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Home > Fathers of the Church > Treatises (Cyprian of Carthage) > Treatise 12

Treatise 12, Second Book

1. That Christ is the First-born, and that He is the Wisdom of God, by whom all things were made

In Solomon in the Proverbs: The Lord established me in the beginning of His ways, into His works: before the world He rounded me. In the beginning, before He made the earth, and before He appointed the abysses, before the fountains of waters gushed forth, before the mountains were settled, before all the hills, the Lord begot me. He made the countries, and the uninhabitable places, and the uninhabitable bounds under heaven. When He prepared the heaven, I was present with Him; and when He set apart His seat. When He made the strong clouds above the winds, and when He placed the strengthened fountains under heaven, when He made the mighty foundations of the earth, I was by His side, ordering them: I was He in whom He delighted: moreover, I daily rejoiced before His face in all time, when He rejoiced in the perfected earth. Also in the same in Ecclesiasticus: I went forth out of the mouth of the Most High, first-born before every creature: I made the unwearying light to rise in the heavens, and I covered the whole earth with a cloud: I dwelt in the high places, and my throne in the pillar of the cloud: I compassed the circle of heaven, and I penetrated into the depth of the abyss, and I walked on the waves of the sea, and I stood in all the earth; and in every people and in every nation I had the pre-eminence, and by my own strength I have trodden the hearts of all the excellent and the humble: in me is all hope of life and virtue: pass over to me, all you who desire me. Also in the eighty-eighth Psalm: And I will establish Him as my first-born, the highest among the kings of the earth. I will keep my mercy for Him for ever, and my faithful covenant for Him; and I will establish his seed for ever and ever. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they profane my judgments, and do not observe my precepts, I will visit their wickednesses with a rod, and their sins with scourges; but my mercy will I not scatter away from them. Also in the Gospel according to John, the Lord says: And this is life eternal, that they should know You, the only and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth: I have finished the work which You gave me to do. And now, glorify me with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was made. Also Paul to the Colossians: Who is the image of the invisible God, and the first-born of every creature. Also in the same place: The first-born from the dead, that He might in all things become the holder of the pre-eminence. In the Apocalypse too: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto Him that is thirsting from the fountain of the water of life freely. That He also is both the wisdom and the power of God, Paul proves in his first Epistle to the Corinthians. Because the Jews require a sign, and the Creeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles foolishness; but to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

2. That Christ is the Wisdom of God; and concerning the sacrament of His incarnation and of His passion, and cup and altar; and of the apostles who were sent, and preached

In Solomon in the Proverbs: Wisdom has built herself an house, and she has placed under it seven pillars; she has slain her victims; she has mingled her wine in the goblet, and has made ready her table, and has sent her servants, calling with a loud announcement to the cup, saying, Let him who is foolish turn to me: and to them that want understanding she has said, Come, eat of my loaves, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. Forsake foolishness, and seek wisdom, and correct knowledge by understanding.

3. That the same Christ is the Word of God

In the forty-fourth Psalm: My heart has breathed out a good Word. I tell my works to the King. Also in the thirty-second Psalm: By the Word of God were the heavens made fast; and all their strength by the breath of His mouth. Also in Isaiah: A Word completing and shortening in righteousness, because a shortened word will God make in the whole earth. Also in the cvith Psalm: He sent His Word, and healed them. Moreover, in the Gospel according to John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. Also in the Apocalypse: And I saw the heaven opened, and lo, a white horse; and he who sate upon him was called Faithful and True, judging rightly and justly; and He made war. And He was covered with a garment sprinkled with blood; and His name is called the Word of God.

4. That Christ is the Hand and Arm of God

In Isaiah: Is God's Hand not strong to save? Or has He made His ear heavy, that He cannot hear? But your sins separate between you and God; and on account of your sins He turns His face away from you, that He may not pity. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with sins. Moreover, your lips have spoken wickedness, and your tongue meditates unrighteousness. No one speaks truth, nor is there true judgment: they trust in vanity, and speak emptiness, who conceive sorrow, and bring forth wickedness. Also in the same place: Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom is the Arm of God revealed? Also in the same: Thus says the Lord, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is the support of my feet. What house will you build unto me? Or what is the place for my rest? For all these things has mine hand made. Also in the same: O Lord God, Your Arm is high, and they knew it not; but when they know it, they shall be confounded. Also in the same: The Lord has revealed His Arab that holy Arm, in the sight of all nations; all nations, even the ends of the earth, shall see salvation from God. Also in the same place: Behold, I have made you as the wheels of a thrashing chariot, new and turned back upon themselves; and you shall thrash the mountains, and shall beat the bills small, and shall make them as chaff, and shall winnow them; and the wind shall seize them, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: but you shall rejoice in the saints of Israel; and the poor and needy shall exult. For they shall seek water, and there shall be none. For their tongue shall be dry for thirst. I the Lord God, I the God of Israel, will hear them, and will not forsake them; but I will open rivers in the mountains, and fountains in the midst of the fields. I will make the wildernesses watery groves, and a thirsty land into watercourses. I will establish in the land of drought the cedar-tree and the box-tree, and the myrtle and the cypress, and the elm and the poplar, that they may see and acknowledge, and know and believe together, that the Hand of the Lord has done these things, and the Holy One of Israel has shown them.

5. That Christ is at once Angel and God

In Genesis, to Abraham: And the Angel of the Lord called him from heaven, and said unto him, Abraham, Abraham! And he said, Here am I. And He said, Lay not your hand upon the lad, nor do anything unto him. For now I know that you fear your God, and hast not spared your son, your beloved son, for my sake. Also in the same place, to Jacob: And the Angel of the Lord spoke unto me in dreams, I am God, whom you saw in the place of God where you anointed me a pillar of stone, and vowed to me a vow. Also in Exodus: But God went before them by day indeed in a pillar of cloud, to show them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire. And afterwards, in the same place: And the Angel of God moved forward, which went before the army of the children of Israel. Also in the same place: Lo, I send my Angel before your face, to keep you in the way, that He may lead you into the land which I have prepared for you. Observe Him, and obey Him, and be not disobedient to Him, and He will not be wanting to you. For my Name is in Him. Whence He Himself says in the Gospel: I came in the name of my Father, and you received me not. When another shall come in his own name, him you will receive. And again in the cxviith Psalm: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Also in Malachi: My covenant of life and peace was with Levi; and I gave him fear, that he should fear me, that he should go from the face of my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips. In the peace of the tongue correcting, he walked with us, and turned many away from unrighteousness. Because the lips of the priests shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at His mouth; for He is the Angel of the Almighty.

6. That Christ is God

In Genesis: And God said unto Jacob, Arise, and go up to the place of Bethel, and dwell there; and make there an altar to that God who appeared unto you when thou reddest from the face of your brother Esau. Also in Isaiah: Thus says the Lord, the God of Sabaoth, Egypt is wearied; and the merchandise of the Ethiopians, and the tall men of the Sabeans, shall pass over unto You, and shall be Your servants; and shall walk after You bound with chains; and shall worship You, and shall pray to You, because God is in You, and there is no other God beside You. For You are God, and we knew it not, O God of Israel, our Saviour. They shall all be confounded and fear who oppose You, and shall fall into confusion. Likewise in the same: The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. Every channel shall be filled up, and every mountain and bill shall be made low, and all crooked places shall be made straight, and rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be seen, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God, because the Lord has spoken it. Moreover, in Jeremiah: This is our God, and no other shall be esteemed beside Him, who has found all the way of knowledge, and has given it to Jacob His son, and to Israel His beloved. After this He was seen upon earth, and He conversed with men. Also in Zechariah God says: And they shall cross over through the narrow sea, and they shall smite the waves in the sea, and they shall dry up all the depths of the rivers; and all the haughtiness of the Assyrians shall be confounded, and the sceptre of Egypt shall be taken away. And I will strengthen them in the Lord their God, and in His name shall they glory, says the Lord. Moreover, in Hosea the Lord says: I will not do according to the anger of mine indignation, I will not allow Ephraim to be destroyed: for I am God, and there is not a holy man in you: and I will not enter into the city; I will go after God. Also in the forty-fourth Psalm: Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: wherefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows. So, too, in the forty-fifth Psalm: Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth. Also in the eighty-first Psalm: They have not known, neither have they understood: they will walk on in darkness. Also in the sixty-seventh Psalm: Sing unto God, sing praises unto His name: make a way for Him who goes up into the west: God is His name. Also in the Gospel according to John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. Also in the same: The Lord said to Thomas, Reach hither your finger, and behold my hands: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus says unto him, Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. Also Paul to the Romans: I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren and my kindred according to the flesh: who are Israel-ires: whose are the adoption, and the glory, and the covenant, and the appointment of the law, and the service (of God), and the promises; whose are the fathers, of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for evermore. Also in the Apocalypse: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to him that is thirsty, of the fountain of living water freely. He that overcomes shall possess these things, and their inheritance; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Also in the eighty-first Psalm: God stood in the congregation of gods, and judging gods in the midst. And again in the same place: I have said, You are gods; and you are all the children of the Highest: but you shall die like men. But if they who have been righteous, and have obeyed the divine precepts, may be called gods, how much more is Christ, the Son of God, God! Thus He Himself says in the Gospel according to John: Is it not written in the law, that I said, You are gods? If He called them gods to whom the word of God was given, and the Scripture cannot be relaxed, say to Him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, that you blaspheme because I said, I am the Son of God? But if I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, and you will not believe me, believe the works, and know that the Father is in me, and I in Him. Also in the Gospel according to Matthew: And you shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us.

