Early Church Fathers
37 tw atomw: here, the individual body of man: "individno corpusculo," Zinus translates. Theodoret in his second ("Unconfused") Dialogue quotes this very passage about the "infiniteness of the Deity," and a "vessel," to prove the two natures of Christ.
40 There is a touch of Eutychianism in this illustration of the union of the Two Natures; as also in Gregory's answer (c. Eunom. iii. 265; v. 589) to Eunomius' charge of Two Persons against the Nicene party, viz. that "the flesh with all its peculiar marks and properties is taken up and transformed into the Divine nature"; whence arose that antimeqistasij twn onomatwn, i.e. reciprocal interchange of the properties human and Divine, which afterwards occasioned the Monophysite controversy. But Origen had used language still more incautious; "with regard to his mortal body and his human soul, we believe that owing to something rare than communion with Him to actual union and intermingling it has acquired the highest qualities, and partakes of His Divinity, and so has changed into God" (c. Cels. iii. 41).
41 fastening on the material. The word (aptqsqai) could mean either "fastening on," or "depending on," or "kindled from" (it has been used in this last sense just above). Krabinger selects the second, "quae a subjecto depender."
42 dia twn istoroumenwn qaumatwn ouk amfiballomen.
44 Origin answering the same objections says "I know not what sort of alteration of mankind it is that Celsus wants, when he doubts whether it were not possible to improve man by a display of Divine power, without any one being sent in the course of nature (fusei) for that purpose. Does he want this to take place among mankind by a sudden appearance of God destroying evil in their hearts at a blow, and causing virtue to spring up there? One might well inquire if it were fitting or possible that such a thing should happen. But we will suppose that it is so. What then? How will our assent to the truth be (in that case) praiseworthy? You yourself process to recognize a special Providence: therefore you ought just as much to have told us, as we you, why it is that God, knowing the affairs of men, does not correct them, and by a single stroke of His power rid Himself of the whole family of evil. But we confidently assert that He does send messengers for this very purpose: for His words appealing to men's noblest emotions are amongst them. But whereas there had been already great differences between the various ministers of the Word, the reformation of Jesus went beyond them all in greatness; for He did not mean to heal the men of one little corner only of the world, but He came to save all;" c. Cels. iv. 3, 4.
45 Ch. v.
47 to dianohtikon.
48 So Origen (c. Cels. iv. 15) illustrates the kenwsij and sugkatabasij of Christ: "Nor was this change one from the heights of excellence to the depths of baseness (to ponhrotaton), for how can goodness and love be baseness? If they were, it would be high time to declare that the surgeon who inspects or touches grievous and unsightly cases in order to heal them undergoes such a change from good to bad."
49 There is no one word in English which would represent the full meaning of pafoj. "Sufferance" sometimes comes nearest to it, but not here, where Gregory is attempting to express that which in no way whatever attached to the Saylout, i. e. moral weakness, as opposed to physical infirmity.
50 upon a more general scale as it were. The Greek here is somewhat obscure; the best reading is Krabinger's; genikwtwrw tini logw thn noeran ousian th aisfhth sugkatemicen. Hervetus' translation is manifestly wrong; "Is generosiorem quondam intelligentem essentiam commiscuit sensili principio."-Soul and body have been reunited by the Resurrection, on a larger scale and to a wider extent (logw), than in the former instance of a single Person (in the Incarnation), the new principle of life progressing to the extremities of humanity by natural consequence: genikwterw will thus refer by comparison to "the first framing of these component elements." Or else it contrasts the amount of life with that of death: and is to be explained by Rom. v. 15, "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." Krabinger's translation, "generaliori quâdam ratione," therefore seems correct. The mode of the union of soul and body is described in Gregory's Treatise on the Soul as kreittwn logoj, and in his Making of Man as afrastoj logoj, but in neither is there any comparison but with other less perfect modes of union; i. e. the reference is to quality, not to quantity, as here.
51 the Prophet, i. e. David; Ps. xxxi. 19: wj polu to plhfoj thj xrhstothtoj sou, k.t.l. Hervetus translates Gregory here "divitiae benignitatis," as if he had found ploutoj in the text, which does not appear. Jerome twice translates the xrhstothj of LXX. by "bonitas"; Aquila and Symmachus have ti polu to agaqon sou. This is the later sense of xrhstothj, which originally meant "serviceableness" and then "uprightness" (Psalm xiii. 2, Psalm xiii. 4, Psalm xxxvi. 3, Psalm cxix. 66), rather than "kindness."
