IN the roll of the Nicene Fathers there is no more honoured name than that of Gregory of Nyssa. Besides the praises of his great brother Basil and of his equally great friend Gregory Nazianzen, the sanctity of his life, his theoIogical learning, and his strenuous advocacy of the faith embodied in the Nicene clauses, have received the praises of Jerome, Socrates, Theodoret, and many other Christian writers. Indeed such was the estimation in which he was held that some did not hesitate to call him 'the Father of Fathers' as well as 'the Star of Nyssa (1).'

Gregory of Nyssa was equally fortunate in his country, the name he bore, and the family which produced him. He was a native of Cappadocia, and was born most probably at Caesarea, the capital, about A.D. 335 or 336. No province of the Roman Empire had in those early ages received more eminent Christian bishops than Cappadocia and the adjoining district of Pontus.

In the previous century the great prelate Firmilian, the disciple and friend of Origen, who visited him at his See, had held the Bishopric of Caesarea. In the same age another saint, Gregory Thaumaturgus, a friend also and disciple of Origen, was bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus. During the same century, too, no less than four other Gregories shed more or less lustre on bishoprics in that country. The family of Gregory of Nyssa was one of considerable wealth and distinction, and one also conspicuously Christian.

During the Diocletian persecution his grandparents had fled for safety to the mountainous region of Pontus, where they endured great hardships and privations. It is said that his maternal grandfather, whose name is unknown, eventually lost both life and property. After a retirement of some few years the family appear to have returned and settled at Caesarea in Cappadocia, or else at Neo-Caesarea in Pontus, for there is some uncertainty in the account.

Gregory's father, Basil, who gave his name to his eldest son, was known as a rhetorician. He died at a comparatively early age, leaving a family of ten children, five of whom were boys and five girls, under the care of their grandmother Macrina and mother Emmelia. Both of these illustrious ladies were distinguished for the earnestness and strictness of their Christian principles, to which the latter added the charm of great personal beauty.

All the sons and daughters appear to have been of high character, but it is only of four sons and one daughter that we have any special record. The daughter, called Macrina, from her grandmother, was the angel in the house of this illustrious family. She shared with her grandmother and mother the care and education of all its younger members. Nor was there one of them who did not owe to her religious influence their settlement in the faith and consistency of Christian conduct.

This admirable woman had been betrothed in early life, but her intended husband died of fever. She permitted herself to contract no other alliance, but regarded herself as still united to her betrothed in the other world. She devoted herself to a religious life, and eventually, with her mother Emmelia, established a female conventual society on the family-property in Pontus, at a place called Annesi, on the banks of the river Iris.

It was owing to her persuasions that her brother Basil also gave up the worldly life, and retired to lead the devout life in a wild spot in the immediate neighbourhood. of Annesi. Here for a while he was an hermit, and here he persuaded his friend Gregory Nazianzen to join him. They studied together the works of Origen, and published a selection of extracts from his Commentaries, which they called "Philocalia." By the suggestions of a friend Basil enlarged his idea, and converted his hermit's seclusion into a monastery, which eventually became the centre of many others which sprung up in that district.

His inclination for the monastic life had been greatly influenced by his acquaintance with the Egyptian monks, who had impressed him with the value of their system as an aid to a life of religious devotion. He had visited also the hermit saints of Syria and Arabia, and learnt from them the practice of a severe asceticism, which both injured his health and shortened his days.

Gregory of Nyssa was the third son, and one of the youngest of the family. He had an elder brother, Nectarius, who followed the profession of their father, and became rhetorician, and like him died early. He had also a younger brother, Peter, who became bishop of Sebaste.

Besides the uncertainty as to the year and place of his birth it is not known where he received his education. From the weakness of his health and delicacy of his constitution, it was most probably at home. It is interesting, in the case of one so highly educated, to know who, in consequence of his father's early death, took charge of his merely intellectual bringing up: and his own words do not leave us in any doubt that, so far as he had a teacher, it was Basil, his senior by several years. He constantly speaks of him as the revered 'Master:' to take but one instance, he says in his Hexaemeron (ad init.) that all that will be striking in that work will be due to Basil, what is inferior will be the 'pupil's.' Even in the matter of style, he says in a letter written in early life to Libanius that though he enjoyed his brother's society but a short time yet Basil was the author of his oratory (<greek>loUou</greek>): and it is safe to conclude that he was introduced to all that Athens had to teach, perhaps even to medicine, by Basil: for Basil had been at Athens. On the other hand we can have no difficulty in crediting his mother, of whom he always spoke with the tenderest affection, and his admirable sister Macrina, with the care of his religious teaching. Indeed few could be more fortunate than Gregory in the influences of home. If, as there is every reason to believe, the grandmother Macrina survived Gregory's early childhood, then, like Timothy, he was blest with the religious instruction of another Lois and Eunice.

In this chain of female relationship it is difficult to say which link is worthier of note, grandmother, mother, or daughter. Of the first, Basil, who attributes his early religious impressions to his grandmother, tells us that as a child she taught him a Creed, which had been drawn up for the use of the Church of Neo-Caesarea by Gregory Thaumaturgus. This Creed, it is said, was revealed to the Saint in a vision. It has been translated by Bishop Bull in his "Fidei Nicaenae Defensio." In its language and spirit it anticipates the Creed of Constantinople.

Certain it is that Gregory had not the benefit of a residence at Athens, or of foreign travel. It might have given him a strength of character and width of experience, in which he was certainly deficient. His shy and retiring disposition induced him to remain at home without choosing a profession, living on his share of the paternal property, and educating himself by a discipline of his own.

He remained for years unbaptized. And this is a very noticeable circumstance which meets us in the lives of many eminent Saints and Bishops of the Church. They either delayed baptism themselves, or it was delayed for them. Indeed there are instances of Bishops baptized and consecrated the same day.

Gregory's first inclination or impulse to make a public profession of Christianity is said to have been due to a remarkable dream or vision.

His mother Emmelia, at her retreat at Annesi, urgently entreated him to be present and take part in a religious ceremony in honour of the Forty Christian Martyrs. He had gone unwillingly, and wearied with his journey and the length of the service, which lasted far into the night, he lay down and fell asleep in the garden. He dreamed that the Martyrs appeared to him and, reproaching him for his indifference, beat him with rods. On awaking he was filled with remorse, and hastened to amend his past neglect by earnest entreaties for mercy and forgiveness. Under the influence of the terror which his dream inspired he consented to undertake the office of reader in the Church, which of course implied a profession of Christianity. But some unfitness, and, perhaps, that love of eloquence which clung to him to the last, soon led him to give up the office, and adopt the profession of a rhetorician or advocate. For this desertion of a sacred for a secular employment he is taken severely to task by his brother Basil and his friend Gregory Nazianzen. The latter does not hesitate to charge him with being influenced, not by conscientious scruples, but by vanity and desire of public display, a charge not altogether consistent with his character.

Here it is usual to place the marriage of Gregory with Theosebeia, said to have been a sister of Gregory Nazianzen. Certainly the tradition of Gregory's marriage received such credit as to be made in after times a proof of the non-celibacy of the Bishops of his age. But it rests mainly on two passages, which taken separately are not in the least conclusive. The first is the ninety-fifth letter of Gregory Nazianzen, written to console for a certain loss by death, i.e. of "Theosebeia, the fairest, the most lustrous even amidst such beauty of the <greek>adelFoi</greek>; Theosebeia, the true priestess, the yokefellow and the equal of a priest." J. Rupp has well pointed out that the expression 'yokefellow ' (<greek>suzugon</greek>), which has been insisted as meaning 'wife,' may, especially in the language of Gregory Nazianzen, be equivalent to <greek>adelFos</greek>. He sees in this Theosebeia 'a sister of the Cappadocian brothers.' The second passage is contained in the third cap. of Gregory's treatise On Virginity. Gregory there complains that he is "cut off by a kind of gulf from this glory of virginity" (<greek>parqenia</greek>). The whole passage should be consulted. Of course its significance depends on the meaning given to <greek>parqenia</greek>. Rupp asserts that more and more towards the end of the century this word acquired a technical meaning derived from the purely ideal side, i.e. virginity of soul: and that Gregory is alluding to the same thing that his friend had not long before blamed him for, the keeping of a school for rhetoric, where his object had been merely worldly reputation, and the truly ascetic career had been marred (at the time he wrote). Certainly the terrible indictment of marriage in the third cap of this treatise comes ill from one whose wife not only must have been still living, but possessed the virtues sketched in the letter of Gregory Nazianzen: while the allusions at the end of it to the law-courts and their revelations appear much more like the professional reminiscence of a rhetorician who must have been familiar with them, than the personal complaint of one who had cause to depreciate marriage. The powerful words of Basil, de Virgin. I. 610, a. b., also favour the above view of the meaning of <greek>Parqenia</greek>: and Gregory elsewhere distinctly calls celibacy <greek>parqenia</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>swmatos</greek>, and regards it as a means only to this higher <greek>parqenia</greek> (III. 131). But the two passages above, when combined, may have led to the tradition of Gregory's marriage. Nicephorus Callistus, for example, who first makes mention of it, must have put upon <greek>parqenia</greek> the interpretation of his own time (thirteenth century,) i.e. that of continence. Finally, those who adopt this tradition have still to account for the fact that no allusion to Theosebeia as his wife, and no letter to her, is to be found in Gregory's numerous writings. It is noteworthy that the Benedictine editors of Gregory Nazianzen (ad Epist. 95) also take the above view.

His final recovery and conversion to the Faith, of which he was always after so strenuous an asserter, was due to her who, all things considered, was the master spirit of the family. By the powerful persuasions of his sister Macrina, at length, after much struggle, he altered entirely his way of life, severed himself from all secular occupations, and retired to his brother's monastery in the solitudes of Pontus, a beautiful spot, and where, as we have seen, his mother and sister had established, in the immediate neighbourhood, a similar association for women.

Here, then, Gregory was settled for several years, and devoted himself to the study of the Scripture and the works of his master Origen. Here, too, his love of natural scenery was deepened so as to find afterwards constant and adequate expression. For in his writings we have in large measure that sentiment of delight in the beauty of nature of which, even when it was felt, the traces are so few and far between in the whole range of Greek literature. A notable instance is the following from the Letter to Adelphus, written long afterwards: -"The gifts bestowed upon the spot by Nature, who beautifies the earth with an impromptu grace, are such as these: below, the river Halys makes the place fair to look upon with his banks, and glides like a golden ribbon through their deep purple, reddening his current with the soil he washes down. Above, a mountain densely overgrown with wood stretches, with its long ridge, covered at all points with the foliage of oaks, more worthy of finding some Homer to sing its praises than that Ithacan Neritus which the poet calls 'far-seen with quivering leaves.' But the natural growth of wood as it comes down the hill-side meets at the foot the plantations of human husbandry. For forthwith vines, spread out over the slopes and swellings and hollows at the mountain's base, cover with their colour, like a green mantle, all the lower ground: and the season also was now adding to their beauty with a display of magnificent grape-clusters." Another is from the treatise On Infants' Early Deaths: -- "Nay look only at an ear of corn, at the germinating of some plant, at a ripe bunch of grapes, at the beauty of early autumn whether in fruit or flower, at the grass springing unbidden, at the mountain reaching up with its summit to the height of the ether, at the springs of the lower ground bursting from its flanks in streams like milk, and running in rivers through the glens, at the sea receiving those streams from every direction and yet remaining within its limits with waves edged by the stretches of beach, and never stepping beyond those fixed boundaries: and how can the eye of reason fail to find in them all that our education for Realities requires?" The treatise On Virginity was the fruit of this life in Basil's monastery.

Henceforward the fortunes of Gregory are more closely linked with those of his great brother Basil.

About A. D. 365 Basil was summoned from his retirement to act as coadjutor to Euseblus, the Metropolitan of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and aid him in repelling the assaults of the Arian faction on the Faith. In these assaults the Arians were greatly encouraged and assisted by the proclivities of the Emperor Valens. After some few years of strenuous and successful resistance, and the endurance of great persecution from the Emperor and his Court, a persecution which indeed pursued him through life, Basil is called by the popular voice, on the death of Eusebius, A. D. 370, to succeed him in the See. His election is vehemently opposed, but after much turmoil is at length accomplished.

To strengthen himself in his position, and surround himself with defenders of the orthodox Faith, he obliges his brother Gregory, in spite of his emphatic protest, to undertake the Bishopric of Nyssa (1), a small town in the west of Cappadocia. When a friend expressed his surprise that he had chosen so obscure a place for such a man as Gregory, he replied, that


He did not desire his brother to receive distinction from the name of his See, but rather to confer distinction upon it.

It was with the same feeling, and by the exercise of a like masterful will, that he forced upon his friend Gregory Nazianzen the Bishopric of a still more obscure and unimportant place, called Sasima. But Gregory highly resented the nomination, which unhappily led to a lifelong estrangement.

It was about this time, too, that a quarrel had arisen between Basil and their uncle, another Gregory, one of the Cappadocian Bishops. And here Gregory of Nyssa gave a striking proof of the extreme simplicity and unreflectiveness of his character, which without guileful intent yet led him into guile. Without sufficient consideration he was induced to practise a deceit which was as irreconcileable with Christian principle as with common sense. In his endeavours to set his brother and uncle at one, when previous efforts had been in vain, he had recourse to an extraordinary method. He forged a letter, as if from their uncle, to Basil, earnestly entreating reconciliation. The inevitable discovery of course only widened the breach, and drew down on Gregory his brother's indignant condemnation, The reconciliation, however, which Gregory hoped for, was afterwards brought about.

Nor was this the only occasion on which Gregory needed Basil's advice and reproof, and protection from the consequences of his inexperienced zeal. After he had become Bishop of Nyssa, with a view to render assistance to his brother he promoted the summoning of Synods. But Basil's wider experience told him that no good would come of such assemblies under existing circumstances. Besides which he had reason to believe that Gregory would be made the tool of factious and designing men. He therefore discouraged the attempt. At another time Basil had to interpose his authority to prevent his brother joining in a mission to Rome to invite the interference of Pope Damasus and the Western Bishops in the settlement of the troubles at Antioch in consequence of the disputed election to the See. Basil had himself experience of the futility of such application to Rome, from the want of sympathy in the Pope and the Western Bishops with the troubles in the East. Nor would he, by such application, give a handle for Rome's assertion of supremacy, and encroachment on the independence of the Eastern Church. The Bishopric of Nyssa was indeed to Gregory no bed of roses. Sad was the contrast to one of his genre spirit, more fitted for studious retirement and monastic calm than for controversies which did not end with the pen, between the peaceful leisure of his retreat in Pontus and the troubles and antagonisms of his present position. The enthusiasm of his faith on the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation brought upon him the full weight of Arian and Sabellian hostility, aggravated as it was by the patronage of the Emperor. In fact his whole life at Nyssa was a series of persecutions.

A charge of uncanonical irregularity in his ordination is brought up against him by certain Arian Bishops, and he is summoned to appear and answer them at a Synod at Ancyra. To this was added the vexation of a prosecution by Demosthenes, the Emperor's chef de cuisine, on a charge of defalcation in the Church funds.

A band of soldiers is sent to fetch him to the Synod. The fatigue of the journey, and the rough treatment of his conductors, together with anxiety of mind, produce a fever which prevents his attendance. His brother Basil comes to his assistance. He summons another Synod of orthodox Cappadocian Bishops, who dictate in their joint names a courteous letter, apologising for Gregory's absence from the Synod of Ancyra, and proving the falsehood of the charge of embezzlement. At the same time he writes to solicit the interest of Astorgus, a person of considerable influence at the Court, to save his brother from the indignity of being dragged before a secular tribunal.

Apparently the application was unsuccessful. Demosthenes now obtains the holding another Synod at Gregory's own See of Nyssa, where he is summoned to answer the same charges. Gregory refuses to attend. He is consequently pronounced contumacious, and deposed from his Bishopric. His deposition is followed immediately by a decree of banishment from the Emperor, A.D. 376. He retires to Seleucia. But his banishment did not secure him from the malice and persecution of his enemies. He is obliged frequently to shift his quarters, and is subjected to much bodily discomfort and suffering. From the consoling answers of his friend Gregory of Nazianzen (for his own letters are lost), we learn the crushing effects of all these troubles upon his gentle and sensitive spirit, and the deep despondency into which he had fallen.

At length there is a happier turn of affairs. The Emperor Valens is killed, A.D. 378, and with him Arianism ' vanished in the crash of Hadrianople.' He is succeeded by Gratian, the friend and disciple of St. Ambrose. The banished orthodox Bishops are restored to their Sees, and Gregory returns to Nyssa. In (2) one of his letters, most probably to his brother Basil, he gives a graphic description of the popular triumph with which his return was greeted.

But the joy of his restoration is overshadowed by domestic sorrows. His great brother, to whom he owed so much, soon after dies, ere he is 50 years of age, worn out by his unparalleled toils and the severity of his ascetic life. Gregory celebrated his death in a sincere panegyric. Its high-flown style is explained by the rhetorical fashion of the time. The same year another sorrow awaits him. After a separation of many years he revisits his sister Macrina, at her convent in Pontus, but only to find her on her death-bed. We have an interesting and graphic account of the scene between Gregory and his dying sister. To the last this admirable woman appears as the great teacher of her family. She supplies her brother with arguments for, and confirms his faith in, the resurrection of the dead; and almost reproves him for the distress he felt at her departure, bidding him, with St. Paul, not to sorrow as those who had no hope. After her decease an inmate of the convent, named Vestiana, brought to Gregory a ring, in which was a piece of the true Cross, and an iron cross, both of which were found on the body when laying it out. One Gregory retained himself, the other he gave to Vestiana. He buried his sister in the chapel at Annesi, in which her parents and her brother Naucratius slept.

From henceforth the labours of Gregory have a far more extended range. He steps into the place vacated by the death of Basil, and takes foremost rank among the defenders of the Faith of Nicaea. He is not, however, without trouble still from the heretical party. Certain Galatians had been busy in sowing the seeds of their heresy among his own people. He is subjected, too, to great annoyance from the disturbances which arose out of the wish of the people of Ibera in Pontus to have him as their Bishop. In that early age of the Church election to a Bishopric, if not dependent on the popular voice, at least called forth the expression of much popular feeling, like a contested election amongst ourselves. This often led to breaches of the peace, which required military intervention to suppress them, as it appears to have done on this occasion.

