Four discourses against the arians

By Athanasius




Enumeration of texts still to be explained. Arians compared to the Jews. We
must recur to the Regula Fidei. Our Lord did not come into, but became, man,
and therefore had the acts and affections of the flesh. The same works divine
and human. Thus the flesh was purified, and men were made immortal. Reference
to I Pet. iv. I.

26. FOR behold, as if not wearied in their words of irreligion, but
hardened with Pharaoh, while they hear and see the Saviour's human attributes
in the Gospels[1], they have utterly forgotten, like the Samosatene, the Son's
paternal Godhead[2], and with arrogant and audacious tongue they say, 'How can
the Son be from the Father by nature, and be like Him in essence, who says,
'All power is given unto Me;' and 'The Father judgeth no man, but hath
committed all judgment unto the Son;' and 'The Father loveth the Son, and hath
given all things into His hand; he that believeth in the Son hath everlasting
life;' and again, 'All things were delivered unto Me of My Father,


and no one knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will
reveal Him;' and again, 'All that the Father hath given unto Me, shall come to
Me[3].' On this they observe, 'If He was, as ye say, Son by nature, He had no
need to receive, but He had by nature as a Son.' "Or how can He be the natural
and true Power of the Father, who near upon the season of the passion says,
'Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this
hour; but for this came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy Name. Then came
there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify
it again[4].' And He said the same another time; 'Father, if it be possible,
let this cup pass from Me;' and 'When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in
spirit and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you
shall betray Me[5].'" Then these perverse men argue; 'If He were Power, He had
not feared, but rather He had supplied power to others.' Further they say; 'If
He were by nature the true and own Wisdom of the Father, how is it written,
'And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and
man[6]?' In like manner, when He had come into the parts of C'sarea Philippi,
He asked the disciples whom men said that He was; and when He was at Bethany
He asked where Lazarus lay; and He said besides to His disciples, 'How many
loaves have ye[7]? How then,' say they, 'is He Wisdom, who increased in wisdom
and was ignorant of what He asked of others?' This too they urge; "How can He
be the own Word of the Father, without whom the Father never was, through whom
He makes all things, as ye think, who said upon the Cross 'My God, My God, why
hast Thou forsaken Me?' and before that had prayed, 'Glorify Thy Name,' and,
'O Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the
world was.' And He used to pray in the deserts and charge His disciples to
pray lest they should enter into temptation; and, 'The spirit indeed is
willing,' He said, 'but the flesh is weak.' And, 'Of that day and that hour
knoweth no man, no, nor the Angels, neither the Son[8].'" Upon this again say
the miserable men, "If the Son were, according to your interpretation[9],
eternally existent with God, He had not been ignorant of the Day, but had
known as Word; nor had been forsaken as being coexistent; nor had asked to
receive glory, as having it in the Father; nor would have prayed at all; for,
being the Word, He had needed nothing; but since He is a creature and one of
things originate, therefore He thus spoke, and needed what He had not; for it
is proper to creatures to require and to need what they have not."

27. This then is what the irreligious men allege in their discourses; and
if they thus argue, they might consistently speak yet more daringly; 'Why did
the Word become flesh at all?' and they might add; 'For how could He, being
God, become man?' or, 'How could the Immaterial bear a body?' or they might
speak with Caiaphas still more Judaically, 'Wherefore at all did Christ, being
a man, make Himself God[1]?' for this and the like the Jews then muttered when
they saw, and now the Ariomaniacs disbelieve when they read, and have fallen
away into blasphemies. If then a man should carefully parallel the words of
these and those, he will of a certainty find them both arriving at the same
unbelief, and the daring of their irreligion equal, and their dispute with us
a common one. For the Jews said; 'How, being a man, can He be God?' And the
Arians, 'If He were very God from God, how could He become man?' And the Jews
were offended then and mocked, saying, 'Had He been Son of God, He had not
endured the 'Cross;' and the Arians standing over against them, urge upon us,
'How dare ye say that He is the Word proper to the Father's Essence, who had a
body, so as to endure all this?' Next, while the Jews sought to kill the Lord,
because He said that God was His own Father and made Himself equal to Him, as
working what the Father works, the Arians also, not only have learned to deny,
both that He is equal to God and that God is the own and natural Father of the
Word, but those who hold this they seek to kill. Again, whereas the Jews said,
'Is not this the Son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how then is
it that He saith, Before Abraham was, I am, and I came down from heaven[2]?'
the Arians on the other hand make response[3] and say conformably, 'How can He
be Word or God who slept as man, and wept, and inquired?' Thus both parties
deny the Eternity and Godhead of the Word in consequence of those human
attributes which the Saviour took on Him by reason of that flesh which He

28. Such error then being Judaic, and Judaic after the mind of Judas the


let them openly confess themselves scholars of Caiaphas and Herod, instead of
cloking Judaism with the name of Christianity, and let them deny outright, as
we have said before, the Saviour's appearance in the flesh, for this doctrine
is akin to their heresy; or if they fear openly to Judaize and be
circumcised[4], from servility towards Constantius and for their sake whom
they have beguiled, then let them not say what the Jews say; for if they
disown the name, let them in fairness renounce the, doctrine. For we are
Christians, O Arians, Christians we; our privilege is it well to know the
Gospels concerning the Saviour, and neither, with Jews to stone Him, if we
hear of His Godhead and Eternity, nor with you to stumble at such lowly
sayings as He may speak for our sakes as man. If then you would become
Christians[5], put off Arius's madness, and cleanse[6] with the words of
religion those ears of yours which blaspheming has defiled; knowing that, by
ceasing to be Arians, you will cease also from the malevolence of the present
Jews. Then at once will truth shine on you out of darkness, and ye will no
longer reproach us with holding two Eternals[7], but ye will yourselves
acknowledge that the Lord is God's true Son by nature, and not as merely
eternal[8], but revealed as co-existing in the Father's eternity. For there
are things called eternal of which He is Framer; for in the twenty-third Psalm
it is written, 'Lift up your gates, O ye rulers, and be ye lift up, ye
everlasting gates[9];' and it is plain that through Him these things were
made; but if even of things everlasting He is the Framer, who of us shall be
able henceforth to dispute that He is anterior to those things eternal, and in
consequence is proved to be Lord not so much from His eternity, as in that lie
is God's Son; for being the Son, He is inseparable from the Father, and never
was there when He was not, but He was always; and being the Father's Image and
Radiance, He has the Father's eternity. Now what has been briefly said above
may suffice to shew their misunderstanding of the passages they then alleged;
and that of what they now allege from the Gospels they certainly give an
unsound interpretation[10], we may easily see, if we now consider the
scope[11] of that faith which we Christians hold, and using it as a rule,
apply ourselves, as the Apostle teaches, to the reading of inspired Scripture.
For Christ's enemies, being ignorant of this scope, have wandered from the way
of truth, and have stumbled[12] on a stone of stumbling, thinking otherwise
than they should think.

