The Nestorians and their Rituals/Volume 2/Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI.

OF THE WORD OR SON OF GOD, WHICH WAS MADE VERY MAN.

"The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men."—Article II.

§ 1. "Blessed be the compassionate One, Who has graciously sustained our life by the prophecies; for Isaiah saw, with the eye of his mind, the wonderful Virgin-born; and Mary brought forth Emmanuel, the Son of God, without marriage. He being formed of her by the Holy Ghost, (as it is written,) to be an adorable abode and temple for the rays of the Father, in one Filiation; which [body,] at the commencement of His wonderful conception, He united to Himself in one honour, therewith to fulfil all His purposes for the salvation of all, according as it pleased Him. Who was praised at His birth by the hallelujahs of angels in the highest, and by those of earth. He was worshipped through their gifts. One is the Messiah, adored by all in two Natures, Who, as touching His Godhead, is begotten of the Father, without beginning, and before all ages; and, as touching His Manhood, was born of Mary, in the fulfilment of time, a body of union. His Godhead is not from the substance of His mother, neither His Manhood from the substance of His Father; but the Natures and Persons subsist in the one Parsopa of this one Filiation. And as there are in the Godhead three Persons, One Self-existent, so the Filiation of the Son is of two natures and one Parsopa. Thus doth the Holy Church teach us to confess of the Son, Who is the Messiah. Therefore, O Lord, we worship Thy Divinity and Thy Humanity, without dividing them; for the power of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is one, the sovereignty is one, the will is one, and the glory is one." Anthem taken from the Khudhra, and appointed to be used from the first Sunday in Advent until Epiphany.

§ 2. "Blessed art thou, O Virgin, daughter of David, since in thee all the promises made to the righteous have been fulfilled, and in thee the race of prophecy has found rest; for after a wonderful manner thou didst conceive as a virgin, without marriage, and in a wonderful way thou didst bring forth the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written. The Holy Spirit formed Him in thee, and the Word dwelt in Him by union, without conversion or confusion, the Natures continuing to subsist unchanged, and the Persons also, by their essential attributes,—the Divinity and Humanity subsisting in one Parsopa of Filiation. For the Lord is one, the power is one, the dominion ruling over all is one, and He is the ruler and disposer of all by the mysterious power of His Divinity, Whom we ought ever to thank and worship, saying: Blessed is the righteous One, Who clothed Himself with Adam, [humanity] and made Him Lord in heaven and in earth." From the Gezza, in the service for the Holy Nativity.

§ 3. "When the angel assured her [the Virgin] that her wonderful conception should be of the operation of the Holy Ghost, she believed that what had been announced to her would take place; and forthwith the Word made for Himself a reasonable abode, and made it His temple. Not that He first formed it, and then afterwards dwelt in it; for He wove a temple to clothe Himself withal, and clothed Himself therewith when He wove it, that this His clothing might not be any other than the clothing of the Word, which He wrought for Himself. But the descent [of the Word] is inexplicable, and is beyond the examination of all inquirers; and the union so exalted that no words can express it. There is plurality in the Natures, but these subsist in One, [literally "numbered natures,—oneness,"]—that which is proper to each subsisting [i. e. without conversion or confusion,] in one Parsopa of Filiation."—From the Gezza, as above.

§ 4. "He who is, by His self-existence, perfect God, the Word, abounded in His compassion for our frailty, and took upon Him our similitude to be an abode for His Divinity, raised and nailed it to the cross, and yielded it up unto death, thereby to give us life, then raised it again and seated it in the heavens, far above the highest dominions and powers. And as we were all under condemnation through the first Adam, so by the second Adam we are justified.—Who can declare His glorious generation? So we praise, so we reasonably believe, and so we with wonder confess, as we have been truly taught; so that even should an angel from heaven come and teach us any other doctrine than this Gospel preached unto us, we will neither deny His Manhood, nor that His Divinity is impassible." From the Khudhra, in the service for the fifth Monday in Lent."

§ 5. "The clear truth was manifested by the Son of God to His affianced Church, when it pleased Him, in His love, to come into the world to teach and to preach the doctrine of His Divinity and Humanity.12

"He was in the bosom of His Father before the worlds, from everlasting, He being truly God.

"He came to us in the fulfilment of time, took our body upon Him, and therewith redeemed us, He being truly Man.

"The prophets declared Him in their visions, and the righteous typified Him, He being truly God.

"He was in the womb for nine months, and was born as a man, He being truly Man.

"The angels praised Him, He being God.

"He was laid in a manger, He being Man.

"The star declared Him, He being God.

"He was suckled at the breast, He being Man.