52 appearance, parousian. Casaubon in his notes to Gregory's Ep. to Eustathia, gives a list of the various terms applied by the Greek Fathers to the Incarnation, viz. (besides parousia),-h tou Xristou epifaneia\ h despotikh epidhmia\ h dia sarkoj omilia\ h tou logou ensarkwsij\ h enanqrwphsij\ h eleusij\ h kenwsij\ h sugkatabasij\ h oikonomia (none more frequent than this); and others.
53 Tit. ii. 11. This is the preferable rendering; not as in the A.V., "appeared to all men."
54 unbloody Priesthood, anaimakton ierwsunhn, i. e. "sacerdotium," not "sacrificium." This, not qusian, is supported by the Codd. The Eucharist is often called by the Fathers "the unbloody sacrifice" (e. g. Chrysost. in Ps. xcv., citing Malachi), and the Priesthood which offers it can be called "unbloody" too. Cf. Greg. Naz. in Poem. xi. 1-
\W qusiaj pempontej anaimaktouj ierhej.
While these terms assert the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist, might they not at the same time supply an argument against the Roman view of Transubstantiation, which teaches that the actual blood of Christ is received, and makes it still a bloody sacrifice?
55 of the presence among them, &c. Cf. a striking passage in Origen; "One amongst the convincing proofs that Jesus was something Divine and holy is this; that the Jews after what they did to Him have suffered so many terrible afflictions for so long. And we shall be bold to say that they never will be restored again. They have committed the most impious of crimes. They plotted against the Saviour of mankind in that city where the ceremonies they continually performed for God enshrined great mysteries. It was right that that city where Jesus suffered should be utterly destroyed, and the Jewish nation expelled, and that God's call to blessedness should be made to others, I mean the Christians, to whom have passed the doctrines of a religion of stainless purity, and who have received new laws fitted for any form of government that exists" (c. Celsum, iv. 22). The Jews, he says, will even "suffer more than others in the judgment which they anticipate, in addition to what they have suffered already," ii. 8. But he says, v. 43, "Would that they had not committed the error of having broken their own law; first killing their prophets, and at last taking Jesus by stealth; for then we should still have amongst us the model of that heavenly city which Plato attempted to sketch, though I cannot say that his powers came up to those of Moses and his successors"
56 they took it (i. e. the religion, which for the future, &c.) in a wrong sense: kakwj eklabontej (Hasius, ad Leon. Diacon., shows how lambanin and metalambanein also have this meaning "interpret," "accipere"). This is a better reading than ekbalontej, and is supported by two mss.
57 then even. The apodosis begins here, and wste must be understood after upoleleiptai, to govern meinai, "were left standing, &c. ...so that there remains."
58 The Greek Fathers and the English divines for the most part confine themselves to showing this moral fitness and consonance with God's nature in the Incarnation, and do not attempt to prove its absolute necessity. Cf. Athanasius, De Incarn. Verb. c. 6; Hooker, Eccles. Pol. V. li. 3; Butler's Analogy, pt. ii. c. 5.
59 to men ti (for toi). There is the same variety of reading in c. i. and xxi., where Krabinger has preserved the ti: he well quotes Synesius, de Prov. ii. 2; 9O men tij apoqnhskei plhgeij, o de k.t.l. (and refers to his note there).
60 Ps. cvi. 4, Ps. cvi. 5; Ps. (cv.) 4, Ps. (cv.) 5; Ps. cxix. (cxviii) 65, Ps. cxix. 66, Ps. cxix. 68. In the first passage the LXX. has tou idein en th xrhstothti twn eklektwn sou (Heb. "the felicity of Thy chosen"): evidently referring to God's eudokia in them; He, good Himself (xrhstoj, v. 1), will save them. "in order to approve their goodness." The second passage mentions four times this xrhstothj (bonitas).
61 of the course to be traversed: tou diecodeuomenou. Glauber remarks that the Latin translation here, "ejus qui transit," gives no sense. and rightly takes the word as a passive. Krabinger also translates, "ejus quod evolvitur." Here again there is unconscious Platonism: auto to kalon is eternal.
62 Compare a passage in Dionysius Areop. (De eccles. hierarch. c. iii. p. 207). "The boundless love of the Supreme Goodness did not refuse a personal providing for us, but perfectly participating in all that belongs to us, and united to our lowliness, along with an undiluted and unimpaired possession of its own qualities, has gifted us for ever with a communion of kinship with itself, and exhibited us as partners in Its glories: undoing the adverse power of the Rebel throng, as the secret Tradition says, "not by might, as if it was domineering, but, according to the oracle secretly delivered to us, by right and justice" (quoted by Krabinger). To the word "not by might," S. Maximus has added the note, "This is what Gregory of Nyssa says in the Catechetic." See next note.
63 one consonant with justice. This view of Redemption, as a coming to terms with Satan and making him a party or defender in the case, is rather remarkable. The Prologue to the Book of Job furnishes a basis for it, where Satan enters into terms with God. It appears to be the Miltonic view: as also that Envy was the first sin of Satan.
64 the absolution of the damned. These words, wanting in all others, Krabinger has restored from the Codex B. Morell translates "damnatorum absolutio." The Greek is thn twn katadikwn anarrusin. "Haec Orignem sapiunt, qui damnatorum poenis finem statuit:" Krabinger. But here at all events it is not necessary to accuse Gregory of this, since he is clearly speaking only of Christ's forgiveness of sins during His earthly ministry.
66 he chooses Him as a ransom. This peculiar teaching of Gregory of Nyssa, that it was to the Devil, not God the Father, that the ransom, i. e. Christ's blood, was paid, is shared by Origen, Ambrose, and Augustine. The latter says, "Sanguine Christi diabolus non ditatus est, sed ligatus," i. e. bound by compact. On the other hand Gregory Naz. (tom. I. Orat. 42) and John Damascene (De Fid. Orthod. iii. c. 27) give the ransom to the Father.
67 as with ravenous fish. The same simile is found in John of Damascus (De Fid. iii. 27), speaking of Death. "Therefore Death will advance, and, gulping down the bait of the Body, be transfixed with the hook of the Divinity: tasting that sinless and life-giving Body. he is undone, and disgorges all whom he has ever engulphed: for as darkness vanishes at the letting in of light so corruption is chased away by the onset of life, and while there is life given to all else, there is corruption only for the Corrupter."
68 Exod. iii. 14.
69 th men dikaiosunh. The dative is not governed by antididonta but corresponds to th de agaqothti (a dative of reference), which has no such verb after it. Krabinger therefore hardly translates correctly "justitiae quod datur, pro meritis tribuendo."
70 oi qerapeutai tou xrusiou On the margin of one of Krabinger's Codd. is written here in Latin, "This must be read with caution: it seems to savour of Origen's opinions" i. e. the curing of Satan.
71 Mal. iii. 2, Mal. iii. 3.
72 th kaqarsei. This is the reading of three of Krabinger's Codd. and that of Hervetus and Zinus; "purgatione," "purgationis": the context too of the whole chapter seems to require it. But Morell's Cod. had th afqarsia, and Ducaeus approved of retaining it. For this kaqarsij see especially Origen, c. Cels. vi. 44.
73 "Fax otherwise was it with the great thinkers of the early Church. ...They realized that redemption was a means to an end, and that end the reconsecration of the whole universe to God. And so the very completeness of their grasp upon the Atonement led them to dwell upon the cosmical significance of the Incarnation, its purpose to `gather together all things in one.0' For it was an age in which the problems of the universe were keenly felt."-Lux Mundi, p. 134.
74 "In order that the sacrifice might be representative, He took upon Him the whole of our human nature and became flesh conditioned though that fleshly nature was throughout by sin. It was not only in His death that we contemplate Him as the sin-bearer: but throughout His life He was as it were conditioned by the sinfulness of those with whom His human nature brought Him into close and manifold relations."-Lux Mundi, p. 217 (Augustine, de Musicâ, vi. 4, quoted in note, "Hominem sine peccato, non sine peccatoris conditione, suscepit").
75 Cf. 1 Cor xii. 14-24.
76 qeomaxia, word often applied by the Greek Fathers to the conduct of the Egyptians, in reference. of course, to Pharaoh.