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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 18

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 18.—The Significance of Abel, Seth, and Enos to Christ and His Body the Church.

“And to Seth,” it is said, “there was born a son, and he called his name Enos:  he hoped to call on the name of the Lord God.” 824   Here we have a loud testimony to the truth.  Man, then, the son of the resurrection, lives in hope:  he lives in hope as long as the city of God, which is begotten by faith in the resurrection, sojourns in this world.  For in these two men, Abel, signifying “grief,” and his brother Seth, signifying “resurrection,” the death of Christ and His life from the dead are prefigured.  And by faith in these is begotten in this world the city of God, that is to say, the man who has hoped to call on the name of the Lord.  “For by hope,” says the apostle, “we are saved:   but hope that is seen is not hope:  for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” 825   Who can avoid referring this to a profound mystery?  For did not Abel hope to call upon the name of the Lord God when his sacrifice is mentioned in Scripture as having been accepted by God?  Did not Seth himself hope to call on the name of the Lord God, of whom it was said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel?”  Why then is this which is found to be common to all the godly specially attributed to Enos, unless because it was fit that in him, who is mentioned as the first-born of the father of those generations which were separated to the better part of the heavenly city, there should be a type of the man, or society of men, who live not according to man in contentment with earthly felicity, but according to God in hope of everlasting felicity?  And it was not said, “He hoped in the Lord God,” nor “He called on the name of the Lord God,” but “He hoped to call on the name of the Lord God.”  And what does this “hoped to call” mean, unless it is a prophecy that a people should arise who, according to the election of grace, would call on the name of the Lord God?  It is this which has been said by another prophet, and which the apostle interprets of the people who belong to the grace of God:  “And it shall be that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 826   For these two expressions, “And he called his name Enos, which means man,” and “He hoped to call on the name of the Lord God,” are sufficient proof that man ought not to rest his hopes in himself; as it is elsewhere written, “Cursed is the man that trusteth in man.” 827   Consequently no one ought to trust in himself that he shall become a citizen of that other city which is not dedicated in the name of Cain’s son in this present time, that is to say, in the fleeting course of this mortal world, but in the immortality of perpetual blessedness.



Gen. 4.26.


Rom. 8:24, 25.


Rom. 10.13.


Jer. 17.5.

Next: Chapter 19

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