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Chapter X.

He explains what it means to confess, and what it means to dissolve Jesus.

For this it is which John, the man so dear to God, foresaw from the Lord’s own revelation to him and so spoke of Him, who was speaking in him. “Every spirit,” he says, “which confesseth Jesus come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of Antichrist, of whom you have heard already, and he is now already in the world.”25262526    S. John iv. 2, 3. It will be noticed that Cassian quotes this passage with the reading “Qui solvit Jesum,” where the Greek has ὁ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν ᾽Ιησοῦν. Λύει is found in no Greek ms., uncial or cursive, and the only Greek authority for it is that of Socrates who says it was the reading in “the old copies.” “Qui solvit” was probably an early gloss, current in very early days in the West, being found in Tertullian (adv. Marc. v. 16; De Jejun. i.) and in all Latin mss. whether of the Vetus or Vulgate (with a single exception), and finally becoming universal in the Fathers of the Western Church. Cf. Westcott on the Epp. of S. John, p. 156, sq. O the marvellous and singular goodness of God, who like a most careful and skilful physician, foretold beforehand the diseases that should come upon His Church, and when He showed the mischief beforehand, gave in showing it, a remedy for it: that all men when they saw the evil approaching, might at once flee as far as possible from that which they already knew to be imminent. And so Saint John says, “Every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God; and this is the spirit of Antichrist.” Do you recognize him, O you heretic? Do you recognize that it is plainly and markedly spoken of you? For no one thus dissolves Jesus but he who does not confess that He is God. For since in this consists all the faith and all the worship of the Church; viz., to confess that Jesus is very God; who can more dissolve His glory and worship than one who denies the existence in Him of all that we all worship? Take then, I beseech you, take care lest any one may even term you Antichrist. Do you think that I am reviling and cursing? What I am saying is not my own idea: for lo, the Evangelist says, “Every one that dissolveth Jesus is not of God; and this is Antichrist.” If you do not dissolve Jesus, and deny God, no one may call you Antichrist. But if you deny it why do you accuse any one for calling you Antichrist? While you are denying it, I declare you have said it of yourself. Would you like to know whether this is true? Tell me, when Jesus was born of a Virgin, what do you make Him to be—man or God? If God only, you certainly dissolve Jesus, as you deny that in Him manhood was joined to Divinity. But if you say He was man, none the less do you dissolve Him, as you blasphemously say that a mere 588man (as you will have it) was born. Unless perhaps you think that you do not dissolve Jesus, you who deny Him to be God, you who would certainly dissolve Him even if you did not deny25272527    Non negares (Petschenig). Gazæus has denegares. that man was born together with God. But possibly you would like this to be made clearer by examples. You shall have them in both directions. The Manichees are outside the Church, who declare that Jesus was God alone: and the Ebionites, who say that he was a mere man. For both of them deny and dissolve Jesus: the one by saying that He is only man, the other by saying that He is only God. For though their opinions were the opposite of each other, yet the blasphemy of these diverse opinions is much the same, except that if any distinction can be drawn between the magnitude of the evils, your blasphemy which asserts that He is a mere man is worse than that which says that He is only God: for though both are wrong, yet it is more insulting to take away from the Lord what is Divine than what is human. This then alone is the Catholic and the true faith; viz., to believe that as the Lord Jesus Christ is God so also is He man; and that as He is man so also is He God. “Every one who dissolves Jesus is not of God.” But to dissolve Him is to try to rend asunder what is united in Jesus; and to sever what is but one and indivisible. But what is it in Jesus that is united and but one? Certainly the manhood and the Godhead. He then dissolves Jesus who severs these and rends them asunder. Otherwise, if he does not rend them asunder and sever them, he does not dissolve Jesus: But if he rends them asunder he certainly dissolves Him.25282528    The last sentences are placed in brackets by Petschenig.


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