Treatise on Christ and Antichrist.1
1. As it was your desire, my beloved brother Theophilus,2 to be thoroughly informed on those topics which I put summarily before you, I have thought it right to set these matters of inquiry clearly forth to your view, drawing largely from the Holy Scriptures themselves as from a holy fountain, in order that you may not only have the pleasure of hearing them on the testimony of men,3 but may also be able, by surveying them in the light of (divine) authority, to glorify God in all. For this will be as a sure supply furnished you by us for your journey in this present life, so that by ready argument applying things ill understood and apprehended by most, you may sow them in the ground of your heart, as in a rich and clean soil.4 By these, too, you will be able to silence those who oppose and gainsay the word of salvation. Only see that you do not give these things over to unbelieving and blasphemous tongues, for that is no common danger. But impart them to pious and faithful men, who desire to live holily and righteously with fear. For it is not to no purpose that the blessed apostle exhorts Timothy, and says, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith."5 And again, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me in many exhortations, the same commit thou to faithful men,6 who shall be able to teach others also."7 If, then, the blessed (apostle) delivered these things with a pious caution, which could be easily known by all, as he perceived in the spirit that "all men have not faith,"8 how much greater will be our danger, if, rashly and without thought, we commit the revelations of God to profane and unworthy men?
2. For as the blessed prophets were made, so to speak, eyes for us, they foresaw through faith the mysteries of the word, and became ministers of these9 things also to succeeding generations, not only reporting the past, but also announcing I the present and the future, so that the prophet might not appear to be one only for the time being, but might also predict the future for all generations, and so be reckoned a (true) prophet. For these fathers were furnished with the Spirit, and largely honoured by the Word Himself; and just as it is with instruments of music. so had they the Word always, like the plectrum,10 in union with them, and when moved by Him the prophets announced what God willed. For they spake not of their own power11 (let there be no mistake as to that12 ), neither did they declare what pleased themselves. But First of all they were endowed with wisdom by the Word, and then again were rightly instructed in the future by means of visions. And then, when thus themselves fully convinced, they spake those things which13 were revealed by God to them alone, and concealed from all others. For with what reason should the prophet be called a prophet, unless he in spirit foresaw the future? For if the prophet spake of any chance event, he would not be a prophet then in speaking of things which were under the eye of aIl. But one who sets forth in detail things yet to be, was rightly judged a prophet. Wherefore prophets were with good reason called from the very first "seers."14 And hence we, too, who are rightly instructed in what was declared aforetime by them, speak not of our own capacity. For we do not attempt to made any change one way or another among ourselves in the words that were spoken of old by them, but we make the Scriptures in which these are written public, and read them to those who can believe rightly; for that is a common benefit for both parties: for him who speaks, in holding in memory and setting forth correctly things uttered of old;15 and for him who hears, in giving attention to the things spoken. Since, then, in this there is a work assigned to both parties together, viz., to him who speaks, that he speak forth faithfully without regard to risk,16 and to him who hears, that he hear and receive in faith that which is spoken, I beseech you to strive together with me in prayer to God.
3. Do you wish then to know in what manner the Word of God, who was again the Son of God,17 as He was of old the Word, communicated His revelations to the blessed prophets in former times? Well, as the Word shows His compassion and His denial of all respect of persons by all the saints, He enlightens them18 and adapts them to that which is advantageous for us, like a skilful physician, understanding the weakness of men. And the ignorant He loves to teach, and the erring He turns again to His own true way. And by those who live by faith He is easily found; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, He opens immediately. For He casts away none of His servants as unworthy of the divine mysteries. He does not esteem the rich man more highly than the poor, nor does He despise the poor man for his poverty. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does He set the eunuch aside as no man.19 He does not hate the female on account of the woman's act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does He reject the male on account of the man's transgression. But He seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man. For there is also one Son (or Servant) of God, by whom we too, receiving the regeneration through the Holy Spirit, desire to come all unto one perfect and heavenly man.20
4. For whereas the Word of God was without flesh,21 He took upon Himself the holy flesh by the holy Virgin, and prepared a robe which He wove for Himself, like a bridegroom, in the sufferings of the cross, in order that by uniting His own power with our moral body, and by mixing22 the incorruptible with the corruptible, and the strong with the weak, He might save perishing man. The web-beam, therefore, is the pass on of the Lord upon the cross, and the warp on it is the power of the Holy Spirit, and the woof is the holy flesh wrought (woven) by the Spirit, and the thread is the grace which by the love of Christ binds and unites the two in one, and the combs or (rods) are the Word; and the workers are the patriarchs and prophets who weave the fair, long, perfect tunic for Christ; and the Word passing through these, like the combs or (rods), completes through them that which His Father willeth.23
5. But as time now presses for the consideration of the question immediately in hand, and as what has been already said in the introduction with regard to the glory of God, may suffice, it is proper that we take the Holy Scriptures themselves in hand, and find out from them what, and of what manner, the coming of Antichrist is; on what occasion and at what time that implores one shall be revealed; and whence and from what I tribe (he shall come); and what his name is, which is indicated by the number in the Scripture; and how he shall work error among the people, gathering them from the ends of the earth; and (how) he shall stir up tribulation and persecution against the saints; and how he shall glorify himself as God; and what his end shall be; and how the sudden appearing of the Lord shall be revealed froth heaven; and what the conflagration of the whole world shall be; and what the glorious and heavenly kingdom of the saints is to be, when they reign together with Christ; and what the punishment of the wicked by fire.
6. Now, as our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also God, was prophesied of under the figure of a lion,24 on account of His royalty and glory, in the same way have the Scriptures also aforetime spoken of Antichrist as a lion, on account of his tyranny and violence. For the deceiver seeks to liken himself in all things to the Son of God. Christ is a lion, so Antichrist is also a lion; Christ is a king,25 so Antichrist is also a king. The Saviour was manifested as a lamb;26 so he too, in like manner, will appear as a lamb, though within he is a wolf. The Saviour came into the World in the circumcision, and he will come in the same manner. The Lord sent apostles among all the nations, and he in like manner will send false apostles. The Saviour gathered together the sheep that were scattered abroad,27 and he in like manner will bring together a people that is scattered abroad. The Lord gave a seal to those who believed on Him, and he will give one like manner. The Saviour appeared in the form of man, and he too will come in the form of a man. The Saviour raised up and showed His holy flesh like a temple,28 and he will raise a temple of stone in Jerusalem. And his seductive arts we shall exhibit in what follows. But for the present let us turn to the question in hand.
7. Now the blessed Jacob speaks to the following effect in his benedictions, testifying prophetically of our Lord and Saviour: "Judah, let thy brethren praise thee: thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the shoot, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lion's whelp; who shall rouse him up? A ruler shall not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his thighs, until he come for whom it is reserved; and he shall be the expectation of the nations. Binding his ass to a vine, and his ass's colt to the vine tendril; he shall wash his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of the grapes. His eyes shall be gladsome as with wine, and his teeth shall be whiter than milk."29
8. Knowing, then, as I do, how to explain these things in detail, I deem it right at present to quote the words themselves. But since the expressions themselves urge us to speak of them. I shall not omit to do so. For these are truly divine and glorious things, and things well calculated to benefit the soul. The prophet, in using the expression, a lion's whelp, means him who sprang from Judah and David according to the flesh, who was not made indeed of the seed of David, but was conceived by the (power of the) Holy Ghost, and came forth30 from the holy shoot of earth. For Isaiah says, "There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall grow up out of it."31 That which is called by Isaiah a flower, Jacob calls a shoot. For first he shot forth, and then he flourished in the world. And the expression, "he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lion's whelp," refers to the three days' sleep (death, couching) of Christ; as also Isaiah says, "How is faithful Sion become an harlot! it was full of judgment; in which righteousness lodged (couched); but now murderers."32 And David says to the same effect, "I laid me down (couched) and slept; I awaked: for the Lord will sustain me; "33 in which words he points to the fact of his sleep and rising again. And Jacob says, "Who shall rouse him up? "And that is just what David and Paul both refer to, as when Paul says, "and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead."34
9. And in saying, "A ruler shall not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his thighs, until he come for whom it is reserved; and he shall be the expectation of the nations," he referred the fulfilment (of that prophecy) to Christ. For He is our expectation. For we expect Him, (and) by faith we behold Him as He comes from heaven with power.
10. "Binding his ass to a vine: "that means that He unites His people of the circumcision with His own calling (vocation). For He was the vine.35 "And his ass's colt to the vine-tendril: "that denotes the people of the Gentiles, as He calls the circumcision and the uncircumcision unto one faith.
11. "He shall wash his garment in wine," that is, according to that voice of His Father which came down by the Holy Ghost at the Jordan.36 "And his clothes in the blood of the grape." In the blood of what grape, then, but just His own flesh, which hung upon the tree like a cluster of grapes?-from whose side also flowed two streams, of blood and water, in which the nations are washed and purified, which (nations) He may be supposed to have as a robe about Him.37
12. "His eyes gladsome with wine." And what are the eyes of Christ but the blessed prophets, who foresaw in the Spirit, and announced beforehand, the sufferings that were to befall Him, and rejoiced in seeing Him in power with spiritual eyes, being furnished (for their vocation) by the word Himself and His grace?
13. And in saying, "And his teeth (shall be) whiter than milk," he referred to the commandments that proceed from the holy mouth of Christ, and which are pure (purify) as milk.
14. Thus did the Scriptures preach before-time of this lion and lion's whelp. And in like manner also we find it written regarding Antichrist. For Moses speaks thus: "Dan is a lion's whelp, and he shall leap from Bashan."38 But that no one may err by supposing that this is said of the Saviour, let him attend carefully to the matter. "Dan," he says, "is a lion's whelp; "and in naming the tribe of Dan, he declared clearly the tribe from which Antichrist is destined to spring. For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan.39 And that the case stands thus, we see also from the words of Jacob: "Let Dan be a serpent, lying upon the ground, biting the horse's heel."40 What, then, is meant by the serpent but Antichrist, that deceiver who is mentioned in Genesis,41 who deceived Eve and supplanted Adam (pterni/saj, bruised Adam's heel)? But since it is necessary to prove this assertion by sufficient testimony, we shall not shrink from the task.
15. That it is in reality out of the tribe of Dan, then, that that tyrant and king, that dread judge, that son of the devil, is destined to spring and arise, the prophet testifies when he says, "Dan shall judge his people, as (he is) also one tribe in Israel."42 But some one may say that this refers to Samson, who sprang from the tribe of Dan, and judged the people twenty years. Well, the prophecy had its partial fulfilment in Samson, but its complete fulfilment is reserved for Antichrist. For Jeremiah also speaks to this effect: "From Dan we are to hear the sound of the swiftness of his horses: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing, of the driving of his horses."43 And another prophet says: "He shall gather together all his strength, from the east even to the west. They whom he calls, and they whom he calls not, shall go with him. He shall make the sea white with the sails of his ships, and the plain black with the shields of his armaments. And whosoever shall oppose him in war shall fall by the sword."44 That these things, then, are said of no one else but that tyrant, and shameless one, and adversary of God, we shall show in what follows.
16. But Isaiah also speaks thus: "And it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed His whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will punish (visit) the stout mind, the king of Assyria, and the greatness (height) of the glory of his eyes. For he said, By my strength will I do it, and by the wisdom of my understanding I will remove the bounds of the peoples, and will rob them of their strength: and I will make the inhabited cities tremble, and will gather the whole world in my hand like a nest, and I will lift it up like eggs that are left. And there is no one that shall escape or gainsay me, and open the mouth and chatter. Shall the axe boast itself without him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself without him that shaketh (draweth) it? As if one should raise a rod or a staff, and the staff should lift itself up: and not thus. But the Lord shall send dishonour unto thy honour; and into thy glory a burning fire shall burn. And the light of Israel shall be a fire, and shall sanctify him in flame, and shall consume the forest like grass."45
17. And again he says in another place: "How bath the exactor ceased, and how hath the oppressor ceased!46 God hath broken the yoke of the rulers of sinners, He who smote the people in wrath, and with an incurable stroke: He that strikes the people with an incurable stroke, which He did not spare. He ceased (rested) confidently: the whole earth shouts with rejoicing. The trees of Lebanon rejoiced at thee, and the cedar of Lebanon, (saying), Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved at meeting thee: all the mighty ones, the rulers of the earth, are gathered together-the lords from their thrones. All the kings of the nations, all they shall answer together, and shall say, And thou, too, art taken as we; and thou art reckoned among us. Thy pomp is brought down to earth, thy great rejoicing: they will spread decay under thee; and the worm shall be thy covering.47 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!48 He is cast down to the ground who sends off to all the nations. And thou didst say in thy mind, I will ascend into heaven, I will set my throne above the stars of heaven: I will sit down upon the lofty mountains towards the north: I will ascend above the clouds: I will be like the Most High. Yet now thou shalt be brought down to hell, and to the foundations of the earth! They that see thee shall wonder at thee, and shall say, This is the man that excited the earth, that did shake kings, that made the whole world a wilderness, and destroyed the cities, that released not those in prison.49 All the kings of the earth did lie in honour, every one in his own house; but thou shall be cast out on the mountains like a loathsome carcase, with many who fall, pierced through with the sword, and going down to hell. As a garment stained with blood is not pure, so neither shall thou be comely (or clean); because thou hast destroyed my land, and slain my people. Thou shalt not abide, enduring for ever, a wicked seed. Prepare thy children for slaughter, for the sins of thy father, that they rise not, neither possess my land."50
18. Ezekiel also speaks of him to the same effect, thus: "Thus saith the Lord God, Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the sea; yet art thou a man, and not God, (though) thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God. Art thou wiser than Daniel? Have the wise not instructed thee in their wisdom? With thy wisdom or with thine understanding hast thou gotten thee power, and gold and silver in thy treasures? By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic51 hast thou increased thy power? Thy heart is lifted up in thy power. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God: behold, therefore I will bring strangers52 upon thee, plagues from the nations: and they shall draw their swords against thee, and against the beauty of thy wisdom; and they shall level thy beauty to destruction; and they shall bring thee down; and thou shall die by the death of the wounded in the midst of the sea. Wilt thou yet say before them that slay thee, I am God? But thou art a man, and no God, in the hand of them that wound thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord."53
19. These words then being thus presented, let us observe somewhat in detail what Daniel says in his visions. For in distinguishing the kingdoms that are to rise after these things, he showed also the coming of Antichrist in the last times, and the consummation of the whole world. In expounding the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, then, he speaks thus: "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image standing before thy face: the head of which was of fine gold, its arms and shoulders of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, and its legs of iron, (and) its feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest, then, till that a stone was cut out without hands, and smote the image upon the feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to an end. Then were the clay, the iron, the brass, the silver, (and) the gold broken, and became like the chaff from the summer threshing-floor; and the strength (fulness) of the wind carried them away, and there was no place found for them. And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."54
20. Now if we set Daniel's own visions also side by side with this, we shall have one exposition to give of the two together, and shall (be able to) show how concordant with each other they are, and how true. For he speaks thus: "I Daniel saw, and behold the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first (was) like a lioness, and had wings as of an eagle. I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And behold a second beast like to a bear, and it was made stand on one part, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it.55 I beheld, and lo a beast like a leopard, and it had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl, and the beast had four heads. After this I saw, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; it had iron teeth and claws of brass,56 which devoured and brake in pieces, and it stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered its horns, and behold there came up among them another little horn, and before it there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things."57
21. "I beheld till the thrones were set, and the Ancient of days did sit: and His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool: His throne was a flame of fire, His wheels were a burning fire. A stream of fire flowed before Him. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake, till the beast was slain and perished, and his body given to the burning of fire. And the dominion of the other beasts was taken away."58
22. "I saw in the night vision, and, behold, one like the Son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and was brought near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and honour, and the kingdom; and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed."59
23. Now since these things, spoken as they are with a mystical meaning, may seem to some hard to understand, we shall keep back nothing fitted to impart an intelligent apprehension of them to those who are possessed of a sound mind. He said, then, that a "lioness came up from the sea," and by that he meant the kingdom of the Babylonians in the world, which also was the head of gold on the image. In saying that "it had wings as of an eagle," he meant that Nebuchadnezzar the king was lifted up and was exalted against God. Then he says, "the wings thereof were plucked," that is to say, his glory was destroyed; for he was driven out of his kingdom. And the words, "a man's heart was given to it, and it was made stand upon the feet as a man," refer to the fact that he repented and recognised himself to be only a man, and gave the glory to God.
