Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Incarnation of the Word.: Thus the Word condescended to man's engrossment in corporeal things, by even taking a body. All man's superstitions He met halfway; whether men were inclined to worship Nature, Man, Demons, or the dead, He shewed Himself Lord of all these.
§15. Thus the Word condescended to mans engrossment in corporeal things, by even taking a body. All mans superstitions He met halfway; whether men were inclined to worship Nature, Man, Demons, or the dead, He shewed Himself Lord of all these.
For as a kind teacher who cares for His disciples, if some of them cannot profit by higher subjects, comes down to their level, and teaches them at any rate by simpler courses; so also did the Word of God. As Paul also says: “For seeing 240 that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was Gods good pleasure through the foolishness of the word preached to save them that believe.” 2. For seeing that men, having rejected the contemplation of God, and with their eyes downward, as though sunk in the deep, were seeking about for God in nature and in the world of sense, feigning gods for themselves of mortal men and demons; to this end the loving and general Saviour of all, the Word of God, takes to Himself a body, and as Man walks among men and meets the senses of all men half-way 241 , to the end, I say, that they who think that God is corporeal may from what the Lord effects by His body perceive the truth, and through Him recognize 242 the Father. 3. So, men as they were, and human in all their thoughts, on whatever objects they fixed their senses, there they saw themselves met half-way 243 , and taught the truth from every side. 4. For if they looked with awe upon the Creation, yet they saw how she confessed Christ as Lord; or if their mind was swayed toward men, so as to think them gods, yet from the Saviours works, supposing they compared them, the Saviour alone among men appeared Son of God; for there were no such works done among the rest as have been done by the Word of God. 5. Or if they were biassed toward evil spirits, even, yet seeing them cast out by the Word, they were to know that He alone, the Word of God, was God, and that the spirits were none. 6. Or if their mind had already sunk even to the dead, so as to worship heroes, and the gods spoken of in the poets, yet, seeing the Saviours resurrection, they were to confess them to be false gods, and that the Lord alone is true, the Word of the Father, that was Lord even of death. 7. For this cause He was both born and appeared as Man, and died, and rose again, dulling and casting into the shade the works of all former men by His own, that in whatever direction the bias of men might be, from thence He might recall them, and teach them of His own true Father, as He Himself says: “I came to save and to find that which was lost 244 .”
1 Cor. i. 21.44:241
Lit. “draws toward Himself.”44:242
Lit. “draws toward Himself.”44:244
Cf. 14. 2.
Next: He came then to attract man's sense-bound attention to Himself as man, and so to lead him on to know Him as God.
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