Imágenes de páginas

for us by Christ, God pronounces in general, that the posterity of the woman shall be superior to the devil. Whence it follows, that Christ descended from the human race; because the design of God, in that promise to Eve, was to comfort her with a good hope, that she might not be overcome with sorrow.

III. Those passages, where Christ is called "the seed of Abraham," and "the fruit of the body of David," they with equal folly and wickedness involve in allegories. For if the word seed had been used in an allegorical sense, Paul certainly would not have been silent respecting it, where without any figure he explicitly affirms, that there are not many sons of Abraham who are redeemers, but Christ alone. (m) Equally unfounded is their notion, that Christ is called the Son of David in no other sense, but because he had been promised, and was at length manifested in due time. For after Paul has declared him to have been "made of the seed of David," the immediate addition of this phrase, "according to the flesh," (n) is certainly a designation of nature. Thus also in another place he calls him " God blessed for ever," and distinctly states that he descended from the Jews "as concerning the flesh." (0) Now if he was not really begotten of the seed of David, what is the meaning of this expression: "the fruit of his loins?" (p) What becomes of this promise: "Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." (e) They likewise trifle in a sophistical manner with the genealogy of Christ, as it is given by Matthew. For though he mentions the parents of Joseph and not of Mary; yet as he was treating of a thing then generally known, he thought it sufficient to shew that Joseph descended from .the seed of David, while there could be no doubt that Mary was of the same family. But Luke goes farther, with a view to signify, that the salvation procured by Christ is common to all mankind; since Christ the author of salvation is descended from Adam the common parent of all. I grant indeed, that from the genealogy it cannot be inferred that Christ is the Son of David, any otherwise than as he was

(m) Gal. in. 16. (n) Rom. i. 3. (o) Rom. ix. 5.

(/>) Acti ii. 30. (?) Psalm cxxxii. 11.

Vox. I. 3 T


born of the Virgin. But the modern Marcionites, to give a plausibility to their error, that Christ derived his body from nothing, contend that women have no generative semen; and thus they subvert the elements of nature. But as this is not a theological question, and the arguments which they adduce are so futile that there will be no difficulty in repelling them, I shall not meddle with points belonging to philosophy and the medical art. It will be sufficient for me to obviate the objection which they allege from the Scripture, namely, that Aaron and Jehoiada married wives of the tribe of Judah, and that thus, if women contain generative semen, the distinction of tribes was confounded. But it is sufficiently known, that, for the purposes of political regulation, the posterity is always reckoned from the father; yet that the superiority of the male sex forms no objection to the co.operation of the female semen in the process of generation. This solution extends to all the genealogies. Frequently, when the Scripture exhibits a catalogue of names, it mentions none but men; is it therefore to be concluded that women are nothing? Even children themselves know that women are comprehended under their husbands. For this reason women are said to bear children to their husbands, because the name of the family always remains with the males. Now as it is a privilege conceded to the superiority of the male sex, that children should be accounted noble or ignoble, according to the condition of their fathers; so on the other hand, it is held by the lawyers, that in a state of slavery the offspring follows the condition of the mother. Whence we may infer, that the offspring is produced partly from the seed of the mother: and the common language of all nations implies that mothers have some share in the generation of children. This is in harmony with the Divine law, which otherwise would have no ground for the prohibition of' the marriage of an uncle with his sister's daughter; because in that case there would be no consanguinity. It would also be lawful for a man to marry his uterine sister, provided she were begotten by another father. But while I grant that a passive power is ascribed to women, I also maintain that the same that is affirmed of men is indiscriminately predicated of them. Nor


law, expressly distinguishes him from the common condition of mankind; so that he is a real man, and yet free from all fault and corruption. They betray their ignorance in arguing that, if Christ be perfectly immaculate, and was begotten of the seed of Mary, by the secret operation of the Spirit, then it follows that there is no impurity in the seed of women, but only in that of men. For we do not represent Christ as perfectly immaculate, merely because he was bor n of the seed of a woman unconnected with any man, but because he was sanctified by the Spirit, so that his generation was pure and holy, such as it would have been before the fall of Adam. And it is a fixed maxim with us, that whenever the Scripture mentions the purity of Christ, it relates to a real humanity; because to assert the purity of Deity would be quite unnecessary. The sanctification also, of which he speaks in the seventeenth chapter of John,(z) could have no reference to the Divine nature. Nor do we, as they pretend, imagine two kinds of seed in Adam, notwithstanding Christ was free from all contagion. For the generation of man is not naturally and originally impure and corrupt, but only accidentally so, in consequence of the fall. Therefore we need not wonder, that Christ, who was to restore our integrity, was exempted from the general corruption. But what they urge on us as an absurdity, that if the Word of God was clothed with flesh, it was therefore confined within the narrow prison of an earthly body, is mere impudence; because although the infinite essence of the Word is united in one person with the nature of man, yet we have no idea of its incarceration or confinement. For the Son of God miraculously descended from heaven, yet in such a manner that he never left heaven; he chose to be miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin, to live on the earth, and to be suspended on the cross; and yet he never ceased to fill the universe, in the same manner as from the beginning.

(j) John xvii. 19.

[ocr errors]


The Union of the Two Natures constituting1 the Person of the

Mediator. WHEN it is said that "the Word was made flesh," (a) this is not to be understood as if the word were transmuted into flesh, or blended with flesh. Choosing from the womb of the Virgin a temple for his residence, he who was the son of God, became also the Son of man, not by a confusion of substance, but by a unity of person. For we assert such a connection and union of the divinity with the humanity, that each nature retains its properties entire, and yet both together constitute one Christ. If any thing among men can be found to resemble so great a mystery, man himself appears to furnish the most apposite similitude; being evidently composed of two substances, of which however neither is so confounded with the other, as not to retain its distinct nature. For the soul is not the body, nor is the body the soul. Wherefore that is predicated separately of the soul, which cannot be at all applied to the body. On the contrary, that is predicated of the body, which is totally incompatible with the soul. And that is predicated of the whole man, which cannot with propriety be understood either of the soul or of the body alone. Lastly, the properties of the soul are transferred to the body, and the properties of the body to the soul; yet he that is composed of these two parts is no more than one man. Such forms of expression signify that there is in man one person composed ^{ two distinct parts; and that there are two different natures united in him to constitute that one person. The Scriptures speak in a similar manner respecting Christ. They attribute to him, sometimes those things which are applicable merely to his humanity; sometimes those things which belong peculiarly to his divinity; and not unfrequently those things which comprehend both his natures, but are incompatible with either of them alone. And this union of the two natures in

(a) John i. 14.

« AnteriorContinuar »