Hippolytus (Cont.)The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus. (Cont.)

Part II. – Dogmatical and Historical. (Cont.)

Against Beron and Helix.

Fragments of a Discourse, Alphabetically Divided,173 on the Divine Nature174 and the Incarnation, Against the Heretics Beron and Helix,175 the Beginning of Which Was in These Words, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, with Voice Never Silent the Seraphim Exclaim and Glorify God.”

Fragment I.

By the omnipotent will of God all things are made, and the things that are made are also preserved, being maintained according to their several principles in perfect harmony by Him who is in His nature the omnipotent God and maker of all things,176 His divine will remaining unalterable by which He has made and moves all things, sustained as they severally are by their own natural laws.177 For the infinite cannot in any manner or by any account be susceptible of movement, inasmuch as it has nothing towards which and nothing around which it shall be moved. For in the case of that which is in its nature infinite, and so incapable of being moved, movement would be conversion.178 Wherefore also the Word of God being made truly man in our manner, yet without sin, and acting and enduring in man’s way such sinless things as are proper to our nature, and assuming the circumscription of the flesh of our nature on our behalf sustained no conversion in that aspect in which He is one with the Father, being made in no respect one with the flesh through the exinanition.179 Burns He was without flesh,180 He remained without any circumscription. And through the flesh He wrought divinely181 those things which are proper to divinity, showing Himself to have both those natures in both of which He wrought, I mean the divine and the human, according to i that veritable and real and natural subsistence,182 (showing Himself thus) as both being in reality and as being understood to be at one and the same time infinite God and finite man, having the nature183 of each in perfection, with the same activity,184 that is to say, the same natural properties;185 whence we know that their distinction abides always according to the nature of each, and without conversion. But it is not (i.e., the distinction between deity and humanity), as some say, a merely comparative (or relative) matter,186 that we may not speak in an unwarrantable manner of a greater and a less in one who is ever the same in Himself.187 For comparisons can be instituted only between objects of like nature, and not between objects of unlike nature. But between God the Maker of all things and that which is made, between the infinite and the finite, between infinitude and finitude, there can be no kind of comparison, since these differ from each other not in mere comparison (or relatively), but absolutely in essence. And yet at the same time there has been effected a certain inexpressible and irrefragable union of the two into one substance,188 which entirely passes the understanding of anything that is made. For the divine is just the same after the incarnation that it was before the incarnation; in its essence infinite, illimitable, impassible, incomparable, unchangeable, inconvertable, self-potent,189 and, in short, subsisting in essence alone the infinitely worthy good.


Fragment II.

The God of all things therefore became truly, according to the Scriptures, without conversion, sinless man, and that in a manner known to Himself alone, as He is the natural Artificer of things which are above our comprehension. And by that same saving act of the incarnation190 He introduced into the flesh the activity of His proper divinity, yet without having it (that activity) either circumscribed by the flesh through the exinanition, or growing naturally out of the flesh as it grew out of His divinity,191 but manifested through it in the things which He wrought in a divine manner in His incarnate state. For the flesh did not become divinity in nature by a transmutation of nature, as though it became essentially flesh of divinity. But what it was before, that also it continued to be in nature and activity when united with divinity, even as the Saviour said, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mat_26:41) And working and enduring in the flesh things which were proper to sinless flesh, He proved the evacuation of divinity (to be) for our sakes, confirmed as it was by wonders and by sufferings of the flesh naturally. For with this purpose did the God of all things become man, viz., in order that by suffering in the flesh, which is susceptible of suffering, He might redeem our whole race, which was sold to death; and that by working wondrous things by His divinity, which is unsusceptible of suffering, through the medium of the flesh He might restore it to that incorruptible and blessed life from which it fell away by yielding to the devil; and that He might establish the holy orders of intelligent existences in the heavens in immutability by the mystery of His incarnation,192 the doing of which is the recapitulation of all things in himself. (referring probably to Eph_1:10) He remained therefore, also, after His incarnation, according to nature, God infinite, and more,193 having the activity proper and suitable to Himself, – an activity growing out of His divinity essentially, and manifested through His perfectly holy flesh by wondrous acts economically, to the intent that He might be believed in as God, while working out of Himself194 by the flesh, which by nature is weak, the salvation of the universe.


Fragment III.

Now, with the view of explaining, by means of an illustration, what has been said concerning the Saviour, (I may say that) the power of thought195 which I have by nature is proper and suitable to me, as being possessed of a rational and intelligent soul; and to this soul there pertains, according to nature, a self-moved energy and first power, ever-moving, to wit, the thought that streams from it naturally. This thought I utter, when there is occasion, by fitting it to words, and expressing it rightly in signs, using the tongue as an organ, or artificial characters, showing that it is heard, though it comes into actuality by means of objects foreign to itself, and yet is not changed itself by those foreign objects.196 For my natural thought does not belong to the tongue or the letters, although I effect its utterance by means of these; but it belongs to me, who speak according to my nature, and by means of both these express it as my own, streaming as it does always from my intelligent soul according to its nature, and uttered by means of my bodily tongue organically, as I have said, when there is occasion. Now, to institute a comparison with that which is utterly beyond comparison, just as in us the power of thought that belongs by nature to the soul is brought to utterance by means of our bodily tongue without any change in itself, so, too, in the wondrous incarnation197 of God is the omnipotent and all-creating energy of the entire deity198 manifested without mutation in itself, by means of His perfectly holy flesh, and in the works which He wrought after a divine manner, (that energy of the deity) remaining in its essence free from all circumscription, although it shone through the flesh, which is itself essentially limited. For that which is in its nature unoriginated cannot be circumscribed by an originated nature, although this latter may have grown into one with it199 by a conception which circumscribes all understanding:200 nor can this be ever brought into the same nature and natural activity with that, so long as they remain each within its own proper and inconvertible nature.201 For it is only in objects of the same nature that there is the motion that works the same works, showing that the being202 whose power is natural is incapable in any manner of being or becoming the possession of a being of a different nature without mutation.203


Fragment IV.

For, in the view of apostles and prophets and teachers, the mystery of the divine incarnation has been distinguished as having two points of contemplation natural to it,204 distinct in all things, inasmuch as on the one hand it is the subsistence of perfect deity, and on the other is demonstrative of full humanity. As long, therefore,205 as the Word is acknowledged to be in substance one, of one energy, there shall never in any way be known a movement206 in the two. For while God, who is essentially ever-existent, became by His infinite power, according to His will, sinless man, He is what He was, in all wherein God is known; and what He became, He is in all wherein man is known and can be recognised. In both aspects of Himself He never falls out of Himself,207 in His divine activities and in His human alike, preserving in both relations His own essentially unchangeable perfection.


Fragment V.

For lately a certain person, Beron, along with some others, forsook the delusion of Valentinus, only to involve themselves in deeper error, affirming that the flesh assumed to Himself by the Word became capable of working like works with the deity208 by virtue of its assumption, and that the deity became susceptible of suffering in the same way with the flesh209 by virtue of the exinanition;210 and thus they assert the doctrine that there was at the same time a conversion and a mixing and a fusing211 of the two aspects one with the other. For if the flesh that was assumed became capable of working like works with the deity, it is evident that it also became God in essence in all wherein God is essentially known. And if the deity by the exinanition became susceptible of the same sufferings with the flesh, it is evident that it also became in essence flesh in all wherein flesh essentially can be known. For objects that act in like manner,212 and work like works, and are altogether of like kind, and are susceptible of like suffering with each other, admit of no difference of nature; and if the natures are fused together,213 Christ will be a duality;214 and if the persons215 are separated, there will be a quaternity,216 – a thing which is altogether to be avoided. And how will they conceive of the one and the same Christ, who is at once God and man by nature? And what manner of existence will He have according to them, if He has become man by a conversion of the deity, and if he has become God by a change of the flesh? For the mutation217 of these, the one into the other, is a complete subversion of both. Let the discussion, then, be considered by us again in a different way.


Fragment VI.

Among Christians it is settled as the doctrine of piety, that, according to nature itself, and to the activity and to whatever else pertains thereunto, God is equal and the same with Himself,218 having nothing that is His unequal to Himself at all and heterogeneous.219 If, then, according to Beron, the flesh that He assumed to Himself became possessed of the like natural energy with them, it is evident that it also became possessed of the like nature with Him in all wherein that nature consists, – to wit, non-origination, non-generation, infinitude, eternity, incomprehensibility, and whatever else in the way of the transcendent the theological mind discerns in deity; and thus they both underwent conversion, neither the one nor the other preserving any more the substantial relation of its own proper nature.220 For he who recognises an identical operation221 in things of unlike nature, introduces at the same time a fusion of natures and a separation of persons,222 their natural existence223 being made entirely undistinguishable by the transference of properties.224


Fragment VII.

But if it (the flesh) did not become of like nature with that (the deity), neither shall it ever become of like natural energy with that; that He may not be shown to have His energy unequal with His nature, and heterogeneous, and, through all that pertains to Himself, to have entered on an existence outside of His natural equality and identity,225 which is an impious supposition.


Fragment VIII.

Into this error, then, have they been carried, by believing, unhappily, that that divine energy was made the property of the flesh which was only manifested through the flesh in His miraculous actions; by which energy Christ, in so far as He is apprehended as God, gave existence to the universe, and now maintains and governs it. For they did not perceive that it is impossible for the energy of the divine nature to become the property226 of a being of a different nature227 apart from conversion; nor did they understand that that is not by any means the property of the flesh which is only manifested through it, and does not spring out of it according to nature; and yet the proof thereof was clear and evident to them. For I, by speaking with the tongue and writing with the hand, reveal through both these one and the same thought of my intelligent soul, its energy (or operation) being natural; in no way showing it as springing naturally out of tongue or hand; nor yet (showing) even the spoken thought as made to belong to them in virtue of its revelation by their means. For no intelligent person ever recognised tongue or hand as capable of thought, just as also no one ever recognised the perfectly holy flesh of God, in virtue of its assumption, and in virtue of the revelation of the divine energy through its medium, as becoming in nature creative.228 But the pious confession of the believer is that, with a view to our salvation, and in order to connect the universe with unchangeableness, the Creator of all things incorporated with Himself229 a rational soul and a sensible230 body from the all-holy Mary, ever-virgin, by an undefiled conception, without conversion, and was made man in nature, but separate from wickedness: the same was perfect God, and the same was perfect man; the same was in nature at once perfect God and man. In His deity He wrought divine things through His all-holy flesh, – such things, namely, as did not pertain to the flesh by nature; and in His humanity He suffered human things, – such things, namely, as did not pertain to deity by nature, by the upbearing of the deity.231 He wrought nothing divine without the body;232 nor did the same do anything human without the participation of deity.233 Thus He preserved for Himself a new and fitting method234 by which He wrought (according to the manner of) both, while that which was natural to both remained unchanged;235 to the accrediting236 of His perfect incarnation,237 which is really genuine, and has nothing lacking in it.238 Beron, therefore, since the case stands with him as I have already stated, confounding together in nature the deity and the humanity of Christ in a single energy,239 and again separating them in person, subverts the life, not knowing that identical operation240 is indicative of the connatural identity only of connatural persons.241


The Discourse on the Holy Theophany.

1. Good, yea, very good, are all the works of our God and Saviour – all of them that eye seeth and mind perceiveth, all that reason interprets and hand handles, all that intellect comprehends and human nature understands. For what richer beauty can there be than that of the circle242 of heaven? And what form of more blooming fairness than that of earth’s surface? And what is there swifter in the course than the chariot of the sun? And what more graceful car than the lunar orb?243 And what work more wonderful than the compact mosaic of the stars?244 And what more productive of supplies than the seasonable winds? And what more spotless mirror than the light of day? And what creature more excellent than man? Very good, then, are all the works of our God and Saviour. And what more requisite gift, again, is there than the element245 of water? For with water all things are washed and nourished, and cleansed and bedewed. Water bears the earth, water produces the dew, water exhilarates the vine; water matures the corn in the ear, water ripens the grape cluster, water softens the olive, water sweetens the palm-date, water reddens the rose and decks the violet, water makes the lily bloom with its brilliant cups. And why should I speak at length? Without the element of water, none of the present order of things can subsist. So necessary is the element of water; for the other elements246 took their places beneath the highest vault of the heavens, but the nature of water obtained a seat also above the heavens. And to this the prophet himself is a witness, when he exclaims, “Praise the Lord, ye heavens of heavens, and the water that is above the heavens.” (Psa_148:4)247


2. Nor is this the only thing that proves the dignity248 of the water. But there is also that which is more honourable than all – the fact that Christ, the Maker of all, came down as the rain, (Hos_6:3) and was known as a spring, (Joh_4:14) and diffused Himself as a river, (Joh_7:38) and was baptized in the Jordan. (Mat_3:13) For you have just heard how Jesus came to John, and was baptized by him in the Jordan. Oh things strange beyond compare! How should the boundless River (Psa_46:4) that makes glad the city of God have been dipped in a little water! The illimitable Spring that bears life to all men, and has no end, was covered by poor and temporary waters! He who is present everywhere, and absent nowhere – who is incomprehensible to angels and invisible to men – comes to the baptism according to His own good pleasure. When you hear these things, beloved, take them not as if spoken literally, but accept them as presented in a figure.249 Whence also the Lord was not unnoticed by the watery element in what He did in secret, in the kindness of His condescension to man. “For the waters saw Him, and were afraid.” (Psa_77:16) They wellnigh broke from their place, and burst away from their boundary. Hence the prophet, having this in his view many generations ago, puts the question, “What aileth thee, O sea, that thou reddest; and thou, Jordan, that thou wast driven back?” (Psa_114:5) And they in reply said, We have seen the Creator of all things in the “form of a servant,” (Phi_2:7) and being ignorant of the mystery of the economy, we were lashed with fear.


3. But we, who know the economy, adore His mercy, because He hath come to save and not to judge the world. Wherefore John, the forerunner of the Lord, who before knew not this mystery, on learning that He is Lord in truth, cried out, and spake to those who came to be baptized of him, “O generation of vipers,” (Mat_3:7) why look ye so earnestly at me? “I am not the Christ;” (Joh_1:20) I am the servant, and not the lord; I am the subject, and not the king; I am the sheep, and not the shepherd; I am a man, and not God. By my birth I loosed the barrenness of my mother; I did not make virginity barren.250 I was brought up from beneath; I did not come down from above. I bound the tongue of my father; (Luk_1:20) I did not unfold divine grace. I was known by my mother, and I was not announced by a star. (Mat_2:9) I am worthless, and the least; but “after me there comes One who is before me” (Mat_2:9) – after me, indeed, in time, but before me by reason of the inaccessible and unutterable light of divinity. “There comes One mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Mat_3:11) I am subject to authority, but He has authority in Himself. I am bound by sins, but He is the Remover of sins, apply251 the law, but He bringeth grace to light, teach as a slave, but He judgeth as the Master. I have the earth as my couch, but He possesses heaven. I baptize with the baptism of repentance, but He confers the gift of adoption: “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Why give ye attention to me? I am not the Christ.


4. As John says these things to the multitude, and as the people watch in eager expectation of seeing some strange spectacle with their bodily eyes, and the devil252 is struck with amazement at such a testimony from John, lo, the Lord appears, plain, solitary, uncovered,253 without escort,254 having on Him the body of man like a garment, and hiding the dignity of the Divinity, that He may elude the snares of the dragon. And not only did He approach John as Lord without royal retinue; but even like a mere man, and one involved in sin, He bent His head to be baptized by John. Wherefore John, on seeing so great a humbling of Himself, was struck with astonishment at the affair, and began to prevent Him, saying, as ye have just heard, “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” (Mat_3:14) What doest Thou, O Lord? Thou teachest things not according to rule.255 I have preached one thing (regarding Thee), and Thou performest another; the devil has heard one thing, and perceives another. Baptize me with the fire of Divinity; why waitest Thou for water? Enlighten me with the Spirit; why dost Thou attend upon a creature? Baptize me, the Baptist, that Thy pre-eminence may be known. I, O Lord, baptize with the baptism of repentance, and I cannot baptize those who come to me unless they first confess fully their sins. Be it so then that I baptize Thee, what hast Thou to confess? Thou art the Remover of sins, and wilt Thou be baptized with the baptism of repentance? Though I should venture to baptize Thee, the Jordan dares not to come near Thee. “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?”


