2.7.1    “The nourishing righteousness of the omnipotent God has spread out many most remarkable paths for the benefit of the human race, not the least of which is that rather outstanding and especially brilliant one which he prepared for us all through the chief point of the most holy law of the catholic church, greater than every wonder: the Lord’s dwelling place of faith.

2.7.2    We see that its peak has gone up to the light of the stars, and even though the work is just beginning, we know that its foundations are so deeply and faithfully rooted by divine will that the whole world takes notice of it.

2.7.3    Moreover, from this aforementioned peak, which lies above absolutely everything else up to the farthest reaches, shines a smooth and level path reflecting the brightness of the light. And its face, which is adorned with a star-like gem, is eternally supported by twelve pillars which are brighter than snow and fixed upon the foundation of the faith, by the power of our Savior’s divinity.

2.7.4    And indeed, to us who receive the righteous faith from the soul, the architect of such a great work as this has also given the sublimity of his undying law to the mind. The one who wishes to enter the gates requires nothing other than a holy and pious motivation with the sole confidence of a pure mind.

2.7.5    And to this very work, the plan of salvation added a certain wonderful and decorative brilliance. What I mean is that, on the inside, the faith of men flowers throughout all the courts of the Lord’s house, is honored with crowns, gathers the fruit of immortality, and brings to light and manifests the pure offspring of humanity. Then, in turn, on the outside, the heavenly glory, which is crowned, highlights the prizes of the struggle which is always being born, or rather, sprouting, and depictions adorn the total completion of this very work with the proper praise.

2.7.6    And this very house of the Lord is watched over by only two guards. The one is fear of the divine, which is at hand as a corrective measure for the thinking of some, and the second is praise of the divine, which is always present for those who think rightly as a reward for their understanding. For when both of these have been hung over the front doors of the most holy place, the doors are flung open, and they welcome righteousness, which also lives inside it and remains undefiled. And anything established in injustice cannot enter the doors. Rather, it is expelled and excluded from this place.

2.7.7    O most honorable brothers worthy of all praise, these clear things thus led me to the brightness of the eternal and immortal light, lest some wavering faith of the soul might perhaps make me to stand far off and be out of tune with the truth.

2.7.8    But what should I affirm first—the image of bliss which is crammed unseen within my breast or the divine benefactions that have been bestowed by the Almighty God in connection with me? Because of the number of these many works, at this point, it seems sufficient to say that our God himself, the Father of all things, has fittingly enslaved me as his humble servant.

2.7.9    Believe me, most honorable brothers, and accept what I am saying with a pure faith. Even if my mind, which has been filled with divine benefactions, most certainly seems to be happy and because of this, appears to be able to render eminent praises, nevertheless, faith clearly demonstrates the truth that neither voice nor tongue is sufficient to carry out what the mind commands, and quite reasonably so.

2.7.10  For since the magnitude of his benefactions is immeasurable, the mind, being the lofty thing that it is, lays hold of the places above the body. But the path of the tongue, since it is confined to a quite narrow place and is practically worthless, is absolutely silent. For who of us is so rash in his thinking so as to spit out a word of such self-confidence, by which he would actually dare to assert that he can easily and perfectly speak glorious and worthy praises to the God who can do all things and is the creator of all the things which are most beautiful?

2.7.11  For if anyone should ever consider only the magnificence of the one who ordained that he be born, he would know and observe that one can find nothing worthy enough to say about God.

2.7.12  Now then, what should the devotion of your humble servant speak about, except that which the divine Word of truth demonstrates?  The greatest act of worship of any kind should wisely consider whether it will be able to arrive at his majesty with the very things spoken about him and whether not a single error will cause him to slip.

2.7.13  And if only it would be sufficient for me, your fellow servant, to speak profusely and effusively in order to extol those things which are worthy of being heralded—the things which our divine Savior and the guardian of all things demonstrated by the calm will of his divinity at the beginning of his coming, when for our benefit, he saw it fit to receive a pure body from a virgin as a dwelling place. In this way he showed proof of his compassion to all men.

2.7.14  So where shall I begin? With his instruction and reverent dignity? Or [should I begin] rather with the divine teachings of which he has appeared as the only teacher who has had no other teacher? Or [should I begin] rather with how people were refreshed through his providence (so many that their number cannot be comprehended!), with such little food—the smallest loaves of bread and only two fish?

2.7.15  By his divine providence, after Lazarus’s death, he also brought about Lazarus’s resurrection with some short stick and brought him back into the brightness of the light again.

2.7.16  And how should I speak of his holy divinity by which he beheld some woman who was secretly suffering from an illness, saw it fit that she only have contact with him, and exhibited her as healthy again and free of all illness?

2.7.17  And who could speak worthily enough about his immortal work by which someone who was perishing and wasting away from a long-lasting and unrelenting illness and was lying completely outstretched with his limbs spread out and stretched apart, was suddenly restored to good health by divine healing, that he placed on his shoulders the same mat on which he had been lying and ran throughout the country and the territory spreading thankful praises?

