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XXII.

But as, in accordance with the train of our discussion, we have been constrained to come to the matter of the days of the dominion of the adversary, it is necessary to state in the first place what concerns his nativity and growth; and then we must turn our discourse, as we have said before, to the expounding of this matter, viz., that in all respects the accuser and son of lawlessness19491949    ἀνομίας. Cod. B gives ἀπωλείας, perdition; and for μέλλει = is to, it reads θέλει = wishes. [2 Thess. ii. 3, 4–8.] is to make himself like our Saviour. Thus also the demonstration makes the matter clear to us. Since the Saviour of the world, with the purpose of saving the race of men, was born of the immaculate and virgin Mary,19501950    Cod. B gives ἀειπαρθένου, ever-virgin. and in the form of the flesh trod the enemy under foot, in the exercise of the power of His own proper divinity; in the same manner also will the accuser come forth from an impure woman upon the earth, but shall be born of a virgin 248spuriously.19511951    ἐν πλάνῃ. Cod. B reads ἀκριβῶς, exactly. Many of the ancients hold that Antichrist will be a demon in human figure. See Augustine, Sulpicius Severus, in Dialogue II., and Philippus Dioptra, iii. 11, etc. For our God sojourned with us in the flesh, after that very flesh of ours which He made for Adam and all Adam’s posterity, yet without sin. But the accuser, though he take up the flesh, will do it only in appearance; for how should we wear that flesh which he did not make himself, but against which he warreth daily? And it is my opinion, beloved, that he will assume this phenomenal kind of flesh19521952    φανταστικὴν τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ οὐσίαν. as an instrument.19531953    Organ, ὄργανον. For this reason also is he to be born of a virgin, as if a spirit, and then to the rest he will be manifested as flesh. For as to a virgin bearing, this we have known only in the case of the all-holy Virgin, who bore the Saviour verily clothed in flesh.19541954    Cod. B reads τὴν θεοτόκον ἔγνωμεν σαρκικῶς καὶ ἀπλανῶς, instead of the text, σαρκοφόρον ἀπλανῶς, etc. [Conf. vol. iii. p. 523.] For Moses says, “Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy unto the Lord.”19551955    Ex. xxxiv. 19; Num. viii. 16; Luke ii. 23. This is by no means the case with him;19561956    οὐ μὴν οὐδαμῶς. but as the adversary will not open the womb, so neither will he take to himself real flesh, and be circumcised as Christ was circumcised.  And even as Christ chose His apostles, so will he too assume a whole people of disciples like himself in wickedness.


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