« Prev Texts explained; Fifthly, Acts ii. 36. The Regula… Next »

Chapter XV.—Texts explained; Fifthly, Acts ii. 36. The Regula Fidei must be observed; madeapplies to our Lord’s manhood; and to His manifestation; and to His office relative to us; and is relative to the Jews. Parallel instance in Gen. xxvii. 29, 37. The context contradicts the Arian interpretation.

11 (continued). The same is the meaning of the passage in the Acts which they also allege, that in which Peter says, that ‘He hath made both Lord and Christ that same Jesus whom ye have crucified.’ For here too it is not written, ‘He made for Himself a Son,’ or ‘He made Himself a Word,’ that they should have such notions. If then it has not escaped their memory, that they speak concerning the Son of God, let them make search whether it is anywhere written, ‘God made Himself a Son,’ or ‘He created for Himself a Word;’ or again, whether it is anywhere written in plain terms, ‘The Word is a work or creation;’ and then let them proceed to make their case, the insensate men, that here too they may receive their answer. But if they can produce nothing of the kind, and only catch at such stray expressions as ‘He made’ and ‘He has been made,’ I fear lest, from hearing, ‘In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth,’ and ‘He made the sun and the moon,’ and ‘He made the sea,’ they should come in time to call the Word the heaven, and the Light which took place on the first day, and the earth, and each particular thing that has been made, so as to end in resembling the Stoics, as they are called, the one drawing out their God into all things22722272    Brucker de Zenon. §7. n. 14., the other ranking God’s Word with each work in particular; which they have well nigh done already, saying that He is one of His works.

12. But here they must have the same answer as before, and first be told that the Word is a Son, as has been said above22732273    §1, note 13., and not a work, and that such terms are not to be understood of His Godhead, but the reason and manner of them investigated. To persons who so inquire, the human Economy will plainly present itself, which He undertook for our sake. For Peter, after saying, ‘He hath made Lord and Christ,’ straightway added, ‘this Jesus whom ye crucified;’ which makes it plain to any one, even, if so be, to them, provided they attend to the context, that not the Essence of the Word, but He according to His manhood is said to have been made. For what was crucified but the body? and how could be signified what was bodily in the Word, except by saying ‘He made?’ Especially has that phrase, ‘He made,’ a meaning consistent with orthodoxy; in that he has not said, as I observed before, ‘He made Him Word,’ but ‘He made Him Lord,’ nor that in general terms22742274    ἁπλῶς., but ‘towards’ us, and ‘in the midst of’ us, as much as to say, ‘He manifested Him.’ And this Peter himself, when he began this primary teaching, carefully22752275    μετὰ παρατηρήσεως. vid. infr. 44. e. 59. b. 71. e. Orat. iii. 52. b. expressed, when he said to them, ‘Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man manifested of God towards you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know22762276    Acts ii. 22..’ Consequently the term which he uses in the end, ‘made’, this He has explained in the beginning by ‘manifested,’ for by the signs and wonders which the Lord did, He was manifested to be not merely man, but God in a body and Lord also, the Christ. Such also is the passage in the Gospel according to John, ‘Therefore the more did the Jews persecute Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but said also that God was His own Father, making Himself 355equal with God22772277    John v. 16, 18..’ For the Lord did not then fashion Himself to be God, nor indeed is a made God conceivable, but He manifested it by the works, saying, ‘Though ye believe not Me, believe My works, that ye may know that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me22782278    John x. 38. not to the letter..’ Thus then the Father has ‘made’ Him Lord and King in the midst of us, and towards us who were once disobedient; and it is plain that He who is now displayed as Lord and King, does not then begin to be King and Lord, but begins to shew His Lordship, and to extend it even over the disobedient.

