« Prev Part V. Next »

V.35973597    By Melito, bishop of Attica.  [Of this epigraph, which becomes Ittica below, I have never seen a sufficient explanation.]

This is He who took a bodily form in the Virgin, and was hanged upon the tree, and was buried within the earth, and suffered not dissolution; He who rose from the place of the dead, and raised up men from the earth—from the grave below to the height of heaven.  This is the Lamb that was slain; this is the Lamb that opened not His mouth.35983598    Lit. “the Lamb without voice.”  This is He who was born of Mary, fair sheep of the fold.  This is He that was taken from the flock, and was led to the slaughter, and was slain in the evening, and was buried at night; He who had no bone of Him broken on the tree; He who suffered not dissolution within the earth; He who rose from the place of the dead, and raised up the race of Adam from the grave below, This is He who was put to death.  And where was He put to death?  In the midst of Jerusalem.  By whom?  By Israel:  because He cured their lame, and cleansed their lepers, and gave light to their blind, and raised their dead!  This was the cause of His death.  Thou, O Israel, wast giving commands, and He was being crucified; thou wast rejoicing, and He was being buried; thou wast reclining on a soft couch, and He was watching in the grave and the shroud.35993599    The Greek γλωσσόκομον.  O Israel, transgressor of the law, why hast thou committed this new iniquity, subjecting the Lord to new sufferings—thine own Lord, Him who fashioned thee, Him who made thee, Him who honoured thee, who called thee Israel?  But thou hast not been found to be Israel:  for thou hast not seen God, nor understood the Lord.  Thou hast not known, O Israel, that this was the first-born of God, who was begotten before the sun, who made the light to shine forth, who lighted up the day, who separated the darkness, who fixed the first foundations, who poised the earth, who collected the ocean, who stretched out the firmament, who adorned the world.  Bitter were thy nails, and sharp; bitter thy tongue, which thou didst whet; bitter was Judas, to whom thou gavest hire; bitter thy false witnesses, whom thou stirredst up; bitter thy gall, which thou preparedst; bitter thy vinegar, which thou madest; bitter thy hands, filled with blood.  Thou slewest thy Lord, and He was lifted up upon the tree; and an inscription was fixed above, to show who He was that was slain.  And who was this? (that which we shall not say is too shocking to hear, and that which we shall say is very dreadful:  nevertheless hearken, and tremble.)  It was He because of whom the earth quaked.  He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body—God put to death! the King of Israel slain with Israel’s right hand!  Alas for the new wickedness of the new murder!  The Lord was exposed with naked body:  He was not deemed worthy even of covering; and, in order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened36003600    [For Phlegon’s testimony, see references, vol. vii. p. 257.  But note Lightfoot, Ap. F., part ii. vol. i. p. 512; his remark on Origen, Celsus, vol. iv. p. 437, this series.] because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree.  It was not the body of our Lord that the luminaries covered with darkness when they set,36013601    This is the rendering of ***; but Cureton has “fled,” as though he read ***. but the eyes of men.  758For, because the people quaked not, the earth quaked; because they were not affrighted, the earth was affrighted.  Thou smotest thy Lord:  thou also hast been smitten upon the earth.  And thou indeed liest dead; but He is risen from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, having suffered for the sake of those who suffer, and having been bound for the sake of Adam’s race which was imprisoned, and having been judged for the sake of him who was condemned, and having been buried for the sake of him who was buried.

And further on:—This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.

« Prev Part V. Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection