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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter XII.--Texts Explained; Secondly, Psalm xlv. 7, 8. Whether the words therefore,' anointed,' &c., imply that the Word has been rewarded. Argued against first from the word fellows' or partakers.' He is anointed with the Spirit in His manhood to sanc

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Chapter XII.--Texts Explained; Secondly, Psalm xlv. 7, 8. Whether the words therefore,' anointed,' &c., imply that the Word has been rewarded. Argued against first from the word fellows' or partakers.' He is anointed with the Spirit in His manhood to sanc

46. Such an explanation of the Apostle's words confutes the irreligious men; and what the sacred poet says admits also the same orthodox sense, which they misinterpret, but which in the Psalmist is manifestly religious. He says then, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows .' Behold, O ye Arians, and acknowledge even hence the truth. The Singer speaks of us all as fellows' or partakers' of the Lord: but were He one of things which come out of nothing and of things originate, He Himself had been one of those who partake. But, since he hymned Him as the eternal God, saying, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,' and has declared that all other things partake of Him, what conclusion must we draw, but that He is distinct from originated things, and He only the Father's veritable Word, Radiance, and Wisdom, which all things originate partake , being sanctified by Him in the Spirit ? And therefore He is here anointed,' not that He may become God, for He was so even before; nor that He may become King, for He had the Kingdom eternally, existing as God's Image, as the sacred Oracle shews; but in our behalf is this written, as before. For the Israelitish kings, upon their being anointed, then became kings, not being so before, as David, as Hezekiah, as Josiah, and the rest; but the Saviour on the contrary, being God, and ever ruling in the Father's Kingdom, and being Himself He that supplies the Holy Ghost, nevertheless is here said to be anointed, that, as before, being said as man to be anointed with the Spirit, He might provide for us men, not only exaltation and resurrection, but the indwelling and intimacy of the Spirit. And signifying this the Lord Himself hath said by His own mouth in the Gospel according to John, I have sent them into the world, and for their sakes do I sanctify Myself, that they may be sanctified in the truth .' In saying this He has shown that He is not the sanctified, but the Sanctifier; for He is not sanctified by other, but Himself sanctifies Himself, that we may be sanctified in the truth. He who sanctifies Himself is Lord of sanctification. How then does this take place? What does He mean but this? I, being the Father's Word, I give to Myself, when becoming man, the Spirit; and Myself, become man, do I sanctify in Him, that henceforth in Me, who am Truth (for |Thy Word is Truth|), all may be sanctified.'

47. If then for our sake He sanctifies Himself, and does this when He is become man, it is very plain that the Spirit's descent on Him in Jordan was a descent upon us, because of His bearing our body. And it did not take place for promotion to the Word, but again for our sanctification, that we might share His anointing, and of us it might be said, Know ye not that ye are God's Temple, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?' For when the Lord, as man, was washed in Jordan, it was we who were washed in Him and by Him . And when He received the Spirit, we it was who by Him were made recipients of It. And moreover for this reason, not as Aaron or David or the rest, was He anointed with oil, but in another way above all His fellows, with the oil of gladness,' which He Himself interprets to be the Spirit, saying by the Prophet, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me ;' as also the Apostle has said, How God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost. ' When then were these things spoken of Him but when He came in the flesh and was baptized in Jordan, and the Spirit descended on Him? And indeed the Lord Himself said, The Spirit shall take of Mine;' and I will send Him;' and to His disciples, Receive ye the Holy Ghost .' And notwithstanding, He who, as the Word and Radiance of the Father, gives to others, now is said to be sanctified, because now He has become man, and the Body that is sanctified is His. From Him then we have begun to receive the unction and the seal, John saying, And ye have an unction from the Holy One;' and the Apostle, And ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise .' Therefore because of us and for us are these words. What advance then of promotion, and reward of virtue or generally of conduct, is proved from this in our Lord's instance? For if He was not God, and then had become God, if not being King He was preferred to the Kingdom, your reasoning would have had some faint plausibility. But if He is God and the throne of His kingdom is everlasting, in what way could God advance? or what was there wanting to Him who was sitting on His Father's throne? And if, as the Lord Himself has said, the Spirit is His, and takes of His, and He sends It, it is not the Word, considered as the Word and Wisdom, who is anointed with the Spirit which He Himself gives, but the flesh assumed by Him which is anointed in Him and by Him ; that the sanctification coming to the Lord as man, may come to all men from Him. For not of Itself, saith He, doth the Spirit speak, but the Word is He who gives It to the worthy. For this is like the passage considered above; for as the Apostle has written, Who existing in form of God thought it not a prize to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and took a servant's form,' so David celebrates the Lord, as the everlasting God and King, but sent to us and assuming our body which is mortal. For this is his meaning in the Psalm, All thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia;' and it is represented by Nicodemus and by Mary's company, when the one came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weight;' and the others the spices which they had prepared' for the burial of the Lord's body.