24. Then, after the lioness, he sees a "second beast like a bear," and that denoted the Persians. For after the Babylonians, the Persians held the sovereign power And in saving that there were "three ribs in the mouth of it," he pointed to three nations, viz., the Persians, and the Medes, and the Babylonians; which were also represented on the image by the silver after the gold. Then (there was) "the third beast, a leopard," which meant the Greeks. For after the Persians, Alexander of Macedon obtained the sovereign power on subverting Darius, as is also shown by the brass on the image. And in saying that it had "four wings of a fowl," he taught us most clearly how the kingdom of Alexander was partitioned. For in speaking of "four heads," he made mention of four kings, viz., those who arose out of that (kingdom).60 For Alexander, when dying, partitioned out his kingdom into four divisions.
25. Then he says: "A fourth beast, dreadful and terrible; it had iron teeth and claws of brass." And who are these but the Romans? which (kingdom) is meant by the iron-the kingdom which is now established; for the legs of that (image) were of iron. And after this, what remains, beloved, but the toes of the feet of the image, in which part is iron and part clay, mixed together? And mystically by the toes of the feet he meant the kings who are to arise from among them; as Daniel also says (in the words), "I considered the beast, and lo there were ten horns behind it, among which shall rise another (horn), an offshoot, and shall pluck up by the roots the three (that were) before it." And under this was signified none other than Antichrist, who is also himself to raise the kingdom of the Jews. He says that three horns are plucked up by the root by him, viz., the three kings of Egypt, and Libya, and Ethiopia, whom he cuts off in the array of battle. And he, after gaining terrible power over all, being nevertheless a tyrant,61 shall stir up tribulation and persecution against men, exalting himself against them. For Daniel says: "I considered the horn, and behold that horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, till the beast was slain and perished, and its body was given to the burning of fire."62
26. After a little space the stone63 will come from heaven which smites the image and breaks it in pieces, and subverts all the kingdoms, and gives the kingdom to the saints of the Most High. This is the stone which becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth, of which Daniel says: "I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and was brought near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; and all peoples, tribes, and languages shall serve Him: and His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed."64 He showed all power given by the Father to the Son,65 who is ordained Lord of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and Judge of all:66 of things in heaven, because He was born, the Word of God, before all (ages); and of things on earth, because He became man in the midst of men, to re-create our Adam through Himself; and of things under the earth, because He was also reckoned among the dead, preaching the Gospel to the souls of the saints,67 (and) by death overcoming death.
27. As these things, then, are in the future, and as the ten toes of the image are equivalent to (so many) democracies,68 and the ten horns of the fourth beast are distributed over ten kingdoms, let us look at the subject a little more closely, and consider these matters as in the clear light of a personal survey.69
28. The golden head of the image and the lioness denoted the Babylonians; the shoulders and arms of silver, and the bear, represented the Persians and Medes; the belly and thighs of brass, and the leopard, meant the Greeks, who held the sovereignty from Alexander's time; the legs of iron, and the beast dreadful and terrible, expressed the Romans, who hold the sovereignty at present; the toes of the feet which were part clay and part iron, and the ten horns, were emblems of the kingdoms that are yet to rise; the other little horn that grows up among them meant the Antichrist in their midst; the stone that smites the earth and brings judgment upon the world was Christ.
29. These things, beloved, we impart to you with fear, and yet readily, on account of the love of Christ, which surpasseth all. For if the blessed prophets who preceded us did not choose to proclaim these things, though they knew them, openly and boldly, lest they should disquiet the souls of men, but recounted them mystically in parables and dark sayings, speaking thus, "Here is the mind which hath wisdom,"70 how much greater risk shall we run in venturing to declare openly things spoken by them in obscure terms! Let us look, therefore, at the things which are to befall this unclean harlot in the last days; and (let us consider) what and what manner of tribulation is destined to visit her in the wrath of God before the judgment as an earnest of her doom.
30. Come, then, O blessed Isaiah; arise, tell us clearly what thou didst prophesy with respect to the mighty Babylon. For thou didst speak also of Jerusalem, and thy word is accomplished. For thou didst speak boldly and openly: "Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate as overthrown by many strangers.71 The daughter of Sion shall be left as a cottage in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city."72 What then? Are not these things come to pass? Are not the things announced by thee fulfilled? Is not their country, Judea, desolate? Is not the holy place burned with fire? Are not their walls cast down? Are not their cities destroyed? Their land, do not strangers devour it? Do not the Romans rule the country? And indeed these impious people hated thee, and did saw thee asunder, and they crucified Christ. Thou art dead in the world, but thou livest in Christ.
31. Which of you, then, shall I esteem more than thee? Yet Jeremiah, too, is stoned. But if I should esteem Jeremiah most, yet Daniel too has his testimony. Daniel, I commend thee above all; yet John too gives no false witness. With how many mouths and tongues would I praise you; or rather the Word who spake in you! Ye died with Christ; and ye will live with Christ. Hear ye, and rejoice; behold the things announced by you have been fulfilled in their time. For ye saw these things yourselves first, and then ye proclaimed them to all generations. Ye ministered the oracles of God to all generations. Ye prophets were called, that ye might be able to save all. For then is one a prophet indeed, when, having announced beforetime things about to be, he can afterwards show that they have actually happened. Ye were the disciples of a good Master. These words I address to you as if alive, and with propriety. For ye hold already the crown of life and immortality which is laid up for you in heaven.73
32. Speak with me, O blessed Daniel. Give me full assurance, I beseech thee. Thou dost prophesy concerning the lioness in Babylon;74 for thou wast a captive there. Thou hast unfolded the future regarding the bear; for thou wast still in the world, and didst see the things come to pass. Then thou speakest to me of the leopard; and whence canst thou know this, for thou art already gone to thy rest? Who instructed thee to announce these things, but He who formed75 thee in (from) thy mother's womb?76 That is God, thou sayest. Thou hast spoken indeed, and that not falsely. The leopard has arisen; the he-goat is come; he hath smitten the ram; he hath broken his horns in pieces; he hath stamped upon him with his feet. He has been exalted by his fall; (the) four horns have come up from under that one.77 Rejoice, blessed Daniel! thou hast not been in error: all these things have come to pass.
33. After this again thou hast told me of the beast dreadful and terrible. "It had iron teeth and claws of brass: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it."78 Already the iron rules; already it subdues and breaks all in pieces; already it brings all the unwilling into subjection; already we see these things ourselves. Now we glorify God, being instructed by thee.
34. But as the task before us was to speak of the harlot, be thou with us, O blessed Isaiah. Let us mark what thou sayest about Babylon. "Come down, sit upon the ground, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit, O daughter of the Chaldeans; thou shalt no longer be called tender and delicate. Take the millstone, grind meal, draw aside thy veil,79 shave the grey hairs, make bare the legs, pass over the rivers. Thy shame shall be uncovered, thy reproach shall be seen: I will take justice of thee, I will no more give thee over to men. As for thy Redeemer, (He is) the Lord of hosts, the Holy One of Israel is his name. Sit thou in compunction, get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: thou shall no longer be called the strength of the kingdom.
35. "I was wroth with my people; I have polluted mine inheritance, I have given them into thine hand: and thou didst show them no mercy; but upon the ancient (the elders) thou hast very heavily laid thy yoke. And thou saidst, I shall be a princess for ever: thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember thy latter end. Therefore hear now this, thou that art delicate; that sittest, that art confident, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and there is none else; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children. But now these two things shall come upon thee in one day, widowhood and the loss of children: they shall come upon thee suddenly in thy sorcery, in the strength of thine enchantments mightily, in the hope of thy fornication. For thou hast said, I am, and there is none else. And thy fornication shall be thy shame, because thou hast said in thy heart, I am. And destruction shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not know it. (And there shall be) a pit, and thou shalt full into it; and misery shall fall upon thee, and thou shalt not be able to be made clean; and destruction shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not know it. Stand now with thy enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, which thou hast learned from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to be profited. Thou art wearied in thy counsels. Let the astrologers of the heavens stand and save thee; let the star-gazers announce to thee what shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall all be as sticks for the fire; so shall they be burned, and they shall not deliver their soul from the flame. Because thou hast coals of fire, sit upon them; so shall it be for thy help. Thou art wearied with change from thy youth. Man has gone astray (each one) by himself; and there shall be no salvation for thee."80 These things does Isaiah prophesy for thee. Let us see now whether John has spoken to the same effect.
36. For he sees, when in the isle Patmos, a revelation of awful mysteries, which he recounts freely, and makes known to others. Tell me, blessed John, apostle and disciple of the Lord, what didst thou see and hear concerning Babylon? Arise, and speak; for it sent thee also into banishment.81 "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. And he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, and precious stone,82 and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness83 of the fornication of the earth. Upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.
37. "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder (whose name was not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world) when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet shall be.84
38. "And here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not ye come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was and is not, (even he is the eighth,) and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
39. "And he saith to me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest, and85 the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
40. "After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily86 with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: for her sins did cleave even unto heaven,87 and God hath remembered her l iniquities.
41. "Reward her even as she rewarded (you), and double unto her double, according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication, and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas! that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man shall buy their merchandise88 any more. The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and spices,89 and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and goats,90 and horses, and chariots, and slaves (bodies), and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly have perished91 from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich92 by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas! that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! for in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried, when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city? And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas! that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her fatness!93 for in one hour is she made desolate.
42. "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye angels,94 and apostles, and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."95
43. With respect, then, to the particular judgment in the torments that are to come upon it in the last times by the hand of the tyrants who shall arise then, the clearest statement has been given in these passages. But it becomes us further diligently to examine and set forth the period at which these things shall come to pass, and how the little horn shall spring up in their midst. For when the legs of iron have issued in the feet and toes, according to the similitude of the image and that of the terrible beast, as has been shown in the above, (then shall be the time) when the iron and the clay shall be mingled together. Now Daniel will set forth this subject to us. For he says, "And one week will make96 a covenant with many, and it shall be that in the midst (half) of the week my sacrifice and oblation shall cease."97 By one week, therefore, he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whole world of which week the two prophets Enoch and Elias will take up the half. For they will preach 1, 260 days clothed in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the people and to all the nations.
44. For as two advents of our Lord and Saviour are indicated in the Scriptures, the one being His first advent in the flesh, which took place without honour by reason of His being set at nought, as Isaiah spake of Him aforetime, saying, "We saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness, but His form was despised (and) rejected (lit. = deficient) above all men; a man smitten and familiar with bearing infirmity, (for His face was turned away); He was despised, and esteemed not."98 But His second advent is announced as glorious, when He shall come from heaven with the host of angels, and the glory of His Father, as the prophet saith, "Ye shall see the King in glory; "99 and, "I saw one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven; and he came to the Ancient of days, and he was brought to Him. And there were given Him dominion, and honour, and glory, and the kingdom; all tribes and languages shall serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away."100 Thus also two forerunners were indicated. The first was John the son of Zacharias, who appeared in all things a forerunner and herald of our Saviour, preaching of the heavenly light that had appeared in the world. He first fulfilled the course of forerunner, and that from his mother's womb, being conceived by Elisabeth, in order that to those, too, who are children from their mother's womb he might declare the new birth that was to take place for their sakes by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin.
