Friday, June 20, 2014

St. Augustine: "The turning of the will"

“EVIL is the turning of the will away from the unchangeable good, and toward the changeable good. Since this turning from one to the other is free and unforced, the pain which follows as a punishment is fitting and just.”

~St. Augustine: The Problem of Free Choice, Bk. II.


St. Vincent of Lérins: "Churches of the saints"

"LEST any one perchance should rashly think the holy and Catholic consent of these blessed fathers to be despised, the Apostle says, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, God has placed some in the Church, first Apostles, (1 Co 12:27-28) of whom himself was one; secondly Prophets, such as Agabus, of whom we read in the Acts of the Apostles; (Acts 11:28) then doctors, who are now called Homilists, Expositors, whom the same apostle sometimes calls also Prophets, because by them the mysteries of the Prophets are opened to the people. Whosoever, therefore, shall despise these, who had their appointment of God in His Church in their several times and places, when they are unanimous in Christ, in the interpretation of some one point of Catholic doctrine, despises not man, but God, from whose unity in the truth, lest any one should vary, the same Apostle earnestly protests, I beseech you, brethren, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Co 1:10) But if any one dissent from their unanimous decision, let him listen to the words of the same apostle, God is not the God of dissension but of peace; (1 Co 14:33) that is, not of him who departs from the unity of consent, but of those who remain steadfast in the peace of consent: as, he continues, I teach in all Churches of the saints, that is, of Catholics, which churches are therefore churches of the saints, because they continue steadfast in the communion of the faith."

~St. Vincent of Lérins (d. c. 450): Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, Chap 28, para. 73.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"These blessed fathers"

"LEST any one perchance should rashly think the holy and Catholic consent of these blessed fathers to be despised, the Apostle says, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, God has placed some in the Church, first Apostles, (1 Co 12:27-28) of whom himself was one; secondly Prophets, such as Agabus, of whom we read in the Acts of the Apostles; (Acts 11:28) then doctors, who are now called Homilists, Expositors, whom the same apostle sometimes calls also Prophets, because by them the mysteries of the Prophets are opened to the people. Whosoever, therefore, shall despise these, who had their appointment of God in His Church in their several times and places, when they are unanimous in Christ, in the interpretation of some one point of Catholic doctrine, despises not man, but God, from whose unity in the truth, lest any one should vary, the same Apostle earnestly protests, I beseech you, brethren, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Co 1:10) But if any one dissent from their unanimous decision, let him listen to the words of the same apostle, God is not the God of dissension but of peace; (1 Co 14:33) that is, not of him who departs from the unity of consent, but of those who remain steadfast in the peace of consent: as, he continues, I teach in all Churches of the saints, that is, of Catholics, which churches are therefore churches of the saints, because they continue steadfast in the communion of the faith."

~St. Vincent of Lérins (d. c. 450): Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, Chap 28, para. 73.

Friday, June 13, 2014

St. Augustine: Of Faith and the Creed

A discourse delivered before a council of the whole North African Episcopate assembled at Hippo-Regius.

Introductory Notice

The occasion and date of the composition of this treatise are indicated in a statement which Augustine makes in the seventeenth chapter of the First Book of his Retractations. From this we learn that, in its original form, it was a discourse which Augustine, when only a presbyter, was requested to deliver in public by the bishops assembled at the Council of Hippo-Regius, and that it was subsequently issued as a book at the desire of friends. The general assembly of the North African Church, which was thus convened at what is now Bona, in the modern territory of Algiers, took place in the year 393 A.D., and was otherwise one of some historical importance, on account of the determined protest which it emitted against the position elsewhere allowed to Patriarchs in the Church, and against the admittance of any more authoritative or magisterial title to the highest ecclesiastical official than that of simply Bishop of the first Church (primæ sedis episcopus).

The work constitutes an exposition of the several clauses of the so-called Apostles' Creed. The questions concerning the mutual relations of the three Persons in the Godhead are handled with greatest fullness; in connection with which, especially in the use made of the analogies of Being, Knowledge, and Love, and in the cautions thrown in against certain applications of these and other illustrations taken from things of human experience, we come across sentiments which are also repeated in the City of God, the books on the Trinity, and others of his doctrinal writings.

The passage referred to in the Retractations is as follows: About the same period, in presence of the bishops, who gave me orders to that effect, and who were holding a plenary Council of the whole of Africa at Hippo-Regius, I delivered, as presbyter, a discussion on the subject of Faith and the Creed. This disputation, at the very pressing request of some of those who were on terms of more than usual intimacy and affection with us, I threw into the form of a book, in which the themes themselves are made the subjects of discourse, although not in a method involving the adoption of the particular connection of words which is given to the competentes to be committed to memory. In this book, when discussing the question of the resurrection of the flesh, I say: 'Rise again the body will, according to the Christian faith, which is incapable of deceiving. And if this appears incredible to any one, [it is because] he looks simply to what the flesh is at present, while he fails to consider of what nature it shall be hereafter. For at that time of angelic change it will no more be flesh and blood, but only body;' and so on, through the other statements which I have made there on the subject of the change of bodies terrestrial into bodies celestial, as the apostle, when he spoke from the same point, said, 'Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.' But if any one takes these declarations in a sense leading him to suppose that the earthly body, such as we now have it, is changed in the resurrection into a celestial body, in any such wise as that neither these members nor the substance of the flesh will subsist any more, undoubtedly he must be set right, by being put in mind of the body of the Lord, who subsequently to His resurrection appeared in the same members, as One who was not only to be seen with the eyes, but also handled with the hands; and made His possession of the flesh likewise surer by the discourse which He spoke, saying, 'Handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have.' Hence it is certain that the apostle did not deny that the substance of the flesh will exist in the kingdom of God, but that under the name of 'flesh and blood?' he designated either men who live after the flesh, or the express corruption of the flesh, which assuredly at that period shall subsist no more. For after he had said, 'Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God,' what he proceeds to say next—namely, 'neither shall corruption inherit incorruption,'— is rightly taken to have been added by way of explaining his previous statement. And on this subject, which is one on which it is difficult to convince unbelievers, any one who reads my last book, On the City of God, will find that I have discoursed with the utmost carefulness of which I am capable. The performance in question commences thus: 'Since it is written,' etc.

Chapter I. — Of the Origin and Object of the Composition

1. INASMUCH as it is a position, written and established on the most solid foundation of apostolic teaching, that the just lives of faith; and inasmuch also as this faith demands of us the duty at once of heart and tongue—for an apostle says, With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, — it becomes us to be mindful both of righteousness and of salvation. For, destined as we are to reign hereafter in everlasting righteousness, we certainly cannot secure our salvation from the present evil world, unless at the same time, while laboring for the salvation of our neighbors, we likewise with the mouth make our own profession of the faith which we carry in our heart. And it must be our aim, by pious and careful watchfulness, to provide against the possibility of the said faith sustaining any injury in us, on any side, through the fraudulent artifices [or, cunning fraud] of the heretics.

We have, however, the catholic faith in the Creed, known to the faithful and committed to memory, contained in a form of expression as concise as has been rendered admissible by the circumstances of the case; the purpose of which [compilation] was, that individuals who are but beginners and sucklings among those who have been born again in Christ, and who have not yet been strengthened by most diligent and spiritual handling and understanding of the divine Scriptures, should be furnished with a summary, expressed in few words, of those matters of necessary belief which were subsequently to be explained to them in many words, as they made progress and rose to [the height of] divine doctrine, on the assured and steadfast basis of humility and charity. It is underneath these few words, therefore, which are thus set in order in the Creed, that most heretics have endeavored to conceal their poisons; whom divine mercy has withstood, and still withstands, by the instrumentality of spiritual men, who have been counted worthy not only to accept and believe the catholic faith as expounded in those terms, but also thoroughly to understand and apprehend it by the enlightenment imparted by the Lord. For it is written, Unless ye believe, you shall not understand. But the handling of the faith is of service for the protection of the Creed; not, however, to the intent that this should itself be given instead of the Creed, to be committed to memory and repeated by those who are receiving the grace of God, but that it may guard the matters which are retained in the Creed against the insidious assaults of the heretics, by means of catholic authority and a more entrenched defence.