"The Persian Magi brought Him precious gifts and offerings, He being truly God.

"He submitted to be circumcised, and offered sacrifices in the temple, according to the Law, He being truly Man.

"Simeon called Him 'the Light of the Gentiles, and the Glory of His people Israel,' He being truly God.

"He fled into Egypt from the hands of the cruel and impious Herod, He being truly Man.

"The shepherds hastened to worship Him, and adored Him bending over their staffs, He being truly God.

"He was nurtured, and grew in stature, and in wisdom, and in the Divine grace, He being truly Man.

"He turned the water into wine, and the guests drank thereof, and praised His name, He being truly God.

"He was baptized in Jordan, He being Man.

"The heavens were opened to Him, He being God.

"The Father openly declared Him, He being Man.

"The Spirit descended upon Him, He being God.

"He fasted and was tempted, He being Man.

"He confounded the wicked one, He being God.

"He entered the abode of Levi, of Zacchæus, and of Simon, and ate and drank at the feast and supper, He being truly Man.

"He healed the sick and infirm, cleansed the lepers, and gave sight to the blind, He being truly God.

"He went out to a mountain to pray, and continued in prayer until dawn, He being truly Man.

"He gave the power of walking to the lame, and members to the maimed, He being truly God.

"He slept on board the ship, He being Man.

"He calmed the sea, He being God.

"He ascended the mount, He being Man.

"He there enacted laws, He being God.

"He was weary from walking, sat by the well, and asked water of the Samaritan, He being truly Man.

"He revealed her secrets, and told her of all her hidden and open actions, He being truly God.

"He wept and shed tears for Lazarus, and inquired for the place of his grave, He being truly Man.

"He called and raised him from the grave by the power of His Divinity, He being truly God.

"He rode on an ass, He being Man.

"The children praised Him, He being God.

"The Pharisees envied Him, He being Man.

"He wrought miracles, He being God.

"The priests conspired against Him, He being Man.

"The multitudes glorified Him, He being God.

"He left the city and went to Bethany with His disciples, and there abode, He being truly Man.

"He cursed the fig-tree, and immediately it dried up, thus showing His power and glory, He being truly God.

"Mary anointed Him with spikenard, and wiped His feet with the hair of her head, He being truly Man.

"He remitted her sins, forgave her iniquities, and wiped out her transgressions and follies, He being truly God.

"He ate the legal Passover in the upper chamber with His disciples, He being truly Man.

"At the Supper, He foretold and declared the treachery of the Iscariot, He being truly God.

"He took a napkin, girded Himself therewith, and washed the feet of His disciples, He being truly Man.

"He approached him whose ear had been cut off, and healed it by His great power, He being truly God.

"He sweat, and prayed, and received strength from the angel that appeared unto Him, He being truly Man.

"He foretold the denial of Himself by Simon Peter the head of the disciples, He being truly God.

"He was taken to His passion, spit upon, and crowned with thorns, He being truly Man.

"He repulsed those who seized Him, and those who hated Him, and they fell with their faces to the ground, He being truly God.

"He was nailed to the wood, He being truly Man.

"He rent the rocks, He being truly God.

"Nails were driven through Him, He being truly Man.

"He opened the graves, He being truly God.

"They gave Him vinegar to drink, He being Man.

"He rent the Temple, He being God.

"He cried out from the cross, He being Man.

"He cast darkness over the sun, He being God.

"He submitted to death. His body was embalmed and laid in a sepulchre hewn out of a rock, He being truly Man.

"He ate and drank with His disciples after His resurrection, as it is written, He being truly Man.

"He passed through closed doors, and saluted the Twelve with the salutation of peace, He being truly God.

"He showed them the prints of the nails on His hands and feet, and pointed out His side to Thomas, He being truly Man.

"He ascended up in glory unto Him who had sent Him, and will return again at the last to judge all, He being truly God.

"Angels foretold of Him that He should come again openly, in the body, even as He had ascended, He being truly Man.

"He sent the Spirit, the Comforter, upon His disciples, Who endued them with wisdom, He being truly God.

"Constantine searched out and found the wood upon which He was crucified, He being truly Man.

"He chose out for Himself, from among all people, a Church, which He sanctified by the glory of His Divinity, He being truly God.

"Blessed is He Who hath fulfilled His purposes for the salvation of men; to Him be glory, and on us His mercy, for ever and ever."—From the Gezza, in the Service for the Holy Nativity.