But the reputation of Gregory is now so advanced, and the weight of his authority as an eminent teacher so generally acknowledged, that we find him as one of the Prelates at the Synod of Antioch assembled for the purpose of healing the long-continued schisms in that distracted See. By the same Synod Gregory is chosen to visit and endeavour to reform the Churches of Arabia and Babylon, which had fallen into a very corrupt and degraded state. He gives a lamentable account of their condition, as being beyond all his powers of reformation. On this same journey he visits Jerusalem and its sacred scenes: it has been conjectured that the Apollinarian heresy drew him thither. Of the Church of Jerusalem he can give no better account than of those he had already visited. He expresses himself as greatly scandalized at the conduct of the Pilgrims who visited the Holy City on the plea of religion. Writing to three ladies, whom he had known at Jerusalem, he takes occasion, from what he had witnessed there, to speak of the uselessness of pilgrimages as any aids to reverence and faith, and denounces in the strongest terms the moral dangers to which all pilgrims, especially women, are exposed.

This letter is so condemnatory of what was a common and authorized practice of the medival Church that (3) Divines of the Latin communion have eudeavoured, but in vain, to deny its authenticity.

The name and character of Gregory had now reached the Imperial Court, where Theo-dosius had lately succeeded to the Eastern Empire. As a proof of the esteem in which he was then held, it is said that in his recent journey to Babylon and the Holy Land he travelled with carriages provided for him by the Emperor.

Still greater distinction awaits him. He is one of the hundred and fifty Bishops summoned by Theodosius to the second (Ecumenical Council, that of Constantinople, A.D. 381. To the assembled Fathers he brings an (4) instalment of his treatise against the Eunomian heresy, which he had written in defence of his brother Basil's positions, on the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation. This he first read to his friend Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, and others. Such was the influence he exercised in the Council that it is said, though this is very doubtful, that the explanatory clauses added to the Nicene Creed are due to him. Certain, however, it is that he delivered the inaugural address, which is not extant; further that he preached the funeral oration, which has been preserved, on the death of Meletius, of Antioch, the first President of the Council, who died at Constantinople; also that he preached at the enthronement of Gregory Nazianzen in the capital. This oration has perished.

Shortly before the close of the Council, by a Constitution of the Emperor, issued from Heraclea, Gregory is nominated as one of the Bishops who were to be regarded as the central authorities of Catholic Communion. In other words, the primacy of Rome or Alexandria in the East was to be replaced by that of other Sees, especially Constantinople. Helladius of Csarea was to be Gregory's colleague in his province. The connexion led to a misunderstanding. As to the grounds of this there is much uncertainty. The account of it is entirely derived from Gregory himself in his fetter to Flavian, and from his great namesake. Possibly there were faults on both sides.

We do not read of Gregory being at the Synod, A.D. 382, which followed the great Council of Constantinople. But we find him present at the Synod held the following year.

This same year we have proof of the continued esteem and favour shown him by the Imperial Court. He is chosen to pronounce the funeral oration on the infant Princess Palcheria. And not long after that also on the death of the Empress Flaccilla, or Placidia, herself. This last was a magnificent eulogy, but one, according to Tillemont, even surpassed by that of Theodoret. This admirable and holy woman, a saint of the Eastern Church, fully warranted all the praise that could be bestowed upon her. If her husband Theodosius did not owe his conversion to Christianity to her example and influence, he certainly did his adherence to the true Faith. It is one of the subjects of Gregory's praise of her that by her persuasion the Emperor refused to give an interview to the 'rationalist of the fourth century,' Eunomius.

Scarcely anything is known of the latter years of Gregory of Nyssa's life. The last record we have of him is that he was present at a Synod of Constantinople, summoned A.D. 394, by Rufinus, the powerful prfect of the East, under the presidency of Nectarius. The rival claims to the See of Bostra in Arabia had to be then settled; but perhaps the chief reason for summoning this assembly was to glorify the consecration of Rufinus' new Church in the suburbs. It was there that Gregory delivered the sermon which was probably his last, wrongly entitled 'On his Ordination.' His words, which heighten the effect of others then preached, are humbly compared to the blue circles painted on the new walls as a foil to the gilded dome above. "The whole breathes a calmer and more peaceful spirit; the deep sorrow over heretics who forfeit the blessings of the Spirit changes only here and there into the flashes of a short-lived indignation." (J. Rupp.)

The prophecy of Basil had come true. Nyssa was ennobled by the name of its bishop appearing on the roll of this Synod, between those of the Metropolitans of Csarea and Iconium. Even in outward rank he is equal to the highest. The character of Gregory could not be more justly drawn than in the words of Tillemont (IX. p. 269). "Autant en effet, qu'on pent juger de lui par ses ecrits, c'etoit un esprit doux, bon, facile, qui avec beaucoup d'elevation et de lumiere, avoit neanmois beaucoup de simplicite et de candent, qui aimoit plus le repos que l'action, et le travail du cabinet que le tumulte des affaires, qui avec cela etoit sans faste, dispose a estimer et a loner los autres et a se mettre a dessons d'eux. Mais quoiqu' il ne cher-chat que le repos, nous avons vu que son zele pour sos freres l'avoit souvent engagee a de grands travaux, et que Dieu avait honore sa simplicite en le faisant regarder comme le maitre, le docteur, le pacificateur et l'arbitre des eglises."

His death (probably 395) is commemorated by the Greek Church on January 10, by the Latin on March (9).



"THE first who sought to establish by rational considerations the whole complex of orthodox doctrines." So Ueberweg (History of Philosophy, p. 326) of Gregory of Nyssa. This marks the transition from ante-Nicene times. Then, at all events in the hands of Origen, philosophy was identical with theology. Now, that there is a 'complex of orthodox doctrines' to defend, philosophy becomes the handmaid of theology. Gregory, in this respect, has done the most important service of any of the writers of the Church in the fourth century. He treats each single philosophical view only as a help to grasp the formul of faith; and the truth of that view consists with him only in its adaptability to that end. Notwithstanding strong speculative leanings he does not defend orthodoxy either in the fashion of the Alexandrian school or in the fashion of some in modern times, who put forth a system of philosophy to which the dogmas of the Faith are to be accommodated.

If this be true, the question as to his attitude towards Plato, which is one of the first that suggests itself, is settled. Against polytheism he does indeed seek to defend Christianity by connecting it apologetically with Plato's system. This we cannot be surprised at, considering that the definitions of the doctrines of the Catholic Church were formed in the very place where the last considerable effort of Platonism was made; but he by no means makes the New Life in any way dependent on this system of philosophy. "We cannot speculate," he says (De Anim. et Resurrect.) .... "we must leave the Platonic car." But still when he is convinced that Plato will confirm doctrine he will, even in polemic treatises, adopt his view; for instance, he seeks to grasp the truth of the Trinity from the Platonic account of our internal consciousness, i.e. <greek>yukh</greek>. <greek>loUos</greek>, <greek>nous</greek>; because such a proof from consciousness is, to Gregory, the surest and most reliable.

The "rational considerations," then, by which Gregory would have established Christian doctrine are not necessarily drawn from the philosophy of the time: nor, further, does he seek to rationalize entirely all religious truth. In fact he resigns the hope of comprehending the Incarnation and all the great articles. This is the very thing that distinguishes the Catholic from the Eunomian. "Receiving the fact we leave untampered with the manner of the creation of the Universe, as altogether secret and inexplicable (1." With a turn resembling the view of Tertullian, he comes back to the conclusion that for us after all Religious Truth consists in mystery. "The Church possesses the means of demonstrating these things: or rather, she has faith, which is surer than demonstration (1)." He developes the truth of the Resurrection as much by the fulfilment of God's promises as by metaphysics: and it has been considered as one of the proofs that the treatise What is being 'in the image of Gad'? is not his that this subordination of philosophical proof to the witness of the Holy Spirit is not preserved in it.

Nevertheless there was a large field, larger even than in the next century, in which rationalizing was not only allowable, but was even required of him. In this there are three questions which Gregory has treated with particular fulness and originality. They are:--

1. Evil;

2. The relation between the ideal and the actual Man;

3. Spirit.

1. He takes, to begin with, Origen's view of evil. Virtue and Vice are not opposed to each other as two Existencies: but as Being is opposed to not-Being. Vice exists only as an absence. But how did this arise?

In answering this question he seems sometimes to come very near Manicheism, and his writings must be read very carefully, in order to avoid fixing upon him the groundless charge that he leaves evil in too near connexion with Matter. But the passages (2) which give rise to this charge consist of comparisons found in his homilies and meditations; just as a modern theologian might in such works make the Devil the same as Sin and Death. The only imperfection in his view is that he is unable (3) to regard evil as not only suffered but even permitted by God. But this imperfection is inseparable from his time: for Manicheism was too near and its opposition too little overcome for such a view to be possible for him; he could not see that it is the only one able thoroughly to resist Dualism.

Evil with Gregory is to be found in the spontaneous proclivity of the soul towards Matter: but not in Matter itself. Matter, therefore, in his eschatology is not to be burnt up and annihilated: only soul and body have to be refined, as gold (this is a striking comparison) is refined. He is very clear upon the relations between the three factors, body, matter, and evil. He represents the mind as the mirror of the Archetypal Beauty: then below the mind comes body (<greek>fusis</greek>) which is connected with mind and pervaded by it, and when thus trans-figured and beautified by it becomes itself the mirror of this mirror: and then this body in its turn influences and combines Matter. The Beauty of the Supreme Being thus penetrates all things: and as long as the lower holds on to the higher all is well. But if a rupture occurs anywhere, then Matter, receiving no longer influence from above, reveals its own deformity, and imparts something of it to body and, through that, to mind: for matter is in itself 'a shapeless unorganized thing (4).' Thus the mind loses the image of God. But evil began when the rupture was made: and what caused that? When and how did the mind become separated from God?

