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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter VIII. How it can be said that Christ came and was born of a Virgin.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.

How it can be said that Christ came and was born of a Virgin.

But let us look at the remainder which follows. As then the Creed says: “The Lord Jesus Christ, Very God of Very God, Being of one substance with the Father; By whom both the worlds were framed, and all things were made,” it immediately subjoins in closest connexion the following, and says: “Who for us came and was born of the Virgin Mary.” He then, who is Very God, who is of one substance with the Father, who is the Maker of all things, He, I repeat, came into the world and was born of the Virgin Mary; as the Apostle Paul says: “But when the fulness of the times was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” 2553 You see how the mysteries of the Creed correspond with the Holy Scriptures. The Apostle declares that the Son of God was “sent from the Father:” The Creed affirms that He “came.” For it certainly follows that our faith should confess that He has “come,” whom the Apostle had taught us to be sent. Then the Apostle says: “Made of a woman:” The Creed, “born of Mary.” And so you see that there speaks through the Creed the Scripture itself, from which the Creed acknowledges that it is itself derived. But when the Apostle says, “made of a woman,” he rightly enough uses “made” for “born,” after the manner of Holy Scripture in which “made” stands for “born:” as in this passage: “Instead of thy fathers there are made to thee sons:” 2554 or this: “Before Abraham was made, I am;” 2555 where we certainly see clearly that He meant “Before he was born, I am:” alluding to the fact of his birth under the term “was made,” because whatever does not need to be made has the very reality of creation. “Who,” it then says, “for us came and was born of the Virgin Mary.” If a mere man was born of Mary, how can it be said that He “came”? For no one “comes” but He who has it in Him to be able to come. But in the case of one who had not yet received His existence, how could He have it in Him to come. You see then how by the word “coming” it is shown that He who came was already in existence: for He only had the power to come, to whom there could be the opportunity of coming, from the fact that He was already existing. But a mere man was certainly not in existence before he was conceived, and so had not in himself the power p. 596 to come. It is clear then that it was God who came: to whom it belongs in each case both to be, and to come. For certainly He came because He was, and He ever was, because He could ever come.


Footnotes

595:2553

Gal. iv. 4.

595:2554

Psa. 45.17.

595:2555

S. John viii. 58.


Next: Chapter IX. Again he convicts his opponent of deadly heresy by his own confession.

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