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CATECHETICAL LECTURES XIII-XXIII
Including the 5 MYSTAGOGICAL CATECHESES
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church
ON THE WORDS, CRUCIFIED AND BURIED
ISAIAH liii. 1, 7. Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? … He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, etc.
1. EVERY deed of Christ is a cause of glorying to the Catholic Church, but her greatest of all glorying is in the Cross; and knowing this, Paul says, But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of Christ1. For wondrous indeed it was, that one who was blind from his birth should receive sight in Siloam; but what is this compared with the blind of the whole world? A great thing it was, and passing nature, for Lazarus to rise again on the fourth day; but the grace extended to him alone, and what was it compared with the dead in sins throughout the world? Marvelous it was, that five loaves should pour forth food for the five thousand; but what is that to those who are famishing in ignorance through all the world? It was marvelous that she should have been loosed who had been bound by Satan eighteen years: yet what is this to all of us, who were fast bound in the chains of our sins? But the glory of the Cross led those who were blind through ignorance into light, loosed all who were held fast by sin, and ransomed the whole world of mankind.
2. And wonder not that the whole world was ransomed; for it was no mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God, who died on its behalf. Moreover one man’s sin, even Adam’s, had power to bring death to the world; but if by the trespass of the one death reigned over the world, how shall not life much rather reign by the righteousness of the One? And if because of the tree of food they were then east out of paradise, shall not believers now more easily enter into paradise because of the Tree of Jesus? If the first man formed out of the earth brought in universal death, shall not He who formed him out of the earth bring in eternal life, being Himself the Life? If Phinees, when he waxed zealous and slew the evil-doer, staved the wrath of God, shall not Jesus, who slew not another, but gave up Himself for a ransom, put away the wrath which is against mankind?
3. Let us then not be ashamed of the Cross of our Saviour, but rather glory in it. For the word of the Cross is unto Jews a stumbling-block, and unto Gentiles foolishness, but to us salvation: and to them that are perishing it is foolishness, but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God. For it was not a mere man who died for us, as I said before, but the Son of God, God made man. Further; if the lamb under Moses drove the destroyer far away, did not much rather the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, deliver us from our sins? The blood of a silly sheep gave salvation; and shall not the Blood of the Only-begotten much rather save? If any disbelieve the power of the Crucified, let him ask the devils; if any believe not words, let him believe what he sees. Many have been crucified throughout the world, but by none of these are the devils scared; but when they see even the Sign of the Cross of Christ, who was crucified for us, they shudder. For those men died for their own sins, but Christ for the sins of others; for He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. It is not Peter who says this, for then we might suspect that he was partial to his Teacher; but it is Esaias who says it, who was not indeed present with Him in the flesh, but in the Spirit foresaw His coming in the flesh. Yet why now bring the Prophet only as a witness? take for a witness Pilate himself, who gave sentence upon Him, saying, I find no fault in this Man: and when he gave Him up, and had washed his hands, he said, I am innocent of the blood of this just person. There is yet another witness of the sinlessness of Jesus,—the robber, the first man admitted into Paradise; who rebuked his fellow, and said, “We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss; for we were present, both thou and I, at His judgment.”
4. Jesus then really suffered for all men; for the Cross was no illusion, otherwise our redemption is an illusion also. His death was not a mere show, for then is our salvation also fabulous. If His death was but a show, they were true who said, We remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I rise again. His Passion then was real: for He was really crucified, and we are not ashamed thereat; He was crucified, and we deny it not, nay, I rather glory to speak of it. For though I should now deny it, here is Golgotha to confute me, near which we are now assembled; the wood of the Cross confutes me, which was afterwards distributed piecemeal from hence to all the world. I confess the Cross, because I know of the Resurrection; for if, after being crucified, He had remained as He was, I had not perchance confessed it, for I might have concealed both it and my Master; but now that the Resurrection has followed the Cross, I am not ashamed to declare it.
5. Being then in the flesh like others, He was crucified, but not for the like sins. For He was not led to death for covetousness, since He was a Teacher of poverty; nor was He condemned for concupiscence, for He Himself says plainly, Whosoever shall look upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already; not for smiting or striking hastily, for He turned the other cheek also to the stutter: not for despising the Law, for He was the fulfiller of the Law; not for reviling a prophet, for it was Himself who was proclaimed by the Prophets; not for defrauding any of their hire, for He ministered without reward and freely; not for sinning in words, or deeds, or thoughts, He who did no sins, neither was ,guile found in His mouth; who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when Re suffered, threatened not; who came to His passion, not unwillingly, but willing; yea, if any dissuading Him say even now, Be it far from Thee, Lord, He will say again, Get thee behind Me, Satan.
6. And wouldest thou be persuaded that He came to His passion willingly? others, who foreknow it not, die unwillingly; but He spoke before of His passion: Behold, the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. But knowest thou wherefore this Friend of man shunned not death? It was lest the whole world should perish in its sins. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed, and shall be crucified; and again, He steadfastly set His face to to Jerusalem. And wouldest thou know certainly, that the Cross is a glory to Jesus? Hear His own words, not mine. Judas had become ungrateful to the Master of the house, and was about to betray Him. Having but just now gone forth from the table, and drunk His cup of blessing, in return for that drought of salvation he sought to shed righteous blood. He who did eat of His bread, was lifting up his heel against Him; his hands were but lately receiving the blessed gifts, and presently for the wages of betrayal he was plotting His death. And being reproved, and having heard that word, Thou hast said, he again went out: then said Jesus, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Seest thou how He knew the Cross to be His proper glory? What then, is Esaias not ashamed of being sawn asunder, and shall Christ be ashamed of dying for the world? Now is the Son of man glorified. Not that He was without glory before: for He was glorified with the glory which was before the foundation of the world. He was ever glorified as God; but now He was to be glorified in wearing the Crown of His patience. He gave not up His life by compulsion, nor was He put to death by murderous violence, but of His own accord. Hear what He says: I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again: I yield it of My own choice to My enemies; for unless I chose, this could not be. He came therefore of His own set purpose to His passion, rejoicing in His noble deed, smiling at the crown, cheered by the salvation of mankind; not ashamed of the Cross, for it was to save the world. For it was no common man who suffered, but God in man’s nature, striving for the prize of His patience.
7. But the Jews contradict this, ever ready, as they are, to cavil, and backward to believe; so that for this cause the Prophet just now read says, Lord, who hath believed our report? Persians believe, and Hebrews believe not; they shall see, to whom He was not spoken of, and they that have not heard shall understand, while they who study these things shall set at nought what they study. They speak against us, and say, “Does the Lord then suffer? What? Had men’s hands power over His sovereignty?” Read the Lamentations; for in those Lamentations, Jeremias, lamenting you, wrote what is worthy of lamentations. He saw your destruction, he beheld your downfall, he bewailed Jerusalem which then was; for that which now is shall not be bewailed; for that Jerusalem crucified the Christ, but that which now is worships Him. Lamenting then he says, The breath of our countenance, Christ the Lord was taken in our corruptions. Am I then stating views of my own? Behold he testifies of the Lord Christ seized by men. And what is to follow from this? Tell me, O Prophet. He says, Of whom we said, Under His shadow we shall live among the nations. For he signifies that the grace of life is no longer to dwell in Israel, but among the Gentiles.
8. But since there has been much gainsaying by them, come, let me, with the help of your prayers, (as the shortness of the time may allow,) set forth by the grace of the Lord some few testimonies concerning the Passion. For the things concerning Christ are all put into writing, and nothing is doubtful, for nothing is without a text. All are inscribed on the monuments of the Prophets; clearly written, not on tablets of stone, but by the Holy Ghost. Since then thou hast heard the Gospel speaking concerning Judas, oughtest thou not to receive the testimony to it? Thou hast heard that He was pierced in the side by a spear; oughtest thou not to see whether this also is written? Thou hast heard that He was crucified in a garden; oughtest thou not to see whether this also is written? Thou hast heard that He was sold for thirty pieces of silver; oughtest thou not to learn what prophet spake this? Thou hast heard that He was given vinegar to drink; learn where this also is written. Thou hast heard that His body was laid in a rock, and that a stone was set over it; oughtest thou not to receive this testimony also from the prophet? Thou hast heard that He was crucified with robbers; oughtest thou not to see whether this also is written? Thou hast heard that He was buried; oughtest thou not to see whether the circumstances of His burial are anywhere accurately written? Thou hast heard that He rose again; oughtest thou not to see whether we mock thee in teaching these things? For our speech and our preaching is not in persuasive words of man’s wisdom. We stir now no sophistical contrivances; for these become exposed; we do not conquer words with words, for these come to an end; but we preach Christ Crucified, who has already been preached aforetime by the Prophets. But do thou, I pray, receive the testimonies, and seal them in thine heart. And, since they are many, and the rest of our time is narrowed into a short space, listen now to a few of the more important as time permits; and having received these beginnings, be diligent and seek out the remainder. Let not thine hand be only stretched out to receive, but let it be also ready to work. God gives all things freely. For if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth, and he shall receive. May He through your prayer grant utterance to us who speak, and faith to you who hear.
9. Let us then seek the testimonies to the Passion of Christ: for we are met together, not now to make a speculative exposition of the Scriptures, but rather to be certified of the things which we already believe. Now thou hast received from me first the testimonies concerning the coming of Jesus; and concerning His walking on the sea, for it is written, Thy way is in the sea. Also concerning divers cures thou hast on another occasion received testimony. Now therefore I begin from whence the Passion began. Judas was the traitor, and he came against Him, and stood, speaking words of peace, but plotting war. Concerning him, therefore, the Psalmist says, My friends and My neighbours drew near against Me, and stood. And again, Their wards were softer than oil, yet be they spears. Hail, Master; yet he was betraying his Master to death; he was not abashed at His warning, when He said, Judas, betrayest than the Son of Man with a kiss l for what He said to him was just this, Recollect thine own name; Judas means confession; thou hast covenanted, thou hast received the money, make confession quickly. O God, pass not over My praise in silence; far the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitful, are opened against Me; they have spoken against Me with a treacherous tongue, they have compassed Me about also with words of hatred. But that some of the chief-priests also were present, and that He was put in bonds before the gates of the city, thou hast heard before, if thou rememberest the exposition of the Psalm, which has told the time and the place; how they returned at evening, and hungered like dogs, and encompassed the city.
10. Listen also for the thirty pieces of silver. And I will say to them, If it be good in your sight, give me my price, or refuse, and the rest. One price is owing to Me from you for My healing the blind and lame, and I receive another; for thanksgiving, dishonour, and for worship, insult. Seest thou how the Scripture foresaw these things? And they weighed far My price thirty pieces of silver. How exact the prophecy! how great and unerring the wisdom of the Holy Ghost! For he said, not ten, nor twenty, but thirty, exactly as many as there were. Tell also what becomes of this price, O Prophet! Does he who received it keep it? or does he give it back? and after he has given it back, what becomes of it? The Prophet says then, And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them into the house of the Lord, into the foundry. Compare the Gospel with the Prophecy: Judas, it says, repented himself, and cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed.
11. But now I have to seek the exact solution of this seeming discrepancy. For they who make light of the prophets, allege that the Prophet says on the one hand, And I cast them into the house of the Lord, into the foundry, but the Gospel on the other hand, And they gave them for the potter’s field. Hear then how they are both true. For those conscientious Jews forsooth, the high-priests of that time, when they saw that Judas repented and said, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood, reply, What is that to us, see thou to that. Is it then nothing to you, the crucifiers? but shall he who received and restored the price of murder see to it, and shall ye the murderers not see to it? Then they say among themselves, It is not lawful to cast them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. Out of your own mouths is your condemnation; if the price is polluted, the deed is polluted also: but if thou art fulfilling righteousness in crucifying Christ, why receivest thou not the price of it? But the point of iniquity is this: how is there no disagreement, if the Gospel says, the potter’s field, and the Prophet, the foundry? Nay, but not only people who are goldsmiths, or brass-founders, have a foundry, but potters also have foundries for their clay. For they sift off the fine and rich and useful earth from the gravel, and separate from it the mass of the refuse matter, and temper the clay first with water, that they may work it with ease into the forms intended. Why then wonderest thou that the Gospel says plainly the potter’s field, whereas the Prophet spoke his prophecy like an enigma, since prophecy is in many places enigmatical?
12. They bound Jesus, and brought Him into the hall of the High-priest. And wouldest thou learn and know that this also is written? Esaias says, Woe unto their soul, far they have taken evil counsel against themselves, saying, Let us bind the Just, for He is troublesome to us. And truly, Woe unto their soul! Let us see how. Esaias was sawn asunder, yet after this the people was restored. Jeremias was cast into the mire of the cistern, yet was the wound of the Jews healed; for the sin was less, since it was against man. But when the Jews sinned, not against man, but against God in man’s nature, Woe unto their soul!—Let us bind the Just; could He not then set Himself free, some one will say; He, who freed Lazarus from the bonds of death on the fourth day, and loosed Peter from the iron bands of.a prison? Angels stood ready at hand, saying, Let us burst their bands in sunder; but they hold back, because their Lord willed to undergo it. Again, He was led to the judgment-seat before the Elders; thou hast already the testimony to this, The Lord Himself will come into judgment with the ancients of His people, and with the princes thereof.
13. But the High-priest having questioned Him, and heard the truth, is wroth; and the wicked officer of wicked men smites Him; and the countenance, which had shone as the sun, endured to be smitten by lawless hands. Others also come and spit on the face of Him, who by spittle had healed the man who was blind from his birth. Do ye thus requite the Lord? This people is foolish and unwise. And the Prophet greatly wondering, says, Lord, who hath believed our report? for the thing is incredible, that God, the Son of God, and the Arm of the Lord, should suffer such things. But that they who are being saved may not disbelieve, the Holy Ghost writes before, in the person of Christ, who says, (for He who then spake these things, was afterward Himself an actor in them,) I gave My back to the scourges; (for Pilate, when he had scourged Him, delivered Him to be crucified;) and My cheeks to smitings; and My face I turned not away from the shame of spittings; saying, as it were, “Though knowing before that they will smite Me, I did not even turn My cheek aside; for how should I have nerved My disciples against death for truth’s sake, had I Myself dreaded this?” I said. He that loveth his life shall lose it: if I had loved My life, how was I to teach without practicing what I taught? First then, being Himself God, He endured to suffer these things at the hands of men; that after this, we men, when we suffer such things at the hands of men for His sake, might not be ashamed. Thou seest that of these things also the prophets have clearly written beforehand. Many, however, of the Scripture testimonies I pass by for want of time, as I said before; for if one should exactly search out all, not one of the things concerning Christ would be left without witness.
14. Having been bound, He came from Caiaphas to Pilate,—is this too written? yes; And having bound Him, they led Him away as a present to the king of Jarim. But here some sharp hearer will object, “Pilate was not a king,” (to leave for a while the main parts of the question,) “how then having bound Him, led they Him as a present to the king?” But read thou the Gospel; When Pilate heard that He was of Galilee, he sent Him to Herod; for Herod was then king, and was present at Jerusalem. And now observe the exactness of the Prophet; for he says, that He was sent as a present; for the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together, for before they were at enmity. For it became Him who was on the eve of making peace between earth and heaven, to make the very men who condemned Him the first to be at peace; for the Lord Himself was there present, who reconciles the hearts of the princes of the earth. Mark the exactness of the Prophets, and their true testimony.
15. Look with awe then at the Lord who was judged. He suffered Himself to be led and carried by soldiers. Pilate sat in judgment, and He who sitteth on the right hand of the Father, stood and was judged. The people whom He had redeemed from the land of Egypt, and oftimes from other places, shouted against Him, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Wherefore, O ye Jews? because He healed your blind? or because He made your lame to walk, and bestowed His other benefits? So that the Prophet in amazement speaks of this too, Against whom have ye opened your mouth, and against whom have ye let loose your tongue? and the Lord Himself says in the Prophets, Mine heritage became unto Me as a lion in the forest; it gave its voice against Me; therefore have I hated it. I have not refused them, but they have refused Me; in consequence thereof I say, I have forsaken My house.
16. When He was judged, He held His peace; so that Pilate was moved for Him, and said, Hearest Thou not what these witness against Thee? Not that He knew Him who was judged, but he feared his own wife’s dream which had been reported to him. And Jesus held His peace. The Psalmist says, And I became as a man that heareth not; and in whose mouth are no reproofs; and again, But I was as a deaf man and heard not; and as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thou hast before heard concerning this, if thou rememberest.
17. But the soldiers who crowd around mock Him, and their Lord becomes a sport to them, and upon their Master they make jests. When they looked on Me, they shaked their heads. Yet the figure of kingly state appears; for though in mockery, yet they bend the knee. And the soldiers before they crucify Him, put on Him a purple robe, and set a crown on His bead; for what though it be of thorns? Every king is proclaimed by soldiers; and Jesus also must in a figure be crowned by soldiers; so that for this cause the Scripture says in the Canticles, Go forth, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, and look upon King Solomon in the crown wherewith His mother crowned Him. And the crown itself was a mystery; for it was a remission of sins, a release from the curse.
18. Adam received the sentence, Cursed is the ground in thy labours; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee. For this cause Jesus assumes the thorns, that He may cancel the sentence; for this cause also was He buried in the earth, that the earth which had been cursed might receive the blessing instead of a curse. At the time of the sin, they clothed themselves with fig-leaves; for this cause Jesus also made the fig- tree the last of His signs. For when about to go to His passion, He curses the fig-tree, not every fig-tree, but that one alone, for the sake of the figure; saying, No more let any man eat fruit of thee; let the doom be cancelled. And because they aforetime clothed themselves with fig-leaves, He came at a season when food was not wont to be found on the fig-tree. Who knows not that in winter-time the fig-tree bears no fruit, but is clothed with leaves only? Was Jesus ignorant of this, which all knew? No but though He knew, yet He came as if seeking; not ignorant that He should not find, but shewing that the emblematical curse extended to the leaves only.
19. And since we have touched on things connected with Paradise, I am truly astonished at the truth of the types. In Paradise was the Fall, and in a Garden was our Salvation. From the Tree came sin, and until the Tree sin lasted. In the evening, when the Lord walked in the Garden, they hid themselves; and in the evening the robber is brought by the Lord into Paradise. But some one will say to me, “Thou art inventing subtleties; shew me from some prophet the Wood of the Cross; except thou give me a testimony from a prophet, I will not be persuaded. Hear then from Jeremias, and assure thyself; I was like a harmless lamb led to be slaughtered; did I not know it? (for in this manner read it as a question, as I have read it; for He who said, Ye know that after two days comes the passover, and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified, did He not know?) I was like a harmless lamb led to be slaughtered; did I not know it?(but what sort of lamb? let John the Baptist interpret it, when he says, Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.) They devised against Me a wicked device, saying—(He who knows the devices, knew He not the result of them? And what said they?)—Come, and let us place a beam upon His bread—(and if the Lord reckon thee worthy, thou shalt hereafter learn, that His body according to the Gospel bore the figure of bread;)—Come then, and let us place a beam upon His bread, and cut Him off out of the land of the living;—(life is not cut off, why labour ye for nought?)—And His name shall be remembered no more. Vain is your counsel; for before the sun His Name abideth in the Church. And that it was Life, which hung on the Cross, Moses says, weeping, And thy, life shall be hanging before thine eyes; and thou shalt be afraid day and night, and thou shalt not trust thy life. And so too, what was just now read as the text, Lord, who hath believed our report?
20. This was the figure which Moses completed by fixing the serpent to a cross, that whosoever had been bitten by the living serpent, and looked to the brazen serpent, might be saved by believing. Does then the brazen serpent save when crucified, and shall not the Son of God incarnate save when crucified also? On each occasion life comes by means of wood. For in the time of Noah the preservation of life was by an ark of wood. In the time of Moses the sea, on beholding the emblematical rod, was abashed at him who smote it; is then Moses’ rod mighty, and is the Cross of the Saviour powerless? But I pass by the greater part of the types, to keep within measure. The wood in Moses’ case sweetened the water; and from the side of Jesus the water flowed upon the wood.
21. The beginning of signs under Moses was blood and water; and the last of all Jesus’ signs was the same. First, Moses changed the river into blood; and Jesus at the last gave forth from His side water with blood. This was perhaps on account of the two speeches, his who judged Him, and theirs who cried out against Him; or because of the believers and the unbelievers. For Pilate said, I am innocent and washed his hands in water; they who cried out against Him said, His blood be upon us: there came therefore these two out of His side; the water, perhaps, for him who judged Him; but for them that shouted against Him the blood. And again it is to be understood in another way; the blood for the Jews, and the water for the Christians: for upon them as plotters came the condemnation from the blood but to thee who now believest, the salvation which is by water. For nothing has been done without a meaning. Our fathers who have written comments have given another reason of this matter. For since in the Gospels the power of salutary Baptism is twofold, one which is granted by means of water to the illuminated, and a second to holy martyrs, in persecutions, through their own blood, there came out of that saving Side blood and water, to confirm the grace of the confession made for Christ, whether in baptism, or on occasions of martyrdom. There is another reason also for mentioning the Side. The woman, who was formed from the side, led the way to sin; but Jesus who came to bestow the grace of pardon on men and women alike, was pierced in the side for women, that He might undo the sin.
22. And whoever will inquire, will find other reasons also; but what has been said is enough, because of the shortness of the time, and that the attention of my hearers may not become sated. And yet we never can be tired of hearing concerning the crowning of our Lord, and least of all in this most holy Golgotha. For others only hear, but we both see and handle. Let none be weary; take thine armour against the adversaries in the cause of the Cross itself; set up the faith of the Cross as a trophy against the gainsayers. For when thou art going to dispute with unbelievers concerning the Cross of Christ, first make with thy hand the sign of Christ’s Cross, and the gainsayer will be silenced. Be not ashamed to confess the Cross; for Angels glory in it, saying, We know whom ye seek, Jesus the Crucified. Mightest thou not say, O Angel, “I know whom ye seek, my Master?” But, “I,” he says with boldness, “I know the Crucified.” For the Cross is a Crown, not a dishonor.
23. Now let us recur to the proof out of the Prophets which I spoke of. The Lord was crucified; thou hast received the testimonies. Thou seest this spot of Golgotha! Thou answerest with a shout of praise, as if assenting. See that thou recant not in time of persecution. Rejoice not in the Cross in time of peace only, but hold fast the same faith in time of persecution also; be not in time of peace a friend of Jesus, and His foe in time of wars. Thou receivest now remission of thy sins, and the gifts of the King’s spiritual bounty; when war shall Come, strive thou nobly for thy King. Jesus, the Sinless, was crucified for thee; and wilt not thou be crucified for Him who was crucified for thee? Thou art not bestowing a favour, for thou hast first received; but thou art returning a favour, repaying thy debt to Him who was crucified for thee in Golgotha. Now Golgotha is interpreted, “the place of a skull.” Who were they then, who prophetically named this spot Golgotha, in which Christ the true Head endured the Cross? As the Apostle says, Who is the Image of the Invisible God; and a little after, and He is the Head of the body, the Church. And again, The Head of every man is Christ; and again, Who is the Head all principality and power. The Head suffered in “the place of the skull.” O wondrous prophetic appellation! The very name also reminds thee, saying, “Think not of the Crucified as of a mere man; He is the Head of all principality and power. That Head which was crucified is the Head of all power, and has for His Head the Father; for the Head of the man is Christ, and the Head of Christ is God.”
24. Christ then was crucified for us, who was judged in the night, when it was cold, and therefore a fire of coals was laid. He was crucified at the third hour; and from the sixth hour there was darkness until the ninth hour; but from the ninth hour there was light again. Are these things also written? Let us inquire. Now the Prophet Zacharias says, And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light, and there shall be cold and frost one day; (the cold on account of which Peter warmed himself;) And that day shall be known unto the Lord; (what, knew He not the other days? days are many, but this is the day of the Lord’s patience, which the Lord made;)—And that day shall be known unto the Lord, not day, and not night what is this dark saying which the Prophet speaks? That day is neither day nor night? what then shall we name it? The Gospel interprets it, by relating the event. It was not day; for the sun shone not uniformly from his rising to his setting, but from the sixth hour till the ninth hour, there was darkness at mid-day. The darkness therefore was interposed; but God called the darkness night. Wherefore it was neither day nor night: for neither was it all light, that it should be called day; nor was it all darkness, that it should be called night; but after the ninth hour the sun shone forth. This also the Prophet foretells; for after saying, Not day, nor night, he added, And at evening time it shall be light. Seest thou the exactness of the prophets? Seest thou the truth of the things which were written aforetime?
25. But dost thou ask exactly at what hour the sun failed? was it the fifth hour, or the eighth, or the tenth? Tell, O Prophet, the exact time thereof to the Jews, who are unwilling to hear; when shall the sun go down? The Prophet Amos answers, And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that the sun shall go down at noon (for there was darkness from the sixth hour;) and the light shall grow dark over the earth in the day”. What sort of season is this, O Prophet, and what sort of day? And I will turn your feasts into mourning; for this was done in the days of unleavened bread, and at the feast of the Passover: then afterwards he says, And I will make Him as the mourning of an Only Son, and those with Him as a day of anguish; for in the day of unleavened bread, and at the feast, their women were wailing and weeping, and the Apostles had hidden themselves and were in anguish. Wonderful then is this prophecy.
26. But, some one will say, “Give me yet another sign; what other exact sign is there of that which has come to pass? Jesus was crucified; and He wore but one coat, and one cloak: now His cloak the soldiers shared among themselves, having rent it into four; but His coat was not rent, for when rent it would have been no longer of any use; so about this lots are cast by the soldiers; thus the one they divide, but for the other they cast lots. Is then this also written? They know, the diligent chanters of the Church, who imitate the Angel hosts, and continually sing praises to God: who are thought worthy to chant Psalms in this Golgotha, and to say, They parted My, garments among them, and upon My vesture they, did cast lots. The “lots” were what the soldiers cast.
