Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apologetic Works.: Chapter XXII
What, then, under these circumstances is justice? It is the not exercising any arbitrary sway over him who has us in his power 1996 , nor, by tearing us away by a violent exercise of force from his hold, thus leaving some colour for a just complaint to him who enslaved man through sensual pleasure. For as they who have bartered away their freedom for money are the slaves of those who have purchased them (for they have constituted themselves their own sellers, and it is not allowable either for themselves or any one else in their behalf to call freedom to their aid, not even though those who have thus reduced themselves to this sad state are of noble birth; and, if any one out of regard for the person who has so sold himself should use violence against him who has bought him, he will clearly be acting unp. 493 justly in thus arbitrarily rescuing one who has been legally purchased as a slave, whereas, if he wishes to pay a price to get such a one away, there is no law to prevent that), on the same principle, now that we had voluntarily bartered away our freedom, it was requisite that no arbitrary method of recovery, but the one consonant with justice 1997 should be devised by Him Who in His goodness had undertaken our rescue. Now this method is in a measure this; to make over to the master of the slave whatever ransom he may agree to accept for the person in his possession.
Compare a passage in Dionysius Areop. (De eccles. hierarch. c. iii. p. 297). “The boundless love of the Supreme Goodness did not refuse a personal providing for us, but perfectly participating in all that belongs to us, and united to our lowliness, along with an undiluted and unimpaired possession of its own qualities, has gifted us for ever with a communion of kinship with itself, and exhibited us as partners in Its glories: undoing the adverse power of the Rebel throng, as the secret Tradition says, “not by might, as if it was domineering, but, according to the oracle secretly delivered to us, by right and justice” (quoted by Krabinger). To the words “not by might,” S. Maximus has added the note, “This is what Gregory of Nyssa says in the Catechetic.” See next note.493:1997
one consonant with justice. This view of Redemption, as a coming to terms with Satan and making him a party or defender in the case, is rather remarkable. The Prologue to the Book of Job furnishes a basis for it, where Satan enters into terms with God. It appears to be the Miltonic view: as also that Envy was the first sin of Satan.
Next: Chapter XXIII
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