§ 5. "With all these proofs to establish the humanity of the Saviour, I am astounded at the tenets of the erring heretics. Manes, Marcion, and the worthless Simon deny [Christ's] body, and thereby deprive our race of salvation. Eutyches, also, who falsely asserted that the [Christ's] body descended from above, equally denies our body, [i.e. that Christ's body was like our own.] Eunomius and his followers denied the soul [of Christ]; Apollinaris denied the mind [of Christ]; but the worst of all was Jacob [Baradæus] who makes the self-existent passible. This erring man maintains that there is but one nature in Christ, and says that the self-existent became flesh, thereby destroying the co-equality of the Persons of the Trinity, and inflicting a serious injury on mankind. After him come the erroneous Chalcedonians, whose creed resembles his, since they believe that there are two Natures and one Person in Christ. And this creed is maintained by all the West, by the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Copts,13 the Melchites, and by most of the Georgians. This wicked party excommunicated Mar Nestorius, who was true, and who taught the truth in the Church. He confessed two Natures and two Persons in Christ even as the disciples declared to all nations in their preaching; and all nations received this doctrine, which is well known in all the Churches of the East as it was preached and manifested by Mar Mari the Apostle." From the Gezza, ut supra.

§ 6. (a) "Ten thousand times ten thousand glories uttered by the Church, and never-ending springs of the pouring forth of the Spirit, flow towards the dust, unto Thee, Thou Ray of the Mysterious Orb, the Everlasting, the Son of the essence of Self-existence, Who from virginity took a garment of humanity, and hid therewith the effulgence of His Divinity!

(b) … "After the similitude of His hidden likeness had become corrupt, and the image of His mysterious self had been defaced and defiled, and the transcript of His similitude had been utterly ruined, and after the model of His own creation had been swallowed up in the gaping bowels of the insatiable sheal, the good God deigned to renew and to restore it. And when the set time for the fulfilment of this His benevolent purpose towards the creation had arrived, the Lord spread abroad His mercy as the sea, and His pity as the great deep, and He poured forth and enlarged the goodness and the grace of His Divinity, by sending His consubstantial Son,—the Son of Self-existence. In a befitting way His Will descended towards men; He sent His Beloved, the Begotten of Himself, that is, His Express Image, Who in consummate wisdom, took upon Him, from us, a nature and a person. In a wonderful manner he clothed Himself with a corruptible garment, covering therewith His excellent glory, and when the time appointed in His wisdom had come. He mended and repaired it, and sewed together its rents. He was borne in the womb according to the laws and peculiarities of nature, and was brought forth by His mother."

(c) "The Begotten, the Highest, the Ancient of days. Who has set us free, drew milk from the breast as do sucklings and infants, was bound in swaddling clothes, and was placed in a manger like a child of the poor and needy, although He is verily and indeed the King of kings, to Whom the highest worship is due. Crowds of simple and untutored shepherds surround the cave where He lay, and bow to Him in adoration. Legions of spiritual, excellent, and adoring Powers,—the living chariots of the wonderful cherubim,—the speaking wheels, with open eyes and replete with wisdom and intelligence, now stationary, now lifted up,—myriads of Seraphim, as quick as light, with outstretched wings, whose it is to sing thrice Holy,—the glorious, admirable, and awful company of exalted thrones,—the company of those who keep watch over the kingdom of the Lord, all the beautiful armies, lordships, dominions, invincible powers, archangels, angels, and messengers, surround Ephratha in nine circles, fly to and fro, ascend and descend as eagles, dance, rejoice, clap their hands and feet like children of freedom, sing and sound their trumpets on the day of the Nativity, and on their lyres praise the Child Born,—sing the most exalted hallelujahs, thrice Holies, psalms, glories, and holy songs, unto God in the highest, increase of security and peace upon the earth, and the descent of good-will and its continuance among men. The unbelieving Magi, the worshippers of idols, Chaldeans, and sorcerers, and such as adore the great lights,—men well versed in astronomy and astrology, and deeply read in these sciences,—were troubled and perplexed, they snorted like wild beasts, and cried out and demanded one of another, 'Who is this before whom the mountains tremble, and the images are moved, and the idols quake, and the heathen priests are confounded, and their altars fall to ruin, and the high places are annihilated?' They fled to the treasuries of their volumes, opened the scrolls, searched them diligently, and discovered therein that what had been foretold generations before by Zoroaster the highly venerated and esteemed was now fulfilled. Then the lips of these scribes were shut, and they were confounded; and they chose out from among them kings of high renown and of great riches, and they delivered into their hands gifts, tithes, and vow-offerings, and sent them away with a commission, and bade them to be watchful. And as they went forth, behold a star of great brightness, bearing on its surface the image of a woman with a child in her bosom, guided and accompanied them into the laud of Judea, In all haste, like men in earnest, they accomplished their journey, and entering the cave they offered their gifts, and bent to Him the knee. After this they returned to their own land continually glorifying God. The spiritual essences, those who dwell in the regions of the Spirit, were enraptured, and the earthly, such as were alive and such as were in the grave, rejoiced, saying: 'He is One to all generations.'