27. Again, when He had been judged before Pilate, He was clothed in red; for there they put on Him a purple robe. Is this also written? Esaias saith, Who is this that cometh from Edom? the redness of His garments( from Bosor; (who is this who in dishonor weareth purple? For Bosor has some such meaning in Hebrew.) Why are Thy garments red, and Thy raiment as from a trodden wine-press? But He answers and says, All day long have I stretched forth Mine hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
28. He stretched out His hands on the Cross, that He might embrace the ends of the world; for this Golgotha is the very centre of the earth. It is not my word, but it is a prophet who hath said, Thou hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. He stretched forth human hands, who by His spiritual hands had established the heaven; and they were fastened with nails, that His manhood, which here the sins of men, having been nailed to the tree, and having died, sin might die with it, and we might rise again in righteousness. For since by one man came death, by One Man came also life; by One Man, the Saviour, dying of His own accord: for remember what He said, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again.
29. But though He endured these things, having come for the salvation of all, yet the people returned Him an evil recompense. Jesus saith, I thirst,—He who had brought forth the waters for them out of the craggy rock; and He asked fruit of the Vine which He had planted. But what does the Vine? This Vine, which was by nature of the holy fathers, but of Sodom by purpose of heart;-(for their Vine is of Sodom, and their tendrils of Gomorrah;)—this Vine, when the Lord was athirst, having filled a sponge and put it on a reed, offers Him vinegar. They gave Me also gall for My meat, and in My thirst, they gave Me vinegar to drink. Thou seest the clearness of the Prophets’ description. But what sort of gall put they into My mouth? They gave Him, it says, wine mingled with myrrh. Now myrrh is in taste like gall, and very bitter. Are these things what ye recompense unto the Lord? Are these thy offerings, O Vine, unto thy Master? Rightly did the Prophet Esaias aforetime bewail you, saying, My well-beloved had a vineyard in a hill in a fruitful place; and (not to recite the whole) I waited, he says, that it should bring forth grapes; I thirsted that it should give wine; but it brought forth thorns; for thou seest the crown, wherewith I am adorned. What then shall I now decree? I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the clouds which are the Prophets were removed from them, and are for the future in the Church; as Paul says, Let the Prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge; and again, God gave in the Church, same, Apostles, and some, Prophets. Agabus, who bound his own feet and hands, was a prophet.
30. Concerning the robbers who were crucified with Him, it is written, And He was numbered with the transgressors. Both of them were before this transgressors, but one was so no longer. For the one was a transgressor to the end, stubborn against salvation; who, though his hands were fastened, smote with blasphemy by his tongue. When the Jews passing by wagged their heads, mocking the Crucified, and fulfilling what was written, When they looked on Me, they shook their heads, he also reviled with them. But the other refused the reviler; and it was to him that rebuked the reviler; and it was to him the end of life and the beginning of restoration; the surrender of his soul a first share in salvation. And after rebuking the other, he says, Lord, remember me; for with Thee is my account. Heed not this man, for the eyes of his understanding are blinded; but remember me. I say not, remember my works, for of these I am afraid. Every man has a feeling for his fellow-traveler; I am travelling with Thee towards death; remember me, Thy fellow-wayfarer. I say not, Remember me now, but, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.
31. What power, O robber, led thee to the light? Who taught thee to worship that despised Man, thy companion on the Cross? O Light Eternal, which gives light to them that are in darkness! Therefore also he justly heard the words, Be of good cheer; not that thy deeds are worthy of good cheer; but that the King is here, dispensing favours. The request reached unto a distant time; but the grace was very speedy. Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise; because to-day thou hast heard My voice, and hast not hardened thine heart. Very speedily I passed sentence upon Adam, very speedily I pardon thee. To him it was said, In the day wherein ye eat, ye shall surely die; but thou to-day hast obeyed the faith, to-day is thy salvation. Adam by the Tree fell away; thou by the Tree art brought into Paradise. Fear not the serpent; he shall not cast thee out; for he is fallen from heaven. And I say not unto thee, This day shalt thou depart, but, This day shalt thou be with Me. Be of good courage: thou shalt not be cast out. Fear not the flaming sword; it shrinks from its Lord. O mighty and ineffable grace! The faithful Abraham had not yet entered, but the robber enters! Moses and the Prophets had not yet entered, and the robber enters though a breaker of the law. Paul also wondered at this before thee, saying, Where sin abounded, there grace did much more abound. They who had borne the heat of the day had not yet entered; and be of the eleventh hour entered. Let none murmur against the goodman of the house, for he says, Friend, I do thee no wrong; is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with Mine own? The robber has a will to work righteousness, but death prevents him; I wait not exclusively for the work, but faith also I accept. I am come who feed My sheep among the lilies, I am come to feed them in the gardens. I have found a sheep that was lost, but I lay it on My shoulders; for he believes, since he himself has said, I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Lord, remember me when Thou camest in Thy kingdom.
32. Of this garden I sang of old to My spouse in the Canticles, and spoke to her thus. I am come into My garden, My sister, My spouse; (now in the place where He was crucified was a garden;) and what takest Thou thence? I have gathered My myrrh; having drunk wine mingled with myrrh, and vinegar, after receiving which, He said, It is finished. For the mystery has been fulfilled; the things that are written have been accomplished; sins are forgiven. For Christ being come an High-Priest of the good things to came, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, entered in once far all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption; for if the bland of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more the blood of Christs? And again, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. And because His flesh, this veil, was dishonoured, therefore the typical veil of the temple was rent asunder, as it is written, And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; for not a particle of it was left; for since the Master said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate, the house brake all in pieces.
33. These things the Saviour endured, and made peace through the Blood of His Cross, for things in heaven, and things in earth. For we were enemies of God through sin, and God had appointed the sinner to die. There must needs therefore have happened one of two things; either that God, in His truth, should destroy all men, or that in His loving-kindness He should cancel the sentence. But behold the wisdom of God; He preserved both the t truth of His sentence, and the exercise of His loving-kindness. Christ took our sins in His body on the tree, that we by His death might die to sin, and live unto righteousness. Of no small account was He who died for us; He was not a literal sheep; He was not a mere man; He was more than an Angel; He was God made man. The transgression of sinners was not so great as the righteousness of Him who died for them; the sin which we committed was not so great as the righteousness which He wrought who laid down His life for us,—who laid it down when He pleased, and took it again when He pleased. And wouldest thou know that He laid not down His life by violence, nor yielded up the ghost against His will? He cried to the Father, saying, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit; I commend it, that I may take it again. And having said these things, He gave up the ghost; but not for any long time, for He quickly rose again from the dead.
34. The Sun was darkened, because of the Sun of Righteousness. Rocks were rent, because of the spiritual Rock. Tombs were opened, and the dead arose, because of Him who was free among the dead; He sent forth His prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Be not then ashamed of the Crucified, but be thou also bold to say, He beareth our sins, and endureth grief for us, and with His stripes we are healed. Let us not be unthankful to our Benefactor. And again; for the transgression of my people was He led to death; and I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death. Therefore Paul says plainly, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He hath risen again the third day according to the Scriptures.
35. But we seek to know clearly where He has been buried. Is His tomb made with hands? Is it, like the tombs of kings, raised above the ground? Is the Sepulchre made of stones joined together? And what is laid upon it? Tell us, O Prophets, the exact truth concerning His tomb also, where He is laid, and where we shall seek Him? And they say, Look into the solid rock which ye have hewn. Look in and behold. Thou hast in the Gospels In a sepulchre hewn in stone, which was hewn out of a rock. And what happens next? What kind of door has the sepulchre? Again another Prophet says, They cut off My life in a dungeon, and cast a stone upon Me. I, who am the Chief corner-stone, the elect, the precious, lie for a little time within a stone—I who am a stone of stumbling to the Jews, and of salvation to them who believe. The Tree of life, therefore was planted in the earth, that the earth which had been cursed might enjoy the blessing, and that the dead might be released.
36. Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, for the sick; since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of devils: for He triumphed over them in it, having made a shew of them openly; for when they see the Cross they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, who bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the gift; out for this the rather honour thy Benefactor.
37. And if thou ever fall into disputation and hast not the grounds of proof, yet let Faith remain firm in thee; or rather, become thou well learned, and then silence the Jews out of the prophets, and the Greeks out of their own fables. They themselves worship men who have been thunderstruck but the thunder when it comes from heaven, comes not at random. If they are not ashamed to worship men thunderstruck and abhorred of God, art thou ashamed to worship the beloved Son of God, who was crucified for thee? I am ashamed to tell the tales about their so-called Gods, and I leave them because of time; let those who know, speak. And let all heretics also be silenced. If any say that the Cross is an illusion, turn away from him. Abhor those who say that Christ was crucified to our fancy only; for if so, and if salvation is from the Cross, then is salvation a fancy also. If the Cross is fancy, the Resurrection is fancy also; but if Christ be not risen, we are yet in our sins. If the Cross is fancy, the Ascension also is fancy; and if the Ascension is fancy, then is the second coming also fancy, and everything is henceforth unsubstantial.
38. Take therefore first, as an indestructible foundation, the Cross, and build upon it the other articles of the faith. Deny not the Crucified; for, if thou deny Him, thou hast many to arraign thee. Judas the traitor will arraign thee first; for he who betrayed Him knows that He was condemned to death by the chief-priests and elders. The thirty pieces of silver bear witness; Gethsemane bears witness, where the betrayal occurred; I speak not yet of the Mount of Olives, on which they were with Him at night, praying. The moon in the night bears witness; the day bears witness, and the sun which was darkened; for it endured not to look on the crime of the conspirators. The fire will arraign thee, by which Peter stood and warmed himself; if thou deny the Cross, the eternal fire awaits thee. I speak hard words, that thou may not experience hard pains. Remember the swords that came against Him in Gethsemane, that thou feel not the eternal sword. The house of Caiaphas will arraign thee, shewing by its present desolation the power of Him who was erewhile judged there. Yea, Caiaphas himself will rise up against thee in the day of judgment, the very servant will rise up against thee, who smote Jesus with the palm of his hand; they also who bound Him, and they who led Him away. Even Herod shall rise up against thee; and Pilate; as if saying, Why deniest thou Him who was slandered before us by the Jews, and whom we knew to have done no wrong? For I Pilate then washed my hands. The false witnesses shall rise up against thee, and the soldiers who arrayed Him in the purple robe, and set on Him the crown of thorns, and crucified Him in Golgotha, and cast lots for His coat. Simon the Cyrenian will cry out upon thee, who bore the Cross after Jesus.
39. From among the stars there will cry out upon thee, the darkened Sun; among the things upon earth, the Wine mingled with myrrh; among reeds, the Reed; among herbs, the Hyssop; among the things of the sea, the Sponge; among trees, the Wood of the Cross;—the soldiers, too, as I have said, who nailed Him, and cast lots for His vesture; the soldier who pierced His side with the spear; the women who then were present; the veil of the temple then rent asunder; the hall of Pilate, now laid waste by the power of Him who was then crucified; this holy Golgotha, which stands high above us, and shows itself to this day, and displays even yet how because of Christ the rocks were then riven; the sepulchre nigh at hand where He was laid; and the stone which was laid on the door, which lies to this day by the tomb; the Angels who were then present; the women who worshipped Him after His resurrection; Peter and John, who ran to the sepulchre; and Thomas, who thrust his hand into His side, and his fingers into the prints of the nails. For it was for our sakes that he so carefully handled Him; and what thou, who wert not there present, wouldest have sought, he being present, by God’s Providence, did seek.
40. Thou hast Twelve Apostles, witnesses of the Cross; and the whole earth, and the world of men who believe on Him who hung thereon. Let thy very presence here now persuade thee of the power of the Crucified. For who now brought thee to this assembly? what soldiers? With what bonds wast thou constrained? What sentence held thee fast here now? Nay, it was the Trophy of salvation, the Cross of Jesus that brought you all together. It was this that enslaved the Persians, and tamed the Scythians; this that gave to the Egyptians, for cats and dogs and their manifold errors, the knowledge of God; this, that to this day heals diseases; that to this day drives away devils, and overthrows the juggleries of drugs and charms.
41. This shall appear again with Jesus from heaven; for the trophy shall precede the king: that seeing Him whom they pierced, and knowing by the Cross Him who was dishonoured, the Jews may repent and mourn;(but they shall mourn tribe by tribe, for they shall repent, when there shall be no more time for repentance;) and that we may glory, exulting in the Cross, worshipping the Lord who was sent, and crucified for us, and worshipping also God His Father who sent Him, with the Holy Ghost: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
ON THE WORDS, AND ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD ON THE THIRD DAY, AND ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS, AND SAT ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.
1 COR. xv. 1—4. Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you …. that He hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, etc.
1. Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and keep high festival, all ye that love Jesus; for He is risen. Rejoice, all ye that mourned before, when ye heard of the daring and wicked deeds of the Jews: for He who was spitefully entreated of them in this place is risen again. And as the discourse concerning the Cross was a sorrowful one, so let the good tidings of the Resurrection bring joy to the hearers. Let mourning be turned into gladness, and lamentation to joy: and let our mouth be filled with joy and gladness, because of Him, who after His resurrection, said Rejoice. For I know the sorrow of Christ’s friends in these past days; because, as our discourse stopped short at the Death and the Burial, and did not tell the good tidings of the Resurrection, your mind was in suspense, to hear what you were longing for.
Now, therefore, the Dead is risen, He who was free among the dead, and the deliverer of the dead. He who in dishonour wore patiently the crown of thorns, even He arose, and crowned Himself with the diadem of His victory over death.
2. As then we set forth the testimonies concerning His Cross, so come let us now verify the proofs of His Resurrection also: since the Apostle before us affirms, He was buried, and has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. As an Apostle, therefore, has sent us back to the testimonies of the Scriptures, it is good that we should get full knowledge of the hope of our salvation; and that we should learn first whether the divine Scriptures tell us the season of His resurrection, whether it comes in summer or in autumn, or after winter; and from what kind of place the Saviour has risen, and what has been announced in the admirable Prophets as the name of the place of the Resurrection, and whether the women, who sought and found Him not, afterwards rejoice at finding Him; in order that when the Gospels are read, the narratives of these holy Scriptures may not be thought fables nor rhapsodies.
3. That the Saviour then was buried, ye have heard distinctly in the preceding discourse, as Isaiah saith, His burial snail be in peace: for in His burial He made peace between heaven and earth, bringing sinners unto God: and, that the righteous is taken out of the way of unrighteousness: and, His burial shall be in peace: and, I will give the wicked for His burial. There is also the prophecy of Jacob saying in the Scriptures, He lay down and couched as a lion, and as a lion’s whelp: who shall rouse Him up? And the similar passage in Numbers, He couched, He lay down as a lion, and as a lion’s whelp. The Psalm also ye have often heard, which says, And Thou hast brought me down into the dust of death. Moreover we took note of the spot, when we quoted the words, Look unto the rock, which ye have hewn. But now let the testimonies concerning His resurrection itself go with us on our way.
4. First, then, in the 11th Psalm He says, For the misery of the poor, and the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord. But this passage still remains doubtful with some: for He often rises up also in anger, to take vengeance upon His enemies.
Come then to the 15th Psalm, which says distinctly: Preserve Me, O LORD, for in Thee have I put my trust: and after this, their assemblies of blood will I not join, nor make mention of their names between my lips; since they have refused me, and chosen Csar as their king: and also the next words, I foresaw the LORD always before Me, because He is at My right hand, that I may not be moved: and soon after Yea and even until night my reins chastened me. And after this He says most plainly, For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. He said not, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see death, since then He would not have died; but corruption, saith He, I see not, and shall not abide in death. Thou hast made known to Me the ways of life. Behold here is plainly preached a life after death. Come also to the 29th Psalm, I will extol Thee, O LORD, for Thous has lifted Me up, and hast not made My foes to rejoice over Me. What is it that took place? Wert thou rescued from enemies, or wert thou released when about to be smitten? He says himself most plainly, O LORD, Thou hast brought up My soul from hell. There he says, Thou wilt not leave, prophetically: and here he speaks of that which is to take place as having taken place, Thou hast brought up. Thou hast saved Me from them that go down into the pit. At what time shall the event occur? Weeping shall continue for the evening, and joy cometh in the morning: for in the evening was the sorrow of the disciplines, and in the morning the joy of the resurrection.
5. But wouldst thou know the place also? Again He saith in Canticles, I went down into the garden of nuts; for it was a garden where He was crucified. For though it has now been most highly adorned with royal gifts, yet formerly it was a garden, and the signs and the remnants of this remain. A garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, by the Jews who said, We remember that that deceiver said while He was yet alive, After three days, I will rise: command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure; and further on, So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone with the guard. And aiming well at these, one saith, and in rest Thou shalt judge them. But who is the fountain that is sealed, or who is interpreted as being a well-spring of living waters? It is the Saviour Himself, concerning whom it is written, for with Thee is the fountain of life.
6. But what says Zephaniah in the person of Christ to the disciples? Prepare thyself, be rising at the dawn: all their gleaning is destroyed: the gleaning, that is, of the Jews, with whom there is not a cluster, nay not even a gleaning of salvation left; for their vine is cut down. See how He says to the disciples, Prepare thyself, rise up at dawn: at dawn expect the Resurrection.
And farther on in the same context of Scripture He says, Therefore wait thou for Me, saith the LORD, until the day of My Resurrection at the Testimony. Thou seest that the Prophet foresaw the place also of the Resurrection, which was to be surnamed “the Testimony.” For what is the reason that this spot of Golgotha and of the Resurrection is not called, like the rest of the Churches, a Church, but a Testimony? Why, perhaps, it was because of the Prophet, who had said, until the day of My Resurrection at the Testimony.
7. And who then is this, and what is the sign of Him that rises? In the words of the Prophet that follow in the same context, He says plainly, For then will I turn to the peoples a language: since, after the Resurrection, when the Holy Ghost was sent forth the gift of tongues was granted, that they might serve the Lord under one yoke. And what other token is set forth in the same Prophet, that they should serve the LORD under one yoke? From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia they shall bring me offerings. Thou knowest what is written in the Acts, when the Ethiopian eunuch came from beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. When therefore the Scriptures tell both the time and the peculiarity of the place, when they tell also the signs which followed the Resurrection, have thou henceforward a firm faith in the Resurrection, and let no one stir thee from confessing Christ risen from the dead .
8. Now take also another testimony in the 87th Psalm, where Christ speaks in the Prophets, (for He who then spoke came afterwards among us): O LORD, God of My salvation, I have cried day and night before Thee, and a little, farther on, I became as it were a man without help, free among the dead. He said not, I became a man without help; but, as it were a man without help. For indeed He was crucified not from weakness, but willingly and His Death was not from involuntary weakness. I was counted with them that go down into the pit. And what is the token? Thou hast put away Mine acquaintance far from Me (for the disciples have fled). Wilt Thou shew wonders to the dead? Then a little while afterwards: And unto Thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer came before Thee. Seest thou how they shew the exact point of the Hour, and of the Passion and of the Resurrection?
9. And whence bath the Saviour risen? He says in the Song of Songs: Rise up, come, My neighbour: and in what follows, in a cave of the rack! A cave of the rock He called the cave which was erewhile before the door of the Saviour’s sepulchre, and had been hewn out of the rock itself, as is wont to be done here in front of the sepulchres. For now it is not to be seen, since the outer cave was cut away at that time for the sake of the present adornment. For before the decoration of the sepulchre by the royal munificence, there was a cave in the front of the rock. But where is the rock that had in it the cave? Does it lie near the middle of the city, or neat the walls and the outskirts? And whether is it within the ancient walls, or within the outer walls which were built afterwards? He says then in the Canticles: in a cave of the rock, close to the outer wall.
10. At what season does the Saviour rise? Is it the season of summer, or some other? In the same Canticles immediately before the words quoted He says, The winter is past, the rain is past and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the pruning is come. Is not then the earth full of flowers now, and are they not pruning the vines? Thou seest how he said also that the winter is now past. For when this month Xanthicus is come, it is already spring. And this is the season, the first month with the Hebrews, in which occurs the festival of the Passover, the typical formerly, but now the true. This is the season of the creation of the world: for then God said, Let the earth bring forth herbage of grass, yielding seed after his kind and after his likeness. And now, as thou seest, already every herb is yielding seed. And as at that time God made the sun and moon and gave them courses of equal day (and night), so also a few days since was the season of the equinox.
At that time God said, let us make man after our image and after our likeness. And the image he received, but the likeness through his disobedience he obscured. At the same season then in which he lost this the restoration also took place. At the same season as the created man through disobedience was cast out of Paradise, he who believed was through obedience brought in. Our Salvation then took place at the same season as the Fall: when the flowers appeared, and the pruning was come.
11. A garden was the place of His Burial, and a vine that which was planted there: and He hath said, I am the vine! He was planted therefore in the earth in order that the curse which came because of Adam might be rooted out. The earth was condemned to thorns and thistles: the true Vine sprang up out of the earth, that the saying might be fulfilled, Truth sprang up out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven. And what will He that is buried in the garden say? I have gathered My myrrh with My spices: and again, Myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices. Now these are the symbols of the burying; and in the Gospels it is said, The women came unto the sepulchre bringing the spices which they had prepared: Nicodemus also bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes. And farther on it is written, I did eat My bread with My honey: the bitter before the Passion, and the sweet after the Resurrection. Then after He had risen He entered through closed doors: but they believed not that it was He: for they supposed that they beheld a spirit. But He said, Handle Me and see. Put your fingers into the print of the nails, as Thomas required. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here anything. to eat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and honeycomb. Seest thou how that is fulfilled, I did eat My bread with My honey.
12. But before He entered through the closed doors, the Bridegroom and Suitor of souls was sought by those noble and brave women. They came, those blessed ones, to the sepulchre, and sought Him Who had been raised, and the tears were still dropping from their eyes, when they ought rather to have been dancing with joy for Him that had risen. Mary came seeking Him, according to the Gospel, and found Him not: and presently she heard from the Angels, and afterwards saw the Christ. Are then these things also written? He says in the Song of Songs, On my bed I sought Him whom my soul loved. At what season? By night on my bed I sought Him Whom my soul loved: Mary, it says, came while it was yet dark. On my bed I sought Him by night, I sought Him, and I found Him not. And in the Gospels Mary says, They have taken away my Lord, and I know nowhere they have laid Him. But the Angels being then present cure their want of knowledge; for they said, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He not only rose, but had also the dead with Him when He rose. But she knew not, and in her person the Song of Songs said to the Angels, Saw ye Him Whom my soul loved? It was but a little that I passed from them(that is, from the two Angels), until I found Him Whom my soul laved. I held Him, and would not let Him go.
13. For after the vision of the Angels, Jesus came as His own Herald; and the Gospel says, And behold Jesus met them, saying, All hail! and they came and took hold of His feet. They took hold of Him, that it might be fulfilled, l will hold Him, and will not let Him go. Though the woman was weak in body, her spirit was manful. Many waters quench not love, neither do rivers drawn it; He was dead whom they sought, yet was not the hope of the Resurrection quenched. And the Angel says to them again, Fear not ye; I say not to the soldiers, fear not, but to you; as for them, let them be afraid, that, taught by experience, they may bear witness and say, Truly this was the Son of God; but you ought not to be afraid, for perfect love casteth out fear. Go, tell His disciples that He is risen; and the rest. And they depart with joy, yet full of fear; is this also written? yes, the second Psalm, which relates the Passion of Christ, says, Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling.;— rejoice, because of the risen Lord; but with trembling., because of the earthquake, and the Angel who appeared as lightning.
14. Though, therefore, Chief Priests and Pharisees through Pilate’s means sealed the tomb; yet the women beheld Him who was risen. And Esaias knowing the feebleness of the Chief Priests, and the women’s strength of faith, says, Ye women, who come from beholding, come hither; for the people hath no understanding;—the Chief Priests want understanding, while women are eye-witnesses. And when the soldiers came into the city to them, and told them all that had come to pass, they said to them, Say ye, His disciples came & night, and stole Him away while we slept? Well therefore did Esaias foretell this also, as in their persons, But tell us, and relate to us another deceit. He who rose again, is up, and for a gift of money they persuade the soldiers; but they persuade not the kings of our time. The soldiers then surrendered the truth for silver; but the kings of this day have, in their piety, built this holy Church of the Resurrection of God our Saviour, inlaid with silver and wrought with gold, in which we are assembled; and embellished it with the treasures of silver and gold and precious stones. And it this come to the governor’s ears, they say, we will persuade him. Yea, though ye persuade the soldiers, yet ye will not persuade the world; for why, as Peter’s guards were condemned when he escaped out of the prison, were not they also who watched Jesus Christ condemned? Upon the former, sentence was pronounced by Herod, for they were ignorant and had nothing to say for themselves; while the latter, who had seen the truth, and concealed it for money, were protected by the Chief Priests. Nevertheless, though but a few of the Jews were persuaded at the time, the world became obedient. They who hid the truth were themselves hidden; but they who received it were made manifest by the power of the Saviour, who not only rose from the dead, but also raised the dead with Himself. And in the person of these the Prophet Osee says plainly, After two days will He revive us, and in the third day we shall rise again, and shall live in His sight.
