The Seven Books of John Cassian

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Book I.

Chapter I. The heresy compared to the hydra of the poets. The tales of poets tell us that of old the hydra when its heads were cut off gained by its injuries

Chapter II. Description of the different heretical monsters which spring from one another.

Chapter III. He describes the pestilent error of the Pelagian.

Chapter IV. Leporius together with some others recants his Pelagianism.

Chapter V. By the case of Leporius he establishes the fact that an open sin ought to be expiated by an open confession; and also teaches from his words what is the right view to be held on the Incarnation.

Chapter VI. The united doctrine of the Catholics is to be received as the orthodox faith.

Book II.

Chapter I. How the errors of later heretics have been condemned and refuted in the persons of their authors and originators. As we began by setting down in the first book some things by which we showed that our new heretic is but an offshoot from ancient stocks of heresy

Chapter II. Proof that the Virgin Mother of God was not only Christotocos but also Theotocos, and that Christ is truly God.

Chapter III. Follows up the same argument with passages from the Old Testament.

Chapter IV. He produces testimonies to the same doctrine from the Apostle Paul.

Chapter V. From the gifts of Divine grace which we receive through Christ he infers that He is truly God.

Chapter VI. That the power of bestowing Divine grace did not come to Christ in the course of time, but was innate in Him from His very birth.

Chapter VII. How in Christ the Divinity, Majesty, Might and Power have existed in perfection from eternity, and will continue.

Book III.

Chapter I. That Christ

Chapter II. The title of God is given in one sense to Christ, and in another to men.

Chapter III. He explains the apostle's saying: "If from henceforth we know no man according to the flesh," etc.

Chapter IV. From the Epistle to the Galatians he brings forward a passage to show that the weakness of the flesh in Christ was absorbed by His Divinity.

Chapter V. As it is blasphemy to pare away the Divinity of Christ, so also is it blasphemous to deny that He is true man.

Chapter VI. He shows from the appearance of Christ vouchsafed to the Apostle when persecuting the Church, the existence of both natures in Him.

Chapter VII. He shows once more by other passages of the Apostle that Christ is God.

Chapter VIII. When confessing the Divinity of Christ we ought not to pass over in silence the confession of the cross.

Chapter IX. How the Apostle's preaching was rejected by Jews and Gentiles because it confessed that the crucified Christ was God.

Chapter X. How the apostle maintains that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Chapter XI. He supports the same doctrine by proofs from the gospel.

Chapter XII. He proves from the renowned confession of the blessed Peter that Christ is God.

Chapter XIII. The confession of the blessed Peter receives a testimony to its truth from Christ Himself.

Chapter XIV. How the confession of the blessed Peter is the faith of the whole Church.

Chapter XV. St. Thomas also confessed the same faith as Peter after the Lord's resurrection.

Chapter XVI. He brings forward the witness of God the Father to the Divinity of the Son.

Book IV.

Chapter I. That Christ was before the Incarnation God from everlasting. As we have finished three books with the most certain and the most valuable witnesses

Chapter II. He infers from what he has said that the Virgin Mary gave birth to a Son who had pre-existed and was greater than she herself was.

Chapter III. He proves from the Epistle to the Romans the eternal Divinity of Christ.

Chapter IV. He brings forward other testimonies to the same view.

Chapter V. How in virtue of the hypostatic union of the two natures in Christ the Word is rightly termed the Saviour, or incarnate man, and the Son of God.

Chapter VI. That there is in Christ but one Hypostasis (i.e., Personal self).

Chapter VII. He returns to the former subject, in order to show against the Nestorians that those things are said of the man, which belong to the Divine nature as it were of a Person of Divine nature, and conversely that those things are said of God, which belong to the human nature as it were of a Person of human nature, because there is in Christ but one and a single Personal self.

Chapter VIII. How this interchange of titles does not interfere with His Divine power.

Chapter IX. He corroborates this statement by the authority of the old prophets.

