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Chapter XXVIII.

As he is going to produce the testimony of Greek or Eastern Bishops, he brings forward in the first place S. Gregory Nazianzen.

But perhaps because those whom we have enumerated came from different parts of the world, their authority may seem to you less valuable. An absurd thing, indeed, because faith is not interfered with by place, and we have to consider what a man is, not where: especially since religion unites all together, and those who are in the one faith may be also known to be in the one body. But still we will bring forward for you some, whom you cannot despise, even from the East. Gregory, that most grand light of knowledge and doctrine, who though he has been for some time dead, yet still lives in authority and faith, and though he has been for some time removed in the body from the Churches, yet has not forsaken them in word and authority. “When then,” he says, “God had come forth from the Virgin, in that human nature which He had taken, as He existed in one out of two which are the opposite of each other; viz., flesh and spirit, the one is taken into God, the other exalts into the grace of Deity.26762676    Aliud in Deum adsumiter, aliud in Deitatis gratiam præstat. So Petschenig edits. The text of Gazæus has aliud Deitatis gratia præstat. O new and unheard of intermingling! O marvellous and exquisite union! He who was, came to be, and the Creator is created: and He who is infinite is embraced by the soul which is the medium between God and the flesh: and He who makes all rich, is made poor.” Again he says of the Epiphany: “But what happens? What is done concerning us and for us? There is brought about some new and unheard of change of natures and God is made man.” Again in this passage:26772677    Greg. Nazianz. Oratio xxxviii. The Greek of the passage which Cassian translates is as follows: προελθὼν δὲ Θεὸς μετὰ τῆς προσλήψεως ἓν ἐκ δύο τῶν ἐναντίων, σαρκὸς καὶ πνεύματος· ὧν τὸ μὲν ἐθέωσε τὸ δὲ ἐθεώθη, ὦ τῆς καινῆς μίξεως, ὦ τῆς παραδόξου κράσεως, ὁ ὢν γίνεται καὶ ὁ ἄκτιστος κτίζεται καὶ ὁ ἀχώρητος χωρεῖται διά μέσης ψυχῆς νοερᾶς μεσιτευούσης θεότητι καὶ σαρκὸς παχύτητι, καὶ ὁ πλουτίζων πτωχεύει. Oratio xxxix. Τί γίνεται καὶ τί τὸ μέγα· περὶ ἡμᾶς μυστήριον ; καινοτομοῦνται φύσεις καὶ Θεὸς ἄνθρωπος γίνεται…καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ δέχεται καὶ υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου γενὲσθαι τε καὶ κληθῆναι, οὐχ ὃ ἠν μεταβαλὼν, ἄτρεπτονυ γὰρ, ἄλλ ὀ οὐκ ἦν προσλαβὼν, φιλάνθρωπος γάρ, ἵνα χωρηθᾑ ὁ ἀχώρητος. “The Son of God began to be also the Son of man, not being changed from what He was, for He is unchangeable, but taking to Himself what He was not: for He is pitiful so that He, who could not be embraced, can now be embraced.” You see how grandly and nobly he asserts the majesty of His Godhead so that He may bring in the condescension of the Incarnation: for that admirable teacher of the faith knew well that of all the blessings which God granted to us at His coming into the world this was the chief, without diminishing in any way His glory. For whatever God gave to man, ought to increase the love of Him in us, and not to lessen the honour which we give to Him.


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