45. He, on hearing the salutation addressed to Elisabeth, leaped with joy in his mother's womb, recognising God the Word conceived in the womb of the Virgin. Thereafter he came forward preaching in the wilderness, proclaiming the baptism of repentance to the people, (and thus) announcing prophetically salvation to the nations living in the wilderness of the world. After this, at the Jordan, seeing the Saviour with his own eye, he points Him out, and says, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!"101 He also first preached to those in Hades,102 becoming a forerunner there when he was put to death by Herod, that there too he might intimate that the Saviour would descend to ransom the souls of the saints from the hand of death.
46. But since the Saviour was the beginning of the resurrection of all men, it was meet that the Lord alone should rise from the dead, by whom too the judgment is to enter for the whole world, that they who have wrestled worthily may be also crowned worthily by Him, by the illustrious Arbiter, to wit, who Himself first accomplished the course, and was received into the heavens, and was set down on the right hand of God the Father, and is to be manifested again at the end of the world as Judge. It is a matter of course that His forerunners must appear first, as He says by Malachi and the angel,103 "I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the day of the Lord, the great and notable day, comes; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, lest I come and smite the earth utterly."104 These, then, shall come and proclaim the manifestation of Christ that is to be from heaven; and they shall also perform signs and wonders, in order that men may be put to shame and turned to repentance for their surpassing wickedness and impiety.
47. For John says, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."105 That is the half of the week whereof Daniel spake. "These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the Lord of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire will proceed out of their mouth, and devour their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power over waters, to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their course and their testimony," what saith the prophet? "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them,"106 because they will not give glory to Antichrist. For this is meant by the little horn that grows up. He, being now elated in heart, begins to exalt himself, and to glorify himself as God, persecuting the saints and blaspheming Christ, even as Daniel says, "I considered the horn, and, behold, in the horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things; and he opened his mouth to blaspheme God. And that born made war against the saints, and prevailed against them until the beast was slain, and perished, and his body was given to be burned."107
48. But as it is incumbent on us to discuss this matter of the beast more exactly, and in particular the question how the Holy Spirit has also mystically indicated his name by means of a number, we shall proceed to state more clearly what bears upon him. John then speaks thus: "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns, like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him; and he made the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he did great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for if is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six."108
49. By the beast, then, coming up out of the earth, he means the kingdom of Antichrist; and by the two horns he means him and the false prophet after him.109 And in speaking of "the horns being like a lamb," he means that he will make himself like the Son of God, and set himself forward as king. And the terms, "he spake like a dragon," mean that he is a deceiver, and not truthful. And the words, "he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and caused the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed," signify that, after the manner of the law of Augustus, by whom the empire of Rome was established, he too will rule and govern, sanctioning everything by it, and taking greater glory to himself. For this is the fourth beast, whose head was wounded and healed again, in its being broken up or even dishonoured, and partitioned into four crowns; and he then (Antichrist) shall with knavish skill heal it, as it were, and restore it. For this is what is meant by the prophet when he says, "He will give life unto the image, and the image of the beast will speak." For he will act with vigour again, and prove strong by reason of the laws established by him; and he will cause all those who will not worship the image of the beast to be put to death. Here the faith and the patience of the saints will appear, for he says: "And he will cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead; that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name." For, being full of guile, and exalting himself against the servants of God, with the wish to afflict them and persecute them out of the world, because they give not glory to him, he will order incense-pans110 to be set up by all everywhere, that no man among the saints may be able to buy or sell without first sacrificing; for this is what is meant by the mark received upon the right hand. And the word-"in their forehead"-indicates that all are crowned, and put on a crown of fire, and not of life, but of death. For in this wise, too, did Antiochus Epiphanes the king of Syria, the descendant of Alexander of Macedon, devise measures against the Jews. He, too, in the exaltation of his heart, issued a decree in those times, that "all should set up shrines before their doors, and sacrifice, and that they should march in procession to the honour of Dionysus, waving chaplets of ivy; "and that those who refused obedience should be put to death by strangulation and torture. But he also met his due recompense at the hand of the Lord, the righteous Judge and all-searching God; for he died eaten up of worms. And if one desires to inquire into that more accurately, he will find it recorded in the books of the Maccabees.111
50. But now we shall speak of what is before us. For such measures will he, too, devise, seeking to afflict the saints in every way. For the prophet and apostle says: "Here is wisdom, Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six." With respect to his name, it is not in our power to explain it exactly, as the blessed John understood it and was instructed about it, but only to give a conjectural account of it;112 for when he appears, the blessed one will show us what we seek to know. Yet as far as our doubtful apprehension of the matter goes, we may speak. Many names indeed we find,113 the letters of which are the equivalent of this number: such as, for instance, the word Titan,114 an ancient and notable name; or Evanthas,115 for it too makes up the same number; and many others which might be found. But, as we have already said,116 the wound of the first beast was healed, and he (the second beast) was to make the image speak,117 that is to say, he should be powerful; and it is manifest to all that those who at present still hold the power are Latins. If, then, we take the name as the name of a single man, it becomes Latinus. Wherefore we ought neither to give it out as if this were certainly his name, nor again ignore the fact that he may not be otherwise designated. But having the mystery of God in our heart, we ought in fear to keep faithfully what has been told us by the blessed prophets, in order that when those things come to pass, we may be prepared for them, and not deceived. For when the times advance, he too, of whom these thing are said, will be manifested.118
51. But not to confine ourselves to these words and arguments alone, for the purpose of convincing those who love to study the oracles of God, we shall demonstrate the matter by many other proofs. For Daniel says, "And these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon."119 Ammon and Moab120 are the children born to Lot by his daughters, and their race survives even now. And Isaiah says: "And they shall fly in the boats of strangers, plundering the sea together, and (they shall spoil) them of the east: and they shall lay hands upon Moab first; and the children of Ammon shall first obey them."121
52. In those times, then, he shall arise and meet them. And when he has overmastered three horns out of the ten in the array of war, and has rooted these out, viz., Egypt, and Libya, and Ethiopia, and has got their spoils and trappings, and has brought the remaining horns which suffer into subjection, he will begin to be lifted up in heart, and to exalt himself against God as master of the whole world. And his first expedition will be against Tyre and Berytus, and the circumjacent territory. For by storming these cities first he will strike terror into the others, as Isaiah says, "Be thou ashamed, O Sidon; the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea hath spoken, saying, I travailed not, nor brought forth children; neither did I nurse up young men, nor bring up virgins. But when the report comes to Egypt, pain shall seize them for Tyre."122
53. These things, then, shall be in the future, beloved; and when the three horns are cut off, he will begin to show himself as God, as Ezekiel has said aforetime: "Because thy heart has been lifted up, and thou hast said, I am God."123 And to the like effect Isaiah says: "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven: I will be like the Most High. Yet now thou shall be brought down to hell (Hades), to the foundations of the earth."124 In like manner also Ezekiel: "Wilt thou yet say to those who slay thee, I am God? But thou (shall be) a man, and no God."125
54. As his tribe, then, and his manifestation, and his destruction, have been set forth in these words, and as his name has also been indicated mystically, let us look also at his action. For he will call together all the people to himself, out of every country of the dispersion, making them his own, as though they were his own children, and promising to restore their country, and establish again their kingdom and nation, in order that he may be worshipped by them as God, as the prophet says: "He will collect his whole kingdom, from the rising of the sun even to its setting: they whom he summons and they whom he does not summon shall march with him."126 And Jeremiah speaks of him thus in a parable: "The partridge cried, (and) gathered what he did not hatch, making himself riches without judgment: in the midst of his days they shall leave him, and at his end he shall be a fool."127
55. It will not be detrimental, therefore, to the course of our present argument, if we explain the art of that creature, and show that the prophet has not spoken128 without a purpose in using the parable (or similitude) of the creature. For as the partridge is a vainglorious creature, when it sees near at hand the nest of another partridge with young in it, and with the parent-bird away on the wing in quest of food, it imitates the cry of the other bird, and calls the young to itself; and they, taking it to be their own parent, run to it. And it delights itself proudly in the alien pullets as in its own. But when the real parent-bird returns, and calls them with its own familiar cry, the young recognise it, and forsake the deceiver, and betake themselves to the real parent. This thing, then, the prophet has adopted as a simile, applying it in a similar manner to Antichrist. For he will allure mankind to himself, wishing to gain possession of those who are not his own, and promising deliverance to all, while he is unable to save himself.
56. He then, having gathered to himself the unbelieving everywhere throughout the world, comes at their call to persecute the saints, their enemies and antagonists, as the apostle and evangelist says: "There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city, who came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her."129
57. By the unrighteous judge, who fears not God, neither regards man, he means without doubt Antichrist, as he is a son of the devil and a vessel of Satan. For when he has the power, he will begin to exalt himself against God, neither in truth fearing God, nor regarding the Son of God, who is the Judge of all. And in saying that there was a widow in the city, he refers to Jerusalem itself, which is a widow indeed, forsaken of her perfect, heavenly spouse, God. She calls Him her adversary, and not her Saviour; for she does not understand that which was said by the prophet Jeremiah: "Because they obeyed not the truth, a spirit of error shall speak then to this people and to Jerusalem."130 And Isaiah also to the like effect: "Forasmuch as the people refuseth to drink the water of Siloam that goeth softly, but chooseth to have Rasin and Romeliah's son as king over you: therefore, lo, the Lord bringeth up upon you the water of the river, strong and full, even the king of Assyria."131 By the king he means metaphorically Antichrist, as also another prophet saith: "And this man shall be the peace from me, when the Assyrian shall come up into your land, and when he shall tread in your mountains."132
58. And in like manner Moses, knowing beforehand that the people would reject and disown the true Saviour of the world, and take part with error, and choose an earthly king, and set the heavenly King at nought, says: "Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? In the day of vengeance I will recompense (them), and in the time when their foot shall slide."133 They did slide, therefore, in all things, as they were found to be in harmony with the truth in nothing: neither as concerns the law, because they became transgressors; nor as concerns the prophets, because they cut off even the prophets themselves; nor as concerns the voice of the Gospels, because they crucified the Saviour Himself; nor in believing the apostles, because they persecuted them. At all times they showed themselves enemies and betrayers of the truth, and were found to be haters of God, and not lovers of Him; and such they shall be then when they find opportunity: for, rousing themselves against the servants of God, they will seek to obtain vengeance by the hand of a mortal man. And he, being puffed up with pride by their subserviency, will begin to despatch missives against the saints, commanding to cut them all off everywhere, on the ground of their refusal to reverence and worship him as God, according to the word of Esaias: "Woe to the wings of the vessels of the land,134 beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: (woe to him) who sendeth sureties by the sea, and letters of papyrus (upon the water; for nimble messengers will go) to a nation135 anxious and expectant, and a people strange and bitter against them; a nation hopeless and trodden down."136
59. But we who hope for the Son of God are persecuted and trodden down by those unbelievers. For the wings of the vessels are the churches; and the sea is the world, in which the Church is set, like a ship tossed in the deep, but not destroyed; for she has with her the skilled Pilot, Christ. And she bears in her midst also the trophy (which is erected) over death; for she carries with her the cross of the Lord.137 For her prow is the east, and her stern is the west, and her hold138 is the south, and her tillers are the two Testaments; and the ropes that stretch around her are the love of Christ, which binds the Church; and the net139 which she bears with her is the layer of the regeneration which renews the believing, whence too are these glories. As the wind the Spirit from heaven is present, by whom those who believe are sealed: she has also anchors of iron accompanying her, viz., the holy commandments of Christ Himself, which are strong as iron. She has also mariners on the right and on the left, assessors like the holy angels, by whom the Church is always governed and defended. The ladder in her leading up to the sailyard is an emblem of the passion of Christ, which brings the faithful to the ascent of heaven. And the top-sails140 aloft141 upon the yard are the company of prophets, martyrs, and apostles, who have entered into their rest in the kingdom of Christ.
60. Now, concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the Church from the adversary, John also speaks thus: "And I saw a great and wondrous sign in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she, being with child, cries, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man-child, who is to rule all the nations: and the child was caught up unto God and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath the place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And then when the dragon saw it, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast (out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast) out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the saints of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus."142
61. By the woman then clothed with the sun," he meant most manifestly the Church, endued with the Father's word,143 whose brightness is above the sun. And by the "moon under her feet" he referred to her being adorned, like the moon, with heavenly glory. And the words, "upon her head a crown of twelve stars," refer to the twelve apostles by whom the Church was founded. And those, "she, being with child, cries, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered," mean that the Church will not cease to bear from her heart144 the Word that is persecuted by the unbelieving in the world. "And she brought forth," he says, "a man-child, who is to rule all the nations; "by which is meant that the Church, always bringing forth Christ, the perfect man-child of God, who is declared to be God and man, becomes the instructor of all the nations. And the words, "her child was caught up unto God and to His throne," signify that he who is always born of her is a heavenly king, and not an earthly; even as David also declared of old when he said, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."145 "And the dragon," he says, "saw and persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."146 That refers to the one thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church,147 which flees from city to city, and seeks conceal-meat in the wilderness among the mountains, possessed of no other defence than the two wings of the great eagle, that is to say, the faith of Jesus Christ, who, in stretching forth His holy hands on the holy tree, unfolded two wings, the right and the left, and called to Him all who believed upon Him, and covered them as a hen her chickens. For by the mouth of Malachi also He speaks thus: "And unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings."148
62. The Lord also says, "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains, and let him which is on the housetop not come down to take his clothes; neither let him which is in the field return back to take anything out of his house. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved."149 And Daniel says, "And they shall place the abomination of desolation a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand two hundred and ninety-five days."150
63. And the blessed Apostle Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, says: "Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together at it,151 that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letters as from us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for (that day shall not come) except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth (will let), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: (even him) whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."152 And Esaias says, "Let the wicked be cut off, that he behold not the glory of the Lord."153
64. These things, then, being to come to pass, beloved, and the one week being divided into two parts, and the abomination of desolation being manifested then, and the two prophets and forerunners of the Lord having finished their course, and the whole world finally approaching the consummation, what remains but the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from heaven, for whom we have looked in hope? who shall bring the conflagration and just judgment upon all who have refused to believe on Him. For the Lord says, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."154 "And there shall not a hair of your head perish."155 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."156 Now the fall157 took place in paradise; for Adam fell there. And He says again, "Then shall the Son of man send His angels, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds of heaven."158 And David also, in announcing prophetically the judgment and coming of the Lord, says, "His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and His circuit unto the end of the heaven: and there is no one hid from the heat thereof."159 By the heat he means the conflagration. And Esaias speaks thus: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chamber, (and) shut thy door: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation of the Lord be overpast."160 And Paul in like manner: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness."161
65. Moreover, concerning the resurrection and the kingdom of the saints, Daniel says, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some to everlasting life, (and some to shame and everlasting contempt)."162 Esaias says, "The dead men shall arise, and they that are in their tombs shall awake; for the dew from thee is healing to them."163 The Lord says, "Many in that day shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live."164 And the prophet says, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."165 And John says, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power."166 For the second death is the lake of fire that burneth. And again the Lord says, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun shineth in his glory."167 And to the saints He will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."168 But what saith He to the wicked? "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, which my Father hath prepared." And John says, "Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever maketh and loveth a lie; for your part is in the hell of fire."169 And in like manner also Esaias: "And they shall go forth and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me. And their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be for a spectacle to all flesh."170
66. Concerning the resurrection of the righteous, Paul also speaks thus in writing to the Thessalonians: "We would not have you to be ignorant concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive (and) remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice and trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive (and) remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord."171
67. These things, then, I have set shortly before thee, O Theophilus, drawing them from Scripture itself,172 in order that, maintaining in faith what is written, and anticipating the things that are to be, thou mayest keep thyself void of offence both toward God and toward men, "looking for that blessed hope and appearing of our God and Saviour,"173 when, having raised the saints among us, He will rejoice with them, glorifying the Father. To Him be the glory unto the endless ages of the ages. Amen.
