disciples, admonishing them, Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven, meaning the Cross. And so also the angel of the resurrection said to the woman, Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified. And the Apostle said, We preach Christ crucified. For there are many Christs and many Jesuses, but one crucified. He does not say speared but crucified. It behoves us, then, to worship the sign of Christ. For wherever the sign may be, there also will He be. But it does not behove us to worship the material of which the image of the Cross is composed, even though it be gold or precious stones, after it is destroyed, if that should happen. Everything, therefore, that is dedicated to God we worship, conferring the adoration on Him.
The tree of life which was planted by God in Paradise prefigured this precious Cross. For since death was by a tree, it was fitting that life and resurrection should be bestowed by a tree. Jacob, when He worshipped the top of Joseph's staff, was the first to image the Cross, and when he blessed his sons with crossed hands he made most clearly the sign of the cross. Likewise also did Moses' rod, when it smote the sea in the figure of the cross and saved Israel, while it overwhelmed Pharaoh in the depths; likewise also the hands stretched out crosswise and routing Amalek; and the bitter water made sweet by a tree, and the rock rent and pouring forth streams of water, and the rod that meant for Aaron the dignity of the high priesthood: and the serpent lifted in triumph on a tree as though it were dead, the tree bringing salvation to those who in faith saw their enemy dead, just as Christ was nailed to the tree in the flesh of sin which yet knew no sin. The mighty Moses cried, You will see your life hanging on the tree before your eyes, and Isaiah likewise, I have spread out my hands all the day unto a faithless and rebellious people. But may we who worship this obtain a part in Christ the crucified. Amen.
Concerning Worship towards the East.
It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the East. But seeing that we are composed of a visible and an invisible nature, that is to say, of a nature partly of spirit and partly of sense, we render also a twofold worship to the Creator; just as we sing both with our spirit and our bodily lips, and are baptized with both water and Spirit, and are united with the Lord in a twofold manner, being sharers in the mysteries and in the grace of the Spirit.
Since, therefore, God is spiritual light, and Christ is called in the Scriptures Sun of Righteousness and Dayspring, the East is the direction that must be assigned to His worship. For everything good must be assigned to Him from Whom every good thing arises. Indeed the divine David also says, Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth: O sing praises unto the Lord: to Him that rideth upon the Heavens of heavens towards the East. Moreover the Scripture also says, And God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed: and when he had transgressed His command He expelled him and made him to dwell over against the delights of Paradises, which clearly is the West. So, then, we worship God seeking and striving after our old fatherland. Moreover the tent of Moses had its veil and mercy seat towards the East. Also the tribe of Judah as the most precious pitched their camp on the East. Also in the celebrated temple of Solomon the Gate of the Lord was placed eastward. Moreover Christ, when He hung on the Cross, had His face turned towards the West, and so we worship, striving after Him. And when He was received again into Heaven He was borne towards the East, and thus His apostles worship Him, and thus He will come again in the way in which they beheld Him going towards Heaven; as the Lord Himself said, As the lightning cometh out of the East and shineth even unto the West, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
So, then, in expectation of His coming we worship towards the East. But this tradition of the apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten.
Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.
God Who is good and altogether good and more than good, Who is goodness throughout, by reason of the exceeding riches of His goodness did not suffer Himself, that is His nature, only to be good, with no other to participate therein, but because of this He made first the spiritual and heavenly powers: next the visible and sensible universe: next man with his spiritual and sentient nature. All things, therefore, which he made, share in His goodness in respect of their existence. For He Himself is existence to all, since all things that are, are in Him, not only because it was He that brought them out of nothing into being, but because His energy preserves and maintains all that He made: and in especial the living creatures. For both in that they exist and in that they enjoy life they share in His goodness. But in truth those of them that have reason have a still greater share in that, both because of what has been already said and also because of the very reason which they possess. For they are somehow more dearly akin to Him, even though He is incomparably higher than they.
Man, however, being endowed with reason and free will, received the power of continuous union with God through his own choice, if indeed he should abide in goodness, that is in obedience to his Maker. Since, however, he transgressed the command of his Creator and became liable to death and corruption, the Creator and Maker of our race, because of His bowels of compassion, took on our likeness, becoming man in all things but without sin, and was united to our nature. For since He bestowed on us His own image and His own spirit and we did not keep them safe, He took Himself a share in our poor and weak nature, in order that He might cleanse us and make us incorruptible, and establish us once more as partakers of His divinity.
For it was fitting that not only the first-fruits of our nature should partake in the higher good but every man who wished it, and that a second birth should take place and that the nourishment should be new and suitable to the birth and thus the measure of perfection be attained. Through His birth, that is, His incarnation, and baptism and passion and resurrection, He delivered our nature from the sin of our first parent and death and corruption, and became the first-fruits of the resurrection, and made Himself the way and image and pattern, in order that we, too, following in His footsteps, may become by adoption what He is Himself by nature, sons and heirs of God and joint heirs with Him. He gave us therefore, as I said, a second birth in order that, just as we who are born of Adam are in his image and are the heirs of the curse and corruption, so also being born of Him we may be in His likeness and heirs of His incorruption and blessing and glory.
Now seeing that this Adam is spiritual, it was meet that both the birth and likewise the food should be spiritual too, but since we are of a double and compound nature, it is meet that both the birth should be double and likewise the food compound. We were therefore given a birth by water and Spirit: I mean, by the holy baptism: and the food is the very bread of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who came down from heaven. For when He was about to take on Himself a voluntary death for our sakes, on the night on which He gave Himself up, He laid a new covenant on His holy disciples and apostles, and through them on all who believe on Him. In the upper chamber, then, of holy and illustrious Sion, after He had eaten the ancient Passover with His disciples and had fulfilled the ancient covenant, He washed His disciples' feet in token of the holy baptism. Then having broken bread He gave it to them saying, Take, eat, this is My body broken for you for the remission of sins. Likewise also He took the cup of wine and water and gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it: for this is My blood, the blood of the New Testament which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the death of the Son of man and confess His resurrection until He come.
If then the Word of God is quick and energising, and the Lord did all that He willed; if He said, Let there be light and there was light, let there be a firmament and there was a firmament; if the heavens were established by the Word of the Lord and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth; if the heaven and the earth, water and fire and air and the whole glory of these, and, in sooth, this most noble creature, man, were perfected by the Word of the Lord; if God the Word of His own will became man and the pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever-virginal One made His flesh without the aid of seed, can He not then make the bread His body and the wine and water His blood? He said in the beginning, Let the earth bring forth grass, and even until this present day, when the rain comes it brings forth its proper fruits, urged on and strengthened by the divine command. God said, This is My body, and This is My blood, and this do ye in remembrance of Me. And so it is at His omnipotent command until He come: for it was in this sense that He said until He come: and the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit becomes through the invocation the rain to this new tillage. For just as God made all that He made by the energy of the Holy Spirit, so also now the energy of the Spirit performs those things that are supernatural and which it is not possible to comprehend unless by faith alone. How shall this be, said the holy Virgin, seeing I know not a man? And the archangel Gabriel answered her: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. And now you ask, how the bread became Christ's body and the wine and water Christ's blood. And I say unto thee, "The Holy Spirit is present and does those things which surpass reason and thought."
Further, bread and wine s are employed: for God knoweth man's infirmity: for in general man turns away discontentedly from what is not well-worn by custom: and so with His usual indulgence H e performs His supernatural works through familiar objects: and just as, in the case of baptism, since it is man's custom to wash himself with water and anoint himself with oil, He connected the grace of the Spirit with the oil and the water and made it the water of regeneration, in like manner since it is man's custom to eat and to drink water and wine, He connected His divinity with these and made them His body and blood in order that we may rise to what is supernatural through what is familiar and natural.
The body which is born of the holy Virgin is in truth body united with divinity, not that the body which was received up into the heavens descends, but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God's body and blood. But if you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energises and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out. But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine and the water by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same.
