Chapter 27.

Answer to objections from Scripture; Introductory to Texts from the Gospels on the Incarnation

260. FOR behold, as if not wearied out in their impieties, but with hardened Pharaoh, while they hear and see the Saviour's human attributes in the Gospels, they have utterly forgotten, like the Samosatene, the Son's paternal Godhead, and with arrogant and audacious tongue they say, "How can the Son be from the Father by nature, and be like Him in substance, who says, All power is given unto Me; and The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; and The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand; he that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life; and again, All things are delivered unto Me {390} of My Father, and no one knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him; and again, All that the Father hath given unto Me shall come to Me." On this they observe, "If, as ye say, He was Son by nature, He had no need to receive aught, but He had it by nature as a Son."

261. "Or how can He be the natural and true Power of the Father, who near upon the season of the passion says, Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour; but for this came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy Name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. And He said the same another time: Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; and when Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me." Then these perverse men argue: "If He were Power, He had not feared, but rather He had supplied power to others."

262. Further they say: "If He were by nature the true and proper Wisdom of the Father, how is it written, And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man? In like manner, when He had come into the parts of Cęsarea Philippi, He asked the disciples whom men said that He was; and when He came to Bethany He asked where Lazarus lay; and He said besides to His disciples, How many loaves have ye? How then," say they, "is He Wisdom, who increased in wisdom, and who was evidently ignorant of that which He asked of others?"

263. This too they urge: "How can He be the proper Word of the Father, without whom the Father never was, by whom He makes all things, as ye think, whereas He said upon the Cross, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? and He had before that prayed, Glorify Thy Name, {391 | ED. BEN. iii. § 26-27.} and, O Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. And He used to pray in the deserts, and charge His disciples to pray lest they should enter into temptation; and, The spirit indeed is willing, He said, but the flesh is weak. And, Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, nor the Angels, neither the Son." Upon this again they say, "If the Son were, according to your interpretation, eternally existent with God, He had not been ignorant of the Day, but had known it as being Word; nor had He been forsaken as being coexistent; nor had asked to receive glory, as having it in the Father; nor would have prayed at all, for, being the Word, He had needed nothing; but since He is a creature and one of things which were brought into being, therefore He thus spoke, and needed what He had not; for it belongs to creatures to require and to have needs."

264. This then is what these men allege in their discourses; and if they thus argue, it would be only consistent in them to speak yet more daringly: "Why in the first instance did the Word become flesh?" and they might add, "For how could He, being God, become man?" or, "How could the Immaterial bear a body?" or they might speak with Caiaphas still more Judaically, "Why in short did Christ, being a mere man, make Himself God?" for this doctrine and the like the Jews carped at when they saw Him, and the Arians repudiate when they read of Him, and have fallen away into blasphemies. If then a man should carefully parallel the words of these and those, he will of a certainty find them both arriving at the same infidelity, and the daring of their impiety equal, and their quarrel with us a joint one [Note 1]. For the Jews said, "How, being a man, can He be God?" And the Arians, "If He were very God from God, how could He become man?" {392} And the Jews were offended then and mocked, saying, "Had He been Son of God, He had not endured the Cross;" and the Arians, taking their stand over against them, urge upon us, "How dare ye say that He is the Word proper to the Father's Substance, who had a body, so as to be capable of enduring all this?" Next, while the Jews sought to kill the Lord, because He said that God was His own Father, and made Himself equal to Him, as working what the Father works, the Arians also, not only have learned to deny both that He is equal to God, and that God is the proper and natural Father of the Word, but those who hold this they seek to kill. Again, whereas the Jews said, "Is not this the Son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how then is it that He saith, Before Abraham was, I am, and I came down from heaven?" the Arians on the other hand make response [Note 2] and say conformably, "How can He be Word or God, who slept as man, and wept, and inquired?" Thus both parties deny the Eternity and Godhead of the Word in consequence of those human attributes which the Saviour took on Him by reason of that flesh which He bore.

265. Extravagance then like this being Judaic, and Judaic after the mind of Judas the traitor, let them openly confess themselves scholars of Caiaphas and Herod, instead {393 | ED. BEN. iii. § 27-28.} of cloaking Judaism with the name of Christianity, and let them deny outright, as we said before, the Saviour's presence in the flesh, for a disbelief of this sort is akin to their heresy; or if they fear openly to Judaise and be circumcised [Note 3], from servility towards Constantius and for their sake whom they have beguiled, then let them keep from saying what the Jews say; for if they disown the name, let them in fairness renounce the doctrine. For we are Christians, O Arians, Christians we; it is our privilege well to know the Gospels concerning the Saviour, and neither with Jews to stone Him, if we hear of His Godhead and Eternity, nor with you to stumble at such lowly sayings as He may speak for our sakes as man. If then you would become Christians, put off Arius's madness and cleanse with the words of religion those ears of yours which blaspheming has defiled; knowing that, by ceasing to be Arians, you will cease also from the malevolence of the present Jews. Then at once will truth shine on you out of darkness, and ye will no longer reproach us with holding two Eternals, but ye will with us acknowledge that the Lord is God's true Son by nature, and not as simply eternal in Himself, but revealed as co-existing in the Father's eternity. He is more than eternal; He is co-eternal. For there are things called eternal of which He is Framer; thus in the twenty-third Psalm it is written, Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and it is plain that through Him these things were made; but if even of things everlasting He is the Framer, who of us shall be able henceforth to dispute that He is anterior to those things eternal, and in consequence is proved to be Lord not so much from His eternity, as in that He is God's Son; for being the Son, He is inseparable from the Father, and never was it when He existed not, but He was always; {394} and being the Father's Image and Radiance, He has the Father's eternity also.

266. Now that they certainly give an unsound interpretation of these passages from the Gospels we may easily see, if we take into account the scope of that faith which we Christians hold, and apply it as our rule, as the Apostle teaches in our reading of inspired Scripture [Note 4]. For Christ's enemies, being ignorant of this drift, have wandered from the way of truth, and have stumbled on a stone of stumbling, thinking otherwise than they should think. Now the scope and form of Scripture teaching, as we have often said, is this,—it contains a double announcement of the Saviour; that He was ever God, and is the Son, being the Father's Word and Radiance and Wisdom; and that afterwards for us He took flesh of a Virgin, of Mary, Mother of God, and was made man. And this scope is to be found traced throughout inspired Scripture, as the Lord Himself has said, Search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of Me. But lest I should exceed in writing, by bringing together all the passages on the subject, let it suffice to mention as a specimen, first John saying, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was made not one thing; next, And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father; and next Paul writing, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion like a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Any one beginning with these {395 | ED. BEN. iii. § 28-30.} passages and going through the whole of Scripture, upon the interpretation which they suggest, will perceive how in the beginning the Father said to Him, Let there be light, and Let there be a firmament, and Let us make man; and how in fulness of the ages, He sent Him into the world, not that He might judge the world, but that the world by Him might be saved, and how accordingly it is written, Behold a Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us. The reader then of divine Scripture may acquaint himself with those passages from the older books; and from the Gospels on the other hand he will perceive that the Lord became man; for the Word, he says, became flesh and dwelt among us.

267. And He became man, and did not come into man; for this it is necessary to know, lest perchance these men fall into this notion also, and beguile any into thinking, that, as in former times the Word was used to come into each of the saints, so now He sojourned in a man, hallowing him also, and manifesting himself as in the others. For if it were so, and He only appeared in a man, it were nothing strange, nor had those who saw Him been startled, saying, Whence is He? and wherefore dost Thou, being a man, make Thyself God? for they were familiar with the idea, from the words, And the Word of the Lord came to the Prophets one by one. But now, since the Word of God, by whom all things came to be, endured to become also Son of man, and humbled Himself, taking a servant's form, therefore to the Jews the Cross of Christ is a scandal, but to us Christ is God's power and God's wisdom; for the Word, as John says, became flesh; (it being the custom of Scripture to call man by the name of flesh, as it says by Joel the Prophet, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and as Daniel said to Astyages, I may not worship idols made with hands, but the Living God, who hath created the {396} heaven and the earth, and hath sovereignty over all flesh; for both he and Joel call mankind flesh.) Of old time He was wont to come to the Saints individually, and to hallow those who truly received Him; but neither, on their birth, was it said that He had become man, nor, when they suffered, was it said that He Himself suffered. But when He came among us from Mary, once for all in fulness of the ages, for the abolition of sin, (for so it was pleasing to the Father to send His own Son, made of a woman, made under the Law,) then it is said, that He took flesh and became man, and in that flesh He suffered for us, (as Peter says, Christ therefore having suffered for us in the flesh,) that it might be shown, and that we all might believe, that, whereas He was ever God, and hallowed those to whom He came, and ordered all things according to the Father's will, afterwards for our sakes He became man, and bodily, as the Apostle says, the Godhead dwelt in the flesh; as much as to say, "Being God, He had His own body, and using this as an instrument [Note 5], He became man for our sakes."

268. And on account of this, the properties of the flesh are said to be His, since He was in it, such as to hunger, to thirst, to suffer, to weary, and the like, of which the flesh is capable; while on the other hand the works proper to the Word Himself, such as to raise the dead, to restore sight to the blind, and to cure the woman with an issue of blood, He did through His own body, and the Word bore the infirmities of the flesh, as His own, for His was the flesh; and the flesh ministered to the works of the Godhead, because the Godhead was in it, for the body was God's. And well has the Prophet said carried; and has not said, "He tended our infirmities," lest, as being external to the body, and only healing it, as He has always done, He should leave men subject still to death; but He carries our infirmities, and He Himself bears our {397 | ED. BEN. iii. § 30-32.} sins, that it might be shown that He became man for us, and that the body which in Him bore them was His proper body; and, while He received no hurt Himself by bearing our sins in His body on the tree, as Peter speaks, we men were redeemed from our own affections, and were filled with the righteousness of the Word. Whence it was that, when the flesh suffered, the Word was not external to it; and therefore is the passion said to be His; and when He did divinely His Father's works, the flesh was not external to Him, but in the body itself did the Lord do them. Hence, when made man, He said, If I do not the works of the Father, believe Me not; but if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works, that ye may know that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.

269. And thus when there was need to raise Peter's wife's mother who was sick of a fever, He stretched forth His hand humanly, but He stopped the illness divinely. And in the case of the man blind from the birth, human was the spittle which He gave forth from the flesh, but divinely did He open the eyes through the clay. And in the case of Lazarus, He gave forth a human voice, as man; but divinely, as God, did He raise Lazarus from the dead. These things were so done, were so manifested, because He had a body, not in appearance, but in truth; and it beseemed that the Lord, in putting on human flesh, should put it on whole with the affections proper to it; that, as we say that the body was proper to Him, so also we may say that the affections of the body were absolutely proper to Him, though they did not touch Him according to His Godhead. If then the body had been another's, to that other too had been the affections attributed; but if the flesh is the Word's (for the Word became flesh,) of necessity then the affections also of the flesh are ascribed to Him, whose the flesh is. And to whom the bodily affections are ascribed, such namely as to be condemned, to be scourged, to thirst, {398} and the cross, and death, and the other infirmities of the body, of Him too is the triumph and the grace. For this cause then, consistently and fittingly such affections are ascribed not to another, but to the Lord; that the grace also may be from Him, and that we may become, not worshippers of any other, but truly devout towards God, because we invoke no creature, no ordinary man, but the natural and true Son from God, who has become man, yet is not the less Lord and God and Saviour.

270. Who will not admire this? or who will not agree that such a thing is truly divine? for if the works of the Word's Godhead had not taken place through the body, man had not been made god; and again, had not the belongings of the flesh been ascribed to the Word, man had not been thoroughly delivered from them; but though they had ceased for a little while, as I said before, still sin had remained in man and corruption, as was the case with mankind before He came; and for this reason:—Many, for instance, have been made holy and clean from all sin; nay, Jeremias was hallowed even from the womb, and John, while yet in the womb, leapt for joy at the voice of Mary Mother of God; nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression; and thus men remained mortal and corruptible as before, liable to the affections proper to their nature. But now the Word having become man, and having appropriated the affections of the flesh, no longer do these affections touch the body, because of the Word who has come in it, but they are destroyed by Him, and henceforth men no longer remain sinners and dead according to their proper affections, but having risen according to the Word's power, they abide ever immortal and incorruptible. Whence also, whereas the flesh is born of Mary Mother of God, He Himself is said to have been born, who furnishes to others a generation of being; {399 | ED. BEN. iii. § 32-34.} in order that, by His transferring our generation into Himself, we may no longer, as mere earth, return to earth, but as being knit into the Word from heaven, may be carried to heaven by Him. Therefore in like manner not without reason has He transferred to Himself the other affections of the body also; that we, no longer as being men, but as the Word's own, may have share in eternal life. For no longer according to that former generation in Adam do we die; but henceforward, our generation and all infirmity of flesh being transferred to the Word, we rise from the earth, the curse by reason of sin being removed, because of Him who is in us and who has become a curse for us. And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened; the flesh being no longer earthly, but being henceforth made the Word, by reason of God's Word who for our sake became flesh.

271. And that one may attain to a more exact knowledge of the impassibility of the Word's nature and of the infirmities ascribed to Him because of the flesh, it will be well to listen to the blessed Peter; for he will be a trustworthy witness concerning the Saviour. He writes then in his Epistle thus: Christ then having suffered for us in the flesh. Therefore also when He is said to hunger and thirst, and to toil, and not to know, and to sleep, and to weep, and to ask, and to flee, and to be born, and to deprecate the cup, and in a word to undergo all that belongs to the flesh, let it be said, as is congruous, in each case, "Christ then hungering and thirsting for us in the flesh;" and "saying He did not know, and being buffeted, and toiling for us in the flesh;" and "being exalted too, and born, and growing in the flesh;" and "fearing and hiding in the flesh;" and "saying If it be possible let this cup pass from Me, and being beaten, and receiving gifts, for us in the flesh;" and in a word all such things for us {400} in the flesh. For on this account has the Apostle himself said, Christ then having suffered, not in His Godhead, but for us in the flesh, that these affections may be acknowledged as, not proper to the very Word by nature, but proper by nature to the very flesh.

272. Let no one then stumble at these human affections, but rather let a man know that in nature the Word Himself is impassible, and yet because of that flesh which He put on, these things are ascribed to Him, since they belong to the flesh, and the body itself belongs to the Saviour. And while He Himself, being impassible in nature, remains as He is, not harmed by these affections, but rather obliterating and destroying them, men, their passions as if changed and abolished in the Impassible, henceforth become also impassible themselves and free from them for ever, as John teaches when he says, And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin. And this being so, no heretic shall object, "Wherefore rises the flesh, being by nature mortal? and if it rises, why not hunger too and thirst, and suffer, and remain mortal? for it came from the earth, and how can its natural condition pass from it?" because the flesh is able now to make answer to this so contentious heretic, "I am from earth, being by nature mortal, but afterwards I became the Word's flesh, and He carried my affections, though He is without them; and so I became free from them, being no more abandoned to their service, because of the Lord who has made me free from them. For if thou makest it a difficulty that I am rid of that corruption which is by nature, next thou wilt be making it a difficulty that God's Word took my form of servitude; for as the Lord, putting on the body, became man, so we men are made gods by the Word, as being taken to Him through His flesh, and henceforward inherit life everlasting."

273. These points we have found it necessary first to {401 | ED. BEN. iii. § 34-35.} discuss, that, when we see Him doing or saying aught divinely through the instrument of His own body, we may know that He so works, as being God; and also, if we see Him speaking or suffering humanly, we may not be ignorant that, by bearing flesh, He became man, and hence He so acts and so speaks. For if we recognise what belongs to each, and see and understand that both these things and those are done by One, we are right in our faith, and shall never go astray. But if a man, looking at what is done divinely by the Word, deny the body, or looking at what is proper to the body, deny the Word's presence in the flesh, or from what is human entertain low thoughts concerning the Word, such a one, as a Jewish vintner [Note 6], mixing water with the wine, will account the Cross an offence, or as a Gentile, will deem the preaching to be folly. This then is what happens to God's enemies the Arians; for looking at what is human in the Saviour, they have judged Him a creature. They ought in consistency, looking also at the divine works of the Word, to deny the birth of His body, and henceforth to rank themselves with Manichees. As to them, however, let them learn, though tardily, that the Word became flesh; and let us, retaining the general scope of the faith, acknowledge that what they interpret ill, has a right interpretation.

Chapter 28.

Answer to objections from Scripture; tenthly, Matthew xxviii. 18, John iii. 35, &c.

274. FOR, The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand; and, All things are given unto Me of {402} My Father; and, I can do nothing of Myself, but as I hear, I judge; and the like passages, do not show that the Son once had not these prerogatives,—(for had not He eternally what the Father has, who is the Only Word and Wisdom of the Father in substance, who also says, All that the Father hath are Mine, and what are Mine, are the Father's? for if the things of the Father are the Son's and the Father hath them ever, it is plain that what the Son hath, being the Father's, was ever in the Son)—not then because once He had them not, did He say this, but because, whereas the Son hath eternally what He hath, yet He hath them from the Father. For lest a man, perceiving that the Son has all that the Father hath, from the unvarying likeness and identity of that He hath, should wander into the impiety of Sabellius, considering Him to be the Father, therefore He has said Is given unto Me, and I have received, and Are delivered to Me, only to show that He is not the Father, but the Father's Word, and the Eternal Son, who because of His likeness to the Father, hath eternally what He hath from Him, and because He is the Son, hath from the Father what eternally He hath.

275. Moreover, that Is given and Are delivered, and the like, do not impair the Godhead of the Son, but rather show Him to be truly Son, we may learn from the passages themselves. For if all things are delivered unto Him, first, He is other than that all which He has received; next, being specially heir, He alone can be the Son, and proper to the Father according to Substance. For if He were one out of all, then He were not heir specially, but every one of that all would have received according as the Father willed and gave. But now, as receiving all things, He is other than them all, and alone proper to the Father.

276. Moreover, that Is given and Are delivered do not show that once He had them not, we prove as regards this and the like passages from a special instance; for the Saviour {403 | ED. BEN. iii. § 36-37.} Himself says, As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given also to the Son to have life in Himself. Now from the words Hath given, He signifies that He is not the Father; but in saying so, He shows the Son's natural resemblance and belonging to the Father. If then once the Father had not, then indeed the Son once had not; for as the Father, so also the Son has. But if this is impious to say, and orthodox on the contrary to say that the Father had ever, is it not extravagant in them when the Son says that, as the Father has, so also the Son has, to say that He has not so, but otherwise? No, rather is the Word faithful, and all things which He says that He has received, He has had always, and "from" the Father; and the Father indeed not from any, but the Son from the Father. For as in the instance of the radiance, if the radiance itself should say, "All places the light hath given me to enlighten, and I do not enlighten from myself, but as the light wills," yet in saying this, it does not imply that it once had not, but it means, "I am proper to the light, and all things of the light are mine;" so, and much more, must we understand in the instance of the Son. For the Father, having given all things to the Son, in the Son still hath all things; and, the Son having, still the Father hath them; for the Son's Godhead is the Father's Godhead, and thus the Father in the Son takes the oversight of all things.

277. And while such is the sense of these passages, those too which speak humanly concerning the Saviour, admit of a religious meaning also. For with this end have we examined them beforehand, that, if we should hear Him asking where Lazarus is laid, or when He asks on coming into the parts of Cęsarea, Whom do men say that I am? Or, How many loaves have ye? and, What will ye that I shall do unto you? we may know, from what has been already said, the orthodox sense of the passages, and may not stumble with the Christ-opposing Arians. First then we {404} must put this question to them, Why do they consider Him ignorant? for one who asks, does not for certain ask from ignorance; but it is possible for one who knows, still to ask concerning what he knows. Thus John was aware that Christ, when asking, How many loaves have ye? was not ignorant, for he says, And this He said to prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do. But if He knew what He was doing, therefore not in ignorance but with knowledge, did He ask. From this instance we may understand similar ones; that, when the Lord asks, He does not ask in ignorance, where Lazarus lies,—nor again, whom men do say that He is, but knowing the thing which He was asking, and aware what He was about to do; and thus with ease is their sophism overthrown.

278. Next, if they still persist on account of His asking, then they must be told that in the Godhead indeed ignorance is not, but to the flesh ignorance is proper, as has been said. And that this is really so, observe how the Lord who inquired where Lazarus lay, Himself said, when He was not on the spot but a great way off, Lazarus is dead, and where he was dead; and how that it was He who is considered by them as ignorant who foreknew the reasonings of the disciples, and was aware of what was in the heart of each, and of what was in man, and, what is greater, who alone knows the Father and says, I in the Father and the Father in Me. Therefore this is clear to every one, that the flesh indeed is ignorant, but the Word Himself, considered as the Word, knows all things even before they happen. For He did not, when He became man, cease to be God; nor, whereas He is God, does He shrink from what is man's; perish the thought; but rather, being God, He has taken to Him the flesh, and being in the flesh makes the flesh god. For as He asked questions in it, so also in it did He raise the dead; and He made it clear to all that He who quickens the dead and recalls the soul, much more doth {405 | ED. BEN. iii. § 37-38.} He discern the secrets of all. And He knew where Lazarus lay, and yet He asked; for the All-holy Word of God, who endured all things for our sakes, did this, that, thus carrying our ignorance, He might vouchsafe to us the knowledge of His own only and true Father, and of Himself, who was sent because of us for the salvation of all, than which no grace could be greater.

279. When then the Saviour uses the words which they allege in their defence, Power is given to Me, and Glorify Thy Son, and Peter says, Power is given unto Him, we understand all these passages alike, viz., thus humanly because of the body He says all this. For though He had no need, nevertheless He is said to have received what He received humanly, that on the other hand, inasmuch as the Lord has received, and the grant is lodged with Him, the grace may remain sure to us. For while mere man receives, he is liable to lose again, (as was shown in the case of Adam, for he received and he lost,) but that the grace may be irrevocable, and may be kept sure for men, therefore He Himself appropriates the gift; and He says that He has received power, as man, which He ever has as God, and He who glorifies others, says, Glorify Me, to show that that very flesh which He has taken has need of these things. Wherefore, when the flesh receives, since that which receives is in Him, and He by taking it hath become man, therefore He is said Himself to have received. If then, (as has so often been said,) the Word did not become man, then let Him be said to receive, and to need, and to be ignorant, as you would have it; but if He has become man, (and He has,) and it attaches to man to receive, and to need, and to be ignorant, wherefore do we consider the Giver as receiver? and the Dispenser to others why do we suspect to be in need? and why divide the Word from the Father, as imperfect and needy, to the stripping human nature of grace? For if indeed the Word Himself, considered {406} as Word, has received and been glorified for His own sake, and if He according to His Godhead is He who is sanctified and has risen again, what hope is there for men? for they remain as they were, naked, and wretched, and dead, having no interest in the things given to the Son. Why too did the Word come among us, and become flesh? If for His own receiving these things, which He says that He has received, then He was without them before that, and of necessity will rather Himself owe thanks to the body, because, when He came into it, then He received these things from the Father, which He had not before His descent into the flesh. For on this showing He seems rather to be Himself promoted because of the body, than the body promoted because of Him. But this notion is Judaic. But if in order to ransom mankind, the Word did come among us, and if in order to hallow them and make them gods, the Word became flesh (and for this He did come), who does not see that it follows, that what He says that He received, when He became flesh, such things He mentions, not for His own sake, but for the flesh? for to it, in which He was speaking, pertained the gifts bestowed through Him from the Father.

280. Now let us see what He asked, and what the things altogether were which He said that He had received, that in this way perhaps our opponents may be brought to some proper feeling. He asked then for glory, yet He had said All things are delivered unto Me. And after the resurrection, He says that He has received all power; however, even before He had said, All things are delivered unto Me; and He was Lord of all, for all things were made by Him, and there was One Lord by whom are all things. And when He asked glory, He was as He is, the Lord of glory, as Paul says, If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; for He already had that glory which He asked for when He said, the glory which I had with Thee before the {407 | ED. BEN. iii. § 39-41.} world was. Also the power which He said He received after the resurrection, that He had before He received it, and before the resurrection. For He of Himself rebuked Satan, saying, Get thee behind Me, Satan; and to the disciples He gave the power against Satan, when on their return He said, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. And again, that what He said that He had received, this He possessed before receiving it, appears from His driving away the devils, and from His unbinding what Satan had bound, as He did in the case of the daughter of Abraham; and from His remitting sins, saying to the paralytic, and to the woman who anointed His feet, Thy sins be forgiven thee; and from His both raising the dead, and repairing the original nature of the blind, granting to him to see. And all this He did not, waiting till He should receive, but being possessed of power.

281. From all this it is plain that the attributes which He had as Word, those when He had become man and was risen again, He says that He received as man; that for His sake men might henceforward upon earth have power against devils, as having become partakers of a divine nature; and in heaven, as being delivered from corruption, might reign everlastingly. Thus He must acknowledge this once for all, that nothing which He says that He received, did He receive as not possessing before; for the Word, as being God, had Himself those prerogatives always; but in these passages He is said humanly Himself to have received, in order that the flesh, which was man's, receiving them in Him, henceforth from It the gift might pass, and might abide surely for us. For what is said by Peter, receiving from God honour and glory, Angels being subject unto Him, has this meaning; for as He inquired humanly, and raised Lazarus divinely, so He received is spoken of Him humanly, but the subjection of the Angels marks the Word's Godhead. {408}

282. Cease then, wicked men, degrade not the Word; nor detract from His Godhead, which is the Father's, as though He needed or were ignorant; lest you be flinging blasphemous thoughts of your own imagining against the Christ, like the Jews who once actually stoned Him. For these do not belong to the Word, as the Word; but are proper to men; and, as when He spat, and stretched forth the hand, and called Lazarus, we did not say that the triumphs were human, though they were done through the body, but were God's, so, on the other hand, though human things are ascribed to the Saviour in the Gospel, still, considering the nature of what is said and that they are foreign to God, let us impute them, not to the Word's Godhead, but to His manhood. For though the Word became flesh, yet to the flesh only do these affections belong; and though in the Word the flesh is God-inhabited, yet to the Word belong the grace and the power. He then through the flesh did the Father's works, and He again, quite as truly in that flesh displayed the affections of the flesh; for instance, He inquired and He raised Lazarus, He chid His Mother, saying My hour is not yet come, yet then at once He made the water wine. For He was Very God in the flesh, and He was true flesh in the Word. Therefore from His works He revealed both Himself as Son of God, and His own Father, and from the affections of the flesh He showed that He bore a true body, and that it too was proper to Him.

Chapter 29.

Answer to objections from Scripture; eleventhly, Mark xiii. 32, and Luke ii. 52.

283. THESE things being so, let us now go on to examine the passage, But of that day and that hour knoweth no {409 | ED. BEN. iii. § 41-42.} man, neither the Angels of God, nor the Son; for they think they have in it an important argument for their heresy. But I, when the heretics allege it and arm themselves with it, see in them the giants again fighting against God [Note 7]. For the Lord of heaven and earth, by whom all things were made, has to litigate before them about day and hour; and the all-knowing Word is accused by them of ignorance about a day; and the Son who knows the Father is said to be ignorant of an hour of a day; now what can be spoken more contrary to sense, or what madness can be likened to this? Through the Word all things were made, times and seasons and night and day and the whole creation; and is the Framer of all said to be ignorant of His work? [Note 8] And the very context of the passage shows that the Son of God knows that hour and that day, though the Arians fall headlong in their ignorance. For after saying, nor the Son, He relates to the disciples the approaches of the day, saying, "This and that shall be, and then the end." But He who speaks of the antecedents of the day, knows certainly the day itself, which is to be manifested after the things foretold. But if He had not known the hour, He had not signified the events previous to it, as not knowing when it should be. And as any one, who, by way of pointing out the site of a house or city to those who were ignorant of it, gave an account of what met the eye before arriving at it, and having described all particulars, said, "Then {410} immediately comes the city or the house," would know, of course, where the house or the city was, (for had he not known, he had not described these antecedents, lest from ignorance he should throw his hearers far out of the way, or in speaking he should unawares go beyond the object,) so the Lord, saying what shall precede that day and that hour, knows exactly, nor is ignorant, when the hour and the day are come.

284. Now why it was that, though He knew, He did not tell His disciples plainly at that time, no one may be curious about, since He has been silent Himself; for Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor? but why, though He knew, He said, no, not the Son knows, of this I think none of the faithful is ignorant viz., that He made this, as well as those other declarations, as man, by reason of the flesh. For this as little as the other's is the Word's deficiency, but of that human nature whose property it is to be ignorant. And this again will be well seen by honestly examining into the occasion, when and to whom the Saviour spoke thus. Not then when the heaven was made by Him, nor when the Word was with the Father Himself, disposing all things, nor before He became man, did He say it, but when the Word became flesh. On this account it is reasonable to ascribe to His manhood every thing which, after He became man, He speaks as man. For it belongs to the Word to know what was made, and not be ignorant either of the beginning or the end of these, (they are His works,) and He knows how many things He has wrought, and the limit of their consistence. And, knowing the beginning and the end of each, He knows surely the general and common end of all.