Gregory answers this question by laying it down as a principle, that everything created is subject to change. The Uncreate Being is changeless, but Creation, since its very beginning was owing to a change, i.e. a calling of the non-existent into existence, is liable to alter. Gregory deals here with angelic equally as with human nature, and with all the powers in both, especially with the will, whose virtual freedom he assumes throughout. That, too, was created; therefore that, too, could change.

It was possible, therefore, that, first, one of the created spirits, and, as it actually happened, he who was entrusted with the supervision of the earth, should choose to turn his eyes away from the Good; he thus looked at a lower good; and so began to be envious and to have... All evil followed in a chain from this beginning; according to the principle that the beginning of anything is the cause of all that follows in its train.

So the Devil fell: and the proclivity to evil was introduced into the spiritual world. Man, however, still looked to God and was filled with blessings (this is the 'ideal man' of Gregory). But as when the flame has got hold of a wick one cannot dim its light by means of the flame itself, but only by mixing water with the oil in the wick, so the Enemy effected the weakening of God's blessings in man by cunningly mixing wickedness in his will, as he had mixed it in his own. From first to last, then, evil lies in the <greek>proairesis</greek> and in nothing else.

God knew what would happen and suffered it, that He might not destroy our freedom, the inalienable heritage of reason and therefore a portion of His image in us. 'He' gave scope to evil for a nobler end.' Gregory calls it a piece of "little mindedness" to argue from evil either the weakness or the wickedness of God.

II. His remarks on the relation between the ideal and the actual Man are very interesting. It is usual with the other Fathers, in speaking of man's original perfection, to take the moment of the first man's residence in Paradise, and to regard the whole of human nature as there represented by the first two human beings. Gregory is far removed from this way of looking at the matter. With him human perfection is the 'idea' of humanity: he sees already in the bodily-created Adam the fallen man. The present man is not to be distinguished from that bodily Adam; both fall below the ideal type. Gregory seems to put the Fall beyond and before the beginning of history. 'Under the form of narrative Moses places before us mere doctrine (2).' The locus classicus about the idea and the reality of human nature is On the Making of Man, I. p. 88 f. He sketches both in a masterly way. He speaks of the division of the human race into male and female as a 'device' (<greek>epiteknhsis</greek>), implying that it was not the first 'organization' (<greek>kataskeuh</greek>). He hints that the irrational element was actually provided by the Creator, Who foresaw the Fall and the Redemption, for man to sin in; as if man immediately upon the creation of the perfect humanity became a mixed nature (spirit and flesh), and his fall was not a mere accident, but a necessary conseguence of this mixed nature. Adam must have fallen: there was no perfect humanity in Paradise. In man's mixed nature of spirit and flesh nutrition is the basis of his sensation, and sensation is the basis of his thought; and so it was inevitable that sin through this lower yet vital side of man should enter in. So ingrained is the spirit with the flesh in the whole history of actual humanity that all the varieties of all the souls that ever have lived or ever shall, arise from this very mixture; i.e. from the varying degrees of either factor in each. But as Gregory's view here touches, though in striking contrast, on Origen's, more will be said about it in the next chapter.

It follows from this that Gregory, as Clement and Basil before him, did not look upon Original Sin as the accidental or extraordinary thing which it was afterwards regarded. 'From a man who is a sinner and subject to passion of course is engendered a man who is a sinner and subject to passion: sin being in a manner born with him, and growing with his growth, and not dying with it.' And yet he says elsewhere, "An infant who is just born is not culpable, nor does it merit punishment; just as he who has been baptized has no account to give of his past sins, since they are forgiven;" and he calls infants <greek>aponhroi</greek>, 'not having in the least admitted the disease into their soul.' But these two views can of course be reconciled; the infant at the moment of its physical birth starts with sins forgotten, just as at the moment of its spiritual birth it starts with sins forgiven. No actual sin has been committed. But then its nature has lost the <greek>apaqeia</greek>; the inevitable weakness of its ancestry is in it.

Ill. 'Spirit.' Speaking of the soul, Gregory asks, 'How can that which is incomposite be dissolved?' i.e. the soul is spirit, and spirit is incomposite and therefore indestructible.

But care must be taken not to infer too much from this his favourite expression 'spirit' in connexion with the soul. 'God is spirit' too; and we are inclined to forget that this is no more than a negative definition, and to imagine the human spirit of equal prerogative with Deity. Gregory gives no encouragement to this; he distinctly teaches that, though the soul is incomposite, it is not in the least independent of time and space, as the Deity is.

In fact he almost entirely drops the old Platonic division of the Universe into Intelligible (spiritual) and Sensible, which helps to keep up this confusion between human and divine

'spirit,' and adopts the Christian division of Creator and Created.This difference between Creator and Created is further figured by him as that between

1. The Infinite.The Finite.

2. The Changeless.The Changeable.

3. The Contradiction-less.The Contradictory.

The result of this is that the Spirit-world itself has been divided into Uncreate and Created.

With regard, then, to this created Spirit-world we find that Gregory, as Basil, teaches that it existed, i.e. it had been created, before the work of the Six Days began. 'God made all that is, at once' (<greek>aqrows</greek>). This is only his translation of the verse, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;' the material for 'heaven' and 'earth,' i.e. spirits and chaos, was made in a moment, but God had not yet spoken the successive Words of creation. The souls of men, then, existed from the very beginning of creation, and in a determinate number; for this is a necessary consequence of the 'simultaneous creation.' This was the case with the Angels too, the other portion of the created Spirit-world. Gregory has treated the subject of the Angels very fully. He considers that they are perfect: but their perfection too is contingent: it depends on the grace of God and their own wills; the angels are free, and therefore changeable. Their will necessarily moves towards something: at their first creation the Beautiful alone solicited them. Man 'a little lower than the Angels' was perfect too; deathless, passionless, contemplative. 'The true and perfect soul is single in its nature, intellectual, immaterial (1).' He was 'as the Angels' and if he fell, Lucifer fell too. Gregory will not say, as Origen did, that human souls had a body when first created: rather, as we have seen, he implies the contrary; and he came to be considered the champion that fought the doctrine of the pre-existence of embodied souls. He seems to have been influenced by Methodius' objections to Origen's view. But his magnificent idea of the first man gives way at once to something more Scriptural and at the same time more scientific; and his ideal becomes a downright forecast of Realism.

Taking, however, the human soul as it is, he still continues, we often find, to compare it with God. In his great treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection, he rests a great deal on the parallel between the relation of man to his body, and that of God to the world.--'The soul is as a cord drawn out of mud; God draws to Himself what is His own.'-He calls the human spirit 'an influx of the divine in-breathing' (Adv. Apolim. c. 12). Anger and desire do not belong to the essence of the soul, he says: they are only among its varying states. The soul, then, as separable from matter, is like God. But this likeness does not extend to the point of identity. Incomprehensible, immortal, it is not uncreated. The distinction between the Creator and the Created cannot be obliterated. The attributes Of the Creator set down above, i.e. that He is infinite, changeless, contradictionless, and so always good, &c., can be applied only catachrestically to some men, in that they resemble their Maker as a copy resembles its original: but still, in this connexion, Gregory does speak of those 'who do not need any cleansing at all (2),' and the context forces us to apply these words to men. There is no irony, to him or to any Father of the fourth century, in the words, 'They that are whole need not a physician.' Although in the treatise On Virginity, where he is describing the development of his own moral and religious life, he is very far from applying them to himself, he nevertheless seems to recognize the fact that since Christianity began there are those to whom they might apply.

There is also need of a certain amount of 'rational considerations' in advancing a Defence and a Theory of Christianity. He makes this according to the special requirements of the time in his Oratio Catechelica. His reasonings do not seem to us always convincing; but the presence of a living Hellenism and Judaism in the world required them. These two phnomena also explain what appears to us a great weakness in this work: namely, that he treats Hellenism as if it were all speculation; Judaism as if it were all facts. These two religions were too near and too practically opposed to each other for him to see, as we can now, by the aid of a sort of science of religions, that every religion has its idea, and every religion has its facts. He and all the first Apologists, with the spectacle of these two apparently opposite systems before them, thought that, in arriving at the True Religion as well, all could be done by considering facts; or all could be done by Gregory chose the latter method. A Dogmatic in the modern sense, in which both the idea and the facts of Christianity flow into one, could not have been expected of him. The Oratio Catethetica is a mere philosophy of Christianity in detail written in the philosophic language of the time. Not only does he refrain from using the historic proofs, i.e. of prophecy and type (except very sparingly and only to meet an adversary), but his defence is insufficient from another point of view also; he hardly uses the moral proofs either; he wanders persistently in metaphysics.