29. Now the scope and character of Holy Scripture, as we have often said,
is this,--it contains a double account of the Saviour; that Fie was ever God,
and is the Son, being the Father's Word and Radiance and Wisdom[1]; and that
afterwards for us He took flesh of a Virgin, Mary Bearer of God[2], and was
made man. And this scope is to be found throughout inspired Scripture, as the
Lord Himself has said, 'Search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify
of Me[3].' But lest I should exceed in writing, by bringing together all the
passages on the subject, let it suffice to mention as a specimen, first John
saying, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by
Him, and without Him was made not one thing[4];' next, 'And the Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of one
Only-begotten from the Fathers[5];' and next Paul writing, 'Who being in the
form of God, thought it not a prize to be equal with God, but emptied Himself,
taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being
found in fashion like a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death,
even the death of the Cross[6].' Any one, beginning with these passages and
going through the


whole of the Scripture upon the interpretation[7] which they suggest, will
perceive how in the beginning the Father said to Him, 'Let there be light,'
and 'Let there be a firmament,' and 'Let us make man[8];' but in fulness of
the ages, He sent Him into the world, not that He might judge the world, but
that the world by Him might be saved, and how it is written 'Behold, the
Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call
his Name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us[9].'

30. The reader then of divine Scripture may acquaint himself with these
passages from the ancient books; and from the Gospels on the other hand he
will perceive that the Lord became man; for 'the Word,' he says, 'became
flesh, and dwelt among us[1].' And He became man, and did not come into man;
for this it is necessary to know, lest perchance these irreligious men fall
into this notion also, and beguile any into thinking, that, as in former times
the Word was used to come into each of the Saints, so now He sojourned in a
man, hallowing him also, and manifesting[10] Himself as in the others. For if
it were so, and He only appeared in a man, it were nothing strange, nor had
those who saw Him been startled, saying, Whence is He? and wherefore dost
Thou, being a man, make Thyself God? for they were familiar with the idea,
from the words, 'And the Word of the Lord came' to this or that of the
Prophets[2]. But now, since the Word of God, by whom all things came to be,
endured to become also Son of man, and humbled Himself, taking a servant's
form, therefore to the Jews the Cross of Christ is a scandal, but to us Christ
is 'God's power' and 'God's wisdom[3];' for 'the Word,' as John says, 'became
flesh' (it being the custom[4] of Scripture to call man by the name of
'flesh,' as it says by Joel the Prophet, 'I will pour out My Spirit upon all
flesh;' and as Daniel said to Astyages, 'I do not worship idols made with
hands, but the Living God, who hath created the heaven and the earth, and hath
sovereignty over all flesh[5];' for both he and Joel call mankind flesh).

31. Of old time He was wont to come to the Saints individually, and to
hallow those who rightly[6] received Him; but neither, when they were begotten
was it said that He had become man, nor, when they suffered, was it said that
He Himself suffered. But when He came among us from Mary once at the end of
the ages for the abolition of sin (for so it was pleasing to the Father, to
send His own Son made of a woman, made under the Law'), then it is said, that
He took flesh and became man, and in that flesh He suffered for us (as Peter
says, 'Christ therefore having suffered for us in the flesh[7], that it might
be shewn, and that all might believe, that whereas He was ever God, and
hallowed those to whom He came, and ordered all things according to the
Father's will[8], afterwards for our sakes He became man, and 'bodily[9],' as
the Apostle says, the Godhead dwelt in the flesh; as much as to say, 'Being
God, He had His own body, and using this as an instrument[10], He became man
for our sakes.' And on account of this, the properties of the flesh are said
to be His, since He was in it, such as to hunger, to thirst, to suffer, to
weary, and the like, of which the flesh is capable; while on the other hand
the works proper to the Word Himself, such as to raise the dead, to restore
sight to the blind, and to cure the woman with an issue of blood, He did
through His own body[11]. And the Word bore the infirmities of the flesh, as
His own, for His was the flesh; and the flesh ministered to the works of the
Godhead, because the Godhead was in it, for the body was God's[12]. And well


the Prophet said 'carried[13];' and has not said, 'He remedied our
infirmities,' lest, as being external to the body, and only healing it, as He
has always done, He should leave men subject still to death; but He carries
our infirmities, and He Himself bears our sins, that it might be shewn that He
has become man for us, and that the body which in Him bore them, was His own
body; and, while He received no hurt[14] Himself by 'bearing our sins in His
body on the tree,' as Peter speaks, we men were redeemed from our own
affections[15], and were filled with the righteousness[16] of the Word.

32. Whence it was that, when the flesh suffered, the Word was not external
to it; and therefore is the passion said to be His: and when He did divinely
His Father's works, the flesh was not external to Him, but in the body itself
did the Lord do them. Hence, when made man, He said[1],' If I do not the works
of the Father, believe Me not; but if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe
the works, that ye may know that the Father is in He and I in Him.' And thus
when there was need to raise Peter's wife's mother, who was sick of a fever,
He stretched forth His hand humanly, but He stopped the illness divinely. And
in the case of the man blind from the birth, human was the spittle which He
gave forth from the flesh, but divinely did He open the eyes through the clay.
And in the case of Lazarus, He gave forth a human voice as man; but divinely,
as God, did He raise Lazarus from the dead[2]. These things were so done, were
so manifested, because He had a body, not in appearance, but in truth[3]; and
it became the Lord, in putting on human flesh, to put it on whole with the
affections proper to it; that, as we say that the body was His own, so also we
may say that the affections of the body were proper to Him alone, though they
did not touch Him according to His Godhead. If then the body had been
another's, to him too had been the affections attributed; but if the flesh is
the Word's (for 'the Word became flesh'), of necessity then the affections
also of the flesh are ascribed to Him, whose the flesh is. And to whom the
affections are ascribed, such namely as to be condemned, to be scourged, to
thirst, and the cross, and death, and the other infirmities of the body, of
Him too is the triumph and the grace. For this cause then, consistently and
fittingly such affections are ascribed not to another[4], but to the Lord;
that the grace also may be from Him[5], and that we may become, not
worshippers of any other, but truly devout towards God, because we invoke no
originate thing, no ordinary[6] man, but the natural and true Son from God,
who has become man, yet is not the less Lord and God and Saviour.

33. Who will not admire this? or who will not agree that such a thing is
truly divine? for if the works of the Word's Godhead had not taken place
through the body, man had not been deified; and again, had not the properties
of the flesh been ascribed to the Word, man had not been thoroughly delivered
from them[1]; but though they had ceased for a little while, as I said before,
still sin had remained in him and corruption, as was the case with mankind
before Him; and for this reason:--Many for instance have been made holy and
dean from all sin; nay, Jeremiah was hallowed[2] even from the womb, and John,
while yet in the womb, leapt for joy at the voice of Mary Bearer of God[3];
nevertheless 'death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those that had not
sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression[4];' and thus man remained
mortal and corruptible as before, liable to the affections proper to their
nature. But now the Word having become man and having appropriated[5] what


pertains to the flesh, no longer do these things touch the body, because of
the Word who has come in it, but they are destroyed[6] by Him, and henceforth
men no longer remain sinners and dead according to their proper affections,
but having risen according to the Word's power, they abide[7] ever immortal
and incorruptible. Whence also, whereas the flesh is born of Mary Bearer of
God[8], He Himself is said to have been born, who furnishes to others an
origin of being; in order that He may transfer our origin into Himself, and we
may no longer, as mere earth, return to earth, but as being knit into the Word
from heaven, may be carded to heaven by Him. Therefore in like manner not
without reason has He transferred to Himself the other affections of the body
also; that we, no longer as being men, but as proper to the Word, may have
share in eternal life. For no longer according to our former origin in Adam do
we die; but henceforward our origin and all infirmity of flesh being
transferred to the Word, we rise from the earth, the curse from sin being
removed, because of Him who is in us[9], and who has become a curse for us.
And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being
regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all
quickened; the flesh being no longer earthly, but being henceforth made
Word[10], by reason of God's Word who for our sake 'became flesh.'

34. And that one may attain to a more exact knowledge of the impassibility
of the Word's nature and of the infirmities ascribed to Him because of the
flesh, it will be well to listen to the blessed Peter; for he will be a
trustworthy witness concerning the Saviour. He writes then in his Epistle
thus; 'Christ then having suffered for us in the flesh[1].' Therefore also
when He is said to hunger and thirst and to toil and not to know, and to
sleep, and to weep, and to ask, and to flee, and to be born, and to deprecate
the cup, and in a word to undergo all that belongs to the flesh[2], let it be
said, as is congruous, in each case 'Christ then hungering and thirsting "for
us in the flesh;"' and saying He did not know, and being buffeted, and toiling
"for us in the flesh;"' and 'being exalted too, and born, and growing "in the
flesh;"' and 'fearing and hiding "in the flesh;"' and 'saying, "If it be
possible let this cup pass from Me[3]," and being beaten, and receiving, "for
us in the flesh;"' and in a word all such things 'for us in the flesh.' For on
this account has the Apostle himself said, 'Christ then having suffered,' not
in His Godhead, but 'for us in the flesh,' that these affections may be
acknowledged as, not proper to the very Word by nature, but proper by nature
to the very flesh.

Let no one then stumble at what belongs to man, but rather let a man know
that in nature the Word Himself is impassible, and yet because of that flesh
which He put on, these things are ascribed to Him, since they are proper to
the flesh, and the body itself is proper to the Saviour. And while He Himself,
being impassible in nature, remains as He is, not harmed[4] by these
affections, but rather obliterating and destroying them, men, their passions
as if changed and abolished[5] in the Impassible, henceforth become themselves
also impassible and free[6] from them for ever, as John taught, saying, 'And
ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no
sin[7].' And this being so, no heretic shall object, 'Wherefore rises the
flesh, being by nature mortal? and if it rises, why not hunger too and thirst,
and suffer, and remain mortal? for it came from the earth, and how can its
natural condition pass from it?' since the flesh is able now to make answer to
this so contentious heretic, 'I am from earth, being by nature mortal, but
afterwards I have become the Word's flesh, and He 'carried' my affections,
though He is without them; and so I became free from them, being no more
abandoned to their service because of the Lord who has made me free from them.
For if you object to my being rid of that corruption which is by nature, see
that you object not to God's Word having taken my form


of servitude; for as the Lord, putting on the body, became man, so we men are
deified by the Word as being taken to Him through His flesh, and henceforward
inherit life everlasting.'

35. These points we have found it necessary first to examine, that, when
we see Him doing or saying aught divinely through the instrument[1] of His own
body, we may know that He so works, being God, and also, if we see Him
speaking or suffering humanly, we may not be ignorant that He bore flesh and
became man, and hence He so acts and so speaks. For if we recognise what is
proper to each, and see and understand that both these things and those are
done by One[2], we are fight in our faith, and shall never stray. But if a man
looking at what is done divinely by the Word, deny the body, or looking at
what is proper to the body, deny the Word's presence in the flesh, or from
what is human entertain low thoughts concerning the Word, such a one, as a
Jewish vintner[3], mixing water with the wine, shall account the Cross an
offence, or as a Gentile, will deem the preaching folly. This then is what
happens to God's enemies the Arians; for looking at what is human in the
Saviour, they have judged Him a creature. Therefore they ought, looking also
at the divine works of the Word, to deny[4] the origination of His body, and
henceforth to rank themselves with Manichees[5]. But for them, learn they,
however tardily, that 'the Word became flesh;' and let us, retaining the
general scope[6] of the faith, acknowledge that what they interpret ill, has a
right interpretation[7].


Texts Explained; Tenthly, Matthew

xi. 27: John iii. 35, &c.

These texts intended to preclude the Sabellian notion of the Son; they fall in
with the Catholic doctrine concerning the Son; they are explained by 'so' in
John v. 26. (Anticipation of the next chapter.) Again they are used with
reference to our Lord's human nature; for our sake, that we might receive and
not lose, as receiving in Him. And consistently with other parts of Scripture,
which shew that He had the power, &c., before He received it. He was God and
man, and His actions are often at once divine and human.

35 (continued). For, 'The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things
into His hand;' and, 'All things were given unto Me of My Father;' and, 'I can
do nothing of Myself, but as I hear, I judge[8];' and the like passages do not
shew that the Son once had not these prerogatives--(for had not He eternally
what the Father has, who is the Only Word and Wisdom of the Father in essence,
who also says, 'All that the Father hath are Mine[1],' and what are Mine, are
the Father's? for if the things of the Father are the Son's and the Father
hath them ever, it is plain that what the Son hath, being the Father's, were
ever in the Son),--not then because once He had them not, did He say this, but
because, whereas the Son hath eternally what He hath, yet He hath them from
the Father.

