Eusebius of Caesarea: Demonstratio Evangelica. Tr. W.J. Ferrar (1920) -- Book 5
Two ways of considering our Saviour Jesus Christ have (202) been illustrated in the previous book of the Proof of the Gospel: the first takes us above nature and beyond it: on its road we defined Him to be the Only-begotten Son of (b) God, or the Word Who is of the essence of God, the secondary cause of the Universe, or a spiritual substance, and the firstborn nature of God all-perfect, His holy and perfect Power before things created, or the spiritual image of the Unbegotten nature. The second was akin and more familiar to ourselves; on its road we defined Christ as the Word of God, proclaiming in human nature the holiness of the Father, according as He appeared in human form long before to those with Abraham, that famous ruler of the men of God, and was predicted to (c) appear again among men by human birth, and with flesh like ours, and to suffer the extremest shame.
This being so, the argument will proceed in its natural order, if I proceed to display the prophetic evidence about Him, if, that is to say, we make our chief aim to discover what was essential in the promises made, and justify the Divinity ascribed to Him in the Gospels from the ancient prophetic evidence. And it will be necessary (d) first to discuss the nature of prophetic inspiration among the Hebrews, from whom we learned beforehand what they proclaimed.
Greeks and Barbarians alike testify to the existence of oracles and oracular responses in all parts of the earth, and they say that they were revealed by the foresight of the Creator for the use and profit of men, so that there need be no essential difference between Hebrew prophecy (203) |222 and the oracles of the other nations. For as the Supreme God gave oracles to the Hebrews through their prophets, and suggested what was to their advantage, so also He gave them to the other nations through their local oracles. For He was not only the God of the Jews, but of the rest of mankind as well; and He cared not more for these than those, but His Providence was over all alike, just as He has given the sun ungrudgingly for all, and not for the Hebrews only, and the supply of needs according to the seasons, and a like bodily constitution for all, and one (b) mode of birth, and one kind of rational soul. And, thus, they say he provided ungrudgingly for all men the science of foretelling the future, to some by prophets, to some by oracles, to some by the flight of birds, or by inspecting entrails, or by dreams, or omens contained in word or sound, or by some other sign. For these they say were bestowed on all men by the Providence of God, so that the prophets of the Hebrews should not seem to have an advantage over the rest of the world.
(c) This, then, is their contention. Mine will meet it in this manner. If any argument could prove that the gods, or divine powers, or good daemons really presided over the oracles named, or over the omens from birds, or any of those referred to, I should have to yield to what was stated, that the Supreme God had given these things as well as the Hebrew prophecy to those who used them, for their good. But if by complete demonstration, and by the |223 confessions of the Greeks themselves already given, that (d) they were daemons, and not good ones but the source of all harm and vice, how can they be the prophets of God? And my argument in The Preparation for the Gospel has convicted them of worthlessness, from the human sacrifices connected with their rites from ancient days in every place and city and country, from their deceiving their questioners through ignorance of the future, through the many falsehoods in which they have been convicted, sometimes directly, sometimes through the ambiguity of the oracles given, by which they have been proved over and over again to have involved their suppliants in a host of evils. And they have been before shewn to be a vile and unclean crowd from their delight in the low and lustful odes sung about them, the hymns, and recitals of myths, the improper (204 ) and harmful stories, which they were convicted of having stamped as the truth, though they knew that they told against them.
And the final proof of their weak nature is shewn by their extinction and ceasing to give responses as of old: an extinction which can only be dated from the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For from the time when the word of Gospel teaching began to pervade all nations, from (b) that time the oracles began to fail, and the deaths of daemons are recorded. All these reasons and many others like them were used then in that part of The Preparation of the Gospel, which is concerned in proving the wickedness of the daemons. And if they are so wicked, what possible ground can there be for thinking that the oracles of the daemons are prophecies of the Supreme God, or for comparing their position with that of God's prophets; of what sort (c) were the predictions they gave to their questioners, those even which seemed to have some foundation? Were they not about low and common men, boxers for instance, and such people, whom they ordered to be honoured with sacrifices? What was their position about human sacrifice? For this question is the touchstone of the whole matter. What evil thing could surpass in absurdity the idea that the Gods, the very Saviours of men, and the good daemons, could command their suppliants and holy inquirers to slaughter their dearest, as if they were mere animals, actually (d) thirsting for human blood more than any wild beasts, and, |224 could be convicted of being neither more nor less than drinkers of blood, cannibals, and friends of destruction. Or let him speak who will, if he has anything holy or worthy of the name of virtue to tell about them, any prophecies or predictions affecting mankind as a whole, any laws or enactments for the State, laying down general rules for human life, any philosophical doctrines and instruction provided by the gods for the lovers of philosophy. But it would be impossible to say that any such advantage ever accrued to human life from the famous oracles. (205) For if this had been the case, men having their laws laid down for them by the gods would not have used different and irreconcileable systems of law. For if the gods existed and were good they must surely have inspired the same enactments: they must have inspired pure and most just legal systems: and where would have been the need of Solon or Draco or any of the other Greek or barbarian legislators, if the gods were present and gave all necessary commands through the oracles? And if it should be said (b) that they alone are meant, who established laws for each separate race of men, I should ask who that god was, and what was his character, who, for instance, ordered the Scythians to devour human beings, or laid down laws to others that they should lie with their mothers and daughters, or enacted as, a good thing that they should throw their aged people to the dogs, or allowed men to marry their sisters and to defile one another. But why should I enumerate the lawless stones of Greeks and Barbarians, in order to prove that they were not gods, but (c) vicious and evil daemons, these famous oracle-mongers of theirs, driving the thrice-wretched race of men to incredible depths of unnatural crime, whereas the famous Greek gods and oracles are not proved to have brought any advantage or profit whatever for their souls' health to those who sought their aid? And if it was open to them to use their own gods for teachers, why did the Greeks ever leave what did them good at home and make for foreign lands, as if they wanted to enjoy the merchandise of learning from (d) somewhere else? |225
And if it had been the gods or the good daemons, who gave the answers, sometimes shewing their own power by foreknowledge or in some other unexpected way, sometimes teaching true wisdom by the infallible truth of their instruction, what could have prevented the sons of the philosophers being instructed by them, and why did various schools of philosophy arise from the deep oppositions of those who procured conceptions of teaching, one from one source, one from another? And even if the multitude had given them no heed, yet surely religious and godly men would have procured infallible truth from the gift of the gods. Who, then, were they? Whoever (206) you say they were, those who take the other view will expose them as deceivers.
But it seems probable that the oracles were given by daemons, and were genuine up to the point of discovering a thief, or the loss of property, and things of that kind, which it was not unlikely that beings who passed their time in the air should have knowledge of: but they were never responsible for a good and wise philosophic saying, or for a state, or for a law laid down by right reason; nay, more, (b) if I may speak quite frankly, one ought to consider them all instigators of evil; for when they listened either to the odes and hymns and recitals of men, or to the secret rites of the mysteries, retailing their own Adulteries and unnatural crimes, their marriage of mothers and lawless union with sisters, and the many contests of the gods, enmities and wars of gods against gods, not one of them has ever, so far (c) as I know, been angry at what was said, as if it were only suitable for lustful, and not for pure, minds to think and say such things. And why need I enlarge, when from one most significant example I can crowd into one view their cruelty, inhumanity and real viciousness? I refer to the human sacrifices. Surely to delight not only in the slaughter of irrational beasts, but also in the destruction of men, overshot the highest limit of cruelty. |226
For, as I said in the Preparation, my evidence is drawn (d) from the Greek philosophers and writers themselves, who conclusively prove that the evil daemons perverted the human race by their involved intrigues, now by oracles, now by omens from birds, or signs or sacrifices or things of the kind. Wherefore it is altogether to be denied that the oracles came from the Supreme God. And so it is not allowable to class them with the Hebrew Prophets, whose first Hierophant and divine teacher was Moses. See, what (207) a wealth of good he brought to human life. First he produced a sacred writing of evangelical and true doctrines about God the Maker and Creator of all things, and about the secondary Cause of the rational and spiritual essences after Him, and about the creation of the world and of man; and then he moved the obedient spirits of good men to ambition, by outlining like figures of virtue the stories of (b) the holy and godly Hebrews of long ago; he began the teaching of a legislation divine and suitable to the light they then had, and introduced a godly worship, and revealed predictions of all that was to take place in after years, as I hope presently to shew. Such was Moses. And following his steps the prophets who succeeded him foretold some things incidentally to inquirers if anything was asked relating to their daily life; but their prophecy in its main purpose (c) was concerned with great issues.