48. What advancement then was it to the Immortal to have assumed the mortal? or what promotion is it to the Everlasting to have put on the temporal? what reward can be great to the Everlasting God and King in the bosom of the Father? See ye not, that this too was done and written because of us and for us, that us who are mortal and temporal, the Lord, become man, might make immortal, and bring into the everlasting kingdom of heaven? Blush ye not, speaking lies against the divine oracles? For when our Lord Jesus Christ had been among us, we indeed were promoted, as rescued from sin; but He is the same ; nor did He alter, when He became man (to repeat what I have said), but, as has been written, The Word of God abideth for ever .' Surely as, before His becoming man, He, the Word, dispensed to the saints the Spirit as His own , so also when made man, He sanctifies all by the Spirit and says to His Disciples, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.' And He gave to Moses and the other seventy; and through Him David prayed to the Father, saying, Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me .' On the other hand, when made man, He said, I will send to you the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth ;' and He sent Him, He, the Word of God, as being faithful. Therefore Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ,' remaining unalterable, and at once gives and receives, giving as God's Word, receiving as man. It is not the Word then, viewed as the Word, that is promoted; for He had all things and has them always; but men, who have in Him and through Him their origin of receiving them. For, when He is now said to be anointed in a human respect, we it is who in Him are anointed; since also when He is baptized, we it is who in Him are baptized. But on all these things the Saviour throws much light, when He says to the Father, And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one .' Because of us then He asked for glory, and the words occur, took' and gave' and highly exalted,' that we might take, and to us might be given, and we might be exalted in Him; as also for us He sanctifies Himself, that we might be sanctified in Him .

49. But if they take advantage of the word wherefore,' as connected with the passage in the Psalm, Wherefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee,' for their own purposes, let these novices in Scripture and masters in irreligion know, that, as before, the word wherefore' does not imply reward of virtue or conduct in the Word, but the reason why He came down to us, and of the Spirit's anointing which took place in Him for our sakes. For He says not, Wherefore He anointed Thee in order to Thy being God or King or Son or Word;' for so He was before and is for ever, as has been shewn; but rather, Since Thou art God and King, therefore Thou wast anointed, since none but Thou couldest unite man to the Holy Ghost, Thou the Image of the Father, in which we were made in the beginning; for Thine is even the Spirit.' For the nature of things originate could give no warranty for this, Angels having transgressed, and men disobeyed . Wherefore there was need of God and the Word is God; that those who had become under a curse, He Himself might set free. If then He was of nothing, He would not have been the Christ or Anointed, being one among others and having fellowship as the rest . But, whereas He is God, as being Son of God, and is everlasting King, and exists as Radiance and Expression of the Father, therefore fitly is He the expected Christ, whom the Father announces to mankind, by revelation to His holy Prophets; that as through Him we have come to be, so also in Him all men might be redeemed from their sins, and by Him all things might be ruled . And this is the cause of the anointing which took place in Him, and of the incarnate presence of the Word , which the Psalmist foreseeing, celebrates, first His Godhead and kingdom, which is the Father's, in these tones, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom ;' then announces His descent to us thus, Wherefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows .'

50. What is there to wonder at, what to disbelieve, if the Lord who gives the Spirit, is here said Himself to be anointed with the Spirit, at a time when, necessity requiring it, He did not refuse in respect of His manhood to call Himself inferior to the Spirit? For the Jews saying that He cast out devils in Beelzebub, He answered and said to them, for the exposure of their blasphemy, But if I through the Spirit of God cast out demons .' Behold, the Giver of the Spirit here says that He cast out demons in the Spirit; but this is not said, except because of His flesh. For since man's nature is not equal of itself to casting out demons, but only in power of the Spirit, therefore as man He said, But if I through the Spirit of God cast out demons.' Of course too He signified that the blasphemy offered to the Holy Ghost is greater than that against His humanity, when He said, Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him;' such as were those who said, Is not this the carpenter's son ?' but they who blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, and ascribe the deeds of the Word to the devil, shall have inevitable punishment . This is what the Lord spoke to the Jews, as man; but to the disciples shewing His Godhead and His majesty, and intimating that He was not inferior but equal to the Spirit, He gave the Spirit and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost,' and I send Him,' and He shall glorify Me,' and Whatsoever He heareth, that He shall speak .' As then in this place the Lord Himself, the Giver of the Spirit, does not refuse to say that through the Spirit He casts out demons, as man; in like manner He the same, the Giver of the Spirit, refused not to say, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me ,' in respect of His having become flesh, as John hath said; that it might be shewn in both these particulars, that we are they who need the Spirit's grace in our sanctification, and again who are unable to cast out demons without the Spirit's power. Through whom then and from whom behoved it that the Spirit should be given but through the Son, whose also the Spirit is? and when were we enabled to receive It, except when the Word became man? and, as the passage of the Apostle shews, that we had not been redeemed and highly exalted, had not He who exists in form of God taken a servant's form, so David also shews, that no otherwise should we have partaken the Spirit and been sanctified, but that the Giver of the Spirit, the Word Himself, hast spoken of Himself as anointed with the Spirit for us. And therefore have we securely received it, He being said to be anointed in the flesh; for the flesh being first sanctified in Him , and He being said, as man, to have received for its sake, we have the sequel of the Spirit grace, receiving out of His fulness .'