(d) … "From these things, then, let us rest assured that the Messiah is One in two Natures, and two Persons subsisting in one Parsopa of Filiation, since the Natures did not commingle; and in like manner we believe of the Persons. The Son of the Father clothed Himself with Him of Mary, and was conceived in the womb. But let no man filch a word from this, and wilfully pervert it by specious philosophy, so as to conclude that there are two Sons. For there is one Son only, not a Son and a Son making two; but One Son, we repeat, as it is most proper to maintain, even as a man by clothing himself with a garment is not called two men.14 The Will of the Creator descended and united Itself to the will of the creature: the Divine Nature clothed itself with the human nature, which thus became co-equal in everything, in reverence, in worship, and in praise, for they have but one Parsopa; in essence, however, not so, for this were impossible. … Now, in what we have laid down, there is no doubt, double-meaning, or equivocation whatever; neither in what we have declared is there any folly or ignorance; but as it is written, all has been arranged in a 'goodly and pleasant way,' and after a suitable order;—all, we say, has been set forth worthily, rightly, truly, firmly, and on a solid foundation. …

(e) "Behold Him, Who is clothed with light, wrapped in swaddling bands; what a mystery is here! No less wonderful is it that He Who is seated on the throne of heaven should have been laid in a manger! The Ancient of times became a Son of Mary in the latter time, and appeared as the Father, Lord, and Master, of the sons of Adam, loosing from off their nature the bands of the curse and of sin, and causing a light to shine forth through the shadows of death. The sun of His love chose an orb from the firmament of humanity, and made the rays of His moon to be the rational confidence of man; so that henceforth the grossness of the dark earth cannot hide the one from the other, He having destroyed it by the splendour of His brightness. He brought down the Spiritual, and guided it to the nature of the dust, wherefrom He chose Him out an abode to manifest forth the mystery of perfect and great salvation, and to exhibit true liberty to the children of flesh, who had become the slaves of falsehood and error. …

(f) "A daughter of man, the chaste Virgin, became as a haven of safety to the rational vessel, tossed about in the tempestuous sea, so that henceforth the wmds of error are powerless to drive it hither and thither, nor can the tumultuous waves, raised by Satan, cause trouble to its rowers, now that the true Jewel has been brought up by the power of the Almighty arm of God, enclosed in the shell of the chaste Virgin, and elect bosom, which shall, having indeed the companionship of a human body, but without any [conjugal] intercourse, open upon the shore of the cave of Bethlehem, the rivulet of which is small. Towards this Jewel we bow the neck and shoulders, and for it we barter our souls; because it sheds forth light in darkness, and is a Pearl which all the merchants extol. Not all the wealth of the world can purchase it, therefore let us cast away all our silver and gold, and all that we possess, and hasten and gaze on its pure and varied beauty, so that perchance its reflection may be impressed upon our minds, and it may become to us a treasure of life in earthen vessels. …

(g) "Behold Adam, the begetter of nations, is begotten again, and the Creator of men has become a little child! He [the first Adam] who would have arrogated to himself the sovereignty unreasonably, took it [in Christ] when He was born an infant. Hail to thee, daughter, whose Son caused fatherhood to exist! Hail to Thee, Infant, Who filledst the womb of Thy mother with grace! Hail, Mary, who honouredest in thy bosom a united Man filled with purity, the reasonable temple of the Divinity! The Holy Spirit was the Master Who wove in thee the tabernacle of the Humanity, and the words of the Angel messenger were as His threads thereto. Hail to the Begotten, the Unspeakable, the Wonder working! Hail to the Begotten, the equal with His Father in dominion and sovereignty. Who became the origin of reconciliation and peace!

(h) "The Sceptre has sprung out of the root of Jesse, according to the prophecies, and the branch has arisen out of his stock, as had been declared, and the Star of Jacob has appeared from the Virgin, the second heaven full of purity.

(i) "Let us rejoice and sing praises, let us be merry and joyful, because the King is born at Ephratha, and has received the adoration of sovereigns through their gifts. Let the priests who surround the altar clap their hands, and let the Church dance for joy, since He is born Who will instantly destroy all those that hate her. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, because the Lord has been sent to create peace above and below, and to make all one. Henceforth the Leader of the weak, Who has been exalted, shall abolish death; and the Strength of the fallen, Who has been raised up, shall drive the oppressor far off. On this day the Law of despised nature puts to silence the scribes, and the Barrier of tradition. Which has been broken through, shall from this time forth annul their scriptures. The time has come for the Holy Church to adorn her neck with glory, because the body of her truth which was wounded is now suddenly healed, and the shoulders of her children are freed from the yoke of death.

