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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian Fourth Theological Oration (XXX), On the Son II, Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow.

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III. Next is the fact of His being called Servant [3603] and serving many well, and that it is a great thing for Him to be called the Child of God. For in truth He was in servitude to flesh and to birth and to the conditions of our life with a view to our liberation, and to that of all those whom He has saved, who were in bondage under sin. What greater destiny can befall man's humility than that he should be intermingled with God, and by this intermingling should be deified, [3604] and that we should be so visited by the Dayspring from on high, [3605] that even that Holy Thing that should be born should be called the Son of the Highest, [3606] and that there should be bestowed upon Him a Name which is above every name? And what else can this be than God?—and that every knee should bow to Him That was made of no reputation for us, and That mingled the Form of God with the form of a servant, and that all the House of Israel should know that God hath made Him both Lord and Christ? [3607] For all this was done by the action of the Begotten, and by the good pleasure of Him That begat Him.

IV. Well, what is the second of their great irresistible passages? "He must reign," [3608] till such and such a time...and "be received by heaven until the time of restitution," [3609] and "have the seat at the Right Hand until the overthrow of His enemies." [3610] But after this? Must He cease to be King, or be removed from Heaven? Why, who shall make Him cease, or for what cause? What a bold and very anarchical interpreter you are; and yet you have heard that Of His Kingdom there shall be no end. [3611] Your mistake arises from not understanding that Until is not always exclusive of that which comes after, but asserts up to that time, without denying what comes after it. To take a single instance—how else would you understand, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world?" [3612] Does it mean that He will no longer be so afterwards. And for what reason? But this is not the only cause of your error; you also fail to distinguish between the things that are signified. He is said to reign in one sense as the Almighty King, both of the willing and the unwilling; but in another as producing in us submission, and placing us under His Kingship as willingly acknowledging His Sovereignty. Of His Kingdom, considered in the former sense, there shall be no end. But in the second sense, what end will there be? His taking us as His servants, on our entrance into a state of salvation. For what need is there to Work Submission in us when we have already submitted? After which He arises to judge the earth, and to separate the saved from the lost. After that He is to stand as God in the midst of gods, [3613] that is, of the saved, distinguishing and deciding of what honour and of what mansion each is worthy.

[3603] Isa. xlix. 6; liii. 11. The LXX. here mistranslates; the Hebrew and the Latin have the same word in all the passages quoted below, while the LXX. varies, as follows: Isa. xlii. 1. pais. 19. paides, douloi. xliv. 2. pais. 21. pais. xlviii. 29. doulon. xlix. 3. doulos. 5. doulon. 6. paida. 7. doulon. lii. 13. pais. liii. 11. douleuonta.

[3604] See Prolegomena, sec. ii. and 2 Pet. i. 4.

[3605] Luke i. 78.

[3606] Phil. ii. 9.

[3607] Acts ii. 36.

[3608] 1 Cor. xv. 35.

[3609] Acts iii. 21.

[3610] Ps. cx. 1.

[3611] Luke i. 33. Cf. Nic. Creed.

[3612] Matt. xxviii. 20.

[3613] Ps. lxxxii. 1.

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