Wherefore to those who partake worthily with faith, it is for the remission of sins and for life everlasting and for the safeguarding of soul and body; but to those who partake unworthily without faith, it is for chastisement and punishment, just as also the death of the Lord became to those who believe life and incorruption for the enjoyment of eternal blessedness, while to those who do not believe and to the murderers of the Lord it is for everlasting chastisement and punishment.
The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, "This is My body," not, this is a figure of My body: and "My blood," not, a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. And again, He that eateth Me, shall live.
Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us pay homage to it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of the cross s let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire. Isaiah saw the coal. But coal is not plain wood but wood united with fire: in like manner also the bread of the communion is not plain bread but bread united with divinity. But a body s which is united with divinity is not one nature, but has one nature belonging to the body and another belonging to the divinity that is united to it, so that the compound is not one nature but two.
With bread and wine Melchisedek, the priest of the most high God, received Abraham on his return from the slaughter of the Gentiles. That table pre-imaged this mystical table, just as that priest was a type and image of Christ, the true high-priest. For thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. Of this bread the show-bread was an image. This surely is that pure and bloodless sacrifice which the Lord through the prophet said is offered to Him from the rising to the setting of the sun.
The body and blood of Christ are making for the support of our soul and body, without being consumed or suffering corruption, not making for the draught (God forbid!) but for our being and preservation, a protection against all kinds of injury, a purging from all uncleanness: should one receive base gold, they purify it by the critical burning lest in the future we be condemned with this world. They purify from diseases and all kinds of calamities; according to the words of the divine Apostles, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. This too is what he says, So that he that partaketh of the body and blood of Christ unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself. Being purified by this, we are united to the body of Christ and to His Spirit and become the body of Christ.
This bread is the first-fruits of the future bread which is epiou'sios, i.e. necessary for existence. For the word epiou'sion signifies either the future, that is Him Who is for a future age, or else Him of Whom we partake for the preservation of our essence. Whether then it is in this sense or that, it is fitting to speak so of the Lord's body. For the Lord's flesh is life-giving spirit because it was conceived of the life-giving Spirit. For what is born of the Spirit is spirit. But I do not say this to take away the nature of the body, but I wish to make clear its life-giving and divine power.
But if some persons called the bread and the wine antitypes of the body and blood of the Lord, as did the divinely inspired Basil, they said so not after the consecration but before the consecration, so calling the offering itself.
Participation is spoken of; for through it we partake of the divinity of Jesus. Communion, too, is spoken of, and it is an actual communion, because through it we have communion with Christ and share in His flesh and His divinity: yea, we have communion and are united with one another through it. For since we partake of one bread, we all become one body of Christ and one blood, and members one of another, being of one body with Christ.
With all our strength, therefore, let us beware lest we receive communion from or grant it to heretics; Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, saith the Lord, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest we become partakers in their dishonour and condemnation. For if trojan is in truth with Christ and with one another, we are assuredly voluntarily united also with all those who partake with us. For this union is effected voluntarily and not against our inclination. For we are all one body because we partake of the one bread, as the divine Apostle says.
Further, antitypes of future things are spoken of, not as though they were not in reality Christ's body and blood, but that now through them we partake of Christ's divinity, while then we shall partake mentally through the vision alone.
Concerning our Lord's genealogy and concerning the holy Mother of God.
Concerning the holy and much-lauded ever-virgin one, Mary, the Mother of God, we have said something in the preceding chapters, bringing forward what was most opportune, viz., that strictly and truly she is and is called the Mother of God. Now let us fill up the blanks. For she being pre- ordained by the eternal prescient counsel of God and imaged forth and proclaimed in diverse images and discourses of the prophets through the Holy Spirit, sprang at the pre-determined time from the root of David, according to the promises that were made to him. For the lord hath sworn, He saith in truth to David, He will not turn from it: of the fruit of Thy body will I set upon Thy throne. And again, Once have I sworn by My holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and His throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. And Isaiah says: And there shall come out a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
But that Joseph is descended from the tribe of David is expressly demonstrated by Matthew and Luke, the most holy evangelists. But Matthew derives Joseph from David through Solomon, while Luke does so through Nathan; while over the holy Virgin's origin both pass in silence.
One ought to remember that it was not the custom of the Hebrews nor of the divine Scripture to give genealogies of women; and the law was to prevent one tribe seeking wives from another. And so since Joseph was descended from the tribe of David and was a just man (for this the divine Gospel testifies), he would not have espoused the holy Virgin contrary to the law; he would not have taken her unless she had been of the same tribe(8a). It was sufficient, therefore, to demonstrate the descent of Joseph.
One ought also to observe this, that the law was that when a man died without seed, this maws brother should take to wife the wife of the dead man and raise up seed to his brother. The offspring, therefore, belonged by nature to the second, that is, to him that begat it, but by law to the dead.
Born then of the line of Nathan, the son of David, Levi begat Melchi and Panther: Panther begat Barpanther, so called. This Barpanther begat Joachim: Joachim begat the holy Mother of God. And of the line of Solomon, the son of David, Mathan had a wife of whom he begat Jacob. Now on the death of Mathan, Melchi, of the tribe of Nathan, the son of Levi and brother of Panther, married the wife of Mathan, Jacob's mother, of whom he begat Heli. Therefore Jacob and Hell became brothers on tile mother's side, Jacob being of the tribe of Solomon and Heli of the tribe of Nathan. Then Heli of the tribe of Nathan died childless, and Jacob his brother, of the tribe of Solomon, took his wife and raised up seed to his brother and begat Joseph. Joseph, therefore, is by nature the son of Jacob, of the line of Solomon, but by law he is the son of Hell of the line of Nathan.
Joachim then took to wife that revered and praiseworthy woman, Anna. But just as the earlier Anna, who was barren, bore Samuel by prayer and by promise, so also this Anna by supplication and promise from God bare the Mother of God in order that she might not even in this be behind the matrons of fame. Accordingly it was grace (for this is the interpretation of Anna) that bore the lady: (for she became truly the Lady of all created things in becoming the Mother of the Creator). Further, Joachim was born in the house of the Probatica, and was brought up to the temple. Then planted in the House of God and increased by the Spirit, like a fruitful olive tree, she became the home of every virtue, turning her mind away from every secular and carnal desire, and thus keeping her soul as well as her hotly virginal, as was meet for her who was to receive God into her bosom: for as He is holy, He finds rest among the holy. Thus, therefore, she strove after holiness, and was declared a holy and wonderful temple fit for the most high God.
Moreover, since the enemy of our salvation was keeping a watchful eye on virgins, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, who said, Behold a virgin shall conceive and bare a Son and shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, 'God with us,' in order that he who taketh the wise in their own craftiness may deceive him who always glorieth in his wisdom, the maiden is given in marriage to Joseph by the priests, a new book to him who is versed in letters: but the marriage was both the protection of the virgin and the delusion of him who was keeping a watchful eye on virgins. But when the fulness of time was come, the messenger of the Lord was sent to her, with the good news of our Lord's conception. And thus she conceived the Son of God, the hypostatic power of the Father, not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, that is to say, by connection and seed, but by the good pleasure of the Father and co- operation of the Holy Spirit. She ministered to the Creator in that He was created, to the Fashioner in that He was fashioned, and to the Son of God and God in that He was made flesh and became man from her pure and immaculate flesh and blood, satisfying the debt of the first mother. For just as the latter was formed from Adam without connection, so also did the former bring forth the new Adam, who was brought forth in accordance with the laws of parturition and above the nature of generation.
For He who was of the Father, yet without mother, was born of woman without a father's co-operation. And so far as He was born of woman, His birth was in accordance with the laws of parturition, while so far as He had no father, His birth was above the nature of generation: and in that it was at the usual time (for He was born on the completion of the ninth month when the tenth was just beginning), His birth was in accordance with the laws of parturition, while in that it was painless it was above the laws of generation. For, as pleasure did not precede it, pain did not follow it, according to the prophet who says, Before she travailed, she brought forth, and again, before her pain came she was delivered of a man-child. The Son of God incarnate, therefore, was born of her, not a divinely- inspired man but God incarnate not a prophet anointed with energy but by the presence of the anointing One in His completeness, so that the Anointer became man and the Anointed God, not by a change of nature but by union in subsistence. For the Anointer and the Anointed were one and the same, anointing in the capacity of God Himself as man. Must there not therefore be a Mother of God who bore God incarnate? Assuredly she who played the part of the Creator's servant and mother is in all strictness and truth in reality God's Mother and Lady and Queen over all created things. But just as He who was conceived kept her who conceived still virgin, in like manner also He who was born preserved her virginity intact, only passing through her and keeping her closed. The conception, indeed, was through the sense of hearing, but the birth through the usual path by which children come, although some tell tales of His birth through the side of the Mother of God. For it was not impossible for Him to have come by this gate, without injuring her seal in any way.
