Damascus Orthodox faith 416
417 It is one and the same God Whom both the Old and the New Testament proclaim, Who is praised and glorified in the Trinity: I am come, saith the Lord, not to destroy life law but to fulfil it264 . For He Himself worked out our salvation for which all Scripture and all mystery exists. And again, Search the Scriptures for they are they that testify of Me265 . And the Apostle says, God, Who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son266 . Through the Holy Spirit, therefore, both the law and the prophets, the evangelists and apostles and pastors and teachers, spake.
All Scripture, then, is given by inspiration of God and is also assuredly profitable267 . Wherefore to search the Scriptures is a work most fair and most profitable for souls. For just as the tree planted by the channels of waters, so also the soul watered by the divine Scripture is enriched and gives fruit in its season268 , viz. orthodox belief, and is adorned with evergreen leafage, I mean, actions pleasing to God. For through the Holy Scriptures we are trained to action that is pleasing to God, and untroubled contemplation. For in these we find both exhortation to every virtue and dissuasion from every vice. If, therefore, we are lovers of learning, we shall also be learned in many things. For by care and toil and the grace of God the Giver, all things are accomplished). For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to hint that knocketh it shall be opened269 . Wherefore let us knock at that very fair garden of the Scriptures, so fragrant and sweet and blooming, with its varied sounds of spiritual and divinely-inspired birds ringing all round our ears, laying hold of our hearts, comforting the mourner, pacifying the angry and filling him with joy everlasting: which sets our mind on the gold-gleaming, brilliant back of the divine dove270 , whose bright pinions bear up to the only-begotten Son and Heir of the Husbandman271 of that spiritual Vineyard and bring us through Him to the Father of Lights272 . But let us not knock carelessly but rather zealously and constantly: lest knocking we grow weary. For thus it will be opened to us. If we read once or twice and do not understand what we read, let us not grow weary, but let us persist, let us talk much, let us enquire. For ask thy Father, he saith, and He will shew thee: thy elders and they will tell thee273 . For there is not in every man that knowledge274 . Let us draw of the fountain of the garden perennial and purest waters springing into life eternal275 . Here let us luxuriate, let us revel insatiate: for the Scriptures possess inexhaustible grace. But if we are able to pluck anything profitable from outside sources, there is nothing to forbid that. Let us become tried money-dealers, heaping up the true and pure gold and discarding the spurious. Let us keep the fairest sayings but let us throw to the dogs absurd gods and strange myths: for we might prevail most mightily against them through themselves.
Observe, further276 , that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew tongue. For there are twenty-two letters of which five are double, and so they come to be twenty-seven. For the letters Caph, Mere, Nun, Pe277 , Sade are double. And thus the number of the books in this way is twenty-two, but is found to be twenty-seven because of the double character of five. For Rt is joined on to Judges, and the Hebrews count them one book: the first and second books of Kings are counted one: and so are the third and fourth books of Kings: and also the first and second of Paraleipomena: and the first and second of Esdra. In this way, then, the books are collected together in four Pentateuchs and two others remain over, to form thus the canonical books. Five of them are of the Law, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. This which is the code of the Law, constitutes the first Pentateuch. Then comes another Pentateuch, the so-called Grapheia278 , or as they are called by some, the Hagiographa, which are the following: Jesus the Son of Nave279 , Judges along with Ruth, first and second Kings, which are one book, third and fourth Kings, which are one book, and the two books of the Paraleipomena280 which are one book. This is the second Pentateuch. The third Pentateuch is the books in verse, viz. Job, Psalms, Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes of Solomon and the Song of Songs of Solomon. The fourth Pentateuch is the Prophetical books, viz the twelve prophets constituting one book, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Then come the two books of Esdra made into one, and Esther281 . There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus, which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and afterwards translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the Son of Sirach. These are virtuous and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark.
The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John: the Ac of the Holy Apostles by Lc the Evangelist: seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude: fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul: the Revelation of Jn the Evangelist: the Canons282 of the holy apostles283 , by Clement.
418 The things said concerning Christ fall into four generic modes. For some fit Him even before the incarnation, others in the union, others after the union, and others after the resurrection. Also of those that refer to the period before the incarnation there are six modes: for some of them declare the union of nature and the identity in essence with the Father, as this, I and My Father are one284 : also this, (He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father285 : and this, Who being in the form of God286 , and so forth. Others declare the perfection of subsistence, as these, Son of God, and the Express Image of His person287 , and Messenger of great counsel, Wonderful Counsellor288 , and the like.