If he does not lean enough on these two classes of proofs, at all events that he does not lean entirely on either, may be considered as a guarantee of his excellence as a theologian pure and simple. But he is on the other hand very far from attempting a philosophic construction of Christianity, as we have seen. Though akin to modern theologians in many things, he is unlike those of them who would construct an a priori Christianity, in which the relationship of one part to another is so close that all stands or falls together. Philosophic deduction is with him only 'a kind of instruction' used in his apologetic works. On occasion he shows a clear perception of the historic principle. "The supernatural character of the Gospel miracles bears witness to their divine origin (1)." He points, as Origen did, to the continued possession of miraculous powers in the Church. Again, as regards moral proof, there had been so much attempted that way by the Neo-Platonists that such proof could not have exactly the same degree of weight attributed to it that it has now, at least by an adherent of the newer Hellenism. Philostratus, Porphyry, Iamblichus had all tried to attract attention to the holy lives of heathen sages. Yet to these, rough sketches as they were, the Christian did oppose the Lives of the Saints: notably Gregory himself in the... of Gregory Thaumaturgus: as Origen before him (c. Celsum, passim) had shewn in detail the difference in kind of Christian holiness.

His treatment of the Sacraments in the Oratio Catechetica is noteworthy. On Baptism he is very complete: it will be sufficient to notice here the peculiar proof he offers that the Holy Spirit is actually given in Baptism. It is the same proof, to start with, as that which establishes that God came in the flesh when Christ came. Miracles prove this; (he is not wanting here in the sense of the importance of History). If, then, we are persuaded that God is here, we must allow also that truth is here: for truth is the mark of Deity. When, therefore, God has said that He will come in a particular way, if called in a particular way, this must be true. He is so called in Baptism: therefore He comes. (The vital importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, upon which Gregory laboured for so many years, thus all comes from Baptism.) Gregory would not confine the entire force of Baptism to the one ritual act. A resurrection to a new immortal life is begun in Baptism, but owing to the weakness of nature this complete effect is separated into stages or parts. With regard to the necessity of Baptism for salvation, he says he does not know if the Angels receive the souls of the unbaptized; but he rather intimates that they wander in the air seeking rest, and entreat in vain like the Rich Man. To him who wilfully defers it he says, 'You are out of paradise, O Catechumen!'

In treating the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Gregory was the first Father who developed the view of transformation, for which transubstantiation was afterwards substituted to suit the mediaeval philosophy; that is, he put this view already latent into actual words. There is a locus classicus in the Oratio Catechetica, c. 37.

"Therefore from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread and was in a manner itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle, ' is sanctified by the word of God and prayer:' not that it advances by the process of eating to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it at once is changed into the Body, by the Word, as the Word Himself said, ' This is My Body;'" and just above he had said: "Rightly do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the word of God is changed into the body of God the Word." This way of explaining the mystery of the Sacrament, i.e. from the way bread was changed into the Word when Christ was upon earth, is compared by Neander with another way Gregory had of explaining it, i.e. the heightened efficacy of the bread is as the heightened efficacy of the baptismal water, the anointing oil (1), &c., a totally different idea. But this, which may be called the metabatic view, is the one evidently most present to his mind. In a fragment of his found in a Parisian MS. (2), quoted with the Liturgies of James, Basil, Chrysostom, we also find it; "The consecrated bread is changed into the body of the Word; and it is needful for humanity to partake of that."

Again, the necessity of the Incarnation, drawn from the words "it was necessary that Christ should suffer," receives a rational treatment from him. There must ever be, from a meditation on this, two results, according as the physical or the ethical element in Christianity prevails, i.e. 1. Propitiation; 2. Redemption. The first theory is dear to minds fed upon the doctrines of the Reformation, but it receives no countenance from Gregory. Only in the book in which Moses' Life is treated allegorically does he even mention it. The sacrifice of Christ instead of the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament is not his doctrine, He develops his theory of the Redemption or Ransom (i.e. from the Devil), in the Oratio Catechetica. Strict justice to the Evil One required it. But in his hands this view never degenerates, as with some, into a mere battle, e.g. in Gethsemane, between the Rescuer and Enslaver.

So much has been said about Gregory's inconsistencies, and his apparent inconsistencies are indeed so many, that some attempt must be made to explain this feature, to some so repulsive, in his works. One instance at all events can show how it is possible to reconcile even the most glaring. He is not a one-sided theologian: he is not one of those who pass always the same judgment upon the same subject, no matter with whom he has to deal. There could not be a harsher contradiction than that between his statement about human generation in the Oratio Catechetica, and that made in the treatises On Virginity and On the Making of Man. In the O. C. everything hateful and undignified is removed from the idea of our birth; the idea of <greek>paqos</greek> is not applied; "only evil brings disgrace." But in the other two Treatises he represents generation as a consequence of the Fall. This contradiction arises simply from the different standpoint in each. In the one case he is apologetic; and so he adopts a universally recognised moral axiom. In the other he is the Christian theologian; the natural process, therefore, takes its colouring from the Christian doctrine of the Fall. This is the standpoint of most of his works, which are polemical, not apologetic. But in the treatise On the Saul and the Resurrection he introduces even a third view about generation, which might be called that of the Christian theosophist; i.e. generation is the means in the Divine plan for carrying Humanity to its completion. Very similar is the view in the treatise On Infants' Early Deaths; "the design of all births is that the Power which is above the universe may in all parts of the creation be glorified by means of intellectual natures conspiring to the same end, by virtue of the same faculty operating in all; I mean, that of looking upon God." Here he is speaking to the purely philosophic instinct. It may be remarked that On this and all the operations of Divine foreknowledge in vast world-wide relations he has constantly striking passages, and deserves for this especially to be studied.

The style of Gregory is much more elegant than that of Basil: sometimes it may be called eloquent. His occasional digressions did not strike ancient critics as a fault. To them he is "sweet," "bright," "dropping pleasure into the ears." But his love for splendour, combined with the lateness of his Greek, make him one of the more difficult Church writers to interpret accurately.

His similes and illustrations are very numerous, and well chosen. A few exceptions must, perhaps, be made. He compares the mere professing Christian to the ape, dressed like a mart and dancing to the flute, who used to amuse the people in the theatre at Alexandria, but once revealed during the performance its bestial nature, at the sight of food. This is hardly worthy of a great writer, as Gregory was (1). Especially happy are his comparisons in the treatise On the Saul and Resurrection, by which metaphysical truths are expressed; and elsewhere those by which he seeks to reach the due proportions of the truth of the Incarnation. The chapters in his work against Eunomius where he attempts to depict the Infinite, are striking. But what commends him most to modern taste is his power of description when dealing with facts, situations, persons: he touches these always with a colour which is felt to be no exaggeration, but the truth.



A TRUE estimate of the position and value of Gregory as a Church teacher cannot be formed until the question of his ' Origenism,' its causes and its quality, is cleared up. It is well known that this charge began to be brought against his orthodoxy at all events after the time of Justinian: nor could Germanus, the Patriarch of Constantinople in the next century, remove it by the device of supposed interpolations of partizans in the interests of the Eastern as against the Western Church: for such a theory, to be true, would still require some hints at all events in this Father to give a colour to such interpolations. Moreover, as will be seen, the points in which Gregory is most like OriOn are portions of the very groundwork of his own theology. The question, then, remains why, and how far, is he a follower of Origen?

I. When we consider the character of his great forerunner, and the kind of task which Gregory himself undertook, the first part of this question is easily answered. When Christian doctrine had to be set forth philosophically, so as to be intelligible to any cultivated mind of that time (to reconcile Greek philosophy with Christian doctrine was a task which Gregory never dreamed of attempting), the example and leader in such an attempt was Origen; he occupied as it were the whole horizon. He was the founder of theology; the very vocabulary of it, which is in use now, is of his devising. So that Gregory's language must have had, necessarily, a close connexion with that of the great interpreter and apologist, who had explained to his century the same truths which Gregory had to explain to his: this must have been the case even if his mind had not been as spiritual and idealizing as Origen's. But in some respects it will be seen Gregory is even more an idealist than Origen himself. Alike, then, from purpose and tradition as from sympathy he would look back to Origen. Though a guIf was between them, and, since the Council of Nicaea, there were some things that could come no more into controversy, Gregory saw, where the Church had not spoken, with the same eyes as Origen: he uses the same keys as he did for the problems which Scripture has not solved; he uses the same great weapon of allegory in making the letter of Scripture give up the spiritual treasures. It could not have been otherwise when the whole Christian religion, which Gregory was called on to defend as a philosophy, had never before been systematically so defended but by Origen; and this task, the same for both, was presented to the same type of mind, in the same intellectual atmosphere. It would have been strange indeed if Gregory had not been a pupil at least (though he was no blind follower) of Origen.

If we take for illustration of this the most vital point in the vast system, if system it can be called, of Origen, we shall see that he had traced fundamental lines of thought, which could not in that age be easily left. He asserts the virtual freedom of the human will, in every stage and condition of human existence. The Greek philosophy of the third century, and the semi-pagan Gnosticism, in their emanational view of the world, denied this freedom. With them the mind of man, as one of the emanations of Deity itself, was, as much as the matter of which the world was made, regulated and governed directly from the Source whence they both flowed. Indeed every system of thought, not excepting Stoicism, was struck with the blight of this fatalism. There was no freedom for man at all but in the system which Origen was drawing from, or rather reading into, the Scriptures. No Christian philosopher who lived amongst the same counter-influences as Origen could overlook this starting-point of his system; he must have adopted it, even if the danger of Pelagianism had been foreseen in it; which could not have been the case.

