Author Topic: Early Church Fathers  (Read 105953 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #450 on: October 19, 2017, 09:26:56 PM »
For all diseases there are medicines, and there will be healing when a skilled physician shall have found them. And for those who have been smitten in our conflict there is the medicine of penitence, and those who apply it to their wounds are healed...

Also I counsel you who have been smitten that ye be not ashamed to say: "We have fallen in the battle." Receive the medicine which is without price, and repent, and live, before ye are slain. Also I remind you physicians of that which is written in the Scriptures of our wise Physician, that He does not forbid repentance. For when Adam had sinned He called him to repentance when He said to him: "Adam, where art thou?" (Gen. 3:8). And he, hiding his sin from Him who beholds the heart, laid the blame upon Eve who had deceived him. And because he did not confess his sin death was decreed against him and against all his offspring. And Cain also was full of guile, and sacrifice was not accepted from him; and He gave to him (a place) of repentance, and he did not accept. For He said to him: "if thou hadst done well I would have accepted thy sacrifice; but thou hast not done well and thy sin will accompany thee" (Gen. 4:7). And in the guile of his heart he slew his brother and was accursed, "and he was trembling and wandering on the earth" (Gen. 4:12). And also to the generation in the days of Noah he gave one hundred and twenty years for repentance; and they were not willing to repent and, one hundred years being completed, He destroyed them.

-- St. Aphrahat (d. c. 345), Demonstrations, 7.2 & 7.8
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 09:29:05 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #451 on: October 20, 2017, 08:26:16 PM »
Excerpts from Sermon 3 and Sermon 4 discussing the parable of the Prodigal Son...

"Fetch quickly the best robe." (Lk. 15:22) Here the father who did not suffer the sinner to be poorly clothed wants to derive his joy from pardon rather than justice. "Fetch quickly the best robe." He did not ask: "Where are you coming from? Where have you been? Where are the goods you carried off? Why did you exchange such great honor for such disgrace?" No, his words were: "Fetch quickly the best robe and put it on him." You see that the power of love overlooks transgressions. The mercy which a father knows is not a tardy kind... "And bring out the fattened calf." (Lk. 15:23) An ordinary calf is not good enough; it must be one sleek and fattened. The stout calf is evidence that the father's charity is stout.

We have rejoiced over the younger son's return and safety; with tearful grief we now take up the elder son's envy. Through his excessive sin of envious jealousy he spoiled the great virtue of his thriftiness... "His elder son was in the field." (Lk. 15:25) He was in the field, cultivating the earth but leaving himself uncared for. He breaks up the tough sod, but hardens the affection in his heart... Envy is an ancient evil, the first sin, an old venom, the poison of the ages, a cause of death. In the beginning, this vice expelled the Devil from heaven and cast him down. This vice shut the first parent of our race out of paradise. It kept this elder brother out of his father's house... "But he answered and said to his father, 'Behold, these many years I have been serving you.'" (Lk. 15:29) This is the view of one who dares to sit in judgment on the father's love... "I have never transgressed one of thy commands." (Lk. 15:29) This is the result, not of your innocence, but of your father's forgiveness, because with deep love he preferred to cover up a son's transgressions than expose them.

-- St. Peter Chrysologus (d. 450), Source

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #452 on: October 21, 2017, 08:39:42 PM »
Some people, however, who are heedless of the divine precepts, exercise such an absolute power over their slaves and those subject to them that they do not hesitate these days to cut them to pieces with scourges, to fasten them with fetters, and, if perchance the waiter is a little bit late when mealtime has come, to lacerate him at once with blows and to satiate themselves with the slave's blood before doing so with the pleasures of the table. Such is the fast of these people that they fast not in order to call forth the divine mercy but to pour out the cry of their groaning household. But whoever wishes to deserve mercy from God must hmself be merciful, for it is written: "By the smae measure that you have meted out it will be meted out to you." (Matt. 7:2)

And, what is still more tragic, these days a Christian master does not spare his Christian slave and does not consider that, even though he is a slave by condition, nonetheless he is a brother by grace, for he has also put on Christ, participates in the sacraments and, just as you do, has God for his Father. Why would he not have you as his brother? For there are many who, on returning from the hunt, pay more attention to their hounds than to their slaves. Not caring if their slaves die of hunger, they have their hounds recline or sleep next to them while they themselves feed them a daily portion.

And, what is worse, if the food has not been well prepared for them, a slave is slain for the sake of a dog. In some homes you may see sleek and fat dogs running around, but human beings going about wan and faltering. Will such persons ever take pity on the poor when they are without mercy for their own households? We ought to know, then, brethren, that this is the fast acceptable to God, not only that we chastise our bodies with abstinence but also that we clothe our souls with humility. Let us be gentle to our slaves, amenable to those not of our household, and merciful to the poor. Rising at the first light of dawn, let us hasten to church, offer thanks to God, and beg pardon for our sins, asking for indulgence concerning past crimes and for vigilance concerning future ones.