1. Now, then, incline thine ear to me, and hear my words, and give heed, thou Jew. Many a time dost thou boast thyself, in that thou didst condemn Jesus of Nazareth to death, and didst give Him vinegar and gall to drink; and thou dost vaunt thyself because of this. Come therefore, and let us consider together whether perchance thou dost not boast unrighteously, O Israel, (and) whether that small portion of vinegar and gall has not brought down this fearful threatening upon thee, (and) whether this is not the cause of thy present condition involved in these myriad troubles.
2. Let him then be introduced before us who speaketh by the Holy Spirit, and saith truth-David the son of Jesse. He, singing a certain strain with prophetic reference to the true Christ, celebrated our God by the Holy Spirit, (and) declared clearly all that befell Him by the hands of the Jews in His passion; in which (strain) the Christ who humbled Himself and took unto Himself the form of the servant Adam, calls upon God the Father in heaven as it were in our person, and speaks thus in the sixty-ninth Psalm: "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I am sunk in the mire of the abyss," that is to say, in the corruption of Hades, on account of the transgression in paradise; and "there is no substance," that is, help. "My eyes failed while I hoped (or, from my hoping) upon my God; when will He come and save me? "174
3. Then, in what next follows, Christ speaks, as it were, in His own person: "Then I restored that," says He, "which I took not away; "that is, on account of the sin of Adam I endured the death which was not mine by sinning. "For, O God, Thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from Thee," that is, "for I did not sin," as He means it; and for this reason (it is added), "Let not them be ashamed who want to see" my resurrection on the third day, to wit, the apostles. "Because for Thy sake," that is, for the sake of obeying Thee, "I have borne reproach," namely the cross, when "they covered my face with shame," that is to say, the Jews; when "I became a stranger unto my brethren after the flesh, and an alien unto my mother's children," meaning (by the mother) the synagogue. "For the zeal of Thine house, Father, hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen on me," and of them that sacrificed to idols. Wherefore "they that sit in the gate spoke against me," for they crucified me without the gate. "And they that drink sang against me," that is, (they who drink wine) at the feast of the passover. "But as for me, in my prayer unto Thee, O Lord, I said, Father, forgive them," namely the Gentiles, because it is the time for favour with Gentiles. "Let not then the hurricane (of temptations) overwhelm me, neither let the deep (that is, Hades) swallow me up: for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Hades); neither let the pit shut her mouth upon me,"175 that is, the sepulchre. "By reason of mine enemies, deliver me," that the Jews may not boast, saying, Let us consume him.
4. Now Christ prayed all this economically176 as man; being, however, true God. But, as I have already said, it was the "form of the servant"177 that spake and suffered these things. Wherefore He added, "My soul looked for reproach and trouble," that is, I suffered of my own will, (and) not by any compulsion. Yet "I waited for one to mourn with me, and there was none," for all my disciples forsook me and fled; and for a "comforter, and I found none."
5. Listen with understanding, O Jew, to what the Christ says: "They gave me gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." And these things He did indeed endure from you. Hear the Holy Ghost tell you also what return He made to you for that little portion of vinegar. For the prophet says, as in the person of God, "Let their table become a snare and retribution." Of what retribution does He speak? Manifestly, of the misery which has now got hold of thee.
6. And then hear what follows: "Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not." And surely ye have been darkened in the eyes of your soul with a darkness utter and everlasting. For now that the true light has arisen, ye wander as in the night, and stumble on places with no roads, and fall headlong, as having forsaken the way that saith, "I am the way."178 Furthermore, hear this yet more serious word: "And their back do thou bend always; "that means, in order that they may be slaves to the nations, not four hundred and thirty years as in Egypt, nor seventy as in Babylon, but bend them to servitude, he says, "always." In fine, then, how dost thou indulge vain hopes, expecting to be delivered from the misery which holdeth thee? For that is somewhat strange. And not unjustly has he imprecated this blindness of eyes upon thee. But because thou didst cover the eyes of Christ, (and179 ) thus thou didst beat Him, for this reason, too, bend thou thy back for servitude always. And whereas thou didst pour out His blood in indignation, hear what thy recompense shall be: "Pour out Thine indignation upon them, and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them; "and, "Let their habitation be desolate," to wit, their celebrated temple.
7. But why, O prophet, tell us, and for what reason, was the temple made desolate? Was it on account of that ancient fabrication of the calf? Was it on account of the idolatry of the people? Was it for the blood of the prophets? Was it for the adultery and fornication of Israel? By no means, he says; for in all these transgressions they always found pardon open to them, and benignity; but it was because they killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is coeternal with the Father. Whence He saith, "Father, let their temple be made desolate;180 for they have persecuted Him whom Thou didst of Thine own will smite for the salvation of the world; "that is, they have persecuted me with a violent and unjust death, "and they have added to the pain of my wounds." In former time, as the Lover of man, I had pain on account of the straying of the Gentiles; but to this pain they have added another, by going also themselves astray. Wherefore "add iniquity to their iniquity, and tribulation to tribulation, and let them not enter into Thy righteousness," that is, into Thy kingdom; but "let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous," that is, with their holy fathers and patriarchs.
8. What sayest thou to this, O Jew? It is neither Matthew nor Paul that saith these things, but David, thine anointed, who awards and declares these terrible sentences on account of Christ. And like the great Job, addressing you who speak against the righteous and true, he says, "Thou didst barter the Christ like a slave, thou didst go to Him like a robber in the garden."
9. I produce now the prophecy of Solomon, which speaketh of Christ, and announces clearly and perspicuously things concerning the Jews; and those which not only are befalling them at the present time, but those, too, which shall befall them in the future age, on account of the contumacy and audacity which they exhibited toward the Prince of Life; for the prophet says, "The ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright," that is, about Christ, "Let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings and words, and upbraideth us with our offending the law, and professeth to have knowledge of God; and he calleth himself the Child of God."181 And then he says, "He is grievous to us even to behold; for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are of another fashion. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed."182 And again, listen to this, O Jew! None of the righteous or prophets called himself the Son of God. And therefore, as in the person of the Jews, solomon speaks again of this righteous one, who is Christ, thus: "He was made to reprove our thoughts, and he maketh his boast that God is his Father. Let us see, then, if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him; for if the just man be the Son of God, He will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. Let us condemn him with a shameful death, for by his own saying he shall be respected."183
10. And again David, in the Psalms, says with respect to the future age, "Then shall He" (namely Christ) "speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure."184 And again Solomon says concerning Christ and the Jews, that "when the righteous shall stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted Him, and made no account of His words, when they see it they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of His salvation; and they, repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say within themselves, This is He whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach; we fools accounted His life madness, and His end to he without honour. How is He numbered among the children of God, and His lot is among the saints? Therefore have we erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness bath not shined unto us, and the sun of righteousness rose not on us. We wearied ourselves in the way of wickedness and destruction; we have gone through deserts where there lay no way: but as for the way of the Lord, we have not known it. What hath our pride profited us? all those things are passed away like a shadow."185
The Conclusion IS Wanting.186
Against Plato, on the Cause of the Universe.187
1. And this is the passage regarding demons.188 But now we must speak of Hades, in which the souls both of the righteous and the unrighteous are detained. Hades is a place in the created system, rude,189 a locality beneath the earth, in which the light of the world does not shine; and as the sun does not shine in this locality, there must necessarily be perpetual darkness there. This locality has been destined to be as it were a guard-house for souls, at which the angels are stationed as guards, distributing according to each one's deeds the temporary190 punishments for (different) characters. And in this locality there is a certain place191 set apart by itself, a lake of unquenchable fire, into which we suppose no one has ever yet been cast; for it is prepared against the day determined by God, in which one sentence of righteous judgment shall be justly applied to all. And the unrighteous, and those who believed not God, who have honoured as God the vain works of the hands of men, idols fashioned (by themselves), shall be sentenced to this endless punishment. But the righteous shall obtain the incorruptible and un-fading kingdom, who indeed are at present detained in Hades, but not in the same place with the unrighteous. For to this locality there is one descent, at the gate whereof we believe an archangel is stationed with a host. And when those who are conducted by the angels appointed unto the souls have passed through this gate, they do not proceed on one and the same way; but the righteous, being conducted in the light toward the right, and being hymned by the angels stationed at the place, are brought to a locality full of light. And there the righteous from the beginning192 dwell, not ruled by necessity, but enjoying always the contemplation of the blessings which are in their view, and delighting themselves with the expectation of others ever new, and deeming those ever better than these. And that place brings no toils to them. There, there is neither fierce heat, nor cold, nor thorn;193 but the face of the fathers and the righteous is seen to be always smiling, as they wait for the rest and eternal revival in heaven which succeed this location. And we call it by the name Abraham's bosom. But the unrighteous are dragged toward the left by angels who are ministers of punishment, and they go of their own accord no longer, but are dragged by force as prisoners. And the angels appointed over them send them along,194 reproaching them and threatening them with an eye of terror, forcing them down into the lower parts. And when they are brought there, those appointed to that service drag them on to the confines or hell.195 And those who are so near hear incessantly the agitation, and feel the hot smoke. And when that vision is so near, as they see the terrible and excessively glowing196 spectacle of the fire, they shudder in horror at the expectation of the future judgment, (as if they were) already feeling the power of their punishment. And again, where they see the place of the fathers and the righteous,197 they are also punished there. For a deep and vast abyss is set there in the midst, so that neither can any of the righteous in sympathy think to pass it, nor any of the unrighteous dare to cross it.
2. Thus far, then, on the subject of Hades, in which the souls of all are detained until the time which God has determined; and then198 He will accomplish a resurrection of all, not by transferring souls into other bodies,199 but by raising the bodies themselves. And if, O Greeks, ye refuse credit to this because ye see these (bodies) in their dissolution, learn not to be incredulous. For if ye believe that the soul is originated and is made immortal by God, according to the opinion of Plato,200 in time, ye ought not to refuse to believe that God is able also to raise the body, which is composed of the same elements, and make it immortal.201 To be able in one thing, and to be unable in another, is a word which cannot be said of God. We therefore believe that the body also is raised. For if it become corrupt, it is not at least destroyed. For the earth receiving its remains preserves them, and they, becoming as it were seed, and being wrapped up with the richer part of earth, spring up and bloom. And that which is sown is sown indeed bare grain; but at the command of God the Artificer it buds, and is raised arrayed and glorious, but not until it has first died, and been dissolved, and mingled with earth. Not, therefore, without good reason do we believe in the resurrection of the body. Moreover, if it is dissolved in its season on account of the primeval transgression, and is committed to the earth as to a furnace, to be moulded again anew, it is not raised the same thing as it is now, but pure and no longer corruptible. And to every body its own proper soul will be given again; and the soul, being endued again with it, shall not be grieved, but shall rejoice together with it, abiding itself pure with it also pure. And as it now sojourns with it in the world righteously, and finds it in nothing now a traitor, it will receive it again (the body) with great joy. But the unrighteous will receive their bodies unchanged, and unransomed from suffering and disease, and unglorified, and still with all the ills in which they died. And whatever manner of persons they (were when they) lived without faith, as such they shall be faithfully judged.202
3.203 For all, the righteous and the unrighteous alike, shall be brought before God the Word. For the Father hath committed all judgment to Him; and in fulfilment of the Father's counsel, He cometh as Judge whom we call Christ. For it is not Minos and Rhadamanthys that are to judge (the world), as ye fancy, O Greeks, but He whom God the Father hath glorified, of whom we have spoken elsewhere more in particular, for the profit of those who seek the truth. He, in administering the righteous judgment of the Father to all, assigns to each what is righteous according to his works. And being present at His judicial decision, all, both men and angels and demons, shall utter one voice, saying, "Righteous is Thy judgment."204 Of which voice the justification will be seen in the awarding to each that which is just; since to those who have done well shall be assigned righteously eternal bliss, and to the lovers of iniquity shall be given eternal punishment. And the fire which is un-quenchable and without end awaits these latter, and a certain fiery worm which dieth not, and which does not waste the body, but continues bursting forth from the body with unending pain. No sleep will give them rest; no night will soothe them; no death will deliver them from punishment; no voice of interceding friends will profit them.205 For neither are the righteous seen by them any longer, nor are they worthy of remembrance. But the righteous will remember only the righteous deeds by which they reached the heavenly kingdom, in which there is neither sleep, nor pain, nor corruption, nor care,206 nor night, nor day measured by time; nor sun traversing in necessary course the circle of heaven, which marks the limits of seasons, or the points measured out for the life of man so easily read; nor moon waning or waxing, or inducing the changes of seasons, or moistening the earth; no burning sun, no changeful Bear, no Orion coming forth, no numerous wandering of stars, no painfully-trodden earth, no abode of paradise hard to find; no furious roaring of the sea, forbidding one to touch or traverse it; but this too will be readily passable for the righteous, although it lacks no water. There will be no heaven inaccessible to men, nor will the way of its ascent be one impossible to find; and there will be no earth unwrought, or toilsome for men, but one producing fruit spontaneously in beauty and order; nor will there be generation of wild beasts again, nor the bursting207 substance of other creatures. Neither with man will there be generation again, but the number of the righteous remains indefectible with the righteous angels and spirits. Ye who believe these words, O men, will be partakers with the righteous, and will have part in these future blessings, which "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."208 To Him be the glory and the power, for ever and ever. Amen.
