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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 19

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 19.—In What Manner the Son Was Sent and Proclaimed Beforehand. How in the Sending of His Birth in the Flesh He Was Made Less Without Detriment to His Equality with the Father.

25. Behold, then, why the Son of God was sent; nay, rather behold what it is for the Son of God to be sent. Whatever things they were which were wrought in time, with a view to produce faith, whereby we might be cleansed so as to contemplate truth, in things that have a beginning, which have been put forth from eternity, and are referred back to eternity: these were either testimonies of this mission, or they were the mission itself of the Son of God. But some of these testimonies announced Him beforehand as to come, some testified that He had come already. For that He was made a creature by whom the whole creation was made, must needs find a witness in the whole creation. For except one were preached by the sending of many [witnesses] one would not be bound to, the sending away of many. And unless there were such testimonies as should seem to be great to those who are lowly, it would not be believed, that He being great should make men great, who as lowly was sent to the lowly. For the heaven and the earth and all things in them are incomparably greater works of the Son of God, since all things were made by Him, than the signs and the portents which broke forth in testimony of Him. But yet men, in order that, being lowly, they might believe these great things to have been wrought by Him, trembled at those lowly things, as if they had been great.

26. “When, therefore, the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law;” 532 to such a degree lowly, that He was “made;” in this way therefore sent, in that He was made. If, therefore, the greater sends the less, we too, acknowledge Him to have been made less; and in so far less, in so far as made; and in so far made, in so far as sent. For “He sent forth His Son made of a woman.” And yet, because all things were made by Him, not only before He was made and sent, but before all things were at all, we confess the same to be equal to the sender, whom we call less, as having been sent. In what way, then, could He be seen by the fathers, when certain angelical visions were shown to them, before that fullness of time at which it was fitting He should be sent, and so before He was sent, at a time when not yet sent He was seen as He is equal with the Father? For p. 83 how does He say to Philip, by whom He was certainly seen as by all the rest, and even by those by whom He was crucified in the flesh, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also;” unless because He was both seen and yet not seen? He was seen, as He had been made in being sent; He was not seen, as by Him all things were made. Or how does He say this too, “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him,” 533 at a time when He was manifest before the eyes of men; unless because He was offering that flesh, which the Word was made in the fullness of time, to be accepted by our faith; but was keeping back the Word itself, by whom all things were made, to be contemplated in eternity by the mind when cleansed by faith?



Gal. 4.4Gal. iv. 4


John 14:9, 21John 14:9, 21

Next: Chapter 20

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