7. That Christ our God should come, the En-lightener and Saviour of the human race

In Isaiah: Be comforted, you weakened hands; and you weak knees, be strengthened. You who are of a timorous heart, fear not. Our God will recompense judgment, He Himself will come, and will save us. Then shall be opened the eves of the blind, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then the lame man shall leap as a stag, and the tongue of the dumb shall be intelligible; because in the wilderness the water is broken forth, and the stream in the thirsty land. Also in that place: Not an elder nor an angel, but the Lord Himself shall deliver them; because He shall love them, and shall spare them, and He Himself shall redeem them. Also in the same place: I the Lord God have called You in righteousness, that I may hold Your hand, and I will comfort You; and I have given You for a covenant of my people, for a light of the nations; to open the eyes of the blind, to bring forth them that are bound from chains, and those who sit in darkness from the prison-house. I am the Lord God, that is my name. I will not: give any glory to another, nor my powers to given images. Also in the twenty-fourth Psalm: Show me Your ways, Lord, and teach me Your paths, and lead me unto Your truth, and teach me; for You are the God of my salvation. Whence, in the Gospel according to John, the Lord says: I am the light of the world. He that will follow me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Moreover, in that according to Matthew, the angel Gabriel says to Joseph: Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary your wife. For that which shall be born to her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins. Also in that according to Luke: And Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has foreseen redemption for His people, and has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. Also in the same. place, the angel said to the shepherds: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings that unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ Jesus.

8. That although from the beginning He had been the Son of God, yet He had to be begotten again according to the flesh

In the second Psalm: The Lord said unto me, You are my Son; this day have I begotten You. Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the bounds of the earth for Your possession. Also in the Gospel according to Luke: And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she cried out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And whence does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Also Paul to the Galatians: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent His Son, horn of a woman. Also in the Epistle of John: Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. But whosoever denies that He has come in the flesh is not of God, but is of the spirit of Antichrist.

9. That this should be the sign of His nativity, that He should be born of a virgin— man and God— a son of man and a Son of God

In Isaiah: And the Lord went on to speak to Ahaz, saying, Ask you a sign from the Lord your God, in the height above and in the depth below. And Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord my God. And He said, Hear, therefore, O house of David: it is no trifling contest unto you with men, since God supplies the struggle. On this account God Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and you shall call His name Emmanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat; before that He knows to prefer the evil, He shall exchange the good. This seed God had foretold would proceed from the woman that should trample on the head of the devil. In Genesis: Then God said unto the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you from every kind of the beasts of the earth. Upon your breast and your belly shall you crawl, and earth shall be your food all the days of your life. And I will place enmity between you and the woman and her seed. He shall regard your head, and you shall watch his heel.

10. That Christ is both man and God, compounded of both natures, that He might be a Mediator between us and the Father

In Jeremiah: And He is man, and who shall know Him? Also in Numbers: A Star shall arise out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up from Israel. Also in the same place: A Man shall go forth out of his seed, and shall rule over many nations; and His kingdom shall be exalted as Gog, and His kingdom shall be increased; and God brought Him forth out of Egypt. His glory is as of the unicorn, and He shall eat the nations of His enemies, and shall take out the marrow of their fatnesses, and will pierce His enemy with His arrows. He couched and lay down as a lion, and as a lion's cub. Who shall raise Him up? Blessed are they who bless You, and cursed are they who curse You. Also in Isaiah: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; on account whereof He has anointed me: He has sent me to tell good tidings to the poor; to heal the bruised in heart, to preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of retribution. Whence, in the Gospel according to Luke, Gabriel says to Mary: And the angel, answering, said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Wherefore that holy thing which is born of you shall be called the Son of God. Also in the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: The first man is of the mud of the earth; the second man is from heaven. As was he from the soil, such are they also that are of the earth; and as is the heavenly, such also are the heavenly. As we have borne the image of him who is of the earth, let us also bear the image of Him who is from heaven.

11. That Christ was to be born of the seed of David, according to the flesh

In the second of Kings: And the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus says the Lord, You shall not build me an house to dwell in; but it shall come to pass, when your days shall be fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed after you who shall come from your loins, and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build me a house in my name, and I will set up His throne for ever; and I will be to; Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son; and His house shall obtain confidence, and His kingdom for ever in my sight. Also in Isaiah: And a rod shall go forth of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall go up from his root; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety; and the spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill Him. Also in the cxxxist Psalm: God has sworn the truth unto David himself, and He has not repudiated it; of the fruit of your belly will I set upon my throne. Also in the Gospel according to Luke: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary. For you have found favour before God. Behold, you shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus. The same shall be great, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Also in the Apocalypse: And I saw in the right hand of God, who sate on the throne, a book written within, and on the back sealed with seven seals; and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to receive the book, and to open its seals? Nor was there any one either in heaven or upon the earth, or under the earth, who was able to open the book, nor even to look into it. And I wept much because nobody was found worthy to open the book, nor to look into it. And one of the elders said unto me, Weep not; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose its seven seals.

12. That Christ should be born in Bethlehem

In Micah: And you, Bethlehem, house of Ephrata, are not little, that you should be appointed among the thousands of Judah. Out of you shall He come forth to me, that He may be a prince in Israel, and His goings forth from the beginning from the days of old. Also in the Gospel: And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of Herod the king, behold, Magi came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and we have come with gifts to worship Him.

13. That Christ was to come in low estate in His first advent

In Isaiah: Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared in His presence as children, as a root in a thirsty ground. There is no form nor glory in Him; and we saw Him, and He had no form nor beauty; but His form was without honour, and lacking beyond other men. He was a man set in a plague, and knowing how to bear weakness; because His face was turned away, He was dishonoured, and was not accounted of. He bears our sins, and grieves for us; and we thought that He was in grief, and in wounding, and in affliction; but He was wounded for our transgressions, and He was weakened for our sins. The discipline of our peace was upon Him, and with His bruise we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray; than has gone out of his way. And God has delivered Him for our sins; and He, because He was afflicted, opened not His mouth. Also in the same: I am not rebellious, nor do I contradict. I gave my back to the stripes, and my cheeks to the palms of the hands. Moreover, I did not turn away my Gee from the foulness of spitting, and God was my helper. Also in the same: He shall not cry, nor will any one hear His voice in the streets. He shall not break a bruised reed, and a smoking flax He shall not extinguish; but He shall bring forth judgment in truth. He shall shine forth, and shall not be shaken, until He set judgment in the earth, and in His name shall the nations trust. Also in the twenty-first Psalm: But I am a worm, and no man; the accursed of man, and the casting away of the people. All they who saw me despised me, and spoke within their lips, and moved their head. He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver him; let Him save him, since he will have Him. Also in that place: My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue is glued to my jaws. Also in Zechariah: And the Lord showed me Jesus, that great priest, standing before the face of the Angel of the Lord, and the devil was standing at his right hand to oppose him. And Jesus was clothed in filthy garments, and he stood before the face of the Angel Himself; and He answered and said to them who were standing before His face, saying, Take away his filthy garments from him. And he said to him, Behold, I have taken away your iniquities. And put upon him a priestly garment, and set a fair mitre upon his head. Also Paul to the Philippians: Who, being established in the form of God, thought it not robbery that He was equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore also God exalted Him, and gave Him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, of things in earth, and of infernal things, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in the glory of God the Father.

14. That He is the righteous One whom the Jews should put to death

In the Wisdom of Solomon: Let us lay hold of the righteous, because He is disagreeable to us, and is contrary to our works, and reproaches us with our transgressions of the law. He professes that He has the knowledge of God, and calls Himself the Son of God; He has become to us an exposure of our thoughts; He is grievous unto us even to look upon, because His life is unlike to others, and His ways are changed. We are esteemed by Him as frivolous, and He restrains Himself from our ways, as if from uncleanness; and He extols the last end of the righteous, and boasts that He has God for His Father. Let us see, then, if His words are true, and let us try what will come to Him. Let us interrogate Him with reproach and torture, that we may know His reverence and prove His patience. Let us condemn Him with a most shameful death. These things they considered, and erred. For their maliciousness has blinded them, and they knew not the sacraments of God. Also in Isaiah: See how the righteous perishes, and no man understands; and righteous men are taken away, and no man regards. For the righteous man is taken away from the face of unrighteousness, and his burial shall be in peace. Concerning this very thing it was before foretold in Exodus: You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous. Also in the Gospel: Judas, led by penitence, said to the priests and elders, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.

