Delivered at Constantinople about the middle of the year 380.

I. WHERE are they who reproach us with our poverty, and boast themselves of their own riches; who define the Church by numbers,(<greek>a</greek>) and scorn the little flock; and who measure Godhead,(<greek>b</greek>) and weigh the people in the balance, who honour the sand, and despise the luminaries of heaven; who treasure pebbles and overlook pearls; for they know not that sand is not in a greater degree more abundant than stars, and pebbles than lustrous stones--that the former are purer and more precious than the latter? Are you again indignant? Do you again arm yourselves? Do you again insult us?(<greek>a</greek>) Is this a new faith? Restrain your threats a little while that I may speak. We will not insult you, but we will convict you; we will not threaten, but we will reproach you; we will not strike, but we will heal. This too appears an insult! What pride! Do you here also regard your equal as your slave? If not, permit me to speak openly; for even a brother chides his brother if he has been defrauded by him.

II. Would you like me to utter to you the words of God to Israel, stiff-necked and hardened? "O my people what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I injured thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?"(<greek>b</greek>) This language indeed is fitter from me to you who insult me. It is a sad thing that we watch for opportunities against each other, and having destroyed our fellowship of spirit by diversities of opinion have become almost more inhuman and savage to one another than even the barbarians who are now engaged in war against us, banded together against us by the Trinity whom we have separated; with this difference that we are not foreigners making forays and raids upon foreigners, nor nations of different language, which is some little consolation in the calamity, but are making war upon one another, and almost upon those of the same household; or if you will, we the members of the same body are consuming and being consumed by one another. Nor is this, bad though it be, the extent of our calamity, for we even regard our diminution as a gain. But since we are in such a condition, and regulate our faith by the times, let us compare the times with one another; you your Emperor,(<greek>g</greek>) and I my Sovereigns;(<greek>d</greek>) you Ahab and I Josias. Tell me of your moderation, and I will proclaim my violence. But indeed yours is proclaimed by many books and tongues, which I think future ages will accept as an immortal pillory for your actions and I will declare my own.

III. What tumultuous mob have I led against you? What soldiers have I armed? What general boiling with rage, and more savage than his employers, and not even a Christian, but one who offers his impiety against us as his private worship to his own gods?(<greek>e</greek>) Whom have I besieged while engaged in prayer and lifting up their hands to God? When have I put a stop to psalmody with trumpets? or mingled the Sacramental Blood with blood of massacre? What spiritual sighs have I put an end to by cries of death, or tears of penitence by tears of tragedy? What House of prayer have I made a burialplace? What liturgical vessels which the multitude may not touch have I given over to the hands of the wicked, of a Nebuzaradan,(<greek>a</greek>) chief of the cooks, or of a Belshazzar, who wickedly used the sacred vessels for his revels,(<greek>b</greek>) and then paid a worthy penalty for his madness? "Altars beloved" as Holy Scripture saith, but ''now defiled."(<greek>g</greek>) And what licentious youth has insulted you for our sake with shameful writhings and contortions? O precious Throne, seat and rest of precious men, which hast been occupied by a succession of pious Priests, who from ancient times have taught the divine Mysteries, what heathen popular speaker and evil tongue hath mounted thee to inveigh against the Christian's faith? O modesty and majesty of Virgins, that cannot endure the looks of even virtuous men, which of us hath shamed thee, and outraged thee by the exposure of what may not be seen, and showed to the eyes of the impious a pitiable sight, worthy of the fires of Sodom? I say nothing of deaths, which were more endurable than this shame.

IV. What wild beasts have we let loose upon the bodies of Saints,--like some who have prostituted human nature,--on one single accusation, that of not consenting to their impiety; or defiled ourselves by communion with them, which we avoid like the poison of a snake, not because it injures the body, but because it blackens the depths of the soul? Against whom have we made it a matter of criminal accusation that they buried the dead, whom the very beasts reverenced? And what a charge, worthy of another theatre and of other beasts! What Bishop's aged flesh have we carded with hooks in the presence of their disciples, impotent to help them save by tears, hung up with Christ, conquering by suffering, and sprinkling the people with their precious blood, and at last carried away to death, to be both crucified and buried and glorified with Christ; with Christ Who conquered the world by such victims and sacrifices? What priests have those contrary elements fire and water divided, raising a strange beacon over the sea, and set on fire together with the ship in which they put to sea?(<greek>a</greek>) Who (to cover the more numerous part of our woes with a veil of silence) have been accused of inhumanity by the very magistrates who conferred such favour on them? For even if they did obey the lusts of those men, yet at any rate they hated the cruelty of their purpose. The one was opportunism, the other calculation; the one came of the lawlessness of the Emperor, the other of a consciousness of the laws by which they had to judge.

V. And to speak of older things, for they too belong to the same fraternity; whose hands living or dead have I cut off--to bring a lying accusation against Saints,(<greek>b</greek>) and to triumph over the faith by bluster? Whose exiles have I numbered as benefits, and failed to reverence even the sacred colleges of sacred philosophers, whence I sought their suppliants? Nay the very contrary is the case; I have reckoned as Martyrs those who incurred anger for the truth. Upon whom have I, whom you accuse of licentiousness of language, brought harlots when they were almost fleshless and bloodless? Which of the faithful have I exiled from their country and given over to the hands of lawless men, that they might be kept like wild beasts in rooms without light, and (for this is the saddest part of the tragedy) left separated from each other to endure the hardships of hunger and thirst, with food measured out to them, which they had to receive through narrow openings, so that they might not be permitted even to see their companions in misery. And what were they who suffered thus? Men of whom the world was not worthy.(<greek>g</greek>) Is it thus that you honour faith? Is this your kind treatment of it? Ye know not the greater part of these things, and that reasonably, because of the number of these facts and the pleasure of the action. But he who suffers has a better memory. There have been even some more cruel than the times themselves, like wild boars hurled against a fence. I demand your victim of yesterday(<greek>a</greek>) the old man, the Abraham-like Father, whom on his return from exile you greeted with stones in the middle of the day and in the middle of the city. But we, if it is not invidious to say so, begged off even our murderers from their danger. God says somewhere in Scripture, How shall I pardon thee for this?(<greek>b</greek>) Which of these things shall I praise; or rather for which shall I bind a wreath upon you?

VI. Now since your antecedents are such, I should be glad if you too will tell me of my crimes, that I may either amend my life or be put to shame. My greatest wish is that I may be found free from wrong altogether; but if this may not be, at least to be converted from my crime; for this is the second best portion of the prudent. For if like the just man I do not become my own accuser in the first instance,(<greek>g</greek>) yet at any rate I gladly receive healing from another. "Your City, you say to me, is a little one, or rather is no city at all, but only a village, arid, without beauty, and with few inhabitants." But, my good friend, this is my misfortune, rather than my fault;--if indeed it be a misfortune; and if it is against my will, I am to be pitied for my bad luck, if I may put it so; but if it be willingly, I am a philosopher. Which of these is a crime? Would anyone abuse a dolphin for not being a land animal, or an ox because it is not aquatic, or a lamprey because it is amphibious? But we, you go on, have walls and theatres and racecourses and palaces, and beautiful great Porticoes, and that marvellous work the underground and overhead river,(<greek>d</greek>) and the splendid and admired column,(<greek>e</greek>) and the crowded marketplace and a restless people, and a famous senate of highborn men.

VII. Why do you not also mention the convenience of the site, and what I may call the contest between land and sea as to which owns the City, and which adorns our Royal City with all their good things? This then is our crime, that while you are great and splendid, we are small and come from a small place? Many others do you this wrong, indeed all those whom you excel; and must we die because we have not reared a city, nor built walls around it, nor can boast of our racecourse, or our stadia, and pack of hounds, and all the follies that are connected with these things; nor have to boast of the beauty and splendour of our baths, and the costliness of their marbles and pictures and golden embroideries of all sorts of species, almost rivalling nature? Nor have we yet rounded off the sea for ourselves, or mingled the seasons, as of course you, the new Creators, have done, that we may live in what is at once the pleasantest and the safest way. Add if you like other charges, you who say, The silver is mine and the gold is mine,(<greek>a</greek>) those words of God. We neither think much of riches, on which, if they increase, our Law forbids us to set our hearts, nor do we count up yearly and daily revenues; nor do we rival one another in loading our tables with enchantments for our senseless belly. For neither do we highly esteem those things which after we have swallowed them are all of the same worth, or rather I should say worthlessness, and are rejected. But we live so simply and from hand to mouth, as to differ but little from beasts whose sustenance is without apparatus and inartificial.

VIII. Do you also find fault with the raggedness of my dress, and the want of elegance in the disposition of my face? for these are the points upon which I see that some persons who are very insignificant pride themselves. Will you leave my head alone, and not jeer at it, as the children did at Elissaeus? What followed I will not mention. And will you leave out of your allegations my want of education, and what seems to you the roughness and rusticity of my elocution? And where will you put the fact that I am not full of small talk, nor a jester popular with company, nor great hunter of the marketplace, nor given to chatter and gossip with any chance people upon all sorts of subjects, so as to make even conversation grievous; nor a frequenter of Zeuxippus, that new Jerusalem;(<greek>b</greek>) nor one who strolls from house to house flattering and stuffing himself; but for the most part staying at home, of low spirits and with a melancholy cast of countenance, quietly associating with myself, the genuine critic of my actions; and perhaps worthy of imprisonment for my uselessness? How is it that you pardon me for all this, and do not blame me for it? How sweet and kind you are.

IX. But I am so old fashioned and such a philosopher as to believe that one heaven is common to all; and that so is the revolution of the sun and the moon, and the order and arrangement of the stars; and that all have in Common an equal share and profit in day and night, and also change of seasons, rains, fruits, and quickening power of the air; and that the flowing rivers are a common and abundant wealth to all; and that one and the same is the Earth, the mother and the tomb, from which we were taken, and to which we shall return, none having a greater share than another. And further, above this, we have in common reason, the Law, the Prophets, the very Sufferings of Christ, by which we were all without exception created anew, who partake of the same Adam, and were led astray by the serpent and slain by sin, and are saved by the heavenly Adam and brought back by the tree of shame to the tree of life from whence we had fallen.

