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Book IV.

Book IV.

AS we have finished three books with the most certain and the most valuable witnesses, whose truth is substantiated not only by human but also by Divine evidences, they would abundantly suffice to prove our case by Divine authority, especially as the Divine authority of the case itself would be enough for this. But still as the whole mass of the sacred Scriptures is full of these evidences, and where there are so many witnesses, there are so many opinions to be urged-nay where Holy Scripture itself gives its witness so to speak with one Divine mouth-we have thought it well to add some others still, not from any need of confirmation, but because of the supply of material at our disposal; so that anything which might be unnecessary for purposes of defence, might be useful by way of ornamentation. Therefore since in the earlier books we proved the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ while He was in the flesh by the evidence not only of prophets and apostles, but of evangelists and angels as well, let us now show that He who was born in the flesh was God even before His Incarnation; that you may understand by the harmony and concord of the evidences from the sacred Scriptures, that you ought to believe that at His birth in the body He was both God and man, who before His birth was only God, and that He who after He had been brought forth by the Virgin in the body was God, was before His birth from the Virgin, God the Word. Learn then first of all from the Apostle the teacher of the whole world, that He who is without beginning, God, the Son of God, became the Son of man at the end of the world, i.e., in the fulness of the times. For he says: "But when the fulness of the times was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law."1 Tell me then, before the Lord Jesus Christ was born of His mother Mary, had God a Son or had He not? You cannot deny that He had, for never yet was there either a son without a father, or a father without a son: because as a son is so called with reference to a father, so is a father so named with reference to a son.

You see then that when the Apostle says that God sent. His Son, it was His own Son to use the actual words of the Apostle, "His own Son" that God sent. For, since He sent His own Son, it was not some one else's Son that He sent, nor could He send Him at all if He who was sent had no existence. He sent then, he says, "His own Son, made of a woman." Therefore because He sent Him, He sent one who existed: and because He sent His own, it certainly was not another's but His own whom He sent. What then becomes of that argument of yours drawn from this world's subtleties? No one ever yet gave birth to one who had already existed before. For had not the Lord a pro-existence before Mary? Was not the Son of God existent before the daughter of man? In a word did not God Himself exist before man-since certainly there is no man who is not from God. You see then that I do not merely say that Mary gave birth to one who had existed before her, not only, I say, one who had existed before her, but one who was the author of her being, and that in giving birth to her Creator, she became the mother of Him who gave her being: because it was as simple for God to bring about birth for Himself as for man and as easy for Him to arrange that He Himself should be born of mankind, as that a man should be born. For the power of God is not limited in regard to His own Person, as if what was allowable to Him in the case of all others, was not allowable in His own case, and as if He who in the Divine nature could do all things as God, was yet unable in His own Person to become God in man. Setting aside thenand rejecting your foolish and feeble and dull arguments from earthly things, we ought merelyto put credence in straightforward evidenceand the naked truth, and to adapt our faith tothose witnesses of God alone, whom God sent, and in whose person He Himself, so to speak, preached. For it is fight to believe Him in a matter concerning knowledge of Himself, as everything that we know of Him comes from Him Himself, for God could not possibly be known of men, unless He Himself gave us the knowledge of Himself. And so it is right that we should believe everything of Him that we know, from whom comes everything that we know, for if we do not believe Him from whom our knowledge comes, the result will be that we shall know nothing at all, since we refuse to believe Him, through whom our knowledge comes.

