Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter IV. We are told that Christ was only “made” so far as regards the flesh. For the redemption of mankind He needed no means of aid, even as He needed none in order to His Resurrection, whereas others, in order to raise the dead, had need of recourse to prayer. Even when Christ prayed, the prayer was offered by Him in His capacity as human; whilst He must be accounted divine from the fact that He commanded (that such and such things should be done). On this point the devil's testimony is truer than the Arians' arguments. The discussion concludes with an explanation of the reason why the title of “mighty” is given to the Son of Man.
We are told that Christ was only “made” so far as regards the flesh. For the redemption of mankind He needed no means of aid, even as He needed none in order to His Resurrection, whereas others, in order to raise the dead, had need of recourse to prayer. Even when Christ prayed, the prayer was offered by Him in His capacity as human; whilst He must be accounted divine from the fact that He commanded (that such and such things should be done). On this point the devils testimony is truer than the Arians arguments. The discussion concludes with an explanation of the reason why the title of “mighty” is given to the Son of Man.
26. It is now sufficiently made plain that the Father is not God in solitude, without the Son, and that the Son cannot be thought of as God alone, without the Father, for it is in respect of His flesh 2150 that we read that the Son of God was “made,” not in respect of His generation from God the Father.
27. Indeed, in what sense He was “made” He has declared by the mouth of the holy patriarch, saying: “For My soul is filled with sorrow to overflowing, and My life hath drawn near unto hell. I have been counted with them that go down into the pit; I have been made as a man free, without help, amongst the dead.” 2151 Here, then, we read: “I have been made as a man,” not “I have been made as God;” and again: “My soul overfloweth with sorrows.” “My soul,” mark you, not “My Godhead.” He was “made” in so far as that was concerned wherein He was due to hell, 2152 wherein He was reckoned with others, for the Godhead admits of no likeness which may be ground for classing it with others. Yet mark how the majesty of Godhead shows itself in Christ, even in that flesh which was appointed to death. Although He was “made” as a man, and “made” as flesh, yet He was made free amongst the dead, “free, without help.”
28. But how can the Son say here that He was without help, when it has already been said: “I have laid help upon One that is mighty”? 2153 Distinguish here also the two natures present. The flesh hath need of help, the Godhead hath no need. He is free, then, because the chains of death had no hold upon Him. He was not made prisoner by the powers of darkness, it is He Who exerted power amongst them. 2154 He is “without help,” because He Himself, the Lord, hath by no office of messenger or ambassador, but by His own might, saved His people. How could He, Who raised others to life, require any help in order to raise His own body?
29. And though men also have raised the dead, still they did this not of their own power, but in the Name of Christ. To ask is one thing, to command is another; to obtain is different from bestowing.
30. Elijah, then, raised the dead, but he prayed—he did not command. 2155 Elisha raised one to life after laying himself upon the dead body, in accordance with its posture; 2156 and, again, the very contact of Elishas corpse gave life to the dead, that the prophet might foreshow the coming of Him, Who, being sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, 2157 should, even after His burial, raise the dead to life.
p. 247 31. Peter, again, when he healed Aeneas, said: “In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise and walk.” 2158 Not in his own name, but in the Name of Christ. But “rise” is a command; on the other hand, it is an instance of confidence in ones right, 2159 not an arrogant claim to power, and the authority of the command stood in the effective influence of the Name, not in its own might. What answer, then, make the Arians? Peter commands in the Name of Christ,—this on the one hand: on the other, they will have it that the Son of God did not command, but requested.
32. We read, they objected, of His uttering a prayer. 2160 But take note of the difference. He prays as Son of Man, He commands as Son of God. Will you not ascribe unto the Son of God what even the devil has ascribed? Will you accuse yourselves of greater wickedness than Satans? The devil saith: “If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it become bread.” 2161 Satan saith “command,” you say “entreat.” The devil believes that, at the word of Gods Son, the nature of an elementary substance may be exchanged for that of a composite one; you think that, unless the Son of God prefers a request, even His Will cannot be done. Again, the devil thinks that the Son of God is to be esteemed from His power, 2162 you that He is to be esteemed from His infirmity. The devils temptations are more tolerable than the Arians disputings.
33. Let us not, then, be troubled if we find the Son of Man entitled “mighty” in one place, and yet in another, that the Lord of glory was crucified. 2163 What might is greater than sovereignty over the powers of heaven? But this was in the hands of Him Who ruled over thrones, principalities, angels; for, although He was amongst the wild beasts, as it is written, yet angels ministered to Him, that you may perceive the difference between what is proper to the Incarnation, and what is proper to Sovereignty. So far as His flesh is concerned, then, He endures the assault of wild beasts; in regard of His Godhead, 2164 He is adored by angels.
34. We have learnt, then, that He was made man, and that His being made must be referred to His manhood. Furthermore, in another passage of Scripture, you may read: “Who was made for Him of the seed of David,” 2165 that is to say, in respect of the flesh He was “made” of the seed of David, but He was God begotten of God before the worlds.
Phil. 2:7, Gal. 4:4, John 1:1, 2, 14.246:2151
Ps. lxxxviii. 4. See the R.V.246:2152
“Due” by His own and the Fathers Will. Some reference also, perhaps, to the preaching to the spirits in Hades, a necessary part of our Lords work and ministry. 1 Pet. iii. 19.246:2153
Ps. lxxxix. 20. See ch. ii. p. 243.246:2154
1 Pet. 3:19, Acts 2:24.246:2155
1 Kings xvii. 20 ff.246:2156
2 Kings iv. 34.246:2157
Rom. viii. 3. Note “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” not “in sinful flesh.” Cf. Phil. ii. 7; for the miracle referred to, see 2 Kings xiii. 21.247:2158
Acts 3:6, Acts 9:34.247:2159
See S. Mark 16:17, 18.247:2160
S. John xi. 41.247:2161
S. Luke iv. 3.247:2162
Rom. i. 4.247:2163
1 Cor. ii. 8.247:2164
Mark 1:13, Eph. 1:21.247:2165
Rom. i. 3.
Next: Chapter V. Passages brought forward from Scripture to show that “made” does not always mean the same as “created;” whence it is concluded that the letter of Holy Writ should not be made the ground of captious arguments, after the manner of the Jews, who, however, are shown to be not so bad as the heretics, and thus the principle already set forth is confirmed anew.
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