X. I was deceived too by the Ramah of Samuel, that little fatherland of the great man; which was no dishonour to the Prophet, for it drew its honour not so much from itself as from him; nor was he hindered on its account from being given to God before his birth, or from uttering oracles, and foreseeing the future; nor only so, but also anointing Kings and Priests, and judging the men of illustrious cities. I heard also of Saul, how while seeking his father's asses he found a kingdom. And even David himself was taken from the sheepfolds to be the shepherd of Israel. What of Amos? Was he not, while a goatherd and scraper of sycamore fruit entrusted with the gifts of prophecy? How is it that I have passed over Joseph, who was both a slave and the giver of corn to Egypt, and the father of many myriads who were promised before to Abraham? Aye and I was deceived by the Carmel of Elias, who received the car of fire; and by the sheepskin of Elissaeus that had more power than a silken web or than gold forced into garments. I was deceived by the desert of John, which held the greatest among them that are born of women, with that clothing, that food, that girdle, which we know. And I ventured even beyond these, and found God Himself the Patron of my rusticity. I will range myself with Bethlehem, and will share the ignominy of the Manger; for since you refuse on this account honour to God, it is no wonder that on the same account you despise His herald also. And I will bring up to you the Fishermen, and the poor to whom the Gospel is preached, as preferred before many rich. Will you ever leave off priding yourselves upon your cities? Will you ever revere that wilderness which you abominate and despise? I do not yet say that gold has its birthplace in sand; nor that translucent stones are the product and gifts of rocks; for if to these I should oppose all that is dishonourable in cities perhaps it would be to no good end that I should use my freedom of speech.

XI. But perhaps some one who is very circumscribed and carnally minded will say, "But our herald is a stranger and a foreigner." What of the Apostles? Were not they strangers to the many nations and cities among whom they were divided, that the Gospel might have free course everywhere, that nothing might miss the illumination of the Threefold Light, or be unenlightened by the Truth; but that the night of ignorance might be dissolved for those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death? You have heard the words of Paul, "that we might go the Gentiles, and they to the Circumcision."(<greek>a</greek>) Be it that Judaea is Peter's home; what has Paul in common with the Gentiles, Luke with Achaia, Andrew with Epirus, John with Ephesus, Thomas with India, Marc with Italy, or the rest, not to go into particulars, with those to whom they went? So that you must either blame them or excuse me, or else prove that you, the ambassadors of the true Gospel, are being insulted by trifling. But since I have argued with you in a petty way about these matters, I will now proceed to take a larger and more philosophic view of them.

XII. My friend, every one that is of high mind has one Country, the Heavenly Jerusalem, in which we store up our Citizenship. All have one family--if you look at what is here below the dust--or if you look higher, that In-breathing of which we are partakers, and which we were bidden to keep, and with which I must stand before my Judge to give an account of my heavenly nobility, and of the Divine Image. Everyone then is noble who has guarded this through virtue and consent to his Archetype. On the other hand, everyone is ignoble who has mingled with evil, and put upon himself another form, that of the serpent. And these earthly countries and families are the playthings of this our temporary life and scene. For our country is whatever each may have first occupied, either as tyrant, or in misfortune; and in this we are all alike strangers and pilgrims, however much we may play with names. And the family is accounted noble which is either rich from old days, or is recently raised; and of ignoble birth that which is of poor parents, either owing to misfortune or to want of ambition. For how can a nobility be given from above which is at one time beginning and at another coming to an end; and which is not given to some, but is bestowed on others by letters patent? Such is my mind on this matter. Therefore I leave it to you to pride yourself on tombs or in myths, and I endeavour as far as I can, to purify myself from deceits, that I may keep if possible my nobility, or else may recover it.

XIII. It is thus then and for these reasons that I, who am small and of a country without repute, have come upon you, and that not of my own accord, nor self-sent, like many of those who now seize upon the chief places; but because I was invited, and compelled, and have followed the scruples of my conscience and the Call of the Spirit. If it be otherwise, may I continue to fight here to no purpose, and deliver no one from his error, but may they obtain their desire who seek the barrenness of my soul, if I lie. But since I am come, and perchance with no contemptible power (if I may boast myself a little of my folly), which of those who are insatiable have I copied, what have I emulated of opportunism, although I have such examples, even apart from which it is hard and rare not to be bad? Concerning what churches or property have I disputed with you; though you have more than enough of both, and the others too little? What imperial edict have we rejected and emulated? What rulers have we fawned upon against you? Whose boldness have we denounced? And what has been done on the other side against me? "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," even then I said, for I remembered in season the words of Stephen,(<greek>a</greek>) and so I pray now. Being reviled, we bless: being blasphemed we retreat.(<greek>b</greek>)

XIV. And if I am doing wrong in this, that when tyrannized over I endure it, forgive me this wrong; I have borne to be tyrannized over by others too; and I am thankful that my moderation has brought upon me the charge of folly. For I reckon thus, using considerations altogether higher than any of yours; what a mere fraction are these trials of the spittings and blows which Christ, for Whom and by Whose aid we encounter these dangers, endured. I do not count them, taken altogether, worth the one crown of thorns which robbed our conqueror of his crown, for whose sake also I learn that I am crowned for the hardness of life. I do not reckon them worth the one reed by which the rotten empire was destroyed; of the gall alone, the vinegar alone, by which we were cured of the bitter taste; of the gentleness alone which He shewed in His Passion. Was He betrayed with a kiss? He reproves with a kiss, but smites not. Is he suddenly arrested? He reproaches indeed, but follows; and if through zeal thou cuttest off the ear of Malchus with the sword, He will be angry, and will restore it. And if one flee in a linen sheet,(<greek>a</greek>) he will defend him. And if you ask for the fire of Sodom upon his captors, he will not pour it forth; and if he take a thief hanging upon the cross for his crime he will bring him into Paradise through His Goodness. Let all the acts of one that loves men be loving, as were all the sufferings of Christ, to which we could add nothing greater than, when God even died for us, to refuse on our part to forgive even the smallest wrongs of our fellowmen.

XV. Moreover this also I reckoned and still reckon with myself; and do you see if it is not quite correct. I have often discussed it with you before. These men have the houses, but we the Dweller in the house; they the Temples, we the God; and besides it is ours to be living temples of the Living God, lively sacrifices, reasonable burnt-offerings, perfect sacrifices, yea, gods through the adoration of the Trinity. They have the people, we the Angels; they rash boldness, we faith; they threatenings, we prayer; they smiting, we endurance; they gold and silver, we the pure word. "Thou hast built for thyself a wide house and large chambers (recognize the words of Scripture), a house celled and pierced with windows."(<greek>b</greek>) But not yet is this loftier than my faith, and than the heavens to which I am being borne onwards. Is mine a little flock? But it is not being carried over a precipice. Is mine a narrow fold? But it is unapproachable by wolves; it cannot be entered by a robber, nor climbed by thieves and strangers. I shall yet see it, I know well, wider. And many of those who are now wolves, I must reckon among my sheep, and perhaps even amongst the shepherds. This is the glad tidings brought me by the Good Shepherd, for Whose sake I lay down my life for the sheep. I fear not for the little flock; for it is seen at a glance. I know my sheep and am known of mine. Such are they that know God and are known of God. My sheep hear my voice, which I have heard from the oracles of God, which I have been taught by the Holy Fathers, which I have taught alike on all occasions, not conforming myself to the fortune, and which I will never cease to teach; in which I was born, and in which I will depart.

XVI. These I call by name (for they are not nameless like the stars which are numbered and have names),(<greek>a</greek>) and they follow me, for I rear them up beside the waters of rest; and they follow every such shepherd, whose voice they love to hear, as you see; but a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they have a habit of distinguishing the voice of their own from that of strangers. They will flee from Valentinus(<greek>b</greek>) with his division of one into two, refusing to believe that the Creator is other than the Good. They will flee from Depth and Silence, and the mythical Aeons, that are verily worthy of Depth and Silence. They will flee from Marcion's(<greek>g</greek>) god, compounded of elements and numbers; from Montanus'(<greek>d</greek>) evil and feminine spirit; from the matter and darkness of Manes;(<greek>e</greek>) from Novatus'(<greek>z</greek>) boasting and wordy assumption of purity; from the analysis and confusion of Sabellius,(<greek>h</greek>) and if I may use the expression, his absorption, contracting the Three into One, instead of defining the One in Three Personalities; from the difference of natures taught by Arius(<greek>a</greek>) and his followers, and their new Judaism, confining the Godhead to the Unbegotten; from Photinus(<greek>b</greek>) earthly Christ, who took his beginning from Mary. But they worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, One Godhead; God the Father, God the Son and (do not be angry) God the Holy Ghost, One Nature in Three Personalities, intellectual, perfect, Self-existent, numerically separate, but not separate in Godhead.

XVII. These words let everyone who threatens me to-day concede to me; the rest let whoever will claim. The Father will not endure to be deprived of the Son, nor the Son of the Holy Ghost. Yet that must happen if They are confined to time, and are created Beings ... for that which is created is not God. Neither will I bear to be deprived of my consecration; One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. If this be cancelled, from whom shall I get a second? What say you, you who destroy Baptism or repeat it? Can a man be spiritual without the Spirit? Has he a share in the Spirit who does not honour the Spirit? Can he honour Him who is baptized into a creature and a fellow-servant? It is not so; it is not so; for all your talk. I will not play Thee false, O Unoriginate Father, or Thee O Only-begotten Word, or Thee O Holy Ghost. I know Whom I have confessed, and whom I have renounced, and to Whom I have joined myself. I will not allow myself, after having been taught the words of the faithful, to learn also those of the unfaithful; to confess the truth, and then range myself with falsehood; to come down for consecration and to go back even less hallowed; having been baptised that I might live, to be killed by the water, like infants who die in the very birthpangs, and receive death simultaneously with birth. Why make me at once blessed and wretched, newly enlightened and unenlightened, Divine and godless, that I may make shipwreck even of the hope of regeneration? A few words will suffice. Remember your confession. Into what were you baptised? The Father? Good but Jewish still. The Son? ... good ... but not yet perfect. The Holy Ghost? ... Very good ... this is perfect. Now was it into these simply, or some common name of Them? The latter. And what was the common Name? Why, God. In this common Name believe, and ride on prosperously and reign,(<greek>a</greek>) and pass on from hence into the Bliss of Heaven. And that is, as I think, the more distinct apprehension of These; to which may we all come, in the same Christ our God, to Whom be the glory and the might, with the Unoriginate Father, and the Lifegiving Spirit, now and for ever and to ages of ages. Amen.



THIS Oration was preached at Constantinople in 380, under the following circumstances:

Peter, Patriarch of Alexandria, had sent a mission of five of his Suffragans to consecrate the impostor Maximus to the Throne occupied by Gregory. This had led to much trouble, but in the end the intruder had been expelled and banished. Shortly afterwards an Egyptian fleet, probably the regular corn ships, had arrived at Constantinople, apparently on the day before a Festival. The crews of the ships, landing next day to go to Church, passed by the numerous Churches held by the Arians, and betook themselves to the little Anastasia. S. Gregory felt himself moved to congratulate them specially on such an act, after what had recently passed, and accordingly pronounced the following discourse.

I. I WILL address myself as is right to those who have come from Egypt; for they have come here eagerly, having overcome illwill by zeal, from that Egypt which is enriched by the River, raining out of the earth, and like the sea in its season,--if I too may follow in my small measure those who have so eloquently spoken of these matters; and which is also enriched by Christ my Lord, Who once was a fugitive into Egypt, and now is supplied by Egypt; the first, when He fled from Herod's massacre of the children;(<greek>b</greek>) and now by the love of the fathers for their children, by Christ the new Food of those who hunger after good;(<greek>g</greek>) the greatest alms of corn of which history speaks and men believe; the Bread which came down from heaven and giveth life to the world, that life which is indestructible and indissoluble, concerning Whom I now seem to hear the Father saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son.(<greek>d</greek>)

II. For from you hath sounded forth the Word to all men; healthfully believed and preached; and you are the best bringers of fruit of all men, specially of those who now hold the right faith, as far as I know, who am not only a lover of such food, but also its distributor, and not at home only but also abroad. For you indeed supply bodily food to peoples and cities so far as your lovingkindness reaches; and you supply spiritual food also, not to a particular people, nor to this or that city, circumscribed by narrow boundaries, though its people may think it very illustrious, but to almost the whole world. And you bring the remedy not for famine of bread or thirst of water,(<greek>a</greek>) which is no very terrible famine--and to avoid it is easy; but to a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord, which it is most miserable to suffer, and a most laborious matter to cure at the present time, because iniquity hath abounded,(<greek>b</greek>) and scarce anywhere do I find its genuine healers.

III. Such was Joseph your Superintendent of corn measures, whom I may call ours also; who by his surpassing wisdom was able both to foresee the famine and to cure it by decrees of government, healing the ill-favoured and starving kine by means of the fair and fat.(<greek>g</greek>) And indeed you may understand by Joseph which you will, either the great lover and creator and namesake of immortality or his successor in throne and word and hoary hair, our new Peter,(<greek>d</greek>) not inferior in virtue or fame to him by whom the middle course was destroyed and crushed, though it still wriggles a little weakly, like the tail of a snake after it is cut off; the one of whom, after having departed this life in a good old age after many conflicts and wrestlings, looks upon us from above, I well know, and reaches a hand to those who are labouring for the right: and this the more, in proportion as he is freed from his bonds; and the other is hastening to the same end or dissolution of life, and is already drawing near the dwellers in heaven, but is still so far in the flesh as is needed to give the last aids to the Word, and to take his journey with richer provision.

IV. Of these great men and doctors and soldiers of the truth and victors, you are the nurslings and offspring; of these neither times nor tyrants, reason nor envy, nor fear, nor accuser, nor slanderer, whether waging open war against them, or plotting secretly; nor any who appeared to be of our side, nor any stranger, nor gold--that hidden tyrant, through which now almost everything is turned upside down and made to depend on the hazard of a die; nor flatteries nor threats, nor long and distant exiles (for they only could not be affected by confiscation, because of their great riches, which were--to possess nothing) nor anything else, whether absent or present or expected, could induce to take the worse part, and to be anywise traitor to the Trinity, or to suffer loss of the Godhead. On the contrary indeed, they grew strong by dangers, and became more zealous for true religion. For to suffer thus for Christ adds to one's love, and is as it were an earnest to high-souled men of further conflicts. These, O Egypt, are thy present tales and wonders.

V. Once thou didst praise me thy Mendesian Goats, and thy Memphite Apis, a fatted and fleshy calf, and the rites of Isis, and the mutilations of Osiris, and thy venerable Serapis, a log that was honoured by myths and ages and the madness of its worshippers, as some unknown and heavenly matter, however it may have been aided by falsehood; and things yet more shameful than these, multiform images of monstrous beasts and creeping things, all of which Christ and the heralds of Christ have conquered, both the others who have been illustrious in their own times, and also the Fathers whom I have named just now; by whom, O admirable country, thou art more famous today than all others put together, whether in ancient or modern history.

VI. Wherefore I embrace and salute thee, O noblest of peoples and most Christian, and of warmest piety, and worthy of thy leaders; for I can find nothing greater to say of thee than this, nor anything by which better to welcome thee. And I greet thee, to a small extent with my tongue, but very heartily with the movements of my affections.(<greek>a</greek>) O my people, for I call you mine, as of one mind and one faith, instructed by the same Fathers, and adoring the same Trinity. My people, for mine thou art, though it seem not so to those who envy me. And that they who are in this case may be the deeper wounded, see, I give the right hand of fellowship before so many witnesses, seen and unseen. And I put away the old calumny by this new act of kindness. O my people, for mine thou art, though in saying so I, who am least of all men, am claiming for myself that which is greatest. For such is the grace of the Spirit that it makes of equal honour those who are of one mind. O my people, for mine thou art, though it be afar, because we are divinely joined together,(<greek>b</greek>) and in a manner wholly different to the unions of carnal people; for bodies are united in place, but souls are fitted together by the Spirit. O my people, who didst formerly study how to suffer for Christ, but now if thou wilt hearken unto me, wilt study not to do aught, but to consider the power of doing to be a sufficient gain, and to deem that thou art offering a sacrifice to Christ, as in those days of thy endurance so in these of meekness. O people to whom the Lord hath prepared Himself to do good, as to do evil to thine enemies.(<greek>a</greek>) O people, whom the Lord hath chosen to Himself out of all peoples; O people who art graven upon the hands of the Lord, to whom saith the Lord, Thou art My Will; and, Thy gates are carved work, and all the rest that is said to them that are being saved. O people;--nay, marvel not at my insatiability that I repeat your name so often; for I delight in this continual naming of you, like those who can never have enough of their enjoyment of certain spectacles or sounds.

VII. But, O people of God and mine, beautiful also was your yesterday's assembly, which you held upon the sea, and pleasant, if any sight ever was, to the eyes, when I saw the sea like a forest, and hidden by a cloud made with hands, and the beauty and speed of your ships, as though ordered for a procession, and the slight breeze astern, as though purposely escorting you, and wafting to the City your city of the Sea. Yet the present assembly which we now behold is more beautiful and more magnificent. For you have not hastened to mingle with the larger number, nor have you reckoned religion by numbers, nor endured to be a mere unorganized rabble, rather than a people purified by the Word of God; but having, as is right, rendered to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, ye have offered besides to God the things that are God's; to the former Custom, to the latter Fear; and after feeding the people with your cargoes, you yourselves have come to be fed by us. For we also distribute corn, and our distribution is perhaps not worth less than yours. Come eat of my Bread and drink of the Wine which I have mingled for you.(<greek>b</greek>) I join with Wisdom in bidding you to my table. For I commend your good feeling, and I hasten to meet your ready mind, because ye came to us as to your own harbour, running to your like; and ye valued the kindred Faith, and thought it monstrous that, while they who insult higher things are in harmony with each other and think alike, and think to make good each man's individual falsehood by their common conspiracy, like ropes which get strength from being twisted together; yet you should not meet nor combine with those who are of the same mind, with whom it is more reasonable that you should associate, for we gather in the Godhead also. And that you may see that not in vain have you come to us, and that you have not brought up in a port among strangers and foreigners, but amongst your own people, and have been well guided by the Holy Ghost; we will discourse to you briefly concerning God; and do you recognize your own, like those who distinguish their kindred by the ensigns of their arms.

VIII. I find two highest differences in things that exist, viz.:--Rule, and Service; not such as among us either tyranny has cut or poverty has severed, but which nature has distinguished, if any like to use this word. For That which is First is also above nature. Of these the former is creative, and originating, and unchangeable; but the other is created, and subject and changing; or to speak yet more plainly, the one is above time, and the other subject to time. The Former is called God, and subsists in Three Greatest, namely, the Cause, the Creator, and the Perfecter; I mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are neither so separated from one another as to be divided in nature, nor so contracted as to be circumscribed by a single person; the one alternative being that of the Arian madness, the other that of the Sabellian heresy; but they are on the one hand more single than what is altogether divided, and on the other more abundant than what is altogether singular. The other division is with us, and is called Creation, though one may be exalted above another according to the proportion of their nearness to God.

IX. This being so, if any be on the Lord's side let him come with us,(<greek>a</greek>) and let us adore the One Godhead in the Three; not ascribing any name of humiliation to the unapproachable Glory, but having the exaltations of the Triune God continually in our mouth.(<greek>b</greek>) For since we cannot properly describe even the greatness of Its Nature, on account of Its infinity and undefinableness, how can we assert of It humiliation? But if any one be estranged from God, and therefore divideth the One Supreme Substance into an inequality of Natures, it were marvellous if such an one were not Cut in sunder by the sword, and his portion appointed with the unbelievers,(<greek>g</greek>) reaping any evil fruit of his evil thought both now and hereafter.

X. What must we say of the Father, Whom by common consent all who have been preoccupied with natural conceptions share, although He hath endured the beginnings of dishonour, having been first divided by ancient innovation into the Good and the Creator. And of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, see how simply and concisely we shall discourse. If any one could say of Either that He was mutable or subject to change; or that either in time, or place, or power, or energy He could be measured; or that He was not naturally good, or not Self-moved, or not a free agent, or a Minister, or a Hymnsinger; or that He feared, or was a recipient of freedom, or was not counted with God; let him prove this and we will acquiesce, and will be glorified by the Majesty of our Fellow Servants, though we lose our God. But if all that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality; and all that is the Son's belongs also to the Spirit, except His Sonship, and whatsoever is spoken of Him as to Incarnation for me a man, and for my salvation, that, taking of mine, He may impart His own by this new commingling; then cease your babbling, though so late, O ye sophists of vain talk that falls at once to the ground; for why will ye die O House of Israel?(<greek>a</greek>)--if I may mourn for you in the words of Scripture.

XI. For my part I revere also the Titles of the Word, which are so many, and so high and great, which even the demons respect. And I revere also the Equal Rank of the Holy Ghost; and I fear the threat pronounced against those who blaspheme Him. And blasphemy is not the reckoning Him God, but the severing Him from the Godhead. And here you must remark that That which is blasphemed is Lord, and That which is avenged is the Holy Ghost, evidently as Lord. I cannot bear to be unenlightened after my Enlightenment, by marking with a different stamp any of the Three into Whom I was baptized; and thus to be indeed buried in the water, and initiated not into Regeneration, but into death.

XII. I dare to utter something, O Trinity; and may pardon be granted to my folly, for the risk is to my soul. I too am an Image of God, of the Heavenly Glory, though I be placed on earth. I cannot believe that I am saved by one who is my equal. If the Holy Ghost is not God, let Him first be made God, and then let Him deify me His equal. But now what deceit this is on the part of grace, or rather of the givers of grace, to believe in God and to come away godless; by one set of questions and confessions leading to another set of conclusions. Alas for this fair fame, if after the Layer I am blackened, if I am to see those who are not yet cleansed brighter than myself; if I am cheated by the heresy of my Baptizer; if I seek for the stronger Spirit and find Him not. Give me a second Font before you think evil of the first. Why do you grudge me a complete regeneration? Why do you make me, who am the Temple of the Holy Ghost as of God, the habitation of a creature? Why do you honour part of what belongs to me, and dishonour part, judging falsely of the Godhead, to cut me off from the Gift, or rather to cut me in two by the gift? Either honour the Whole, or dishonour the Whole, O new Theologian, that, if you are wicked, you may at any rate be consistent with yourself, and not judge unequally of an equal nature.

XIII. To sum up my discourse:--Glorify Him with the Cherubim, who unite the Three Holies into One Lord,(<greek>a</greek>) and so far indicate the Primal Substance as their wings open to the diligent. With David be enlightened, who said to the Light, In Thy Light shall we see Light,(<greek>b</greek>) that is, in the Spirit we shall see the Son; and what can be of further reaching ray? With John thunder, sounding forth nothing that is low or earthly concerning God, but what is high and heavenly, Who is in the beginning, and is with God, and is God the Word,(<greek>g</greek>) and true God of the true Father, and not a good fellow-servant honoured only with the title of Son; and the Other Comforter (other, that is, from the Speaker, Who was the Word of God). And when you read, I and the Father are One,(<greek>d</greek>) keep before your eyes the Unity of Substance; but when you see, "We will come to him, and make Our abode with him,"(<greek>e</greek>) remember the distinction of Persons; and when you see the Names, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, think of the Three Personalities.

XIV. With Luke be inspired as you study the Acts of the Apostles. Why do you range yourself with Ananias and Sapphira, those vain embezzlers (if indeed the theft of one's own property be a vain thing) and that by appropriating, not silver nor any other cheap and worthless thing, like a wedge of gold,(<greek>z</greek>) or a didrachma, as did of old a rapacious soldier; but stealing the Godhead Itself, and lying, not to men but to God, as you have heard. What? Will you not reverence even the authority of the Spirit Who breathes upon whom, and when, and as He wills? He comes upon Cornelius and his companions before Baptism, to others after Baptism, by the hands of the Apostles; so that from both sides, both from the fact that He comes in the guise of a Master and not of a Servant, and from the fact of His being sought to make perfect, the Godhead of the Spirit is testified.

XV. Speak of God with Paul, who was caught up to the third Heaven,(<greek>a</greek>) and who sometimes counts up the Three Persons, and that in varied order, not keeping the same order, but reckoning one and the same Person now first, now second, now third; and for what purpose? Why, to shew the equality of the Nature. And sometimes he mentions Three, sometimes Two or One, became That which is not mentioned is included. And sometimes he attributes the operation of God to the Spirit, as in no respect different from Him, and sometimes instead of the Spirit he brings in Christ; and at times he separates the Persons saying, "One God, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him;"(<greek>b</greek>) at other times he brings together the one Godhead, "For of Him and through Him and in Him are all things;"(<greek>g</greek>) that is, through the Holy Ghost, as is shown by many places in Scripture. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.



I. Jesus Who Chose The Fishermen, Himself also useth a net, and changeth place for place. Why? Not only that He may gain more of those who love God by His visitation; but also, as it seems to me, that He may hallow more places. To the Jews He becomes as a Jew that He may gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law as under the Law, that He may redeem them that are under the Law; to the weak as weak, that He may save the weak. He is made all things to all men that He may gain all. Why do I say, All things to all men? For even that which Paul could not endure to say of himself I find that the Saviour suffered. For He is made not only a Jew, and not only doth He take to Himself all monstrous and vile names, but even that which is most monstrous of all, even very sin and very curse; not that He it such, but He is called so. For how can He be sin, Who setteth us free from sin; and how can He be a curse, Who redeemeth us from the curse of the Law?(<greek>d</greek>) But it is in order that He may carry His display of humility even to this extent, and form us to that humility which is the producer of exaltation. As I said then, He is made a Fisherman; He condescendeth to all; He casteth the net; He endureth all things, that He may draw up the fish from the depths, that is, Man who is swimming in the unsettled and bitter waves of life.

II. Therefore now also, when He had finished these sayings He departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan; He dwelleth well in Galilee, in order that the people which sat in darkness may see great Light.(<greek>a</greek>) He removeth to Judea in order that He may persuade people to rise up from the Letter and to follow the Spirit. He teacheth, now on a mountain; now He discourseth on a plain; now He passeth over into a ship; now He rebuketh the surges. And perhaps He goes to sleep, in order that He may bless sleep also; perhaps He is tired that He may hallow weariness also; perhaps He weeps that He may make tears blessed. He removeth from place to place, Who is not contained in any place; the timeless, the bodiless, the uncircumscript, the same Who was and is; Who was both above time, and came under time, and was invisible and is seen. He was in the beginning and was with God, and was God.(<greek>b</greek>) The word Was occurs the third time to be confirmed by number. What He was He laid aside; what He was not He assumed; not that He became two, but He deigned to be One made out of the two. For both are God, that which assumed, and that which was assumed; two Natures meeting in One, not two Sons (let us not give a false account of the blending). He who is such and so great--but what has befallen me? I have fallen into human language. For how can So Great be said of the Absolute, and how can That which is without quantity be called Such? But pardon the word, for I am speaking of the greatest things with a limited instrument. And That great and long-suffering and formless and bodiless Nature will endure this, namely, my words as if of a body, and weaker than the truth. For if He condescended to Flesh, He will also endure such language.

III. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there, where the multitude was greater. If He had abode upon His own eminence, if He had not condescended to infirmity, if He had remained what He was, keeping Himself unapproachable and incomprehensible, a few perhaps would have followed Him--perhaps not even a few, possibly only Moses--and He only so far as to see with difficulty the Back Parts of God.(<greek>a</greek>) For He penetrated the cloud, either being placed outside the weight of the body or being withdrawn from his senses; for how could he have gazed upon the subtlety, or the in-corporeity, or I know not how one should call it, of God, being incorporate and using material eyes? But inasmuch as He strips Himself for us, inasmuch as He comes down (and speak of an exinanition, as it were, a laying aside and a diminution of His glory), He becomes by this comprehensible.

IV. And pardon me meanwhile that I again suffer a human affection. I am filled with indignation and grief for my Christ (and would that you might sympathize with me) when I see my Christ dishonoured on this account on which He most merited honour. He on this account to be dishonoured, tell me, that for you He was humble? Is He therefore a Creature, because He careth for the creature? Is He therefore subject to time, because He watches over those who are subject to time Nay, He beareth all things, He endureth all things.(<greek>b</greek>) And what marvel? He put up with blows, He bore spittings, He tasted gall for my taste. And even now He bears to be stoned, not only by those who deal despite-fully with Him, but also by ourselves who seem to reverence Him. For to use corporeal names when discoursing of the incorporeal is perhaps the part of those who deal despitefully and stone Him; but pardon, I say again to our infirmity, for I do not willingly stone Him; but having no other words to use, we use what we have. Thou art called the Word, and Thou art above Word; Thou art above Light, yet art named Light; Thou art called Fire not as perceptible to sense, but because Thou purgest light and worthless matter; a Sword, because Thou severest the worse from the better; a Fan, because Thou purgest the threshing-floor, and blowest away all that is light and windy, and layest up in the garner above all that is weighty and full; an Axe, because Thou cuttest down the worthless fig-tree, after long patience, because Thou cuttest away the roots of wickedness; the Door, because Thou bringest in; the Way, because we go straight; the Sheep, because Thou art the Sacrifice; the High Priest, because Thou offerest the Body the Son, because Thou art of the Father. Again I stir men's tongues; again some men rave against Christ, or rather against me, who have been deemed worthy to be a herald of the Word. I am like John, The Voice of one crying in the wilderness(<greek>a</greek>)--a wilderness that once was dry, but now is only too populous.

V. But, as I was saying, to return to my argument; for this reason great multitudes followed Him, because He condescended to our infirmities. What next? The Pharisees also, it says, came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying unto Him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Again the Pharisees tempt Him; again they who read the Law do not know the Law; again they who are expounders of the Law need others to teach them. It was not enough that Sadducees should tempt Him concerning the Resurrection, and Lawyers question Him about perfection, and the Herodians about the poll-tax, and others about authority; but some one must also ask about Marriage at Him who cannot be tempted, the Creator of wedlock, Him who from the First Cause made this whole race of mankind. And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female? He knoweth how to solve some of their questions and to bridle others. When He is asked, By what authority doest thou these things? He Himself, because of the utter ignorance of those who asked Him, replies with another question; The baptism of John, was it from Heaven or of men? He on both sides entangles His questioners, so that we also are able, following the example of Christ, sometimes to check those who argue with us over-officiously, and with still more absurd questions to solve the absurdity of their questions. For we too are wise in vanity at times, if I may boast of the things of folly. But when He sees a question that calls for reasoning, then He does not deem His questioners unworthy of prudent answers.

VI. The question which you have put seems to me to do honour to chastity, and to demand a kind reply. Chastity, in respect of which I see that the majority of men are ill-disposed, and that their laws are unequal and irregular. For what was the reason why they restrained the woman, but indulged the man, and that a woman who practises evil against her husband's bed is an adulteress, and the penalties of the law for this are very severe; but if the husband commits fornication against his wife, he has no account to give? I do not accept this legislation; I do not approve this custom. They who made the Law were men, and therefore their legislation is hard on women, since they have placed children also under the authority of their fathers, while leaving the weaker sex uncared for. God doth not so; but saith Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee; and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Similarly He gave honour to good and punishment to evil. And, The blessing of a father strengtheneth the houses of children, but the curse of a mother uprooteth the foundations.(<greek>a</greek>) See the equality of the legislation. There is one Maker of man and woman; one debt is owed by children to both their parents.

