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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 14

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 14.—How the Wisdom of God Healed Man.

13.  Moreover, as the use of remedies is the way to health, so this remedy took up sinners to heal and restore them.  And just as surgeons, when they bind up wounds, do it not in a slovenly way, but carefully, that there may be a certain degree of neatness in the binding, in addition to its mere usefulness, so our medicine, Wisdom, was by His assumption of humanity adapted to our wounds, curing some of them by their opposites, some of them by their likes.  And just as he who ministers to a bodily hurt in some cases applies contraries, as cold to hot, moist to dry, etc., and in other cases applies likes, as a round cloth to a round wound, or an oblong cloth to an oblong wound, and does not fit the same bandage to all limbs, but puts like to like; in the same way the Wisdom of God in healing man has applied Himself to his cure, being Himself healer and medicine both in one.  Seeing, then, that man fell through pride, He restored him through humility.  We were ensnared by the wisdom of the serpent:  we are set free by the foolishness of God.  Moreover, just as the former was called wisdom, but was in reality the folly of those who despised God, so the latter is called foolishness, but is true wisdom in those who overcome the devil.  We used our immortality so badly as to incur the penalty of death:  Christ used His mortality so well as to restore us to life.  The disease was brought in through a woman’s corrupted soul:  the remedy came through a woman’s virgin body.  To the same class of opposite remedies it belongs, that our vices are cured by the example of His virtues.  On the other hand, the following are, as it were, bandages made in the same shape as the limbs and wounds to which they are applied:  He was born of a woman to deliver us who fell through a woman:  He came as a man to save us who are men, as a mortal to save us who are mortals, by death to save us who were dead.  And those who can follow out the matter more fully, who are not hurried on by the necessity of carrying out a set undertaking, will find many other points of instruction in considering the remedies, whether opposites or likes, employed in the medicine of Christianity.


Next: Chapter 15

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