Let us spend the whole day in constant prayer and reading. If someone does not know how to read, let him look for a holy man and be nourished by his conversation. Let no worldly deeds hinder sacred deeds, let no gaming tables distract the mind, no pleasure in hounds lead the senses astray, no success in business pervert the soul with avarice. For whatever you do other than God's commandment, although you may abstain you do not fast. This is the saving fast, that just as the body abstains from feasting, so the soul should refrain from wickedness. This also, brethren, should not go unsaid with respect to the perfection of fasting: we who abstain and do not eat during this time should give our meals to the poor. For this is true justice, that while you go hungry someone else is satisfied with your food, and that you who are fasting should beseech the Lord because of your sins and the one who has been filled should pray on your behalf.

-- St. Maximus of Turin (d. 5th century), Source
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 08:41:00 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #453 on: October 22, 2017, 01:21:43 PM »
But if both the loosening of bonds and the power of the Sacrament are given in one place, either the whole has been derived to us from the Apostolic form and authority, or else not even this relaxation has been made from the decree. "I, he saith, have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon." (1 Cor. 3:10) This, therefore, we build up, which the doctrine of the Apostles laid as the foundation. And, lastly, Bishops also are named Apostles, as saith Paul of Epaphroditus, "My brother and fellow-soldier, but your Apostle." (Phil. 2:25) If, therefore, the power of the Laver, and of the Anointing, gifts far greater, descended thence to Bishops, then the right of binding and of loosing was with them (Matt. 18:18). Which although for our sins it be presumptuous in us to claim, yet God, Who hath granted unto Bishops the name even of His only Beloved, will not deny it unto them, as if holy and sitting in the chair of the Apostles.

-- St. Pacian of Barcelona (d. 391), Epistle 1.12-13

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #454 on: October 23, 2017, 08:14:27 PM »
For the Lord's Resurrection was not the ending, but the changing of the flesh, and His substance was not destroyed by His increase of power. The quality altered, but the nature did not cease to exist: the body was made impassible, which it had been possible to crucify: it was made incorruptible, though it had been possible to wound it. And properly is Christ's flesh said not to be known in that state in which it had been known, because nothing remained passable in it, nothing weak, so that it was both the same in essence and not the same in glory. But what wonder if St. Paul maintains this about Christ's body, when he says of all spiritual Christians "wherefore henceforth we know no one after the flesh." (2 Cor. 5:16) Henceforth, he says, we begin to experience the resurrection in Christ, since the time when in Him, Who died for all, all our hopes were guaranteed to us. We do not hesitate in diffidence, we are not under the suspense of uncertainty, but having received an earnest of the promise, we now with the eye of faith see the things which will be, and rejoicing in the uplifting of our nature, we already possess what we believe.

-- Pope St. Leo (d. 461), Sermon 71.4
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 08:14:39 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #455 on: October 24, 2017, 06:06:10 PM »
Let us see, then, how Abraham is the father of many nations. (Rom. 4:17-18) Of Jews he is confessedly the father, through succession according to the flesh. But if we hold to the succession according to the flesh, we shall be compelled to say that the oracle was false. For according to the flesh he is no longer father of us all: but the example of his faith makes us all sons of Abraham. How? And in what manner? With men it is incredible that one should rise from the dead; as in like manner it is incredible also that there should be offspring from aged persons as good as dead. But when Christ is preached as having been crucified on the tree, and as having died and risen again, we believe it. By the likeness therefore of our faith we are adopted into the sonship of Abraham. And then, following upon our faith, we receive like him the spiritual seal, being circumcised by the Holy Spirit through Baptism, not in the foreskin of the body, but in the heart, according to Jeremiah, saying, "And you shall be circumcised unto God in the foreskin of your heart" (Jer. 4:4; Deut. 10:16), and according to the Apostle, "in the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, and the rest" (Col. 2:11-12).

-- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), Catechetical Lectures, 5.6

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #456 on: October 25, 2017, 08:24:19 PM »
Question from the same [brother] to the same [Old Man]: "If a passionate thought enters my heart, how should I reject it? By contradicting it? By rebuking it, in order to become angry against it? Or by hastening toward God and casting my weakness before him?"

[Answer:] Brother, the passions are afflictions. And the Lord did not distinguish between them, but rather said: "Call upon me in the day of affliction; I shall deliver you, and you shall glorify me." (Ps. 50:15) Therefore, in the case of every passion, there is nothing more beneficial than to invoke the name of God. Contradicting a passion does not belong to everyone, but only to those who are strong according to God, who are able to subdue the demons. (cf Luke 10:19-20) For if someone who is not strong contradicts them, then the demons ridicule that person for being inferior to them and yet still trying to contradict them.