15. That Christ is called a sheep and a lamb who was to be slain, and concerning the sacrament (mystery) of the passion

In Isaiah: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away: who shall relate His nativity? Because His life shall be taken away from the earth. By the transgressions of my people He was led to death; and I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich themselves for His death; because He did no wickedness, nor deceits with His mouth. Wherefore He shall gain many, and shall divide the spoils of the strong; because His soul was delivered up to death, and He was counted among transgressors. And He bare the sins of many, and was delivered for their offenses. Also in Jeremiah: Lord, give me knowledge, and I shall know it: then I saw their meditations. I was led like a lamb without malice to the slaughter; against me they devised a device, saying, Come, let us cast the tree into His bread, and let us erase His life from the earth, and His name shall no more be a remembrance. Also in Exodus God said to Moses: Let them take to themselves each man a sheep, through the houses of the tribes, a sheep without blemish, perfect, male, of a year old it shall be to you. You shall take it from the lambs and from the goats, and all the congregation of the synagogue of the children of Israel shall kill it in the evening; and they shall take of its blood, and shall place it upon the two posts, and upon the threshold in the houses, in the very houses in which they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh on the same night, roasted with fire; and they shall eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs. You shall not eat of them raw nor dressed in water, but roasted with fire; the head with the feet and the inward parts. You shall leave nothing of them to the morning; and you shall not break a bone of it. But what of it shall be left to the morning shall be burnt with fire. But thus you shall eat it; your loins girt, and your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hands; and you shall eat it in haste: for it is the Lord's passover. Also in the Apocalypse: And I saw in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth throughout all the earth. And He came and took the book from the right. hand of God, who sate on the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders cast themselves before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden cups full of odours of supplications, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are You, O Lord, to take the book, and to open its seals: for You were slain, and hast redeemed us with Your blood from every tribe, and people, and nation; and You have made us a kingdom unto our God, and hast made us priests, and they shall reign upon the earth. Also in the Gospel: On the next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, and behold Him that takes away the sins of the world!

16. That Christ also is called a Stone

In Isaiah: Thus says the Lord, Behold, I place on the foundations of Sion a precious stone, elect, chief, a corner stone, honourable; and he who trusts in Him shall not be confounded. Also in the cxviith Psalm: The stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner. This is done by the Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day, which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save therefore, O Lord, direct therefore. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Also in Zechariah: Behold, I bring forth my servant. The Orient is his name, because the stone which I have placed before the face of Jesus; upon that one stone are seven eyes. Also in Deuteronomy: And you shall write upon the stone all this law, very plainly. Also in Jesus the son of Nave: And be took a great stone, and placed it there before the Lord; and Jesus said unto the people, Behold, this stone shall be to you for a testimony, because it has heard all the things which were spoken by the Lord, which He has spoken to you today; and it shall be for a testimony to you in the last of the days, when you shall have departed from your God. Also in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter: You princes of the people, and elders of Israel, hearken: Behold, we are this day interrogated by you about the good deed done to the impotent man, by means of which he is made whole. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you have crucified, whom God has raised up from the dead, by Him he stands whole in your presence, but by none other. This is the stone which was despised by you builders, which has become the head of the corner. For there is no other name given to men under heaven in which we must be saved. This is the stone in Genesis, which Jacob places at his head, because the head of the man is Christ; and as he slept he saw a ladder reaching to heaven, on which the Lord was placed, and angels were ascending and descending. And this stone he designating Christ consecrated and anointed with the sacrament of unction. This is the stone in Exodus upon which Moses sate on the top of a hill when Jesus the son of Nave fought against Amalek; and by the sacrament of the stone, and the steadfastness of his sitting, Amalek was overcome by Jesus, that is, the devil was overcome by Christ. This is the great stone in the first book of Kings, upon which was placed the ark of the covenant when the oxen brought it back in the cart, sent back and returned by the strangers. Also, this is the stone in the first book of Kings, with which David smote the forehead of Goliath and slew him; signifying that the devil and his servants are thereby thrown down— that part of the head, namely, being conquered which they have not had sealed. And by this seal we also are always safe and live. This is the stone which, when Israel had conquered the aliens, Samuel set up and called its name Ebenezer; that is, the stone that helps.

17. That afterwards this Stone should become a mountain, and should fill the whole earth

In Daniel: And behold a very great image; and the aspect of this image was fearful, and it stood erect before you; whose head was of fine gold, its breast and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were of brass, and its feet were partly indeed of iron, and partly of clay, until that a stone was cut out of the mountain, without the hands of those that should cut it, and struck the image upon the feet of iron and clay, and broke them into small fragments. And the iron, and the clay, and the brass, and the silver, and the gold, was made altogether; and they became small as chaff, or dust in the threshing-floor in summer; and the wind blew them away, so that nothing remained of them. And the stone which struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

18. That in the last times the same mountain should be manifested, and upon it the Gentiles should come, and on it all the righteous should go up

In Isaiah: In the last times the mountain of the Lord shall be revealed, and the house of God upon the tops of the mountains; and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall come upon it, and many shall walk and say, Come, and let us go up into the mountain of the Lord, and into the house of the God of Jacob; and He will tell us His way, and we will walk in it. For from Sion shall proceed the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke much people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and they shall no more learn to fight. Also in the twenty-third Psalm: Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place? He that is innocent in his hands, and of a clean heart; who has not received his life in vanity, and has not sworn craftily to his neighbour. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and mercy from the God that saves him. This is the generation of those who seek Him, that seek the face of the God of Jacob.