13. If then they suppose that the Saviour was not Lord and King, even before He became man and endured the Cross, but then began to be Lord, let them know that they are openly reviving the statements of the Samosatene. But if, as we have quoted and declared above, He is Lord and King everlasting, seeing that Abraham worships Him as Lord, and Moses says, ‘Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven22792279    Gen. xix. 24.;’ and David in the Psalms, ‘The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand22802280    Ps. cx. 1.;’ and, ‘Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom22812281    Ps. xlv. 6.;’ and, ‘Thy Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom22822282    Ps. cxlv. 13.;’ it is plain that even before He became man, He was King and Lord everlasting, being Image and Word of the Father. And the Word being everlasting Lord and King, it is very plain again that Peter said not that the Essence of the Son was made, but spoke of His Lordship over us, which ‘became’ when He became man, and, redeeming all by the Cross, became Lord of all and King. But if they continue the argument on the ground of its being written, ‘He made,’ not willing that ‘He made’ should be taken in the sense of ‘He manifested,’ either from want of apprehension, or from their Christ-opposing purpose, let them attend to another sound exposition of Peter’s words. For he who becomes Lord of others, comes into the possession of beings already in existence; but if the Lord is Framer of all and everlasting King, and when He became man, then gained possession of us, here too is a way in which Peter’s language evidently does not signify that the Essence of the Word is a work, but the after-subjection of all things, and the Saviour’s Lordship which came to be over all. And this coincides with what we said before22832283    §62, cf. Serm. Maj. de Fid. 1.; for as we then introduced the words, ‘Become my God and defence,’ and ‘the Lord became a refuge for the oppressed22842284    Ps. lxxi. 3. stony rock, E. V. Ps. ix. 9. dejence.,’ and it stood to reason that these expressions do not shew that God is originate, but that His beneficence ‘becomes’ towards each individual, the same sense has the expression of Peter also.

14. For the Son of God indeed, being Himself the Word, is Lord of all; but we once were subject from the first to the slavery of corruption and the curse of the Law, then by degrees fashioning for ourselves things that were not, we served, as says the blessed Apostle, ‘them which by nature are no Gods22852285    Gal. iv. 8.,’ and, ignorant of the true God, we preferred things that were not to the truth; but afterwards, as the ancient people when oppressed in Egypt groaned, so, when we too had the Law ‘engrafted22862286    James i. 21.’ in us, and according to the unutterable sighings22872287    Rom. viii. 26. of the Spirit made our intercession, ‘O Lord our God, take possession of us22882288    Is. xxvi. 13. LXX.,’ then, as ‘He became for a house of refuge’ and a ‘God and defence,’ so also He became our Lord. Nor did He then begin to be, but we began to have Him for our Lord. For upon this, God being good and Father of the Lord, in pity, and desiring to be known by all, makes His own Son put on Him a human body and become man, and be called Jesus, that in this body offering Himself for all, He might deliver all from false worship and corruption, and might Himself become of all Lord and King. His becoming therefore in this way Lord and King, this it is that Peter means by, ‘He hath made Him Lord,’ and ‘hath sent Christ;’ as much as to say, that the Father in making Him man (for to be made belongs to man), did not simply make Him man, but has made Him in order to His being Lord of all men, and to His hallowing all through the Anointing. For though the Word existing in the form of God took a servant’s form, yet the assumption of the flesh did not make a servant22892289    οὐκ ἐδούλον τὸν λόγον· though, as he said supr. §10, the Word became a servant, as far as He was man. He says the same thing Ep. Æg 17. So say Naz. Orat. 32. 18. Nyssen. ad Simpl. (t. 2. p. 471.) Cyril. Alex. adv. Theodor. p. 223. Hilar. de Trin. xi. Ambros. 1. Epp. 46, 3. of the Word, who was by nature Lord; but rather, not only was it that emancipation of all humanity which takes place by the Word, but that very Word who was by nature Lord, and was then made man, hath by means of a servant’s form been made Lord of all and Christ, that is, in order to hallow all by the Spirit. And as God, when ‘becoming a God and defence,’ and saying, ‘I will be a God to them,’ does not then become God more than before, nor then begins to become God, but, what He ever is, that He then becomes to those who need Him, when it 356pleaseth Him, so Christ also being by nature Lord and King everlasting, does not become Lord more than He was at the time He is sent forth, nor then begins to be Lord and King, but what He is ever, that He then is made according to the flesh; and, having redeemed all, He becomes thereby again Lord of quick and dead. For Him henceforth do all things serve, and this is David’s meaning in the Psalm, ‘The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool22902290    Ps. cx. 1..’ For it was fitting that the redemption should take place through none other than Him who is the Lord by nature, lest, though created by the Son, we should name another Lord, and fall into the Arian and Greek folly, serving the creature beyond the all-creating God22912291    Vid. Rom. i. 25. and so both text and application very frequently, e.g. Ep. Æg. 4. e. 13. c. Vid. supr. i. 8, note 8, infr. iii. 16. note.