Similarly, rebuking the passions belongs to the great and powerful ones. Whom among the saints will you find rebuking the devil like the archangel Michael? (Jude 9-10) Indeed, he had the power to do so. Those of us who are weak can only take refuge in the name of Jesus. For according to Scripture, the passions are demons, and [this is how] they are cast out. (Acts 16:18) What more do you want? God will strengthen you and empower you in your fear of him.

-- St. John the Prophet (d. 6th century), Letters of Barsanuphius and John, Letter 304

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #457 on: October 26, 2017, 06:45:46 PM »
We have a love for the causes of involuntary thoughts, and that is why they come. In the case of voluntary thoughts we clearly have a love not only for the causes but also for the objects with which they are concerned.

-- St. Mark the Monk (d. 5th century), On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works: Two Hundred Twenty Six Texts, 86 (pdf)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #458 on: October 27, 2017, 07:59:10 PM »
We are like people enticed by ugly prostitutes who lack true beauty but conceal their ugliness with the help of cosmetics, producing a counterfeit beauty that ensnares those who see it. Having once been overcome by the vain things of this present life, we are unable to see the ugliness of matter, for we are fooled by our attachment to it. For this reason, we do not remain content with basic necessities, but become dependent on all sorts of possessions, ruining our lives by our greed. We do not see that our possessions should be limited according to our bodily needs, and that what exceeds these is in bad taste and unnecessary. A cloak measured to fit the body is both necessary and in good taste; while one which is too long, getting entangled in our feet and dragging on the ground, not only looks unsightly, but also proves a hindrance in every kind of work. Similarly, possessions superfluous to our bodily needs are an obstacle to virtue, and are strongly condemned by those capable of understanding the true nature of things.

-- St.  Nilus of Sinai (d. 430), Ascetic Discourse (Philokalia, v. 1, p. 245)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #459 on: October 28, 2017, 12:01:05 PM »
His own feeling in regard to letters is gracefully expressed in his work "Dion." All Greeks, he says, who have written anything good, of any sort, are to be had in honour. Literature trains us from childhood—when philosophy would be too strong medicine for us—till we can rise to further heights, and when we have attained them, and are weary with the exertion, we give ourselves up once more to Calliope, and she soothes and restores us for fresh efforts. Nor are poetry and rhetoric useless to a man who delights in them for their own sake, without a desire for high philosophy, for such men are gratified and improved by culture, and are not to be wholly despised. In the realms of the air there is room for singing birds, as well as for eagles...

But, along with his literary tastes, Synesius was singularly loose in his method both of reading and of writing. In both occupations we seem to see the effects of his want of intellectual companionship, and his exaggerated fear of becoming a slave to the letter, instead of penetrating to the inner meaning of the authors he read. He says that in reading, whether to himself or to others, he would occasionally withdraw his eyes from the book, and finish a sentence for himself, thus using a test to show whether he had caught the spirit of the author, and acquiring a useful facility in dealing with corrupt texts. He despised the tinkering up of manuscripts, and held in abhorrence the habit of calling up authorities to prove any point. To his freedom in dealing with all the books he read, he owed that freshness and vigour which is the great charm of his writings, and that want of accuracy, and sometimes of moderation, which is their chief defect.

-- Said of Bp. Synesius of Ptolemais (d. 414), (source: Alice Gardner, Synesius of Cyrene: Philosopher and Bishop)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 12:02:05 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #460 on: October 29, 2017, 03:36:27 PM »
So what happened to you? How could you [St. Basil] cast me off so suddenly?
May the kind of friendship which treats its friends in such a way be banished from this life.
We were lions yesterday but today
I am an ape. But to you even a lion is of little worth.
Even if you had regarded all your friends in this way,
(for I will make a proud claim) you should not have regarded me so,
I whom you once preferred to all your other friends
before you were raised above the clouds [made a bishop] and considered all beneath you.

But why, my soul, do you seethe? Restrain the untamed colt by force.
My words must turn towards the winning-post.
That man was false to me but in other respects he was most honest.
He had often heard me say this,
that I could bear it all for the time being, even if things got worse,
but if my parents were to depart this life,
then I would have every reason to depart from public affairs
so that I might draw some benefit from a life without ties
and effortlessly become a citizen of every place.