Chapter II. — Of God and His Exclusive Eternity

2. For certain parties have attempted to gain acceptance for the opinion that GOD THE FATHER is not ALMIGHTY: not that they have been bold enough expressly to affirm this, but in their traditions they are convicted of entertaining and crediting such a notion. For when they affirm that there is a nature which God Almighty did not create, but of which at the same time He fashioned this world, which they admit to have been disposed in beauty, they thereby deny that God is almighty, to the effect of not believing that He could have created the world without employing, for the purpose of its construction, another nature, which had been in existence previously, and which He Himself had not made. Thus, forsooth, [they reason] from their carnal familiarity with the sight of craftsmen and house-builders, and artisans of all descriptions, who have no power to make good the effect of their own art unless they get the help of materials already prepared. And so these parties in like manner understand the Maker of the world not to be almighty, if thus He could not fashion the said world without the help of some other nature, not framed by Himself, which He had to use as His materials. Or if indeed they do allow God, the Maker of the world, to be almighty, it becomes matter of course that they must also acknowledge that He made out of nothing the things which He did make. For, granting that He is almighty, there cannot exist anything of which He should not be the Creator. For although He made something out of something, as man out of clay, nevertheless He certainly did not make any object out of anything which He Himself had not made; for the earth from which the clay comes He had made out of nothing. And even if He had made out of some material the heavens and the earth themselves, that is to say, the universe and all things which are in it, according as it is written, You who made the world out of matter unseen, or also without form, as some copies give it; yet we are under no manner of necessity to believe that this very material of which the universe was made, although it might be without form, although it might be unseen, whatever might be the mode of its subsistence, could possibly have subsisted of itself, as if it were co-eternal and co-eval with God. But whatsoever that mode was which it possessed to the effect of subsisting in some manner, whatever that manner might be, and of being capable of taking on the forms of distinct things, this it did not possess except by the hand of Almighty God, by whose goodness it is that everything exists,— not only every object which is already formed, but also every object which is formable. This, moreover, is the difference between the formed and the formable, that the formed has already taken on form, while the formable is capable of taking the same. But the same Being who imparts form to objects, also imparts the capability of being formed. For of Him and in Him is the fairest figure of all things, unchangeable; and therefore He Himself is One, who communicates to everything its possibilities, not only that it be beautiful actually, but also that it be capable of being beautiful. For which reason we do most right to believe that God made all things of nothing. For, even although the world was made of some sort of material, this self-same material itself was made of nothing; so that, in accordance with the most orderly gift of God, there was to enter first the capacity of taking forms, and then that all things should be formed which have been formed. This, however, we have said, in order that no one might suppose that the utterances of the divine Scriptures are contrary the one to the other, in so far as it is written at once that God made all things of nothing, and that the world was made of matter without form.

3. As we believe, therefore, in God the FATHER ALMIGHTY, we ought to uphold the opinion that there is no creature which has not been created by the Almighty. And since He created all things by the Word, which Word is also designated the Truth, and the Power, and the Wisdom of God, — as also under many other appellations the Lord Jesus Christ, who is commended to our faith, is presented likewise to our mental apprehensions, to wit, our Deliverer and Ruler, the Son of God; for that Word, by whose means all things were founded, could not have been begotten by any other than by Him who founded all things by His instrumentality—

Chapter III. — Of the Son of God, and His Peculiar Designation as the Word

— Since this is the case, I repeat, we believe also in JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God the ONLY-BEGOTTEN of the Father, that is to say, HIS ONLY SON, our Lord. This Word however, we ought not to apprehend merely in the sense in which we think of our own words, which are given forth by the voice and the mouth, and strike the air and pass on, and subsist no longer than their sound continues. For that Word remains unchangeably: for of this very Word was it spoken when of Wisdom it was said, Remaining in herself, she makes all things new. Moreover, the reason of His being named the Word of the Father, is that the Father is made known by Him. Accordingly, just as it is our intention, when we speak truth, that by means of our words our mind should be made known to him who hears us, and that whatever we carry in secrecy in our heart may be set forth by means of signs of this sort for the intelligent understanding of another individual; so this Wisdom that God the Father begot is most appropriately named His Word, inasmuch as the most hidden Father is made known to worthy minds by the same.

4. Now there is a very great difference between our mind and those words of ours, by which we endeavor to set forth the said mind. We indeed do not beget intelligible words, but we form them; and in the forming of them the body is the underlying material. Between mind and body, however, there is the greatest difference. But God, when He begot the Word, begot that which He is Himself. Neither out of nothing, nor of any material already made and founded did He then beget; but He begot of Himself that which He is Himself. For we too aim at this when we speak, (as we shall see) if we carefully consider the inclination of our will; not when we lie, but when we speak the truth. For to what else do we direct our efforts then, but to bring our own very mind, if it can be done at all, in upon the mind of the hearer, with the view of its being apprehended and thoroughly discerned by him; so that we may indeed abide in our very selves, and make no retreat from ourselves, and yet at the same time put forth a sign of such a nature as that by it a knowledge of us may be effected in another individual; that thus, so far as the faculty is granted us, another mind may be, as it were, put forth by the mind, whereby it may disclose itself? This we do, making the attempt both by words, and by the simple sound of the voice, and by the countenance, and by the gestures of the body—by so many contrivances, in truth, desiring to make patent that which is within; inasmuch as we are not able to put forth anything of this nature [in itself completely]: and thus it is that the mind of the speaker cannot become perfectly known; thus also it results that a place is open for falsehoods. God the Father, on the other hand, who possessed both the will and the power to declare Himself with the utmost truth to minds designed to obtain knowledge of Him, with the purpose of thus declaring Himself begot this [Word] which He Himself is who did beget; which [Person] is likewise called His Power and Wisdom, inasmuch as it is by Him that He has wrought all things, and in order disposed them; of whom these words are for this reason spoken: She (Wisdom) reaches from one end to another mightily, and sweetly does she order all things.

Chapter IV. — Of the Son of God as Neither Made by the Father Nor Less Than the Father, and of His Incarnation

5. Wherefore THE ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD was neither made by the Father; for, according to the word of an evangelist, all things were made by Him: nor begotten instantaneously; since God, who is eternally wise, has with Himself His eternal Wisdom: nor unequal with the Father, that is to say, in anything less than He; for an apostle also speaks in this wise, Who, although He was constituted in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. By this catholic faith, therefore, those are excluded, on the one hand, who affirm that the Son is the same [Person] as the Father; for [it is clear that] this Word could not possibly be with God, were it not with God the Father, and [it is just as evident that] He who is alone is equal to no one. And, on the other hand, those are equally excluded who affirm that the Son is a creature, although not such an one as the rest of the creatures are. For however great they declare the creature to be, if it is a creature, it has been fashioned and made. For the terms fashion and create mean one and the same thing; although in the usage of the Latin tongue the phrase create is employed at times instead of what would be the strictly accurate word beget. But the Greek language makes a distinction. For we call that creatura (creature) which they call κτίσμα orκτίσις; and when we desire to speak without ambiguity, we use not the word creare (create), but the word condere (fashion, found). Consequently, if the Son is a creature, however great that may be, He has been made. But we believe in Him by whom all things (omnia) were made, not in Him by whom the rest of things (cetera) were made. For here again we cannot take this term all things in any other sense than as meaning whatsoever things have been made.

6. But as the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, the same Wisdom which was begotten of God condescended also to be created among men. There is a reference to this in the word, The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways. For the beginning of His ways is the Head of the Church, which is Christ endued with human nature (homine indutus), by whom it was purposed that there should be given to us a pattern of living, that is, a sure way by which we might reach God. For by no other path was it possible for us to return but by humility, who fell by pride, according as it was said to our first creation, Taste, and you shall be as gods. Of this humility, therefore, that is to say, of the way by which it was needful for us to return, our Restorer Himself has deemed it meet to exhibit an example in His own person, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant; in order that He might be created Man in the beginning of His ways, the Word by whom all things were made. Wherefore, in so far as He is the Only-begotten, He has no brethren; but in so far as He is the First-begotten, He has deemed it worthy of Him to give the name of brethren to all those who, subsequently to and by means of His pre-eminence, are born again into the grace of God through the adoption of sons, according to the truth commended to us by apostolic teaching. Thus, then, the Son according to nature (naturalis filius) was born of the very substance of the Father, the only one so born, subsisting as that which the Father is, God of God, Light of Light. We, on the other hand, are not the light by nature, but are enlightened by that Light, so that we may be able to shine in wisdom. For, as one says, that was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. Therefore we add to the faith of things eternal likewise the temporal dispensation of our Lord, which He deemed it worthy of Him to bear for us and to minister in behalf of our salvation. For in so far as He is the only-begotten Son of God, it cannot be said of Him that He was and that He shall be, but only that He is; because, on the one hand, that which was, now is not; and, on the other, that which shall be, as yet is not. He, then, is unchangeable, independent of the condition of times and variation. And it is my opinion that this is the very consideration to which was due the circumstance that He introduced to the apprehension of His servant Moses the kind of name [which He then adopted]. For when he asked of Him by whom he should say that he was sent, in the event of the people to whom he was being sent despising him, he received his answer when He spoke in this wise: I AM THAT I AM . Thereafter, too, He added this: Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, He that is (Qui est) has sent me unto you.

7. From this, I trust, it is now made patent to spiritual minds that there cannot possibly exist any nature contrary to God. For if He is—and this is a word which can be spoken with propriety only of God(for that which truly is remains unchangeably; inasmuch as that which is changed has been something which now it is not, and shall be something which as yet it is not)—it follows that God has nothing contrary to Himself. For if the question were put to us, What is contrary to white? We would reply, black; if the question were, What is contrary to hot? We would reply, cold; if the question were, What is contrary to quick? We would reply, slow; and all similar interrogations we would answer in like manner. When, however, it is asked, What is contrary to that which is? The right reply to give is, that which is not.

8. But whereas, in a temporal dispensation, as I have said, with a view to our salvation and restoration, and with the goodness of God acting therein, our changeable nature has been assumed by that unchangeable Wisdom of God, we add the faith in temporal things which have been done with salutary effect on our behalf, believing in that SON OF GOD WHO WAS BORN THROUGH THE HOLY GHOST OF THE VIRGIN MARY. For by the gift of God, that is, by the Holy Spirit, there was granted to us so great humility on the part of so great a God, that He deemed it worthy of Him to assume the entire nature of man (totum hominem) in the womb of the Virgin, inhabiting the material body so that it sustained no detriment (integrum), and leaving it without detriment. This temporal dispensation is in many ways craftily assailed by the heretics. But if any one shall have grasped the catholic faith, so as to believe that the entire nature of man was assumed by the Word of God, that is to say, body, soul, and spirit, he has sufficient defense against those parties. For surely, since that assumption was effected in behalf of our salvation, one must be on his guard lest, as he believes that there is something belonging to our nature which sustains no relation to that assumption, this something may fail also to sustain any relation to the salvation. And seeing that, with the exception of the form of the members, which has been imparted to the varieties of living objects with differences adapted to their different kinds, man is in nothing separated from the cattle but in [the possession of] a rational spirit (rationali spiritu), which is also named mind (mens), how is that faith sound, according to which the belief is maintained, that the Wisdom of God assumed that part of us which we hold in common with the cattle, while He did not assume that which is brightly illumined by the light of wisdom, and which is man's peculiar gift?

9. Moreover, those parties also are to be abhorred who deny that our Lord Jesus Christ had in Mary a mother upon earth; while that dispensation has honored both sexes, at once the male and the female, and has made it plain that not only that sex which He assumed pertains to God's care, but also that sex by which He did assume this other, in that He bore [the nature of] the man (virum gerendo), [and] in that He was born of the woman. Neither is there anything to compel us to a denial of the mother of the Lord, in the circumstance that this word was spoken by Him: Woman, what have I to do with you? Mine hour is not yet come. But He rather admonishes us to understand that, in respect of His being God, there was no mother for Him, the part of whose personal majesty (cujus majestatis personam) He was preparing to show forth in the turning of water into wine. But as regards His being crucified, He was crucified in respect of his being man; and that was the hour which had not come as yet, at the time when this word was spoken, What have I to do with you? Mine hour is not yet come; that is, the hour at which I shall recognize you. For at that period, when He was crucified as man, He recognized His human mother (hominem matrem), and committed her most humanely (humanissime) to the care of the best beloved disciple. Nor, again, should we be moved by the fact that, when the presence of His mother and His brethren was announced to Him, He replied, Who is my mother, or who my brethren? etc. But rather let it teach us, that when parents hinder our ministry wherein we minister the word of God to our brethren, they ought not to be recognized by us. For if, on the ground of His having said, Who is my mother? every one should conclude that He had no mother on earth, then each should as matter of course be also compelled to deny that the apostles had fathers on earth; since He gave them an injunction in these terms: Call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

10. Neither should the thought of the woman's womb impair this faith in us, to the effect that there should appear to be any necessity for rejecting such a generation of our Lord for the mere reason that worthless men consider it unworthy (sordidi sordidam putant). For most true are these sayings of an apostle, both that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and that to the pure all things are pure. Those, therefore, who entertain this opinion ought to ponder the fact that the rays of this sun, which indeed they do not praise as a creature of God, but adore as God, are diffused all the world over, through the noisomenesses of sewers and every kind of horrible thing, and that they operate in these according to their nature, and yet never become debased by any defilement thence contracted, albeit that the visible light is by nature in closer conjunction with visible pollutions. How much less, therefore, could the Word of God, who is neither corporeal nor visible, sustain defilement from the female body, wherein He assumed human flesh together with soul and spirit, through the incoming of which the majesty of the Word dwells in a less immediate conjunction with the frailty of a human body! Hence it is manifest that the Word of God could in no way have been defiled by a human body, by which even the human soul is not defiled. For not when it rules the body and quickens it, but only when it lusts after the mortal good things thereof, is the soul defiled by the body. But if these persons were to desire to avoid the defilements of the soul, they would dread rather these falsehoods and profanities.

Chapter V. — Of Christ's Passion, Burial, and Resurrection

11. But little [comparatively] was the humiliation (humilitas) of our Lord on our behalf in His being born: it was also added that He deemed it meet to die in behalf of mortal men. For He humbled Himself, being made subject even unto death, yea, the death of the cross: lest any one of us, even were he able to have no fear of death [in general], should yet shudder at some particular sort of death which men reckon most shameful. Therefore do we believe in Him WHO UNDER PONTIUS PILATE WAS CRUCIFIED AND BURIED . For it was requisite that the name of the judge should be added, with a view to the cognizance of the times. Moreover, when that burial is made an object of belief, there enters also the recollection of the new tomb, which was meant to present a testimony to Him in His destiny to rise again to newness of life, even as the Virgin's womb did the same to Him in His appointment to be born. For just as in that sepulchre no other dead person was buried, whether before or after Him; so neither in that womb, whether before or after, was anything mortal conceived.

12. We believe also, that ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD, the first-begotten for brethren destined to come after Him, whom He has called into the adoption of the sons of God, whom [also] He has deemed it meet to make His own joint-partners and joint-heirs.

Chapter VI. — Of Christ's Ascension into Heaven

13. We believe that HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, which place of blessedness He has likewise promised unto us, saying, They shall be as the angels in the heavens, in that city which is the mother of us all, the Jerusalem eternal in the heavens. But it is wont to give offense to certain parties, either impious Gentiles or heretics, that we should believe in the assumption of an earthly body into heaven. The Gentiles, however, for the most part, set themselves diligently to ply us with the arguments of the philosophers, to the effect of affirming that there cannot possibly be anything earthly in heaven. For they know not our Scriptures, neither do they understand how it has been said, It is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual body. For thus it has not been expressed, as if body were turned into spirit and became spirit; inasmuch as at present, too, our body, which is called animal (animale), has not been turned into soul and become soul (anima). But by a spiritual body is meant one which has been made subject to spirit in such wise that it is adapted to a heavenly habitation, all frailty and every earthly blemish having been changed and converted into heavenly purity and stability. This is the change concerning which the apostle likewise speaks thus: We shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed. And that this change is made not unto the worse, but unto the better, the same [apostle] teaches, when he says, And we shall be changed. But the question as to where and in what manner the Lord's body is in heaven, is one which it would be altogether over-curious and superfluous to prosecute. Only we must believe that it is in heaven. For it pertains not to our frailty to investigate the secret things of heaven, but it does pertain to our faith to hold elevated and honorable sentiments on the subject of the dignity of the Lord's body.

Chapter VII. — Of Christ's Session at the Father's Right Hand

14. We believe also that HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER . This, however, is not to lead us to suppose that God the Father is, as it were, circumscribed by a human form, so that, when we think of Him, a right side or a left should suggest itself to the mind. Nor, again, when it is thus said in express terms that the Father sits, are we to fancy that this is done with bended knees; lest we should fall into that profanity, in [dealing with] which an apostle execrates those who changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man. For it is unlawful for a Christian to set up any such image for God in a temple; much more nefarious is it, [therefore], to set it up in the heart, in which truly is the temple of God, provided it be purged of earthly lust and error. This expression, at the right hand, therefore, we must understand to signify a position in supremest blessedness, where righteousness and peace and joy are; just as the kids are set on the left hand, that is to say, in misery, by reason of unrighteousness, labors, and torments. And in accordance with this, when it is said that God sits, the expression indicates not a posture of the members, but a judicial power, which that Majesty never fails to possess, as He is always awarding deserts as men deserve them (digna dignis tribuendo); although at the last judgment the unquestionable brightness of the only-begotten Son of God, the Judge of the living and the dead, is destined yet to be a thing much more manifest among men.

Chapter VIII. — Of Christ's Coming to Judgment

15. We believe also, that at the most seasonable time HE WILL COME FROM THENCE, AND WILL JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD: whether by these terms are signified the righteous and sinners, or whether it be the case that those persons are here called the quick, whom at that period He shall find, previous to [their] death, upon the earth, while the dead denote those who shall rise again at His advent. This temporal dispensation not only is, as holds good of that generation which respects His being God, but also has been and shall be. For our Lord has been upon the earth, and at present He is in heaven, and [hereafter] He shall be in His brightness as the Judge of the quick and the dead. For He shall yet come, even so as He has ascended, according to the authority which is contained in the Acts of the Apostles. It is in accordance with this temporal dispensation, therefore, that He speaks in the Apocalypse, where it is written in this wise: These things says He, who is, and who was, and who is to come.

Chapter IX. — Of the Holy Spirit and the Mystery of the Trinity

16. The divine generation, therefore, of our Lord, and his human dispensation, having both been thus systematically disposed and commended to faith, there is added to our Confession, with a view to the perfecting of the faith which we have regarding God, [the doctrine of] The Holy Spirit, who is not of a nature inferior to the Father and the Son, but, so to say, consubstantial and co-eternal: for this Trinity is one God, not to the effect that the Father is the same [Person] as the Son and the Holy Spirit, but to the effect that the Father is the Father, and the Son is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit; and this Trinity is one God, according as it is written, Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one God. At the same time, if we be interrogated on the subject of each separately, and if the question be put to us, Is the Father God? we shall reply, He is God. If it be asked whether the Son is God, we shall answer to the same effect. Nor, if this kind of inquiry be addressed to us with respect to the Holy Spirit, ought we to affirm in reply that He is anything else than God; being earnestly on our guard, [however], against an acceptance of this merely in the sense in which it is applied to men, when it is said, You are gods. For of all those who have been made and fashioned of the Father, through the Son, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, none are gods according to nature. For it is this same Trinity that is signified when an apostle says, For of Him, and in Him, and through Him, are all things. Consequently, although, when we are interrogated on the subject of each [of these Persons] severally, we reply that that particular one regarding whom the question is asked, whether it be the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit, is God, no one, notwithstanding this, should suppose that three Gods are worshipped by us.

17. Neither is it strange that these things are said in reference to an ineffable Nature, when even in those objects which we discern with the bodily eyes, and judge of by the bodily sense, something similar holds good. For take the instance of an interrogation on the subject of a fountain, and consider how we are unable then to affirm that the said fountain is itself the river; and how, when we are asked about the river, we are as little able to call it the fountain; and, again, how we are equally unable to designate the draught, which comes of the fountain or the river, either river or fountain. Nevertheless, in the case of this trinity we use the name water [for the whole]; and when the question is put regarding each of these separately, we reply in each several instance that the thing is water. For if I inquire whether it is water in the fountain, the reply is given that it is water; and if we ask whether it is water in the river, no different response is returned; and in the case of the said draught, no other answer can possibly be made: and yet, for all this, we do not speak of these things as three waters, but as one water. At the same time, of course, care must be taken that no one should conceive of the ineffable substance of that Majesty merely as he might think of this visible and material fountain, or river, or draught. For in the case of these latter that water which is at present in the fountain goes forth into the river, and does not abide in itself; and when it passes from the river or from the fountain into the draught, it does not continue permanently there where it is taken from. Therefore it is possible here that the same water may be in view at one time under the appellation of the fountain and at another under that of the river, and at a third under that of the draught. But in the case of that Trinity, we have affirmed it to be impossible that the Father should be sometime the Son, and sometime the Holy Spirit: just as, in a tree, the root is nothing else than the root, and the trunk (robur) is nothing else than the trunk, and we cannot call the branches anything else than branches; for, what is called the root cannot be called trunk and branches; and the wood which belongs to the root cannot by any sort of transference be now in the root, and again in the trunk, and yet again in the branches, but only in the root; since this rule of designation stands fast, so that the root is wood, and the trunk is wood, and the branches are wood, while nevertheless it is not three woods that are thus spoken of, but only one. Or, if these objects have some sort of dissimilarity, so that on account of their difference in strength they may be spoken of, without any absurdity, as three woods; at least all parties admit the force of the former example—namely, that if three cups be filled out of one fountain, they may certainly be called three cups, but cannot be spoken of as three waters, but only as one all together. Yet, at the same time, when asked concerning the several cups, one by one, we may answer that in each of them by itself there is water; although in this case no such transference takes place as we were speaking of as occurring from the fountain into the river. But these examples in things material (corporalia exempla) have been adduced not in virtue of their likeness to that divine Nature, but in reference to the oneness which subsists even in things visible, so that it may be understood to be quite a possibility for three objects of some sort, not only severally, but also all together, to obtain one single name; and that in this way no one may wonder and think it absurd that we should call the Father God, the Son God, the Holy Spirit God, and that nevertheless we should say that there are not three Gods in that Trinity, but one God and one substance.

18. And, indeed, on this subject of the Father and the Son, learned and spiritual men have conducted discussions in many books, in which, so far as men could do with men, they have endeavored to introduce an intelligible account as to how the Father was not one personally with the Son, and yet the two were one substantially; and as to what the Father was individually (proprie), and what the Son: to wit, that the former was the Begetter, the latter the Begotten; the former not of the Son, the latter of the Father: the former the Beginning of the latter, whence also He is called the Head of Christ, although Christ likewise is the Beginning, but not of the Father; the latter, moreover, the Image of the former, although in no respect dissimilar, and although absolutely and without difference equal (omnino et indifferenter æqualis). These questions are handled with greater breadth by those who, in less narrow limits than ours are at present, seek to set forth the profession of the Christian faith in its totality. Accordingly, in so far as He is the Son, of the Father received He it that He is, while that other [the Father] received not this of the Son; and in so far as He, in unutterable mercy, in a temporal dispensation took upon Himself the [nature of] man (hominem)—to wit, the changeable creature that was thereby to be changed into something better—many statements concerning Him are discovered in the Scriptures, which are so expressed as to have given occasion to error in the impious intellects of heretics, with whom the desire to teach takes precedence of that to understand, so that they have supposed Him to be neither equal with the Father nor of the same substance. Such statements [are meant] as the following: For the Father is greater than I; and, The head of the woman is the man, the Head of the man is Christ, and the Head of Christ is God; and, Then shall He Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him; and, I go to my Father and your Father, my God and your God, together with some others of like tenor. Now all these have had a place given them, [certainly] not with the object of signifying an inequality of nature and substance; for to take them so would be to falsify a different class of statements, such as, I and my Father are one (unum); and, He that has seen me has seen my Father also; and, The Word was God, for He was not made, inasmuch as all things were made by Him; and, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God: together with all the other passages of a similar order. But these statements have had a place given them, partly with a view to that administration of His assumption of human nature (administrationem suscepti hominis), in accordance with which it is said that He emptied Himself: not that that Wisdom was changed, since it is absolutely unchangeable; but that it was His will to make Himself known in such humble fashion to men. Partly then, I repeat, it is with a view to this administration that those things have been thus written which the heretics make the ground of their false allegations; and partly it was with a view to the consideration that the Son owes to the Father that which He is, — thereby also certainly owing this in particular to the Father, to wit, that He is equal to the same Father, or that He is His Peer (eidem Patri æqualis aut par est), whereas the Father owes whatsoever He is to no one.

19. With respect to the HOLY SPIRIT, however, there has not been as yet, on the part of learned and distinguished investigators of the Scriptures, a discussion of the subject full enough or careful enough to make it possible for us to obtain an intelligent conception of what also constitutes His special individuality (proprium): in virtue of which special individuality it comes to be the case that we cannot call Him either the Son or the Father, but only the Holy Spirit; excepting that they predicate Him to be the Gift of God, so that we may believe God not to give a gift inferior to Himself. At the same time they hold by this position, namely, to predicate the Holy Spirit neither as begotten, like the Son, of the Father; for Christ is the only one [so begotten]: nor as [begotten] of the Son, like a Grandson of the Supreme Father: while they do not affirm Him to owe that which He is to no one, but [admit Him to owe it] to the Father, of whom are all things; lest we should establish two Beginnings without beginning (ne duo constituamus principia isne principio), which would be an assertion at once most false and most absurd, and one proper not to the catholic faith, but to the error of certain heretics. Some, however, have gone so far as to believe that the communion of the Father and the Son, and (so to speak) their Godhead (deitatem), which the Greeks designate θεότης, is the Holy Spirit; so that, inasmuch as the Father is God and the Son God, the Godhead itself, in which they are united with each other—to wit, the former by begetting the Son, and the latter by cleaving to the Father, — should [thereby] be constituted equal with Him by whom He is begotten. This Godhead, then, which they wish to be understood likewise as the love and charity subsisting between these two [Persons], the one toward the other, they affirm to have received the name of the Holy Spirit. And this opinion of theirs they support by many proofs drawn from the Scriptures; among which we might instance either the passage which says, For the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who has been given unto us, or many other proofs texts of a similar tenor: while they ground their position also upon the express fact that it is through the Holy Spirit that we are reconciled unto God; whence also, when He is called the Gift of God, they will have it that sufficient indication is offered of the love of God and the Holy Spirit being identical. For we are not reconciled unto Him except through that love in virtue of which we are also called sons: as we are no more under fear, like servants, because love, when it is made perfect, casts out fear; and [as] we have received the spirit of liberty, wherein we cry, Abba, Father. And inasmuch as, being reconciled and called back into friendship through love, we shall be able to become acquainted with all the secret things of God, for this reason it is said of the Holy Spirit that He shall lead you into all truth. For the same reason also, that confidence in preaching the truth, with which the apostles were filled at His advent, is rightly ascribed to love; because diffidence also is assigned to fear, which the perfecting of love excludes. Thus, likewise, the same is called the Gift of God, because no one enjoys that which he knows, unless he also love it. To enjoy the Wisdom of God, however, implies nothing else than to cleave to the same in love (eidilectione cohærere). Neither does any one abide in that which he apprehends, but by love; and accordingly the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of sanctity (Spiritus Sanctus), inasmuch as all things that are sanctioned (sanciuntur) are sanctioned with a view to their permanence, and there is no doubt that the term sanctity (sanctitatem) is derived from sanction (a sanciendo). Above all, however, that testimony is employed by the upholders of this opinion, where it is thus written, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit; for God is a Spirit. For here He speaks of our regeneration, which is not, according to Adam, of the flesh, but, according to Christ, of the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, if in this passage mention is made of the Holy Spirit, when it is said, For God is a Spirit, they maintain that we must take note that it is not said, for the Spirit is God, but, for God is a Spirit; so that the very Godhead of the Father and the Son is in this passage called God, and that is the Holy Spirit. To this is added another testimony which the Apostle John offers, when he says, For God is love. For here, in like manner, what he says is not, Love is God, but, God is love; so that the very Godhead is taken to be love. And with respect to the circumstance that, in that enumeration of mutually connected objects which is given when it is said, All things are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's, as also, The head of the woman is the man, the Head of the man is Christ, and the Head of Christ is God, there is no mention of the Holy Spirit; this they affirm to be but an application of the principle that, in general, the connection itself is not wont to be enumerated among the things which are connected with each other. Whence, also, those who read with closer attention appear to recognize the express Trinity likewise in that passage in which it is said, For of Him, and through Him, and in Him, are all things. Of Him, as if it meant, of that One who owes it to no one that He is: through Him, as if the idea were, through a Mediator; in Him, as if it were, in that One who holds together, that is, unites by connecting.