2.7.18  Or rather, [who could speak worthily enough] about his divine and sure step as he walked upon the stormy sea, trampling it underfoot, walking on it as if it were dry land, and how with divine footsteps he made the liquid of the deepest sea solid and made a path through the middle of a sea marked with no measure of depth, as if traveling on land?

2.7.19  Or rather, [who could speak worthily enough] about his gentle forbearance, through which he, as a victor in all things, tamed the obstinacy of the foolish crowds, and after he tamed it, he removed it far from them and subjected their cruelty to the law?

2.7.20  Or rather, [who could speak worthily enough] about those exceedingly bright and great things of his divinity by which we live, by which we are well pleased—we who not only await the hope of the true happiness which is to come, but already possess it in some manner, so to speak?

2.7.21  What more dare I say in addition in this short introduction of my speech, except this one thing which the purity of my devoted soul must understand, that is, what the omnipotent God who dwells in heaven is like in relation to the entire human race, and most especially in relation to the finest righteousness which is greater than all praise, since even his own holy, divine spirit saw it completely fitting to take on a body and to live in it and thus to grant salvation to human bodies?

2.7.22  Therefore, since the immeasurable madness of our enemies, as if confounded by some fog, does not hesitate to make an interpretation of poisonous moral perversity concerning God’s so exceedingly holy and saving arrangement which can do all things, I will try to explain briefly to what extent the faith and the devotion of my soul abounds with plenty of reasons for speaking.

2.7.23  For the perversities of these ones, like those of the pagans, are also introducing such shamelessness, that they are not afraid to say with an ungodly mouth that the God who can do all things neither has done nor has willed to do everything which he revealed in his divine law.

2.7.24  Oh, what an ungodly voice which calls down upon itself all the boundless punishment it deserves! Truly, it insanely and daringly desires to hide the glory of this divine benefaction which cannot be comprehended by any human being.

2.7.25  For what is more worthy of God than purity? Purity has gone forth from the most holy association together with the spring of righteousness and has overflowed through all the circumference of the world and has shown men the powers of the most holy virtues. But when they had first considered these virtues to be their enemies, they suffered the fate of the Assyrians, who led the way and by whose bad example all the other nations were seduced to join them.

2.7.26  As we examine these things with our own eyesight, we see the divine compassion of God our Savior at work, when both day after day and year after year he himself called many who are driven by the sting of fiery madness to come to the patient endurance of his salvific healing. But, the magnitude of such benefaction is not able to benefit the rest in this same way, because of men’s ignorance of the fact that the divine rule is able to exalt any people, and, having exalted them on high, to confirm them, as well as to bring them down and destroy them again.

2.7.27  But rather, it would have turned out even worse for human affairs if God, who can do all things, had not, with the silent will of his divinity, determined to manage all things. For the madness of men would have been all the more great, and human arrogance, having no limit, would have annihilated all souls, and the other most numerous things which serve their own function in the confusion of the world would not be have been able to come to light.

2.7.28  Rather, all things would have quickly perished at once together with the ignorance of the divine. And the wrongdoing of envy and malice would not have remained just among a few. Rather, no one would have been found to be opposed to this malice, since the “religions” would have spread so greatly and broadly to the souls of men to the point that, deservedly, because of their shamelessness, this bright light of ours would have been overshadowed for them and they would have always been deprived of it.

2.7.29  Therefore, not a single word of what has been said is able to drive my faith out from my soul.  For when nothing evil hinders my faith, a perfect power, the living Word of truth, the one who can do all things, the guardian of all things, and the protector of our salvation attends it. Therefore, in some way, he seems to lavishly bestow the association with his most holy Word, to carefully guard the knowledge of him who frees us and to provide for us the brightness of the light.

2.7.30  Now then, for what reason do the peoples of all the nations even now not notice the heavenly light and disparage the most glorious holy one, and instead pursue something earthly which has no substance of truth or glint of pure brightness or authority of the heavenly divinity?

2.7.31  What a despicable deed! Even now they still do not see that they are leaving no ungodly thing undone and are not fixing their eyes on what they should, but are rather falling down because of a wretched deception. And they do not stop defiling the brightness with these filthy works of the world—plainly setting up wood and stone and bronze and silver and gold and these kinds of earthly materials to worship, proclaiming to have the hope of life through them, and building splendidly decorated temples to them. And by doing this, they thus increase the additional spaces for their worship, since they consider the magnitude of the buildings they have made to be a wonder worth beholding.

2.7.32  Now then, when they decide to do these things, it is clearly observed that—even if in their arrogance they most certainly do not perceive or see it—they are caught deciding to boast in their works. Now then, we do not see how big and how great God the Lord of all is, who also is the master and judge over all. And some, by their self-confidence in their own supposed excellence, outrage him without even knowing.