Gregory adopted it, with the other great doctrine which in the mind of Origen accompanied it; i.e., that evil is caused, not by matter, but by the act of this free will of man; in other words, by sin. Again the fatalism of all the emanationists had to be combated as to the nature and necessity of evil. With them evil was some inevitable result of the Divine processes; it abode at all events in matter, and human responsibility was at an end. Greek philosophy from first to last had shewed, even at its best, a tendency to connect evil with the lower <greek>Fusis</greek>. But now, in the light of revelation, a new truth was set forth, and repeated again and again by the very men who were inclined to adopt Plato's rather Dualistic division of the world into the intelligible and sensible. ' Evil was due to an act of the will of man.' Moreover it could no longer be regrded per se: it was relative, being a ' default,' or ' failure,' or ' turning away from the true good' of the will, which, however, was always free to rectify this failure. It was a <greek>sterhsis</greek>,--loss of the good; but it did not stand over against the good as an independent power. Origen contemplated the time when evil would cease to exist; 'the non-existent cannot exist for ever:' and Gregory did the same.

This brings us to yet another consequence of this enthusiasm for human freedom and responsibility, which possessed Origen, and carried Gregory away. The <greek>apokatastasis</greek> <greek>tpn</greek> <greek>pantwn</greek> has been thought (1), in certain periods of the Church, to have been the only piece of Origenism with which Gregory can be charged. [This of course shows ignorance of the kind of influence which Gregory allowed Origen to have over him; and which did not require him to select even one isolated doctrine of his master.] It has also brought him into more suspicion than any other portion of his teaching. Yet it is a direct consequence of the view of evil, which he shares with Origen. If evil is the non-existent, as his master says, a <greek>sterhsis</greek>, (1) as he says, then it must pass away. It was not made by God; neither is it self-subsisting.

But when it has passed away, what follows? That God will be "all in all." Gregory accepts the whole of Origen's explanation of this great text. Both insist on the impossibility of God being in ' everything,' if evil still remains. But this is equivalent to the restoration to their primitive state of all created spirits. Still it must be remembered that Origen required many future stages of existence before all could arrive at such a consummation: with him there is to be more than one 'next world;' and even when the primitive perfection is reached, his peculiar view of the freedom of the will, as an absolute balance between good and evil, would admit the possibility of another fall. 'All may be saved; and all may fall.' How the final Sabbath shall come in which all wills shall rest at last is but dimly hinted at in his writings. With Gregory, on the other hand, there are to be but two worlds: the present and the next; and in the next the <greek>apokatastas</greek>217><greek>s</greek> <greek>tpn</greek> <greek>pantwn</greek> must be effected. Then, after the Resurrection, the fire <greek>akoimhtos</greek>, <greek>aiwnios</greek>, as he continually calls it, will have to do its work. 'The avenging flame will be the more ardent the more it has to consume' (De Anima et Resurr., p. 227). But at last the evil will be annihilated, and the bad saved by nearness to the good.' There is to rise a giving of thanks from all nature. Nevertheless (2) passages have been adduced from Gregory's writings in which the language of Scripture as to future punishment is used without any modification, or hint of this universal salvation. In the treatise, De Pauperibus Amandis, II. p. 240, he says of the last judgment that God will give to each his due; repose eternal to those who have exercised pity and a holy life; but the eternal punishment of fire for the harsh and unmerciful: and addressing the rich who have made a bad use of their riches, he says, 'Who will extinguish the flames ready to devour you and engulf you? Who will stop the gnawings of a worm that never dies?' Cf. aIso Orat. 3, de Beatitudinibus, I. p. 788: contra Ursuarios, II. p. 233: though the hortatory character of these treatises makes them less important as witnesses.

A single doctrine or group of doctrines, however, may be unduly pressed in accounting for the influence of Origen upon a kindred spirit like Gregory. Doubtless fragments of Origen's teaching, mere details very often, were seized upon and appropriated by others; they were erected into dogmas and made to do duty for the whole living fabric; and even those details were sometimes misunderstood. ' (3) What he had said with a mind full of thought, others took in the very letter.' Hence arose the evil of 'Origenism,' so prevalent in the century in which Gregory lived. Different ways of following him were found, bad and good. Even the Arians could find in his language now and then something they could claim as their own. But as Rupp well says, 'Origen is not great by virtue of those particular doctrines, which are usually exhibited to the world as heretical by weak heads who think to take the measure of everything with the mere formulae of orthodoxy. He is great by virtue of one single thought, i.e. that of bringing philosophy into union with religion, and thereby creating a theology. With Clement of Alexandria this thought was a mere instinct: Origen gave it consciousness: and so Christendom began to have a science of its own.' It was this single purpose, visible in all Origen wrote, that impressed itself so deeply upon Gregory. He, too, would vindicate the Scriptures as a philosophy. Texts, thanks to the labours of Origen as well as to the councils of the Church, had now acquired a fixed meaning and an importance that all could acknowledge. The new spiritual philosophy lay within them; he would make them speak its language. Allegory was with him, just as with Origen, necessary, in order to find the Spirit which inspires them. The letter must not impose itself upon us and stand for more than it is worth; just as the practical experience of evil in the world must not blind us to the fact that it is only a passing dispensation, If only the animus and intention is regarded, we may say that all that Gregory wrote was Origenistic.

II. But nevertheless much had happened in the interval of 130 years that divides them and this leads us to consider the limits which the state of the Church, as well as Gregory's own originality and more extended physical knowledge, placed upon the complete filling in of the outlines sketched by the master. First and chiefly, Origen's doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul could not be retained; and we know that Gregory not only abandoned it, but attacked it with all his powers of logic in his treatise, De Animo et Resurrectione: for which he receives the applause of the Emperor Justinian. Souls, according to Origen, had pre-existed from eternity: they were created certainly, but there never was a time when they did not exist: so that the procession even of the Holy Spirit could in thought only be prior to their existence. Then a failure of their free wills to grasp the true good, and a consequent cooling of the fire of love within them, plunged them in this material bodily existence, which their own sin made a suffering one. This view had certainly great merits: it absolved the Deity from being the author of evil, and so was a ' theodicee;' it entirely got rid of the two rival principles, good and evil, of the Gnostics; and it avoided the seeming incongruity of what was to last for ever in the future being not eternal in the past. Why then was it rejected? Not only because of the objection urged by Methodius, that the addition of a body would be no remedy but rather an increase of the sin; or that urged amongst many others by Gregory, that a vice cannot be regarded as the precursor of the birth of each human soul into this or into other worlds; but more than that and chiefly, because such a doctrine contravened the more distinct views now growing up as to what the Christian creation was, and the more careful definitions also of the Trinity now embodied in the creeds. In fact the pre-existence of the soul was wrapped up in a cosmogony that could no longer approve itself to the Christian consciousness. In asserting the freedom of the will, and placing in the will the cause of evil, Origen had so far banished emanationism; but in his view of the eternity of the world, and in that of the eternal pre-existence of souls which accompanied it, he had not altogether stamped it out. He connects rational natures so closely with the Deity that each individual <greek>logos</greek> seems almost, in a Platonic way, to lie in the Divine which (1) he styles <greek>ousia</greek> <greek>ousipn</greek>, <greek>idea</greek> <greek>idepn</greek>. They are 'partial brightnesses (<greek>apaugasmapa</greek>) of the glory of God.' He (2) allows them, of course, to have been created in the Scriptural sense of that word, which is certainly an advance upon Justin; but his creation is not that distinct event in time which Christianity requires and the exacter treatment of the nature of the Divine Persons had now developed. His creation, both the intelligible and visible world, receives from him an eternity which is unnatural and incongruous in relation to his other speculations and beliefs: it lingers, Tithonus-like, in the presence of the Divine Persons, without any meaning and purpose for its life; it is the last relic of Paganism, as it were, in a system which is otherwise Christian to the very core. His strenuous effort to banish all ideas of time, at all events from the intelligible world, ended in this eternal creation of that world; which seemed to join the eternally generated Son too closely to it, and gave occasion to the Arians to say that He too was a <greek>kpisma</greek>. This eternal pre-existence in fact almost destroyed the idea of creation, and made the Deity in a way dependent on His own world. Athanasius, therefore, and his followers were roused to separate the divinity of the Son from everything created. The relation of the world to God could no longer be explained in the same terms as those which they employed to illustrate the relations between the Divine Persons; and when once the doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Father and Son had been accepted and firmly established there could be no more favour shown by the defenders of that doctrine to the merely Platonic view of the nature and origin of souls and of matter.

Amongst the defenders of the Creed of Nicaea, Gregory, we know, stands well-nigh foremost. In his long and numerous treatises on the Trinity he employs every possible argument and illustration to show the contents of the substance of the Deity as transcendent, incommunicable to creation per se. Souls cannot have the attributes of Deity. Created spirits cannot claim immediate kindred with the <greek>Logos</greek>. So instead of the Platonic antithesis of the intelligible and sensible world, which Origen adopted, making all equal in the intelligible world, he brings forward the antithesis of God and the world. He felt too that that antithesis answers more fully not only to the needs of the Faith in the Trinity daily growing more exact and clear, but also to the facts of the Creation, i.e. its variety and differences. He gives up the pre-existence of the rational soul; it will not explain the infinite variety observable in souls. The variety, again, of the material world, full as it is of the miracles of divine power, cannot have been the result of the chance acts of created natures embodying themselves therein, which the theory of pre-existence supposes. God and the created world (of spirits and matter) are now to be the factors in theology; although Gregory does now and then, for mere purposes of illustration, divide the Universe still into the intelligible and the sensible.