15. This, at least according to my nothingness, is the meaning of this passage; moreover, a true and a good meaning have these words of Peter as regards the Jews. For Jews, astray from the truth, expect indeed the Christ as coming, but do not reckon that He undergoes a passion, saying what they understand not; ‘We know that, when the Christ cometh, He abideth for ever, and how sayest Thou, that He must be lifted up22922292    John xii. 34, not to the letter.?’ Next they suppose Him, not the Word coming in flesh, but a mere man, as were all the kings. The Lord then, admonishing Cleopas and the other, taught them that the Christ must first suffer; and the rest of the Jews that God was come among them, saying, ‘If He called them gods to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God22932293    John x. 36.?’

16. Peter then, having learned this from the Saviour, in both points set the Jews right, saying, “O Jews, the divine Scriptures announce that Christ cometh, and you consider Him a mere man as one of David’s descendants, whereas what is written of Him shews Him to be not such as you say, but rather announces Him as Lord and God, and immortal, and dispenser of life. For Moses has said, ‘Ye shall see your Life hanging before your eyes22942294    Deut. xxviii. 66. Vid. [de Incar. 35. The text is frequently thus explained by the Fathers]..’ And David in the hundred and ninth Psalm, ‘The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool22952295    Ps. cx. 1.;’ and in the fifteenth, ‘Thou shalt not leave my soul in hades, neither shalt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption22962296    Ps. xvi. 10..’ Now that these passages have not David for their scope he himself witnesses, avowing that He who was coming was His own Lord. Nay you yourselves know that He is dead, and His remains are with you. That the Christ then must be such as the Scriptures say, you will plainly confess yourselves. For those announcements come from God, and in them falsehood cannot be. If then ye can state that such a one has come before, and can prove him God from the signs and wonders which he did, ye have reason for maintaining the contest, but if ye are not able to prove His coming, but are expecting such an one still, recognise the true season from Daniel, for his words relate to the present time. But if this present season be that which was of old, afore-announced, and ye have seen what has taken place among us, be sure that this Jesus, whom ye crucified, this is the expected Christ. For David and all the Prophets died, and the sepulchres of all are with you, but that Resurrection which has now taken place, has shewn that the scope of these passages is Jesus. For the crucifixion is denoted by ‘Ye shall see your Life hanging,’ and the wound in the side by the spear answers to ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter22972297    Is. liii. 7.,’ and the resurrection, nay more, the rising of the ancient dead from out their sepulchres (for these most of you have seen), this is, ‘Thou shalt not leave My soul in hades,’ and ‘He swallowed up death in strength22982298    Is. xxv. 8.,’ and again, ‘God will wipe away.’ For the signs which actually took place shew that He who was in a body was God, and also the Life and Lord of death. For it became the Christ, when giving life to others, Himself not to be detained by death; but this could not have happened, had He, as you suppose, been a mere man. But in truth He is the Son of God, for men are all subject to death. Let no one therefore doubt, but the whole house of Israel know assuredly that this Jesus, whom ye saw in shape a man, doing signs and such works, as no one ever yet had done, is Himself the Christ and Lord of all. For though made man, and called Jesus, as we said before, He received no loss by that human passion, but rather, in being made man, He is manifested as Lord of quick and dead. For since, as the Apostle said, ‘in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe22992299    1 Cor. i. 21..’ And so, since we men would not acknowledge God through His Word, nor serve the Word of God our 357natural Master, it pleased God to shew in man His own Lordship, and so to draw all men to Himself. But to do this by a mere man beseemed not23002300    In the text the Mediatorial Lordship is made an office of God the Word; still, not as God, but as man. Cf. Augustine, Trin. i. 27. 28. In like manner the Priesthood is the office of God in the form of man, supr. 8, note 4. And so again none but the Eternal Son could be πρωτότοκος, yet He is so called when sent as Creator and as incarnate. infr. 64.; lest, having man for our Lord, we should become worshippers of man23012301    Infr. iii. 32 fin.. Therefore the Word Himself became flesh, and the Father called His Name Jesus, and so ‘made’ Him Lord and Christ, as much as to say, ‘He made Him to rule and to reign;’ that while in the Name of Jesus, whom ye crucified, every knee bows, we may acknowledge as Lord and King both the Son and through Him the Father.”

