Early Church Fathers
19 The reference is to the Ter Sanctus or Triumphal Hymn. which is found in every Liturgy. The previous writer referred to is thought by some to be S. Athanasius, but by others S. Dionysius the Areopagite, who has some words on this point in his treatise De Coelest. Hier., c. 7. But the most competent scholars deny the authenticity of the works attributed to S. Dionysius, and place them from one hundred to one hundred and fifty years later than S. Gregory's time.
20 S. Thomas Aquinas (Summa I., qu. 63, art. 7) gives reasons for thinking that Satan was originally the highest of all the angelic hosts. This, however, is an opinion in which many high authorities differ from him. At any rate, Satan as Lucifer must have held a very high place.
21 Evil, says Nicetas here, has no positive existence, but is the negation of good. "The faculties of mind and body which are used in a sinful action are indeed things, and are the creatures of God; but the sin itself is not a thing, and consequently not a creature. God is indeed the Author of all that is, of every substance; but sin is not a substance, and is not. It is a declination from substance and from being, and not a part of it." (Mozley, Treatise on the Augustinian doctrine of predestination.)
22 Ps. xix. 1, 3.
23 Gen. ii. 7.
24 Sc. a microcosm.
25 Heb. v. 12.
26 Gen. iii. 5.
27 Rom. i. 23-31.
28 Cf. Light of Light begotten. Christ our Lord is called "The Beginning of the Creation of God, because by Him all things were made; and He is of the Beginning, inasmuch as God the Father is the Unorginate Principle of all, and the Origin and Fount of Godhead. The Scholiast here refers to Ps. cx. 3, which in the Vulgate and LXX.. runs "With Thee is the Beginning in the day of Thy Power."
29 Cf. Theol.: IV. xx., where S. Gregory says "Perhaps this Relation might be compared to that between the Definition and the thing defined" Nicetas remarks that, just as the definition declares the nature of the defined, so the Personal Word shows forth the Nature of the Father. Suidas (in voce droj) says that the phrase is used to show the Unity of Nature between the Father and the Son. It is not, however, of frequent occurrence.
30 Luke i. 35.
31 S. Gregory does not seem to have been aware of the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception."
32 See note on In Sancta Lumina, c. xiv.
33 John x. 11.
34 Luke xv. 4, sq.
35 Ib. xv. 8, 10.
36 Luke v. 29.
37 S. Gregory is referring to the provision of the Law, which orders a man, if he see his friend's or his enemy's ox or ass fallen under a burden or going astray, to lend assistance; but the terms of his reference are rather to the reasoning f our Lord with the Pharisees about the Sabbath. Luke xiii. 15 and xiv. 5.
38 Cf. e'n th= nukti\ e'n h\ paredi/doto ma=llon de e 9auto\n paredi/dou. Cannon of Liturgy of S. Mark (Swainson p. 517). Ea nocte qua tradidit seipsum. Lit. Copt. S. Basil (Ib.). Cum statuisset se tradere. Coptic S. Basil (Hammond, p. 209 Rot. Vatic. and Cod. Ross. of S. Mark, has only t. /. h[ e 9aut, pared. (Swainson, 50); so to S. Basil (Ib., 81) in Cod. B. M., 22749 and Barberinin of S. Chrys. (Ib., 91); but the whole expression is in Chrys. (cent. xi., ib., 129) and Greek S. James (78. 272-3), but Syriac S. James has "in qua nocte tradendus erat." (Canon Univ., Aethiop. Hammond, 258). Pridie quam pateretur is the form in the Canon of the Roman, Ambrosian, and Sarum Missals; but the Mozarbic, which is largely of an Eastern character, has in qua nocte tradebatur. (Hammond, 333).
39 The Sabellian heresy may be briefly described as the doctrine of One God exercising three offices, as opposed to the Catholic Faith of One God in three Persons. Sabellius himself was a Priest of the Libyan Pentapolis, who at Roem in the time of Pope Zephryinus embraced the heresy of Notus, which maintained that God the Father suffered for us on the cross in the form of Christ. His followers, who openly declared themselves first about a.d. 357, thought that God, to Whom as the Source of all things the name of Father is given, is called the Son when He united Himself to the humanity of Jesus for the work of our redemption; and in like manner He is the Holy Spirit when manifested for the work of sanctification. Sabellius was condemned by a Council held at Rome, probably in 258; again at Nicea, and again at Constantinople, where Sabellian Baptism was pronounced invalid.