Against the Heresy of One Noetus.209
1. Some others are secretly introducing another doctrine, who have become disciples of one Noetus, who was a native of Smyrna,210 (and) lived not very long ago.211 This person was greatly puffed up and inflated with pride, being inspired by the conceit of a strange spirit. He alleged that Christ was the Father Himself, and that the Father Himself was born, and suffered, and died. Ye see what pride of heart and what a strange inflated spirit had insinuated themselves into him. Froth his other actions, then, the proof is already given us that he spoke not with a pure spirit; for he who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost is cast out from the holy inheritance. He alleged that he was himself Moses, and that Aaron was his brother.212 When the blessed presbyters heard this, they summoned him before the Church, and examined him. But he denied at first that he held such opinions. Afterwards, however, taking shelter among some, and having gathered round him some others who had embraced the same error, he wished thereafter to uphold his dogma openly as correct. And the blessed presbyters called him again before them, and examined him. But he stood out against them, saying, "What evil, then, am I doing in glorifying Christ? "And the presbyters replied to him, "We too know in truth one God; we know Christ; we know that the Son suffered even as He suffered, and died even as He died, and rose again on the third day, and is at the right hand of the Father, and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And these things which we have learned we allege." Then, after examining him, they expelled him from the Church. And he was carried to such a pitch of pride, that he established a school.
2. Now they seek to exhibit the foundation for their dogma by citing the word in the law, "I am the God of your fathers: ye shall have no other gods beside me; " and again in another passage, "I am the first," He saith, "and the last; and beside me there is none other." Thus they say they prove that God is one. And then they answer in this manner: "If therefore I acknowledge Christ to be God, He is the Father Himself, if He is indeed God; and Christ suffered, being Himself God; and consequently the Father suffered, for He was the Father Himself." But the case stands not thus; for the Scriptures do not set forth the matter in this manner. But they make use also of other testimonies, and say, Thus it is written: "This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant (son), and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men." You see, then, he says, that this is God, who is the only One, and who afterwards did show Himself, and con-versed with men." And in another place he says, "Egypt hath laboured; and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, (and they shall be slaves to thee); and they shall come after thee bound with manacles, and they shall fall down unto thee, because God is in thee; and they shall make supplication unto thee: and there is no God beside thee. For Thou art God, and we knew not; God of Israel, the Saviour." Do you see, he says, how the Scriptures proclaim one God? And as this is clearly exhibited, and these passages are testimonies to it, I am under necessity, he says, since one is acknowledged, to make this One the subject of suffering. For Christ was God, and suffered on account of us, being Himself the Father, that He might be able also to save us. And we cannot express ourselves otherwise, he says; for the apostle also acknowledges one God, when he says, "Whose are the fathers, (and) of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever."
3. In this way, then, they choose to set forth these things, and they make use only of one class of passages; just in the same one-sided manner that Theodotus employed when he sought to prove that Christ was a mere man. But neither has the one party nor the other understood the matter rightly, as the Scriptures themselves confute their senselessness, and attest the truth. See, brethren, what a rash and audacious dogma they have introduced, when they say without shame, the Father is Himself Christ, Himself the Son, Himself was born, Himself suffered, Himself raised Himself. But it is not so. The Scriptures speak what is right; but Noetus is of a different mind from them. Yet, though Noetus does not understand the truth, the Scriptures are not at once to be repudiated. For who will not say that there is one God? Yet he will not on that account deny the economy (i.e., the number and disposition of persons in the Trinity). The proper way, therefore, to deal with the question is first of all to refute the interpretation put upon these passages by these men, and then to explain their real meaning. For it is right, in the first place, to expound the truth that the Father is one God, "of whom is every family," "by whom are all things, of whom are all things, and we in Him."
4. Let us, as I said, see how he is confuted, and then let us set forth the truth. Now he quotes the words, "Egypt has laboured, and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans," and so forth on to the words, "For Thou art the God of Israel, the Saviour." And these words he cites without understanding what precedes them. For whenever they wish to attempt anything underhand, they mutilate the Scriptures. But let him quote the passage as a whole, and he will discover the reason kept in view in writing it. For we have the beginning of the section a little above; and we ought, of course, to commence there in showing to whom and about whom the passage speaks. For above, the beginning of the section stands thus: "Ask me concerning my sons and my daughters, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and man upon it: I with my hand have stablished the heaven; I have commanded all the stars. I have raised him up, and all his ways are straight. He shall build my city, and he shall turn back the captivity; not for price nor reward, said the Lord of hosts. Thus said the Lord of hosts, Egypt hath laboured, and the merchandise of Ethiopia anti the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be slaves to thee: and they shall come after thee bound with manacles, and they shall fall down unto thee; and they shall make supplication unto thee, because God is in thee; and there is no God beside thee. For Thou art God, and we knew not; the God of Israel, the Saviour," "In thee, therefore," says he, "God is." But in whom is God except in Christ Jesus, the Father's Word, and the mystery of the economy? And again, exhibiting the truth regarding Him, he points to the fact of His being in the flesh when He says, "I have raised Him up in righteousness, and all His ways are straight." For what is this? Of whom does the Father thus testify? It is of the Son that the Father says, "I have raised Him up in righteousness." And that the Father did raise up His Son in righteousness, the Apostle Paul bears witness, saying, "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." Behold, the word spoken by the prophet is thus made good, "I have raised Him up in righteousness." And in saying, "God is in thee," he referred to the mystery of the economy, because when the Word was made incarnate and became man, the Father was in the Son, and the Son in the Father, while the Son was living among men. This, therefore, was signified, brethren, that in reality the mystery of the economy by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin was this Word, constituting yet one Son to God. And it is not simply that I say this, but He Himself attests it who came down from heaven; for He speaketh thus: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." What then can he seek beside what is thus written? Will he say, forsooth, that flesh was in heaven? Yet there is the flesh which was presented by the Father's Word as an offering,-the flesh that came by the Spirit and the Virgin, (and was) demonstrated to be the perfect Son of God. It is evident, therefore, that He offered Himself to the Father. And before this there was no flesh in heaven. Who, then, was in heaven but the Word unincarnate, who was despatched to show that He was upon earth and was also in heaven? For He was Word, He was Spirit, He was Power. The same took to Himself the name common and current among men, and was called from the beginning the Son of man on account of what He was to be, although He was not yet man, as Daniel testifies when he says, "I saw, and behold one like the Son of man came on the clouds of heaven." Rightly, then, did he say that He who was in heaven was called from the beginning by this name, the Word of God, as being that from the beginning.
5. But what is meant, says he, in the other passage: "This is God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him? " That said he rightly. For in comparison of the Father who shall be accounted of? But he says: "This is our God; there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved." He saith well. For who is Jacob His servant, Israel His beloved, but He of whom He crieth, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him? " Having received, then, all knowledge from the Father, the perfect Israel, the true Jacob, afterward did show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men. And who, again, is meant by Israel but a man who sees God? and there is no one who sees God except the Son alone, the perfect man who alone declares the will of the Father. For John also says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared213 Him."214 And again: "He who came down from heaven testifieth what He hath heard and seen."215 This, then, is He to whom the Father hath given all knowledge, who did show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men.
6. Let us look next at the apostle's word: "Whose are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever."216 This word declares the mystery of the truth rightly and clearly. He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father."217 He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is (yet) God for ever. For to this effect John also has said, "Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."218 And well has he named Christ the Almighty. For in this he has said only what Christ testifies of Himself. For Christ gave this testimony, and said, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father; "219 and Christ rules all things, and has been appointed220 Almighty by the Father. And in like manner Paul also, in setting forth the truth that all things are delivered unto Him, said, "Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For all things are put under Him. But when He saith, All things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him. Then shall He also Himself be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."221 If, therefore, all things are put under Him with the exception of Him who put them under Him, He is Lord of all, and the Father is Lord of Him, that in all there might be manifested one God, to whom all things are made subject together with Christ, to whom the Father hath made all things subject, with the exception of Himself. And this, indeed, is said by Christ Himself, as when in the Gospel He confessed Him to be His Father and His God. For He speaks thus: "I go to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God."222 If then, Noetus ventures to say that He is the Father Himself, to what father will he say Christ goes away according to the word of the Gospel? But if he will have us abandon the Gospel and give credence to his senselessness, he expends his labour in vain; for "we ought to obey God rather than men."223
7. If, again, he allege His own word when He said, "I and the Father are one,"224 let him attend to the fact, and understand that He did not say, "I and the Father am one, but are one."225 For the word are226 is not said of one person, but it refers to two persons, and one power.227 He has Himself made this clear, when He spake to His Father concerning the disciples, "The glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that Thou hast sent me."228 What have the Noetians to say to these things? Are alI one body in respect of substance, or is it that we become one in the power and disposition of unity of mind?229 In the same manner the Son, who was sent and was not known of those who are in the world, confessed that He was in the Father in power and disposition. For the Son is the one mind of the Father. We who have the Father's mind believe so (in Him); but they who have it not have denied the Son. And if, again, they choose to allege the fact that Philip inquired about the Father, saying, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us," to whom the Lord made answer in these terms: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? "230 and if they choose to maintain that their dogma is ratified by this passage, as if He owned Himself to be the Father, let them know that it is decidedly against them, and that they are confuted by this very word. For though Christ had spoken of Himself, and showed Himself among all as the Son, they had not yet recognised Him to be such, neither had they been able to apprehend or contemplate His real power. And Philip, not having been able to receive this, as far as it was possible to see it, requested to behold the Father. To whom then the Lord said, "Philip, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." By which He means, If thou hast seen me, thou mayest know the Father through me. For through the image, which is like (the original), the Father is made readily known. But if thou hast not known the image, which is the Son, how dost thou seek to see the Father? And that this is the case is made clear by the rest of the chapter, which signifies that the Son who "has been set forth231 was sent from the Father,232 and goeth to the Father."233
8. Many other passages, or rather all of them, attest the truth. A man, therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject, Himself excepted, and the Holy Spirit; and that these, therefore, are three. But if he desires to learn how it is shown still that there is one God, let him know that His power234 is one. As far as regards the power, therefore, God is one. But as far as regards the economy there is a threefold manifestation, as shall be proved afterwards when we give account of the true doctrine. In these things, however, which are thus set forth by us, we are at one. For there is one God in whom we must believe, but unoriginated, impassible, immortal, doing all things as He wills, in the way He wills, and when He wills. What, then, will this Noetus, who knows235 nothing of the truth, dare to say to these things? And now, as Noetus has been confuted, let us turn to the exhibition of the truth itself, that we may establish the truth, against which all these mighty heresies236 have arisen without being able to state anything to the purpose.
9. There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source. For just as a man, if he wishes to be skilled in the wisdom of this world, will find himself unable to get at it in any other way than by mastering the dogmas of philosophers, so all of us who wish to practise piety will be unable to learn its practice from any other quarter than the oracles of God.237 Whatever things, then, the Holy Scriptures declare, at these let us took; and whatsoever things they teach, these let us learn; and as the Father wills our belief to be, let us believe; and as He wills the Son to be glorified, let us glorify Him; and as He wills the Holy Spirit to be bestowed, let us receive Him. Not according to our own will, nor according to our own mind, nor yet as using violently those things which are given by God, but even as He has chosen to teach them by the Holy Scriptures, so let us discern them.
10. God, subsisting alone, and having nothing contemporaneous with Himself, determined to create the world. And conceiving the world in mind, and willing and uttering the word, He made it; and straightway it appeared, formed as it had pleased Him. For us, then, it is sufficient simply to know that there was nothing contemporaneous with God. Beside Him there was nothing; but238 He, while existing alone, yet existed in plurality.239 For He was neither without reason, nor wisdom, nor power, nor counsel240 And all things were in Him, and He was the All. When He willed, and as He willed,241 He manifested His word in the times determined by Him, and by Him He made all things. When He wills, He does; and when He thinks, He executes; and when He speaks, He manifests; when He fashions, He contrives in wisdom. For all things that are made He forms by reason and wisdom-creating them in reason, and arranging them in wisdom. He made them, then, as He pleased, for He was God. And as the Author, and fellow-Counsellor, and Framer242 of the things that are in formation, He begat243 the Word; and as He bears this Word in Himself, and that, too, as (yet) invisible to the world which is created, He makes Him visible; (and) uttering the voice first, and begetting Him as Light of Light,244 He set Him forth to the world as its Lord, (and) His own mind;245 and whereas He was visible formerly to Himself alone, and invisible to the world which is made, He makes Him visible in order that the world might see Him in His manifestation, and be capable of being saved.
11. And thus there appeared another beside Himself. But when I say another,246 I do not mean that there are two Gods, but that it is only as light of light, or as water from a fountain, or as a ray from the sun. For there is but one power, which is from the All;247 and the Father is the All, from whom cometh this Power, the Word. And this is the mind248 which came forth into the world, and was manifested as the Son249 of God. All things, then, are by Him, and He alone is of the Father. Who then adduces a multitude of gods brought in, time after time? For all are shut up, however unwillingly, to admit this fact, that the All runs up into one. If, then, all things run up into one, even according to Valentinus, and Marcion, and Cerinthus, and all their fooleries, they are also reduced, however unwillingly, to this position, that they must acknowledge that the One is the cause of all things. Thus, then, these too, though they wish it not, fall in with the truth, and admit that one God made all things according to His good pleasure. And He gave the law and the prophets; and in giving them, He made them speak by the Holy Ghost, in order that, being gifted with the inspiration of the Father's power, they might declare the Father's counsel and will.
12. Acting then in these (prophets), the Word spoke of Himself. For already He became His own herald, and showed that the Word would be manifested among men. And for this reason He cried thus: "I am made manifest to them that sought me not; I am found of them that asked not for me."250 And who is He that is made manifest but the Word of the Father?-whom the Father sent, and in whom He showed to men the power proceeding from Him. Thus, then, was the Word made manifest, even as the blessed John says. For he sums up the things that were said by the prophets, and shows that this is the Word, by whom all things were made. For he speaks to this effect: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made."251 And beneath He says, "The world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not; He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."252 If, then, said he, the world was made by Him, according to the word of the prophet, "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made,"253 then this is the Word that was also made manifest. We accordingly see the Word incarnate, and we know the Father by Him, and we believe in the Son, (and) we worship the Holy Spirit. Let us then look at the testimony of Scripture. with respect to the announcement of the future manifestation of the Word.
13. Now Jeremiah says, "Who hath stood in the counsel254 of the Lord, and hath perceived His Word? "255 But the Word of God alone is visible, while the word of man is audible. When he speaks of seeing the Word, I must believe that this visible (Word) has been sent. And there was none other (sent) but the Word. And that He was sent Peter testifies, when he says to the centurion Cornelius: "God sent His Word unto the children of Israel by the preaching of Jesus Christ. This is the God who is Lord of all."256 If, then, the Word is sent by Jesus Christ, the will257 of the Father is Jesus Christ.
14. These things then, brethren, are declared by the Scriptures. And the blessed John, in the testimony of his Gospel, gives us an account of this economy (disposition) and acknowledges this Word as God, when he says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." If, then, the Word was with God, and was also God, what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods?258 I shall not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one; of two Persons however, and of a third economy (disposition), viz., the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father indeed is One, but there are two Persons, because there is also the Son; and then there is the third, the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the Word executes, and the Son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy259 of harmony is led back to one God; for God is One. It is the Father who commands,260 and the Son who obeys, and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding:261 the Father who is above all,262 and the Son who is through all, and the Holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot otherwise think of one God,263 but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit. For the Jews glorified (or gloried in) the Father, but gave Him not thanks, for they did not recognise the Son. The disciples recognised the Son, but not in the Holy Ghost; wherefore they also denied Him.264 The Father's Word, therefore, knowing the economy (disposition) and the will of the Father, to wit, that the Father seeks to be worshipped in none other way than this, gave this charge to the disciples after He rose from the dead: "Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."265 And by this He showed, that whosoever omitted any one of these, failed in glorifying God perfectly. For it is through this Trinity that the Father is glorified. For the Father willed, the Son did, the Spirit manifested. The whole Scriptures, then, proclaim this truth.
15. But some one will say to me, You adduce a thing strange to me, when you call the Son the Word. For John indeed speaks of the Word, but it is by a figure of speech. Nay, it is by no figure of speech.266 For while thus presenting this Word that was from the beginning, and has now been sent forth, he said below in the Apocalypse, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him (was) Faithful and True; and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. And His eyes (were) as flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself. And He (was) clothed in a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God."267 See then, brethren, how the vesture sprinkled with blood denoted in symbol the flesh, through which the impassible Word of God came under suffering, as also the prophets testify to me. For thus speaks the blessed Micah: "The house of Jacob provoked the Spirit of the Lord to anger. These are their pursuits. Are not His words good with them, and do they walk rightly? And they have risen up in enmity against His countenance of peace, and they have stripped off His glory."268 That means His suffering in the flesh. And in like manner also the blessed Paul says, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be shown in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."269 What Son of His own, then, did God send through the flesh but the Word,270 whom He addressed as Son because He was to become such (or be begotten) in the future? And He takes the common name for tender affection among men in being called the Son. For neither was the Word, prior to incarnation and when by Himself,271 yet perfect Son, although He was perfect Word, only-begotten. Nor could the flesh subsist by itself apart from the Word, because it has its subsistence272 in the Word.273 Thus, then, one perfect Son of God was manifested.
16. And these indeed are testimonies bearing on the incarnation of the Word; and there are also very many others. But let us also look at the subject in hand,-namely, the question, brethren, that in reality the Father's power, which is the Word, came down from heaven, and not the Father Himself. For thus He speaks: "I came forth from the Father, and am come."274 Now what subject is meant in this sentence, "I came forth from the Father,"275 but just the Word? And what is it that is begotten of Him, but just the Spirit,276 that is to say, the Word? But you will say to me, How is He begotten? In your own case you can give no explanation of the way in which you were begotten, although you see every day the cause according to man; neither can you tell with accuracy the economy in His case.277 For you have it not in your power to acquaint yourself with the practised and indescribable art278 (method) of the Maker, but only to see, and understand, and believe that man is God's work. Moreover, you are asking an account of the generation of the Word, whom God the Father in His good pleasure begat as He willed. Is it not enough for you to learn that God made the world, but do you also venture to ask whence He made it? Is it not enough for you to learn that the Son of God has been manifested to you for salvation if you believe, but do you also inquire curiously how He was begotten after the Spirit? No more than two,279 in sooth, have been put in trust to give the account of His generation after the flesh; and are you then so bold as to seek the account (of His generation) after the Spirit, which the Father keeps with Himself, intending to reveal it then to the holy ones and those worthy of seeing His face? Rest satisfied with the word spoken by Christ, viz., "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,"280 just as, speaking by the prophet of the generation of the Word, He shows the fact that He is begotten, but reserves the question of the manner and means, to reveal it only in the time determined by Himself. For He speaks thus: "From the womb, before the morning star, I have begotten Thee."281
17. These testimonies are sufficient for the believing who study truth, and the unbelieving credit no testimony.282 For the Holy Spirit, indeed, in the person of the apostles, has testified to this, saying, "And who has believed our report? "283 Therefore let us not prove ourselves unbelieving, lest the word spoken be fulfilled in us. Let us believe then, dear284 brethren, according to the tradition of the apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven, (and entered) into the holy Virgin Mary, in order that, taking the flesh from her, and assuming also a human, by which I mean a rational soul, and becoming thus all that man is with the exception of sin, He might save fallen man, and confer immortality on men who believe on His name. In all, therefore, the word of truth is demonstrated to us, to wit, that the Father is One, whose word is present (with Him), by whom He made all things; whom also, as we have said above, the Father sent forth in later times for the salvation of men. This (Word) was preached by the law and the prophets as destined to come into the world. And even as He was preached then, in the same manner also did He come and manifest Himself, being by the Virgin and the Holy Spirit made a new man; for in that He had the heavenly (nature) of the Father, as the Word and the earthly (nature), as taking to Himself the flesh from the old Adam by the medium of the Virgin, He now, coming forth into the world, was manifested as God in a body, coming forth too as a perfect man. For it was not in mere appearance or by conversion,285 but in truth, that He became man.
18.286 Thus then, too, though demonstrated as God, He does not refuse the conditions proper to Him as man,287 since He hungers and toils and thirsts in weariness, and flees in fear, and prays in trouble. And He who as God has a sleepless nature, slumbers on a pillow. And He who for this end came into the world, begs off from the cup of suffering. And in an agony He sweats blood, and is strengthened by an angel, who Himself strengthens those who believe on Him, and taught men to despise death by His work.288 And He who knew what manner of man Judas was, is betrayed by Judas. And He, who formerly was honoured by him as God, is contemned by Caiaphas.289 And He is set at nought by Herod, who is Himself to judge the whole earth. And He is scourged by Pilate, who took upon Himself our infirmities. And by the soldiers He is mocked, at whose behest stand thousands of thousands and myriads of myriads of angels and archangels. And He who fixed the heavens like a vault is fastened to the cross by the Jews. And He who is inseparable from the Father cries to the Father, and commends to Him His spirit; and bowing His head, He gives up the ghost, who said, "I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again; "290 and because He was not overmastered by death, as being Himself Life, He said this: "I lay it down of myself."291 And He who gives life bountifully to all, has His side pierced with a spear. And He who raises the dead is wrapped in linen and laid in a sepulchre, and on the third day He is raised again by the Father, though Himself the Resurrection and the Life. For all these things has He finished for us, who for our sakes was made as we are. For "Himself hath borne our infirmities, and carried our diseases; and for our sakes He was afflicted,"292 as Isaiah the prophet has said. This is He who was hymned by the angels, and seen by the shepherds, and waited for by Simeon, and witnessed to by Anna. This is He who was inquired after by the wise men, and indicated by the star; He who was engaged in His Father's house, and pointed to by John, and witnessed to by the Father from above in the voice, "This is my beloved Son; hear ye Him."293 He is crowned victor against the devil.294 This is Jesus of Nazareth, who was invited to the marriage-feast in Cana, and turned the water into wine, and rebuked the sea when agitated by the violence of the winds, and walked on the deep as on dry land, and caused the blind man from birth to see, and raised Lazarus to life after he had been dead four days, and did many mighty works, and forgave sins, and conferred power on the disciples, and had blood and water flowing from His sacred side when pierced with the spear. For His sake the sun is darkened, the day has no light, the rocks are shattered, the veil is rent, the foundations of the earth are shaken, the graves are opened, and the dead are raised, and the rulers are ashamed when they see the Director of the universe upon the cross closing His eye and giving up the ghost. Creation saw, and was troubled; and, unable to bear the sight of His exceeding glory, shrouded itself in darkness.295 This (is He who) breathes upon the disciples, and gives them the Spirit, and comes in among them when the doors are shut, and is taken up by a cloud into the heavens while the disciples gaze at Him, and is set down on the right hand of the Father, and comes again as the Judge of the living and the dead. This is the God who for our sakes became man, to whom also the Father hath put all things in subjection. To Him be the glory and the power, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the holy Church both now and ever, and even for evermore. Amen.
Fragments OF A Discourse, Alphabetically Divided,296 ON The Divine Nature297 And The Incarnation, Against The Heretics Beron And Helix,298 The Beginning OF Which Was IN These Words, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God OF Sabaoth, With Voice Never Silent The Seraphim Exclaim And Glorify God."
By the omnipotent will of God all things are made, and the things that are made are also preserved, being maintained according to their several principles in perfect harmony by Him who is in His nature the omnipotent God and maker of all things,299 His divine will remaining unalterable by which He has made and moves all things, sustained as they severally are by their own natural laws.300 For the infinite cannot in any manner or by any account be susceptible of movement, inasmuch as it has nothing towards which and nothing around which it shall be moved. For in the case of that which is in its nature infinite, and so incapable of being moved, movement would be conversion.301 Wherefore also the Word of God being made truly man in our manner, yet without sin, and acting and enduring in man's way such sinless things as are proper to our nature, and assuming the circumscription of the flesh of our nature on our behalf sustained no conversion in that aspect in which He is one with the Father, being made in no respect one with the flesh through the exinanition.302 Burns He was without flesh,303 He remained without any circumscription. And through the flesh He wrought divinely304 those things which are proper to divinity, showing Himself to have both those natures in both of which He wrought, I mean the divine and the human, according to that veritable and real and natural subsistence,305 (showing Himself thus) as both being in reality and as being understood to be at one and the same time infinite God and finite man, having the nature306 of each in perfection, with the same activity,307 that is to say, the same natural properties;308 whence we know that their distinction abides always according to the nature of each, and without conversion. But it is not (i.e., the distinction between deity and humanity), as some say, a merely comparative (or relative) matter,309 that we may not speak in an unwarrantable manner of a greater and a less in one who is ever the same in Himself.310 For comparisons can be instituted only between objects of like nature, and not between objects of unlike nature. But between God the Maker of all things and that which is made, between the infinite and the finite, between infinitude and finitude, there can be no kind of comparison, since these differ from each other not in mere comparison (or relatively), but absolutely in essence. And yet at the same time there has been effected a certain inexpressible and irrefragable union of the two into one substance,311 which entirely passes the understanding of anything that is made. For the divine is just the same after the incarnation that it was before the incarnation; in its essence infinite, illimitable, impassible, incomparable, unchangeable, inconvertable, self-potent,312 and, in short, subsisting in essence alone the infinitely worthy good.
The God of all things therefore became truly, according to the Scriptures, without conversion, sinless man, and that in a manner known to Himself alone, as He is the natural Artificer of things which are above our comprehension. And by that same saving act of the incarnation313 He introduced into the flesh the activity of His proper divinity, yet without having it (that activity) either circumscribed by the flesh through the exinanition, or growing naturally out of the flesh as it grew out of His divinity,314 but manifested through it in the things which He wrought in a divine manner in His incarnate state. For the flesh did not become divinity in nature by a transmutation of nature, as though it became essentially flesh of divinity. But what it was before, that also it continued to be in nature and activity when united with divinity, even as the Saviour said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."315 And working and enduring in the flesh things which were proper to sinless flesh, He proved the evacuation of divinity (to be) for our sakes, confirmed as it was by wonders and by sufferings of the flesh naturally. For with this purpose did the God of all things become man, viz., in order that by suffering in the flesh, which is susceptible of suffering, He might redeem our whole race, which was sold to death; and that by working wondrous things by His divinity, which is unsusceptible of suffering, through the medium of the flesh He might restore it to that incorruptible and blessed life from which it fell away by yielding to the devil; and that He might establish the holy orders of intelligent existences in the heavens in immutability by the mystery of His incarnation,316 the doing of which is the recapitulation of all things in himself.317 He remained therefore, also, after His incarnation, according to nature, God infinite, and more,318 having the activity proper and suitable to Himself,-an activity growing out of His divinity essentially, and manifested through His perfectly holy flesh by wondrous acts economically, to the intent that He might be believed in as God, while working out of Himself319 by the flesh, which by nature is weak, the salvation of the universe.
