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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
MATHETES: Chapter VII.—The manifestation of...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VII.—The manifestation of Christ.

For, as I said, this was no mere earthly invention which was delivered to them, nor is it a mere human system of opinion, which they judge it right to preserve so carefully, nor has a dispensation of mere human mysteries been committed to them, but truly God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, [Him who is] the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word, and has firmly established Him in their hearts. He did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any servant, or angel, or ruler, or any one of those who bear sway over earthly things, or one of those to whom the government of things in the heavens has been entrusted, but the very Creator and Fashioner of all things—by whom He made the heavens—by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds—whose ordinances 295 all the stars 296 faithfully observe—from whom the sun 297 has received the measure of his daily course to be observed 298 — whom the moon obeys, being commanded to shine in the night, and whom the stars also obey, following the moon in her course; by whom all things have been arranged, and placed within their proper limits, and to whom all are subject—the heavens and the things that are therein, the earth and the things that are therein, the sea and the things that are therein—fire, air, and the abyss—the things which are in the heights, the things which are in the depths, and the things which lie between. This [messenger] He sent to them. Was it then, as one 299 might conceive, for the purpose of exercising tyranny, or of inspiring fear and terror? By no means, but under the influence of clemency and meekness. As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God 300 He sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Saviour He sent Him, and as seeking to persuade, not to compel us; for violence has no place in the character of God. As calling us He sent Him, not as vengefully pursuing us; as loving us He sent Him, not as judging us. For He will yet send Him to judge us, and who shall endure His appearing? 301 … Do you not see them exposed to wild beasts, p. 28 that they may be persuaded to deny the Lord, and yet not overcome? Do you not see that the more of them are punished, the greater becomes the number of the rest? This does not seem to be the work of man: this is the power of God; these are the evidences of His manifestation.


Footnotes

27:295

Literally, “mysteries.”

27:296

Literally, “elements.”

27:297

The word “sun,” though omitted in the mss., should manifestly be inserted.

27:298

Literally, “has received to observe.”

27:299

Literally, “one of men.”

27:300

“God” here refers to the person sent.

27:301

[Comp. Mal. iii. 2. The Old Testament is frequently in mind, if not expressly quoted by Mathetes.] A considerable gap here occurs in the mss.


Next: Chapter VIII.—The miserable state of...

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