The ever-virgin One thus remains even after the birth still virgin, having never at any time up till death consorted with a man. For although it is written, And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born Son, yet note that he who is first-begotten is first-born even if he is only-begotten. For the word "first-born" means that he was born first but does not at all suggest the birth of others. And the word "till" signifies the limit of the appointed time but does not exclude the time thereafter. For the Lord says, And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, not meaning thereby that He will be separated from us after the completion of the age. The divine apostle, indeed, says, And so shall we ever be with the Lord, meaning after the general resurrection.
For could it be possible that she, who had borne God and from experience of the subsequent events had come to know the miracle, should receive the embrace of a man. God forbid! It is not the part of a chaste mind to think such thoughts, far less to commit such acts
But this blessed woman, who was deemed worthy of gifts that are supernatural, suffered those pains, which she escaped at the birth, in the hour of the passion, enduring from motherly sympathy the rending of the bowels, and when she beheld Him, Whom she knew to be God by the manner of His generation, killed as a malefactor, her thoughts pierced her as a sword, and this is the meaning of this verse: Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also. But the joy of the resurrection transforms the pain, proclaiming Him, Who died in the flesh, to be God.
Concerning the honour due to the Saints and their remains.
To the saints honour must be paid as friends of Christ, as sons and heirs of God: in the words of John the theologian and evangelist, As many as received Him, to them gave He power to became sons of God. So that they are no longer servants, but sons: and if sons, also heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ: and the Lord in the holy Gospels says to His apostles, Ye are My friends. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth. And further, if the Creator and Lord of all things is called also King of Kings and Lord of Lords and God of Gods, surely also the saints are gods and lords and kings. For of these God is and is called God and Lord and King. For I am the God of Abraham, He said to Moses, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. And God made Moses a god to Pharaoh. Now I mean gods and kings and lords not in nature, but as rulers and masters of their passions, and as preserving a truthful likeness to the divine image according to which they were made (for the image of a king is also called king), and as being united to God of their own free-will and receiving Him as an indweller and becoming by grace through participation with Him what He is Himself by nature. Surely, then, the worshippers and friends and sons of God are to be held in honour? For the honour shewn to the most thoughtful of fellow- servants is a proof of good feeling towards the common Master.
These are made treasuries and pure habitations of God: For I will dwell in them, said God, and walk in them, and I will be their God. The divine Scripture likewise saith that the souls of the just are in God's hand and death cannot lay hold of them. For death is rather the sleep of the saints than their death. For they travailed in this life and shall to the end, and Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. What then, is more precious than to be in the hand of God? For God is Life and Light, and those who are in God's hand are in life and light.
Further, that God dwelt even in their bodies in spiritual wise(8a), the Apostle tells us, saying, Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you?, and The Lord is that Spirit, and If any one destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy. Surely, then, we must ascribe honour to the living temples of God, the living tabernacles of God. These while they lived stood with confidence before God.
The Master Christ made the remains of the saints to be fountains of salvation to us, pouring forth manifold blessings and abounding in oil of sweet fragrance: and let no one disbelieve this. For if water burst in the desert from the steep and solid rock at God's will and from the jaw- bone of an ass to quench Samson's thirst, is it incredible that fragrant oil should burst forth from the martyrs' remains? By no means, at least to those who know the power of God and the honour which He accords His saints.
In the law every one who toucheth a dead body was considered impure, but these are not dead. For from the time when He that is Himself life and the Author of life was reckoned among the dead, we do not call those dead who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection and in faith on Him. For how could a dead body work miracles? How, therefore, are demons driven off by them, diseases dispelled, sick persons made well, the blind restored to sight, lepers purified, temptations and troubles overcome, and how does every good gift from the Father of lights come down through them to those who pray with sure faith? How much labour would you not undergo to find a patron to introduce you to a mortal king and speak to him on your behalf? Are not those, then, worthy of honour who are the patrons of the whole race, and make intercession to God for us? Yea, verily, we ought to give honour to them by raising temples to God in their name, bringing them fruit-offerings, honouring their memories and taking spiritual delight in them, in order that the joy of those who call on us may be ours, that in our attempts at worship we may not on the contrary cause them offence. For those who worship God will take pleasure in those things whereby God is worshipped, while His shield-bearers will be wrath at those things wherewith God is wroth. In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, in contrition and in pity for the needy, let us believers worship the saints, as God also is most worshipped in such wise. Let us raise monuments to them and visible images, and let us ourselves become, through imitation of their virtues, living monuments and images of them. Let us give honour to her who bore God as being strictly and truly the Mother of God. Let us honour also the prophet John as forerunner and baptist, as apostle and martyr, For among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist, as saith the Lord, and he became the first to proclaim the Kingdom. Let us honour the apostles as the Lord's brothers, who saw Him face to face and ministered to His passion, for whom God the Father did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, first apostles, second prophets, third pastors end teachers. Let us also honour the martyrs of the Lord chosen out of every class, as soldiers of Christ who have drunk His cup and were then baptized with the baptism of His life-bringing death, to be partakers of His passion and glory: of whom the leader is Stephen, the first deacon of Christ and apostle and first martyr. Also let us honour our holy fathers, the God- possessed ascetics, whose struggle was the longer and more toilsome one of the conscience: who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; they wandered in deserts and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth, of whom the world was not worthy. Let us honour those who were prophets before grace, the patriarchs anti just men who foretold the Lord's coming. Let us carefully review the life of these men, and let us emulate their faith and love and hope and zeal and way of life, and endurance of sufferings and patience even to blood, in order that we may be sharers with them in their crowns of glory.
But since some find fault with us for worshipping and honouring the image of our Saviour and that of our Lady, and those, too, of the rest of the saints and servants of Christ, let them remember that in the beginning God created man after His own image. On what grounds, then, do we shew reverence to each other unless because we are made after God's image? For as Basil, that much-versed expounder of divine things, says, the honour given to the image passes over to the prototype. Now a prototype is that which is imaged, from which the derivative is obtained. Why was it that the Mosaic people honoured on all hands the tabernacle which bore an image and type of heavenly things, or rather of the whole creation? God indeed said to Moses, Look that thou make them after their pattern which was shewed thee in the mount. The Cherubim, too, which o'ershadow the mercy seat, are they not the work of men's hands? What, further, is the celebrated temple at Jerusalem? Is it not hand-made and fashioned by the skill of men?
Moreover the divine Scripture blames those who worship graven images, but also those who sacrifice to demons. The Greeks sacrificed and the Jews also sacrificed: but the Greeks to demons and the Jews to God. And the sacrifice of the Greeks was rejected and condemned, but the sacrifice of the just was very acceptable to God. For Noah sacrificed, and God smelled a sweet savour, receiving the fragrance of the right choice and good-will towards Him. And so the graven images of the Greeks, since they were images of deities, were rejected and forbidden.