285. Certainly when He says in the Gospel concerning himself in His humanity, Father, the hour is come, glorify Thy Son, it is plain that He knows also the hour of the {411 | ED. BEN. iii. § 42-44.} end of all things, as being the Word, though as man He is ignorant of it, for ignorance is proper to man, and especially ignorance of these things. Moreover this is proper to the Saviour's love of man; for since He was made man, He is not ashamed, because of the flesh which is ignorant, to say "I know not," that He may show that knowing as God, He is but ignorant according to the flesh. And therefore He said not, "no, not the Son of God knows," lest the Godhead should seem ignorant, but simply, no, not the Son, that the ignorance might be the Son's as born from among men. On this account, He introduces the Angels, but He did not go further and say, "not the Holy Ghost;" but He was silent with a double intimation: first, that if the Spirit knew, much more must the Word know, considered as the Word, from whom the Spirit receives; and next, by His silence about the Spirit, He made it clear that it was of the Son's human economy that He said, no, not the Son knows [Note 9].

286. And a proof of it is this: that, when He had spoken humanly No, not the Son knows, He yet shows that divinely He knew all things. For that Son whom He declares not to know the day, Him He declares to know the Father; for No one, He says, knoweth the Father save the Son. And all men but the Arians would join in confessing, that He who knows the Father, much more knows the whole history of the creation; and in that whole, its end. And if already the day and the hour be determined by the Father, it is plain that through the Son are they determined, and He knows Himself what through Him has been determined; for there is nothing but has come to be and has been determined through the Son. Therefore He, being the Framer of the universe, knows of what nature, and of what magnitude, and with {412} what limits, the Father has willed it to be made; and in the how much and how far is included its changings. And again, if all that is the Father's is the Son's, (and this He Himself has said,) and it is the Father's attribute to know the day, it is plain that the Son too knows it, having this belonging to Him from the Father. And again, if the Son be in the Father and the Father in the Son, and the Father knows the day and the hour, it is clear that the Son, being in the Father and knowing the things of the Father, knows Himself also the day and the hour. And if the Son is also the Father's Very Image, and the Father knows the day and the hour, it is plain that the Son has this likeness also to the Father of knowing them. And it is not wonderful if He, through whom all things were made, and in whom the universe consists, Himself knows what has been brought into being, and when the end will be of each and of all together; rather is it wonderful that this recklessness, suitable though it be to the Ario-maniacs, should have forced us to have recourse to so long an explanation. For ranking the Son of God, the Eternal Word, among things that have been made, they are gradually training themselves to maintain that the Father Himself is second to the creation; for if He who knows the Father knows not the day nor the hour, I fear lest knowledge about the creation, or rather of the lower portion of it, be something more rare and precious in their wild estimation than knowledge concerning the Father.

287. But for them, since they thus blaspheme the Spirit, they must look for no forgiveness ever of impiety such as this, as the Lord has said; but for us, who love Christ and bear Christ within us, we know that the Word, not as if ignorant, considered as Word, said I know not, (for He knows,) but in order to show His manhood, since to be ignorant belongs to man, and because He had put on a flesh that was ignorant, therefore it was that He said according {413 | ED. BEN. iii. § 44-46.} to the flesh, I know not. And for this reason, after saying, No, not the Son knows, and mentioning the ignorance of the men in Noe's day, immediately He added, "Watch therefore, for you too know not in what hour your Lord doth come," and again, "In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh; and it was for your sake that I, on becoming as you, said no, not the Son, for, if I, as man, am ignorant, how much more you." For, if ignorant divinely, He must have said, "Watch therefore, for I know not," and, "In an hour when I think not;" but in fact this hath He not said; but by saying Ye know not, and When ye think not, He has signified that it belongs to man to be ignorant; for whose sake He too, having a flesh like theirs and having become man, said No, not the Son knows, for He knew not in flesh, though knowing as Word.

288. And again in the instance of Noe, there too He said, not, "I know not," but, they knew not until the flood came. For men did not know, but He who brought the flood (and it was the Saviour Himself) knew the day and the hour in which He opened the windows of heaven, and broke up the fountains of the great deep, and said to Noe, Come thou and all thy house into the ark. For were He ignorant, He had not foretold to Noe, Yet seven days and I will bring a flood upon the earth. But if in describing the day, He makes use of the parallel of Noe's time, and He did know the day of the flood, therefore He knows also the day of His own appearing. Moreover, after narrating the parable of the Virgins, again He shows more clearly who they are who are ignorant of the day and the hour, saying, Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour. He who said shortly before, No one knoweth, no, not the Son, now says, not "I know not," but ye know not. In like manner then, when His disciples asked about the end, suitably said He then, no, nor the Son, according to the flesh because of the body; that He might show that, as man, He {414} knows not; for ignorance is proper to man. If however He is the Word, if it is He who is to come, He to be Judge, He to be the Bridegroom, it is incredible that He should not know when and in what hour He cometh, and when He is to say, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. For as, on becoming man, He hungers and thirsts and suffers with men, so with men, as man, He knows not, though divinely, being in the Father Word and Wisdom, He knows, and there is nothing which He knows not.

289. In like manner also about Lazarus, He asks humanly, He who was on His way to raise him, and knew whence He should recall Lazarus's soul; and it was a greater thing to know where the soul was than to know where the body lay; but He asked humanly, that He might raise divinely. So too He asks of the disciples, on coming into the parts of Cęsarea, though knowing even before Peter made answer. For if the Father revealed to Peter the answer to the Lord's question, it is plain that through the Son was the revelation, for No one knoweth the Son, saith He, but the Father, neither the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him. But if through the Son is revealed the knowledge concerning both the Father and the Son, there is no room for doubting that the Lord who asked, having first revealed it to Peter from the Father, next asked humanly; in order to show that, asking after the flesh, He knew divinely what Peter was about to say. The Son then knew, as knowing all things, and knowing His own Father, than which knowledge nothing can be greater or more perfect.

290. This is sufficient to confute them; but I could wish to ask them a question. The Apostle, in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, writes, I knew a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know; God knoweth. {415 | ED. BEN. iii. § 46-47.} Now what say ye? Knew the Apostle what had happened to him in the vision, though he says I know not, or knew he not? If he knew not, see to it, lest ye err in the trespass [Note 10] of the Phrygians, who say that the Prophets and the other ministers of the Word know neither what they do nor what they announce. But if he knew when he said I know not, for he had Christ within him revealing to him all things, is not the heart of these men in very truth perverted and self-condemned? for when the Apostle says, I know not, they say that he knows; but when the Lord says, "I know not," they say that He does not know. For if, since Christ was within him, Paul knew that of which he says, I know not, does not much more Christ Himself know, though He say, "I know not?" The Apostle then, the Lord revealing it to him, knew what happened to him, for on this account he says, I knew a man in Christ; and knowing the man, he knew also how the man was caught away. Thus Eliseus, who beheld Elias, knew also how he was taken up; but, though knowing, yet when the sons of the Prophets thought that Elias was cast upon one of the mountains by the Spirit, he, knowing from the first what he had seen, tried to persuade them; but when they urged it, he was silent, and suffered them to go after him. Did he then not know, because he was silent? he knew indeed, but as if not knowing, he suffered them, that they, being convinced, might no more doubt about the assumption of Elias. Therefore much more Paul, himself being the person caught away, knew also how he was caught; for Elias knew; and had any one asked, he would have said how. And yet Paul says I know not, for these two reasons, (as I think at least,) one, as he has said himself, lest, because of the abundance of the revelations, any one should think of him beyond what he saw; the other, because, {416} our Saviour having said "I know not," it became him also to say I know not, lest the servant should appear above his Lord, and the disciple above his Master. Therefore He who gave to Paul to know, much rather knew Himself; for since He spoke of the antecedents of the day, He also knew, as I said before, when the Day and when the Hour, and yet, though knowing, He says, No, not the Son knoweth.

