Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Against the Arians. (Orationes contra Arianos IV.): Texts explained; Fifthly, Acts ii. 36. The Regula Fidei must be observed; made applies to our Lord's manhood; and to His manifestation; and to His office relative to us; and is relative to the Jews. Parallel instance in Gen. xxvii. 29, 37. The context contradicts the Arian interpretation.
Chapter XV.—Texts explained; Fifthly, Acts ii. 36. The Regula Fidei must be observed; madeapplies to our Lords manhood; and to His manifestation; and to His office relative to us; and is relative to the Jews. Parallel instance in Gen. xxvii. 29, 37. The context contradicts the Arian interpretation.
11 (continued). The same is the meaning of the passage in the Acts which they also allege, that in which Peter says, that He hath made both Lord and Christ that same Jesus whom ye have crucified. For here too it is not written, He made for Himself a Son, or He made Himself a Word, that they should have such notions. If then it has not escaped their memory, that they speak concerning the Son of God, let them make search whether it is anywhere written, God made Himself a Son, or He created for Himself a Word; or again, whether it is anywhere written in plain terms, The Word is a work or creation; and then let them proceed to make their case, the insensate men, that here too they may receive their answer. But if they can produce nothing of the kind, and only catch at such stray expressions as He made and He has been made, I fear lest, from hearing, In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth, and He made the sun and the moon, and He made the sea, they should come in time to call the Word the heaven, and the Light which took place on the first day, and the earth, and each particular thing that has been made, so as to end in resembling the Stoics, as they are called, the one drawing out their God into all things 2272 , the other ranking Gods Word with each work in particular; which they have well nigh done already, saying that He is one of His works.
12. But here they must have the same answer as before, and first be told that the Word is a Son, as has been said above 2273 , and not a work, and that such terms are not to be understood of His Godhead, but the reason and manner of them investigated. To persons who so inquire, the human Economy will plainly present itself, which He undertook for our sake. For Peter, after saying, He hath made Lord and Christ, straightway added, this Jesus whom ye crucified; which makes it plain to any one, even, if so be, to them, provided they attend to the context, that not the Essence of the Word, but He according to His manhood is said to have been made. For what was crucified but the body? and how could be signified what was bodily in the Word, except by saying He made? Especially has that phrase, He made, a meaning consistent with orthodoxy; in that he has not said, as I observed before, He made Him Word, but He made Him Lord, nor that in general terms 2274 , but towards us, and in the midst of us, as much as to say, He manifested Him. And this Peter himself, when he began this primary teaching, carefully 2275 expressed, when he said to them, Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man manifested of God towards you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know 2276 . Consequently the term which he uses in the end, made, this He has explained in the beginning by manifested, for by the signs and wonders which the Lord did, He was manifested to be not merely man, but God in a body and Lord also, the Christ. Such also is the passage in the Gospel according to John, Therefore the more did the Jews persecute Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but said also that God was His own Father, making Himself p. 355 equal with God 2277 . For the Lord did not then fashion Himself to be God, nor indeed is a made God conceivable, but He manifested it by the works, saying, Though ye believe not Me, believe My works, that ye may know that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me 2278 . Thus then the Father has made Him Lord and King in the midst of us, and towards us who were once disobedient; and it is plain that He who is now displayed as Lord and King, does not then begin to be King and Lord, but begins to shew His Lordship, and to extend it even over the disobedient.
13. If then they suppose that the Saviour was not Lord and King, even before He became man and endured the Cross, but then began to be Lord, let them know that they are openly reviving the statements of the Samosatene. But if, as we have quoted and declared above, He is Lord and King everlasting, seeing that Abraham worships Him as Lord, and Moses says, Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven 2279 ; and David in the Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand 2280 ; and, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom 2281 ; and, Thy Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom 2282 ; it is plain that even before He became man, He was King and Lord everlasting, being Image and Word of the Father. And the Word being everlasting Lord and King, it is very plain again that Peter said not that the Essence of the Son was made, but spoke of His Lordship over us, which became when He became man, and, redeeming all by the Cross, became Lord of all and King. But if they continue the argument on the ground of its being written, He made, not willing that He made should be taken in the sense of He manifested, either from want of apprehension, or from their Christ-opposing purpose, let them attend to another sound exposition of Peters words. For he who becomes Lord of others, comes into the possession of beings already in existence; but if the Lord is Framer of all and everlasting King, and when He became man, then gained possession of us, here too is a way in which Peters language evidently does not signify that the Essence of the Word is a work, but the after-subjection of all things, and the Saviours Lordship which came to be over all. And this coincides with what we said before 2283 ; for as we then introduced the words, Become my God and defence, and the Lord became a refuge for the oppressed 2284 , and it stood to reason that these expressions do not shew that God is originate, but that His beneficence becomes towards each individual, the same sense has the expression of Peter also.
14. For the Son of God indeed, being Himself the Word, is Lord of all; but we once were subject from the first to the slavery of corruption and the curse of the Law, then by degrees fashioning for ourselves things that were not, we served, as says the blessed Apostle, them which by nature are no Gods 2285 , and, ignorant of the true God, we preferred things that were not to the truth; but afterwards, as the ancient people when oppressed in Egypt groaned, so, when we too had the Law engrafted 2286 in us, and according to the unutterable sighings 2287 of the Spirit made our intercession, O Lord our God, take possession of us 2288 , then, as He became for a house of refuge and a God and defence, so also He became our Lord. Nor did He then begin to be, but we began to have Him for our Lord. For upon this, God being good and Father of the Lord, in pity, and desiring to be known by all, makes His own Son put on Him a human body and become man, and be called Jesus, that in this body offering Himself for all, He might deliver all from false worship and corruption, and might Himself become of all Lord and King. His becoming therefore in this way Lord and King, this it is that Peter means by, He hath made Him Lord, and hath sent Christ; as much as to say, that the Father in making Him man (for to be made belongs to man), did not simply make Him man, but has made Him in order to His being Lord of all men, and to His hallowing all through the Anointing. For though the Word existing in the form of God took a servants form, yet the assumption of the flesh did not make a servant 2289 of the Word, who was by nature Lord; but rather, not only was it that emancipation of all humanity which takes place by the Word, but that very Word who was by nature Lord, and was then made man, hath by means of a servants form been made Lord of all and Christ, that is, in order to hallow all by the Spirit. And as God, when becoming a God and defence, and saying, I will be a God to them, does not then become God more than before, nor then begins to become God, but, what He ever is, that He then becomes to those who need Him, when it p. 356 pleaseth Him, so Christ also being by nature Lord and King everlasting, does not become Lord more than He was at the time He is sent forth, nor then begins to be Lord and King, but what He is ever, that He then is made according to the flesh; and, having redeemed all, He becomes thereby again Lord of quick and dead. For Him henceforth do all things serve, and this is Davids meaning in the Psalm, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool 2290 . For it was fitting that the redemption should take place through none other than Him who is the Lord by nature, lest, though created by the Son, we should name another Lord, and fall into the Arian and Greek folly, serving the creature beyond the all-creating God 2291 .
15. This, at least according to my nothingness, is the meaning of this passage; moreover, a true and a good meaning have these words of Peter as regards the Jews. For Jews, astray from the truth, expect indeed the Christ as coming, but do not reckon that He undergoes a passion, saying what they understand not; We know that, when the Christ cometh, He abideth for ever, and how sayest Thou, that He must be lifted up 2292 ? Next they suppose Him, not the Word coming in flesh, but a mere man, as were all the kings. The Lord then, admonishing Cleopas and the other, taught them that the Christ must first suffer; and the rest of the Jews that God was come among them, saying, If He called them gods to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God 2293 ?