But besides this who can make an imitation of the invisible, incorporeal, uncircumscribed, formless God? Therefore to give form to the Deity is the height of folly and impiety. And hence it is that in the Old Testament the use of images was not common. But after God in His bowels of pity became in truth man for our salvation, not as He was seen by Abraham in the semblance of a man, nor as He was seen by the prophets, but in being truly man, and after He lived upon the earth and dwelt among men, worked miracles, suffered, was crucified, rose again and was taken back to Heaven, since all these things actually took place and were seen by men, they were written for the remembrance and instruction of us who were not alive at that time in order that though we saw not, we may still, hearing and believing, obtain the blessing of the Lord. But seeing that not every one has a knowledge of letters nor time for reading, the Fathers gave their sanction to depicting these events on images as being acts of great heroism, in order that they should form a concise memorial of them. Often, doubtless, when we have not the Lord's passion in mind and see the image of Christ's crucifixion, His saving passion is brought back to remembrance, and we fall down and worship not the material but that which is imaged: just as we do not worship the material of which the Gospels are made, nor the material of the Cross, but that which these typify. For wherein does the cross, that typifies the Lord, differ from a cross that does not do so? It is just the same also in the case of the Mother of the Lord. For the honour which we give to her is referred to Him Who was made of her incarnate. And similarly also the brave acts of holy men stir us up to be brave and to emulate and imitate their valour and to glorify God. For as we said, the honour that is given to the best of fellow-servants is a proof of good-will towards our common Lady, and the honour rendered to the image passes over to the prototype. But this is an unwritten tradition, just as is also the worshipping towards the East and the worship of the Cross, and very many other similar things.
A certain tale, too, is told, how that when Augarus was king over the city of the Edessenes, he sent a portrait painter to paint a likeness of the Lord, and when the painter could not paint because of the brightness that shone from His countenance, the Lord Himself put a garment over His own divine and life-giving face and impressed on it an image of Himself and sent this to Augarus, to satisfy thus his desire.
Moreover that the Apostles handed down much that was unwritten, Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, tells us in these words: Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught of us, whether by word or by epistle. And to the Corinthians he writes, Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them to you."
It is one and the same God Whom both the Old and the New Testament proclaim, Who is praised and glorified in the Trinity: I am come, saith the Lord, not to destroy life law but to fulfil it. For He Himself worked out our salvation for which all Scripture and all mystery exists. And again, Search the Scriptures for they are they that testify of Me. And the Apostle says, God, Who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son. Through the Holy Spirit, therefore, both the law and the prophets, the evangelists and apostles and pastors and teachers, spake.
All Scripture, then, is given by inspiration of God and is also assuredly profitable. Wherefore to search the Scriptures is a work most fair and most profitable for souls. For just as the tree planted by the channels of waters, so also the soul watered by the divine Scripture is enriched and gives fruit in its season, viz. orthodox belief, and is adorned with evergreen leafage, I mean, actions pleasing to God. For through the Holy Scriptures we are trained to action that is pleasing to God, and untroubled contemplation. For in these we find both exhortation to every virtue and dissuasion from every vice. If, therefore, we are lovers of learning, we shall also be learned in many things. For by care and toil and the grace of God the Giver, all things are accomplished. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to hint that knocketh it shall be opened. Wherefore let us knock at that very fair garden of the Scriptures, so fragrant and sweet and blooming, with its varied sounds of spiritual and divinely-inspired birds ringing all round our ears, laying hold of our hearts, comforting the mourner, pacifying the angry and filling him with joy everlasting: which sets our mind on the gold-gleaming, brilliant back of the divine dove, whose bright pinions bear up to the only-begotten Son and Heir of the Husbandman of that spiritual Vineyard and bring us through Him to the Father of Lights. But let us not knock carelessly but rather zealously and constantly: lest knocking we grow weary. For thus it will be opened to us. If we read once or twice and do not understand what we read, let us not grow weary, but let us persist, let us talk much, let us enquire. For ask thy Father, he saith, and He will shew thee: thy elders and they will tell thee. For there is not in every man that knowledge. Let us draw of the fountain of the garden perennial and purest waters springing into life eternal. Here let us luxuriate, let us revel insatiate: for the Scriptures possess inexhaustible grace. But if we are able to pluck anything profitable from outside sources, there is nothing to forbid that. Let us become tried money-dealers, heaping up the true and pure gold and discarding the spurious. Let us keep the fairest sayings but let us throw to the dogs absurd gods and strange myths: for we might prevail most mightily against them through themselves.
Observe, further, that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew tongue. For there are twenty- two letters of which five are double, and so they come to be twenty-seven. For the letters Caph, Mere, Nun, Pe, Sade are double. And thus the number of the books in this way is twenty-two, but is found to be twenty- seven because of the double character of five. For Ruth is joined on to Judges, and the Hebrews count them one book: the first and second books of Kings are counted one: and so are the third and fourth books of Kings: and also the first and second of Paraleipomena: and the first and second of Esdra. In this way, then, the books are collected together in four Pentateuchs and two others remain over, to form thus the canonical books. Five of them are of the Law, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. This which is the code of the Law, constitutes the first Pentateuch. Then comes another Pentateuch, the so-called Grapheia, or as they are called by some, the Hagiographa, which are the following: Jesus the Son of Nave, Judges along with Ruth, first and second Kings, which are one book, third and fourth Kings, which are one book, and the two books of the Paraleipomena which are one book. This is the second Pentateuch. The third Pentateuch is the books in verse, viz. Job, Psalms, Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes of Solomon and the Song of Songs of Solomon. The fourth Pentateuch is the Prophetical books, viz the twelve prophets constituting one book, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Then come the two books of Esdra made into one, and Esther. There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus, which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and afterwards translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the Son of Sirach. These are virtuous and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark.
The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John: the Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke the Evangelist: seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude: fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul: the Revelation of John the Evangelist: the Canons of the holy apostles, by Clement.
Regarding the things said concerning Christ.
The things said concerning Christ fall into four generic modes. For some fit Him even before the incarnation, others in the union, others after the union, and others after the resurrection. Also of those that refer to the period before the incarnation there are six modes: for some of them declare the union of nature and the identity in essence with the Father, as this, I and My Father are one: also this, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father: and this, Who being in the form of God, and so forth. Others declare the perfection of subsistence, as these, Son of God, and the Express Image of His person, and Messenger of great counsel, Wonderful Counsellor, and the like.
Again, others declare the indwelling of the subsistences in one another, as, I am in the Father and the Father in Me; and the inseparable foundation, as, for instance, the Word, Wisdom, Power, Effulgence. For the word is inseparably established in the mind (and it is the essential mind that I mean), and so also is wisdom, and power in him that is powerful, and effulgence in the light, all springing forth from these.
And others make known the fact of His origin from the Father as cause, for instance My Father is greater than I. For from Him He derives both His being and all that He has: His being was by generative and not by creative means, as, I came forth from the Father and am come, and I live by the Father. But all that He hath is not His by free gift or by teaching, but in a causal sense, as, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do. For if the Father is not, neither is the Son. For the Son is of the Father and in the Father and with the Father, and not after the Father. In like manner also what He doeth is of Him and with Him. For there is one and the same, not similar but the same, will and energy and power in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Moreover, other things are said as though the Father's good-will was fulfilled through His energy, and not as through an instrument or a servant, but as through His essential and hypostatic Word and Wisdom and Power, because but one action is observed in Father and Son, as for example, All things were made by Him(9a), and He sent His Word and healed them, and That they may believe that Than hast sent Me.
Some, again, have a prophetic sense, and of these some are in the future tense: for instance, He shall come openly, and this from Zechariah, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, and this from Micah, Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place and will came down and tread upon the high places of the earth. But others, though future, are put in the past tense, as, for instance, This is our God: Therefore He was seen upon the earth and dwell among men, and The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways for His works, and Wherefore God, thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows, and such like.
The things said, then, that refer to the period before the union will be applicable to Him even after the union: but those that refer to the period after the union will not be applicable at all before the union, unless indeed in a prophetic sense, as we said. Those that refer to the time of the union have three modes. For when our discourse dears with the higher aspect, we speak of the deification of the flesh, and His assumption of the Word and exceeding exaltation, and so forth, making manifest the riches that are added to the flesh tram the union and natural conjunction with the most high God the Word. And when our discourse deals with the lower aspect, we speak of the incarnation of God the Word, His becoming man, His emptying of Himself, His poverty, His humility. For these and such like are imposed upon the Word and God through His admixture with humanity. When again we keep both sides in view at the same time, we speak of union, community, anointing, natural conjunction, conformation and the like. The former two modes, then, have their reason in this third mode. For through the union it is made clear what either has obtained from the intimate junction with and permeation through the other. For through the union in subsistence the flesh is said to be deified and to become God and to be equally God with the Word; and God the Word is said to be made flesh, and to become man, and is called creature and last: not in the sense that the two natures are converted into one compound nature (for it is not possible for the opposite natural qualities to exist at the same time in one nature), but in the sense that the two natures are united in subsistence and permeate one another without confusion or transmutation The permeation moreover did not come of the flesh but of the divinity: for it is impossible that the flesh should permeate through the divinity: but the divine nature once permeating through the flesh gave also to the flesh the same ineffable power of permeation; and this indeed is what we call union.
