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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian On Easter II (Oration XLV), Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow.

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This Oration was not, as its title would perhaps lead us to suppose, delivered immediately after the first; but an interval of many years elapsed between them, and the two have no connection with each other. Chronologically they are the first and last of S. Gregory's Sermons. The Second was delivered in the Church of Arianzus, a village near Nazianzus, where he had inherited some property, to which he withdrew after resigning the Archbishopric of Constantinople, and then, finding the administration even of the little Bishopric of Nazianzus too much for his advancing years and declining strength, he retired to Arianzus about the end of a.d. 383, dying there in 389 or 390. "The exordium of this discourse is quite in the style of the Bible; the Orator here describes and puts words into the mouth of the Angel of the Resurrection. His object is to show the importance of the day's solemnities, and to explain allegorically all the circumstances of the ancient Passover, applying them to Christ and the Christian life. Two passages are borrowed verbatim from the discourse on the Nativity, preached at Constantinople" (Benoit).

The Benedictine Editors profess themselves unable to determine whether this repetition is due to S. Gregory himself—or to the carelessness of some amanuensis.

I. I will stand upon my watch, [4587] saith the venerable Habakkuk; and I will take my post beside him today on the authority and observation which was given me of the Spirit; and I will look forth, and will observe what shall be said to me. Well, I have taken my stand, and looked forth; and behold a man riding on the clouds and he is very high, and his countenance is as the countenance of Angel, [4588] and his vesture as the brightness of piercing lightning; and he lifts his hand toward the East, and cries with a loud voice. His voice is like the voice of a trumpet; and round about Him is as it were a multitude of the Heavenly Host; and he saith, Today is salvation come unto the world, to that which is visible, and to that which is invisible. Christ is risen from the dead, rise ye with Him. Christ is returned again to Himself, return ye. Christ is freed from the tomb, be ye freed from the bond of sin. The gates of hell are opened, and death is destroyed, and the old Adam is put aside, and the New is fulfilled; if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; [4589] be ye renewed. Thus he speaks; and the rest sing out, as they did before when Christ was manifested to us by His birth on earth, their glory to God in the highest, on earth, peace, goodwill among men. [4590] And with them I also utter the same words among you. And would that I might receive a voice that should rank with the Angel's, and should sound through all the ends of the earth.

[4587] Hab. ii. 1.

[4588] Judg. xiii. 6.

[4589] 2 Cor. v. 17.

[4590] The reading eudokia of the Received Text is pronounced by Tischendorf to have less authority than eudokias, which he adopts on the testimony of important mss., but chiefly on the strength of a citation and comment three times in Origen, and because all the Latin Fathers read bonae voluntatis. Lachmann, Tregelles, Westcott, and with some hesitation Alford follow him; though Tregelles and Westcott allow eudokias a place in the margin. Wordsworth (giving no reason); and Scrivener because he thinks it makes better sense, read eudokia, and scout eudokias; which, however, is found in four of the five oldest mss., and in all the Latin versions and Fathers. The Greek Fathers, however, all but unanimously support the Received Text.

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