36. For lest a man, perceiving that the Son has all that the Father hath,
from the exact likeness and identity of that He hath, should wander into the
irreligion of Sabellius, considering Him to be the Father, therefore He has
said 'Was given unto Me,' and 'I received,' and 'Were delivered to Me[2],'
only to shew that He is not the Father, but the Father's Word, and the Eternal
Son, who because of His likeness to the Father, has eternally what He has from
Him, and because He is the Son, has from the Father what He has eternally.
Moreover that 'Was given' and 'Were delivered,' and the like, do not impair[3]
the Godhead of the Son, but rather shew Him to be truly[4] Son, we may learn
from the passages themselves. For if all things are delivered unto Him, first,
He is other than that all which He has received; next, being Heir of all
things, He alone is the Son and proper according to the Essence of the Father.
For if He were one of all, then He were not 'heir of all[5],' but every one
had received according as the Father willed and gave. But now, as receiving
all things, He is other than them all, and alone proper to the Father.
Moreover that 'Was given' and 'Were delivered' do not shew that once He had
them not, we may conclude from a similar passage, and in like manner
concerning them all; for the Saviour Himself says, 'As the Father hath life in
Himself, so hath He given also to the Son to have life in Himself[6].' Now
from the words 'Hath given,' He signifies that He is not the Father; but in
saying 'so,' He shews the Son's natural likeness and propriety towards the
Father. If then once the Father had not, plainly the Son once had not; for as


the Father, 'so' also the Son has. But if this is irreligious to say, and
religious on the contrary to say that the Father had ever, is it not unseemly
in them when the Son says that, 'as' the Father has, 'so' also the Son has, to
say that He has not 'so[7],' but otherwise? Rather then is the Word faithful,
and all things which He says that He has received, He has always, yet has from
the Father; and the Father indeed not from any, but the Son from the Father.
For as in the instance of the radiance, if the radiance itself should say,
'All places the light hath given me to enlighten, and I do not enlighten from
myself, but as the light wills,' yet, in saying this, it does not imply that
it once had not, but it means, 'I am proper to the light, and all things of
the light are mine;' so, and much more, must we understand in the instance of
the Son. For the Father, having given all things to the Son, in the Son
still[8] hath all things; and the Son having, still the Father hath them; for
the Son's Godhead is the Father's Godhead, and thus the Father in the Son
exercises His Providence[9] over all things.

37. And while such is the sense of expressions like these, those which
speak humanly concerning the Saviour admit of a religious meaning also. For
with this end have we examined them beforehand, that, if we should hear Him
asking where Lazarus is laid[1], or when He asks on coming into the parts of
C'sarea, 'Whom do men say that I am?' or, 'How many loaves have ye?' and,
'What will ye that I shall do unto you[2]?, we may know, from what has been
already said, the right[3] sense of the passages, and may not stumble as
Christ's enemies the Arians. First then we must put this question to the
irreligious, why they consider Him ignorant? for one who asks, does not for
certain ask from ignorance; but it is possible for one who knows, still to ask
concerning what He knows. Thus John was aware that Christ, when asking, 'How
many loaves have ye?' was not ignorant, for he says, 'And this He said to
prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do[4].' But if He knew what He
was doing, therefore not in ignorance, but with knowledge did He ask. From
this instance we may understand similar ones; that, when the Lord asks, He
does not ask in ignorance, where Lazarus lies, nor again, whom men do say that
He is; but knowing the thing which He was asking, aware what He was about to
do. And thus with ease is their clever point exploded; but if they still
persist[5] on account of His asking, then they must be told that in the
Godhead indeed ignorance is not, but to the flesh ignorance is proper, as has
been said. And that this is really so, observe how the Lord who inquired where
Lazarus lay, Himself said, when He was not on the spot but a great way off,
'Lazarus is dead[6],' and where he was dead; and how that He who is considered
by them as ignorant, is He Himself who foreknew the reasonings of the
disciples, and was aware of what was in the heart of each, and of 'what was in
man,' and, what is greater, alone knows the Father and says, 'I in the Father
and the Father in Me.[7]'

38. Therefore this is plain to every one, that the flesh indeed is
ignorant, but the Word Himself, considered as the Word, knows all things even
before they come to be. For He did not, when He became man, cease to be
God[1]; nor, whereas He is God does He shrink from what is man's; perish the
thought; but rather, being God, He has taken to Him the flesh, and being in
the flesh deifies the flesh. For as He asked questions in it, so also in it
did He raise the dead; and He shewed to all that He who quickens the dead and
recalls the soul, much more discerns the secret of all. And He knew where
Lazarus lay, and yet He asked; for the All-holy Word of God, who endured all
things for our sakes, did this, that so carrying our ignorance, He might
vouchsafe to us the knowledge of His own only and true Father, and of Himself,
sent because of us for the salvation of all, than which no grace could be


When then the Saviour uses the words which they allege in their defence,
'Power is given to Me,' and, 'Glorify Thy Son,' and Peter says, 'Power is
given unto Him,' we understand all these passages in the same sense, that
humanly because of the body He says all this. For though He had no need,
nevertheless He is said to have received what He received humanly, that on the
other hand, inasmuch as the Lord has received, and the grant is lodged with
Him, the grace may remain sure. For while mere man receives, he is liable to
lose again (as was shewn in the case of Adam, for he received and he lost[2]),
but that the grace may be irrevocable, and may be kept sure[3] by men,
therefore He Himself appropriates[4] the gift; and He says that He has
received power, as man, which He ever had as God, and He says, 'Glorify Me,'
who glorifies others, to shew that He hath a flesh which has need of these
things. Wherefore, when the flesh receives, since that which receives is in
Him, and by taking it He hath become man, therefore He is said Himself to have

