« Prev Chap. XIII.—Of Jesus, God and man; and the… Next »

Chap. XIII.—Of Jesus, God and Man; And the Testimonies of the Prophets Concerning Him.

Therefore the Most High God, and Parent of all, when He had purposed to transfer618618     From the Israelites, to whom He first revealed Himself, to the Gentile world at large.   His 112religion, sent from heaven a teacher of righteousness, that in Him or through Him He might give a new law to new worshippers; not as He had before done, by the instrumentality of man. Nevertheless it was His pleasure that He should be born as a man, that in all things He might be like His supreme Father. For God the Father Himself, who is the origin and source of all things, inasmuch as He is without parents, is most truly named by Trismegistus “fatherless” and “motherless,”619619     ἀπάτωρ and ἀμήτωρ. See Heb. vii. 3, where Melchisedec is a type of Christ.   because He was born from no one. For which reason it was befitting that the Son also should be twice born, that He also might become “fatherless” and “motherless.” For in His first nativity, which was spiritual, He was “motherless,” because He was begotten by God the Father alone, without the office of a mother. But in His second, which was in the flesh, He was born of a virgin’s womb without the office of a father, that, bearing a middle substance between God and man, He might be able, as it were, to take by the hand this frail and weak nature of ours, and raise it to immortality. He became both the Son of God through the Spirit, and the Son of man through the flesh,—that is, both God and man. The power of God was displayed in Him, from the works which He performed; the frailty of the man, from the passion which He endured: on what account He undertook it I will mention a little later. In the meantime, we learn from the predictions of the prophets that He was both God and man—composed620620     Ex utroque genere permistum. Though the Godhead and the manhood are joined together in one person in our Lord Jesus Christ, there is no confounding of the two natures: each is whole and perfect. While Nestorius held that there were two persons in Christ, Eutyches fell into the opposite error, and taught that the two natures were so blended together as to form one mixed nature. The expression in the text is not very clear.   of both natures. Isaiah testifies that He was God in these words:621621     Isa. xlv. 14–16.   “Egypt is wearied,622622     Fatigata est Ægyptus. This is taken from the Septuagint.   and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabæans, men of stature, shall come over unto Thee, and shall be Thy servants: and they shall walk behind Thee; in chains they shall fall down unto Thee, and shall make supplication unto Thee, Since God is in Thee, and there is no other God besides Thee. For Thou art God, and we knew Thee not, the God of Israel, the Saviour. They shall all be confounded and ashamed who oppose Thee, and shall fall into confusion.” In like manner the prophet Jeremiah623623     This quotation is from the apocryphal book of Baruch iii. 35–37, which is sometimes spoken of as the book of Jeremiah Baruch.   thus speaks: “This is our God, and there shall none other be compared unto Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterward He was seen upon earth, and dwelt among men.”  

David also, in the forty-fourth Psalm:624624     Ps. xlv. 6, 7.   “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness.” By which word he also shows His name, since (as I have shown above) He was called Christ from His anointing. Then, that He was also man, Jeremiah teaches, saying:625625     Jer. xvii. 9. The passage is quoted from the Septuagint.   “And He is a man, and who hath known Him?” Also Isaiah:626626     Isa. xix. 20, quoted from the Septuagint.   “And God shall send to them a man, who shall save them, shall save them by judging.” But Moses also, in Numbers,627627     Num. xxiv. 17. The well-known prophecy of Balaam is here spoken of as though given by Moses, who only records it. [In an elucidation touching the Sibyls, I shall recur to the case of Balaam.]   thus speaks: “There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a man628628     Exsurget homo ex Israel This is taken from the Septuagint, instead of the ordinary reading, “A sceptre shall rise out of Israel.”   shall spring forth from Israel.” On which account the Milesian Apollo,629629     [The oracle of Apollo Didymæus; from the Milesian temple burnt by Xerxes. Readers will remember the humour of Arnobius about these divers names, vol. vi. p. 419, this series.]   being asked whether He was God or man, replied in this manner: “He was mortal as to His body, being wise with wondrous works; but being taken with arms under Chaldean judges, with nails and the cross He endured a bitter end.” In the first verse he spoke the truth, but he skilfully deceived him who asked the question, who was entirely ignorant of the mystery of the truth. For he appears to have denied that He was God. But when he acknowledges that He was mortal as to the flesh, which we also declare, it follows that as to the spirit He was God, which we affirm. For why would it have been necessary to make mention of the flesh, since it was sufficient to say that He was mortal? But being pressed by the truth, he could not deny the real state of the case; as that which he says, that He was wise.  

What do you reply to this, Apollo? If he is wise, then his system of instruction is wisdom, and no other; and they are wise who follow it, and no others. Why then are we commonly esteemed as foolish, and visionary, and senseless, who follow a Master who is wise even by the confession of the gods themselves? For in that he said that He wrought wonderful deeds, by which He especially claimed faith is His divinity, he now appears to assent to us, when he says the same things in which we boast. But, however, he recovers himself, and again has recourse to demoniacal frauds. For when he had been compelled to speak the truth, he now appeared to be a betrayer of the gods and of himself, unless he had, by a deceptive falsehood, concealed that which the truth had extorted from him. He says, therefore, that He did indeed perform wonderful works, 113yet not by divine power, but by magic. What wonder if Apollo thus persuaded men ignorant of the truth, when the Jews also, worshippers (as they seemed to be) of the Most High God, entertained the same opinion, though they had every day before their eyes those miracles which the prophets had foretold to them as about to happen, and yet they could not be induced by the contemplation of such powers to believe that He whom they saw was God? On this account, David, whom they especially read above the other prophets, in the twenty-seventh Psalm630630     Ps. xxviii. 4, 5.   thus condemns them: “Render to them their desert, because they regard not the works of the Lord.” Both David himself and other prophets announced that of the house of this very David, Christ should be born according to the flesh. Thus it is written in Isaiah:631631     Isa. xi. 10.   “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and He who shall arise to rule over the nations, in Him shall the Gentiles trust; and His rest shall be glorious.” And in another place:632632     Isa. xi. 1, 2.   “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a blossom633633     Flos. Quoted from the Septuagint, ἄνθος.   shall grow out of his root; and the Spirit of God shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge and of piety; and He shall be filled634634     Implebit eum spiritus timoris Dei.   with the spirit of fear of the Lord.” Now Jesse was the father of David, from whose root he foretold that a blossom would arise; namely him of whom the Sibyl speaks, “A pure blossom shall spring forth.”  

Also in the second book of Kings, the prophet Nathan was sent to David, who wished to build a temple for God; and this was the word of the Lord to Nathan, saying:635635     2 Sam. vii. 4, 5, 12–14, 16.   “Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord Almighty, Thou shall not build me a house for me to dwell in; but when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will raise up thy seed after thee, and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build me a house for my name, and I will set up His throne for ever; and I will be to Him for a father, and He shall be to me for a son; and His house shall be established,636636     Fidem consequetur, following the Septuagint πιστωθήσεται.   and His kingdom for ever.” But the reason why the Jews did not understand these things was this, because Solomon the son of David built a temple for God, and the city which he called from his own name, Jerusalem.637637     Hierosolyma. As though derived from ἰερόν and Σολομω̑ν. But Solomon was not the founder of the city. The name is probably derived from Salem, of which city Melchisedec was king. Some derive it from Jebus (the ancient name of the city) and Salem. [See vol. ii. p. 107, note 3, this series.]   Therefore they referred the predictions of the prophets to him. Now Solomon received the government of the kingdom from his father himself. But the prophets spoke of Him who was then born after that David had slept with his fathers. Besides, the reign of Solomon was not everlasting; for he reigned forty years. In the next place, Solomon was never called the son of God, but the son of David; and the house which he built was not firmly established,638638     Non est fidem consecuta, as above.   as the Church, which is the true temple of God, which does not consist of walls, but of the heart639639     Thus Peter speaks, 1 Ep. ii. 5, “Ye are built up a spiritual house.”   and faith of the men who believe on Him, and are called faithful. But that temple of Solomon, inasmuch as it was built by the hand, fell by the hand. Lastly, his father, in the cxxvith Psalm, prophesied in this manner respecting the works of his son:640640     Ps. cxxvii. 1.   “Except the Lord build the house, they have laboured in vain that built it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman hath waked but in vain.”  


« Prev Chap. XIII.—Of Jesus, God and man; and the… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |