Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Dogmatic Treatises.: Section 1
p. CI Book II.
§1. The second book declares the Incarnation of God the Word, and the faith delivered by the Lord to His disciples, and asserts that the heretics who endeavour to overthrow this faith and devise other additional names are of their father the devil.
The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the Life, the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wisdom, and all else that He is by nature, for this cause above all was made in the likeness of man, and shared our nature, becoming like us in all things, yet without sin. He was like us in all things, in that He took upon Him manhood in its entirety with soul and body, so that our salvation was accomplished by means of both:—He, I say, appeared on earth and “conversed with men 242 ,” that men might no longer have opinions according to their own notions about the Self-existent, formulating into a doctrine the hints that come to them from vague conjectures, but that we might be convinced that God has truly been manifested in the flesh, and believe that to be the only true “mystery of godliness 243 ,” which was delivered to us by the very Word and God, Who by Himself spake to His Apostles, and that we might receive the teaching concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, “through a glass darkly 244 ” from the older Scriptures,—from the Law, and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of the truth fully revealed to us, reverently accepting the meaning of the things which have been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scriptures 245 , which faith we guard as we received it, word for word, in purity, without falsification, judging even a slight divergence from the words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy and impiety. We believe, then, even as the Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when He said, “Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost 246 .” This is the word of the mystery whereby through the new birth from above our nature is transformed from the corruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed from “the old man,” “according to the image of Him who created 247 ” at the beginning the likeness to the Godhead. In the Faith then which was delivered by God to the Apostles we admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor addition, knowing assuredly that he who presumes to pervert the Divine utterance by dishonest quibbling, the same “is of his father the devil,” who leaves the words of truth and “speaks of his own,” becoming the father of a lie 248 . For whatsoever is said otherwise than in exact accord with the truth is assuredly false and not true.
Bar. iii. 37.CI:243
1 Tim. iii. 16.CI:244
1 Cor. xiii. 12.CI:245
This is perhaps the force of τῶν ὅλων: “the Lord of the Old Covenant as well as of the New.” But τῶν ὅλων may mean simply “the Universe.”CI:246
S. Matt. xxviii. 19.CI:247
Cf. Col. iii. 10CI:248
Cf. S. John viii. 44.
Next: Gregory then makes an explanation at length touching the eternal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
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