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THEODORET OF CYRUS
THE "ERANISTES"(1) OR "POLYMORPHUS"(2)
[Translated by the Rev. Blomfield Jackson, M.A., Vicar of St.
Bartholomew's, Moor Lane, and Fellow of King's College, London.]
DIALOGUE III: THE IMPASSIBLE.
Orthodoxus and Eranistes.
Orth.--In our former discussions we have proved that God the Word is
immutable, and became incarnate not by being changed into flesh, but by
taking perfect human nature. The divine Scripture, and the teachers of the
churches and luminaries of the world have clearly taught us that, after the
union, He remained as He was, unmixed, impassible, unchanged,
uncircumscribed; anti that He preserved unimpaired the nature which He had
taken. For the future then the subject before us is that of His passion,
and it will be a very profitable one, for thence have been brought to us
the waters of salvation.
Eran.--I am also of opinion that this discourse will be beneficial. I
shall not however consent to our former method, but I propose myself to ask
Orth.--And I will answer, without making any objection to the change of
method. He who has truth on his side, not only when he questions but also
when he is questioned, is supported by the might of the truth. Ask then
what you will.
Eran.--Who, according to your view, suffered the passion ?
Orth.--Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Eran.--Then a than gave us our salvation.
Orth.--No; for have we confessed that our Lord Jesus Christ was only
Eran.--Now define what you believe Christ to be.
Orth.--Incarnate Son of the living God.
Eran.--And is the Son of God God ?
Orth.--God, having the same substance as the God Who begat Him.
Eran.--Then God underwent the passion.
Orth.--If He was nailed to the cross without a body, apply the passion
to the Godhead; but if he was made man by taking flesh, why then do you
exempt the passible from the passion and subject the impassible to it?
Eran.--But the reason why He took flesh was that the impassible might
undergo the passion by means of the passible.
Orth.--You say impassible and apply passion to Him.
Eran.--I said that He took flesh to suffer.
Orth.--If He had had a nature capable or the Passion He would have
suffered without flesh; so the flesh becomes superfluous.
Eran.--The divine nature is immortal, and the nature of the flesh
mortal, so the immortal was united with the mortal, that through it He
might taste of death.
Orth.--That which is by nature immortal does not undergo death, even
when conjoined with the mortal; this is easy to see.
Eran.--Prove it; and remove the difficulty.
Orth.--Do you assert that the human soul was immortal, or mortal?
Orth.--And is the body mortal or immortal?
Orth.--And do we say that man consists of these natures?
Orth.--So the immortal is conjoined with the mortal?
Orth.--But when the connexion or union is at an end, the mortal submits
to the law of death, while the soul remains immortal though sin has
introduced death, or do you not hold death to be a penalty?
Eran.--So divine Scripture teaches. For we learn that when God forbade
Adam to partake of the tree of knowledge He added "on the day that ye eat
thereof ye shall surely die."(1)
Orth.--Then death is the punishment of them that have sinned?
Orth.--Why then, when soul and body have both sinned together, does the
body alone undergo the punishment of death?
Eran.--It was the body that cast its evil eye upon the tree, and
stretched forth its hands, and plucked the forbidden fruit. It was the
mouth that bit it with the teeth, and ground it small, and then the gullet
committed it to the belly, and the belly digested it, and delivered it to
the liver; and the live turned what it had received into blood and passed
it on to the hollow vein(1) and the vein to the adjacent parts and they
through the rest, and so the theft of the forbidden food pervaded the whole
body. Very properly then the body alone underwent the punishment of sin.
Orth.--You have given us a physiological disquisition on the nature of
food, on all the parts that it goes through and on the modifications to
which it is subject before it is assimilated with the body. But there is
one point that you have refused to observe, and that is that the body goes
through none of these processes which you have mentioned without the soul.
When bereft of the soul which is its yoke mate the body lies breathless,
voiceless, motionless; the eye sees neither wrong nor aright; no sound of
voices reaches the ears, the hands cannot stir; the feet cannot walk; the
body is like an instrument without music. How then can you say that only
the body sinned when the body without the soul cannot even take a breath?
Eran.--The body does indeed receive life from the soul, and it
furnishes the soul with the penal possession of sin.
Orth.--How, and in what manner?
Eran.--Through the eyes it makes it see amiss; through the ears it
makes it hear unprofitable sounds; and through the tongue utter injurious
words, and through all the other parts act ill.
Orth.--Then I suppose we may say Blessed are the deaf; blessed are they
that have lost their sight and have been deprived of their other faculties,
for the souls of men so incapacitated have neither part nor lot in the
wickedness of the body. And why, O most sagacious sir, have you mentioned
those functions of the body which are culpable, and said nothing about the
laudable? It is possible to look with eyes of love and of kindliness; it is
possible to wipe away a tear of compunction, to hear oracles of God, to
bend the ear to the poor, to praise the Creator with the tongue, to give
good lessons to our neighbour, to move the hand in mercy, and in a word to
use the parts of the body for complete acquisition of goodness.
Eran.--This is all true.
Orth.--Therefore the observance and transgression of law is common to
both soul and body.
Orth.--It seems to me that the soul takes the leading part in both,
since it uses reasoning before the body acts.
Eran.--In what sense do you say this?
Orth.--First of all the mind makes, as it were, a sketch of virtue or
of vice, and then gives to one or the other form with appropriate material
and colour, using for its instruments the parts of the body.
Eran.--So it seems.
Orth.--If then the soul sins with the body; nay rather takes the lead
in the sin, for to it is entrusted the bridling and direction of the animal
part, why, as it shares the sin, does it not also share the punishment?
Eran.--But how were it possible for the immortal soul to share death?
Orth.--Yet it were just that after sharing the transgression, it should
share the chastisement.
Orth.--But it did not do so.
Orth.--At least in the life to come it will be sent with the body to
Eran.--So He said "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able
to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul
and body in hell." (1)
Orth.--Therefore in this life it escapes death, as being immortal; in
the life to come; it will be punished, not by undergoing death, but by
suffering chastisement in life.
Eran.--That is what the divine Scripture says.
Orth.--It is then impossible for the immortal nature to undergo death.
Eran.--So it appears.
Orth.--How then do you say, God the Word tasted death? For if that
which was created immortal is seen to be incapable of becoming mortal, how
is it possible for him that is without creation and eternally immortal,
Creator of mortal and immortal natures alike, to partake of death?
Eran.--We too know that His nature is immortal, but we say that He
shared death in the flesh.
Orth.--But we have plainly shewn that it is in no wise possible for
that which is by nature immortal to share death, for even the soul created
together with, and conjoined with, the body and sharing in its sin, does
not share death with it, on account of the immortality of its nature alone.
But let us look at this same position from another point of view.
Eran.--There is every reason why we should leave no means untried to
arrive at the truth.
Orth.--Let us then examine the matter thus. Do we assert that of virtue
and vice some are teachers and some are followers?
Orth.--And do we say that the teacher of virtue deserves greater
Orth.--And similarly the teacher of vice deserves twofoldandthreefold
Orth.--And what part shall we assign to the devil, that of teacher or
Eran.--Teacher of teachers, for he himself is father and teacher of all
Orth.--And who of men became his first disciples?
Eran.--Adam and Eve.
Orth.--And who received the sentence of death?
Eran.--Adam and all his race.
Orth.--Then the disciples were punished for the bad lessons they had
learnt, but the teacher, whom we have just declared to deserve two-fold and
three-fold chastisement, got off the punishment?
Orth.--And though this so came about we both acknowledge and declare
that the Judge is just.
Orth.--But, being just, why did He not exact an account from him of his
evil teach-in g?
Eran.--He prepared for him the unquenchable flame of Gehenna, for, He
says, "Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the
devil and his angels."(1) And the reason why he did not here share death
with his disciples is because he has an immortal nature.
Orth.--Then even the greatest transgressors cannot incur death if they
have an immortal nature.
Orth.--If then even the very inventor and teacher of iniquity did not
incur death on account of the immortality of his nature, do you not shudder
at the thought of saying that the fount of immortality and righteousness
Eran.--Had we said that he underwent the passion involuntarily, there
would have been some just ground for the accusation which yon bring against
us. But if the passion which is preached by us was spontaneous and the
death voluntary, it becomes you, instead of accusing us, to praise the
immensity of His love to man. For He suffered because He willed to suffer,
and shared death because He wished it.
Orth.--You seem to me to be quite ignorant of the divine nature, for
the Lord God wishes nothing inconsistent with His nature, and is able to do
all that He wishes, and what He wishes is appropriate and agreeable to His
Eran.--We have learnt that all things are possible with God.(1)
Orth.--In expressing yourself thus indefinitely you include even what
belongs to the Devil, for to say absolutely all things is to name together
not only good, but its opposite.
Eran.--But did not the noble Job speak absolutely when he said "I know
that thou canst do all things and with thee nothing is impossible"?(2)
Orth.--If you read what the just man said before, you will see the
meaning of the one passage from the other, for he says "Remember, I beseech
thee, that thou hast made me as the clay and wilt thou bring me into dust
again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk and curdled me like cheese? Thou
hast clothed me with skin and flesh and hast fenced me with bones and
sinews, thou hast granted me life and favour."(3)
And then he adds:--
"Having this in myself I know that thou canst do all things and that
with thee nothing is impossible."(4) Is it not therefore all that belongs
to these things that he alleges to belong to the incorruptible nature, to
the God of the universe?
Eran.--Nothing is impossible to Almighty God.
Orth.--Then according to your definition sin is possible to Almighty
Eran.--By no means.
Eran.--Because He does not wish it.
Orth.--Wherefore does He not wish it?
Eran.--Because sin is foreign to His nature.
Orth.--Then there are many things which He cannot do, for there are
many kinds of transgression.
Eran.--Nothing of this kind can be wished or done by God.
Orth.--Nor can those things which are contrary to the divine nature.
Eran.--What are they?
Orth.--As, for instance, we have learnt that God is intelligent and
Orth.--And we could not call Him darkness or say that He wished to
become, or could become, darkness.
Eran.--By no means.
Orth.--Again, the Divine Scripture calls His nature invisible.
Orth.--And we could never say that It is capable of being made visible.
Eran.--No; for He is not so.
Orth.--No; for He is incomprehensible, and altogether unapproachable.
Eran.--You are right.
Orth.--And He that is could never become non-existent.
Eran.--Away with the thought!
Orth.--Nor yet could the Father become Son.
Orth.--Nor yet could the unbegotten become begotten.
Eran.--How could He.
Orth.--And the Father could never become Son?
Eran.--By no means.
Orth.--Nor could the Holy Ghost ever become Son or Father.
Eran.--All this is impossible.
Orth.--And we shall find many other things of the same kind, which are
similarly impossible, for the Eternal will not become of time, nor the
Uncreate created and made, nor the infinite finite, and the like.
Eran.--None of these is possible.
Orth.--So we have found many things which are impossible to Almighty
Orth.--But not to be able in any of these respects is proof not of
weakness, but of infinite power, and to be able would certainly be proof
not of power but of impotence.
Eran.--How do you say this?
Orth.--Because each one of these proclaims the unchangeable and
invariable character of God. For the impossibility of good becoming evil
signifies the immensity of the goodness; and that He that is just should
never become unjust, nor He that is true a liar, exhibits the stability and
the strength that there is in truth and righteousness. Thus the true light
could never become darkness; He that is could never become nonexistent, for
the existence is perpetual and the light is naturally invariable. And so,
after examining all other examples, you will find that the not being able
is declaratory of the highest power. That things of this kind are
impossible in the case of God, the divine Apostle also both perceived and
laid down, for in his Epistle to the Hebrews(1) he says, "that by two
immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie we might have a
strong consolation."(2) He shews that this incapacity is not weakness, but
very power, for he asserts Him to be so true that it is impossible for
there to be even a lie in Him. So the power of truth is signified through
its want of power. And writing to the blessed Timothy, the Apostle adds "It
is a faithful saying, for if we be dead with Him we shall also live with
Him, if we suffer we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him He will also
deny us, if we believe not yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny
Himself."(3) Again then the phrase "He cannot" is indicative of infinite
power, for even though all men deny Him He says God is Himself, and cannot
exist otherwise than in His own nature, for His being is indestructible.
This is what is meant by the words "He cannot deny Himself." Therefore the
impossibility of change for the worse proves infinity of power.
Eran.--This is quite true and in harmony with the divine words.
Orth.--Granted then that with God many things are impossible,--
everything, that is, which is repugnant to the divine nature,--how comes it
that while yon omit all the other qualities which belong to the divine
nature, goodness, righteousness, truth, invisibility, incomprehensibility,
infinity, and eternity, and the rest of the attributes which we assert to
be proper to God, you maintain that His immortality and impassibility alone
are subject to change, and in them concede the possibility of variation
anti give to God a capacity indicative of weakness?
Eran.--We have learnt this from the divine Scripture. The divine John
exclaims "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,"(4)
and the divine Paul, (4) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled
to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled we shall be
saved by His life."(5)
Orth.--Of course all this is true, for these are divine oracles,(1) but
remember what we have often confessed.
Orth.--We have confessed that God the Word the Son of God did not
appear without a body, but assumed perfect human nature.
Eran.--Yes; this we have confessed.
Orth.--And He was called Son of Man because He took a body and human
Orth.--Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is verily our God; for of these
two natures the one was His from everlasting and the other He assumed.
Orth.--While, then, as man He underwent the passion, as God He remained
incapable of suffering.
Eran.--How then does the divine Scripture say that the Son of God
Orth.--Because the body which suffered was His body. But let us look at
the matter thus; when we hear the divine Scripture saying "And it came to
pass when Isaac was old his eyes were dim so that he could not see,"(2)
whither is our mind carried and on what does it rest, on Isaac's soul or on
Eran.--Of course on his body.
Orth.--Do we then conjecture that his soul also shared in the affection
Orth.--We assert that only his body was deprived of the sense of sight?
Orth.--And again when we hear Amaziah saying to the prophet Amos, "Oh
thou seer go flee away into the land of Judah,"(3) and Saul enquiring:
"Tell me I pray thee where the seer's house is,"(4) we understand nothing
Orth.--And vet the words used are significant of the health of the
organ of sight.
Orth.--Yet we know that the power of the Spirit when given to purer
souls inspires prophetic grace and causes them to see even hidden things,
and, in consequence of their thus seeing, they are called seers and
Eran.--What you say is true.
Orth.--And let us consider this too.
Orth.--When we hear the story of the divine evangelists narrating how
they brought to God a man sick of the palsy, laid upon a bed, do we say
that this was paralysis of the parts of the soul or of the body?
Eran.--Plainly of the body.
Orth.--And when while reading the Epistle to the Hebrews we light upon
the passage where the Apostle says "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang
down and the feeble knees and make straight paths for your feet lest that
which is lathe be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed,"(1)
do we say that the divine Apostle said these things about the parts of the
Orth.--Shall we say that he was for removing the feebleness and
infirmity of the soul and stimulating the disciples to manliness?
Orth.--But we do not find these things distinguished in the divine
Scripture, for in describing the blindness of Isaac he made no reference to
the body, but spoke of Isaac as absolutely blind, nor in describing the
prophets as seers and beholders did he say that their souls saw and beheld
what was hidden, but mentioned the persons themselves.
Eran.--Yes; this is so.
Orth.--And he did not point out that the body of the paralytic was
palsied, but called the man a paralytic.
Orth.--And even the divine Apostle made no special mention of the
souls, though it was these that he purposed to strengthen and to rouse.
Eran.--No; he did not.
Orth.--But when we examine the meaning of the words, we understand
which belongs to the soul and which to the body.
Eran.--And very naturally; for God made us reasonable beings.
Orth.--Then let us make use of this reasoning faculty in the case of
our Maker and Saviour, and let us recognise what belongs to His Godhead and
what to His manhood.
Eran.--But by doing this we shall destroy the supreme union.
Orth.--In the case of Isaac, of the prophets, of the man sick of the
palsy, and of the rest, we did so without destroying the natural union of
the soul and of the body; we did not even separate the souls from their
proper bodies, but by reason alone distinguished what belonged to the soul
and what to the body. Is it not then monstrous that while we take this
course in the case of souls and bodies, we should refuse to do so in the
case of our Saviour, and confound natures which differ not in the same
proportion as soul from body, but in as vast a degree as the temporal from
the eternal and the Creator from the created?
Eran.--The divine Scripture says that the Son of God underwent the
Orth.--We deny that it was suffered by any other, but none the less,
taught by the divine Scripture, we know that the nature of the Godhead is
impassible. We are told of impassibility and of passion, of manhood and of
Godhead, and we therefore attribute the passion to the passible body, and
confess that no passion was undergone by the nature that was impassible.
Eran.--Then a body won our salvation for us.
Orth.--Yes; but not a mere man's body, but that of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the only begotten Son of God. If you regard this body as
insignificant and of small account, how can you hold its type to be an
object of worship and a means of salvation? and how can the archetype be
contemptible and insignificant of that of which the type is adorable and
Eran.--I do not look on the body as of small account, but I object to
dividing it from the Godhead.
Orth.--We, my good sir, do not divide the union but we regard the
peculiar properties of the natures, and I am sure that in a moment you will
take the same view.
Eran.--You talk like a prophet.
Orth.--No; not like a prophet, but as knowing the power of truth. But
now answer me this. When you hear the Lord saying "I and my Father are
one," and "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,"(2) do you say that
this refers to the flesh or to the Godhead?
Eran.--How can the flesh and the Father possibly be of one substance?
Orth.--Then these passages indicate the Godhead?
Orth.--And so with the text, "In the beginning was the Word and the
Word was God,"(3) and the like.
Orth.--Again when the divine Scripture says. "Jesus therefore being
wearied with his journey sat thus on the well,"(4) of what is the weariness
to be understood, of the Godhead or of the body?
Eran.--I cannot bear to divide what is united.
Orth.--Then it seems you attribute the weariness to the divine nature?
Eran.--I think so.
Orth.--But then yon directly contradict the exclamation of the prophet
"He fainteth not neither is weary; there is no searching of His
understanding. He giveth power to the faint and to them that have no might
he increaseth strength."(1) And a little further on "But they that wait
upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as
eagles, they shall run anti not be weary and they shall walk and not
faint."(2) Now how can He who bestows upon others the boon of freedom from
weariness and want, possibly be himself subject to hunger and thirst?
Eran.--I have said over and over again that God is impassible, and free
from all want, but after the incarnation He became capable of suffering.
Orth.--But did He do this by admitting the sufferings in His Godhead,
or by permitting the passible nature to undergo its natural sufferings and
by suffering proclaim that what was seen was no unreality, but was really
assumed of human nature? But now let us look at the matter thus: we say
that the divine nature was uncircumscribed.
Orth.--And uncircumscribed nature is circumscribed by none.
Eran.--Of course not.
Orth.--It therefore needs no transition for it is everywhere.
Orth.--And that which needs no transition needs not to travel.
Eran.--That is clear.
Orth.--And that which does not travel does not grow weary.
Orth.--It follows then that the divine nature, which is
uncircumscribed, and needs not to travel, was not weary.
Eran.--But the divine Scripture says that Jesus was weary, and Jesus is
God: "And our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things."(3)
Orth.--But the exact expression of the divine Scripture is that Jesus
"was wearied" not "is wearied."(4) We must consider how one and the other
can be applied to the same person.
Eran.--Well: try to point this out, for you are always for forcing on
us the distinction of terms.
Orth.--I think that even a barbarian might easily make this
distinction. The union of unlike nature's being conceded, the person of
Christ on account of the union receives both; to each nature its own
properties are attributed; to the uncircumscribed immunity from weariness,
to that which is capable of transition and travel weariness. For travelling
is the function of the feet; of the muscles to be strained by over
Eran.--There is no controversy about these being bodily affections.
Orth.--Well then; the prediction which I made, and you scoffed at, has
come true; for look; you have shewn us what belongs to manhood, and what
belongs to Godhead.
Eran.--But I have not divided one son into two.
Orth.--Nor do we, my friend; but giving heed to the difference of the
natures, we consider what befits godhead, and what is proper to a body.
Eran.--This distinction is not the teaching of the divine Scripture; it
says that the Son of God died. So the Apostle;--"For if when we were
enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."(1) And he says
that the Lord was raised from the dead for "God" he says "raised the Lord
from the dead."(2)
Orth.--And when the divine Scripture says "And devout men carried
Stephen to his burial and made great lamentation over him"(3) would any one
say that his soul was committed to the grave as well as his body?
Eran. --Of course not.
Orth.--And when you hear the Patriarch Jacob saying "Bury me with my
Fathers."(4) do yon suppose this refers to the body or to the soul?
Eran.--To the body; without question.
Orth.--Now read what follows.
Eran. --"There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they
buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife and there I buried Leah."(5)
Orth.--Now, in the passages which you have just read, the divine
Scripture makes no mention of the body, but as far as the words used go,
signifies soul as well as body. We however make the proper distinction and
say that the souls of the patriarchs were immortal, and that only their
bodies were buried in the double cave.(6)
Eran. -- True.
Orth. -- And when we read in the Acts how Herod slew James the brother
of John with a sword, (1) we are not likely to hold that his soul died.
Eran. --No; how could we? We remember the Lord's warning "Fear not them
which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul." (2)
Orth. -- But does it not seem to you impious and monstrous in the case
of mere men to avoid the invariable connexion of soul and body, and in the
case of scriptural references to death and burial, to distinguish in
thought the soul from the body and connect them only with the body, while
in trust in the teaching of the Lord you hold the sold to be immortal, and
then when you hear of the passion of the Son of God to follow quite a
different course? Are you justified in making no mention of the body to
which the passion belongs, and in representing the divine nature which is
impassible, immutable and immortal as mortal and passible? While all the
while you know that if the nature of God the Word is capable of suffering,
the assumption of the body was superfluous.
Eran. -- We have learnt from the Divine Scriptures that the Son of God
Orth. -- But the divine apostle interprets the Passion, and shews what
Eran. -- Show me this at once and clear the matter up.
Orth. --Are you not acquainted with the passage in the Epistle to the
Hebrews in which the divine Paul (3) says "For which cause He is not
ashamed to call them brethren saying ' I will declare thy name unto my
brethren, in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee.' And
again, 'Behold I and the children which God hath given me.'" (4)
Eran. --Yes, I know this, but this does not give us what you promised.
Orth. --Yes: even these suggest what I promised to shew. The word
brotherhood signifies kinship, and the kinship is due to the assumption of
the nature, and the assumption openly proclaims the impassibility of the
Godhead. But to understand this the more plainly read what follows.
Eran. --" Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and
blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same that through death He
might destroy him that bath the power of death . . . and deliver them who
through fear of death were all their life subject to bondage." (1)
Orth. -- This, I think, needs no explanation; it teaches clearly the
mystery of the oeconomy.
Eran.--I see nothing here of what you promised to prove.
Orth. -- Yet the divine Apostle teaches plainly that the Creator,
pitying this nature not only seized cruelly by death, but throughout all
life made death's slave, effected the resurrection through a body for our
bodies, and, by means of a mortal body, undid the dominion of death; for
since His own nature was immortal He righteously wished to stay the
sovereignty of death by taking the first fruits of them that were subject
to death, and while He kept these firstfruits (i.e. the body) blameless and
free from sin, on the one hand He gave death license to lay hands on it and
so satisfy its insatiability, while on the other, for the sake of the wrong
done to this body, he put a stop to the unrighteous sovereignty usurped
over all the rest of mere. These firstfruits unrighteously engulfed He
raised again and will make the race to follow them.
Set this explanation side by side with the words of the Apostle, and
you will understand the impassibility of the Godhead.
Eran.--In what has been read there is no proof of the divine
Orth. -- Nay: does not the statement of the divine Apostle, that the
reason of His making the children partakers of the flesh and blood was that
through death He might destroy him that hath the power of death,
distinctly, signify the impassibility of the Godhead, and the passibility
of the flesh, and that because the divine nature could not suffer He
assumed the nature that could and through it destroyed the power of the
Eran.--How did He destroy the power of the devil and the dominion of
death through the flesh?
Orth. --What arms did the devil use at the beginning when he enslaved
the nature of men?
Eran. --The means by which he took captive him who had been constituted
citizen of Paradise, was sin.
Orth. -- And what punishment did God assign for the transgression of
the commandment ?
Eran. -- Death.
Orth. --Then sin is the mother of death, and the devil its father.
Eran. -- True.
Orth.--War then was waged against human nature by sin. Sin seduced them
that obeyed it to slavery, brought them to its vile father, and delivered
them to its very bitter offspring.
Eran. --That is plain.
Orth.--So with reason the Creator, with the intention of destroying
either power, assumed the nature against which war was being waged, and, by
keeping it clear of all sin, both set it free from the sovereignty of the
devil, and, by its means, destroyed the devil's dominion. For since death
is the punishment of sinners, and death unrighteously and against the
divine law seized the sinless body of the Lord, He first raised up that
which was unlawfully detained, and then promised release to them that were
with justice imprisoned.
Eran. -- But how do you think it just that the resurrection of Him who
was unlawfully detained should be shared by the bodies which had been
righteously delivered to death?
Orth. -- And how do you think it just that, when it was Adam who
transgressed the commandment, his race should follow their forefather?
Era.--Although the race had not participated in the famous
transgression, yet it committed other sins, and for this cause incurred
Orth.-- Yet not sinners only but just men, patriarchs, prophets,
apostles, and men who have shone bright in many kinds of virtue have come
into death's meshes.
Eran.--Yes; for how could a family sprung of mortal parents remain
immortal? Adam after the transgression and the divine sentence, and after
coming under the power of death, knew his wife, and was called father;
having himself become mortal he was made father of mortals; reasonably then
all who have received mortal nature follow their forefather.
Orth. --You have shewn very well the reason of our being partakers of
death. The same however must be granted about the resurrection, for the
remedy must be meet for the disease. When the head of the race was doomed,
all the race was doomed with him, and so when the Saviour destroyed the
curse, human nature won freedom; and just as they that shared Adam's nature
followed him in his going down into Hades, so all the nature of men will
share in newness of life with the Lord Christ in His resurrection.
Eran. -- The decrees of the Church must be given not only declaratorily
but demonstratively. Tell me then how these doctrines are taught in the
Orth. --Listen to the Apostle writing to the Romans, and through them
teaching all mankind: " For if through the offence of one many be dead,
much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man,
Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that
sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but
the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's
offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of
grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus
Christ" (1) and again: "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came
upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free
gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners so by the obedience of one shall many
be made righteous." (2) And when introducing to the Corinthians his
argument about the resurrection he shortly reveals to them the mystery of
the oeconomy, and says: " But now is Christ risen from the dead and become
the first fruits of them which slept. For since by man came death by man
came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive." a So I have brought you proofs from the
divine oracles. Now look at what belongs to Adam compared with what belongs
to Christ, the disease with the remedy, the wound with the salve, the sin
with the wealth of righteousness, the ban with the blessing, the doom with
the delivery, the transgression with the observance, the death with the
life, hell with the kingdom, Adam with Christ, the man with the Man. And
yet the Lord Christ is not only man but eternal God, but the divine Apostle
names Him from the nature which He assumed, because it is in this nature
that he compares Him with Adam. The justification, the struggle, the
victory, the death, the resurrection are all of this human nature; it is
this nature which we share with Him; in this nature they who have exercised
themselves beforehand in the citizenship of the kingdom shall reign with
Him. Of this nature I spoke, not dividing the Godhead, but referring to
what is proper to the manhood.
Eran. -- You have gone through long discussions on this point, anti
have strengthened your argument by scriptural testimony, but if the passion
was really of the flesh, how is it that when he praises the divine love to
men, the Apostle exclaims, "He that spared not His own Son but delivered
Him up for us all," (1) what son does he say was delivered up?
Orth. --Watch well your words. There is one Son of God, wherefore He is
called only begotten.
Eran. -- If then there is one Son of God, the divine Apostle called him
Orth. -- True.
Eran. --Then he says that He was delivered up.
Orth.- Yes, but not without a body, as we have agreed again and again.
Eran. --It has been agreed again and again that he took body and soul.
Orth.-- Therefore the Apostle spoke of what relates to the body.
Eran.--The divide Apostle says distinctly "Who spared not his own Son."
Orth. --When then you hear God saying to Abraham "Because thou hast not
withheld thy son thy only son," (2) do you allege that Isaac was slain?
Eran. -- Of course not.
Orth. --And yet God said "Thou hast not withheld," and the God of all
Eran. -- The expression "thou hast not withheld" refers to the
readiness of Abraham, for he was ready to sacrifice the lad, but God
Orth. -- Well; in the story of Abraham you were not content with the
letter, but unfolded it and made the meaning clear. In precisely the same
manner examine the meaning of the words of the Apostle. Your will then see
that it was by no means the divine nature which was not withheld, but the
flesh nailed to the Cross. And it is easy to perceive the truth even in the
type. Do you regard Abraham's sacrifice as a type of the oblation offered
on behalf of the world?
Eran. -- Not at all, nor vet can I make words spoken rhetorically in
the churches a rule of faith.
Orth. -- You ought by all means to follow teachers of the Church, but,
since you improperly oppose yourself to these, hear the Saviour Himself
when addressing the Jews; " Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and
he saw it and was glad." (3) Note that the Lord calls His passion'" a day."
Eran. --I accept the Lord's testimony and do not doubt the type.
Orth.-- Now compare the type with the reality and you will see the
impassibility of the Godhead even in the type. Both in the former and in
the latter there is a Father; both in the former and the latter a well
beloved Son, each bearing the material for the sacrifice. The one bore the
wood, the other the cross upon his shoulders. It is said that the top of
the hill was dignified by the sacrifice of both. There is a correspondence
moreover between the number of days and nights and the resurrection which
followed, for after Isaac had been slain by his father's willing heart, on
the third day after the bountiful God had ordered the deed to be done, he
rose to new life at the voice of Him who loves mankind. (1) A lamb was seen
caught in a thicket, furnishing an image of the cross, and slain instead of
the lad. Now if this is a type of the reality, and in the type the only
begotten Son did not undergo sacrifice, but a lamb was substituted and laid
upon the altar and completed the mystery of the oblation, why then in the
reality do you hesitate to assign the passion to the flesh, and to proclaim
the impassibility of the Godhead?
Eran.--In your observations upon this type you represent Isaac as
living again at the divine command. There is nothing therefore unseemly if,
fitting the reality to the type, we declare that God the Word suffered and
came to life again.
Orth.-- I have said again and again that it is quite impossible for the
type to match the archetypal reality in every respect, and this may also be
easily understood in the present instance. Isaac and the lamb, as touching
the difference of their natures, suit the image, but as touching the
separation of their divided persons (2) they do so no longer. We preach so
close an union of Godhead and of manhood as to understand one person (3)
undivided, and to acknowledge the same to be both God and man, visible and
invisible, circumscribed and uncircumcscribed, and we apply to one of the
persons all the attributes which are indicative alike of Godhead and of
manhood. Now since the lamb, an unreasoning being, and not gifted with the
divine image, (4) could not possibly prefigure the restoration to life, the
two divide between them the type of the mystery of the oeconomy, and while
one furnishes the image of death, the other supplies that of the
resurrection. We find precisely the same thing in the Mosaic sacrifices,
for in them too may. be seen a type outlined in anticipation of the passion
Eran.-- What Mosaic sacrifice foreshadows the reality?
Orth.- All the Old Testament, so to say, is a type of the New. It is
for this reason that the divine Apostle plainly says--"the Law having a
shadow of good things to come" (1) and again "now all these things happened
unto them for ensamples." (2) The image of the archetype is very distinctly
exhibited by the lamb slain in Egypt, and by the red heifer burned without
the camp, and moreover referred to by the Apostle in the Epistle to the
Hebrews, where he writes "Wherefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the
people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." (3)
But of this no more for the present. I will however mention the
sacrifice in which two goats were offered, the one being slain, and the
other let go. (4) In these two goats there is an anticipative image of the
two natures of the Saviour; -- in the one let go, of the impassible
Godhead, in the one slain, of the passible manhood.
Eran.-- Do you not think it irreverent to liken the Lord to goats?
Orth. -- Which do you think is a fitter object of avoidance and hate, a
serpent or a goat ?
Eran.--A serpent is plainly hateful, for it injuries those who come
within its reach, and often hurts people who do it no harm. A goat on the
other hand comes, according to the Law, in the list of animals that are
clean and may be eaten.
Orth. --Now hear the Lord likening the passion of salvation to the
brazen serpent. He says: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness
even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish, but have eternal life." (5) If a brazen serpent was a
type of the crucified Saviour, of what impropriety are we guilty in
comparing the passion of salvation with the sacrifice of the goats?
Eran. -- Because John called the Lord "a lamb," (6) and Isaiah called
Him "lamb" and "sheep." (7)
Orth. --But the blessed Paul calls Him "sin " (8) and " curse." (9) As
curse therefore He satisfies the type of the accursed serpent; as sin He
explains the figure of the sacrifice of the goats, for on behalf of sin, in
the Law, a goat, and not a lamb, was offered. So the Lord in the Gospels
likened the just to lambs, but sinners to kids; (1) and since He was
ordained to undergo the passion not only on behalf of just men, but also
of sinners, He appropriately foreshadows His own offering through lambs and
Eran. -- But the type of the two goats leads us to think of two
Orth. --The passibility of the manhood and the impassibility of the
Godhead could not possibly be prefigured both at once by one goat. The one
which was slain could not have shewn the living nature. So two were taken
in order to explain the two natures. The same lesson may well be learnt
from another sacrifice.
Eran. -- From which?
Orth.--From that in which the lawgiver bids two pure birds be offered--
one to be slain, and the other, after having been dipped in the blood of
the slain, to be let go. Here also we see a type of the Godhead and of the
manhood --of the manhood slain and of the godhead appropriating the
Eran.--You have given us many types, but I object to enigmas.
Orth. --Yet the divine Apostle says that the narratives are types. (2)
Hagar is called a type of the old covenant; Sarah is likened to the
heavenly Jerusalem; Ishmael is a type of Israel, and Isaac of the new
people. So you must accuse the loud trumpet of the Spirit for giving its
enigmas for us all.
Eran. --Though you urge any number of arguments, you will never induce
me to divide the passion. I have heard the voice of the angel saying to
Mary and her companions, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (3)
Orth. --This is quite in accordance with our common customs; we speak
of the part by the name which belongs to all the parts. When we go into the
churches where are buried the holy apostles or prophets or martyrs, we ask
from time to time, "Who is it who lies in the shrine?" and those who are
able to give us information say in reply, Thomas, it may be, the Apostle,
(4) or John the Baptist, (5) or Stephen the protomartyr, (6) or any other
of the saints, mentioning them by name, though perhaps only a few scanty
relics of them lie here. But no one who hears these names which are common
to both body and soul will imagine that the souls also are shut up in the
chests; everybody knows that the chests contain only the bodies or even
small portions of the bodies.
The holy angel spoke in precisely the same manner when he described the
body by the name of the person.
Eran. -- But how can you prove that the angel spoke to the women about
the Lord's body ?
Orth. -- In the first place, the tomb itself suffices to settle the
question, for to a tomb is committed neither sold nor Godhead whose nature
is uncircumscribed; tombs are made for bodies. Furthermore this is plainly
taught by the divine Scripture, for so the holy Matthew narrates the event,
"When the even was come there came a rich man of Arimathaea named Joseph
who also himself was Jesus' disciple: he went to Pilate and begged the body
of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered, and when Joseph
had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in
his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great
stone to the door of the sepulchre and departed." (1) See how often he
mentions the body in order to stop the mouths of them who blaspheme the
Godhead. The same course is pursued by the thrice blessed Mark whose
narrative I will also quote. "And now when the even was come, because it
was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of
Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of
God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
And Pilate marvelled if He were already dead; and calling unto him the
centurion, he asked him whether He had been any while dead. And when he
knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph, and he brought fine
linen, and took him down, and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a
sepulchre," (2) and so on. Observe with admiration, the harmony of terms,
and how consistently and continuously the word body is introduced. The
illustrious Luke, too, relates just in the same way how Joseph begged the
body and after he had received it treated it with due rites. (3) By the
divine John we are told yet more, "Joseph of Arimathaea being a disciple of
Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might
take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore
and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the
first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes
about a hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus and wound it
in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now
in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a
new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus
therefore because of the Jews' preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh
at band." (1) Observe how often mention is made of the body; how the
Evangelist shows that it was the body which was nailed to the cross, the
body begged by Joseph of Pilate, the body taken down from the tree, the
body wrapped in linen clothes with the myrrh and aloes, and then the name
of the person given to it; and Jesus said to have been laid in a tomb. Thus
the angel said, "Come see the place where the Lord lay," (2) naming the
part by the name of the whole; and we constantly do just the same. In this
place, we say, such an one was buried; not the body of such an one. Every
one in his senses knows that we are speaking of the body, and such a mode
of speech is customary in divine Scripture. Aaron, we read, died and they
buried him on Mount Hot. (3) Samuel died and they buried him at Ramah, (4)
and there are many similar instances. The same use is followed by the
divine Apostle when speaking of the death of the Lord. "I delivered unto
you first of all," he writes, "that which I also received how that Christ
died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and
that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," (5) and so
Eran. -- In the passages we have just now read the Apostle does not
mention a body, but Christ the Saviour of us all. You have brought evidence
against your own side, and wounded yourself with your own weapon.
Orth. --You seem to have very quickly forgotten the long discourse in
which I proved to you over and over again that the body is spoken of by the
name of the person. This is what is now done by the divine Apostle, and it
can easily be proved from this very passage. Now let us look at it. Why did
the divine writer write thus to the Corinthians?
Eran. -- They had been deceived by some into believing that there is no
resurrection. When the teacher of the world learnt this he furnished them
with his arguments about the resurrection of the bodies.
Orth. --Why then does he introduce the resurrection of the Lord, when
he wishes to Drove the resurrection of the bodies?
Eran. --As sufficient to prove the resurrection of us all.
Orth. --In what is His death like the death of the rest; that by His
resurrection may be proved the resurrection of all?
Eran. --The reason of the incarnation suffering, and death of the only
begotten Son of God, was that He might destroy death. Thus, after rising,
by His own resurrection He preaches the resurrection of all.
Orth. -- But who, hearing of a resurrection of God, would ever believe
that the resurrection of all men would be exactly like it? The difference
of the natures does not allow of our believing in the argument of the
resurrection. He is God and they are men, and the difference between God
and men is incalculable. They are mortal, and subject to death, like to the
grass and to the flower. He is almighty.
Eran.--But after His incarnation God the Word had a body, and through
this He proved His likeness to men.
Orth. -- Yes; and for this reason the suffering and the death and the
resurrection are all of the body, and in proof of this the divine Apostle
in another place promises renewal of life to all, and to them that believe
in the resurrection of their Saviour, yet look upon the general
resurrection of all as fable, he exclaims, "Now if Christ be preached that
He rose from the dead, how say sonic among you that there is no
resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then
is Christ not risen, and if Christ he not risen . . . your faith is vain,
you are yet ill your sins." (1) And from the past he confirms the future,
and from what is disbelieved he disproves what is believed, for he says, If
the one seems impossible to you, then the other will be false; if the one
seems real and true, then let the other in like manner seem true, for here
too a resurrection of the body is preached, and this body is called the
first fruits of those. The resurrection of this body after many arguments
he affirms directly, "But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the
firstfruits of them that slept, for since by man came death, by man came
also the resurrection of the dead, for as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive, " (2) and he does not only confirm the
argument of the resurrection, but also reveals the mystery of the oeconomy.
(He calls Christ man that he may prove the remedy to be appropriate to the
Eran. -- Then the Christ is only a man.
Orth.--God forbid. On the contrary, we have again and again confessed
that He is not only man but eternal God. But He suffered as man, not as
God. And this the divine Apostle clearly teaches us when he says "For since
by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." (1) And
in his letter to the Thessalonians, he strengthens his argument concerning
the general resurrection by that of our Saviour in the passage "For if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, even them also which sleep in Jesus
will God bring with him." (2)
Eran. -- The Apostle proves the general resurrection by means of the
Lord's resurrection, and it is clear that in this case also what died and
rose was a body. For he would never have attempted to prove the general
resurrection by its means unless there had been some relation between the
substance of the one and the other. I shall never consent to apply the
passion to the human nature alone. It seems agreeable to my view to say
that God the Word died in the flesh.
Orth. --We have frequently shewn that what is naturally immortal can in
no way die. If then He died He was not immortal; and what perils lie in the
blasphemy of the words.
Eran. --He is by nature immortal, but He became man and suffered.
Orth. -- Therefore He underwent change, for how otherwise could He
being immortal submit to death? But we have agreed that the substance of
the Trinity is immutable. Having therefore a nature superior to change, He
by no means shared death.
Eran. -- The divine Peter says "Christ hath suffered for us in the
Orth. --This agrees with what we have said, for we have learnt the rule
of dogmas from the divine Scripture.
Eran.--How then can you deny that God the Word suffered in the flesh?
Orth. --Because we have not found this expression in the divine
Eran. --But I have just quoted you the utterance of the great Peter.
Orth. -- You seem to ignore the distinction of the terms.
Eran. -- What terms? Do you not regard the Lord Christ as God the Word?
Orth. --The term Christ in the case of our Lord and Saviour signifies
the incarnate Word, the Immanuel, God with us, (4) both God and man, but
the term "God the Word" so said signifies the simple nature before the
world, superior to time, and incorporeal. Wherefore the Holy Ghost that
spake through the holy Apostles nowhere attributes passion or death to this
Eran. -- If the passion is attributed to the Christ, and God the Word
after being made man was called Christ, I hold that he who states God the
Word to have suffered in the flesh is in no way unreasonable.
Orth. -- Hazardous and rash in the extreme is such an attempt. But let
us look at the question in this way. Does the divine Scripture state God
the Word to be of God and of the Father?
Eran. -- True.
Orth. -- And it describes the Holy Ghost as being in like manner of
Eran. -- Agreed.
Orth. -- But it calls God the Word only begotten Son.
Eran. -- It does.
Orth. -- It nowhere so names the Holy Ghost.
Eran. -- No.
Orth. -- Yet the Holy Ghost also has Its subsistence of the Father and
Eran. -- True.
Orth. -- We grant then that both the Son and the Holy Ghost are both of
God the Father; but would you dare to call the Holy Ghost Son?
Eran. -- Certainly not.
Orth. -- Why?
Eran. -- Because I do not find this term in the divine Scripture.
Orth. -- Or begotten?
Eran. -- No.
Orth. -- Wherefore?
Eran. -- Because I no more learn this in the divine Scripture.
Orth. -- But what name can properly be given to that which is neither
begotten nor created?
Eran. -- We style it uncreated and unbegotten.
Orth. -- And we say that the Holy Ghost is neither created nor
Eran. -- By no means.
Orth. -- Would you then dare to call the Holy Ghost unbegotten?
Eran. -- No.
Orth. -- But why refuse to call that which is naturally uncreate, but
not begotten, unbegotten?
Eran. -- Because I have not learnt so from the divine Scripture, and I
am greatly afraid of saying, or using language which Scripture does not
Orth. -- Then, my good sir, I maintain the same caution in the case of
the passion of salvation; do you too avoid all the divine names which
Scripture has avoided in the case of the passion, and do not attribute the
passion to them.
Eran. -- What names?
Orth. -- The passion is never connected with the name "God."
Eran. -- But even I do not affirm that God the Word suffered apart from
a body, but say that He suffered in flesh.
Orth. -- You affirm then a mode of passion, not impassibility. No one
would ever say this even in the case of a human body. For who not
altogether out of his senses would say that the soul of Paul died in flesh?
This could never be said even in the case of a great villain; for the souls
even of the wicked are immortal. We say that such or such a murderer has
been slain, but no one would ever say that his soul had been killed in the
flesh. But if we describe the souls of murderers and violators of
sepulchres as free from death, far more right is it to acknowledge as
immortal the soul of our Saviour, in that it never tasted sin. If the souls
of them who have most greatly erred have escaped death on account of their
nature, how could that soul, whose nature was immortal and who never
received the least taint of sin, have taken death's hook?
Eran. -- It is quite useless for you to give me all these long
arguments. We are agreed that the soul of the Saviour is immortal.
Orth. -- But of what punishment are you not deserving, you who say that
the soul, which is by nature created, is immortal, and are for making the
divine substance mortal for the Word; you who deny that the soul of the
Saviour tasted death in the flesh, and dare to maintain that God the Word,
Creator of all things, underwent the passion?
Eran. -- We say that he underwent the passion impassibly.
Orth. -- And what man in his senses would ever put up with such
ridiculous riddles? Who ever heard of an impassible passion, or of an
immortal mortality? The impassible has never undergone passion, and what
has undergone passion could not possibly be impassible. But we hear the
exclamation of the divine Paul: "Who only hath immortality dwelling in the
light which no than can approach unto." 
Eran. -- Why then do we say that the invisible powers too and the souls
of men, aye and the very devils, are immortal?
Orth. -- We do say so; that God is absolutely immortal. He is immortal
not by partaking of substance, but in substance; He does not possess an
immortality which He has received of another. It is He Him- self who has
bestowed their immortality on the angels and on them that thou hast just
now mentioned. How, moreover, when the divine Paul styles Him immortal and
says that He only hath immortality, can you attribute to Him the passion of
Eran. -- We say that He tasted death after the incarnation.
Orth. -- But over and over again we have confessed Him immutable. If
being previously immortal He afterwards underwent death through the flesh,
a change having preceded His undergoing death; if His life left Him for
three days and three nights, how do such statements fall short of the most
extreme impiety? For I think that not even they that are struggling against
impiety can venture to let such words fall from their lips without peril.
Eran. -- Cease from charging us with impiety. Even we say that not the
divine nature suffered but the human; but we do say that the divine shared
with the body in suffering.
Orth. -- What can you mean by sharing in suffering? Do you mean that
when the nails were driven into the body the divine nature felt the sense
Eran. -- I do.
Orth. -- Both now and in our former investigations we have shewn that
the soul does not share all the faculties of the body but that the body
while it receives vital force has the sense of suffering through the soul.
And even supposing us to grant that the soul shares in pain with the body
we shall none the less find the divine nature to be impassible, for it was
not united to the body instead of a soul. Or do you not acknowledge that He
assumed a soul?
Eran. -- I have often acknowledged it.
Orth. -- And that He assumed a reasonable Soul?
Eran. -- Yes.
Orth. -- If then together with the body He assumed the soul, and we
grant that the soul shared in suffering with the body, then the soul, not
the Godhead, shared the passion with the body; it shared the passion,
receiving pangs by means of the body. But possibly somebody might agree to
the soul sharing suffering with the body, but might deny its sharing death,
because of its having an immortal nature. On this account the Lord said
"Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul." (1)
If then we deny that the soul of the Saviour shared death with the body,
how could any one accept the blasphemy you and your friends presumptuously
promulgate when you dare to say that the divine nature participated in
death? This is the more inexcusable when the Lord points out at one time
that the body (2) was being offered, at another that the soul was being
Eran. -- And where doth the Lord shew that the body was being offered?
Or are you going to bring me once more that well worn passage "Destroy this
temple and in three days I will raise it up"? (4) Or with your conceited
self-sufficiency are you going to quote me the words of the Evangelist?
"But He spake of the temple of his body. When therefore He was risen from
the dead His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them and they
believed the Scripture and the words which He had said." (5)
Orth. -- If you have such a detestation of the divine words which
preach the mystery of the incarnation, why, like Marcion and Valentinus and
Manes, do you not destroy texts of this kind? For this is what they have
done. But if this seems to you rash and impious, do not turn the Lord's
words into ridicule, but rather follow the Apostles in their belief after
the resurrection that the Godhead raised again the temple which the Jews
Eran. -- If you have any good evidence to adduce, give over gibing and
fulfil your promise.
Orth. -- Remember specially those words of the gospels in which the
Lord made a comparison between manna and the true bread.
Eran. -- I remember.
Orth. -- In that passage after speaking at some length about the bread
of life, he added, "The bread that I will give is my flesh which I will
give for the life of the world." (6) In these words may be understood alike
the bounty of the Godhead and the boon of the flesh.
Eran. -- One quotation is not enough to settle the question.
Orth. -- The Ethiopian eunuch had not read much of the Bible, but when
he had found one witness from the prophets he was guided by it to
salvation. But not all Apostles and prophets and all the preachers of the
truth who have lived since then are enough to convince you. Nevertheless I
will bring you some further testimony about the Lord's body. You cannot but
know that passage in the Gospel history where, after eating the passover
with His disciples, our Lord pointed to the death of the typical lamb and
taught what body corresponded with that shadow. (1)
Eran. -- Yes I know it.
Orth. -- Remember then what it was which our Lord took and broke, and
what He called it when He had taken it.
Eran. -- I will answer in mystic language for the sake of the
uninitiated. After taking and breaking it and giving it to His disciples He
said, "This is my body which was given for you" (2) or according to the
apostle "broken" (3) and again, "This is my blood of the New Testament
which is shed for many." (4)
Orth. -- Then when exhibiting the type of the passion He did not
mention the Godhead?
Erase. -- No.
Orth. -- But He did mention the body and blood.
Eran. -- Yes.
Orth. -- And the body was nailed to the Cross?
Eran. -- Even so.
Orth. -- Come, then; look at this. When after the resurrection the
doors were shut and the Lord came to the holy disciples and beheld them
affrighted, what means did He use to destroy their fear and instead of fear
to infuse faith?
Eran. -- He said to them "Behold my hands and my feet that it is I
myself; handle me and see; for a spirit bath not flesh and bones as ye see
me have." (5)
Orth. -- So when they disbelieved He shewed them the body?
Eran. -- He did.
Orth. -- Therefore the body rose?
Eran. -- Clearly.
Orth. -- And I suppose what rose was what had died?
Eran. -- Even so.
Orth. -- And what had died was what
was nailed to the cross?
Eran. -- Of necessity.
Orth. -- Then according to your own argument the body suffered?
Eran. -- Your series of arguments forces us to this conclusion.
Orth. -- Consider this too. Now I will be questioner, and do you answer
as becomes a lover of the truth.
Eran. -- I will answer.
Orth. -- When the Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles, and that
wonderful sight and sound collected thousands to the house, what did the
chief of the apostles in the speech he then made say concerning the Lord's
Eran. -- He quoted the divine David, and said that he had received
promises from God that the Lord Christ should be born of the fruit of his
loins and that in trust in these promises he prophetically foresaw His
resurrection, and plainly said that His soul was not left in Hades and that
His flesh did not see corruption. (1)
Orth. -- His resurrection therefore is of these.
Eran. -- How can any one in his senses say that there is a resurrection
of the soul which never died?
Orth. -- How comes it that you who attribute the passion, the death and
the resurrection to the immutable and uncircumscribed Godhead have suddenly
appeared before us in your right mind and now object to connecting the word
resurrection with the soul?
Eran. -- Because the word resurrection is applicable to what has
Orth. -- But the body does not obtain resurrection apart from a soul,
but being renewed by the divine will, and conjoined with its yokefellow, it
receives life. Was it not thus that the Lord raised Lazarus?
Eran. -- It is plain that not the body alone rises.
Orth. -- This is more distinctly taught by the divine Ezekiel, (2) for
he points out how the Lord commanded the bones to come together, and how
all of them were duly fitted together, and how He marie sinews and veins
and arteries grow with all the flesh pertaining to them and the skin that
clothes them all, and then ordered the souls to come back to their own
Eran. -- This is true.
Orth. -- But the Lord's body did not undergo this corruption, but
remained unimpaired, and on the third day recovered its own soul.
Eran. -- Agreed.
Orth. -- Then the death was of what had suffered?
Eran. -- Without question.
Orth. -- And when the great Peter mentioned the resurrection, and the
divine David too, they said that His soul was not left in Hell, but that
His body did not undergo corruption?
Eran. -- They did.
Orth. -- Then it was not the Godhead which underwent death, but the
body by severance from the soul?
Eran. -- I cannot brook these absurdities.
Orth. -- But you are fighting against your own arguments; it is your
own words which you are calling absurd.
Eran. -- You slander me; not one of these words is mine.
Orth. -- Suppose any one to ask what is the animal which is at once
reasonable and mortal, and suppose some one else to answer--man; which of
the two would you call interpreter of the saying? The questioner or the
Eran. -- The answerer.
Orth. -- Then I was quite right in calling the arguments yours? For
you, I ween, in your answers, by rejecting some points and accepting
others, confirmed them.
Eran. -- Then I will not answer any longer; do you answer.
Orth. -- I will answer.
Eran. -- What do you say to those words of the Apostle "Had they known
it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory"? (1) in this passage be
mentions neither body nor soul.
Orth. -- Therefore you must not put the words "in the flesh" in it, --
for this is your ingenious invention for decrying the Godhead of the Word -
- but must attribute the passion to the bare Godhead of the Word.
Eran. -- No; no. He suffered in the flesh, but His incorporeal nature
was not capable of suffering by itself.
Orth. -- Ah! but nothing must be added to the Apostle's words.
Eran. -- When we know the Apostle's meaning there is nothing absurd in
adding what is left out.
Orth. -- But to add anything to the divine words is wild and rash. To
explain what is written and reveal the hidden meaning is holy and pious.
Eran. -- Quite right.
Orth. -- We two then shall do nothing unreasonable and unholy in
examining the mind of the Scriptures.
Eran. -- No.
Orth. -- Let us then look together into what seems to be hidden.
Eran. -- By all means.
Orth. -- Did the great Paul call the divine James the Lord's brother?
Eran. -- He did.
Orth. -- But in what sense are we to regard him as brother? By
relationship of His godhead or of His manhood?
Eran. -- I will not consent to divide the united natures.
Orth. -- But you have often divided them in our previous
investigations, and yon shall do the same thing now. Tell me; do you say
that God the Word was only begotten Son?
Eran. -- I do.
Orth. -- And only begotten means only Son.
Eran. -- Certainly.
Orth. -- And the only begotten cannot have a brother?
Eran. -- Of course not, for if He had had a brother He would not be
called the only begotten.
Orth. -- Then they were wrong in calling James the brother of the Lord.
For the Lord was only begotten, and the only begotten cannot have a
Eran. -- No, but the Lord is not incorporeal and the proclaimers of the
truth are referring only to what touches the godhead.
Orth. -- How then would you prove the word of the apostle true?
Eran. -- By saying that James was of kin with the Lord according to the
Orth. -- See how you have brought in again that division which you
Eran. -- It was not possible to explain the kinship in any other way.
Orth. -- Then do not find fault with those who cannot explain similar
difficulties in any other way.
Eran. -- Now you are getting the argument off the track because you
want to shirk the question.
Orth. -- Not at all, my friend. That will be settled too by the points
we have investigated. Now look; when you were reminded of James the brother
of the Lord, you said that the relationship referred not to the Godhead but
to the flesh.
Eran. -- I did.
Orth. -- Well, now that you are told of the passion of the cross, refer
this too to the flesh.
Eran. -- The Apostle called the crucified "Lord of Glory," (1) and the
same Apostle called the Lord "brother of James."
Orth. -- And it is the same Lord in both cases. If then you are right
in referring the relationship to the flesh you must also refer the passion
to the flesh, for it is perfectly ridiculous to regard the relationship
without distinction and to refer the passion to Christ without distinction.
Eran. -- I follow the Apostle who calls the crucified "Lord of glory."
Orth. -- I follow too, and believe that He was "Lord of glory." For the
body which was nailed to the wood was not that of any common man but of the
Lord of glory. But we must acknowledge that the union makes the names
common. Once more: do you say that the flesh of the Lord came down from
Eran. -- Of course not.
Orth. -- But was formed in the Virgin's womb?
Eran. -- Yes.
Orth. -- How, then, does the Lord say "If ye shall see the Son of man
ascend up where He was before," I and again "No man hath ascended up to
heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in
Eran. -- He is speaking not of the flesh, but of the Godhead.
Orth. -- Yes; but the Godhead is of the God and Father. How then does
He call him Son of man?
Eran. -- The peculiar properties of the natures are shared by the
person, for on account of the union the same being is both
Son of man and Son of God, everlasting and of time, Son of David and
Lord of David, and so on with the rest.
Orth. -- Very right. But it is also important to recognise the fact
that no confusion of natures results froth both having one name. Wherefore
we are endeavouring to distinguish how the same being is Son of God and
also Son of man, and how He is "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,"
(3) and by the reverent distinction of terms we find that the
contradictions are in agreement.
Eran. -- You are right.
Orth. -- You say that the divine nature came down from heaven and that
in consequence of the union it was called the Son of man. Thus it behoves
us to say that the flesh was nailed to the tree, but to hold that the
divine nature even on the cross and in the tomb was inseparable from this
flesh, though from it it derived no sense of suffering, since the divine
nature is naturally incapable of undergoing both suffering and death and
its substance is immortal and impassible. It is in this sense that the
crucified is styled Lord of Glory, by attribution of the title of the
impassible nature to the passible, since, as we know, a body is described
as belonging to this latter.
Now let us examine the matter thus. The words of the divine Apostle are
"Had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." (1)
They crucified the nature which they knew, not that of which they were
wholly ignorant: had they known that of which they were ignorant they would
not have crucified that which they knew: they crucified the human because
they were ignorant of the divine. Have you forgotten their own words. "For
a good work we stone thee not but for blasphemy, and because that thou,
being a man, makest thyself God." (2) These words are a plain proof that
they recognised the nature they saw, while of the invisible they were
wholly ignorant: had they known that nature they would not have crucified
the Lord of glory.
Eran. -- That is very probable, but the exposition of the faith laid
down by the Fathers in council at Nicaea says that the only begotten
Himself, very God, of one substance with the Father, suffered and was
Orth. -- You seem to forget what we have agreed on again and again.
Eran. -- What do you mean?
Orth. -- I mean that after the union the holy Scripture applies to one
person terms both of exaltation and of humiliation. But possibly you are
also ignorant that the illustrious Fathers first mentioned His taking flesh
and being made man, and then afterwards added that He suffered and was
crucified, and thus spoke of the passion after they had set forth the
nature capable of passion.
Eran. -- The Fathers said that the Son of God, Light of Light, of the
substance of the Father, suffered and was crucified.
Orth. -- I have observed more than once that both the Divine and the
human are ascribed to the one Person. It is in accordance with this
position that the thrice blessed Fathers, after teaching how we should
believe in the Father, and then passing on to the person of the Son, did
not immediately add "and in the Son of God," although it would have very
naturally followed that after defining what touches God the Father they
should straightway bare introduced the name of Son. But their object was to
give us at one and the same time instruction on the theology and on the
oeconomy, (3) lest there should be supposed to be any distinction between
the Person of the Godhead and the Person of the Manhood. On this account
they added to their statement concerning the Father that we must believe
also in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Now after the incarnation
God the Word is called Christ, for this name includes alike all that is
proper to the Godhead and to the manhood. We recognise nevertheless that
some properties belong to the one nature and some to the others, and this
may at once be understood from the actual terms of the Creed. For tell me:
to what do you apply the phrase "of the substance of the Father"? to the
Godhead, or to the nature that was fashioned of the seed of David?
Eran. -- To the Godhead, as is plain.
Orth. -- And the clause "Very God of very God"; to which do you hold
this belongs, to the Godhead or to the manhood?
Eran. -- To the Godhead.
Orth. -- Therefore neither the flesh nor the soul is of one substance
with the Father, for they are created, but the Godhead which formed all
Eran. -- True.
Orth. -- Very well, then. And when we are told of passion and of the
cross we must recognise the nature which submitted to the passion; we must
avoid attributing it to the impassible, and must attribute it to that
nature which was assumed for the distinct purpose of suffering. The
acknowledgment on the part of the most excellent Fathers that the divine
nature was impassible; and their attribution of the passion to the flesh is
proved by the conclusion of the creed, which runs "But they who state there
was a time when He was not, and before He was begotten He was not, and He
was made out of the non-existent, or who allege that the Son of God was of
another essence or substance mutable or variable, these the holy catholic
and apostolic Church anathematizes." See then what penalties are denounced
against them that attribute the passion to the divine nature. (1)
Eran. -- They are speaking in this place of mutation and variation.
Orth. -- But what is the passion but mutation and variation? For if,
being impassible before His incarnation, He suffered after His incarnation,
He assuredly suffered by trader-going mutation; and if being immortal
before He became man, He tasted death, as you say, after being made man,
He underwent a complete alteration by being made mortal after being
immortal. But expressions of this kind, anti their authors with them, have
all been expelled by the illustrious Fathers from the bounds of the
Church, and cut off like rotten limbs from the sound body. We therefore
exhort you to fear the punishment and abhor the blasphemy. Now I will show
you that in their own writings the holy Fathers have held the opinions we
have expressed. Of the witnesses I shall bring forward some took part in
that great Council; some flourished in the Church after their time; some
illuminated the world long before. But their harmony is broken neither by
difference of periods nor by diversity of language; like the harp their
strings are several and separate but like the harp they make one harmonious
Eran. -- I was anxious for and shall be delighted at such citations.
Instruction of this kind cannot be gainsaid, and is most useful.
Orth. -- Now; open your ears and receive the streams that flow from the
Testimony of the holy Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, and martyr.
From his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans: --
"They do not admit Eucharists and oblations, because they do not confess
the Eucharist to be flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ which suffered for
our sins and which of His goodness the Father raised." (1)
Testimony of lrenoeus, bishop of Lyons.
From his third book against heresies (Chap. XX.):--
"It is clear then that Paul knew no other Christ save Him that suffered
and was buried and rose and was born, whom he calls man, for after saying,
'If Christ be preached that He rose from the dead,' (2) he adds, giving the
reason of His incarnation, 'For since by man came death by man came also
the resurrection of the dead,' (3) and on all occasions in reference to the
passion, the manhood and I the dissolution of the Lord, he uses the name of
Christ as in the text, 'Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ
died,' (4) and again, 'But now in Christ ye who sometimes were far off are
made nigh in the blood of Christ,' (5) and again, 'Christ hath redeemed us
from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written,
Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.'"(1)
Of the same from the same work. (Chapter xxi.):--
"For as He was Man that He might be tempted, so was He Word that He
might be glorified. In His temptation, His crucifixion and His dying, the
Word was inoperative; but in His victory, His patience, His goodness, His
resurrection and His assumption it was co-operative with the manhood."
Of the same from the fifth book of the same work:--
"When with His own blood the Lord had ransomed us, and given His soul
on behalf of our souls, and His flesh instead of our flesh."
The testimony of the holy Hippolytus, bishop and martyr.
From his letter to a certain Queen:--
"So he calls Him 'The firstfruits of them that slept,'(2) and 'The
first born of the dead.'(3) When He had risen and was wishful to show that
what had risen was the same body which died, when the Apostles doubted, He
called to Him Thomas and said 'Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not
flesh and bones as ye see me have.'"(4) Of the same from the same letter:--
"By calling Him firstfruits He bore witness to what we have said, that
the Saviour, after taking the flesh of the same material, raised it, making
it firstfruits of the flesh of the just, in order that all we that believe
might have expectation of our resurrection through trust in Him that is
Of the same from his discourse on the two thieves:--
"The body of the Lord gave both to the world,--the holy blood and the
Of the same from the same discourse:--
"And the body being, humanly speaking, a corpse, has in itself great
power of life, for there flowed from it what does not flow from dead
bodies--blood and water,--that we might know what vital force lies in the
indwelling power in the body, so that it is a corpse evidently unlike
others, and is able to pour forth for us causes of life."(5)
Of the same from the same discourse:--
"Not a bone of the holy Lamb is broken. The type shews that the passion
cannot touch the power, for the bones are the power of the body."
Testimony of the holy Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, and confessor.
From his book on the soul:--
"Their impious calumny can be refuted in a few words; they may be
right, unless He voluntarily gave up His own body to the destruction of
death for the sake of the salvation of men. First of all they attribute to
Him extraordinary infirmity in not being able to repel His enemies'
Of the same from the same book:--
"Why do they, in the concoction of their earth-born deceits, make much
of proving that the Christ assumed a body without a soul? In order that if
they could seduce any to lay down that this is the case, then, by
attributing to the divine Spirit variations of affection, they might easily
persuade them that the mutable is not begotten of the immutable nature."
Of the same from his discourse on "the Lord created me in the beginning
of His ways":(1)--
"The man Who died rose on the third day, and, when Mary was eager to
lay hold of His holy limbs, He objected and cried 'Touch me not.(2) For I
am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say unto them,
I ascend unto my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.'(3) Now
the words 'I am not yet ascended to my Father,' were not spoken by the Word
and God, who came down from heaven, and was in the bosom of the Father, nor
by the Wisdom which contains all created things, but were uttered by the
man who was compacted of various limbs, who had risen from the dead, who
had not yet after His death gone back to the Father, and was reserving for
Himself the first fruits of His progress."
Of the same from the same work:--
"As he writes he expressly describes the man who was crucified as Lord
of Glory, declaring Him to be Lord and Christ, just as the Apostles with
one voice when speaking to Israel in the flesh say 'Therefore let all the
house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye
have crucified, both Lord and Christ.'(4) He so made Jesus Christ who
suffered. He did not so make the Wisdom nor yet the Word who has the might
of dominion from the beginning, but Him who was lifted up on high and
stretched out His hands upon the Cross."
Of the same from the same work:--
"For if He is incorporeal and not subject to manual contact, nor
apprehended by eyes of flesh, He undergoes no wound, He is not nailed by
nails, He has no part in death, He is not hidden in the ground, He is not
shut in a grave, He does not rise from a tomb."
Of the same from the same book:--
"'No man taketh it from me. ... I have power to lay it down and I have
power to take it again.'(1) If as God He had the double power, He yet
yielded to them who were striving of evil counsel to destroy the temple,
but by His resurrection He restored it in greater splendour. It is proved
by incontrovertible evidence that He of Himself rose and renewed His own
house, and the great work of the Son is to be ascribed to the divine
Father; for the Son does not work without the Father, as is declared in the
unimpeachable utterances of the holy Scriptures. Wherefore at one time the
divine Parent is described as having raised the Christ from the dead, at
another time the Son promises to raise His own temple. If then from what
has previously been laid down the divine spirit of the Christ is proved to
be impassible, in vain do the accursed assail the apostolic definitions. If
Paul says that the Lord of Glory was crucified, clearly referring to the
manhood, we must not on this account refer suffering to the divine. Why
then do they put these two things together, saying that the Christ was
crucified from infirmity?"
Of the same from the same work:--
"But had it been becoming to attribute to Him any kind of infirmity,
any one might have said that it was natural to attach these qualities to
the manhood, though not to the fulness of the Godhead, or to the dignity of
the highest wisdom, or to Him who according to Paul is described as God
Of the same from the same book:--
"This then is the manner of the infirmity according to which He is
described by Paul as coming to death, for the man lives by God's power when
plainly associated with God's spirit, since from the preceding statements
He who is believed to be in Him is proved to be also the power of the Most
Of the same from the same:--
"As by entering the Virgin's womb He did not lessen His power, so
neither by the fastening of His body to the wood of the cross is His spirit
defiled. For when the body was crucified on high the divine Spirit of
wisdom dwelt even within the body, trod in heavenly places, filled all the
earth, reigned over the depths, visited and judged the soul of every man,
and continued to do all that God continually does, for the wisdom that is
on high is not prisoned and contained within bodily matter, just as moist
and dry material are contained within their vessels and are contained by
but do not contain them. But this wisdom, being a divine and ineffable
power, embraces and confirms alike all that is within and all that is
without the temple, and thence proceeding beyond comprehends and sways at
once all matter."
Of the same from the same work:--
"But if the sun being a visible body, apprehended by the senses,
endures everywhere such adverse influences without changing its order, or
feeling any blow, be it small or great; can we suppose the incorporeal
Wisdom to be defiled and to change its nature because its temple is nailed
to the cross or destroyed or wounded or corrupted? The temple suffers, but
the substance abides without spot, and preserves its entire dignity without
Of the same from his work on the titles of the Psalms of Degrees:--
"The Father who is perfect, infinite, incomprehensible. and is
incapable alike of adornment or disfigurement, receives no acquired glory;
nor yet does His Word, who is God begotten of Him, through whom are angels
and heaven and earth's boundless bulk and all the form and matter of
created things; but the man Christ raised from the dead is exalted and
glorified to the open discomfiture of His foes."
Of the same from the same work:--
"They however who have lifted up hatred against Him, though they be
fenced round with the forces of His foes, are scattered abroad, while the
God and Word gloriously raised His own temple."
Of the same from his interpretation of the 92nd Psalm:--
"Moreover the prophet Isaiah following the tracks of His sufferings,
among other utterances exclaims with a mighty voice 'And we saw Him and He
had no form nor beauty. His form was dishonoured and rejected among the
sons of men,'(1) thus distinctly showing that the marks of indignity and
the sufferings must be applied to the human but not to the divine. And
immediately afterwards be adds 'Being a man under stroke, and able to bear
infirmity.'(2) He it is who after suffering outrage was seen to have no
form or comeliness, then again was changed and clothed with beauty, for the
God dwelling in Him was not led like a lamb to death and slaughtered like a
sheep, for His nature is invisible."
Testimony of the Holy Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and confessor.
From his letter to Epictetus:--
"Whoever reached such a pitch of impiety as to think and say that the
Godhead itself of one substance with the Father was circumcised, and from
perfect became imperfect; and to deny that what was crucified on the tree
was the body, asserting it on the contrary to be the very creative
substance of wisdom?"
Of the same from the same treatise:--
"The Word associated with Himself and brought upon Himself what the
humanity of the Word suffered, that we might be able to share in the
Godhead of the Word. And marvellous it was that the sufferer and He who did
not suffer were the same; sufferer in that His own body suffered and He was
in it while suffering, but not suffering because the Word, being by nature
God, was impassible. And He Himself the incorporeal was in the passible
body, and the body contained in itself the impassible Word, destroying the
infirmities of His body."
Of the same from the same letter:--
"For being God and Lord of Glory, He was in the body ingloriously
crucified; but the body suffered when smitten on the tree, and water and
blood flowed from its side; but being temple of the Word, it was full of
the Godhead. Wherefore when the sun saw its Creator suffering in His
outraged body, it drew in its rays, and darkened the earth. And that very
body with a mortal nature rose superior to its own nature, on account of
the Word within it, and is no longer touched by its natural corruption, but
clothed with the superhuman Word, became incorruptible."
Of the same from his greater discourse on the Faith:--
"Was what rose from the dead, man or God? Peter, the Apostle, who knows
better than we, interprets and say, 'and when they had fulfilled all that
was written of Him they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a
sepulchre, but God raised Him from the dead.'(1) Now the dead body of Jesus
which was taken down from the tree, which had been laid in a sepulchre, and
entombed by Joseph of Arimathaea, is the very body which the Word raised,
saying, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'(2) It
is He who quickens all the dead, and quickened the man Christ Jesus, born
of Mary, whom He assumed. For if while on the cross(1) He raised corpses of
the saints that had previously undergone dissolution, much more can God the
everliving Word raise the body, which He wore, as says Paul, 'For the word
of God is quick and powerful.'"(2)
Of the same from the same work:--
"Life then does not die, but quickens the dead; for as the light is not
injured in a dark place, so life cannot suffer when it has visited a mortal
nature, for the Godhead of the Word is immutable and invariable as the Lord
says in the prophecy about Himself 'I am the Lord I change not.'"(3)
Of the same from the same work:--
"Living He cannot die but on the contrary quickens the dead. He is
therefore, by the Godhead derived from the Father, a fount of light; but He
that died, or rather rose from the dead, our intercessor, who was born of
the Virgin Mary, whom the Godhead of the Word assumed for our sake, is
Of the same from the same work:--
"It came to pass that Lazarus fell sick and died; but the divine Man
did not fall sick nor against His own will did He die, but of His own
accord came to the dispensation of death, being strengthened by God the
Word who dwelt within Him, and who said 'No man taketh it from me but I lay
it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it
again.'(4) The Godhead then which lays down and takes the life of man which
He wore is of the Son, for in its completeness He assumed the manhood, in
order that in its completeness He might quicken it, and, with it, the
Of the same from his discourse against the Arians:--
"When therefore the blessed Paul says the Father 'raised' the Son 'from
the dead'(5) John tells us that Jesus said 'Destroy this temple and in
three days I will raise it up ... but He spake' of His own 'body.'(6) So it
is clear to them that take heed that at the raising of the body the Son is
said by Paul to have been raised from the dead, for he refers what concerns
the body to the Son's person, and just so when he says 'the Father gave
life to the Son'(7) it must be understood that the life was given to the
Flesh. For if He Himself is life bow can the life receive life?"
