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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian On the Theophany, or Birthday of Christ (Oration XXXVIII), Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow.

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I. Christ is born, glorify ye Him. Christ from heaven, go ye out to meet Him. Christ on earth; be ye exalted. Sing unto the Lord all the whole earth; [3843] and that I may join both in one word, Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him Who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope. Christ of a Virgin; O ye Matrons live as Virgins, that ye may be Mothers of Christ. Who doth not worship Him That is from the beginning? Who doth not glorify Him That is the Last?

II. Again the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar. [3844] The people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, let it see the Great Light of full knowledge. [3845] Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. [3846] The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away, the Truth comes in upon them. Melchisedec is concluded. [3847] He that was without Mother becomes without Father (without Mother of His former state, without Father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all ye people, [3848] because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, Whose Government is upon His shoulder (for with the Cross it is raised up), and His Name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father. [3849] Let John cry, Prepare ye the way of the Lord: [3850] I too will cry the power of this Day. He Who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the Same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. [3851] Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride; [3852] let heretics talk till their tongues ache. Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending up into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

[3843] Ps. xcvi. 1, 11.

[3844] Exod. xiv. 20.

[3845] Isa. ix. 6.

[3846] 1 Cor. v. 17.

[3847] The meaning clearly is that the type presented by Melchisedec (Heb. vii. 3) is fulfilled in Christ. The explanation here given by S. Gregory is the ordinary one found in the Fathers. Thus, e.g., Theodoret says, "Christ our Lord is without Mother as God, for He was begotten of the Father alone; and without Father as Man, for He was born of a pure Virgin." OEcumenius has almost the exact words of Gregory. So also S. Augustine (Tract in Joann, 8), "Christ was singularly born of a Father without a Mother, of a Mother without a Father; without Mother as God, without Father as Man."

[3848] Ps. xlvii. 1.

[3849] Isa. ix. 6.

[3850] Matt. iii. 3.

[3851] Heb. xiii. 8.

[3852] 1 Cor. i. 23.

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