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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on Rebuke and Grace.: Chapter 30

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 30.—The Incarnation of the Word.

Hence, although these do not now require a grace more joyous for the present, they nevertheless need a more powerful grace; and what grace is more powerful than the only-begotten Son of God, equal to the Father and co-eternal, made man for them, and, without any sin of His own, either original or actual, crucified by men who were sinners? And although He rose again on the third day, never to die any more, He yet bore death for men and gave life to the dead, so p. 484 that redeemed by His blood, having received so great and such a pledge, they could say, “If God be for us, who is against us? He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how has He not with Him also given to us all things?” 3349 God therefore took upon Him our nature—that is, the rational soul and flesh of the man Christ—by an undertaking singularly marvellous, or marvellously singular; so that with no preceding merits of His own righteousness He might in such wise be the Son of God from the beginning, in which He had begun to be man, that He, and the Word which is without beginning, might be one person. For there is no one blinded by such ignorance of this matter and the Faith as to dare to say that, although born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary the Son of man, yet of His own free will by righteous living and by doing good works, without sin, He deserved to be the Son of God; in opposition to the gospel, which says, “The Word was made flesh.” 3350 For where was this made flesh except in the Virginal womb, whence was the beginning of the man Christ? And, moreover, when the Virgin asked how that should come to pass which was told her by the angel, the angel answered, “The Holy Ghost shall come over on to thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” 3351 “Therefore,” he said; not because of works of which certainly of a yet unborn infant there are none; but “therefore,” because “the Holy Ghost shall come over on to thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” That nativity, absolutely gratuitous, conjoined, in the unity of the person, man to God, flesh to the Word! Good works followed that nativity; good works did not merit it. For it was in no wise to be feared that the human nature taken up by God the Word in that ineffable manner into a unity of person, would sin by free choice of will, since that taking up itself was such that the nature of man so taken up by God would admit into itself no movement of an evil will. Through this Mediator God makes known that He makes those whom He redeemed by His blood from evil, everlastingly good; and Him He in such wise assumed that He never would be evil, and, not being made out of evil, would always be good. 3352



Rom. 8:31, 32.


John i. 14.


Luke i. 35.


Some editions have, instead of “and not being made,” etc., “lest being made of evil he should not always be good.”

Next: Chapter 31

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