291. Why then said He at that time "I know not," what He, as Lord, knew? As we may on careful consideration conjecture, (as I think at least,) for our profit did He this; and may He grant that our explanation be a true one! On both sides did the Saviour secure our advantage; for if He hath made known what will come before the end, it is that, as He said Himself, we may not be startled nor scared when the things happen, but from them may expect the end after them. On the other hand, concerning the day and the hour, He was not willing to say according to His divine nature, "I know," but after the flesh, "I know not," for the sake of the flesh which was ignorant, as I have said before; lest they should ask Him further, and then either He should have to pain the disciples by not speaking, or by speaking might act to the prejudice of them and us all. For whatever He does, that altogether He does for our sakes, since also for us the Word became flesh. For us therefore He said No, not the Son knoweth; and neither was He untrue in thus saying, (for He said humanly, as man, "I know not,") nor did He give an opening for the disciples to force Him to speak, for by saying "I know not" He stopped their inquiries.

292. And so in the Acts of the Apostles it is written, when He went up upon the Angels, ascending as man, and carrying up to heaven the flesh which He bore, on the disciples seeing this, and again asking, "When shall the end be, and when wilt Thou be present?" He said to {417 | ED. BEN. iii. § 47-49.} them more clearly, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power. And He did not then say, No, not the Son, as He said before humanly, but, It is not for you to know. For now the flesh had risen and put off its mortality and been deified; and no longer did it become Him to answer according to the flesh when He was going into the heavens; but henceforth to teach after a divine manner, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father hath put in His own arbitrement; but ye shall receive Power. And what is that Power of the Father but the Son? for Christ is God's Power and God's Wisdom. The Son then did know, as being the Word; for He implied this in what He said,—"I know, but it is not for you to know; for it was for your sakes that, sitting also on the mount, I said according to the flesh, No, not the Son knoweth, for the profit of you and all. For it is profitable to you to hear this both about the Angels, and about the Son, because of the deceivers which shall be afterwards; that though demons should be transfigured as Angels, and should attempt to speak concerning the end, you should not believe, since they are ignorant; and that, if Antichrist too, disguising himself, should say, 'I am Christ,' and should try in his turn to speak of that day and that end, to deceive the hearers, ye, having these words from Me, No, not the Son, may believe him no more than the rest."

293. And further, not to know when the end is, or when the day of the end, is expedient for men, lest knowing, they may become negligent of the time between, awaiting the day near the end; for they will argue that then only will they have to attend to themselves. Therefore also has He been silent of the time when each shall die, lest men, being elated on the ground of knowledge, should forthwith neglect themselves for the greater part of their time. Both, then, the end of all things and the limit of {418} each of us hath the Word concealed from us, (for in the end of all is the end of each, and in the end of each the end of all is comprehended,) that, whereas it is uncertain and always in prospect, we may advance day by day as if summoned, reaching forward to the things before us and forgetting the things behind. For who, knowing the day of the end, would not be dilatory as regards the interval? but who, as being ignorant, does not get ready day by day? It was on this account that the Saviour added, Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come; and, in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh. For the advantage then which comes of ignorance has He said this; for in saying it, He wishes that we should always be prepared; "for you know not," He says; "but I, the Lord, know when it is that I come, though the Arians do not wait for Me, who am the Word of the Father." The Lord then, knowing what is good for us beyond ourselves, thus secured the disciples; and they, being thus taught, set right those of Thessalonica, when likely on this point to run into error.

294. However, to ask Christ's enemies again concerning this:—In Paradise God asks, Adam, where art thou? and He inquires of Cain also, Where is Abel, thy brother? What then say you to this? for if you think Him ignorant and therefore to have asked, you are already of the party of the Manichees, for this is their bold thought; but if, fearing the open name, ye force yourselves to say, that He knows, and yet He asks, what is there extravagant or strange in the doctrine, that ye should thus fall off, on finding that the Son, in whom God then inquired, He that same Son, now clad in flesh, inquires of the disciples as man? unless forsooth having become Manichees, you are willing to blame the question then put to Adam, and all that you may give full play to your perverseness.

295. For being exposed on all sides, you fall back upon {419 | ED. BEN. iii. § 49-51.} the words of Luke, muttering words which are appropriately said by him, but ill understood by you, and are as follows, And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in grace with God and man. This then is the passage, and the case stands thus: Is Jesus Christ man, as all other men, or is He God bearing flesh? If He is an ordinary man as the rest, then let Him, as a man, "advance;" this however is the sentiment of the Samosatene, which virtually indeed you entertain also, though in name you deny it because of men. But if He be God bearing flesh, as He truly is, and the Word became flesh, and being God descended upon earth, what advance had He who existed equal to God? or how had the Son increase, being ever in the Father? For if He who was ever in the Father, advances, what, I ask, is there beyond the Father from which His advance might be made? Next it is suitable here to repeat what was said upon the point of His receiving and being glorified. If He advanced when He became man, it is plain that, before He became man, He was imperfect; and rather the flesh became to Him a cause of perfection, than He to the flesh. And again, if, as being the Word, He advances, what has He more to become than Word and Wisdom and Son and God's Power? For the Word is all these, of which if any one can anyhow partake as it were one ray, such a man becomes all-perfect among men, and equal to Angels. For Angels, and Archangels, and Dominions, and all the Powers and Thrones, as partaking the Word, behold always the face of His Father. How then does He who to others supplies perfection, Himself advance at a later date? For Angels even ministered to His human birth, and the passage from Luke comes later than the ministration of the Angels. How then at all can this even come into thought of man? or how did Wisdom advance in wisdom? or how did He who to others gives grace, (as {420} Paul says in every Epistle, knowing that through Him grace is given, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,) how did He advance in grace? for either let them say that the Apostle is untrue, and presume to say that the Son is not Wisdom, or else, if He is Wisdom as Solomon has said, and if Paul has written, Christ, God's Power and God's Wisdom, of what advance did Wisdom admit further?

296. For men, creatures as they are, are capable in a certain way of reaching forward and advancing in virtue. Enoch, for instance, was thus translated, and Moses increased and was perfected; and Isaac by advancing became great; and the Apostle said that he reached forth day by day to what was before him. For each had room for advancing, looking to the step before him. But the Son of God, who is One and Only, what room had He for reaching forward? for all things advance by looking at Him; and He, being One and Only, is in the Only Father, out of whom never does He reach, but in Him abideth ever. To men then belongs advance; but the Son of God, since He could not advance, being perfect in the Father, humbled Himself for us, that in His humiliation we rather might have capacity to increase. This is the real advance, the deifying and grace imparted from Wisdom to men, sin being obliterated in them and their inward corruption, according to their likeness and relationship to the flesh of the Word. And our increase is no other than the renouncing things sensible, and growing up into the Word Himself, since He never was low except in His taking our flesh. It was not then the Word, considered as the Word, who advanced, who is perfect from the perfect Father, who needs nothing, nay brings forward others to an advance; but humanly is He here also said to advance, since advance belongs to man. Hence the Evangelist, speaking with cautious exactness, has {421 | ED. BEN. iii. § 51-53.} mentioned stature in the advance; but being Word and God He is not measured by stature, which belongs to bodies. Of the body then is the advance; for, it advancing, in it advanced also the manifestation of the Godhead to those who saw it. And, as the Godhead was more and more revealed, by so much more did His grace as man increase before all men. For as a child He was simply carried to the Temple; but when He became a boy, He remained there, and questioned the Priests about the Law. And by degrees His body increasing, and the Word manifesting Himself in it, He is confessed henceforth by Peter first, then also by all, Truly this is the Son of God; however wilfully the Jews, both the ancient and these modern, shut their eyes, lest they should see that to advance in wisdom is not the advance of Wisdom Itself, but rather the manhood's advance in It. For Jesus advanced in wisdom and grace; and, if we may speak what is explanatory as well as true, He advanced in Himself; for Wisdom hath builded Herself an house, and in Herself She gave the house advancement. For thus, the body increasing in stature, in and with it there progressed the manifestation of the Godhead also, and to all was it displayed that the body was God's Temple, and that God was in the body.

297. And if they contend that the Word was called Jesus on becoming flesh, and refer to Him the term advanced, they must be told that neither does this impair the Father's Light, which is the Son, but that it does but show again that the Word has become man, and bore true flesh. And as we have said that He suffered in the flesh, and hungered in the flesh, and was fatigued in the flesh, so also reasonably may He be said to have advanced in the flesh; nor again, did this advancement of the flesh, such as above described, take place in the Word while He was apart from it; for it was when the flesh had been taken into Him, and is called His, when in short that advance of human nature in Him was safe and {422} sure, because of the Word that was with it. Neither then was the advance the Word's, nor was the flesh Wisdom, but the flesh became the body of Wisdom. Therefore, as we have already said, not Wisdom, as Wisdom, advanced in respect of Itself; but the manhood advanced in Wisdom, transcending by degrees human nature, and made god, and becoming and appearing to all as the organ of Wisdom for the operation and the shining forth of the Godhead. Wherefore neither said he, "The Word advanced," but Jesus, by which Name the Lord was called when He became man; so that the advance is of the human nature in such wise as we have above explained.

Chapter 30.

Answer to objections from Scripture; twelfthly, Matthew xxvi. 39; John xii. 27, &c.

298. THEREFORE as, when the flesh advanced, He is said to have advanced, because the body belonged to Him, so also what is said at the season of His death, that He was troubled, that He wept, must be taken in the same sense. For they, going up and down, as if thereby recommending their heresy, allege: "Behold, He wept, and said, Now is My soul troubled, and He besought that the cup might pass away; how then, if He so spoke, is He God, and Word of the Father?" Yea, it is written that He wept, O God's enemies, and that He said, "I am troubled," and on the Cross He said, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, that is, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? and He besought that the cup might pass away. Thus certainly it is written; but again I would ask you, (for the same rejoinder must of necessity be made to each of your objections,) if the speaker is mere man, let him weep and {423 | ED. BEN. iii. § 53-55.} fear death, as being man; but if He is the Word in flesh, (for one must not be reluctant to repeat,) whom had He to fear, being God? or wherefore should He fear death, who was Himself Life, and was rescuing others from death? or how, whereas He said, "Fear not him that kills the body," should He Himself fear him? And how should He who said to Abraham, Fear not, for I am with thee, and encouraged Moses against Pharaoh, and said to the son of Nave, be strong, and of a good courage, how should He feel terror before Herod and Pilate? Further, He who succours others against fear, (for the Lord, says Scripture, is on my side, I will not fear what man doeth unto me,) did He fear governors, mortal men? did He who Himself was come against death, feel terror of death? Is it not both extravagant and impious to say that He was terrified at death or hell, whom the keepers of hell's gate saw and shuddered? But if, as you would hold, the Word was in terror, wherefore, since He spoke of the conspiracy of the Jews long before, did He not flee, instead of saying when actually sought, I am He? for He could have avoided death, as He said, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again; and No one taketh it from Me.

299. But these affections were not proper to the nature of the Word, considered as Word; but in the flesh which was thus affected was the Word, O Christ's enemies and unthankful Jews! For He said not all this prior to the flesh; but when the Word became flesh, and became man, then is it written that He said this, that is, humanly. Surely He of whom this is written, was He who raised Lazarus from the dead, and made the water wine, and vouchsafed sight to the man born blind, and said, I and My Father are one. If then they make His human attributes a ground for grovelling thoughts concerning the Son of God, nay consider Him altogether man from the earth, and not from heaven, wherefore not from His {424} divine works recognise the Word who is in the Father, and henceforward renounce their self-willed impiety? For it is open for them to see, how He who did those works is the same as He who showed that His body was passible by His permitting it to weep and hunger, and to show other properties of a body. For while by means of such He made it known that God, though impassible, had taken a passible flesh, yet from the great works He showed Himself the Word of God, who had afterwards become man: and He said, "Though ye believe not Me, beholding Me clad in a human body, yet believe the works, that ye may know that I am in the Father and the Father in Me."

300. And these men seem to me to show plain shamelessness and blasphemy; for, when they read I and the Father are one, they violently distort the sense, and tear in two the unity of the Father and the Son; but reading of His tears or sweat or sufferings, they do not advert to His body, but on account of these place in the ranks of the creation Him by whom the creation was made. What then is left for them to differ in from the Jews? for as the Jews blasphemously ascribed God's works to Beelzebub, so also will these, ranking with the creatures the Lord who wrought those works, undergo the same condemnation without mercy. But they ought, when they read I and the Father are one, to see in Him the oneness of the Godhead and His belonging to the Father's Substance; and again, when they read, He wept, and the like, to say that these affections are proper to the body; especially since on this side and that they have an intelligible ground, viz., that this is written as of God, and that with reference to His manhood. For properties of body in the Incorporeal had not been, unless He had taken a body corruptible and mortal; for mortal was Holy Mary, from whom was His body. Wherefore of necessity, when He was in a body which suffered, wept, and toiled, these things which are proper {425 | ED. BEN. iii. § 55-57.} to the flesh are ascribed to Him together with that body. If then He wept and was troubled, it was not the Word considered as the Word, who wept and was troubled, but it belonged to the flesh; and if too He besought that the cup might pass away, it was not the Godhead that was in terror, but this affection too was proper to the manhood.

301. And so as regards the words Why hath Thou forsaken Me? that they are His, according to the above explanations, though He suffered nothing, (for the Word was impassible,) is still declared by the Evangelists; since the Lord became man, and these things are done and said as from a man, that He might Himself lighten these very sufferings of the flesh, and set free the flesh from them. Whence neither can the Lord, who is ever in the Father, be forsaken by Him whether before He spoke or even when He uttered these words. Nor is it lawful to say that the Lord was in terror, at whom the keepers of the gates of Hades shuddered and set Hades open, and the earth, knowing its Lord who spoke, straightway trembled, and the veil was rent, and the sun was hidden, and the rocks were torn asunder, and the graves did gape, and the dead in them arose and appeared to their own people; and, what is wonderful, they who were then present and had before denied Him, then seeing these signs, confessed that truly He was the Son of God. Therefore be every heretic dumb, nor dare to ascribe terror to the Lord, whom death, as a serpent, flees, at whom demons tremble and the sea is in alarm; for whom the heavens are rent and all the powers are shaken. For behold when He said, Why hast Thou forsaken Me? the Father showed that He was ever and even then in Him.

