THE EXTANT WORKS AND FRAGMENTS
OF HIPPOLYTUS
PART II. E.
AGAINST BERON AND HELIX

AGAINST BERON AND HELIX.

FRAGMENTS OF A DISCOURSE, ALPHABETICALLY DIVIDED,(1) ON THE DIVINE NATURE(2) AND THE INCARNATION, AGAINST THE HERETICS BERON AND HELIX,(3) THE BEGINNING OF WHICH WAS IN THESE WORDS, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD OF SABAOTH, WITH VOICE NEVER SILENT THE SERAPHIM EXCLAIM AND GLORIFY GOD."

FRAGMENT I.

By the omnipotent will of God all things are made, and the things that are made are also preserved, being maintained according to their several principles in perfect harmony by Him who is in His nature the omnipotent God and maker of all things,(4) His divine will remaining unalterable by which He has made and moves all things, sustained as they severally are by their own natural laws.(5) For the infinite cannot in any manner or by any account be susceptible of movement, inasmuch as it has nothing towards which and nothing around which it shall be moved. For in the case of that which is in its nature infinite, and so incapable of being moved, movement would be conversion.(6) Wherefore also the Word of God being made truly man in our manner, yet without sin, and acting and enduring in man's way such sinless things as are proper to our nature, and assuming the circumscription of the flesh of our nature on our behalf sustained no conversion in that aspect in which He is one with the Father, being made in no respect one with the flesh through the exinani-tion.(7) Burns He was without flesh,(8) He remained without any circumscription. And through the flesh He wrought divinely(9) those things which are proper to divinity, showing Himself to have both those natures in both of which He wrought, I mean the divine and the human, according to i that veritable and real and natural subsistence,(10) (showing Himself thus) as both being in reality and as being understood to be at one and the same time infinite God and finite man, having the nature(11) of each in perfection, with the same activity,(12) that is to say, the same natural properties;(13) whence we know that their distinction abides always according to the nature of each, and without conversion. But it is not (i.e., the distinction between deity and humanity), as some say, a merely comparative (or relative) matter,(14) that we may not speak in an unwarrantable manner of a greater and a less in one who is ever the same in Himself.(15) For comparisons can be instituted only between objects of like nature, and not between objects of unlike nature. But between God the Maker of all things and that which is made, between the infinite and the finite, between infinitude and finitude, there can be no kind of comparison, since these differ from each other not in mere comparison (or relatively), but absolutely in essence. And yet at the same time there has been effected a certain inexpressible and irrefragable union of the two into one substance,(16) which entirely passes the understanding of anything that is made. For the divine is just the same after the incarnation that it was before the incarnation; in its essence infinite, illimitable, impassible, incomparable, unchangeable, inconvertable, self-potent,(1) and, in short, subsisting in essence alone the infinitely worthy good.

FRAGMENT II.

The God of all things therefore became truly, according to the Scriptures, without conversion, sinless man, and that in a manner known to Himself alone, as He is the natural Artificer of things which are above our comprehension. And by that same saving act of the incarnation(2) He introduced into the flesh the activity of His proper divinity, yet without having it (that activity) either circumscribed by the flesh through the exinanition, or growing naturally out of the flesh as it grew out of His divinity,(3) but manifested through it in the things which He wrought in a divine manner in His incarnate state. For the flesh did not become divinity in nature by a transmutation of nature, as though it became essentially flesh of divinity. But what it was before, that also it continued to be in nature and activity when united with divinity, even as the Saviour said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."(4) And working and enduring in the flesh things which were proper to sinless flesh, He proved the evacuation of divinity (to be) for our sakes, confirmed as it was by wonders and by sufferings of the flesh naturally. For with this purpose did the God of all things become man, viz., in order that by suffering in the flesh, which is susceptible of suffering, He might redeem our whole race, which was sold to death; and that by working wondrous things by His divinity, which is unsusceptible of suffering, through the medium of the flesh He might restore it to that incorruptible and blessed life from which it fell away by yielding to the devil; and that He might establish the holy orders of intelligent existences in the heavens in immutability by the mystery of His incarnation,(5) the doing of which is the recapitulation of all things in himself.(6) He remained therefore, also, after His incarnation, according to nature, God infinite, and more,(7) having the activity proper and suitable to Himself,--an activity growing out of His divinity essentially, and manifested through His perfectly holy flesh by wondrous acts economically, to the intent that He might be believed in as God, while working out of Himself(8) by the flesh, which by nature is weak, the salvation of the universe.