Of the same from his work on the incarnation:--
"For when the Word was conscious that in no other way could tile ruin
of men be undone save by death to the uttermost, and it was impossible that
the Word who is immortal and Son of the Father should die, to effect His
end He assumes a body capable of death, that this body, being united to the
Word, who is over all, might, in the stead of all, become subject to death,
and because of the indwelling Word might remain incorruptible, and so by
the grace of the resurrection corruption for the future might lose its
power over men. Thus offering to death, as a sacrifice and victim free from
every spot, the body which He had assumed, by His corresponding offering He
straightway destroyed death's power over all His kind; for being the Word
of God above and beyond all men, He rightly offered and paid His own temple
and bodily instrument, as a ransom for all souls due to death. And thus by
means of the like (body) being associated with all men, the incorruptible
Son of God rightly clothed all men with incorruption by the promise of the
resurrection, for the corruption inherent in death no longer has any place
with men, for the sake of the Word who dwelt in them by the means of the
Of the same from the same work:--
"Wherefore, after His divine manifestations in His works, now also on
behalf of all He offered sacrifice, yielding to death His own temple
instead of all, that He might make all men irresponsible and free from the
ancient transgression, and, exhibiting His own body as incorruptible
firstfruits of the resurrection of mankind, might shew Himself stronger
than death. For the body, as having a common substance--for it was a human
body, although by a new miracle its constitution was of the Virgin alone--
being mortal, died after the example of its like; but by the descent of the
Word into it no longer suffered corruption, according to its own nature,
but, on account of God the Word who dwelt within it, was delivered from
Of the same from the same work:--
"Whence, as I have said, since it was not possible for the Word being
immortal to die, He took upon Himself a body capable of death, in order
that He might offer this same body for all, and He Himself in His suffering
on behalf of all through His descent into this body might 'destroy Him
that hath the power of death .'"(1)
Of the same from the same work:(1)--
"For the body in its passion, as is the nature of bodies, died, but it
had the promise of incorruption through the Word that dwelt within it. For
when the body died the Word was not injured; but He was Himself impassible,
incorruptible, and immortal, as being God's Word, and being associated with
the body He kept from it the natural corruption of bodies, as says the
Spirit to Him 'thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.'"(2)
The testimony of the holy Damasus, bishop of Rome:(3)--
"If any one say that, in the passion of the Cross, God the Son of God
suffered pain, and not the flesh with the soul, which the form of the
servant put on and assumed, as the Scripture saith, Let him be anathema."
Testimony of the holy Ambrosius, bishop of Milan.
From his book on the Catholic faith:--
"There are some men who have reached such a pitch of impiety as to
think that the Godhead of the Lord was circumcised, and from perfect was
made imperfect; and that the divine substance, Creator of all things, and
not the flesh, was on the tree."
Of the same from the same work:--
"The flesh suffered; but the Godhead is free from death. He yielded His
body to suffer according to the law of human nature. For how can God die,
when the soul cannot die? 'Fear not,' He says, 'them which kill the body
but are not able to kill the soul.'(4) If then the soul cannot be slain how
can the Godhead be made subject to death?"
Testimony of the holy Basilius, bishop of Caesarea:--
"It is perfectly well known to every one who has the least acquaintance
with the meaning of the words of the Apostle that he is not delivering to
us a mode of theology but is explaining the reasons of the oeconomy,(5) for
he says 'God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord aim
Christ.'(6) Thus he is plainly directing his argument to His human and
Testimony of the holy Gregorius, bishop of Nazianzus.
From his letter to the blessed Nectarius, bishop of Constantinople:--
"The saddest thing in what has befallen the churches is the boldness of
the utterances of Apollinarius and his party. I cannot understand how your
Holiness has allowed them to arrogate to themselves the power of assembling
on the same terms with us."
And a little further on:--
"I will no longer call this serious; it is indeed saddest of all that
the only begotten God Himself, Judge of all who exist, the Prince of Life,
the Destroyer of Death, is made by him mortal and alleged to receive
suffering in His own Godhead. He represents the Godhead to have shared with
the body in the dissolution of that three days' death of the body, and so
after the death to have been again raised by the Father."
Of the same from his former exposition to Cledonius:--
"It is the contention of the Arians that the manhood was without a
soul, that they may refer the passion to the Godhead and represent the same
power as both moving the body and suffering."
Of the same from his discourse about the Son:--
"It remained for us to treat of what was commanded Him and of His
keeping the commandments and doing all things pleasing to Him; and further
of His perfection, exaltation, and learning obedience by all that He
suffered,(1) His priesthood, His offering, His betrayal, His entreaty to
Him that hath power to save Him from death, His agony, His bloody sweat,
His prayer and similar manifestations, were it not clear to all that all
these expressions in connexion with His Passion in no way signify the
nature which was immutable and above suffering."
Of the same from his Easter Discourse (Or. ii.):--
"'Who is this that cometh from Edom?' and from the earth, and how can
the garments of the bloodless and bodiless be red as of one that treadeth
in the wine-fat? Urge in reply the beauty of the garment of the body which
suffered and was made beautiful in suffering, and was made splendid by the
Godhead, than which nothing is lovelier nor more fair."
Testimony of Gregory, bishop of Nyssa. From his catechetical oration :-
"And this is the mystery of the dispensation of God concerning the
manhood and of the resurrection from the dead, not to prevent the soul from
being separated from the body by death according to the necessary law of
human nature, and to bring them together again through the resurrection."
Of the same from the same work:--
"The flesh which received the Godhead, and which through the
resurrection was exalted with the Godhead, is not formed of another
material, but of ours; so, just as in the case of our own body, the
operation of one of the senses moves to general sensation the whole man
united to that part, in like manner just as though all nature were one
single animal, the resurrection of the part pervades the whole, being
conveyed from the part to the whole by what is continuous and united in
nature. What then do we find extraordinary in the mystery that the upright
stoops to the fallen to raise up him that lies low?"
Of the same from the same work:--
"It would be natural also in this part not to heed the one and neglect
the other; but in the immortal to behold the human, and to be curiously
exact about the diviner quality in the manhood."
Of the same from his work against Eunomius:--
"'Tis not the human nature which raises Lazarus to life. 'Tis not the
impassible power which sheds tears over the dead. The tear belongs to the
man; the life comes from the very life. The thousands are not fed by human
poverty; omnipotence does not hasten to the fig tree. Who was weary in the
way, and who by His word sustains all the world without being weary? What
is the brightness of His glory, what was pierced by the nails? What form is
smitten in the passion, what is glorified for everlasting? The answer is
plain and needs no interpretation."
Of the same from the same treatise:--
"He blames them that refer the passion to the human nature. He wishes
himself wholly to subject the Godhead itself to the passion, for the
proposition being twofold and doubtful, whether the divinity or the
humanity was concerned in the passion, the denial of the one becomes the
positive condemnation of the other. While therefore they blame them who see
the passion in the humanity, they will bestow unqualified praise on them
that maintain the Divinity of the Son of God to be passible. But the point
established by these means becomes a confirmation of their own absurdity of
doctrine; for if, as they allege, the Godhead of the Son suffers while that
of the Father in accordance with its substance is conserved in complete
impassibility, it follows that the impassible nature is at variance with
the nature which sustains suffering."
The testimony of the holy Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium.
From his discourse on the text "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that
heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting
"Whose then are the sufferings? Of the flesh. Therefore if you give to
the flesh the suffering, give it also the lowly words; and ascribe the
exalted words to Him to Whom you assign the miracles. For the God when He
is in the act of working wonders naturally speaks in high and lofty
language worthy of His works and the man when He is suffering fitly utters
lowly words corresponding with His sufferings."
Of the same from his discourse on " My Father is greater than I ":(2)--
"But when you give the sufferings to the flesh and the miracles to God,
you must of necessity, though unwillingly, give the lowly words to the man
born of Mary, and the high and lofty words becoming God, to the Word who
existed in the beginning. The reason why I utter sometimes lofty words and
sometimes lowly is that by the lofty I may show the nobility of the
indwelling Word, and by the lowly make known the infirmity of the lowly
flesh. So at one time I call myself equal to the Father and at another I
call the Father greater; and in this I am not inconsistent with myself, but
I shew that I am God and man; God by the lofty and man by the lowly. And if
you wish to know in what sense my Father is greater than I, I spoke in the
flesh and not in the person of the Godhead."
Of the same from his discourse on " If it be possible let this cup pass
from me ":(3)--
"Ascribe not then the sufferings of the flesh to the impassible God,
for I, O heretic, am God, and man; God, as the miracles prove man as is
shewn by the sufferings. Since then I am God and man, tell me, who was it
who suffered? If God suffered, you have spoken blasphemy; but if the flesh
suffered, why do you not attribute the passion to Him to whom yon ascribe
the dread? For while one is suffering another feels on dread; while man is
being crucified God is not troubled."
Of the same from his discourse against the Arians:--
"And not to prolong what I am saying, I will shortly ask you, O
heretic, did He who was begotten of God before the ages suffer, or Jesus
who was born of David in the last days? If the Godhead suffered, thou hast
spoken blasphemy; if, as the truth is, the manhood suffered, for what
reason do you hesitate to attribute the passion to man?"
Of the same from his discourse concerning the Son:--
"Peter said, 'God hath made tiffs Jesus both Lord and Christ'(1) and
said too, this Jesus whom ye crucified God hath raised up.'(2) Now it was
the manhood, not the Godhead, which became a corpse, and He who raised it
was the Word, the power of God, who said in the Gospel, 'Destroy this
temple and in three days I will raise it up.'(3) So when it is said that
God hath made Him who became a corpse and rose from the dead both Lord and
Christ, what is meant is the flesh, and not the Godhead of the Son."
Of the same from his discourse on "The Son can do nothing of
"For He had not such a nature as that His life could be held by
corruption, since His Godhead was not forcibly reduced to suffering. For
how could it? But the manhood was renewed in incorruption. So he says 'For
this mortal must put on immortality and this corruptible must put on
incorruption.'(5) You observe the accuracy; he points distinctly to 'this
mortal' that you may not entertain the idea of the resurrection of any
Testimony of the holy Flavianus, bishop of Antioch.
On Easter Day:--"Wherefore also the cross is boldly preached by us, and
the Lord's death confessed among us, though in nothing did the Godhead
suffer, for the divine is impassible, but the dispensation was fulfilled by
Of the same on Judas the traitor:--
"When therefore you hear of the Lord being betrayed, do not degrade the
divine dignity to insignificance, nor attribute to divine power the
sufferings of the body. For the divine is impassible and invariable. For if
through His love to mankind He took on Him the form of a servant, He
underwent no change in nature. But being what He ever was, he yielded the
divine(6) body to experience death."
Testimony of Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria.
From his Heortastic Volume :--
"Of unreasoning beings the souls are not taken and replaced: they share
in the corruption of the bodies, and are dissolved into dust. But after the
Saviour at the time of the cross had taken the soul from His own body, He
restored it to the body again when He rose from the dead. To assure us of
this He uttered the words of the psalmist, the predictive exclamation,
'Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell nor suffer thine Holy One to see
Testimony of the blessed Gelasius, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine: --
"He was bound, He was wounded, He was crucified, He was handled, He was
marked with scars, He received a lance's wound, and all these indignities
were undergone by the body born of Mary, while that which was begotten
froth the Father before the ages none was able to harm, for the Word had no
such nature. For how can any one constrain Godhead? How wound it? How make
red with blood the incorporeal nature? How surround it with grave bands?
Grant now what you cannot contravene and, constrained by invincible reason,
Testimony of the holy John, bishop of Constantinople.
From his discourse on the words "My Father worketh hitherto and I
work": (2) --
"'What sign shewest Thou unto us seeing that Thou doest these things?'
(3) What then does He reply Himself? 'Destroy this temple,' He says, ' and
in three days I will raise it up,' (4) speaking of His own body, but they
did not understand Him."
And a little further on: --
"Why does not the evangelist pass this by? Why did he add the
correction, 'But He spake of the temple of his body'? (5) for He did not
say destroy this 'body,' but (4) temple' that He might shew the indwelling
God. Destroy this temple which is far more excellent than that of the Jews.
The Jewish temple contained the Law; this temple contains the Lawgiver; the
former the letter that killeth; the latter the spirit that giveth life."
Of the same from the discourse "That what was spoken and done in
humility was not so done and spoken on account of infirmity ofpower but
different dispensations": --
"How then does He say 'If it be possible'? (7) He is pointing out to us
the infirmity of the human nature, which did not choose to be torn away
from this present life, but stepped back and shrank on account of the love
implanted in it by God in the beginning for the present life. If then when
the Lord Himself so often spoke in such terms, some have dared to say that
He did not take flesh, what would they have said if none of these words had
been spoken by Him?"
Of the same from the same work: --
"Observe how they spoke of His former age. Ask the heretic the question
Does God dread? Does He draw back? Does He shrink? Does He sorrow? and if
he says yes, stand off from him for the future, rank him down below with
the devil, aye lower even than the devil, for even the devil will not dare
to say this. But, should he say that each of these things is unworthy of
God, reply -- neither does God pray; for apart from these it will be yet
another absurdity should the words be the words of God, for the words
indicate not only an agony, but also two wills; one of the Son and another
of the Father, opposed to one another. For the words 'Not as I will, but as
Thou wilt,' are the words of one indicating this."