39. If then (as has many times been said) the Word has not become man,
then ascribe to the Word, as you would have it, to receive, and to need glory,
and to be ignorant; but if He has become man (and He has become), and it is
man's to receive, and to need, and to be ignorant, wherefore do we consider
the Giver as receiver, and the Dispenser to others do we suspect to be in
need, and divide the Word from the Father as imperfect and needy, while we
strip human nature of grace? For if the Word Himself, considered as Word, has
received and been glorified for His own sake, and if He according to His
Godhead is He who is hallowed and has risen again, what hope is there for men?
for they remain as they were, naked, and wretched, and dead, having no
interest in the things given to the Son. Why too did the Word come among us,
and become flesh? if that He might receive these things, which He says that He
has received, He was without them before that, and of necessity will rather
owe thanks Himself to the body[1], because, when He came into it, then He
receives these things from the Father, which He had not before His descent
into the flesh. For on this shewing He seems rather to be Himself promoted
because of the body[2], than the body promoted because of Him. But this notion
is Judaic. But if that He might redeem mankind[3], the Word did come among us;
and that He might hallow and deify them, the Word became flesh (and for this
He did become), who does not see that it follows, that what He says that He
received, when He became flesh, that He mentions, not for His own sake, but
for the flesh? for to it, in which He was speaking, pertained the gifts given
through Him from the Father. But let us see what He asked, and what the things
altogether were which He said that He had received, that in this way also they
may be brought to feeling. He asked then glory, yet He had said, 'All things
were delivered unto Me[4].' And after the resurrection, He says that He has
received all power; but even before that He had said, 'All things were
delivered unto Me,' He was Lord of all, for 'all things were made by Him;' and
'there is One Lord by whom are all things[5].' And when He asked glory, He was
as He is, the Lord of glory; as Paul says, 'If they had known it, they would
not have crucified the Lord of glory[6];' for He had that glory which He asked
when He said, 'the glory which I had with Thee before the world was[7].'

40. Also the power which He said He received after the resurrection, that
He had before He received it, and before the resurrection. For He of Himself
rebuked Satan, saying, 'Get thee behind Me, Satan[1];' and to the disciples He
gave the power against him, when on their return He said, 'I beheld Satan, as
lightning, fall from heaven[2].' And again, that what He said that He had
received, that He possessed before receiving it, appears from His driving away
the demons, and from His un-binding what Satan had bound, as He did in the
case of the daughter of Abraham; and from His remitting sins, saying to the
paralytic, and to the woman who washed His feet, 'Thy sins be forgiven
thee[3];' and from His both raising the dead, and repairing the first nature
of the blind, granting to him to see. And all this He did, not waiting till He
should receive, but being 'possessed of power[4].' From all this it is plain
that what He had as Word, that when He had become man and was risen again, He
says that He received humanly[5]; that for His sake men might henceforward
upon earth have power against demons, as having become partakers of a divine
nature; and in heaven, as being delivered from corruption, might reign
everlastingly. Thus we must acknowledge this once for all, that nothing which
He says that He received, did He receive as not possessing before; for the
Word, as being God, had them always; but in these passages He is said humanly
to have received, that, whereas the flesh received in Him, henceforth from it


gift might abide[6] surely for us. For what is said by Peter, 'receiving from
God honour and glory, Angels being made subject unto Him[7],' has this
meaning. As He inquired humanly, and raised Lazarus divinely, so 'He received'
is spoken of Him humanly, but the subjection of the Angels marks the Word's

41. Cease then, O abhorred of God[8], and degrade not the Word; nor
detract from His Godhead, which is the Father's[9], as though He needed or
were ignorant; lest ye be casting your own arguments against the Christ, as
the Jews who once stoned Him. For these belong not to the Word, as the Word;
but are proper to men and, as when He spat, and stretched forth the hand, and
called Lazarus, we did not say that the triumphs were human, though they were
done through the body, but were God's, so, on the other hand, though human
things are ascribed to the Saviour in the Gospel, let us, considering the
nature of what is said and that they are foreign to God, not impute them to
the Word's Godhead, but to His manhood. For though 'the Word became flesh,'
yet to the flesh are the affections proper; and though the flesh is possessed
by God in the Word, yet to the Word belong the grace and the power. He did
then the Father's works through the flesh; and as truly contrariwise were the
affections of the flesh displayed in Him; for instance, He inquired and He
raised Lazarus, He chid[10] His Mother, saying, 'My hour is not yet come,' and
then at once He made the water wine. For He was Very God in the flesh, and He
was true flesh in the Word. Therefore from His works He revealed both Himself
as Son of God, and His own Father, and from the affections of the flesh He
shewed that He bore a true body, and that it was His own.


Texts Explained; Eleventhly, Mark xiii. 32 AND Luke ii. 52.

Arian explanation of the former text is against the Regula Fidei; and against
the context. Our Lord said He was ignorant of the Day, by reason of His human
nature. If the Holy Spirit knows the Day, therefore the Son knows; if the Son
knows the Father, therefore He knows the Day; if He has all that is the
Father's, therefore knowledge of the Day if in the Father, He knows the Day
in the Father; if He created and upholds all things, He knows when they will
cease to be. He knows not as Man, argued from Matt. xxiv. 42. As He asked
about Lazarus's grave, &c., yet knew, so He knows; as S. Paul says, 'whether
in the body I know not,' &c., yet knew, so He knows. He said He knew not for
our profit, that we be not curious (as in Acts i. 7, where on the contrary He
did not say He knew not). As the Almighty asks of Adam and of Cain, yet knew,
so the Son knows[as God]. Again, He advanced in wisdom also as man, else He
made Angels perfect before Himself. He advanced, in that the Godhead was
manifested in Him more fully as time went on.

42. These things being so, come let us now examine into 'But of that day
and that hour knoweth no man, neither the Angels of God, nor the Son[1];' for
being in great ignorance as regards these words, and being stupefied[2] about
them, they think they have in them an important argument for their heresy. But
I, when the heretics allege it and prepare themselves with it, see in them the
giants a again fighting against God. For the Lord of heaven and earth, by whom
all things were made, has to litigate before them about day and hour; and the
Word who knows all things is accused by them of ignorance about a day; and the
Son who knows the Father is said to be ignorant of an hour of a day; now what
can be spoken more contrary to sense, or what madness can be likened to this?
Through the Word all things have been made, times and seasons and night and
day and the whole creation; and is the Framer of all said to be ignorant of
His work? And the very context of the lection shews that the Son of God knows
that hour and that day, though the Arians fall headlong in their ignorance.
For after saying, 'nor-the Son,' He relates to the disciples what precedes the
day, saying, 'This and that shall be, and then the end.' But He who speaks of
what precedes the day, knows certainly the day also, which shall be manifested
subsequently to the things foretold. But if He had not known the hour, He had
not signified the events before it, as not knowing when it should be. And as
any one, who, by way of pointing out a house or city to those who were
ignorant of it, gave an


account of what comes before the house or city, and having described all,
said, 'Then immediately comes the city or the house,' would know of course
where the house or the city was (for had he not known, he had not described
what comes before lest from ignorance he should throw his hearers far out of
the way, or in speaking he should unawares go beyond the object), so the Lord
saying what precedes that day and that hour, knows exactly, nor is ignorant,
when the hour and the day are at hand.

43. Now why it was that, though He knew, He did not tell His disciples
plainly at that time, no one may be curious[1] where He has been silent; for
'Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor[2]?' but
why, though He knew, He said, 'no, not the Son knows,' this I think none of
the faithful is ignorant, viz. that He made this as those other declarations
as man by reason of the flesh. For this as before is not the Word's
deficiency[3], but of that human nature[4] whose property it is to be
ignorant. And this again will be weIl seen by honestly examining into the
occasion, when and to whom the Saviour spoke thus. Not then when the heaven
was made by Him, nor when He was with the Father Himself, the Word 'disposing
all things[5],' nor before He became man did He say it, but when 'the Word
became flesh[6].' On this account it is reasonable to ascribe to His manhood
everything which, after He became man, He speaks humanly. For it is proper to
the Word to know what was made, nor be ignorant either of the beginning or of
the end of these (for the works are His), and He knows how many things He
wrought, and the limit of their consistence. And knowing of each the beginning
and the end, He knows surely the general and common end of all. Certainly when
He says in the Gospel concerning Himself in His human character, 'Father, the
hour is come, glorify Thy Son[7],' it is plain that He knows also the hour of
the end of all things, as the Word, though as man He is ignorant of it, for
ignorance is proper to man[8], and especially ignorance of these things.
Moreover this is proper to the Saviour's love of man; for since He was made
man, He is not ashamed, because of the flesh which is ignorant[9], to say 'I
know not,' that He may shew that knowing as God, He is but ignorant according
to the flesh[10]. And therefore He said not, 'no, not the Son of God knows,'
test the Godhead should seem ignorant, but simply, 'no, not the Son,' that the
ignorance might be the Son's as born from among men.

44. On this account, He alludes to the Angels, but He did not go further
and say, 'not the Holy Ghost;' but He was silent, with a double intimation;
first that if the Spirit knew, much more must the Word know, considered as the
Word, from whom the Spirit receives[1]; and next by His silence about the
Spirit, He made it clear, that He said of His human ministry, 'no, not the
Son.' And a proof of it is this; that, when He had spoken humanly[2] 'No, not
the Son knows,'


He yet shews that divinely He knew all things. For that Son whom He declares
not to know the day, Him He declares to know the Father; for 'No one,' He
says, 'knoweth the Father save the Son[3].' And all men but the Arians would
join in confessing, that He who knows the Father, much more knows the whole of
the creation; and in that whole, its end. And if already the day and the hour
be determined by the Father, it is plain that through the Son are they
determined, and He knows Himself what through Him has been determined[4], for
there is nothing but has come to be and has been determined through the Son.
Therefore He, being the Framer of the universe, knows of what nature, and of
what magnitude, and with what limits, the Father has willed it to be made; and
in the how much and how far is included its period. And again, if all that is
the Father's, is the Son's (and this He Himself bass said), and it is the
Father's attribute to know the day, it is plain that the Son too knows it,
having this proper to Him from the Father. And again, if the Son be in the
Father and the Father in the Son, and the Father knows the day and the hour,
it is clear that the Son, being in the Father and knowing the things of the
Father, knows Himself also the day and the hour. And if the Son is also the
Father's Very Image, and the Father knows the day and the hour, it is plain
that the Son has this likeness[6] also to the Father of knowing them. And it
is not wonderful if He, through whom all things were made, and in whom the
universe consists, Himself knows what has been brought to be, and when the end
will be of each and of all together; rather is it wonderful that this
audacity, suitable as it is to the madness of the Ariomaniacs, should have
forced us to have recourse to so long a defence. For ranking the Son of God,
the Eternal Word, among things originate, they are not far from venturing to
maintain that the Father Himself is second to the creation; for if He who
knows the Father knows not the day nor the hour, I fear lest the knowledge of
the creation, or rather of the lower portion of it, be greater, as they in
their madness would say, than knowledge concerning the Father.

45. But for them, when they thus blaspheme the Spirit, they must expect no
remission ever of such irreligion, as the Lord has said[1]; but let us, who
love Christ and bear Christ within us, know that the Word, not as ignorant,
considered as Word, has said 'I know not,' for He knows, but as shewing His
manhood[2], in that to be ignorant is proper to man, and that He had put on
flesh that was ignorant[3], being in which, He said according to the flesh, 'I
know not.' And for this reason, after saying, 'No not the Son knows,' and
mentioning the ignorance of the men in Noah's day, immediately He added,
'Watch therefore, for ye know not in what hour your Lord doth come,' and
again, 'In such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh[4].' For I too,
having become as you for you, said 'no, not the Son.' For, had He been
ignorant divinely, He must have said, 'Watch therefore, for I know not,' and,
'In an hour when I think not;' but in fact this hath He not said; but by
saying 'Ye know not' and 'When ye think not,' He has signified that it belongs
to man to be ignorant; for whose sake He too having a flesh like theirs and
having become man, said 'No, not the Son knows,' for He knew not in flesh,
though knowing as Word. And again the


example from Noah exposes the shamelessness of Christ's enemies; for there too
He said not, 'I knew not,' but 'They knew not until the flood came(5).' For
men did not know, but He who brought the flood (and it was the Saviour
Himself) knew the day and the hour in which He opened the cataracts of heaven
and broke up the great deep, and said to Noah, 'Come thou and all thy house
into the ark(6).' For were He ignorant, He had not foretold to Noah, 'Yet
seven days and I will bring a flood upon the earth.' But if in describing the
day He makes use of the parallel of Noah's time, and He did know the day of
the flood, therefore He knows also the day of His own coming.

46. Moreover, after narrating the parable of the Virgins, again He shews
more clearly who they are who are ignorant of the day and the hour, saying,
'Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour(1).' He who said
shortly before, 'No one knoweth, no not the Son,' now says not 'I know not,'
but 'ye know not.' In like manner then, when His disciples asked about the
end, suitably said He then, 'no, nor the Son,' according to the flesh because
of the body; that He might shew that, as man, He knows not; for ignorance is
proper to man(2). If however He is the Word, if it is He who is to come, He to
be Judge, He to be the Bridegroom, He knoweth when and in what hour He cometh,
and when He is to say, 'Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,
and Christ shall give thee light(3).' For as, on becoming man, He hungers and
thirsts and suffers with men, so with men as man He knows not; though
divinely, being in the Father Word and Wisdom, He knows, and there is nothing
which He knows not In like manner also about Lazarus(4) He asks humanly, who
was on His way to raise him, and knew whence He should recall Lazarus's soul;
and it was a greater thing to know where the soul was, than to know where the
body lay; but He asked humanly, that He might raise divinely. So too He asks
of the disciples, on coming into the parts of C'sarea, though knowing even
before Peter made answer. For if the Father revealed to Peter the answer to
the Lord's question, it is plain that through the Son s was the revelation,
for 'No one knoweth the Son,' saith He, 'save the Father, neither the Father
save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him(6).' But if through
the Son is revealed the knowledge both of the Father and the Son, there is no
room for doubting that the Lord who asked, having first revealed it to Peter
from the Father, next asked humanly; in order to shew, that asking after the
flesh, He knew divinely what Peter was about to say. The Son then knew, as
knowing all things, and knowing His own Father, than which knowledge nothing
can be greater or more perfect

47. This is sufficient to confute them; but to shew still further that
they are hostile to the truth and Christ's enemies, I could wish to ask them a
question. The Apostle in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians writes, 'I knew
a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know,
or whether out of the body I do not know; God knoweth(1).' What now say ye?
Knew the Apostle what had happened to him in the vision, though he says 'I
know not,' or knew he not? If he knew not, see to it, lest, being familiar
with error, ye err in the trespass(2) of the Phrygians(3), who say that the
Prophets and the other ministers of the Word know neither what they do nor
concerning what they announce. But if he knew when he said 'I know not,' for
he had Christ within him revealing to him all things, is not the heart of
God's enemies indeed perverted and 'self-condemned?' for when the Apostle
says, 'I know not,' they say that he knows; but when the Lord says, 'I know
not,' they say that He does not know. For if since Christ was within him, Paul
knew that of which he says, 'I know not,' does not much more Christ Himself
know, though He say, 'I know not?' The Apostle then, the Lord revealing it to
him, knew what happened to him; for on this account he says, 'I knew a man in
Christ;' and knowing the man, he knew also how the man was caught away. Thus
Elisha, who beheld Elijah, knew


also how he was taken up; but though knowing, yet when the sons of the
Prophets thought that Elijah was cast upon one of the mountains by the Spirit,
he knowing from the first what he had seen, tried to persuade them; but when
they urged it, he was silent, and suffered them to go after him. Did he then
not know, because he was silent? he knew indeed, but as if not knowing, he
suffered them, that they being convinced, might no more doubt about the taking
up of Elijah. Therefore much more Paul, himself being the person caught away,
knew also how he was caught; for Elijah knew; and had any one asked, he would
have said how. And yet Paul says 'I know not,' for these two reasons, as I
think at least; one, as he has said himself, lest because of the abundance of
the revelations any one should think of him beyond what he saw; the other,
because, our Saviour having said 'I know not,' it became him also to say 'I
know not,' lest the servant should appear above his Lord, and the disciple
above his Master.

48. Therefore He who gave to Paul to know, much rather knew Himself; for
since He spoke of the antecedents of the day, He also knew, as I said before,
when the Day and when the Hour, and yet though knowing, He says, 'No, not the
Son knoweth.' Why then said He at that time 'I know not,' what He as Lord(1),
knew? as we may by searching conjecture, for our profit(2), as I think at
least, did He this; and may He grant to what we are now proposing a true
meaning! On both sides did the Saviour secure our advantage; for He has made
known what comes before the end, that, as He said Himself, we might not be
startled nor scared, when they happen, but from them may expect the end after
them. And concerning the day and the hour He was not willing to say according
to His divine nature, 'I know,' but after the flesh, 'I know not,' for the
sake of the flesh which was ignorant(3), as I have said before; lest they
should ask Him further, and then either He should have to pain the disciples
by not speaking, or by speaking might act to the prejudice of them and us all.
For whatever He does, that altogether He does for our sakes, since also for us
'the Word became flesh.' For us therefore He said 'No, not the Son knoweth;'
and neither was He untrue in thus saying (for He said humanly, as man, 'I know
not'), nor did He suffer the disciples to force Him to speak, for by saying 'I
know not' He stopped their inquiries. And so in the Acts of the Apostles it is
written, when He went upon the Angels, ascending as man, and carrying up to
heaven the flesh which He bore, on the disciples seeing this, and again
asking, 'When shall the end be, and when wilt Thou be present?' He said to
them more clearly, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which
the Father hath put in His own power(4).' And He did not then say, 'No, not
the Son,' as He said before humanly, but, 'It is not for you to know.' For now
the flesh had risen and put off its mortality and been deified; and no longer
did it become Him to answer after the flesh when He was going into the
heavens; but henceforth to teach after a divine manner, 'It is not for you to
know times or seasons which the Father hath put in His own power; but ye shall
receive Power(5).' And what is that Power of the Father but the Son? for
Christ is 'God's Power and God's Wisdom.'

49. The Son then did know, as being the Word; for He implied this in what
He said,--'I know but it is not for you to know for it was for your sakes that
sitting also on the mount I said according to the flesh, 'No, not the Son
knoweth,' for the profit of you and all. For it is profitable to you to hear
so much both of the Angels and of the Son, because of the deceivers which
shall be afterwards; that though demons should be transfigured as Angels, and
should attempt to speak concerning the end, you should not believe, since they
are ignorant; and that, if Antichrist too, disguising himself, should say, 'I
am Christ,' and should try in his turn to speak of that day and end, to
deceive the hearers, ye, having these words from Me, 'No, not the Son,' may
disbelieve him also. And further, not to know when the end is, or when the day
of the end, is expedient for man, lest knowing, they might become negligent of
the time between, awaiting the days near the end; for they will argue that
then only must they attend to themselves(1). Therefore also has He been silent
of the time when each shall die, lest men, being elated on the ground of
knowledge, should forthwith neglect themselves for the greater part of their
time. Both then, the end of all things and the limit of each of us hath the
Word concealed from us (for in the end of all is the end of each, and in the
end of each the end of all is comprehended), that, whereas it is uncertain and


always in prospect, we may advance day by day as if summoned, reaching forward
to the things before us and forgetting the things behind(2). For who, knowing
the day of the end, would not be dilatory with the interval? but, if ignorant,
would not be ready day by day? It was on this account that the Saviour added,
'Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come;' and, 'In
such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh(3).' For the advantage
then which comes of ignorance has He said this; for in saying it, He wishes
that we should always be prepared; 'for you,' He says, 'know not; but I, the
Lord, know when I come, though the Arians do not waft for Me, who am the Word
of the Father.'

