{476}

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Chapter 29. Texts explained; twelfthly, Matthew xxvi. 39; John xii. 27. &c.

Arian inferences are against the Regula Fidei, as before. He wept and
the like, as man. Other texts prove Him God. God could not fear. He
feared because His flesh feared.

54.

1. THEREFORE as, when the flesh advanced, He is said to have advanced, because the body was proper [Note 1] to Him, so also what is said at the season of His death, that He was troubled, that He wept, must be taken in the same sense [Note 2]. For they, going up and down [Note 3], as if thereby recommending their heresy anew, allege; "Behold, He wept [John xi. 35.], and said, Now is My soul troubled [John xii. 27.], and He besought that the cup might pass away [Matt. xxvi. 39.]; how then, if He so spoke, is He God, and Word of the Father?" Yea, it is written that He wept, O God's enemies, and that He said, "I am troubled," and on the Cross He said, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, that is, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? [Mark xv. 34.] and He besought that the cup might pass away. Thus certainly it is written; but again I would ask you, (for the same rejoinder must of necessity be made to each of your objections [Note 4],) If the speaker is mere [Note 5] man, let him weep and fear death, as being man; but if He is the Word in flesh [Note 6], (for one must not be reluctant to repeat [Note 4],) whom had He to fear being God? or wherefore should He fear death, who was Himself Life, and was rescuing others from death? or how, whereas He said, "Fear not him that kills the body," [Luke xii. 4.] should He Himself fear him? And how should He who said to Abraham, Fear not, for I am with thee [Gen. xv. 1; xxvi. 24.], and encouraged Moses against Pharaoh [Exod. iv.], and said to the son of Nun, Be strong, and of a good courage [Josh. i. 6.], Himself feel terror before Herod and Pilate? Further, He who succours others against {477} fear, (for the Lord, says Scripture, is on my side, I will not fear what man doeth unto me [Ps. cxviii.],) did He fear governors, mortal men? did He who Himself was come against death, feel terror of death? Is it not both extravagant and irreligious to say that He was terrified at death or hell, whom the keepers of hell's gates [Note 7] saw and shuddered? But if, as you would hold, the Word was in terror, wherefore, when He spoke long before of the conspiracy of the Jews, did He not flee, nay said when actually sought, I am He? for He could have avoided death, as He said, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again; and No one taketh it from Me [John xviii. 5; x. 18.] [Note 8].

55.

2. But these affections were not proper to the nature of the Word, as far as He was Word [Note 9]; but in the flesh which was thus affected was the Word, O Christ's enemies and unthankful Jews! For He said not all this prior to the flesh; but when the Word became flesh, and became man, then is it written that He said this, that is, humanly. Surely He of whom this is written, was He who raised Lazarus from the dead, and made the water wine, and vouchsafed sight to the man born blind, and said, I and My Father are one [John x. 30.]. If then they make His human attributes a ground for grovelling thoughts concerning the Son of God, nay consider Him altogether man from the earth, and not [Note 10] from heaven, wherefore not from His divine works recognise the Word who is in the Father, and henceforward renounce their self-willed [Note 11] irreligion? For they are given to see, how He who did the works, is the same as He who shewed that His body was passible by His permitting [Note A] it to weep and hunger, and to {478} show other properties of a body. For while by means of such He made it known that God, though impassible, had taken a passible flesh; yet from the works He shewed Himself the Word of God, who had afterwards become man, saying, "Though ye believe not Me, beholding Me clad in a human body, yet believe the works, that ye may know that I am in the Father and the Father in Me." [John x. 38; xiv. 10.]And Christ's enemies seem to me to show plain shamelessness and blasphemy; for, when they read I and the Father are one [John x. 30.], they violently distort the sense, and separate the unity of the Father and the Son; but reading of His tears or sweat or sufferings, they do not advert to His body, but on account of these rank in the creation Him by whom the creation was made. What then is left for them to differ from the Jews in? for as the Jews blasphemously ascribed God's works to Beelzebub, so also will these, ranking with the creatures the Lord who wrought those works, undergo the same condemnation as theirs without mercy. 56. But they ought, when they read I and the Father are one, to see in Him the oneness of the Godhead and the propriety of the Father's Substance; and again when they read, He wept and the like, to say that these are proper to the body; especially since on each side they have an intelligible ground, viz. that this is written as of God and that with reference to His manhood. For in the incorporeal, the properties of body had not been, unless He had taken a body corruptible and mortal [Note 12]; for mortal was Holy Mary, from whom was His body. Wherefore of necessity when He was in a body suffering, and weeping, and toiling, these things which are proper to the flesh, are ascribed to Him together with the body. If then He wept and was troubled, it was not the Word, considered as the Word [Note 13], who wept and was troubled, but it was proper to the flesh; and if too He besought that the cup might pass away, it was not the Godhead that was in terror, but this affection too was proper to the manhood. {479}

3. And that the words Why hast Thou forsaken Me? are His, according to the foregoing explanations; though He suffered nothing, (for the Word was impassible,) is notwithstanding declared by the Evangelists; since the Lord became man, and these things are done and said as from a man, that He might Himself lighten [Note 14] these very sufferings of the flesh, and free it from them [Note 15]. Whence neither can the Lord be forsaken by the Father, who is ever in the Father, both before He spoke, and when He uttered these words. Nor is it lawful to say that the Lord was in terror, at whom the keepers of hell's gates shuddered [Note 16] and set open hell, and the graves did gape, and many bodies of the saints arose and appeared to their own people [Note 17]. Therefore be every heretic dumb, nor dare to ascribe terror to the Lord whom death, as a serpent, flees, at whom devils tremble, and the sea is in alarm; for whom the heavens are rent and all the powers are shaken. For behold when He says, Why hast Thou forsaken Me, the Father shewed that He was ever and even then in Him; for the earth knowing its Lord [Note 18] who spoke, straightway trembled, and the veil was rent, and the sun was hidden, and the rocks were torn asunder, and the graves, as I have said, did gape, and the dead in them arose; and, what is wonderful, they who were then present and had before denied Him, then seeing these signs, confessed that truly He was the Son of God [vid. Matt. xxvii. 54.] [Note B].

57.

4. And as to His saying, If it be possible, let the cup pass, observe how, though He thus spake, He rebuked [Note 19] Peter, saying, Thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men [Matt. xvi. 23.]. For He willed [Note C] what He deprecated, for therefore had He come; but His was the willing, (for for it He came,) but the terror belonged to the flesh. Wherefore as man He utters this speech also, and yet both were said by the Same, to shew that He was God, willing in Himself, but when He had become man, having a flesh that was in terror. For the sake of this flesh He combined His own will with human weakness [Note D], that destroying this affection He might in {481} turn make man undaunted in the thought of death. Behold then a thing strange indeed! He to whom Christ's enemies impute words of terror, He by that so-called [Note 20] terror renders men undaunted and fearless. And so the Blessed Apostles after Him from such words of His conceived so great a contempt of death, as not even to care for those who questioned them, but to answer, We ought to obey God rather than men [Acts v. 29.]. And the other Holy Martyrs were so bold, as to think that they were rather passing to life than undergoing death. Is it not extravagant then, to admire the courage of the servants of the Word, yet to say that the Word Himself was in terror, through whom they despised death? But from that most enduring purpose and courage of the Holy Martyrs is shewn, that the Godhead was not in terror, but the Saviour took away our terror. For as He abolished death by death, and by human means all human evils, so by this so-called [Note 20] terror did He remove our terror, and brought about that never more should men fear death. His word and deed go together. For human were the sounds, Let the cup pass, and Why hast Thou forsaken Me? and divine the act whereby the Same did cause the sun to fail and the dead to rise. Again He said humanly, Now is My soul troubled; and He said divinely, I have power to lay down My life, and power to take it again [John xii. 27; x. 18.]. For to be troubled was proper to the flesh, and to have power to lay down His life [Note E] and take it again, {482} when He will, was no property of men but of the Word's power. For man dies, not by his own power, but by necessity of nature and against his will; but the Lord, being Himself immortal, but having a mortal flesh, had power, as God, to become separate from the body and to take it again, when He would. Concerning this too speaks David in the Psalm, Thou shalt not leave My soul in hell, neither shalt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption [Ps. xvi. 11.]. For it beseemed, that the flesh, corruptible as it was, should no longer after its own nature remain mortal, but because of the Word who had put it on, should abide incorruptible. For as He, having come in our body, was conformed [Note 21] to our condition, so we, receiving Him, partake of the immortality that is from Him.