For they did not reckon it worthy of their divine duty to deal with those who sought oracles about daily matters or that actual time, or about slight and trivial things, but the illumination of the Holy Spirit in them including in its vast scope the whole race of mankind, promised no prediction about any particular man who was sick, nor about this present life so open to accidents and sufferings, nor about any one dead, nor, in a word, about ordinary and common (d) things, which when present make the soul no better, and when absent cause it no harm or loss. And, as I said, when their predictions referred to such things, it was not in the line of their main meaning, but as accompanying a greater conception. And the causes which were at the root of their prophetic inspiration involved a greater scheme than the things instanced. |227
If, then, one were to explore carefully the whole circuit of the writings of Moses and his successors, one would find it included exhortation and teaching of duty to the God of the Universe, Who is the Creator of all things, and the knowledge and divine teaching relating to the highest secondary Cause, and prohibition of all polytheistic error, (208) and then the memorial of the godly men of old days who began the said religion, and predictions and proclamations of those who would live in after days, as they themselves had lived, through the appearance and presence of God among men, I mean of the secondary Lord and God after the Supreme Father, Who Himself would become the Teacher of the same religion, and be revealed as Saviour (b) of the life of men, through Whom they foretold that the ideals of the ancient godly Hebrews would be handed on to all nations. This was the Gospel that Moses foretold, as well as the sons of the other prophets, who all spake as with one mouth. And this was the reason of the descent of the Holy Spirit to men, to teach men the knowledge of God, and the loftiest theology of the Father and the Son, to train them in every form of true religion, to give a record of those who lived well long ago, and those who afterwards fell away from the religion of their forefathers, and to exhibit the case against them at great length: and then (c) to prophesy the coming of the Saviour and Teacher of the whole race of mankind, and to herald the sharing of the religion of the ancient Hebrews by all nations.
These were the unanimous proclamations of the prophets of old clays inscribed on table's and in sacred books: yea, these very things, which we see even now after long ages in process of fulfilment; they all in the power of the Holy (d) Spirit with one voice foretold would come to all men a light of true religion, purity of mind and body, a complete purging of the heart, which having first gained themselves by discipline, they urged upon the obedient, prohibiting their converts from every lustful action, and teaching them not to imitate the lawless ways of polytheistic error, and to avoid with one consent all intercourse with daemons, the popular human sacrifices of days gone by, and the base and secret tales about the gods. Against these they warned |228 them and counselled them to set their hearts only on God (209) the Creator of all things, Who is as it were the Overseer and Judge of all human doings, and to remember the future Coming among men of the Christ of God, the Saviour of the whole human race, established to be the Teacher of the true religion to Greeks and Barbarians alike. This was the vast difference between those who were possessed by the Holy Spirit and those who pretended to prophesy under the influence of daemons.
Then, too, the evil daemon, being akin to darkness, (b) involved the soul in darkness and mist by its visitation, and stretched out him who was under its power like a corpse, divorced from his natural faculties of reason, not following his own words or actions, completely insensible and demented, in accordance with which perhaps they, may have called such a condition "Manteia," as being a form of "Mania," whereas the truly divine Spirit, Which is of the nature of light, or rather light itself, brings at once a new and bright daylight to every soul on whom It comes, (c) revealing it as far more clear and thoughtful than ever it was before, so that it is sober and wide awake, and above all can understand and interpret prophecies. Wherefore we seem rightly and truly to call such men prophets, because the Holy Spirit gives them a sure knowledge and light on the present, as well as a true and accurate knowledge of the future. See, then, if it is not a far better and truer argument, which says that the Holy Spirit visits souls purified and prepared with rational and clear minds to (d) receive the divine, than that of those who shut up the |229 divine in lifeless matter and dusky caves, and in the impure souls of men and women; yea, and rest it on crows and hawks and other birds, on goats and other beasts, ay, even on the movements of water, the inspection of entrails, the blood of hateful and ugly monsters, and in the bodies of poisonous creeping things, like snakes and weasels, and such things, by the help of which these strange people understood that the Supreme God revealed a knowledge of (210) future events. But this was the way of men who had no conception of the nature of God, and no idea of the power of the Holy Spirit, Who does not delight in lurking in lifeless things, or irrational beasts, nor even in rational beings, except ... in such virtuous souls, as my argument just now described the Hebrew prophets as possessing, whom we reckon worthy of the Holy Spirit, because of their great contribution to the progress of humanity throughout the world.
And if sometimes the knowledge of contemporaneous (b) events, unimportant and of no moment, followed them like a shadow, and the foretelling of the unknown opportunely to inquirers, it was because they were obliged to give such help to their neighbours of old time, to prevent those who were hungry for predictions having an excuse for turning to the oracles of foreign races through a lack of prophets at home.
But I will close here my vindication of the divine power of the Hebrew Prophets. For it is right for us to obey (c) them, if they teach us, as men inspired and wise, not according to humanity but by the breath of the Holy Spirit, and to submit to the discipline of their doctrine, and holy and infallible theology, which no longer involves any suspicion, that they include any elements alien to virtue and truth.
So, then, it now remains for me to take up the thread of my argument from the beginning, and rest the theology of our Saviour Jesus Christ on the prophetic evidence.
The Gospel evidence gives this theology of Christ: "In (d) the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him, |230 and without him was not anything made." It calls Him also "Rational Light," and it calls Him Lord, as if He were also God. And the prophetic Paul, as a disciple and apostle of Christ, agrees with this theology when he says this about Him: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, because in him were created all things, things in heaven and things in earth, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by him and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
He is also called "Power of God" and "Wisdom of God." It is our present task, therefore, to collect these same expressions from the prophetic writings of the Hebrews, so that by their agreement in each separate part the demonstration of the truth may be established. And we must recognize that the sacred oracles include in the Hebrew much that is obscure both in expression and in meaning, and are capable of various interpretations in Greek because of their difficulty. The Seventy Hebrews in concert have translated them together, and I shall pay the greatest attention to them, because it is the custom of the Christian Church to use their work. But wherever necessary, I shall call in the help of the editions of the later translators, which the Jews are accustomed to use to-day, so that my proof may have stronger support from all sources. With this introduction, it now remains for me to treat of the inspired words. |231
That the Most Wise Solomon in the Proverbs knew of a Firstborn Power of God, which He calls the Wisdom and Offspring of God: just as we glorify It.
Passage quoted, Prov. viii. 12-31.]
THE divine and perfect essence existing before things begotten, the rational and Firstborn image of the Unbegotten nature, the true and Only-begotten Son of the God of the Universe, being One with many names, and One called God by many titles, is honoured in this passage under the style and name of Wisdom, and we have learned to call Him Word of God, Light, Life, Truth, and, to crown all, "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Now, therefore, in the passage before us, He passes through the words of the wise Solomon, speaking of Himself as the living Wisdom of God and self-existent, saying: "I, Wisdom, have dwelt with counsel and knowledge, and I have called upon understanding," and that which follows. He also adds, as who has undertaken the government and providence of the Universe: "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes become great." Then saying that He will record the things of ages past, He goes on to say: "The Lord created me as the beginning of his ways for his works, he established me before time was." By which He teaches both that He Himself is begotten, and not the same as the Unbegotten, one called into being before all ages, set forth as a kind of foundation for all begotten things. And it is probable that the divine apostle started from this when he said of Him: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, for all things were created in him, of things in heaven and things in earth." For He is called "Firstborn of every creature," in accordance with the words: "The Lord created me as the beginning of his road to his works." And He would naturally be considered the image of God, as being That which was begotten of the nature of the Unbegotten. And, therefore, the passage before |232 us agrees, when it says: "Before the mountains were established, and before all the hills, he begets me."
Hence we call Him Only-begotten Son, and the Firstborn Word of God, Who is the same as this Wisdom. In what sense we say that He is the Begotten of God would require a special study, for we do not understand this unspeakable generation of His as involving a projection, a separation, a division, a diminution, a scission, or anything (c) at all which is involved in human generation. For it is not lawful to compare His unspeakable and unnameable generation and coming into being with these things in the world of begotten things, nor to liken Him to anything transitory and mortal, since it is impious to say that in the way in which animals are produced on earth, as an essence coming from an essence by change and division, divided and separated, the Son came forth out of the Father. For the Divine is without parts, and indivisible, not to be cut, or (d) divided, or extended, or diminished, or contracted, It cannot become greater, or worse or better than Itself, nor has it within Itself anything different from Itself that it could send forth. For everything that is in anything is either in it as (1) accident, as white is in a body, or (2) as a thing in something different from it, as a child is in the womb of its mother, or (3) as the part is in the whole, as the hand, foot and finger exist in the body, being parts of the whole body, and if either of them undergo any maiming or cutting or division, the whole of the body is rendered useless and mutilated, as a part of it has been cut off. But surely it (214) would be very impious to employ a figure and comparison of this kind in the case of the Unbegotten nature of the God of the Universe, and of the generation of His Only-begotten and Firstborn (Son).
For the Son was certainly not Unbegotten for ages infinite and without beginning within the Father, as one thing within another that differs from itself, being a part of Him which afterwards was changed and cast out from Him; for such a being would be subject to change; and there would also be according to this two Unbegotten Beings, He that cast forth and He that was cast forth. And which condition would be the better? Would not that before the change which caused a division by the (b) sending forth? It is, then, impossible to conceive of the |233 Son coming from the Father as a part or a limb that had always previously been united to Him, afterwards separating and coming apart from the whole. For these are unspeakable and quite impious ideas, proper enough to the relations of material bodies, but foreign to a nature without body or matter. And, therefore, here again we had best say: Who shall declare His generation?
