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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian On "When Jesus Had Finished These Sayings" Matt. 19.1 (Oration XXXVII), Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow. Cf. Matt. 19

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I. Jesus Who Chose The Fishermen, Himself also useth a net, and changeth place for place. Why? Not only that He may gain more of those who love God by His visitation; but also, as it seems to me, that He may hallow more places. To the Jews He becomes as a Jew that He may gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law as under the Law, that He may redeem them that are under the Law; to the weak as weak, that He may save the weak. He is made all things to all men that He may gain all. Why do I say, All things to all men? For even that which Paul could not endure to say of himself I find that the Saviour suffered. For He is made not only a Jew, and not only doth He take to Himself all monstrous and vile names, but even that which is most monstrous of all, even very sin and very curse; not that He is such, but He is called so. For how can He be sin, Who setteth us free from sin; and how can He be a curse, Who redeemeth us from the curse of the Law? [3812] But it is in order that He may carry His display of humility even to this extent, and form us to that humility which is the producer of exaltation. As I said then, He is made a Fisherman; He condescendeth to all; He casteth the net; He endureth all things, that He may draw up the fish from the depths, that is, Man who is swimming in the unsettled and bitter waves of life.

II. Therefore now also, when He had finished these sayings He departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan; He dwelleth well in Galilee, in order that the people which sat in darkness may see great Light. [3813] He removeth to Judea in order that He may persuade people to rise up from the Letter and to follow the Spirit. He teacheth, now on a mountain; now He discourseth on a plain; now He passeth over into a ship; now He rebuketh the surges. And perhaps He goes to sleep, in order that He may bless sleep also; perhaps He is tired that He may hallow weariness also; perhaps He weeps that He may make tears blessed. He removeth from place to place, Who is not contained in any place; the timeless, the bodiless, the uncircumscript, the same Who was and is; Who was both above time, and came under time, and was invisible and is seen. He was in the beginning and was with God, and was God. [3814] The word Was occurs the third time to be confirmed by number. What He was He laid aside; what He was not He assumed; not that He became two, but He deigned to be One made out of the two. For both are God, that which assumed, and that which was assumed; two Natures meeting in One, not two Sons (let us not give a false account of the blending). He who is such and so great—but what has befallen me? I have fallen into human language. For how can So Great be said of the Absolute, and how can That which is without quantity be called Such? But pardon the word, for I am speaking of the greatest things with a limited instrument. And That great and long-suffering and formless and bodiless Nature will endure this, namely, my words as if of a body, and weaker than the truth. For if He condescended to Flesh, He will also endure such language.

[3812] Gal. iii. 10, 13.

[3813] Isa. ix. 1.

[3814] John i. 1.

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