58.

5. Idle then is the excuse for stumbling, and narrow the notions concerning the Word, of these Ario-maniacs, because it is written, He was troubled, and He wept. For they seem not even to have human feeling, if they are thus ignorant of man's nature and properties; which do but make it the greater wonder, that the Word should be in such a suffering flesh, and neither prevented those who were conspiring against Him, nor took vengeance of those who were putting Him to death, though He was able, He who hindered some from dying, and raised others from the dead. And He let His own body suffer, for therefore did He come, as I said before, that in the flesh He might suffer, and thenceforth the flesh might be made impassible and immortal [Note 22], and that, as we have many times said, contumely and other troubles might determine upon Him and come short of others after Him, being by Him annulled utterly; and that henceforth men might for ever abide [Note 23] incorruptible, as a temple of the Word [Note 24]. Had Christ's enemies thus dwelt on these thoughts, and recognised the ecclesiastical scope as an anchor for the faith, they would not have of the faith made shipwreck, nor been so shameless as to resist those who would fain recover them from their fall, and to deem those as enemies who are admonishing them to be religious [Note F].

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Footnotes

A. This our Lord's suspense or permission, at His will, of the operations of His manhood is a great principle in the doctrine of the Incarnation. "That He might give proof of His human nature," says Theophylact, on John xi. 34. "He allowed It to do Its own work, and chides It and rebukes It by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Flesh then, not bearing the rebuke, is troubled and trembles and gets the better of Its grief." And S. Cyril: "When grief began to be stirred in Him, and His sacred flesh was on the verge of tears, He suffers it not to be affected freely, as is our custom, but 'He was vehement ([enebrimesato]) in the Spirit,' that is, He in some way chides His own Flesh in the power of the Holy Ghost; and It, not bearing the movement of the Godhead united to It, trembles, &c. … For this I think is the meaning of 'troubled Himself.'" fragm. in Joan. p. 685. Sensus corporei vigebant sine lege peccati, et veritas affectionum sub moderamine Deitatis et mentis. Leon. Ep. 35, 3. "Thou art troubled against thy will; Christ is troubled, because He willed it. Jesus hungered, yes, but because He willed it; Jesus slept, yes, but because He willed it; Jesus sorrowed, yes, but because He willed it; Jesus died, yes, but because He willed it. It was in his power to be affected so or so, or not to be affected." Aug. in Joan. xlix. 18. vid. infr. p. 481, note E. The Eutychians perverted this doctrine, as if it implied that our Lord was not subject to the laws of human nature; vid. supr. p. 213, note I. and that He suffered merely "by permission of the Word." Leont. ap. Canis. t. 1. p. 563. In like manner Marcion or Manes said that His "flesh appeared from heaven in resemblance, [hos ethelesen]." Athan. contr. Apoll. ii. 3.
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B. Vid. p. 303 init. p. 450, note B. "Each form acts, in communion with the other, those acts which belong to itself; the Word working what is the Word's, and the flesh executing what is of the flesh. One of them is glorious in miracles, the other succumbs to injuries … He is One and the Same, truly Son of God, and truly Son of man … It belongs not to the same nature to weep with pity over a dead friend, and removing the stone of a fourth-day burial, to rouse him to life at the bidding of His voice; or to hang on the wood, and to turn day into night and make the elements shudder; or to be pierced through with nails, and to open the gates of paradise to the faith of the robber, &c." Leo's Tome, (Ep. 28.) 4. "The flesh is of a passible nature, but the Word of an operative ... Neither does the human nature quicken Lazarus, nor does the impassible Power weep over him in the grave; but the tear is proper to the man, and the life to the True Life. Human poverty doth not feed the thousands, nor doth Almighty Power run to the fig-tree. Who is the wearied from His journeying, and who the giver of subsistence to the universe without effort? What is that out-streaming of glory, what that nailed thing? What form is buffetted upon His passion, and what form is glorified from everlasting, &c." Nyssen. contr. Eunom. iv. p. 161. "When He wept dead Lazarus, He wept as a man; but He was more than a man, when He bade the dead shake off his fetters and come forth. He was seen as a man when He hung at the cross, but as more than a man when He unlocked the tombs and raised the dead." Ambros. Epist. i. 46. n. 7. vid. Hil. Trin. x. 48. Also vid. Athan. Sent. D. 9 fin. Serm. Maj. de Fid. 24.
