JOHN CASSIAN
THE SEVEN BOOKS
ON THE INCARNATION OF THE LORD
AGAINST NESTORIUS
BOOKS I TO III

BOOK I.

CHAPTER I.

The heresy compared to the hydra of the poets.(1)

THE tales of poets tell us that of old the hydra when its heads were cut off gained by its injuries, and sprang up more abundantly: so that owing to a miracle of a strange and unheard-of kind, its loss proved a kind of gain to the monster which was thus increased by death, while that extraordinary fecundity doubled everything which the knife of the executioner cut off, until the man who was eagerly seeking its destruction, toiling and sweating, and finding his efforts so often baffled by useless labours, added to the courage of battle the arts of craft, and by the application of fire, as they tell us, cut off with a fiery sword the manifold offspring of that monstrous body; and so when the inward parts were thus burnt, by cauterizing the rebellious throbbings of that ghastly fecundity, at length those prodigious births were brought to an end. Thus also heresies in the churches bear some likeness to that hydra which the poets' imagination invented; for they too hiss against us with deadly tongues; and they too cast forth their deadly poison, and spring up again when their heads are cut off. But because the medicine should not be wanting when the disease revives, and because the remedy should be the more speedy as the sickness is the more dangerous, our Lord God is able to bring to pass that that may be a truth in the church's warfare, which Gentile fictions imagined of the death of the hydra, and that the fiery sword of the Holy Spirit may cauterize the inward parts of that most dangerous birth, in the new heresy to be put down, so that at last its monstrous fecundity may cease to answer to its dying throbs.

CHAPTER II.

Description of the different heretical monsters which spring from one another.

FOR these shoots of an unnatural seed are no new thing in the churches. The harvest I of the Lord's field has always had to put up I with burrs and briars, and in it the shoots of choking tares have constantly sprung up. For hence have arisen the Ebionites, Sabellians, Arians, as well as Eunomians and Macedonians, and Photinians and Apollinarians, and all the other tares of the churches, and thistles which destroy the fruits of good faith. And of these the earliest was Ebion,(2) who while over-anxious about asserting our Lord's humanity(3) robbed it of its union with Divinity. But after him the schism of Sabellius burst forth out of reaction against the above mentioned heresy, and as he declared that there was no distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, he impiously confounded, as far as was possible, the Persons, and failed to distinguish the holy and ineffable Trinity. Next after him whom we have mentioned there followed the blasphemy of Arian perversity, which, in order to avoid the appearance of confounding the Sacred Persons, declared that there were different and dissimilar substances in the Trinity. But after him in time though like him in wickedness came Eunomius, who, though allowing that the Persons of the Holy Trinity were divine and like(1) each other, yet insisted that they were separate from each other; and so while admitting their likeness denied their equality. Macedonius also blaspheming against the Holy Ghost with unpardonable wickedness, while allowing that the Father and the Son were of one substance, termed the Holy Ghost a creature, and so sinned against the entire Divinity, because no injury can be offered to anything in the Trinity without affecting the entire Trinity. But Photinus, though allowing that Jesus who was born of the Virgin was God, yet erred in his notion that His Godhead began with the beginning of His manhood;(2) while Apollinaris through inaccurately conceiving the union of God and man wrongly believed that He was without a human soul For it is as bad an error to add to our Lord Jesus Christ what does not belong to Him as to rob Him of that which is His. For where He is spoken of otherwise than as He is -even though it seems to add to His glory -- yet it is an offence. And so one after another out of reaction against heresies they give rise to heresies, and all teach things different from each other, but equally opposed to the faith. And just lately also, i.e., in our own days, we saw a most poisonous heresy spring up from the greatest city of the Belgae,(3) and though there was no doubt about its error, yet there was a doubt about its name, because it arose with a fresh head from the old stock of the Ebionites, and so it is still a question whether it ought to be called old or new. For it was new as far as its upholders were concerned; but old in the character of its errors. Indeed it blasphemously taught that our Lord Jesus Christ was born as a mere man, and maintained that the fact that He afterwards obtained the glory and power of the Godhead resulted from His human worth and not from His Divine nature; and by this it taught that He had not always His Divinity by the right of His very own Divine nature which belonged to Him, but that He obtained it afterwards as a reward for His labours and sufferings. Whereas then it blasphemously taught that our Lord and Saviour was not God at His birth, but was subsequently taken into the Godhead, it was indeed bordering on this heresy which has now sprung up, and is as it were its first cousin and akin to it, and, harmonizing both with Ebionism and these new ones, came in point of time between them, and was linked with them both in point of wickedness. And although there are some others like those which we have mentioned yet it would take too long to describe them all. Nor have we now undertaken to enumerate those that are dead and gone, but to refute those which are novel.

CHAPTER III.

He describes the pestilent error of the Pelagian.

AT any rate we think that this fact ought not to be omitted, which was special and peculiar to that heresy mentioned above which sprang from the error of Pelagius; viz., that in saying that Jesus Christ had lived as a mere man without any stain of sin, they actually went so far as to declare that men could also be without sin if they liked. For they imagined that it followed that if Jesus Christ being a mere man was without sin, all men also could without the help of God be whatever He as a mere man without participating in the Godhead, could be. And so they made out that there was no difference between any man and our Lord Jesus Christ, as any man could by effort and striving obtain just the same as Christ had obtained by His earnestness and efforts. Whence it resulted that they broke out into a more grievous and unnatural madness, and said that our Lord Jesus Christ had come into this world not to bring redemption to mankind but to give an example of good works, to wit, that men, by following His teaching, and by walking along the same path of virtue, might arrive at the same reward of virtue: thus destroying, as far as they could, all the good of His sacred advent and all the grace of Divine redemption, as they declared that men could by their own lives obtain just that which God had wrought by dying for man's salvation. They added as well that our Lord and Say-four became the Christ after His Baptism, and God after His Resurrection, tracing the former to the mystery of His anointing, the latter to the merits of His Passion. Whence this new author(1) of a heresy that is not new, who declares that our Lord and Saviour was born a mere man, observes that he says exactly the same thing which the Pelagians said before him, and allows that it follows from his error that as he asserts that our Lord Jesus Christ lived as a mere man entirely without sin, so he must maintain in his blasphemy that all men can of themselves be without sin, nor would he admit that our Lord's redemption was a thing needful for His example, since men can (as they say) reach the heavenly kingdom by their own exertions. Nor is there any doubt about this, as the thing itself shows us. For hence it comes that he encourages the complaints of the Pelagians by his intervention, and introduces their case into his writings, because he cleverly or (to speak more truly) cunningly patronizes them and by his wicked liking for them recommends their mischievous teaching which is akin to his own, for he is well aware that he is of the same opinion and of the same spirit, and therefore is distressed that a heresy akin to his own has been cast out of the church, as he knows that it is entirely allied to his own in wickedness.

CHAPTER IV.

Leporius together with some others recants Iris Pelagianism.

BUT still as those who were the outcome of this stock of pestilent thorns have already by the Divine help and goodness been healed, we should also now pray to our Lord God that as in some points that older heresy and this new one are akin to each other, He would grant a like happy ending to those which had a like bad beginning. For Leporius, then a monk, now a presbyter, who followed the teaching or rather the evil deeds of Pelagius, as we said above, and was among the earliest and greatest champions of the aforesaid heresy in Gaul, was admonished by us and corrected by God, and so nobly condemned his former erroneous persuasion that his amendment was almost as much a matter for congratulation as is the unimpaired faith of many. For it is the best thing never to fall into error: the second best thing to make a good repudiation of it. He then coming to himself confessed his mistake with grief but without shame not only in Africa, where he was then and is now,(2) but also gave to all the cities of Gaul penitent letters containing his confession and grief; in order that his return to the faith might be made known where his deviation from it had been first published, and that those who had formerly been witnesses of his error might also afterwards be witnesses of his amendment.

CHAPTER V.

By the case of Leporius he establishes the fact that an open sin ought to be expiated by an open confession; and also teaches from his words what is the right view to be held on the Incarnation.