Now, with the view of explaining, by means of an illustration, what has been said concerning the Saviour, (I may say that) the power of thought320 which I have by nature is proper and suitable to me, as being possessed of a rational and intelligent soul; and to this soul there pertains, according to nature, a self-moved energy and first power, ever-moving, to wit, the thought that streams from it naturally. This thought I utter, when there is occasion, by fitting it to words, and expressing it rightly in signs, using the tongue as an organ, or artificial characters, showing that it is heard, though it comes into actuality by means of objects foreign to itself, and yet is not changed itself by those foreign objects.321 For my natural thought does not belong to the tongue or the letters, although I effect its utterance by means of these; but it belongs to me, who speak according to my nature, and by means of both these express it as my own, streaming as it does always from my intelligent soul according to its nature, and uttered by means of my bodily tongue organically, as I have said, when there is occasion. Now, to institute a comparison with that which is utterly beyond comparison, just as in us the power of thought that belongs by nature to the soul is brought to utterance by means of our bodily tongue without any change in itself, so, too, in the wondrous incarnation322 of God is the omnipotent and all-creating energy of the entire deity323 manifested without mutation in itself, by means of His perfectly holy flesh, and in the works which He wrought after a divine manner, (that energy of the deity) remaining in its essence free from all circumscription, although it shone through the flesh, which is itself essentially limited. For that which is in its nature unoriginated cannot be circumscribed by an originated nature, although this latter may have grown into one with it324 by a conception which circumscribes all understanding:325 nor can this be ever brought into the same nature and natural activity with that, so long as they remain each within its own proper and inconvertible nature.326 For it is only in objects of the same nature that there is the motion that works the same works, showing that the being327 whose power is natural is incapable in any manner of being or becoming the possession of a being of a different nature without mutation.328
For, in the view of apostles and prophets and teachers, the mystery of the divine incarnation has been distinguished as having two points of contemplation natural to it,329 distinct in all things, inasmuch as on the one hand it is the subsistence of perfect deity, and on the other is demonstrative of full humanity. As long, therefore,330 as the Word is acknowledged to be in substance one, of one energy, there shall never in any way be known a movement331 in the two. For while God, who is essentially ever-existent, became by His infinite power, according to His will, sinless man, He is what He was, in all wherein God is known; and what He became, He is in all wherein man is known and can be recognised. In both aspects of Himself He never falls out of Himself,332 in His divine activities and in His human alike, preserving in both relations His own essentially unchangeable perfection.
For lately a certain person, Beron, along with some others, forsook the delusion of Valentinus, only to involve themselves in deeper error, affirming that the flesh assumed to Himself by the Word became capable of working like works with the deity333 by virtue of its assumption, and that the deity became susceptible of suffering in the same way with the flesh334 by virtue of the exinanition;335 and thus they assert the doctrine that there was at the same time a conversion and a mixing and a fusing336 of the two aspects one with the other. For if the flesh that was assumed became capable of working like works with the deity, it is evident that it also became God in essence in all wherein God is essentially known. And if the deity by the exinanition became susceptible of the same sufferings with the flesh, it is evident that it also became in essence flesh in all wherein flesh essentially can be known. For objects that act in like manner,337 and work like works, and are altogether of like kind, and are susceptible of like suffering with each other, admit of no difference of nature; and if the natures are fused together,338 Christ will be a duality;339 and if the persons340 are separated, there will be a quaternity,341 -a thing which is altogether to be avoided. And how will they conceive of the one and the same Christ, who is at once God and man by nature? And what manner of existence will He have according to them, if He has become man by a conversion of the deity, and if he has become God by a change of the flesh? For the mutation342 of these, the one into the other, is a complete subversion of both. Let the discussion, then, be considered by us again in a different way.
Among Christians it is settled as the doctrine of piety, that, according to nature itself, and to the activity and to whatever else pertains thereunto, God is equal and the same with Himself,343 having nothing that is His unequal to Himself at all and heterogeneous.344 If, then, according to Beron, the flesh that He assumed to Himself became possessed of the like natural energy with them, it is evident that it also became possessed of the like nature with Him in all wherein that nature consists,-to wit, non-origination, non-generation, infinitude, eternity, incomprehensibility, and whatever else in the way of the transcendent the theological mind discerns in deity; and thus they both underwent conversion, neither the one nor the other preserving any more the substantial relation of its own proper nature.345 For he who recognises an identical operation346 in things of unlike nature, introduces at the same time a fusion of natures and a separation of persons,347 their natural existence348 being made entirely undistinguishable by the transference of properties.349
But if it (the flesh) did not become of like nature with that (the deity), neither shall it ever become of like natural energy with that; that He may not be shown to have His energy unequal with His nature, and heterogeneous, and, through all that pertains to Himself, to have entered on an existence outside of His natural equality and identity,350 which is an impious supposition.
Into this error, then, have they been carried, by believing, unhappily, that that divine energy was made the property of the flesh which was only manifested through the flesh in His miraculous actions; by which energy Christ, in so far as He is apprehended as God, gave existence to the universe, and now maintains and governs it. For they did not perceive that it is impossible for the energy of the divine nature to become the property351 of a being of a different nature352 apart from conversion; nor did they understand that that is not by any means the property of the flesh which is only manifested through it, and does not spring out of it according to nature; and yet the proof thereof was clear and evident to them. For I, by speaking with the tongue and writing with the hand, reveal through both these one and the same thought of my intelligent soul, its energy (or operation) being natural; in no way showing it as springing naturally out of tongue or hand; nor yet (showing) even the spoken thought as made to belong to them in virtue of its revelation by their means. For no intelligent person ever recognised tongue or hand as capable of thought, just as also no one ever recognised the perfectly holy flesh of God, in virtue of its assumption, and in virtue of the revelation of the divine energy through its medium, as becoming in nature creative.353 But the pious confession of the believer is that, with a view to our salvation, and in order to connect the universe with unchangeableness, the Creator of all things incorporated with Himself354 a rational soul and a sensible355 body from the all-holy Mary, ever-virgin, by an undefiled conception, without conversion, and was made man in nature, but separate from wickedness: the same was perfect God, and the same was perfect man; the same was in nature at once perfect God and man. In His deity He wrought divine things through His all-holy flesh,-such things, namely, as did not pertain to the flesh by nature; and in His humanity He suffered human things,-such things, namely, as did not pertain to deity by nature, by the upbearing of the deity.356 He wrought nothing divine without the body;357 nor did the same do anything human without the participation of deity.358 Thus He preserved for Himself a new and fitting method359 by which He wrought (according to the manner of) both, while that which was natural to both remained unchanged;360 to the accrediting361 of His perfect incarnation,362 which is really genuine, and has nothing lacking in it.363 Beron, therefore, since the case stands with him as I have already stated, confounding together in nature the deity and the humanity of Christ in a single energy,364 and again separating them in person, subverts the life, not knowing that identical operation365 is indicative of the connatural identity only of connatural persons.366
1. Good, yea, very good, are all the works of our God and Saviour-all of them that eye seeth and mind perceiveth, all that reason interprets and hand handles, all that intellect comprehends and human nature understands. For what richer beauty can there be than that of the circle367 of heaven? And what form of more blooming fairness than that of earth's surface? And what is there swifter in the course than the chariot of the sun? And what more graceful car than the lunar orb?368 And what work more wonderful than the compact mosaic of the stars?369 And what more productive of supplies than the seasonable winds? And what more spotless mirror than the light of day? And what creature more excellent than man? Very good, then, are all the works of our God and Saviour. And what more requisite gift, again, is there than the element370 of water? For with water all things are washed and nourished, and cleansed and bedewed. Water bears the earth, water produces the dew, water exhilarates the vine; water matures the corn in the ear, water ripens the grapecluster, water softens the olive, water sweetens the palm-date, water reddens the rose and decks the violet, water makes the lily bloom with its brilliant cups. And why should I speak at length? Without the element of water, none of the present order of things can subsist. So necessary is the element of water; for the other elements371 took their places beneath the highest vault of the heavens, but the nature of water obtained a seat also above the heavens. And to this the prophet himself is a witness, when he exclaims, "Praise the Lord, ye heavens of heavens, and the water that is above the heavens."372
2. Nor is this the only thing that proves the dignity373 of the water. But there is also that which is more honourable than all-the fact that Christ, the Maker of all, came down as the rain,374 and was known as a spring,375 and diffused Himself as a river,376 and was baptized in the Jordan.377 For you have just heard how Jesus came to John, and was baptized by him in the Jordan. Oh things strange beyond compare! How should the boundless River378 that makes glad the city of God have been dipped in a little water! The illimitable Spring that bears life to all men, and has no end, was covered by poor and temporary waters! He who is present everywhere, and absent nowhere-who is incomprehensible to angels and invisible to men-comes to the baptism according to His own good pleasure. When you hear these things, beloved, take them not as if spoken literally, but accept them as presented in a figure.379 Whence also the Lord was not unnoticed by the watery element in what He did in secret, in the kindness of His condescension to man. "For the waters saw Him, and were afraid."380 They wellnigh broke from their place, and burst away from their boundary. Hence the prophet, having this in his view many generations ago, puts the question, "What aileth thee, O sea, that thou reddest; and thou, Jordan, that thou wast driven back? "381 And they in reply said, We have seen the Creator of all things in the "form of a servant,"382 and being ignorant of the mystery of the economy, we were lashed with fear.
3. But we, who know the economy, adore His mercy, because He hath come to save and not to judge the world. Wherefore John, the forerunner of the Lord, who before knew not this mystery, on learning that He is Lord in truth, cried out, and spake to those who came to be baptized of him, "O generation of vipers,"383 why look ye so earnestly at me? "I am not the Christ; "384 I am the servant, and not the lord; I am the subject, and not the king; I am the sheep, and not the shepherd; I am a man, and not God. By my birth I loosed the barrenness of my mother; I did not make virginity barren.385 I was brought up from beneath; I did not come down from above. I bound the tongue of my father;386 I did not unfold divine grace. I was known by my mother, and I was not announced by a star.387 I am worthless, and the least; but "after me there comes One who is before me"388 -after me, indeed, in time, but before me by reason of the inaccessible and unutterable light of divinity. "There comes One mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."389 I am subject to authority, but He has authority in Himself. I am bound by sins, but He is the Remover of sins. apply390 the law, but He bringeth grace to light. teach as a slave, but He judgeth as the Master. I have the earth as my couch, but He possesses heaven. I baptize with the baptism of repentance, but He confers the gift of adoption: "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Why give ye attention to me? I am not the Christ.
4. As John says these things to the multitude, and as the people watch in eager expectation of seeing some strange spectacle with their bodily eyes, and the devil391 is struck with amazement at such a testimony from John, lo, the Lord appears, plain, solitary, uncovered,392 without escort,393 having on Him the body of man like a garment, and hiding the dignity of the Divinity, that He may elude the snares of the dragon. And not only did He approach John as Lord without royal retinue; but even like a mere man, and one involved in sin, He bent His head to be baptized by John. Wherefore John, on seeing so great a humbling of Himself, was struck with astonishment at the affair, and began to prevent Him, saying, as ye have just heard, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? "394 What doest Thou, O Lord? Thou teachest things not according to rule.395 I have preached one thing (regarding Thee), and Thou performest another; the devil has heard one thing, and perceives another. Baptize me with the fire of Divinity; why waitest Thou for water? Enlighten me with the Spirit; why dost Thou attend upon a creature? Baptize me, the Baptist, that Thy pre-eminence may be known. I, O Lord, baptize with the baptism of repentance, and I cannot baptize those who come to me unless they first confess fully their sins. Be it so then that I baptize Thee, what hast Thou to confess? Thou art the Remover of sins, and wilt Thou be baptized with the baptism of repentance? Though I should venture to baptize Thee, the Jordan dares not to come near Thee. "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? "
5. And what saith the Lord to him? "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."396 "Suffer it to be so now," John; thou art not wiser than I. Thou seest as man; I foreknow as God. It becomes me to do this first, and thus to teach. I engage in nothing unbecoming, for I am invested with honour. Dost thou marvel, O John, that I am not come in my dignity? The purple robe of kings suits not one in private station, but military splendour suits a king: am I come to a prince, and not to a friend? "Suffer it to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness: "I am the Fulfiller of the law; I seek to leave nothing wanting to its whole fulfilment, that so after me Paul may exclaim, "Christ is the fulfilling of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."397 "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." Baptize me, John, in order that no one may despise baptism. I am baptized by thee, the servant, that no one among kings or dignitaries may scorn to be baptized by the hand of a poor priest. Suffer me to go down into the Jordan, in order that they may hear my Father's testimony, and recognise the power of the Son. "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." Then at length John suffers Him. "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and the heavens were opened unto Him; and, lo, the Spirit of God descended like a dove, and rested upon Him. And a voice (came) from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."398
6. Do you see, beloved, how many and how great blessings we would have lost, if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John, and declined baptism? For the heavens were shut before this; the region above was inaccessible. We would in that case descend to the lower parts, but we would not ascend to the upper. But was it only that the Lord was baptized? He also renewed the old man, and committed to him again the sceptre of adoption. For straightway "the heavens were opened to Him." A reconciliation took place of the visible with the invisible; the celestial orders were filled with joy; the diseases of earth were healed; secret things were made known; those at enmity were restored to amity. For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, "The heavens were opened to Him," on account of three wonders. For when Christ the Bridegroom was baptized, it was meet that the bridal-chamber of heaven should open its brilliant gates. And in like manner also, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father's voice spread everywhere, it was meet that "the gates of heaven should be lifted up."399 "And, lo, the heavens were opened to Him; and a voice was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
7. The beloved generates love, and the light immaterial the light inaccessible.400 "This is my beloved Son," He who, being manifested on earth and yet unseparated from the Father's bosom, was manifested, and yet did not appear.401 For the appearing is a different thing, since in appearance the baptizer here is superior to the baptized. For this reason did the Father send down the Holy Spirit from heaven upon Him who was baptized. For as in the ark of Noah the love of God toward man is signified by the dove, so also now the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, bearing as it were the fruit of the olive, rested on Him to whom the witness was borne. For what reason? That the faithfulness of the Father's voice might be made known, and that the prophetic utterance of a long time past might be ratified. And what utterance is this? "The voice of the Lord (is) on the waters, the God of glory thundered; the Lord (is) upon many waters."402 And what voice? "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This is He who is named the son of Joseph, and (who is) according to the divine essence my Only-begotten. "This is my beloved Son"-He who is hungry, and yet maintains myriads; who is weary, and yet gives rest to the weary; who has not where to lay His head,403 and yet bears up all things in His hand; who suffers, and yet heals sufferings; who is smitten,404 and yet confers liberty on the world;405 who is pierced in the side,406 and yet repairs the side of Adam.407
8. But give me now your best attention, I pray you, for I wish to go back to the fountain of life, and to view the fountain that gushes with healing. The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the breath (spirit) of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God.408 And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the layer409 he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ410 after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism. I bring good tidings of life to you who tarry in the darkness of ignorance. Come into liberty from slavery, into a kingdom from tyranny, into incorruption from corruption. And how, saith one, shall we come? How? By water and the Holy Ghost. This is the water in conjunction with the Spirit, by which paradise is watered, by which the earth is enriched, by which plants grow, by which animals multiply, and (to sum up the whole in a single word) by which man is begotten again and endued with life, in which also Christ was baptized, and in which the Spirit descended in the form of a dove.