When once pre-existence was given up, the parts of the soul could be more closely united to each other, because the lower and higher were in their beginning no longer separated by a gulf of ages. Accordingly Gregory, reducing the three parts of man which Origen had used to the simpler division into visible and invisible (sensible and intelligible), dwells much upon the intimate relation between the two and the mutual action of one upon the other. Origen had retained the trichotomy of Plato which other Greek Fathers also, with the sanction, as they supposed, of S. Paul (1 Thess. v. 23), had adopted. 'Body,' 'soul,' and 'spirit,' or Plato's ' body,' ' unreasoning' and ' reasoning soul,' had helped Origen to explain how the last, the pre-existent soul (the spirit, or the conscience (1), as he sometimes calls it) could ever have come to live in the flesh. The second, the soul proper, is as it were a mediating ground on which the spirit can meet the flesh. The celestial mind, ' the real man fallen from on high,' rules by the power of conscience or of will over this soul, where the merely animal functions and the natural appetites reside; and through this soul over the body. How the celestial mind can act at all upon this purely animal soul which lies between it and the body, Origen leaves unexplained. But this division was necessary for him, in order to represent the spirit as remaining itself unchanged in its heavenly nature, though weakened by its long captivity in the body. The middle soul (in which he sometimes places the will) is the scene of contamination and disorder; the spirit is free, it can always rejoice at what is well done in the soul, and yet is not touched by the evil in it; it chooses, convicts, and punishes. Such was Origen's psychology. But an intimate connexion both in birth and growth between all the faculties of man is one of Gregory's most characteristic thoughts, and he gave up this trichotomy, which was still, however, retained by some Greek fathers, and adopted the simpler division mentioned above in order more clearly and concisely to show the mutual play of spirit and body upon each other. There was soon, too, another reason why this trichotomy should be suspected. It was a second time made the vehicle of error. Apollinaris adopted it, in order to expound that the Divine <greek>Logos</greek> took the place, in the tripartite soul of Christ, of the 'reasonable soul' or spirit of other men. Gregory, in pressing for a simpler treatment of man's nature, thus snatched a vantage-ground from a sagacious enemy. His own psychology is only one instance of a tendency which runs through the whole of his system, and which may indeed be called the dominating thought with which he approached every question; he views each in the light of form and matter; spirit penetrating and controlling body, body answering to spirit and yet at the same time supplying the nutriment upon which the vigour and efficacy of spirit, in this world at least, depends. This thought underlies his view of the material universe and of Holy Scripture, as well as of man's nature. With regard to the last he says, 'the intelligible cannot be realized in body at all, except it be commingled with sensation; ' and again, 'as there can be no sensation without a material substance, so there can be no exercise of the power of thought without sensation (1).' The spiritual or intelligent part of man (which he calls by various names, such as 'the inner man,' the <greek>yukh</greek> <greek>logikh</greek>, <greek>nous</greek> or <greek>dianoia</greek>, <greek>to</greek> <greek>zwopo</greek><ss217><greek>on</greek> <greek>aition</greek>, or simply <greek>yskh</greek> as throughout the treatise On the Soul), however alien in its essence from the bodily and sentient part, yet no sooner is united with this earthly part than it at once exerts power over it. In fact it requires this instrument before it can reach its perfection. 'Seeing, then, man is a reasoning animal of a certain kind, it was necessary that the body should be prepared as an instrument appropriate to the needs of his reason (2).' So closely has this reason been united with the senses and the flesh that it performs itself the functions of the animal part; it is the 'mind' or 'reason' itself that sees, hears, &c.; in fact the exercise of mind depends on a sound state of the senses and other organs of the body; for a sick body cannot receive the 'artistic' impressions of the mind and, so, the mind remains inoperative. This is enough to show how far Gregory had got from pre-existence and the 'fall into the prison of the flesh.'

His own theory of the origin of the soul, or at least that to which he visibly inclines, is stated in the treatise, De Anima et Resurrectione, p. 241. It is that of Tertullian and some Greek Fatherd also: and goes by the name of 'traducianism' The soul is transmitted in the generating seed. This of course is the opposite pole to Origen's teaching, and is inconsistent with Gregory's own spiritualism. The other alternative, Creationism, which a number of the orthodox adopted, namely that souls are created by God at the moment of conception, or when the body of the foetus is already formed, was not open to him to adopt; because, according to him, in idea the world of spirits was made, and in a determinate number, along with the world of unformed matter by the one creative act 'in the beginning.' In the plan of the universe, though not in reality as with Origen, all souls are already created. So the life of humanity contains them: when the occasion comes they take their beginning along with the body which enshrines them, but are not created then any more than that body. Such was the compromise between spiritualism and materialism to which Gregory was driven by the difficulties of the subject Origen with his eye unfalteringly fixed upon the ideal world, and unconscious of the practical consequences that might be drawn from his teaching, cut the knot with his eternal pre-existence of souls, which avoided at once the alleged absurdity of creationism and the grossness of traducianism. But the Church, for higher interests still than those of pure idealism, had to reject that doctrine; and Gregory, with his extended knowledge in physic and his close observation of the intercommunion of mind and body, had to devise or rather select a theory which, though a makeshift, would not contradict either his knowledge or his faith.

Yet after admitting that soul and body are born together and attaching such importance to the 'physical basis' of life and thought, the influence of his master, or else his own uncontrollable idealism, carries him away again in the opposite direction. After reading words in his treatise which Locke might have written we come upon others which are exactly the teaching of Berkeley. There is a passage in the De Anima et Resurrectione where he deals with the question how an intelligent Being could have created matter, which is neither intelligent or intelligible. But what if matter is only a concourse of qualities, <greek>ennoiai</greek>, or <greek>Yila</greek> <greek>nohmata</greek> as he elsewhere calls them? Then there would be no difficulty in understanding the manner of creation. But even about this we can say so much, i.e. that not one of those things which we attribute to body is itself body: neither figure, nor colour, nor weight, nor extension, nor quantity, nor any other qualifying notion whatever: but every one of them is a thought: it is the combination of them all into a single whole that constitutes body. Seeing, then, that these several qualifications which complete the particular body are grasped by thought alone, and not by sense, and that the Deity is a thinking being, what trouble can it be to such a thinking agent to produce the thoughts whose mutual combination generate for us the substance of that body? and in the treatise, De Hom. Opif., c. 24, the intelligible <greek>fusis</greek> is said to produce the intelligible <greek>dunameis</greek>, and the concourse of these <greek>dunameis</greek> brings into being the material nature. The body itself, he repeats (contra Fatum, p. 67), is not a real substance; it is a soulless, unsubstantial thing. The only real creation is that of spirits. Even Origen did not go so far as that Matter with him, though it exists by concomitance and not by itself, nevertheless really exists. He avoided a rock upon which Gregory runs; for with Gregory not only matter but created spirit as well vanish in idealism. There remain with him only the and God.

