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The fathers say, that whenever our Saviour said any thing that might lead his disciples to think that he was of a nature superior to that of man, they were offended, and that he conciliated their esteem whenever he represented himself as a mere man, such as they expected a prophet, and the Messiah to be. Chrysostom represents John the Baptist likewise as gaining proselytes to Christ, when he spake of him in low terms, but as deterring them when lie seemed to speak of him in a higher capacity.
“Observe," says he, “ how, when he said, 'He that cometh after me was before ine, and I am not worthy to loose his shoe-latchet ;' he took nobody. But when he spake of his humanity, and used a lower style, then the disciples followed him. Nor is this the only case of the kind, for the multitude were never brought to him when any thing high and lofty, as of a God, was said of him, so much as when they heard something mild and humble, and more adapted to the salvation of men.” *
Accordingly Chrysostom speaks of our Lord's disciples as having regarded him as a man in their intercourse with him. “ Nathaniel,” he says, “ confessed Christ as a man, when he addressed himself to him, by the title of Son of God,' (John i. 49,) as appears by his adeling, Thou art the king of Israel.'”+ He says, that when Nathaniel was introduced to Jesus, his miraculous conception was not known. I As Chrysostom bras written the most largely on this subject, I shall quote from him a passage or two of some extent, that we may more clearly perceive how he, and (as he was by no means singular in his ideas) how the Christian fathers in general thought with respect to this question. 66. Another reason,
“ why Christ represented himself so much as a man, was the weakness of his hearers ; and because they who first saw and heard him were not able to receive more sublime discourses. And that this is no mere conjecture, I will endeavour to shew from the Scriptures themselves. If he delivered any thing great, sublime, '
Θεα δε μοι κάκεινο πως οτε μεν ελεγεν, ο οπισω μα ερχομενο εμπροσθεν με γεγονε, και ότι ουκ ειμι ικανο» λυσαι τον μανία τα υποδηματα αυτά, αδενα ειλεν' ότε δε σερι της οικονομιας διελεχθη, και επι το ταπεινοτερον τον λογον ηγάγε, τοτε ηκολούθησαν οι μαθηται oυ τolo δε μονον εςι κατιδειν, αλλ' ότι ουχ έτως οι πολλοι προσαγονίαι όταν το μεγα και υψηλον σερι Θεου λεγεται, ώς όταν χρησον και φιλανθρωπον και εις την των ακeoντων owTmpe av nxov. In Johan. i. Hom. xvii. Opera; VNI. p. 93. (P.)
Ibid. p. 106. (P.) See Vol. XVIII. p. 215. * Ει δε υιον Ιωσηφ αυτον λεγει, μη θορυβηθης ετι γαρ τελα παις, ενομιζελο ειναι,
Ibid. p. 103. (P.)
and worthy of his glory ; (but why do I say great, sublime, and worthy of his glory ?) if he said any thing above human nature,” (something is here omitted in the Greek, but supplied in the Latin version,)“ they were thrown into tumult, and took offence; but if he said any thing low and becoming a man, they ran to him, and received his doctrine. And where do we see this? In John chiefly. For when he said, , (viii. 56,] · Abraham, our father, rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad;' they say, (ver. 57,] • Thou art not yet forty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? You see how they were affected towards him as to a common man. What then did he reply?
· Before Abraham was, I am ;' and they took up stones to stone him.' He spake more distinctly, saying, [vi. 51,] . The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.—They said,' [ver. 60, · This is a hard saying, who can hear it?' And (ver. 66]
many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.'
“ Tell me, then, what must he do? Must he always dwell upon these lofty topics, so as to drive away his prey, and deter all from his doctrine ? But this did not become his divine philanthropy. Again, when he said, [John viii. 52,] He that heareth my words shall never taste of death, they said, “Do we not say well, that thou hast a demon? Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and thou sayest, He that heareth my words shall not taste of death.' And is it to be wondered at that the common people were thus affected towards him, when their rulers had the same opinion?” He then proceeds to instance in Nicodemus.“ How then must he discourse with persons who would hear nothing sublime? Is it to be wondered at that he said nothing great or sublime concerning himself, to men creeping on the ground, and so meanly affected? What he said is sufficient to shew this was the reason, and the excuse for such mean discourses.
“On the other hand, as you see men scandalized, thrown into confusion, flying back from him, railing at him, and deserting him, if he said any thing great and lofty; so will I endeavour to shew you that they ran to him, and received his doctrine, if he said any thing low and mean. For the very same persons who had fled from him, immediately ran to him, when he said, I can do nothing of myself, but as the Father has taught me, so I speak.
And the evangelists, designing to shew us that they believed on account of the the meanness of his discourse, said, When he spake these things, many believed on him. You will, on many occasions, find the same thing happening. On this account he spake in many things as a man, but sometimes not as a man, but as became a God.”* He adds more to the same purpose.
Again, he says, “ If they took up stones to stone him, because he said that he was before Abraham, what would they have done if he had told them that he gave the law to Moses? Wherefore, when he said, it was said to the ancients, he did not say by whom it had been said." +
“Our Saviour," he says, “ did not always teach his own divinity in express words, leaving the fuller explication of it to his disciples. If,” says he, “ they (meaning the Jews) were so much offended at the addition of apother law to their former, much more must they have been with the doctrine of his divinity.” I
Εςι και έτερα μετα ταυτην αιτια, η ασθενια των ακ8ονίων, και το μη δυνασθαι τοτε πρωλον αυτον ιδονίας, και τοτε πρωθον ακονίας, τες υψηλοτερες των δογμαίων δεξασθαι λογες και ότι ου στοχασμος το λεγομενον, απ' αυτων σου παρατησαι τελο πειρασομαι των γραφων, και δειξαι ειπoίε τι μεγα και υψηλον και της αυτα δοξης αξιον εφθεγξαλο: τι λεγω μεγα και υψηλον, και της αυτο δοξης αξιον; Ει ποτε τι (υπερ) της ανθρωπινης φυσεως ειπε, πλεον εθορυβανο και εσκανδαλιζονίο: ει δε τοτε τι ταπεινον και ανθρωπινον προσετρεχον, και τον λογον εδεχονίο και σε τελο εςιν ιδειν φησι ; Παρα τω Ιωαννη μαλισα ειπονloς γαρ αυτό: Αβρααμ ο πατηρ ημων ηγαλλιασαίο, ένα ιδη την ημεραν την εμην, και ειδε, και εχαρη, λεγεσι. Τεσσαρακονία είη επω εχεις, και Αβρααμ έωρακας; ορας ότι ως σερι ανθρωπε ψιλα διεκεινο. Τι ουν αυτος: Προ τα τον Αβρααμ γενεσθαι φησιν, εγω ειμι και ηραν λιθες, ένα βαλωσιν αυθον και των μυςηριων μακρες επελεινε λογές, λεγων Και ο αρτος δε ον εγώ
லோவ υπερ της τα κοσμος ζωης, σαρξ με εσιν, ελεγον σκληρος ει ο λογος ετος, τις δυναθαι αυτα ακοειν; Και πολλοι των μαθηλων αυτ8 απηλθον εις τα οπισω, και εκεί μετ' αυτο περιεπαλον.
Τι εν εδει ποιειν, ειπε μοι και τους υψηλοθερους ενδιατριβειν ρημασι διηνεκως, ώςε αποσοβησαι την θηραν, και παντας αποκρασασθαι της διδασκαλιας; Αλλ' ουκ ην τελο της τα Θεου φιλανθρωπιας. Και γαρ παλιν επειδη ειπεν. Ο τον λογον με ακρων, θανατε ου μη γευσειαι εις τον αιωνα ελεγον, Ου καλως ελεγομεν, ότι δαιμονιον εχεις; Αβρααμ απεθανε, και οι προφηται απεθανον, και συ λεγεις, ότι και τον λογον με ακρων, ου μη γευσειαι θαναλα. Και τι θαυμασον ει το πλήθος των διεκειλο, οπε γε και αυτοι οι αρχονίες ταυλην ειχαν την γνωμην; Πως ουν τελoις διαλεγεσθαι εδει, τους εδεν των υψηλων φερεσιν; Οτι γαρ όλως ουκ ειπε τι μεγα και υψηλον περι εαυτε, ου θαυμαςον ανθρωπους χαμαι συρομενοις, και έτως ασθενως εχεσιν ηρκει μεν ουν και τα ειρημενα δειξαι, ότι αυτη η αιτια, και η πρωφασις ην της των το7ε λεγομενων ευτελειας, εγω δε και απο θαλερε μερες τελο πειρασομαι ποιησαι φανερον, ώσπερ γαρ αυτες ιδετε σκανδαλιζομενες, θορυβομενες, αποπηδωνίας, λοιδορεμενες, φευγονίας ειπoθε τι μεγα και υψηλον εφθεγξαθο ο Χριςος έτως υμιν αυτες δειξαι πειρασομαι προς ρεχονίας, καταδεχομενες την διδασκαλιαν, ει ποτε τι ταπεινον και ευζελες ειπεν αυλοι γαρ αυτοι οι αποπηδωνίες, ειπον7ος αυτο σαλιν Ότι απ' εμαυτο ποιω εδεν, αλλα καθως εδιδαξε με ο πατηρ με λαλω, ευθεως προσεδραμον και βελομενος ημιν ενδειξασθαι ο ευαγ: γελισης, ότι δια την ταπεινοτητα των δηματων επιςευσαν, επισημαίνεται λεγων Ταυλα αυτα λαλησανθος πολλοι επιςευσαν εις αυτόν και αλλαχε πολλαχε τε7ο ευροι τις αν έτω συμβαινον δια τολο πολλα και πολλακις ανθρωπινος εφθεγμέλο, και παλιν ουκ ανθρωπινως, αλλα και θεοπρεπως. Οr. Xxxii. Opera, I. pp. 409, 410. (Ρ.)
+ Ει γαρ, επει ειπε, προ του Αβρααμ γενεσθαι εγω ειμι, λιθασαι αυλον επεχειρησαν, ει προσεθηκεν οτι και Μωύσει αυτος τον νομον εδωκε τι ουκ αν εποιησαν και Ser. li. Opera, V. Pp. 696, 697. (Ρ.)
1 Δια δε τουλο ουδε περι της θεοτηλος της εαυτου πανlαχου φαινεται σαφως παιδευων. Ει γαρ ή του νομου προσθηκη τοσουλον αυτες εθορυβει, πολλα μαλλον το θεον εαυίον αποφαιvely. In Matt. v. Hom. xvi. VII. p. 154. (P.)
Chrysostom frequently observes that Christ only intimated his divinity obscurely, and left the full discovery of it to his apostles. Thus he says, that" he himself never said plainly that he made the heavens and the earth, and the sea and all things visible and invisible. And why,” says lve, “ do you wonder that others should have said greater things of him than he said of himself, when he explained many things by actions, but never clearly in words ? That he made man, he shewed clearly enough, as by the blind man; but when he was discoursing about the formation of the first man, he did not say I made them, but, He that made them, made them male and female. And that he made the world, he signified by the fishes, by the wine, by the loaves, &c., but never clearly in words." He even says, “ That the high dignity of Christ was more necessary to be concealed from his dis. ciples, because they would immediately have told every thing through an excess of joy.”+ .“ Christ,” he says,
“ did not reveal his divinity immediately, but was first thought to be a prophet, and the Christ, simply a man, and it afterwards appeared by his works and his sayings what he really was.”
Basil of Seleucia says, that “ during the storm, [Matt. viii. 24,] the disciples of Christ, judging by appearances, did not know that the Deity was concealed in him ; for they would not have been terrified, if they had knoyn that the Author of the creation was giving orders to the work of his hands." S He adds, that “ the apostles themselves were as ignorant of his being God as the rest of the Jews, when some said that he was Elias, or Jeremias, or some of the prophets;" and that Christ, “knowing the ignorance of Peter, suggested to him the answer that he made.” [Matt. xvi. 16.]
* Και τι θαυμαζεις ει έτεροι μειζονα σερι αυτου ειρηκασιν ων αυτο- EL OJKEY " πολλα δια των πραγμαίων επιδεικνυμενο», δια των σημαίων σαφως ουκ ελεγεν; οτι γαρ τον ανθρωπον αυτο» εποιησεν εδειξε σαφως και δια του τυφλε ηνικα δε περι της εν αρχη πλασεως ο λογο» ην αυτω, ουκ ειπεν ότι εγω εποιησα, αλλ' ο ποιησας αρσεν και θηλυ εποιησεν αυτους Παλιν ότι τον κοσμον εδημιουργησεν και τα εν αυτω δια των ιχθυων, δια του οινου, δια των αρτων-–-ρημασι ουδαμου τουτο σαφως ειπεν. lu Malt. v. Opera, VII. p. 154. (P.)