20. Those parties oppose this opinion who think that the said communion, which we call either Godhead, or Love, or Charity, is not a substance. Moreover, they require the Holy Spirit to be set forth to them according to substance; neither do they take it to have been otherwise impossible for the expression God is Love to have been used, unless love were a substance. In this, indeed, they are influenced by the wont of things of a bodily nature. For if two bodies are connected with each other in such wise as to be placed in juxtaposition one with the other, the connection itself is not a body: inasmuch as when these bodies which had been connected are separated, no such connection certainly is found [any more]; while, at the same time, it is not understood to have departed, as it were, and migrated, as is the case with those bodies themselves. But men like these should make their heart pure, so far as they can, in order that they may have power to see that in the substance of God there is not anything of such a nature as would imply that therein substance is one thing, and that which is accident to substance (aliud quod accidat subsantiœ) another thing, and not substance; whereas whatsoever can be taken to be therein is substance. These things, however, can easily be spoken and believed; but seen, so as to reveal how they are in themselves, they absolutely cannot be, except by the pure heart. For which reason, whether the opinion in question be true, or something else be the case, the faith ought to be maintained unshaken, so that we should call the Father God, the Son God, the Holy Spirit God, and yet not affirm three Gods, but hold the said Trinity to be one God; and again, not affirm these [Persons] to be different in nature, but hold them to be of the same substance; and further uphold it, not as if the Father were sometime the Son, and sometime the Holy Spirit, but in such wise that the Father is always the Father, and the Son always the Son, and the Holy Spirit always the Holy Spirit. Neither should we make any affirmation on the subject of things unseen rashly, as if we had knowledge, but [only modestly] as believing. For these things cannot be seen except by the heart made pure; and [even] he who in this life sees them in part, as it has been said, and in an enigma, cannot secure it that the person to whom he speaks shall also see them, if he is hampered by impurities of heart. Blessed, however, are they of a pure heart, for they shall see God. This is the faith on the subject of God our Maker and Renewer.

But inasmuch as love is enjoined upon us, not only toward God, when it was said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; but also toward our neighbor, for you shall love, says He, your neighbor as yourself; and inasmuch, moreover, as the faith in question is less fruitful, if it does not comprehend a congregation and society of men, wherein brotherly charity may operate—

Chapter X. — Of the Catholic Church, the Remission of Sins, and the Resurrection of the Flesh

— Inasmuch, I repeat, as this is the case, we believe also in THE HOLY CHURCH, [intending thereby] assuredly the CATHOLIC . For both heretics and schismatics style their congregations churches. But heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same, inasmuch as it loves the neighbor, and consequently readily forgives the neighbor's sins, because it prays that forgiveness may be extended to itself by Him who has reconciled us to Himself, doing away with all past things, and calling us to a new life. And until we reach the perfection of this new life, we cannot be without sins. Nevertheless it is a matter of consequence of what sort those sins may be.

22. Neither ought we only to treat of the difference between sins, but we ought most thoroughly to believe that those things in which we sin are in no way forgiven us, if we show ourselves severely unyielding in the matter of forgiving the sins of others. Thus, then, we believe also in THE REMISSION OF SINS.

23. And inasmuch as there are three things of which man consists—namely, spirit, soul, and body—which again are spoken of as two, because frequently the soul is named along with the spirit; for a certain rational portion of the same, of which beasts are devoid, is called spirit: the principal part in us is the spirit; next, the life whereby we are united with the body is called the soul; finally, the body itself, as it is visible, is the last part in us. This whole creation (creatura), however, groans and travails until now. Nevertheless, He has given it the first-fruits of the Spirit, in that it has believed God, and is now of a good will. This spirit is also called the mind, regarding which an apostle speaks thus: With the mind I serve the law of God. Which apostle likewise expresses himself thus in another passage: For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit. Moreover, the soul, when as yet it lusts after carnal good things, is called the flesh. For a certain part thereof resists the Spirit, not in virtue of nature, but in virtue of the custom of sins; whence it is said, With the mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. And this custom has been turned into a nature, according to mortal generation, by the sin of the first man. Consequently it is also written in this wise, And we were sometime by nature the children of wrath, that is, of vengeance, through which it has come to pass that we serve the law of sin. The nature of the soul, however, is perfect when it is made subject to its own spirit, and when it follows that spirit as the same follows God. Therefore the animal man receives not the things which are of the Spirit of God. But the soul is not so speedily subdued to the spirit unto good action, as is the spirit to God unto true faith and goodwill; but sometimes its impetus, whereby it moves downwards into things carnal and temporal, is more tardily bridled. But inasmuch as this same soul is also made pure, and receives the stability of its own nature, under the dominance of the spirit, which is the head for it, which head of the said soul has again its own head in Christ, we ought not to despair of the restoration of the body also to its own proper nature. But this certainly will not be effected so speedily as is the case with the soul; just as the soul too, is not restored so speedily as the spirit. Yet it will take place in the appropriate season, at the last trump, when the dead shall rise uncorrupted, and we shall be changed. And accordingly we believe also in THE RESURRECTION OF THE FLESH, to wit, not merely that that soul, which at present by reason of carnal affections is called the flesh, is restored; but that it shall be so likewise with this visible flesh, which is the flesh according to nature, the name of which has been received by the soul, not in virtue of nature, but in reference to carnal affections: this visible flesh, then, I say, which is the flesh properly so called, must without doubt be believed to be destined to rise again. For the Apostle Paul appears to point to this, as it were, with his finger, when he says, This corruptible must put on incorruption. For when he says this, he, as it were, directs his finger toward it. Now it is that which is visible that admits of being pointed out with the finger; since the soul might also have been called corruptible, for it is itself corrupted by vices of manners. And when it is read, and this mortal [must] put on immortality, the same visible flesh is signified, inasmuch as at it ever and anon the finger is thus as it were pointed. For the soul also may thus in like manner be called mortal, even as it is designated corruptible in reference to vices of manners. For assuredly it is the death of the soul to apostatize from God; which is its first sin in Paradise, as it is contained in the sacred writings.

24. Rise again, therefore, the body will, according to the Christian faith, which is incapable of deceiving. And if this appears incredible to any one, [it is because] he looks simply to what the flesh is at present, while he fails to consider of what nature it shall be hereafter. For at that time of angelic change it will no more be flesh and blood, but only body. For when the apostle speaks of the flesh, he says, There is one flesh of cattle, another of birds, another of fishes, another of creeping things: there are also both celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies. Now what he has said here is not celestial flesh, but both celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies. For all flesh is also body; but every body is not also flesh. In the first instance, [for example, this holds good] in the case of those terrestrial bodies, inasmuch as wood is body, but not flesh. In the case of man, again, or in that of cattle, we have both body and flesh. In the case of celestial bodies, on the other hand, there is no flesh, but only those simple and lucent bodies which the apostle designates spiritual, while some call them ethereal. And consequently, when he says, Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God, that does not contradict the resurrection of the flesh; but the sentence predicates what will be the nature of that hereafter which at present is flesh and blood. And if any one refuses to believe that the flesh is capable of being changed into the sort of nature thus indicated, he must be led on, step by step, to this faith. For if you require of him whether earth is capable of being changed into water, the nearness of the thing will make it not seem incredible to him. Again, if you inquire whether water is capable of being changed into air, he replies that this also is not absurd, for the elements are near each other. And if, on the subject of the air, it is asked whether that can be changed into an ethereal, that is, a celestial body, the simple fact of the nearness at once convinces him of the possibility of the thing. But if, then, he concedes that through such gradations it is quite a possible thing that earth should be changed into an ethereal body, why does he refuse to believe, when that will of God, too, enters in addition, whereby a human body had power to walk upon the waters, that the same change is capable of being effected with the utmost rapidity, precisely in accordance with the saying, in the twinkling of an eye, and without any such gradations, even as, according to common wont, smoke is changed into flame with marvellous quickness? For our flesh assuredly is of earth. But philosophers, on the ground of whose arguments opposition is for the most part offered to the resurrection of the flesh, so far as in these they assert that no terrene body can possibly exist in heaven, yet concede that any kind of body may be converted and changed into every [other] sort of body. And when this resurrection of the body has taken place, being set free then from the condition of time, we shall fully enjoy ETERNAL LIFE in ineffable love and steadfastness, without corruption. For then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Where is, O death, your sting? Where is, O death, your contention?

25. This is the faith which in few words is given in the Creed to Christian novices, to be held by them. And these few words are known to the faithful, to the end that in believing they may be made subject to God; that being made subject, they may rightly live; that in rightly living, they may make the heart pure; that with the heart made pure, they may understand that which they believe.

(Source: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887. )

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Shepherd of Hermas: Adultery

On Putting One's Wife Away for Adultery

“I charge you,” said he, “to guard your chastity, and let no thought enter your heart of another man's wife, or of fornication, or of similar iniquities; for by doing this you commit a great sin. But if you always remember your own wife, you will never sin. For if this thought  enter your heart, then you will sin; and if, in like manner, you think other wicked thoughts, you commit sin. For this thought is great sin in a servant of God. But if any one commit this wicked deed, he works death for himself. Attend, therefore, and refrain from this thought; for where purity dwells, there iniquity ought not to enter the heart of a righteous man.” I said to him, “Sir, permit me to ask you a few questions.”  “Say on,” said he. And I said to him, “Sir, if any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detect her in adultery, does the man sin if he continue to live with her?” And he said to me, “As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband know that his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her fornication, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he also is guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery.” And I said to him, “What then, sir, is the husband to do, if his wife continue in her vicious practices?” And he said, “The husband should put her away, and remain by himself. But if he put his wife away and marry another, he also commits adultery.”  And I said to him, “What if the woman put away should repent, and wish to return to her husband: shall she not be taken back by her husband?” And he said to me, “Assuredly. If the husband do not take her back, he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself; for he ought to take back the sinner who has repented. But not frequently.  For there is but one repentance to the servants of God. In case, therefore, that the divorced wife may repent, the husband ought not to marry another, when his wife has been put away. In this matter man and woman are to be treated exactly in the same way. Moreover, adultery is committed not only by those who pollute their flesh, but by those who imitate the heathen in their actions.  Wherefore if any one  persists in such deeds, and repents not, withdraw from him, and cease to live with him, otherwise you are a sharer in his sin. Therefore has the injunction been laid on you, that you should remain by yourselves, both man and woman, for in such persons repentance can take place. But I do not,” said he, “give opportunity for the doing of these deeds, but that he who has sinned may sin no more. But with regard to his previous transgressions, there is One who is able to provide a cure;  for it is He, indeed, who has power over all.”

~Shepherd of Hermas (Book II): Commandment 4; 'On Putting One's Wife Away for Adultery.' Chap. 1.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Memorial of St. Ephrem the Syrian

June 9th: Optional Memorial of St. Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306 – 373), Deacon and Doctor of the Church.

"The trees of the Garden of Eden were given as food to the first Adam. For us, the gardener of the Garden in person made himself food for our souls. Indeed, we had all left Paradise together with Adam, who left it behind him."

~St. Ephrem


"St. Ephrem, called "the Harp of the Holy Spirit," is the great classic Doctor of the Syrian church. As deacon at Edessa, he vigorously combated the heresies of his time, and to do so more effectively wrote poems and hymns about the mysteries of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints. He had a great devotion to Our Lady. He was a commentator on Scripture and a preacher as well as a poet, and has left a considerable number of works, which were translated into other Eastern languages as well as into Greek and Latin. He died in 373. Benedict XV proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1920."
• Continue reading this article at Catholic Culture 

See also:

• Saint Ephrem, by Benedict XVI
St. Ephraem, Catholic Encyclopedia article

Icon of St. Ephrem (right), together with St. George (top)
and St. John Damascene.
Artist unknown, 14th century Triptychon fragment;
St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai (Egypt).

Benedict XV: On St. Ephrem the Syrian

On St. Ephrem the Syrian
Encyclical of Pope Benedict XV promulgated on October 5, 1920.

To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Ordinaries of Places in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

1. To Peter the Prince of the Apostles, the divine Founder of the Church allotted the gifts of inerrancy [1] in matters of faith and of union with God. This relationship is similar to that of a "Choir Director of the Choir of the Apostles."[2] He is the common teacher and rector [3] of all, so that he might feed the flock of Him who established His Church [4] on the authority of Peter himself and his successors. And on this mystical rock the foundation [6] of the entire ecclesiastical structure stands firm as on a hinge. From it rises the unity of Christian charity as well as our Christian faith.

2. Indeed the unique gift of Peter's primacy is that he might spread everywhere and preserve the riches of charity and faith, as Ignatius Theophorus, a man of Apostolic times, beautifully declared. For in those noble letters he wrote to the Roman Church on his journey, announcing his arrival in Rome to be martyred for Christ, he gave testimony to the primacy of that Church over all others by calling it 'presiding officer over the universal community of charity."[7] This was to signify not only that the Universal Church was the visible image of divine charity, but also that Blessed Peter, together with his primacy and his love for Christ (affirmed by his triple confession), remains heir of the Roman See. Accordingly the souls of all the faithful should be ignited by the same fire.

3. The ancient Fathers, especially those who held the more illustrious chairs of the East, since they accepted these privileges as proper to the pontifical authority, took refuge in the Apostolic See whenever heresy or internal strife troubled them. For it alone promised safety in extreme crises. Basil the Great [8] did so, as did the renowned defender of the Nicene Creed, Athanasius,[9] as well as John Chrysostom.[10] For these inspired Fathers of the orthodox faith appealed from the councils of bishops to the supreme judgement of the Roman Pontiffs according to the prescriptions [11] of the ecclesiastical Canons. Who can say that they were wanting in conformity to the command which they had from Christ? Indeed, lest they should prove faithless in their duty, some went fearlessly into exile, as did Librius and Silverius and Martinus. Others pleaded vigorously for the cause of the orthodox faith and for its defenders who had appealed to the Pope, or to vindicate the memory of those who had died. Innocent III is an example. He commanded the bishops of the East to insert the name of St. John Chrysostom in the liturgical list of the orthodox Fathers to be mentioned at mass.

4. However We, who embrace the Eastern Church with no less solicitude and charity than our predecessors, truly rejoice, now that the frightful war is ended. We rejoice that many in the Eastern community have achieved liberty and wrested their holy things from the control of the laity. They are now striving to set the nation in order, consistent with the character of its people and the established customs of their ancestors. We propose, appropriately, a splendid example of sanctity, learning, and paternal love for them to diligently imitate and nurture. We speak of St. Ephrem the Syrian, whom Gregory of Nyssa compared to the River Euphrates because he "irrigated by his waters the Christian community to bring forth fruits of faith a hundred-fold."[13] We speak of Ephrem, whom all the inspired orthodox Fathers and Doctors, including Basil, Chrysostom, Jerome, Francis of Sales, and Alphonsus Liguori, praise. We are pleased to join these heralds of truth, who though separated from each other in talent, in time and place, nevertheless perfect a harmony modulated by "one and the same spirit."

5. This letter follows so shortly after Our Encyclical marking the fifteenth centenary of the birth of St. Jerome because these two illustrious men have much in common. They are almost contemporary, both were monks, both lived in Syria, and both were outstanding for their study and knowledge of the Scriptures. You may rightly compare them to "two shining lights,"[14] one illuminating the West, the other the East. Their writings, being of the same spirit, are equally valuable. Both the Latin and the Eastern Fathers have agreed with those two and praise them similarly.

6. The birthplace of Blessed Ephrem could have been Nisibi or Edessa. What is certain is that he was connected by blood with the martyrs of the last persecution.[15] His parents brought him up as a Christian. If they did not have the comforts of a wealthy life, they had the far greater and more splendid distinction that "they had professed Christ in judgment."[16] In his youth Ephrem, as he bewails in his little book of confessions, was languid and remiss in resisting the temptations by which that age is usually troubled. He was hot tempered, easily angered, quarrelsome, and unrestrained in mind and language. But while in prison on a false charge, he began to despise human things and the empty joys of this world. Therefore, as soon as he was exonerated, Ephrem at once put on the habit of a monk and ever after devoted himself completely to the exercises of piety and to the study of the Sacred Scriptures. James, the bishop of Nisibi, one of the three hundred eighteen Fathers of the Nicene Council, who had established a renowned school of exegesis in the episcopal city, became his patron. He not only fulfilled James' expectations with his diligent and sharp-witted commentaries on the Bible, but even surpassed them. As a result, he soon became the greatest of all commentators of that school, earning the title Doctor of the Syrians. Soon he had to interrupt his study of Sacred Literature because Persian troops threatened the city. He urged on the citizens in their vigorous resistance to the Persians. With the aid of the prayers of James the bishop, they were defeated; however, after his death, the Persians again besieged the city. This time, in 363, it did fall. Because Ephrem preferred exile to serving infidels, he migrated to Edessa. There he diligently exercised the duties of an ecclesiastical doctor.

