It is with no Loss or Disparagement Therefore of his Divine Nature that Christ Suffers in the Flesh, but his Divine Nature through the Flesh Descended into Death, that by the Infirmity of the Flesh He Might Effect Salvation; not that He Might be Detained by Death According to the Law of Mortality, but that He Might by Himself in his Resurrection Open the Gates of Death. It is as if a King were to Proceed to a Prison, and to Go in and Open the Doors, Undo the Fetters, Break in Pieces the Chains, the Bars, and the Bolts, and Bring Forth and Set at Liberty the Prisoners, and Restore those who are Sitting in Darkness and in the Shadow of Death to Light and Life. The King, Therefore, is Said Indeed to have Been in Prison, but not under the Same Condition as the Prisoners who were Detained There. They were in Prison to be Punished, He to Free them from Punishment. CThey who have Handed Down the Creed to us have with Much Forethought Specified the Time when These Things were done --"Under Pontius Pilate," --Lest in any Respect the Tradition Should Falter, as Though Vague and Uncertain. But it Should be Known that the Clause, "He Descended into Hell," is not Added in the Creed of the Roman Church, Neither is it in that of the Oriental Churches. It Seems to be Implied, However, when it is Said that "He was Buried. " but in the Love and Zeal for the Divine Scriptures which Possess You, You Say to Me, I Doubt Not, "These Things Ought to be Proved by More Evident Testimonies from the Divine Scriptures. For the More Important the Things are which are to be Believed, So Much the More do they Need Apt and Undoubted Witness. " True. But We, as Speaking to those who Know the Law, have Left Unnoticed, for the Sake of Brevity, a Whole Forest of Testimonies. But if this Also be Required, Let us Cite a Few Out of Many, Knowing, as we Do, that to those who are Acquainted with the Scriptures, a Very Ample Sea of Testimonies Lies Open. CFirst of All, Then, we must Know that the Doctrine of the Cross is not Regarded by all in the Same Light. It is one Thing to the Gentiles, to the Jews Another, to Christians Another; as Also the Apostle Says, "We Preach Christ Crucified, --To the Jews a Stumbling-Block, to the Gentiles Foolishness, but to those who are Called, Both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the Power of God and the Wisdom of God;" And, in the Same Place, "For the Preaching of the Cross is to those who Perish Foolishness, but to those who are Saved," that Is, to Us, it is "The Power of God. " the Jews, to whom it had Been Delivered Out of the Law, that Christ Should Abide for Ever, were Offended by his Cross, Because they were Unwilling to Believe his Resurrection. To the Gentiles it Seemed Foolishness that God Should have Submitted to Death, Because they were Ignorant of the Mystery of the Incarnation. But Christians, who had Accepted his Birth and Passion in the Flesh and his Resurrection from the Dead, of Course Believed that it was the Power of God which had Overcome Death.
17. It is with no loss or disparagement therefore of His Divine nature that Christ suffers in the flesh, but His Divine nature through the flesh descended into death, that by the infirmity of the flesh He might effect salvation; not that He might be detained by death according to the law of mortality, but that He might by Himself in his resurrection open the gates of death. It is as if a king were to proceed to a prison, and to go in and open the doors, undo the fetters, break in pieces the chains, the bars, and the bolts, and bring forth and set at liberty the prisoners, and restore those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death to light and life. The king, therefore, is said indeed to have been in prison, but not under the same condition as the prisoners who were detained there. They were in prison to be punished, He to free them from punishment. c18. They who have handed down the Creed to us have with much forethought specified the time when these things were done -- "under Pontius Pilate," -- lest in any respect the tradition should falter, as though vague and uncertain. But it should be known that the clause, "He descended into Hell," is not added in the Creed of the Roman Church, neither is it in that of the Oriental Churches. It seems to be implied, however, when it is said that "He was buried." But in the love and zeal for the Divine Scriptures which possess you, you say to me, I doubt not, "These things ought to be proved by more evident testimonies from the Divine Scriptures. For the more important the things are which are to be believed, so much the more do they need apt and undoubted witness." True. But we, as speaking to those who know the law, have left unnoticed, for the sake of brevity, a whole forest of testimonies. But if this also be required, let us cite a few out of many, knowing, as we do, that to those who are acquainted with the Scriptures, a very ample sea of testimonies lies open. c19. First of all, then, we must know that the doctrine of the Cross is not regarded by all in the same light. It is one thing to the Gentiles, to the Jews another, to Christians another; as also the Apostle says, "We preach Christ crucified, -- to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God;" and, in the same place, "For the preaching of the Cross is to those who perish foolishness, but to those who are saved," that is, to us, it is "the Power of God." The Jews, to whom it had been delivered out of the Law, that Christ should abide for ever, were offended by His Cross, because they were unwilling to believe His resurrection. To the Gentiles it seemed foolishness that God should have submitted to death, because they were ignorant of the mystery of the Incarnation. But Christians, who had accepted His birth and passion in the flesh and His resurrection from the dead, of course believed that it was the power of God which had overcome death.First, therefore, hear how this very thing is prophetically declared by Isaiah, that the Jews, to whom the Prophets had foretold these things, would not believe, but that they who had never heard them from the Prophets, would believe them. "To whom He was not spoken of they shall see, and they that have not heard shall understand." [3300] Moreover, this same Isaiah foretells that, while those who were engaged in the study of the Law from childhood to old age believed not, to the Gentiles every mystery should be transferred. His words are: "And the Lord of Hosts shall make a feast on this mountain unto all nations: they shall drink joy, they shall drink wine, they shall be anointed with ointment on this mountain. Deliver all these things to the nations." [3301] This was the counsel of the Almighty respecting all the nations. But they who boast themselves of their knowledge of the Law will, perhaps, say to us, "You blaspheme in saying that the Lord was subjected to the corruption of death and to the suffering of the Cross." Read, therefore, what you find written in the Lamentations of Jeremiah: "The Spirit of our countenance, Christ the Lord, was taken in our [3302] corruptions, of whom we said, we shall live under His shadow among the nations." [3303] Thou hearest how the Prophet says that Christ the Lord was taken, and for us, that is, for our sins, delivered to corruption. Under whose shadow, since the people of the Jews have continued in unbelief, he says the Gentiles lie, because we live not in Israel, but among the Gentiles.


[3298] 1 Corinthians 1:23, 24

[3299] 1 Corinthians 1:18

[3300] Isaiah 52:15. Comp. Romans 15:21

[3301] Isaiah 25:6

[3302] Their corruptions, LXX.

[3303] Lamentations 4:20

16 but perhaps some one
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