Basil heard me say this and expressed agreement,
and yet he forced me onto the bishop's throne,
he and my father who thus tricked me twice over.
(Do not get upset until you have heard the whole story.)
If my enemies had spent a long time plotting
as to how they might insult me, I do not think
they could have found any better means than this.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian (d. 390), Source
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 03:37:40 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #461 on: October 30, 2017, 08:13:48 PM »
If, from among your weapons, you consider your spears and your helmet and your breast-plate to be an assurance for your well-being, while you plunder and desolate the highways, know that many who had armed themselves more impregnably than you won for themselves a most lamentable death. Among us are recorded, on the one hand, Oreb, Zebah, Zalmunna, Abimelech and Goliath, and Absalom, and as many others who were like them. Among those outside, on the other hand, are the Hectors, the Ajaxes, and the Lacedaimonians themselves who, above all others, were prideful of their strength, since they did not possess justice in proportion to their power. If, then, you do not wish to be a worthless soldier, arrange yourself at once toward the spiritual war and wage war rather upon your own disorderliness.

-- St. Isidore of Pelusium (d. 450), Source

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #462 on: October 31, 2017, 05:15:49 PM »
So, then, brethren, if we do the will of our Father God, we shall be members of the first church, the spiritual—that which was created before sun and moon; but if we shall not do the will of the Lord, we shall come under the Scripture which says, "My house became a den of robbers." (Jer. 7:11) So, then, let us elect to belong to the church of life, that we may be saved. I think not that you are ignorant that the living church is the body of Christ (for the Scripture, says, God created man male and female, Gen. 1:27; the male is Christ, the female the church, Eph. 5:22-23) and that the Books and the Apostles teach that the church is not of the present, but from the beginning. For it was spiritual, as was also our Jesus, and was made manifest at the end of the days in order to save you. (1 Pet. 1:20) The church being spiritual, was made manifest in the flesh of Christ, signifying to us that if any one of us shall preserve it in the flesh and corrupt it not, he shall receive it in the Holy Spirit.

-- Pseudo-Clement (2nd century), Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, 14

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #463 on: November 01, 2017, 06:50:54 PM »
Amma Sarah said, "If I prayed God that all men should approve of my conduct I should find myself a penitent at the door of each one, but I shall rather pray that my heart may be pure towards all."

-- St. Sarah of the Desert (d. 5th century), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #464 on: November 02, 2017, 03:04:16 PM »
The Scriptures testify that if a man still under the sway of the passions believes humbly yet with all his heart, he will receive the gift of dispassion. For it is said: 'Today you shall be with Me in paradise' (Luke 23:43), and: 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace' (Luke 7:50)--the peace, that is, of blessed dispassion. Other texts express the same idea--for example: 'The grapes shall ripen at seedtime' (Amos 9:13 LXX), and: 'According to your faith so be it done to you' (Matt. 9:29).

-- St. John of Karpathos (7th century), For the Encouragement of the Monks in India who had Written to Him: One Hundred Texts, 15 (Philokalia, v. 1, p. 301)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #465 on: November 02, 2017, 11:39:57 PM »
It behooves those who preside over the churches, every day but especially on Lord's days, to teach all the clergy and people words of piety and of right religion, gathering out of holy Scripture meditations and determinations of the truth, and not going beyond the limits now fixed, nor varying from the tradition of the God-bearing fathers. And if any controversy in regard to Scripture shall have been raised, let them not interpret it otherwise than as the lights and doctors of the church in their writings have expounded it, and in those let them glory rather than in composing things out of their own heads, lest through their lack of skill they may have departed from what was fitting. For through the doctrine of the aforesaid fathers, the people coming to the knowledge of what is good and desirable, as well as what is useless and to be rejected, will remodel their life for the better, and not be led by ignorance, but applying their minds to the doctrine, they will take heed that no evil befall them and work out their salvation in fear of impending punishment.

-- Council in Trullo (692), Canon 19

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #466 on: November 03, 2017, 09:56:26 PM »
But among us you will find uneducated persons, and artisans, and old women, who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefit arising from their persuasion of its truth: they do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbours as themselves.

Should we, then, unless we believed that a God presides over the human race, thus purge ourselves from evil? Most certainly not. But, because we are persuaded that we shall give an account of everything in the present life to God, who made us and the world, we adopt a temperate and benevolent and generally despised method of life, believing that we shall suffer no such great evil here, even should our lives be taken from us, compared with what we shall there receive for our meek and benevolent and moderate life from the great Judge.

-- St. Athenagoras of Athens (d. 190), A Plea for the Christians, 11-12

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #467 on: November 04, 2017, 12:22:37 PM »
The birds are deceived, and the beasts of the woods in the woods, by those very charms by which their ruin is ever accomplished, and caves as well as food deceive them as they follow; and they know not how to shun evil, nor are they restrained by law. Law is given to man, and a doctrine of life to be chosen, from which he remembers that he may be able to live carefully, and recalls his own place, and takes away those things which belong to death. He severely condemns himself who forsakes rule; either bound with iron, or cast down from his degree; or deprived of life, he loses what he ought to enjoy. Warned by example, do not sin gravely; translated by the laver, rather have charity; flee far from the bait of the mouse-trap, where there is death. Many are the martyrdoms which are made without shedding of blood. Not to desire other men's goods; to wish to have the benefit of martyrdom; to bridle the tongue, you ought to make yourself humble; not willingly to use force, nor to return force used against you, you will be a patient mind, understand that you are a martyr.

