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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter VI. He refutes another argument of Nestorius, in which he tried to make out that Christ was like Adam in every point.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.

He refutes another argument of Nestorius, in which he tried to make out that Christ was like Adam in every point.

But since we cannot (as we should much prefer) ignore them, it is now time to expose the rest of your more subtle and insidious blasphemies that at least they may not deceive ignorant folk. In one of your pestilent treatises you have maintained and said that “Since man is the image of the Divine nature, and the devil dragged this down and shattered it, God grieved over His image, as an Emperor over his statue, and repairs the shattered image: and formed without generation a nature from the Virgin, like that of Adam who was born without generation; and raises up man’s nature by means of man: for as by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead.” They tell us that some poisoners have a custom of mixing honey with the poison in the cups which they prepare; that the injurious ingredient may be concealed by the sweet: and while a man is charmed with the sweetness of the honey, he may be destroyed by the deadly poison. So then, when you say that man is the image of the Divine nature, and that the devil dragged p. 608 this down and shattered it, and that God grieved over His image as an Emperor over his statue, you smear (so to speak) the lips of the cup with something sweet like honey, that men may drain the cup offered to them, and not perceive its deadliness, while they taste what is alluring. You put forward God’s name, in order to speak falsehoods in the name of religion. You set holy things in the front, in order to persuade men of what is untrue: and by means of your confession of God you contrive to deny Him whom you are confessing. For who is there who does not see whither you are going? What you are contriving? You say indeed that God grieved over His image as an Emperor over his statue, and repaired the shattered image, and formed without generation a nature from the Virgin, like that of Adam who was born without generation, and raises up man’s nature by man, for as by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead. So then with all your earnestness, with all your professions, you crafty plotter, you have managed by your smooth assertions, by naming God in the forefront, to come down to a (mere) man in the conclusion: and in the end you degrade Him to the condition of a mere man, from whom under colour of humility you have already taken away the glory of God. You say then that the Divine goodness has restored the image of God which the devil shattered and destroyed, for you say that He restores the shattered image. Now with what craft you say that He restores the shattered image in order to persuade us that there was nothing more in Him, in whom the image is restored, than there was in the actual image, of which the restoration was brought about. And thus you make out that the Lord is only the same as Adam was: that the restorer of the image is nothing more than the actual destructible image. Finally in what follows you show what you are aiming and driving at, when you say that He formed without generation a nature from the Virgin like that of Adam, who was born without generation, and raises up man’s nature by man. You maintain that the Lord Jesus Christ was in all respects like Adam: that the one was without generation, and the other without generation: the one a mere man, and the other a mere man. And thus you see that you have carefully guarded and provided against our thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ as in any way greater or better than Adam: since you have compared them together by the same standard, so that you would think that you detracted something from Adam’s perfection, if you added anything more to Christ.


Next: Chapter VII. Heretics usually cover their doctrines with a cloak of holy Scripture.

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