7. The house on a suburban hill where he lived soon resembled an illustrious academy with a great concourse of men eager to study the divine books. To it came learned interpreters and students of Scripture, including Zenobius, Maraba, and St. Isaac of Amidea, who acquired the title Great [17] because of the profusion and importance of his writings. Because of his learning and holiness, Ephrem's fame spread from that retreat. Thus when he traveled to Caesarea to see Basil the Great, Basil, learning of his approach by divine revelation, received him reverently and spoke with him about divine concerns.[18] According to report, it was at this time that Basil consecrated Ephrem deacon.[19]

8. Ephrem never left his solitude in Edessa except on fixed days to preach. In his preaching, he defended the dogmas of faith from swelling heresies. If, conscious of his lowliness, he did not dare to rise to the priesthood, he nevertheless showed himself a most perfect imitator of St. Stephen in the lower rank of the diaconate. He devoted all of his time to teaching Scripture, to preaching, and to instructing the nuns in sacred psalmody. Daily he wrote commentaries on the Bible to illustrate the orthodox faith; he came to the aid of his fellow citizens, especially the poor and the stricken. What he sought to teach others, he first did absolutely and perfectly. In this way, he could serve as the example which Ignatius Theophorus proposes to the deacons when he calls them "charges of Christ"[20] and asserts that they express "the mystery of faith in a pure conscience."[21]

9. How great and how active was the charity he showed his brethren in a time of famine, even though by then he was worn out by age and labor! He left the house where for so many years he had lived a heavenly rather than a human life and ran to Edessa. By that eloquence which Gregory of Nyssa characterized "as a key fashioned by divinity,"[22] to open the minds and the coffers of the wealthy, he castigated those who were hoarding grain and vehemently demanded that they feed the poor from their surplus. And they were touched not so much by the hunger of the citizens, as by the sincerity of Ephrem. With the money he begged, he himself provided beds for those tortured by starvation and spread them in the porticos of Edessa. There he nursed the sick and met the pilgrims who came to the city from round about looking for bread.[23] Truly this man was placed there by divine providence to aid his country! And he did not return to solitude until the next harvest provided abundance.

10. The testament he left for his fellow citizens ─ memorable for its faith, humility, and singular patriotism ─ reads as follows. "I, Ephrem, am dying. With fear, but also with reverence, I entreat you, citizens of Edessa, not to bury me under the altar or elsewhere in the house of God. It is not fitting that a worm teeming with corruption be buried in the temple and sanctuary of God. But lay me out in the tunic and mantle which I used and wore daily. Accompany me with psalms and prayers. I had neither pouch nor staff, neither wallet nor silver and gold; nor did I ever acquire or possess anything else earthly. Work diligently at my precepts and doctrines; as my disciples, do not fall away from the Catholic faith. With regard to the faith, be especially constant. Guard against adversaries ─ I mean evildoers, boasters, and tempters to sin. And may your city be blessed; for Edessa is the city and mother of the wise." And so Ephrem died, but his memory lives on, to the blessing of the Church Universal. Therefore when his name began to be mentioned in the sacred liturgy, Gregory of Nyssa could say: "The splendor of his doctrine and life illumined all the earth, for he is known in almost every place where the sun shines."

11. There is no reason to list his many writings. "He is said to have written three thousand myriad poems if one counts them all together."[24] His writings cover almost all ecclesiastical doctrines. There are extant commentaries on Sacred Scripture and the mysteries of the faith; sermons on obligations and on the interior life; studies on the sacred liturgy; hymns for the feast days of our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, for the processions of prayers and penitential days, for the funerals of the departed. In all of these, his purity of soul shines forth as a "burning and shining"[25] evangelical lamp. By illustrating the truth he makes us love and embrace it. Indeed when Jerome testifies about the writings of Ephrem in his day, he tells us that they were read in public liturgical assemblies along with the works of the orthodox Fathers and Doctors. He also affirms that he recognized "the sublimity of Ephrem's genius even in the translations" of these same works from the Syrian into Greek.[26]

12. It is indeed fitting to honor the blessed deacon of Edessa for his desire that the preaching of the divine word and the training of his disciples rest on the purity of Sacred Scripture. He also acquired honor as a Christian musician and poet. He was so accomplished in both arts that he was called the "lyre of the Holy Spirit." From this, Venerable Brothers, you can learn what arts promote the knowledge of sacred things. Ephrem lived among people whose nature was attracted by the sweetness of poetry and music. The heretics of the second century after Christ used these same allurements to skillfully disseminate their errors. Therefore Ephrem, like youthful David killing the giant Goliath with his own sword, opposed art with art and clothed Catholic doctrine in melody and rhythm. These he diligently taught to boys and girls, so that eventually all the people learned them. In this fashion he not only renewed the education of the faithful in Christian doctrine and supported their piety with the spirit of the sacred liturgy, but also happily kept creeping heresy at bay.

13. The artistry introduced by Blessed Ephrem added dignity to sacred matters as Theodoretus stresses.[27] The metric rhythm, which our saint popularized, was widely propagated both among the Greeks and the Latins. Indeed does it seem probable that the liturgical antiphonary with its songs and processions, introduced at Constantinople [28] in the works of Chrysostom and at Milan [29] by Ambrose (whence it spread throughout all of Italy), was the work of some other author? For the "custom of Eastern rhythm" deeply moved the catechumen Augustine in northern Italy; Gregory the Great improved it and we use it in a more advanced form. Critics acknowledge that that "same Eastern rhythm" had it origins in Ephrem's Syrian antiphonary.

14. It is no wonder then that many of the Fathers of the Church stress the authority of St. Ephrem. Nyssenus says of his writings, "Studying the Old and New Scriptures most thoroughly, he interpreted them accurately, word for word; and what was hidden and concealed, from the very creation of the world to the last book of grace, he illumined with commentaries, using the light of the Spirit."30 And Chrysostom: "The great Ephrem [is] scourge of the slothful, consoler of the afflicted, educator, instructor and exhorter of youth, mirror of monks, leader of penitents, goad and sting of heretics, reservoir of virtues, and the home and lodging of the Holy Spirit."[31] Certainly nothing greater can be said in praise of a man who, however, seemed so small in his own eyes that he claimed to be the least of all and a most vile sinner."

15. Therefore, God, who has "exalted the humble," bestows great glory on blessed Ephrem and proposes him to this age as a doctor of heavenly wisdom and an example of the choicest virtues. And the appropriateness of his example is truly singular today. The frightful war is over and there is something of a new order for many nations, especially in the East. We, along with you and all good men, must endeavor to restore in Christ whatever remains of human and civil culture and to recall the erring society of men to God and to His Holy Church. Though our ancestors' institutions failed, public affairs are in tumult, and everything human is confused, the Catholic Church alone never vacilates, but instead looks confidently to the future. She alone is born for immortality, trusting in the words addressed to Blessed Peter: "Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her."[32]

16. Would that other ecclesiastical teachers learn from him how skilfully, how diligently they must work in preaching the doctrine of Christ! And indeed the piety of the faithful has nothing stable and advantageous except to adhere entirely to the mysteries and precepts of the faith. Those who legitimately teach the Sacred Scriptures are warned by the example of the Edessine not to distort the Sacred Scriptures to the good pleasure of their own inclinations, nor, in investigating them, to depart a finger's breadth from the constant interpretation of the Church. "No prophecy of Scripture originates from private interpretation. For never by will of man was prophecy brought forth. But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."[33] And that Spirit who has spoken to men by the prophets is the same one who for the Apostles "opened their minds that they might understand the Scriptures"[34] and the same who constituted his Church to announce, interpret, and preserve revelation, so that it might be "the pillar and mainstay of truth."[35]

17. Let honorable men, in the tradition of Ephrem ─ We mean the illustrious offspring of the monastic orders ─ preserve the dignity which arose with Anthony and Basil in the East. This was propagated later by offshoots in the West, and in many ways has been noteworthy for the Christian community. Therefore may these seekers of Evangelical perfection never cease to look up to and imitate the anchorite of Edessa. For a monk will profit the Church most when he exemplifies what his habit signifies to God and men, that is, according to a saying of the ancient Fathers of the East, he must be "a son of the covenant," and again "an Angel whose mission is mercy, peace, and the sacrifice of praise," as the blessed Nilus the Younger beautifully defines him.[36]

18. Finally, Venerable Brothers, all who are your subjects, both clergy and people, may learn this from Blessed Ephrem: the love of the fatherland, whose claims indeed rest on the profession of Christian wisdom itself, must not be separated from the love of the heavenly fatherland, nor be preferred to it. We speak of that fatherland which is nothing other than the innermost rule of God in the souls of the just, begun here, then perfected in heaven. Indeed the Catholic Church exhibits a mystical image of this, since, transcending all differences of nationality and language, she embraces all sons of the Lord as a single family under a common father and pastor. Ephrem also teaches that the sources of spiritual life are in the sacraments, in the observance of the Evangelical precepts, and in the manifold exercises of piety which the liturgy supplies and the authority of the Church proposes. On this subject, note what our saint has to say about the sacrifice of the Altar: "With his hands the priest places Christ on the altar to become food. He addresses the Father as a member of the family saying, "Give me your Spirit, that in his coming he may descend upon the altar and sanctify the bread placed there to become the Body of your only begotten Son. He tells him of Christ's passion and death and exposes His blows; nor is His divinity ashamed of those blows. He says to the invisible Father: behold, your Son is nailed to the cross, his garments are sprinkled with blood, his side pierced with a lance. He recalls for him the passion and death of his Beloved, as though he had forgotten them, and the Father, hearing, favors his request."[37] He also remarks on the state of the just after death. In a singular manner, these remarks augment the constant doctrine of the Church, later defined in the council of Florence. "The deceased has been taken away by the Lord and has already been introduced to the kingdom of heaven. The soul of the deceased is received in heaven and inserted as a pearl in the crown of Christ. The deceased even now resides with God and his saints."[38]

19. Regarding his devotion to the Virgin Mother of God, who can say enough? "You, O Lord and your Mother" he says in a Nisibean poem, "are the only ones who are in all respects perfect beauty; in you, my Lord, there is no stain, nor in your Mother is there any dishonor."[39] "The lyre of the Holy Spirit" never sounded sweeter than when he was asked to sing the praises of Mary or to celebrate her perfect virginity, her divine maternity, or her full patronage of mercy toward man.

