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The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

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wilfulness had despised his Creator began to walk in his own ways. Hence
God willing rather to recover mankind through one just man than that it
should remain for ever contumacious, suffered all the guilty multitude
to perish by the wide waters of a flood, save only Noah, the just one,
with his children and all that he had brought with him into the ark. The
reason why He wished to save the just by an ark of wood is known to all
hearts learned in the Holy Scriptures. Thus what we may call the first
age of the world was ended by the avenging flood.

Thus the human race was restored, and yet it hastened to make its own
the vice of nature with which the first author of transgression had
infected it. And the wickedness increased which had once been punished
by the waters of the flood, and man who had been suffered to live for a
long series of years was reduced to the brief span of ordinary human
life. Yet would not God again visit the race by a flood, but rather,
letting it continue, He chose from it men of whose line a generation
should arise out of which He might in the last days grant us His own Son
to come to us, clothed in human form. Of these men Abraham is the first,
and although he was stricken in years and his wife past bearing, they
had in their old age the reward of a son in fulfilment of promise
unconditional. This son was named Isaac and he begat Jacob, who in his
turn begat the twelve Patriarchs, God not reckoning in their number
those whom nature in its ordinary course produced.[51] This Jacob, then,
together with his sons and his household determined to dwell in Egypt
for the purpose of trafficking; and the multitude of them increasing
there in the course of many years began to be a cause of suspicion to
the Egyptian rulers, and Pharaoh ordered them to be oppressed by
exceeding heavy tasks[52] and afflicted them with grievous burdens. At
length God, minded to set at naught the tyranny of the king of Egypt,
divided the Red Sea--a marvel such as nature had never known before--and
brought forth His host by the hands of Moses and Aaron. Thereafter on
account of their departure Egypt was vexed with sore plagues, because
they would not let the people go. So, after crossing the Red Sea, as I
have told, they passed through the desert of the wilderness and came to
the mount which is called Sinai, where God the Creator of all, wishing
to prepare the nations for the knowledge of the sacrament to come, laid
down by a law given through Moses how both the rites of sacrifices and
the national customs should be ordered. And after fighting down many
tribes in many years amidst their journeyings they came at last to the
river called Jordan, with Joshua the son of Nun now as their captain,
and, for their crossing, the streams of Jordan were dried up as the
waters of the Red Sea had been; so they finished their course to that
city which is now called Jerusalem. And while the people of God abode
there we read that there were set up first judges and prophets and then
kings, of whom we read that after Saul, David of the tribe of Judah
ascended the throne. So from him the royal race descended from father to
son and lasted till the days of Herod who, we read, was the first taken
out of the peoples called Gentile to bear sway. In whose days rose up
the blessed Virgin Mary, sprung from the stock of David, she who bore
the Maker of the human race. But it was just because the whole world lay
dead, stained with its many sins, that God chose out one race in which
His commands might shine clear; sending it prophets and other holy men,
to the end that by their warnings that people at least might be cured of
their swollen pride. But they slew these holy men and chose rather to
abide in their wanton wickedness.

And now at the last days of time, in place of prophets and other men
well-pleasing to Him, God willed that His only-begotten Son should be
born of a Virgin that so the salvation of mankind which had been lost
through the disobedience of the first man might be recovered by the God-
man, and that inasmuch as it was a woman who had first persuaded man to
that which wrought death there should be this second woman who should
bring forth from a human womb Him who gives Life. Nor let it be deemed a
thing unworthy that the Son of God was born of a Virgin, for it was out
of the course of nature that He was conceived and brought to birth.
Virgin then she conceived, by the Holy Spirit, the Son of God made
flesh, Virgin she bore Him, Virgin she continued after His birth; and He
became the Son of Man and likewise the Son of God that in Him the glory
of the divine nature might shine forth and at the same time the human
weakness be declared which He took upon Him. Yet against this article of
Faith so wholesome and altogether true there rose up many who babbled
other doctrine, and especially Nestorius and Eutyches, inventors of
heresy, of whom the one thought fit to say that He was man alone, the
other that He was God alone and that the human body put on by Christ had
not come by participation in human substance. But enough on this point.

So Christ grew after the flesh, and was baptized in order that He who
was to give the form of baptism to others should first Himself receive
what He taught. But after His baptism He chose twelve disciples, one of
whom betrayed Him. And because the people of the Jews would not bear
sound doctrine they laid hands upon Him and slew and crucified Him.
Christ, then, was slain; He lay three days and three nights in the tomb;
He rose again from the dead as He had predetermined with His Father
before the foundation of the world; He ascended into heaven whence we
know that He was never absent, because He is Son of God, in order that
as Son of God He might raise together with Him to the heavenly
habitation man whose flesh He had assumed, whom the devil had hindered
from ascending to the places on high. Therefore He bestowed on His
disciples the form of baptizing, the saving truth of the teaching, and
the mighty power of miracles, and bade them go throughout the whole
world to give it life, in order that the message of salvation might be
preached no longer in one nation only but among all the dwellers upon
earth. And because the human race was wounded by the weapon of eternal
punishment by reason of the nature which they had inherited from the
first transgressor and could not win a full meed of salvation because
they had lost it in its first parent, God instituted certain health-
giving sacraments to teach the difference between what grace bestowed
and human nature deserved, nature simply subjecting to punishment, but
grace, which is won by no merit, since it would not be grace if it were
due to merit, conferring all that belongs to salvation.

Therefore is that heavenly instruction spread throughout the world, the
peoples are knit together, churches are founded, and, filling the broad
earth, one body formed, whose head, even Christ, ascended into heaven in
order that the members might of necessity follow where the Head was
gone. Thus this teaching both inspires this present life unto good
works, and promises that in the end of the age our bodies shall rise
incorruptible to the kingdom of heaven, to the end that he who has lived
well on earth by God's gift should be altogether blessed in that
resurrection, but he who has lived amiss should, with the gift of
resurrection, enter upon misery. And this is a firm principle of our
religion, to believe not only that men's souls do not perish, but that
their very bodies, which the coming of death had destroyed, recover
their first state by the bliss that is to be. This Catholic church,
then, spread throughout the world, is known by three particular marks:
whatever is believed and taught in it has the authority of the
Scriptures, or of universal tradition, or at least of its own and proper
usage. And this authority is binding on the whole Church as is also the
universal tradition of the Fathers, while each separate church exists
and is governed by its private constitution and its proper rites
according to difference of locality and the good judgment of each. All,
therefore, that the faithful now expect is that the end of the world
will come, that all corruptible things shall pass away, that men shall
rise for future judgement, that each shall receive reward according to
his deserts and abide in the lot assigned to him for ever and for aye;
and the sole reward of bliss will be the contemplation of the Almighty,
so far, that is, as the creature may look on the Creator, to the end
that the number of the angels may be made up from these and the heavenly
city filled where the Virgin's Son is King and where will be everlasting
joy, delight, food, labour, and unending praise of the Creator.

[43] The conclusions adverse to the genuineness of this tractate,
reached in the dissertation _Der dem Boethius zugeschriebene Traktat de
Fide Catholica (Jahrbuecher fuer kl. Phil._ xxvi. (1901) Supplementband)
by one of the editors, now seem to both unsound. The writer of that
dissertation intends to return to the subject elsewhere. This fourth
tractate, though lacking, in the best MSS., either an ascription to
Boethius or a title, is firmly imbedded in two distinct recensions of
Boethius's theological works. There is no reason to disturb it. Indeed
the _capita dogmatica_ mentioned by Cassiodorus can hardly refer to any
of the tractates except the fourth.

[44] For _instrumentum_=Holy Scripture cf. Tertull. _Apol._ 18, 19,
_adv. Hermog._ 19, etc.; for _instrumentum_=any historical writing cf.
Tert. _De Spect._ 5.

[45] Boethius is no heretic. By the sixth century _uel_ had lost its
strong separative force. Cp. "Noe cum sua uel trium natorum coniugibus,"
Greg. Tur. _H.F._ i. 20. Other examples in Bonnet, _La Latinite de Greg.
de Tours_, p. 313, and in Brandt's edition of the _Isag._ Index, s.v.

[46] _Vide Cons._ i. pr. 3 (_infra_, p. 140), and cf. Dante, _De Mon._
iii. 16, 117.

[47] _Ut quia_. A very rare use. Cf. Baehrens, _Beitraege zur lat.
Syntaxis_ (_Philologus_, Supplementband xii. 1912). It
perhaps=Aristotle's [Greek: oion epei]. Cf. McKinlay, _Harvard Studies
in Cl. Philol._ xviii. 153.

[48] _In integro_=_prorsus_; cf. Brandt, _op. cit._ Index, s.v.

[49] The doctrine is orthodox, but note that Boethius does not say _ex
nihilo creauit_. _Vide infra_, p. 366 ll. 24 ff.

[50] _Vide infra, Cons._ iv. pr. 6, p. 342 l. 54.

[51] e.g. Ishmael also [Greek: kata sarka gegennaetai] Gal. iv. 23.

[52] Cf. "populus dei mirabiliter crescens ... quia ... erant
suspecta... laboribus premebatur," Aug. _De Ciu. Dei_, 18. 7. For other
coincidences see Rand, _op. cit._ pp. 423 ff.




Anxie te quidem diuque sustinui, ut de ea quae in conuentu mota est
quaestione loqueremur. Sed quoniam et tu quominus uenires occupatione
distractus es et ego in crastinum constitutis negotiis implicabor, mando
litteris quae coram loquenda seruaueram. Meministi enim, cum in concilio
legeretur epistola, recitatum Eutychianos ex duabus naturis Christum
consistere confiteri, in duabus negare: catholicos uero utrique dicto fidem
praebere, nam et ex duabus eum naturis consistere et in duabus apud uerae
fidei sectatores aequaliter credi. Cuius dicti nouitate percussus harum
coniunctionum quae ex duabus naturis uel in duabus consisterent
differentias inquirebam, multum scilicet referre ratus nec inerti
neglegentia praetereundum, quod episcopus scriptor epistolae tamquam ualde
necessarium praeterire noluisset. Hic omnes apertam esse differentiam nec
quicquam in eo esse caliginis inconditum confusumque strepere nec ullus in
tanto tumultu qui leuiter attingeret quaestionem, nedum qui expediret
inuentus est.

Adsederam ego ab eo quem maxime intueri cupiebam longius atque adeo, si
situm sedentium recorderis, auersus pluribusque oppositis, ne si aegerrime
quidem cuperem, uultum nutumque eius aspicere poteram ex quo mihi aliqua
eius darentur signa iudicii. Atqui ego quidem nihil ceteris amplius
afferebam, immo uero aliquid etiam minus. Nam de re proposita aeque nihil
ceteris sentiebam; minus uero quam ceteri ipse afferebam, falsae scilicet
scientiae praesumptionem. Tuli aegerrime, fateor, compressusque indoctorum
grege conticui metuens ne iure uiderer insanus, si sanus inter furiosos
haberi contenderem. Meditabar igitur dehinc omnes animo quaestiones nec
deglutiebam quod acceperam, sed frequentis consilii iteratione ruminabam.
Tandem igitur patuere pulsanti animo fores et ueritas inuenta quaerenti
omnes nebulas Eutychiani reclusit erroris. Vnde mihi maxime subiit
admirari, quaenam haec indoctorum hominum esset audacia qui inscientiae
uitium praesumptionis atque inpudentiae nube conentur obducere, cum non
modo saepe id quod proponatur ignorent, uerum in huiusmodi contentionibus
ne id quidem quod ipsi loquantur intellegant, quasi non deterior fiat
inscientiae causa, dum tegitur.

Sed ab illis ad te transeo, cui hoc quantulumcumque est examinandum prius
perpendendumque transmitto. Quod si recte se habere pronuntiaueris, peto ut
mei nominis hoc quoque inseras chartis; sin uero uel minuendum aliquid uel
addendum uel aliqua mutatione uariandum est, id quoque postulo remitti,
meis exemplaribus ita ut a te reuertitur transcribendum. Quae ubi ad calcem
ducta constiterint, tum demum eius cuius soleo iudicio censenda
transmittam. Sed quoniam semel res a conlocutione transfertur ad stilum,
prius extremi sibique contrarii Nestorii atque Eutychis summoueantur
errores; post uero adiuuante deo, Christianae medietatem fidei temperabo.
Quoniam uero in tota quaestione contrariarum sibimet [Greek: haireseon] de
personis dubitatur atque naturis, haec primitus definienda sunt et propriis
differentiis segreganda.




I have been long and anxiously waiting for you to discuss with me the
problem which was raised at the meeting. But since your duties have
prevented your coming and I shall be for some time involved in my
business engagements, I am setting down in writing what I had been
keeping to say by word of mouth.

You no doubt remember how, when the letter[53] was read in the assembly,
it was asserted that the Eutychians confess that Christ is formed from
two natures but does not consist of them--whereas Catholics admit both
propositions, for among followers of the true Faith He is equally
believed to be of two natures and in two natures. Struck by the novelty
of this assertion I began to inquire what difference there can be
between unions formed from two natures and unions which consist in two
natures, for the point which the bishop who wrote the letter refused to
pass over because of its gravity, seemed to me of importance and not one
to be idly and carelessly slurred over. On that occasion all loudly
protested that the difference was evident, that there was no obscurity,
confusion or perplexity, and in the general storm and tumult there was
no one who really touched the edge of the problem, much less anyone who
solved it.

I was sitting a long way from the man whom I especially wished to
watch,[54] and if you recall the arrangement of the seats, I was turned
away from him, with so many between us, that however much I desired it I
could not see his face and expression and glean therefrom any sign of
his opinion. Personally, indeed, I had nothing more to contribute than
the rest, in fact rather less than more. I, no more than the others, had
any view about the question at issue, while my possible contribution was
less by one thing, namely, the false assumption of a knowledge that I
had not got. I was, I admit, much put out, and being overwhelmed by the
mob of ignorant speakers, I held my peace, fearing lest I should be
rightly set down as insane if I held out for being sane among those
madmen.[55] So I continued to ponder all the questions in my mind, not
swallowing what I had heard, but rather chewing the cud of constant
meditation. At last the door opened to my insistent knocking, and the
truth which I found cleared out of my way all the clouds of the
Eutychian error. And with this discovery a great wonder came upon me at
the vast temerity of unlearned men who use the cloak of impudent
presumption to cover up the vice of ignorance, for not only do they
often fail to grasp the point at issue, but in a debate of this kind
they do not even understand their own statements, forgetting that the
case of ignorance is all the worse if it is not honestly admitted.[56]

I turn from them to you, and to you I submit this little essay for your
first judgment and consideration. If you pronounce it to be sound I beg
you to place it among the other writings of mine which you possess; but
if there is anything to be struck out or added or changed in any way, I
would ask you to let me have your suggestions, in order that I may enter
them in my copies just as they leave your hands. When this revision has
been duly accomplished, then I will send the work on to be judged by the
man to whom I always submit everything.[57] But since the pen is now to
take the place of the living voice, let me first clear away the extreme
and self-contradictory errors of Nestorius and Eutyches; after that, by
God's help, I will temperately set forth the middle way of the Christian
Faith. But since in this whole question of self-contradictory heresies
the matter of debate is Persons and Natures, these terms must first be
defined and distinguished by their proper differences.

[53] Evidently the letter addressed to Pope Symmachus by the Oriental
bishops (_vide_ Mansi, _Concil_. viii. 221 ff.), in which they inquire
concerning the safe middle way between the heresies of Eutyches and
Nestorius. The date of the bishops' letter, and consequently, in all
probability, of Boethius's tractate was 512.

[54] Obviously his father-in-law Symmachus. _Vide_ p. 76, _eius cuius
soleo iudiclo_, etc.

[55] Cf. Hor. _Serm_. i. 3. 82; ii. 3. 40.

[56] Cf. _infra, de Cons._ i. pr. 4 (p. 142) _oportet uulnus detegas.

[57] _Vide supra_, p. 75, and _De Trin._ p. 3.


Natura igitur aut de solis corporibus dici potest aut de solis substantiis,
id est corporeis atque incorporeis, aut de omnibus rebus quae quocumque
modo esse dicuntur. Cum igitur tribus modis natura dici possit, tribus
modis sine dubio definienda est. Nam si de omnibus rebus naturam dici
placet, talis definitio dabitur quae res omnes quae sunt possit includere.
Erit ergo huiusmodi: "natura est earum rerum quae, cum sint, quoquo modo
intellectu capi possunt." In hac igitur definitione et accidentia et
substantiae definiuntur; haec enim omnia intellectu capi possunt. Additum
uero est "quoquo modo," quoniam deus et materia integro perfectoque
intellectu intellegi non possunt, sed aliquo tamen modo ceterarum rerum
priuatione capiuntur. Idcirco uero adiunximus "quae cum sint," quoniam
etiam ipsum nihil significat aliquid sed non naturam. Neque enim quod sit
aliquid sed potius non esse significat; omnis uero natura est. Et si de
omnibus quidem rebus naturam dici placet, haec sit naturae definitio quam
superius proposuimus. Sin uero de solis substantiis natura dicitur, quoniam
substantiae omnes aut corporeae sunt aut incorporeae, dabimus definitionem
naturae substantias significanti huiusmodi: "natura est uel quod facere uel
quod pati possit." "Pati" quidem ac "facere," ut omnia corporea atque
corporeorum anima; haec enim in corpore et a corpore et facit et patitur.
"Facere" uero tantum ut deus ceteraque diuina. Habes igitur definitionem
eius quoque significationis naturae quae tantum substantiis applicatur. Qua
in re substantiae quoque est reddita definitio. Nam si nomen naturae
substantiam monstrat, cum naturam descripsimus substantiae quoque est
assignata descriptio. Quod si naturae nomen relictis incorporeis
substantiis ad corporales usque contrahitur, ut corporeae tantum
substantiae naturam habere uideantur, sicut Aristoteles ceterique et
eiusmodi et multimodae philosophiae sectatores putant, definiemus eam, ut
hi etiam qui naturam non nisi in corporibus esse posuerunt. Est autem eius
definitio hoc modo: "natura est motus principium per se non per accidens."
Quod "motus principium" dixi hoc est, quoniam corpus omne habet proprium
motum, ut ignis sursum, terra deorsum. Item quod "per se principium motus"
naturam esse proposui et non "per accidens," tale est, quoniam lectum
quoque ligneum deorsum ferri necesse est, sed non deorsum per accidens
fertur. Idcirco enim quia lignum est, quod est terra, pondere et grauitate
deducitur. Non enim quia lectus est, deorsum cadit, sed quia terra est, id
est quia terrae contigit, ut lectus esset; unde fit ut lignum naturaliter
esse dicamus, lectum uero artificialiter. Est etiam alia significatio
naturae per quam dicimus diuersam esse naturam auri atque argenti in hoc
proprietatem rerum monstrare cupientes, quae significatio naturae
definietur hoc modo: "natura est unam quamque rem informans specifica
differentia." Cum igitur tot modis uel dicatur uel definiatur natura, tam
catholici quam Nestorius secundum ultimam definitionem duas in Christo
naturas esse constituunt; neque enim easdem in deum atque hominem
differentias conuenire.


Nature, then, may be affirmed either of bodies alone or of substances
alone, that is, of corporeals or incorporeals, or of everything that is
in any way capable of affirmation. Since, then, nature can be affirmed
in three ways, it must obviously be defined in three ways. For if you
choose to affirm nature of the totality of things, the definition will
be of such a kind as to include all things that are. It will accordingly
be something of this kind: "Nature belongs to those things which, since
they exist, can in some measure be apprehended by the mind." This
definition, then, includes both accidents and substances, for they all
can be apprehended by the mind. But I add "in some measure" because God
and matter cannot be apprehended by mind, be it never so whole and
perfect, but still they are apprehended in a measure through the removal
of accidents. The reason for adding the words, "since they exist," is
that the mere word "nothing" denotes something, though it does not
denote nature. For it denotes, indeed, not that anything is, but rather
non-existence; but every nature exists. And if we choose to affirm
"nature" of the totality of things, the definition will be as we have
given it above.

But if "nature" is affirmed of substances alone, we shall, since all
substances are either corporeal or incorporeal, give to nature denoting
substances a definition of the following kind: "Nature is either that
which can act or that which can be acted upon." Now the power to act and
to suffer belongs to all corporeals and the soul of corporeals; for it
both acts in the body and suffers by the body. But only to act belongs
to God and other divine substances.

Here, then, you have a further definition of what nature is as applied
to substances alone. This definition comprises also the definition of
substance. For if the word nature signifies substance, when once we have
defined nature we have also settled the definition of substance. But if
we neglect incorporeal substances and confine the name nature to
corporeal substances so that they alone appear to possess the nature of
substance--which is the view of Aristotle and the adherents both of his
and various other schools--we shall define nature as those do who have
only allowed the word to be applied to bodies. Now, in accordance with
this view, the definition is as follows: "Nature is the principle of
movement properly inherent in and not accidentally attached to bodies."
I say "principle of movement" because every body has its proper
movement, fire moving upwards, the earth moving downwards. And what I
mean by "movement properly inherent and not accidentally attached" is
seen by the example of a wooden bed which is necessarily borne downward
and is not carried downward by accident. For it is drawn downward by
weight and heaviness because it is of wood, i.e. an earthly material.
For it falls down not because it is a bed, but because it is earth, that
is, because it is an accident of earth that it is a bed; hence we call
it wood in virtue of its nature, but bed in virtue of the art that
shaped it.

Nature has, further, another meaning according to which we speak of the
different nature of gold and silver, wishing thereby to point the
special property of things; this meaning of nature will be defined as
follows: "Nature is the specific difference that gives form to
anything." Thus, although nature is described or defined in all these
different ways, both Catholics and Nestorians firmly hold that there are
in Christ two natures of the kind laid down in our last definition, for
the same specific differences cannot apply to God and man.


Sed de persona maxime dubitari potest, quaenam ei definitio possit aptari.
Si enim omnis habet natura personam, indissolubilis nodus est, quaenam
inter naturam personamque possit esse discretio; aut si non aequatur
persona naturae, sed infra terminum spatiumque naturae persona subsistit,
difficile dictu est ad quas usque naturas persona perueniat, id est quas
naturas conueniat habere personam, quas a personae uocabulo segregari. Nam
illud quidem manifestum est personae subiectam esse naturam nec praeter
naturam personam posse praedicari. Vestiganda sunt igitur haec
inquirentibus hoc modo.

Quoniam praeter naturam non potest esse persona quoniamque naturae aliae
sunt substantiae, aliae accidentes et uidemus personam in accidentibus non
posse constitui (quis enim dicat ullam albedinis uel nigredinis uel
magnitudinis esse personam?), relinquitur ergo ut personam in substantiis
dici conueniat. Sed substantiarum aliae sunt corporeae, aliae incorporeae.
Corporearum uero aliae sunt uiuentes, aliae minime; uiuentium aliae sunt
sensibiles, aliae minime; sensibilium aliae rationales, aliae inrationales.
Item incorporearum aliae sunt rationales, aliae minime, ut pecudum uitae;
rationalium uero alia est inmutabilis atque inpassibilis per naturam ut
deus, alia per creationem mutabilis atque passibilis, nisi inpassibilis
gratia substantiae ad inpassibilitatis firmitudinem permutetur ut angelorum
atque animae. Ex quibus omnibus neque in non uiuentibus corporibus personam
posse dici manifestum est (nullus enim lapidis ullam dicit esse personam),
neque rursus eorum uiuentium quae sensu carent (neque enim ulla persona est
arboris), nec uero eius quae intellectu ac ratione deseritur (nulla est
enim persona equi uel bouis ceterorumque animalium quae muta ac sine
ratione uitam solis sensibus degunt), at hominis dicimus esse personam,
dicimus dei, dicimus angeli. Rursus substantiarum aliae sunt uniuersales,
aliae particulares. Vniuersales sunt quae de singulis praedicantur ut homo,
animal, lapis, lignum ceteraque huiusmodi quae uel genera uel species sunt;
nam et homo de singulis hominibus et animal de singulis animalibus lapisque
ac lignum de singulis lapidibus ac lignis dicuntur. Particularia uero sunt
quae de aliis minime praedicantur ut Cicero, Plato, lapis hic unde haec
Achillis statua facta est, lignum hoc unde haec mensa composita est. Sed in
his omnibus nusquam in uniuersalibus persona dici potest, sed in
singularibus tantum atque in indiuiduis; animalis enim uel generalis
hominis nulla persona est, sed uel Ciceronis uel Platonis uel singulorum
indiuiduorum personae singulae nuncupantur.


But the proper definition of Person is a matter of very great
perplexity. For if every nature has person, the difference between
nature and person is a hard knot to unravel; or if person is not taken
as the equivalent of nature but is a term of less scope and range, it is
difficult to say to what natures it may be extended, that is, to what
natures the term person may be applied and what natures are dissociate
from it. For one thing is clear, namely that nature is a substrate of
Person, and that Person cannot be predicated apart from nature.

We must, therefore, conduct our inquiry into these points as follows.

Since Person cannot exist apart from a nature and since natures are
either substances or accidents and we see that a person cannot come into
being among accidents (for who can say there is any person of white or
black or size?), it therefore remains that Person is properly applied to
substances. But of substances, some are corporeal and others
incorporeal. And of corporeals, some are living and others the reverse;
of living substances, some are sensitive and others insensitive; of
sensitive substances, some are rational and others irrational.[58]
Similarly of incorporeal substances, some are rational, others the
reverse (for instance the animating spirits of beasts); but of rational
substances there is one which is immutable and impassible by nature,
namely God, another which in virtue of its creation is mutable and
passible except in that case where the Grace of the impassible substance
has transformed it to the unshaken impassibility which belongs to angels
and to the soul.

Now from all the definitions we have given it is clear that Person
cannot be affirmed of bodies which have no life (for no one ever said
that a stone had a person), nor yet of living things which lack sense
(for neither is there any person of a tree), nor finally of that which
is bereft of mind and reason (for there is no person of a horse or ox or
any other of the animals which dumb and unreasoning live a life of sense
alone), but we say there is a person of a man, of God, of an angel.
Again, some substances are universal, others are particular. Universal
terms are those which are predicated of individuals, as man, animal,
stone, stock and other things of this kind which are either genera or
species; for the term man is applied to individual men just as animal is
to individual animals, and stone and stock to individual stones and
stocks. But particulars are terms which are never predicated of other
things, as Cicero, Plato, this stone from which this statue of Achilles
was hewn, this piece of wood out of which this table was made. But in
all these things person cannot in any case be applied to universals, but
only to particulars and individuals; for there is no person of a man if
animal or general; only the single persons of Cicero, Plato, or other
single individuals are termed persons.

[58] For a similar example of the method of _diuisio_ cf. Cic. _De Off._
ii. 3. 11. Cf. also _Isag. Porph. edit. prima_, i. 10 (ed. Brandt, p.


Quocirca si persona in solis substantiis est atque in his rationabilibus
substantiaque omnis natura est nec in uniuersalibus sed in indiuiduis
constat, reperta personae est definitio: "naturae rationabilis indiuidua
substantia." Sed nos hac definitione eam quam Graeci [Greek: hupostasin]
dicunt terminauimus. Nomen enim personae uidetur aliunde traductum, ex his
scilicet personis quae in comoediis tragoediisque eos quorum interest
homines repraesentabant. Persona uero dicta est a personando circumflexa
paenultima. Quod si acuatur antepaenultima, apertissime a sono dicta
uidebitur; idcirco autem a sono, quia concauitate ipsa maior necesse est
uoluatur sonus. Graeci quoque has personas [Greek: prosopa] uocant ab eo
quod ponantur in facie atque ante oculos obtegant uultum: [Greek: para tou
pros tous opas tithesthai.] Sed quoniam personis inductis histriones
indiuiduos homines quorum intererat in tragoedia uel in comoedia ut dictum
est repraesentabant, id est Hecubam uel Medeam uel Simonem uel Chremetem,
idcirco ceteros quoque homines, quorum certa pro sui forma esset agnitio,
et Latini personam et Graeci [Greek: prosopa] nuncupauerunt. Longe uero
illi signatius naturae rationabilis indiuiduam subsistentiam [Greek:
hupostaseos] nomine uocauerunt, nos uero per inopiam significantium uocum
translaticiam retinuimus nuncupationem, eam quam illi [Greek: hupostasin]
dicunt personam uocantes; sed peritior Graecia sermonum [Greek: hupostasin]
uocat indiuiduam subsistentiam. Atque, uti Graeca utar oratione in rebus
quae a Graecis agitata Latina interpretatione translata sunt: [Greek: hai
ousiai en men tois katholou einai dunantai. en de tois atomois kai kata
meros monois huphistantai], id est: essentiae in uniuersalibus quidem esse
possunt, in solis uero indiuiduis et particularibus substant. Intellectus
enim uniuersalium rerum ex particularibus sumptus est. Quocirca cum ipsae
subsistentiae in uniuersalibus quidem sint, in particularibus uero capiant
substantiam, iure subsistentias particulariter substantes [Greek:
hupostaseis] appellauerunt. Neque enim pensius subtiliusque intuenti idem
uidebitur esse subsistentia quod substantia.

Nam quod Graeci [Greek: ousiosin] uel [Greek: ousiosthai] dicunt, id nos
subsistentiam uel subsistere appellamus; quod uero illi [Greek: hupostasin]
uel [Greek: huphistasthai], id nos substantiam uel substare interpretamur.
Subsistit enim quod ipsum accidentibus, ut possit esse, non indiget.
Substat autem id quod aliis accidentibus subiectum quoddam, ut esse
ualeant, subministrat; sub illis enim stat, dum subiectum est accidentibus.
Itaque genera uel species subsistunt tantum; neque enim accidentia
generibus speciebus*ue contingunt. Indiuidua uero non modo subsistunt uerum
etiam substant, nam neque ipsa indigent accidentibus ut sint; informata
enim sunt iam propriis et specificis differentiis et accidentibus ut esse
possint ministrant, dum sunt scilicet subiecta. Quocirca [Greek: einai]
atque [Greek: ousiosthai] esse atque subsistere, [Greek: huphistasthai]
uero substare intellegitur. Neque enim uerborum inops Graecia est, ut
Marcus Tullius alludit, sed essentiam, subsistentiam, substantiam, personam
totidem nominibus reddit, essentiam quidem [Greek: ousian], subsistentiam
uero [Greek: ousiosin], substantiam [Greek: hupostasin], personam [Greek:
prosopon] appellans. Ideo autem [Greek: hupostaseis] Graeci indiuiduas
substantias uocauerunt, quoniam ceteris subsunt et quibusdam quasi
accidentibus subpositae subiectaeque sunt; atque idcirco nos quoque eas
substantias nuncupamus quasi subpositas, quas illi[59] [Greek:
hupostaseis], cumque etiam [Greek: prosopa] nuncupent easdem substantias,
possumus nos quoque nuncupare personas. Idem est igitur [Greek: ousian]
esse quod essentiam, idem [Greek: ousiosin] quod subsistentiam, idem
[Greek: hupostasin] quod substantiam, idem [Greek: prosopon] quod personam.
Quare autem de inrationabilibus animalibus Graecus [Greek: hupostasin] non
dicat, sicut nos de eisdem nomen substantiae praedicamus, haec ratio est,
quoniam nomen hoc melioribus applicatum est, ut aliqua id quod est
excellentius, tametsi non descriptione naturae secundum id quod [Greek:
huphistasthai] atque substare est, at certe [Greek: hupostaseos] uel
substantiae uocabulis discerneretur.

Est igitur et hominis quidem essentia, id est [Greek: ousia], et
subsistentia, id est [Greek: ousiosis], et [Greek: hupostasis], id est
substantia, et [Greek: prosopon], id est persona; [Greek: ousia], quidem
atque essentia quoniam est, [Greek: ousiosis] uero atque subsistentia
quoniam in nullo subiecto est, [Greek: hupostasis] uero atque substantia,
quoniam subest ceteris quae subsistentiae non sunt, id est [Greek:
ousioseis]; est [Greek: prosopon] atque persona, quoniam est rationabile
indiuiduum. Deus quoque et [Greek: ousia] est et essentia, est enim et
maxime ipse est a quo omnium esse proficiscitur. Est [Greek: ousiosis], id
est subsistentia (subsistit enim nullo indigens), et [Greek:
huphistasthai]; substat enim. Vnde etiam dicimus unam esse [Greek: ousian]
uel [Greek: ousiosin], id est essentiam uel subsistentiam deitatis, sed
tres [Greek: hupostaseis], id est tres substantias. Et quidem secundum hunc
modum dixere unam trinitatis essentiam, tres substantias tresque personas.
Nisi enim tres in deo substantias ecclesiasticus loquendi usus excluderet,
uideretur idcirco de deo dici substantia, non quod ipse ceteris rebus quasi
subiectum supponeretur, sed quod idem omnibus uti praeesset ita etiam quasi
principium subesset rebus, dum eis omnibus [Greek: ousiosthai] uel
subsistere subministrat.

[59] quas illi _Vallinus_; quasi _uel_ quas _codd. meliores_.


Wherefore if Person belongs to substances alone, and these rational, and
if every nature is a substance, existing not in universals but in
individuals, we have found the definition of Person, viz.: "The
individual substance of a rational nature."[60] Now by this definition
we Latins have described what the Greeks call [Greek: hupostasis]. For
the word person seems to be borrowed from a different source, namely
from the masks which in comedies and tragedies used to signify the
different subjects of representation. Now _persona_ "mask" is
derived from _personare_, with a circumflex on the penultimate. But
if the accent is put on the antepenultimate[61] the word will clearly be
seen to come from _sonus_ "sound," and for this reason, that the
hollow mask necessarily produces a larger sound. The Greeks, too, call
these masks [Greek: prosopa] from the fact that they are placed over the
face and conceal the countenance from the spectator: [Greek: para tou
pros tous opas tithesthai]. But since, as we have said, it was by the
masks they put on that actors played the different characters
represented in a tragedy or comedy--Hecuba or Medea or Simon or
Chremes,--so also all other men who could be recognized by their several
characteristics were designated by the Latins with the term
_persona_ and by the Greeks with [Greek: prosopa]. But the Greeks
far more clearly gave to the individual subsistence of a rational nature
the name [Greek: hupostasis] while we through want of appropriate words
have kept a borrowed term, calling that _persona_ which they call
[Greek: hupostasis]; but Greece with its richer vocabulary gives the
name [Greek: hupostasis] to the individual subsistence. And, if I may
use Greek in dealing with matters which were first mooted by Greeks
before they came to be interpreted in Latin: [Greek: hai ousiai en men
tois katholou einai dunantai. en de tois atomois kai kata meros monois
huphistantai], that is: essences indeed can have potential existence in
universals, but they have particular substantial existence in
particulars alone. For it is from particulars that all our comprehension
of universals is taken. Wherefore since subsistences are present in
universals but acquire substance in particulars they rightly gave the
name [Greek: hupostasis] to subsistences which acquired substance
through the medium of particulars. For to no one using his eyes with any
care or penetration will subsistence and substance appear identical.

For our equivalents of the Greek terms [Greek: ousiosis ousiosthai] are
respectively _subsistentia_ and _subsistere_, while their
[Greek: hupostasis huphistasthai] are represented by our
_substantia_ and _substare_. For a thing has subsistence when
it does not require accidents in order to be, but that thing has
substance which supplies to other things, accidents to wit, a substrate
enabling them to be; for it "substands" those things so long as it is
subjected to accidents. Thus genera and species have only subsistence,
for accidents do not attach to genera and species. But particulars have
not only subsistence but substance, for they, no more than generals,
depend on accidents for their Being; for they are already provided with
their proper and specific differences and they enable accidents to be by
supplying them with a substrate. Wherefore _esse_ and
_subsistere_ represent [Greek: einai] and [Greek: ousiosthai],
while _substare_ represents [Greek: huphistasthai]. For Greece is
not, as Marcus Tullius[62] playfully says, short of words, but provides
exact equivalents for _essentia, subsistentia, substantia_ and
_persona_--[Greek: ousia] for _essentia_, [Greek: ousiosis]
for _subsistentia_, [Greek: hupostasis] for _substantia_,
[Greek: prosopon] for _persona_. But the Greeks called individual
substances [Greek: hupostaseis] because they underlie the rest and offer
support and substrate to what are called accidents; and we in our term
call them substances as being substrate--[Greek: hupostaseis], and since
they also term the same substances [Greek: prosopa], we too may call
them persons. So [Greek: ousia] is identical with essence, [Greek:
ousiosis] with subsistence, [Greek: hupostasis] with substance, [Greek:
prosopon] with person. But the reason why the Greek does not use [Greek:
hupostasis] of irrational animals while we apply the term substance to
them is this: This term was applied to things of higher value, in order
that what is more excellent might be distinguished, if not by a
definition of nature answering to the literal meaning of [Greek:
huphistasthai]=_substare_, at any rate by the words [Greek:

To begin with, then, man is essence, i.e. [Greek: ousia], subsistence,
i.e. [Greek: ousiosis, hupostasis], i.e. substance, [Greek: prosopon],
i.e. person: [Greek: ousia] or _essentia_ because he is, [Greek:
ousiosis], or subsistence because he is not accidental to any subject,
[Greek: hupostusis] or substance because he is subject to all the things
which are not subsistences or [Greek: ousioseis], while he is [Greek:
prosopon] or person because he is a rational individual. Next, God is
[Greek: ousia], or essence, for He is and is especially that from which
proceeds the Being of all things. To Him belong [Greek: ousiosis], i.e.
subsistence, for He subsists in absolute independence, and [Greek:
huphistasthai], for He is substantial Being. Whence we go on to say that
there is one [Greek: ousia] or [Greek: ousiosis], i.e. one essence or
subsistence of the Godhead, but three [Greek: hupostaseis] or
substances. And indeed, following this use, men have spoken of One
essence, three substances and three persons of the Godhead. For did not
the language of the Church forbid us to say three substances in speaking
of God,[63] substance might seem a right term to apply to Him, not
because He underlies all other things like a substrate, but because,
just as He excels above all things, so He is the foundation and support
of things, supplying them all with [Greek: ousiosthai] or subsistence.

[60] Boethius's definition of _persona_ was adopted by St. Thomas (S. i.
29. 1), was regarded as classical by the Schoolmen, and has the approval
of modern theologians. Cf. Dorner, _Doctrine of Christ_, iii. p. 311.

[61] Implying a short penultimate.

[62] _Tusc._ ii. 15. 35.

[63] For a similar submission of his own opinion to the usage of the
Church cf. the end of _Tr._ i. and of _Tr._ ii.


Sed haec omnia idcirco sint dicta, ut differentiam naturae atque personae
id est [Greek: ousias] atque [Greek: hupostaseos] monstraremus. Quo uero
nomine unumquodque oporteat appellari, ecclesiasticae sit locutionis
arbitrium. Hoc interim constet quod inter naturam personamque differre
praediximus, quoniam natura est cuiuslibet substantiae specificata
proprietas, persona uero rationabilis naturae indiuidua substantia. Hanc in
Christo Nestorius duplicem esse constituit eo scilicet traductus errore,
quod putauerit in omnibus naturis dici posse personam. Hoc enim praesumpto,
quoniam in Christo duplicem naturam esse censebat, duplicem quoque personam
esse confessus est. Qua in re eum falsum esse cum definitio superius dicta
conuincat, tum haec argumentatio euidenter eius declarabit errorem. Si enim
non est Christi una persona duasque naturas esse manifestum est, hominis
scilicet atque dei (nec tam erit insipiens quisquam, utqui utramque earum a
ratione seiungat), sequitur ut duae uideantur esse personae; est enim
persona ut dictum est naturae rationabilis indiuidua substantia.

Quae est igitur facta hominis deique coniunctio? Num ita quasi cum duo
corpora sibimet apponuntur, ut tantum locis iuncta sint et nihil in alterum
ex alterius qualitate perueniat? Quem coniunctionis Graeci modum [Greek:
kata parathesin] uocant. Sed si ita humanitas diuinitati coniuncta est,
nihil horum ex utrisque confectum est ac per hoc nihil est Christus. Nomen
quippe ipsum unum quiddam significat singularitate uocabuli. At si duabus
personis manentibus ea coniunctio qualem superius diximus facta est
naturarum, unum ex duobus effici nihil potuit; omnino enim ex duabus
personis nihil umquam fieri potest. Nihil igitur unum secundum Nestorium
Christus est ac per hoc omnino nihil. Quod enim non est unum, nec esse
omnino potest; esse enim atque unum conuertitur et quodcumque unum est est.
Etiam ea quae ex pluribus coniunguntur ut aceruus, chorus, unum tamen sunt.
Sed esse Christum manifeste ac ueraciter confitemur; unum igitur esse
dicimus Christum. Quod si ita est, unam quoque Christi sine dubitatione
personam esse necesse est. Nam si duae personae essent, unus esse non
posset; duos uero esse dicere Christos nihil est aliud nisi praecipitatae
mentis insania. Cur enim omnino duos audeat Christos uocare, unum hominem
alium deum? Vel cur eum qui deus est Christum uocat, si eum quoque qui homo
est Christum est appellaturus, cum nihil simile, nihil habeant ex
copulatione coniunctum? Cur simili nomine diuersissimis abutatur naturis,
cum, si Christum definire cogitur, utrisque ut ipse dicit Christis non
possit unam definitionis adhibere substantiam? Si enim dei atque hominis
diuersa substantia est unumque in utrisque Christi nomen nec diuersarum
coniunctio substantiarum unam creditur fecisse personam, aequiuocum nomen
est Christi et nulla potest definitione concludi. Quibus autem umquam
scripturis nomen Christi geminatur? Quid uero noui per aduentum saluatoris
effectum est? Nam catholicis et fidei ueritas et raritas miraculi constat.
Quam enim magnum est quamque nouum, quam quod semel nec ullo alio saeculo
possit euenire, ut eius qui solus est deus natura cum humana quae ab eo
erat diuersissima conueniret atque ita ex distantibus naturis una fieret
copulatione persona! Secundum Nestorii uero sententiam quid contingit noui?
"Seruant," inquit, "proprias humanitas diuinitasque personas." Quando enim
non fuit diuinitatis propria humanitatisque persona? Quando uero non erit?
Vel quid amplius in Iesu generatione contingit quam in cuiuslibet alterius,
si discretis utrisque personis discretae etiam fuere naturae? Ita enim
personis manentibus illic nulla naturarum potuit esse coniunctio, ut in
quolibet homine, cuius cum propria persona subsistat, nulla est ei
excellentissimae substantiae coniuncta diuinitas. Sed fortasse Iesum, id
est personam hominis, idcirco Christum uocet, quoniam per eam mira quaedam
sit operata diuinitas. Esto. Deum uero ipsum Christi appellatione cur
uocet? Cur uero non elementa quoque ipsa simili audeat appellare uocabulo
per quae deus mira quaedam cotidianis motibus operatur? An quia
inrationabiles substantiae non possunt habere personam qua[64] Christi
uocabulum excipere possint[65]? Nonne in sanctis hominibus ac pietate
conspicuis apertus diuinitatis actus agnoscitur? Nihil enim intererit, cur
non sanctos quoque uiros eadem appellatione dignetur, si in adsumptione
humanitatis non est una ex coniunctione persona. Sed dicat forsitan, "Illos
quoque Christos uocari fateor, sed ad imaginem ueri Christi." Quod si nulla
ex homine atque deo una persona coniuncta est, omnes ita ueros Christos
arbitrabimur ut hunc qui ex uirgine genitus creditur. Nulla quippe in hoc
adunata persona est ex dei atque hominis copulatione sicut nec in eis, qui
dei spiritu de uenturo Christo praedicebant, propter quod etiam ipsi quoque
appellati sunt Christi. Iam uero sequitur, ut personis manentibus nullo
modo a diuinitate humanitas credatur adsumpta. Omnino enim disiuncta sunt
quae aeque personis naturisque separantur, prorsus inquam disiuncta sunt
nec magis inter se homines bouesque disiuncti quam diuinitas in Christo
humanitasque discreta est, si mansere personae. Homines quippe ac boues una
animalis communitate iunguntur; est enim illis secundum genus communis
substantia eademque in uniuersalitatis collectione natura. Deo uero atque
homini quid non erit diuersa ratione disiunctum, si sub diuersitate naturae
personarum quoque credatur mansisse discretio? Non est igitur saluatum
genus humanum, nulla in nos salus Christi generatione processit, tot
prophetarum scripturae populum inlusere credentem, omnis ueteris testamenti
spernatur auctoritas per quam salus mundo Christi generatione promittitur.
Non autem prouenisse manifestum est, si eadem in persona est quae in natura
diuersitas. Eundem quippe saluum fecit quem creditur adsumpsisse; nulla
uero intellegi adsumptio potest, si manet aeque naturae personaeque
discretio. Igitur qui adsumi manente persona non potuit, iure non uidebitur
per Christi generationem potuisse saluari. Non est igitur per generationem
Christi hominum saluata natura,--quod credi nefas est.

Sed quamquam permulta sint quae hunc sensum inpugnare ualeant atque
perfringere, de argumentorum copia tamen haec interim libasse sufficiat.

[64] quae _codd._

[65] possit _Vallinus_.


You must consider that all I have said so far has been for the purpose
of marking the difference between Nature and Person, that is, [Greek:
ousia] and [Greek: hupostasis]. The exact terms which should be applied
in each case must be left to the decision of ecclesiastical usage. For
the time being let that distinction between Nature and Person hold which
I have affirmed, viz. that Nature is the specific property of any
substance, and Person the individual substance of a rational nature.
Nestorius affirmed that in Christ Person was twofold, being led astray
by the false notion that Person may be applied to every nature. For on
this assumption, understanding that there were in Christ two natures, he
declared that there were likewise two persons. And although the
definition which we have already given is enough to prove Nestorius
wrong, his error shall be further declared by the following argument. If
the Person of Christ is not single, and if it is clear that there are in
Him two natures, to wit, divine and human (and no one will be so foolish
as to fail to include either in the definition), it follows that there
must apparently be two persons; for Person, as has been said, is the
individual substance of a rational nature.

What kind of union, then, between God and man has been effected? Is it
as when two bodies are laid the one against the other, so that they are
only joined locally, and no touch of the quality of the one reaches the
other--the kind of union which the Greeks term [Greek: kata parathesin]
"by juxtaposition"? But if humanity has been united to divinity in this
way no one thing has been formed out of the two, and hence Christ is
nothing. The very name of Christ, indeed, denotes by its singular number
a unity. But if the two persons continued and such a union of natures as
we have above described took place, there could be no unity formed from
two things, for nothing could ever possibly be formed out of two
persons. Therefore Christ is, according to Nestorius, in no respect one,
and therefore He is absolutely nothing. For what is not one cannot exist
either; because Being and unity are convertible terms, and whatever is
one is. Even things which are made up of many items, such as a heap or
chorus, are nevertheless a unity. Now we openly and honestly confess
that Christ is; therefore we say that Christ is a Unity. And if this is
so, then without controversy the Person of Christ is one also. For if
the Persons were two He could not be one; but to say that there are two
Christs is nothing else than the madness of a distraught brain. Could
Nestorius, I ask, dare to call the one man and the one God in Christ two
Christs? Or why does he call Him Christ who is God, if he is also going
to call Him Christ who is man, when his combination gives the two no
common factor, no coherence? Why does he wrongly use the same name for
two utterly different natures, when, if he is compelled to define
Christ, he cannot, as he himself admits, apply the substance of one
definition to both his Christs? For if the substance of God is different
from that of man, and the one name of Christ applies to both, and the
combination of different substances is not believed to have formed one
Person, the name of Christ is equivocal[66] and cannot be comprised in
one definition. But in what Scriptures is the name of Christ ever made
double? Or what new thing has been wrought by the coming of the Saviour?
For the truth of the faith and the unwontedness of the miracle alike
remain, for Catholics, unshaken. For how great and unprecedented a thing
it is--unique and incapable of repetition in any other age--that the
nature of Him who is God alone should come together with human nature
which was entirely different from God to form from different natures by
conjunction a single Person! But now, if we follow Nestorius, what
happens that is new? "Humanity and divinity," quoth he, "keep their
proper Persons." Well, when had not divinity and humanity each its
proper Person? And when, we answer, will this not be so? Or wherein is
the birth of Jesus more significant than that of any other child, if,
the two Persons remaining distinct, the natures also were distinct? For
while the Persons remained so there could no more be a union of natures
in Christ than there could be in any other man with whose substance, be
it never so perfect, no divinity was ever united because of the
subsistence of his proper person. But for the sake of argument let him
call Jesus, i.e. the human person, Christ, because through that person
God wrought certain wonders. Agreed. But why should he call God Himself
by the name of Christ? Why should he not go on to call the very elements
by that name? For through them in their daily movements God works
certain wonders. Is it because irrational substances cannot possess a
Person enabling them to receive the name of Christ? Is not the operation
of God seen plainly in men of holy life and notable piety? There will
surely be no reason not to call the saints also by that name, if Christ
taking humanity on Him is not one Person through conjunction. But
perhaps he will say, "I allow that such men are called Christs, but it
is because they are in the image of the true Christ." But if no one
Person has been formed of the union of God and man, we shall consider
all of them just as true Christs as Him who, we believe, was born of a
Virgin. For no Person has been made one by the union of God and man
either in Him or in them who by the Spirit of God foretold the coming
Christ, for which cause they too were called Christs. So now it follows
that so long as the Persons remain, we cannot in any wise believe that
humanity has been assumed by divinity. For things which differ alike in
persons and natures are certainly separate, nay absolutely separate; man
and oxen are not further separate than are divinity and humanity in
Christ, if the Persons have remained. Men indeed and oxen are united in
one animal nature, for by genus they have a common substance and the
same nature in the collection which forms the universal.[67] But God and
man will be at all points fundamentally different if we are to believe
that distinction of Persons continues under difference of nature. Then
the human race has not been saved, the birth of Christ has brought us no
salvation, the writings of all the prophets have but beguiled the people
that believed in them, contempt is poured upon the authority of the
whole Old Testament which promised to the world salvation by the birth
of Christ. It is plain that salvation has not been brought us, if there
is the same difference in Person that there is in Nature. No doubt He
saved that humanity which we believe He assumed; but no assumption can
be conceived, if the separation abides alike of Nature and of Person.
Hence that human nature which could not be assumed as long as the Person
continued, will certainly and rightly appear incapable of salvation by
the birth of Christ. Wherefore man's nature has not been saved by the
birth of Christ--an impious conclusion.[68]

But although there are many weapons strong enough to wound and demolish
the Nestorian view, let us for the moment be content with this small
selection from the store of arguments available.

[66] Cf. the discussion of _aequiuoca_=[Greek: homonumos] in _Isag.
Porph. Vide_ Brandt's Index.

[67] Vniuersalitas=[Greek: to katholou].

[68] For a similar _reductio ad absurdum_ ending in _quod nefas est_ see
_Tr._ iii. (_supra_, p. 44) and _Cons._ v. 3 (_infra_, p. 374).


Transeundum quippe est ad Eutychen qui cum a ueterum orbitis esset
euagatus, in contrarium cucurrit errorem asserens tantum abesse, ut in
Christo gemina persona credatur, ut ne naturam quidem in eo duplicem
oporteat confiteri; ita quippe esse adsumptum hominem, ut ea sit adunatio
facta cum deo, ut natura humana non manserit. Huius error ex eodem quo
Nestorii fonte prolabitur. Nam sicut Nestorius arbitratur non posse esse
naturam duplicem quin persona fieret duplex, atque ideo, cum in Christo
naturam duplicem confiteretur, duplicem credidit esse personam, ita quoque
Eutyches non putauit naturam duplicem esse sine duplicatione personae et
cum non confiteretur duplicem esse personam, arbitratus est consequens, ut
una uideretur esse natura. Itaque Nestorius recte tenens duplicem in
Christo esse naturam sacrilege confitetur duas esse personas; Eutyches uero
recte credens unam esse personam impie credit unam quoque esse naturam. Qui
conuictus euidentia rerum, quandoquidem manifestum est aliam naturam esse
hominis aliam dei, ait duas se confiteri in Christo naturas ante
adunationem, unam uero post adunationem. Quae sententia non aperte quod
uult eloquitur. Vt tamen eius dementiam perscrutemur, adunatio haec aut
tempore generationis facta est aut tempore resurrectionis. Sed si tempore
generationis facta est, uidetur putare et ante generationem fuisse humanam
carnem non a Maria sumptam sed aliquo modo alio praeparatam, Mariam uero
uirginem appositam ex qua caro nasceretur quae ab ea sumpta non esset,
illam uero carnem quae antea fuerit esse et diuisam atque a diuinitatis
substantia separatam; cum ex uirgine natus est, adunatum esse deo, ut una
uideretur facta esse natura. Vel si haec eius sententia non est, illa esse
poterit dicentis duas ante adunationem, unam post adunationem, si adunatio
generatione perfecta est, ut corpus quidem a Maria sumpserit, sed, antequam
sumeret, diuersam deitatis humanitatisque fuisse naturam; sumptam uero unam
factam atque in diuinitatis cessisse substantiam. Quod si hanc adunationem
non putat generatione sed resurrectione factam, rursus id duobus fieri
arbitrabitur modis; aut enim genito Christo et non adsumente de Maria
corpus aut adsumente ab eadem carnem, usque dum resurgeret quidem, duas
fuisse naturas, post resurrectionem unam factam. De quibus illud disiunctum
nascitur, quod interrogabimus hoc modo: natus ex Maria Christus aut ab ea
carnem humanam traxit aut minime. Si non confitetur ex ea traxisse, dicat
quo homine indutus aduenerit, utrumne eo qui deciderat praeuaricatione
peccati an alio? Si eo de cuius semine ductus est homo, quem uestita
diuinitas est? Nam si ex semine Abrahae atque Dauid et postremo Mariae non
fuit caro illa qua natus est, ostendat ex cuius hominis sit carne
deriuatus, quoniam post primum hominem caro omnis humana ex humana carne
deducitur. Sed si quem dixerit hominem a quo generatio sumpta sit
saluatoris praeter Mariam uirginem, et ipse errore confundetur et
adscribere mendacii notam summae diuinitati inlusus ipse uidebitur, quando
quod Abrahae atque Dauid promittitur in sanctis diuinationibus, ut ex eorum
semine toti mundo salus oriatur, aliis distribuit, cum praesertim, si
humana caro sumpta est, non ab alio sumi potuerit nisi unde etiam
procreabatur. Si igitur a Maria non est sumptum corpus humanum sed a
quolibet alio, per Mariam tamen est procreatum quod fuerat praeuaricatione
corruptum, superius dicto repellitur argumento. Quod si non eo homine
Christus indutus est qui pro peccati poena sustinuerat mortem, illud
eueniet ex nullius hominis semine talem potuisse nasci qui fuerit sine
originalis poena peccati. Ex nullo igitur talis sumpta est caro; unde fit
ut nouiter uideatur esse formata. Sed haec aut ita hominum uisa est oculis,
ut humanum putaretur corpus quod reuera non esset humanum, quippe quod
nulli originali subiaceret poenae, aut noua quaedam uera nec poenae peccati
subiacens originalis ad tempus hominis natura formata est? Si uerum hominis
corpus non fuit, aperte arguitur mentita diuinitas, quae ostenderet
hominibus corpus, quod cum uerum non esset, tum fallerentur ii[69] qui
uerum esse arbitrarentur. At si noua ueraque non ex homine sumpta caro
formata est, quo tanta tragoedia generationis? Vbi ambitus passionis? Ego
quippe ne in homine quidem non stulte fieri puto quod inutiliter factum
est. Ad quam uero utilitatem facta probabitur tanta humilitas diuinitatis,
si homo qui periit generatione ac passione Christi saluatus non est,
quoniam negatur adsumptus? Rursus igitur sicut ab eodem Nestorii fonte
Eutychis error principium sumpsit, ita ad eundem finem relabitur, ut
secundum Eutychen quoque non sit saluatum genus humanum, quoniam non is qui
aeger esset et saluatione curaque egeret, adsumptus est. Traxisse autem
hanc sententiam uidetur, si tamen huius erroris fuit ut crederet non fuisse
corpus Christi uere ex homine sed extra atque adeo in caelo formatum,
quoniam cum eo in caelum creditur ascendisse. Quod exemplum continet tale:
"non ascendit in caelum, nisi qui de caelo descendit."

[69] hii _uel_ hi _codd._


I must now pass to Eutyches who, wandering from the path of primitive
doctrine, has rushed into the opposite error[70] and asserts that so far
from our having to believe in a twofold Person in Christ, we must not
even confess a double Nature; humanity, he maintains, was so assumed
that the union with Godhead involved the disappearance of the human
nature. His error springs from the same source as that of Nestorius. For
just as Nestorius deems there could not be a double Nature unless the
Person were doubled, and therefore, confessing the double Nature in
Christ, has perforce believed the Person to be double, so also Eutyches
deemed that the Nature was not double unless the Person was double, and
since he did not confess a double Person, he thought it a necessary
consequence that the Nature should be regarded as single. Thus
Nestorius, rightly holding Christ's Nature to be double, sacrilegiously
professes the Persons to be two; whereas Eutyches, rightly believing the
Person to be single, impiously believes that the Nature also is single.
And being confuted by the plain evidence of facts, since it is clear
that the Nature of God is different from that of man, he declares his
belief to be: two Natures in Christ before the union and only one after
the union. Now this statement does not express clearly what he means.
However, let us scrutinize his extravagance. It is plain that this union
took place either at the moment of conception or at the moment of
resurrection. But if it happened at the moment of conception, Eutyches
seems to think that even before conception He had human flesh, not taken
from Mary but prepared in some other way, while the Virgin Mary was
brought in to give birth to flesh that was not taken from her; that this
flesh, which already existed, was apart and separate from the substance
of divinity, but that when He was born of the Virgin it was united to
God, so that the Nature seemed to be made one. Or if this be not his
opinion, since he says that there were two Natures before the union and
one after, supposing the union to be established by conception, an
alternative view may be that Christ indeed took a body from Mary but
that before He took it the Natures of Godhead and manhood were
different: but the Nature assumed became one with that of Godhead into
which it passed. But if he thinks that this union was effected not by
conception but by resurrection, we shall have to assume that this too
happened in one of two ways; either Christ was conceived and did
_not_ assume a body from Mary or He _did_ assume flesh from
her, and there were (until indeed He rose) two Natures which became one
after the Resurrection. From these alternatives a dilemma arises which
we will examine as follows: Christ who was born of Mary either did or
did not take human flesh from her. If Eutyches does not admit that He
took it from her, then let him say what manhood He put on to come among
us--that which had fallen through sinful disobedience or another? If it
was the manhood of that man from whom all men descend, what manhood did
divinity invest? For if that flesh in which He was born came not of the
seed of Abraham and of David and finally of Mary, let Eutyches show from
what man's flesh he descended, since, after the first man, all human
flesh is derived from human flesh. But if he shall name any child of man
beside Mary the Virgin as the cause of the conception of the Saviour, he
will both be confounded by his own error, and, himself a dupe, will
stand accused of stamping with falsehood the very Godhead for thus
transferring to others the promise of the sacred oracles made to Abraham
and David[71] that of their seed salvation should arise for all the
world, especially since if human flesh was taken it could not be taken
from any other but Him of whom it was begotten. If, therefore, His human
body was not taken from Mary but from any other, yet that was engendered
through Mary which had been corrupted by disobedience, Eutyches is
confuted by the argument already stated. But if Christ did not put on
that manhood which had endured death in punishment for sin, it will
result that of no man's seed could ever one have been born who should
be, like Him, without punishment for original sin. Therefore flesh like
His was taken from no man, whence it would appear to have been new-
formed for the purpose. But did this flesh then either so appear to
human eyes that the body was deemed human which was not really human,
because it was not subject to any primal penalty, or was some new true
human flesh formed as a makeshift, not subject to the penalty for
original sin? If it was not a truly human body, the Godhead is plainly
convicted of falsehood for displaying to men a body which was not real
and thus deceived those who thought it real. But if flesh had been
formed new and real and not taken from man, to what purpose was the
tremendous tragedy of the conception? Where the value of His long
Passion? I cannot but consider foolish even a human action that is
useless. And to what useful end shall we say this great humiliation of
Divinity was wrought if ruined man has not been saved by the conception
and the Passion of Christ--for they denied that he was taken into
Godhead? Once more then, just as the error of Eutyches took its rise
from the same source as that of Nestorius, so it hastens to the same
goal inasmuch as according to Eutyches also the human race has not been
saved,[72] since man who was sick and needed health and salvation was
not taken into Godhead. Yet this is the conclusion he seems to have
drawn, if he erred so deeply as to believe that Christ's body was not
taken really from man but from a source outside him and prepared for the
purpose in heaven, for He is believed to have ascended with it up into
heaven. Which is the meaning of the text: none hath ascended into heaven
save Him who came down from heaven.

[70] The ecclesiastical _uia media_, with the relegation of opposing
theories to the extremes, which meet in a common fount of falsity, owes
something to Aristotle and to our author. _Vide infra_, p. 118.

[71] The use of this kind of argument by Boethius allays any suspicion
as to the genuineness of _Tr_. iv. which might be caused by the use of
allegorical interpretation therein. Note also that in the _Consolatio_
the framework is allegory, which is also freely applied in the details.

[72] Another _reductio ad absurdum_ or _ad impietatem_, cf. _supra_, p.
98, note b.


Sed satis de ea parte dictum uidetur, si corpus quod Christus excepit ex
Maria non credatur adsumptum. Si uero adsumptum est ex Maria neque
permansit perfecta humana diuinaque natura, id tribus effici potuit modis:
aut enim diuinitas in humanitatem translata est aut humanitas in
diuinitatem aut utraeque in se ita temperatae sunt atque commixtae, ut
neutra substantia propriam formam teneret. Sed si diuinitas in humanitatem
translata est, factum est, quod credi nefas est, ut humanitate inmutabili
substantia permanente diuinitas uerteretur et quod passibile atque mutabile
naturaliter exsisteret, id inmutabile permaneret, quod uero inmutabile
atque inpassibile naturaliter creditur, id in rem mutabilem uerteretur. Hoc
igitur fieri nulla ratione contingit. Sed humana forsitan natura in
deitatem uideatur esse conuersa. Hoc uero qui fieri potest, si diuinitas in
generatione Christi et humanam animam suscepit et corpus? Non enim omnis
res in rem omnem uerti ac transmutari potest. Nam cum substantiarum aliae
sint corporeae, aliae incorporeae, neque corporea in incorpoream neque
incorporea in eam quae corpus est mutari potest, nec uero incorporea in se
inuicem formas proprias mutant; sola enim mutari transformarique in se
possunt quae habent unius materiae commune subiectum, nec haec omnia, sed
ea quae in se et facere et pati possunt. Id uero probatur hoc modo: neque
enim potest aes in lapidem permutari nec uero idem aes in herbam nec
quodlibet aliud corpus in quodlibet aliud transfigurari potest, nisi et
eadem sit materia rerum in se transeuntium et a se et facere et pati
possint, ut, cum uinum atque aqua miscentur, utraque sunt talia quae actum
sibi passionemque communicent. Potest enim aquae qualitas a uini qualitate
aliquid pati; potest item uini ab aquae qualitate aliquid pati. Atque
idcirco si multum quidem fuerit aquae, uini uero paululum, non dicuntur
inmixta, sed alterum alterius qualitate corrumpitur. Si quis enim uinum
fundat in mare, non mixtum est mari uinum sed in mare corruptum, idcirco
quoniam qualitas aquae multitudine sui corporis nihil passa est a qualitate
uini, sed potius in se ipsam uini qualitatem propria multitudine
commutauit. Si uero sint mediocres sibique aequales uel paulo inaequales
naturae quae a se facere et pati possunt, illae miscentur et mediocribus
inter se qualitatibus temperantur. Atque haec quidem in corporibus neque
his omnibus, sed tantum quae a se, ut dictum est, et facere et pati possunt
communi atque eadem materia subiecta. Omne enim corpus quod in generatione
et corruptione subsistit communem uidetur habere materiam, sed non omne ab
omni uel in omni uel facere aliquid uel pati potest. Corpora uero in
incorporea nulla ratione poterunt permutari, quoniam nulla communi materia
subiecta participant quae susceptis qualitatibus in alterutram permutetur.
Omnis enim natura incorporeae substantiae nullo materiae nititur
fundamento; nullum uero corpus est cui non sit materia subiecta. Quod cum
ita sit cumque ne ea quidem quae communem materiam naturaliter habent in se
transeant, nisi illis adsit potestas in se et a se faciendi ac patiendi,
multo magis in se non permutabuntur quibus non modo communis materia non
est, sed cum alia res materiae fundamento nititur ut corpus, alia omnino
materiae subiecto non egeat ut incorporeum.