5. And what saith the Lord to him? “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” (Mat_3:15) “Suffer it to be so now,” John; thou art not wiser than I. Thou seest as man; I foreknow as God. It becomes me to do this first, and thus to teach. I engage in nothing unbecoming, for I am invested with honour. Dost thou marvel, O John, that I am not come in my dignity? The purple robe of kings suits not one in private station, but military splendour suits a king: am I come to a prince, and not to a friend? “Suffer it to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness:” I am the Fulfiller of the law; I seek to leave nothing wanting to its whole fulfilment, that so after me Paul may exclaim, “Christ is the fulfilling of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom_10:4) “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Baptize me, John, in order that no one may despise baptism. I am baptized by thee, the servant, that no one among kings or dignitaries may scorn to be baptized by the hand of a poor priest. Suffer me to go down into the Jordan, in order that they may hear my Father’s testimony, and recognise the power of the Son. “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then at length John suffers Him. “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and the heavens were opened unto Him; and, lo, the Spirit of God descended like a dove, and rested upon Him. And a voice (came) from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mat_3:16, Mat_3:17)


6. Do you see, beloved, how many and how great blessings we would have lost, if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John, and declined baptism? For the heavens were shut before this; the region above was inaccessible. We would in that case descend to the lower parts, but we would not ascend to the upper. But was it only that the Lord was baptized? He also renewed the old man, and committed to him again the sceptre of adoption. For straightway “the heavens were opened to Him.” A reconciliation took place of the visible with the invisible; the celestial orders were filled with joy; the diseases of earth were healed; secret things were made known; those at enmity were restored to amity. For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, “The heavens were opened to Him,” on account of three wonders. For when Christ the Bridegroom was baptized, it was meet that the bridal-chamber of heaven should open its brilliant gates. And in like manner also, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice spread everywhere, it was meet that “the gates of heaven should be lifted up.” (Psa_24:7) “And, lo, the heavens were opened to Him; and a voice was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”


7. The beloved generates love, and the light immaterial the light inaccessible.256 “This is my beloved Son,” He who, being manifested on earth and yet unseparated from the Father’s bosom, was manifested, and yet did not appear.257 For the appearing is a different thing, since in appearance the baptizer here is superior to the baptized. For this reason did the Father send down the Holy Spirit from heaven upon Him who was baptized. For as in the ark of Noah the love of God toward man is signified by the dove, so also now the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, bearing as it were the fruit of the olive, rested on Him to whom the witness was borne. For what reason? That the faithfulness of the Father’s voice might be made known, and that the prophetic utterance of a long time past might be ratified. And what utterance is this? “The voice of the Lord (is) on the waters, the God of glory thundered; the Lord (is) upon many waters.” (Psa_29:3) And what voice? “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This is He who is named the son of Joseph, and (who is) according to the divine essence my Only-begotten. “This is my beloved Son” – He who is hungry, and yet maintains myriads; who is weary, and yet gives rest to the weary; who has not where to lay His head, (Luk_9:5)258 and yet bears up all things in His hand; who suffers, and yet heals sufferings; who is smitten,259 and yet confers liberty on the world; (Heb_1:3) who is pierced in the side, (Mat_26:67)260 and yet repairs the side of Adam.261


8. But give me now your best attention, I pray you, for I wish to go back to the fountain of life, and to view the fountain that gushes with healing. The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the breath (spirit) of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God.262 And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver263 he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ (Rom_8:17) after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism. I bring good tidings of life to you who tarry in the darkness of ignorance. Come into liberty from slavery, into a kingdom from tyranny, into incorruption from corruption. And how, saith one, shall we come? How? By water and the Holy Ghost. This is the water in conjunction with the Spirit, by which paradise is watered, by which the earth is enriched, by which plants grow, by which animals multiply, and (to sum up the whole in a single word) by which man is begotten again and endued with life, in which also Christ was baptized, and in which the Spirit descended in the form of a dove.


9. This is the Spirit that at the beginning “moved upon the thee of the waters;” (Gen_1:2) by whom the world moves; by whom creation consists, and all things have life; who also wrought mightily in the prophets, (Act_28:25) and descended in flight upon Christ. (Mat_3:16) This is the Spirit that was given to the apostles in the form of fiery tongues. (Act_2:3) This is the Spirit that David sought when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psa_51:10) Of this Spirit Gabriel also spoke to the Virgin, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” (Luk_1:35) By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mat_16:16) By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished. (Mat_16:18) This is the Spirit, the Comforter, that is sent because of thee, (Joh_16:26) that He may show thee to be the Son264 of God.


10. Come then, be begotten again, O man, into the adoption of God. And how? says one. If thou practisest adultery no more, and committest not murder, and servest not idols; if thou art not overmastered by pleasure; if thou dost not suffer the feeling of pride to rule thee; if thou cleanest off the filthiness of impurity, and puttest off the burden of sin; if thou castest off the armour of the devil, and puttest on the breastplate of faith, even as Isaiah saith, “Wash you, and seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow. And come and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, I shall make them white as snow; and though they be like crimson, I shall make them white as wool. And if ye be willing, and hear my voice, ye shall eat the good of the land.” (Isa_1:16-19) Do you see, beloved, how the prophet spake beforetime of the purifying power of baptism? For he who comes down in faith to the laver of regeneration, and renounces the devil, and joins himself to Christ; who denies the enemy, and makes the confession that Christ is God; who puts off the bondage, and puts on the adoption, – he comes up from the baptism brilliant as the sun,265 flashing forth the beams of righteousness, and, which is indeed the chief thing, he returns a son of God and joint-heir with Christ. To Him be the glory and the power, together with His most holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and to all the ages of the ages. Amen. 


Fragments of Discourses or Homilies.


From the Discourse of Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome, on the Resurrection and Incorruption.

Men, he says, “in the resurrection will be like the angels of God,” (Mat_22:30) to wit, in incorruption, and immortality, and incapacity of loss.267 For the incorruptible nature is not the subject of generation;268 it grows not, sleeps not, hungers not, thirsts not, is not wearied, suffers not, dies not, is not pierced by nails and spear, sweats not, drops not with blood. Of such kind are the natures of the angels and of souls released from the body. For both these are of another kind, and different from these creatures of our world, which are visible and perishing.



From the Discourse of St. Hippolytus, Bishop and Martyr, on the Divine Nature.270

God is capable of willing, but not of not willing271 for that pertains only to one that changes and makes choice;272 for things that are being made follow the eternal will of God, by which also things that are made abide sustained.



St. Hippolytus, Bishop and Martyr, in his Homily on the Paschal Supper.

He was altogether274 in all, and everywhere; and though He filleth the universe up to all the principalities of the air, He stripped Himself again. And for a brief space He cries that the cup might pass from Him, with a view to show truly that He was also man.275 But remembering, too, the purpose for which He was sent, He fulfils the dispensation (economy) for which He was sent, and exclaims, “Father, not my will,” (Luk_22:42) and, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mat_26:41)



1. Take me, O Samuel, the heifer brought to Bethlehem, in order to show the king begotten of David, and him who is anointed to be king and priest by the Father.

2. Tell me, O blessed Mary, what that was that was conceived by thee in the womb, and what that was that was born by thee in thy virgin matrix. For it was the first-born Word of God that descended to thee from heaven, and was formed as a first-born man in the womb, in order that the first-born Word of God might be shown to be united with a first-born man.

3. And in the second (form), – to wit, by the prophets, as by Samuel, calling back and delivering the people from the slavery of the aliens. And in the third (form), that in which He was incarnate, taking to Himself humanity from the Virgin, in which character also He saw the city, and wept over it.



And for this reason three seasons of the year prefigured the Saviour Himself, so that He should fulfil the mysteries prophesied of Him. In the Passover season, so as to exhibit Himself as one destined to be sacrificed like a sheep, and to prove Himself the true Paschal-lamb, even as the apostle says, “Even Christ,” who is God, “our passover was sacrificed for us.” (1Co_5:7) And at Pentecost so as to prosignify the kingdom of heaven as He Himself first ascended to heaven and brought man as a gift to God.278



And an ark of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself. For by this was signified the imperishable and incorruptible tabernacle (of His body), which engendered no corruption of sin. For the man who has sinned also has this confession to make: “My wounds stank, and were corrupt, because of my foolishness.” (Psa_38:5) But the Lord was without sin, being of imperishable wood in respect of His humanity, – that is to say, being of the Virgin and the Holy Spirit, covered, as it were, within and without with the purest gold of the Word of God.



1. He who rescued from the lowest hell the first-formed man of earth when he was lost and bound with the chains of death; He who came down from above, and raised the earthy on high;281 He who became the evangelist of the dead, and the redeemer of the souls, and the resurrection of the buried, – He was constituted the helper of vanquished man, being made like him Himself, (so that) the first-born Word acquainted Himself with the first-formed Adam in the Virgin; He who is spiritual sought out the earthy in the womb; He who is the ever-living One sought out him who, through disobedience, is subject to death; He who is heavenly called the terrene to the things that are above; He who is the nobly-born sought, by means of His own subjection, to declare the slave free; He transformed the man into adamant who was dissolved into dust and made the food of the serpent, and declared Him who hung on the tree to be Lord over the conqueror, and thus through the tree He is found victor.


2. For they who know not now the Son of God incarnate, shall know in Him who comes as Judge in glory, Him who is now despised in the body of His humiliation.


3. And the apostles, when they came to the sepulchre on the third day, did not find the body of Jesus; just as the children of Israel went up the mount and sought for the tomb of Moses, but did not find it.



Under the figure of Egypt he described the world; and under things made with hands, idolatry; and under the earthquake, the subversion, and dissolution of the earth itself. And he represented the Lord the Word as a light cloud, the purest tabernacle, enthroned on which our Lord Jesus Christ entered into this life in order to subvert error.



Now Hippolytus, the martyr and bishop of [the Province of] Rome, in his second discourse on Daniel, speaks thus: – 

Then indeed Azarias, standing along with the others, made their acknowledgments to God with song and prayer in the midst of the furnace. Beginning thus with His holy and glorious and honourable name, they came to the works of the Lord themselves, and named first of all those of heaven, and glorified Him, saying, “Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.” Then they passed to the sons of men, and taking up their hymn in order, they then named the spirits [that people Tartarus284 beneath the earth,] and the souls of the righteous, in order that they might praise God together with them.



Now a person might say that these men, and those who hold a different opinion, are yet near neighbours, being involved in like error. For those men, indeed, either profess that Christ came into our life a mere man, and deny the talent of His divinity, or else, acknowledging Him to be God, they deny, on the other hand, His humanity, and teach that His appearances to those who saw Him as man were illusory, inasmuch as He did not bear with Him true manhood, but was rather a kind of phantom manifestation. Of this class are, for example, Marcion and Valentinus, and the Gnostics, who sunder the Word from the flesh, and thus set aside the one talent, viz., the incarnation.



1. The body of the Lord presented both these to the world, the sacred blood and the holy water.


2. And His body, though dead after the manner of man, possesses in it great power of life. For streams which flow not from dead bodies flowed forth from Him, viz., blood and water; in order that we might know what power for life is held by the virtue that dwelt in His body, so as that it appears not to be dead like others, and is able to shed forth for us the springs of life.


3. And not a bone of the Holy Lamb is broken, this figure showing us that suffering toucheth not His strength. For the bones are the strength of the body. 


Fragments from Other Writings of Hippolytus.287


Now Hippolytus, a martyr for piety, who was bishop of the place called Portus, near Rome, in his book Against all Heresies, wrote in these terms: – 

I perceive, then, that the matter is one of contention. For he288 speaks thus: Christ kept the supper, then, on that day, and then suffered; whence it is needful that I, too, should keep it in the same manner as the Lord did. But he has fallen into error by not perceiving that at the time when Christ suffered He did not eat the passover of the law.289 For He was the passover that had been of old proclaimed, and that was fulfilled on that determinate day.



From the same.

And again the same (authority), in the first book of his treatise on the Holy Supper, speaks thus: – 

Now that neither in the first nor in the last there was anything false is evident; for he who said of old, “I will not any more eat the passover,” (Luk_22:16) probably partook of supper before the passover. But the passover He did not eat, but He suffered; for it was not the time for Him to eat.



Hippolytus, Bishop and Martyr, in a letter to a certain queen.291

1. He calls Him, then, “the first-fruits of them that sleep,” (1Co_15:20) as the “first-begotten of the dead.” (Col_1:18) For He, having risen, and being desirous to show that that same (body) had been raised which had also died, when His disciples were in doubt, called Thomas to Him, and said, “Reach hither; handle me, and see: for a spirit hath not bone and flesh, as ye see me have.” (Joh_20:27; Luk_24:39)

2. In calling Him the first-fruits, he testified to that which we have said, viz., that the Saviour, taking to Himself the flesh out of the same lump, raised this same flesh, and made it the first-fruits of the flesh of the righteous, in order that all we who have believed in the hope of the Risen One may have the resurrection in expectation.


The Story Of a Maiden of Corinth, and a Certain Magistrianus

The account given by Hippolytus, the friend of the apostles292

In another little book bearing the name of Hippolytus, the friend of the apostles, I found a story of the following nature: – 

There lived a certain most noble and beautiful maiden293 in the city of Corinth, in the careful exercise of a virtuous life. At that time some persons falsely charged her before the judge there, who was a Greek, with cursing the times, and the princes, and the images. Now those who trafficked in such things, brought her beauty under the notice of the impious judge, who lusted after women. And he gladly received the accusation with his equine ears and lascivious thoughts. And when she was brought before the bloodstained (judge), he was driven still more frantic with profligate passion. But when, after bringing every device to bear upon her, the profane than could not gain over this woman of God, he subjected the noble maiden to various outrages. And when he failed in these too, and was unable to seduce her from her confession of Christ, the cruel judge became furious against her, and gave her over to a punishment of the following nature: Placing the chaste maiden in a brothel, he charged the manager, saying, Take this woman, and bring me three nummi by her every day. And the man, exacting the money from her by her dishonour, gave her up to any who sought her in the brothel. And when the women-hunters knew that, they came to the brothel, and, paying the price lint upon their iniquity, sought to seduce her. But this most honourable maiden, taking counsel with herself to deceive them, called them to her, and earnestly besought them, saying: I have a certain ulceration of the pudenda, which has an extremely hateful stench; and I am afraid that ye might come to hate me on account of the abominable sore. Grant me therefore a few days, and then ye may have me even for nothing. With these words the blessed maiden gained over the profligates, and dismissed them for a time.294 And with most fitting prayers she importuned God, and with contrite supplications she sought to turn Him to compassion. God, therefore, who knew her thoughts, and understood how the chaste maiden was distressed in heart for her purity, gave ear to her; and the Guardian of the safety of all men in those days interposed with His arrangements in the following

manner: – 

Of a certain person Magistrianus.295

There was a certain young man, Magistrianus,296 comely in his personal appearance, and of a pious mind, whom God had inspired with such a burning spiritual zeal, that he despised even death itself. He, coming under the guise of profligacy, goes in, when the evening was far gone, to the fellow who kept the women, and pays him five nummi, and says to him, Permit me to spend this night with this damsel. Entering then with her into the private apartment, he says to her, Rise, save thyself. And taking off her garments, and dressing her in his own attire, his night-gown, his cloak, and all the habiliments of a man, he says to her, Wrap yourself up with the top of your cloak, and go out; and doing so, and signing herself entirely with the mystery of the cross, she went forth uncorrupt from that place, and was preserved perfectly stainless by the grace of Christ, and by the instrumentality of the young man, who by his own blood delivered her from dishonour. And on the following day the matter became known, and Magistrianus was brought before the infuriated judge. And when the cruel tyrant had examined the noble champion of Christ, and had learned all, he ordered him to be thrown to the wild beasts, – that in this, too, the honour-hating demon might be put to shame. For, whereas he thought to involve the noble youth in an unhallowed punishment, he exhibited him as a double martyr for Christ, inasmuch as he had both striven nobly for his own immortal soul, and persevered manfully in labours also in behalf of that noble and blessed maiden. Wherefore also he was deemed worthy of double honour with Christ, and of the illustrious and blessed crowns by His goodness.



The conduct of Father Abraham, although not approved of by Inspiration, but simply recorded (Gen_26:7), gave early Christians an opinion that the wicked may be justly foiled, by equivocation and deception, for the preservation of innocence or the life of the innocent. In such case the person deceived, they might argue, is not injured, but benefited (Gen_26:10), being saved from committing violence and murder. The Corinthian maiden was accustomed to be veiled (as Tertullian intimates), and was taught alike to cherish her own purity and to have no share in affording occasion of sin to others. See vol. 4. pp. 32, 33. Let us call this narrative “The Story of Corinthia and Magistrianus.” 





173 κατὰ στοιχεῖον. The Latin title in the version of Anastasius renders it “ex sermone qui est per elementum.”

174 περὶ θεολογίας.

175 For “Ἥλικος the Codex Regius et Colbertinus of Nicephorus prefers Ἣλικιωνος. Fabricus conjectures that we should read ἡλικιωτῶ αἱρετικῶν, so that the title would be, Against Beron and his fellow-heretics, [N.B. Beron = Vero.]

176 αὐτῷ τῷ … Θεῷ.

177 τοῖς ἕκαστα φυσικοῖς διεξαγόμενα νόμοις. Anastasius makes it naturalibus producta ligibus; Capperonnier suis quaeque legibus temperata vel ordinata.

178 τροπὴ γὰρ τοῦ κατὰ φύσιν ἀπείρου, κινεῖσθαι μὴ πεφυκότος, ἡ κίνησις; or may the sense be, “for a change in that which is in its nature infinite would just be the moving of that which is incapable of movement?”

179 μηδ ̓ ἑνὶ παντελῶς ὃ ταυτόν ἐστι τῷ Πατρὶ γενόμενος ταυτὸν τῇ σαρκὶ διὰ τὴν κένωσιν. Thus in effect Combefisius, correcting the Latin version of Anastasius. Baunius adopts the reading in the Greek Codex Nicephori, viz., ἕνωσιν for κένωσιν, and renders it, “In nothing was the Word, who is the same with the Father, made the same with the Flesh through the union:” nulla re Verbum quod idem est cum Patre factum est idem cum carne propter unionem.

180 δίχα σαρκὸς, i.e., what He was before assuming the flesh, that He continued to be in Himself, viz., independent of limitation.

181 θεΐκῶς.

182 Or existence, ὕπαρξιν. Anastasius makes it substantia.

183 οὐσίαν.

184 ἐνεργείας.

185 φυσικῆς ἰδιότητος.

186 κατὰ σύγκρισιν. Migne follows Capperonnier in taking σύγκρισις in this passage to mean not “comparison” or “relation,” but “commixture,” the “concretion and commixture” of the divine and human, which was the error of Apollinaris and Eutyches in their doctrine of the incarnation, and which had been already refuted by Tertullian, Contra Praxeam, c. xxvii.

187 Or, “for that would be to speak of the same being as greater and less than himself.”

188 υποστασιν.

189 αὐτοσθενές.

190 σωτήριον σάρκωσιν.

191 οὐδ ̓ ὥσπερ τῆς αὐτοῦ θεότητος οὕτω καὶ αὐτῆς φυσικῶς ἐκφυομένην.

192 σωματώσεως.

193 ὑπεράπειρος.

194 αὐτουργῶν.

195 λόγος.

196 The text is, διὰ τῶν ἀνομοίων μὲν ὑπάρχοντα. Anastasius reads μὴ for μέν.

197 σωματώσεως.

198 τῆς ὅλης θεότητος.

199 συνέφυ.

200 Κατὰ σύλληψιν πάντα περιγράφουσαν νοῦν.

201 οὔτε μὴν εἰς τ ̓ αὐτὸν αὐτῷ φέρεσθαι φύσεώς ποτε καὶ φυσικῆς ἐνεργείας, ἕως ἂν ἑκάτερον τῆς ἰδίας ἐντὸς μένει φυσικῆς ἀτρεψίας. To φέρεσθαι we supply again πεφυκε.

202 οὐσίαν.

203 The sense is extremely doubtful here. The text runs thus: ὁμοφυῶν γὰρ μόνων ἡ ταυτουργός ἐστι κίνησις σημαίνουσα τὴν οὐσίαν, ἧς φυσικὴ καθέστηκε δύναμις, ἑτεροφυοῦς ἰδιότητος οὐσίας εἶναι κατ ̓ οὐδένα λόγον, ἢ γενέσθαι δίχα τροπῆς δυναμένην. Anastasius renders it: Connaturalium enim tantum per se operans est motus, manifestans sunstantiam, cujus naturalem constat esse virtutem; diversae naturae proprietatis substantia nulla naturae esse vel fieri sine convertibilitate valente.

204 διττὴν καὶ διαφορὰν ἔχον διέγνωσται τὴν ἐν πᾶσι φυσικὴν θεωρίαν.

205 The text goes, ἕως ἂν οὐχ, which is adopted by Combefisius. But Capperonnier and Migne read οὖν for οὐχ, as we have rendered it.

206 Change, κίνησις.

207 μένει ἀνέκπτωτος.

208 γενέσθαι ταυτουργὸν τῇ θεότητι.

209 ταυτοπαθῆ τῇ σαρκί.

210 κένωσιν.

211 σύγχυσιν.

212 ὁμοεργῆ.

213 συγκεχυμένων. [Vol. 3. p. 623].

214 δυάς.

215 προσώτων.

216 τετράς, i.e., instead of Trinity [the Τριὰς].

217 μετάπτωσις. [Compare the Athanasian Confession].

218 ἴσον ἑαυτῷ καὶ ταυτόν.

219 ἀκατάλληλον.

220 τῆς ἰδίας φύσεως οὐσιώδη λόγον.

221 ταυτουργίαν.

222 διαίρεσιν προσωπικήν.

223 ὑπάρξεως.

224 ἰδιωμάτων.

225 φυσικῆς ἔξω γεγονὼς ἰσότητος καὶ ταυτότητος.

226 ἰδίωμα.

227 ἑτεροφανοῦς οὐσίας.

228 δημιουργόν.

229 ἐνουσιώσας.

230 Or sensitive, αἰσθητικοῦ.

231 ἀνοχῇ πάσχων θεότητος.

232 γυμνὸν σώματος.

233 ἄμοιρον δράσας θεότητος.

234 καινοπρεπῆ τρόπον.

235 τὸ κατ ̓ ἄμφω φυσικῶς ἀναλλοίωτον.

236 εἰς πίστωσιν.

237 ἐνανθπωπήσεως. [See Athanasian Creed, in Dutch Hymnal.]

238 μηδὲν ἐχούσης φαυλότητος.

239 ἐνεργείας μονάδι.

240 ταυτουργίαν.

241 μόνης τῆς τῶν ὁμοφυῶν προσώπων ὁμοφυοῦς ταυτότητος.

242 δίσκου.

243 σεληνιακοῦ στοιχείου.

244 πολυπηγήτου τῶν ἄστρων μουσίου.

245 φύσεως.

246 στοιχεῖα.

247 [Pindar (Ἄριστον μὲν ὕδωρ, Olymp., i. 1), is here expounded and then transcended.]

248 ἀξιοπιστίαν.