9. This is the Spirit that at the beginning "moved upon the thee of the waters; "411 by whom the world moves; by whom creation consists, and all things have life; who also wrought mightily in the prophets,412 and descended in flight upon Christ.413 This is the Spirit that was given to the apostles in the form of fiery tongues.414 This is the Spirit that David sought when he said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."415 Of this Spirit Gabriel also spoke to the Virgin, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee."416 By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."417 By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished.418 This is the Spirit, the Comforter, that is sent because of thee,419 that He may show thee to be the Son420 of God.
10. Come then, be begotten again, O man, into the adoption of God. And how? says one. If thou practisest adultery no more, and committest not murder, and servest not idols; if thou art not overmastered by pleasure; if thou dost not suffer the feeling of pride to rule thee; if thou cleanest off the filthiness of impurity, and puttest off the burden of sin; if thou castest off the armour of the devil, and puttest on the breastplate of faith, even as Isaiah saith, "Wash you, and seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow. And come and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, I shall make them white as snow; and though they be like crimson, I shall make them white as wool. And if ye be willing, and hear my voice, ye shall eat the good of the land."421 Do you see, beloved, how the prophet spake beforetime of the purifying power of baptism? For he who comes down in faith to the layer of regeneration, and renounces the devil, and joins himself to Christ; who denies the enemy, and makes the confession that Christ is God; who puts off the bondage, and puts on the adoption,-he comes up from the baptism brilliant as the sun,422 flashing forth the beams of righteousness, and, which is indeed the chief thing, he returns a son of God and joint-heir with Christ. To Him be the glory and the power, together with His most holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and to all the ages of the ages. Amen.
From the Discourse of Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome, on the Resurrection and Incorruption.
Men, he says, "in the resurrection will be like the angels of God,"424 to wit, in incorruption, and immortality, and incapacity of loss.425 For the incorruptible nature is not the subject of generation;426 it grows not, sleeps not, hungers not, thirsts not, is not wearied, suffers not, dies not, is not pierced by nails and spear, sweats not, drops not with blood. Of such kind are the natures of the angels and of souls released from the body. For both these are of another kind, and different from these creatures of our world, which are visible and perishing.
From the Discourse of St. Hippolytus, Bishop and Martyr, on the Divine Nature.428
God is capable of willing, but not of not willing429 for that pertains only to one that changes and makes choice;430 for things that are being made follow the eternal will of God, by which also things that are made abide sustained.
St. Hippolytus, Bishop and Martyr, in his Homily on the Paschal Supper.
He was altogether432 in all, and everywhere; and though He filleth the universe up to all the principalities of the air, He stripped Himself again. And for a brief space He cries that the cup might pass from Him, with a view to show truly that He was also man.433 But remembering, too, the purpose for which He was sent, He fulfils the dispensation (economy) for which He was sent, and exclaims, "Father, not my will,"434 and, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."435
1. Take me, O Samuel, the heifer brought to Bethlehem, in order to show the king begotten of David, and him who is anointed to be king and priest by the Father.
2. Tell me, O blessed Mary, what that was that was conceived by thee in the womb, and what that was that was born by thee in thy virgin matrix. For it was the first-born Word of God that descended to thee from heaven, and was formed as a first-born man in the womb, in order that the first-born Word of God might be shown to be united with a first-born man.
3. And in the second (form),-to wit, by the prophets, as by Samuel, calling back and delivering the people from the slavery of the aliens. And in the third (form), that in which He was incarnate, taking to Himself humanity from the Virgin, in which character also He saw the city, and wept over it.
And for this reason three seasons of the year prefigured the Saviour Himself, so that He should fulfil the mysteries prophesied of Him. In the Passover season, so as to exhibit Himself as one destined to be sacrificed like a sheep, and to prove Himself the true Paschal-lamb, even as the apostle says, "Even Christ," who is God, "our passover was sacrificed for us."438 And at Pentecost so as to presignify the kingdom of heaven as He Himself first ascended to heaven and brought man as a gift to God.439
And an ark of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself. For by this was signified the imperishable and incorruptible tabernacle (of His body), which engendered no corruption of sin. For the man who has sinned also has this confession to make: "My wounds stank, and were corrupt, because of my foolishness."441 But the Lord was without sin, being of imperishable wood in respect of His humanity,-that is to say, being of the Virgin and the Holy Spirit, covered, as it were, within and without with the purest gold of the Word of God.
1. He who rescued from the lowest hell the first-formed man of earth when he was lost and bound with the chains of death; He who came down from above, and raised the earthy on high;443 He who became the evangelist of the dead, and the redeemer of the souls, and the resurrection of the buried,-He was constituted the helper of vanquished man, being made like him Himself, (so that) the first-born Word acquainted Himself with the first-formed Adam in the Virgin; He who is spiritual sought out the earthy in the womb; He who is the ever-living One sought out him who, through disobedience, is subject to death; He who is heavenly called the terrene to the things that are above; He who is the nobly-born sought, by means of His own subjection, to declare the slave free; He transformed the man into adamant who was dissolved into dust and made the food of the serpent, and declared Him who hung on the tree to be Lord over the conqueror, and thus through the tree He is found victor.
2. For they who know not now the Son of God incarnate, shall know in Him who comes as Judge in glory, Him who is now despised in the body of His humiliation.
3. And the apostles, when they came to the sepulchre on the third day, did not find the body of Jesus; just as the children of Israel went up the mount and sought for the tomb of Moses, but did not find it.
Under the figure of Egypt he described the world; and under things made with hands, idolatry; and under the earthquake, the subversion, and dissolution of the earth itself. And he represented the Lord the Word as a light cloud, the purest tabernacle. enthroned on which our Lord Jesus Christ entered into this life in order to subvert error.
Now Hippolytus, the martyr and bishop of [the Province of] Rome, in his second discourse on Daniel, speaks thus:-
Then indeed Azarias, standing along with the others, made their acknowledgments to God with song and prayer in the midst of the furnace. Beginning thus with His holy and glorious and honourable name, they came to the works of the Lord themselves, and named first of all those of heaven, and glorified Him, saying, "Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord." Then they passed to the sons of men, and taking up their hymn in order, they then named the spirits [that people Tartarus446 beneath the earth, ] and the souls of the righteous, in order that they might praise God together with them.X447
Now a person might say that these men, and those who hold a different opinion, are yet near neighbours, being involved in like error. For those men, indeed, either profess that Christ came into our life a mere man, and deny the talent of His divinity, or else, acknowledging Him to be God, they deny, on the other hand, His humanity, and teach that His appearances to those who saw Him as man were illusory, inasmuch as He did not bear with Him true manhood, but was rather a kind of phantom manifestation. Of this class are, for example, Marcion and Valentinus, and the Gnostics, who sunder the Word from the flesh, and thus set aside the one talent, viz., the incarnation.XI448
1. The body of the Lord presented both these to the world, the sacred blood and the holy water.
2. And His body, though dead after the manner of man, possesses in it great power of life. For streams which flow not from dead bodies flowed forth from Him, viz., blood and water; in order that we might know what power for life is held by the virtue that dwelt in His body, so as that it appears not to be dead like others, and is able to shed forth for us the springs of life.
3. And not a bone of the Holy Lamb is broken, this figure showing us that suffering toucheth not His strength. For the bones are the strength of the body.
Fragments from Other Writings of Hippolytus.449
Now Hippolytus, a martyr for piety, who was bishop of the place called Portus, near Rome, in his book Against all Heresies, wrote in these terms:-
I perceive, then, that the matter is one of contention. For he450 speaks thus: Christ kept the supper, then, on that day, and then suffered; whence it is needful that I, too, should keep it in the same manner as the Lord did. But he has fallen into error by not perceiving that at the time when Christ suffered He did not eat the passover of the law.451 For He was the passover that had been of old proclaimed, and that was fulfilled on that determinate day.
From the same.
And again the same (authority), in the first book of his treatise on the Holy Supper, speaks thus:-
Now that neither in the first nor in the last there was anything false is evident; for he who said of old, "I will not any more eat the passover,"452 probably partook of supper before the passover. But the passover He did not eat, but He suffered; for it was not the time for Him to eat.III453
Hippolytus, Bishop and Martyr, in a letter to a certain queen.454
1. He calls Him, then, "the first-fruits of them that sleep,"455 as the "first-begotten of the dead."456 For He, having risen, and being desirous to show that that same (body) had been raised which had also died, when His disciples were in doubt, called Thomas to Him, and said, "Reach hither; handle me, and see: for a spirit hath not bone and flesh, as ye see me have."457
2. In calling Him the first-fruits, he testified to that which we have said, viz., that the Saviour, taking to Himself the flesh out of the same lump, raised this same flesh, and made it the first-fruits of the flesh of the righteous, in order that all we who have believed in the hope of the Risen One may have the resurrection in expectation.
The Story OF A Maiden OF Corinth, And A Certain Magistrianus
The account given by Hippolytus, the friend of the apostles458
In another little book bearing the name of Hippolytus, the friend of the apostles, I found a story of the following nature:-
There lived a certain most noble and beautiful maiden459 in the city of Corinth, in the careful exercise of a virtuous life. At that time some persons falsely charged her before the judge there, who was a Greek, with cursing the times, and the princes, and the images. Now those who trafficked in such things, brought her beauty under the notice of the impious judge, who lusted after women. And he gladly received the accusation with his equine ears and lascivious thoughts. And when she was brought before the bloodstained (judge), he was driven still more frantic with profligate passion. But when, after bringing every device to bear upon her, the profane than could not gain over this woman of God, he subjected the noble maiden to various outrages. And when he failed in these too, and was unable to seduce her from her confession of Christ, the cruel judge became furious against her, and gave her over to a punishment of the following nature: Placing the chaste maiden in a brothel, he charged the manager, saying, Take this woman, and bring me three nummi by her every day. And the man, exacting the money from her by her dishonour, gave her up to any who sought her in the brothel. And when the women-hunters knew that, they came to the brothel, and, paying the price lint upon their iniquity, sought to seduce her. But this most honourable maiden, taking counsel with herself to deceive them, called them to her, and earnestly besought them, saying: I have a certain ulceration of the pudenda, which has an extremely hateful stench; and I am afraid that ye might come to hate me on account of the abominable sore. Grant me therefore a few days, and then ye may have me even for nothing. With these words the blessed maiden gained over the profligates, and dismissed them for a time.460 And with most fitting prayers she importuned God, and with contrite supplications she sought to turn Him to compassion. God, therefore, who knew her thoughts, and understood how the chaste maiden was distressed in heart for her purity, gave ear to her; and the Guardian of the safety of all men in those days interposed with His arrangements in the following manner:-
Of a certain person Magistrianus.461
There was a certain young man, Magistrianus,462 comely in his personal appearance, and of a pious mind, whom God had inspired with such a burning spiritual zeal, that he despised even death itself. He, coming under the guise of profligacy, goes in, when the evening was far gone, to the fellow who kept the women, and pays him five nummi, and says to him, Permit me to spend this night with this damsel. Entering then with her into the private apartment, he says to her, Rise, save thyself. And taking off her garments, and dressing her in his own attire, his night-gown, his cloak, and all the habiliments of a man, he says to her, Wrap yourself up with the top of your cloak, and go out; and doing so, and signing herself entirely with the mystery of the cross, she went forth uncorrupted from that place, and was preserved perfectly stainless by the grace of Christ, and by the instrumentality of the young man, who by his own blood delivered her from dishonour. And on the following day the matter became known, and Magistrianus was brought before the infuriated judge. And when the cruel tyrant had examined the noble champion of Christ, and had learned all, he ordered him to be thrown to the wild beasts,-that in this, too, the honour-hating demon might be put to shame. For, whereas he thought to involve the noble youth in an unhallowed punishment, he exhibited him as a double martyr for Christ, inasmuch as he had both striven nobly for his own immortal soul, and persevered manfully in labours also in behalf of that noble and blessed maiden. Wherefore also he was deemed worthy of double honour with Christ, and of the illustrious and blessed crowns by His goodness.
©st-takla.org : Saint Takla Haymanout Website: General Portal for the Coptic Orthodox Church Faith, Egypt / Contact us at:
Bible | Daily Readings | Agbeya | Books | Lyrics | Gallery | Media | Links | Contact us