FRAGMENT III.

Now, with the view of explaining, by means of an illustration, what has been said concerning the Saviour, (I may say that) the power of thought(9) which I have by nature is proper and suitable to me, as being possessed of a rational and intelligent soul; and to this soul there pertains, according to nature, a self-moved energy and first power, ever-moving, to wit, the thought that streams from it naturally. This thought I utter, when there is occasion, by fitting it to words, and expressing it rightly in signs, using the tongue as an organ, or artificial characters, showing that it is heard, though it comes into actuality by means of objects foreign to itself, and yet is not changed itself by those foreign objects.(10) For my natural thought does not belong to the tongue or the letters, although I effect its utterance by means of these; but it belongs to me, who speak according to my nature, and by means of both these express it as my own, streaming as it does always from my intelligent soul according to its nature, and uttered by means of my bodily tongue organically, as I have said, when there is occasion. Now, to institute a comparison with that which is utterly beyond comparison, just as in us the power of thought that belongs by nature to the soul is brought to utterance by means of our bodily tongue without any change in itself, so, too, in the wondrous incarnation(11) of God is the omnipotent and all-creating energy of the entire deity(12) manifested without mutation in itself, by means of His perfectly holy flesh, and in the works which He wrought after a divine manner, (that energy of the deity) remaining in its essence free from all circumscription, although it shone through the flesh, which is itself essentially limited. For that which is in its nature unoriginated cannot be circumscribed by an originated nature, although this latter may have grown into one with it(13) by a conception which circumscribes all understanding:(14) nor can this be ever brought into the same nature and natural activity with that, so long as they remain each within its own proper and inconvertible nature.(15) For it is only in objects of the same nature that there is the motion that works the same works, showing that the being(1) whose power is natural is incapable in any manner of being or becoming the possession of a being of a different nature without mutation.(2)

FRAGMENT IV.

For, in the view of apostles and prophets and teachers, the mystery of the divine incarnation has been distinguished as having two points of contemplation natural to it,(3) distinct in all things, inasmuch as on the one hand it is the subsistence of perfect deity, and on the other is demonstrative of full humanity. As long, therefore,(4) as the Word is acknowledged to be in substance one, of one energy, there shall never in any way be known a movement s in the two. For while God, who is essentially ever-existent, became by His infinite power, according to His will, sinless man, He is what He was, in all wherein God is known; and what He became, He is in all wherein man is known and can be recognised. In both aspects of Himself He never falls out of Himself,(6) in His divine activities and in His human alike, preserving in both relations His own essentially unchangeable perfection.

FRAGMENT V.

For lately a certain person, Beron, along with some others, forsook the delusion of Valentinus, only to involve themselves in deeper error, affirming that the flesh assumed to Himself by the Word became capable of working like works with the deity(7) by virtue of its assumption, and that the deity became susceptible of suffering in the same way with the flesh(8) by virtue of the exinanition;(9) and thus they assert the doctrine that there was at the same time a conversion and a mixing and a fusing(10) of the two aspects one with the other. For if the flesh that was assumed became capable of working like works with the deity, it is evident that it also became God in essence in all wherein God is essentially known. And if the deity by the exinanition became susceptible of the same sufferings with the flesh, it is evident that it also became in essence flesh in all wherein flesh essentially can be known. For objects that act in like manner,(11) and work like works, and are altogether of like kind, and are susceptible of like suffering with each other, admit of no difference of nature; and if the natures are fused together,(12) Christ will be a duality;(13) and if the persons(14) are separated, there will be a quaternity,(15)--a thing which is altogether to be avoided. And how will they conceive of the one and the same Christ, who is at once God and man by nature? And what manner of existence will He have according to them, if He has become man by a conversion of the deity, and if he has become God by a change of the flesh? For the mutation(16) of these, the one into the other, is a complete subversion of both. Let the discussion, then, be considered by us again in a different way.

