Leo the Great: letters 1029
To Caesar Theodosius, the most religious and devout Augustus Leo pope of the Catholic Church of the city of Rome1 . He notifies the appointment of his representatives at the Council of Ephesus.
How much God’s providence vouchsafes to consult for the interests of men is shown by your merciful care which, incited by God’s Spirit, is unwilling that thereshould be any disturbance or difference: since the Faith, which is absolutely one, cannot be different from itself in any thing. Hence although Eutyches, as the minutes of the bishops’ proceeds reveals, has been detected in an ignorant and unwise error, and ought to have withdrawn from his conviction which is rightly condemned, yet since your piety which loves the Catholic Truth with great jealousy for God’s honour, has determined on a synodal judgment at Ephesus, that that Truth on which he is blind may be brought home to the ignorant old man; I have sent my brothers Julius the Bishop, Renatus the presbyter, and my son Hilary the deacon to act as my representatives as the matter requires, and they shall bring with them such a spirit of justice and kindness that while the whole misguided error is condemned (for there can be no doubt as to what is the integrity of the Christian Faith), yet if he who has gone astray repents and entreats for pardon, he may receive the succour of priestly indulgence: seeing that in his appeal2 which he sent us, he reserved to himself the right of earning our forgiveness by promising to correct whatever our opinion disapproved of in his opinion. But what the catholic Church universally believes and teaches on the mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation is contained more fully in the letter which I have sent to my brother and fellow-bishop Flavian. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 This is the title retained by Quesnel and the Ballerenii, though many mss. exhibit the simpler gloriosissimo et clementissimo Theodosio Augusto Leo episcopus , which is favoured by the Gk. version tw` ejndoxotavtw kai; filanqrwpotavtw k.t.l. Quesnel takes occasion to warn us to distinguish between this use of the title papa and that adopted later when it was equivalent to oecumenicus et universalis episcopus.
2 Viz., Lett. XXI., chaps. 1,nnd iii.
Much shorter than, but to nearly the same effect as, xxxi., which was written on the same day as this. As 30,has a Greek translation accompanying it and is duly dated, whereas 31,has neither, the Ballerinii would seem to be correct in thinking that 30,was despatched but did not reach Pulcheria (cf. Lett. 45,i). and that 31,was for some reason never used. Of the two we have printed 31,by preference, as being the fuller discussion of the subject.
Leo to Pulcheria Augusta.
I. He Reminds Pulcheria of Her Former Services to the Church, and Suggests Her Interference in the Eutychian Controversy.
How much protection the Lord has extended to His Church through your clemency, we have often tested by many signs. And whatever stand the strenuousness of the priesthood has made in our times against the assailers of the catholic Truth, has redounded chiefly to your glory: seeing that, as you have learnt from the teaching of the Holy Spirit, you submit your authority in all things to Him, by whose favour and under whose protection you reign. Wherefore, because I have ascertained from my brother and fellow-bishop Flavian’s report, that a certain dispute has been raised through the agency of Eutyches in the church of Constantinople against the integrity of the Christian faith (and the text of the synod’s minutes has shown me the exact nature of the whole matter), it is worthy of your great name that the error which in my opinion proceeds rather from ignorance than ingenuity, should be dispelled before, with the pertinacity of wrong-headedness, it gains any strength from the support of the unwise. Because even ignorance sometimes falls into serious mistakes, and very frequently the simple-minded rush through unwariness into the devil’s pit: and it is thus, I believe, that the spirit of falsehood has crept over Eutyches: so that, whilst he imagines himself to appreciate the majesty of the Son of God more devoutly, by denying in Him the real presence of our nature, he came to the conclusion that the whole of that Word which “became flesh” was of one and the same essence. And greatly as Nestorius fell away from the Truth, in asserting that Christ was only born man of His mother, this man also departs no less far from the catholic path, who does not believe that our substance was brought forth from the same Virgin: wishing it of course to be understood as belonging to His Godhead only; so that that which took the form of a slave, and was like us and of the same form2 , was a kind of image, not the reality of our nature.
II. Man’s Salvation Required the Union of the Two Natures in Christ.
But it is of no avail to say that our Lord, the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, was true and perfect man, if He is not believed to be Man of that stock which is attributed to Him in the Gospel. For Matthew says, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham3 :” and follows the order of His human origin, so as to bring the lines of His ancestry down to Joseph to whom the Lord’s mother was espoused. Whereas Luc going backwards step by step traces His succession to the first of the human race himself, to show that the first Adam and the last Adam were of the same nature. No doubt the Almighty Son of God could have appeared for the purpose of teaching, and justifying men in exactly the same way that He appeared both to patriarchs and prophets in the semblance of flesh4 ; for instance, when He engaged in a struggle, and entered into conversation (with Jacob), or when He refused not hospitable entertainment, and even partook of the food set before Him. But these appearances were indications of that Man whose reality it was announced by mystic predictions would be assumed from the stock of preceding patriarchs. And the fulfilment of the mystery of our atonement, which was ordained from all eternity, was not assisted by any figures because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin, and the power of the Most High had not over-shadowed her: so that “Wisdom building herself a house5 ” within her undefiled body, “the Word became flesh;” and the form of God and the form of a slave coming together into one person, the Creator of times was born in time; and He Himself through whom all things were made, was brought forth in the midst of all things. For if the New Man had not been made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and taken on Him our old nature, and being consubstantial with the Father, had deigned to be consubstantial with His mother also, and being alone free from sin, had united our nature to Him the whole human race would be held in bondage beneath the Devil’s yoke6 , and we should not be able to make use of the Conqueror’s victory, if it had been won outside our nature.
III. From the Union of the Two Natures Flows the Grace of Baptism. He Makes a Direct Appeal to Pulcheria for Her Help.
But from Christ’s marvellous sharing of the two natures, the mystery of regeneration shone upon us that through the self-same spirit, through whom Christ was conceived and born, we too, who were born through the desire of the flesh, might be born again from a spiritual source: and consequently, the Evangelist speaks of believers as those “who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God7 .” And of this unutterable grace no one is a partaker, nor can be reckoned among the adopted sons of God, who excludes from his faiththat which is the chief means of our salvation. Wherefore, I am much vexed and saddened that this man, who seemed before so laudably disposed towards humility, dares to make these empty and stupid attacks on the one Faith of ourselves and of our fathers. When he saw that his ignorant notion offended the ears of catholics, he ought to have withdrawn from his opinion, and not to have so disturbed the Church’s rulers, as to deserve a sentence of condemnation: which, of course, no one will be able to remit, if he is determined to abide by his notion. For the moderation of the Apostolic See uses its leniency in such a way as to deal severely with the contumacious, while desiring to offer pardon to those who accept correction. Seeing then that I possess great confidence in your lofty faith and piety, I entreat your illustrious clemency, that, as the preaching of the catholic Faith has always been aided by your holy zeal, so now, also, you will maintain its free action. Perchance the Lord allowed it to be thus assailed for this reason that we might discover what sort of persons lurked within the Church. And clearly, we must not neglect to look after such, lest we be afflicted with their actual loss.
IV. His Personal Presence at the Council Must Be Excused.the Question at Issue is a Verygrave One.
But the most august and Christian Emperor, being anxious that the disturbances may be set at rest with all speed, has appointed too short and early a date for the council of bishops, which he wishes held at Ephesus, in fixing the first of August for the meeting: for from the fifth of May, on which we received His Majesty’s letter, most of the time remaining has to be spent in making complete arrangements for the journey of such priests as are competent to represent me. For as to the necessity of my attending the council also, which his piety suggested, even if there were any precedent for the request, it could by no means be managed now: for the very uncertain state of things at present would not permit my absence from the people of this great city: and the minds of the riotously-disposed might be driven to desperate deeds, if they were to think that I took occasion of ecclesiastical business to desert my country8 and the Apostolic See. As then you recognize that it concerns the public weal that with your merciful indulgence I should not deny myself to the affectionate prayers of my people, consider that in these my brethren, whom I have sent in my stead, I also am present with the rest who appear: to them I have clearly and fully explained what is to be maintained in view of the satisfactory exposition of the case which has been given, me by the detailed report, and by the defendant’s own statement to me. For the question is not about some small portion of our Faith on which no very distinct declaration has been made: but the foolish opposition that is raised ventures to impugn that which our Lord desired no one of either sex in the Church to be ignorant of. For the short but complete confession of the catholic creed which contains the twelve sentences of the twelve apostles9 is so well furnished with the heavenly panoply, that all the opinions of heretics can receive their death-blow from that one weapon. And if Eutyches had been content to receive that creed in its entirety with a pure and simple heart, he would at no point go astray from the decrees of the most sacred council of Nicaea, and he would understand that the holy Fathers laid this down, to the end that no mental or rhetorical ingenuity should lift itself up against the Apostolic Faith which is absolutely one. Deign then, with your accustomed piety to do your best endeavour, that this blasphemous and foolish attack upon the one and only sacrament of man’s salvation may be driven from all men’s minds. And if the man himself, who has fallen into this temptation, recover his senses, so as to condemn his own error by a written recantation, let him not be denied communion with his order10 . Your clemency is to know that I have written in the same strain to the holy bishop Flavian also: that loving-kindness be not lost sight of, if the error be dispelled. Dated 13 June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 This was the Emperor Theodosius the younger’s sister a woman of noted zeal in the cause of the Church: for many years she had practically ruled the empire owing to her brother’s youthfulness. When the intrigues of Chrysaphius had brought about a quarrel between brother and sister, she retired for a time from public life. But becoming the virgin wife of Marcian, she, throughhim, helped to effect the victory of the Catholic cause at the Council of Chalcedon 451).
2 Quod nostri similis fuit atque conformis.
3 Mt 1,1.
4 Gn 32,24 Gn 18,1. It will be noticed that Leo unhesitatingly pronounces these and similar appearances to be manifestations of the Second Person in the Trinity.
5 Pr 9,1, Letter XXVIII. (The Tome), chap. ii., towards the end.
6 Sub iugo diaboli generaliter teneretur humana captivitas : for the word generaliter , cf. Letter XVI., chap. iv.,no. 3.
7 Jn 1,13.
8 Patriam. I can see very little ground for pressing this quite general expression to mean that he was a native of Rome, or even a native of Italy. The most that can be said is that it does not forbid the supposition).
9 Let the reader beware of accepting the plausible account here suggested of the formation of the Apostles’ Creed, and still more so of accepting the popular derivation of the word symbolum(suvmbolon) as the twelve Apostles’ twelve "contributions " (one each) to the Church’s rule of faith.
10 Communio sui ordinis .
To his well-beloved sons Faustus, Martinus, and the rest of the archimandrites, Leo the bishop. He acknowledges their zeal and refers them to the Tome.As on behalf of the faith which Eutyches has tried to disturb, I was sending legates de latere2 to assist the defence of the Truth, I thought it fitting that I should address a letter to you also, beloved: whom I know for certain to be so zealous in the cause of religion that you can by no means listen calmly to such blasphemous and profane utterances: for the Apostle’s command lingers in your hearts, in which it is said, “If any man hath preached unto you any gospel other than that which he received, let him be anathema3 .” And we also decide that the opinion of the said Eutyches is to be rejected, which, as we have learnt from perusing the proceedings, has been deservedly condemned: so that, if its foolish maintainer will abide by his perverseness, he may have fellowship with those whose error he has followed. For one who says that Christ had not a human, that is our, nature, is deservedly put out of Christ’s Church. But, if he be corrected through the pity of God’s Spirit and acknowledge his wicked error, so as to condemn unreservedly what catholics reject, we wish him not to be denied mercy, that the Lord’s Church may suffer no loss: for the repentant can always be readmitted, it is only error that must be shut out. Upon the mystery of great godliness4 , whereby through the Incarnation of the Word of God comes our justification and redemption, what is our opinion, drawn from the tradition of the fathers, is now sufficiently explained according to my judgment in the letter which I have sent to our brother Flavian the bishop5 : so that through the declaration of your chief you may know what, according to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we desire to be fixed in the hearts of all the faithful. Dated 13th June, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 It will be remembered that 23 abbots signed the condemnation of Eutyches: cf. Lett. XXI. chap. 2.
2 De latere meo .This is interesting as an early instance of the use of this expression for the legates of the pope (now so familiar): even though Quesnel is incorrect in saying for certain that Leo is the first Bishop of Rome who employed them. He himself quotes Concil. Sardic., canon 7, where the fathers ask the Roman bishop to send some one e latere suo (a.d. 347).
3 Ga 1,9,
4 I cannot doubt he has 1Tm 3,27, mevga ejsti to; th`" e;usebeiva" musthvrion (here sacramentum as usual) in his mind, though the Gk. translator apparently did not see it, his version being utterly inaccurate (peri; de; th"` aJgiovthto" pivstew" ).
5 Viz. ,LetterXXVIII.(TheTome).
Leo, bishop, to the holy Synod which is assembled at Ephesus.
I. He commends the Emperor’s appeal to the chair of Peter. The devout faith of our most clement prince, knowing that it especially concerns his glory to prevent any seed of error from springing up within the catholic Church, has paid such deference to the Divine institutions as to apply to the authority of the Apostolic See for a proper settlement: as if he wished it to be declared by the most blessed Peter himself what was praised in his confession, when the Lord said, “whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am 5?” and the disciples mentioned various people’s opinion: but, when He asked what they themselves believed, the chief of the apostles, embracing the fulness of the Faith in one short sentence, said, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God2 :” that is, Thou who truly art Son of man art also truly Son of the living God: Thou, I say, true in Godhead, true in flesh and one altogether3 , the properties of the two natures being kept intact. And if Eutyches had believed this intelligently and thoroughly, he would never have retreated from the path of this Faith. For Peter received this answer from the Lord for his confession. “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church: and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it4 .” But he who both rejects the blessed Peter’s confession, and gainsays Christ’s Gospel, is far removed from union with this building; for he shows himself. never to have had any zeal for understanding the Truth, and to have only the empty appearance of high esteem, who did not adorn the hoary hairs of old age with any ripe judgment of the heart.
II. The Heresy of Eutyches is to Be Condemned Though His Full Repentance May Lead to His Restitution.
But because the healing even of such men must not be neglected, and the most Christian Emperor has piously and devoutly desired a council of bishops to be held, that all error may be destroyed by a fuller judgment, I have sent our brothers Julius the bishop, Renatus the presbyter, and my son Hilary the deacon, and with them Dulcitius the notary, whose faith we have proved, to be present in my stead at your holy assembly, brethren, and settle in common with you what is in accordance with the Lord’s will. To wit, that the pestilential error may be first condemned, and then the restitution of him, who has so unwisely erred, discussed, but only if embracing the true doctrine he fully and openly with his own voice and signature condemns those heretical opinions in which his ignorance has been ensnared: for this he has promised in the appeal which he sent to us, pledging himself to follow our judgment in all things5 . On receiving our brother and fellow-bishop Flavian’s letter, we have replied to him at some length on the points which he seems to have referred to us6 : that when this error which seems to have arisen, has been destroyed, there may be one Faith and one and the same confession throughout the whole world to the praise and glory of God, and that “in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father7 .” Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 This letter has a note prefixed to it in some Gk. and Latin mss. to the effect that it was produced but suppressed, and not allowed to be read through Dioscorus. Bishop Of Alexandria).
2 Mt 16,13 Mt 16,16
3 Utrumque (Gk.eJkavteron) unus.
4 Mt 16,17-18.
5 Cf. Lett. XXI. ,chaps. 1,And ii.
6 See Lett. XXVII. , n.7.
7 Ph 2,10,
Leo, the bishop, to Julian, the bishop, his well-beloved brother.
I. Eutyches is Now Clearly, Seen to Have Deviated from the Faith.
Your letter, beloved, which has just reached me, shows with what spiritual love of the Catholic Faith you are inspired: and it makes me very glad that devout hearts all agree in the same opinion, so that according to the teaching of the Holy Ghost there may be fulfilled in us what the Apostle says: “Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same things, and there be no divisions among you: but that ye be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment1 .” But Eutyches has put himself quite outside this unity, if he perseveres in his perversity, and still does not understand the bonds with which the devil has bound him, and thinks any one is to be reckoned among the Lord’s priests, who is a party to his ignorance and madness. For some time we were uncertain in what he was displeasing to catholics: and when we received no letter from our brother Flavian, and Eutyches himself complained in his letter2 that the Nestorian heresy was being revived, we could not fully learn the source or the motive of so crafty an accusation. But as soon as the minutes of the bishops’ proceedings reached us, all those things which were hidden beneath the veil of his deceitful complaints were revealed in their abomination.
II. He Announces the Appointment of Legates a Latere.
And because our most clement Emperor in the loving-kindness and godliness of his mind wished a more careful judgment to be passed about the position of one who hitherto has seemed to be in high esteem, and for this purpose has thought fit to convene a council of bishops, by the hands of our brothers Julius the bishop, and Renatus the presbyter, and also my son Hilary, the deacon whom I have sent ex latere3 in my stead, I have addressed a letter suited to the needs of the case to our brother Flavian. from which you also, beloved, and the whole Church may know about the ancient and unique Faith, which this unlearned opponent has assailed, what we hold as handed down from God and what we preach without alteration. Yet, because we must not forget the duty of mercy, we have considered it consonant with our moderation as priests, that, if the condemned presbyter corrects himself unreservedly, the sentence by which he is bound should be remitted: if, however, he chooses to lie in the mire of his foolishness, let the decree remain, and let him have his lot with those whose error he has followed. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449)4 .
1 1Co 1,10,
2 See Lett. XX. , above).
3 See Lett,XXXII., n. 9, above.
4 This letter (XXXIV). is written on the same day and subject and to the same person as the next letter (XXXV).: the differences between them being (l) the greater length and fuller treatment of the second; and (2) that the one is entrusted to Leo’s legates, the other to Julius’ own messenger, Basil the deacon; and (3) that the shorter has no Gk. version as the longer has. I think the Ballerinii are undoubtedly right in facing the difficulty boldly, the evidence of the mss. being invariable, except that XXXIV. is only found in a few collections: and I would suggest that XXXIV. is a formal, official communication, and XXXV. a private, confidential one. This will account for the difference of messengers, and the identity of date, subject and person addressed, and is justifiable as a piece of necessary diplomatic secrecy. In XXX. and XXXI. we have another instance of two letters. to the same person on the same day, one of these (XXXI). being also without a Gk. version this time the longer one : but here we have adopted the Ballerinii’s suggestion that only the first was sent. It should further be noticed that out of the very large batch of letters that are dated the 13th of June which includes the Tome (8 in all. XXVIII.-XXXV)., it may well have been convergent to delay one and send it by another hand.
Leo, bishop of the city of Rome to his well-beloved brother, Julian the bishop.
I. Eutyches’ Heresy Involves Many Other Heresies.
Although by the hands of our brothers, whom we have despatched from the city on behalf of the Faith, we hare sent a most full refutation of Eutyches’ excessive heresy to our brother Flavian, yet because we have received, through our son Basil, your letter, beloved, which has given us much pleasure from the fervour of its catholic spirit, we have added this page also which agrees with the other document, that you may offer a united and strenuous resistance to those who seek to corrupt the gospel of Christ, since the wisdom and the teaching of the Holy Spirit is one and the same in you as in us: and whosoever does not receive it, is not a member of Christ’s body and cannot glory in that Head in which he denies the presence of his own nature. What advantage is it to that most unwise old man under the name of the Nestorian heresy to mangle the belief of those, whose most devout faith he cannot tear to pieces: when in declaring the only-begotten Son of God to have been so born of the blessed Virgin’s womb that He wore the appearance of a human body without the reality of human flesh being united to the Word, he departs as far from the right path as did Nestorius in separating the Godhead of the Word from the substance of His assumed Manhood2 ? From which prodigious falsehood who does not see what monstrous opinions spring? for he who denies the true Manhood of Jesus Christ, must needs be filled with many blasphemies, being claimed by Apollinaris as his own, seized upon by Valentinus, or held fast by Manichaeus: none of whom believed that there was true human flesh in Christ. But, surely, if that is not accepted, not only is it denied that He. who was in the form of God, but yet abode in the form of a slave, was born Man according to the flesh and reasonable soul: but also that He was crucified, dead, and buried, and that on the third day He rose again, and that, sitting at the right hand of the Father, he will come to judge the quick and the dead3 in that body in which He Himself was judged,: because these pledges4 of our redemption are rendered void if Christ is not believed to have the true and whole nature of true Manhood.
II. The Two Natures are to Be Found in Christ.
Or because the signs of His Godhead were undoubted, shall the proof of his having a human body be assumed false, and thus theindications of both natures be accepted to prove Him Creator, but not be accepted for the salvation of the creature5 ? No, for the flesh did not lessen what belongs to His Godhead, nor the Godhead destroy what belongs to His flesh. For He is at once both eternal from His Father and temporal from His mother, inviolable in His strength, possible in our weakness: in the Triune Godhead, of one and the same substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but in taking Manhood on Himself, not of one substance but of one and the same person [so that He was at once rich in poverty, almighty in submission, impossible in punishment, immortal in death6 ]. For the Word was not in any part of It turned either into flesh or into soul, seeing that the absolute and unchangeable nature of the Godhead is ever entire in its Essence, receiving no loss nor increase, and so beatifying the nature that It had assumed that that nature remained for ever glorified in the person of the Glorifier). [But why should it seem unsuitable or impossible that the Word and flesh and soul should be one Jesus Christ, and that the Son of God and the Son of Man should be one, if flesh and soul which are of different natures make one person even without the Incarnation of the Word: since it is much easier for the power of the Godhead to produce this union of Himself and man than for the weakness of manhood by itself to effect it in its own substance.] Therefore neither was the Word changed into flesh nor flesh into the Word: but both remains in one and one is in both, not divided by the diversity and not confounded by intermixture: He is not one by His Father and another by His mother, but the same, in one way by His Father before every beginning, and in another by His mother at the end of the ages: so that He was “mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus7 ,” in whom dwelt “the fulness of the Godhead bodily8 :” because it was the assumed (nature) not the Assuming (nature) which was raised, because God “exalted Him and gave Him the Name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ the Lord is in the glory of God the Father9 .”
III. The Soul of Christ and the Body of Christ Were Real in the Full Human Sense, Though the Circumstances of His Birth Were Unique.
[But as to that which Eutyches dared to say in the court of bishops “that before the Incarnation there were two natures in Christ, but after the Incarnation one10 ,”he ought to have been pressed by the frequent and anxious questions of the judges to render an account of his acknowledgment, lest it should be passed over as something trivial, though it was seen to have issued from the same fount as his other poisonous opinions. For I think that in saying this he was convinced that the soul, which the Saviour assumed, had had its abode in the heavens before He was born of the Virgin Mary, and that the Word joined it to Himself in the womb. But this is intolerable to catholic minds and ears: because the Lord who came down from heaven brought with Him nothing that belonged to our state: for He did not receive either a soul which had existed before nor a flesh which was not of his mother’s body. Undoubtedly our nature was not assumed in such a way that it was created first and then assumed, but it was created by the very assumption. And hence that which was deservedly condemned in Origen must be punished in Eutyches also, unless he prefers to give up his opinion, viz. the assertion that souls have had not only a life but also different actions before they were inserted in men’s bodies11 ]. For although the Lord’s nativity according to the flesh has certain characteristics wherein it transcends the ordinary beginnings of man’s being, both because He alone was conceived and born without concupiscence of a pure Virgin, and because He was so brought forth of His mother’s womb that her fecundity bare Him without loss of virginity: yet His flesh was not of another nature to ours: nor was the soul breathed into Him from another source to that of all other men, and it excelled others not in difference of kind but in superiority of power. For He had no opposition in His flesh [nor did the strife of desires give rise to a conflict of wishes12 ]. His bodily senses were active without the law of sin, and the reality of His emotions being under the control of His Godhead and His mind, was neither assaulted by temptations nor yielded to injurious influences. But true Man was united to God and was not brought down from heaven as regards a pro-existing soul, nor created out of nothing as regards the flesh: it wore the same person in the Godhead of the Word and possessed a nature in common with us in its body and soul. For He would not be “the mediator between God and man,” unless God and man had co-existed in both natures forming one true Person. The magnitude of the subject urges us to a lengthy discussion: but with one of your learning there is no need for such copious dissertations, especially as we have already sent a sufficient letter to our brother Flavian by our delegates for the confirmation of the minds, not only of priests but also of the laity. The mercy of God will, we believe, provide that without the loss of one soul the sound may be defended against the devil’s wiles, and the wounded healed. Dated 13th June in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes (449).
1 See Lett. XXXIV., chap. ii. n. 5.
2 The Gk. version here adds and “from the very conception of the Virgin,” but this is probably only a repetition of the words “of the Virgin’s womb,” just above.
3 It can escape no one that he is here, and frequently throughout this letter, quoting from the Creed.
5 i.e. shall the signs of His being God. Which are undoubted, and the signs that He had a body of some sort be allowed to prove Him one with the Creator of the world, but not go so far as to show that that body which He had was a fully human one ?
6 (So that-in death, bracketed by the editors as not being translated in the Gk. version, and perhaps here we have a gloss to explain the somewhat obscure words that precede it: but throughout this letter large portions are so bracketed in each case the Gk. Version omitting them. ,
7 1Tm 2,5,
8 Col 2,9,
9 Ph 2,9-11.
10 Cf. the Tome, Lett. XXVII., chap. vi., n. 5.
11 Cf. Lett. XV., chap. xi., n. 6.
12 Here again the second clause (in brackets) seems a gloss on the first, see n. 2, above: what is meant will be seen by comparing S. Paul’s famous disquisition (Rm vii)).
Leo the Great: letters 1029