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C. "I say not, perish the thought, that there are two wills in Christ at variance with each other, as you consider, and in opposition; nor at all a will of flesh, or of passion, or evil … But, since it was perfect man that He took on Him, that He might save Him whole, and He is perfect in manhood, therefore we call that sovereign disposal of His orders and commands by the name of the Divine will in Christ, and we understand by human will the intellectual soul's power of willing, given it after the image and likeness of God, and breathed into it by God, when it was made, by means of this power to prefer and to obey, and to do the divine will and the divine orders. If then the soul of Christ was destitute of the power of reason, will, and preference, it is not indeed after the image of God, nor consubstantial with our souls ... and Christ cannot be called perfect in manhood. Christ then, being in the form of God, has according to the Godhead that lordly will which is common in Father and Holy Ghost; and, as having taken the form of a servant, He does also the will of His intellectual and immaculate soul, &c. … Else if this will be taken away, He will according to the Godhead be subject, and fulfil the Father's will as a servant … as if there were two wills in the Godhead of Father and of Son, the Father's that of a Lord, the Son's that of a servant." Anast. Hodeg. i. p. 12.
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D. It is observable that, as elsewhere we have seen Athan. speak of the nature of the Word, and of, not the nature of man as united to Him, but of flesh, humanity, &c. (vid. p. 345, note G.) so here, instead of speaking of two wills, he speaks of the Word's willing and human weakness, terror, &c. In another place he says still more pointedly, "The will was of the Godhead alone; since the whole nature of the Word was manifested in the second Adam's human form and visible flesh." contr. Apoll. ii. 10. Yet elsewhere he distinctly expresses the Catholic view; "When He says, 'Father, if it be possible, &c.' and 'the spirit is willing, &c.' He mentions two wills, the one human, which belongs to the flesh, the other Divine, which belongs to God; for the human, because of the weakness of the flesh, prays against the passion, but His divine will is ready." de Incarn. c. Ar. 21. S. Leo on the same passage begins like Athan. in the text vaguely, but ends, as in Athan.'s second passage, distinctly; "The first request is one of infirmity, the second of power; the first He asked in our [character], the second in His own ... The inferior will gave way to the superior, &c." Serm. 56, 2. vid, a similar passage in Nyssen. Antirrh,. adv. Apol. 32. vid. also 31. An obvious objection may be drawn from such passages, as if the will "of the flesh" were represented as contrary (vid. foregoing note) to the will of the Word. It is remarkable, as Petavius observes, Incarn. ix. 9. that Athan. compares (as in the text) the influence of our Lord's divine will on His human, in the passage from the Incarn. quoted above, to His rebuke of S. Peter, "Get thee behind Me, &c" vid. supr. p. 477, note A. But this is but an analogous instance, not a direct resemblance. The whole of our Lord's prayer is offered by Him as man, because it is a prayer; the first part is not from Him as titan, but the second which corrects it is from Him as God; but the former part is from the sinless infirmity of our nature, the latter from His human will expressing its acquiescence in His Father's, that is, in His Divine Will. "His Will," says S. Greg. Naz. "was not contrary to God, being all deified, [theothen holon]."
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E. This might be taken as an illustration of the ut voluit supr. p. 243, note I. And so the expressions in the Evangelists, "Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit," "He bowed the head," "He gave up the ghost," are taken to imply that His death was His free act. vid. Ambros. in loc. Luc. Hieron. in loc. Matt. also Athan. Serm. Maj. de Fid. 4. It is Catholic doctrine that our Lord, as man, submitted to death of His free will, and not as obeying an express command of the Father. "Who," says S. Chrysostom on John x. 18. "has not power to lay down His own life? for any one who will may kill himself. But He says not this, but how? 