40 Arianism was the result of a strong opposition to Sabellianism, coupled with a misunderstanding of the argument against it. There was, no doubt, a danger of falling into the opposite error of Tritheism, to avoid which Arianism "divided the Substance" and virtually - and in the end explicity - denied the Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ. Arius was a Priest of Alexandria, and it was there that he began to publish his opinions, in the early years of the Fourth Century (318); but Newman traces the origin of the heresy to Antioch and its Judaizing tendency. At a meeting of th clergy in Alexandria the Bishop, S. Alexander, gave an address on the coeternity, and coequality of the Father and the Son, and used the expression th\n au'th=n ou 9si/an e!xein, that They had the same Substance. Arius protested against this as a Sabellian statement, and used the words kti/sma (creature) and poi/hma (a thing made) of the Son, adding the sentence which became so famous, h\n o#te ou'k h\n. - there was a time when the Son did not exist. Having ineffectually tried private remonstrance. S. Alexander brought the matter in 321 before his Provincial Synod, in which were present about 100 Egyptian and Pentapolitan Bishops, who after giving the matter a patient hearing, excommunicated Arius and his principal adherents. But it was too late to undo the mischief. The heresy spread widely, and the whole Eastern Church was stirred by the controversy. At last a great Council of the whole Church met at Nicaea in 325, summoned by the Emperor; and there the heresy was unequivocally condemned, and the great Creed propounded with its watchword, the Homoousion. The false teaching had however struck its roots deep and wide; and through now banned by the anathema of the Church, it was long in dying; and indeed at one time, it seemed as if - humanly speaking - it must swamp the whole Catholic Church. Under various forms the Semi-Arians who claimed to differ from the faith of Nicaea only by a single letter, the Aetians and Eunomians, who went to the furthest extreme of the Falsehood (Anomoeans), and many others, the heresy spread far and wide: and when S. Gregory came to Constantinople there was not one Catholic Church or Priest to be found in the place, and only a few scattered folk who still held to the Faith of the Consubstantial. Gregory's wonderful discourses however came to their aid, and partly under his presidency was held the Second Oecumenical Synod. which condemned the heresy of Macedonius, a still further development of Arianism, which denied also the Deity of the Holy Ghost. Arianism survived for another two centuries among the Goths and Vandals, the Burgundians and Lombards; but it never rose again as a power in the Church.
41 Matt. iii. 13, 17.
42 Ib. iv. 1-11.
43 Ib. iv. 23.
44 Nicetas distinguishes between No/soj and Malaki/a, saying that the first is actual disease, and the second the premonitory failing of health which prognosticates a disease. And, so he says, in reference to the soul, No/soj is actual sin, while Malaki/a is the relaxation of the will which leads and assents to actual sin.
45 Ib. ix. 33.
46 Ib. ix. 14.
47 Ib. ix. 25.
48 Luke i. 41.
49 2 Sam. vi. 14.
50 Luke ii. 1-5
51 I. e. original sin (Ps. li. 5).
52 Isa. i. 3.
53 Matt. ii.
54 Luke ii. 14, 15.
55 The Liturgy.
56 Ps. xxiv.
57 Matt. ii. 16.
58 Ib. v. 13.
59 John ii. 15.
60 Ib. viii. 59.
61 Luke xxiii. 9.
62 John xix. 1.
63 Matt. xxvii. 34.
64 John xix. 29.
65 Matt. xxvi. 67, and xxvii. 28.
1 John i. 9.
2 John viii. 12.
3 Ps. xxxiv. 5.
4 John iii. 3.
5 I.e., the condition of man before the fall.
6 Ib. i. 5.
7 This is the same word which in S. John i. 5., is rendered by "comprehend."
8 Heb. vii. 13.
9 I.e. Zeus, who was said by some to be a deified man, once tyrant of Crete, where his tomb was shown.
10 The allusion is to the birth of Zeus. Kronos the Titan, father of the gods, was the husband of Rhea, who bore him children. But an oracle having declared that Kronos should be dethroned by his children, he swallowed them immediately after they were born. Rhea, however, on the birth of Zeus, aided by the Curetes, a wild band of Cretan Priests, concealed the child, and substituted a atone, which Kronos swallowed in his haste without perceiving the difference. The stone made him very sick, and he vomited forth the children whom he ad previously swallowed; and by them and Zeus the prophecy was fulfilled. Kronos was deposed and imprisoned in Tartacus.
11 There was a temple of Rhea in Phrygia, in which at her festivals people mutilated themselves to do her honour. The flutes alluded to served to turn the thoughts of the sufferes from the pain of the operation. The Corybantes were the ministers of the goddess, who led the wild orgies of her worship. It is believed that there is an allusion to this practice of self-mutilation in Galat. v. 12. So at least S. Jerome, S. Ambrose, and all the Greek Fathers take the passage. S. Thomas Aquinas, understanding the word in the same sense, applies it mystically; and Estius, who here follows Erasmus, refers the "cutting off" merely to excommunication, a sense which he calls "Apostolico sensu dignior,"through why "dignior" it is not easy to see. Yet he acknowledges that those who interpret it literally do so "non immerito."
12 The mythus of the Rape of Persephone and its consequences.
13 Dionysus was said to have been born from the thigh of Zeus, as Athene to have sprung full-grown and armed at all points from his head
14 These myths and practices are too shameful to be described.
15 See the Iphigenia In Tauris of Euripides.
16 It was a custom of the Spartans that at their great festival of Artemis the youths who were just coming of age (Ephebi) should scourge themselves cruelly on her altar in honour of the goddess, and to prove their manhood.
17 The gods came to dine with Tantalus, and he, to do them honour, boiled his son Pelops for their food. They, however, found it out, and restored him to life; not, however, before Demeter had unwittingly eaten his shoulder, in the place of which they substituted one of ivory.
18 S. Jerome, commenting on Isaiah xli. 22, says:
"Why could they never predict anything concerning Christ and His Apostles, or the ruin and destruction of their own temples? If then they could not foretell their own destruction, how can they foretell anything good or bad?"
19 These Mysteries were of Persian origin, connected it is said with the worship of the Sun. The neophytes were mad to undergo twelve different kinds of torture.
20 The Egyptian Mysteries.
21 Zeus fell in love with Isis, and carried her off in the form of a heifer. Here, discovering the fraud, sent a gadfly, which drove Isis mad.
22 Apis, the sacred bull, worshipped at Memphis.
23 i.e., that the prosperity of the country was proportionate to the annual rise of the River.