2.7.33  For he fashioned even the form of our body and gave it the shape it ought to have. And in order that our human frame might perform at its peak, he himself bound the joints of all our limbs with the strongest tendons, so that in every action we attempt, our human frame might untiringly perform at its peak. Now then, when he had brought these things to perfection by his saving fashioning, he also breathed breath into us so that all these parts could move and be at their peak performance. And he granted sight to our eyes, placed them in our head for comprehension, and enclosed in that place the reasoning of all our understanding.

2.7.34  Therefore, if anyone who is thinking clearly would consider the reason for this configuration and stop considering other things which cannot be comprehended by either word or number, he would quickly come to realize and be able to see and understand the eternal and saving authority of the immortal God, and no man would be able to entangle him in the snares of any deception, since he would also be able to see clearly that, by the power of God, everything which was made exists just as God has wanted them all to exist.

2.7.35  And in order that it may be seen that any lawless, worldly way of life produces an ignorance about God among men, since the first thought of sin was born from the deception of the enemy in the wretched souls of morally perverse people, we can show you clear proof about this in the divine law.

2.7.36  For from that time—that is, from the time when the divine and holy command was not kept with proper care by those two who were made in the beginning—after these things the blossom with this name was born. And it was produced continually and it increased exceedingly, also from the time when the two mentioned previously were banished by divine will.

2.7.37  And this material world was carried with the moral perversity of people up to such a point that it brought condemnation to the east and the foundations to the west. And this extreme amount of the opposing power seized and darkened the minds of men.

2.7.38  To be sure, even in this event, the never-resting compassion of God, who can do all things, is holy and undying. For in all the days and years which have passed by, God has been freeing from this burden countless large crowds of peoples who were enslaved through me, his servant, and will lead them to the perfect brightness of eternal light. Therefore, dearest brothers, by these things, I myself have become convinced that because of some rather special providence and glorious benefaction of our immortal God, henceforward I am to play an even more significant role in regards to the most pure faith in him.

2.7.39  Therefore, let the most pure synod of your holiness accept me, and do not let the most self-controlled church and the doors of the pure mother we all share be set against me. Even though the reasoning of my soul is especially now seeking the complete purity of the catholic faith, it does not think itself worthy to easily attain it on its own. Nevertheless, my soul still urges and reminds, and it displays the brow of its own self-respect like a seal of all the most beautiful virtues. And it begins to grasp the gates of immortality and knock on them, so that you also might see it fit to immediately accept the affection of your brotherhood, looking for one unity and peace in the catholic faith.

2.7.40  For it is proper in the sight of God and fitting in regards to the faith of the catholic church and beneficial for the common interest of matters, in order that we may all present a worthy response to God for the most honorable peace which he has graciously granted to us.

2.7.41  For how truly terrible it would be, indeed, extremely terrible, now that the enemies have been destroyed and there is no one who still dares to resist, for us to take aim at each other and provide pleasure and laughter for the adversaries. And especially, above all, [how truly terrible it would be] to argue about divine matters even though we have the teaching of the All-Holy Spirit in writing! For the writings of the Evangelists and the Apostles and the prophecies of the ancient prophets teach us clearly what it is necessary to believe concerning the divine. Therefore, casting out the polemical strife, let us receive the solution to the things being inquired about from the divinely inspired words.”

2.7.42  The all-wise emperor, indeed, like a child who loves his father, presented these things and things resembling them to the priests, as to his fathers, trying to bring about agreement on the apostolic doctrines. And of the council of the bishops gathered at that same place, (there were 318 of them), 300, in fact, were both persuaded by the things he said and embraced both harmony with each other and the soundness of the doctrines.

2.7.43  But the rest, just as we also said a while back, kept fighting against the apostolic doctrines, and they zealously went to great lengths to endorse the opinion of Arius. There were 17 of them: Eusebius of Nicomedia, as was also mentioned before, Theognis of Nicaea, Maris of Chalcedon, Theodorus of Heraclea in Thrace, Menophantus of Ephesus, Patrophilus of Scythopolis, Narcissus of Neronias in Cilicia Secunda (which we now call Irenopolis), Theonas of Marmarites, Secundus of Ptolemais in Egypt and with them also eight others who, although mixing themselves together with the company of the three hundred saints as if they were truly orthodox, opposed the apostolic doctrines by defending Arius.

2.7.44  Our fathers among the saints—Alexander of Constantinople, who was a priest at the time, and Athanasius, the archdeacon of the church of Alexandria—nobly proved a match for them in dispute. For this reason, envy was cultivated against them, as we will talk about later on. But our holy bishops later summoned Arius to the synod, allowing him to exhibit his own doctrines, by the will of the all-conquering emperor, since, as we have just said, he himself also attended the synod.

 

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Created by NJ 7-20-17

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