19. That Christ is the Bridegroom, having the Church as His bride, from which spiritual children were to be born

In Joel: Blow with the trumpet in Sion; sanctify a fast, and call a healing; assemble the people, sanctify the Church, gather the elders, collect the little ones that suck the breast; let the Bridegroom go forth of His chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Also in Jeremiah: And I will take away from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of the joyous, and the voice of the glad; the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride. Also in the eighteenth Psalm: And he is as a bridegroom going forth from his chamber; he exulted as a giant to run his course. From the height of heaven is his going forth, and his circuit even to the end of it; and there is nothing which is hid from his heat. Also in the Apocalypse: Come, I will show you the new bride, the Lamb's wife. And he took me in the Spirit to a great mountain, and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Also in the Gospel according to John: You are my witnesses, that I said to them who were sent from Jerusalem to me, that I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. For he who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom is he who stands and hears him with joy, and rejoices because of the voice of the bridegroom. The mystery of this matter was shown in Jesus the son of Nave, when he was bidden to put his shoes from off him, doubt less because he himself was not the bridegroom. For it was in the law, that whoever should refuse marriage should put off his shoe, but that he should be shod who was to be the bridegroom: And it happened, when Jesus was in Jericho, he looked around with his eyes, and saw a man standing before his face, and holding a javelin in his hand, and said, Are you for us or for our enemies? And he said, I am the leader of the host of the Lord; now draw near. And Jesus fell on his rice to the earth, and said to him, Lord, what do You command unto Your servant. And the leader of the Lord's host said, Loose your shoe from your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground. Also, in Exodus, Moses is bidden to put off his shoe, because he, too, was not the bridegroom: And there appeared unto him the angel of the Lord in a flame of fire out of a bush; and he saw that the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will pass over and see this great sight, why the bush is not consumed. But when He saw that he drew near to see, the Lord God called him from the bush, saying, Moses, Moses. And he said, What is it? And He said, Draw not near hither, unless you have loosed your shoe from off your feet; for the place on which you stand is holy ground. And He said unto him, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This was also made plain in the Gospel according to John: And John answered them, I indeed baptize with water, but there stands One in the midst of you whom you know not: He it is of whom I said, The man that comes after me is made before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. Also according to Luke: Let your loins be girt, and your lamps burning, and you like to men that wait for their master when he shall come from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks, they may open unto him. Blessed are those servants whom their Lord, when He comes, shall find watching. Also in the Apocalypse: The Lord God omnipotent reigns: let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give to Him the honour of glory; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.

20. That the Jews would fasten Christ to the cross

In Isaiah: I have spread out my hands all day to a people disobedient and contradicting me, who walk in ways that are not good, but after their own sins. Also in Jeremiah: Come, let us cast the tree into His bread, and let us blot out His life from the earth. Also in Deuteronomy: And Your life shall be hanging (in doubt) before Your eyes; and You shall fear day and night, and shall not trust to Your life. Also in the twenty-first Psalm: They tore my hands and my feet; they numbered all my bones. And they gazed upon me, and saw me, and divided my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast a lot. But You, O Lord, remove not Your help far from me; attend unto my help. Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only one from the paw of the dog. Save me from the mouth of the lion, and my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare Your name unto my brethren; in the midst of the Church I will praise You. Also in the cxviiith Psalm: Pierce my flesh with nails through fear of You. Also in the cxlth Psalm: The lifting up of my hands is an evening sacrifice. Of which sacrifice Sophonias said: Fear from the presence of the Lord God, since His day is near, because the Lord has prepared His sacrifice, He has sanctified His elect. Also in Zechariah: And they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced. Also in the eighty-seventh Psalm: I have called unto You, O Lord, the whole day; I have stretched out my hands unto You. Also in Numbers: Not as a man is God suspended, nor as the son of man does He suffer threats. Whence in the Gospel the Lord says: As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in the Son may have life eternal.

21. That in the passion and the sign of the cross is all virtue and power

In Habakkuk: His virtue covered the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise, and His splendour shall be as the light; there shall be horns in His hands. And there the virtue of His glory was established, and He founded His strong love. Before His face shall go the Word, and shall go forth unto the plains according to His steps. In Isaiah also: Behold, unto us a child is born, and to us a Son is given, upon whose shoulders shall be government; and His name shall be called the Messenger of a mighty thought. By this sign of the cross also Amalek was conquered by Jesus through Moses. In Exodus Moses said to Jesus: Choose you out men, and go forth, and order yourselves with Amalek until the morrow. Behold, I will stand on the top of the hill, and the rod of God in mine hand. And it came to pass, when Moses lifted up his hands, Israel prevailed; but when Moses had let down his hands, Amalek grew strong. But the hands of Moses were heavy; and they took a stone, and placed it under him, and he sat upon it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, on the one side and on the other side; and the hands of Moses were made steady even to the setting of the sun. And Jesus routed Amalek and all his people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this, that it may be a memorial in a book, and tell it unto the ears of Jesus, that I may utterly destroy the memory of Amalek from under heaven.