AND from his confession or rather lamentation we have thought it well to quote some part, for two reasons: that their recantation might be a testimony to us, and an example to those who are weak, and that they might not be ashamed to follow in their amendment, the men whom they were not ashamed to follow in their error; and that they might be cured by a like remedy as they suffered from a like disease. He then acknowledging the perverseness of his views, and seeing the light of faith, wrote to the Gallican Bishops, and thus began:(3) "I scarcely know, O my most venerable lords and blessed priests, what first to accuse myself of, and what first to excuse myself for. Clumsiness and pride and foolish ignorance together with wrong notions, zeal combined with indiscretion, and (to speak truly) a weak faith which was gradually failing, all these were admitted by me and flourished to such an extent that I am ashamed of having yielded to such and so many sins, while at the same time I am profoundly thankful for having been able to cast them out of my soul." And after a little he adds: "If then, not understanding this power of God, and wise in our conceits and opinions, from fear lest God should seem to act a part that was beneath Him, we suppose that a man was born in conjunction with God, in such a way that we ascribe to God alone what belongs to God separately, and attribute to man alone what belongs to man separately, we clearly add a fourth Person to the Trinity and out of the one God the Son begin to make not one but two Christs; from which may our Lord and God Jesus Christ Himself preserve us. Therefore we confess that our Lord and God Jesus Christ the only Son of God, who for His own sake(1) was begotten of the Father before all worlds, when in time He was for our sakes: made man of the Holy Ghost and the ever-virgin Mary, was God at His birth; and while we confess the two substances of the flesh and the Word,(2) we always acknowledge with pious belief and faith one and the same Person to be indivisibly God and man; and we say that from the time when He took upon Him flesh all that belonged to God was given to man, as all that belonged to man was joined to God.(3) And in this sense 'the Word was made flesh:' (4) not that He began by any conversion or change to be what He was not, but that by the Divine 'economy' the Word of the Father never left the Father,(5) and yet vouchsafed to become truly man, and the Only Begotten was incarnate through that hidden mystery which He alone understands (for it is ours to believe: His to understand). And thus God 'the Word' Himself receiving everything that belongs to man, is made man, and the manhood(6) which is assumed, receiving everything that belongs to God cannot but be God; but whereas He is said to be incarnate and unmixed, we must not hold that there is any diminution of His substance: for God knows how to communicate Himself without suffering any corruption, and yet truly to communicate Himself. He knows how to receive into Himself without Himself being increased thereby, just as He knows how to impart Himself in such a way as Himself to suffer no loss. We should not then in our feeble minds make guesses, in accordance with visible proofs and experiments, from the case of creatures which are equal, and which mutually enter into each other, nor think that God and man are mixed together, and that out of such a fusion of flesh and the Word (i.e., the Godhead and manhood) some sort of body is produced. God forbid that we should imagine that the two natures being in a way moulded together should become one substance. For a mixture of this sort is destructive of both parts. For God, who contains and is not Himself contained, who enters into things and is not Himself entered into, who fills things and is not Himself filled, who is everywhere at once in His completeness and is diffused everywhere, communicates Himself graciously to human nature by the infusion of His power." And after a little: "Therefore the God-man, Jesus Christ, tho Son of God, is truly born for us of the Holy Ghost and the ever-virgin Mary. And so in the two natures the Word and Flesh become one, so that while each substance continues naturally perfect in itself, what is Divine imparteth without suffering any loss, to the humanity, and what is human participates in the Divine; nor is there one person God, and another person man, but the same person is God who is also man: and again the man who is also God is called and indeed is Jesus Christ the only Son of God; and so we must always take care and believe so as not to deny that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Very God (whom we confess as existing ever with the Father and equal to the Father before all worlds) became from the moment when He took flesh the God-man. Nor may we imagine that gradually as time went on He became God, and that He was in one condition before the resurrection and in another after it, but that He was always of the same fulness and power." And again a little later on: "But because the Word of God(7) vouchsafed to come down upon manhood by assuming manhood, and manhood was taken up into the Word by being assumed by God, God the Word in His completeness became complete man. For it was not God the Father who was made man, nor the Holy Ghost, but the Only Begotten of the Father; and so we must hold that there is one Person of the Flesh and the Word: so as faithfully and without any doubt to believe that one and the same Son of God, who can never be divided, existing in two natures(1) (who was also spoken of as a "giant" (2)) in the days of His Flesh truly took upon Him all that belongs to man, and ever truly had as His own what belongs to God: since even though (3) He was crucified in weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God."

CHAPTER VI.

The united doctrine of the Catholics is to be received as the orthodox faith.

THIS confession of his therefore, which was the faith of all Catholics was approved of by all the Bishops of Africa,(4) whence he wrote, and by all those of Gaul, to whom he wrote. Nor has there ever been anyone who quarrelled with this faith, without being guilty of unbelief: for to deny what is right and proved is to confess what is wrong. The agreement of all ought then to be in itself already sufficient to confute heresy: for the authority of all shows undoubted truth, and a perfect reason results where no one disputes it: so that if a man endeavours to hold opinions contrary to these, we should in the first instance rather condemn his perverseness than listen to his assertions, for one who impugns the judgment of all announces beforehand his own condemnation, and a man who disturbs what has been determined by all, is not even given a hearing. For when the truth has once for all been established by all men, whatever arises contrary to it is by this very fact to be recognized at once as falsehood, because it differs from the truth. And thus it is agreed that this alone is sufficient to condemn a man; viz., that he differs from the judgment of truth. But still as an explanation of a system does no harm to the system, and truth always shines brighter when thoroughly ventilated, and as it is better that those who are wrong should be set right by discussion rather than condemned by severe censures, we should cure, as far as we can with the Divine assistance, this old heresy appearing in the persons of new heretics, that when through God's mercy they have recovered their health, their cure may bear testimony to our holy faith instead of their condemnation proving an instance of just severity. Only may the Truth indeed be present at our discussion and discourse concerning it, and assist our human weakness with that goodness with which God vouchsafed to come to men, as for this purpose above all He willed to be born on earth and among men; viz., that there might be no more room for falsehood.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER I.

How the errors of later heretics have been condemned and refuted in the persons of their authors and originators.

AS we began by setting down in the first book some things by which we showed that our new heretic is but an offshoot from ancient stocks of heresy, the due condemnation of the earlier heretics ought to be enough to secure a sentence of due condemnation for him. For as he has the same roots and grows up out of the same fallow(5) he has already been amply condemned in the persons of his predecessors, especially as those who went wrong immediately before these men very properly condemned the very thing which these men are now asserting,(6) so that the examples of their own party ought to be amply sufficient for them in both directions; viz., that of those who were restored and that of those who were condemned. For if they are capable of amendment they have their remedy set forth in the correction of their own party. If they are incapable of it they receive their sentence in the condemnation of their own folk. But that we may not be thought to have prejudged the case against them instead of fairly judging it, we will produce their actual pestilent assertions, or rather I should say their blasphemous folly: taking "above all the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,"(1) that when the head of the old serpent rises once more, the same sword of the Divine Word which formerly severed it in the case of those ancient dragons may even now cut it off in the persons of these new serpents. For since the error of these is the same as that of those former ones, the decapitation of those ought to be counted as the decapitation of these; and as the serpents revive and emit pestilent blasts against the Lord's church, and cause some to fail through their hissing, we must on account of these new diseases add a fresh remedy to those older cures, so that even if what has already been done prove insufficient to heal(2) the malady, what we are now doing may be adequate to restore those who are suffering from it.

CHAPTER II.

Proof that the Virgin Mother of God was not only Christotocos but also Theotocos, and that Christ is truly God.

AND so you say, O heretic, whoever you may be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotocos, i.e., Mother of God, but Christotocos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God.(3) For no one, you say, brings forth what is anterior in time. And of this utterly foolish argument whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning, we will, if God permits, say something later on.(4) In the meanwhile we will now prove by Divine testimonies that Christ is God, and that Mary is the Mother of God. Hear then how the angel of God speaks to the Shepherds of the birth of God. "There is born," he says, "to you this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord."(5) In order that you may not take Christ for a mere man, he adds the name of Lord and Saviour, on purpose that you may have no doubt that He whom you acknowledge as Saviour is God, and that (as the office of saving belongs only to Divine power) you may not question that He is of Divine power, in whom you have learnt that the power to save resides. But perhaps this is not enough to convince your unbelief, as the angel of the Lord termed Him Lord and Saviour rather than God or the Son of God, as you certainly most wickedly deny Him to be God, whom you acknowledge to be Saviour. Hear then what the archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary. "The Holy Ghost," he says, "shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."(6) Do you see how, when he is going to point out the nativity of God, he first speaks of a work of Divinity. For "the Holy Ghost," he says, "shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." Admirably did the angel speak, and explain the majesty of the Divine work by the Divine character of his words. For the Holy Ghost sanctified the Virgin's womb, and breathed into it by the power of His Divinity, and thus imparted and communicated Himself to human nature; and made His own what was before foreign to Him, taking it to Himself by His own power and majesty.(7) And lest the weakness of human nature should not be able to bear the entrance of Divinity the power of the Most High strengthened the ever to be honoured Virgin, so that it supported her bodily weakness by embracing it with overshadowing protection, and human weakness was not insufficient for the consummation of the ineffable mystery of the holy conception, since it was supported by the Divine overshadowing. "Therefore," he says, "the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." If only a mere man was to be born of a pure virgin why should there be such careful mention of the Divine Advent? Why such intervention of Divinity itself? Certainly if only a man was to be born from man, and flesh from flesh, a command alone might have done it, or the Divine will. For if the will of God alone, and His command sufficed to fashion the heavens, form the earth, create the sea, thrones, and seats, and angels, and archangels, and principalities, and powers, and in a word to create all the armies of heaven, and those countless thousands of thousands of the Divine hosts ("For He spake and they were made, He commanded and they were created"(1)), why was it that that was insufficient for the creation of (according to you) a single man, which was sufficient for the production of all things divine, and that the power and majesty of God did not entrust that with the birth of a single infant, which had availed to fashion all things earthly and heavenly? But certainly the reason why all those works were performed by the command of God, but the nativity was only accomplished by His coming was because God could not be conceived by man unless He allowed it, nor be born unless He Himself entered in; and therefore the archangel pointed out that the sacred majesty would come upon the Virgin, I mean that as so great an event could not be brought about by human appointment, he announced that there would be present at the conception the glory of Him who was to be born.(2) And so the Word, the Son, descended: the majesty of the Holy Ghost was present: the power of the Father was overshadowing; that in the mystery of the holy conception the whole Trinity might cooperate. "Therefore," he says, "also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Admirably does he add "Therefore," in order to show that this would therefore follow because that had gone before; and that because God had come upon her at the conception therefore God would be present at the birth. And when the maiden understood not, he gave a reason for this great thing, saying: "Because the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and because the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God;" that is to say: That thou mayest not be ignorant of the provision for so great a work, and the mystery of this great secret, the majesty of God shall therefore come upon thee completely; because the Son of God shall be born of thee. What further doubt can there be about this? or what is there further to be said? He said that God would come upon her; that the Son of God would be born. Ask now, if you like, how the Son of God can help being God, or how she who brought forth God can fail to be Theotocos, i.e., the Mother of God? This alone ought to be enough for you; aye this ought to be amply sufficient for you.