-- Commodian (d. 250), Instructions, 48

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #468 on: November 04, 2017, 03:44:03 PM »
Question: What do those birds, as well as the land animals and sea animals, that were held by the law to be unclean, indicate with regard to general reasoning? (Lev. 11; Deut. 14:3-20)

Answer: We have interpreted the birds as representing, in general, the passion of vainglory and arrogance, a passion separated into different categories according to the differences of the birds. And the land animals, universally, represent the passion of avarice, which is divided into different [categories] according to the difference of each disposition of the animals. And the water animals, universally, represent the passion of gluttony because of its [the passion's] sliminess and difficulty in moving and because they roll around in the earth, and the unclean fish which are unclean according to the law are an inflammation.

And the law defines those that have fins and scales to be clean, indicating by the one that has fins on the belly that the person who has developed against pleasure a high reason does not allow it to enter the belly; and the one that has fins on the top of its back swims in a manly way through the sea of life, bearing patiently the things that befall [it]. And the one that has fins on its tail is the person who skillfully runs away from the grips of the hunting demons, and the one that has fins on both sides [of the head] has a mind that secures the contemplative [part] on all sides.

-- St. Maximus the Confessor (d. 662), Questions and Doubts, 37
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 03:46:17 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #469 on: November 04, 2017, 03:47:03 PM »
St. Maximos: be like the fish that swims in a manly way.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #470 on: November 05, 2017, 03:23:46 PM »
Besides, we were not created, like the rest of the world, by word alone, but also by deed. For God made the world to exist by the power of a single word, but us He produced by the efficacy alike of His word and working. For it was not enough for God to say, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," (Gen. 1:26) but deed followed word; for, taking the dust from the ground, He formed man out of it, conformable to His image and similitude, and into him He breathed the breath of life, so that Adam became a living soul.

-- St. Alexander of Alexandria (d. 326), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #471 on: November 06, 2017, 08:16:04 PM »
There are many things that disallow us from accepting the words of the Gospel in a simple sense. Because some facts have been inserted into the text that contradict each other according to the nature of human common sense, we are urged to seek the underlying principle of its heavenly meaning. (Commentary on Matthew, 20.2)

"Jesus, however, knowing their thoughts, said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself will be dissolved.'" (Matt. 12:25) The Word of God is rich and has been established to provide every kind of proof for various meanings. It exhibits from itself an abundance of examples. Whether it is understood in a simple fashion or studied for the inner meaning, it is necessary for every step of our progression. Let us pass over those things that are commonly understood, and focus on interior causes. (Commentary on Matthew, 12.12)

-- St. Hilary of Poitiers (d. 367)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #472 on: November 07, 2017, 11:40:22 PM »
"Climb the mountain, cut the wood, and build the house, and I shall be glorified in it [again] and take pleasure," (Hag. 1:8) that is, I [God] shall welcome and commend the effort and enthuisiasm of those laboring to that end. It is therefore surely a fine thing pleasing to God to exert oneself to perform everything which would seem useful and necessary to the fabric of the Church and its upbuilding. Now, this we shall do with great prudence by gathering material that is necessary, and 'chopping' as 'wood' from a forest the spiritual meanings in the inspired Scripture. Through them you would render secure and reliable glory to God, or recognition of him, and you would ensure that the manner of the Incarnation in the flesh is eminently conveyed. In addition, you would convey as well a precise knowledge of spiritual lore, and the goodness found in manners and behavior. These are surely the ways in which we claim that 'the house of God is rebuilt' and the fabric of the Church created.

I shall also go on to say that each of us could be considered a temple and house of God; Christ dwells in us through the Spirit, and we are temples of the living God, according to the Scriptures (2 Cor. 6:16). So let each of us also build up his own heart through right faith, and have Christ the Savior of all himself as the truly precious foundation. Let him also add to this a different material, namely, obedience, compliance in every respect, fortitude, endurance, self-control; thus "knitted together by every ligament with which we are equipped, we shall grow up into a holy temple and a dwelling place for God in the Spirit" (Eph. 4:16; 2:21-22).

-- St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444), Commentary on the Twelve Prophets

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #473 on: November 08, 2017, 03:11:46 PM »
"Who teaches my hands to war, and has made my arms like a brazen bow." (Ps. 18:34) To be taught mans to become watchful of looming traps, and "hands" denotes activities. "War" refers to the struggle with the devil, with whom we are locked in spiritual conflict, and against whom we are ever armed for unceasing struggles. The "arms" are Christ's prophets and apostles, through whom He achieved what He longed to do. He compares them with a brazen bow because the servants of God acknowledge no slackening in their preaching. They persist by divine strength, and fire the words of salvation like arrows shot from afar which pricks the hearts of committed men.