20. Nor is he less zealous when, from faraway Edessa, he looks to Rome to extol the Primacy of Peter: "Hail, holy kings, Apostles of Christ," and to the choir of Apostles, "Hail, light of the world.... Christ is the light and the lampstand is Peter; the oil, however, is the activity of the Holy Spirit. Hail, O Peter, gate of sinners, tongue of the disciples, voice of preachers, eye of the Apostles, guardian of heaven, the first-born of the keepers of the keys."[40] And in another place, "Blessed are you, O Peter, the head and tongue of the body of your brothers, the body which is joined together with the disciples, in which both sons of Zebedi are the eye. They indeed are blessed, who contemplating the throne of the Master, seek a throne for themselves. The true revelation of the Father singles out Peter, who becomes the firm rock.''[41] In another hymn he introduces the Lord Jesus speaking to his first vicar on earth: "Simon, my disciple, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I called you "rock" that you might sustain my entire building. You are the overseer of those who build a church for me on earth. If they should wish to build something forbidden, prevent them, for you are the foundation. You are the head of the fountain from which my doctrine is drawn. You are the head of my disciples. Through you all nations shall drink. Yours is that vivifying sweetness that I bestow. I have chosen you to be as a firstborn in my institution and heir to all my treasures. The keys of the kingdom I have given to you, and behold I make you prince over all my treasures."[42]

21. As We recalled all these things, We humbly entreated God to return the Eastern church at long last to the bosom and embrace of Rome. Their long separation, contrary to the teachings of their ancient Fathers, keeps them miserably from this See of Peter. Irenaeus testifies (and he received the doctrine of St. John the Apostle from his master Polycarp) that "it is necessary for all to join the Church because of its greater authority, that is, all of those who are faithful."[43] Meanwhile We received letters from the Venerable Brothers Ignatius Ephrem II Rahmani, Patriarch of Syria at Antioch; Elias Petrus Huayek, Maronite Patriarch at Antioch; and Joseph Emmanuel Thomas, Chaldean Patriarch at Babylon. They presented weighty arguments beseeching Us earnestly to bestow upon Ephrem, the Syrian Deacon of Edessa, the title and honors of Doctor of the Universal Church. In addition to these requests, a number of Cardinals, Bishops, Abbots and Generals of religious orders of the Greek and Latin rites sent their supporting petitions. We decided promptly to consider a matter so agreeable to our own desires. We recalled that these Eastern Fathers have always considered Blessed Ephrem a teacher of the truth and an inspired doctor of the Catholic Church. Nor were We unaware that his authority had great weight from the very beginning, not only with the Syrians, but also with the neighboring Chaldeans, Armenians, Maronites, and Greeks. In fact, they had each translated the writings of the Deacon of Edessa into their own languages, and read them eagerly both in liturgical celebrations and at home. Even today his songs can be found among the Slavs, Copts, Ethiopians, and even the Jacobites and Nestorians. We also recalled that the Roman Church has honored him before this. From ancient times it commemorated Blessed Ephrem in the Martyrology for February first and not without special praise for his holiness and learning. During the sixteenth century, a church was built on the Viminal hill in Rome itself to honor the Blessed Virgin and St. Ephrem. Our predecessors Gregory XIII and Benedict XIV instructed first Vossius and then Assemanus, to collect, edit, and publish the works of St. Ephrem in order to illustrate the Catholic faith and nourish the piety of the faithful. More recently, in 1909, St. Pius X approved for the Benedictine monks of the Priory of St. Benedict and Ephrem in Jerusalem, a proper mass and office in honor of this same saint and deacon of Edessa, with excerpts for the most part from the Syrian liturgy. Therefore, in order to further glorify the great anchorite, and at the same time to gratify the Christian peoples of the East, We have sent to the Sacred Congregation of Rites a recommendation to proceed in this matter, in accordance with the prescriptions of the sacred canons and current discipline. The result was most gratifying, since the cardinals at the head of this same congregation responded through its prefect, Our Venerable Brother Anthony S.R.E. Cardinal Vico, Bishop of Portuensis and St. Rufina, that they too desired and humbly asked Us the same thing the others had asked in their suppliant letters.

22. Therefore, having invoked the Holy Spirit, by Our Supreme Authority, We confer upon St. Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon of Edessa, the title and the honors of Doctor of the Universal Church. We decree that his feastday, which is the 18th of June, is to be celebrated everywhere the birthdays of the other doctors of the Universal Church are celebrated.

23. Therefore, Venerable Brothers, since We rejoice at this increase of honor and glory for our holy Doctor, at the same time We trust that he will be an ever present and eager intercessor for the entire Christian family in these difficult times. May this also be a new testimony to the Eastern Catholics of the special care and interest which the Roman Pontiffs extend to those separated churches. We desire, just as our predecessors did, that their legitimate liturgical customs and canonical prescriptions always remain in integral safety. Would that by the grace of God and the aid of St. Ephrem those obstacles might collapse which separate so large a part of the Christian flock from the mystical rock upon which Christ founded his Church. May that happy day come as soon as possible, on which the words of Evangelical truth will be like "goads and nails firmly fixed" in all minds, words "which are given through authoritative deliberation by one shepherd."[44]

24. Meantime as a sign of heavenly gifts and a witness of Our paternal charity, We impart to you most lovingly, Venerable Brothers, and to all your clergy and the people entrusted to each one of you, the Apostolic Benediction.

25. Given at Rome at St. Peter's, Oct. 5, 1920, the seventh year of Our Pontificate.
•  1. Lk 22.32.
•  2. St. Theodore the Studite, epistle 2 to the Emperor Michael.
•  3. St. Cyril of Alexandria, De Trinit., dialogue 4.
•  4. Epistle 2 to the Emperor Michael.
•  5. Mt. 16.18.
•  6. St. Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Luc, 22.32.
•  7. St. Ignatius, Epist. ad Rom.
•  8. St. Basil the Great, epistle, cl. 2, ep. 69.
•  9. St. Felix, second epistle and decree ─ epistle of Athanasius and the bishop of the Egyptians.
•  10. St. John Chrysostom, epistle to Innocent, bishop of Rome.
•  11. Sardic., canons 3, 4, 5.
•  12. Theodoret., 1. v, chap. 34.
•  13. St. Gregory Nyssa, Life of Ephrem, chap. 1, n. 4.
•  14. Ap 11.4.
•  15. Vita S. Ephrem.
•  16. Confession of St. Ephrem, n. 9.
•  17. Sozomenus, Hist. eccl., 1.iii chap. 15.
•  18. Vita S. Ephrem chap. 4, n. 17.
•  19. St. Amphilochius [?], Vit. S. Basil.
•  20. St. Ignatius, epistle to Thrall., n. 3.
•  21. I Tm 3.9.
•  22. Vita S. Ephrem, chap. 6, n. 23.
•  23. Hist. eccl., 1.iiichap. 15.
•  24. Ibid.
•  25. Jn 5.35.
•  26. St. Jerome, De script. eccl., chap. 115.
•  27. Theodoret., I. iv chap. 27.
•  28. Hist. eccl., chap. 8, 1. 3.
•  29. St. Augustine, Confess., 1.ix chap. 7.
•  30. Vita S. Ephrem.
•  31. St. John Chrysostom, Orat. de consumm. saec.
•  32. Mt 16.18.
•  33. 2 Pt 1.20-21.
•  34. Lk 24.45.
•  35. I Tm 3.15.
•  36. St. Barthol. Crypt. Abb., Vita S. Nili Iunioris.
•  37. See Rahmani, I Fasti della Chiesa Patriarcale Antiochena 8-9.
•  38. Carm. Nisib., chap. 6, pp. 24-28.
•  39. Ibid., n. 27.
•  40. St. Ephrem, Encom. in Petrum et Paulum.
•  41. See Rahmani, Hymni S. Ephr. De Virginitate, p. 45.
•  42. Lamy, S. Ephr. Hymn. et Serm., vol. 1, pr. 411.
•  43. St. Irenaus, c. haer, 1.iii chap. 3.
•  44. Eccl 12.11.

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