Non igitur fieri potest, ut corpus in incorporalem speciem permutetur, nec
uero fieri potest, ut incorporalia in sese commixtione aliqua permutentur.
Quorum enim communis nulla materia est, nec in se uerti ac permutari
queunt. Nulla autem est incorporalibus materia rebus; non poterunt igitur
in se inuicem permutari. Sed anima et deus incorporeae substantiae recte
creduntur; non est igitur humana anima in diuinitatem a qua adsumpta est
permutata. Quod si neque corpus neque anima in diuinitatem potuit uerti,
nullo modo fieri potuit, ut humanitas conuerteretur in deum. Multo minus
uero credi potest, ut utraque in sese confunderentur, quoniam neque
incorporalitas transire ad corpus potest neque rursus e conuerso corpus ad
incorporalitatem, quando quidem nulla his materia subiecta communis est
quae alterutris substantiarum qualitatibus permutetur.

At hi ita aiunt ex duabus quidem naturis Christum consistere, in duabus
uero minime, hoc scilicet intendentes, quoniam quod ex duabus consistit ita
unum fieri potest, ut illa ex quibus dicitur constare non maneant; ueluti
cum mel aquae confunditur neutrum manet, sed alterum alterius copulatione
corruptum quiddam tertium fecit, ita illud quidem quod ex melle atque aqua
tertium fit constare ex utrisque dicitur, in utrisque uero negatur. Non
enim poterit in utrisque constare, quando utrorumque natura non permanet.
Ex utrisque enim constare potest, licet ea ex quibus coniungitur alterutra
qualitate corrupta sint; in utrisque uero huiusmodi constare non poterit,
quoniam ea quae in se transfusa sunt non manent ac non sunt utraque in
quibus constare uideatur, cum ex utrisque constet in se inuicem qualitatum
mutatione transfusis.

Catholici uero utrumque rationabiliter confitentur, nam et ex utrisque
naturis Christum et in utrisque consistere. Sed id qua ratione dicatur,
paulo posterius explicabo. Nunc illud est manifestum conuictam esse
Eutychis sententiam eo nomine, quod cum tribus modis fieri possit, ut ex
duabus naturis una subsistat, ut aut diuinitas in humanitatem translata sit
aut humanitas in diuinitatem aut utraque permixta sint, nullum horum modum
fieri potuisse superius dicta argumentatione declaratur.


I think enough has been said on the supposition that we should believe
that the body which Christ received was not taken from Mary. But if it
was taken from Mary and the human and divine natures did not continue,
each in its perfection, this may have happened in one of three ways.
Either Godhead was translated into manhood, or manhood into Godhead, or
both were so modified and mingled that neither substance kept its proper
form. But if Godhead was translated into manhood, that has happened
which piety forbids us to believe, viz. while the manhood continued in
unchangeable substance Godhead was changed, and that which was by nature
passible and mutable remained immutable, while that which we believe to
be by nature immutable and impassible was changed into a mutable thing.
This cannot happen on any show of reasoning. But perchance the human
nature may seem to be changed into Godhead. Yet how can this be if
Godhead in the conception of Christ received both human soul and body?
Things cannot be promiscuously changed and interchanged. For since some
substances are corporeal and others incorporeal, neither can a corporeal
substance be changed into an incorporeal, nor can an incorporeal be
changed into that which is body, nor yet incorporeals interchange their
proper forms; for only those things can be interchanged and transformed
which possess the common substrate of the same matter, nor can all of
these so behave, but only those which can act upon and be acted on by
each other. Now this is proved as follows: bronze can no more be
converted into stone than it can be into grass, and generally no body
can be transformed into any other body unless the things which pass into
each other have a common matter and can act upon and be acted on by each
other, as when wine and water are mingled both are of such a nature as
to allow reciprocal action and influence. For the quality of water can
be influenced in some degree by that of wine, similarly the quality of
wine can be influenced by that of water. And therefore if there be a
great deal of water but very little wine, they are not said to be
mingled, but the one is ruined by the quality of the other. For if you
pour wine into the sea the wine is not mingled with the sea but is lost
in the sea, simply because the quality of the water owing to its bulk
has been in no way affected by the quality of the wine, but rather by
its own bulk has changed the quality of the wine into water. But if the
natures which are capable of reciprocal action and influence are in
moderate proportion and equal or only slightly unequal, they are really
mingled and tempered by the qualities which are in moderate relation to
each other. This indeed takes place in bodies but not in all bodies, but
only in those, as has been said, which are capable of reciprocal action
and influence and have the same matter subject to their qualities. For
all bodies which subsist in conditions of birth and decay seem to
possess a common matter, but all bodies are not capable of reciprocal
action and influence. But corporeals cannot in any way be changed into
incorporeals because they do not share in any common underlying matter
which can be changed into this or that thing by taking on its qualities.
For the nature of no incorporeal substance rests upon a material basis;
but there is no body that has not matter as a substrate. Since this is
so, and since not even those things which naturally have a common matter
can pass over into each other unless they have the power of acting on
each other and being acted upon by each other, far more will those
things not suffer interchange which not only have no common matter but
are different in substance, since one of them, being body, rests on a
basis of matter, while the other, being incorporeal, cannot possibly
stand in need of a material substrate.

It is therefore impossible for a body to be changed into an incorporeal
species, nor will it ever be possible for incorporeals to be changed
into each other by any process of mingling. For things which have no
common matter cannot be changed and converted one into another. But
incorporeal things have no matter; they can never, therefore, be changed
about among themselves. But the soul and God are rightly believed to be
incorporeal substances; therefore the human soul has not been converted
into the Godhead by which it was assumed. But if neither body nor soul
can be turned into Godhead, it could not possibly happen that manhood
should be transformed into God. But it is much less credible that the
two should be confounded together since neither can incorporality pass
over to body, nor again, contrariwise, can body pass over into
incorporality when these have no common matter underlying them which can
be converted by the qualities of one of two substances.

But the Eutychians say that Christ consists indeed of two natures, but
not in two natures, meaning, no doubt, thereby, that a thing which
consists of two elements can so far become one, that the elements of
which it is said to be made up disappear; just as, for example, when
honey is mixed with water neither remains, but the one thing being
spoilt by conjunction with the other produces a certain third thing, so
that third thing which is produced by the combination of honey and water
is said to consist of both, but not in both. For it can never consist in
both so long as the nature of both does not continue. For it can consist
of both even though each element of which it is compounded has been
spoiled by the quality of the other; but it can never consist in both
natures of this kind since the elements which have been transmuted into
each other do not continue, and both the elements in which it seems to
consist cease to be, since it consists of two things translated into
each other by change of qualities.

But Catholics in accordance with reason confess both, for they say that
Christ consists both of and in two natures. How this can be affirmed I
will explain a little later. One thing is now clear; the opinion of
Eutyches has been confuted on the ground that, although there are three
ways by which the one nature can subsist of the two, viz. either the
translation of divinity into humanity or of humanity into divinity or
the compounding of both together, the foregoing train of reasoning
proves that no one of the three ways is a possibility.


Restat ut, quemadmodum catholica fides dicat, et in utrisque naturis
Christum et ex utrisque consistere doceamus.

Ex utrisque naturis aliquid consistere duo significat: unum quidem, cum ita
dicimus aliquid ex duabus naturis iungi sicut ex melle atque aqua, id autem
est ut ex quolibet modo confusis, uel si una uertatur in alteram uel si
utraeque in se inuicem misceantur, nullo modo tamen utraeque permaneant;
secundum hunc modum Eutyches ait ex utrisque naturis Christum consistere.

Alter uero modus est ex utrisque consistendi quod ita ex duabus iunctum
est, ut illa tamen ex quibus iunctum esse dicitur maneant nec in alterutra
uertantur, ut cum dicimus coronam ex auro gemmisque compositam. Hic neque
aurum in gemmas translatum est neque in aurum gemma conuersa, sed utraque
permanent nec formam propriam derelinquunt. Talia ergo ex aliquibus
constantia et in his constare dicimus ex quibus consistere praedicantur.
Tunc enim possumus dicere coronam gemmis auroque consistere; sunt enim
gemmae atque aurum in quibus corona consistat. Nam in priore modo non est
mel atque aqua in quibus illud quod ex utrisque iungitur constet. Cum
igitur utrasque manere naturas in Christo fides catholica confiteatur
perfectasque easdem persistere nec alteram in alteram transmutari, iure
dicit et in utrisque naturis Christum et ex utrisque consistere: in
utrisque quidem, quia manent utraeque, ex utrisque uero, quia utrarumque
adunatione manentium una persona fit Christi. Non autem secundum eam
significationem ex utrisque naturis Christum iunctum esse fides catholica
tenet, secundum quam Eutyches pronuntiat. Nam ille talem significationem
coniunctionis ex utraque natura sumit, ut non confiteatur in utrisque
consistere, neque enim utrasque manere; catholicus uero eam significationem
ex utrisque consistendi sumit quae illi sit proxima eamque conseruet quae
in utrisque consistere confitetur.

Aequiuocum igitur est "ex utrisque consistere" ac potius amphibolum et
gemina significatione diuersa designans: una quidem significatione non
manere substantias ex quibus illud quod copulatum est dicatur esse
coniunctum, alio modo significans ita ex utrisque coniunctum, ut utraque

Hoc igitur expedito aequiuocationis atque ambiguitatis nodo nihil est ultra
quod possit opponi, quin id sit quod firma ueraque fides catholica
continet; eundem Christum hominem esse perfectum, eundem deum eundemque qui
homo sit perfectus atque deus unum esse deum ac dei filium, nec
quaternitatem trinitati adstrui, dum homo additur supra perfectum deum, sed
unam eandemque personam numerum trinitatis explere, ut cum humanitas passa
sit, deus tamen passus esse dicatur, non quo ipsa deitas humanitas facta
sit, sed quod a deitate fuerit adsumpta. Item qui homo est, dei filius
appellatur non substantia diuinitatis sed humanitatis, quae tamen
diuinitati naturali unitate coniuncta est. Et cum haec ita intellegentia
discernantur permisceanturque, tamen unus idemque et homo sit perfectus et
deus: deus quidem, quod ipse sit ex patris substantia genitus, homo uero,
quod ex Maria sit uirgine procreatus. Itemque qui homo, deus eo quod a deo
fuerit adsumptus, et qui deus, homo, quoniam uestitus homine sit. Cumque in
eadem persona aliud sit diuinitas quae suscepit, aliud quam suscepit
humanitas, idem tamen deus atque homo est. Nam si hominem intellegas, idem
homo est atque deus, quoniam homo ex natura, deus adsumptione. Si uero deum
intellegas, idem deus est atque homo, quoniam natura deus est, homo
adsumptione. Fitque in eo gemina natura geminaque substantia, quoniam homo-
deus unaque persona, quoniam idem homo atque deus. Mediaque est haec inter
duas haereses uia sicut uirtutes quoque medium tenent. Omnis enim uirtus in
medio rerum decore locata consistit. Siquid enim uel ultra uel infra quam
oportuerit fiat, a uirtute disceditur. Medietatem igitur uirtus tenet.

Quocirca si quattuor haec neque ultra neque infra esse possunt, ut in
Christo aut duae naturae sint duaeque personae ut Nestorius ait, aut una
persona unaque natura ut Eutyches ait, aut duae naturae sed una persona ut
catholica fides credit, aut una natura duaeque personae,[73] cumque duas
quidem naturas duasque personas in ea quae contra Nestorium dicta est
responsione conuicerimus (unam uero personam unamque naturam esse non posse
Eutyche proponente monstrauimus neque tamen tam amens quisquam huc usque
exstitit, ut unam in eo naturam crederet sed geminas esse personas), restat
ut ea sit uera quam fides catholica pronuntiat geminam substantiam sed unam
esse personam. Quia uero paulo ante diximus Eutychen confiteri duas quidem
in Christo ante adunationem naturas, unam uero post adunationem, cumque
hunc errorem duplicem interpretaremur celare sententiam, ut haec adunatio
aut generatione fieret, cum ex Maria corpus hominis minime sumeretur aut ad
sumptum[74] quidem ex Maria per resurrectionem fieret adunatio, de utrisque
quidem partibus idonee ut arbitror disputatum est. Nunc quaerendum est
quomodo fieri potuerit ut duae naturae in unam substantiam miscerentur.

[73] quod nullus haereticus adhuc attigit _addunt codices quidam_.