22. That in this sign of the Cross is salvation for all people who are marked on their foreheads

In Ezekiel the Lord says: Pass through the midst of Jerusalem, and you shall mark the sign I upon the men's foreheads, who groan and grieve for the iniquities which are done in the midst of them. Also in the same place: Go and smite, and do not spare your eyes. Have no pity on the old man, and the youth, and the virgin, and slay little children and women, that they may be utterly destroyed. But you shall not touch any one upon whom the sign is written, and begin with my holy places themselves. Also in Exodus God says to Moses: And there shall be blood for a sign to you upon the houses wherein you shall be; and I will look on the blood, and will protect you. And there shall not be in you the plague of wasting when I shall smite the land of Egypt. Also in the Apocalypse: And I saw a Lamb standing on Mount Sion, and with Him a hundred and forty and four thousand; and they had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. Also in the same place: I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have power over the tree of life.

23. That at mid-day in His passion there should be darkness

In Amos: And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord, the sun shall set at noonday, and the day of light shall be darkened; and I will turn your feast-days into grief, and all your songs into lamentation. Also in Jeremiah: She is frightened that has borne children, and her soul has grown weary. Her sun has gone down while as vet it was mid-day; she has been confounded arid accursed: I will give the rest of them to the sword in the sight of their enemies. Also in the Gospel: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth even to the ninth hour.

24. That He was not to be overcome of death, nor should remain in Hades

In the twenty-ninth Psalm: O Lord, You have brought back my soul from hell. Also in the fifteenth Psalm: You will not leave my soul in hell, neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption. Also in the third Psalm: I laid me down and slept, and rose up again, because the Lord helped me. Also according to John: No man takes away my life from me; but I lay it down of myself. I have the power of laying it down, and I have the power of taking it again. For this commandment I have received from my Father.

25. That He should rise again from the dead on the third day

In Hosea: After two days He will revive us; we shall rise again on the third day. Also in Exodus: And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down and testify to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow; and let them wash their garments, and let them be prepared against the day after tomorrow. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai. Also in the Gospel: A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

26. That after He had risen again He should receive from His Father all power, and His power should be everlasting

In Daniel: I saw in a vision by night, and behold as it were the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven, came even to the Ancient of days, and stood in His sight. And they who stood beside Him brought Him before Him: and to Him was given a royal power, and all the kings of the earth by their generation, and all glory obeying Him: and His power is eternal, which shall not be taken away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. Also in Isaiah: Now will I arise, says the Lord; now will I be glorified, now will I be exalted, now you shall see, now you shall understand, now you shall be confounded. Vain will be the strength of your spirit: the fire shall consume you. Also in the cixth Psalm: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit on my fight hand, until I make Your enemies the footstool of Your feet. God will send the rod of Your power out of Sion, and You shall rule in the midst of Your enemies. Also in the Apocalypse: And I turned and looked to see the voice which spoke with me. And I saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the candlesticks one like the Son of man, clothed with a long garment, and He was girt about the paps with a golden girdle. And His head and His hairs were white as wool or snow, and His eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet like to fine brass from a furnace of fire, and His voice like the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and His face shone as the sun in his might. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, and said, Fear not; I am the first and the last, and He that lives and was dead; and, lo, I am living for evermore and I have the keys of death and of hell. Likewise in the Gospel, the Lord after His resurrection says to His disciples: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

27. That it is impossible to attain to God the Father, except by His Son Jesus Christ

In the Gospel: I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me. Also in the same place: I am the door: by me if any man shall enter in, he shall be saved. Also in the same place: Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them. Also in the same place: He that believes in the Son has eternal life: he that is not obedient in word to the Son has not life; but the wrath of God shall abide upon him. Also Paul to the Ephesians: And when He had come, He preached peace to you, to those which are afar off, and peace to those which are near, because through Him we both have access in one Spirit unto the Father. Also to the Romans: For all have sinned, and fail of the glory of God; but they are justified by His gift and grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Also in the Epistle of Peter the apostle: Christ has died once for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might present us to God. Also in the same place: For in this also was it preached to them that are dead, that they might be raised again. Also in the Epistle of John: Whosoever denies the Son, the same also has not the Father. He that confesses the Son, has both the Son and the Father.

28. That Jesus Christ shall come as a Judge

In Malachi: Behold, the day of the Lord comes, burning as an oven; and all the aliens and all the wicked shall be as stubble; and the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord. Also in the forty-ninth (or fiftieth) Psalm: God the Lord of gods has spoken, and called the earth. From the rising of the sun even to the going down thereof, out of Sion is the beauty of His glory. God shall come manifestly, our God, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall burn before Him, and round about Him shall be a great storm. He has called the heaven above, and the earth, that He may separate His people. Gather together His saints unto Him, those who arrange His covenant with sacrifices. And the heavens shall announce His righteousness, for God is the judge. Also in Isaiah: The Lord God of strength shall go forth, and shall break war in pieces: He shall stir up contest, and shall cry over His enemies with strength. I have been silent; shall I always be silent? Also in the sixty-seventh Psalm: Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let those who hate Him flee from His face. As smoke vanishes, let them vanish: as wax melts from the face of fire, thus let the sinners perish from the face of God. And let the righteous be glad and rejoice in the sight of God: and let them be glad with joyfulness. Sing unto God, sing praises unto His name: make a way to Him who goes up into the west. God is His name. They shall be put to confusion from the face of Him who is the Father of the orphans, and the Judge of the widows. God is in His holy place: God, who makes men to dwell with one mind in an house, bringing forth them that are bound with might, and equally those who provoke unto anger, who dwell in the sepulchres: God, when You went forth in the sight of Your people, in passing into the desert. Also in the eighty-first Psalm: Arise, O God; judge the earth: for You will exterminate among all nations. Also in the Gospel according to Matthew: What have we to do with You, You Son of David? Why have you come here to punish us before the time? Likewise according to John: The Father judges nothing, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father. He that honours not the Son, honours not the Father who has sent Him. So too in the second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may bear the things proper to his body, according to those things which he has done, whether they be good or evil.

29. That He will reign as a King for ever

In Zechariah: Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes unto you: just, and having salvation; meek, sitting upon an as that has not been tamed. Also in Isaiah: Who will declare to you that eternal place? He that walks in righteousness, and holds back his hands from gifts; stopping his ears. that he may not hear the judgment of blood; and closing his eyes, that he may not see unrighteousness: this man shall dwell in the lofty cavern of the strong rock; bread shall be given him, and his water shall be sure. You shall see the King with glory. Likewise in Malachi: I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is illustrious among the nations. Also in the second Psalm: But I am established as a King by Him upon His holy hill of Zion, announcing His empire. Also in the twenty-first Psalm: All the ends of the world shall be reminded, and shall turn to the Lord: and all the countries of the nations shall worship in Your sight. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and He shall rule over all nations. Also in the twenty-third Psalm: Lift up your gates, you princes; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord strong in battle. Lift up your gates, O you princes; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Also in the forty-fourth Psalm: My heart has breathed forth a good discourse: I tell my works to the king: my tongue is the pen of a writer intelligently writing. You are lovely in beauty above the children of men: grace is shed forth on Your lips, because God has blessed You for ever. Be girt with Your sword on Your thigh, O most mighty. To Your honour and to Your beauty both attend, and direct Yourself, and reign, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness. Also in the fifth Psalm: My King, and my God, because unto You will I pray. O Lord, in the morning You shall hear my voice; in the morning I will stand before You, and will contemplate You. Also in the ninety-sixth Psalm: The Lord has reigned; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. Moreover, in the forty-fourth Psalm: The queen stood at your right hand in a golden garment; she is clothed in many colours. Hear, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father's house; for the King has desired your beauty, for He is your Lord God. Also in the seventy-third Psalm: But God is our King before the world; He has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. Also in the Gospel according to Matthew: And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah in the days of Herod the king, behold, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him. Also, according to John, Jesus said: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would be in trouble, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate said, Are you a king, then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I might bear testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.

30. That He Himself is both Judge and King

In the seventy-first Psalm: O God, give Your judgment to the king, and Your righteousness to the king's son, to judge Your people in righteousness. Also in the Apocalypse: And I saw the heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He who sate upon him was called Faithful and True; and He judges justice and righteousness, and makes war. And His eyes were. as it were, a flame of fire, and upon His head were many crowns; and He bare a name written that was known to none other than Himself': and He was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in linen white and Clean. And out of His mouth went forth a sword with two edges, that with it He should smite the nations, which He shall shepherd with a rod of iron; and He shall tread the winepress of the wrath of God Almighty. Also He has on His garment and on His thigh the name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. Likewise in the Gospel: When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He shall sit in the throne of His glory; and all nations shall be gathered together before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, even as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He shall place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at His left hand. Then shall the King say unto them who shall be at His right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom which is prepared for you from the beginning of the world: for I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you received me: naked, and you clothed me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer, and say unto Him, Lord, when saw we You hungry, and fed You? Thirsty, and gave You to drink? And when saw we You a stranger, and received You? Naked, and clothed You? And when saw we You sick, and in prison, and came unto You? And the King, answering, shall say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as far as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. Then shall He say unto them who shall be on His left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which my Father has prepared for the devil and his angels: for I have been hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I have been thirsty, and you gave me not to drink: I was a stranger, and you received me not: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. Then shall they also answer and say, Lord, when saw we You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and have not ministered unto You? And He shall answer unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have not done it to one of the least of these, you have not done it unto me. And these shall go away into everlasting burning, but the righteous into life eternal.

About this page

Source. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050712b.htm>.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2009 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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