CHAPTER III.

Follows up the same argument with passages from the Old Testament.

BUT as there is an abundant supply of witnesses to the holy nativity; viz., all that has been on this account written, to hear witness to it, let us examine in some slight degree an announcement about God even in the Old Testament, that you may know that the fact that the birth of God was to be from a virgin was not only then announced when it actually came to pass, but had been foretold from the very beginning of the world, that, as the event to be brought about was ineffable, incredulity of the fact when actually present might be removed by its having been previously announced while still future. And so the prophet Isaiah says: "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is interpreted God with us."(3) What room is there here for doubt, you incredulous person?(4) The prophet said that a virgin should conceive: a virgin has conceived: that a Son should be born: a Son has been born: that He Should be called God: He is called God. For He is called by that name as being of that nature. Therefore when the Spirit of God said that He should be called God, He proved that He is without the Spirit of God who makes himself a stranger to all fellowship with the Divine title. "Behold then," he says, "a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is interpreted God with us." But here is a point on which it is possible that your shuffling incredulity may fasten; viz., by saying that this which the prophet declared He should be called referred not to the glory of His Divinity, but to the name by which He should be addressed. But what are we to do because Christ is never spoken of by this name in the gospels, though the Spirit of God cannot be said to have spoken falsely through the prophet? How is it then? Surely that we should understand that that prophecy then foretold the name of His Divine nature and not of His humanity. For since in His manhood united to the Godhead(5) He received another name in the gospel, it is certainly clear that this name belonged to His humanity, that to His Divinity. But let us proceed further and summon other true witnesses to establish the truth: For where we are speaking about the Godhead, the Divinity cannot be better established than by His own witnesses. So then the same prophet says elsewhere: "For unto us a Son is born: unto us a child is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called the angel of great counsel, God the mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace."(1) Just as above the prophet had expressly said that He should be called Emmanuel, so here he says that He should be called "the angel of great counsel, and God the mighty, and the Father of the world to come and the prince of peace" (although we certainly never read that He was called by these names in the gospel): of course that we may understand that these are not terms belonging to His human, but to His Divine nature; and that the name used in the gospel belonged to the manhood which He took upon Him,(2) and this one to His innate power. And because God was to be born in human form, these names were so distributed in the sacred economy, that to the manhood a human name was given and to the Divinity a Divine one. Therefore he says: "He shall be cat led the angel of great counsel, God the mighty, the Father of the world to come, the prince of peace." Not, O heretic, whoever you may be, not that here the prophet, full as he was of the Holy Spirit, followed your example and compared Him who was born to a molten image and a figure fashioned without sense.(3) For "a Son," he says, "is born to us, a Child is given to us; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and His name shall be called the angel of great counsel, God the mighty." And that you may not imagine Him whom He announced as God(4) to be other than Him who was born in the flesh, he adds a term referring to His birth, saying: "A child is born to us: a son is given to us." Do you see how many titles the prophet used to make clear the reality of His birth in the body? for he called Him both Son and child on purpose that the manner of the child which was born might be more clearly shown by a name referring to His infancy; and the Holy Spirit foreseeing without doubt this perversity of blasphemous heretics, showed to the whole world that it was God who was born, by the very terms and words used; that even if a heretic was determined to utter blashemy, he might not find any loophole for his blasphemy. Therefore he says: "A Son is born to us; a child is given to us; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called the angel of great counsel, God the mighty, the Father of the world to come, the prince of peace." He teaches that this child which was born is both prince of peace and Father of the world to come and God the mighty. What room is there then for shuffling? This child which is born cannot be severed from God who is born in Him, for he called Him, whom he spoke of as born, Father of the world to come; Him whom he called a child, he foretold as God the mighty. What is it, O heretic? Whither will you betake yourself? Every place is hedged and shut in: there is no possibility of getting out of it. There is nothing for it but that you should at length be obliged to confess the mistake which you would not understand. But not content with these passages which are indeed enough let us inquire what the Holy Ghost said through another prophet. "Shall a man," says he, "pierce his God, for you are piercing me?"(5) In order that the subject of the prophecy might be still clearer the prophet foretells what he proclaimed of the Lord's passion as if from the mouth of Him of whom he was speaking. "Shall a man pierce his God, for you are piercing me?" Does not our Lord God, I ask, seem to have said this when He was led to the Cross? Why indeed do you not acknowledge Me as your Redeemer? Why are ye ignorant of God clothed in flesh for you? Are you preparing death for your Saviour? Are yon leading forth to death the Author of life? I am your God whom ye are lifting up: your God whom ye are crucifying. What mistake, I ask, is here or what madness is it? "Shall a man pierce his God, for you are piercing me?" Do you see how exactly the words describe what was actually done? Could you ask for anything more express or clearer? Do you see how sacred testimonies follow our Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ from the very cradle to the Cross which He bore, as here you can see that He whom elsewhere you read of as God when born in the flesh was God when pierced on the cross? And so there, where His birth was treated of, He is spoken of by the prophet as God: and here where His crucifixion is concerned, He is most clearly named God; that the taking upon Him of manhood might not in any point prejudice dignity of His Divinity, nor the humiliation of His body and the shame of the passion affect the glory of His majesty; for His condescension to so lowly a birth and His generous goodness in enduring his passion ought to increase our love and devotion to Him; since it is certainly a great and monstrous sin if, the more He lavishes love upon us, the less He is honoured by us.

CHAPTER IV.

He produces testimonies to the same doctrine from the Apostle Paul.

BUT passing over these things which cannot possibly be unfolded because there would be no limit to the telling of them, as the blessings which he gives are without stint, it is time for us to consult the Apostle Paul, the stoutest and clearest witness to Him, for he can tell us everything about God in the most trustworthy way because God always spoke from his breast. He then, the chosen teacher of the nations, who was sent to destroy the errors of Gentile superstition, bears his witness in the following way to the grace and coming of our Lord God: "The grace," he says, "of God and our Saviour appeared unto all men, instructing us that denying ungodliness and worldly desires we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."(1) He says that "there appeared the grace of God our Saviour." Admirably does he use a word suited to show the arrival of a new grace and birth; for by saying "there appeared," he indicated the approach of a new grace and birth, for thenceforward the gift of a new grace began to appear, from the moment when God appeared as born in the world. Thus by using the right word, and one exactly suitable, he shows the light of this new grace almost as if he pointed to it with his finger. For that is most properly said to appear, which is shown by sudden light manifesting it. Just as we read in the gospel that the star appeared to the wise men m the East:(2) and in Exodus: "There appeared," he says, "to Moses an angel in a flame of fire in the bush:"(8) for in all these and in the case of other visions in the Holy Scripture, Scripture determined that this word in particular should be used, that it might speak of that as "appearing," which shone forth with unwonted light. So then the Apostle also, well knowing the coming of the heavenly grace, which appeared at the approach of the holy nativity, indicated it by using a term applied to a bright appearance; expressly in order to say that it appeared, as it shone with the splendour of a new light. "There appeared" then "the grace of God our Saviour." Surely you cannot raise any quibble about the ambiguity of the names in this place, so as to say that "Christ" is one and "God" another, or to divide "the Saviour" from the glory of His name, and separate "the Lord" from the Divinity? Lo, here the vessel(4) of God speaks from God, and testifies by the clearest statement that the grace of God appeared from Mary. And in order that you may not deny that God appeared from Mary, he at once adds the name of Saviour, on purpose that you may believe that He who is born of Mary is God, whom you cannot deny to have been born a Saviour, in accordance with this passage: "For to you is born to-day a Saviour."(5) O excellent teacher of the Gentiles truly given by God to them, for he knew that this wild heretical folly would arise, which would turn to controversial uses the names of God, and would not hesitate to slander God from His own titles; and so just in order that the heretic might not separate the title of Saviour from the Divinity he put first the name of God, that the name of God standing first might claim as His all the names which followed, and that no one might imagine that in what followed Christ was spoken of as a mere man, as by the very first word used he had taught that He was God. "Looking," says the same Apostle, "for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Certainly that teacher of divine wisdom saw that plain and simple teaching would not in itself be sufficient to meet the crafty wiles of the devil's cunning, unless he fortified the holy preaching of the faith with a protection of extreme care. And so although he had used the name of God the Saviour up above, he here adds "Jesus Christ," in case you might think that the mere name of Saviour was not enough to indicate to you our Lord Jesus Christ, and might fail to understand that the God, whom you acknowledge as God the Saviour, is the same Jesus Christ. What then does he say? He says: "Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Nothing is here wanting as regards the titles of our Lord and you see here God, and the Saviour, and Jesus, and Christ. But when you see all these, you see that they all belong to God. For you have heard of Him as God, but as Saviour as well. You have heard of Him as God, but as Jesus as well. You have heard of Him as God, but as Christ as well. That which the Divinity has joined and united together cannot be separated by this diversity of titles; for whichever you may seek for of them, all, you will find it there. The Saviour is God, Jesus is God, Christ is God. In all of this which you hear, though the titles used are many, yet they belong to one Person in power. For whereas the Saviour is God, and Jesus is God, and Christ is God, it is easy to see that all these, though different appellations, are united as regards the Majesty. And when you hear quite plainly that one and the same Person is called God in each case, you can surely clearly see that in all these cases there is but one God spoken of. And so you cannot any longer seek to make out a distinction of power from the different names given to the Lord, or to make a difference of Person owing to variety of titles. You cannot say: Christ was born of Mary, but God was not; for an Apostle declares that God was. You cannot say that Jesus was born of Mary, but God was not; for an Apostle testifies that God was. You cannot say: the Saviour was born, but God was not; for an Apostle supports the fact that God was. There is no way of escape for you. Whichever of the titles of the Lord you may take, He is God, of whom you speak. You have nothing to say: nothing to assert: nothing to invent in your wicked falsehood. You can in impious un belief refuse to believe: you have nothing to deny in the matter of your blasphemy.