Note, too, that in the case of the first and second modes of those that belong to the period of the union, reciprocation is observed. For when we speak about the flesh, we use the terms deification and assumption of the Word and exceeding exaltation and anointing. For these are derived from divinity, but are observed in connection with the flesh. And when we speak about the Word, we use the terms emptying, incarnation, becoming man, humility and the like: and these, as we said, are imposed on the Word and God through the flesh. For He endured these things in person of His own free-will.
Of the things that refer to the period after the union there are three modes. The first declares His divine nature, as, I am in the Father and the Father in Me, and I and the Father are one: and all those things which are affirmed of Him before His assumption of humanity, these will be affirmed of Him even after His assumption of humanity, with this exception, that He did not assume the flesh and its natural properties.
The second declares His human nature, as, Now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth, and Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, and the like.
Further, of the statements made and written about Christ the Saviour after the manner of men, whether they deal with sayings or actions, there are six modes. For some of them were done or said naturally in accordance with the incarnation; for instance, His birth from a virgin, His growth and progress with age, His hunger, thirst, weariness, fear, sleep, piercing with nails, death and all such like natural and innocent passions. For in all these there is a mixture of the divine and human, although they are held to belong in reality to the body, the divine suffering none of these, but procuring through them our salvation.
Others are of the nature of ascription(9a), as Christ's question, Where have ye laid Lazarus? His running to the fig-tree, His shrinking, that is, His drawing back, His praying, and His making as though He would have gone He in need of these or similar things, but only because His form was that of a man as necessity and expediency demanded. For example, the praying was to shew that He is not opposed to God, for He gives honour to the Father as the cause of Himself: and the question was not put in ignorance but to shew that He is in truth man as well as God; and the drawing back is to teach us not to be impetuous nor to give ourselves up.
Others again are said in the manner of association and relation(5a), as, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? and He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, and being made a curse for us; also, Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him. For neither as God nor as man was He ever forsaken by the Father, nor did He become sin or a curse, nor did He require to be made subject to the Father. For as God He is equal to the Father and not opposed to Him nor subjected to Him; and as God, He was never at any time disobedient to His Begetter to make it necessary for Him to make Him subject. Appropriating, then, our person and ranking Himself with us, He used these words. For we are bound in the fetters of sin and the curse as faithless and disobedient, and therefore forsaken.
Others are said by reason of distinction in thought. For if you divide in thought things that are inseparable in actual truth, to cut the flesh from the Word, the terms 'servant' and 'ignorant' are used of Him, for indeed He was of a subject and ignorant nature, and except that it was united with God the Word, His flesh was servile and ignorant. But because of the union in subsistence with God the Word it was neither servile nor ignorant. In this way, too, He called the Father His God.
Others again are for the purpose of revealing Him to us and strengthening our faith, as, And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee, before the world was. For He Himself was glorified and is glorified, but His glory was not manifested nor confirmed to us. Also that which the apostle said, Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. For by the miracles and the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit it was manifested and confirmed to the world that He is the Son of God. And this too, The Child grew in wisdom and grace.
Others again have reference to His appropriation of the personal life of the Jews, in numbering Himself among the Jews, as He saith to the Samaritan woman, Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship, far salvation is of the Jews.
The third mode is one which declares the one subsistence and brings out the dual nature: for instance, And I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. And this: I go to My Father and ye see Me no more. And this: They would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. And this: And no man hath ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven, and such like.
Again of the affirmations that refer to the period after the resurrection some are suitable to God, as, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, for here 'Son' is clearly used as God; also this, And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, and other similar ones. For He is with us as God. Others are suitable to man, as, They held Him by the feet, and There they will see Me, and so forth.
Further, of those referring to the period after the Resurrection that are suitable to man there are different modes. For some did actually take place, yet not according to nature, but according to dispensation, in order to confirm the fact that the very body, which suffered, rose again; such are the weals, the eating and the drinking after the resurrection. Others took place actually and naturally, as changing from place to place without trouble and passing in through closed gates. Others have the character of simulation, as, He made as though He would have gone further. Others are appropriate to the double nature, as, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and our God, and The King of Glory shall carte in, and He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on High. Finally others are to be understood as though He were ranking Himself with us, in the manner of separation in pure thought, as, My God and your God.
Those then that are sublime must be assigned to the divine nature, which is superior to passion and body: and those that are humble must be ascribed to the human nature; and those that are common must be attributed to the compound, that is, the one Christ, Who is God and man. And it should be understood that both belong to one and the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. For if we know what is proper to each, and perceive that both are performed by one and the same, we shall have the true faith and shall not go astray. And from all these the difference between the united natures is recognised, and the fact that, as the most godly Cyril says, they are not identical in the natural quality of their divinity and humanity. But yet there is but one Son and Christ and Lord: and as He is one, He has also but one person, the unity in subsistence being in nowise broken up into parts by the recognition of the difference of the natures.
That God is not the cause of evils.
It is to be observed that it is the custom in the Holy Scripture to speak of God's permission as His energy, as when the apostle says in the Epistle to the Romans, Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour? And for this reason, that He Himself makes this or that. For He is Himself alone the Maker of all things; yet it is not He Himself that fashions noble or ignoble things, but the personal choice of each one. And this is manifest from what the same Apostle says in the Second Epistle to Timothy, In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. And it is evident that the purification must be voluntary: for if a man, he saith, purge himself. And the consequent antistrophe responds, "If a man purge not himself he will be a vessel to dishonour, unmeet for the master's use and fit only to be broken in pieces." Wherefore this passage that we have quoted and this, God hath concluded them all in unbelief, and this, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, all these must be understood not as though God Himself were energising, but as though God were permitting, both because of free-will and because goodness knows no compulsion.
His permission, therefore, is usually spoken of in the Holy Scripture as His energy and work. Nay, even when He says that God creates evil things, and that there is no evil in a city that the Lord hath not done, he does not mean by these words that the Lord is the cause of evil, but the word 'evil' is used in two ways, with two meanings. For sometimes it means what is evil by nature, and this is the opposite of virtue and the will of God: and sometimes it means that which is evil and oppressive to our sensation, that is to say, afflictions and calamities. Now these are seemingly evil because they are painful, but in reality are good. For to those who understand they became ambassadors of conversion and salvation. The Scripture says that of these God is the Author.
It is, moreover, to be observed that of these, too, we are the cause: for involuntary evils are the offspring of voluntary ones.
This also should be recognised, that it is usual in the Scriptures for some things that ought to be considered as effects to be stated in a causal sense, as, Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Than mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and prevail when Thou judgest. For the sinner did not sin in order that God might prevail, nor again did God require our sin in order that He might by it be revealed as victor. For above comparison He wins the victor's prize against all, even against those who are sinless, being Maker, incomprehensible, uncreated, and possessing natural and not adventitious glory. But it is because when we sin God is not unjust in His anger against us; and when He pardons the penitent He is shewn victor over our wickedness. But it is not for this that we sin, but because the thing so turns out. It is just as if one were sitting at work and a friend stood near by, and one said, My friend came in order that I might do no work that day. The friend, however, was not present in order that the man should do no work, but such was the result. For being occupied with receiving his friend he did not work. These things, too, are spoken of as effects because affairs so turned out. Moreover, God does not wish that He alone should be just, but that all should, so far as possible, be made like unto Him.
That there are not two Kingdoms.
That there are not two kingdoms, one good and one bad, we shall see from this. For good and evil are opposed to one another and mutually destructive, and cannot exist in one another or with one another. Each of them, therefore, in its own division will belong to the whole, and first they will he circumscribed, not by the whole alone but also each of them by part of the whole.