This transcendent idealism embarrasses him in many ways, and makes his theory of the soul full of inconsistency. (1) He will not say unhesitatingly whether that pure humanity in the beginning created in the image of God had a body or not like ours. Origen at all events says that the eternally pre-existing spirits were invested with a body, even before falling into the sensible world. But Gregory, while denying the pre-existenee of souls in the sense of Origen, yet in many of his treatises, especially in the De Hom. Opificio, seems to point to a primitive humanity, a predeterminate number of souls destined to live in the body though they had not yet lived, which goes far beyond 0rigen's in its ideal character. "When Moses," Gregory says, "speaks of the soul as the image of God, he shows that all that is alien to God must be excluded from our definition of the soul; and a corporal nature is alien to God." He points out that God first 'made man in His own image,' and after that made them male and female; so that there was a double fashioning of our nature, <greek>h</greek> <greek>te</greek> <greek>pros</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>qeion</greek> <greek>omoiwmenh</greek>, <greek>h</greek> <greek>te</greek> <greek>pros</greek> <greek>thn</greek> <greek>diaForan</greek> <greek>tauthn</greek> (i.e. male and female) <greek>dihrmenh</greek>. On the other hand, in the Oratio Catechetica, which contains certainly his more dogmatic statement on every point, this ideal and passionless humanity is regarded as still in the future: and it is represented that man's double-nature is actually the very centre of the Divine Councils, and not the result of any mistake or sin; man's soul from the very first was cornmingled (<greek>anakrasis</greek> is Gregory's favourite word) with a body, in order that in him, as representing every stage of living things, the whole creation, even in its lowest part, might share in the divine. Man, as the paragon of animals, was necessary, in order that the union might be effected between two otherwise irreconcilable worlds, the intelligible and the sensible. Though, therefore, there was a Fall at last, it was not the occasion of man's receiving a body similar to animals; that body was given him at the very first, and was only preparatory to the Fall, which was foreseen in the Divine Councils and provided for. Both the body and the Fall were necessary in order that the Divine plan might be carried out, and the Divine glory manifested in creation. In this view the "coats of skins" which Gregory inherits from the allegorical treasures of Origen are no longer merely the human body itself, as with Origen, but all the passions, actions, and habits of that body after the Fall, which he sums up in the generic term <greek>paqh</greek>. If, then, there is to be any reconciliation between this and the former view of his in which the pure unstained humanity, the 'image of God,' is differentiated by a second act of creation as it were into male and female, we must suppose him to teach that immediately upon the creation in God's image there was added all that in human nature is akin to the merely animal world. In that man was God's image, his will was free, but in that he was created, he was able to fall from his high estate; and God, foreseeing the Fall, at once added the distinction of sex, and with it the other features of the animal which would befit the fall; but with the purpose of raising thereby the whole creation. But two great counter-influences seem always to be acting upon Gregory; the one sympathy with the speculations of Origen, the other a tendency to see even with a modern insight into the closeness of the intercommunion between soul and body. The results of these two influences cannot be altogether reconciled. His ideal and his actual man, each sketched with a skilful and discriminating hand, represent the interval that divides his aspirations from his observations: yet both are present to his mind when he writes about the soul. (2) He does not alter, as Origen does, the traditional belief in the resurrection of the body, and yet his idealism, in spite of his actual and strenuous defence of it in the carefully argued treatise On the Saul and Resurrection, renders it unnecessary, if not impossible. We know that his faith impelled Origen, too, to (1) contend for the resurrection of the flesh: yet it is an almost forced importation into the rest of his system. Our bodies, he teaches, will rise again: but that which will make us the same persons we were before is not the sameness of our bodies (for they will be ethereal, angelic, uncarnal, &c.) but the sameness of a <greek>logos</greek> within them which never dies (<greek>logos</greek> <greek>tis</greek> <greek>egkeitai</greek> <greek>tp</greek> <greek>swmati</greek>, <greek>af</greek>' <greek>ou</greek> <greek>mh</greek> <greek>fqeiromenou</greek> <greek>egeir</greek><ss209><greek>tai</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>spma</greek> <greek>en</greek> <greek>afqarsia</greek>, c. Cels. v. 23). Here we have the <greek>logos</greek> <greek>spermatikoi</greek>, which Gregory objected to as somehow connected his mind with the infinite plurality of worlds. Yet his own account of the Resurrection of the flesh is nothing but Origenism, mitigated by the suppression of these <greek>logoi</greek>. With him, too, matter is nothing, it is a negative thing that can make and effect nothing: the soul, the <greek>zwtikh</greek> <greek>dunamis</greek> does everything; it is gifted by him with a sort of ubiquity after death. 'Nothing can break its sympathetic union with the particles of the body.' It is not a long and difficult study for it to discern in the mass of elements that which is its own from that which is not its own. 'It watches over its property, as it were, until the Resurrection, when it will clothe 'itself in them anew (2).' It is only a change of names: the <greek>logos</greek> has become this <greek>zwtikh</greek> <greek>dunamis</greek> or <greek>Yukh</greek>, which seems itself, almost unaided, to effect the whole Resurrection. Though he teaches as against Origen that the 'elements' are the same 'elements,' the body the same body as before, yet the strange importance both in activity and in substance which he attaches to the <greek>Yukh</greek> even in the disembodied state seems to render a Resurrection of the flesh unnecessary. Here, too, his view of the plan of Redemption is at variance with his idealistic leanings. While Origen regarded the body, as it now is, as part of that 'vanity' placed upon the creature which was to be laid aside at last, Gregory's view of the design of God in creating man at all absolutely required the Resurrection of the flesh 3 (<greek>ws</greek> <greek>an</greek> <greek>suneparqeih</greek> <greek>tw</greek> <greek>qeiw</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>ghinon</greek>). Creation was to be saved by man's carrying his created body into a higher world: and this could only be done by a resurrection of the flesh such as the Church had already set forth in her creed.

Again, however, after parting with Origen upon this point, he meets him in the ultimate contemplation of Christ's glorified humanity and of all glorified bodies. Both steadily refuse at last 'to know Christ according to the flesh.' They depict His humanity as so absorbed in deity that all traces of His bodily nature vanish; and as with Christ, so finally with His true followers. This is far indeed from the Lamb that was slain, and the vision of S. John. In this heaven of theirs all individual or generic differences between rational creatures necessarily cease.

Great, then, as are their divergences, especially in cosmogony, their agreements are maintained throughout. Gregory in the main accepts Origen's teaching, as far as he can accommodate it to the now more outspoken faith of the Church. What (4) Redepenning summarises as the groundplan of Origen's whole way of thinking, Gregory has, with the necessary changes, appropriated. Both regard the history of the world as a movement between a beginning and an end in which are united every single spiritual or truly human nature in the world, and the Divine nature. This interval of movement is caused by the falling away of the free will of the creature from the divine: but it will come to an end, in order that the former union may be restored. In this summary they would differ only as to the closeness of the original trojan. Both, too, according to this, would regard 'man' as the final cause, and the explanation, and the centre of God's plan in creation.

Even in the special sphere of theology which the later needs of the Church forced into prominence, and which Gregory has made peculiarly his own, that of the doctrine of the Trinity, Gregory employs sometimes a method which he has caught from Origen. Origen supposes, not so much, as Plato did, that things below are images of things above, as that they have certain secret analogies or affinities with them. This is perhaps after all only a peculiar application for his own purpose of Plato's theory of ideas. There are mysterious sympathies between the earth and heaven. We must therefore read within ourselves the reflection of truths which are too much beyond our reach to know in themselves. with regard to the attributes of God this is more especially the case. But Origen never had the occasion to employ this language in explaining the mystery of the Trinity. Gregory is the first Father who has done so. He finds a key to it in the (1) triple nature of our soul. The <greek>nous</greek>, the <greek>logos</greek>, and the soul, form within us a unity such as that of the Divine hypostases. Gregory himself confesses that such thoughts about God are inadequate, and immeasurably below their object: but he cannot be blamed for employing this method, as if it was entirely superficial. Not only does this instance illustrate trinity in unity, but we should have no contents for our thought about the Father, Son, and Spirit, if we found no outlines at all of their nature within ourselves. Denis (2) well says that the history of the doctrine of the Trinity confirms this: for the advanced development of the theory of the <greek>logos</greek>, a purely human attribute in the ancient philosophy, was the cause of the doctrine of the Son being so soon and so widely treated: and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit came into prominence only when He began to be regarded as the principle of the purely human or moral life, as Love, that is, or Charity. Gregory, then, had reason in recommending even a more systematic use of the method which he had received from Origen: 'Learn from the things within thee to know the secret of God; recognise from the Triad within thee the Triad by means of these matters which you realise: it is a testimony above and more sure than that of the Law and the Gospel (3).'

He carries out elsewhere also more thoroughly than Origen this method of reading parables. He is an actual Mystic in this. The mysterious but real correspondences between earth and heaven, upon which, Origen had taught, and not upon mere thoughts or the artifices of language, the truth of a parable rests, Gregory employed, in order to penetrate the meaning of the whole of external nature. He finds in its facts and appearances analogies with the energies, and through them with the essence, of God. They are not to him merely indications of the wisdom which caused them and ordered them, but actual symptoms of the various energies which reside in the essence of the Supreme Being; as though that essence, having first been translated into the energies, was through them translated into the material creation; which was thus an earthly language saying the same thing as the heavenly language, word for word. The whole world thus became one vast allegory (4): and existed only to manifest the qualities of the Unseen. Akin to this peculiar development of the parable is another characteristic of his, which is alien to the spirit of Origen; his delight in natural scenery, his appreciation of it, and power of describing it.

With regard to the question, so much agitated, of the 'A<greek>pokatastasis</greek>, it may be said that not Gregory only but Basil and Gregory Nazianzen also have felt the influence of their master in theology, Origen. But it is due to the latter to say that though he dwells much on the "all in all" and insists much more on the sanctifying power of punishment than on the satisfaction owed to Divine justice, yet no one could justly attribute to him, as a doctrine, the view of a Universal Salvation. Still these Greek Fathers, Origen and 'the three great Cappadocians,' equally showed a disposition of mind that left little room for the discussions that were soon to agitate the West. Their infinite hopes, their absolute confidence in the goodness of God, who owes it to Himself to make His work perfect, their profound faith in the promises and sacrifice of Christ, as well as in the vivifying action of the Holy Spirit, make the question of Predestination and Grace a very simple one with them. The word Grace occurs as often in them as in Augustine: but they do not make original sin a monstrous innovation requiring a remedy of a peculiar and overwhelming intensity. Passion indeed seems to Gregory of Nyssa himself one of the essential elements of the human soul. He borrows from the naturalists many principles of distinction between classes of souls and lives: he insists incessantly on the intimate connexion between the physical growth and the development of the reason, and on the correlation between the one and the other: and we arrive at the conclusion that man in his eyes, as in Clement's, was not originally perfect, except in possibility; that being at once reasoning and sentient he must perforce feel within himself the struggle of reason and passion, and that it was inevitable that sin should enter into the world: it was a consequence of his mixed nature. This mixed nature of the first man was transmitted to his descendants. Here, though he stands apart from Origen on the question of man's original perfection, he could not have accepted the whole Augustinian scheme of original sin: and Grace as the remedy with him consists rather in the purging this mixed nature, than in the introduction into it of something absolutely foreign. The result, as with all the Greek Fathers, will depend on the co-operation of the free agent in this remedial work. Predestination and the 'bad will' are excluded by the Possibility and the 'free will' of Origen and Gregory.

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