51. Nor do the words, Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity,' which are added in the Psalm, show, as again you suppose, that the Nature of the Word is alterable, but rather by their very force signify His unalterableness. For since of things originate the nature is alterable, and the one portion had transgressed and the other disobeyed, as has been said, and it is not certain how they will act, but it often happens that he who is now good afterwards alters and becomes different, so that one who was but now righteous, soon is found unrighteous, wherefore there was here also need of one unalterable, that men might have the immutability of the righteousness of the Word as an image and type for virtue . And this thought commends itself strongly to the right-minded. For since the first man Adam altered, and through sin death came into the world, therefore it became the second Adam to be unalterable; that, should the Serpent again assault, even the Serpent's deceit might be baffled, and, the Lord being unalterable and unchangeable, the Serpent might become powerless in his assault against all. For as when Adam had transgressed, his sin reached unto all men, so, when the Lord had become man and had overthrown the Serpent, that so great strength of His is to extend through all men, so that each of us may say, For we are not ignorant of his devices. ' Good reason then that the Lord, who ever is in nature unalterable, loving righteousness and hating iniquity, should be anointed and Himself sent, that, He, being and remaining the same , by taking this alterable flesh, might condemn sin in it ,' and might secure its freedom, and its ability henceforth to fulfil the righteousness of the law' in itself, so as to be able to say, But we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us .'

52. Vainly then, here again, O Arians, have ye made this conjecture, and vainly alleged the words of Scripture; for God's Word is unalterable, and is ever in one state, not as it may happen , but as the Father is; since how is He like the Father, unless He be thus? or how is all that is the Father's the Son's also, if He has not the unalterableness and unchangeableness of the Father ? Not as being subject to laws , and biassed to one side, does He love the one and hate the other, lest, if from fear of falling away He chooses the one, we admit that He is alterable otherwise also; but, as being God and the Father's Word, He is a just judge and lover of virtue, or rather its dispenser. Therefore being just and holy by nature, on this account He is said to love righteousness and to hate iniquity; as much as to say, that He loves and chooses the virtuous, and rejects and hates the unrighteous. And divine Scripture says the same of the Father; The Righteous Lord loveth righteousness; Thou hatest all them that work iniquity ,' and The Lord loveth the gates of Sion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob ;' and, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated ;' and in Isaiah there is the voice of God again saying, I the Lord love righteousness, and hate robbery of unrighteousness .' Let them then expound those former words as these latter; for the former also are written of the Image of God: else, misinterpreting these as those, they will conceive that the Father too is alterable. But since the very hearing others say this is not without peril, we do well to think that God is said to love righteousness and to hate robbery of unrighteousness, not as if biassed to one side, and capable of the contrary, so as to select the latter and not choose the former, for this belongs to things originated, but that, as a judge, He loves and takes to Him the righteous and withdraws from the bad. It follows then to think the same concerning the Image of God also, that He loves and hates no otherwise than thus. For such must be the nature of the Image as is Its Father, though the Arians in their blindness fail to see either that image or any other truth of the divine oracles. For being forced from the conceptions or rather misconceptions of their own hearts, they fall back upon passages of divine Scripture, and here too from want of understanding, according to their wont, they discern not their meaning; but laying down their own irreligion as a sort of canon of interpretation , they wrest the whole of the divine oracles into accordance with it. And so on the bare mention of such doctrine, they deserve nothing but the reply, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God ;' and if they persist in it, they must be put to silence, by the words, Render to' man the things that are' man's, and to God the things that are' God's .

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