It is equally perilous to take the opposite road, and say thus without qualification that the Son was begotten of things that were not, similarly to the other begotten beings; for the generation of the Son differs from the Creation (c) through the Son. But yet as Holy Scripture first says that He is the Firstborn of every creature, speaking in His Person, "The Lord created me as the beginning of his ways," and then says that He is the Begotten of the Father in the words: "Before all the hills he begets me"; here we, too, may reasonably follow and confess that He is before all ages the Creative Word of God, One with the Father, (d) Only-begotten Son of the God of the Universe, and Minister and Fellow-worker with the Father, in the calling into being and constitution of the Universe.
For if there is anything in the nature of the Universe left unexplained and inconceivable for us, and we know that there are many, such things as are promised to the godly — which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man—according to the holy apostle, much further beyond our conception, unexplained and unnamed, inconceivable and unimaginable must be that which concerned the generation of the Only-begotten of God, since we have nothing else to say or to think of Him, except, "Who shall declare his generation?" And if one, greatly (215) daring, were led to compare things in all ways inconceivable with visible and physical likenesses, one perchance might say that, like a fragrance or a ray of light, the Son underlay from infinite ages or rather before all ages the Father's Unbegotten Nature and ineffable Essence, and was one with Him, and was always united to the Father, as fragrance to an ointment and the ray to the light, but not (b) analogously in all senses to such likenesses, as was said before. For lifeless bodies hold their accidents in qualities; and the ray being of one origin with the nature of light, and being in essence the same as light, could not exist |234 outside that in which it is. Whereas the Word of God has Its own essence and existence in Itself, and is not identical with the Father in being Unbegotten, but was begotten of the Father as His Only-begotten Son before all ages; while the fragrance being a kind of physical effluence of that from which it comes, and not filling the air around it by itself apart from its primary cause, is seen to be itself also a physical thing. We will not, then, conceive thus about the theory of our Saviour's coming-into-being. For neither was He brought into being from the Unbegotten Being by way of any event, or by division, nor was He eternally coexistent with the Father, since the One is Unbegotten and the other Begotten, and one is Father and the other Son. And all would agree that a father must exist before and precede his son. Thus also would the image of God be a kind of living image of the living God, in a mode once more that is beyond our words and reasoning, and existing in Itself immaterially and unembodied, and unmixed with anything opposite to Itself, but not such an image as we connote by the term, which differs in its essential substance and its species, but one which itself contains the whole of its species, and is like in its own essence to the Father, and so is seen to be the liveliest fragrance of the Father, in a mode once again beyond our words and reasoning. For everything that is true about Him could not be spoken in human words, and could not be reasoned with the reasoning of men according to strict logic. But the Scriptures give us such instruction as it is good for us to hear. Has not the holy apostle described himself and those like him as "a fragrance of Christ," by their participation in the Spirit of Christ; and is not the heavenly Bridegroom in the Canticles addressed as "Ointment poured forth"? Wherefore all things visible and invisible, embodied and unembodied, rational and irrational participating in that outpouring of Him in due proportion are thought worthy of His presence, and have their lot in the communion of the divine Word. Yes, the whole universe imparts a share of His divine breath to those whose rational perception is not |235 maimed, so that bodies by nature earthy and corruptible give forth an immaterial and uncorrupted fragrance; for as the God of the Universe wells down from above, Who, being Father of the Only-begotten Word, Himself must be the first and chief and only true good begetting good, so taking the second place the Son draws His supplies from the primary and original Essence, Who also is alone called the fragrance of His Father's Essence by us who use the Scripture that teaches us concerning Him, that He is "a breath of the power of God, and a pure effluence of the glory of the Almighty, and a radiance of the everlasting light, and an unsullied mirror of the action of God, and an image of his goodness."
But with regard to these questions, let men decide them as they will. It is enough for me to repeat again that true and blessed saying, and so conclude my quest, the saying which I have often repeated: "Who shall describe His generation? "For of a truth the generation of the Only-begotten of God is seen to be beyond the reach not only of men, but of the powers that are beyond every being, as also our Lord and Saviour Himself says in mystic language this very thing to His own disciples. "No one knows the Father save the Son." To which he adds "and no one knows the Son save the Father." Since then the theology both of the Father and of the Son is equally unknown to all but Themselves, let us heed Wisdom speaking as it were in secrets in the passage of Solomon set before us: "Before the mountains were established, and the earth formed, and before all the hills he begets me." And also He says that He was present with the Father when He formed the Heaven. "For when he formed the heaven, I was present with him." And He reveals the eternity from endless ages of His presence with the Father, where He adds: "I was by him in harmony, I was that in which he delighted, and I daily delighted in his presence." And we must either understand the abysses and founts of waters, the mountains and hills, and the other things which in this place are designated by common words, to refer to the constitution of the Universe, referring to the whole by |236 its part, or interpreting more metaphorically, we must transfer the meaning to spiritual essences and divine powers, all of whom the Firstborn Wisdom and the Only-begotten and First-begotten Word of the Father, Whom we call Christ, preceded; so the apostle teaches us, who says, "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." And He is called hero probably by the Name of Wisdom, as He Who —— the all-wise and prudent plans of the only wise Father . . . .
[There is a long lacuna at the end of this chapter, noted in the Paris MS., "ἐλλείπει πολλά"]
[From Psalm xliv.]
. . . And in the second place he honours Him with the kingly sceptre. In the third he witnesses to the perfection of His virtue. And then in addition he teaches that He, this same Person, was anointed as God and King by the Highest God, and so that He was Christ. For what else could one be called, who was anointed not by men, but by Almighty God Himself? Of Him therefore he says, "O God (addressing the anointed one), thou hast loved righteousness and hated injustice; wherefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee." As if he were to say, "The Almighty God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows," So that this ointment mentioned was nothing common or earthy, nothing resembling that ordained by the Mosaic Law, fashioned of corruptible matter, with which it was the custom to anoint Hebrew priests and kings. Hence we call him properly both Christ and God, being the only one anointed with the immaterial and divine ointment of holy joy and gladness not by men nor by human agencies but by the Creator of the Universe Himself. Wherefore He only has a just, an indefeasible, a good and peculiar right to the title of Christ beyond those who are called His fellows. And who could His "fellows" be but those who are able to say: "We are partakers of Christ," |237 of whom it is said, "Touch not my Christs, and do my prophets no harm." So then as Christ by this is clearly revealed as Beloved, and as God, and as King, it is time to inquire, how so great a Being can be said to have enemies, and who they are, and for what cause He sharpened his arrows and sword against them, so that He subjected many peoples to Himself not by array of soldiers, but by truth, gentleness and righteousness.
A careful inquirer would do well to refer this to our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ of God, and to turn back again to the record, relating to His Presence among men, by which He routed the hostile invisible powers of evil and corrupt daemons and of wicked and impure spirits, and won very many peoples for Himself out of all nations. Whom also it were fitting to call for this reason the true Christ of God, as one not anointed with common oil like the priests of old days, for we have no record of anything of the kind about Him, but with a better divine unction, in reference to which Isaiah says: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me." Wherefore also this one Christ is more famous among all, through all the world, than all those who ever were anointed with material ointment among the Hebrews; and has filled the whole world with those who are called Christians after Him. Now in the preceding book I have dealt sufficiently with the questions why we say He was anointed, what the unction was, and the mode of His anointing. Such grace was poured on His lips and on His teaching that in a short time it filled every place with the religion proclaimed by Him; so that now among all nations among those who receive His teaching, agreeably to the prophecy before us, He is clad with the glory of a king and of God, and is called Christ by all men.
And it is clear who are His enemies, not only those who were such of old, but those who are ever fighting against His word, whether they be men, or invisible powers, whom everywhere He has cleared away with unseen and hidden power, and has made all sorts of people from all nations subject to Him.
And that which follows in the Psalm, "Myrrh, aloes and |238 cassia from his garments," and the other words besides, which speak as of a princess leaving her father's house, and being wedded to Him who has been foreshewn to be Christ and King and God, and calling Him her Lord, (b) might be referred to the Church of the nations, forsaking ancestral daemonic error, and purified and brought into the communion of the divine Word, if time allowed them to have their true interpretation.
(d) That the same Prophet also plainly confesses Two Lords in Ps. cix.: the One, the First and Highest God; the Other, Whom He calls His Own Lord, and that He was begotten by God before the Foundation of the World, and He knows the Second God, and that He is the High Priest Eternal of the Father, shares the Throne of the God of the Universe, holding the same Faith as We about Christ.
[Passage quoted, Ps. cix. 1-5.]
THE Lord upon thy right hand! The Psalmist here calls "Lord," our Lord and Saviour, the Word of God, "firstborn of every creature," the Wisdom before the ages, the Beginning of the Ways of God, the Firstborn and Only-begotten Offspring of the Father, Him Who is honoured with the Name of Christ, teaching that He both shares the seat (220) and is the Son of the Almighty God and Universal Lord, and the Eternal High-Priest of the Father. First, then, understand that here this Second Being, the Offspring of God, is addressed. And since prophecy is believed by us to be spoken by the Spirit of God, see if it is not the case that the Holy Spirit in the prophet names as His own Lord (b) a Second Being after the Lord of the Universe, for he says, "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand." The Hebrews named the First Person Lord, as being universally the Lord of all, by the unspeakable Name expressed in the four letters. They did not call the Second Person Lord in a like sense, but only used the word as a special title. Naturally, then, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ Himself, |239 the Son of God, when He inquired of the Pharisees, "What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?" on their saying, "The son of David," asked, "How then can David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand"? practically interpreting the text as not only calling Him the Lord of David, but the Lord also of the Spirit in the prophet. And if the prophetic Spirit, which we believe to be the Holy Spirit, confesses Him to be Lord, Who He teaches shares the Father's Throne, and not generally but as "His own Lord," how incomparably more certain is it that the rational powers, who corne after the Holy Spirit, must say the same, and the whole visible creation, embodied and unembodied, of which of course the only Sharer of the Father's Throne would be marked out as Lord, by Whose agency all things came into being, as the holy apostle says: "In him all things were created, of things in heaven, and things in earth, visible and invisible." For He alone would have the authority of likeness to the Father, as being the only Person shewn to be throned with Him.
It is therefore plain that it would be wrong to allot to any among begotten beings the sitting at the right hand of the Almighty's rule and kingdom, except to Him alone Whom I have shewn in many ways, by what I have laid before you, to be God. Understand then, that the Highest and Almighty Lord bestows on one and the same being the words, "Sit thou on my right hand," and also, "Before the morning-star I have begotten thee," and He delivers with an oath of confirmation the honour unshakeable and immutable of the continuous priesthood for ever and ever, "The Lord swore and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever." And who could be supposed—leaving human beings out of account — even of those of the nature of |240 angels, to have been begotten of God, and made a priest for ever, but He alone Who also said in the former (b) prophecy, "The Lord created me as the beginning of the way for his works, before the ages he established me, in the beginning before the mountains were established, before all the hills he begets me." Give your careful attention to understanding the relations of the present Psalm to the words quoted in the previous passage; in this one the Most High God establishes to share His own throne the Second Lord, who is our Lord, saying, "Sit thou on my right hand," while in the preceding one the Scripture said that (c) His throne would remain for ever and ever, calling Him at the same time God when it says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Again, in the passage before us, it says, "The Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Sion," and in the other, "The sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom"; and once more this passage says, "Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet, and thou shalt rule in the midst of thine enemies," and the former one, "Thy arrows are sharp, O mighty one, in the heart of the (d) king's enemies." So that what is said about His enemies in both is in agreement. Who, then, seeing with his eyes in the midst of cities, villages and countries throughout the world the Churches of our Saviour, the peoples ruled by Him, and the vast multitudes of those sanctified by Him encircled on all sides by enemies and foes of the teaching of Christ, some visible among men, some invisible and beyond the power of sight, would not wonder at this oracie addressed to the person of the subject of the prophecy, which says, "Rule in the (222) midst of thine enemies"? And while in the previous passage we read, "Anointed with the oil of gladness above thy fellows"—it being the Hebrew custom to anoint priests —the passage before us now pronounces Him priest in clearer terms, adding more teaching about Him, by which we learn that He unlike all previous priests is the Eternal Priest, an idea which cannot be associated with mere (b) humanity. He says that He is made a priest after the order of Melchizedek, in contradistinction to the ordinance of |241 the Mosaic priesthood, held either by Aaron or any of his descendants, none of whom were priests until they had been anointed with a prepared ointment, and so became, as by type and symbol, a kind of shadowy and symbolical Christ. He was one of course that because of his mortality could not extend his priesthood long, and moreover was only consecrated for Jewish people, not for the other nations. He did not enter on his priestly duty under an oath of God, but was only honoured by the judgment of men, so that it was sometimes the case that something unworthy of God's service was found in them, as is recorded of Eli. And moreover besides all this, that ancient priest of the Mosaic order could only be selected from the tribe of Levi. It was obligatory without exception that he should be of the family descending from Aaron, and do service to God in outward worship with the sacrifices and blood of irrational animals. But he that is named Melchizedek, which in Greek is translated "king of righteousness," who was king of Salem, which would mean "king of peace," without father, without mother, without line of descent, not having, according to the account, "beginning of years, nor end of life," had no characteristics shared by the Aaronic priesthood. For he was not chosen by men, he was not anointed with prepared oil, he was not of the tribe of those who had not yet been born; and strangest of all, he was not even circumcised in his flesh, and yet he blesses Abraham, as if he were far better than he; he did not act as priest to the Most High God with sacrifices and libations, nor did he minister at the Temple in Jerusalem. How could he? it did not yet exist. And he was such of course because there was going to be no similarity between our Saviour Christ and Aaron, for He was neither to be designated priest after a period when He was not priest, nor was He to become priest, but be it. For we should notice carefully in the words, "Thou art a priest for ever," He does not say, "Thou shalt be what thou wert not before," any more than, "Thou wert that before, which thou art not now"—but by Him Who said, "I am that I am," it is said, "Thou art, and remainest, a priest for ever."
Since, then, Christ neither entered on His priesthood in time, nor sprang from the priestly tribe, nor was anointed with prepared and outward oil, nor will ever reach the |242 end of His priesthood, nor will be established only for the Jews but for all nations, for all these reasons He is rightly said to have forsaken the priesthood after Aaron's type, and to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. And the fulfilment of the oracle is truly wondrous, to one who recognizes how our Saviour Jesus the Christ of God even now performs through His ministers even to-day i sacrifices after the manner of Melchizedek's. For just as he, who was priest of the Gentiles, is not represented as offering outward sacrifices, but as blessing Abraham only with wine and bread, in exactly the same way our Lord and Saviour Himself first, and then all His priests among all nations, perform the spiritual sacrifice according to the customs of the Church, and with wine and bread darkly express the mysteries of His Body and saving Blood. This by the Holy Spirit Melchizedek foresaw, and used the figures of what was to come, as the Scripture of Moses witnesses, when it says:
"And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of the Most High God, and he blessed Abraham."
And thus it followed that only to Him with the addition of an oath:
"The Lord God sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
Hear, too, what the apostle also says about this:
"17. Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of the kingdom the immutability of his counsel mediated it by an oath: 18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us."
And he adds:
"23. And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they were hindered from continuing. 24. But he, because he abideth, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25. Wherein he is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto (b) God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession |243 for them. 26. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens."
And he adds:
"1. Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such an high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, 2. a minister of the holy things, and of the true tabernacle, which God has pitched, and not man."
So says the apostle.
The Psalm too, continuing, shews in veiled phrase even the Passion of the Subject of the prophecy, saying: "He shall drink of the brook in the way, therefore shall he lift up his head." And another Psalm shews "the brook" to mean the time of temptations: "Our soul hath passed through the brook, yea, our soul has passed through the deep waters." He drinks, then, in the brook, it says, that cup, evidently, of which He darkly spoke at the time of His Passion, when He said: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." And also, "If it be not possible for it to pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done."
It was, then, by drinking this cup that He lifted up His head, as the apostle also says, for when he was "Obedient to the Father unto death, even the death of the cross, therefore," he says, "God hath highly exalted him," raising Him from the dead, and setting Him at His right hand, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name which is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come. And He hath put all things in subjection under his feet, according to the promise made to Him, which He expresses through the Psalmist, saying, "Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feel. Be thou ruler in the midst of thine enemies."
It is plain to all that to-day the power of our Saviour and the word of His teaching rule over all them that have believed in Him, in the midst of His enemies and foes. |244
That Isaiah also the Greatest of the Prophets dearly knew Him to be God in God, agreeing in His Words with Us Who glorify the Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father.
[Passage quoted, Isa. xlv. 12-13.]
IN these words God the Creator of the Universe first foretells by the prophet a King and Saviour who will come to build up a holy constitution, and ransom all men who are enslaved by the errors of daemons. And next in order the prophetic Spirit darkly tells of the subjection of the different nations, which shall be subject to the One of Whom he prophesies, and how they will worship Him as God, how they will pray in His name, because of the greater God dwelling in Him, that is to say the Most High Father and God of the Universe. And this is how it is expressed.
"14. Thus saith the Lord: Egypt hath laboured for thee, and the merchandise of the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans, great in stature, shall pass over to thee, and shall be thy servants; and they shall follow thee bound in fetters, and shall worship thee anew, and shall pray in thy name, because God is in thee, and there is no God but thee. 15. For thou art God, and we knew it not, God of Israel, Saviour. 16. All that are opposed to Him shall be ashamed and confounded, and shall walk in shame."
This is the prophecy. And I do not think that any one, however deficient in judgment he may be, can fail to see how clearly and plainly the words evidently refer to God, Israel's Saviour, and another God in Him. "The just," he says, "shall worship thee, and make their prayers in thee. Because God is in thee, and there is no God but thee. For thou art God, and we knew it not, the God of Israel, the Saviour." And the words "we knew it not" spoken in the person of those of old who did not know Him, only |245 occur in the Septuagint, for the Hebrew is different, and translated by Aquila, "God then is strong and hidden, God that saves Israel," and by Theodotion, "Therefore a strong secret God preserves Israel." It is remarkable how he calls Christ a hidden God, and gives the reason clearly, why he calls Him God alone among the ones begotten after the First and Unbegotten, viz. the dwelling of the Father in Him.
"For in him" according to the holy apostle "it pleased that all the fullness of the godhead should dwell." This the passage plainly expresses when it says "God is in thee, and there is no God but thee." Instead of, "But thee" Theodotion has "But him," translating: "There is no God but him," that is to say, "But the God that is in thee, by whom thou also art God."
According to Aquila it runs thus: "But a strong one is in thee, and there is none beside thee: God the strong and the one that hides himself preserving Israel." And Symmachus, "God is in thee alone, and there is no other and exists no other God, verily thou art a hidden God, God preserving Israel," in which the words clearly shew the reason of the Christ of God being God. It is where he says, "God is in thee and therefore thou art a strong and hidden God." According to this, then, the true and only God must be One, and alone owning the Name in full right. While the Second, by sharing in the being of the True God, is thought worthy to share His Name, not being God in Himself, nor existing apart from the Father Who gives Him Divinity, not called God apart from the Father, but altogether being, living and existing as God, through the presence of the Father in Him, and one in being with the Father, and constituted God from Him and through Him, and holding His being as well as His Divinity not from Himself but from the Father. Wherefore we are |246 taught to honour Him as God after the Father, through the Father dwelling in Him, as we see these prophecies before us intend.
For as the image of a king would be honoured for the sake of him whose lineaments and likeness it bears (and though both the image and the king received honour, one person would be honoured, and not two; for there would not be two kings, the first the true one, and the one represented by the image, but one in both forms, not only conceived of, but named and honoured), so I say the Only-begotten Son, being the only image of the Unseen (227) God, is rightly called the image of the Unseen God, through bearing His likeness, and is constituted God by the Father Himself: thus He is, with regard to essence, and gives an image of the Father that grows from His nature and is not something added to Him, because of the actual source of His existence. Wherefore He is by nature both God and Only-begotten Son, not being made such by adoption like those who were without, who only acquire an accidental right to the Name of God. But He (b) is celebrated as Only-begotten Son by nature and as our God, but not as the first God, but as the first Only-Begotten Son of God, and therefore God.
And the general cause also of His being God, would be the fact that He alone is Son of God by nature, and is called Only-begotten, and that He completely preserves the living and vivid spiritual image of the One God, being made in all things like the leather, and bearing the likeness of His actual Divinity. Thus therefore Him also, as being the only Son and the only image of God, endued with the powers of the Father's Unbegotten and eternal essence (c) according to the example of likeness, and fashioned to the extremest accuracy of likeness by the Father Himself, Who is the most skilled and the wisest delineator and maker of life conceivable, the holy Scriptures salute as God, as One worthy of receiving this Name of the Father with His other (names), but as one Who receives it, and does not |247 possess it in His own right. For the One gives, and the Other receives; so that strictly the First is to be reckoned God, alone being God by nature, and not receiving (divinity) from another. And the Other is to be thought of as secondary, and as holding a Divinity received from the Father, as an image of God, the Divinity in both being conceived of as one in type, God in Himself being one without beginning and unbegotten, but He is seen through the Son as by a mirror and image. And this is exactly the teaching of the prophetic oracle, which says that He is only to be worshipped as God, because the Father dwells in Him. For it says, "In thee shall they pray, because God is in thee, and Thou thyself art God, the Saviour of Israel, and therefore Thou art a strong and a hidden God. Since God is in Thee, and there is none beside Him."
Instead of "Egypt laboured," the Hebrew has, and the other translators render, "Labour of Egypt,'' so that the passage runs: "The Labour of Egypt and the merchandise of the Aethiopians shall worship Thee and be Thy slaves, and the Sabeans," by which I understand to be meant barbarous and obscure nations, in fact all those that long ago were a prey to daemonic superstition. For as the Egyptians seemed to be the most superstitious of all nations, and to have begun the errors of idolatry, it is natural that they should be represented as first coming under the yoke of Christ, and should represent all the rest of idolatry. And this was fulfilled in our Lord and Saviour, by the worship and service rendered to Him in all nations by many multitudes of nations throughout the world.
And I understand that the Ethiopians and Sabeans here foretold as worshipping Christ are also meant in Ps. lxxi., where it is said: "The Ethiopians shall fall down before him, and the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts, and shall worship him." And it is plain from the context that it is Christ Who it is there predicted will also be the Object of their worship. |248
How David equally with Us knows the Word of God, Who is of His Essence, to be by the Command of the Father Creator of All Things; and how the Same Prophet witnesses that the Same Word of God was sent by the Father for the Saving of Men, and how He prophesies that in a Short Time the Whole World would be filled by His Teaching.
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made firm, and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth."
And in Ps. cvi. it is said:
"He sent his word and healed them, and saved them from their destruction."
And again in Ps. cxlvii.:
"He sendeth his oracle upon earth, his word runneth swiftly."
Now it is evident that with the Psalm before us which says, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made firm," (229) the holy gospel exactly agrees when it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made." The Gospel rightly calls Him God: for this same being who is now regarded as God, has been called in our previous quotations, the Word, the Wisdom and the Offspring of God, and the Priest, the Christ, King, Lord, God, and the Image of God. And (b) that He is other than the Father, and His Minister, so that He as the greater can bid Him to create, is added in the Psalm before us:
"8. Let all the earth fear the Lord, | and let all the dwellers on earth be moved by him. | 9. For he spake, and they were created, | he commanded and they were made. | "
For it is plain that a speaker must speak to some one else, and one who issues a command must issue it to another beside himself. And clearly since our Saviour's Incarnation |249 many multitudes from all the earth, that is to say from all the nations of the earth, have ceased to fear daemons as before, and have feared the Lord Jesus, and all the inhabitants of the world have been moved at the Name of Christ, agreeably to the oracle which here says, "Let the earth fear the Lord: By him shall be moved all the inhabitants of the world." These, then, come from Ps. ii. and xxx. And you would find similar prophecies also in Ps. cxlviii., which teaches that not only things in earth, but also things in heaven, the whole creation in a word, came into being by the command of God. For it says:
"1. Praise the Lord from the heavens, | praise him in the height; | 2. Praise him all ye angels of his, | praise him all his powers, | 3. Praise him sun and moon, | Praise him all ye stars and light, | . . . 5. For he spake, and they were made, | he commanded, and they were created."
For if He commanded, Who was great enough to receive such a command, but the Word of God, who in many ways has been proved to be God in this treatise, and naturally called the Word of God, because the Almighty has set in Him the words that make and create all things, delivering to Him the task of governing all things and steering them by reason and in order?
For of course no one should imagine that the Word of God is like to articulate and spoken speech, which among men consists of syllables, and is compounded of nouns and verbs: for we know that our speech consists essentially of sounds and syllables and their significations, and is produced by the tongue and the organs of the throat and mouth, whereas that of the eternal and unembodied nature, totally divorced from all our conditions, could not possibly involve anything human: It uses the name of speech and nothing more. Since we must not in the case of the God of the Universe postulate a voice that depends on the movements of the air, nor words, nor syllables, nor tongue, nor mouth, nor anything indeed that is human and mortal. |250
For His must be a Word of the soul, and quite incapable of existence or being apart from the soul. For human speech is in itself without essence and substance, and regarded generally is a self-movement and activity of thought. But the Word of God is other than this: It has its own substance (c) in Itself altogether divine and spiritual, It exists in Itself, It is active also in Itself, and being divorced from matter and body, and made like to the nature of the first Unbegotten and Only God, It carries in Itself the meaning of all begotten things, and the ideas of things visible, being Itself without body and invisible. Wherefore the divine oracles call It Wisdom and the Word of God.
(d) CHAPTER 6
That Isaiah, as well as David, acknowledges Two Lords, and the (231) Second, as in David, is the Creator, as We also confess.
[Passage quoted, Isa. xlviii. 12-15.]