CHAPTER V.

From the gifts of Divine grace which we receive through Christ he infers that He is truly God.

ALTHOUGH we began to speak some time back on this Divine grace of our Lord and Saviour, I want to say somewhat more on the same subject from the Holy Scriptures. We read in the Acts of the Apostles that the Apostle James(1) thus refuted those who thought that when they received the gospel they ought still to bear the yoke of the old Law: "Why," said he, "do ye tempt God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear. But by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we believe to be saved in like manner as they also."(2) The Apostle certainly speaks of the gift of this grace as given by Jesus Christ. Answer me now, if you please: do you think that this grace which is given for the salvation of all men, is given by man or by God? If you say, By man, Paul, God's own vessel, will cry out against you, saying: "There appeared the grace of God our Saviour."(8) He teaches that this grace is the result of a Divine gift, and not of human weakness. And even if the sacred testimony was not sufficient, the truth of the matter itself would bear its witness, because fragile earthly things cannot possibly furnish a thing of lasting and immortal value; nor can anyone give to another that in which he himself is lacking, nor supply a sufficiency of that, from the want of which he admits that he himself is suffering. You cannot then help admitting that the grace comes from God. It is God then who has given it. But it has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But if He be, as He certainly is, God: then she who bore God is Theotocos, i.e., the mother of God. Unless perhaps you want to take refuge in so utterly absurd and blasphemous a contradiction as to deny that she from whom God was born is the mother of God, while you cannot deny that He who was born is God. But, however, let us see what the gospel of God thinks about this same grace of our Lord: "Grace and truth," it says, "came by Jesus Christ."(4) If Christ is a mere man, how did these come by Christ? Whence was there in Him Divine power if, as you say, there was in Him only the nature of man? Whence comes heavenly largesse, if His is earthly poverty? For no one can give what he has not already. As then Christ gave Divine grace, He already had that which He gave. Nor can anyone endure a diversity of things that are so utterly different from each other, as at one and the same time to suffer the wants of a poor man, and also to show the munificence of a bounteous one. And so the Apostle Paul, knowing that all the treasures of heavenly riches are found in Christ, rightly writes to the Churches: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."(1)For though he had already often enough taught that God is the same as Christ, and that all the glory of Deity resides in Him, and that all the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in Him bodily, yet here he is certainly right in praying for the grace of Christ alone, without adding the word God: for while he had often taught that the grace of God is the same as the grace of Christ, he now most perfectly prays only for the grace of Christ, for he knows that in the grace of Christ is contained the whole grace of God. Therefore he says: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." If Jesus Christ was a mere man, then in his wish that the grace of Christ might be given to the Churches he was wishing that the grace of a man might be given; and by saying: "The grace of Christ be with you" he meant: the grace of a man be with you, the grace of flesh be with you, the grace of bodily weakness, the grace of human frailty! Or why did he ever even mention the word grace, if his wish was for the grace of a man? For there was no reason for wishing, if that was not in existence which was wished for; nor ought he to have prayed that there might be bestowed on them the grace of one who, according to you, did not possess the reality of that grace for which he was wishing. And so you see that it is utterly absurd and ridiculous -- or rather not a thing to laugh at but to cry over, for what is a matter for laughter to some frivolous persons becomes a matter for crying to pious and faithful souls, for they shed tears of charity for the folly of your unbelief, and weep pious tears at the folly of another's impiety. Let us then recover ourselves for a while and take our breath, for this idea is not only without wisdom but also without the Spirit, as it is certainly wanting in spiritual wisdom and has nothing to do with the Spirit of salvation.

CHAPTER VI.

That the power of bestowing Divine grace did not come to Christ in the course of time, but was innate in Him from His very birth.

BUT perhaps you will say that this grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which the Apostle writes, was not born with Him, but was afterwards infused into Him by the descent of Divinity upon Him, since you say that the man Jesus Christ our Lord (whom you call a mere man) was not born with God, but afterwards was assumed by God:(2) and that through this grace was given to the man at the same time that Divinity was given to Him. Nor do we say anything else than that Divine grace descended with the Divinity, for the Divine grace of God is in a way a bestowal of actual Divinity and a gift of a liberal supply of graces. Perhaps then it may be thought that the difference between us is one of time rather than of what is essential, since the Divinity which we say was born with Jesus Christ you say was afterwards infused into Him. But the fact is that if you deny that Divinity was born with the Lord you cannot afterwards make a confession according to the faith; for it is an impossibility for one and the same thing to be partly impious and also to turn out partly pious, and for the same thing partly to belong to faith and partly to misbelief. To begin with then I ask you this: Do you say that our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary is only the Son of man, or that He is the Son of God as well? For we, I mean all who hold the Catholic faith, all of us, I say, believe and are sure and know and confess that He is both, i.e., that He is Son of man because born of a woman and Son of God because conceived of Divinity. Do you then admit that He is both, i.e., Son of God and Son of man, or do you say that He is Son of man only? If Son of man only then there cry out against you apostles and prophets, aye and the Holy Ghost Himself, by whom the conception was brought about. That most shameless mouth of yours is stopped by all the witnesses of the Divine decrees: it is stopped by sacred writings and holy witnesses: aye and it is stopped by the very gospel of God as if by a Divine hand. And that mighty Gabriel who in the case of Zacharias restrained the voice of unbelief by the power of his word, much more strongly condemned in your case the voice of blasphemy and sin, by his own lips, saying to the Virgin Mary, the mother of God: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."(1) Do you see how Jesus Christ is first proclaimed to be the Son of God that according to the flesh He might become the Son of man? For when the Virgin Mary was to bring forth the Lord she conceived owing to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon her and the cooperation of the power of the Most High. And from this you can see that the origin of our Lord and Saviour must come from thence, whence His conception came; and since He was born owing to the descent of the fulness of Divinity in Its completeness upon the Virgin, He could not be the Son of man unless He had first been the Son of God; and so the angel when sent to announce His nativity and sacred birth, when he had already spoken of the mystery of His conception added a word expressive of His birth, saying: "Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God [i.e., He shall be called the Son of Him from whom He was begotten].(2) Jesus Christ is therefore the Son of God, because He was begotten of God and conceived of God. But if He is the Son of God, then most certainly He is God: but if He is God, then He is not lacking in the grace of God. Nor indeed was He ever lacking in that of which He is Himself the maker. For grace and truth were made by Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER VII.

How in Christ the Divinity, Majesty, Might and Power have existed in perfection from eternity, and will continue.

THEREFORE all grace, power, might, Divinity, aye, and the fulness of actual Divinity and glory have ever existed together with Him and in Him, whether in heaven or in earth or in the womb or at His birth. Nothing that is proper to God was ever wanting to God. For the Godhead was ever present with God, no where and at no time severed from Him. For everywhere God is present in His completeness and in His perfection. He suffers no division or change or diminution; for nothing can be either added to God or taken away from Him, for He is subject to no diminution of Divinity, as to no increase of It. He was the same Person then on earth who was also in heaven: the same Person in His low estate who was also in the highest: the same Person in the littleness of manhood as in the glory of the Godhead. And so the Apostle was right in speaking of the grace of Christ when He meant the grace of God. For Christ was everything that God is. At the very time of His conception as man there came all the power of God, all the fulness of the Godhead; for thence came all the perfection of the Godhead, whence was His origin. Nor was that Human nature of His(8) ever without the Deity as it received from Deity the very fact of its existence. And so, to begin with, whether you like it or no, you cannot deny this; viz., that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, especially as the archangel declares in the gospels: "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." But when this is established then remember that whatever you read of Christ you read of the Son of God: whatever you read of the Lord or Jesus belongs to the Son of God. And so when you recognize a title of Divinity in all these terms which you hear uttered, as you see that in each case you ought to understand that the Son of God is meant, prove to me, if you like, how you can separate the Godhead from the Son of God.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER I.