50. The Lord then, knowing what is good for us beyond ourselves, thus
secured the disciples; and they, being thus taught, set right those of
Thessalonica(4) when likely on this point to run into error. However, since
Christ's enemies do not yield even to these considerations, I wish, though
knowing that they have a heart harder than Pharaoh, to ask them again
concerning this. In Paradise God asks, 'Adam, where art Thou(5)?' and He
inquires of Cain also, 'Where is Abel thy brother(6)?' What then say you to
this? for if you think Him ignorant and therefore to have asked, you are
already of the party of the Manichees, for this is their bold thought; but if,
fearing the open name, ye force yourselves to say, that He asks knowing, what
is there extravagant or strange in the doctrine, that ye should thus fall, on
finding that the Son, in whom God then inquired, that same Son who now is clad
in flesh, inquires of the disciples as man? unless forsooth, having become
Manichees, you are willing to blame(7) the question then put to Adam and all
that you may give full plays to your perverseness. For being exposed on all
sides, you still make a whispering(9) from the words of Luke, which are
rightly said, but ill understood by you. And what this is, we must state, that
so also their corrupt(10) meaning may be shewn.

51. Now Luke says, 'And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in grace
with God and man(1).' This then is the passage, and since they stumble in it,
we are compelled to ask them, like the Pharisees and the Sadducees, of the
person concerning whom Luke speaks. And the case stands thus. Is Jesus Christ
man, as all other men, or is He God bearing flesh? If then He is an
ordinary(2) man as the rest, then let Him, as a man, advance; this however is
the sentiment of the Samosatene, which virtually indeed you entertain also,
though in name you deny it because of men. But if He be God bearing flesh, as
He truly is, and 'the Word became flesh,' and being God descended upon earth,
what advance had He who existed equal to God? or how had the Son increase,
being ever in the Father? For if He who was ever in the Father, advanced,
what, I ask, is there beyond the Father from which His advance might be made?
Next it is suitable here to repeat what was said upon the point of His
receiving and being glorified. If He advanced(3) when He became man, it is
plain that, before He became man, He was imperfect; and rather the flesh
Became to Him a cause of perfection, than He to the flesh. And again, if, as
being the Word, He advances, what has He more to become than Word and Wisdom
and Son and God's Power? For the Word is all these, of which if one can anyhow
partake as it were one ray, such a man becomes all perfect among men, and
equal to Angels. For Angels, and Archangels, and Dominions, and all the
Powers, and Thrones, as partaking the Word, behold always the face of His
Father. How then does He who to others supplies perfection, Himself advance
later than they? For Angels even ministered to His human birth, and the
passage from Luke comes later than the ministration of the Angels. How then at
all can it even come into thought of man? or how did Wisdom advance in wisdom?
or how did He who to others gives grace (as Paul says in every Epistle,
knowing that through Him grace is given, 'The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you all'), how did He advance in grace? for either let them say that
the Apostle is untrue, and presume to say that the Son is not Wisdom, or else
if He is Wisdom as Solomon said, and if Paul wrote, 'Christ God's Power and
God's Wisdom,' of what advance did Wisdom admit further?

52. For men, creatures as they are, are


capable in a certain way of reachng forward and advancing in virtue(1). Enoch,
for instance, was thus translated, and Moses increased and was perfected; and
Isaac 'by advancing became great(2);' and the Apostle said that he 'reached
forth(3)' day by day to what was before him. For each had room for advancing,
looking to the step before him. But the Son of God, who is One and Only, what
room had He for reaching forward? for all things advance by looking at Him;
and He, being One and Only, is in the Only Father, from whom again He does not
reach forward, but in Him abideth ever(3a). To men then belongs advance; but
the Son of God, since He could not advance, being perfect in the Father,
humbled Himself for us, that in His humbling we on the other hand might be
able to increase. And our increase is no other than the renouncing things
sensible, and coming to the Word Himself; since His humbling is nothing else
than His taking our flesh. It was not then the Word, considered as the Word,
who advanced; who is perfect from the perfect Father(4), who needs nothing,
nay brings forward others to an advance; but humanly is He here also said to
advance, since advance belongs to man(5). Hence the Evangelist, speaking with
cautious exactness(6), has mentioned stature in the advance; but being Word
and God He is not measured by stature, which belongs to bodies. Of the body
then is the advance; for, it advancing, in it advanced also the
manifestation(7) of the Godhead to those who saw it. And, as the Godhead was
more and more revealed, by so much more did His grace as man increase before
all men. For as a child He was carried to the Temple; and when He became a
boy, He remained there, and questioned the priests about the Law. And by
degrees His body increasing, and the Word manifesting Himself(8) in it, He is
confessed henceforth by Peter first, then also by all, 'Truly this is the Son
of God(9);' however wilfully the Jews, both the ancient and these modern(10),
shut fast their eyes, lest they see that to advance in wisdom is not the
advance of Wisdom Itself, but rather the manhood's advance in It. For 'Jesus
advanced in wisdom and grace;' and, if we may speak what is explanatory as
well as true, He advanced in Himself; for 'Wisdom builded herself an house,'
and in herself she gave the house advancement.

53. (What moreover is this advance that is spoken of, but, as I said
before, the deifying and grace imparted from Wisdom to men, sin being
obliterated in them and their inward corruption, according to their likeness
and relationship to the flesh of the Word?) For thus, the body increasing in
stature, there developed in it the manifestation of the Godhead also, and to
all was it displayed that the body was God's Temple(1), and that God was in
the body. And if they urge, that 'The Word become flesh' is called Jesus, and
refer to Him the term 'advanced,' they must be told that neither does this
impair(2) the Father's Light(3), which is the Son, but that it still shews
that the Word has become man, and bore true flesh. And as we said(4) that He
suffered in the flesh, and hungered in the flesh, and was fatigued in the
flesh, so also reasonably may He be said to have advanced in the flesh; for
neither did the advance, such as we have described it, take place with the
Word external to the flesh, for in Him was the flesh which advanced and His is
it called, and that as before, that man's advance might abide s and fail not,
because of the Word which is with it. Neither then was the advance the Word's,
nor was the flesh Wisdom, but the flesh became the body of Wisdom(6).
Therefore, as we have already said, not Wisdom, as Wisdom, advanced in respect
of Itself; but the manhood advanced in Wisdom, transcending by degrees human
nature, and being deified, and becoming and appearing to all as the organ(7)
of Wisdom for the operation and the shining forth(8) of the Godhead. Wherefore
neither said he, 'The Word advanced,' but Jesus, by which Name the Lord was
called when He became man; so that the advance is of the human nature in such
wise as we explained above.