Again, others declare the indwelling289 of the subsistences in one another, as, I am in the Father and the Father in Me290 ; and the inseparable foundation291 , as, for instance, the Word, Wisdom, Power, Effulgence. For the word is inseparably established in the mind (and it is the essential mind that I mean), and so also is wisdom, and power in him that is powerful, and effulgence in the light, all springing forth from these292 .
And others make known the fact of His origin from the Father as cause, for instance My Father is greater than I293 . For from Him He derives both His being and all that He has294 : His being was by generative and not by creative means, as, I came forth from the Father and am come295 , and I live by the Father296 . But all that He hath is not His by free gift or by teaching, but in a causal sense, as, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do297 . For if the Father is not, neither is the Son. For the Son is of the Father and in the Father and with the Father, and not after298 the Father. In like manner also what He doeth is of Him and with Him. For there is one and the same, not similar but the same, will and energy and power in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Moreover, other things are said as though the Father’s good-will was fulfilled299 through His energy, and not as through an instrument or a servant, but as through His essential and hypostatic Word and Wisdom and Power, because but one action300 is observed in Father and Son, as for example, All things were made by Him301 , and He sent His Word and healed them302 , and That they may believe that Than hast sent Me303 .
Some, again, have a prophetic sense, and of these some are in the future tense: for instance, (He shall come openly304 , and this from Zechariah, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee305 , and this from Micah, Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place and will came down and tread upon the high places of the earth306 . But others, though future, are put in the past tense, as, for instance, This is our God: Therefore He was seen upon the earth and dwell among men307 , and The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways for His works308 , and Wherefore God, thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows309 , and such like.
The things said, then, that refer to the period before the union will be applicable to Him even after the union: but those that refer to the period after the union will not be applicable at all before the union, unless indeed in a prophetic sense, as we said. Those that refer to the time of the union have three modes. For when our discourse dears with the higher aspect, we speak of the deification of the flesh, and His assumption of the Word and exceeding exaltation, and so forth, making manifest the riches that are added to the flesh tram the union and natural conjunction with the most high God the Word. And when our discourse deals with the lower aspect, we speak of the incarnation of God the Word, His becoming man, His emptying of Himself, His poverty, His humility. For these and such like are imposed upon the Word and God through His admixture with humanity. When again we keep both sides in view at the same time, we speak of union, community, anointing, natural conjunction, conformation and the like. The former two modes, then, have their reason in this third mode. For through the union it is made clear what either has obtained from the intimate junction with and permeation through the other. For through the union310 in subsistence the flesh is said to be deified and to become God and to be equally God with the Word; and God the Word is said to be made flesh, and to become man, and is called creature and last311 : not in the sense that the two natures are converted into one compound nature (for it is not possible for the opposite natural qualities to exist at the same time in one nature)312 , but in the sense that the two natures are united in subsistence and permeate one another without confusion or transmutation The permeation313 moreover did not come of the flesh but of the divinity: for it is impossible that the flesh should permeate through the divinity: but the divine nature once permeating through the flesh gave also to the flesh the same ineffable power of permeation314 ; and this indeed is what we call union.
Note, too, that in the case of the first and second modes of those that belong to the period of the union, reciprocation is observed. For when we speak about the flesh, we use the terms deification and assumption of the Word and exceeding exaltation and anointing. For these are derived from divinity, but are observed in connection with the flesh. And when we speak about the Word, we use the terms emptying, incarnation, becoming man, humility and the like: and these, as we said, are imposed on the Word and God through the flesh. For He endured these things in person of His own free-will.
Of the things that refer to the period after the union there are three modes. The first declares His divine nature, as, I am in the Father and the Father in Me315 , and I and the Father are one316 : and all those things which are affirmed of Him before His assumption of humanity, these will be affirmed of Him even after His assumption of humanity, with this exception, that He did not assume the flesh and its natural properties.
The second declares His human nature, as, Now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth317 , and Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up318 , and the like.