VII. How then dost thou demand Chastity, while thou dost not thyself observe it? How dost thou demand that which thou dost not give? How, though thou art equally a body, dost thou legislate unequally? If thou enquire into the worse--The Woman Sinned, and so did Adam.(<greek>b</greek>) The serpent deceived them both; and one was not found to be the stronger and the other the weaker. But dost thou consider the better? Christ saves both by His Passion. Was He made flesh for the Man? So He was also for the woman. Did He die for the Man? The Woman also is saved by His death. He is called of the seed of David;(<greek>g</greek>) and so perhaps you think the Man is honoured; but He is born of a Virgin, and this is on the Woman's side. They two, He says, shall be one Flesh; so let the one flesh have equal honour." And Paul legislates for chastity by His example. How, and in what way? This Sacrament is great, he says, But I speak concerning Christ and the Church.(<greek>d</greek>) It is well for the wife to reverence Christ through her husband: and it is well for the husband not to dishonor the Church through his wife. Let the wife, he says, see that she reverence her husband, for so she does Christ; but also he bids the husband cherish his wife, for so Christ does the Church.(<greek>e</greek>) Let us, then, give further consideration to this saying.

VIII. Churn milk and it will be butter;(<greek>z</greek>) examine this and perhaps you may find something more nourishing in it. For I think that the Word here seems to deprecate second marriage. For, if there were two Christs, there may be two husbands or two wives; but if Christ is One, one Head of the Church, let there be also one flesh, and let a second be rejected; and if it hinder the second what is to be said for a third? The first is law, the second is indulgence, the third is transgression, and anything beyond this is swinish, such as has not even many examples of its wickedness. Now the Law grants divorce for every cause; but Christ not for every cause; but He allows only separation from the whore; and in all other things He commands patience. He allows to put away the fornicatress, because she corrupts the offspring; but in all other matters let us be patient and endure; or rather be ye(<greek>a</greek>) enduring and patient, as many as have received the yoke of matrimony. If you see lines or marks upon her, take away her ornaments; if a hasty tongue, restrain it; if a meretricious laugh, make it modest; if immoderate expenditure or drink, reduce it; if unseasonable going out, shackle it; if a lofty eye, chastise it. It is uncertain which is in danger, the separator or the separated. Let thy fountain of water, it says, be only thine own, and let no stranger share it with thee;(<greek>b</greek>) and, let the colt of thy favours and the stag of thy love company with thee; do thou then take care not to be a strange river, nor to please others better than thine own wife. But if thou be carried elsewhere, then thou makest a law of lewdness for thy partner also. Thus saith the Saviour.

IX. But what of the Pharisees? To them this word seems harsh. Yes, for they are also displeased at other noble words--both the older Pharisees, and the Pharisees of the present day. For it is not only race, but disposition also that makes a Pharisee. Thus also I reckon as an Assyrian or an Egyptian him who is ranged among these by his character. What then say the Pharisees? If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. Is it only now, O Pharisee, that thou understandest this, It is not good to marry?(<greek>g</greek>) Didst thou not know it before when thou sawest widowhoods, and orphanhoods, and untimely deaths, and mourning succeeding to shouting, and funerals coming upon weddings, and childlessness, and all the comedy or tragedy that is connected with this? Either is most appropriate language. It is good to marry; I too admit it, for marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.(<greek>d</greek>) It is good for the temperate, not for those who are insatiable, and who desire to give more than due honour to the flesh. When marriage is only marriage and conjunction and the desire for a succession of children, marriage is honourable, for it brings into the world more to please God. But when it kindles matter, and surrounds us with thorns, and as it were discovers the way of vice, then I too say, It is not good to marry.

X. Marriage is honourable; but I cannot say that it is more lofty than virginity; for virginity were no great thing if it were not better than a good thing. Do not however be angry, ye women that are subject to the yoke. We must obey God rather than man. But be ye bound together, both virgins and wives, and be one in the Lord, and each others' adornment. There would be no celibate if there were no marriage. For whence would the virgin have passed into this life? Marriage would not have been venerable unless it had borne virgin fruit to God and to life. Honour thou also thy mother, of whom thou wast born. Honour thou also her who is of a mother and is a mother.(<greek>a</greek>) A mother she is not, but a Bride of Christ she is. The visible beauty is not hidden, but that which is unseen is visible to God. All the glory of the King's Daughter is within,(<greek>b</greek>) clothed with golden fringes, embroidered whether by actions or by contemplation. And she who is under the yoke, let her also in some degree be Christ's; and the virgin altogether Christ's. Let the one be not entirely chained to the world,(<greek>g</greek>) and let the other not belong to the world at all. For that which is a part to the yoked, is to the virgin all in all. Hast thou chosen the life of Angels? Art thou ranked among the unyoked? Sink not down to the flesh; sink not down to matter; be not wedded to matter, while otherwise thou remainest unwedded. A lascivious eye guardeth not virginity; a meretricious tongue mingles with the Evil One; feet that walk disorderly accuse of disease or danger. Let the mind also be virgin; let it not rove about; let it not wander; let it not carry in itself forms of evil things (for the form is a part of harlotry); let it not make idols in its soul of hateful things.

XI. But He said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. Do you see the sublimity of the matter? It is found to be nearly incomprehensible. For surely it is more than carnal that that which is born of flesh should not beget to the flesh. Surely it is Angelic that she who is bound to flesh should live not according to flesh, but be loftier than her nature. The flesh bound her to the world, but reason led her up to God. The flesh weighed her down, but reason gave her wings; the flesh bound her, but desire loosed her. With thy whole soul, O Virgin, be intent upon God (I give this same injunction to men and to women); and do not take the same view in other respects of what is honourable as the mass of men do; of family, of wealth, of throne, of dynasty, of that beauty which shews itself in complexion and composition of members, the plaything of time and disease. If thou hast poured out upon God the whole of thy love; if thou hast not two objects of desire, both the passing and the abiding, both the visible and the invisible, then thou hast been so pierced by the arrow of election, and hast so learned the beauty of the Bridegroom, that thou too canst say with the bridal drama and song, thou art sweetness and altogether loveliness.

XII. You see how streams confined in lead pipes, through being much compressed and carried to one point, often so far depart from the nature of water that that which is pushed from behind will often flow constantly upwards. So if thou confine thy desire, and be wholly joined to God, thou wilt not fall downward; thou wilt not be dissipated; thou wilt remain entirely Christ's, until thou see Christ thy Bridegroom. Keep thyself unapproachable, both in word and work and life, and thought and action. From all sides the Evil One interferes with thee; he spies thee everywhere, where he may strike, where wound thee; let him not find anything bared and ready to his stroke. The purer he sees thee, the more he strives to stain thee, for the stains on a shining garment are more conspicuous. Let not eye draw eye, nor laughter, nor familiarity night, lest night bring destruction. For that which is gradually drawn away and stolen, works a mischief which is unperceived at the time, but yet attains to the consummation of wickedness.

XIII. All men, He saith, cannot receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. When you hear this, It is given, do not understand it in a heretical fashion, and bring in differences of nature, the earthly and the spiritual and the mixed. For there are people so evilly disposed as to think that some men are of an utterly ruined nature, and some of a nature which is saved, and that others are of such a disposition as their will may lead them to, either to the better, or to the worse. For that men may have a certain aptitude, one more, another less, I too admit; but not that this aptitude alone suffices for perfection, but that it is reason which calls this out, that nature may proceed to action, just as fire is produced when a flint is struck with iron. When you hear To whom it is given, add, And it is given to those who are called and to those who incline that way. For when you hear, Not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy,(<greek>a</greek>) I counsel you to think the same. For since there are some who are so proud of their successes that they attribute all to themselves and nothing to Him that made them and gave them wisdom and supplied them with good; such are taught by this word that even to wish well needs help from God; or rather that even to choose what is right is divine and a gift of the mercy of God. For it is necessary both that we should be our own masters and also that our salvation should be of God. This is why He saith not of him that willeth; that is, not of him that willeth only, nor of him that runneth only, but also of God. That sheweth mercy. Next; since to will also is from God, he has attributed the whole to God with reason. However much you may run, however much you may wrestle, yet you need one to give the crown. Except the Lord build the house, they laboured in vain that built it: Except the Lord keep the city, in vain they watched that keep it.(<greek>b</greek>) I know, He says, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,(<greek>g</greek>) nor the victory to the fighters, nor the harbours to the good sailors; but to God it belongs both to work victory, and to bring the barque safe to port.

XIV. In another place it is also said and understood, and perhaps it is necessary that I should add it as follows to what has already been said, in order that I may impart to you also my wealth. The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee, in an impulse of parental affection, asked a thing in ignorance of the measure of what she was asking,(<s>) but pardonably, through the excess of her love and of the kindness due to her children. For there is nothing more affectionate than a Mother,--and I speak of this that I may lay down a law for honouring Mothers. Their mother, then, asked Jesus that they might sit, the one on His right hand, the other on his left. But what saith the Saviour? He first asks if they can drink the Cup Which He Himself was about to drink; and when this was professed, and the Saviour accepted the profession (for He knew that they were being perfected by the same, or rather that they would be perfected thereby); what saith He? "They shall drink the cup; but to sit on My right hand and on My left--it is not Mine, He saith, to give this, but to whom it hath been given." Is then the ruling mind nothing? Nothing the labour? Nothing the reasoning? Nothing the philosophy? Nothing the fasting? Nothing the vigils, the sleeping on the ground, the shedding floods of tears? Is it for nothing of these, but in accordance with some election by lot, that a Jeremias is sanctified, and others are estranged from the womb?

XV. I fear lest some monstrous reasoning may come in, as of the soul having lived elsewhere, and then having been bound to this body, and that it is from that other life that some receive the gift of prophecy, and others are condemned, namely, those who lived badly. But since such a conception is too absurd, and contrary to the traditions of the Church (others if they like may play with such doctrines, but it is unsafe for us to play with them); we must in this place too add to the words "To whom it hath been given," this, "who are worthy;" who have not only received this character from the Father, but have given it to themselves.

XVI. For there are eunuchs which were made eunuchs from their mother's womb, etc. I should very much like to be able to say something bold about eunuchs. Be not proud, ye who are eunuchs by nature. For, in point of self-restraint, this is perhaps unwilling. For it has not come to the test, nor has your self-restraint been proved by trial. For the good which is by nature is not a subject of merit; that which is the result of purpose is laudable. What merit has fire for burning, for it is its nature to burn? What merit has water for falling, a property given to it by its Maker? What thanks does the snow get for its coldness, or the sun for its shining?--It shines even if it does not wish. Claim merit if you please by willing the better things. You will claim it if, being carnal, you make yourself spiritual; if, while drawn down by the leaden flesh, you receive wings from reason; if though lowly born, you are found to be heavenly; if while chained down to the flesh, you shew yourself superior to the flesh.