And so as it is clear from the above testimony that God sent His own Son, and that He who was ever the Son of God became the Son of man, let us see whether the same Apostle gives any Other testimony of the same sort elsewhere, that the truth which is already clear enough in itself, may be rendered still more clear by the light of a twofold testimony. So then the same Apostle says: "God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh."2 You see that the Apostle certainly did not use these words by chance or at random, as he repeated what he had already said once-for indeed there could not be found in him chance or want of consideration as the fulness of Divine counsel and speech had taken up its abode in him. What then does he say? "God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." He says the same thing again and repeats it, saying, "God sent His own Son." Oh renowned and excellent teacher! for knowing that in this is contained the whole mystery3 of the Catholic faith, in order that it might be believed that the Lord was born in the flesh and that the Son of God was sent into this world, again and again he makes the same proclamation saying, "God sent His own Son." Nor need we wonder that he who was specially sent to preach the coming of God, made this announcement, since even before the law, the giver of the law himself proclaimed it, saying: "I beseech Thee, 0 Lord, provide another whom Thou mayest send," or as it stands still more clearly in the Hebrew text: "I beseech Thee, O Lord, send whom Thou wilt send."4 It is clear that the holy prophet, feeling in himself a yearning for the whole human race, prayed as it were with the voices of all mankind to God the Father that He would send as speedily as possible Him who was to be sent by the Father for the redemption and salvation of all men, when he said, "I beseech Thee, O Lord, send whom Thou wilt send." "God," he therefore says, "sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." Full well, when he says that He was sent in the flesh, does he exclude for Him sin of the flesh: for he says "God sent His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin," in order that we may know that though the flesh was truly taken, yet there was no true sin, and that, as far as the body is concerned, we should understand that there was reality; as far as sin is concerned, only the likeness of sin. Forthough all flesh is sinful, yet He had flesh without sin, and had in Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, while He was in the flesh but He was free from what was truly sin, because He was without sin: and therefore he says: "God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh."

IF you would know how admirably the Apostle preached this, hear how this utterance was put into his mouth; as if from the mouth of God Himself, as the Lord says: "For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."5 For lo, as you see, the Lord Himself affirms that He was sent by God the Father to save mankind. But if you think that it ought to be shown still more clearly, what Son God sent to save men,-though God's own and only begotten can only be one, and when God is said to have sent His Son, He is certainly shown to have sent His only begotten Son,-yet hear the prophet David pointing out with the utmost clearness Him who was sent for the salvation of Men. "He sent," said he, "His Word and healed them."6 Can you twist this so as to refer it to the flesh as if you could say that a mere man was sent by God to heal mankind? You certainly cannot, for the prophet David and all the holy Scriptures would cry out against you, saying, "He sent His Word and healed them." You see then, that the Word was sent to heal men, for though healing was given through Christ, yet the Word of God was in Christ, and healed all things through Christ: and so since Christ and the Word were united in the mystery of the Incarnation, Christ and the Word of God became one Son of God in either substance. And when the Apostle John was anxious to state this clearly, he said "God sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world."7 Do you see how he joined together God and man in an union that cannot be severed? For Christ who was born of Mary is without the slightest doubt called Saviour, as it is said, "For to you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."8 But here he calls the very Word of God, which was sent, a Saviour, saying: "God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world."

And so it is clear that through the mystery of the Word of God joined to man, the Word, which was sent to save men, can be termed Saviour, and the Saviour, who was born in the flesh, can through union with the Word be called the Son of God; and so through the indifferent use of either title, since God is joined to man, whatever is God and man, canbe termed altogether God.9 And so the same Apostle well adds the words: "Whoever believeth that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and the love of God is perfected in him."10 He tells us that he believes, and declares that he is filled with divine love, who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. But he testifies that the Word of God is the Son of God, and thus means us fully to understand that the only begotten Word of God, and Jesus Christ the Son of God are one and the same Person. But do you want to be toldmore fully that,-though Christ according to the flesh was truly born as man of man,-yet in virtue of the ineffable unity of the mystery, by which man was joined to God, there is no separation between Christ and the Word? Hear the gospel of the Lord, or rather hear the Lord Himself saying of Himself:11 "This," says He, "is life eternal, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."12 You heard above that the Word of God was sent to heal mankind: here you are told that He who was sent is Jesus Christ. Separate this, if you can,-though you see that so great is the unity of Christ and the Word, that it was not merely that Christ was united with the Word, but that in virtue of the actual unity [of Person] Christ may even be said to be the Word.