249 Economically.

250 οὐ παρθενίαν ἐστείρωσα. So Gregory Thaumaturgus, sancta Theophania, p. 106, edit. Vossii: “Thou, when born of the Virgin Mary,… didst not loose her virginity; but didst preserve it, and gifted her with the name of mother.”

251 παράπτω.

252 It was a common opinion among the ancient among theologians that the devil was ignorant of the mystery of the economy, founding on such passages as Mat_4:3; 1Co_2:8. (Fabricus.) [See Ignatius, vol. 1. p. 57, this series.]

253 γυμνός.

254 ἀπροστάτευτος.

255 ἀκανόνιστα δογματίζεις.

256 φῶς ἄΰλον γεννᾷ φῶς ἀπόσιτον. The Son is called “Light of Light” in the Discourse against Noetus, ch. x. [See p. 227 supra.] In φῶς ἀπρόσιτον the reference is to 1Ti_6:16.

257 ἐπεφάνη οὐκ ἐφάνη. See Dorner’s Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. i. vol. ii. p. 97 (Clark).

258 [Compare the Paradoxes, attributed to Bacon, in his Works, vol. xiv. p. 143; also the Appendix, pp. 139-142.]

259 ῥαπιζόμενος, referring to the slap in the process of manumitting slaves.

260 [From which proceeds His Church.]

261 That is, the sin introduced by Eve, who was formed by God out of Adam’s side. (Fabricus.)

262 ἔσται καὶ Θεός, referring probably to 2Pe_1:4, ἵνα διὰ τούτων γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως, “that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” [See vol. 3. p. 317. Tertullian anticipates the language of the “Athanasian Confession,” – “taking the manhood into God;” applicable, through Christ, to our redeemed humanity. Eph_2:6; Rev_3:21]

263 κολυμβήθρας.

264 τέκνον.

265 This seems to refer to what the poets sing as to the sun rising out of the waves of ocean. (Fabricus.) [Note, this is not said of such as Simon Magus, but of one who puts off the bondage, i.e., of corruption. Our author’s perorations are habitually sublime.]

266 From a Discourse on the Resurrection, in Anastasius Sinaita, Hodegus, p. 350. This treatise is mentioned in the list of his works given on the statue, and also by Jerome, Sophronius, Nicephorus, Honorius, etc.

267 ἀρευσίᾳ.

268 γεννᾶται.

269 From the Discourse on the Theology or the Doctrine of Christ’s Divine Nature, extant in the Acts of the Lateran Council, under Martinus 1., ann. 649, secret. v. p. 287, vol. vii. edit. Veneto-Labb.

270 περὶ θεολογίας.

271 οὐ τὸ μὴ θέλειν.

272 τρεπτοῦ καὶ προαιπετοῦ.

273 From a Homily on the Lord’s Paschal Supper, ibid., p. 293.

274 ὅλος.

275 καὶ ἄνθρωπος, also man. See Grabe, Bull’s Defens. Fid. Nic., p. 103.

276 From a Discourse on Elkanah and Hannah. In Theodoret, Dial. I., bearing the title “Unchangeable,” (ἄτρεπτος); Works, vol. iv. p. 36.

277 From the same Discourse. From Theodoret’s second Dialogue, bearing the title “Unmixed,” ἀσύγχτος; Works, vol. iv. p. 88.

278 [Man’s nature was never before in heaven. Joh_3:13; Act_2:34.]

279 From an Oration on “The Lord is my Shepherd.” In Theodoret, Dial. I. p. 36.

280 From a Discourse on the “Great Song” [i.e., Psa_90:1-17. See Bunsen, i. p. 285. Some suppose it is Psa_109:1-31.] In Theodoret, Dial. II. p. 36.

281 τὸν κάτω εἰς τὰ ἄνω. [See p. 238, note 278, supra.]

282 From a Discourse on the beginning of Isaiah. In Theodoret, Dial. I. p. 36.

283 From a second Oration on Daniel. In the tractate of Eustratius, a presbyter of the Church of Constantinople, “Against those who allege that souls, as soon as they are released from the body, cease to act,” ch. xix., as edited by Allatius in his work on the Continuous Harmony of the Western and the Eastern Church on the Dogma of Purgatory, p. 402. [Conf. Macaire, Theol. Orthod., ii. p. 725]

284 [Nothing of this in the hymn: hence my brackets.]

285 From an Oration on the Distribution of Talents. In Theodoret, Dial. II. p. 88.

286 From a Discourse on “The two Robbers.” In Theodoret’s Third Dialogue, bearing the title “Impassible” (ἀπαθὴς), p. 156.

287 Preserved by the author of the Chronicon Paschale, ex. ed. Cangii, p. 6.

288 i.e., the opponent of Hippolytus, one of the forerunners of the Quartodecimans.

289 [For pro & con see Speaker’s Com., note on Mat_26:1-75.]

290 From a letter of Hippolytus to a certain queen. In Theodoret’s Dial. II., bearing the title “Unmixed” (ἀσύγχυτος) and Dial. III. entitled “Impassible” (ἀπαθης) [pp. 238-239 supra].

291 On the question as to who this queen was, see Stephen Moyne, in notes to the Varia Sacra, pp. 1103, 1112. In the marble monument mention is made of a letter of Hippolytus to Severina. [Bunsen decides that she was only a princess, a daughter of Alexander Severus. See his Hippolytus, i. p. 276.]

292 Extract in Palladius, Historia Lausiaca, chap. cxlviii.; Gallandi, Biblioth., ii. 513.

293 Nicephorus also mentions her in his Hist. Eccl., vii. 13.

294 [On the morality of this, see vol. 2. pp. 538, 556.]

295 From the same, chap. cxlix.

296 Nicephorus gives this story also, Hist. Eccl., vii. 13.