XVII. Since then, natural chastity is not meritorious, I demand something else from the eunuchs. Do not go a whoring in respect of the Godhead. Having been wedded to Christ, do not dishonour Christ. Being perfected by the spirit, do not make the Spirit your own equal. If I yet pleased men, says Paul, I should not be the servant of Christ.(<greek>a</greek>) If I worshipped a creature, I should not be called a Christian. For why is Christianity precious? Is it not that Christ is God, unless my mingling with Him in love is a mere human passion? And yet I honour Peter, but I am not called a Petrine; and Paul, but have never been called a Pauline. I cannot allow myself to be named after a man, who am born of God. So then, if it is because you believe Him to be God that you are called a Christian, may you ever be so called, and may you remain in both the name and the thing; but if you are called from Christ only because you have an affection for Him, you attribute no more to him than other names which are given from some practice or fact.

XVIII. Consider those men who are devoted to horse racing. They are named after the colours and the sides on which they have placed themselves. You know the names without my mentioning them. If it is thus that you have got the name of Christian, the mere title is a very small thing even though you pride yourself upon it. But if it is because you believe Him to be God, shew your faith by your works. If the Son is a creature, even now also you are worshipping the creature instead of the Creator. If the Holy Ghost is a creature, you are baptized in vain, and are only sound on two sides, or rather not even on them; but on one you are altogether in danger. Imagine the Trinity to be a single pearl, alike on all sides and equally glistening. If any part of the pearl be injured; the whole beauty of the stone is gone. So when you dishonour the Son in order to hon-our the Father, He does not accept your hon-our. The Father doth not glory in the dishonour of the Son. If a wise Son maketh a glad Father,(<greek>b</greek>) how much more doth the hon-our of the Son become that of the Father! And if you also accept this saying, My Son, glory not in the dishonour of thy Father,(<greek>g</greek>) similarly the Father doth not glory in the Son's dishonour. If you dishonour the Holy Ghost, the Son receiveth not your honour. For though He be not of the Father in the same way as the Son, yet He is of the same Father. Either honour the whole or dishonour the whole, so as to have a consistent mind. I cannot accept your half piety. I would have you altogether pious, but in the way that I desire. Pardon my affection: I am grieved even for those who hate me. You were one of my members, even though you are now cut off: perhaps you will again become a member; and therefore I speak kindly. Thus much for the sake of the Eunuchs, that they may be chaste in respect of the Godhead.

XIX. For it is not only bodily sin which is called fornication and adultery, but any sin you have committed, and especially transgression against that which is divine. Perhaps you ask how we can prove this:--They went a whoring, it says, with their own inventions.(<greek>a</greek>) Do you see an impudent act of fornication? And again, They committed adultery in the wood.(<greek>b</greek>) See you a kind of adulterous religion? Do not then commit spiritual adultery, while keeping your bodies chaste. Do not shew that it is unwillingly you are chaste in body, by not being chaste where you can commit fornication. Why have you done your impiety? Why are you hurried to vice, so that it is all one to call a man a Eunuch or a villain? Place yourselves on the side of men, and, even though so late, have some manly thoughts. Avoid the women's apartments; do not let the disgrace of proclamation be added to the disgrace of the name. Would you have us persevere a little longer in this discourse, or are you tired with what we have said? Nay, by what follows let even the eunuchs be honoured. For the word is one of praise.

XX. There are, He says, some eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb; and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. I think that the discourse would sever itself from the body, and represent higher things by bodily figures; for to stop the meaning at bodily eunuchs would be small and very weak, and unworthy of the Word; and we must understand in addition something worthy of the Spirit. Some, then, seem by nature to incline to good. And when I speak of nature, I am not slighting free will, but supposing both--an aptitude for good, and that which brings the natural aptitude to effect. And there are others whom reason cleanses, by cutting them off from the passions. These I imagine to be meant by those whom men have made Eunuchs, when the word of teaching distinguishing the better from the worse and rejecting the one and commanding the other (like the verse, Depart from evil and do good),(<greek>g</greek>) works spiritual chastity. This sort of making eunuchs I approve; and I highly praise both teachers and taught, that the one have nobly effected, and the other still more nobly endured, the cutting off.

XXI. And there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. Others, too, who have not met with teachers, have been laudable teachers to themselves. No father nor mother, no Priest or Bishop, nor any of those commissioned to teach, taught you your duty; but by moving reason in yourself and by kindling the spark of good by your free will, you made yourself a eunuch, and acquired such a habit of virtue that impulse to vice became almost an impossibility to you. Therefore I praise this kind of Eunuch-making also, and perhaps even above the others. He that is able to receive it let him receive it. Choose which part you will; either follow the Teacher or be your own teacher. One thing alone is shameful--that the passions be not extirpated. It matters not how they are extirpated. The teacher is God's creature; and you also have the same origin; and whether the teacher grasp this grace, or the good be your own--it is equally good.

XXII. Only let us cut ourselves off from passion, test any root of bitterness springing up trouble us;(<greek>a</greek>) only let us follow the image; only let us reverence our Archetype. Cut off the bodily passions; cut off also the spiritual. For by how much the soul is more precious than the body, by so much more precious is it to cleanse the soul than the body. And if cleansing of the body be a praiseworthy act, see, I pray you, how much greater and higher is that of the soul. Cut away the Arian impiety; cut away the false opinion of Sabellius; do not join more than is right, or wrongly sever; do not either confuse the Three Persons into One, or make Three diversities of Nature. The One is praiseworthy if rightly understood; and the Three when rightly divided, when the division is of Persons, not of Godhead.

XXIII. I enact this for Laymen too, and I enjoin it also upon all Priests, and upon those commissioned to rule. Come to the aid of the Word, all of you to whom God has given power to aid. It is a great thing to check murder, to punish adultery, to chastise theft; much more to establish piety by law, and to bestow sound doctrine. My word will not be able to do as much in fighting for the Holy Trinity as your Edict, if you will bridle the ill disposed, if you will help the persecuted, if you will check the slayers, and prevent people from being slain. I am speaking not merely of bodily but of spiritual slaughter. For all sin is the death of the soul. Here let my discourse end.

XXIV. But it remains that I speak a prayer for those who are assembled. Husbands alike and wives, rulers and ruled, old men, and young men, and maidens, every sort of age, bear ye every loss whether of money or of body, but one thing alone do not endure--to lose the Godhead. I adore the Father, I adore the Son, I adore the Holy Ghost; or rather We adore them; I, who am speaking, before all and after all and with all, in the same Christ our Lord, to whom be the glory and the might for ever. Amen.


THE Title of this Oration has given rise to a doubt whether it was preached on Dec. 25, 380, or on Jan. 6, 381. The word Theophania is well known as a name for the Epiphany; which, however, according to Schaff,(<greek>a</greek>) was originally a celebration both of the Nativity and the Baptism of our Lord. The two words seem both to have been used in the simplest sense of the Manifestation of God, and certainly were applied to Christmas Day. Thus Suidas, "The Epiphany is the Incarnation of the Saviour;" and Epiphanius (Haer., 53), "The Day of the Epiphany is the day on which Christ was born according to the flesh." But S. Jerome applies the word to the Baptism of Christ; "The day of the Epiphany is still venerable; not, as some think, on account of His Birth in the flesh; for then He was hidden, not manifested; but it agrees with the time at which it was said, This is My beloved Son (In Ezech. I.). There is also a Sermon, attributed to S. Chrysostom, "On the Baptism of Christ," in which it is expressly denied that the name Theophany applies to Christmas. The Oration itself, however, contains evidence to shew that the Festival of our Lord's Birth was kept at the earlier date; for in c. 16 the Preacher says, "A little later you shall see Jesus submitting to be purified in the river Jordan for my purification." And another piece of evidence occurs in the oration In Sancta Lumina, c. 14, "At His Birth we duly kept festival, both I the leader of the feast, and you. Now we are come to another action of Christ and another Mystery."

The Oration is thus analysed by Abbe Benoe it:

"After an exordium which is full of the enthusiasm and joy which such a subject naturally inspires the Orator recommends his hearers to celebrate the Festival by a pious gladness, and by hearing the Word of God; and not as the heathen celebrated their feasts, by profane amusements and all kinds of excess. He will try to satisfy their desires by speaking to them of God. God is infinite, ineffable, eternal, the Sovereign Good. He created the Angels in the beginning out of goodness. The fall of the Angels was followed by the creation of the material world. Man too fell, and God shewed His mercy even in the punishment. He used various means to raise him again; and at length He came Himself. Then the speaker forcibly argues against those who misuse the infinite condescension of the Word to contest His Godhead; he rapidly traces the principal features of His Life---at once human and Divine; and ends with a recommendation to his hearers to imitate in all things the Life of Christ, so that they may have a share in His Kingdom in Heaven."

It is considered one of the best of Gregory's discourses. "By the grandeur of the plan," says Benoit, "the elevation of the ideas, and the rich fund of doctrine, this discourse is incontestably one of S. Gregory's most remarkable efforts."



I. CHRIST IS BORN, glorify ye Him. Christ from heaven, go ye out to meet Him. Christ on earth; be ye exalted. Sing unto the Lord all the whole earth;(<greek>a</greek>) and that I may join both in one word, Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him Who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope. Christ of a Virgin; O ye Matrons live as Virgins, that ye may be Mothers of Christ. Who doth not worship Him That is from the beginning?Who doth not glorify Him That is the Last?

II. Again the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar.(<greek>a</greek>) The people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, let it see the Great Light of full knowledge.(<greek>b</greek>) Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.(<greek>g</greek>) The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away, the Truth comes in upon them. Melchisedec is concluded.(<greek>d</greek>) He that was without Mother becomes without Father (without Mother of His former state, without Father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all ye people,(<greek>e</greek>) because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, Whose Government is upon His shoulder (for with the Cross it is raised up), and His Name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father.(<greek>z</greek>) Let John cry, Prepare ye the way of the Lord:(<greek>h</greek>) I too will cry the power of this Day. He Who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the Same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.(<greek>q</greek>) Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride;(<greek>k</greek>) let heretics talk till their tongues ache. Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending up into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

III. Of these on a future occasion; for the present the Festival is the Theophany or Birth-day, for it is called both, two titles being given to the one thing. For God was manifested to man by birth. On the one hand Being, and eternally Being, of the Eternal Being, above cause and word, for there was no word before The Word; and on the other hand for our sakes also Becoming, that He Who gives us our being might also give us our Well-being, or rather might restore us by His Incarnation, when we had by wickedness fallen from wellbeing. The name Theophany is given to it in reference to the Manifestation, and that of Birthday in respect of His Birth.