15. But since the disobedient Jews will not be persuaded by the Divine Scriptures, but forgetting all that is written gainsay the Resurrection of Jesus, it were good to answer them thus: On what ground, while you say that Eliseus and Elias raised the dead, do you gainsay the Resurrection of our Saviour? Is it that we have no living witnesses now out of that generation to what we say? Well, do you also bring forward witnesses of the history of that time. But that is written;—so is this also written: why then do ye receive the one, and reject the other? They were Hebrews who wrote that history; so were all the Apostles Hebrews: why then do ye disbelieve the Jews? Matthew who wrote the Gospel wrote it in the Hebrew tongue; and Paul the preacher was a Hebrew of the Hebrews; and the twelve Apostles were all of Hebrew race: then fifteen Bishops of Jerusalem were appointed in succession from among the Hebrews. What then is your reason for allowing your own accounts, and rejecting ours, though these also are written by Hebrews from among yourselves.
16. But it is impossible, some one will say, that the dead should rise; and yet Eliseus twice raised the dead,—when he was alive, and also when dead. Do we then believe, that when Eliseus was dead, a dead man who was cast upon him and touched him, arose and is Christ not risen? But in that case, the dead man who touched Eliseus, arose, yet he who raised him continued nevertheless dead: but in this case both the Dead of whom we speak Himself arose, and many dead were raised without having even touched Him. For many bodies of the Saints which slept arose, and they came out of the graves after His Resurrection, and went into the Holy City, (evidently this city, in which we now are,) and appeared unto many. Eliseus then raised a dead man, but he conquered not the world; Elias raised a dead man, but devils are not driven away in the name of Elias. We are not speaking evil of the Prophets, but we are celebrating their Master more highly; for we do not exalt our own wonders by disparaging theirs; for theirs also are ours; but by what happened among them, we win credence for our own.
17. But again they say, “A corpse then lately dead was raised by the living; but shew us that one three days dead can possibly arise, and that a man should be buried, and rise after three days.” If we seek for Scripture testimony in proof of such facts, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself supplies it in the Gospels, saying, Far as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. And when we examine the story of Jonas, great is the force of the resemblance. Jesus was sent to preach repentance; Jonas also was sent: but whereas the one fled, not knowing what should come to pass; the other came willingly, to give repentance unto salvation. Jonas was asleep in the ship, and snoring amidst the stormy sea; while Jesus also slept, the sea, according to God’s providence, began to rise, to shew in the sequel the might of Him who slept. To the one they said, Why art thou snoring? Arise, call upon thy God, that God may save us; but in the other case they say unto the Master, Lord, save us. Then they said, Call upon thy God; here they say, save Thou. But the one says, Take me, and cast me into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you; the other, Himself rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The one was cast into a whale’s belly: but the other of His own accord went down thither, where the invisible whale of death is. And He went down of His own accord, that death might cast up those whom he had devoured, according to that which is written, I will ransom them from the power of the grave; and from the hand of death I will redeem them.
18. At this point of our discourse, let us consider whether is harder, for a man after having been buried to rise again from the earth, or for a man in the belly of a whale, having come into the great heat of a living creature, to escape corruption. For what man knows not, that the heat of the belly is so great, that even bones which have been swallowed moulder away? How then did Jonas, who was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, escape corruption? And, seeing that the nature of all men is such that we cannot live without breathing, as we do, in air, how did he live without a breath of this air for three days? But the Jews make answer and say, The power of God descended with Jonas when he was tossed about in hell. Does then the Lord grant life to His own servant, by sending His power with him, and can He not grant it to Himself as well? If that is credible, this is credible also; if this is incredible, that also is incredible. For to me both are alike worthy of credence. I believe that Jonas was preserved, for all things are possible with Gods; I believe that Christ also was raised from the dead; for I bare many testimonies of this, both from the Divine Scriptures, and l from the operative power even at this day of Him who arose,—who descended into hell alone, but ascended thence with a great company; for He went down to death, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose through Him.
19. Death was struck with dismay on beholding a new visitant descend into Hades, not bound by the chains of that place. Wherefore, O porters of Hades, were ye scared at sight of Him? What was the unwonted fear that possessed your? Death fled, and his flight betrayed his cowardice. The holy prophets ran unto Him, and Moses the Lawgiver, and Abraham, and sane, and Jacob; David also, and Samuel, and Esaias, and John the Baptist, who bore witness when he asked, Art Thou He that should come, or look we for another? All the Just were ransomed, whom death had swallowed; for it behoved tile King whom they had proclaimed, to become the redeemer of His noble heralds. Then each of the Just said, O death, where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting? For the Conqueror hath redeemed us.
20. Of this our Saviour the Prophet Jonas formed the type, when he prayed out of the belly of the whale, and said, I cried in my affliction, and so on; out of the belly of hell, and yet he was in the whale; but though in the whale, he says that he is in Hades; for he was a type of Christ, who was to descend into Hades. And after a few words, he says, in the person of Christ, prophesying most clearly, My head went down to the chasms of the mountains; and yet he was in the belly of the whale. What mountains then encompass thee? I know, he says, that I am a type of Him, who is to be laid in the Sepulchre hewn out of the rock. And though he was in the sea, Jonas says, I went dawn to the earth, since he was a type of Christ, who went down into the heart of the earth. And foreseeing the deeds of the Jews who persuaded the soldiers to lie, and told them, Say that they stole Him away, he says, By regarding lying vanities they forsook their own mercy. For He who had mercy on them came, and was crucified, and rose again, giving His own precious blood both for Jews and Gentiles; yet say they, Say that they stole Him away, having regard to lying vanities. But concerning His Resurrection, Esaias also says, He who brought up from the earth the great Shepherd of the sheep; he added the word, great, lest He should be thought on a level with the shepherds who had gone before Him.
21. Since then we have the prophecies, let faith abide with us. Let them fall who fall through unbelief, since they so will; but thou hast taken thy stand on the rock of the faith in the Resurrection. Let no heretic ever persuade thee to speak evil of the Resurrection. For to this day the Manichees say, that, the resurrection of the Saviour was phantom- wise, and not real, not heeding Paul who says, Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and again, By the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord from the dead. And again he rims at them, and speaks thus, Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven; or who shall descend into the deep I that is, to bring up Christ from the dead; and in like manner warning as he has elsewhere written again, Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead; and again, And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up But in what follows he says, But now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep;— And He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; (for if thou believe not the one witness, thou hast twelve witnesses;) then He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; (if they disbelieve the twelve, let them admit the five hundred;) after that He was seen of James, His own brother, and first Bishop of this diocese. Seeing then that such a Bishop originally saw Christ Jesus when risen, do not thou, his disciple, disbelieve him. But thou sayest that His brother James was a partial witness; afterwards He was seen also of me Paul, His enemy; and what testimony is doubted, when an enemy proclaims it? “I, who was before a persecutor, now preach the glad tidings of the Resurrection.”
22. Many witnesses there are of the Saviour’s resurrection.—The night, and the light of the full moon; (for that night was the sixteenth;) the rock of the sepulchre which received Him; the stone also shall rise up against the face of the Jews, for it saw the Lord; even the stone which was then rolled away, itself bears witness to the Resurrection, lying there to this day. Angels of God who were present testified of the Resurrection of the Only-begotten: Peter and John, and Thomas, and all the rest of the Apostles; some of whom ran to the sepulchre, and saw the burial-clothes, in which He was wrapped before, lying there after the Resurrection; and others handled His hands and His feet, and beheld the prints of the nails; and all enjoyed together that Breath of the Saviour, and were counted worthy to forgive sins in the power of the Holy Ghost. Women too were witnesses, who took hold of His feet, and who beheld the mighty earthquake, and the radiance of the Angel who stood by: the linen clothes also which were wrapped about Him, and which He left when He rose;—the soldiers, and the money given to them; the spot itself also, yet to be seen;—and this house of the holy Church, which out of the loving affection to Christ of the Emperor Constantine of blessed memory, was both built and beautified as thou seest.
23. A witness to the resurrection of Jesus is Tabitha also, who was in His name raised from the dead; for how shall we disbelieve that Christ is risen, when even His Name raised the dead? The sea also bears witness to the resurrection of Jesus, as thou hast heard before. The drought of fishes also testifies, and the fire of coals there, and the fish laid thereon. Peter also bears witness, who had erst denied Him thrice, and who then thrice confessed Him; and was commanded to feed His spiritual sheep. To this day stands Mount Olivet, still to the eyes of the faithful all but displaying Him Who ascended on a cloud, and the heavenly gate of His ascension. For from heaven He descended to Bethlehem, but to heaven He ascended from the Mount of Olives; at the former place beginning His conflicts among men, but in the latter, crowned after them. Thou hast therefore many witnesses; thou hast this very place of the Resurrection; thou hast also the place of the Ascension towards the east; thou hast also for witnesses the Angels which there bore testimony; and the cloud on which He went up, and the disciples who came down from that place.
24. The course of instruction in the Faith would lead me to speak of the Ascension also; but the grace of God so ordered it, that thou heardest most fully concerning it, as far as our weakness allowed, yesterday, on the Lord’s day; since, by the providence of divine grace, the course of the Lessons in Church included the account of our Saviour’s going up into the heavens; and what was then said was spoken principally for the sake of all, and for the assembled body of the faithful, yet especially for thy sake. But the question is, didst thou attend to what was said? For thou knowest that the words which come next in the Creed teach thee to believe in Him “Who ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY, AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.” I suppose then certainly that thou rememberest the exposition; yet I will now again cursorily put thee in mind of what was then said. Remember what is distinctly written in the Psalms, God is gone up with a shouts; remember that the divine powers also said to one another, Lift up your gates, ye Princes, and the rest; remember also the Psalm which says, He ascended on high, tie led captivity captive; remember the Prophet who said, Who buildeth His ascension unto heaven; and all the other particulars mentioned yesterday because of the gainsaying of the Jews.
25. For when they speak against the ascension of the Saviour, as being impossible, remember the account of the carrying away of Habakkuk: for if Habakkuk was transported by an Angel, being carried by the hair of his head, much rather was the Lord of both Prophets and Angels, able by His own power to make His ascent into the Heavens on a cloud from the Mount of Olives. Wonders like this thou mayest call to mind, but reserve the preeminence for the Lord, the Worker of wonders; for the others were borne up, but He bears up all things. Remember that Enoch was translated; but Jesus ascended: remember what was said yesterday concerning Elias, that Elias was taken up in a chariot of fire; but that the chariots of Christ are ten thousand-fold even thousands upon thousands: and that Elias was taken up, towards the east of Jordan; but that Christ ascended at the east of the brook Cedron: and that Elias went as into heaven; but Jesus, into heaven: and that Elias said that a double portion in the Holy Spirit should be given to his holy disciple; but that Christ granted to His own disciples so great enjoyment of the grace of the Holy Ghost, as not only to have It in themselves, but also, by the laying on of their hands, to impart the fellowship of It to them who believed.
26. And when thou hast thus wrestled against the Jews,—when thou hast worsted them by parallel instances, then come further to the pre-eminence of the Saviour’s glory; namely, that they were the servants, but He the Son of God. And thus thou wilt be reminded of His pre-eminence, by the thought that a servant of Christ was caught up to the third heaven. For if Elias attained as far as the first heaven, but Paul as far as the third, the latter, therefore, has obtained a more honourable dignity. Be not ashamed of thine Apostles; they are not inferior to Moses, nor second to the Prophets; but they are noble among the noble, yea, nobler still. For Elias truly was taken up into heaven; but Peter Has the keys of the kingdom of heaven, having received the words, Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Elias was taken up only to heaven; but Paul both into heaven, and into paradise (for it behoved the disciples of Jesus to receive more manifold grace), and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful far than to utter. But Paul came down again from above. not because he was unworthy to abide in the third heaven, but in order that after having enjoyed things above man’s reach, and descended in honour, and having preached Christ, and died for His sake, he might receive also the crown of martyrdom. But I pass over the other parts of this argument, of which I spoke yesterday in the Lord’s-day congregation; for with understanding hearers, a mere reminder is sufficient for instruction.
27. But remember also what I have often said concerning the Son’s sitting at the right hand of the Father; because of the next sentence in the Creed, which says, “AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.” Let us not curiously pry into what is properly meant by the throne; for it is incomprehensible: but neither let us endure those who falsely say, that it was after His Cross and Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, that the Son began to sit on the right hand of the Father. For the Son gained not His throne by advancement; but throughout His being (and His being is by an eternal generation) He also sitteth together with the Father. And this throne the Prophet Esaias having beheld before the incarnate coming of the Saviour, says, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the rest. For the Father no man hath seen at any time, and He who then appeared to the Prophet was the Son. The Psalmist also says, Thy throne is prepared of old; Thou art from everlasting. Though then the testimonies on this point are many, yet because of the lateness of the time, we will content ourselves even with these.
28. But now I must remind you of a few things out of many which are spoken concerning the Son’s sitting at the right hand of the Father. For the hundred and ninth Psalm says plainly, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. And the Saviour, confirming this saying in the Gospels, says that David spoke not these things of himself, but from the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, saying, How then data David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hands? and the rest. And in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter on the day of Pentecost standing with the Eleven; and discoursing to the Israelites, has in very words cited this testimony from the hundred and ninth Psalm.
29. But I must remind you also of a few other testimonies in like manner concerning the Son’s sitting at the right hand of the Father. For in the Gospel according to Matthew it is written, Nevertheless, I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and the rest: in accord-once with which the Apostle Peter also writes, By the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven. And the Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, says, It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God. And charging the Ephesians, he thus speaks, According to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand; and the rest. And the Colossians he taught thus, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. And in the Epistle to the Hebrews he says, When He had made purification of our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. And again, But unto which of the Angels hath He said at any time, Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? And again, But He, when He had offered one sacrifice for all men, far ever sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. And again, Looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising shame, and is set down an the right hand of the throne of God
30. And though there are many other texts concerning the session of the Only-begotten on the right hand of God, yet these may suffice us at present; with a repetition of my remark, that it was not after His coming in the flesh that He obtained the dignity of this seat; no, for even before all ages, the Only-begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, ever possesses the throne on the right hand of the Father. Now may He Himself, the God of all, who is Father of the Christ, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who came down, and ascended, and sitteth together with the Father, watch over your souls; keep unshaken and unchanged your hope in Him who rose again; raise you together with Him from your dead sins unto His heavenly gift; count you worthy to be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, in His fitting time; and, until that time arrive of His glorious second advent, write all your names in the Book of the living, and having written them, never blot them out (for the names of many, who fall away, are blotted out); and may He grant to all of you to believe on Him who rose again, and to look for Him who is gone up, and is to come again, (to come, but not from the earth; for be on your guard, O man, because of the deceivers who are to come;) Who sitteth on high, and is here present together with us, beholding the order of each, and the steadfastness of his faith. For think not that because He is now absent in the flesh, He is therefore absent also in the Spirit. He is here present in the midst of us, listening to what is said of Him, and beholding thine inward thoughts, and trying the reins and hearts;—who also is now ready to present those who are coming to baptism, and all of you, in the Holy Ghost to the Father, and to say, Behold, I and the children whom God hath given Me:—To whom be glory for ever. Amen.
ON THE CLAUSE, AND SHALL COME IN GLORY TO JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD; OF WHOSE KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END.
DANIEL vii. 9—14. I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit, and then, I saw in a vision of the night, and behold one like unto the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, etc.
1. WE preach not one advent only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a view of His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom. For all things, for the most part, are twofold in our Lord Jesus Christ: a twofold generation; one, of God, before the ages; and one, of a Virgin, at the close of the ages: His descents twofold; one, the unobserved, like rain on a fleece; and a second His open coming, which is to be. In His former advent, He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger; in His second, He covereth Himself with light as with a garment In His first coming, He endured the Cross, despising shame; in His second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory. We rest not then upon His first advent only, but look also for His second. And as at His first coming we said, Blessed is fire that cometh in the Name of the Lord, so will we repeat the same at His second coming; that when with Angels we meet our Master, we may worship Him and say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. The Saviour comes, not to be judged again, but to judge them who judged Him; He who before held His peace when judged, shall remind the transgressors who did those daring deeds at the Cross, and shall say, These things hast thou done, and I kept silence. Then, He came because of a divine dispensation, teaching men with persuasion; but this time they will of necessity have Him for their King, even though they wish it not.
2. And concerning these two comings, Malachi the Prophet says, And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple; behold one coming. And again of the second coming he says, And the Messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in. Behold, He cometh, saith the Lord Almighty. But who shall abide the day of His coming? or who shall stand when He appeareth? Because fire cometh in like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ herb; and fire shall sit as a refiner and purifier. And immediately after the Saviour Himself says, And I will draw near to you in judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulteresses, and against those who swear falsely in My Name, and the rest. For this cause Paul warning us beforehand says, If any man buildeth on the foundation gold, and silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. Paul also knew these two comings, when writing to Titus and saying, The grace of God hath appeared which bringeth salvation unto all men, instructing us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and godly, and righteously in this present world; looking for the blessed hope, and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Thou seest how he spoke of a first, for which he gives thanks; and of a second, to which we look forward. Therefore the words also of the Faith which we are announcing were just now delivered thus; that we believe in Him, who also ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS, AND SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER AND SHALL COME IN GLORY TO JUDGE QUICK AND DEAD; WHOSE KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END.
3. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, comes from heaven; and He comes with glory at the end of this world, in the last day. For of this world there is to be an end, and this created world is to be re-made anew. For since corruption, and theft, and adultery, and every sort of sins have been poured forth over the earth, and blood has been mingled with blood in the world, therefore, that this wondrous dwelling-place may not remain filled with iniquity, this world passeth away, that the fairer world may be made manifest. And wouldest thou receive the proof of this out of the words of Scripture? Listen to Esaias, saying, And the heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all the stars shall fall, as leaves from a vine, and as haves fall from a big-tree. The Gospel also says, The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven. Let us not sorrow, as if we alone died; the stars also shall die; but perhaps rise again. And the Lord rolleth up the heavens, not that He may destroy them, but that He may raise them up again more beautiful. Hear David the Prophet saying, Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands; they shall perish, but Thou remainest. But some one will say, Behold, he says plainly that they shall perish. Hear in what sense he says, they shall perish; it is plain from what follows; And they all shall was old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt. Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed. For as a man is said to “perish,” according to that which is written, Behold, how the righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart, and this, though the resurrection is looked for; so we look for a resurrection, as it were, of the heavens also. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. Here let converts from the Manichees gain instruction, and no longer make those lights their gods; nor impiously think, that this sun which shall be darkened is Christ. And again hear the Lord saying, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away; for the creatures are not as precious as the Master’s words.
4. The things then which are seen shall pass away, and there shall come the things which are looked for, things fairer than the present; but as to the time let no one be curious. For it is not far you, He says, to know times or seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. And venture not thou to declare when these things shall be, nor on the other hand supinely slumber. For he saith, Watch, for in such an hour as ye expect not the Son of Man cometh. But since it was needful for us to know the signs of the end, and since we are looking for Christ, therefore, that we may not die deceived and be led astray by that false Antichrist, the Apostles, moved by the divine will, address themselves by a providential arrangement to the True Teacher, and say, Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? We look for Thee to come again, but Satan transforms himself into an Angel of light; put us therefore on our guard, that we may not worship another instead of Thee. And He, opening His divine and blessed mouth, says, Take heed that no man mislead you. Do you also, my hearers, as seeing Him now with the eyes of your mind, hear Him saying the same things to you; Take heed that no man mislead you. And this word exhorts you all to give heed to what is spoken; for it is not a history of things gone by, but a prophecy of things future, and which will surely come. Not that we prophesy, for we are unworthy; but that the things which are written will be set before you, and the signs declared. Observe thou, which of them have already come to pass, and which yet remain; and make thyself safe.
5. Take heed that no man mislead you: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and shall mislead many. This has happened in part: for already Simon Magus has said this, and Menander, and some others of the godless leaders of heresy; and others will say it in our days, or after us.
6. A second sign. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. Is there then at this time war between Persians and Romans for Mesopotamia, or no? Does nation rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, or no? And there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places. These things have already come to pass; and again, And fearful sights from heaven, and mighty storms. Watch therefore, He says; for ye know not at what hour your Lord doth come.
7. But we seek our own sign of His coming; we Churchmen seek a sign proper to the Church. And the Saviour says, And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. If thou hear that bishops advance against bishops, and clergy against clergy, and laity against laity even unto blood, be not troubled; for it has been written before. Heed not the things now happening, but the things which are written; and even though I who teach thee perish, thou shalt not also perish with me; nay, even a hearer may become better than his teacher, and he who came last may be first, since even those about the eleventh hour the Master receives. If among Apostles there was found treason, dost thou wonder that hatred of brethren is found among bishops? But the sign concerns not only rulers, but the people also; for He says, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of the many shall wax cold. Will any then among those present boast that he entertains friendship unfeigned towards his neighbour? Do not the lips often kiss, and the countenance smile, and the eyes brighten forsooth, while the heart is planning guile, and the man is plotting mischief with words of peace?
8. Thou hast this sign also: And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come. And as we see, nearly the whole world is now filled with the doctrine of Christ.
9. And what comes to pass after this? He says next, When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the Holy Place, let him that readeth understand. And again, Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Lo, there; believe it not. Hatred of the brethren makes room next for Antichrist; for the devil prepares beforehand the divisions among the people, that he who is to come may be acceptable to them. But God forbid that any of Christ’s servants here, or elsewhere, should run over to the enemy! Writing concerning this matter, the Apostle Paul gave a manifest sign, saying, For that day shall not come, except there came first the falling away, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of iniquity cloth already work, only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing. Thus wrote Paul, and now is the falling away. For men have fallen away from the right faith; and some preach the identity of the Son with the Father, and others dare to say that Christ was brought into being out of nothing. And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise. For men have fallen away from the truth, and have itching ears. Is it a plausible discourse? all listen to it gladly. Is it a word of correction? all turn away from it. Most have departed from right words, and rather choose the evil, than desire the good. This therefore is the falling away, and the enemy is soon to be looked for: and meanwhile he has in part begun to send forth his own forerunners, that he may then come prepared upon the prey. Look therefore to thyself, O man, and make safe thy soul. The Church now charges thee before the Living God; she declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in thy time we know not, or whether they will happen after thee we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself secure beforehand.
10. The true Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, comes no more from the earth. If any come making false shows in the wilderness, go not forth; if they say, Lo, here is the Christ, Lo, there, believe it not. Look no longer downwards and to the earth; for the Lord descends from heaven; not alone as before, but with many, escorted by tens of thousands of Angels; nor secretly as the dew on the fleece; but shining forth openly as the lightning. For He hath said Himself, As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be; and again, And they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds with power and great glory, and He shall send forth His Angels with a great trumpet; and the rest.
11. But as, when formerly He was to take man’s nature, and God was expected to be born of a Virgin, the devil created prejudice against this, by craftily preparing among idol-worshippers fables of false gods, begetting and begotten of women, that, the falsehood having come first, the truth, as he supposed, might be disbelieved; so now, since the true Christ is to come a second time, the adversary, taking occasion by the expectation of the simple, and especially of them of the circumcision, brings in a certain man who is a magician, and most expert in sorceries and enchantments of beguiling craftiness; who shall seize for himself the power of the Roman empire, and shall falsely style himself Christ; by this name of Christ deceiving the Jews, who are looking for the Anointed, and seducing those of the Gentiles by his magical illusions.
12. But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is now drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after these an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, three he shall humble, and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself. At first indeed he will put on a show of mildness (as though he were a learned and discreet person), and of soberness and benevolence: and by the lying signs and wonders of his magical deceit a having beguiled the Jews, as though he were the expected Christ, he shall afterwards be characterized by all kinds of crimes of inhumanity and lawlessness, so as to outdo all unrighteous and ungodly men who have gone before him displaying against all men, but especially against us Christians, a spirit murderous and most cruel, merciless and crafty. And after perpetrating such things for three years and six months only, he shall be destroyed by the glorious second advent from heaven of the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus, the true Christ, who shall slay Antichrist with the breath of His mouth, and shall deliver him over to the fire of hell.
13. Now these things we teach, not of our own invention, but having learned them out of the divine Scriptures used in the Church, and chiefly from the prophecy of Daniel just now read; as Gabriel also the Archangel interpreted it, speaking thus: The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall surpass all kingdoms. And that this kingdom is that of the Romans, has been the tradition of the Church’s interpreters. For as the first kingdom which became renowned was that of the Assyrians, and the second, that of the Medes and Persians together, and after these, that of the Macedonians was the third, so the fourth kingdom now is that of the Romans. Then Gabriel goes on to interpret, saying, His ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and another king shall rise up after them, who shall surpass in wickedness all who were before him; (he says, not only the ten, but also all who have been before him;) and he shall subdue three kings; manifestly out of the ten former kings: but it is plain that by subduing three of these ten, he will become the eighth king; and he shall speak words against the Most High(. A blasphemer the man is and lawless, not having received the kingdom from his fathers, but having usurped the power by means of sorcery.
14. And who is this, and from what sort of working? Interpret to us, O Paul. Whose coming, he says, is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders; implying, that Satan has used him as an instrument, working in his own person through him; for knowing that his judgment shall now no longer have respite, he wages war no more by his ministers, as is his wont, but henceforth by himself more openly. And with all signs and lying wonders; for the father of falsehood will make a show of the works of falsehood, that the multitudes may think that they see a dead man raised, who is not raised, and lame men walking, and blind men seeing, when the cure has not been wrought.
15. And again he says, Who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped; (against every God; Antichrist forsooth will abhor the idols,) so that he seateth himself in the temple of God. What temple then? He means, the Temple of the Jews which has been destroyed. For God forbid that it should be the one in which we are! Why say we this? That we may not be supposed to favour ourselves. For if he comes to the Jews as Christ, and desires to be worshipped by the Jews, he will make great account of the Temple, that he may more completely beguile them; making it supposed that he is the man of the race of David, who shall build up the Temple which was erected by Solomon. And Antichrist will come at the time when there shall not be left one stone upon another in the Temple of the Jews, according to the doom pronounced by our Saviour; for when, either decay of time, or demolition ensuing on pretence of new buildings, or from any other causes, shall have overthrown all the stones, I mean not merely of the outer circuit, but of the inner shrine also, where the Cherubim were, then shall he come With all signs and lying wonders, exalting himself against all idols; at first indeed making a pretence of benevolence, but afterwards displaying his relentless temper, and that chiefly against the Saints of God. For he says, I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints; and again elsewhere, there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation upon earth, even to that same time. Dreadful is that beast, a mighty dragon, unconquerable by man, ready to devour; concerning whom though we have more things to speak out of the divine Scriptures, yet we will content ourselves at present with thus much, in order to keep within compass.