Next I ask, who it is that assigns to each its place. For they will not affirm that they have come to a friendly agreement with, or been reconciled to, one another. For evil is not evil when it is at peace with, and reconciled to, goodness, nor is goodness good when it is on amicable terms with evil. But if He Who has marked off to each of these its own sphere of action is something different from them, He must the rather be God.
One of two things indeed is necessary, either that they come in contact with and destroy one another, or that there exists some intermediate place where neither goodness nor evil exists, separating both from one another, like a partition. And so there will be no longer two but three kingdoms.
Again, one of these alternatives is necessary, either that they are at peace, which is quite incompatible with evil (for that which is at peace is not evil), or they are at strife, which is incompatible with goodness (for that which is at strife is not perfectly good), or the evil is at strife and the good does not retaliate, but is destroyed by the evil, or they are ever in trouble and distress, which is not a mark of goodness. There is, therefore, but one kingdom, delivered from all evil.
But if this is so, they say, whence comes evil? For it is quite impossible that evil should originate from goodness. We answer then, that evil is nothing else than absence of goodness and a lapsing from what is natural into what is unnatural: for nothing evil is natural. For all things, whatsoever God made, are very good, so far as they were made: if, therefore, they remain just as they were created, they are very good, but when they voluntarily depart from what is natural and turn to what is unnatural, they slip into evil.
By nature, therefore, all things are servants of the Creator and obey Him. Whenever, then, any of His creatures voluntarily rebels and becomes disobedient to his Maker, he introduces evil into himself. For evil is not any essence nor a property of essence, but an accident, that is, a voluntary deviation from what is natural into what is unnatural, which is sin.
Whence, then, comes sin? It is an invention of the free-will of the devil. Is the devil, then, evil? In so far as he was brought into existence he is not evil but good. For he was created by his Maker a bright and very brilliant angel, endowed with free-will as being rational. But he voluntarily departed from the virtue that is natural and came into the darkness of evil, being far removed from God, Who alone is good and can give life and light. For from Him every good thing derives its goodness, and so far as it is separated from Him in will (for it is not in place), it falls into evil.
The purpose for which God in His foreknowledge created persons who would sin and not repent.
God in His goodness brought what exists into being out of nothing, and has foreknowledge of what will exist in the future. If, therefore, they were not to exist in the future, they would neither be evil in the future nor would they be foreknown. For knowledge is of what exists and foreknowledge is of what will surely exist in the future. For simple being comes first and then good or evil being. But if the very existence of those, who through the goodness of God are in the future to exist, were to be prevented by the fact that they were to become evil of their own choice, evil would have prevailed over the goodness of God. Wherefore God makes all His works good, but each becomes of its own choice good or evil. Although, then, the Lord said, Good were it for that man that he had never been born, He said it in condemnation not of His own creation but of the evil which His own creation had acquired by his own choice and through his own heedlessness. For the heedlessness that marks man's judgment made His Creator's beneficence of no profit to him. It is just as if any one, when he had obtained riches and dominion from a king, were to lord it over his benefactor, who, when he has worsted him, will punish him as he deserves, if he should see him keeping hold of the sovereignty to the end.
Concerning the law of God and the law of sin.
The Deity is good and more than good, and so is His will. For that which God wishes is good. Moreover the precept, which teaches this, is law, that we, holding by it, may walk in light: and the transgression of this precept is sin, and this continues to exist on account of the assault of the devil and our unconstrained and voluntary reception of it. And this, too, is called law.
And so the law of God, settling in our mind, draws it towards itself and pricks our conscience. And our conscience, too, is called a law of our mind. Further, the assault of the wicked one, that is the law of sin, settling in the members of our flesh, makes its assault upon us through it. For by once voluntarily transgressing the law of God and receiving the assault of the wicked one, we gave entrance to it, being sold by ourselves to sin. Wherefore our body is readily impelled to it. And so the savour and perception of sin that is stored up in our body, that is to say, lust and pleasure of the body, is law in the members of our flesh.
Therefore the law of my mind, that is, the conscience, sympathises with the law of God, that is, the precept, and makes that its will. But the law of sin, that is to say, the assault made through the law that is in our members, or through the lust and inclination and movement of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, is in opposition to the law of my mind, that is to conscience, and takes me captive (even though I make the law of God my will and set my love on it, and make not sin my will), by reason of commixture: and through the softness of pleasure and the lust of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, as I said, it leads me astray and induces me to become the servant of sin. But what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (for He assumed flesh but not sin) condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but in the Spirit. For the Spirit helpeth our infirmities and affordeth power to the law of our mind, against the law that is in our members. For the verse, we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered, itself teacheth us what to pray for. Hence it is impossible to carry out the precepts of the Lord except by patience and prayer.
Against the Jews on the question Sabbath.
The seventh day is called the Sabbath and signifies rest. For in it God rested from all His works, as the divine Scripture says: and so the number of the days goes up to seven and then circles back again and begins at the first. This is the precious number with the Jews. God having ordained that it should be held in honour, and that in no chance fashion but with the imposition of most heavy penalties for the transgression. And it was not in a simple fashion that He ordained this, but for certain reasons understood mystically by the spiritual and clear-sighted.
So far, indeed, as I in my ignorance know, to begin with inferior and more dense things, God, knowing the denseness of the Israelites and their carnal love and propensity towards matter in everything, made this law: first, in order that the servant and the cattle should rest as it is written, for the righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: next, in order that when they take their ease from the distraction of material things, they may gather together unto God, spending the whole of the seventh day in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and the study of the divine Scriptures and resting in God. For when the law did not exist and there was no divinely-inspired Scripture, the Sabbath was not consecrated to God. But when the divinely-inspired Scripture was given by Moses, the Sabbath was consecrated to God in order that on it they, who do not dedicate their whole life to God, and who do not make their desire subservient to the as though to a Father, but are like foolish servants, may on that day talk much concerning the exercise of it, and may abstract a small, truly a most insignificant, portion of their life for the service of God, and this from fear of the chastisements and punishments which threaten transgressors. For the law is not made for a righteous man but for the unrighteous. Moses, of a truth, was the first to abide fasting with God for forty days and again for another forty, and thus doubtless to afflict himself with hunger on the Sabbaths although the law forbade self- affliction on the Sabbath. But if they should object that this took place before the law, what will they say about Elias the Thesbite who accomplished a journey of forty days on one meal? For he, by thus afflicting himself on the Sabbaths not only with hunger but with the forty days' journeying, broke the Sabbath: and yet God, Who gave the law, was not wroth with him but shewed Himself to him on Choreb as a reward for his virtue. And what will they say about Daniel? Did he not spend three weeks without food? And again, did not all Israel circumcise the child on the Sabbath, if it happened to be the eighth day after birth? And do they not hold the great fast which the law enjoins if it falls on the Sabbath? And further, do not the priests and the Levites profane the Sabbath in the works of the tabernacle and yet are held blameless? Yea, if an ox should fall into a pit on the Sabbath, he who draws it forth is blameless, while he who neglects to do so is condemned. And did not all the Israelites compass the walls of Jericho bearing the Ark of God for seven days, in which assuredly the Sabbath was included. As I said, therefore, for the purpose of securing leisure to worship God in order that they might, both servant and beast of burden, devote a very small share to Him and be at rest, the observance of the Sabbath was devised for the carnal that were still childish and in the bonds of the elements of the world, and unable to conceive of anything beyond the body and the letter. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Only- begotten Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons. For to as many of us as received Him, He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on Him. So that we are no longer servants but sons: no longer under the law but under grace: no longer do we serve God in part from fear, but we are bound to dedicate to Him the whole span of our life, and cause that servant, I mean wrath and desire, to cease from sin and bid it devote itself to the service of God, always directing our whole desire towards God and arming our wrath against the enemies of God: and likewise we hinder that beast of burden, that is the body, from the servitude of sin, and urge it forwards to assist to the uttermost the divine precepts.
These are the things which the spiritual law of Christ enjoins on us and those who observe that become superior to the law of Moses. For when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away: and when the covering of the law, that is, the veil, is rent asunder through the crucifixion of the Saviour, and the Spirit shines forth with tongues of fire, the letter shall be done away with, bodily things shall come to an end, the law of servitude shall be fulfilled, and the law of liberty be bestowed on us. Yea we shall celebrate the perfect rest of bureau nature, I mean the day after the resurrection, on which the Lord Jesus, the Author of Life and our Saviour, shall lead us into the heritage promised to those who serve God in the spirit, a heritage into which He entered Himself as our forerunner after He rose from the dead, and whereon, the gates of Heaven being opened to Him, He took His seat in bodily form at the right hand of the Father, where those who keep the spiritual law shall also come.
What belongs to us, therefore, who walk by the spirit and not by the letter, is the complete abandonment of carnal things, the spiritual service and communion with God. For circumcision is the abandonment of carnal pleasure and of whatever is superfluous and unnecessary. For the foreskin is nothing else than the skin which it superfluous to the organ of lust. And, indeed, every pleasure which does not arise from God nor is in God is superfluous to pleasure: and of that the foreskin is the type. The Sabbath, moreover, is the cessation from sin; so that both things happen to be one, and so both together, when observed by those who are spiritual, do not bring about any breach of the law at all.
Further, observe that the number seven denotes all the present time, as the most wise Solomon says, to give a portion to seven and also to eight. And David, the divine singer when he composed the eighth psalm, sang of the future restoration after the resurrection from the dead. Since the Law, therefore, enjoined that the seventh day should be spent in rest from carnal things and devoted to spiritual things, it was a mystic indication to the true Israelite who had a mind to see God, that he should through all time offer himself to God and rise higher than carnal things.
Carnal men abuse virginity, and the pleasure-loving bring forward the following verse in proof, Cursed be every one that raiseth not up seed in Israel. But we, made confident by God the Word that was made flesh of the Virgin, answer that virginity was implanted in man's nature from above and in the beginning. For man was formed of virgin soil. From Adam alone was Eve created. In Paradise virginity held sway. Indeed, Divine Scripture tells that both Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed. But after their transgression they knew that they were naked, and in their shame they sewed aprons for themselves. And when, after the transgression, Adam heard, dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return, when death entered into the world by reason of the transgression, then Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare seed. So that to prevent the wearing out and destruction of the race by death, marriage was devised that the race of men may be preserved through the procreation of children.
But they will perhaps ask, what then is the meaning of "male and female," and "Be fruitful and multiply?" In answer we shall say that "Be fruitful and multiply" does not altogether refer to the multiplying by the marriage connection. For God had power to multiply the race also in different ways, if they kept the precept unbroken to the end. But God, Who knoweth all things before they have existence, knowing in His foreknowledge that they would fall into transgression in the future and be condemned to death, anticipated this and made "male and female," and bade them "be fruitful and multiply." Let us, then, proceed on our way and see the glories of virginity: and this also includes chastity.
Noah when he was commanded to enter the ark and was entrusted with the preservation of the seed of the world received this command, Go in, saith the Lord, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives. He separated them from their wives in order that with purity they might escape the flood and that shipwreck of the whole world. After the cessation of the flood, however, He said, Go forth of the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives. Lo, again, marriage is granted for the sake of the multiplication of the race. Next, Elias, the fire-breathing charioteer and sojourner in heaven did not embrace celibacy, and yet was not his virtue attested by his super-human ascension? Who closed the heavens? Who raised the dead? Who divided Jordan? Was it not the virginal Elias? And did not Elisha, his disciple, after he had given proof of equal virtue, ask and obtain as an inheritance a double portion of the grace of the Spirit? What of the three youths? Did they not by practising virginity become mightier than fire, their bodies through virginity being made proof against the fire? And was it not Daniel's body that was so hardened by virginity that the wild beasts' teeth could not fasten in it. Did not God, when He wished the Israelites to see Him, bid them purify the body? Did not the priests purify themselves and so approach the temple's shrine and offer victims? And did not the law call chastity the great vow?
The precept of the law, therefore, is to be taken in a more spiritual sense. For there is spiritual seed which is conceived through the love and fear of God in the spiritual womb, travailing and bringing forth the spirit of salvation. And in this sense must be understood this verse: Blessed is he who hath seed in Zion and posterity in Jerusalem. For does it mean that, although he be a whoremonger and a drunkard and an idolater, he is still blessed if only he hath seed in Sion and posterity in Jerusalem? No one in his senses will say this.
Virginity is the rule of life among the angels, the property of all incorporeal nature. This we say without speaking ill of marriage: God forbid! (for we know that the Lord blessed marriage by His presence, and we know him who said, Marriage is and the bed undefiled), but knowing that virginity is better than marriage, however good. For among the virtues, equally as among the vices, there are higher and lower grades. We know that all mortals after the first parents of the race are the offspring of marriage. For the first parents were the work of virginity and not of marriage. But celibacy is, as we said, an imitation of the angels. Wherefore virginity is as much more honourable than marriage, as the angel is higher than man. But why do I say angel? Christ Himself is the glory of virginity, who was not only-begotten of the Father without beginning or emission or connection, but also became man in our image, being made flesh for our sakes of the Virgin without connection, and manifesting in Himself the true and perfect virginity. Wherefore, although He did not enjoin that on us by law (for as He said, all men cannot receive this saying), yet in actual fact He taught us that and gave us strength for it. For it is surely clear to every one that virginity now is flourishing among men.
Good indeed is the procreation of children enjoined by the law, and good is marriage on account of fornications, for it does away with these, and by lawful intercourse does not permit the madness of desire to he caromed into unlawful acts. Good is marriage for those who have no continence: but that virginity is better which increases the fruitfulness of the soul and offers to God the seasonable fruit of prayer. Marriage is honourable and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Concerning the Circumcision.
The Circumcision was given to Abraham before the law, after the blessings, after the promise, as a sign separating him and his offspring and his household from the Gentiles with whom he lived. And this is evident, for when the Israelites passed forty years alone by themselves in the desert, having no intercourse with any other race, all that were horn in the desert were uncircumcised: but when Joshua led them across Jordan, they were circumcised, and a second law of circumcision was instituted. For in Abraham's time the law of circumcision was given, and for the forty years in the desert it fell into abeyance. And again for the second time God gave the law of Circumcision to Joshua, after the crossing of Jordan, according as it is written in the book of Joshua, the son of Nun: At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee knives of stone from the sharp rock, and assemble and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time; and a little later: For the children of Israel walked forty and two years in the wilderness of Battaris, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were uncircumcised, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that He would not shew them the goad land, which the Lord swore unto their fathers that He would give them, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom He raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. So that the circumcision was a sign, dividing Israel from the Gentiles with whom they dwelt.
It was, moreover, a figure of baptism. For just as the circumcision does not cut off a useful member of the body but only a useless superfluity, so by the holy baptism we are circumcised from sin, and sin clearly is, so to speak, the superfluous part of desire and not useful desire. For it is quite impossible that any one should have no desire at all nor ever experience the taste of pleasure. But the useless part of pleasure, that is to say, useless desire and pleasure, it is this that is sin from which holy baptism circumcises us, giving us as a token the precious cross on the brow, not to divide us from the Gentiles (for all the nations received baptism and were sealed with the sign of the Cross), but to distinguish in each nation the faithful from the Faithless. Wherefore, when the truth is revealed, circumcision is a senseless figure and shade. So circumcision is now superfluous and contrary to holy baptism. For he who is circumcised is a debtor to do the whale law. Further, the Lord was circumcised that He might fulfil the law: and He fulfilled the whole law and observed the Sabbath that He might fulfil and establish the law. Moreover after He was baptized and the Holy Spirit had appeared to men, descending on Him in the form of a dove, from that time the spiritual service and conduct of life and the Kingdom of Heaven was preached.
CHAPTER XXVI. Concerning the Antichrist.