That Christ, who is God and man in the unity of Person, sprang from Israel and the Virgin Mary according to the flesh.

THAT divine teacher of the Churches when in writing to the Romans he was reproving or rather lamenting the unbelief of the Jews, i.e., of his own brethren, made use of these words: "I wished myself," said he, "to be accursed from Christ, for my brethren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongeth the adoption as of children, and the glory, and the testaments, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises: whose are the fathers, of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever." (1) O, the love of that most faithful Apostle, and most kindly kinsman! who in his infinite charity wished to die--as a kinsman for his relations, and as a master for his disciples. And what then was the reason why he wished to die? Only one; viz., that they might live. But in what did their life consist? Simply in this, as he himself says, that they might recognize a Divine Christ born according to the flesh, of their own flesh. And therefore the Apostle grieved the more, because those who ought to have loved Him the more as sprung from their own stock, failed to understand that He was born of lsrael. "Of whom," said he, "is Christ according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever." Clearly he lays down that from them according to the flesh, was born that Christ who is over all, God blessed for ever. You certainly cannot deny that Christ was born from them according to the flesh. But the same Person, who was born from them, is God. How can you get round this? How can you shuffle out of it? The Apostle says that Christ who was born of Israel according to the flesh, is God. Teach us, if you can, at what time He did not exist. "Of whom," he says, "is Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God." You see that because the Apostle has united and joined together these, "God" cannot possibly be separated from "Christ." For just as the Apostle declares that Christ is of them, so he asserts that God is in Christ. You must either deny both of these statements, or you must accept both. Christ is said to be born of them according to the flesh: but the same Person is declared by the Apostle to be "God in Christ." Whence also he says elsewhere: "For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself."(2) It is absolutely impossible to separate one from the other. Either deny that Christ sprang from them, or admit that there was born of the virgin God in Christ, "who is," as he says, "over all, God blessed for ever."

CHAPTER II.

The title of God is given in one sense to Christ, and in another to men.

THE name of God would for the faithful be amply sufficient to denote the glory of His Divinity, but by adding "over all, God blessed," he excludes a blasphemous and perverse interpretation of it, for fear that some evil-disposed person to depreciate His absolute Divinity might quote the fact that the word God is sometimes applied by grace in the Divine economy temporarily to men, and thus apply it to God by unworthy comparisons, as where God says to Moses: "I have given thee as a God to Pharaoh,"(3) or in this passage: "I said ye are Gods,"(4) where it clearly has the force of a title given by condescension. For as it says "I said," it is not a name showing power, so much as a title given by the speaker. But that passage also, where it says: "I have given thee as a God to Pharaoh," shows the power of the giver rather than the Divinity of him who receives the title. For when it says: "I have given," it thereby certainly indicates the power of God, who gave, and not the Divine nature, in the person of the recipient. But when it is said of our God and Lord Jesus Christ, "who is over all, God blessed for ever," the fact is at once proved by the words, and the meaning of the words shown by the name given: because in the case of the Son of God the name of God does not denote an adoption by favour, but what is truly and really His nature.

CHAPTER III.

He explains the apostle's saying: "If from henceforth we know no man according to the flesh," etc.

AND so the same Apostle says: "From henceforth we know no man according to the flesh, and if we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him so no longer."(5) Admirably consistent are all the writings of the sacred word with each other, and in every portion of them: even where they do not correspond in the farm of the words, yet they agree in the drift and substance. As where he says: "And if we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him so no longer." For the witness of the passage before us confirms that quoted above, in which he said: "Of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever." For there he writes: "Of whom is Christ according to the flesh;" and here: "if we have known Christ according to the flesh." There: "who is over all, God blessed for ever;" and here: "yet now we no longer know Christ according to the flesh." The look of the words is different, but their force and drift is the same. For it is the same Person whom he there declares to be God over all born according to the flesh, whom he here asserts that he no longer knows according to the flesh. And plainly for this reason; viz., because Him whom he had known as born in the flesh, he acknowledges as God for ever; and therefore says that he knows him not after the flesh, because He is over all, God blessed for ever; and the phrase there: "who is over all God," answers to this: "we no longer know Christ according to the flesh;" and this phrase: "we no longer know Christ according to the flesh" implies this: "who is God blessed for ever."(1) The declaration of Apostolic teaching then somehow rises, as it were to greater heights, and though it is self-consistent throughout, yet it supports the mystery of the perfect faith, with a still more express statement, and says: "And though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him so no longer," i.e., as formerly we knew Him as man as well as God, yet now only as God. For when the frailty of flesh comes to an end, we no longer know anything in Him except the power of Divinity, for all that is in Him is the power of Divine Majesty, where the weakness of human infirmity has ceased to exist. In this passage then he has thoroughly expounded the whole mystery of the Incarnation, and of His perfect Divinity. For where he says: "And if we have known Christ according to the flesh," he speaks of the mystery of God born in flesh. But by adding "yet now we know Him so no longer," he manifests His power when weakness is laid aside. And thus that knowledge of the flesh has to do with His humanity, and that ignorance, with the glory of His Divinity. For to say "we have known Christ according to the flesh:" means "as long as that which was known, existed. Now we no longer know it, after it has ceased to exist. For the nature of flesh has been transformed into a spiritual substance: and that which formerly belonged to the manhood, has all become God's. And therefore we no longer know Christ according to the flesh, because when bodily infirmity has been absorbed by Divine Majesty,(2) nothing remains in that Sacred Body, from which weakness of the flesh can be known in it. And thus whatever had formerly belonged to a twofold substance, has become attached to a single Power. Since there is no sort of doubt that Christ, who was crucified through human weakness lives entirely through the glory of His Divinity.

CHAPTER IV.

From the Epistle to the Galatians he brings forward a passage to show that the weakness of the flesh in Christ was absorbed by His Divinity.

The Apostle indeed declares this in the whole body of his writings, and admirably says in writing to the Galatians: "Paul an Apostle not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father."(3) You see how thoroughly consistent he is with himself in the former and the present passage. For there he says: "Now we no longer know Christ according to the flesh." Here he says: "Not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ." It is clear that his doctrine is the same here as in the former passage. For where he says that he is not sent by man, he implies: "We have not known Christ according to the flesh:" and so I am "not sent by man" but "by Christ;"(4) for if I am sent by Christ, I am not sent by man but by God. For there is no longer room for the name of man, in Him whom Divinity claims entirely for itself. And so when he had said that he was sent "not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ," he rightly added: "And God the Father," thus showing that he was sent by God the Father and God the Son; in whom owing to the mystery of the sacred and ineffable generation there are two Persons (He who begets, and He who is begotten), but there is but one single Power of God who is the sender. And so m saying that he was sent by God the Father and God the Son, he shows that the Persons are two in number, but he also teaches that their Power is One in sending.

CHAPTER V.

As it is blasphemy to pare away the Divinity of Christ, so also is it blasphemous to deny that He is true man.

BUT he says "by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead." That renowned and admirable teacher, knowing that our Lord Jesus Christ must be preached as true man, as well as true God, always declares the glory of the Divine in Him, in such a way as not to lose hold of the confession of the Incarnation: plainly excluding the phantasm of Marcion, by a real Incarnation, and the poverty of the Ebionite, by Divinity: lest through one or other of these wicked blasphemies it might be believed that our Lord Jesus Christ was either altogether man without God, or God without man. Excellently then did the Apostle, when declaring that He was sent by God the Son as well as by God the Father, add at once a confession of the Lord's Incarnation, by saying: "Who raised Him from the dead:" clearly teaching that it was a real body of the Incarnate God, which was raised from the dead: in accordance with this: "And though we have known Christ according to the flesh," excellently adding: "Yet now we know Him so no longer." For he says that he knows this in Him according to the flesh; viz., that He was raised from the dead; but that he knows Him no longer according to the flesh inasmuch as when the weakness of the flesh is at an end, he knows that He exists in the Power of God only. Surely he is a faithful and satisfactory witness of our Lord's Divinity which had to be proclaimed, who at his first call was smitten from heaven itself, and did not merely believe in his heart the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead, but actually established its truth by the evidence of his bodily eyes.

CHAPTER VI.

He shows from the appearance of Christ vouchsafed to the Apostle when persecuting the Church, the existence of both natures in Him.

WHEREFORE also, when arguing before King Agrippa and others of the world's judges, he speaks as follows: "When I was going to Damascus with authority and permission of the chief priests, at midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and all those that were with me. And when we were all fallen down to the ground, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. And I said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said to me: I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest."(1) You see how truly the Apostle said that he no longer knew according to the flesh one whom he had seen in such splendour and majesty. For when as he lay prostrate he saw the splendour of that divine light which he was unable to endure, there followed this voice: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" And when he asked who it might be, the Lord answers and clearly points out His Personality: "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest." Now then, you heretic, I ask you, I summon you. Do you believe what the Apostle says of himself, or do you not believe it? Or if you think that unimportant, do you believe what the Lord says of Himself or do you not believe it? If you do believe it, there is an end of the matter: for you cannot help believing what we believe. For we, like the Apostle, even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet know Him so no longer. We do not heap insults on Christ. We do not separate the flesh from the Divinity; and all that is in Christ we believe is in God. If then you believe the same that we believe you must acknowledge the same mysteries of the faith. But if you differ from us, if you refuse to believe the Churches, the Apostle, aye and God's own testimony about Himself, show us in this vision which the Apostle saw, how much is flesh, and how much God. For I cannot here separate one from the other. I see the ineffable light, I see the inexpressible splendour, I see the radiance that human weakness cannot endure, and beyond what mortal eyes can bear, the glory of God shining with inconceivable light.(2) What room is there here for division and separation? In the voice we hear Jesus, in the majesty we see God. How can we help believing that in one and the same (Personal) substance God and Jesus exist. But I should like to have a few more words with you on this subject. Tell me, I pray you, if there appeared to you in your present persecution of the Catholic faith that same vision which then appeared to the Apostle in his ignorance, if when you were not expecting it and were off your guard, that radiance shone round about you, and the glory of that boundless light smote you in your terror and confusion, and you lay prostrate in darkness of body and soul; which the unlimited and indescribable terror of your heart increased,(3)--tell me, I intreat you; When the dread of immediate death was pressing on you, and the terror of the glory that threatened you from above, weighed you down, and you heard as well in your bewilderment of mind those words which your sin so well deserves: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" and to your inquiry who it was the answer was given from heaven: "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest," what would you say? "I do not know, I do not yet fully believe. I want to think over it with myself a little longer, who I think that Thou art, who speakest from heaven, who overwhelmest me with the brightness of Thy Divinity: whose voice I hear and whose splendour I cannot bear. I must consider of this matter, whether I ought to believe Thee or not: whether Thou art Christ or God. If Thou art God alone whether it is in Christ. If Thou art Christ alone, whether it is in God. I want this distinction to be carefully observed, and thoroughly considered what we should believe that Thou art, and what we should judge Thee to be. For I don't want any of my offices to be wasted. As if I were to regard Thee as a man, and yet pay to Thee some Divine honours." If then you were lying on the ground, as the Apostle Paul was then lying, and overwhelmed with the brightness of the Divine light, were at your last gasp, perhaps you would say this, and prate with all this silly chattering. But what shall we make of the fact that another course commended itself to the Apostle; and when he had fallen down, trembling and half dead, he did not think that he ought any longer to conceal his belief, or to deliberate it was enough for him that he was taught by inexpressible arguments to know that He whom he had ignorantly fancied to be a man, was God. He did not conceal his belief, he made no delay. He did not any longer protract his erroneous ideas by deliberating and disbelieving, but as soon as he heard from heaven the name of Jesus his Lord, he replied in a voice, subdued like that of a servant, tremulous like that of one scourged, and full of fervour like that of one converted, "What shall I do, Lord?" And so at once for his ready and earnest faith, it was granted to him that He should never be without His presence whom he had faithfully believed: and that He, to whom he had passed in heart, should Himself pass into his heart: as the Apostle himself says of himself: "Do you seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me?"(1)

CHAPTER VII.

He shows once more by other passages of the Apostle that Christ is God.

I want you to tell me, you heretic, whether in this passage He who, as the Apostle tells us, speaks in him, is man or God. If He is man, how can another's body speak in his heart? If God, then Christ is not a man but God; for since Christ spoke in the Apostle, and only God could speak in him, therefore a Divine Christ spoke in him. And so you see that there is nothing to be said here, that no division or separation can be made between Christ and God: because complete Divinity was in Christ, and Christ was completely in God. No division or severing of the two can here be admitted. There is only one simple, pious, and sound confession to be made; viz., to adore, love, and worship Christ as God. But do you want to understand more fully and thoroughly that there is no separation to be made between God and Christ, and that we must hold that God is altogether one with Christ? Hear what the Apostle says to the Corinthians: "For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil."(2) But in another passage, in writing to the Romans he says: "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God: for it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."(3) You see then that the judgment seat of God is the same as that of Christ; understand then without any doubt that Christ is God; and when you see that the substance of God and Christ is altogether inseparable, admit also that the Person cannot be severed. Unless forsooth because the Apostle in one Epistle said that we should be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, and in another before that of God, you invent two judgment seats, and fancy that some will be judged by Christ and others by God. But this is foolish and wild, and madder than a madman's utterances. Acknowledge then the Lord of all, the God of the universe, acknowledge the judgment seat of God in the judgment seat of Christ. Love life, love your salvation, love Him by whom you were created. Fear Him by whom you are to be judged. For whether you will or no, you have to be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, and laying aside wicked blasphemy and the childish talk of unbelieving words, though you think that the judgment seat of God is different from that of Christ, you will come before the judgment seat of Christ, and will find by evidence that there is no gainsaying, that the judgment seat of God is indeed the same as that of Christ, and that in Christ the Son of God, there is all the glory of God the Son, and the power of God the Father. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men may honour the Son as they honour the Father." (1) For whoever denies the Father denies the Son also. "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also."(2) And so you should learn that the glory of the Father and the Son is inseparable, and their majesty is inseparable also and that the Son cannot be honoured without the Father, nor the Father without the Son. But no man can honour God and the Son of God except in Christ the only-begotten Son of God. For it is impossible for a man to have the Spirit of God who is to be honoured except in the Spirit of Christ, as the Apostle says: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. But if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."(3) And again: "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus who died, yea rather who rose again."(4) You see then now, even against your will, that there is absolutely no difference between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, or between the judgment of God and the judgment of Christ. Choose then which you will --for one of the two must happen--either acknowledge in faith that Christ is God, or admit that God is in Christ at your condemnation.

CHAPTER VIII.

When confessing the Divinity of Christ we ought not to pass over in silence the confession of the cross.

BUT let us see what else follows. In writing to the church of Corinth, he whom we spoke of above, the instructor of all the churches viz. Paul, speaks thus: "The Jews," says he, "seek signs, and the Greeks ask for wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Gentiles foolishness: but to them that are saved, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."(5) O most powerful teacher of the faith, who even in this passage, when teaching the Church thought it not enough to speak of Christ as God without adding that He was crucified on purpose that for the sake of the open and solid teaching of the faith he might proclaim Him, whom he called the crucified, to be the wisdom of God. He then employed no subtilty or circumlocution, nor did he when he preached the gospel of the Lord blush at the mention of the cross of Christ. And though it was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles to hear of God as born, God in bodily form, God suffering, God crucified, yet he did not weaken the force of his pious utterance because of the wickedness of the offence of the Jews: nor did he lessen the vigour of his faith because of the unbelief and the foolishness of others: but openly, persistently, and boldly proclaimed that He, whom a mother(6) had borne, whom men had slain, the spear had pierced, the cross had stretched--was "the power and wisdom of God, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles foolishness." But still that which was to some a stumbling-block and foolishness, was to others the power and wisdom of God. For as the persons differed, so was there a difference of their thoughts: and what a man who was void of sound understanding, and incapable of true good, foolishly denied in unbelief, that a wise faith could feel in its inmost soul to be holy and life giving.

CHAPTER IX.

How the Apostle's preaching was rejected by Jews and Gentiles because it confessed that the crucified Christ was God.

TELL me then, you heretic, you enemy of all men, but of yourself above all--to whom the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is an offence as with the Jews, and foolishness as with the Gentiles, you who reject the mysteries of true salvation, with the stumbling of the former, and are foolish with the stubbornness of the others, why was the preaching of the Apostle Paul foolishness to the pagans, and a stumbling-block to the Jews? Surely it would never have offended men, if he had taught that Christ was, as you maintain He is, a mere man? For who would think that His birth, passion, cross, and death were incredible or a difficulty? Or what would there have been novel or strange about the preaching of Paul, if he had said that a merely human Christ suffered that which human nature daily endures among men everywhere? But it was surely this that the foolishness of the Gentiles could not receive, and the unbelief of the Jews rejected; viz., that the Apostle declared that Christ whom they, like you, fancied to be a mere man, was God. This it certainly was which the thoughts of these wicked men rejected, which the ears of the faithless could not endure; viz., that the birth of God should be proclaimed in the man Jesus Christ, that the passion of God should be asserted, and the cross of God proclaimed. This it was which was a difficulty: this was what was incredible; for that was incredible to the hearing of men, which had never been heard of as happening to the Divine nature. And so you are quite secure, with such an announcement and teaching as yours, that your preaching will never be either foolishness to the Gentiles or a stumbling-block to the Jews. You will never be crucified with Peter by Jews and Gentiles, nor stoned with James, nor beheaded with Paul. For there is nothing in your preaching to offend them. You maintain that a mere man was born, a mere man suffered. You need not be afraid of their troubling you with persecution, for you are helping them by your preaching.

CHAPTER X.