"And thou hast given me the protection of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath held me up. And thy discipline, the same shall teach me." (Ps. 18:35) The protection of salvation alludes to the glory of the resurrection, when He laid aside His mortal flesh and took it up again, incorruptible and glorified. The "right hand" is the power of the Godhead, which set in eternal majesty the humanity which had been assumed. He did well to say that He would be taught, for He was seeking to express the nature of His true humanity. "Tho hast spread wide my steps under me: and my footsteps are not weakened." (Ps. 18:36) He says that the most glorious acts of His incarnation, which were to be demonstrated in His most holy life, were "spread wide." "Footsteps" indicates the path of His teaching, which He left in most explicit form to the apostles, when He planted His steps and advanced with holy deeds. Accordingly He rightly said that these footsteps would not be weakened by enemies, for though the hurricane of the world arose, it could not divert His steps, which He implanted firmly so that Peter would not be drowned in the sea.

-- Cassiodorus (d. 585), Exposition of the Psalms

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #474 on: November 08, 2017, 03:19:43 PM »
On a side note, here's Ps. 18:35 when taken from the Hebrew:

"Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great." (KJV)
"Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation, and thy right hand supported me, and thy help [or gentleness] made me great." (RSV)

And here's what is given for the equivalent Septuagint verse (Ps. 17:35) in the translation of Cassiodorus and in Brenton's translation:

"And thou hast given me the protection of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath held me up. And thy discipline, the same shall teach me." (Cassiodorus)
"And thou hast made me secure in my salvation: and thy right hand has helped me, and thy correction has upheld me to the end; yea, thy correction itself shall instruct me." (Brenton)

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #475 on: November 08, 2017, 09:22:19 PM »
Nay, often have I thought to make a rule which should prevent all applauding, and persuade you to listen with silence and becoming orderliness. But bear with me, I beseech you, and be persuaded by me, and, if it seem good to you, let us even now establish this rule, that no hearer be permitted to applaud in the midst of any person's discourse, but if he will needs admire, let him admire in silence: there is none to prevent him: and let all his study and eager desire be set upon the receiving the things spoken.— [audience starts clapping] What means that noise again? I am laying down a rule against this very thing, and you have not the forbearance even to hear me!

-- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Homily 30 on Acts

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #476 on: November 08, 2017, 09:32:56 PM »
Nay, often have I thought to make a rule which should prevent all applauding, and persuade you to listen with silence and becoming orderliness. But bear with me, I beseech you, and be persuaded by me, and, if it seem good to you, let us even now establish this rule, that no hearer be permitted to applaud in the midst of any person's discourse, but if he will needs admire, let him admire in silence: there is none to prevent him: and let all his study and eager desire be set upon the receiving the things spoken.— [audience starts clapping] What means that noise again? I am laying down a rule against this very thing, and you have not the forbearance even to hear me!

-- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Homily 30 on Acts

LOL!  So cute.  I've seen this happen IRL. 
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #477 on: November 09, 2017, 07:11:55 PM »
But Mister, you claim that these bodies are the skin tunics (Gen. 3:21) though the passage nowhere says so. But you say it because of the seeds of the Greeks' heathen teaching which were sown in you from that source, and because of the Greeks' perverse notion which brought you to this and taught you. :For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit; for they are foolishness unto him, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14)

If Adam and Eve had gotten the tunics before their disobedience, your falsehood would be a plausible one, and deceptive. But since it is plain that <the flesh is already there> at the time of Eve's fashioning, <how can it not be an easy matter to refute your foolishness?> What was Eve fashioned from? For a body, plainly; Scripture says, "God cast a deep sleep upon Adam and he slept, and God took one of his ribs." (Gen. 2:21) But a rib is simply a bone; for God built up "flesh in its place." If flesh is mentioned [at this point], how can its creation still be in prospect?

And it says earlier, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness." (Gen. 1:26) "And he took dust of the earth," it says, "and fashioned the man." (Gen. 2:7) But dust and flesh are nothing else than body. Then later "Adam awoke from his sleep and said, This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (Gen. 2:23) The skin tunics were not there yet--and neither was your allegorical falsehood. "Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," plainly means that Adam and Eve were bodies, and not bodiless.

-- St. Epiphanius of Salamis (d. 403), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #478 on: November 10, 2017, 07:19:23 PM »
A human being is someone who possesses spiritual intelligence or is willing to be rectified. One who cannot be rectified is inhuman. Such people must be avoided: because they live in vice, they can never attain immortality.

-- St. Anthony the Great (d. 356), On the Character of Men and on the Virtuous Life: One Hundred and Seventy Texts, 13 (Philokalia, v. 1, p. 331)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #479 on: November 11, 2017, 09:31:08 PM »
[St.] Bede tells us [St.] Mellitus died on the 24th of April 624... It does not appear that Mellitus ever received the pall, which was apparently also the case with [St.] Laurentius, and it is equally remarkable that neither of them ordained any bishops, which that fact may explain. When Mellitus died, only one Roman bishop in fact remained in Britain, namely, [St.] Justus... On the death of Mellitus, Justus succeeded him as archbishop...

Bede tells us he received a letter from Pope Boniface authorising him to consecrate bishops... He writes to say that the bearer of the presents also took with him a pall which he authorised him to use at a celebration of the Holy Mysteries, and then only, and also giving him authority to ordain bishops when need required, so that Christ's Gospel, having many preachers, might be spread abroad among all the nations which were as yet unconverted; and he bade him to keep with uncorrupt sincerity of mind what the Holy See had conferred on him, and to remember what was symbolised by what he wore on his shoulders... Having received this letter, Justus proceeded to consecrate (alone, be it noted) a new bishop to the See of Rochester which he had himself vacated. This was Romanus, doubtless one of the contingent of recruits to the mission, who had accompanied him to Rome.

-- Source
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 09:31:57 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #480 on: November 12, 2017, 07:02:44 PM »
He who stands in awe of God searches for the divine principles that God has implanted in creation; the lover of truth finds them.

-- St. Thalassios the Libyan (d. 7th century), On Love, Self Control, and Life In Accordance With the Intellect, 1.57 (Philokalia, v. 2, p. 310)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #481 on: November 13, 2017, 11:12:00 PM »
The tree of knowledge itself was good, and its fruit was good. For it was not the tree, as some think, but the disobedience, which had death in it. For there was nothing else in the fruit than only knowledge; but knowledge is good when one uses it discreetly. But Adam, being yet an infant in age, was on this account as yet unable to receive knowledge worthily...

But as when a law has commanded abstinence from anything, and some one has not obeyed, it is obviously not the law which causes punishment, but the disobedience and transgression... so also for the first man, disobedience procured his expulsion from Paradise. Not, therefore, as if there were any evil in the tree of knowledge; but from his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labour, pain, grief, and at last fall a prey to death...

And God showed great kindness to man in this, that He did not suffer him to remain in sin for ever; but, as it were, by a kind of banishment, cast him out of Paradise, in order that, having by punishment expiated, within an appointed time, the sin, and having been disciplined, he should afterwards be restored. Wherefore also, when man had been formed in this world, it is mystically written in Genesis, as if he had been twice placed in Paradise; so that the one was fulfilled when he was placed there, and the second will be fulfilled after the resurrection and judgment. For just as a vessel, when on being fashioned it has some flaw, is remoulded or remade, that it may become new and entire; so also it happens to man by death. For somehow or other he is broken up, that he may rise in the resurrection whole; I mean spotless, and righteous, and immortal. And as to God's calling, and saying, Where are you, Adam? God did this, not as if ignorant of this; but, being long-suffering, He gave him an opportunity of repentance and confession.

-- St. Theophilus of Antioch (d. 185), Apology to Autolycus, 2.25-26

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #482 on: November 15, 2017, 02:48:11 AM »
"I desire thee to insist, that they who believe in God may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and useful to men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and quarrels and disputes about the Low; for they are useless and futile." (Tit. 3:8-9)  When the blessed Apostle wrote this, he already foresaw that there would be men who would neglect good works. They would be preoccupied by curious and useless questions, and thus lose the peace which the Lord had bequeathed to His Church. The fact is that men who look for lofty wisdom are often puzzled by the simplest problems. They forget what the Apostle said, "Be not highminded, but fear." (Rom. 11:20)

Seeking what is unlawful, they lose what is lawful. They pretend to weigh and grasp the very Author and Maker of heaven and earth. Yet, they are unable to perceive and grasp what God has made even with their senses. In the presence of the magnitude and multitude of God's works, their single and simple duty should be to adore. Yet, they choose to doubt. The nature and immensity of God are matters of mystery. Yet, they debate the questions: How big is the Father? What kind of a Son is there? And what sort of a Holy Spirit? Imagine a mere man, without full knowledge even of himself, daring to set limits to God.

-- St. Nicetas of Remesiana (d. 414), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #483 on: November 16, 2017, 01:25:39 AM »
I too believe this sacred teaching ("The Word became flesh." - Jn. 1:14), but I understand it in the religious sense that [the Word] is said to have become flesh by taking flesh and a rational soul. But if God the Word took nothing from our nature, then the covenants with oaths made by the God of the universe with the patriarchs are not true, the blessing of Judah is worthless, the promise of David is a lie, and the virgin is superfluous, since she gave nothing of our nature to the God who was made flesh. And so the predictions of the prophets are not fulfilled.

