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St Gregory of Nyssa On the Faith, Complete

Translated by W. Moore and H. A. Wilson

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To Simplicius.

God commands us by His prophet not to esteem any new God to be God, and not to worship any strange God [1323] . Now it is clear that that is called new which is not from everlasting, and on the contrary, that is called everlasting which is not new. He, then, who does not believe that the Only-begotten God is from everlasting of the Father does not deny that He is new, for that which is not everlasting is confessedly new; and that which is new is not God, according to the saying of Scripture, "there shall not be in thee any new God [1324] ." Therefore he who says that the Son "once was not [1325] ," denies His Godhead. Again, He Who says "thou shalt never worship a strange God [1326] " forbids us to worship another God; and the strange God is so called in contradistinction to our own God. Who, then, is our own God? Clearly, the true God. And who is the strange God? Surely, he who is alien from the nature of the true God. If, therefore, our own God is the true God, and if, as the heretics say, the Only-begotten God is not of the nature of the true God, He is a strange God, and not our God. But the Gospel says, the sheep "will not follow a stranger [1327] ." He that says He is created will make Him alien from the nature of the true God. What then will they do, who say that He is created? Do they worship that same created being as God [1328] , or do they not? For if they do not worship Him, they follow the Jews in denying the worship of Christ: and if they do worship Him, they are idolaters, for they worship one alien from the true God. But surely it is equally impious not to worship the Son, and to worship the strange God. We must then say that the Son is the true Son of the true Father, that we may both worship Him, and avoid condemnation as worshipping a strange God. But to those who quote from the Proverbs the passage, "the Lord created me [1329] ," and think that they hereby produce a strong argument that the Creator and Maker of all things was created, we must answer that the Only-begotten God was made for us many things. For He was the Word, and was made flesh; and He was God, and was made man; and He was without body, and was made a body; and besides, He was made "sin," and "a curse," and "a stone," and "an axe," and "bread," and "a lamb," and "a way," and "a door," and "a rock," and many such things; not being by nature any of these, but being made these things for our sakes, by way of dispensation.

[1323] Cf. Ps. lxxxi. 9; Ex. xxxiv. 14.

[1324] Cf. Ps. lxxxi. 9; Ex. xxxiv. 14.

[1325] Reading with Oehler, ho legon hoti pote ouk en ho hui& 232;s; not as the Paris editions, ho legon hoti pote ouk en, houtos.

[1326] Cf. Ex. xx. 3

[1327] S. John x. 5

[1328] Adding to the text of the Paris edit. theon, with Oehler.

[1329] Prov. viii. 28.

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