[74] sumptum _codd._; adsumptum _preli diabolus_, ad sumptum _nos_.


It remains for us to show how in accordance with the affirmation of
Catholic belief Christ consists at once in and of both natures.

The statement that a thing consists of two natures bears two meanings;
one, when we say that anything is a union of two natures, as e.g. honey
and water, where the union is such that in the combination, however the
elements be confounded, whether by one nature changing into the other,
or by both mingling with each other, the two entirely disappear. This is
the way in which according to Eutyches Christ consists of two natures.

The other way in which a thing can consist of two natures is when it is
so combined of two that the elements of which it is said to be combined
continue without changing into each other, as when we say that a crown
is composed of gold and gems. Here neither is the gold converted into
gems nor is the gem turned into gold, but both continue without
surrendering their proper form.

Things then like this, composed of various elements, we say consist also
in the elements of which they are composed. For in this case we can say
that a crown is composed of gems and gold, for gems and gold are that in
which the crown consists. For in the former mode of composition honey
and water is not that in which the resulting union of both consists.

Since then the Catholic Faith confesses that both natures continue in
Christ and that they both remain perfect, neither being transformed into
the other, it says with right that Christ consists both in and of the
two natures; _in_ the two because both continue, _of_ the two
because the One Person of Christ is formed by the union of the two
continuing natures.

But the Catholic Faith does not hold the union of Christ out of two
natures according to that sense which Eutyches puts upon it. For the
interpretation of the conjunction out of two natures which he adopts
forbids him to confess consistence in two or the continuance of the two
either; but the Catholic adopts an interpretation of the consistence out
of two which comes near to that of Eutyches, yet keeps the
interpretation which confesses consistence in two.

"To consist of two natures" is therefore an equivocal or rather a
doubtful term of double meaning denoting different things; according to
one of its interpretations the substances out of which the union is said
to have been composed do not continue, according to another the union
effected of the two is such that both natures continue.

When once this knot of doubt or ambiguity has been untied, nothing
further can be advanced to shake the true and solid content of the
Catholic Faith, which is that the same Christ is perfect man and God,
and that He who is perfect man and God is One God and Son of Man, that,
however, quaternity is not added to the Trinity by the addition of human
nature to perfect Godhead, but that one and the same Person completes
the number of the Trinity, so that, although it was the manhood which
suffered, yet God can be said to have suffered, not by manhood becoming
Godhead but by manhood being assumed by Godhead. Further, He who is man
is called Son of God not in virtue of divine but of human substance,
which latter none the less was conjoined to Godhead in a unity of
natures. And although thought is able to distinguish and combine the
manhood and the Godhead, yet one and the same is perfect man and God,
God because He was begotten of the substance of the Father, but man
because He was engendered of the Virgin Mary. And further He who is man
is God in that manhood was assumed by God, and He who is God is man in
that God was clothed with manhood. And although in the same Person the
Godhead which took manhood is different from the manhood which It took,
yet the same is God and man. For if you think of man, the same is man
and God, being man by nature, God by assumption. But if you think of
God, the same is God and man, being God by nature, man by assumption.
And in Him nature becomes double and substance double because He is God-
man, and One Person since the same is man and God. This is the middle
way between two heresies, just as virtues also hold a middle place.[75]
For every virtue has a place of honour midway between extremes. For if
it stands beyond or below where it should it ceases to be virtue. And so
virtue holds a middle place.

Wherefore if the following four assertions can be said to be neither
beyond or below reason, viz. that in Christ are either two Natures and
two Persons as Nestorius says, or one Person and one Nature as Eutyches
says, or two Natures but one Person as the Catholic Faith believes, or
one Nature and two Persons, and inasmuch as we have refuted the doctrine
of two Natures and two Persons in our argument against Nestorius and
incidentally have shown that the one Person and one Nature suggested by
Eutyches is impossible--since there has never been anyone so mad as to
believe that His Nature was single but His Person double--it remains
that the article of belief must be true which the Catholic Faith
affirms, viz. that the Nature is double, but the Person one. But as I
have just now remarked that Eutyches confesses two Natures in Christ
before the union, but only one after the union, and since I proved that
under this error lurked two opposite opinions, one, that the union was
brought about by conception although the human body was certainly not
taken from Mary; the other, that the body taken from Mary formed part of
the union by means of the Resurrection, I have, it seems to me, argued
the twofold aspect of the case as completely as it deserves. What we
have now to inquire is how it came to pass that two Natures were
combined into one Substance.

[75] _Vide supra_, p. 100 note.


Verumtamen est etiam nunc et alia quaestio quae ab his inferri potest qui
corpus humanum ex Maria sumptum esse non credunt, sed alias fuisse
sequestratum praeparatumque quod in adunatione ex Mariae utero gigni ac
proferri uideretur. Aiunt enim: si ex homine sumptum est corpus, homo uero
omnis ex prima praeuaricatione non solum peccato et morte tenebatur, uerum
etiam affectibus peccatorum erat implicitus, eaque illi fuit poena peccati,
ut, cum morte teneretur obstrictus, tamen esset reus etiam uoluntate
peccandi, cur in Christo neque peccatum fuit neque uoluntas ulla peccandi?
Et omnino habet animaduertendam dubitationem talis quaestio. Si enim ex
carne humana Christi corpus adsumptum est, dubitari potest, quaenam caro
haec quae adsumpta sit esse uideatur. Eum quippe saluauit quem etiam
adsumpsit; sin uero talem hominem adsumpsit qualis Adam fuit ante peccatum,
integram quidem uidetur humanam adsumpsisse naturam, sed tamen quae
medicina penitus non egebat. Quomodo autem fieri potest, ut talem
adsumpserit hominem qualis Adam fuit, cum in Adam potuerit esse peccandi
uoluntas atque affectio, unde factum est ut etiam praetergressis diuinis
praeceptis inoboedientiae delictis teneretur adstrictus? In Christo uero ne
uoluntas quidem ulla creditur fuisse peccandi, cum praesertim si tale
corpus hominis adsumpsit quale Adae ante peccatum fuit, non debuerit esse
mortalis, quoniam Adam, si non peccasset, mortem nulla ratione sensisset.
Cum igitur Christus non peccauerit, quaerendum est cur senserit mortem, si
Adae corpus ante quam peccaret adsumpsit. Quod si talem statum suscepit
hominis qualis Adae post peccatum fuit, uidetur etiam Christo non defuisse
necessitas, ut et delictis subiceretur et passionibus confunderetur
obductisque iudicii regulis bonum a malo non sincera integritate
discerneret, quoniam has omnes poenas Adam delicti praeuaricatione

Contra quos respondendum est tres intellegi hominum posse status: unum
quidem Adae ante delictum in quo, tametsi ab eo mors aberat nec adhuc ullo
se delicto polluerat, poterat tamen in eo uoluntas esse peccandi: alter in
quo mutari potuisset, si firmiter in dei praeceptis manere uoluisset, tunc
enim id addendum foret ut non modo non peccaret aut peccare uellet sed ne
posset quidem aut peccare aut uelle delinquere. Tertius status est post
delictum in quo mors illum necessario subsecuta est et peccatum ipsum
uoluntasque peccati. Quorum summitatum atque contrariorum haec loca sunt:
is status qui praemium esset, si in praeceptis dei Adam manere uoluisset et
is qui poenae fuit, quoniam manere noluit; in illo enim nec mors esset nec
peccatum nec uoluntas ulla peccati, in hoc uero et mors et peccatum et
delinquendi omnis affectio omniaque in perniciem prona nec quicquam in se
opis habentia, ut post lapsum posset adsurgere. Ille uero medius status in
quo praesentia quidem mortis uel peccati aberat, potestas uero utriusque
constabat, inter utrumque statum est conlocatus. Ex his igitur tribus
statibus Christus corporeae naturae singulas quodam modo indidit causas;
nam quod mortale corpus adsumpsit ut mortem a genere humano fugaret, in eo
statu ponendum est quod post Adae praeuaricationem poenaliter inflictum
est. Quod uero non fuit in eo uoluntas ulla peccati, ex eo sumptum est
statu qui esse potuisset, nisi uoluntatem insidiantis fraudibus
applicasset. Restat igitur tertius status id est medius, ille scilicet qui
eo tempore fuit, cum nec mors aderat et adesse poterat delinquendi
uoluntas. In hoc igitur Adam talis fuit ut manducaret ac biberet, ut
accepta digereret, ut laberetur in somnum et alia quae ei non defuerunt
humana quidem sed concessa et quae nullam poenam mortis inferrent.

Quae omnia habuisse Christum dubium non est; nam et manducauit et bibit et
humani corporis officio functus est. Neque enim tanta indigentia in Adam
fuisse credenda est ut nisi manducasset uiuere non potuisset, sed, si ex
omni quidem ligno escam sumeret, semper uiuere potuisset hisque non mori;
idcirco paradisi fructibus indigentiam explebat. Quam indigentiam fuisse in
Christo nullus ignorat, sed potestate non necessitate; et ipsa indigentia
ante resurrectionem in eo fuit, post resurrectionem uero talis exstitit ut
ita illud corpus inmutaretur humanum, sicut Adae praeter praeuaricationis
uinculum mutari potuisset. Quodque nos ipse dominus Iesus Christus uotis
docuit optare, ut fiat uoluntas eius sicut in caelo et in terra et ut
adueniat eius regnum et nos liberet a malo. Haec enim omnia illa beatissima
humani generis fideliter credentium inmutatio deprecatur.

Haec sunt quae ad te de fidei meae credulitate scripsi. Qua in re si quid
perperam dictum est, non ita sum amator mei, ut ea quae semel effuderim
meliori sententiae anteferre contendam. Si enim nihil est ex nobis boni,
nihil est quod in nostris sententiis amare debeamus. Quod si ex illo cuncta
sunt bona qui solus est bonus, illud potius bonum esse credendum est quod
illa incommutabilis bonitas atque omnium bonorum causa perscribit.


Nevertheless there remains yet another question which can be advanced by
those who do not believe that the human body was taken from Mary, but
that the body was in some other way set apart and prepared, which in the
moment of union appeared to be conceived and born of Mary's womb. For
they say: if the body was taken from man while every man was, from the
time of the first disobedience, not only enslaved by sin and death but
also involved in sinful desires, and if his punishment for sin was that,
although he was held in chains of death, yet at the same time he should
be guilty because of the will to sin, why was there in Christ neither
sin nor any will to sin? And certainly such a question is attended by a
difficulty which deserves attention. For if the body of Christ was
assumed from human flesh, it is open to doubt of what kind we must
consider that flesh to be which was assumed.

In truth, the manhood which He assumed He likewise saved; but if He
assumed such manhood as Adam had before sin, He appears to have assumed
a human nature complete indeed, but one which was in no need of healing.
But how can it be that He assumed such manhood as Adam had when there
could be in Adam both the will and the desire to sin, whence it came to
pass that even after the divine commands had been broken, he was still
held captive to sins of disobedience? But we believe that in Christ
there was never any will to sin, because especially if He assumed such a
human body as Adam had before his sin, He could not be mortal, since
Adam, had he not sinned, would in no wise have suffered death. Since,
then, Christ never sinned, it must be asked why He suffered death if He
assumed the body of Adam before sin. But if He accepted human conditions
such as Adam's were after sin, it seems that Christ could not avoid
being subject to sin, perplexed by passions, and, since the canons of
judgment were obscured, prevented from distinguishing with unclouded
reason between good and evil, since Adam by his disobedience incurred
all these penalties of crime.

To whom we must reply[76] that there are three states of man to
envisage: one, that of Adam before his sin, in which, though free from
death and still unstained by any sin, he could yet have within him the
will to sin; the second, that in which he might have suffered change had
he chosen to abide steadfastly in the commands of God, for then it could
have been further granted him not only not to sin or wish to sin, but to
be incapable of sinning or of the will to transgress. The third state is
the state after sin, into which man needs must be pursued by death and
sin and the sinful will. Now the points of extreme divergence between
these states are the following: one state would have been for Adam a
reward if he had chosen to abide in God's laws; the other was his
punishment because he would not abide in them; for in the former state
there would have been no death nor sin nor sinful will, in the latter
there was both death and sin and every desire to transgress, and a
general tendency to ruin and a condition helpless to render possible a
rise after the Fall. But that middle state from which actual death or
sin was absent, but the power for both remained, is situate between the
other two.

Each one, then, of these three states somehow supplied to Christ a cause
for his corporeal nature; thus His assumption of a mortal body in order
to drive death far from the human race belongs properly to that state
which was laid on man by way of punishment after Adam's sin, whereas the
fact that there was in Christ no sinful will is borrowed from that state
which might have been if Adam had not surrendered his will to the frauds
of the tempter. There remains, then, the third or middle state, to wit,
that which was before death had come and while the will to sin might yet
be present. In this state, therefore, Adam was able to eat and drink,
digest the food he took, fall asleep, and perform all the other
functions which always belonged to him as man, though they were allowed
and brought with them no pain of death.

There is no doubt that Christ was in all points thus conditioned; for He
ate and drank and discharged the bodily function of the human body. For
we must not think that Adam was at the first subject to such need that
unless he ate he could not have lived, but rather that, if he had taken
food from every tree, he could have lived for ever, and by that food
have escaped death; and so by the fruits of the Garden he satisfied a
need.[77] And all know that in Christ the same need dwelt, but lying in
His own power and not laid upon Him. And this need was in Him before the
Resurrection, but after the Resurrection He became such that His human
body was changed as Adam's might have been but for the bands of
disobedience. Which state, moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself
taught us to desire in our prayers, asking that His Will be done as in
heaven so on earth, and that His Kingdom come, and that He may deliver
us from evil. For all these things are sought in prayer by those members
of the human family who rightly believe and who are destined to undergo
that most blessed change of all.[78]

So much have I written to you concerning what I believe should be
believed. In which matter if I have said aught amiss, I am not so well
pleased with myself as to try to press my effusions in the face of wiser
judgment. For if there is no good thing in us there is nothing we should
fancy in our opinions. But if all things are good as coming from Him who
alone is good, that rather must be thought good which the Unchangeable
Good and Cause of all Good indites.

[76] This _respondendum_ has the true Thomist ring.

[77] Adam did not need to eat in order to live, but if he had not eaten
he would have suffered hunger, etc.

[78] The whole of this passage might be set in _Tr._ iv. without
altering the tone.






Carmina qui quondam studio florente peregi,
Flebilis heu maestos cogor inire modos.
Ecce mihi lacerae dictant scribenda Camenae
Et ueris elegi fletibus ora rigant.
Has saltem nullus potuit peruincere terror, 5
Ne nostrum comites prosequerentur iter.
Gloria felicis olim uiridisque iuuentae
Solantur maesti nunc mea fata senis.
Venit enim properata malis inopina senectus
Et dolor aetatem iussit inesse suam. 10
Intempestiui funduntur uertice cani
Et tremit effeto corpore laxa cutis.
Mors hominum felix quae se nec dulcibus annis
Inserit et maestis saepe uocata uenit.
Eheu quam surda miseros auertitur aure 15
Et flentes oculos claudere saeua negat.
Dum leuibus male fida bonis fortuna faueret,
Paene caput tristis merserat hora meum.
Nunc quia fallacem mutauit nubila uultum,
Protrahit ingratas impia uita moras. 20
Quid me felicem totiens iactastis amici?
Qui cecidit, stabili non erat ille gradu.




I that with youthful heat did verses write,
Must now my woes in doleful tunes indite.
My work is framed by Muses torn and rude,
And my sad cheeks are with true tears bedewed:
For these alone no terror could affray
From being partners of my weary way.
The art that was my young life's joy and glory
Becomes my solace now I'm old and sorry;
Sorrow has filched my youth from me, the thief!
My days are numbered not by time but Grief.[79]
Untimely hoary hairs cover my head,
And my loose skin quakes on my flesh half dead.
O happy death, that spareth sweetest years,
And comes in sorrow often called with tears.
Alas, how deaf is he to wretch's cries;
And loath he is to close up weeping eyes;
While trustless chance me with vain favours crowned,
That saddest hour my life had almost drowned:
Now she hath clouded her deceitful face,
My spiteful days prolong their weary race.
My friends, why did you count me fortunate?
He that is fallen, ne'er stood in settled state.

[79] Literally "For Old Age, unlooked for, sped by evils, has come, and
Grief has bidden her years lie on me."


Haec dum mecum tacitus ipse reputarem querimoniamque lacrimabilem stili
officio signarem, adstitisse mihi supra uerticem uisa est mulier reuerendi
admodum uultus, oculis ardentibus et ultra communem hominum ualentiam
perspicacibus colore uiuido atque inexhausti uigoris, quamuis ita aeui
plena foret ut nullo modo nostrae crederetur aetatis, statura discretionis
ambiguae. Nam nunc quidem ad communem sese hominum mensuram cohibebat, nunc
uero pulsare caelum summi uerticis cacumine uidebatur; quae cum altius
caput extulisset, ipsum etiam caelum penetrabat respicientiumque hominum
frustrabatur intuitum. Vestes erant tenuissimis filis subtili artificio,
indissolubili materia perfectae quas, uti post eadem prodente cognoui, suis
manibus ipsa texuerat. Quarum speciem, ueluti fumosas imagines solet,
caligo quaedam neglectae uetustatis obduxerat. Harum in extrema margine
[Greek: PI] Graecum, in supremo uero [Greek: THETA], legebatur intextum.
Atque inter utrasque litteras in scalarum modum gradus quidam insigniti
uidebantur quibus ab inferiore ad superius elementum esset ascensus. Eandem
tamen uestem uiolentorum quorundam sciderant manus et particulas quas
quisque potuit abstulerant. Et dextera quidem eius libellos, sceptrum uero
sinistra gestabat.

Quae ubi poeticas Musas uidit nostro adsistentes toro fletibusque meis
uerba dictantes, commota paulisper ac toruis inflammata luminibus: "Quis,"
inquit, "has scenicas meretriculas ad hunc aegrum permisit accedere quae
dolores eius non modo nullis remediis fouerent, uerum dulcibus insuper
alerent uenenis? Hae sunt enim quae infructuosis affectuum spinis uberem
fructibus rationis segetem necant hominumque mentes assuefaciunt morbo, non
liberant. At si quem profanum, uti uulgo solitum uobis, blanditiae uestrae
detraherent, minus moleste ferendum putarem; nihil quippe in eo nostrae
operae laederentur. Hunc uero Eleaticis atque Academicis studiis
innutritum? Sed abite potius Sirenes usque in exitium dulces meisque eum
Musis curandum sanandumque relinquite."

His ille chorus increpitus deiecit humi maestior uultum confessusque rubore
uerecundiam limen tristis excessit. At ego cuius acies lacrimis mersa
caligaret nec dinoscere possem, quaenam haec esset mulier tam imperiosae
auctoritatis, obstipui uisuque in terram defixo quidnam deinceps esset
actura, exspectare tacitus coepi. Tum illa propius accedens in extrema
lectuli mei parte consedit meumque intuens uultum luctu grauem atque in
humum maerore deiectum his uersibus de nostrae mentis perturbatione
conquesta est.


While I ruminated these things with myself, and determined to set forth
my woful complaint in writing, methought I saw a woman stand above my
head, having a grave countenance, glistening clear eye, and of quicker
sight than commonly Nature doth afford; her colour fresh and bespeaking
unabated vigour, and yet discovering so many years, that she could not
at all be thought to belong to our times; her stature uncertain and
doubtful, for sometime she exceeded not the common height of men, and
sometime she seemed to touch the heavens with her head, and if she
lifted it up to the highest, she pierced the very heavens, so that she
could not be seen by the beholders; her garments were made of most fine
threads with cunning workmanship into an ever-during stuff, which (as I
knew afterward by her own report) she had woven with her own hands. A
certain duskishness caused by negligence and time had darkened their
colour, as it is wont to happen when pictures stand in a smoky room. In
the lower part of them was placed the Greek letter [Greek: PI], and in
the upper [Greek: THETA],[80] and betwixt the two letters, in the manner
of stairs, there were certain degrees made, by which there was a passage
from the lower to the higher letter: this her garment had been cut by
the violence of some, who had taken away such pieces as they could get.
In her right hand she had certain books, and in her left hand she held a

This woman, seeing the poetical Muses standing about my bed, and
suggesting words to my tears, being moved for a little space, and
inflamed with angry looks: "Who," saith she, "hath permitted these
tragical harlots to have access to this sick man, which will not only
not comfort his grief with wholesome remedies, but also nourish them
with sugared poison? For these be they which with the fruitless thorns
of affections do kill the fruitful crop of reason, and do accustom men's
minds to sickness, instead of curing them. But if your flattery did
deprive us of some profane fellow,[81] as commonly it happeneth, I
should think that it were not so grievously to be taken, for in him our
labours should receive no harm. But now have you laid hold of him who
hath been brought up in Eleatical and Academical studies?[82] Rather get
you gone, you Sirens pleasant even to destruction, and leave him to my
Muses to be cured and healed."

That company being thus checked, overcome with grief, casting their eyes
upon the ground, and betraying their bashfulness with blushing, went
sadly away. But I, whose sight was dimmed with tears, so that I could
not discern what this woman might be, so imperious, and of such
authority, was astonished, and, fixing my countenance upon the earth,
began to expect with silence what she would do afterward. Then she
coming nigher, sat down at my bed's feet, and beholding my countenance
sad with mourning, and cast upon the ground with grief, complained of
the perturbation of my mind with these verses.

[80] Cf. "est enim philosophia genus, species uero eius duae, una quae
[Greek: theoraetikae] dicitur, altera quae [Greek: praktikae], id est
speculatiua et actiua." Boeth. _In Porph. Dial._ i.

[81] This scorn of the _profanum vulgus_ appears again and again in the
theological tractates, e.g. _Tr._ iii. (_supra_, p. 4), _Tr._ v.
(_supra_, p. 74).

[82] Zeno of Elea invented Dialectic: Plato was the first to lecture on
philosophy in the gymnasium of the Academia.


Heu quam praecipiti mersa profundo
Mens hebet et propria luce relicta
Tendit in externas ire tenebras,
Terrenis quotiens flatibus aucta
Crescit in inmensum noxia cura. 5
Hic quondam caelo liber aperto
Suetus in aetherios ire meatus
Cernebat rosei lumina solis,
Visebat gelidae sidera lunae
Et quaecumque uagos stella recursus 10
Exercet uarios flexa per orbes,
Comprensam numeris uictor habebat.
Quin etiam causas unde sonora
Flamina sollicitent aequora ponti,
Quis uoluat stabilem spiritus orbem 15
Vel cur hesperias sidus in undas
Casurum rutilo surgat ab ortu,
Quid ueris placidas temperet horas,
Vt terram roseis floribus ornet,
Quis dedit ut pleno fertilis anno 20
Autumnus grauidis influat uuis
Rimari solitus atque latentis
Naturae uarias reddere causas,
Nunc iacet effeto lumine mentis
Et pressus grauibus colla catenis 25
Decliuemque gerens pondere uultum
Cogitur, heu, stolidam cernere terram.


Alas, how thy dull mind is headlong cast
In depths of woe, where, all her light once lost,
She doth to walk in utter darkness haste,
While cares grow great with earthly tempests tost.
He that through the opened heavens did freely run,
And used to travel the celestial ways,
Marking the rosy splendour of the sun,
And noting Cynthia's cold and watery rays;
He that did bravely comprehend in verse
The different spheres and wandering course of stars,
He that was wont the causes to rehearse
Why sounding winds do with the seas make wars,
What spirit moves the world's well-settled frame,
And why the sun, whom forth the east doth bring,
In western waves doth hide his falling flame,
Searching what power tempers the pleasing Spring
Which makes the earth her rosy flowers to bear,
Whose gift it is that Autumn's fruitful season
Should with full grapes flow in a plenteous year,
Telling of secret Nature every reason,
Now having lost the beauty of his mind
Lies with his neck compassed in ponderous chains;
His countenance with heavy weight declined,
Him to behold the sullen earth constrains.


"Sed medicinae," inquit, "tempus est quam querelae." Tum uero totis in me
intenta luminibus: "Tune ille es," ait, "qui nostro quondam lacte nutritus
nostris educatus alimentis in uirilis animi robur euaseras? Atqui talia
contuleramus arma quae nisi prior abiecisses, inuicta te firmitate
tuerentur. Agnoscisne me? Quid taces? Pudore an stupore siluisti? Mallem
pudore, sed te, ut uideo, stupor oppressit." Cumque me non modo tacitum sed
elinguem prorsus mutumque uidisset, admouit pectori meo leniter manum et:
"Nihil," inquit, "pericli est; lethargum patitur communem inlusarum mentium
morbum. Sui paulisper oblitus est; recordabitur facile, si quidem nos ante
cognouerit. Quod ut possit, paulisper lumina eius mortalium rerum nube
caligantia tergamus." Haec dixit oculosque meos fletibus undantes contracta
in rugam ueste siccauit.


"But it is rather time," saith she, "to apply remedies, than to make
complaints." And then looking wistfully upon me: "Art thou he," saith
she, "which, being long since nursed with our milk, and brought up with
our nourishments, wert come to man's estate? But we had given thee such
weapons as, if thou hadst not cast them away, would have made thee
invincible. Dost thou not know me? Why dost thou not speak? Is it
shamefastness or insensibleness that makes thee silent? I had rather it
were shamefastness, but I perceive thou art become insensible." And
seeing me not only silent but altogether mute and dumb, fair and easily
she laid her hand upon my breast saying: "There is no danger; he is in a
lethargy, the common disease of deceived minds; he hath a little forgot
himself, but he will easily remember himself again, if he be brought to
know us first. To which end, let us a little wipe his eyes, dimmed with
the cloud of mortal things." And having thus said, with a corner of her
garment she dried my eyes which were wet with tears.


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