Chapter X. He proves Christ's Divinity from the blasphemy of Judaizing Jews as well as from the confession of converts to the faith of Christ.

Chapter XI. He returns to the prophecy of Isaiah.

Chapter XII. How the title of Saviour is given to Christ in one sense, and to men in another.

Chapter XIII. He explains who are those in whose person the Prophet Isaiah says: "Thou art our God, and we knew Thee not."

Book V.

Chapter I. He vehemently inveighs against the error of the Pelagians

Chapter II. That the doctrine of Nestorius is closely connected with the error of the Pelagians.

Chapter III. How this participation in Divinity which the Pelagians and Nestorians attribute to Christ, is common to all holy men.

Chapter IV. What the difference is between Christ and the saints.

Chapter V. That before His birth in time Christ was always called God by the prophets.

Chapter VI. He illustrates the same doctrine by passages from the New Testament.

Chapter VII. He shows again from the union in Christ of two natures in one Person that what belongs to the Divine nature may rightly be ascribed to man, and what belongs to the human nature to God.

Chapter VIII. He confirms the judgment of the Apostle by the authority of the Lord.

Chapter IX. Since those marvellous works which from the days of Moses were shown to the children of Israel are attributed to Christ, it follows that He must have existed long before His birth in time.

Chapter X. He explains what it means to confess, and what it means to dissolve Jesus.

Chapter XI. The mystery of the Lord's Incarnation clearly implies the Divinity of Christ.

Chapter XII. He explains more fully what the mystery is which is signified under the name of the man and wife.

Chapter XIII. Of the longing with which the old patriarchs desired to see the revelation of that mystery.

Chapter XIV. He refutes the wicked and blasphemous notion of the heretics who said that God dwelt and spoke in Christ as in an instrument or a statue.

Chapter XV. What the prayers of the saints for the coming of Messiah contained; and what was the nature of that longing of theirs.

Book VI.

Chapter I. From the miracle of the feeding of the multitude from five barley loaves and two fishes he shows the majesty of Divine Power. We read in the gospel that when five loaves were at the Lord's bidding brought to Him an immense number of God's people were fed with them. But how this was done it is impossible to explain

Chapter II. The author adapts the mystery of the number seven (made up of the five loaves and two fishes) to his own work.

Chapter III. He refutes his opponent by the testimony of the Council of Antioch.

Chapter IV. How the Creed has authority Divine as well as human.

Chapter V. He proceeds against his opponent with the choicest arguments, and shows that we ought to hold fast to the religion which we have received from our fathers.

Chapter VI. Once more he challenges him to the profession of the Creed of Antioch.

Chapter VII. He continues the same line of argument drawn from the Creed of Antioch.

Chapter VIII. How it can be said that Christ came and was born of a Virgin.

Chapter IX. Again he convicts his opponent of deadly heresy by his own confession.

Chapter X. He inveighs against him because though he has forsaken the Catholic religion, he nevertheless presumes to teach in the Church, to sacrifice, and to give decisions.

Chapter XI. He removes the silent objection of heretics who want to recant the profession of their faith made in childhood.

Chapter XII. Christ crucified is an offence and foolishness to those who declare that He was a mere man.

Chapter XIII. He replies to the objection in which they say that the child born ought to be of one substance with the mother.

Chapter XIV. He compares this erroneous view with the teaching of the Pelagians.

Chapter XV. He shows that those who patronize this false teaching acknowledge two Christs.

Chapter XVI. He shows further that this teaching is destructive of the confession of the Trinity.

Chapter XVII. Those who are under an error in one point of the Catholic religion, lose the whole faith, and all the value of the faith.

Chapter XVIII. He directs his discourse upon his antagonist with whom he is disputing, and begs him to return to his senses. The sacrament of reconciliation is necessary for the lapsed for their salvation.

Chapter XIX. That the birth of Christ in time diminished nothing of the glory and power of His Deity.

Chapter XX. He shows from what has been said that we do not mean that God was mortal or of flesh before the worlds, although Christ, who is God from eternity and was made man in time, is but one Person.

Chapter XXI. The authority of Holy Scripture teaches that Christ existed from all eternity.

Chapter XXII. The hypostatic union enables us to ascribe to God what belongs to the flesh in Christ.

Chapter XXIII. That the figure Synecdoche, in which the part stands for the whole, is very familiar to the Holy Scripture.

Book VII.

Chapter I. As he is going to reply to the slanders of his opponents he implores the aid of Divine grace to teach a prayer to be used by those who undertake to dispute with heretics. As it happens to those who having escaped the perils of the sea

Chapter II. He meets the objection taken from these words: No one gave birth to one who had existed before her.

Chapter III. He replies to the cavil that the one who is born must be of one substance with the one who bears.

Chapter IV. How God has shown His Omnipotence in His birth in time as well as in everything else.

Chapter V. He shows by proofs drawn from nature itself, that the law which his opponents lay down; viz., that the one born ought to be of one substance with the one who bears, fails to hold good in many cases.

Chapter VI. He refutes another argument of Nestorius, in which he tried to make out that Christ was like Adam in every point.

Chapter VII. Heretics usually cover their doctrines with a cloak of holy Scripture.

Chapter VIII. The heretics attribute to Christ only the shadow of Divinity, and so assert that he is to be worshipped together with God but not as God.

Chapter IX. How those are wrong who say that the birth of Christ was a secret, since it was clearly shown even to the patriarch Jacob.

Chapter X. He collects more witnesses of the same fact.

Chapter XI. How the devil was forced by many reasons to the view that Christ was God.

Chapter XII. He compares this notion and reasonable suspicion of the devil with the obstinate and inflexible idea of his opponents, and shows that this last is worse and more blasphemous than the former.

Chapter XIII. How the devil always retained this notion of Christ's Divinity (because of His secret working which he experienced) even up to His Cross and Death.

Chapter XIV. He shows how heretics pervert holy Scripture, by replying to the argument drawn from the Apostle's words, "Without father, without mother," etc.: Heb. vii.

Chapter XV. How Christ could be said by the Apostle to be without genealogy.

Chapter XVI. He shows that like the devil when tempting Christ, the heretics garble and pervert holy Scripture.

Chapter XVII. That the glory and honour of Christ is not to be ascribed to the Holy Ghost in such a way as to deny that it proceeds from Christ Himself, as if all that excellency, which was in Him, was another's and proceeded from another source.

Chapter XVIII. How we are to understand the Apostle's words: "He appeared in the flesh, was justified in the Spirit," etc.

Chapter XIX. That it was not only the Spirit, but Christ Himself also who made Him to be feared.

Chapter XX. He tries by stronger and weightier arguments to destroy that notion.

Chapter XXI. That it must be ascribed equally to Christ and the Holy Ghost that His flesh and Humanity became the temple of God.

Chapter XXII. That the raising up of Christ into heaven is not to be ascribed to the Spirit alone.

Chapter XXIII. He continues the same argument to show that Christ had no need of another's glory as He had a glory of His own.

Chapter XXIV. He supports this doctrine by the authority of the blessed Hilary.

Chapter XXV. He shows that Ambrose agrees with S. Hilary.

Chapter XXVI. He adds to the foregoing the testimony of S. Jerome.

Chapter XXVII. To the foregoing he adds Rufinus and the blessed Augustine.

Chapter XXVIII. As he is going to produce the testimony of Greek or Eastern Bishops, he brings forward in the first place S. Gregory Nazianzen.

Chapter XXIX. In the next place he puts the authority of S. Athanasius.

Chapter XXX. He adds also S. John Chrysostom.

Chapter XXXI. He bemoans the unhappy lot of Constantinople, owing to the misfortune which has overtaken it from that heretic; and at the same time he urges the citizens to stand fast in the ancient Catholic and ancestral faith.

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