Tag Archives: Church Fathers

“To the best of my powers I will persuade all men to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” by Gregory of Nazianzus

“To the best of my powers I will persuade all men to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the single Godhead and power, because to Him belong all glory, honor, and might for ever and ever. Amen.”

–Gregory of Nazianzus, On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius (ed. John Behr; trans. Frederick Williams and Lionel Wickham; Popular Patristics Series; Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002), 143.

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“He sets our tears in His sight” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“Prayer is to be free of much speaking (Matthew 6:7), but not of much entreaty, if the fervor and attention persist. To speak much in prayer is to transact a necessary piece of business with unnecessary words. But to entreat much of Him whom we entreat is to knock by a long-continued and devout uplifting of the heart (Luke 18:1, 7).

In general, this business of prayer is transacted more by sighs than by speech (Romans 8:26), more by tears than by utterance (Psalm 126:5-6).

But He sets our tears in His sight (Psalm 56:8) and our groaning is not hidden from Him (Psalm 38:9) who created all things by His Word and who does not need human words.”

–Augustine of Hippo, “Letter 130 (A.D. 412)” in Letters, Volume 2 (83-130), Trans. Wilfrid Parsons (Washington, D.C.: CUA Press: 1953/2008), 391.

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“Drink of the torrent of His pleasure” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“Whoever asks that one thing of the Lord (Psalm 27:4) and seeks after it asks with certainty and security, without fear that it will do him harm when he obtains it.

Without this, no other thing which he asks as he ought will do him any good when he obtains it. That one thing is the one true and solely happy life, that we may see forever the delight of the Lord, and made immortal and incorruptible in body and soul.

Other things are sought for the sake of this one thing, and are asked for with propriety. Whoever possesses it will have everything he wishes, and will not be able to wish for anything in that state, because it will not be possible for him to have anything unbecoming.

Truly, the fountain of life is found there (Psalm 34:8-10), which we must now thirst for in our prayers, as long as we live in hope, because we do not see what we hope for (Romans 8:25) under the cover of His wings, before whom is all our desire.

We hope to be inebriated with the plenty of His house, and to drink of the torrent of His pleasure, since with Him is the fountain of life, and in His light we shall see light. (Psalm 36:9)

Then our desire shall be satisfied with good things and there will be nothing more for us to seek by our groaning, since we will possess all things to our joy.”

–Augustine of Hippo, “Letter 130 (A.D. 412)” in Letters, Volume 2 (83-130), Trans. Wilfrid Parsons (Washington, D.C.: CUA Press: 1953/2008), 398-398.

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“O the sweet exchange!” by The Epistle to Diognetus

“When our unrighteousness was fulfilled, and it had been made perfectly clear that its wages—punishment and death—were to be expected, then the season arrived during which God had decided to reveal at last His goodness and power.

O, the surpassing kindness and love of God! He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us; instead He was patient and forbearing. In His mercy He took upon Himself our sins. He Himself gave up His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, the just for the unjust, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal.

For what else but His righteousness could have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone?

O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous person, while the righteousness of One should justify many sinners!”

The Epistle to Diognetus, 9:2-­5, in The Apostolic Fathers, trans. Michael W. Holmes (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 709–710.

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“A unique phenomenon” by Johann Nepomuk Huber

“Augustine is a unique phenomenon in Christian history. No one of the other fathers has left so luminous traces of his existence. Though we find among them many rich and powerful minds, yet we find in none the forces of personal character, mind, heart, and will, so largely developed and so harmoniously working.

No one surpasses him in wealth of perceptions and dialectical sharpness of thoughts, in depth and fervor of religious sensibility, in greatness of aims and energy of action. He therefore also marks the culmination of the patristic age, and has been elevated by the acknowledgment of succeeding times as the first and the universal church father.”

–Johann Nepomuk Huber, Die Philosophie der Kirchenväter (Munich, 1859), 312. Cited in Philip Schaff, “Prolegomena” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1 Ed. Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), 1:9-10.

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“The great humility of God” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“The pride of man, which is the chief hindrance against his cleaving to God, can be confuted and healed through the great humility of God.

Man learns how far he has gone away from God and what it is worth to Him as a pain to cure him, when he returns through such a Mediator, who both as God assists men by His divinity, and as man agrees with men by His weakness.

For what greater example of obedience could be given to us, who had perished through disobedience, than God the Son obedient to God the Father, even to the death of the cross? (Phil. 2:8)

Where could the reward of obedience itself be better shown, than in the flesh of so great a Mediator, which rose again to eternal life?

It belonged also to the justice and goodness of the Creator, that the devil should be conquered by the same rational creature which he rejoiced to have conquered, and by one that came from that same race which, by the corruption of its origin through one, he held altogether.”

–Augustine of Hippo, De Trinitate, XIII.17.22.

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“The Word of God is supreme” by Irenaeus of Lyons (A.D. 115-202)

“Their doctrine departs from Him who is truly God, being ignorant that His only-begotten Word, who is always present with the human race, united to and mingled with His own creation, according to the Father’s pleasure, and who became flesh, is Himself Jesus Christ our Lord, who did also suffer for us, and rose again on our behalf, and who will come again in the glory of His Father, to raise up all flesh, and for the manifestation of salvation, and to apply the rule of just judgment to all who were made by Him.

There is therefore, as I have pointed out, one God the Father, and one Christ Jesus, who came by means of the whole arrangements connected with Him, and gathered together all things in Himself. But in every respect, too, He is man, the formation of God.

And thus He took up man into Himself, the invisible becoming visible, the incomprehensible being made comprehensible, the impassible becoming capable of suffering, and the Word being made man, thus summing up all things in Himself so that as in super-celestial, spiritual, and invisible things, the Word of God is supreme, so also in things visible and corporeal He might possess the supremacy, and, taking to Himself the pre-eminence, as well as constituting Himself Head of the Church, He might draw all things to Himself at the proper time.”

–Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, III.xvi.6.

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