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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter VIII. Christ, so far as He is true Son of God, has no Lord, but only so far as He is Man; as is shown by His words in which He addressed at one time the Father, at another the Lord. How many heresies are silenced by one verse of Scripture! We must distinguish between the things that belong to Christ as Son of God or as Son of David. For under the latter title only must we ascribe it to Him that He was a servant. Lastly, he points out that many passages cannot be taken except as referring to the Incarnation.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.

Christ, so far as He is true Son of God, has no Lord, but only so far as He is Man; as is shown by His words in which He addressed at one time the Father, at another the Lord. How many heresies are silenced by one verse of Scripture! We must distinguish between the things that belong to Christ as Son of God or as Son of David. For under the latter title only must we ascribe it to Him that He was a servant. Lastly, he points out that many passages cannot be taken except as referring to the Incarnation.

99. Wherefore also it is plain how He calls Him Lord, Whom He knew as Father. For He says: “I confess to Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” 2633 First Wisdom spoke of His own Father, and then proclaimed Him Lord of creation. For this reason the Lord shows in His Gospel that no lordship is exercised where there is a true offspring, saying: “What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The son of David. Jesus saith to them, How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying: The Lord said unto my Lord: Sit Thou on My right hand”? Then he added: “If David in spirit then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word.” 2634

100. With what care did the Lord provide for the faith in this witness because of the Arians! For He did not say: “The spirit calls Him Lord,” but that “David spake in spirit;” in order that men might believe that as He is his, that is, David’s son according to the flesh, so also He is his Lord and God according to His Godhead. Thou seest, then, that there is a distinction between the p. 297 titles that are used of relationship and of lordship.

101. And rightly did the Lord speak of His own Father, but of the Lord of heaven and earth; so that thou, when thou readest of the Father and the Lord, mayest understand it is the Father of the Son, and the Lord of Creation. In the one title rests the claim of nature, in the other the authority to rule. For taking on Himself the form of a servant, He calls Him Lord, because He has submitted to service; being equal to Him in the form of God, but being a servant in the form of His body: for service is the due of the flesh, but lordship is the due of the Godhead. Wherefore also the Apostle says: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,” 2635 that is, terming Him God of the adoption of humanity but the Father of glory. Did God have two Sons, Christ and Glory? Certainly not. Therefore if there is one Son of God, even Christ, Christ is Glory. Why dost thou strive to belittle Him who is the glory of the Father?

102. If then the Son is glory, and the Father is glory (for the Father of glory cannot be anything else than glory), there is no separation of glories, but glory is one. Thus glory is referred to its own proper nature, but lordship to the service of the body that was assumed. For if the flesh is subject to the soul of a just man as it is written: “I chastise my body and bring it into subjection;” 2636 how much more is it subject to the Godhead, of Which it is said: “For all things serve Thee”? 2637

103. By one question the Lord has shut out both Sabellians and Photinians and Arians. For when He said that the Lord spoke to the Lord, Sabellius is set aside, who will have it that the same Person is both Father and Son. Photinus is set aside, who thinks of Him merely as man; for none could be Lord of David the King, but He Who is God, for it is written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” 2638 Would the prophet who ruled under the Law act contrary to the Law? Arius is set aside, who hears that the Son sits on the right hand of the Father; so that if he argues from human ways, he refutes himself, and makes the poison of his blasphemous arguments to flow back upon himself. For in interpreting the inequality of the Father and the Son by the analogy of human habits (wandering from the truth in either case), he puts Him first Whom he makes little of, confessing Him to be the First, Whom he hears to be at the right hand. The Manichæan also is set aside, for he does not deny that He is the Son of David according to the flesh, Who, at the cry of the blind men, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us,” 2639 was pleased at their faith and stood and healed them. But He does deny that this refers to His eternity, if He is called Son of David alone by those who are false.

104. For “Son of God” is against Ebion, 2640 “Son of David,” is against the Manichees; 2641 “Son of God” is against Photinus, 2642 “Son of David” is against Marcion; 2643 “Son of God” is against Paul of Samosata, 2644 “Son of David” is against Valentinus; 2645 “Son of God” is against Arius and Sabellius, the inheritors of heathen errors. “Lord of David” is against the Jews, who beholding the Son of God in the flesh, in impious madness believed Him to be only man.

105. But in the faith of the Church one and the same is both Son of God the Father and Son of David. For the mystery of the Incarnation of God is the salvation of the whole of creation, according to that which is written: “That without God He should taste death for every man;” 2646 that is, that every creature might be redeemed without any suffering at the price of the blood of the Lord’s Divinity, as it stands elsewhere: “Every creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.” 2647

106. It is one thing to be named Son according to the divine Substance, it is another thing to be so called according to the adoption of human flesh. For, according to the divine Generation, the Son is equal to God the Father; and, according to the adoption of a body, He is a servant to God the Father. “For,” it says, “He took upon Him the form of a servant.” 2648 The Son is, however, one and the same. On the other hand, according to His glory, He is Lord to the holy patriarch David, but his Son in the line of actual descent, not abandoning aught of His own, but acquiring for Himself the rights that go with the adoption into our race.