16. Peter then, having learned this from the Saviour, in both points set the Jews right, saying, “O Jews, the divine Scriptures announce that Christ cometh, and you consider Him a mere man as one of Davids descendants, whereas what is written of Him shews Him to be not such as you say, but rather announces Him as Lord and God, and immortal, and dispenser of life. For Moses has said, Ye shall see your Life hanging before your eyes 2294 . And David in the hundred and ninth Psalm, The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool 2295 ; and in the fifteenth, Thou shalt not leave my soul in hades, neither shalt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption 2296 . Now that these passages have not David for their scope he himself witnesses, avowing that He who was coming was His own Lord. Nay you yourselves know that He is dead, and His remains are with you. That the Christ then must be such as the Scriptures say, you will plainly confess yourselves. For those announcements come from God, and in them falsehood cannot be. If then ye can state that such a one has come before, and can prove him God from the signs and wonders which he did, ye have reason for maintaining the contest, but if ye are not able to prove His coming, but are expecting such an one still, recognise the true season from Daniel, for his words relate to the present time. But if this present season be that which was of old, afore-announced, and ye have seen what has taken place among us, be sure that this Jesus, whom ye crucified, this is the expected Christ. For David and all the Prophets died, and the sepulchres of all are with you, but that Resurrection which has now taken place, has shewn that the scope of these passages is Jesus. For the crucifixion is denoted by Ye shall see your Life hanging, and the wound in the side by the spear answers to He was led as a sheep to the slaughter 2297 , and the resurrection, nay more, the rising of the ancient dead from out their sepulchres (for these most of you have seen), this is, Thou shalt not leave My soul in hades, and He swallowed up death in strength 2298 , and again, God will wipe away. For the signs which actually took place shew that He who was in a body was God, and also the Life and Lord of death. For it became the Christ, when giving life to others, Himself not to be detained by death; but this could not have happened, had He, as you suppose, been a mere man. But in truth He is the Son of God, for men are all subject to death. Let no one therefore doubt, but the whole house of Israel know assuredly that this Jesus, whom ye saw in shape a man, doing signs and such works, as no one ever yet had done, is Himself the Christ and Lord of all. For though made man, and called Jesus, as we said before, He received no loss by that human passion, but rather, in being made man, He is manifested as Lord of quick and dead. For since, as the Apostle said, in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe 2299 . And so, since we men would not acknowledge God through His Word, nor serve the Word of God our p. 357 natural Master, it pleased God to shew in man His own Lordship, and so to draw all men to Himself. But to do this by a mere man beseemed not 2300 ; lest, having man for our Lord, we should become worshippers of man 2301 . Therefore the Word Himself became flesh, and the Father called His Name Jesus, and so made Him Lord and Christ, as much as to say, He made Him to rule and to reign; that while in the Name of Jesus, whom ye crucified, every knee bows, we may acknowledge as Lord and King both the Son and through Him the Father.”
17. The Jews then, most of them 2302 , hearing this, came to themselves and forthwith acknowledged the Christ, as it is written in the Acts. But, the Ario-maniacs on the contrary choose to remain Jews, and to contend with Peter; so let us proceed to place before them some parallel phrases; perhaps it may have some effect upon them, to find what the usage is of divine Scripture. Now that Christ is everlasting Lord and King, has become plain by what has gone before, nor is there a man to doubt about it; for being Son of God, He must be like Him 2303 , and being like, He is certainly both Lord and King, for He says Himself, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father. On the other hand, that Peters mere words, He hath made Him both Lord and Christ, do not imply the Son to be a creature, may be seen from Isaacs blessing, though this illustration is but a faint one for our subject. Now he said to Jacob, Become thou lord over thy brother; and to Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord 2304 . Now though the word made had implied Jacobs essence and the coming into being, even then it would not be right in them as much as to imagine the same of the Word of God, for the Son of God is no creature as Jacob was; besides, they might inquire and so rid themselves of that extravagance. But if they do not understand it of his essence nor of his coming into being, though Jacob was by nature creature and work, is not their madness worse than the Devils 2305 , if what they dare not ascribe in consequence of a like phrase even to things by nature originate, that they attach to the Son of God, saying that He is a creature? For Isaac said Become and I have made, signifying neither the coming into being nor the essence of Jacob (for after thirty years and more from his birth he said this); but his authority over his brother, which came to pass subsequently.
18. Much more then did Peter say this without meaning that the Essence of the Word was a work; for he knew Him to be Gods Son, confessing, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God 2306 ; but he meant His Kingdom and Lordship which was formed and came to be according to grace, and was relatively to us. For while saying this, he was not silent about the Son of Gods everlasting Godhead which is the Fathers; but He had said already, that He had poured the Spirit on us; now to give the Spirit with authority, is not in the power of creature or work, but the Spirit is Gods Gift 2307 . For the creatures are hallowed by the Holy Spirit; but the Son, in that He is not hallowed by the Spirit, but on the contrary Himself the Giver of it to all 2308 , is therefore no creature, but true Son of the Father. And yet He who gives the Spirit, the same is said also to be made; that is, to be made among us Lord because of His manhood, while giving the Spirit because He is Gods Word. For He ever was and is, as Son, so also Lord and Sovereign of all, being like in all things 2309 to the Father, and having all that is the Fathers 2310 as He Himself has said 2311 .
Brucker de Zenon. §7. n. 14.354:2273
§1, note 13.354:2274
μετὰ παρατηρήσεως. vid. infr. 44. e. 59. b. 71. e. Orat. iii. 52. b.354:2276
Acts ii. 22.355:2277
John 5:16, 18.355:2278
John x. 38. not to the letter.355:2279
Gen. xix. 24.355:2280
Ps. cx. 1.355:2281
Ps. xlv. 6.355:2282
Ps. cxlv. 13.355:2283
§62, cf. Serm. Maj. de Fid. 1.355:2284
Ps. lxxi. 3. stony rock, E. V. Ps. ix. 9. dejence.355:2285
Gal. iv. 8.355:2286
James i. 21.355:2287
Rom. viii. 26.355:2288
Is. xxvi. 13. LXX.355:2289
οὐκ ἐδούλον τὸν λόγον· though, as he said supr. §10, the Word became a servant, as far as He was man. He says the same thing Ep. Æg 17. So say Naz. Orat. 32. 18. Nyssen. ad Simpl. (t. 2. p. 471.) Cyril. Alex. adv. Theodor. p. 223. Hilar. de Trin. xi. Ambros. 1. Epp. 46, 3.356:2290
Ps. cx. 1.356:2291
Vid. Rom. i. 25. and so both text and application very frequently, e.g. Ep. Æg. 4. e. 13. c. Vid. supr. i. 8, note 8, infr. iii. 16. note356:2292
John xii. 34, not to the letter.356:2293
John x. 36.356:2294
Deut. xxviii. 66. Vid. [de Incar. 35. The text is frequently thus explained by the Fathers].356:2295
Ps. cx. 1.356:2296
Ps. xvi. 10.356:2297
Is. liii. 7.356:2298
Is. xxv. 8.356:2299
1 Cor. i. 21.357:2300
In the text the Mediatorial Lordship is made an office of God the Word; still, not as God, but as man. Cf. Augustine, Trin. i. 27. 28. In like manner the Priesthood is the office of God in the form of man, supr. 8, note 4. And so again none but the Eternal Son could be πρωτότοκος, yet He is so called when sent as Creator and as incarnate. infr. 64.357:2301
Infr. iii. 32 fin.357:2302
οἱ πλεῖστοι. [An exaggeration, cf. Rom. xi. 7, &c.]357:2303
Gen. 27:29, 37.357:2305
Alluding to the temptation.357:2306
Matt. xvi. 16.357:2307
θεοῦ δῶρον. And so more distinctly S. Basil, δῶρον τοῦ θεοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα. de Sp. S. 57, and more frequently the later Latins, as in the Hymn, Altissimi Donum Dei; and the earlier, e.g. Hil. de Trin. ii. 29. and August. Trin. xv. 29. v. 15, Petav. Trin. vii. 13, §20.357:2308
Supr. ch. xii.357:2309
ὅμοιος κατὰ παντα. vid. infr. §22, note 4.357:2310
Vid. infr. note on Orat. iii. 1.357:2311
Vid. John xvi. 15
Next: Chapter XVI.--Introductory to Proverbs viii. 22, that the Son is not a Creature. Arian formula, a creature but not as one of the creatures; but each creature is unlike all other creatures; and no creature can create. The Word then differs from all creatures in that in which they, though otherwise differing, all agree together, as creatures; viz. in being an efficient cause; in being the one medium or instrumental agent in creation; moreover in being the revealer of the Father; and in being the object of worship.
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