16. For this cause the Lord knowing the greatness of the adversary grants indulgence to the godly, saying, Then let them which be in Judaea flee to the mountains. But if any man is conscious that he is very stout-hearted, to encounter Satan, let him stand (for I do not despair of the Church’s nerves), and let him say, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ and the rest? But, let those of us who are fearful provide for our own safety; and those who are of a good courage, stand fast: for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. But thanks be to God who hath confined the greatness of that tribulation to a few days; for He says, But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened; and Antichrist shall reign for three years and a half only. We speak not from apocryphal books, but from Daniel; for he says, And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. A time is the one year in which his coming shall for a while have increase; and the times are the remaining two years of iniquity, making up the sum of the three years; and the half a time is the six months. And again in another place Daniel says the same thing, And he swear by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, and times, and half a time. And some peradventure have referred what follows also to this; namely, a thousand two hundred and ninety days; and this, Blessed is he that endureth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. For this cause we must hide ourselves and flee; for perhaps we shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.
17. Who then is the blessed man, that shall at that time devoutly witness for Christ? For I say that the Martyrs of that time excel all martyrs. For the Martyrs hitherto have wrestled with men only; but in the time of Antichrist they shall do battle with Satan in his own person. And former persecuting kings only put to death; they did not pretend to raise the dead, nor did they make false shows of signs and wonders. But in his time there shall be the evil inducement both of fear and of deceit, so that if it be possible the very elect shall be deceived. Let it never enter into the heart of any then alive to ask, “What did Christ more? For by what power does this man work these things? Were it not God’s will, He would not have allowed them.” The Apostle warns thee, and says beforehand, And for this cause God shall send them a working of error; (send, that is, shall allow to happen;) not that they might make excuse, but that they might be condemned. Wherefore? They, he says, who believed not the truth, that is, the true Christ, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, that is, in Antichrist. But as in the persecutions which happen from time to time, so also then God will permit these things, not because He wants power to hinder them, but because according to His wont He will through patience crown His own champions like as He did His Prophets and Apostles; to the end that having toiled for a little while they may inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven, according to that which Daniel says, And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book (manifestly, the book of life); and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and same to shame and everlasting contempt; and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and of the many righteous, as the stars for ever and ever.
18. Guard thyself then, O man; thou hast the signs of Antichrist; and remember them not only thyself, but impart them also freely to all. If thou hast a child according to the flesh, admonish him of this now; if thou hast begotten one through catechizing, put him also on his guard, test he receive the false one as the True. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. I fear these wars of the nations; I fear the schisms of the Churches; I fear the mutual hatred of the brethren. But enough on this subject; only God forbid that it should be fulfilled in our days; nevertheless, let us be on our guard. And thus much concerning Antichrist.
19. But let us wait and look for the Lord’s coming upon the clouds from heaven. Then shall Angelic trumpets sound; the dead in Christ shall rise first,—the godly persons who are alive shall be caught up in the clouds, receiving as the reward of their labours more than human honour, inasmuch as theirs was a more than human strife; according as the Apostle Paul writes, saying, For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
20. This earning of the Lord, and the end of the world, were known to the Preacher; who says, Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and the rest; Therefore remove anger from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; … and remember thy Creator … or ever the evil days come …. or ever the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars be darkened, …. and they that look out of the windows be darkened; (signifying the faculty of sight;) or ever the silver cord be loosed; (meaning the assemblage of the stars, for their appearance is like silver;) and the flower of gold be broken; (thus veiling the mention of the golden sun; for the camomile is a well-known plant, having many ray-like leaves shooting out round it;) and they shall rise up at the voice of the sparrow, yea, they shall look away from the height, and terrors shall be in the way. What shall they see? Then shall they see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; and they shall mourn tribe by tribe. And what shall come to pass when the Lord is come? The almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall grow heavy, and the caper-berry shall be scattered abroad And as the interpreters say, the blossoming almond signifies the departure of winter; and our bodies shall then after the winter blossom with a heavenly flower. And the grasshopper shall grow in substance (that means the winged soul clothing itself with the body,) and the caper-berry shall be scattered abroad (that is, the transgressors who are like thorns shall be scattered ).
21. Thou seest how they all foretell the coming of the Lord. Thou seest how they know the voice of the sparrow. Let us know what sort of voice this is. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God. The Archangel shall make proclamation and say to all, Arise to meet the Lord. And fearful will be that descent of our Master. David says, God shall manifestly come, even our God, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall burn before Him, and a fierce tempest round about Him, and the rest. The Son of Man shall come to the Father, according to the Scripture which was just now read, on the clouds of heaven, drawn by a stream of fire, which is to make trial of men. Then if any man’s works are of gold, he shall be made brighter; if any man’s course of life be like stubble, and unsubstantial, it shall be burnt up by the fire. And the Father shall sit, having His garment white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. But this is spoken after the manner of men; wherefore? Because He is the King of those who have not been defiled with sins; for, He says, I will make your sins white as snow, and as wool, which is an emblem of forgiveness of sins, or of sinlessness itself. But the Lord who shall come from heaven on the clouds, is He who ascended on the clouds; for He Himself hath said, And they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
22. But what is the sign of His coming? lest a hostile power dare to counterfeit it. And then shall appear, He says, the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. Now Christ’s own true sign is the Cross; a sign of a luminous Cross shall go before the King, plainly declaring Him who was formerly crucified: that the Jews who before pierced Him and plotted against Him, when they see it, may mourn tribe by tribe, saying, “This is He who was buffeted, this is He whose face they spat on, this is He whom they bound with chains, this is He whom of old they crucified, and set at nought. Whither, they will say, shall we flee from the face of Thy wrath?” But the Angel hosts shall encompass them, so that they shall not be able to flee anywhere. The sign of the Cross shall be a terror to His foes; but joy to His friends who have believed in Him, or preached Him, or suffered for His sake. Who then is the happy man, who shall then be found a friend of Christ? That King, so great and glorious, attended by the Angel-guards, the partner of the Father’s throne, will not despise His own servants. For that His Elect may not be confused with His foes, He shall send forth His Angels with a great trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds. He despised not Lot, who was but one; how then shall He despise many righteous? Come, ye blessed of My Father, will He say to them who shall then ride on chariots of clouds, and be assembled by Angels.
23. But some one present will say, “I am a poor man,” or again, “I shall perhaps be found at that time sick in bed;” or, “I am but a woman, and I shall be taken at the mill: shall we then be despised?” Be of good courage, O man; the Judge is no respecter of persons; He will not judge according to a man’s appearance, nor reprove according to his speech. He honours not the learned before the simple, nor the rich before the needy. Though thou be in the field, the Angels shall take thee; think not that He will take the landowners, and leave thee the husbandman. Though thou be a slave, though thou be poor, be not any whir distressed; He who took the form of a servant despises not servants. Though thou be lying sick in bed, yet it is written, Then shall two be in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Though thou be of compulsion put to grind, whether thou be man or woman; though thou be in fetters, and sit beside the mill, yet He who by His might bringeth out them that are bound, will not overlook thee. He who brought forth Joseph out of slavery and prison to a kingdom, shall redeem thee also from thy afflictions into the kingdom of heaven. Only be of good cheer, only work, only strive earnestly; for nothing shall be lost. Every prayer of thine, every Psalm thou singest is recorded; every alms-deed, every fast is recorded; every marriage duly observed is recorded; continence kept for God’s sake is recorded; but the first crowns in the records are those of virginity and purity; and thou shalt shine as an Angel. But as thou hast gladly listened to the good things, so listen again without shrinking to the contrary. Every covetous deed of thine is recorded; thine every act of fornication is recorded, thine every false oath is recorded, every blasphemy, and sorcery, and theft, and murder. All these things are henceforth to be recorded, if thou do the same now after having been baptized; for thy former deeds are blotted out.
24. When the Son of Man, He says, shall came in His glory, and all the Angels with Him. Behold, O man, before what multitudes thou shalt come to judgment. Every race of mankind will then be present. Reckon, therefore, bow many are the Roman nation; reckon how many the barbarian tribes now living, and how many have died within the last hundred years; reckon how many nations have been buried during the last thousand years; reckon all from Adam to this day. Great indeed is the multitude; but yet it is little, for the Angels are many more. They are the ninety and nine sheep, but mankind is the single one. For according to the extent of universal space, must we reckon the number of its inhabitants. The whole earth is but as a point in the midst of the one heaven, and yet contains so great a multitude; what a multitude must the heaven which encircles it contain? And must not the heaven of heavens contain unimaginable numbers? And it is written, Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; not that the multitude is only so great, but because the Prophet could not express more than these. So there will be present at the judgment in that day, God, the Father of all, Jesus Christ being seated with Him, and the Holy Ghost present with Them; and an angel’s trumpet shall summon us all to bring our deeds with us. Ought we not then from this time forth to be sore troubled? Think it not a slight doom, O man, even apart from punishment, to be condemned in the presence of so many. Shall we not choose rather to die many deaths, than be condemned by friends?
25. Let us dread then, brethren, lest God condemn us; who needs not examination or proofs, to condemn. Say not, In the night I committed fornication, or wrought sorcery, or did any other thing, and there was no man by. Out of thine own conscience shall thou be judged, thy thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. The terrible countenance of the Judge will force thee to speak the truth; or rather, even though thou speak not, it will convict thee. For thou shall rise clothed with thine own sins, or else with thy righteous deeds. And this has the Judge Himself declared—for it is Christ who judges—for neither cloth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the San, not divesting Himself of His power, but judging through the Son; the Son therefore judgeth by the wills of the Father; for the wills of the Father and of the Son are not different, but one and the same. What then says the Judge, as to whether thou shall bear thy works, or no? And before Him shall they gather all nations: (for in the presence of Christ every knee must bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth:) and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. How does the shepherd make the separation? Does he examine out of a book which is a sheep and which a goat? or does he distinguish by their evident marks? Does not the wool show the sheep, and the hairy and rough skin the goat? In like manner, if thou hast been just now cleansed from thy sins, thy deeds shall be henceforth as pure wool; and thy robe shall remain unstained, and thou shall ever say, I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on? By thy vesture shall thou be known for a sheep. But if thou be found hairy, like Esau, who was rough with hair, and wicked in mind, who for food lost his birthright and sold his privilege, thou shall be one of those on the left hand. I But God forbid that any here present should be cast out from grace, or for evil deeds be found among the ranks of the sinners on the left hand!
26. Terrible in good truth is the judgment, and terrible the things announced. The kingdom of heaven is set before us, and everlasting fire is prepared. How then, some one will say, are we to escape the fire? And how to enter into the kingdom? I was an hungered, He says, and ye gave Me meat. Learn hence the way; there is here no need of allegory, but to fulfil what is said. I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. These things if thou do, thou shall reign together with Him; but if thou do them not, thou shalt be condemned. At once then begin to do these works, and abide in the faith; lest, like the foolish virgins, tarrying to buy oil, thou be shut out. Be not confident because thou merely possessest the lamp, but constantly keep it burning. Let the light of thy good works shine before men, and let not Christ be blasphemed on thy account. Wear thou a garment of incorruption, resplendent in good works; and whatever matter thou receivest from God to administer as a steward, administer profitably. Hast thou been put in trust with riches? Dispense them well. Hast thou been entrusted with the word of teaching? Be a good steward thereof. Canst thou attach the souls of the hearers? Do this diligently.
There are many doors of good stewardship. Only let none of us be condemned and cast out; that we may with boldness meet Christ the Everlasting King, who reigns for ever. For He doth reign for ever, who shall be judge of quick and dead, because for quick and dead He died. And as Paul says, For to this end Christ both died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.
27. And shouldest thou ever hear any say that the kingdom of Christ shall have an end abhor the heresy; it is another head of the dragon, lately sprung up in Galatia. A certain one has dared to affirm, that after the end of the world Christ shall reign no longer; he has also dared to say, that the Word having come forth from the Father shall be again absorbed into the Father, and shall be no more; uttering such blasphemies to his own perdition. For he has not listened to the Lord, saying, The Son abideth for ever. He has not listened to Gabriel, saying, And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Consider this text. Heretics of this day teach in disparagement of Christ, while Gabriel the Archangel taught the eternal abiding of the Saviour; whom then wilt thou rather believe? wilt thou not rather give credence to Gabriel? Listen to the testimony of Daniel in the text; I saw in a vision of the night, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancientt of days. …. And to Him was given the honour, and the dominion, and the kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and languages shall serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. These things rather hold fast, these things believe, and east away from thee the words of heresy; for thou hast heard most plainly of the endless kingdom of Christ.
28. The like doctrine thou has also in the interpretation of the Stone, which was cut out of a mountain without hands, which is Christ according to the flesh; And His kingdom shall not be left to another people. David also says in one place, Thy throne, O God, is far ever and ever; and in another place, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, &c., they shall perish, but Thou remainest, &c.; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail: words which Paul has interpreted of the Son.
29. And wouldest thou know how they who teach the contrary ran into such madness? They read wrongly that good word of the Apostle, For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet; and they say, when His enemies shall have been put under His feet, He shall cease to reign, wrongly and foolishly alleging this. For He who is king before He has subdued His enemies, how shall He not the rather be king, after He has gotten the mastery over them.
30. They have also dared to say that the Scripture, When all things shall be subjected unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subjected unto Him that subjected all things unto Him,—that this Scripture shews that the Son also shall be absorbed into the Father. Shall ye then, O most impious of all men, ye the creatures of Christ, continue? and shall Christ perish, by whom both you and all things were made? Such a word is blasphemous. But further, how shall all things be made subject unto Him? By perishing, or by abiding? Shall then the other things, when subject to the Son abide, and shall the Son, when subject to the Father, not abide? For He shall be subjected, not because He shall then begin to do the Father’s will (for from eternity He doth always those things that please Him), but because, then as before, He obeys the Father, yielding, not a forced obedience, but a self-chosen accordance; for He is not a servant, that He should be subjected by force, but a Son, that He should comply of His free choice and natural love.
31. But let us examine them; what is the meaning of “until” or “as long as?” For with the very phrase will I close with them, and try to overthrow their error. Since they have dared to say that the words, till He hath put His enemies under His feet, shew that He Himself shall have an end, and have presumed to set bounds to the eternal kingdom of Christ, and to bring to an end, as far as words go, His never-ending sovereignty, come then, let us read the like expressions in the Apostle: Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam till Moses. Did men then die up to that time, and did none die any more after Moses, or after the Law has there been no more death among men? Well then, thou seest that the word “unto” is not to limit time; but that Paul rather signified this,—”And yet, though Moses was a righteous and wonderful man, nevertheless the doom of death, which was uttered against Adam, reached even unto him, and them that came after him; and this, though they had not committed the like sins as Adam, by his disobedience in eating of the tree.”
32. Take again another similar text. For until this day… when Moses is read, a vail lieth upon their heart. Does until this day mean only “until Paul?” Is it not until this day present, and even to the end? And if Paul say to the Corinthians, For we came even as far as unto you in preaching the Gospel of Christ, having hope when your faith increases to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you, thou seest manifestly that as far as implies not the end, but has something following it. In what sense then shouldest thou remember that Scripture, till He hath put all enemies under His feet? According as Paul says in another place, And exhort each other daily, while it is called to-day; meaning, “continually.” For as we may not speak of the “beginning of the days” of Christ, so neither suffer thou that any should ever speak of the end of His kingdom. For it is written, His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
33. And though I have many more testimonies out of the divine Scriptures, concerning the kingdom of Christ which has no end for ever, I will be content at present with those above mentioned, because the day is far spent. But thou, O hearer, worship only Him as thy King, and flee all heretical error. And if the grace of God permit us, the remaining Articles also of the Faith shall be in good time declared to you. And may the God of the whole world keep you all in safety, bearing in mind the signs of the end, and remaining unsubdued by Antichrist. Thou hast received the tokens of the Deceiver who is to come; thou hast received the proofs of the true Christ, who shall openly come down from heaven. Flee therefore the one, the False one; and look for the other, the True. Thou hast learnt the way, how in the judgment thou mayest be found among those on the right hand; guard that which is committed to thee concerning Christ, and be conspicuous in good works, that thou mayest stand with a good confidence before the Judge, and inherit the kingdom of heaven:—Through whom, and with whom, be glory to God with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.
ON THE ARTICLE, AND IN ONE HOLY GHOST, THE COMFORTER, WHICH SPAKE IN THE PROPHETS.
1 CORINTHIANS xii. 1, 4. Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. … Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, &c.
1. SPIRITUAL in truth is the grace we need, in order to discourse concerning the Holy Spirit; not that we may speak what is worthy of Him, for this is impossible, but that by speaking the words of the divine Scriptures, we may run our course without danger. For a truly fearful thing is written in the Gospels, where Christ has plainly said, Whosoever shall speak a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come. And there is often fear, test a man should receive this condemnation, through speaking what he ought not concerning Him, either from ignorance, or from supposed reverence. The Judge of quick and dead, Jesus Christ, declared that he hath no forgiveness; if therefore any man offend, what hope has he?
2. It must therefore belong to Jesus Christ’s grace itself to grant both to us to speak without deficiency, and to you to hear with discretion; for discretion is needful not to them only who speak, but also to them that hear, lest they hear one thing, and misconceive another in their mind. Let us then speak concerning the Holy Ghost nothing but what is written; and whatsoever is not written, let us not busy ourselves about it. The Holy Ghost Himself spoke the Scriptures; He has also spoken concerning Himself as much as He pleased, or as much as we could receive. Let us therefore speak those things which He has said; for whatsoever He has not said, we dare not say.
3. There is One Only Holy Ghost, the Comforter; and as there is One God the Father, and no second Father;—and as there is One Only-begotten Son and Word of God, who hath no brother;—so is there One Only Holy Ghost, and no second spirit equal in-honour to Him. Now the Holy Ghost is a Power most mighty, a Being divine and unsearchable; for He is living and intelligent, a sanctifying principle of all things made by God through Christ.’ He it is who illuminates the souls of the just; He was in the Prophets, He was also in the Apostles in the New Testament. Abhorred be they who dare to separate the operation of the Holy Ghost! There is One God, the Father, Lord of the Old and of the New Testament: and One Lord, Jesus Christ, who was prophesied of in the Old Testament, and came in the New; and One Holy Ghost, who through the Prophets preached of Christ, and when Christ was come, descended, and manifested Him.
4. Let no one therefore separate the Old from the New Testament; let no one say that the Spirit in the former is one, and in the latter another; since thus he offends against the Holy Ghost Himself, who with the Father and the Son together is honoured, and at the time of Holy Baptism is included with them in the Holy Trinity. For the Only-begotten Son of God said plainly to the Apostles, Go ye, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Our hope is in Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. We preach not three Gods; let the Marcionites be silenced; but with the Holy Ghost through One Son, we preach One God. The Faith is indivisible; the worship inseparable. We neither separate the Holy Trinity, like some; nor do we as Sabellius work confusion. But we know according to godliness One Father, who sent His Son to be our Saviour we know One Son, who promised that He would send the Comforter from the Father; we know the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Prophets, and who on the day of Pentecost descended on the Apostles in the form of fiery tongues, here, in Jerusalem, in the Upper Church of the Apostles; for in all things the choicest privileges are with us. Here Christ came down from heaven; here the Holy Ghost came down from heaven. And in truth it were most fitting, that as we discourse concerning Christ and Golgotha here in Golgotha, so also we should speak concerning the Holy Ghost in the Upper Church; yet since He who descended there jointly partakes of the glory of Him who was crucified here, we here speak concerning Him also who descended there: for their worship is indivisible.
5. We would now say somewhat concerning the Holy Ghost; not to declare His substance with exactness, for this were impossible; but to speak of the diverse mistakes of some concerning him, lest from ignorance we should fall into them; and to block up the paths of error, that we may journey on the King’s one highway. And if we now for caution’s sake repeat any statement of the heretics, let it recoil on their heads, and may we be guiltless, both we who speak, and ye who hear.
6. For the heretics, who are most profane in all things, have sharpened their tongue against the Holy Ghost also, and have dared to utter impious things; as Irenus the interpreter has written in his injunctions against heresies. For some of them have dared to say that they were themselves the Holy Ghost;—of whom the first was Simon, the sorcerer spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles; for when he was cast out, he presumed to teach such doctrines: and they who are called Gnostics, impious men, have spoken other things against the Spirit, and the wicked Valentinians again something else; and the profane Manes dared to call himself the Paraclete sent by Christ. Others again have taught that the Spirit is different in the Prophets and in the New Testament Yea, and great is their error, or rather their blasphemy. Such therefore abhor, and flee from them who blaspheme the Holy Ghost, and have no forgiveness. For what fellowship hast thou with the desperate, thou, who art now to be baptized, into the Holy Ghost also? If he who attaches himself to a thief, and consenteth with him, is subject to punishment, what hope shall he have, who offends against the Holy Ghost?
7. Let the Marcionists also be abhorred, who tear away from the New Testament the sayings of the Old. For Marcion first, that most impious of men, who first asserted three Gods, knowing that in the New Testament are contained testimonies of the Prophets concerning Christ, cut out the testimonies taken from the Old Testament, that the King might be left without witness. Abhor those above-mentioned Gnostics, men of knowledge by name, but fraught with ignorance; who have dared to say such things of the Holy Ghost as I dare not repeat.
8. Let the Cataphrygians also be thy abhorrence, and Montanus, their ringleader in evil, and his two so-called prophetesses, Maximilla and Priscilla. For this Montanus, who was out of his mind and really mad (for he would not have said such things, had he not been mad), dared to say that he was himself the Holy Ghost,—he, miserable man, and filled with all uncleanness and lasciviousness; for it suffices but to hint at this, out of respect for the women who are present. And having taken possession of Pepuza, a very small hamlet of Phrygia, he falsely named it Jerusalem; and cutting the throats of wretched little children, and chopping them up into unholy food, for the purpose of their so-called mysteries,—(wherefore till but lately in the time of persecution we were suspected of doing this, because these Montanists were called, falsely indeed, by the common name of Christians;)—yet he dared to call himself the Holy Ghost, filled as he was with all impiety and inhuman cruelty, and condemned by an irrevocable sentence.
9. And he was seconded, as was said before, by that most impious Manes also, who combined what was bad in every heresy; who being the very lowest pit of destruction, collected the doctrines of all the heretics, and wrought out and taught a yet more novel error, and dared to say that he himself was the Comforter, whom Christ promised to send. But the Saviour when He promised Him, said to the Apostles, But tarry, ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. What then? did the Apostles who had been dead two hundred years, wait for Manes, until they should be endued with the power; and will any dare to say, that they were not forthwith full of the Holy Ghost? Moreover it is written, Then they laid their hands on and they received the Holy Ghost; was not this before Manes, yea, many years before, when the Holy Ghost descended on the day of Pentecost?
10. Wherefore was Simon the sorcerer condemned? Was it not that he came to the Apostles, and said, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost? For he said not, “Give me also the fellowship of the Holy Ghost,” but “Give me the power;” that he might sell to others that which could not be sold, and which he did not himself possess. He offered money also to them who had no possessions; and this, though he saw men bringing the prices of the things sold, and laying them at the Apostles’ feet. And he considered not that they who trod under foot the wealth which was brought for the maintenance of the poor, were not likely to give the power of the Holy Ghost for a bribe. But what say they to Simon? Thy money perish with thee, thee, because thou hast thought to purchase the gift of God with money; for thou art a second Judas, for expecting to buy the grace of the Spirit with money. If then Simon, for wishing to get this power for a price, is to perish, holy great is the impiety of Manes, who said that he was the Holy Ghost? Let us hate them who are worthy of hatred; let us turn away from them from whom God turns away; let us also ourselves say unto God with all boldness concerning all heretics, Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee, and am not I grieved with Thine enemies? For there is also an enmity which is right, according as it is written, I will put enmity between thee and her seed; for friendship with the serpent works enmity with God, and death.
11. Let then thus much suffice concerning those outcasts; and now let us return to the divine Scriptures, and let us drink waters out of our own cisterns [that is, the holy Fathers], and out of our own springing wells. Drink we of living water, springing up into everlasting life; but this spake the Saviour of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive. For observe what He says, He that believeth an Me (not simply this, but), as the Scripture hath said (thus He hath sent thee back to the Old Testament), out of his belly shall flaw rivers of living water, not rivers perceived by sense, and merely watering the earth with its thorns and trees, but bringing souls to the light. And in another place He says, But the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of living water springing up into everlasting life,—a new kind of water living and springing up, springing up unto them who are worthy.
12. And why did He call the grace of the Spirit water? Because by water all things subsist; because water brings forth grass and living things; because the water of the showers comes down from heaven; because it comes down one in form, but works in many forms. For one fountain watereth the whole of Paradise, and one and the same rain comes down upon all the world, yet it becomes white in the lily, and red in the rose, and purple in violets and hyacinths, and different and varied in each several kind: so it is one in the palm-tree, and another in the vine, and all in all things; and yet is one in nature, not diverse from itself; for the rain does not change itself, and come down first as one thing, then as another, but adapting itself to the constitution of each thing which receives it, it becomes to each what is suitable. Thus also the Holy Ghost, being one, and of one nature, and indivisible, divides to each His grace, according as He will: and as the dry tree, after partaking of water, puts forth shoots, so also the soul in sin, when it has been through repentance made worthy of the Holy Ghost, brings forth clusters of righteousness. And though He is One in nature, yet many are the virtues which by the will of God and in the Name of Christ He works. For He employs the tongue of one man for wisdom; the soul of another He enlightens by Prophecy; to another He gives power to drive away devils; to another He gives to interpret the divine Scriptures. He strengthens one man’s self-command; He teaches another the way to give alms; another He teaches to fast and discipline himself; another He teaches to despise the things of the body; another He trains for martyrdom: diverse in different men, yet not diverse from Himself, as it is written, But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the ward of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healing, in the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; and to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.