It should be known that the Antichrist is hound to come. Every one, therefore, who confesses not that the Son of God came in the flesh and is perfect God and became perfect man, after being God, is Antichrist. But in a peculiar and special sense he who comes at the consummation of the age is called Antichrist. First, then, it is requisite that the Gospel should be preached among all nations, as the Lord said, and then he will come to refute the impious Jews. For the Lord said to them: I am come in My Father's name and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. And the apostle says, Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, for this cause Gad shall send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. The Jews accordingly did not receive the Lord Jesus Christ who was the Son of God and God, but receive the impostor who calls himself God. For that he will assume the name of God, the angel teaches Daniel, saying these words, Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers. And the apostle says: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son, of perdition: who opposeth and exalleth himself above all that is called Gad or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God; in the temple of God he said; not our temple, but the old Jewish temple. For he will come not to us but to the Jews: not for Christ or the things of Christ: wherefore he is called Antichrist.
First, therefore, it is necessary that the Gospel should be preached among all nations: And then shall that wicked one be revealed, even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, whom the Lord shall consume with the word of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. The devil himself, therefore does not become man in the way that the Lord was made man. God forbid! but he becomes man as the offspring of fornication and receiveth all the energy of Satan. For God, foreknowing the strangeness of the choice that he would make, allows the devil to take up his abode in him.
He is, therefore, as we said, the offspring of fornication and is nurtured in secret, and on a sudden he rises up and rebels and assumes rule. And in the beginning of his rule, or rather tyranny, he assumes the role of sanctity. But when he becomes master he persecutes the Church of God and displays all his wickedness. But he will come with signs and lying wonders, fictitious and not real, and he will deceive and lead away from the living God those whose mind rests on an unsound and unstable foundation, so that even the elect shall, if it be possible, be made to stumble.
But Enoch and Elias the Thesbite shall be sent and shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, that is, the synagogue to our Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of the apostles: and they will be destroyed by him. And the Lord shall come out of heaven, just as the holy apostles beheld Him going into heaven perfect God and perfect man, with glory and power, and will destroy the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, with the breath of His mouth. Let no one, therefore, look for the Lord to come from earth, but out of Heaven, as He himself has made sure.
Concerning the Resurrection.
We believe also in the resurrection of the dead. For there will be in truth, there will be, a resurrection of the dead, and by resurrection we mean resurrection of bodies. For resurrection is the second state of that which has fallen. For the souls are immortal, and hence how can they rise again? For if they define death as the separation of soul and body, resurrection surely is the re-union of soul and body, and the second state of the living creature that has suffered dissolution and downfall. It is, then, this very body, which is corruptible and liable to dissolution, that will rise again incorruptible. For He, who made it in the beginning of the sand of the earth, does not lack the power to raise it up again after it has been dissolved again and returned to the earth from which it was taken, in accordance with the reversal of the Creator's judgment.
For if there is no resurrection, let us eat and drink: let us pursue a life of pleasure and enjoyment. If there is no resurrection, wherein do we differ from the irrational brutes? If there is no resurrection, let us hold the wild beasts of the field happy who have a life free from sorrow. If there is no resurrection, neither is there any God nor Providence, but all things are driven and borne along of themselves. For observe how we see most righteous men suffering hunger and injustice and receiving no help in the present life, while sinners and unrighteous men abound in riches and every delight. And who in his senses would take this for the work of a righteous judgment or a wise providence? There must be, therefore, there must be, a resurrection. For God is just and is the rewarder of those who submit patiently to Him. Wherefore if it is the soul alone that engages in the contests of virtue, it is also the soul alone that will receive the crown. And if it were the soul alone that revels in pleasures, it would also be the soul alone that would be justly punished. But since the soul does not pursue either virtue or vice separate from the body, both together will obtain that which is their just due.
Nay, the divine Scripture bears witness that there will be a resurrection of the body. God in truth says to Moses after the flood, Even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, for his blood his own shall be shed, for in the image of God made I man. How will He require the blood of man at the hand of every beast, unless because the bodies of dead men will rise again? For not for man will the beasts die.
And again to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob: God is not the God of the dead (that is, those who are dead and will be no more), but of the living, whose souls indeed live in His hand, but whose bodies will again come to life through the resurrection. And David, sire of the Divine, says to God, Thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust. See how he speaks about bodies. Then he subjoins this, Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth.
Further Isaiah says: The dead shall rise again, and they that are in the graves shall awake. And it is clear that the souls do not lie in the graves, but the bodies.
And again, the blessed Ezekiel says: And it was as I prophesied, and behold a shaking and the bones came together, bone to his bone, each to its own joint: and when I beheld, lo, the sinews came up upon them and the flesh grew and rose up on them and the skin covered them above. And later he teaches how the spirits came back when they were bidden.
And divine Daniel also says: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such trouble as never was since there was a nation on the earth even to that same time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and out of the multitude of the just shall shine like stars into the ages and beyond. The words, many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, clearly shew that there will be a resurrection of bodies. For no one surely would say that the souls sleep in the dust of the earth.
Moreover, even the Lord in the holy Gospels clearly allows that there is a resurrection of the bodies. For they that are in the graves, He says, shall hear His voice and shall come forth: they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. Now no one in his senses would ever say that the souls are in the graves.
But it was not only by word, but also by deed, that the Lord revealed the resurrection of the bodies. First He raised up Lazarus, even after he had been dead four days, and was stinking. For He did not raise the soul without the body, but the body along with the soul: and not another body but the very one that was corrupt. For how could the resurrection of the dead man have been known or believed if it had not been established by his characteristic properties? But it was in fact to make the divinity of His own nature manifest and to confirm the belief in His own and our resurrection, that He raised up Lazarus who was destined once more to die. And the Lord became Himself the first-fruits of the perfect resurrection that is no longer subject to death Wherefore also the divine Apostle Paul said: If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain: we are jet in our sins. And, Now, is Christ risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that slept, and the first-born pyre the dead; and again, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. Even so, he said, as Christ rose again. Moreover, that the resurrection of the Lord was the union of uncorrupted body and soul (for it was these that had been divided) is manifest: for He said, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. And the holy Gospel is a trustworthy witness that He spoke of His own body. Handle Me and see, the Lord said to His own disciples when they were thinking that they saw a spirit, that it is I Myself, and that I am not changed: for a spirit hath not flesh or bones, as ye see Me have. And when He had said this He shewed them His hands and His side, and stretched them forward for Thomas to touch. Is not this sufficient to establish belief in the resurrection of bodies?
Again the divine apostle says, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. And again: It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sawn in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown a natural body (that is to say, crass and mortal), it is raised a spiritual body, such as was our Lord's body after the resurrection which passed through closed doors, was unwearying, had no need of food, or sleep, or drink. For they will be, saith the Lord, as the angels of God: there will no longer be marriage nor procreation of children. The divine apostle, in truth, says, For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus, Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body: not meaning change into another form (God forbid!), but rather the change from corruption into incorruption.
But some one will say, How are the dead raised up? Oh, what disbelief! Oh, what folly! Will He, Who at His solitary will changed earth into body, Who commanded the little drop of seed to grow in the mother's womb and become in the end this varied and manifold organ of the body, not the rather raise up again at His solitary will that which was and is dissolved? And with what body do they come? Thou fool, if thy hardness will not permit you to believe the words of God, at least believe His works. For that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. Behold, therefore, how the seed is buried in the furrows as in tombs. Who is it that giveth them roots and stalk and leaves and ears and the most delicate beards? Is it not the Maker of the universe? Is it not at the bidding of Him Who hath contrived all things? Believe, therefore, in this wise, even that the resurrection of the dead will come to pass at the divine will and sign. For He has power that is able to keep pace with His will.
We shall therefore rise again, our souls being once more united with our bodies, now made incorruptible and having put off corruption, and we shall stand beside the awful judgment-seat of Christ: and the devil and his demons and the man that is his, that is the Antichrist and the impious and the sinful, will be given over to everlasting fire: not material fire like our fire, but such fire as God would know. But those who have done good will shine forth as the sun with the angels into life eternal, with our Lord Jesus Christ, ever seeing Him and being in His sight and deriving unceasing joy from Him, praising Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit throughout the limitless ages of ages. Amen.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/IX, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.