(b) SEE now how He that says, "I am the first, and I am the last. He that established the earth and the heaven," clearly confesses that He was sent by "the Lord, the Lord," calling the Father Lord twice, and you will have undeniable evidence of what we seek. And He says that He is first among beings begotten in all reverence, since He allots Being, original, unbegotten, and beyond the first, to the Father. For the customary meaning of first in the sense of "first of a greater number," superior in honour and order, (c) would not be applicable to the Father. For the Almighty God of course is not the first of created things, since the idea of Him does not admit of a beginning. He must be beyond and above the first, as Himself generating and establishing the First, and the Divine Word alone is to be called the First of all begotten things. So if we ask with reference to the words, "He spake and they were made, he commanded and they were created," to which of the begotten beings He gave the command to create, we see now clearly that it was given to Him, Who said, "My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has |251 made the heaven strong": Who also confesses that He was sent by One greater than Himself, when He says: "Now (d) the Lord, the Lord has sent me, and his Spirit." And it must be the Word of God Who said also, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made firm," if we compare the Psalm. And yet though the Word of God is Himself proclaimed divine by the word "Lord," He still calls One Higher and Greater His Father and Lord, using with beautiful reverence the word Lord twice in speaking of Him, so as to differentiate His title. For He says here, "The Lord, the Lord has sent me," as if the Almighty God were in a special sense first and true Lord both of His Only- (232) begotten Word and of all begotten things after Him, in relation to which the Word of God has received dominion and power from the Father, as His true and Only-begotten Son, and therefore Himself holds the title of Lord in a secondary sense.
That Moses, God's Greatest Servant, knows the Father and God of the Universe to have been associated with Another in the Creation of Man: And that. We have learned already that this Being was the Divine Word.
"AND God said, Let us make man in our image, and likeness." And also: "And God said, It is not good for man to be alone, let us make a helper for him." And he at once shews that the Being addressed is not an angel of God, so that it may not be thought that this was said to angels, with the words: "And God made man, in the image of God he made him." |252
From the same.
That Moses clearly without Veil reveals God to be Two Lords,
"THE sun arose on the earth, and Lot entered Segor, and the Lord rained upon Sodom brimstone and fire from the Lord."
It is clear here that the second "Lord'' refers to him that was sent by the greater Lord to punish the ungodly. Yet if we unreservedly confess two Lords, we do not regard them both as God in the same sense. We are taught in all reverence to admit an order, that One is the Most High Father and God and Lord, and God and Lord of the Second: but that the Word of God is the Second Lord, Lord of those below Him, and yet not equally with the greater. For the Word of God is not Lord of the Father, nor God of the Father, but His Image, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and Lord and God of those that come after Him; whereas the Father is Father and Lord and God even of the Son. Wherefore a reverent theology in our opinion rightly recurs to one Source of being and to one God.
From the same.
That the Same Servant of God shews a Second Being called God and Lord, and relates that He was seen in Human Shape and Form and answered Them of Old Time.
[Passages quoted, Gen. xii. 7; xvii. 1; xviii. 1, 17.]
AND again he adds to this, as if speaking of Another:
"For I knew that he will establish his children, and his house after him, and they will keep the ways of the Lord, to do righteousness and judgment, so that the |253 Lord will bring on Abraham what things he spake to him."
The Lord Who answers, Who is recorded to have said this to Abraham, is represented as clearly confessing another Lord to be his Father and the Maker of all things. At least Abraham, who as a prophet has a clear conception of the speaker, prophetically continues with the words:
"Wilt thou destroy the righteous man with the wicked, and shall the righteous be as the wicked? If there be fifty righteous in the city, wilt thou destroy them? Wilt thou not spare [all] the place, because of the fifty righteous? Be it far from thee to fulfil this word, and destroy the righteous with the wicked, and that the righteous should be as the wicked. In no way let him, that judgeth all the earth, not do judgment."
I hardly think that this could have been said suitably to angels or to any of God's ministering spirits. For it could not be regarded as a minor duty to judge all the earth. And he is no angel who is named in the previous passage, but One greater than an angel, the God and Lord who was seen beside the before-mentioned oak with the two angels in human form. Nor can it be thought that Almighty God Himself is meant. For it is impious to suggest that the Divine changes and puts on the shape and form of a man. And so it remains for us to own that it is the Word of God who in the preceding passage is regarded as divine: whence the place is even to-day honoured by those who live in the neighbourhood as a sacred place in honour of those who appeared to Abraham, and the terebinth can still be seen |254 there. For they who were entertained by Abraham, as represented in the picture, sit one on each side, and he in the midst surpasses them in honour. This would be our Lord and Saviour, Whom though men knew Him not they worshipped, confirming the Holy Scriptures. He then thus in person from that time sowed the seeds of holiness among men, putting on a human form and shape, and revealed to the godly ancestor Abraham Who He was, and shewed him the mind of His Father.
From the same.
That the same Prophet shews more clearly in the Matter of Jacob the said Person to be Lord, Whom also He calls God, and an Angel of God Most High, in addressing Him.
[Passage quoted, Gen. xxviii. 10-19.]
THIS Being who here answers him at such length, you will find, if you read on, to be Lord and God, and the Angel of God, from the words Jacob himself says to his wives:
"And the angel of the Lord said to me in sleep, Jacob. And I said, Here am I."
"I have seen, he says, all that Laban doeth to thee. I am the God, that was seen of thee in the place where thou anointedst the pillar for me, and offeredst prayer to me."
Therefore He that said before, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy Father, and the God of Isaac, to whom godly |255 Jacob raises the pillar, was indeed God and Lord: for we must believe that which He Himself says. Not of course the Almighty, but the Second to Him, Who ministers for His Father among men, and brings His Word. Wherefore Jacob here calls Him an Angel: "The Angel of God said to me, speaking in my sleep, ' I am the God who was seen by thee in this place.' " So the same Being is clearly called the Angel of the Lord, and God and Lord in this place. And by Isaiah the Prophet he is called "Angel of Great Counsel," as well as God and Ruler and Potentate, where His Incarnation is prophesied in the words:
"For unto us a child is born, and to us a son is given, on whose shoulder shall be the rule, and his name shall be called the Angel of Great Counsel, Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Potentate, the Father of the Age to Come."
That Jacob also beholds the Before-named as Both God and Lord, and also as an Angel in Human Form in Common with Abraham, in the Course of the History that so tells.
[Passage quoted, Gen. xxxii. 22-31.]
IT was said to Moses, No one shall see My face and live. ( But here Jacob saw God not indefinitely but face to face. ( And being preserved, not only in body but in soul, he was thought worthy of the name of Israel, which is a name borne by souls, if the name Israel is rightly interpreted "Seeing God." Yet he did not see the Almighty God. For He is invisible, and unalterable, and the Highest of all Being could not possibly change into man.
But he saw Another, Whose name it was not yet the time to reveal to curious Jacob. And if we were to suppose that he saw an angel, or that one of the divine spirits in heaven whose duty it is to bring oracles to the holy, we should |256 clearly be wrong; firstly, because He is called Lord and God, for certainly Holy Scripture calls him God in distinct terms, and names Him Lord, honouring Him with the name signified by the Tetragram, which the Hebrews only apply to the unspeakable and secret name of God: and secondly, because when Scripture desires to speak of angels, it clearly distinguishes them as such, as when the God and Lord Who replies to Abraham no longer thinks the sinners of Sodom worthy of His presence, and Holy Scripture says:
"And the Lord departed, and ceased speaking with Abraham. And the two angels departed to Sodom at evening."
And to Jacob:
" There came two angels of God: and he saw them, and said, It is the camp of God. And he called the name of that place, Encampments."
Here, then, the godly man clearly distinguished the nature of the visions, since he now called the name of the place Encampments, from his seeing the encampments of the angels. Whereas when he communes with God, he calls the name of the place, Sight of God, adding, "For I have seen God face to face."
And when an angel appears to Moses, Holy Scripture also makes it plain, saying: "The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush." But when it refers to the actual being who replies, it calls him God and Lord, and no longer an angel. It is equally clear in its distinction between the angel and the Lord in the account of what happened at the Red Sea, where it says:
"And the angel of the Lord that went before the children of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud also removed from before them."
And as in the former passage the Lord is introduced as answering the men of the old time in human form, so also is He here by the cloud. For it is said afterwards:
"And it came to pass in the morning-watch, that the Lord looked upon the camp of the Egyptians in a pillar of fire and cloud. And God answered Moses in the pillar of the cloud through the whole of the wanderings in the wilderness."
So Scripture is quite exact when the nature of an angel is meant, for it calls him neither God nor Lord, |257 but simply Angel. But when it knows that He that appears was Lord and God, it clearly uses those terms. And that by Lord and God they do not mean the First Cause, the passages of Holy Scripture clearly shew which call Him the Angel of God, Who had previously been called Lord and God in the part concerning Jacob. It only remains for Him then to be God and Lord among beings, after the Almighty God of the Universe. And He would thus be the Word of God before the ages, greater than all angels, but less than the First Cause.
CHAPTER 12 (d)
Thai again in the Story of Jacob the Story supposes a Secondary God.
[Passage quoted, Gen. xxxv. 1-3.]
HERE the very God of the Universe, the only Unbegotten (239) and Most High (not seen, for He answers Jacob invisibly, and moving him by His unspeakable power), speaks clearly of Another than Himself. God then said to him, "Make an altar to the God that appeared to thee." I have already shewn Who this was that was described before as appearing to him, and proved that it was the Word of God.
That the Almighty God, being He that answered Moses by an Angel, teaches that He was seen by the Fathers, not by means of an Angel, but by His Son.
