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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Section 16

Early Church Fathers  Index     

16. But perhaps some one is alarmed at hearing us discourse of the death of Him of Whom, a short while since, we said that p. 550 He is everlasting with God the Father, and that He was begotten of the Father’s substance, and is one with God the Father, in dominion, majesty, and eternity. But be not alarmed, O faithful hearer. Presently thou wilt see Him of Whose death thou hearest once more immortal; for the death to which He submits is about to spoil death. For the object of that mystery of the Incarnation which we expounded just now was that the divine virtue of the Son of God, as though it were a hook concealed beneath the form and fashion of human flesh (He being, as the Apostle Paul says, “found in fashion as a man”), 3294 might lure on the Prince of this world to a conflict, to whom offering His flesh as a bait, His divinity underneath might catch him and hold him fast with its hook, through the shedding of His immaculate blood. For He alone Who knows no stain of sin hath destroyed the sins of all, of those, at least, who have marked the door-posts of their faith with His blood. As, therefore, if a fish seizes a baited hook, it not only does not take the bait off the hook, but is drawn out of the water to be itself food for others, so He Who had the power of death seized the body of Jesus in death, not being aware of the hook of Divinity inclosed within it, but having swallowed it he was caught forthwith, and the bars of hell being burst asunder, he was drawn forth as it were from the abyss to become food for others. Which result the Prophet Ezekiel long ago foretold under this same figure, saying, “I will draw thee out with My hook, and stretch thee out upon the earth: the plains shall be filled with thee, and I will set all the fowls of the air over thee, and I will satiate all the beasts of the earth with thee.” 3295 The Prophet David also says, “Thou hast broken the heads of the great dragon, Thou hast given him to be meat to the people of Ethiopia.” 3296 And Job in like manner witnesses of the same mystery, for he says in the person of the Lord speaking to him, “Wilt thou draw forth the dragon with a hook, and wilt thou put thy bit in his nostrils?” 3297



Phil. ii. 8


Ezek. 29:4, 5


Ps. lxxiv. 14, LXX.


Job xli. 1

Next: Section 17

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