+ Εδει γαρ τεως λανθανειν, και μαλιςα επι των μαθητών και γαρ εκ πολλης ηδονης wayta ennpusay. In Matt. C. viii
. Opera, VII. p. 274. (P.). 1 Ου γαρ ευθεως ημιν εαυτε την θεοτηλα εξεκαλυπτεν, αλλα πρωθον μεν ενομιζετο ειναι προφη7ης, και Χριςο, απλως ανθρωπο», ύςερον δε εφανη, δια των εργων και των σημαίων, τουλο όπερ ην.
In Johan. Hom. ii. Opera, Viu. p. 20.“ (P.) § See Watts, quoted Vol. XIII. p. 99. Note t.
Π Τω γαρ φαινομενο προσπταιονίες, την κεκρυμμενης ηγνον θεοτηλα ου γαρ αν εξεπλαγησαν, κελευονία τη κτισει θεωρενλες οι δημιεργον ειναι της κτισεως επιςαμενοι.-Τοσουλης oυν αγνοιας τας των ανθρωπων, ψυχας σερι αυ72 βοσκομενης, ουδε των απος ολων ο χορος αγνοιας ελευθερος εμενεν.-Ειδως δε την αγνοιαν, υποβάλλει το Πετρο θεϊκως την αποκρισιν. Or. xxv. pp. 188, 189, 141. (P.)
Job the Monk observes, that “ Christ said, [Matt. ix. 2,] Thy sins be forgiven thee,' without intimating that he himself forgave them, by his own authority.”
“ When our Lord said, · My Father is greater than 1,' † the disciples were still imperfect, and thought the Father much greater. This they learned from the Mosaic law, which taught the Father rather than the Son. This also our Saviour himself had perpetually inculcated. This, therefore, being their fixed opinion, they said, [John xiv. 8,] Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.'". Afterwards, he says, “ They knew him to be God, after his sufferings and resurrection."
Theodoret says, that “ before his sufferings all persons held such an opinion concerning him," viz. that he was a mere man, “ but after his resurrection and ascension, the descent of the Spirit, and the various miracles which they performed by invoking his name, all the believers knew that he was God, and the only-begotten Son of God."|| This is expressed in general terms, but it will appear hereafter, that it is to be understood with great limitations ; the knowledge of the divinity of Christ being, according to Theodoret himself, far from universal among the Christians, long after the death of Christ.
Sometimes the fathers speak of Peter as knowing that Christ was God before his death, by immediate' revelation from the Father. Chrysostom also says, that before our Lord's resurrection, the apostles had learned that God had a Son equal to the Father. But in general it was their opinion, that even Peter, as well as the other apostles, was ignorant of this great truth, till the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost ; and they thought that this was one of the great truths alluded to, when our Lord said, that he had many things to teach his disciples, of which he could not inform them before his death,
“Οτι το μεν αφεων7αι ουκ εχει των ρηματων προφοραν, ως εξ ιδιας εξασιας προφεροMery xal topogayuara. Photii Bib. Sect. ccxxii. p. 622. (P.)
† John xiv. 28. See Vol. XIII. pp. 316, 317. f Eπει γαρ ετι ατελως έτοι διεκειντο σερί τον Θεον και διδασκαλον, μειζονα τε πολλά τον πατερα ενομιζον τελο μεν των Μωσαϊκων νομων εμφανεςερον, αυτους τον πατερα η τον υιον καταγ/Γελλογλων τελο δε τα σωληρος ανω και καθω σεριςρεφονloς αυτοις τον πατερα επει ουν τοιαυλη τις αυτοις ενες ηρικτο ή δοξα, δια γαρ τείο και ελεγον, Δειξον ημιν των παtepa, sou apnes muy. Epist. clxxvi. p. 263. (P.) 's Ibid. p. 270. (P.)
Η Πρo μεν ουν τα σαθες, τοιαυτας ειχαν δοξας σερι αυτ8' μετα δε την αναςασιν, και την εις 8ρανες αναβασιν, και την του Παναγιου πνευματος επιφοιτησιν, και τας παντοδαπας θαυματοργιας ας επετελον, καλενλες αυτε το σεβασμιον ονομα, εγνωσαν απανλες οι τις ευολες, ότι και Θεος εςι, και του Θεου μονογενης υιος. Ad Rom. i. 4, Opera, 1ΙΙ. p. 11. (Ρ.)
Η Εμαθον ότι υιος του Θεου εςι, και υιον εχει ο θεος ομοτιμον. In Acta, VΙΙ. p. 459. (Ρ.)