Further, of the statements made and written about Christ the Saviour after the manner of men, whether they deal with sayings or actions, there are six modes. For some of them were done or said naturally in accordance with the incarnation; for instance, His birth from a virgin, His growth and progress with age, His hunger, thirst, weariness, fear, sleep, piercing with nails, death and all such like natural and innocent passions319 . For in all these there is a mixture of the divine and human, although they are held to belong in reality to the body, the divine suffering none of these, but procuring through them our salvation.
Others are of the nature of ascription320 , as Christ’s question, Where have ye laid Lazarus321 ? His running to the fig-tree, His shrinking, that is, His drawing back, His praying, and His making as though He would have gone further322 . For neither as God nor as man was He in need of these or similar things, but only because His form was that of a man as necessity and expediency demanded323 . For example, the praying was to shew that He is not opposed to God, for He gives honour to the Father as the cause of Himself324 : and the question was not put in ignorance but to shew that He is in truth man as well as God325 ; and the drawing back is to teach us not to be impetuous nor to give ourselves up.
Others again are said in the manner of association and relation326 , as, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me327 ? and (He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin328 , and being made a curse for us329 ; also, Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him330 . For neither as God nor as man331 was He ever forsaken by the Father, nor did He become sin or a curse, nor did He require to be made subject to the Father. For as God He is equal to the Father and not opposed to Him nor subjected to Him; and as God, He was never at any time disobedient to His Begetter to make it necessary for Him to make Him subject332 . Appropriating, then, our person and ranking Himself with us, He used these words. For we are bound in the fetters of sin and the curse as faithless and disobedient, and therefore forsaken.
Others are said by reason of distinction in thought. For if you divide in thought things that are inseparable in actual truth, to cut the flesh from the Word, the terms ‘servant’ and ‘ignorant’ are used of Him, for indeed He was of a subject and ignorant nature, and except that it was united with God the Word, His flesh was servile and ignorant333 . But because of the union in subsistence with God the Word it was neither servile nor ignorant. In this way, too, He called the Father His God.
Others again are for the purpose of revealing Him to us and strengthening our faith, as, And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee, before the world was334 . For He Himself was glorified and is glorified, but His glory was not manifested nor confirmed to us. Also that which the apostle said, Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead335 . For by the miracles and the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit it was manifested and confirmed to the world that He is the Son of God336 . And this too337 , The Child grew in wisdom and grace338 .
Others again have reference to His appropriation of the personal life of the Jews, in numbering Himself among the Jews, as He saith to the Samaritan woman, Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship, far salvation is of the Jews339 .
The third mode is one which declares the one subsistence and brings out the dual nature: for instance, And I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me340 . And this: I go to My Father and ye see Me no more341 . And this: They would not have crucified the Lord of Glory342 . And this: And no man hath ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven343 , and such like.
Again of the affirmations that refer to the period after the resurrection some are suitable to God, as, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost344 , for here ‘Son’ is clearly used as God; also this, And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world345 , and other similar ones. For He is with us as God. Others are suitable to man, as, They held Him by the feet346 , and There they will see Me347 , and so forth.
Further, of those referring to the period after the Resurrection that are suitable to man there are different modes. For some did actually take place, yet not according to nature348 , but according to dispensation, in order to confirm the fact that the very body, which suffered, rose again; such are the weals, the eating and the drinking after the resurrection. Others took place actually and naturally, as changing from place to place without trouble and passing in through closed gates. Others have the character of simulation349 , as, (He made as though He would have gone further350 . Others are appropriate to the double nature, as, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and our God351 , and The King of Glory shall come in352 , and (He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on High353 . Finally others are to be understood as though He were ranking Himself with us, in the manner of separation in pure thought, as, My God and your God354 .
Those then that are sublime must be assigned to the divine nature, which is superior to passion and body: and those that are humble must be ascribed to the human nature; and those that are common must be attributed to the compound, that is, the one Christ, Who is God and man. And it should be understood that both belong to one and the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. For if we know what is proper to each, and perceive that both are performed by one and the same, we shall have the true faith and shall not go astray. And from all these the difference between the united natures is recognised, and the fact355 that, as the most godly Cyril says, they are not identical in the natural quality of their divinity and humanity. But yet there is but one Son and Christ and Lord: and as He is one, He has also but one person, the unity in subsistence being in nowise broken up into parts by the recognition of the difference of the natures.
It is to be observed357 that it is the custom in the Holy Scripture to speak of God’s permission as His energy, as when the apostle says in the Epistle to the Romans, Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour358 ? And for this reason, that He Himself makes this or that. For He is Himself alone the Maker of all things; yet it is not He Himself that fashions noble or ignoble things, but the personal choice of each one359 . And this is manifest from what the same Apostle says in the Second Epistle to Timothy, In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work360 . And it is evident that the purification must be voluntary: for if a man, he saith, purge himself. And the consequent antistrophe responds, “If a man purge not himself he will be a vessel to dishonour, unmeet for the master’s use and fit only to be broken in pieces.” Wherefore this passage that we have quoted and this, God hath concluded them all in unbelief361 , and this, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear362 , all these must be understood not as though God Himself were energising, but as though God were permitting, both because of free-will and because goodness knows no compulsion.
His permission, therefore, is usually spoken of in the Holy Scripture as His energy and work. Nay, even when He says that God creates evil things, and that there is no evil in a city that the Lord hath not done, he does not mean by these words363 that the Lord is the cause of evil, but the word ‘evil364 ’ is used in two ways, with two meanings. For sometimes it means what is evil by nature, and this is the opposite of virtue and the will of God: and sometimes it means that which is evil and oppressive to our sensation, that is to say, afflictions and calamities. Now these are seemingly evil because they are painful, but in reality are good. For to those who understand they became ambassadors of conversion and salvation. The Scripture says that of these God is the Author.
It is, moreover, to be observed that of these, too, we are the cause: for involuntary evils are the offspring of voluntary ones365 .
This also should be recognised, that it is usual in the Scriptures for some things that ought to be considered as effects to be stated in a causal sense366 , as, Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Than mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and prevail when Thou judgest367 . For the sinner did not sin in order that God might prevail, nor again did God require our sin in order that He might by it be revealed as victor368 . For above comparison He wins the victor’s prize against all, even against those who are sinless, being Maker, incomprehensible, uncreated, and possessing natural and not adventitious glory. But it is because when we sin God is not unjust in His anger against us; and when He pardons the penitent He is shewn victor over our wickedness. But it is not for this that we sin, but because the thing so turns out. It is just as if one were sitting at work and a friend stood near by, and one said, My friend came in order that I might do no work that day. The friend, however, was not present in order that the man should do no work, but such was the result. For being occupied with receiving his friend he did not work. These things, too, are spoken of as effects because affairs so turned out. Moreover, God does not wish that He alone should be just, but that all should, so far as possible, be made like unto Him.
420 That there are not two kingdoms369 , one good and one bad, we shall see from this. For good and evil are opposed to one another and mutually destructive, and cannot exist in one another or with one another. Each of them, therefore, in its own division will belong to the whole, and first370 they will he circumscribed, not by the whole alone but also each of them by part of the whole.
Next I ask371 , who it is that assigns372 to each its place. For they will not affirm that they have come to a friendly agreement with, or been reconciled to, one another. For evil is not evil when it is at peace with, and reconciled to, goodness, nor is goodness good when it is on amicable terms with evil. But if He Who has marked off to each of these its own sphere of action is something different from them, He must the rather be God.
One of two things indeed is necessary, either that they come in contact with and destroy one another, or that there exists some intermediate place where neither goodness nor evil exists, separating both from one another, like a partition. And so there will be no longer two but three kingdoms.
Again, one of these alternatives is necessary, either that they are at peace, which is quite incompatible with evil (for that which is at peace is not evil), or they are at strife, which is incompatible with goodness (for that which is at strife is not perfectly good), or the evil is at strife and the good does not retaliate, but is destroyed by the evil, or they are ever in trouble and distress373 , which is not a mark of goodness. There is, therefore, but one kingdom, delivered from all evil.
But if this is so, they say, whence comes evil374 ? For it is quite impossible that evil should originate from goodness. We answer then, that evil is nothing else than absence of goodness and a lapsing375 from what is natural into what is unnatural: for nothing evil is natural. For all things, whatsoever God made, are very good376 , so far as they were made: if, therefore, they remain just as they were created, they are very good, but when they voluntarily depart from what is natural and turn to what is unnatural, they slip into evil.
By nature, therefore, all things are servants of the Creator and obey Him. Whenever, then, any of His creatures voluntarily rebels and becomes disobedient to his Maker, he introduces evil into himself. For evil is not any essence nor a property of essence, but an accident, that is, a voluntary deviation from what is natural into what is unnatural, which is sin.
Whence, then, comes sin377 ? It is an invention of the free-will of the devil. Is the devil, then, evil? In so far as he was brought into existence he is not evil but good. For he was created by his Maker a bright and very brilliant angel, endowed with free-will as being rational. But he voluntarily departed from the virtue that is natural and came into the darkness of evil, being far removed from God, Who alone is good and can give life and light. For from Him every good thing derives its goodness, and so far as it is separated from Him in will (for it is not in place), it falls into evil.
God in His goodness379 brought what exists into being out of nothing, and has foreknowledge of what will exist in the future. If, therefore, they were not to exist in the future, they would neither be evil in the future nor would they be foreknown. For knowledge is of what exists and foreknowledge is of what will surely exist in the future. For simple being comes first and then good or evil being. But if the very existence of those, who through the goodness of God are in the future to exist, were to be prevented by the fact that they were to become evil of their own choice, evil would have prevailed over the goodness of God. Wherefore God makes all His works good, but each becomes of its own choice good or evil. Although, then, the Lord said, Good were it for that man that he had never been born380 , He said it in condemnation not of His own creation but of the evil which His own creation had acquired by his own choice and through his own heedlessness. For the heedlessness that marks man’s judgment made His Creator’s beneficence of no profit to him. It is just as if any one, when he had obtained riches and dominion from a king, were to lord it over his benefactor, who, when he has worsted him, will punish him as he deserves, if he should see him keeping hold of the sovereignty to the end.
422 The Deity is good and more than good, and so is His will. For that which God wishes is good. Moreover the precept, which teaches this, is law, that we, holding by it, may walk in light381 : and the transgression of this precept is sin, and this continues to exist on account of the assault of the devil and our unconstrained and voluntary reception of it382 . And this, too, is called law383 .
And so the law of God, settling in our mind, draws it towards itself and pricks our conscience. And our conscience, too, is called a law of our mind. Further, the assault of the wicked one, that is the law of sin, settling in the members of our flesh, makes its assault upon us through it. For by once voluntarily transgressing the law of God and receiving the assault of the wicked one, we gave entrance to it, being sold by ourselves to sin. Wherefore our body is readily impelled to it. And so the savour and perception of sin that is stored up in our body, that is to say, lust and pleasure of the body, is law in the members of our flesh.
Therefore the law of my mind, that is, the conscience, sympathises with the law of God, that is, the precept, and makes that its will. But the law of sin384 , that is to say, the assault made through the law that is in our members, or through the lust and inclination and movement of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, is in opposition to the law of my mind, that is to conscience, and takes me captive (even though I make the law of God my will and set my love on it, and make not sin my will), by reason of commixture385 : and through the softness of pleasure and the lust of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, as I said, it leads me astray and induces me to become the servant of sin. But what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (for He assumed flesh but not sin) condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but in the Spirit386 . For the Spirit helpeth our infirmities387 and affordeth power to the law of our mind, against the law that is in our members. For the verse, we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered388 , itself teacheth us what to pray for. Hence it is impossible to carry out the precepts of the Lord except by patience and prayer.
423 The seventh day is called the Sabbath and signifies rest. For in it God rested from all His works389 , as the divine Scripture says: and so the number of the days goes up to seven and then circles back again and begins at the first. This is the precious number with the Jews. God having ordained that it should be held in honour, and that in no chance fashion but with the imposition of most heavy penalties for the transgression390 . And it was not in a simple fashion that He ordained this, but for certain reasons understood mystically by the spiritual and clear-sighted391 .
(So far, indeed, as I in my ignorance know, to begin with inferior and more dense things, God, knowing the denseness of the Israelites and their carnal love and propensity towards matter in everything, made this law: first, in order that the servant and the cattle should rest392 as it is written, for the righteous man regardeth the life of his beast393 : next, in order that when they take their ease from the distraction of material things, they may gather together unto God, spending the whole of the seventh day in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and the study of the divine Scriptures and resting in God. For when394 the law did not exist and there was no divinely-inspired Scripture, the Sabbath was not consecrated to God. But when the divinely-inspired Scripture was given by Moses, the Sabbath was consecrated to God in order that on it they, who do not dedicate their whole life to God, and who do not make their desire subservient to the as though to a Father, but are like foolish servants, may on that day talk much concerning the exercise of it, and may abstract a small, truly a most insignificant, portion of their life for the service of God, and this from fear of the chastisements and punishments which threaten transgressors). For the law is not made for a righteous man but for the unrighteous395 . Moses, of a truth, was the first to abide fasting with God for forty days and again for another forty396 , and thus doubtless to afflict himself with hunger on the Sabbaths although the law forbade self-affliction on the Sabbath. But if they should object that this took place before the law, what will they say about Elias the Thesbite who accomplished a journey of forty days on one meal397 ? For he, by thus afflicting himself on the Sabbaths not only with hunger but with the forty days’ journeying, broke the Sabbath: and yet God, Who gave the law, was not wroth with him but shewed Himself to him on Choreb as a reward for his virtue. And what will they say about Daniel? Did he not spend three weeks without food398 ? And again, did not all Israel circumcise the child on the Sabbath, if it happened to be the eighth day after birth399 ? And do they not hold the great fast which the law enjoins if it falls on the Sabbath400 ? And further, do not the priests and the Levites profane the Sabbath in the works of the tabernacle401 and yet are held blameless? Yea, if an ox should fall into a pit on the Sabbath, he who draws it forth is blameless, while he who neglects to do so is condemned402 . And did not all the Israelites compass the walls of Jericho bearing the Ark of God for seven days, in which assuredly the Sabbath was included403 .
As I said404 , therefore, for the purpose of securing leisure to worship God in order that they might, both servant and beast of burden, devote a very small share to Him and be at rest, the observance of the Sabbath was devised for the carnal that were still childish and in the bonds of the elements of the world405 , and unable to conceive of anything beyond the body and the letter). But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Only-begotten Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons406 . For to as many of us as received Him, He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on Him407 . So that we are no longer servants but sons408 : no longer under the law but under grace: no longer do we serve God in part from fear, but we are bound to dedicate to Him the whole span of our life, and cause that servant, I mean wrath and desire, to cease from sin and bid it devote itself to the service of God, always directing our whole desire towards God and arming our wrath against the enemies of God: and likewise we hinder that beast of burden, that is the body, from the servitude of sin, and urge it forwards to assist to the uttermost the divine precepts.
These are the things which the spiritual law of Christ enjoins on us and those who observe that become superior to the law of Moses). For when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away409 : and when the covering of the law, that is, the veil, is rent asunder through the crucifixion of the Saviour, and the Spirit shines forth with tongues of fire, the letter shall be done away with, bodily things shall come to an end, the law of servitude shall be fulfilled, and the law of liberty be bestowed on us. Yea410 we shall celebrate the perfect rest of bureau nature, I mean the day after the resurrection, on which the Lord Jesus, the Author of Life and our Saviour, shall lead us into the heritage promised to those who serve God in the spirit, a heritage into which He entered Himself as our forerunner after He rose from the dead, and whereon, the gates of Heaven being opened to Him, He took His seat in bodily form at the right hand of the Father, where those who keep the spiritual law shall also come.
What belongs to us411 , therefore, who walk by the spirit and not by the letter, is the complete abandonment of carnal things, the spiritual service and communion with God. For circumcision is the abandonment of carnal pleasure and of whatever is superfluous and unnecessary. For the foreskin is nothing else than the skin which it superfluous to the organ of lust. And, indeed, every pleasure which does not arise from God nor is in God is superfluous to pleasure: and of that the foreskin is the type. The Sabbath, moreover, is the cessation from sin; so that both things happen to be one, and so both together, when observed by those who are spiritual, do not bring about any breach of the law at all.
Further, observe412 that the number seven denotes all the present time, as the most wise Solomon says, to give a portion to seven and also to eight413 . And David414 , the divine singer when he composed the eighth psalm, sang of the future restoration after the resurrection from the dead. Since the Law, therefore, enjoined that the seventh day should be spent in rest from carnal things and devoted to spiritual things, it was a mystic indication to the true Israelite who had a mind to see God, that he should through all time offer himself to God and rise higher than carnal things.
Damascus Orthodox faith 416