St.-Gregory-Nazianzen“He learnt obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and to His “strong crying and tears,” and His “Entreaties,” and His “being heard,” and His” Reverence,” all of which He wonderfully wrought out, like a drama whose plot was devised on our behalf.

For in His character of the Word He was neither obedient nor disobedient.  For such expressions belong to servants, and inferiors, and the one applies to the better sort of them, while the other belongs to those who deserve punishment.

But, in the character of the Form of a Servant, He condescends to His fellow servants, nay, to His servants, and takes upon Him a strange form, bearing all me and mine in Himself, that in Himself He may exhaust the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth; and that I may partake of His nature by the blending.

Thus He honours obedience by His action, and proves it experimentally by His Passion.  For to possess the disposition is not enough, just as it would not be enough for us, unless we also proved it by our acts; for action is the proof of disposition.

And perhaps it would not be wrong to assume this also, that by the art of His love for man He gauges our obedience, and measures all by comparison with His own Sufferings, so that He may know our condition by His own, and how much is demanded of us, and how much we yield, taking into the account, along with our environment, our weakness also.

For if the Light shining through the veil upon the darkness, that is upon this life, was persecuted by the other darkness (I mean, the Evil One and the Tempter), how much more will the darkness be persecuted, as being weaker than it?

And what marvel is it, that though He entirely escaped, we have been, at any rate in part, overtaken?  For it is a more wonderful thing that He should have been chased than that we should have been captured;—at least to the minds of all who reason aright on the subject.

I will add yet another passage to those I have mentioned, because I think that it clearly tends to the same sense.  I mean “In that He hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).

But God will be all in all in the time of restitution…when we shall be no longer divided (as we now are by movements and passions), and containing nothing at all of God, or very little, but shall be entirely like.

Gregory Nazianzen (c.330-390): Oration 30, 6.

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