13. But since concerning spirit in general many diverse things are written in the divine Scriptures, and there is fear lest some out of ignorance fall into confusion, not knowing to what sort of spirit the writing refers; it will be well now to certify you, of what kind the Scripture declares the Holy Spirit to be. For as Aaron is called Christ, and David and Saul and others are called Christs, but there is only one true Christ, so likewise since the name of spirit is given to different things, it is right to see what is that which is distinctively called the Holy Spirit. For many things are called spirits. Thus an Angel is called spirit, our soul is called spirit, and this wind which is blowing is called spirit; great virtue also is spoken of as spirit; and impure practice is called spirit; and a devil our adversary is called spirit. Beware therefore when thou hearest these things, lest from their having a common name thou mistake one for another. For concerning our soul the Scripture says, His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return to his earth: and of the same soul it says again, Which farmeth the spirit of man within him. And of the Angels it is said in the Psalms, Who maketh His Angels spirits, and His ministers aflame of fire. And of the wind it saith, Thou shalt break the ships of Tarshish with a violent spirit; and, As the tree in the woad is shaken by the spirit; and, Fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of storm. And of good doctrine the Lord Himself says, The words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirits, and they are life; instead of, “are spiritual.” But the Holy Spirit is not pronounced by the tongue; but He is a Living Spirit, who gives wisdom of speech, Himself speaking and discoursing.
14. And wouldest thou know that He discourses and speaks? Philip by revelation of an Angel went down to the way which leads to Gaza, when the Eunuch was coming; and the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. Seest thou the Spirit talking to one who hears Him? Ezekiel also speaks thus, The Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and said unto me, Thus saith the Lord. And again, The Holy Ghost said, unto the Apostles who were in Antioch, Separate me now Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. Beholdest thou the Spirit living, separating, calling, and with authority sending forth? Paul also said, Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. For this good Sanctifier of the Church, and her Helper, and Teacher, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, of whom the Saviour said, He shall teach you all things (and He said not only, He shall teach, but also, He shall bring to your remembrance whatever I have said unto you; for the teachings of Christ and of the Holy Ghost are not different, but the same—He, I say, testified before to Paul what things should befall him, that he might be the more stout-hearted, from knowing them beforehand. Now I have spoken these things unto you because of the text, The words which I have spoken unto you, they are spirit; that thou mayest understand this, not of the utterance of the lips, but of the good doctrine in this passage.
15. But sin also is called spirit, as I have already said; only in another and opposite sense, as when it is said, The spirit of whore-dam caused them to err. The name “spirit” is given also to the unclean spirit, the devil; but with the addition of, “the unclean;” for to each is joined its distinguishing name, to mark its proper nature. If the Scripture speak of the soul of man, it says the spirit with the addition, of the man; if it mean the wind, it says, spirit of storm; if sin, it says, spirit of whoredom; if the devil, it says, an unclean spirit: that we may know which particular thing is spoken of, and thou mayest not suppose that it means the Holy Ghost; God forbid! For this name of spirit is common to many things; and every thing which has not a solid body is in a general way called spirit. Since, therefore, the devils have not such bodies, they are called spirits: but there is a great difference; for the unclean devil, when he comes upon a man’s soul (may the Lord deliver from him every soul of those who hear me, and of those who are not present), he comes like a wolf upon a sheep, ravening for blood, and ready to devour. His coming is most fierce; the sense of it most oppressive; the mind becomes darkened; his attack is an injustice also, and so is his usurpation of another’s possession. For he makes forcible use of another’s body, and another’s instruments, as if they were his own; he throws down him who stands upright (for he is akin to him who fell from heaven; he twists the tongue and distorts the lips; foam comes instead of words; the man is filled with darkness; his eye is open, yet the soul sees not through it; and the miserable man gasps convulsively at the point of death. The devils are verily foes of men, using them foully and mercilessly.
16. Such is not the Holy Ghost; God forbid! For His doings tend the contrary way, towards what is good and salutary. First, His coming is gentle; the perception of Him is fragrant; His burden most light; beams of light and knowledge gleam forth before His coming. He comes with the bowels of a true guardian: for He comes to save, and to heal, to teach, to admonish, to strengthen, to exhort, to enlighten the mind, first of him who receives Him, and afterwards of others also, through him. And as a man, who being previously in darkness then suddenly beholds the sun, is enlightened in his bodily sight, and sees plainly things which he saw not, so likewise he to whom the Holy Ghost is vouchsafed, is enlightened in his soul, and sees things beyond man’s sight, which he knew not; his body is on earth, yet his soul mirrors forth the heavens. He sees, like Esaias, the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; he sees, like Ezekiel; Him who is above the Cherubim; he sees like Daniel, ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; and the man, who is so little, beholds the beginning of the world, and knows the end of the world, and the times intervening, and the successions of kings,- things which he never learned: for the True Enlightener is present with him. The man is within the walls of a house; yet the power of his knowledge reaches far and wide, and he sees even what other men are doing.
17. Peter was not with Ananias and Sapphira when they sold their possessions, but he was present by the Spirit; Why, he says, hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? There was no accuser; there was no witness; whence knew he what had happened? Whiles it remained was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? The unlettered Peter, through the grace of the Spirit, learnt what not even the wise men of the Greeks had known. Thou hast the like in the case also of Elisseus. For when he had freely healed the leprosy of Naaman, Gehazi received the reward, the reward of another’s achievement; and he took the money from Naaman, and bestowed it in a dark place. But the darkness is not hidden from the Saints. And when he came, Elisseus asked him; and like Peter, when he said, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? he also enquires, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? Not in ignorance, but in sorrow ask I whence comest thou? From darkness art thou come, and to darkness shalt thou go; thou hast sold the cure of the leper, and the leprosy is thy heritage. I, he says, have fulfilled the bidding of Him who said to me, Freely ye have received, freely give; but thou hast sold this grace; receive now the condition of the sale. But what says Elisseus to him? Went not mine heart with thee? I was here shut in by the body, but the spirit which has been given me of God saw even the things afar off, and shewed me plainly what was doing elsewhere. Seest thou how the Holy Ghost not only rids of ignorance, but invests with knowledge? Seest thou how He enlightens men’s souls?
18. Esaias lived nearly a thousand years ago; and he beheld Zion as a booth. The city was still standing, and beautified with public places, and robed in majesty; yet he says, Zion shall be ploughed a field, foretelling what is now fulfilled in our days. And observe the exactness of the prophecy; for he said, And the daughter of Zion shall be left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. And now the place is filled with gardens of cucumbers. Seest thou how the Holy Spirit enlightens the saints? Be not therefore carried away to other things, by the force of a common term, but keep fast the exact meaning.
19. And if ever, while thou hast been sitting here, a thought concerning chastity or virginity has come into thy mind, it has been His teaching. Has not often a maiden, already at the bridal threshold, fled away. He teaching her the doctrine of virginity? Has not often a man distinguished at court, scorned wealth and rank, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost? Has not often a young man, at the sight of beauty, closed his eyes, and fled from the sight, and escaped the defilement? Askest thou whence this has come to pass? The Holy Ghost taught the soul of the young man. Many ways of covetousness are there in the world; yet Christians refuse possessions: wherefore? because of the teaching of the Holy Ghost. Worthy of honour is in truth that Spirit, holy and good; and fittingly are we baptized into Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. A man, still clothed with a body, wrestles with many fiercest demons; and often the demon, whom many men could not master with iron bands, has been mastered by the man himself with words of prayer, through the power which is in him of the Holy Ghost; and the mere breathing of the Exorcist becomes as fire to that unseen foe. A mighty ally and protector, therefore, have we from God; a great Teacher of the Church, a mighty Champion on our behalf. Let us not be afraid of the demons, nor of the devil; for mightier is He who fighteth for us. Only let us open to Him our doors; for He goeth about seeking such as are worthy and searching on whom He may confer His gifts.
20. And He is called the Comforter, because He comforts and encourages us, and helpeth our infirmities; far we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered, that is, makes intercession to God. Oftentimes a man for Christ’s sake has been outraged and dishonoured unjustly; martyrdom is at hand; tortures on every side, and fire, and sword, and savage beasts, and the pit. But the Holy Ghost softly whispers to him, “Wait thou on the Lord, O man; what is now befalling thee is a small matter, the reward will be great. Suffer a little while, and thou shale be with Angels for ever. The sufferings of this present time art not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” He portrays to the man the kingdom of heaven; He gives him a glimpse of the paradise of delight; and the martyrs, whose bodily countenances are of necessity turned to their judges, but who in spirit are already in Paradise, despise those hardships which are seen.
21. And wouldest thou be sure that by the power of the Holy Ghost the Martyrs bear their witness? The Saviour says to His disciples, And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and the magistrates, and authorities, be not anxious how ye shall answer, or what ye shall say; for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in that very hour, what ye ought to say. For it is impossible to testify as a martyr for Christ’s sake, except a man testify by the Holy Ghost; for if no man can say that Jesus Christ is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost, how shall any man give his own life for Jesus’ sake, but by the Holy Ghost?
22. Great indeed, and all-powerful in gifts, and wonderful, is the Holy Ghost. Consider, how many of you are now sitting here, how many souls of us are present. He is working suitably for each, and being present in the midst, beholds the temper of each, beholds also his reasoning and his conscience, and what we say, and think, and believe. Great indeed is what I have now said, and yet is it small. For consider, I pray, with mind enlightened by Him, how many Christians there are in all this diocese, and how many in the whole province of Palestine, and carry forward thy mind from this province, to the whole Roman Empire; and after this, consider the whole world; races of Persians, and nations of Indians, Garbs and Sarmatians, Gauls and Spaniards, and Moors, Libyans and Ethiopians, and the rest for whom we have no names; for of many of the nations not even the names have reached us. Consider, I pray, of each nation, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Solitaries, Virgins, and laity besides; and then behold their great Protector, and the Dispenser of their gifts;—how throughout the world He gives to one chastity, to another perpetual virginity, to another almsgiving, to another voluntary poverty, to another power of repelling hostile spirits. And as the light, with one touch of its radiance sheds brightness on all things, so also the Holy Ghost enlightens those who have eyes; for if any from blindness is not vouch-safed His grace, let him not blame the Spirit, but his own unbelief.
23. Thou hast seen His power, which is in all the world; tarry now no longer upon earth, but ascend on high. Ascend, I say, in imagination even unto the first heaven, and behold there so many countless myriads of Angels. Mount up in thy thoughts, if thou canst, yet higher; consider, I pray thee, the Archangels, consider also the Spirits; consider the Virtues, consider the Principalities, consider the Powers, consider the Thrones, consider the Dominions;—of all these the Comforter is the Ruler from God, and the Teacher, and the Sanctifier. Of Him Elias has need, and Elisseus, and Esaias, among men; of Him Michael and Gabriel have need among Angels. Naught of things created is equal in honour to Him: for the families of the Angels, and all their hosts assembled together, have no equality with the Holy Ghost. All these the all-excellent power of the Comforter overshadows. And they indeed are sent forth to ministers, but He searches even the deep things of God, according as the Apostle says, For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the thing of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
24. He preached concerning Christ in the Prophets; He wrought in the Apostles; He to this day seals the souls in Baptism. And the Father indeed gives to the Son; and the Son shares with the Holy Ghost. For it is Jesus Himself, not I, who says, All things are delivered unto Me of My Father; and of the Holy Ghost He says, When He, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, and the rest …. He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you. The Father through the Son, with the Holy Ghost, is the giver of all grace; the gifts of the Father are none other than those of the Son, and those of the Holy Ghost; for there is one Salvation, one Power, one Faith; One God, the Father; One Lord, His only-begotten Son; One Holy Ghost, the Comforter. And it is enough for us to know these things; but inquire not curiously into His nature or substance: for had it been written, we would have spoken of it; what is not written, let us not venture on; it is sufficient for our salvation to know, that there is Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost.
25. This Spirit descended upon the seventy Elders in the days of Moses. (Now let not the length of the discourse, beloved, produce weariness in you: but may He the very subject of our discourse grant strength to every one, both to us who speak, and to you who listen!) This Spirit, as I was saying, came down upon the seventy Elders in the time of Moses; and this I say to thee, that I may now prove, that He knoweth all things, and worketh as He will. The seventy Elders were chosen; And the Lord came down in a cloud, and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and put it upon the seventy Elders; not that the Spirit was divided, but that His grace was distributed in proportion to the vessels, and the capacity of the recipients. Now there were present sixty and eight, and they prophesied; but Eldad and Modad were not present: therefore that it might be shewn that it was not Moses who bestowed the gift, but the Spirit who wrought, Eldad and Modad, who though called, bad not as yet presented themselves, did also prophesy.
26. Jesus the Son of Nun, the successor of Moses, was amazed; and came to him and said, “Hast thou heard that Eldad and Modad are prophesying? They were called, and they came not; my lard Moses, forbid them.” “I cannot forbid them,” he says, “for this grace is from Heaven; nay, so far am I from forbidding them, that I myself am thankful for it. I think not, however, that thou hast said this in envy; art thou jealous for my sake, because that they prophesy, and thou prophesiest not yet? Wait for the proper season; and oh that all the Lord’s people may be prophets, whenever the Lord shall give His Spirit upon them! “saying this also prophetically, whenever the Lord shall give; “For as yet then He has not given it; so thou hast it not yet.”—Had not then Abraham this, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph? And they of old, had they it not? Nay, but the words, “whenever the Lord shall give” evidently mean “give it upon all; as yet indeed the grace is partial, then it shall be given lavishly.” And he secretly alluded to what was to happen among us on the day of Pentecost; for He Himself came down among us. He had however also come down upon many before. For it is written, And Jesus the son of Nun was filled with a spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. Thou seest the figure everywhere the same in the Old and New Testament;—in the days of Moses, the Spirit was given by laying on of hands; and by laying on of hands Peter also gives the Spirit. And on thee also, who art about to be baptized, shall His grace come; yet in what manner I say not, for I will not anticipate the proper season.
27. He also came down upon all righteous men and Prophets; Enos, I mean, and Enoch, and Noah, and the rest; upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for as regards Joseph, even Pharaoh perceived that he had tire Spirit of God within him. As to Moses, and the wonderful works wrought by the Spirit in his days, thou hast heard often: This Spirit Job also had, that most enduring man, and all the saints, though we repeat not all their names. He also was sent forth when the Tabernacle was in making, and filled with wisdom the wise-hearted men who were with Bezaleel.
28. In the might of this Spirit, as we have it in the Book of Judges, Othniel judged; Gideon waxed strong; Jephtha conquered; Deborah, a woman, waged war; and Samson, so long as he did righteously, and grieved Him not, wrought deeds above man’s power. And as for Samuel and David, we have it plainly in the Books of the Kingdoms, how by the Holy Ghost they prophesied themselves, and were rulers of the prophets;—and Samuel was called the Seer; and David says distinctly, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and in the Psalms, And take not thy Holy Spirit from me, and again, Thy good Spirit shall lead me in the land of righteousness. And as we have it in Chronicles, Azariah, in the time of King Asa, and Jahaziel in the time of King Jehoshaphat, partook of the Holy Ghost; and again, another Azariah, he who was stoned. And Ezra says, Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them. But as touching Elias who was taken up, and Elisseus, those inspired and wonder-working men, it is manifest, without our saying so, that they were full of the Holy Ghost.
29. And if further a man peruse all the books of the Prophets, both of the Twelve, and of the others, he will find many testimonies concerning. the Holy Ghost; as when Micah says m the person of God, surely I will perfect power by the Spirit the Lord; and Joel cries, And it shall come to pass afterwards, saith God, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and the rest; and Haggai, Because I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts; and My Spirit remaineth in the midst of you; and in like manner Zechariah, But, receive My words and My statutes which command by My Spirit, to My servants the Prophets; and other passages.
30. Esaias too, with his majestic voice, says, And the Spirit of God shall rest upon Him, the spirit ode wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and godliness; and the Spirit of the fear of God shall fill Him; signifying that the Spirit is one and undivided, but His operations various. So again, Jacob My servant, ….. I have put My Spirit upon Him. And again, I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed; and again, And now the Lord Almighty and His Stirs hath sent Me; and again, This is My covenant with them, saith the Lord, My Spirit which is upon thee; and again, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me, and the rest; and again in his charge against the Jews, But they rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit, and Where is He that put His Holy Spirit within them? Also thou hast in Ezekiel (if thou be not now weary of listening), what has already been quoted, And the Spirit fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the Lord. But the words, fell upon me we must understand in a good sense, that is “lovingly;” and as Jacob, when he had found Joseph, fell upon his neck; as also in the Gospels, the loving father, on seeing his son who had returned from his wandering, had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And again in Ezekiel, And he brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldaea, to them of the captivity. And other texts thou heardest before, in what was said about Baptism; Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and the rest; a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and then immediately, And I will put My Spirit within you. And again. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord.
31. He endued with wisdom the soul of Daniel, that young as he was he should become a judge of Elders. The chaste Susanna was condemned as a wanton; there was none to plead her cause; for who was to deliver her from the rulers? She was led away to death, she was now in the hands of the executioners. But her Helper was at hand, the Comforter, the Spirit who sanctifies every rational nature. Come hither to me, He says to Daniel; young though thou be, convict old men infected with the sins of youth; for it is written, God raised up the Holy Spirit upon a young stripling; and nevertheless, (to pass on quickly,) by the sentence of Daniel that chaste lady was saved. We bring this forward as a testimony; for this is not the season for expounding. Nebuchadnezzar also knew that the Holy Spirit was in Daniel; for he says to him, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, of whom I know, that the Holy Spirit of God is in thee. One thing he said truly, and one falsely; for that he had the Holy Spirit was true, but he was not the master of the magicians, for he was no magician, but was wise through the Holy Ghost. And before this also, he interpreted to him the vision of the Image, which he who had seen it himself knew not; for he says, Tell me the vision, which I who saw it know not. Thou seest the power of the Holy Ghost; that which they who saw it, know not, they who saw it not, know and interpret.
32. And indeed it were easy to collect very many texts out of the Old Testament, and to discourse more largely concerning the Holy Ghost. But the time is short; and we must be careful of the proper length of the lecture. Wherefore, being for the present content awhile with passages from the Old Testament, we will, if it be God’s pleasure, proceed in the next Lecture to the remaining texts out of the New Testament. And may the God of peace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, count all of you worthy of His spiritual and heavenly gifts:—To whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
CONTINUATION OF THE DISCOURSE ON THE HOLY GHOST.
1 CORINTHIANS xii. 8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, &c.
1. In the preceding Lecture, according to our ability we set before you, our beloved hearers, some small portion of the testimonies concerning the Holy Ghost; and on the present occasion, we will, if it be God’s pleasure, proceed to treat, as far as may be, of those which remain out of the New Testament: and as then to keep within due limit of your attention we restrained our eagerness (for there is no satiety in discoursing concerning the Holy Ghost), so now again we must say but a small part of what remains. For now, as well as then, we candidly own that our weakness is overwhelmed by the multitude of things written. Neither to- day will we use the subtleties of men, for that is unprofitable; but merely call to mind what comes from the divine Scriptures; for this is the safest course, according to the blessed Apostle Paul, who says, Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Thus we act like travellers or voyagers, who having one goal to a very long journey, though hastening on with eagerness, yet by reason of human weakness are wont to touch in their way at divers cities or harbours.
2. Therefore though our discourses concerning the Holy Ghost are divided, yet He Himself is undivided, being one and the same. For as in speaking concerning the Father, at one time we taught how He is the one only Cause; and at another, how He is called Father, or Almighty; and at another, how He is the Creator of the universe; and yet the division of the Lectures made no division of the Faith, in that He, the Object of devotion, both was and is One;—and again, as in discoursing concerning the Only-begotten Son of God we taught at one time concerning His Godhead, and at another concerning His Manhood, dividing into many discourses the doctrines concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, yet preaching undivided faith towards Him;—so now also though the Lectures concerning the Holy Spirit are divided, yet we preach faith undivided towards Him. For it is one and the Self-same Spirit who divides His gifts to every man severally as He will, Himself the while remaining undivided. For the Comforter is not different from the Holy Ghost, but one and the self-same, called by various names; who lives and subsists, and speaks, and works; and of all rational natures made by God through Christ, both of Angels and of men, He is the Sanctifier.
3. But lest any from lack of learning, should suppose from the different titles of the Holy Ghost that these are divers spirits, and not one and the self-same, which alone there is, therefore the Catholic Church guarding thee beforehand hath delivered to thee in the profession of the faith, that thou “BELIEVE IN ONE HOLY GHOST THE COMFORTER, WHO SPAKE BY THE PROPHETS;” that thou mightest know, that though His names be many, the Holy Spirit is but one;—of which names, we will now rehearse to you a few out of many.
4. He is called the Spirit, according to the Scripture just now read, For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom. He is called the Spirit of Truth, as the Saviour says, When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come. He is called also the Comforter, as He said, For if I go not away, the Comforter will not came unto you. But that He is one and the same, though called by different titles, is shewn plainly from the following. For that the Holy Spirit and the Comforter are the same, is declared in those words, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost; and that the Comforter is the same as the Spirit of Truth, is declared, when it is said, And I will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth; and again, But when the Comforter is came whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth. And He is called the Spirit of God, according as it is written, And I saw the Spirit of God descending; and again, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. He is called also the Spirit of the Father, as the Saviour says, For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you; and again Paul saith, Far this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, and the rest; … that He would grant you to be strengthened by His Spirit. He is also called the Spirit of the Lord, according to that which Peter spoke, Why is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? He is called also the Spirit of God and Christ, as Paul writes, But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. But if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. He is called also the Spirit of the Son of God. as it is said, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son. He is called also the Spirit of Christ, as it is written, Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify; and again, Through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
5. Thou wilt find many other titles of the Holy Ghost besides. Thus He is called the Spirit of Holiness, as it is written, According to the Spirit of Holiness. He is also called the Spirit of adoption, as Paul saith, For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear, but ye received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. He is also called the Spirit of revelation, as it is written, May give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. He is also called the Spirit of promise, as the same Paul says, In whom ye also after that ye believed, were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. He is also called the Spirit of grace, as when he says again, And hath done despite to the Spirit of grace. And by many other such-like titles is He named. And thou heardest plainly in the foregoing Lecture, that in the Psalms He is called at one time the good Spirit, and at another the princely Spirit; and in Esaias He was styled the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel, and might, of knowledge, and of godliness, and of the fear of God. By all which Scriptures both those before and those now alleged, it is established, that though the titles of the Holy Ghost be different, He is one and the same; living and subsisting, and always present together with the Father and the Son; not uttered or breathed from the mouth and lips of the Father or the Son, nor dispersed into the air, but having a real substance, Himself speaking, and working, and dispensing, and sanctifying; even as the Economy of salvation which is to usward from the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, is inseparable and harmonious and one, as we have also said before. For I wish you to keep in mind those things which were lately spoken, and to know clearly that there is not one Spirit in the Law and the Prophets, and another in the Gospels and Apostles; but that it is One and the Self-same Holy Spirit, which both in the Old and in the New Testament, spoke the divine Scriptures.
6. This is the Holy Ghost, who came upon the Holy Virgin Mary; for since He who was conceived was Christ the Only-begotten, the power of the Highest overshadowed her, and the Holy Ghost came upon her, and sanctified her, that she might be able to receive Him, by whom all things were made. But I have no need of many words to teach thee that generation was without defilement or taint, for thou hast learned it. It is Gabriel who says to her, I am the herald of what shall be done, but have no part in the work. Though an Archangel, I know my place; and though I joyfully bid thee All hail, yet holy thou shale bring forth, is not of any grace of mine. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
7. This Holy Spirit wrought in Elisabeth; for He recognises not virgins only, but matrons also, so that their marriage be lawful. And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied; and that noble hand-maiden says of her own Lord, And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For Elisabeth counted herself blessed. Filled with this Holy Spirit, Zacharias also, the father of John, prophesied, telling how many good things the Only-begotten should procure, and that John should be His harbinger through baptism. By this Holy Ghost also it was revealed to just Symeon, that he should not see death, till he had seen the Lord’s Christ; and he received Him in his arms, and bore clear testimony in the Temple concerning Him.
8. And John also, who had been filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb, was for this cause sanctified, that be might baptize the Lord; not giving the Spirit himself, but preaching glad tidings of Him who gives the Spirit. For he says, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me, and the rest; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. But wherefore with fire? Because the descent of the Holy Ghost was in fiery tongues; concerning which the Lord says joyfully, I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
9. This Holy Ghost came down when the Lord was baptized, that the dignity of Him who was baptized might not be hidden; as John says, But He which sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shall see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the tidy Ghost. But see what saith the Gospel; the heavens were opened; they were opened because of the dignity of Him who descended; for, lo, he says, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and lighting upon Him: that is, with voluntary motion in His descent. For it was fit, as some have interpreted, that the primacy and first-fruits of the Holy Spirit promised to the baptized should be conferred upon the manhood of the Saviour, who is the giver of such grace. But perhaps He came down in the form of a dove, as some say, to exhibit a figure of that dove who is pure and innocent and undefiled, and also helps the prayers for the children she has begotten, and for forgiveness of sins; even as it was emblematically foretold that Christ should be thus manifested in the appearance of His eyes; for in the Canticles she cries concerning the Bridegroom, and says, Thine eyes are as doves by the rivers of water.
10. Of this dove, the dove of Noe, according to some, was in part a figure. For as in his time by means of wood and of water there came salvation to themselves, and the beginning eta new generation, and the dove returned to him towards evening with an olive branch; thus, say they, the Holy Ghost also descended upon the true Noe, the Author of the second birth, who draws together into one the wills of all nations, of whom the various dispositions of the animals in the ark were a figure:—Him at whose coming the spiritual wolves feed with the lambs, in whose Church the calf, and the lion, and the ox, feed in the same pasture, as we behold to this day the rulers of the world guided and taught by Churchmen. The spiritual dove therefore, as some interpret, came down at the season of His baptism, that He might shew that it is He who by the wood of the Cross saves them who believe, He who at eventide should grant salvation through His death.
11. And these things perhaps should be otherwise explained; but now again we must hear the words of the Saviour Himself concerning the Holy Ghost. For He says, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And that this grace is from the Father, He thus states, How much more shall your heavenly Father’ give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. And that we ought to worship God in the Spirit, He shews thus, But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father also seeketh such to warship Him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. And again, But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils; and immediately afterwards, Therefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. And again He says, And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you for ever, the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, for He abideth with you, and shall be in you. And again He says, These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said unto you. And again He says, But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me. And again the Saviour says, For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you….. And when He is come, He will convince the world or sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and afterwards again. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He the Spirit of Truth is come, He will declare unto you all the truth; for He shall not speak from Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak, and He shall announce unto you the things to come. He shall glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine, and shall announce it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, That He shall take of Mine, and shall announce it unto you. I have read to thee now the utterances of the Only-begotten Himself, that thou mayest not give heed to men’s words.
12. The fellowship of this Holy Spirit He bestowed on the Apostles; for it is written, rind when He had said this, He breathed an them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are re milled unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. This was the second time He breathed on man (His first breath s having been stifled through wilful sins); that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He went up breathing upon thy face, and delivering thee from affliction. But whence went He up? From Hades; for thus the Gospel relates, that then after His resurrection He breathed on them. But though He bestowed His grace then, He was to lavish it yet more bountifully; and He says to them, “I am ready to give it even now, but the vessel cannot yet hold it; for a while therefore receive ye as much grace as ye can bear; and look forward for yet more; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high. Receive it in part now; then, ye shall wear it in its fulness. For he who receives, often possesses the gift but in part; but he who is clothed, is completely enfolded by his robe. “Fear not,” He says, “the weapons and darts of the devil; for ye shall bear with you the power of the Holy Ghost.” But remember what was lately said, that the Holy Ghost is not divided, but only the grace which is given by Him.
13. Jesus therefore went up into heaven, and fulfilled the promise. For He said to them, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter. So they were sitting, looking for the coming of the Holy Ghost; and when the day of Pentecost was fully come, here, in this city of Jerusalem,—(for this honour also belongs to us; and we speak not of the good things which have happened among others, but of those which have been vouchsafed among ourselves,)—on the day of Pentecost, I say, they were sitting, and the Comforter came down from heaven, the Guardian and Sanctifier of the Church, the Ruler of souls, the Pilot of the tempest- tossed, who leads the wanderers to the light, and presides over the combatants, and crowns the victors.
14. But He came down to clothe the Apostles with power. and to baptize them; for the Lord says, ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. This grace was not in part, but His power was in full perfection; for as he who plunges into the waters and is baptized is encompassed on all sides by the waters, so were they also baptized completely by the Holy Ghost. The water however flows round the outside only, but the Spirit baptizes also the soul within, and that completely. And wherefore wonderest thou? Take an example from matter; poor indeed and common, yet useful for the simpler sort. If the fire passing in through the mass of the iron makes the whole of it fire, so that what was cold becomes burning and what was black is made bright,—if fire which is a body thus penetrates and works without hindrance in iron which is also a body, why wonder that the Holy Ghost enters into the very inmost recesses of the soul?
15. And lest men should be ignorant of the greatness of the mighty gift coming down to them. there sounded as it were a heavenly trumpet, For suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty mind, signifying the presence of Him who was to grant power unto men to seize with violence the kingdom of God; that both their eyes might see the fiery tongues, and their ears hear the sound. And it filled all the house where they were sitting; for the house became the vessel of the spiritual water; as the disciples sat within, the whole house was filled. Thus they were entirely baptized according to the promise, and invested soul and body with a divine garment of salvation. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives lustre to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles. And He sat upon them in the form of fiery tongues, that they might crown themselves with new and spiritual diadems by fiery tongues upon their heads. A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise; a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift.
16. And they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave theist utterance. The Galilean Peter or Andrew spoke Persian or Median. John and the rest of the Apostles spoke every tongue to those of Gentile extraction; for not in our time have multitudes of strangers first begun to assemble here from all quarters, but they have done so since that time. What teacher can be found so great as to teach men all at once things which they have not learned? So many years are they in learning by grammar and other arts to speak only Greek well; nor yet do all speak this equally well; the Rhetorician perhaps succeeds in speaking well, and the Grammarian sometimes not well, and the skilful Grammarian is ignorant of the subjects of philosophy. But the Holy Spirit taught them many languages at once, languages which in all their life they never knew. This is in truth vast wisdom, this is power divine. What a contrast of their long ignorance in time past to their sudden, complete and varied and unaccustomed exercise of these languages!
17. The multitude of the hearers was confounded;—it was a second confusion, in the room of that first evil one at Babylon. For in that confusion of tongues there was division of purpose, because their thought was at enmity with God; but here minds were restored and united, because the object of interest was godly. The means of falling were the means of recovery. Wherefore they marvelled, saying, How hear we them speaking? No marvel if ye be ignorant; for even Nicodemus was ignorant of the coming of the Spirit, and to him it was said, The Spirit breatheth where it listeth, and than hearest the voice thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; but if, even though I hear His voice, I know not whence he cometh, how can I explain, what He is Himself in substance?
18. But others mocking said, They are full of nero wine, and they spoke truly though in mockery. For in truth the wine was new, even the grace of the New Testament; but this new wine was from a spiritual Vine, which had oftentimes ere this borne fruit in Prophets, and had budded in the New Testament. For as in things sensible, the vine ever remains the same, but bears new fruits in its seasons, so also the self-same Spirit continuing what He is, as He had often wrought in Prophets, now manifested a new and marvellous work. For though His grace had come before to the Fathers also, yet here it came exuberantly; for formerly men only partook of the Holy Ghost, but now they were baptized completely.
19. But Peter who had the Holy Ghost, and who knew what he possessed, says, “Men of Israel, ye who preach Joel, but know not the things which are written, these men are not drunken as ye suppose. Drunken they are, not however as ye suppose, but according to that which is written, They shall be drunken with the fatness of thy house; and than shall make them drink of the torrents of thy pleasure. They are drunken, with a sober drunkenness, deadly to sin and life-giving to the heart, a drunkenness contrary to that of the body; for this last causes forgetfulness even of what was known, but that bestows the knowledge even of what was not known. They are drunken, for they have drunk the wine of the spiritual vine, which says, I am the vine and ye are the branches. But if ye are not persuaded by me, understand what I tell you from the very time of the day; for it is the third hour of the day. For He who, as Mark relates, was crucified at the third hour, now at the third hour sent down His grace. For His grace is not other than the Spirit’s grace, but He who was then crucified, who also gave the promise, made good that which He promised. And if ye would receive a testimony also, Listen, he says: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass after this, saith God, l will pour forth of My Spirit—(and this word, I will pour forth, implied a rich gift; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure, for the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand; and He has given Him the power also of bestowing the grace of the All-holy Spirit on whomsoever He will);—I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; and afterwards, Yea, and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” The Holy Ghost is no respecter of persons; for He seeks not dignities, but piety of soul. Let neither the rich be puffed up, nor the poor dejected, but only let each prepare himself for reception of the Heavenly gift.
20. We have said much to-day, and perchance you are weary of listening; yet more still remains. And in truth for the doctrine of the Holy Ghost there were need of a third lecture; and of many besides. But we must have your indulgence on both points. For as the Holy Festival of Easter is now at hand we have this day lengthened our discourse and yet we had not room to bring before you all the testimonies from the New Testament which we ought. For many passages are still to come from the Acts of the Apostles in which the grace of the Holy Ghost wrought mightily in Peter and in all the Apostles together; many also from the Catholic Epistles. and the fourteen Epistles of Paul; out of all which we will now endeavour to gather a few, like flowers from a large meadow, merely by way of remembrance.
21. For in the power of the Holy Ghost, by the will of Father and Son, Peter stood with the Eleven, and lifting up his voice, (according to the text, Lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem), captured in the spiritual net of his words, about three thousand souls. So great was the grace which wrought in all the Apostles together, that, out of the Jews, those crucifiers of Christ, this great number believed, and were baptized in the Name of Christ, and continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and in the prayers. And again m the same power of the Holy Ghost, Peter and John went up into the Temple at the hour of prayer, which was the ninth hour, and in the Name of Jesus healed the man at the Beautiful gate, who had been lame from his mother’s womb for forty years; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken, Then shall the lame man leap as an hart. And thus, as they captured in the spiritual net of their doctrine five thousand believers at once, so they confuted the misguided rulers of the people and chief priests, and that, not through their own wisdom, for they were unlearned and ignorant men, but through the mighty power of the Holy Ghost; for it is written, Then Peter filled with the Holy Ghost said to them. So great also was the grace of the Holy Ghost, which wrought by means of the Twelve Apostles in them who believed, that they were of one heart and of one soul, and their enjoyment of their goods was common, the possessors piously offering the prices of their possessions, and no one among them wanting aught; while Ananias and Sapphira, who attempted to lie to the Holy Ghost, underwent their befitting punishment.
22. And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people. And so great was the spiritual grace shed around the Apostles, that gentle as they were, they were the objects of dread; for of the rest durst no man join himself to them; but the people magnified them; and multitudes were added of those who believed on the Lord, both of men and women; and the streets were filled with the sick on their beds and couches, that as Peter passed by, at least his shadow might overshadow some of them. And the multitude also of the cities round about came unto this holy Jerusalem, bringing sick folk, and them that were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed every one in this power of the Holy Ghost.
23. Again, after the Twelve Apostles had been cast into prison by the chief priests for preaching Christ, and had been marvellously delivered from it at night by an Angel, and were brought before them in the judgment hall from the Temple, they fearlessly rebuked them in their discourse to them concerning Christ, and added this, that God hath also given His Italy Spirit to them that obey Him. And when they had been scourged, they went their way rejoicing, and ceased not to teach and preach Jesus as the Christ.
24. And it was not in the Twelve Apostles only that the grace of the Holy Spirit wrought, but also in the first-born children of this once barren Church, I mean the seven Deacons; for these also were chosen, as it is written, being full of the Holy Ghost and of wisdom. Of whom Stephen, rightly so named, the first fruits of the Martyrs, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, wrought great wanders and miracles among the people, and vanquished those who disputed with him; for they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake. But when he was maliciously accused and brought to the judgment hall, he was radiant with angelic brightness; for all they who sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face, as it had been the face of an Angels. And having by his wise defence confuted the Jews, those stiffnecked men, uncircumcised in heart and ears, ever resisting the Holy Ghost, he beheld the heavens opened, and saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. He saw Him, not by his own power, but, as the Divine Scripture says, being full of the Holy Ghost, he looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.
25. In this power of the Holy Ghost, Philip also in the Name of Christ at one time in the city of Samaria drove away the unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice; and healed the palsied and the lame, and brought to Christ great multitudes of them that believe. To whom Peter and John came down, and with prayer, and the laying on of hands, imparted the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, from which Simon Magus alone was declared an alien, and that justly. And at another time Philip was called by the Angel of the Lord in the way, for the sake of that most godly Ethiopian, the Eunuch, and heard distinctly the Spirit Himself saying, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. He instructed the Eunuch, and baptized him, and so having sent into Ethiopia a herald of Christ, according as it is written, Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand unto God, he was caught away by the Angel, and preached the Gospel in the cities in succession.
26. With this Holy Spirit Paul also had been filled after his calling by our Lord Jesus Christ. Let godly Ananias come as a witness to what we say, he who in Damascus said to him, The Lord, even Jesus who appeared to thee in the way which thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And straightway the Spirit’s mighty working changed the blindness of Paul’s eyes into newness of sight; and having vouchsafed His seal unto his soul, made him a chosen vessel to bear the Name of the Lord who had appeared to him, before kings and the children of Israel, and rendered the former persecutor an ambassador and good servant,—one, who from Jerusalem, and even unto Illyricum, fully preached the Gospel, and instructed even imperial Rome, and carried the earnestness of his preaching as far as Spain, undergoing conflicts innumerable, and performing signs and wonders. Of him for the present enough.
27. In the power of the same Holy Spirit Peter also, the chief of the Apostles and the bearer of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, healed Aeneas the paralytic in the Name of Christ at Lydda, which is now Diospolis, and at Joppa raised from the dead Tabitha rich in good works. And being on the housetop in a trance, he saw heaven opened, and by means of the vessel let down as it were a sheet full of beasts of every shape and sort, he learnt plainly to call no man common or unclean, though he should be of the Greeks. And when he was sent for by Cornelius, he heard clearly the Holy Ghost Himself saying, Behold, men seek thee; but arise and get thee down, and go with them, nothing doubling; for I have sent them. And that it might be plainly shewn that those of the Gentiles also who believe are made partakers of the grace of the Holy Ghost, when Peter was come to Cesarea, and was teaching the things concerning Christ, the Scripture says concerning Cornelius and them who were with him; While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word; so that they of the circumcision also which came with Peter were astonished, and when they understood it said that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
28. And in Antioch also, a most renowned city of Syria, when the preaching of Christ took effect, Barnabas was sent hence as far as Antioch to help on the good work, being a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith; who seeing a great harvest of believers in Christ, brought Paul from Tarsus to Antioch, as his fellow-combatant. And when crowds had been instructed by them and assembled in the Church, it came to pass that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch; the Holy Ghost, methinks, bestowing on the believers that new Name, which had been promised before by the Lord. And the grace of the Spirit being shed forth by God more abundantly in Antioch, there were there prophets and teachers of whom Agabus was one. And as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And after hands had been laid on them, they were sent forth by the Holy Ghost. Now it is manifest, that the Spirit which speaks and sends, is a living Spirit, subsisting, and operating, as we have said.
29. This Holy Spirit, who in unison with Father and Son has established the New Covenant in the Church Catholic, has set us free from the burdens of the law grievous to be borne,—those I mean, concerning things common and unclean, and meats, and sabbaths, and new moons, and circumcision, and sprinklings, and sacrifices; which were given for a season, and had a shadow of the good things to came, but which, when the truth had come, were rightly withdrawn. For when Paul and Barnabas were sent to the Apostles, because of the question moved at Antioch by them who said that it was necessary to be circumcised and to keep the customs of Moses, the Apostles who were here at Jerusalem by a written injunction set free the whole world from all the legal and typical observances; yet they attributed not to themselves the full authority in so great a matter, but send an injunction in writing, and acknowledge this: For it hath seemed good unto the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; shewing evidently by what they wrote, that though the writing was by the hands of human Apostles, yet the decree is universal from the Holy Ghost: which decree Paul and Barnabas took and confirmed unto all the world.
30. And now, having proceeded thus far in my discourse, I ask indulgence from your love, or rather from the Spirit who dwelt in Paul, if I should not be able to rehearse everything, by reason of my own weakness, and your weariness who listen. For when shall I in terms worthy of Himself declare the marvellous deeds wrought by the operation of the Holy Ghost in the Name of Christ? Those wrought in Cyprus upon Elymas the sorcerer, and in Lystra at the healing of the cripple, and in Cilicia and Phrygia and Galatia and Mysia and Macedonia? or those at Philippi (the preaching, I mean, and the driving out of the spirit of divination in the Name of Christ; and the salvation by baptism of the jailer with his whole house at night after the earthquake); or the events at Thessalonica; and the address at Areopagus in the midst of the Athenians; or the instructions at Corinth, and in all Achaia? How shall I worthily recount the mighty deeds which were wrought at Ephesus through Paul, by the Holy Ghost? Whom they of that City knew not before, but came to know Him by the doctrine of Paul; and when Paul had laid his hands on them, and the Holy Ghost had come upon them, they spake will tongues, and prophesied. And so great spiritual grace was upon him, that not only his touch wrought cures, but even the handkerchiefs and napkins, brought from his body, healed diseases, and scared away the evil spirits; and at last they also who practised curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men.
31. I pass by the work wrought at Troas on Eutychus, who being borne down by his sleep fell dawn from the third loft, and was taken up dead; yet was saved alive by Paul. I also pass by the prophecies addressed to the Elders of Ephesus whom he called to him in Miletus, to whom he openly said, That the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying—and the rest; for by saying, in every city, Paul made manifest that the marvellous works done by him in each city, were from the operative power of the Holy Ghost, by the will of God, and in the Name of Christ who spoke in him. By the power of this Holy Ghost, the same Paul was hastening to this holy city Jerusalem, and this, though Agabus by the Spirit foretold what should befall him; and yet he spoke to the people with confidence, declaring the things concerning Christ. And when brought to Cesarea, and set amid tribunals of justice, at one time before Felix, and at another before Festus the governor and King Agrippa, Paul obtained of the Holy Ghost grace so great, and triumphant in wisdom, that at last Agrippa himself the king of the Jews said, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. This Holy Spirit granted to Paul, when he was in the island of Melita also, to receive no harm when bitten by the viper, and to effect divers cures on the diseased. This Holy Spirit guided him, the persecutor of old, as a herald of Christ, even as far as imperial Rome, and there he persuaded many of the Jews to believe in Christ. and to them who gainsaid he said plainly, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the Prophet, saying unto your fathers, and the rest.
32. And that Paul was full of the Holy Ghost, and all his fellow Apostles, and they who after them believed in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, hear from himself as he writes plainly in his Epistles; And my speech, he says, and my preaching was not in persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. And again, But He who sealed us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the earnest of the Spirit. And again, He that raised up Jesus front the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit which dwelleth in you. And again, writing to Timothy, That good thing which was committed to thee guard through the Holy Ghost which was given to us.
33. And that the Holy Ghost subsists, and lives, and speaks, and foretells, I have often said in what goes before, and Paul writes it plainly to Timothy: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in later times some shall depart from the faith,—which we see in the divisions not only of former times but also of our own; so motley and diversified are the errors of the heretics. And again the same Paul says, Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto His Holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit. And again, Wherefore, as saith the Holy Ghost; and again, The Holy Ghost also witnesseth to us. And again he calls unto the soldiers of righteousness, saying, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, with all prayer and supplication. And again, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. And again, The grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.
34. By all these proofs, and by more which have been passed over, is the personal, and sanctifying, and effectual power of the Holy Ghost established for those who can understand; for the time would fail me in my discourse if I wished to quote what yet remains concerning the Holy Ghost from the fourteen Epistles of Paul, wherein he has taught with such variety, completeness, and reverence. And to the power of the Holy Ghost Himself it must belong, to grant to us forgiveness for what we have omitted because the days are few, and upon you the hearers to impress more perfectly the knowledge of what yet remains; while from the frequent reading of the sacred Scriptures those of you who are diligent come to understand these things, and by this time, both from these present Lectures, and from what has before been told you, hold more steadfastly the Faith in “ONE GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY; AND IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON; AND IN THE HOLY GHOST THE COMFORTER.” Though the word itself and title of Spirit is applied to Them in common in the sacred Scriptures,—for it is said of the Father, God is a Spirit, as it is written in the Gospel according to John; and of the Son, A Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord, as Jeremias the prophet says; and of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, thee Holy Ghost, as was said;—yet the arrangement of articles in the Faith, if religiously understood, disproves the error of Sabellius also. Return we therefore in our discourse to the point which now presses and is profitable to you.
35. Beware lest ever like Simon thou come to the dispensers of Baptism in hypocrisy, thy heart the while not seeking the truth. It is ours to protest, but it is thine to secure thyself. If thou standest in faith, blessed art thou; if thou hast fallen in unbelief, from this day forward cast away thine unbelief, and receive full assurance. For, at the season of baptism, when thou art come before the Bishops, or Presbyters, or Deacons,—(forits grace is everywhere, in villages and in cities, on them of low as on them of high degree, on bondsmen and on freemen, for this grace is not of men, but the gift is from God through men,)—approach the Minister of Baptism, but approaching, think not of the face of him thou seest, but remember this Holy Ghost of whom we are now speaking. For He is present in readiness to seal thy soul, and He shall give thee that Seal at which evil spirits tremble, a heavenly and sacred seal, as also it is written, In whom also ye believed, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
36. Yet He tries the soul. He casts not His pearls before swine; if thou play the hypocrite, though men baptize thee now, the Holy Spirit will not baptize thee. But if thou approach with faith, though men minister in what is seen, the Holy Ghost bestows that which is unseen. Thou art coming to a great trial, to a great muster, in that one hour, which if thou throw away, thy disaster is irretrievable; but if thou be counted worthy of the grace, thy soul will be enlightened, thou wilt receive a power which thou hadst not, thou wilt receive weapons terrible to the evil spirits; and if thou cast not away thine arms, but keep the Seal upon thy soul, no evil spirit will approach thee; for he will be cowed; for verily by the Spirit of God are the evil spirits cast out.
37. If thou believe, thou shalt not only receive remission of sins, but also do things which pass man’s power. And mayest thou be worthy of the gift of prophecy also! For thou shall receive grace according to the measure of thy capacity and not of my words; for I may possibly speak of but small things, yet thou mayest receive greater; since faith is a large affair. All thy life long will thy guardian the Comforter abide with thee; He will care for thee, as for his own soldier; for thy goings out, and thy comings in, and thy plotting foes. And He will give thee gifts of grace of every kind, if thou grieve Him not by sin; for it is written, And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye were sealed unto the day of redemption. What then, beloved, is it to preserve grace? Be ye ready to receive grace, and when ye have received it, cast it not away.
38. And may the very God of All, who spoke by the Holy Ghost through the prophets, who sent Him forth upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost in this place, Himself send Him forth at this time also upon you; and by Him keep us also, imparting His benefit in common to us all, that we may ever render up the fruits of the Holy Ghost, love, joy, peace, long- suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, in Christ Jesus our Lord:—By whom and with whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory to the Father, both now, and ever, and for ever and ever. Amen.
ON THE WORDS, AND IN ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE FLESH, AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING.
EZEKIEL xxxvii. 1. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.
1. THE root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of the recompense nerves the soul to good works. For every labourer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees their reward in prospect; but when men weary themselves for nought, their heart soon sinks as well as their body. A soldier who expects a prize is ready for war, but no one is forward to die for a king who is indifferent about those who serve under him, and bestows no honours on their toils. In like manner every soul believing in a Resurrection is naturally careful of itself; but, disbelieving it, abandons itself to perdition. He who believes that his body shall remain to rise again, is careful of his robe, and defiles it not with fornication; but he who disbelieves the Resurrection, gives himself to fornication, and misuses his own body, as though it were not his own. Faith therefore in the Resurrection of the dead, is a great commandment and doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church; great and most ncessary, though gainsaid by many, yet surely warranted by the truth. Greeks contradict it, Samaritans disbelieve it, heretics mutilate it; the contradiction is manifold, but the truth is uniform.
2. Now Greeks and Samaritans together argue against us thus. The dead man has fallen, and mouldered away, and is all turned into worms; and the worms have died also; such is the decay and destruction which has overtaken the body; how then is it to be raised? The shipwrecked have been devoured by fishes, which are themselves devoured. Of them who fight with wild beasts the very bones are ground to powder, and consumed by bears and lions. Vultures and ravens feed on the flesh of the unburied dead, and then fly away over all the world; whence then is the body to be collected? For of the fowls who have devoured it some may chance to die in India, some in Persia, some in the land of the Goths. Other men again are consumed by fire, and their very ashes scattered by rain or wind; whence is the body to be brought together again?
3. To thee, poor little feeble man, India is far from the land of the Goths, and Spain from Persia; but to God, who holds the whole earth in the hallow of His hands, all things are near at hand. Impute not then weakness to God, from a comparison of thy feebleness, but rather dwell on His power. Does then the sun, a small work of God, by one glance of his beams give warmth to the whole world; does the atmosphere, which God has made, encompass all things in the world; and is God, who is the Creator both of the sun, and of the atmosphere, far off from the world? Imagine a mixture of seeds of different plants (for as thou art weak concerning the faith, the examples which I allege are weak also), and that these different seeds are contained in thy single hand; is it then to thee, who art a man, a difficult or an easy matter to separate what is in thine hand, and to collect each seed according to its nature, and restore it to its own kind? Canst thou then separate the things in thine hand, and cannot God separate the things contained in His hand, and restore them to their proper place? Consider what I say, whether it is not impious to deny it?
4. But further, attend, I pray, to the very principle of justice, and come to thine own case. Thou hast different sorts of servants: and some are good and some bad; thou honourest therefore the good, and smitest the bad. And if thou art a judge, to the good thou awardest praise, and to the transgressors, punishment. Is then justice observed by thee a mortal man; and with God, the ever changeless King of all, is there no retributive justice? Nay, to deny it is impious. For consider what I say. Many murderers have died in their beds unpunished; where then is the righteousness of God? Yea, ofttimes a murderer guilty of fifty murders is beheaded once; where then shall he suffer punishment for the forty and nine? Unless there is a judgment and a retribution after this world, thou chargest God with unrighteousness. Marvel not, however, because of the delay of the judgment; no combatant is crowned or disgraced, till the contest is over; and no president of the games ever crowns men while yet striving, but he waits till all the combatants are finished, that then deciding between them he may dispense the prizes and the chaplets. Even thus God also, so long as the strife in this world lasts, succours the just but partially, but afterwards He renders to them their rewards fully.