[Passages quoted, Exod. iii. 1, 2, 4, 5, 14; vi. 2-4.]
IN the case of the Prophets, Isaiah, say, or Jeremiah, or those like them, a man was seen, and God prophesied |258 through him that was seen, as by an instrument; and now the Person of Christ, now that of the Holy Spirit, and now that of Almighty God, answered through the prophet. So we must suppose the Most High and Almighty God now prophesies the things before us to Moses who is under (240) instruction by the angel that appeared to him. The intention of which must have been of this nature: "To you, O prophet, as one being instructed and not fit for aught but angelic visions, hitherto I have willed to send my angel; and I make my Name clear to thee alone, teaching thee that I am what I am, and that my Name is the Lord; but I not only showed this to thy fathers, but I gave them a greater gift, I appeared to them." I have already shewn Who it was that appeared to the fathers, when I shewed that (b) the angel of God was called God and Lord. It will naturally be asked how He that is beyond the universe, Himself the only Almighty God, appeared to the fathers. And the answer will be found if we realize the accuracy of Holy Scripture. For the Septuagint rendering, "I was seen of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, being their God." Aquila says, "And I was seen by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a sufficient God," clearly shewing that the Almighty God Himself, Who is One, was not seen in His own Person; (c) and that He did not give answers to the fathers, as He did to Moses by an angel, or a fire, or a bush, but "as a sufficient God": so that the Father was seen by the fathers through the Son, according to His saying in the Gospels, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." For the knowledge of the Father was revealed in Him and by Him. But in cases when He appeared to save men, He was seen in the human form of the Son, giving an earnest before the time to the godly of that salvation which should come (d) through Him to all men; whereas when He was going to be the avenger and chastiser of the wicked Egyptians, He appeared no longer as a sufficient God, but as an angel ministering punishment, and in form of fire and flame, ready at once to devour them like wild and thorny undergrowth. So they say that the bush darkly refers to the |259 wild, savage, and cruel character of the Egyptians, and the fire to the avenging power of the chastisement that overtook them. (241)
CHAPTER 14 (b)
That God the Word appeared in the Form of a Cloud to Moses and All the People, as in Human Form to the Patriarchs.
[Passages quoted, Exod. xix. 9; xxxiii. 9; Num.xii. 5.]
The people then beheld the pillar of cloud, and it spoke (c) to Moses. But who was the speaker? Obviously the pillar of cloud, which before appeared to the fathers in a human form. And I have already shewn that this was not the Almighty God, but another Being Whom we name, as the Word of God, the Christ Who was seen for the sake of the multitude of Moses and the people in a pillar of cloud, because it was not possible for them to see Him like their (d) fathers in human shape. For, surely, it was reserved for the Perfect to be able to see beforehand His future Incarnate appearance among men, and since it was impossible then for the whole people to bear it, He was seen now in fire in order to inspire fear and wonder, and now in a cloud, as it were in a shadowy and veiled form ruling them, as He was also seen, by Moses for their sake.
CHAPTER 15 (242)
That it was not an Angel, who gave Answers to Moses, but Some One More Excellent than an Angel.
[Passages quoted, Exod. xxiii. 20, 21; xxxii. 34; xxxiii. i.]
IT will be plain to all that these could not be the words of a mere angel of God. But of what God could they (c) be, but of the One seen by the forefathers, whom Jacob |260 clearly called the Angel of God? And He we know was the Word of God, being called both the Servant of God, and God Himself and Lord.
(d) That the same Lord teaches of another Lord, namely, His Son. (243)
[Passage quoted, Exod. xx. 2, 5, 7.]
From the Decalogue.
HERE, too, the Lord Himself teaches in the passage before us about another Lord. For He says: "I am the Lord thy God," and adds: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God." The second Lord is here mystically instructing His Servant about the Father, that is to say, the God of the Universe. And you could find many other similar instances occurring in Holy Scripture, in which God gave answers as if about another God, and the Lord Himself as if about another Lord.
That this Lord again Who gave Answers to Moses, knowing another Lord Greater than Himself as Father, called Him the True God.
(d) [Passages quoted, Exod. xxxiii. 17-18; xxxiv. 5-8.]
NOTICE, then, here how the Lord that descended in the cloud, and stood by Moses in the name of the Lord, called Another beside Himself, Who is twice called Lord, in a common form of reduplication, as one reckoned as God to be His own Master and Master of all others, and His Own Father, and that here it is not Moses, as might be supposed, but the Lord Himself Who calls another Lord His Father; for He speaks first, and say to Moses: "I |261 will pass before thee in my glory, and will call upon the name of the Lord." And when He has so said, Scripture goes on in narrative form: "And the Lord descended in a cloud, and stood beside him there, and called on the name of the Lord."
Thus the Lord Himself in fulfilment of His promise descends and passes before the face of Moses. And the Lord Himself calls and says: "O Lord, the God of pity and mercy," and that which follows, clearly teaching His servant Who He was, and teaching mystically the knowledge of a Lord greater than Himself. And Moses implies this, when in his prayer for the people he records the words of the Lord before us, that the Lord spoke them, and not he himself, when he says:
"And now let the hand of the Lord be exalted, as thou saidst, The Lord is long-suffering and very pitiful and true, taking away sins and injustice, and iniquity, and will not clear the guilty with purification, avenging the sins of fathers upon their children to the third and fourth generation."
Notice the way in which the Lord Himself addressing the Father in these words as "long-suffering and of tender mercy," calls Him also "true," agreeing with the words: "That they may know thee the only true God," spoken in the Gospels by the same Being, our Saviour. Yea, with exceeding reverence He calls the Father the only true God, given meet honour to the Unbegotten Nature, of which Holy Scripture teaches us He is Himself the Image and the Offspring.
That Holy Scripture teaches that God was seen by Israel, darkly meaning the Word of God.
IN the Book of Numbers Moses prays, saying: "Since thou art the Lord of this people that art seen of them face to face." |262
For which Aquila substitutes: "Since thou art the Lord in the hearts of this people, which sees thee, O Lord, face to face." And Symmachus: "Since thou art, O Lord."
And it is said in Exodus: "And Moses, and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and saw the place where the God of Israel stood." Instead of which Aquila says: "And they saw the God of Israel." And Symmachus: "And they saw in a vision the God of Israel."
From the text: "No man has seen God at any time," perhaps it might be thought that the above quotation contradicts the Saviour's words, as implying that the invisible is visible. But if they be understood, like our former quotations, of the Word of God, Who was seen by the fathers "in many ways and in sundry manners," no contradiction is involved.
The God of Israel here seen is shewn to be the same Being Who was seen by Israel, when a man wrestled with Him, Who first changed his name from Jacob to Israel, saying: "Thou hast power with God," and when, also, Jacob appreciating His divine power called the place of the struggle the Sight of God, saying: "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." I showed in the proper place that this was no other than the Word of God.
CHAPTER 19 (246)
From Joshua, the son of Nave.
That God the Word, Who answered Moses, appeared also to the Forefathers of Old Time, and to Joshua, Moses' Successor, in Human Form.
[Passage quoted, Josh. v. 13-15.]
THE same words, you will remember, were said by the same Lord to Moses at the beginning of the vision of the Bush, for Scripture says: |263
"4. And when the Lord saw that he drew nigh to see, He called him from the midst of the Bush, saying, Moses, Moses, come not near here; loose thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
So, then, the command that was given shews that the God Who answered on both occasions was one and the same. Though here He prophesies through the Chief and Captain of His power, and to Moses by the vision of the angel. And of the heavenly armies, celestial powers and invisible spirits, holy angels and archangels ministering to God the King of kings and the Lord of lords (as Daniel says: "Thousand thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him"), what other could be highest of all but the Word of God, His Firstborn Wisdom, His Divine Offspring? Rightly, then, He is here called Chief Captain of the Power of the Lord, as also elsewhere "Angel of Great Counsel," "Throned with the Father," "Eternal and Great High Priest." And it has been proved that the same Being is both Lord and God, and Christ anointed by the Father with the oil of gladness. Thus, appearing to Abraham by the oak in human form, He reveals Himself in a calm and peaceful guise, foreshowing by it His future Coming to save mankind; He appeared to Jacob, as to an athlete and a champion destined to wrestle with enemies, in the form of a man, and to Moses and the people in the form of cloud and fire, and led them, shewing Himself terrible and shadowy.
And as Joshua, the successor of Moses, was about to fight against the former possessors of Palestine his enemies, foreign and most ungodly races, He rightly appears to him with a sword drawn and pointed against the enemy, shewing by the vision that He Himself is about to attack the ungodly with an unseen sword and with divine power, the fellow-soldier and the fellow-combatant of His people. Wherefore He gives Himself the name of Chief and Captain of the Lord to suit the occasion. |264
How the Creator of the Universe, the Word of God, answered Job, and is said to have appeared to Him, just as He (b) did to the Fathers.
[Passages quoted, Job xxxviii. 1, 4, 7, 8, 14-17; xlii. 4-6.]