How the apostle maintains that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

BUT let us see something more on the subject. Christ then, according to the Apostle, is the power of God and the wisdom of God. What have you to say to this? How can you get out of it? There is no place for yOu to escape and fly to. Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God. He, I say, whom the Jews attacked, the Gentiles mocked, whom you yourself together with them are persecuting,--He, I say, who is foolishness to the heathen, and a stumbling-block to the Jews, and both to you, He, I say, is the power of God and the wisdom of God. What is there that you can do? Shut your ears, forsooth, so as not to hear? This the Jews did also when the Apostle was preaching. Do what you will, Christ is in heaven, and in God, and with Him, and in Him in the heavens above in whom also He was here below: you can no longer persecute Him with the Jews. But you do the one thing that you can. You persecute Him in the faith, you persecute Him in the church, you persecute Him with the arms of a wicked belief, you persecute Him with the sword of false doctrine. Perhaps you do rather more than the Jews of old did. You now persecute Christ, after ever those who did persecute Him, have believed. But perhaps you think that the sin is less because you can no longer lay hands on Him. No less grievous, I tell you, no less grievous to Him is that persecution, in which sinful men persecute Him in the persons of His followers. But the mention of the Lord's cross offends you. It always offended the Jews as well. You shudder at hearing that God suffered: the Gentiles in their error mocked at this also. I ask you then, in what point do you differ from them, since you both agree in this frowardness? But for my part I not only do not water down this preaching of the holy cross, this preaching of the Lord's passion, but as far as my wishes and powers go I emphasise it. For I will declare that He who was crucified is not only the power and wisdom of God, than which there is nothing greater, but actually Lord of absolute Divinity and glory. And this the rather, because this assertion of mine is the doctrine of God, as the Apostle says: "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect: but the wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world who are brought to nought: but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what God hath prepared for them that love Him."(1) You see what great matters the Apostle's discourse comprises in how small a compass. He says that he speaks wisdom, but a wisdom which only those that are perfect can know, and which the prudent of this world cannot know. For he says that this is the wisdom of God, which is hidden in a Divine mystery, and predestined before all worlds for the glory of the saints: and that therefore it is only known to those who savour of God; while the princes of this world are utterly ignorant of it. But he adds the reason, to establish both points that he had mentioned, saying: "For if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But it is written, that eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what God hath prepared for them that love Him." You see then how the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, and predestined before all worlds, was unknown to those who crucified the Lord of glory, and known by those who received it. And well does he say that the wisdom of God was hidden in a mystery, for never yet could the eye of any man see, or the ear hear, or the heart imagine this; viz., that the Lord of glory should be born of a virgin and come in the flesh, and suffer all kinds of punishment, and shameful passion. But with regard to these gifts of God, as there is no one who--since they were hidden in a mystery--could ever of himself understand them, so blessed is he who has grasped them when they are revealed. Thus all who have failed to grasp them must be reckoned among the princes of this world, and those who have grasped them among God's wise ones. He then does not grasp it who denies God born in the flesh; therefore you also do not grasp it, as you deny this. But do what you will, deny as impiously as you like, we the rather believe the Apostle. But why should I say the Apostle? the rather do we believe God. For through the Apostle we believe Him, whom we know to have spoken by the Apostle. The Divine word says that the ord of glory was crucified by the princes of the world. You deny it. They also who crucified Him denied that it was God whom they were crucifying. They then who confess Him have their portion with the Apostle who confessed Him. You are sure to have your lot with His persecutors. What is there then that can be replied to this? The Apostle says that the Lord of glory was chief-fled. Alter this if you can. Separate now, if you please, Jesus from God. At least you cannot deny that Christ was crucified by the Jews. But it was the Lord of glory who was crucified. Therefore you must either deny that Christ was nailed to the cross, or you must admit that God was nailed to it.

CHAPTER XI.

He supports the same doctrine by proofs from the gospel.

BUT perhaps it is a difficulty to you that all this time I am chiefly using the witness of the Apostle Paul alone. He is good enough for me, whom God chose, nor do I blush to call as the witness to my faith, the man whom God willed to be the teacher of the whole world. But to yield to your wishes, as perhaps you fancy that I have no other proofs to use, hear the perfect mystery of man's salvation and eternal bliss, which Martha proclaims in the gospel. For what does she say? "Of a truth, Lord, I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, who art come into this world."(1) Learn the true faith from a woman. Learn the confession of eternal hope. Yet you have a splendid consolation: you need not blush to be taught the mystery of salvation by her, whose testimony God did not refuse to accept.

CHAPTER XII.

He proves from the renowned confession of the blessed Peter that Christ is God.

BUT if you prefer the authority of a greater person (although you ought not to slight the authority of any one of either sex, on whom the confession of the mystery confers weight--for whatever may be a person's condition, or however humble his position, yet the value of his faith is not thereby diminished) let us interrogate no beginner or untaught schoolboy, nor a woman whose faith might perhaps appear to be but rudimentary; but that greatest of disciples among disciples, and of teachers among teachers, who presided and ruled over the Roman Church, and held the chief place(2) in the priesthood as he did in the faith. Tell us then, tell us, we pray, O Peter, thou chief of Apostles, tell us how the Churches ought to believe in God. For it is right that you should teach us, as you were taught by the Lord, and that you should open to us the gate, of which you received the key. Shut out all those who try to overthrow the heavenly house: and those who are endeavouring to enter by secret holes and unlawful approaches: as it is clear that none can enter the gate of the kingdom save one to whom the key bestowed on the Churches is revealed by you. Tell us then how we ought to believe in Jesus Christ and to confess our common Lord. You will surely reply without hesitation: "Why do you consult me as to the way in which the Lord should be confessed, when you have before you my own confession of Him? Read the gospel, and you will not want me myself, when you have got my confession. Nay, you have got me myself when you have my confession; for though I have no weight apart from my confession, yet the actual confession adds weight to my person." Tell us then, O Evangelist, tell us the confession: tell us the faith of the chief Apostle: did he confess that Jesus was only a man, or God? did he say that there was nothing but flesh in Him, or did he proclaim Him the Son of God? When then the Lord Jesus Christ asked whom the disciples believed and confessed Him to be, Peter, the first of the Apostles, replied--one in the name of all--for the answer of one was to the same effect as the faith of them all. But it was fitting that he should first give the answer, that the order of the answer might correspond to the degree of honour: and that he might outstrip them in confession, as he outstripped them in age. What then does he say? "Thou art," he says, "the Christ the Son of the living God."(1) I am obliged, you heretic, to make use of a plain and simple question to confute you. Tell me, I pray, who was He, to whom Peter gave that answer? You cannot deny that it was the Christ. I ask then, what do you call Christ? man or God? Man certainly without any doubt: for hence springs the whole of your heresy, because you deny that Christ is the Son of God. And so too you say that Mary is Christotocos, but not Theotocos, because she was the mother of Christ, not of God. Therefore you maintain, that Christ is only a man, and not God, and so that He is the Son of man not of God. What then does Peter reply to this? "Thou art," he says, "the Christ, the Son of the living God." That Christ whom you declare to be only the Son of man, he testifies to be the Son of God. Whom would you like us to believe? you or Peter? I imagine that you are not so shameless as to venture to prefer your own opinion to that of the first of the Apostles. And yet what is there that you would not venture on? or how can you help scorning the Apostle, if you can deny God? "Thou art then," he says, "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Is there anything puzzling or obscure in this? It is nothing but a plain and open confession: he proclaims Christ to be the Son of God. Perhaps you will deny that the words were spoken: but the Evangelist testifies that they were. Or do you say that the Apostle told a lie? But it is an awful lie to accuse an Apostle of lying. Or perhaps you will maintain that the words were spoken of some other Christ? But this is a novel kind of monstrous fabrication. What then is left for you? One thing indeed; viz., that since what is written is read, and what is read is true, you should finally be driven by force and compulsion (as you cannot assert its falsehood) to desist from impugning its truth.

CHAPTER XIII.

The confession of the blessed Peter receives a testimony to its truth from Christ Himself.

BUT still, as I have made use of the testimony of the chief Apostle, in which he openly confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as God, let us see how He whom he confessed approved of his confession; for of far more value than the Apostle's words is the fact that God Himself commended his utterance. When then the Apostle said: "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God," what was the answer of our Lord and Saviour? "Blessed art thou," said He, "Simon Barjonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee but the Spirit of My Father which is in heaven." If you do not like to use the testimony of the Apostle use that of God. For by commending what was said God added His own authority to the Apostle's utterance, so that although the utterance came from the lips of the Apostle, yet God who approved of it made it His own. "Blessed art thou," said He, "Simon Barjonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but the Spirit of My Father which is in heaven." Thus in the words of the Apostle you have the testimony of the Holy Spirit and of the Son who was present and of God the Father. What more can you want, or what comes up to this? The Son commended: the Father was present: the Holy Ghost revealed. The utterance of the Apostle thus gives the testimony of the entire Godhead: for this utterance must necessarily have the authority of Him from whose prompting it proceeds. "Blessed then art thou," said He, "Simon Barjonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but the Spirit of My Father which is in heaven." If then flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter or inspire him, you must at last see who inspires you. If the Spirit of God taught him who confessed that Christ was God, you see how you are taught by the spirit of the devil if you can deny it.

CHAPTER XIV.

How the confession of the blessed Peter is the faith of the whole Church.

BUT what are the other words which follow that saying of the Lord's, with which He commends Peter? "And I," said He, "say unto thee, that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church." Do you see how the saying of Peter is the faith of the Church? He then must of course be outside the Church, who does not hold the faith of the Church. "And to thee," saith the Lord, "I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." This faith deserved heaven: this faith received the keys of the heavenly kingdom. See what awaits you. You cannot enter the gate to which this key belongs, if you have denied the faith of this key. "And the gate," He adds, "of hell shall not prevail against thee." The gates of hell are the belief or rather the misbelief of heretics. For widely as hell is separated from heaven, so widely is he who denies from him who confessed that Christ is God. "Whatsoever," He proceeds, "thou shalt bind on earth, shalt be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shalt be loosed also in heaven." The perfect faith of the Apostle somehow is given the power of Deity, that what it should bind or loose on earth, might be bound or loosed in heaven. For you then, who come against the Apostle's faith, as you see that already you are bound on earth, it only remains that you should know that you are bound also in heaven. But it would take too long to go into details which are so numerous as to make a long and wearisome story, even if they are related with brevity and conciseness.