302. And as to His saying, If it be possible, let the cup pass, observe how, though He thus spake, He rebuked Peter, saying, Thou savourest not the things that be of God, but {426} those that be of men. For He willed what He was deprecating, for it was for this that He had come; but His was the willing, but the terror belonged to the flesh. Wherefore as man He utters this speech also, and both were said by One and the Same, to show that He was God, willing in Himself, but when He had become man, having a flesh that was in terror. For the sake of this flesh He blended in one His own will with human weakness, that, destroying such affections, He might in turn make man undaunted at the thought of death. Behold then a thing strange indeed! He to whom Christ's enemies impute words of terror, He by that so-called terror renders men undaunted and fearless. And so the Blessed Apostles after Him from such words of His conceived so great a contempt of death, as not even to care for those who questioned them, but to answer, We ought to obey God rather than men; and the other Holy Martyrs were so bold as to think that they were rather passing to life than undergoing death.

303. Is it not extravagant then, to admire the courage of the servants of the Word, yet to say that that Word Himself was in terror, through whom they despised death? for that most enduring purpose and courage of the Holy Martyrs demonstrates that the Godhead was not in terror, but that the Saviour took away our terror. For as He abolished death by death, and by human means all human evils, so by this so-called terror did He remove our terror, and brought about for us that never more should men fear death. His word and deed go together. For human were the sounds, Let the cup pass, and Why hast Thou forsaken Me? and divine the action whereby He the Same did cause the sun to fail and the dead to rise. And so He said humanly, Now is My soul troubled; and He said divinely, I have power to lay down My life, and power to take it again. For to be troubled was proper to the flesh, but to have power to lay down His life and take it again, when He {427 | ED. BEN. iii. § 57-58.} would, was no property of men but of the Word's power. For man dies, not at his own arbitrement, but by necessity of nature and against his will; but the Lord being Himself immortal, but having a mortal flesh, had at His own free will, as God, to become separate from the body and to take it again, when He would. Concerning this too, speaks David in the Psalm, Thou shalt not leave my soul in Hades, neither shalt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption. For it beseemed that the flesh, corruptible as it was, should no longer after its own nature remain mortal, but, because of the Word who had put it on, should abide incorruptible. For as He, having come in our body, was conformed to our condition, so we, having received Him, partake of the immortality that is from Him.

304. Idle then is the excuse for stumbling, and narrow are the notions concerning the Word, of these Ario-maniacs, from its being written, He was troubled, and He wept. For they seem not even to have human feeling, if they are thus ignorant of man's nature and properties; properties which do but make it the greater marvel, that He, the Word, though in a suffering flesh, neither prevented those who were conspiring against Him, nor took vengeance on those who were putting Him to death, though He was able, He who hindered some from dying, and raised others from the dead. And He let His own body suffer, for therefore did He come, as I said before, that in the flesh He might suffer, and thenceforth the flesh might be made impassible and immortal, and that, as we have many times said, contumely and the other troubles might fall upon Him but come short of others after Him, being by Him annulled utterly; and that henceforth men might for ever abide incorruptible, as a temple of the Word. Had Christ's enemies thus dwelt on these thoughts, and recognised the Ecclesiastical Scope [Note 11] as an anchor for the faith, {428} they would not have of the faith made shipwreck, nor been so shameless as to resist those who would fain recover them from their fall, and to deem those as enemies who are exhorting them to orthodoxy.

305. Therefore God [Note 12] the Word Himself is Christ from Mary, God and man;—not some other Christ, but One and the Same; He before ages from the Father, He too in the last times from the Virgin; invisible before, even to the holy powers of heaven, visible now because of His being one with the Man who is visible; seen, I say, not in His invisible Godhead, but in the operation of the Godhead through the human body and whole man, which He has renewed by making it His own,—

To Him be the adoration and the worship, who was before, and now is, and ever shall be, even to all ages. Amen [Note 13].


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1. This parallel between the Arians and the Jews is also drawn out by Athan. in Decr. § 1 and 2 (supr. pp. 12, 13). Hence his phrase [hoi nun Ioudaioi] for Arians (in spite of his sometimes using it for the Jews of his day, e.g. Orat. i. §§ 8, 10, 38, ii. 1, &c.), e.g. [Ioudaioi hoi te palaioi kai hoi neoi houtoi], Orat. iii. § 52. [ton nun Ioudaion], in illud Omnia, § 5. [hoi tote kai hoi neoi nun], Sent. D. 3, [ton neon Ioudaion], ibid. 4, init. (vid, also [kai hoi tote Ioudaioi], i. Orat. § 8, yet vid. [hoi tote Ioudaoi], de Syn. § 33,) [ton nun Ioudaizonton], Orat. i. § 39. [he Ioudaike nea hairesis], Hist. Arian. 19 fin. [Ioudaioi hoi tote … Areianoi nun Ioudaizontes], Decr. § 2. The Arians are addressed under the name of Jews, [o christomachoi kai acharistoi Ioudaioi], Orat. iii § 55. They are said to be Jews passim. It is observable, that Eusebius makes a point, on the contrary, of calling Marcellus a Judaiser and Jewish, on the ground that he denied that Wisdom was more than an attribute in the Divine Mind, e.g. pp. 42, c. 62, fin. 65, d.
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2. [epakouousin]. Montfaucon in Onomast. (Athan. Opp. t. 2, ad calc.) adduces other passages in his author, where [epakouein], like [hupakouein], means to answer, vid. Apolog. contr. Arian, § 88, Apol. ad Const. § 16, init.
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3. And so supr. p. 216.
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4. Vid. Append. Regula Fidei; also supr. pp. 163, 214, infr. 399, 407 note, 427, &c.
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5. Vid. App. [organon].
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6. Vid. pp. 26, 352.
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7. [hos tous gigantes], so de Decr. § 32. Also [tous mytheuomenous gigantas], Orat. ii. § 32, (supr. Disc. n. 144.) And so Nazianzen of the disorderly Bishops during the Arian ascendency, Orat. xliii. 26. Also Socr. v. 10, of the heretics in the time of Theodosius. In Hist. Arian. 74, Constantius is called a [gegas]. Sometimes the Scripture giants are spoken of, sometimes the mythological. The same idea is implied as is expressed in the word [theomachos].
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8. Here again, as so often before, Athan. instances his usual mode of argument by appealing to Scripture as interpreted by the broad outline of its teaching and the tradition of the Church. Before this grand unequivocal sense particular difficulties from outlying passages are dissolved and disappear.
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9. It should be borne in mind that our Lord is Son, not only in His Divine nature, but also in His human.
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10. [paranomian], vid. supr. Disc. n. 226, note 3, p. 359, Phrygians, i.e., Montanists, supr. p. 67.
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11. He ends then, as he began, by maintaining that Scripture is to be interpreted, not by its letter, or piecemeal, but by the Ecclesiastical Scope.
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12. From Orat. iv. § 36.
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13. It is an argument for considering that these Discourses ran on to the end of Orat. iv. that there is in the Greek a Doxology at the end of that Orat., viz., that which I have transferred to this place, and none here. This, however, does not touch the plain fact, that the Fourth is both in matter and in composition quite different from the Three to which I have confined myself in this Volume; and of course the question may be asked whether a Doxology is necessarily to be considered an integral portion of the work to which it is attached, and never due to the amanuensis or the transcriber.
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