IT is easy to distinguish that the words before us are the Words of the Lord the Creator, not only from what has previously been considered but from the impression they make on you. And, moreover, that the passages: "Hast thou gone to the source of the sea, and trodden in the footprints of the deep?" and: "Do the gates of death open to thee for fear, and did the fortress of hell quake when they saw thee?" prophesy our Saviour's descent into Hades I will prove in the proper place, only now . remarking that it is more reasonable to refer this passage to God the Word than to the God of the Universe.
(248) Job certainly afterwards bears witness that he has seen with his own eyes, as the fathers did the Lord Who spoke to him through the whirlwind and the clouds, saying:
"Hear me, Lord, that I also may speak: and I will ask thee, and teach thou me. I have heard of thee by the report of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore I have humiliated myself and have melted, and I reckon myself dust and ashes."
But how could a soul clothed in flesh and mortal eyes (b) behold the Most High God, the Being beyond the Universe, the Unchangeable and Unbegotten Essence, unless we could say that here also God the Word proved to be Lord in varying instances shews Himself as passing from His own proper majesty? This we may learn to be so from the oracles themselves, in which the Lord again narrating the story of the devil, under the name of the Dragon, to Job, insisted, Do not you fear because he is prepared for me? For what Lord ought we to think that the Dragon (c) was prepared, but our Saviour the Divine Word? He it was that destroyed the Prince of this world, who of old besieged the human race, loosing the pains of death, as |265 He Himself also shews, saying: "Didst thou come to the spring of the sea, and troddest thou the traces of the depth? Did the doors of death open to thee in fear, and the warders of hell seeing thee tremble?" and He naturally gave this answer to Job after the great trial and contest through which He had gone, teaching him that though he has struggled more than his share, a greater and sterner (d) battle and contest is reserved for the Lord Himself against the time of His Coming to earth to die.
From Psalm xc.
That this Psalm knows Two Lords.
[Passage quoted, Ps. xc. 9-13.]
THESE are the words that the devil uses in the Temptation (249) of our Saviour. Notice, then, how the Psalm says to the Lord Himself: "For thou, O Lord my hope, hast made the Most High thy refuge.'' For Thou Thyself, he says, my hope, O Lord, hast made thy refuge One greater than Thyself, God Himself the Most Highest over all and Thine own Father; wherefore evils shall not come upon Thee, (b) and no scourge shall come nigh Thy dwelling. And although wicked men attempt to scourge Thee, when Thou shalt become man, and to put Thee to death, yet for all that the scourge of God shall not come nigh Thy dwelling, that is Thy body, which Thou shalt wear for our sakes having become man. In the same way you will refer to Him all the remainder of the Psalm, which I will consider also in its fit place. |266
About the Word of God and about the Father, as about a Lord.
[Passage quoted, Hos. xi. 9.]
IN these words God the Word says when He has become man to those who confess Him to be a holy man, but not God: "I am God and not a holy man among you." And, then, having called Himself God, He shews the Almighty Lord and God, His Father, adding: "I will go behind the Lord." And the words: "I will not enter into the city," are of one who refuses to take part in the common and vulgar life of men, from which also He dissuades his own disciples: "Go not on a road of the Gentiles, and enter not into a city of the Samaritans."
CHAPTER 23 (250)
(b) Of Our Saviour as of a Lord, and of His Father as of God, and. of the Destruction of the Jewish People.
[Passage quoted, Amos iv. ii.]
AND here the Lord Himself says that some God has caused the destruction of Sodom, since He Himself must plainly be a different Being from the One of Whom He speaks. Therefore two Lords stands out in the destruction (c) of Sodom and Gomorrah, when the Lord rained the fire of the Lord on them. You also, he says, will suffer a destruction such as Sodom underwent for its unnatural wickedness, and even so did not turn to Me. Scripture generally regards the future as past, so that we must understand the past to be meant in spite of the tense. The future "I will overthrow" must be understood for the past "I overthrew," and "ye will not turn," for "ye did turn." |267
This is levelled at the Jewish race, and only received its fulfilment in their case, after their plot against our Saviour, (d) Their ancient holy place, at any rate, and their Temple are to this day as much destroyed as Sodom. Yet though they have suffered in accordance with the prediction, they have not hitherto turned to Christ, on Whose account they have suffered so much. And so the prophecy before us is justly inspired to say: "And neither so have ye returned to me, saith the Lord."
CHAPTER 24 (251)
Of the Two Lords, Father and Son, and of the Call (b) of the Gentiles.
[Passage quoted, Obad. 1.]
THE Lord God has heard a report from the Lord. And this report was about the call of the Gentiles.
That God the Word being Lord confesses that He was sent (c) by a Greater Lord.
[Passage quoted, Zech. ii. 8.]
IF, then, the Lord that sent (Him) is Lord Almighty, and He that says He was sent is so also, surely there are Two; And He that was sent as Almighty Lord of the nations says clearly, "He sent me." |268
The same, and concerning the Call of the Gentiles.
[Passage quoted, Zech. ii. 10, 11.]
AND this prophecy is like the former one, telling of the coming of the Christ to men, and the call of the Gentiles to salvation through Him.
"For I the Lord myself will come," He says, "and at My coming no longer Israel of old, nor one single nation of the earth alone, but many nations shall take refuge in the greater and high Lord, the God of Me Myself and of the Universe, to Whom fleeing the nations shall reap the great harvest of being called and actually becoming the people of God, and of dwelling in the midst of her that is called the daughter of Zion."
So it is common in Holy Scripture to call the Church of God on earth, as being as it were a daughter of the heavenly Zion. And this good news is told in the oracle which says:
"Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Zion, because I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee." For we believe that God the Word dwells in the midst of the Church. As indeed He promised when He said, " Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world''—and, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." And when, He says:
"I the Lord Myself, do come and dwell in the midst of you; thou shalt receive a greater knowledge of God, for I the Lord will refer the cause of My being sent to men to My Father who sent Me. Thou shalt know that the Lord Almighty has sent Me unto you."
And then in such words as these the Lord Himself speaks about another Lord and God, "And I will strengthen them in the Lord their God, and in my name shall they boast, saith the Lord." Who then are those who boast in the Lord? |269
How again the Lord narrates concerning another Lord, and this is clearly His Father. (253)
[Passage quoted, Zech. iii. 1.]
AND here again the Lord says that another Lord will rebuke the devil. The Lord that is speaking with Him is not himself the rebuker, but tells of another Lord. Wherein I consider there is clear proof of the existence of two Lords, the Father and God of the Universe, and One after the Father, Who has received the lordship and dominion of all things begotten.
CHAPTER 28 (b)
That the Almighty God calls the Angel of the Covenant Christ, and the same Being Lord.
[Passage quoted, Mal. iii. 1-2.]
THIS, too, is like the former prophecies. For the Lord God (c) Himself, the Almighty, says that a Lord will come in His own temple, speaking of another: And He surely means God the Word. And after this also He names Him "the Angel of the Covenant" of Whom, too, Almighty God teaches that He will Him send forth before His face, saying, "Behold, I send forth my angel before my face." And this same Being, Whom He has called "My angel," He calls Lord directly after, and adds, "The Lord shall suddenly come, and the Angel of the Covenant." Thus having (d) referred to one and the same Being, He proceeds, "Behold he comes, and who will abide the day of his coming?" meaning His Second and Glorious Coming. And the Lord who makes this prophecy is God, the Sovereign of the Universe. |270
That the God of the Universe names Christ the Sun of Righteousness.
[Passage quoted, Mal. iv. 2.]
HE that has often been named Lord, and God, and Angel, and Chief Captain, Christ and Priest, and Word and Wisdom of God, and Image, this same Being is now called Sun of Righteousness. And we see that the Father that begat Him proclaims that He will rise not on all, but only on those that fear His Name, giving them the light of the Sun of Righteousness as a reward for their fear. He, then, must be God the Word, Who said, "I am the Light of the world"; for He was "the light that lighteth every man coming into the world." He of course, and not the sun of nature, perceptible to all alike whether they have reason or not, He that is divine and spiritual, and the cause of all virtue and justice, God says in this passage, will rise only on those that fear Him, hiding Himself from the unworthy. Concerning which He says somewhere else, "And the sun shall set upon the prophets that deceive my people."
That God the Word, being Lord, prays to His Father, prophesying the Conversion of the Gentiles.
[Passage quoted, Jer. xvi. 19-21.]
THE Lord prays to another Lord, clearly His Father and the God of the Universe, and says in the opening of His prayer, "O Lord, thou art my strength," and that which follows. And He clearly prophesies the conversion of the Gentiles from idolatrous error to godly religion. And this prophecy, moreover, has been shewn most clearly to have been fulfilled after the Coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ to men.
But now that we have, by thirty prophetic quotations in all, learned that our Lord and Saviour the Word of God is (b) God, a Second God after the Most High and Supreme, we will pass to another topic in connection with the theology of His Person, and prove from the holy books of the Hebrews that it was necessary for this same God to come to men.
END OF VOL. I.
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