IV. This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating to-day, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth,(<greek>l</greek>) or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God--that putting off the old man, we might put on the New; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ,(<greek>a</greek>) being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him.(<greek>b</greek>) For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful. For where sin abounded Grace did much more abound;(<greek>g</greek>) and if a taste condemned us, how much more doth the Passion of Christ justify us? Therefore let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to Him Who is ours, or rather as our Master's; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.

V. And how shall this be? Let us not adorn our porches, nor arrange dances, nor decorate the streets; let us not feast the eye, nor enchant the ear with music, nor enervate the nostrils with perfume, nor prostitute the taste, nor indulge the touch, those roads that are so prone to evil and entrances for sin; let us not be effeminate in clothing soft and flowing, whose beauty consists in its uselessness, nor with the glittering of gems or the sheen of gold(<greek>d</greek>) or the tricks of colour, belying the beauty of nature, and invented to do despite unto the image of God; Not in rioting and drunkenness, with which are mingled, I know well, chambering and wantonness, since the lessons which evil teachers give are evil; or rather the harvests of worthless seeds are worthless. Let us not set up high beds of leaves, making tabernacles for the belly of what belongs to debauchery. Let us not appraise the bouquet of wines, the kickshaws of cooks, the great expense of unguents. Let not sea and land bring us as a gift their precious dung, for it is thus that I have learnt to estimate luxury; and let us not strive to outdo each other in intemperance (for to my mind every superfluity is intemperance, and all which is beyond absolute need),--and this while others are hungry and in want, who are made of the same clay and in the same manner.

VI. Let us leave all these to the Greeks and to the pomps and festivals of the Greeks, who call by the name of gods beings who rejoice in the reek of sacrifices, and who consistently worship with their belly; evil inventors and worshippers of evil demons. But we, the Object of whose adoration is the Word, if we must in some way have luxury, let us seek it in word, and in the Divine Law, and in histories; especially such as are the origin of this Feast; that our luxury may be akin to and not far removed from Him Who hath called us together. Or do you desire (for to-day I am your entertainer) that I should set before you, my good Guests, the story of these things as abundantly and as nobly as I can, that ye may know how a foreigner can feed(<greek>a</greek>) the natives of the land, and a rustic the people of the town, and one who cares not for luxury those who delight in it, and one who is poor and homeless those who are eminent for wealth?

We will begin from this point; and let me ask of you who delight in such matters to cleanse you mind and your ears and your thoughts, since our discourse is to be of God and Divine; that when you depart, you may have had the enjoyment of delights that really fade not away. And this same discourse shall be at once both very full and very concise, that you may neither be displeased at its deficiencies, nor find it unpleasant through satiety.

VII. God always was,(<greek>b</greek>) and always is, and always will be. Or rather, God always Is. For Was and Will be are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the Mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily ... not by His Essentials, but by His Environment; one image being got from one source and another from another, and combined into some sort of presentation of the truth, which escapes us before we have caught it, and takes to flight before we have conceived it, blazing forth upon our Master-part, even when that is cleansed, as the lightning flash which will not stay its course, does upon our sight ... in order as I conceive by that part of it which we can comprehend to draw us to itself (for that which is altogether incomprehensible is outside the bounds of hope, and not within the compass of endeavour), and by that part of It which we cannot comprehend to move our wonder, and as an object of wonder to become more an object of desire, and being desired to purify, and by purifying to make us like God;(<greek>a</greek>) so that when we have thus become like Himself, God may, to use a bold expression, hold converse with us as Gods, being united to us, and that perhaps to the same extent as He already knows those who are known to Him. The Divine Nature then is boundless and hard to understand; and all that we can comprehend of Him is His boundlessness; even though one may conceive that because He is of a simple nature He is therefore either wholly incomprehensible, or perfectly comprehensible. For let us further enquire what is implied by "is of a simple nature." For it is quite certain that this simplicity is not itself its nature, just as composition is not by itself the essence of compound beings.

VIII. And when Infinity is considered from two points of view, beginning and end (for that which is beyond these and not limited by them is Infinity), when the mind looks to the depth above, not having where to stand, and leans upon phenomena to form an idea of God, it calls the Infinite and Unapproachable which it finds there by the name of Unoriginate. And when it looks into the depths below, and at the future, it calls Him Undying and Imperishable. And when it draws a conclusion from the whole it calls Him Eternal(<greek>aiwnios</greek>). For Eternity (<greek>aiwn</greek> is neither time nor part of time; for it cannot be measured. But what time, measured by the course of the sun, is to us, that Eternity is to the Everlasting, namely, a sort of time-like movement and interval co-extensive with their existence. This, however, is all I must now say about God; for the present is not a suitable time, as my present subject is not the doctrine of God, but that of the Incarnation. But when I say God, I mean Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For Godhead is neither diffused beyond these, so as to bring in a mob of gods; nor yet is it bounded by a smaller compass than these, so as to condemn us for a poverty-stricken conception of Deity; either Judaizing to save the Monarchia, or failing into heathenism by the multitude of our gods. For the evil on either side is the same, though found in contrary directions. This then is the Holy of Holies,(<greek>b</greek>) which is hidden even from the Seraphim, and is glorified with a thrice repeated Holy,(<greek>a</greek>) meeting in one ascription of the Title Lord and God, as one of our predecessors has most beautifully and loftily pointed out.

IX. But since this movement of self-contemplation alone could not satisfy Goodness, but Good must be poured out and go forth beyond Itself to multiply the objects of Its beneficence, for this was essential to the highest Goodness, He first conceived the Heavenly and Angelic Powers. And this conception was a work fulfilled by His Word, and perfected by His Spirit. And so the secondary Splendours came into being, as the Ministers of the Primary Splendour; whether we are to conceive of them as intelligent Spirits, or as Fire of an immaterial and incorruptible kind, or as some other nature approaching this as near as may be. I should like to say that they were incapable of movement in the direction of evil, and susceptible only of the movement of good, as being about God, and illumined with the first rays from God--for earthly beings have but the second illumination; but I am obliged to stop short of saying that, and to conceive and speak of them only as difficult to move because of him,(<greek>b</greek>) who for his splendour was called Lucifer, but became and is called Darkness through his pride; and the apostate hosts who are subject to him, creators of evil(<greek>g</greek>) by their revolt against good and our inciters.

X. Thus, then, and for these reasons, He gave being to the world of thought, as far as I can reason upon these matters, and estimate great things in my own poor language. Then when His first creation was in good order, He conceives a second world, material and visible; and this a system and compound of earth and sky, and all that is in the midst of them--an admirable creation indeed, when we look at the fair form of every part, but yet more worthy of admiration when we consider the harmony and the unison of the whole, and how each part fits in with every other, in fair order, and all with the whole, tending to the perfect completion of the world as a Unit. This was to shew that He could call into being, not only a Nature akin to Himself, but also one altogether alien to Himself. For akin to Deity are those natures which are intellectual, and only to be comprehended by mind; but all of which sense can take cognisance are utterly alien to It; and of these the furthest removed are all those which are entirely destitute of soul and of power of motion. But perhaps some one of those who are too festive and impetuous may say, What has all this to do with us? Spur your horse to the goal. Talk to us about the Festival, and the reasons for our being here to-day. Yes, this is what I am about to do, although I have begun at a somewhat previous point, being compelled to do so by love, and by the needs of my argument.

XI. Mind, then, and sense, thus distinguished from each other, had remained within their own boundaries, and bore in themselves the magnificence of the Creator-Word, silent praisers(<greek>a</greek>) and thrilling heralds of His mighty work. Not yet was there any mingling of both, nor any mixtures of these opposites, tokens of a greater Wisdom and Generosity in the creation of natures; nor as yet were the whole riches of Goodness made known. Now the Creator-Word, determining to exhibit this, and to produce a single living being out of both--the visible and the invisible creations, I mean--fashions Man; and taking a body from already existing matter, and placing in it a Breath taken from Himself(<greek>b</greek>) which the Word knew to be an intelligent soul and the Image of God, as a sort of second world. He placed him, great in littleness(<greek>g</greek>) on the earth; a new Angel, a mingled worshipper, fully initiated into the visible creation, but only partially into the intellectual; King of all upon earth, but subject to the King above; earthly and heavenly; temporal and yet immortal; visible and yet intellectual; half-way between greatness and lowliness; in one person combining spirit and flesh; spirit, because of the favour bestowed on him; flesh, because of the height to which he had been raised; the one that he might continue to live and praise his Benefactor, the other that he might suffer, and by suffering be put in remembrance, and corrected if he became proud of his greatness. A living creature trained here, and then moved elsewhere; and, to complete the mystery, deified by its inclination to God. For to this, I think, tends that Light of Truth which we here possess but in measure, that we should both see and experience the Splendour of God, which is worthy of Him Who made us, and will remake us again after a loftier fashion.

XII. This being He placed in Paradise, whatever the Paradise may have been, having honoured him with the gift of Free Will (in order that God might belong to him as the resuit of his choice, no less than to Him who had implanted the seeds of it), to till the immortal plants, by which is meant perhaps the Divine Conceptions, both the simpler and the more perfect; naked in his simplicity and in-artificial life, and without any covering or screen; for it was fitting that he who was from the beginning should be such. Also He gave him a Law, as a material for his Free Will to act upon. This Law was a Commandment as to what plants he might partake of, and which one he might not touch. This latter was the Tree of Knowledge; not, however, because it was evil from the beginning when planted; nor was it forbidden because God grudged it to us ... Let not the enemies of God wag their tongues in that direction, or imitate the Serpent ... But it would have been good if partaken of at the proper time, for the tree was, according to my theory, Contemplation, upon which it is only safe for those who have reached maturity of habit to enter; but which is not good for those who are still somewhat simple and greedy in their habit; just as solid food is not good for those who are yet tender, and have need of milk.(<greek>a</greek>) But when through the Devil's malice and the woman's caprice, to which she succumbed as the more tender, and which she brought to bear upon the man, as she was the more apt to persuade, alas for my weakness! (for that of my first father was mine), he forgot the Commandment which had been given to him;(<greek>b</greek>) he yielded to the baleful fruit; and for his sin he was banished, at once from the Tree of Life, and from Paradise, and from God; and put on the coats of skins ... that is, perhaps, the coarser flesh, both mortal and contradictory. This was the first thing that he learnt--his own shame;(<greek>g</greek>) and he hid himself from God. Yet here too he makes a gain, namely death, and the cutting off of sin, in order that evil may not be immortal. Thus his punishment is changed into a mercy; for it is in mercy, I am persuaded, that God inflicts punishment.