5. But if according to thee there is no resurrection of the dead, wherefore condemnest thou the robbers of graves? For if the body perishes, and there is no resurrection to be hoped for, why does the violator of the tomb undergo punishment? Thou seest that though thou deny it with thy lips, there yet abides with thee an indestructible instinct of the resurrection.
6. Further, does a tree after it has been cut down blossom again, and shall man after being cut down blossom no more? And does the corn sown and reaped remain for the threshing floor, and shall man when reaped from this world not remain for the threshing? And do shoots of vine or other trees, when clean cut off and transplanted, come to life and bear fruit; and shall man, for whose sake all these exist, fall into the earth and not rise again? Comparing efforts, which is greater, to mould from the beginning a statue which did not exist, or to recast in the same shape that which had fallen? Is God then, who created us out of nothing, unable to raise again those who exist and are fallen? But thou believest not what is written of the resurrection, being a Greek: then from the analogy of nature consider these matters, and understand them from what is seen to this day. Wheat, it may be, or some other kind of grain, is sown; and when the seed has fallen, it dies and rots, and is henceforth useless for food. But that which has rotted, springs up in verdure; and though small when sown, springs up most beautiful. Now wheat was made for us; for wheat and all seeds were created not for themselves, but for our use; are then the things which were made for us quickened when they die, and do we for whom they were made, not rise again after our death?
7. The season is winter, as thou seest; the trees now stand as if they were dead: for where are the leaves of the fig-tree? where are the clusters of the vine? These in winter time are dead, but green in spring; and when the season is come, there is restored to them a quickening as it were from a state of death. For God, knowing thine unbelief, works a resurrection year by year in these visible things; that, beholding what happens to things inanimate, thou mayest believe concerning things animate and rational. Further, flies and bees are often drowned in water, yet after a while revive; and species of dormice, after remaining motionless during the winter, are restored in the summer (for to thy slight thoughts like examples are offered); and shall He who to irrational and despised creatures grants life supernaturally, not bestow it upon us, for whose sake He made them?
8. But the Greeks ask for a resurrection of the dead still manifest; and say that, even if these creatures are raised, yet they had not utterly mouldered away; and they require to see distinctly some creature rise again after complete decay. God knew men’s unbelief, and provided for this purpose a bird, called a Phoenix. This bird, as Clement writes, and as many more relate, being the only one of its kind, arrives in the land of the Egyptians at periods of five hundred years, shewing forth the resurrection, not in desert places, lest the occurrence of the mystery should remain unknown, but appearing in a notable city, that men might even handle what would otherwise be disbelieved. For it makes itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and other spices, and entering into this when its years are fulfilled, it evidently dies and moulders away. Then from the decayed flesh of the dead bird a worm is engendered, and this worm when grown large is transformed into a bird;—and do not disbelieve this, for thou seest the offspring of bees also fashioned thus out of worms, and from eggs which are quite fluid thou hast seen wings and bones and sinews of birds issue. Afterwards the aforesaid Phoenix, becoming fledged and a full-grown Phoenix, like the former one, soars up into the air such as it had died, shewing forth to men a most evident resurrection of the dead. The Phoenix indeed is a wondrous bird, yet it is irrational, nor ever sang praise to God; it flies abroad through the sky, but it knows not who is the Only-begotten Son of God. Has then a resurrection from the dead been given to this irrational creature which knows not its Maker, and to us who ascribe glory to God and keep His commandments, shall there no resurrection be granted?
9. But since the sign of the Phoenix is remote and uncommon, and men still disbelieve our resurrection, take again the proof of this from what thou seest every day. A hundred or two hundred years ago, we all, speakers and hearers, where were we? Know we not the groundwork of the substance of our bodies? Knowest thou not how from weak and shapeless and simple elements we are engendered, and out of what is simple and weak a living man is formed? and how that weak element being made flesh is changed into strong sinews, and bright eyes, and sensitive nose, and hearing ears, and speaking tongue, and beating heart, and busy hands, and swift feet, and into members of all kinds? and how that once weak element becomes a shipwright, and a builder, and an architect, and a craftsman of various arts, and a soldier, and a ruler, and a lawgiver, and a king? Cannot God then, who has made us out of imperfect materials, raise us up when we have fallen into decay? He who thus flames a body out of what is vile, cannot He raise the fallen body again? And He who fashions that which is not, shall He not raise up that which is and is fallen?
10. Take further a manifest proof of the resurrection of the dead, witnessed month by month in the sky and its luminaries. The body of the moon vanishes completely, so that no part of it is any more seen, yet it fills again, and is restored to its former state; and for the perfect demonstration of the matter, the moon at certain revolutions of years suffering eclipse and becoming manifestly changed into blood, yet recovers its luminous body: God having provided this, that thou also, the man who art formed of blood, mightest not refuse credence to the resurrection of the dead, but mightest believe concerning thyself also what thou seest in respect of the moon. These therefore use thou as arguments against the Greeks; for with them who receive not what is written fight thou with unwritten weapons, by reasonings only and demonstrations; for these men know not who Moses is, nor Esaias, nor the Gospels, nor Paul.
11. Turn now to the Samaritans, who, receiving the Law only, allow not the Prophets. To them the text just now read from Ezekiel appears of no force, for, as I said, they admit no Prophets; whence then shall we persuade the Samaritans also? Let us go to the writings of the Law. Now God says to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob; this must mean of those who have being and subsistence. For if Abraham has come to an end, and Isaac and Jacob, then He is the God of those who have no being. When did a king ever say, I am the king of soldiers, whom he had not? When did any display wealth which he possessed not? Therefore Abraham and Isaac and Jacob must subsist, that God may be the God of those who have being; for He said not, “I was their God,” but I am. And that there is a judgment, Abraham shews in saying to the Lord, He who judgeth all the earth, shall He not execute judgment?
12. But to this the foolish Samaritans object again, and say that the souls possibly of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob continue, but that their bodies cannot possibly rise again. Was it then possible that the rod of righteous Moses should become a serpent, and is it impossible that the bodies of the righteous should live and rise again? And was that done contrary to nature, and shall they not be restored according to nature? Again, the rod of Aaron, though cut off and dead, budded, without the scent of waters, and though under a roof, sprouted forth into blossoms as in the fields; and though set in dry places, yielded in one night the flowers and fruit of plants watered for many years. Did Aaron’s rod rise, as it were, from the dead, and shall not Aaron himself be raised? And did God work wonders in wood, to secure to him the high-priesthood, and will He not vouchsafe a resurrection to Aaron himself? A woman also was made salt contrary to nature; and flesh was turned into salt; and shall not flesh be restored to flesh? Was Lot’s wife made a pillar of salt, and shall not Abraham’s wife be raised again? By what power was Moses’ hand changed, which even within one hour became as snow, and was restored again? Certainly by God’s command. Was then His command of force then, and has it no force now?
13. And whence in the beginning came man into being at all, O ye Samaritans, most senseless of all men? Go to the first book of the Scripture, which even you receive; And God formed man of the dust of the ground. Is dust transformed into flesh, and shall not flesh be again restored to flesh? You must be asked too, whence the heavens had their being, and earth, and seas? Whence sun, and moon, and stars? How from the waters were made the things which fly and swim? And how from earth all its living things? Were so many myriads brought from nothing into being, and shall we men, who bear God’s image, not be raised up? Truly this course is full of unbelief, and the unbelievers are much to be condemned; when Abraham addresses the Lord as the Judge of all the earth, and the learners of the Law disbelieve; when it is written that man is of the earth, and the readers disbelieve it.
14. These questions, therefore, are for them, the unbelievers: but the words of the Prophets are for us who believe. But since some who have also used the Prophets believe not what is written, and allege against us that passage, The ungodly shall not rise up in judgment, and, For if man go down to the grave he shall come up no more, and, The dead shall not praise Thee, O Lord,—for of what is well written, they have made ill use—it will be well in a cursory manner, and as far as is now possible, to meet them. For if it is said, that the ungodly shall not rise up in judgment, this shews that they shall rise, not in judgment, but in condemnation; for God needs not long scrutiny, but close on the resurrection of the ungodly follows also their punishment. And if it is said, The dead shall not praise Thee, O lord, this shews, that since in this life only is the appointed time for repentance and pardon, for which they who enjoy it shall praise the Lord, it remains not after death for them who have died in sins to give praise as the receivers of a blessing, but to bewail themselves; for praise belongs to them who give thanks, but to them who are under the scourge, lamentation. Therefore the just then offer praise; but they who have died in sins have no further season for confession.
15. And respecting that passage, If a man go down to the grave, he shall come up no more, observe what follows, for it is written, He shall come up no more, neither shall he return to his own house. For since the whole world shall pass away, and every house shall be destroyed, how shall he return to his own house, there being henceforth a new and different earth? But they ought to have heard Job, saying, For there is hope of a tree; for if it be cut down, it will sprout again, and the tender branch thereof will not cease. For though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the rocky ground; yet from the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth a crop like a new plant. But man when he dies, is gone; and when mortal man falls, is he no mores? As it were remonstrating and reproving (for thus ought we to read the words is no more with an interrogation); he says since a tree falls and revives shall not man, for whom all trees were made himself revive? And that thou mayest not suppose that I am forcing the words, read what follows; for after saying by way of question, When mortal man falls, is he no more? he says, For if a man die, he shall live again; and immediately he adds, I will wait till I be made again; and again elsewhere, Who shall raise up on the earth my skin, which endures these things. And Esaias the Prophet says, The dead men shall rise again, and they that are in the tombs shall awake. And the Prophet Ezekiel now before us, says most plainly, Behold I will open your graves, and bring you up out of your graves. And Daniel says, Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame.
16. And many Scriptures there are which testify of the Resurrection of the dead; for there are many other sayings on this matter. But now, by way of remembrance only, we will make a passing mention of the raising of Lazarus on the fourth day; and just allude, because of the shortness of the time, to the widow’s son also who was raised, and merely for the sake of reminding you, let me mention the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter, and the rending of the rocks, and how there arose many bodies of the saints which slept, their graves having been opened. But specially be it remembered that Christ has been raised from the dead. I speak but in passing of Elias, and the widow’s son whom he raised; of Elisseus also, who raised the dead twice; once in his lifetime, and once after his death. For when alive he wrought the resurrection by means of his own soul; but that not the souls only of the just might be honoured, but that it might be believed that in the bodies also of the just there lies a power, the corpse which was cast into the sepulchre of Elisseus, when it touched the dead body of the prophet, was quickened, and the dead body of the prophet did the work of the soul, and that which was dead and buried gave life to the dead, and though it gave life. yet continued itself among the dead. Wherefore? Lest if Elisseus should rise again, the work should be ascribed to his soul alone; and to shew, that even though the soul is not present, a virtue resides in the body of the saints, because of the righteous soul which has for so many years dwelt in it, and used it as its minister. And let us not foolishly disbelieve, as though this thing had not happened: for if handkerchiefs and aprons, which are from without, touching the bodies of the diseased, raised up the sick, how much more should the very body of the Prophet raise the dead?
17. And with respect to these instances we might say much, rehearsing in detail the marvellous circumstances of each event: but as you have been already wearied both by the superposed fast of the Preparation, and by the watchings, let what has been cursorily spoken concerning them suffice for a while; these words having been as it were sown thinly, that you, receiving the seed like richest ground, may in bearing fruit increase them. But be it remembered, that the Apostles also raised the dead; Peter raised Tabitha in Joppa, and Paul raised Eutychus in Troas; and thus did all the other Apostles, even though the wonders wrought by each have not all been written. Further, remember all the sayings in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which Paul wrote against them who said, How are the dead raised, and with what manner of body do they come? And how he says, For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; and how he called them fools, who believed not; and remember the whole of his teaching there concerning the resurrection of the dead, and how he wrote to the Thessalonians, But we would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as the rest which have no hope, and all that follows: but chiefly that, And the dead in Christ shall rise first.
18. But especially mark this, how very pointedly Paul says, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. For this body shall be raised not remaining weak as now; but raised the very same body, though by putting on incorruption it shall be fashioned anew,—as iron blending with fire becomes fire, or rather as He knows how, the Lord who raises us. This body therefore shall be raised, but it shall abide not such as it now is, but an eternal body; no longer needing for its life such nourishment as now, nor stairs for its ascent, for it shall be made spiritual, a marvellous thing, such as we cannot worthily speak of. Then, it is said. shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, and the moon, and as the brightness of the firmament(. And God, fore-knowing men’s unbelief, has given to little worms in the summer to dart beams of light from their body, that from what is seen, that which is looked for might be believed; for He who gives in part is able to give the whole also, and He who made the worm radiant with light, will much more illuminate a righteous man.
19. We shall be raised therefore, all with our bodies eternal, but not all with bodies alike: for if a man is righteous, he will receive a heavenly body, that he may be able worthily to hold converse with Angels; but if a man is a sinner, he shall receive an eternal body, fitted to endure the penalties of sins, that he may burn eternally in fire, nor ever be consumed. And righteously will God assign this portion to either company; for we do nothing without the body. We blaspheme with the mouth, and with the mouth we pray. With the body we commit fornication, and with the body we keep chastity. With the hand we rob, and by the hand we bestow alms; and the rest in like manner. Since then the body has been our minister in all things, it shall also share with us in the future the fruits of the past.
20. Therefore, brethren, let us be careful of our bodies, nor misuse them as though not our own. Let us not say like the heretics, that this vesture of the body belongs not to us, but let us be careful of it as our own; for we must give account to the Lord of all things done through the body. Say not, none seeth me; think not, that there is no witness of the deed. Human witness oftentimes there is not; but He who fashioned us, an unerring witness, abides faithful in heaven, and beholds what thou doest. And the stains of sin also remain in the body; for as when a wound has gone deep into the body, even if there has been a healing, the scar remains, so sin wounds soul and body, and the marks of its scars remain in all; and they are removed only from those who receive the washing of Baptism. The past wounds therefore of soul and body God heals by Baptism; against future ones let us one and all jointly guard ourselves, that we may keep this vestment of the body pure, and may not for practising fornication and sensual indulgence or any other sin for a short season, lose the salvation of heaven, but may inherit the eternal kingdom of God; of which may God, of His own grace, deem all of you worthy.
21. Thus much in proof of the Resurrection of the dead; and now, let me again recite to you the profession of the faith, and do you with all diligence pronounce it while I speak, and remember it.
22. The Faith which we rehearse contains in order the following, “AND IN ONE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS; AND IN ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH; AND IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE FLESH; AND IN ETERNAL LIFE.” Now of Baptism and repentance I have spoken in the earliest Lectures; and my present remarks concerning the resurrection of the dead have been made with reference to the Article “In the resurrection of the flesh.” Now then let me finish what still remains to be said for the Article, “In one Holy Catholic Church,” on which, though one might say many things, we will speak but briefly.
23. It is called Catholic then because it extends over all the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to men’s knowledge, concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins, which are committed by soul or body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts.
24. And it is rightly named (Ecclesia) because it calls forth and assembles together all men; according as the Lord says in Leviticus, And make an assembly for all the congregation at the door of the tabernacle of witness. And it is to be noted, that the word assemble, is used for the first time in the Scriptures here, at the time when the Lord puts Aaron into the High-priesthood. And in Deuteronomy also the Lord says to Moses, Assemble the people unto Me, and let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me. And he again mentions the name of the Church, when he says concerning the Tables, And an them were written all the wards which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the Assembly; as if he had said more plainly, in the day in which ye were called and gathered together by God. The Psalmist also says, I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, in the great Congregation; I will praise Thee among much people.
25. Of old the Psalmist sang, Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, (ye that are) from the fountains of Israel. But after the Jews for the plots which they made against the Saviour were cast away from His grace, the Saviour built out of the Gentiles a second Holy Church, the Church of us Christians, concerning which he said to Peter, And upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And David prophesying of both these, said plainly of the first which was rejected, l have hated the Congregation of evil doers; but of the second which is built up he says in the same Psalm, Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thine hour; and immediately afterwards. In the Congregations will I bless thee, O Lord. For now that the one Church in Judaea is cast off, the Churches of Christ are increased over all the world; and of them it is said in the Psalms, Sing unto the Lord a new song, His praise in the Congregation of Saints. Agreeably to which the prophet also said to the Jews, I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord Almighty; and immediately afterwards, For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, My name is glorified among the Gentiles. Concerning this Holy Catholic Church Paul writes to Timothy, That thou mayest know haw thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
26. But since the word Ecclesia is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to thee now the Article, “And in one Holy Catholic Church;” that thou mayest avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which thou wast regenerated. And if ever thou art sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord’s House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, and all the rest,) and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all; which before was barren, but now has many children.
27. For when the first Church was cast off, in the second, which is the Catholic Church, God hath set, as Paul says, first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of headings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues, and every sort of virtue, I mean wisdom and understanding, temperance and justice, mercy and loving- kindness, and patience unconquerable in persecutions. She, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, in former days amid persecutions and tribulations crowned the holy martyrs with the varied and blooming chaplets of patience, and now in times of peace by God’s grace receives her due honours from kings and those who are in high place, and from every sort and kindred of men. And while the kings of particular nations have bounds set to their authority, the Holy Church Catholic alone extends her power without limit over the whole world; for God, as it is written, hath made her border peace. But I should need many more hours for my discourse, if I wished to speak of all things which concern her.
28. In this Holy Catholic Church receiving instruction and behaving ourselves virtuously, we shall attain the kingdom of heaven, and inherit ETERNAL LIFE; for which also we endure all toils, that we may be made partakers thereof from the Lord. For ours is no trifling aim, but our endeavour is for eternal life. Wherefore in the profession of the Faith, after the words, “AND IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE FLESH,” that is, of the dead (of which we have discoursed), we are taught to believe also “IN THE LIFE ETERNAL,” for which as Christians we are striving.
29. The real and true life then is the Father, who through the Son in the Holy Spirit pours forth as from a fountain His heavenly gifts to all; and through His love to man, the blessings of the life eternal are promised without fail to us men also. We must not disbelieve the possibility of this, but having an eye not to our own weakness but to His power, we must believe; for with God all things are possible. And that this is possible, and that we may look for eternal life, Daniel declares, And of the many righteous shall they shine as the stars for ever and ever. And Paul says, And so shall we be ever with the Lord: for the being for ever with the lord implies the life eternal. But most plainly of all the Saviour Himself says in the Gospel, And these shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.
30. And many are the proofs concerning the life eternal. And when we desire to gain this eternal life, the sacred Scriptures suggest to us the ways of gaining it; of which, because of the length of our discourse, the texts we now set before you shall be but few, the rest being left to the search of the diligent. They declare at one time that it is by faith; for it is written, He that believeth on the San hath eternal life, and what follows; and again He says Himself, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and the rest. At another time, it is by the preaching of the Gospel; for He says, that He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal. At another time, by martyrdom and confession in Christ’s name; for He says, And he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. And again, by preferring Christ to riches or kindred; And every one that hath forsaken brethren, or sisters, and the rest, shall inherit eternal life. Moreover it is by keeping the commandments, Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, and the rest which follow; as He answered to him that came to Him, and said, Good Master, what shall I do that I may have eternal life? But further, it is by departing from evil works, and henceforth serving God; for Paul says, But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life.
31. And the ways of finding eternal life are many, though I have passed over them by reason of their number. For the Lord in His loving-kindness has opened, not one or two only, but many doors, by which to enter into the life eternal, that, as far as lay in Him, all might enjoy it without hindrance. Thus much have we for the present spoken within compass concerning THE LIFE ETERNAL, which is the last doctrine of those professed in the Faith, and its termination; which life may we all, both teachers and hearers, by God’s grace enjoy!
32. And now, brethren beloved. the word of instruction exhorts you all, to prepare your souls for the reception of the heavenly gifts. As regards the Holy and Apostolic Faith delivered to you to profess, we have spoken through the grace of the Lord as many Lectures, as was possible, in these past days of Lent; not that this is all we ought to have said, for many are the points omitted; and these perchance are thought out better by more excellent teachers. But now the holy day of the Passover is at hand, and ye, beloved in Christ, are to be enlightened by the Laver of regeneration. Ye shall therefore again be taught what is requisite, if God so will; with how great devotion and order you must enter in when summoned, for what purpose each of the holy mysteries of Baptism is performed, and with what reverence and order you must go from Baptism to the Holy Altar of God, and enjoy its spiritual and heavenly mysteries; that your souls being previously enlightened by the word of doctrine, ye may discover in each particular the greatness of the gifts bestowed on you by God.
33. And after Easter’s Holy Day of salvation, ye shall come on each successive day, beginning from the second day of the week, after the assembly into the Holy Place of the Resurrection, and there, if God permit, ye shall hear other Lectures; in which ye shall again be taught the reasons of every thing which has been done, and shall receive the proofs thereof from the Old and New Testaments,—first, of the things done just before Baptism,—next, how ye were cleansed from your sins by the Lord, by the washing of water with the word,—and how like Priests ye have become partakers of the Name of Christ,—and how the Seal of the fellowship of the Holy Ghost was given to you,—and concerning the mysteries at the Altar of the New Testament, which have taken their beginning from this place, both what the Divine Scriptures have delivered to us, and what is the power of these mysteries, and how ye must approach them, and when and how receive them;—and at the end of all, how for the time to come ye must behave yourselves worthily of this grace both in words and deeds, that you may all be enabled to enjoy the life everlasting. And these things shall be spoken, if it be God’s pleasure.
34. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord alway; again I will say, Rejoice: for your redemption hath drawn nigh, and the heavenly host of the Angels is waiting for your salvation. And there is now the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord; and the Prophet cries, Ho, ye that thirst, come ye to the water; and immediately afterwards, Hearken unto me, and ye shall eat that which is good, and your soul shall delight itself good things. And within a little while ye shall hear that excellent lesson which says, Shine, shine, O thou new Jerusalem; for thy light is come. Of this Jerusalem the prophet hath said, And afterwards thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, Zion, the faithful mother of cities; because of the law which went forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, which word has from hence been showered forth on the whole world. To her the Prophet also says concerning you, Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold thy children gathered together; and she answers, saying, Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves with their young ones to me? (clouds. because of their spiritual nature, and doves, from their purity). And again, she says, Who knoweth such things? or who hath seen it thus? did ever a land bring forth in one day? or was ever a nation barn all at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. And all things shall be filled with joy unspeakable because of the Lord who said, Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy .
35. And may these words be spoken now again over you also, Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth; and then; for the Lord hath had mercy on His people, and comforted the lowly of His people. And this shall come to pass through the loving-kindness of God, who says to you, Behold, I will blot out as a cloud thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud thy sins. But ye who have been counted worthy of the name of Faithful (of whom it is written, Upon My servants shall be called a new name which shall be blessed on the earth,) ye shall say with gladness, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: in whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins. according to the riches of His grace, wherein He abounded towards us, and what follows; and again, But God being rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, when we were dead through our trespasses, quickened us together with Christ, and the rest. And again in like manner praise ye the Lord of all good things, saying, But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and His love towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we had done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by His grace, we might be made heirs, according to hope, of eternal life. And may God Himself the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Himself, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, and may He ever keep you in good works, and words, and thoughts; to Whom be glory, honour, and power, through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Ghost, now and ever, and unto all the endless ages of eternity. Amen.
FIVE CATECHETICAL LECTURES
OF THE SAME AUTHOR,
TO THE NEWLY BAPTIZED.
FIRST LECTURE ON THE MYSTERIES.
With a lesson from the First General Epistle of Peter, beginning at Be sober, be vigilant, to the end of the Epistle.
1. I HAVE long been wishing, O true-born and dearly beloved children of the Church, to discourse to you concerning these spiritual and heavenly Mysteries; but since I well knew that seeing is far more persuasive than hearing, I waited for the present season; that finding you more open to the influence of my words from your present experience, I might lead you by the hand into the brighter and more fragrant meadow of the Paradise before us; especially as ye have been made fit to receive the more sacred Mysteries, after having been found worthy of divine and life-giving Baptism. Since therefore it remains to set before you a table of the more perfect instructions, let us now teach you these things exactly, that ye may know the effect wrought upon you on that evening of your baptism.
2. First ye entered into the vestibule of the Baptistery, and there facing towards the West ye listened to the command to stretch forth your hand, and as in the presence of Satan ye renounced him. Now ye must know that this figure is found in ancient history. For when Pharaoh, that most bitter and cruel tyrant, was oppressing the free and high-born people of the Hebrews, God sent Moses to bring them out of the evil bondage of the Egyptians. Then the door posts were anointed with the blood of a lamb, that the destroyer might flee from the houses which had the sign of the blood; and the Hebrew people was marvellously delivered. The enemy, however, after their rescue, pursued after them, and saw the sea wondrously parted for them; nevertheless he went on, following close in their footsteps, and was all at once overwhelmed and engulphed in the Red Sea.
3. Now turn from the old to the new, from the figure to the reality. There we have Moses sent from God to Egypt; here, Christ, sent forth from His Father into the world: there, that Moses might lead forth an afflicted people out of Egypt; here, that Christ might rescue those who are oppressed in the world under sin: there, the blood of a lamb was the spell against the destroyer; here, the blood of the Lamb without blemish Jesus Christ is made the charm to scare evil spirits: there, the tyrant was pursuing that ancient people even to the sea; and here the daring and shameless spirit, the author of evil, was following thee even to the very streams of salvation. The tyrant of old was drowned in the sea; and this present one disappears in the water of salvation.
4. But nevertheless thou art bidden to say, with arm outstretched towards him as though he were present, “I renounce thee, Satan.” I wish also to say wherefore ye stand facing to the West; for it is necessary. Since the West is the region of sensible darkness, and he being darkness has his dominion also in darkness, therefore, looking with a symbolical meaning towards the West, ye renounce that dark and gloomy potentate. What then did each of you stand up and say? “I renounce thee, Satan,”—thou wicked and most cruel tyrant! meaning, “I fear thy might no longer; for that Christ hath overthrown, having partaken with me of flesh and blood, that through these He might by death destroy death, that I might not be made subject to bondage for ever.” “I renounce thee,”—thou crafty and most subtle serpent. “I renounce thee,”—plotter as thou an, who under the guise of friendship didst contrive all disobedience, and work apostasy in our first parents. “I renounce thee, Satan,”—the artificer and abettor of all wickedness.
5. Then in a second sentence thou art taught to say, “and all thy works.” Now the works of Satan are all sin, which also thou must renounce;- -just as one who has escaped a tyrant has surely escaped his weapons also. All sin therefore, of every kind, is included in the works of the devil. Only know this; that all that thou sayest, especially at that most thrilling hour, is written in God’s books; when therefore thou doest any tiring contrary to these promises, thou shalt be judged as a transgressor. Thou renouncest therefore the works of Satan; I mean, all deeds and thoughts which are contrary to reason.
6. Then thou sayest, “And all his pomp.” Now the pomp of the devil is the madness of theatres, and horse-races, and hunting, and all such vanity: from which that holy man praying to be delivered says unto God, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity. Be not interested in the madness of the theatre, where thou wilt behold the wanton gestures of the players, carried on with mockeries and all unseemliness, and the frantic dancing of effeminate men;—nor in the madness of them who in hunts expose themselves to wild beasts, that they may pamper their miserable appetite; who, to serve their belly with meats, become themselves in reality meat for the belly of untamed beasts; and to speak justly, for the sake of their own god, their belly, they cast away their life headlong in single combats. Shun also horse-races that frantic and soul-subverting spectacle. For all these are the pomp of the devil.
7. Moreover, the things which are hung up at idol festivals, either meat or bread, or other such things polluted by the invocation of the unclean spirits, are reckoned in the pomp of the devil. For as the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist before the invocation of the Holy and Adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, while after the invocation the Bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ, so in like manner such meats belonging to the pomp of Satan, though in their own nature simple, become profane by the invocation of the evil spirit.
8. After this thou sayest. “and all thy service.” Now the service of the devil is prayer in idol temples; things done in honour of lifeless idols; the lighting of lamps, or burning of incense by fountains or rivers, as some persons cheated by dreams or by evil spirits do [resort to this], thinking to find a cure even for their bodily ailments. Go not after such things. The watching of birds, divination, omens, or amulets, or charms written on leaves, sorceries, or other evil arts, and all such things, are services of the devil; therefore shun them. For if after renouncing Satan and associating thyself with Christ, thou fall under their influence, thou shall find the tyrant more bitter; perchance, because he treated thee of old as his own, and relieved thee from his hard bondage, but has now been greatly exasperated by thee; so thou wilt be bereaved of Christ, and have experience of the other. Hast thou not heard the old history which tells us of Lot and his daughters? Was not he himself saved with his daughters, when he had gained the mountain, while his wife became a pillar of salt, set up as a monument for ever, in remembrance of her depraved will and her turning back. Take heed therefore to thyself, and turn not again to what is behind, having put thine hand to the plough, and then turning back to the salt savour of this life’s doings; but escape to the mountain, to Jesus Christ. that stone hewn without hands, which has filled the world.
9. When therefore thou renouncest Satan, utterly breaking all thy covenant with him, that ancient league with hell, there is opened to thee the paradise of God, which He planted towards the East, whence for his transgression our first father was banished; and a symbol of this was thy turning from West to East, the place of lights. Then thou weft told to say, “I believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and in one Baptism of repentance .” Of which things we spoke to thee at length in the former Lectures, as God’s grace allowed us.
10. Guarded therefore by these discourses, be sober. For our adversary the devil, as was just now read, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. But though in former times death was mighty and devoured, at the holy Layer of regeneration God has wiped away every tear from off all faces. For thou shalt no more mourn, now that thou hast put off the old man; but thou shall keep holy-day, clothed in the garment of salvation, even Jesus Christ.
11. And these things were done in the outer chamber. But if God will, when in the succeeding lectures on the Mysteries we have entered into the Holy of Holies, we shall there know the symbolical meaning of the things which are there performed. Now to God the Father, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, be glory, and power, and majesty, forever and ever. Amen.
(ON THE MYSTERIES. II.)
ROMANS vi. 3—14. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? &’c. …. for ye are not under the Law, but under grace.
1. THESE daily introductions into the Mysteries, and new instructions, which are the announcements of new truths, are profitable to us; and most of all to you, who have been renewed from an old state to a new. Therefore, I shall necessarily lay before you the sequel of yesterday’s Lecture, that ye may learn of what those things, which were done by you in the inner chamber, were symbolical.
2. As soon, then, as ye entered, ye put off your tunic; and this was an image of putting off the old man with his deeds. Having stripped yourselves, ye were naked; in this also imitating Christ, who was stripped naked on the Cross, and by His nakedness put off from Himself the principalities and powers, and openly triumphed over them on the tree. For since the adverse powers made their lair in your members, ye may no longer wear that old garment; I do not at all mean this visible one, but the aid man, which waxeth corrupt in the lusts of deceit. May the soul which has once put him off, never again put him on, but say with the Spouse of Christ in the Song of Songs, I have put off my garment, how shall I put it on? O wondrous thing! ye were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed; for truly ye bore the likeness of the first-formed Adam, who was naked in the garden, and was not ashamed.
3. Then, when ye were stripped, ye were anointed with exorcised oil, from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were made partakers of the good olive-tree, Jesus Christ. For ye were cut off from the wild olive- tree, and grafted into the good one, and were made to share the fatness of the true olive-tree. The exorcised oil therefore was a symbol of the participation of the fatness of Christ, being a charm to drive away every trace of hostile influence. For as the breathing of the saints, and the invocation of the Name of God, like fiercest flame, scorch and drive out evil spirits, so also this exorcised oil receives such virtue by the invocation of God and by prayer, as not only to burn and cleanse away the traces of sins, but also to chase away all the invisible powers of the evil one.
4. After these things, ye were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried from the Cross to the Sepulchre which is before our eyes And each of you was asked, whether he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and ye made that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and ascended again; here also hinting by a symbol at the three days burial of Christ. For as our Saviour passed three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, so you also in your first ascent out of the water, represented the first day of Christ in the earth, and by your descent, the night; for as he who is in the night, no longer sees, but he who is in the day, remains in the light, so in the descent, as in the night, ye saw nothing, but in ascending again ye were as in the day. And at the self-same moment ye were both dying and being born; and that Water of salvation was at once your grave and your mother. And what Solomon spoke of others will suit you also; for he said, in that case, There is a time to bear and a time to die; but to you, in the reverse order, there was a time to die and a time to be born; and one and the same time effected both of these, and your birth went hand in hand with your death.
5. O strange and inconceivable thing! we did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again; but our imitation was in a figure, and our salvation in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things He has freely bestowed upon us, that we, sharing His sufferings by imitation, might gain salvation in reality. O surpassing loving-kindness! Christ received nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and suffered anguish; while on me without pain or toil by the fellowship of His suffering He freely bestows salvation.
6. Let no one then suppose that Baptism is merely the grace of remission of sins, or further, that of adoption; as John’s was a baptism conferring only remission of sins: whereas we know full well, that as it purges our sins, and ministers to us the gift of the Holy Ghost, so also it is the counterpart of the sufferings of Christ. For this cause Paul just now cried aloud and said, Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into His death. These words he spoke to some who were disposed to think that Baptism ministers to us the remission of sins, and adoption, but has not further the fellowship also, by representation, of Christ’s true sufferings.
7. In order therefore that we might learn, that whatsoever things Christ endured, FOR US AND FOR OUR SALVATION He suffered them in reality and not in appearance, and that we also are made partakers of His sufferings, Paul cried with all exactness of truth, For if we have been planted together with the likeness of His death, we shall be also with the likeness of His resurrection. Well has he said, planted together(. For since the true Vine was planted in this place, we also by partaking in the Baptism of death have been planted together with Him. And fix thy mind with much attention on the words of the Apostle. He said not, “For if we have been planted together with His death,” but, with the likeness of His death. For in Christ’s case there was death in reality, for His soul was really separated from His body, and real burial, for His holy body was wrapt in pure linen; and everything happened really to Him; but in your ease there was only a likeness of death and sufferings, whereas of salvation there was not a likeness but a reality.
8. Having been sufficiently instructed in these things, keep them, I beseech you, in your remembrance; that I also, unworthy though I be, may say of you, Now I love you, because ye always remember me, and hold fast the traditions, which I delivered unto you. And God, who has presented you as if were alive from the dead, is able to grant unto you to walk in newness of life: because His is the glory and the power, now and for ever. Amen.
(ON THE MYSTERIES. III.)
1 JOHN ii. 20—28. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, &c. …. that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
1. HAVING been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ, ye have been made comformable to the Son of God; for God having foreordained us unto adoption as sons, made us to be conformed to the body of Christ’s glory. Having therefore become partakers of Christ, ye are properly called Christs, and of you God said, Touch not My Christs, or anointed. Now ye have been made Christs, by receiving the antitype of the Holy Ghost; and all things have been wrought in you by imitation, because ye are images of Christ. He washed in the river Jordan, and having imparted of the fragrance of His Godhead to the waters, He came up from them; and the Holy Ghost in the fulness of His being lighted on Him, like resting upon like(. And to you in like manner, after you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, there was given an Unction, the anti-type of that wherewith Christ was anointed; and this is the Holy Ghost; of whom also the blessed Esaias, in his prophecy respecting Him, said in the person of the Lord, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. because He hath anointed Me: He hath sent Me to preach glad tidings to the poor.
2. For Christ was not anointed by men with oil or material ointment, but the Father having before appointed Him to be the Saviour of the whole world, anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, as Peter says, Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Ghosts David also the Prophet cried, saying, Thy throne, O God, is far ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom; Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God even Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. And as Christ was in reality crucified, and buried, and raised, and you are in Baptism accounted worthy of being crucified, buried, and raised together with Him in a likeness, so is it with the unction also. As He was anointed with an ideals oil of gladness, that is, with the Holy Ghost, called oil of gladness, because He is the author of spiritual gladness, so ye were anointed with ointment, having been made partakers and fellows of Christ.
3. But beware of supposing this to be plait ointment. For as the Bread of the Eucharist. after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but the Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after invocation, but it is Christ’s gift of grace, and, by the advent of the Holy Ghost, is made fit to impart His Divine Nature. Which ointment is symbolically applied to thy forehead and thy other senses; and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit.
4. And ye were first anointed on the forehead, that ye might be delivered from the shame, which the first man who transgressed bore about with him everywhere; and that with unveiled face ye might reflect as a mirror the glory of the Lord. Then on your ears; that ye might receive the ears which are quick to hear the Divine Mysteries, of which Esaias said, The Lord gave me also an ear to hear; and the Lord Jesus in the Gospel, He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Then on the nostrils; that receiving the sacred ointment ye may say, We are to God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved. Afterwards on your breast; that having put on the breast-plate of righteousness, ye may stand against the wiles of the devil. For as Christ after His Baptism, and the visitation of the Holy Ghost, went forth and vanquished the adversary, so likewise ye, after Holy Baptism and the Mystical Chrism, having put on the whole armour of the Holy Ghost, are to stand against the power of the adversary, and vanquish it, saying, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
5. Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians.
6. Moreover, you should know that in the old Scripture there lies the symbol of this Chrism. For what time Moses imparted to his brother the command of God, and made him High-priest, after bathing in water, he anointed him; and Aaron was called Christ or Anointed, evidently from the typical Chrism. So also the High-priest, in advancing Solomon to the kingdom, anointed him after he had bathed in Gihon. To them however these things happened in a figure, but to you not in a figure, but in truth; because ye were truly anointed by the Holy Ghost. Christ is the beginning of your salvation; for He is truly the First-fruit, and ye the mass; but if the First-fruit be holy, it is manifest that Its holiness will pass to the mass also.
7. Keep This unspotted: for it shall teach you all things, if it abide in you, as you have just heard declared by the blessed John, discoursing much concerning this Unction. For this holy thing is a spiritual safeguard of the body, and salvation of the soul. Of this the blessed Esaias prophesying of old time said, And on this mountain,—(now he calls the Church a mountain elsewhere also, as when he says, In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be manifest;)—on this mountain shall the Lord make unto all nations a feast; they shall drink wine, they shall drink gladness, they shall anoint themselves with ointment. And that he may make thee sure, hear what he says of this ointment as being mystical; Deliver all these things to the nations, for the counsel of the Lord is unto all nations. Having been anointed, therefore, with this holy ointment, keep it unspotted and unblemished in you, pressing forward by good works, and being made well-pleasing to the Captain of your salvation, Christ Jesus, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(ON THE MYSTERIES. IV.)
ON THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.
1 COR. xi. 23. I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, how that the Lord Jesus, in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, etc.
1. Even of itself the teaching of the Blessed Paul is sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, of which having been deemed worthy, ye are become of the same bad and blood with Christ. For you have just heard him say distinctly, That our Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He brake it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, lie said, Take, drink, this is My Bloods. Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?
2. He once in Cana of Galilee, turned the water into wine, akin to blood, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood? When called to a bodily marriage, He miraculously wrought s that wonderful work; and on the children of the bride-chamber, shall He not much rather be acknowledged to have bestowed the fruition of His Body and Blood?
3. Wherefore with full assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mayest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are distributed through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we became partakers of the divine nature.
4. Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said, Except ye eat My flesh and drink My blood, ye have no life in you. They not having heard His saying in a spiritual sense were offended, and went back, supposing that He was inviting them to eat flesh.
5. In the Old Testament also there was shew-bread; but this, as it belonged to the Old Testament, has come to an end; but in the New Testament there is Bread of heaven, and a Cup of salvation, sanctifying soul and body; for as the Bread corresponds to our body, so is the Word appropriate to our soul.
6. Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to thee, yet let faith establish thee. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to thee.
7. Also the blessed David shall advise thee the meaning of this, saying, Thou hast prepared a table before me in the presence of them that afflict me. What he says, is to this effect: Before Thy coming, the evil spirits prepared a table for men, polluted and defiled and full of devilish influence; but since Thy coming. O Lord, Thou hast prepared a table before me. When the man says to God, Thou hast prepared before me a table, what other does he indicate but that mystical and spiritual Table, which God hath prepared for us over against, that is, contrary and in opposition to the evil spirits? And very truly; for that had communion with devils, but this, with God. Thou hast anointed my head with oil. With oil He anointed thine head upon thy forehead, for the seal which thou hast of God; that thou mayest be made the engraving of the signet, Holiness unto God. And thy cup intoxicateth me, as very strong. Thou seest that cup here spoken of, which Jesus took in His hands, and gave thanks, and said, This is My blood, which is shed far many for the remission of sins.
8. Therefore Solomon also, hinting at this grace, says in Ecclesiastes, Come hither, eat thy bread with joy (that is, the spiritual bread; Came hither, he calls with the call to salvation and blessing), and drink thy wine with a merry heart (that is, the spiritual wine); and let oil be poured out upon thy head (thou sees he alludes even to the mystic Chrism); and let thy garments be always white, far the Lord is well pleased with thy works; for before thou camest to Baptism, thy works were vanity of vanities. But now, having put off thy old garments, and put on those which are spiritually white, thou must be continually robed in white: of course we mean not this, that thou art always to wear white raiment; but thou must be clad in the garments that are truly white and shining and spiritual, that thou mayest say with the blessed Esaias, My soul shall be joyful in my God; far He hath clothed me with a garment of salvation, and put a robe of gladness around me.
9. Having learn these things, and been fully assured that the seeming bread is not bread, though sensible to taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the seeming wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, And bread strengtheneth man’s heart, to make his face to shine with oil, “strengthen thou thine heart,” by partaking thereof as spiritual, and “make the face of thy soul to shine.” And so having it unveiled with a pure conscience, mayest thou reflect as a mirror the glory of the Lord, and proceed from glory to glory, in Christ Jesus our Lord:—To whom be honour, and might, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
(ON THE MYSTERIES. V.)
ON THE SACRED LITURGY AND COMMUNION.
1 PET. ii. 1. Wherefore putting away all filthiness, and all guile, and evil speaking, &c.
1. By the loving-kindness of God ye have heard sufficiently at our former meetings concerning Baptism, and Chrism, and partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ; and now it is necessary to pass on to what is next in order, meaning to-day to set the crown on the spiritual building of your edification.
2. Ye have seen then the Deacon who gives to the Priest water to wash, and to the Presbyters who stand round God’s altar. He gave it not at all because of bodily defilement; it is not that; for we did not enter the Church at first with defiled bodies. But the washing of hands is a symbol that ye ought to be pure from all sinful and unlawful deeds; for since the hands are a symbol of action, by washing them, it is evident, we represent the purity and blamelessness of our conduct. Didst thou not hear the blessed David opening this very mystery, and saying, I wall wash my hands in innocency, and so will compass Thine Altar, O Lord? The washing therefore of hands is a symbol of immunity from sin.
3. Then the Deacon cries aloud, “Receive ye one another; and let us kiss one another.” Think not that this kiss is of the same character with those given in public by common friends. It is not such: but this kiss blends souls one with another, and courts entire forgiveness for them. The kiss therefore is the sign that our souls are mingled together, and banish all remembrance of wrongs. For this cause Christ said, If thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against time, leave there thy gift upon the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. The kiss therefore is reconciliation, and for this reason holy: as the blessed Paul somewhere cried, saying, Greet ye one another with a holy kiss; and Peter, with a kiss of charity.
4. After this the Priest cries aloud, “Lift up your hearts.” For truly ought we in that most awful hour to have our heart on high with God, and not below, thinking of earth and earthly things. In effect therefore the Priest bids all in that hour to dismiss all cares of this life, or household anxieties, and to have their heart in heaven with the merciful God. Then ye answer, “We lift them up unto the Lord:” assenting to it, by your avowal. But let no one come here, who could say with his mouth, “We lift up our hearts unto the Lord,” but in his thoughts have his mind concerned with the cares of this life At all times, rather, God should be in our memory but if this is impossible by reason of human infirmity, in that hour above all this should be our earnest endeavour.
5. Then the Priest says, “Let us give thanks unto the Lord.” For verily we are bound to give thanks, that He called us, unworthy as we were, to so great grace; that He reconciled us when we were His foes; that He vouch- safed to us the Spirit of adoption. Then ye say, “It is meet and right:” for in giving thanks we do a meet thing and a right; but He did not right, but more than right, in doing us good, and counting us meet for such great benefits.
6. After this, we make mention of heaven. and earth, and sea; of sun and moon; of stars and all the creation, rational and irrational, visible and invisible; of Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, Thrones; of the Cherubim with many faces: in effect repeating that call of David’s Magnify the Lord with me. We make mention also of the Seraphim, whom Esaias in the Holy Spirit saw standing around the throne of God, and with two of their wings veiling their face, and with twain their feet, while with twain they did fly, crying Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Sabaoth. For the reason of our reciting this confession of God, delivered down to us from the Seraphim, is this, that so we may be partakers with the hosts of the world above in their Hymn of praise.
7. Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ; for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed.
8. Then, after the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless service, is completed, over that sacrifice of propitiation we entreat God for the common peace of the Churches, for the welfare of the world; for kings; for soldiers and allies; for the sick; for the afflicted; and, in a word, for all who stand in need of succour we all pray and offer this sacrifice.
9. Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is set forth.
10. And I wish to persuade you by an illustration. For I know that many say, what is a soul profited, which departs from this world either with sins, or without sins, if it be commemorated in the prayer? For if a king were to banish certain who had given him of-fence, and then those who belong to them should weave a crown and offer it to him on behalf of those under punishment, would he not grant a remission of their penalties? In the same way we, when we offer to Him our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners, weave no crown, but offer up Christ sacrificed for our sins, propitiating our merciful God for them as well as for ourselves.
11. Then, after these things, we say that Prayer which the Saviour delivered to His own disciples, with a pure conscience entitling God our Father, and saying, Our Father, which art in heaven. O most surpassing loving-kindness of God! On them who revolted from Him and were in the very extreme at misery has He bestowed such a complete forgiveness of evil deeds, and so great participation of grace, as that they should even call Him Father. Our Father, which art in heaven; and they also are a heaven who bear the image of the heavenly, in whom is God, dwelling and walking in them.
12. Hollowed be Thy Name. The Name of God is in its nature holy, whether we say so or not; but since it is sometimes profaned among sinners, according to the words, Through you My Name is continually blasphemed among the Gentiles, we pray that in us God’s Name may be hollowed; not that it comes to be holy from not being holy, but because it becomes holy in us, when we are made holy, and do things worthy of holiness.
13. Thy kingdom come. A pure soul can say with boldness, Thy kingdom come; for he who has heard Paul saying, Let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body, and has cleansed himself in deed, and thought, and word, will say to God, Thy kingdom come.
14. Thy will be done as in heaven so an earth. God’s divine and blessed Angels do the will of God, as David said in the Psalm, Bless the Lord, all ye Angels of His, mighty in strength, that do His pleasure. So then in effect thou meanest this by thy prayer, “as in the Angels Thy will is done, so likewise be it done on earth in me, O Lord.”
15. Give us this day our substantial bread. This common bread is not substantial bread, but this Holy Bread is substantial, that is, appointed for the substance of the soul. For this Bread goeth not into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but is distributed into thy whole system for the benefit of body and soul. But by this day, he means, “each day,” as also Paul said, While it is called to-day.
16. And forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. For we have many sins. For we offend both in word and in thought, and very many things we do worthy of condemnation; and if we say that we have no sin, we lie, as John says . And we make a covenant with God, entreating. Him to forgive us our sins, as we also forgive our neighbours their debts. Considering then what we receive and in return for what, let us not put off nor delay to forgive one another. The offences committed against us are slight and trivial, and easily settled; but those which we have committed against God are great, and need such mercy as His only is. Take heed therefore, lest for the slight and trivial sins against thee thou shut out for thyself forgiveness from God for thy very grievous sins.
17. And lead us not into temptation, O Lord. Is this then what the Lord teaches us to pray, that we may not be tempted at all? How then is it said elsewhere, “a man untempted, is a man unproved;” and again, My brethren, count it all joy when ye fail into divers temptations? But does perchance the entering into temptation mean the being overwhelmed by the temptation? For temptation is, as it were, like a winter torrent difficult to cross. Those therefore who are not overwhelmed in temptations, pass through, shewing themselves excellent swimmers, and not being swept away by them at all; while those who are not such, enter into them and are overwhelmed. As for example, Judas having entered into the temptation of the love of money, swam not through it, but was overwhelmed and was strangled both in body and spirit. Peter entered into the temptation of the denial; but having entered, he was not overwhelmed by it, but manfully swam through it, and was delivered from the temptation. Listen again, in another place, to a company of unscathed saints, giving thanks for deliverance from temptation, Thou, O God hast prayed us; Thou hast tried us by, fire like as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou layedst afflictions upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; and thou broughtest us out into a place of rest. Thou seest them speaking boldly in regard to their having passed through and not been pierced. But Thou broughtest us out into a place of rest; now their coming into a place of rest is their being delivered from temptation.
18. But deliver us from the evil. If Lead us not into temptation implied the not being tempted at all, He would not have said, But deliver us from the evil. Now evil is our adversary the devil, from whom we pray to be delivered. Then after completing the prayer thou sayest, Amen; by this Amen, which means “So be it,” setting thy seal to the petitions of the divinely-taught prayer.
19. After this the Priest says, “Holy things to holy men.” Holy are the gifts presented, having received the visitation of the Holy Ghost; holy are ye also, having been deemed worthy of the Holy Ghost; the holy things therefore correspond to the holy persons. Then ye say, “One is Holy, One is the Lord, Jesus Christ.” For One is truly holy, by nature holy; we too are holy, but not by nature, only by participation, and discipline, and prayer.
20. After this ye hear the chanter inviting you with a sacred melody to the communion of the Holy Mysteries, and saying, O taste and see that the Lord is good. Trust not the judgment to thy bodily palate no, but to faith unfaltering; for they who taste are bidden to taste, not bread and wine, but the anti-typical Body and Blood of Christ.
21. In approaching therefore, come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hollowed thine eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members. For tell me, if any one gave thee grains of gold, wouldest thou not hold them with all carefulness, being on thy guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Wilt thou not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from thee of what is more precious than gold and precious stones?
22. Then after thou hast partaken of the Body of Christ, draw near also to the Cup of His Blood; not stretching forth thine hands, but bending, and saying with an air of worship and reverence, Amen, hallow thyself by partaking also of the Blood of Christ. And while the moisture is still upon thy lips, touch it with thine hands, and hallow thine eyes and brow and the other organs of sense. Then wait for the prayer, and give thanks unto God, who hath accounted thee worthy of so great mysteries.
23. Hold fast these traditions undefiled and, keep yourselves free from offence. Sever not yourselves from the Communion; deprive not yourselves, through the pollution of sins, of these Holy and Spiritual Mysteries. And the God of peace sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit, and soul, and body be preserved entire without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:—To whom be glory and honour and might, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
[The Oxford translation of Mr. Church, then fellow of Oriel College; revised by Edward Hamilton Gifford, D.D., formerly Archdeacon of London, and Canon of S. Paul’s.]
Johane ANTONIO NguluwePosted at 13:19h, 12 March
You have interesting articles
Dr. Marcellino D'AmbrosioPosted at 17:05h, 28 March
Thanks much! Glad you find them helpful!