Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XIV. He shows how heretics pervert holy Scripture, by replying to the argument drawn from the Apostle's words, “Without father, without mother,” etc.: Heb. vii.
He shows how heretics pervert holy Scripture, by replying to the argument drawn from the Apostles words, “Without father, without mother,” etc.: Heb. vii.
You then make use of the holy Scriptures against God, and try to bring His own witnesses against Him. But how? Truly so as to become a false accuser not only of God, but of the evidences themselves. Nor indeed is it wonderful that, as you cannot do what you want, you only do what you can: as you cannot turn the sacred witnesses against God, you do what you can, and pervert them. For you say: Then Paul tells a lie, when he says of Christ: “Without mother, without genealogy.” 2625 I ask you, of whom do you think that Paul said this? Of the Son and Word of God, or of the Christ, whom you separate from the Son of God, and blasphemously assert to be a mere man? If of the Christ, whom you maintain to be a mere man, how could a man be born without a mother and without a genealogy on the mothers side? But if of the Word of God and Son of God—what can we make of it, when the same Apostle, your own witness, as you impiously imagine, testifies in the same place and by the same witness, that He whom you assert to be without mother, was also without father; saying, “Without father, without mother, without genealogy”? It follows then that if you use the Apostles witness, since you assert that the Son of God was “without mother,” you must also be guilty of the blasphemy that He was “without father.” You see then in what a downfall of impiety you have landed yourself, in your eagerness for your perversity and wickedness, so that, while you say that the Son of God had not a mother, you must also deny Him a Father—a thing which no one yet since the world began, except perhaps a madman, ever did. And this, whether with greater wickedness or folly, I hardly know; for what is more foolish and silly than to give the name of Son and to try to keep back the name of Father? But you say I dont keep it back, I dont deny it. And what madness then drove you to quote that passage, where, while you say that He had no mother, you must seem also to deny to Him a Father? For as in the same passage He is said to be without mother and also without father, it follows that if it can be understood that there He is without mother, in the same way in which we understand that He is without mother, we must also believe that He is without father. But that hasty craze for denying p. 612 God did not see this; and when it quoted mutilated, what was written entire, it failed to see that the shameless and palpable lie could be refuted by laying open the contents of the sacred volume. O foolish blasphemy, and madness! which, while it failed to see what it ought to follow, had not the wit to see even what could be read: as if, because it could get rid of its own intelligence, it could get rid of the power of reading from everybody else, or as if everybody would lose their eyes in their heads for reading, because it had lost the eyes of the mind. Hear then, you heretic, the passage you have garbled: hear in full and completely, what you quoted mutilated and hacked about. The Apostle wants to make clear to every one the twofold birth of God—and in order to show how the Lord was born in the Godhead and in flesh, he says, “Without father, without mother:” for the one belongs to the birth of Divinity, the other to that of the flesh. For as He was begotten in His Divine nature “without mother,” so He is in the body “without father:” and so though He is neither without father nor without mother, we must believe in Him “without father and without mother.” For if you regard Him as He is begotten of the Father, He is without mother: if, as born of His mother, He is without father. And so in each of these births He has one: in both together He is without each: for the birth of Divinity had no need of mother, and for the birth of His body, He was Himself sufficient, without a father. Therefore says the Apostle “Without mother, without genealogy.”
Heb. vii. 3.
Next: Chapter XV. How Christ could be said by the Apostle to be without genealogy.
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