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Extracts from Irenaeus.

649 and on the other to make known God to men. For in what manner could we become partakers of the adoption of sons, unless through the Son we receive again from him that communion which there is with himself, — unless his Word, being made fesh, communicate it to us! Wherefore also he passed through every age, restoring to all that communion which there is with God. III. 18: 7. (in G. c. 20, near the end.)

And for this cause [the heretic Mark represents) that man, according to Moses, was made on the sixth day, and moreover that in the economy on the sixth day, which is the Preparation, the last man appeared for the regeneration of the first man.

Of which economy [the suffering of Christ), it is asserted, the beginning and the end was that sixth hour on which he was affixed to the cross; because the perfect mind knowing the number six to have the power of making and regenerating, has manifested to the sons of light that regeneration which was accomplished by him who appeared prominent at that number. I. 14: 6. (in G. c. 10.)

What Irenaeus is here animadverting upon, is the idle and cabalistic speculations concerning the numbers, in respect to events acknowledged by all. Elsewhere he says:

... And signifying that it is he (our Lord] who has summed up anew, in himself, all nations scattered abroad from Adam, and

every language and generation of men, with Adam himself. III. 22:3. (in G. c. 33.)

For the Lord, who was born is the first-begotten of the dead; and receiving the pristine fathers into his bosom, he regenerated them unto the life of God, being himself made the commencement of the living, as Adam was made the commencement of the dying. On account of this also, Luke traces back to Adam the genealogical series, beginning it from the Lord, — thus signifying that He has regenerated them unto the gospel of life. ... Thus, too, the knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience. For what the virgin Eve bound by unbelief, the virgin Mary loosed by faith. III. 22: 4. (in G. c. 33.)

And on account of this, in the end, he himself exhibited the similitude : The Son of God was made man, taking up into himself the ancient formation ; as we have shown in the preceding book. IV. 33: 4. (in G. c. 59.) Sec. III. 18: 1 with 7, and 16: 6.

They who predicted the Emmanuel who was to be born of a virgin, manifested the union of the Word of God with what he had formed, that the Word should become flesh, and the Son of God the son of man; (the pure one purely opening the pure womb, – that which regenerates men unto God, and which he himself made pure); and though Vol. VI. No. 24.


he became what we are, he is the mighty God, and has an extraction that cannot be declared. IV. 33: 11. (in G. c. 66).

...Our Lord ... bringing man again into connection with God, by his incarnation. V. 1: 1.

But what he appeared, this he also was; God, sumining up anew in himself the ancient formation of man, that he might slay sin, make death void, and give life to man.

III. 18: 7., (in G. c. 20). ... The Son of God, being made a man among men, formed the human race afresh. IV. 24: 1. (in G. c. 41). God the Father had compassion on what he had formed, and

gave it salvation, restoring it by his Word, that is, by Christ; that man may learn by experience that he receives imperishableness, not from himself, but by the gift of God. V. 21: 3.

Tertullian, about forty years after the time when these passages were written, gave a siunilar representation. In his treatise on the flesh or Body of Christ, (c. 17.) he says : But first of all is to be set forth the reason that the Son of God should be born of a virgin. It became him to be born in a new manner, as he was the author of a new nativity; concerning which, when God was about to give a sign, it was predicted by Isaiah. What was that sign? Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son. A virgin therefore conceived, and brought forth Emmanuel, God with us. This is a new nativity, since man is born in God; in which man God has been born, the flesh of the ancient seed being assumed, without the ancient seed, so that by the new seed, that is, spiritually, he might form that flesh anew, it being purified and the defilement of its ancient state removed. But this whole newness, as also it has been done in all things, was of old represented in a figure, our Lord being born of a virgin in accordance with a reasonable arrangement. The earth was still a virgin, not yet compressed by tillage, not yet subjected to the sower: from it we have received man made by God for a living soul. Therefore, if the first Adam is given from the earth ; with good reason the new Adam, as the apostle has said, has been produced by God for a quickening spirit, equally from the earth, that is, from flesh not yet unsealed for generating. But, lest I should not avail myself of the mention of the name of Adam, why has Christ been called Adam by the apostle, if man did not belong to his earthly census? Here also reason alleges that God, by a rival operation, has regained his image and similitude which was taken away by the devil. For into Eve, still a virgin, had crept the word causing death. Into a virgin, too, was to be introduced the word of God, productive of life; that what by such a sex

"Dum homo nascitur in Deo ; in quo homine Deus natus est.

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Extracts from his Writings.


had gone off to perdition, might by the same sex be brought back to salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. What sin the former committed by believing, the latter blotted out by believing. But Eve then conceived nothing in her womb from the word of the devil. Nay, she did conceive. For, after that, as abject, she should obey, and in pangs bring forth. The word of the devil impregnated her, and she brought forth a devil, a fratricide. On the other hand, Mary brought forth him who should at length save Israel, the carnal brother, his murderer. Into the womb, therefore, God brought down his Word, the good brother, that he might efface the remembrance of the bad brother. Christ had to come forth thence for the salvation of man, whither man, already condemned, had entered. ... (c. 20.) What there is new in Christ's being born of a virgin, is manifest; namely, that it was of a virgin, according to the reason which we have given ; and that a virgin might be our regeneration, ... sanctified through Christ.

In his work against Marcion, B. III. c. 9, Tertullian expresses himself thus : Christ in respect to the flesh, had to be born of the flesh, that by his nativity he might form anew our nativity; and thus also might by his death dissolve our death, by rising again in the flesh, in which he was born that he might be able also to die.