CHAPTER XV.

St. Thomas also confessed the same faith as Peter after the Lord's resurrection.

BUT I want still to add one more testimony from an Apostle for you: that you may see how what followed after the passion corresponded with what went before it. When then the Lord appeared in the midst of His disciples when the doors were shut, and wished to make clear to the Apostles the reality of His body, when the Apostle Thomas felt His flesh and handled His side and examined His wounds--what was it that he declared, when he was convinced of the reality of the body shown to him? "My Lord," he said, "and my God."(1) Did he say what you say, that it was a man and not God? Christ and not Divinity? He surely touched the body of his Lord and answered that He was God. Did he make any separation between man and God? or did he call that flesh Theotocos, to use your expression, i.e., that which received Divinity? or did he, after the fashion of your blasphemy, declare that He whom he touched was to be honoured not for His own sake, but for the sake of Him whom He had received into Himself? But perhaps God's Apostle knew nothing of that subtle separation of yours, and had no experience of the fine distinctions of your judgment, as he was a rude countryman, ignorant of the dialectic art, and of the method of philosophic disputation; for whom the Lord's teaching was amply sufficient, and as he was one who knew nothing whatever except what he learnt from the instruction of the Lord! And so his words contain heavenly doctrine; his faith is a Divine lesson. He had never learnt to separate, as you do, the Lord from His body: and had no idea how to rend God asunder from Himself. He was holy, straightforward, upright: filled with practical innocence, unalloyed faith, and pure knowledge: having a simple understanding joined with prudence, a wisdom entirely free from all evil, together with perfect simplicity: ignorant of any corruption, and free from all heretical perversity, and as one who had experienced in himself the force of the Divine lesson, he held fast everything which he had learnt. And so he--countryman and ignorant fellow as you fancy him--shuts you up with a brief answer, and destroys your position with a few words of his. What then did the Apostle Thomas touch when he drew near to handle his God? Certainly it was Christ without any doubt. But what did he exclaim? "My Lord," he said, "and my God." Now, if you can, separate Christ from God, and change this Saying, if you are able to. Make use of all dialectic art--all the prudence of this world, and that foolish wisdom which consists in wordy subtlety. Turn yourself about in every direction, and draw in your horns. Do whatever you can with ingenuity and art. Say what you like, and do what you like; you cannot possibly get out of this without confessing that what the Apostle touched was God. And indeed, if the thing can, possibly be done, perhaps you will want to alter the statement of the gospel story, so that we may not read that the Apostle Thomas touched the body of the Lord, or that he called Christ Lord and God. But it is absolutely impossible to alter what is written in the gospel of God. For "heaven and earth shall pass away, but the words" of God "shall not pass away."(2) For lo, even now he who then bore his witness, the Apostle Thomas, proclaims to you: "Jesus whom I touched is God. It is God whose limbs I handled. I did not feel what was incorporeal, not handle what was intangible: I touched not a Spirit with my hand, so that it might be believed that I said of it alone 'It is God.' For 'a spirit,' as my Lord Himself said, 'hath not flesh and bones.'(3) I touched the body of my Lord. I handled flesh and bones. I put my fingers into the prints of the wounds: and I declared of Christ my Lord, whom I had handled: 'My Lord and my God.' For I know not how to make a separation between Christ and God, and I cannot insert blasphemous distinctions between Jesus and God, or rend my Lord asunder from Himself. Away from me, whoever is of a different opinion, and whoever says anything different. I know not that Christ is other than God. This faith I held together with my fellow apostles: this I delivered to the Churches: this I preached to the Gentiles: this I proclaim to thee also, Christ is God, Christ is God. A sound mind imagines nothing else: a sound faith says nothing else. The Deity cannot be parted from Itself. And since whatever is Christ is God, there can be found in God none other but God."

CHAPTER XVI.

He brings forward the witness of God the Father to the Divinity of the Son.

WHAT do you say now, you heretic? Are these evidences of the faith, aye and of all your unbelief, enough for you: or would you like some more to be added to them? but what can be added after Prophets and Apostles? unless perhaps--as the Jews once demanded--you too might ask for a sign to be given you from heaven? But if you ask this; we must give you the same answer which was formerly given to them: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign. And no sign shall be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah."(1) And indeed this sign would be enough for you as for the Jews who crucified Him, that you might be taught to believe in the Lord God by this alone, through which even those who had persecuted Him, came to believe. But as we have mentioned a sign from heaven, I will show you a sign from heaven: and one of such a character that even the devils have never gainsaid it: while, constrained by the demands of truth, though they saw Jesus in bodily form, they yet cried out that He was God, as indeed He was. What then does the Evangelist say of the Lord Jesus Christ? "When He was baptized," he says, "straightway He went up out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit descending like a dove, and coming upon Him. And behold, a voice from heaven, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."(2) What do you say to this, you heretic? Do you dislike the words spoken, or the Person of the Speaker? The meaning of the utterance at any rate needs no explanation: nor does the worth of the Speaker need the commendation of words. It is God the Father who spoke. What He said is clear enough. Surely you cannot make so shameless and blasphemous an assertion as to say that God the Father is not to be believed concerning the only begotten Son of God? "This," He then says, "is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." But perhaps you will try to maintain that this is madness, and that this was said of the Word and not of Christ. Tell me then who was it who was baptized? The Word or Christ? Flesh or Spirit? You cannot possibly deny that it was Christ. That man then, born of man and of God, conceived by the descent Of the Holy Spirit upon the Virgin, and by the overshadowing of the Power of the Most High, and thus the Son of man and of God, He it was, as you cannot deny, who was baptized. If then it was He who was baptized, it was He also who was named, for certainly the Person who was baptized was the one named. "This," said He, "is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Could anything be said with greater significance or clearness? Christ was baptized. Christ went up out of the water. When Christ was baptized the heavens were opened. For Christ's sake the dove descended upon Christ, the Holy Spirit was present in a bodily form. The Father addressed Christ. If you venture to deny that this was spoken of Christ, the only thing is for you to maintain that Christ was not baptized, that the Spirit did not descend, and that the Father did not speak. But the truth itself is urgent and weighs you down so that even if you will not confess it, yet you cannot deny it. For what says the Evangelist? "When He was baptized, straightway He went up out of the water." Who was baptized? Most certainly Christ. "And behold," he says, "the heavens were opened to Him." To where, forsooth, save to Him who was baptized? Most certainly to Christ. "And He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon Him." Who saw? Christ indeed. Upon whom did It descend? Most certainly upon Christ. "And a voice came from heaven. saying"--of whom? Of Christ indeed: for what follows? "This is My beloved Sen, in whom I am well pleased." In order that it might be made clear on whose account all this happened, there followed the voice, saying: "This is My beloved Son," as if to say: This is He on whose account all this took place. For this is My Son: on His account the heavens were opened: on His account My Spirit came: on His account My voice was heard. For this is My Son. In saying then "This is My Son" whom did He so designate? Certainly Him whom the dove touched. And whom did the dove touch? Christ indeed. Therefore Christ is the Son of God. My promise is fulfilled, I fancy. Do you see then now, O heretic, a sign given you from heaven; and not one only, but many and special ones? For there iS one in the opening of heaven, another in the descent of the Spirit, a third in the voice of the Father. All of which most clearly show that Christ is God, for the laying open of the heavens indicates that He is God, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him supports His Divinity, and the address of the Father confirms it. For heaven would not have been opened except in honour of its Lord: nor would the Holy Ghost have descended in a bodily form except upon the Son of God: nor would the Father have declared Him to be the Son, had he not been truly such; especially with such tokens of a Divine birth, as not merely to confirm the truth Of the right faith, but also to exclude the wickedness of guilty and erroneous belief. For when the Father had expressly and pointedly said with the inexpressible majesty of a Divine utterance, "This is My Son," He added also what follows--I mean, "My beloved, in whom I am well pleased." As He had already declared Him by the prophet to be God the Mighty and God the Great, so when He says here, "My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," He adds further to the name of His own Son the title also of His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased: that the addition of the titles might denote the special properties of the Divine nature; and that that might specially redound to the glory of the Son of God, which had never happened to any man. And so just as in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ these special and unique things happened; viz., that the heavens were opened, that in the sight of all God the Father touched Him in a sort of way, through the coming and presence of the dove, and pointed almost with His finger to Him saying, "This is My Son;" so this too is special and unique in His case; viz., that He is specially beloved, and is specially named as well-pleasing to the Father, in order that these special accompaniments might mark the special import of His nature, and that the special character of His names might support the special position of the only begotten Son, which the honour of the signs previously given had already confirmed. But here comes the end of this book. For this saying of God the Father can neither be added to, nor equalled by any words of men. For us God the Father Himself is a sufficiently satisfactory witness concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, when He says "This is My Son." If you think that it is possible for these utterances of God the Father to be gainsaid, then you are forced to contradict Him, who by the clearest possible announcement caused Him to be acknowledged as His Son by the whole world.

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