And this species of the divine patience indeed being, as it were, at a distance, may perhaps be esteemed as among “things too high for us;” 9026 but what is that which, in a certain way, has been grasped by hand 9027 among men openly on the earth? God suffers Himself to be conceived in a mothers womb, and awaits the time for birth; and, when born, bears the delay of growing up; and, when grown up, is not eager to be recognised, but is furthermore contumelious to Himself, and is baptized by His own servant; and repels with words alone the assaults of the tempter; while from being “Lord” He becomes “Master,” teaching man to escape death, having been trained to the exercise of the absolute forbearance of offended patience. 9028 He did not strive; He did not cry aloud; nor did any hear His voice in the streets. He did not break the bruised reed; the smoking flax He did not quench: for the prophet—nay, the attestation of God Himself, placing His own Spirit, together with patience in its entirety, in His Son—had not falsely spoken. There was none desirous of cleaving to Him whom He did not receive. No ones table or roof did He despise: indeed, Himself ministered to the washing of the disciples feet; not sinners, not publicans, did He repel; not with that city even which had refused to receive Him was He wroth, 9029 when even the disciples had wished that the celestial fires should be forthwith hurled on so contumelious a town. He cared for the ungrateful; He yielded to His ensnarers. This were a small matter, if He had not had in His company even His own betrayer, and stedfastly abstained from pointing him out. Moreover, while He is being betrayed, while He is being led up “as a sheep for a victim,” (for “so He no more opens His mouth than a lamb under the power of the shearer,”)He to whom, had He willed it, legions of angels would at one word have presented themselves from the heavens, approved not the avenging sword of even one disciple. The patience of the Lord was wounded in (the wound of) Malchus. And so, too, He cursed for the time to come the works of the sword; and, by the restoration of health, made satisfaction to him whom Himself had not hurt, through Patience, the mother of Mercy. I pass by in silence (the fact) that He is crucified, for this was the end for which He had come; yet had the death which must be undergone need of contumelies likewise? 9030 Nay, but, when about to depart, He wished to be sated with the pleasure of patience. He is spitted on, scourged, derided, clad foully, more foully crowned. Wondrous is the faith of equanimity! He who had set before Him the concealing of Himself in mans shape, imitated nought of mans impatience! Hence, even more than from any other trait, ought ye, Pharisees, to have recognised the Lord. Patience of this kind none of men would achieve. Such and so mighty evidences—the very magnitude of which proves to be among the nations indeed a cause for rejection of the faith, but among us its reason and rearing—proves manifestly enough (not by the sermons only, in enjoining, but likewise by the sufferings of the Lord in enduring) to them to whom it is given to believe, that as the effect and excellence of some inherent propriety, patience is Gods nature.
I have followed Oehlers reading of this very difficult and much disputed passage. For the expression, “having been trained,” etc., compare Heb. v. 8.708:9029 708:9030