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Excursus on How Our Lord Worked Miracles.

In view of the fact that many are now presenting as if something newly discovered, and as the latest results of biblical study, the interpretations of the early heretics with regard to our Lord’s powers and to his relation to the Holy Ghost, I have here set down in full Theodoret’s Counter-statement to the faith accepted by the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.


(Counter Statement to Anath. IX. of Cyril.)

Here he has plainly had the hardihood to anathematize not only those who at the present time hold pious opinions, but also those who were in former days heralds of truth; aye even the writers of the divine Gospels, the band of the holy Apostles, and, in addition to these, Gabriel the archangel.  For he indeed it was who first, even before the conception, announced the birth of the Christ according to the flesh; saying in reply to Mary when she asked, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”  And to Joseph he said, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”  And the Evangelist says, “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph…she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”  And the Lord himself when he had come into the synagogue of the Jews and had taken the prophet Isaiah, after reading the passage in which he says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me” and so on, added, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”  And the blessed Peter in his sermon to the Jews said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.”  And Isaiah many ages before had predicted “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem 216of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”; and again, “Behold my servant whom I uphold, my beloved in whom my soul delighteth.  I will put my Spirit upon him:  he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”  This testimony the Evangelist too has inserted in his own writings.  And the Lord himself in the Gospels says to the Jews, “If I with the Spirit of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”  And John says, “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”  So this exact examiner of the divine decrees has not only anathematized prophets, apostles, and even the archangel Gabriel, but has suffered his blasphemy to reach even the Saviour of the world himself.  For we have shewn that the Lord himself after reading the passage “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he had anointed me,” said to the Jews, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”  And to those who said that he was casting out devils by Beelzebub he replied that he was casting them out by the Spirit of God.  But we maintain that it was not God the Word, of one substance and co-eternal with the Father, that was formed by the Holy Ghost and anointed, but the human nature which was assumed by him at the end of days.  We shall confess that the Spirit of the Son was his own if he spoke of it as of the same nature and proceeding from the Father, and shall accept the expression as consistent with true piety.  But if he speaks of the Spirit as being of the Son, or as having its origin through the Son we shall reject this statement as blasphemous and impious.  For we believe the Lord when he says, “The spirit which proceedeth from the Father”; and likewise the very divine Paul saying, “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God.”

In the foregoing will be found the very same arguments used and the same texts cited against the Catholic faith as are urged and cited by the Rev. A. J. Mason, The Conditions of Our Lord’s Life on Earth, and by several other recent writers.

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