'I have power to lay it down in such sense that no one can do it against My will ... I alone have the disposal of My life,' which is not true of us." And still more appositely Theophylact, "It was open to Him not to suffer, not to die; for being without sin, He was not subject to death. If then He had not been willing, He had not been crucified." in Hebr. xii. 2. "Since this punishment is contained in the death of the body, that the soul, because it has deserted God with its will, deserts the body against its will ... the soul of the Mediator proved, how utterly clear of the punishment of sin was its coming to the death of the flesh, in that it did not desert it unwillingly, but because it willed, and when it willed, and as it willed … And this did they specially admire, who were present, says the Gospel, that after that work, in which He set forth a figure of our sin, He forthwith gave up the ghost. For crucified men were commonly tortured by a lingering death ... But He was a wonder, (miraculo fuit,) because He was found dead." August. de Trin. iv. 16.
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F. Thus ends the exposition of texts, which forms the body of these Orations. It is remarkable that he ends as he began, with reference to the ecclesiastical scope, or Regula Fidei, which has so often come under our notice, vid. p. 328, note L. p. 341, note I. as if distinctly to tell us, that Scripture did not so force its meaning on the individual as to dispense with an interpreter, and as if his own deductions were not to be viewed merely in their own logical power, great as that power often is, but as under the authority of the Catholic doctrines which they subserve. Vid. p. 426, n. 14 fin. It is hardly a paradox to say that in patristical works of controversy the conclusion in a certain sense proves the premisses. As then he here speaks of the ecclesiastical scope "as an anchor for the faith;" so supr. p. 233. where the discussion of texts began, he introduces it by saying, in accordance with the above remark, "since they allege the divine oracles and force on them a misinterpretation according to their private sense, it becomes necessary to meet them just so far as to lay claim to these passages, and to shew that they bear an orthodox sense, and that our opponents are in error." Again supr. p. 410. he says, "What is the difficulty, that one must need take such a view of such passages?" He speaks of the [skopos] as a [kanon] or rule of interpretation, supr. . 28. vid. also . 29 init. 35, c. Serap. ii. 7, a. Hence too he speaks of the "ecclesiastical sense," e.g. Orat. i. 44. Serap. iv. 15. and of the [phronema] Orat. ii. 31 init. Decr. 17 fin. In ii. p. 326. supr. he makes the general or Church view of Scripture supersede inquiry into the force of particular illustrations.
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Margin Notes

1. [idioteta].
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2. [dianoiai], p. 437, r. 6. et passim.
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3. [ano kai kato], vid. p. 22, note Y. p. 328, note K.
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4. p. 394, note G.
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5. [psilos].
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6. p. 475, r. 1.
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7. supr. p. 83. infr. p. 479.
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8. p. 431, note E.
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9. p. 291, note L.
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10. [anthropon holon], Orat. iv. 35 fin.
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11. [idian] p. 256, note O.
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12. p. 241-3, note H and I. p. 375, note U. Serm. Maj. de Fid. 9. Tertull. de Carn. Chr. 6.
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13. [hei logos].
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14. pp. 448, 9, notes Z and A.
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15. p. 360, note G.
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16. pp. 83. 477.
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17. vid. Matt. xxvii. 52, 53. similar passage In illud Omn. 2.
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18. [despoten], p. 420, r. 2.
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19. [epetima], p. 457, r. 1. p. 458, note C.
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20. [nomizomenei], vid. Orat. i. 10. c. p. 339, r. 4.
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21. [emimesato].
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22. p. 374, note T.
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23. [diameinosi], p. 380, r. 1.
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24. p. 474, r. 6.
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