107. Not only does He undergo service in the character of man by reason of His descent from David, but also by reason of His name, as it is written: “I have found David My Servant;” 2649 and elsewhere: “Behold I p. 298 will send unto you My Servant, the Orient is His name.” 2650 And the Son Himself says: “Thus saith the Lord, that formed Me from the womb to be His servant, and said unto Me: It is a great thing for Thee to be called My Servant. Behold I have set Thee up for a witness to My people, and a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” 2651 To whom is this said, if not to Christ? Who being in the form of God, emptied Himself and took upon Him the form of a servant. 2652 But what can be in the form of God, except that which exists in the fulness of the Godhead?

108. Learn, then, what this means: “He took upon Him the form of a servant.” It means that He took upon Him all the perfections of humanity in their completeness, and obedience in its completeness. And so it says in the thirtieth Psalm: “Thou hast set my feet in a large room. I am made a reproach above all mine enemies. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant.” 2653 “Servant” means the Man in whom He was sanctified; it means the Man in whom He was anointed; it means the Man in whom He was made under the law, made of the Virgin; and, to put it briefly, it means the Man in whose person He has a mother, as it is written: “O Lord, I am Thy Servant, I am Thy Servant, and the Son of Thy hand-maid;” 2654 and again: “I am cast down and sore humbled.” 2655

109. Who is sore humbled, but Christ, Who came to free all through His obedience? “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 2656 Who received the cup of salvation? Christ the High Priest, or David who never held the priesthood, nor endured suffering? Who offered the sacrifice of Thanksgiving? 2657

110. But that is insufficient; take again: “Preserve My soul, for I am holy.” 2658 Did David say this of himself? Nay, He says it, Who also says: “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” 2659 The Same then says both of these.

111. He has added further: “Save Thy Servant;” 2660 and, further on: “Give Thy strength to Thy servant, and to the Son of Thy handmaid;” 2661 and, elsewhere, that is, in Ezekiel: “And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall rule them, even My Servant David. He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My Servant David a prince among them.” 2662 Now David the Son of Jesse was already dead. Therefore he speaks of Christ, Who for our sakes was made the Son of a handmaiden in the form of man; for according to His divine Generation He has no Mother, but a Father only: nor is He the fruit of earthly desire, but the eternal Power of God.

112. And so, also, when we read that the Lord said: “My time is not yet full come;” 2663 and: “Yet a little while I am with you;” and: “I go unto Him that sent Me;” 2664 and: “Now is the Son of Man glorified;” 2665 we ought to refer all this to the sacrament of the Incarnation. But when we read: “And God is glorified in Him, and God hath glorified Him;” 2666 what doubt is there here, where the Son is glorified by the Father, and the Father is glorified by the Son?

113. Next, to make clear the faith of the Unity, and the Union of the Trinity, He also said that He would be glorified by the Spirit, as it stands: “He shall receive of Mine, and shall glorify Me.” 2667 Therefore the Holy Spirit also glorifies the Son of God. How, then, did He say: “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing.” 2668 Is then the glory of the Son nothing? It is blasphemy to say so, unless we apply these words to His flesh; for the Son spoke in the character of man, for by comparison with the Godhead, there is no glory of the flesh.

114. Let them cease from their wicked objections which are but thrown back upon their own falseness. For they say, it is written: “Now is the Son of Man glorified.” I do not deny that it is written: “The Son of Man is glorified.” But let them see what follows: “And God is glorified in Him.” I can plead some excuse for the Son of Man, but He has none for His Father; for the Father took not flesh upon Himself. I can plead an excuse, but do not use it. He has none, and is falsely attacked. I can either understand it in its plain sense, or I can apply to the flesh what concerns the flesh. A devout mind distinguishes between the things which are spoken after the flesh or after the Godhead. An impious mind turns aside to the dishonour of the Godhead, all that is said with regard to the littleness of the flesh.


Footnotes

296:2633

S. Matt. xi. 25.

296:2634

S. Matt. xxii. 42-46.

297:2635

2 Cor. i. 3.

297:2636

1 Cor. ix. 27.

297:2637

Ps. cxix. 91.

297:2638

Deut. vi. 13.

297:2639

S. Matt. xx. 30.

297:2640

Ebion recognized our Lord absolutely as man and no more.

297:2641

I. 57 sc.

297:2642

I. 6 sc.

297:2643

II. 44.

297:2644

His error was much the same as that of Ebion, except that he asserted that the Word descended from heaven and dwelt in Jesus.

297:2645

II. 44.

297:2646

Heb. ii. 9.

297:2647

Rom. viii. 21.

297:2648

Phil. ii. 7.

297:2649

Ps. lxxxix. 20.

298:2650

Zech. iii. 8.

298:2651

Isa. 49:5, 6.

298:2652

Phil. 2:6, 7.

298:2653

Ps. 31:3, 11, 16.

298:2654

Ps. cxvi. 16.

298:2655

Ps. xxxviii. 8.

298:2656

Rom. v. 19.

298:2657

Ps. 16:13, 17.

298:2658

Ps. lxxxvi. 2.

298:2659

Ps. xvi. 10.

298:2660

Ps. lxxxvi. 2.

298:2661

Ps. lxxxvi. 16.

298:2662

Ezek. 34:23, 24.

298:2663

S. John vii. 8.

298:2664

S. John vii. 33.

298:2665

S. John xiii. 31.

298:2666

S. John xiii. 31.

298:2667

S. John xvi. 14.

298:2668

S. John viii. 54.


Next: Chapter IX. The saint meets those who in Jewish wise object to the order of the words: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” with the retort that the Son also is often placed before the Father; though he first points out that an answer to this objection has been already given by him.

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