St.-Gregory-NazianzenContinued from here…

Man was first chastened by many means, because his sins were many, and their root of evil sprang up through divers causes and at sundry times.

He was chastened by word, by law, by prophets, by benefits, by threats, by plagues, by waters, by fires, by wars, by victories, by defeats, by signs in heaven and signs in the air and in the earth and in the sea.

He was chastened by unexpected changes of men, of cities, of nations – the object of which was the destruction of wickedness.

Finally, he needed a stronger remedy, for his diseases were growing worse – mutual slaughters, adulteries, perjuries, unnatural crimes, and that first and last of all evils, idolatry and the transfer of worship from the Creator to the Creatures.

As these required a greater aid, so also they obtained a greater.  And that was that the Word of God Himself.

He is before all worlds, the Invisible, the Incomprehensible, the Bodiless, Beginning of Beginning, the Light of Light, the Source of Life and Immortality.

He is the Image of the Archetypal Beauty, the immovable Seal, the unchangeable Image, the Father’s Definition and Word.

He came to His own Image, and took on Him flesh for the sake of our flesh, and mingled Himself with an intelligent soul for my soul’s sake, purifying like by like; and in all points except sin was made man.

He was conceived by the Virgin, who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Ghost – for it was needful both that Childbearing should be honoured, and that Virginity should receive a higher honour.

He came forth then as God with that which He had assumed, One Person in two Natures, Flesh and Spirit, of which the latter deified the former.

O new commingling! O strange conjunction! The Self-Existent comes into being. The Uncreate is created.

That which cannot be contained is contained, by the intervention of an intellectual soul, mediating between the Deity and the corporeity of the flesh.

And He Who gives riches becomes poor, for He assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the richness of His Godhead.

He that is full empties Himself, for He empties Himself of His glory for a short while, that I may have a share in His Fulness.

What is the riches of His Goodness?  What is this mystery that is around me?

I had a share in the image; I did not keep it; He partakes of my flesh that He may both save the image and make the flesh immortal.

He communicates a second Communion far more marvellous than the first, inasmuch as then He imparted the better Nature, whereas now Himself partakes of the worse.

This is more godlike than the former action, this is loftier in the eyes of all men of understanding.

Gregory Nazianzen (c.330-390): Oration 38, 13.

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