17. The Jews then, most of them23022302    οἱ πλεῖστοι. [An exaggeration, cf. Rom. xi. 7, &c.], hearing this, came to themselves and forthwith acknowledged the Christ, as it is written in the Acts. But, the Ario-maniacs on the contrary choose to remain Jews, and to contend with Peter; so let us proceed to place before them some parallel phrases; perhaps it may have some effect upon them, to find what the usage is of divine Scripture. Now that Christ is everlasting Lord and King, has become plain by what has gone before, nor is there a man to doubt about it; for being Son of God, He must be like Him23032303    §22, note., and being like, He is certainly both Lord and King, for He says Himself, ‘He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.’ On the other hand, that Peter’s mere words, ‘He hath made Him both Lord and Christ,’ do not imply the Son to be a creature, may be seen from Isaac’s blessing, though this illustration is but a faint one for our subject. Now he said to Jacob, ‘Become thou lord over thy brother;’ and to Esau, ‘Behold, I have made him thy lord23042304    Gen. xxvii. 29, 37..’ Now though the word ‘made’ had implied Jacob’s essence and the coming into being, even then it would not be right in them as much as to imagine the same of the Word of God, for the Son of God is no creature as Jacob was; besides, they might inquire and so rid themselves of that extravagance. But if they do not understand it of his essence nor of his coming into being, though Jacob was by nature creature and work, is not their madness worse than the Devil’s23052305    Alluding to the temptation., if what they dare not ascribe in consequence of a like phrase even to things by nature originate, that they attach to the Son of God, saying that He is a creature? For Isaac said ‘Become’ and ‘I have made,’ signifying neither the coming into being nor the essence of Jacob (for after thirty years and more from his birth he said this); but his authority over his brother, which came to pass subsequently.

18. Much more then did Peter say this without meaning that the Essence of the Word was a work; for he knew Him to be God’s Son, confessing, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God23062306    Matt. xvi. 16.;’ but he meant His Kingdom and Lordship which was formed and came to be according to grace, and was relatively to us. For while saying this, he was not silent about the Son of God’s everlasting Godhead which is the Father’s; but He had said already, that He had poured the Spirit on us; now to give the Spirit with authority, is not in the power of creature or work, but the Spirit is God’s Gift23072307    θεοῦ δῶρον. And so more distinctly S. Basil, δῶρον τοῦ θεοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα. de Sp. S. 57, and more frequently the later Latins, as in the Hymn, ‘Altissimi Donum Dei;’ and the earlier, e.g. Hil. de Trin. ii. 29. and August. Trin. xv. 29. v. 15, Petav. Trin. vii. 13, §20.. For the creatures are hallowed by the Holy Spirit; but the Son, in that He is not hallowed by the Spirit, but on the contrary Himself the Giver of it to all23082308    Supr. ch. xii., is therefore no creature, but true Son of the Father. And yet He who gives the Spirit, the same is said also to be made; that is, to be made among us Lord because of His manhood, while giving the Spirit because He is God’s Word. For He ever was and is, as Son, so also Lord and Sovereign of all, being like in all things23092309    ὅμοιος κατὰ παντα. vid. infr. §22, note 4. to the Father, and having all that is the Father’s23102310    Vid. infr. note on Orat. iii. 1. as He Himself has said23112311    Vid. John xvi. 15.

« Prev Texts explained; Fifthly, Acts ii. 36. The Regula… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection