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The Victor, on His Throne, the Object of
REVELATIONS v. 11-13.
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
NE is the Church of the redeemed; one is their God, their Lord, their Head; one Spirit knits the whole in one, pervading all, filling each separate member according to the capacity of each to receive Him; endowing each with his own special gifts, and in all diffusing the love, the wisdom, the holiness, the righteousness of God. One they are, because He who pervades all the whole mystical body of Christ-militant, expectant, triumphant,-is one and indivisible.
And as they themselves are one through the in-oneing Spirit, so the Object of their being, their bliss, is one; only, that while our praises, and thanksgivings, and in
tercession ascend together to the eternal throne, those above, being already perfected, need no prayer for graces for themselves. No Miserere can mingle with their unceasing, endless Halleluias, save for us in our pilgrimage, whom they long to be brought safe through, to swell the sweet concord of redeemed praise.
One, also, is the object of their worship; one only object can there be of divine worship, Almighty God. This was the fundamental central doctrine of the old law: "The Lord our God is one Lord";" "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God: Him shalt thou serve, and to Him thou shalt cleave, and swear by His name "." This doctrine our blessed Lord emphasised at the threshhold of the Gospel, when He rebuked His bad rebellious spirit and dismissed him from His sacred presence with the words, "Get thee behind Me, Satan. For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God only, and Him only shalt thou serve." "Since then," says St. Augustined, "we serve both the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit with that servitude which is called latreia, and we hear the law of God enjoining that we should shew this to no other but the Lord our God only; doubtless our one and only God is the Trinity Itself, to which, one and alone, we, by right of piety, owe such a servitude." Hence it was rightly objected to the Arians that, owning (as they did, and as Socinus did in later times) that our Lord was an object of divine worship, and yet holding God the Son to be a creature, they were, in fact, idolaters. It would have been but the revival of the old Polytheism within Christianity. b Ibid., x. 20. St. Matt. iv. 10. d c. Serm. Arian, c. 29, Opp. viii. 643.
Deut. vi. 4, 5.
"Who told them," says St. Athanasius", "Abandon the worship of the creation, and then draw near and worship a creature and a work?" "They," said another f to the heathen, "whereas they ought to have worshipped the true God, offered the divine honour to the creation. To this censure are they too liable who call the Onlybegotten Son of God a creature, and yet worship Him as God. For it were due, either if they call Him God, not to rank Him with the creation, but with God who begat Him; or if they call Him a creature, not to offer Him divine honour."
Nor, plainly, does the humility of the Incarnation make any difference herein. For He deified our nature in Himself by taking it; He could, and did, empty Himself of the visible glory of His Godhead; He could not, by becoming man, cease to be God. He became man, "not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God." "We worship not a creature," says St. Athanasius ; "God forbid! For such an error belongs to heathens and Arians. But we worship the Lord of the creation, the Word of God Incarnate. For although the Flesh, Itself by Itself, is a portion of the things created, yet It became the Body of God. And neither, severing the Body, being such, by Itself apart from the Word, do we worship It; nor, wishing to worship the Word, do we remove Him from the Flesh; but knowing, as I said before, the Scripture, The Word was made Flesh,' we own Him, although being in the Flesh, to be God. less as to say to the Lord, 'Remove from the Body that I may worship Thee?' or who so ungodly as, with the frantic Jews, on account of the Body, to say to Him, f Theodoret on Rom. i. 25. Ep. ad Adelph. § 3, p. 912, 913, Ben.
ag. Arians, i. 8, p. 191, Oxf. Tr.
Who, then, is so sense
'Why dost Thou, being a Man, make Thyself God?' Not such was the leper; for he worshipped the God, being in the Body, and knew that He was God, saying, 'Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean;' and neither, on account of the Flesh, did he account the Word of God a creature; nor, because the Word was the Artificer of all creation, did he make light of the Flesh, wherewith He was arrayed; but he worshipped as in a created temple the Creator of all, and was cleansed. So also the woman with an issue of blood, believing and only touching the hem of His garment, was healed; and the sea, tossing its foam, heard the voice of the Incarnate Word, and ceased its tempest; and the blind from his birth, through the spittle of the Flesh, was healed by the Word; and greater and more marvellous still (for this, perchance, shocked even the most ungodly), when the Lord, being upon the Cross itself, (for the Body was the Lord's, and in It was the Word,) 'the sun was darkened, and the earth shook, the rocks were rent, and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, and many bodies of the saints which slept, arose.""
The confusion, created by heretics, arose in the ignorance or misbelief of the doctrine of the Incarnation, the fruitful source of manifold heresy. For men, in one or the other way, parted with the belief that our Lord's Divine Nature, being Divine, was unchangeable; that It could not be confused; that It could receive no accession to Itself, so as to be a complement of Itself. For It was all-perfect. When, then, God the Word vouchsafed to take our nature upon Him in the Virgin's womb, He did not unite to Himself a pre-existing nature, so that It should have a distinct personality, but "created that manhood which He took, by taking It,
and took It by creating Ith." His Manhood, real and perfect as It was, was but an adjunct of His Deity. He took our nature, that for us He might suffer, that for us He might die; that He might bear our sins, that He might offer a full price and ransom for us; that He might be our High Priest for ever at the Right Hand of God; yea, that, having redeemed us, He might, by taking a manhood joined to His own Nature, make His Flesh lifegiving, and "through His flesh akin to us might draw up to Him all humanity !" "He used it as His instrument for the operation and the shining forth of His Godhead" Yet His Personality is not human but Divine. When, then, we adore Christ, our God, we adore not His Deity and His Humanity separately, but His Deity clothed with His Humanity. This the Church of God proclaimed that she had received from the first, that "God, the Word Incarnate, with His own Flesh was worshipped'," rejecting, with anathema, the opposite heresies, that Christ is worshipped in two natures, thus introducing two acts of worship, one appropriated to God the Word, the other appropriated to the Man; or again, with either destruction of His Humanity, or confusion of the Godhead and Manhood, or the assumption of "one nature from both concurring.
This Divine Nature, then, of our Lord in His Humanity, St. John exhibits as a distinct Object of the praises and thanksgivings of the Church Triumphant. For he saw the beatified beings, whom he was admitted to behold, at times prostrate in adoration before the Lamb, at times as adoring at once Him Who sitteth on the
b Hugo de S.Vict., Summa Sent. i. 15. t. iii. p. 431.
i Ps. Basil in note k on S. Ath. ag. Arians, p. 444, Oxf. Tr.
S. Ath. ag. Arians, iii. § 53, p. 475, Oxf. Tr.
1 Conc. Const. ii. can. 9; Conc. T. vi. p. 212 Col.