FRAGMENT VI.

Among Christians it is settled as the doctrine of piety, that, according to nature itself, and to the activity and to whatever else pertains thereunto, God is equal and the same with Himself,(17) having nothing that is His unequal to Himself at all and heterogeneous.(18) If, then, according to Beron, the flesh that He assumed to Himself became possessed of the like natural energy with them, it is evident that it also became possessed of the like nature with Him in all wherein that nature consists,--to wit, non-origination, non-generation, infinitude, eternity, incomprehensibility, and whatever else in the way of the transcendent the theological mind discerns in deity; and thus they both underwent conversion, neither the one nor the other preserving any more the substantial relation of its own proper nature.(19) For he who recognises an identical operation(20) in things of unlike nature, introduces at the same time a fusion of natures and a separation of persons,(21) their natural existence(22) being made entirely undistinguishable by the transference of properties.(23)

FRAGMENT VII.

But if it (the flesh) did not become of like nature with that (the deity), neither shall it ever become of like natural energy with that; that He may not be shown to have His energy unequal with His nature, and heterogeneous, and, through all that pertains to Himself, to have entered on an existence outside of His natural equality and identity,(1) which is an impious supposition.

FRAGMENT VIII.

Into this error, then, have they been carried, by believing, unhappily, that that divine energy was made the property of the flesh which was only manifested through the flesh in His miraculous actions; by which energy Christ, in so far as He is apprehended as God, gave existence to the universe, and now maintains and governs it. For they did not perceive that it is impossible for the energy of the divine nature to become the property(2) of a being of a different nature(3) apart from conversion; nor did they understand that that is not by any means the property of the flesh which is only manifested through it, and does not spring out of it according to nature; and yet the proof thereof was clear and evident to them. For I, by speaking with the tongue and writing with the hand, reveal through both these one and the same thought of my intelligent soul, its energy (or operation) being natural; in no way showing it as springing naturally out of tongue or hand; nor yet (showing) even the spoken thought as made to belong to them in virtue of its revelation by their means. For no intelligent person ever recognised tongue or hand as capable of thought, just as also no one ever recognised the perfectly holy flesh of God, in virtue of its assumption, and in virtue of the revelation of the divine energy through its medium, as becoming in nature creative.(4) But the pious confession of the believer is that, with a view to our salvation, and in order to connect the universe with unchangeableness, the Creator of all things incorporated with Himself(5) a rational soul and a sensible(6) body from the all-holy Mary, ever-virgin, by an undefiled conception, without conversion, and was made man in nature, but separate from wickedness: the same was perfect God, and the same was perfect man; the same was in nature at once perfect God and man. In His deity He wrought divine things through His all-holy flesh,--such things, namely, as did not pertain to the flesh by nature; and in His humanity He suffered human things,--such things, namely, as did not pertain to deity by nature, by the upbearing of the deity.(7) He wrought nothing divine without the body;(8) nor did the same do anything human without the participation of deity.(9) Thus He preserved for Himself a new and fitting method(10) by which He wrought (according to the manner of) both, while that which was natural to both remained unchanged;(11) to the accrediting(12) of His perfect incarnation,(13) which is really genuine, and has nothing lacking in it.(14) Beron, therefore, since the case stands with him as I have already stated, confounding together in nature the deity and the humanity of Christ in a single energy,(15) and again separating them in person, subverts the life, not knowing that identical operation(16) is indicative of the connatural identity only of connatural persons.(17)

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