"Our preaching is empty," therefore, "our faith is also empty," (1 Cor. 15:14) and the hope of the resurrection is in vain. For the Apostle apparently is lying when he says, "[God] raised us and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:6) For if Christ the Lord had nothing from our nature, he has falsely been named our firstfruit, (1 Cor. 15:20), the body's nature has not been raised from the dead and has not gained the seat at the right hand in heaven. (Eph. 2:6) And if none of this happened, how did God raise us and make us with Christ, when we had nothing in common with him according to nature?

...after he said, "The Word became flesh," (Jn. 1:14) he added, "and dwelt among us"; in other words, [the Word] is said to have become flesh by dwelling among us and using, as a kind of temple, the flesh that was taken from us. And to teach us that [the Word] remained immutable he added, "and we have seen his glory, glory as of an only begotten son from a father, full of grace and truth." For even though he was clothed in flesh, he manifested his father's excellence, emitted rays of divinity, and poured out the radiance of the Lord's power, revealing through miracles the hidden nature.

-- (St.?) Theodoret of Cyrus (d. 458), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #484 on: November 16, 2017, 08:37:57 PM »
It is necessary also to mention in my book certain women with manly qualities, to whom God apportioned labours equal to those of men, lest any should pretend that women are too feeble to practise virtue perfectly. Now I have seen many such and met many distinguished virgins and widows. Among them was the Roman lady Paula, mother of Toxotius, a woman of great distinction in the spiritual life. She was hindered by a certain Jerome from Dalmatia. For though she was able to surpass all, having great abilities, he hindered her by his jealousy, having induced her to serve his own plan. She has a daughter now living an ascetic life at Bethlehem, Eustochium by name. I have never met her, but she is said to be very chaste, and she has a convent of fifty virgins;

I knew also Veneria, wife of Vallovicus the count, who gallantly distributed her camel's burden  and was delivered from the wounds which property inflicts. And Theodora the wife of the tribune, who reached such a depth of poverty that she became a recipient of alms and finally died in the monastery of Hesychas near the sea. I knew a lady named Hosia, in every respect most venerable; and her sister Adolia, who lived in a way not indeed comparable to her, but proportionately to her own capacity. I knew also Basianilla, the wife of Candidianus the general, who practised virtue ardently and scrupulously, and is still even now strenuously engaged in contests. Also the virgin Photina, venerable in the extreme, daughter of Theoctistus the priest near Laodicea. Again, I met in Antioch a most venerable lady who conversed familiarly with God, the deaconess Sabaniana, aunt of John the bishop of Constantinople. And I saw also in Rome the beautiful Asella, the virgin who had grown old in the monastery, a very gentle lady and a supporter of convents. There also I saw men and women recently instructed. I saw also Avita, who was worthy of God, with her husband Apronianus and their daughter Eunomia, all so desirous to please God that they were publicly converted to the life of virtue and continence, and were held worthy on this account to fall asleep in Christ freed from all sin, having become possessed of knowledge and leaving their life in good remembrance.

-- Bp. Palladius of Helenopolis (d. 425), The Lausiac History, 41

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #485 on: November 16, 2017, 08:49:59 PM »
As for the relics of the most revered apostles, which you have asked me to send, I truthfully reply that I have not a single martyr's relics so preserved that I can know whose they are. My lords and predecessors were of the opinion that the labels should be removed from all of them to make them indistinguishable, and that they should all be put in a single room, since, in many ways, either by theft or against their wills or by the coercion of the piety of many, they were being forced either to give away or to lose what they had. Some seventy were set apart, however, and are in common use, but among them are to be found none of those which you requested.

-- St. Braulio of Zaragoza (d. 651), Letter 9

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #486 on: Today at 12:21:06 AM »
Q. Why is it that, when there exists many more serious insults, the Lord in the gospels stipulates that he who calls his brother a fool is liable to Gehenna, while he who says "raka," he says is subject to the council? (Matt. 5:22)

A. The name "fool" is said to be understood as "idiotic and unintelligent," and raka is interpreted to mean "despicable" in the language of the Hebrews. And so, since the name "fool" is said regarding the ungodly and unfaithful according to the saying, "the fool person has said in his heart, 'there is no God'" (Ps. 13:1) and according to Moses, who says, "this people is foolish and not wise," (Deut. 32:56) whoever calls his brother of the same faith 'ungodly' and 'idolater' and 'heretic' and 'unfaithful,' this person says "fool," and, rightly, he becomes liable to Gehenna. But whoever says raka, which means, "you despicable, unclean one," he reproaches his brother's life and fittingly is subject to a lighter penalty.

-- St. Maximus the Confessor (d. 662), Questions and Doubts, 40