Of the same from the same work:--
"For if this be spoken of the Godhead there arises a certain
contradiction, and many absurdities are thereby produced. If on the
contrary it be spoken of the flesh, the expressions are reasonable, and no
fault can be found with them. For the unwillingness of the flesh to die
incurs no condemnation; such is the nature of the flesh and He exhibits all
the properties of the flesh except sin, and indeed in full abundance, so as
to stop the mouths of the heretics. When therefore He says 'If it be
possible let this cup pass from me' and 'not as I will but as Thou wilt,'
He only shews that the is really clothed with the flesh which fears death,
for it is the nature of the flesh to fear death, to draw back and to suffer
agony. Now He leaves it abandoned and stripped of its own activity, that by
shewing its weakness He may convince us also of its nature. Sometimes
however He conceals it, because He was not mere man."
Testimony of Severianus, bishop of Gabala.
From his discourse on the seals: --
"The Jews withstand the apparent, ignorant of the non-apparent; they
crucify the flesh; they do not destroy the Godhead. For if my words are not
destroyed together with the letter which is the clothing of speech, how
could God the Word, the fount of life, die together with the flesh? The
passion belongs to the body, but impassibillty to the dignity."
See then bow they whose husbandry is in the East and in the West, as
well as in the South and in the North, have all been shewn by us to condemn
your vain heresy, and all openly to proclaim the impassibility of the
divine Nature. See how both tongues, I mean both Greek and Latin, make one
harmonious confession about the things of God,
Eran. -- I am myself astonished at their harmony, but I observe a
considerable difference in the terms they use.
Orth. -- Do not be angry. The very force of their fight against their
adversaries is the cause of their seeming immoderate. The same thing is to
be observed in the case of planters; when they see a plant bent one way or
another, they are not satisfied with bringing it to a straight line, but
bend it still further in the opposite direction, that by its being bent
still further from the straight it may attain its upright stature. But that
you may know that the very promoters and supporters of this manifold heresy
strive to surpass even the heretics of old by the greatness of their
blasphemies, listen once more to the writings of Apollinarius which
proclaim the impassibility of the divine nature, and confess the passion to
be of the body.
Testimony of Apollinarius. From his summary: -" John spoke of the
temple which was destroyed, namely the body of Him that raised it, and the
body is entirely united to Him and He is not another among them. And if the
body of the Lord was one with the Lord, the properties of the body were
constituted His properties on account of the body."
And again: --
"And the truth is that His conjunction with the body does not take
place by circumscription of the Word, so that He has nothing beyond His
incorporation. Wherefore even in death immortality abides with Him; for if
He transcends this composition, so does He also the dissolution. Now death
is dissolution. But He was not comprehended in the composition; had He been
so, the universe would have been made void; nor in the dissolution did He,
like the soul, suffer the deprivation which succeeds dissolution."
And again: --
"As the Saviour says that the dead bodies go forth from their tombs,
though their souls do not go forth thence, just so He says that He Himself
will rise from the dead, although it is only His body that rises."
In another similar work he writes: --
"Of man is the rising from the dead; of God is the raising. Now Christ
both rose and raised, for He was God and man. Had the Christ been only man
He would not have quickened the dead, and if He had been only God, He would
not on His own account apart from the Father have quickened any of the
dead. But Christ did both; the same being is both God and man. If the
Christ had been only man He would not have saved the world; if He had been
only God He would not have saved it through suffering, but Christ did both,
so He is God and man. If the Christ had been only than or if only God He
could not have been a Mediator between men and God."
And a little further on: --
"Now flesh is an instrument of life fitted to the capacity for
suffering in accordance with the divine will. Words are not proper to the
Flesh, nor are deeds. Being made subject to the capacity for suffering, as
is natural to the flesh, it prevails over the suffering because it is the
flesh of God."
And again a little further on: --
"The Son took flesh of the Virgin and travelled to the world. This
flesh He filled with the Holy Ghost to the sanctification of us all. So He
delivered death to death and destroyed death through the resurrection to
the raising of us all."
From his tract concerning the faith:--
"Since the passions are concerned with the flesh His power possessed
its own impassibility, so to refer the passion to the power is an impious
And in his tract about the incarnation he further writes: --
"Here then He shews that it was the same man who rose from the dead and
God who reigns over all creation."
You see now that one of the professors of vain heresy plainly preaches
the impassibility of the Godhead, calls the body a temple, and persists in
maintaining that this body was raised by God the Word.
Eran. -- I have beard and I am astonished; and I am really ashamed that
our doctrines should appear less tenable than the innovation of
Orth. -- But I will bring you a witness from yet another heretical herd
distinctly preaching the impassibility of the Godhead of the only begotten.
Eran. -- Whom do you mean?
Orth. -- You have probably heard of Eusebius the Phoenician, who was
bishop of Emesa by Lebanon. (1)
Eran. -- I have met with some of his writings, and found him to be a
supporter of the doctrines of Arius.
Orth. -- Yes; he did belong to that sect, but in his endeavour to prove
that the Father was greater than the only begotten he declares the Godhead
of the depreciated Son to be impassible and for this opinion he contended
with long and extraordinary perseverance.
Eran. -- I should be very much obliged if you would quote his words
Orth. -- To comply with your wish I will adduce somewhat longer
evidence. Now listen to what he says, and fancy that the man himself is
Testimony of Eusebius of Emesa:--
"Wherefore does he fear death? Lest he suffer anything from death? For
what was death to Him? Was it not the severance of the power from the
flesh? Did the power receive a nail that it should fear? If our soul
suffers not the body's infirmities when united with it, but the eye grows
blind and yet the mind retains its force; and a foot is cut off and yet the
reasoning power does not halt -- and this nature evidences, and the Lord
sets His seal on, in the words 'Fear not them which kill the body but are
not able to kill the soul' (and if they cannot kill the soul, it is not
because they do not wish, but because they are not able, though they would
like to make the soul share the suffering of the body yoked with it) --
shall He who created the soul and formed the body suffer as the body
suffers, although He does take upon Himself the body's sufferings? But
Christ suffered for us, and we lie not. ' And the bread that l will give
is my flesh.' (1) This He gave for us.
"That which can be mastered was mastered; that which can be crucified
was crucified, but He that had power alike to dwell in it and to leave. it
said 'Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit,' (2) not into the hands of
them who were trying to hasten His death. I am not fond of controversy; I
rather avoid it; with all gentleness I wish to enquire into the points at
issue between us as between brothers. Do not I say truly that the power
could not be subject to the sufferings of the flesh? I stay noticing; let
him who will say what the power suffered. Did it fail? See the danger. Was
it extinct? See the blasphemy. Did it no longer exist? This is the death of
power. Tell me what can so master it that it suffered and I withdraw. But,
if you cannot tell me. why do you object to my not telling you? What you
cannot tell me, that it did not receive. Drive a nail into a soul and I
will admit that it can be driven into power. But it was in sympathy. Tell
me what you mean by 'in sympathy.' As a nail went into the flesh, so pain
into the power. Let us understand 'was in sympathy' in this sense. Then
pain was felt by the power which was not smitten. For pain always follows
on suffering. But if a body often despises pain while the mind is sound, on
account of the vigour of its thought, then in this case let some one
explain impartially what suffered and what suffered with or was in
sympathy. What then? Did not Christ die for us? How did He die? 'Father,
into thy hands I commend my Spirit.' (1) The Spirit departed; the body
remained; the body remained without breath. Did He not die then? He died
for us. The Shepherd offered the sheep, the Priest offered the sacrifice,
He gave Himself for us. 'He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him
up for us all.' (2) I do not reject the words, but I want the meaning of
the words. The Lord says that the bread of God came down from Heaven, (3)
and though I cannot express it more clearly on account of the mysteries, He
says in explanation 'It is my flesh.' Did the flesh of the Son come down
from heaven? No. How then does He say, and that in explanation, the bread
of God lives and came down from Heaven? He refers the properties of the
power to the flesh, because the power which assumed the flesh came down
from heaven. Change the terms then; He refers to the power what the flesh
suffers. How did Christ suffer for us? He was spat upon, He was smitten on
the cheek, they put a crown about His brow, His hands and feet were
pierced. All these sufferings were of the body, but they are referred to
Him that dwelt therein. Throw a stone at the Emperor's statue. What is the
cry? 'You have insulted the Emperor.' Tear the Emperor's robe. What is the
cry? 'You have rebelled against the Emperor.' Crucify Christ's body. What
is the cry? 'Christ died for us.' But what need of me and thee? Let us go
to the Evangelists. How have you received from the Lord how the Lord died?
They read 'Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit.' (4) The Spirit on
high, the body on the Cross for us. So far as His body is attributed to
Himself He offered the sheep."
Of the same from the same book:--
"He came to save our nature; not to destroy His own. If I consent to
say that a camel flies, you directly count it strange, because it does not
fit in with its nature; and you are quite right. And if I say that men live
in the sea you will not accept it; you are quite right. It is contrary to
nature. As then if I say strange things about these natures you count it
strange; if I say that the Power which was before the ages, by nature
incorporeal, in dignity impassible, which exists with the Father and by the
Father's side, on His right hand and in glory, if I say that this
incorporeal nature suffers, will you not stop your ears? If you will not
stop your ears when you hear this, I shall stop my heart. Can we do
anything to an angel? Smite him with a sword? Or cut him in pieces? Why do
I say to an angel? Can we to a soul? Does a soul receive a nail? A soul is
neither cut nor burnt. Do you ask why? Because it was so created. Are His
works impassible and He Himself passible? I do not reject the oeconomy; on
the contrary, I welcome the ill-treatment. Christ died for us and was
crucified. So it is written; so the nature admitted. I do not blot out the
words nor do I blaspheme the nature. But this is not true. Very well, then
let something truer be said. The teacher is a benefactor, never harsh,
never an enemy, unless the pupil be headstrong. Have you anything good to
say? My ears are gratefully open. Does any one want to quarrel? Let him
quarrel at his leisure. Could the Jews crucify the Son of God and make the
power itself a dead body? Can the living die? The death of this power is
its failure. Even when we die, our body is left. But if we make that power
a dead body we reduce it to non-existence. I am afraid you cannot hear. If
the body die, the soul is separated from it and remains; but if the soul
die, since it has no body, it altogether ceases to exist. A soul by dying
altogether ceases to be. For the death of the immortals is a contradiction
of their existence. Consider the alternative; for I do not dare even to
mention it. We say these things as we understand them, but if any one is
contentions, we lay down no law. But I know one thing, that every man must
reap the fruit of his opinions. Each man comes to God and brings before Him
what he has said and thought about Him. Do not suppose that God reads
books, or is troubled by having to recollect what you said or who heard
you: all is made manifest. The judge is on the throne. Paulus (1) is
brought before Him. 'Thou saidst I was a man; thou hast no life with Me.
Thou knewest not Me; I know not thee.' Up comes another. 'Thou saidst I was
one of the things that are created. (2) Thou knewest not My dignity; I know
not thee.' Up comes another. 'Thou saidst that I did not assume a body.
Thou madest light of My grace. Thou shall not share My immortality.' Up
comes another. 'Thou saidst that I was not born of a Virgin to save the
body of the Virgin; thou shall not be saved.' Each one reaps the fruit of
his opinions about tile faith."
You see the other sect of your teachers, which yon supposed that you
had learnt the suffering of the Godhead of the only Begotten, abhors this
blasphemy, preaches the impassibility of the Godhead, and quits the ranks
of them who dare to attribute the passion to it.
Eran. -- Yes; I am astonished at the conflict, and I admire the man's
sense and opinions.
Orth. -- Then, my good Sir, imitate the bees. As you flit in mental
flight about the meads of the divine Scripture, among the flowers of these
illustrious Fathers, build us in your heart the honey-comb of the faith. If
haply yon find anywhere herbage bitter and not fit to eat, like these
fellows Apollinarius and Eusebius, but still not quite without something
that may be meet for making honey, it is reasonable that yon should sip the
sweet and leave the poisonous behind, like bees who lighting often on
baneful bushes leave all the deadly bane behind and gather all the good. We
give you this advice, dear friend, in brotherly kindness. Receive it and
you will do well. And if you hearken not we will say to you in the word of
the apostle "We are pure." (3) We have spoken, as the prophet says, what we
have been commanded.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in
1867. (LNPF II/III, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The
Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.