But perhaps you think it a trifle to make this clear: not because it fails in clearness, but because the obscurity of unbelief always causes obscurity even in what is clear. Hear then how the Apostle sums up in a few words this whole mystery of the Lord's unity Person]. "Our one Lord Jesus Christ," he says, "by whom are all things."13 O good Jesus, what weight there is in Thy words! For Thine they are, when spoken of Thee by Thine own. See how much is embraced in the few words of this saying of the Apostle's. "One Lord," says he, "Jesus Christ, by whom are all things." Did he make use of any circumlocution in order to proclaim the truth of this great mystery?14 or did he make a long story of that which he wanted us to grasp? "Our one Lord," he says, "Jesus Christ, by whom are all things." In a plain and short phrase he taught the secret of this great mystery, through this confidence by which he realized that in what refers to God his statements had no need of lengthened arguments, and that the Divinity added faith to his utterances. For the demonstration of facts is enough to confirm what is said, whenever the proof rests on the authority of the speaker. There is then, he says, "one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things." Notice how you read the same thing of the Word of the Father, which you read of Christ. For the gospel tells us that "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made."15 The Apostle says, "By Christ are all things:" the gospel says, "By the Word are all things." Do these sacred utterances contradict each other? Most certainly not. But by Christ, by whom the Apostle said that all things were created, and by the Word, by whom the Evangelist relates that all things were made, we are meant to understand one and the same Person. Hear, I tell you, what the Word of God, Himself God, has said of Himself. "No man," he saith, "hath ascended into heaven, save He who came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven."16 And again He says: "If ye shall see the Son of man ascending where He was before."17 He said that the Son of man was in heaven: He asserted that the Son of man had come down from heaven. What does it mean? Why are you muttering? Deny it, if you can. But do you ask the reason of what is said? However I do not give it you. God has said this. God has spoken this to me: His Word is the best reason. I get rid of arguments and discussions. The Person of the Speaker alone is enough to make me believe. I may not debate about the trustworthiness of what is said, nor discuss it. Why should I question whether what God has said is true, since I ought not to doubt that what God says is true. "No man," He says, "hath ascended into heaven, save He who came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven." Certainly the Word of the Father was ever in heaven: and how did He assert that the Son ofman was ever in heaven? You are then to understand that He showed that He who was ever the Son of God was also the Son of man: when lie asserted that He, who had but recently appeared as the Son of man, was ever in heaven. To this points still mere that other passage in which He testifies that the same Son of man; viz., the Word of God who, as He said, came down from heaven, even at the time when He was speaking on earth, was in heaven. For "no man," He said, "hath ascended into heaven, save He who came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven." Who, I pray you, is this who is speaking? Assuredly it is Christ. But where was He at the moment when He spoke? Assuredly on earth. And how can He assert that He came down from heaven when He was born, and that He was in heaven when He was speaking, or say that He is the same Son of man, when certainly no one but God can come down from heaven, and when He speaks on earth, and certainly cannot be in heaven except through the Infinite nature of God? Consider then this at last, and note that the Son of man is the same Person as the Word of God: for He is the Son of man since He is truly born of man, and the Word of God, since He who speaks on earth abideth ever in heaven. And so when He truly terms Himself the Son of man, it refers to His human birth, while the fact that He never departs from heaven, refers to the Infinite character of His Divine nature. And so the Apostle's teaching is admirably in accordance with those sacred words:("for He that descended," says He, "is the same that ascended also above all heavens, that He might fill all things,"18 ) when He says that He that descended is the same that ascended. But none can descend from heaven except the Word of God: who certainly "being in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross."19 Thus the Word of God descended from heaven: but the Son of man ascended. But He says that the same Person ascended and descended. Thus you see that the Son of man is the same Person as the Word of God.

And so following the guidance of the sacred word we may now say fearlessly and unhesitatingly that the Son of man came down from heaven, and that the Lord of Glory was crucified: because in virtue of the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God became Son of man, and the Lord of Glory was crucified in(the nature of) the Son of man.20 What more is there need of? It would take too long to go into details: for time would fail me, were I to try to examine and explain everything which could be brought to bear on this subject. For one who wished to do this would have to study and read the whole Bible. For what is there which does not bear on this, when all Scripture was written with reference to this? We must then say-as far as can be said-some things briefly and cursorily, and enumerate rather than explain them, and sacrifice some to save the rest, as for this reason it would certainly be well hurriedly to run through some points, lest one should be obliged21 to pass over almost everything in silence. The Saviour then in the gospel says that "the Son of man is come to save what was lost."22 And the Apostle says: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation; that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chid."23 But the Evangelist John also says: "He came unto his own, and His own received Him not."24 You see then that Scripture says in one place that the Son of man, in another Jesus Christ, in another the Word of God came into the world. And so we must hold that the difference is one of title not of fact, and that under the appearance of different names there is but one Power [or Person]. For though at one time we are told that the Son of man, and at another that the Son of God came into the world, but one Person is meant under both names.

For certainly when the evangelist says that He came into the world by whom the world itself was made, and that He was made the Son of man, who is as God the creator of the world, it makes no difference what particular title is used, as God in all cases is meant. For His condescension and will do not interfere with His Divinity, since they the rather prove His Divinity, because whatever He willed came to pass. Therefore also because He willed it, He came into the world; and because He willed it, He was born a man; and because He willed it, He was termed the Son of man. For just as there are so many words, so are they powers belonging to God. The variety of names in Him does not take anything away from the efficacy of His power. Whatever may be the names given Him, in all eases it is one and the same Person. Though there may be some variety in the appearance of His titles, yet there is but a single Divine Person(Majestas) meant by all the names.

But since up to this point we have made use more particularly of the witness, comparatively new, of evangelists and apostles, now let us bring forward the testimony of the old prophets, intermingling at times new things with old, that everybody may see that the holy Scriptures proclaim as it were with one mouth that Christ was to come in the flesh, with a body of His own complete. And so that far-famed and renowned prophet as richly endowed with God's gifts as with his testimony, to whom alone it was given to be sanctified before His birth,25 Jeremiah, says, "This is our Lord, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison with Him. He found out all the way of knowledge and gave it to Jacob His servant and Israel His beloved. Afterwards He was seen upon earth and conversed with men."26 "This is," then, he says, "our God." You see how the prophet points to God as it were with his hand, and indicates Him as it were with his finger. "This is," he says, "our God." Tell me then, who was it that the prophet showed by these signs and tokens to be God? Surely it was not the Father? For what need was there that He should be pointed out, whom all believed that they knew? For even then the Jews were not ignorant of God, for they were living under God's law. But he was clearly aiming at this, that they might come to know the Son of God as God. And so excellently did the Prophet say that He who had found out all knowledge, i.e., had given the law, was to be seen upon earth, i.e., was to come in the flesh, in order that, as the Jews did not doubt that He who had given the law was God, they might recognize that He who was to come in the flesh was God, especially since they heard that He, in whom they believed as God the giver of the law, was to be seen among men by taking upon Him manhood, as He Himself promises His own advent by the prophet: "For I myself that spoke, behold I am here."27 "There shall then," says the Scriptures, "be no other accounted ofin comparison of Him." Beautifully does the prophet here foresee false teaching, and so exclude the interpretations of heretical perverseness. "There shall no other be accounted of in comparison of Him." For He is alone begotten to be God of God: at whose bidding the completion of the universe followed: whose will is the beginning of things: whose empire is the fabric of the world: who spake all things, and they came to pass: commanded all things, and they were created. He then alone it is who spake to the patriarchs, dwelt in the prophets, was conceived by the Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, appeared in the world, lived among men, fastened to the wood of the cross the handwriting of our offences, triumphed in Himself,28 slew by His death the powers that were at enmity and hostile to us; and gave to all men belief in the resurrection, and by the glory of His body put an end to the corruption of man's flesh. You see then that all these belong to the Lord Jesus Christ alone: and therefore no other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him, for He alone is God begotten of God in this glory and unique blessedness. This then is what the prophet's teaching was aiming at; viz., that He might be known by all men to be the only begotten Son of God the Father, and that when they heard that no other was accounted of as God in comparison with the Son, they might confess that there was but one God in the Persons of the Father and the Son. "After this," he said, "He was seen upon earth and conversed with men." You see how plainly this points to the advent and nativity of the Lord. For surely the Father-of whom we read that He can only be seen in the Son-was not seen upon earth, nor born in the flesh, nor conversed with men? Most certainly not. You see then that all this is spoken of the Son of God. For since the prophet said that God should be seen upon earth, and no other but the Son was seen upon earth, it is clear that the prophet said this only of Him, of whom facts afterwards proved that it was spoken. For when He said that God should be seen, He could not say this truly, except of Him who was indeed afterwards seen. But enough of this. Now let us turn to another point. "The labour of Egypt," says the prophet Isaiah, "and the merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabaeans, men of stature, shall come over to thee and shall be thy servants. They shall walk after thee, bound with manacles, and they shall worship thee, and they shall make supplication to thee: for in thee is God, and there is no God beside thee. For thou art our God and we knew thee not, O God of lsrael the Saviour."29 How wonderfully consistent the Holy Scriptures always are! For the first mentioned prophet said, "This is our God," and this one says, "Thou art our God." In the one there is the teaching of Divinity, in the other the confession of men. The one exhibits the character of the Master teaching, the other that of the people confessing. For consider now the prophet Jeremiah daily teaching, as he does, in the church, and saying of the Lord Jesus Christ, "This is our God," what else could the whole Church reply, as it does, than what the other prophet said to the Lord Jesus, "Thou art our God." So that full well could the mention of their past ignorance be joined to their present acknowledgment, in the words of the people: "Thou art our God, and we knew thee not." For well can these who, in times past being taken up with the superstitions of devils did not know God, yet when now converted to the faith say, "Thou art our God, and we knew thee not."

But if you would like to have this proved to you rather from representatives of the Jews, consider the Jewish people when after their unhappy ignorance and wicked persecution they were converted, and acknowledged God here and there, and see whether they could not rightly say, "Thou art our God, and we knew Thee not." But I will add something else, to prove it to you not only from those Jews who confess Him, but also from those who deny Him. For ask those Jews who still continue in their state of unbelief whether they know or believe in God. They will certainly confess that they both know and believe in Him. But on the other band ask them whether they believe in the Son of God. They will at once deny and begin to blaspheme. against Him. You see then that the Prophet said this of Him of whom the Jews have always been ignorant, and whom now they know not; and not of Him whom they imagine that they believe in and confess. And so full well can those, who after having been in ignorance come out of Judaism to the faith, say, "Thou art our God, and we knew Thee not." For rightly do those, who after having been ignorant come to believe, say that they knew not Him in whom up to this time they have not believed, and whom they strive not to know. For it is clear that those who after their previous ignorance come to confess Him, say that formerly they knew Him not, whom up to this time they have ignorantly denied.

"The labour," says he, "of Egypt, and the merchandize of Ethiopia, and the Sabaeans, men of stature shall come over to thee." No one can doubt that in these names of different nations is signified the coming of the nations who were to believe. But you cannot deny that the nations have come over to Christ, for since the name of Christianity has arisen, they have come over to the Lord Jesus Christ not only in faith but actually in name. For since they are called what they really are, that which was the work of faith becomes the token by which they are named. "They shall," he says, "come over to thee and shall be thine: they shall walk after thee bound with manacles." As there are chains of coercion, so too there are chains of love, as the Lord says: "I drew them with chains of love."30 For indeed great are these chains, and chains of ineffable love, for those who are bound with them rejoice in their fetters. Do you want to know whether this is true? Hear how the Apostle Paul exults and rejoices in his chains, when he says: "I therefore a prisoner in the Lord beseech you."31 And again: "I beseech thee, whereas thou art such an one as Paul the aged, and now a prisoner also of Jesus Christ."32 You see how he rejoiced in the dignity of his chains, by the example of which he actually stirred up others. But there can be no doubt that where there is single-minded love of the Lord, there is also single-minded delight in chains worn for the Lord's sake: as it is written: "But the multitude of the believers was of one heart and one soul."33 "And they shall worship thee," he says, "and shall make supplication to thee: for in thee is God, and there is no God beside thee." The Apostle clearly explains the prophet's words, when he says that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself."34 "In Thee then," he says, "is God and there is no God beside thee." When the prophet says "In Thee is God," most admirably does he point not merely to Him who was visible, but to Him who was in what was visible, distinguishing the indweller from Him in whom He dwelt, by pointing out the two natures, not by denying the unity(of Person).

"Thou," he says, "art our God, and we knew Thee not, O God of Israel the Saviour." Although holy Scripture has already shown by many and clear tokens, who is here spoken of, yet it has most plainly pointed to the name of Christ by using the name of Saviour: for surely the Saviour is the same as Christ, as the angel says: "For to you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord."35 For everybody knows that in Hebrew" Jesus" means "Saviour," as the angel announced to the holy Virgin Mary, saying: "And thou shall call His name Jesus, for He it is that shall save His people from their sins."36 And that you may not say that He is termed Saviour in the same sense as the title is given to others("And the Lord raised up to them a Saviour, Othniel the Son of Kenaz,"37 and again, "the Lord raised up to them a Saviour, Ehud the son of Gera"38 ), he added: "for He it is that shall save His people from their sins." But it does not lie in the power of a man to redeem his people from the captivity of sin,-a thing which is only possible for Him of whom it is said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."39 For the others saved a people not their own but God's, and not from their sins, but from their enemies.

"Thou art then," he says, "our God, and we knew Thee not, O God of lsrael the Saviour." Who do you imagine chiefly say this; and in whose mouths are such words specially suitable, Jews or Gentiles? If you say Jews: certainly the Jews did not know Christ, as it is said, "But Israel hath not known Me, My people have not considered;"40 and, "The world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."41 But if you say Gentiles, it is clear that the Gentile world was given over to idols, and knew not Christ, though it knew not the Father any more; but still if it has now come to know Him, it is only through Christ. You see then that whether the believing people belong to the Jews or the Gentiles, in either case they can truly say for themselves: "Thou art our God; and we knew Thee not, O God of Israel the Saviour." For the Gentiles who formerly worshipped idols knew not God; and the Jews who denied the Lord, knew not the Son of God. And thus both truly say of Christ: "Thou art our God and we knew Thee not." For those who did not believe in God were as ignorant of Him as those who denied the Son of God. If therefore Christ is to be believed in, as the truth declares, as the Deity asserts, as indeed Christ Himself declares, who is both, why are you miserably trying in your madness to interpose between God and Christ? Why do you seek to divide His body from the Son of God, and try to separate God from Himself? You are severing what is one, and dividing what is joined together. Believe the Word of God concerning God: for you cannot possibly make a better confession of God's Divinity than by confessing with your voice that which God teaches about Himself. For you must knew that, as the Prophet says, "the Lord Himself is God, who found out all the way of knowledge; who was seen upon earth and conversed with men."42 He brought the light of faith into the world. He showed the light of salvation. "For God is the Lord, and hath given us light."43 Then believe Him, and love Him, and confess Him. For since, as it is written, "Every knee shall bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in the glory of God the Father,"44 whether you will or no, you cannot deny that Jesus Christ is Lord in the glory of God the Father. For this is the crowning virtue of a perfect confession, to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is ever Lord and God in the glory of God the Father.

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