Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter V. That before His birth in time Christ was always called God by the prophets.
That before His birth in time Christ was always called God by the prophets.
He it is then of whom the Prophet says: “For in Thee is God, and there is no God beside Thee. For Thou art our God and we knew Thee not, O God of Israel the Saviour.” 2503 Who “afterwards appeared on earth and conversed with men.” 2504 Of whom and in whose Person the Prophet David also speaks: “From my mothers womb Thou art my God:” 2505 showing clearly that He who was Lord and man 2506 was never separate from God: in whom even in the Virgins womb the fulness of the Godhead dwelt. As elsewhere the same Prophet says: “Truth has sprung from the earth and righteousness hath looked down from heaven,” 2507 that we may know that when the Son of God looked down from heaven (i.e., came and descended), righteousness was born of the flesh of the Virgin, no phantasm of a body, but the Truth: for He is the Truth, according to His own witness of Truth: “I am the Truth and the life.” 2508 And so as we have proved in the earlier books that this Truth; viz., the Lord Jesus Christ, was God when born of the Virgin, let us now do as we determined to do in the book before this, and show that He who was to be born of the Virgin, was always declared to be God beforehand. And so the prophet Isaiah says, “Cease ye from the man whose breath is in his nostrils, for it is He in whom he is reputed to be;” or as it is more exactly and clearly in the Hebrew: “for he is reputed high.” 2509 But by saying “cease ye,” a term which deprecates violence, he admirably denotes the disturbance of persecution. “Cease ye,” he says, “from the man whose breath is in his nostrils, for he is reputed high.” Does he not in one and the same sentence speak of the taking upon Him of the manhood, and the truth of His Godhead? “Cease ye,” he says, “from the man whose breath is in his nostrils, for he is reputed high.” Does he not, I ask you, seem plainly to address the Lords persecutors, and to say, “Cease ye from the man” whom ye are persecuting, for this man is God: and though He appears in the lowliness of human flesh, yet He still continues in the high estate of Divine glory? But by saying “Cease ye from the man whose breath is in his nostrils,” he admirably showed His manhood, by the clearest tokens of a human body, and this fearlessly and confidently, as one who would as urgently assert the truth of His humanity as that of His Godhead, for this is the true and Catholic faith, to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ possessed the substance of a true body just as He possessed a true and perfect Divinity. Unless possibly you think that anything can be made out of the fact that he uses the word “High” instead of “God”; whereas it is the habit of holy Scripture to put “High” for “God,” as where the prophet says: “the Most High uttered His voice and the earth was moved,” 2510 and “Thou alone art Most High over all the earth.” 2511 Isaiah too, who says this: “The High and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity”: 2512 where we are clearly to understand that as he there puts Most High without adding the name of God, so here too he speaks of God by the name of Most High. So then, p. 584 since the Divine word spoken by the prophet clearly announced beforehand that the Lord Jesus Christ would be both God and man, let us now see whether the New Testament corresponds to and harmonizes with the testimony of the Old.
Isa. 45:14, 15.583:2504
Baruch iii. 37.583:2505
Dominicus Homo, literally “the Lordly man.” The same title is used again by Cassian in Book VI. cc. xxi., xxii. and in the Conferences XI. xiii. It is however an instance of a title which the mature judgment of the Church has rejected as savouring of an heretical interpretation. We learn from Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. 51) that the Greek equivalent of the title ὁ κυριακὸς ἄνθρωπος, was a favourite term with the Apollinarians, as it might be taken to favour their view that the Divinity supplied the place of a human soul in Christ. It is however freely used by Epiphanius in his Anchoratus, and is also found in the exposition of faith assigned to Athanasius (Migne. Pat. Græc. xxv. p. 197). And Augustine himself actually uses the title Dominicus Homo in his treatise on the Sermon on the Mount, Book II. c. vi., though he afterwards retracted the term, see “Retract,” Book I. c. xx. “Non video utrum recte dicatur Homo Dominicus, qui est mediator Dei et hominum, homo Christus Jesus, cum sit utique Dominus: Dominicus antem homo quis in ejus sancta familia non potest dici? Et hoc quidem ut dicerem, apud quosdam legi tractores catholicos divinorum eloquiorum. Sed ubicunque hoc dici, dixisse me nollem. Postea quippe vidi non esse dicendum, quamvis nonnulla possit ratione defendi.” The question is discussed by S. Thomas, whether the title is rightly applied to Christ and decided by him in the negative. Summa III. Q. vi. art. 3.583:2507
S. John xiv. 6.583:2509
Isa. ii. 22. Cf. the note on the Institutes xii. xxxi.583:2510
Isa. lvii. 15.
Next: Chapter VI. He illustrates the same doctrine by passages from the New Testament.
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