XIII. And having been first chastened by many means (because his sins were many, whose root of evil sprang up through divers causes and at sundry tithes), by word, by law, by prophets, by benefits, by threats, by plagues, by waters, by fires, by wars, by victories, by defeats, by signs in heaven and signs in the air and in the earth and in the sea, by unexpected changes of men, of cities, of nations (the object of which was the destruction of wickedness), at last he needed a stronger remedy, for his diseases were growing worse; mutual slaughters, adulteries, perjuries, unnatural crimes, and that first and last of all evils, idolatry and the transfer of worship from the Creator to the Creatures. As these required a greater aid, so also they obtained a greater. And that was that the Word of God Himself--Who is before all worlds, the Invisible, the Incomprehensible, the Bodiless, Beginning of Beginning,(<greek>a</greek>) the Light of Light, the Source of Life and Immortality, the Image of the Archetypal Beauty, the immovable Seal, the unchangeable Image, the Father's Definition(<greek>b</greek>) and Word, came to His own Image, and took on Him flesh for the sake of our flesh, and mingled Himself with an intelligent soul for my soul's sake, purifying like by like; and in all points except sin was made man. Conceived by the Virgin,(<greek>g</greek>) who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Ghost(<greek>d</greek>) (for it was needful both that Childbearing should be honoured, and that Virginity should receive a higher honour), He came forth then as God with that which He had assumed, One Person in two Natures, Flesh and Spirit, of which the latter deified the former.(<greek>e</greek>) O new commingling; O strange conjunction; the Self-Existent comes into being, the Uncreate is created, That which cannot be contained is contained, by the intervention of an intellectual soul, mediating between the Deity and the corporeity of the flesh. And He Who gives riches becomes poor, for He assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the richness of His Godhead. He that is full empties Himself, for He empties Himself of His glory for a short while, that I may have a share in His Fulness. What is the riches of His Goodness? What is this mystery that is around me? I had a share in the image; I did not keep it; He partakes of my flesh that He may both save the image and make the flesh immortal. He communicates a second Communion far more marvellous than the first, inasmuch as then He imparted the better Nature, whereas now Himself partakes of the worse. This is more godlike than the former action, this is loftier in the eyes of all men of understanding.

XIV. To this what have those cavillers to say, those bitter reasoners about Godhead, those detractors of all that is praiseworthy, those darkeners of light, uncultured in respect of wisdom, for whom Christ died in vain, those unthankful creatures, the work of the Evil One? Do you turn this benefit into a reproach to God? Wilt thou deem Him little on this account, that He humbled Himself for thee; because the Good Shepherd,(<greek>a</greek>) He who lays down His life for His sheep, came to seek for that which had strayed upon the mountains and the hills, on which thou wast then sacrificing, and found the wanderer; and having found it,(<greek>b</greek>) took it upon His shoulders--on which He also took the Wood of the Cross; and having taken it, brought it back to the higher life; and having carried it back, numbered it amongst those who had never strayed. Because He lighted a candle--His own Flesh--and swept the house, cleansing the world from sin; and sought the piece of money, the Royal Image that was covered up by passions. And He calls together His Angel friends on the finding of the coin, and makes them sharers in His joy,(<greek>g</greek>) whom He had made to share also the secret of the Incarnation? Because on the candle of the Forerunner there follows the light that exceeds in brightness; and to the Voice the Word succeeds; and to the Bridegroom's friend the Bridegroom; to him that prepared for the Lord a peculiar people, cleansing them by water in preparation for the Spirit? Dost thou reproach God with all this? Dost thou on this account deem Him lessened, because He girds Himself with a towel and washes His disciples' feet, and shows that humiliation is the best road to exaltation? Because for the soul that was bent to the ground He humbles Himself, that He may raise up with Himself the soul that was tottering to a fall under a weight of sin? Why dost thou not also charge upon Him as a crime the fact that He eats with Publicans and at Publicans' tables,(<greek>a</greek>) and that He makes disciples of Publicans, that He too may gain somewhat ... and what? ... the salvation of sinners. If so, we must blame the physician for stooping over sufferings, and enduring evil odours that he may give health to the sick; or one who as the Law commands bent down into a ditch to save a beast that had fallen into it.(<greek>b</greek>)

XV. He was sent, but as man, for He was of a twofold Nature; for He was wearied, and hungered, and was thirsty, and was in an agony, and shed tears, according to the nature of a corporeal being. And if the expression be also used of Him as God, the meaning is that the Father's good pleasure is to be considered a Mission, for to this He refers all that concerns Himself; both that He may honour the Eternal Principle, and because He will not be taken to be an antagonistic God. And whereas it is written both that He was betrayed, and also that He gave Himself up(<greek>g</greek>) and that He was raised up by the Father, and taken up into heaven; and on the other hand, that He raised Himself and went up; the former statement of each pair refers to the good pleasure of the Father, the latter to His own Power. Are you then to be allowed to dwell upon all that humiliates Him, while passing over all that exalts Him, and to count on your side the fact that He suffered, but to leave out of the account the fact that it was of His own will? See what even now the Word has to suffer. By one set He is honoured as God, but is confused with the Father,(<greek>d</greek>) by another He is dishonoured as mere flesh(<greek>a</greek>) and severed from the Godhead. With which of them will He be most angry, or rather, which shall He forgive, those who injuriously confound Him or those who divide Him? For the former ought to have distinguished, and the latter to have united Him; the one in number, the other in Godhead. Stumblest Thou at His flesh? So did the Jews. Or dost thou call Him a Samaritan, and ... I will not say the rest. Dost thou disbelieve in His Godhead? This did not even the demons, O thou who art less believing than demons and more stupid than Jews. Those did perceive that the name of Son implies equality of rank; these did know that He who drove them out was God, for they were convinced of it by their own experience. But you will admit neither the equality nor the Godhead. It would have been better for you to have been either a Jew or a demoniac (if I may utter an absurdity), than in uncircumcision and m sound health to be so wicked and ungodly in your attitude of mind.

XVI. A little later on you will see Jesus submitting to be purified in the River Jordan for my Purification, or rather, sanctifying the waters by His Purification (for indeed He had no need of purification Who taketh away the sin of the world) and the heavens cleft asunder, and witness borne to him by the Spirit That is of one nature with Him;(<greek>a</greek>) you shall see Him tempted and conquering and served by Angels,(<greek>b</greek>) and healing every sickness(<greek>g</greek>) and every disease,(<greek>d</greek>) and giving life to the dead (O that He would give life to you who are dead because of your heresy), and driving out demons,(<greek>e</greek>) sometimes Himself, sometimes by his disciples; and feeding vast multitudes with a few loaves;(<greek>z</greek>) and walking dryshod upon seas;(<greek>h</greek>) and being betrayed and crucified, and crucifying with Himself my sin; offered as a Lamb, and offering as a Priest; as a Man buried in the grave, and as God rising again; and then ascending, and to come again in His own glory. Why what a multitude of high festivals there are in each of the mysteries of the Christ; all of which have one completion, namely, my perfection and return to the first condition of Adam.

XVII. Now then I pray you accept His Conception, and leap before Him; if not like John from the womb,(<greek>q</greek>) yet like David, because of the resting of the Ark.(<greek>i</greek>) Revere the enrolment on account of which thou wast written in heaven, and adore the Birth by which thou wast loosed from the chains of thy birth,(<greek>k</greek>) and honour little Bethlehem, which hath led thee back to Paradise; and worship the manger through which thou, being without sense, wast fed by the Word. Know as Isaiah bids thee, thine Owner, like the ox, and like the ass thy Master's crib;(<greek>l</greek>) if thou be one of those who are pure and lawful food, and who chew the cud of the word and are fit for sacrifice. Or if thou art one of those who are as yet unclean and uneatable and unfit for sacrifice, and of the gentile portion, run with the Star, and bear thy Gifts with the Magi, gold and frankincense and myrrh,(<greek>m</greek>) as to a King, and to God, and to One Who is dead for thee. With Shepherds glorify Him;(<greek>n</greek>) with Angels join in chorus; with Archangels sing hymns. Let this Festival be common to the powers in heaven and to the powers upon earth.(<greek>x</greek>) For I am persuaded that the Heavenly Hosts join in our exultation and keep high Festival with us to-day(<greek>o</greek>) ... because they love men, and they love God just like those whom David introduces after the Passion ascending with Christ(<greek>p</greek>) and coming to meet Him, and bidding one another to lift up the gates.

XVIII. One thing connected with the Birth of Christ I would have you hate ... the murder of the infants by Herod.(<greek>a</greek>) Or rather you must venerate this too, the Sacrifice of the same age as Christ, slain before the Offering of the New Victim. If He flees into Egypt,(<greek>b</greek>) joyfully become a companion of His exile. It is a grand thing to share the exile of the persecuted Christ. If He tarry long in Egypt, call Him out of Egypt by a reverent worship of Him there. Travel without fault through every stage and faculty of the Life of Christ. Be purified; be circumcised; strip off the veil which has covered thee from thy birth. After this teach in the Temple, and drive out the sacrilegious traders.(<greek>g</greek>) Submit to be stoned if need be, for well I wot thou shalt be hidden from those who cast the stones; thou shalt escape even through the midst of them, like God.(<greek>d</greek>) If thou be brought before Herod, answer not for the most part.(<greek>e</greek>) He will respect thy silence more than most people's long speeches. If thou be scourged,(<greek>z</greek>) ask for what they leave out. Taste gall for the taste's sake;(<greek>h</greek>) drink vinegar;(<greek>q</greek>) seek for spittings; accept blows, be crowned with thorns,(<greek>i</greek>) that is, with the hardness of the godly life; put on the purple robe, take the reed in hand, and receive mock worship from those who mock at the truth; lastly, be crucified with Him, and share His Death and Burial gladly, that thou mayest rise with Him, and be glorified with Him and reign with Him. Look at and be looked at by the Great God, Who in Trinity is worshipped and glorified, and Whom we declare to be now set forth as clearly before you as the chains of our flesh allow, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom be the glory for ever. Amen.

Return to Volume 30 Index