In another class of passages, Irenaeus teaches that the extraordinary generation of Christ, which, he says, was given for a sign of salvation, must be received by faith : we must, as it were, come into it, and accede to the divinely appointed arrangement.

Alluding to the wiles of that old serpent, the tempter, as recorded in the third chapter of Genesis, and to the account given in the book of Numbers (21: 8), and to the words of our Lord, in the Gospel according to John (3: 14 and 15, and 12: 32), he says it was taught that men cannot be saved from the ancient sting of the serpent, unless they believe in him who, in the likeness of our sinful flesh, was on the cross lifted up from the earth. IV. 2: 7. (in G. c. 5.)

He asks, How shall man come to God, unless God come to man? How indeed shall he leave the generation of death, if he does not come into the new generation wonderfully and unexpectedly given by God, for a sign of salvation, - the regeneration which is from the virgin through faith? Or what adoption shall they receive from God who remain in this generation which is according to man in the world? IV. 33: 4. (in G. c. 59). In other places he teaches thus :

Those of the human race who believe God and follow his word, receive that salvation which is from him. IV. 33: 15. (in G. c. 66).

In respect to condition, so to speak, we are all children of God


because we are all made by him. But as to obeying him and receiving his doctrine, all are not children of God, but they who believe him, and do his will. IV. 41: 2. (in G. c. 79).

The Ebionites are unreasonable, not receiving into their mind by faith the union of God and man, but persevering in the old leaven of generation; not willing to understand that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her. Wherefore also what was generated is holy, and the Son of the most high God, the Father of all, who performed his incarnation, and exhibited the new generation; that, as by the former generation we have inherited death, so by this generation we might inherit life. V. 1: 3.

But who are they that are here saved, and receive eternal life? Is it not they who love God, and who believe his promises, and in respect to malice are made little ones? IV. 28: 3. (in G. c. 47).

The Lord descended into those places which are under the earth, preaching also to them his advent; there being remission of sins to those who believe on him. But on him they all believed who hoped in him; that is, who foretold his advent, and complied with his arrangements, — the just men and prophets, and patriarchs, to whom he remitted sins in the same manner as to us. . . . For all men come short of the glory of God; and they who regard his light are glorified, not by themselves, but by the Lord's advent. IV. 27: 2. (in G. c. 45).

Irenaeus, in giving a summary of the doctrine taught by the apostles, proceeds to say in reference to our Lord, That they who believe in him shall be incorruptible and incapable of suffering, and receive the kingdom of heaven. IV. 24: 2. He quotes as authoritative the passage, 1 John, 5: 1, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. III. 16: 8. And says, Jesus Christ our Lord makes them who believe in his name children of God. III. 6: 2.

At the saine time, in our being renewed in our minds and prepared for beaven, he often ascribes an essential influence to the Holy Spirit :

Thus therefore God was manifested; for through all these things God the Father is shown, the Spirit indeed operating, the Son ministering, the Father approving, and man consummated to salvation. IV. 20: 6. (in G. c. 37).

... Signifying that Christ would from among freemen and servants make children of God, giving alike to us all the gift of the Spirit that quickens us. IV. 21:3. (in G. c. 38).

For by the hands of the Father, that is, by the Son and the Spirit, man is made according to the likeness of God. V. 6: 1.

He quotes the epistle to the Ephesians (1: 13) - In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salva1849.)

Extracts from Irenaeus.


tion; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance — and then adds, Thus therefore this the pledge dwelling in us now makes us spiritual. ... Yet this is done, not by ceasing to have flesh, but by have ing the communion of the Spirit. For they to whom the apostle wrote, were not without flesh, but they had received the Spirit of God by which we cry Abba, Father. V. 8: 1.

He alludes to the grafting of the olive: As the wild olive inserted loses not the substance of its wood, but changes the quality of its fruit, and takes another name, being now no longer a wild olive, but a fruitful olive; thus also the man inserted by faith, and receiving the Spirit of God, loses not the substance of his flesh, but changes the quality of his fruit, his works, and receives another name, signifying that change which is for the better : he is now denominated, not flesh and blood, but a spiritual man. Moreover, as the wild olive, if it does not receive insertion, continues useless to its owner, through its wild quality, and as the unfruitful wood is cut down and cast into the fire ; so also the man not receiving by faith the insertion of the Spirit, continues to be what he was before: being flesh and blood, he cannot inherit the kingdom of God. V. 10: 2. And after illustrating and confirming these sentiments at some length, he concludes by quoting the words of the apostle, (Rom. 8: 14), For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

In another passage, he says : And again, giving to the disciples the authority of regeneration unto God, he said to them, Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For by the prophets he promised to pour this out in the last times upon his servants and handmaids, that they might prophesy. Whence also he descended on the Son of God, made the son of man, accustoming himself to dwell with the human race, and to rest on men, and to dwell with what God had made, working the will of the Father in them, and renewing them from their old condition to the new condition in Christ. III. 17: 1. (in G. c. 19).

Here it seems too obvious to require any comment, that Irenaeus contemplated the conversion of persons whose minds should be en. lightened by evangelical instruction, and influenced by the Holy Spirit; and who, by being baptized, should make a suitable profession of their faith. At the same time, it ought to be known that he attribu. ted to our baptism some special efficacy; for it may be useful to see the germ of an opinion which soon came to exert great influence. The extent of the efficacy alluded to, is very distinctly expressed in

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