(j) "That which good and righteous men, who declared the set seasons, waited for, has at length appeared and come to pass, and has dazzled the minds of men; the Essence, in Itself simple, has, by a wonderful operation, made Itself compound through the different 'kinds of flesh' [1 Corint. xv. 39,] and the accidents of colour, and thereby manifested the hidden mysteries of Itself.

(k) "The hope of the good, and the parables of the just, are now brought to light, and the sayings of the prophets are fulfilled in the birth of the Highest. The Fire and the Spirit, whose mysteriousness Moses the Prophet worshipped on the mount, have manifested their excellence in vile flesh. The stone cut out without hands, as prophesied of by Daniel, appears in the Child born without conjugal intercourse or connexion. Though the seals of virginity are unbroken, behold a child is found wrapped in swaddling bands, even as Isaiah had declared, that a Virgin should bring forth Emmanuel. A Branch from the root of Jesse sprouts out where there is no water; and the daughter of David inwardly magnifies and praises the Lord's Son. The emblem of Aaron's rod that budded speaks from afar that the tree of virginity bears fruit without having been watered. The prophets figured forth the hidden mystery of Him in divers manners, and in various ways the righteous declared His beauteous signs, and those who searched diligently prefigured Him in proverbs; but the perfect accomplishment of the whole has appeared to us in a wonderful mystery, and in an astounding way. He covered and hid His dazzling brightness with a corporeal; corruptible and vile garment, for had He appeared to the children of the dust in His glory, who could have looked upon His Divine splendour, who would have been so rash as to gaze upon His exalted Image, or who could dare to conceive of Him Who is beyond all conception? Did He not say to the son of Amram: 'Turn back, for no man can look upon Me and live?' Great is He Who is Born, Who strikes all creatures with awe!

(l) "Hitherto the law of nature was in force, but in the appearance of the Saviour from a virgin, the law of birth from [conjugal] union was abrogated; and the mind that would comprehend how this was must lose itself in the inquiry.

(m) "On the exalted throne of that glorious Temple whose two gates are built in wisdom on the confines of the two worlds, [reference here is made to the Divinity and Humanity of Christ,] there the Lord of all creation sat as Supreme Ruler. Like kings who take a survey of all their dominions in order to manifest the greatness of their affection towards the nations under their sway, and to cause peace and safety to dwell among them;—for a similar end the Messiah, the King, took upon Him a human body, that the two worlds, the visible and invisible, might be comprehended in Him, and that by a gate within a gate [the Divine Nature hidden under the Human] He might bring both together, and join them in One. This is the mystery contained in the words spoken by the Spirit, that from a daughter of David and of Abraham the Messiah should be born. David says of Him, that 'His throne shall stand as the sun, and shall endure as the moon to order and to establish all things,' that is, by His manifested Divinity, and by the life and wisdom of His Humanity; for in the motions of Himself He comprehends all the angels in the highest, and, in the members of His Body, He comprehends man who is on the earth, thereby fulfilling, as in a rational way, that the two worlds are, by the power of His Spirit, but One body, and He is that very One Who through these sees the things which we cannot see. He is the very One Who makes all visible creatures to subsist, Who tries and judges them. Before the Union these offices belonged to the Person of the Divinity; afterwards it was given to the Person of the Humanity. And since all these things are fulfilled in this Begotten One, He is therefore Man and Lord most truly, certainly, and beyond all doubt. Let our abject race, therefore, rejoice, exult, and leap for joy, since the King of the highest and of the deep came down in order to raise it from its fall, and through Him the pure in heart see God. Let not heretics, with perverse minds, dispute this truth; but henceforward let angels and men rejoice together, because they shall abide one Church for ever.…

(n) "By His birth He has opened the gates of the highest which were shut, and by His nativity He found again the lost sheep of the Father, as was figured in the shepherds who crowded round the manger, praising Him Who is the Good Shepherd. These did not indeed comprehend the meaning of the occurrence; but nevertheless they took up and repeated the song of the angels. For in those days men were like beasts in every thing, living like brutes in sensual lusts, and they stumbled in their goings over the stumbling-block of sin through the obliquity of their souls: they were, moreover, vain-glorious, and walked after the law of their nature without any discernment. And whilst in this condition, led about forcibly by this law of their nature, they took medicine for their souls from the manger of His Body, and thus prefigured to us the mystery of His sacraments, their actions loudly proclaiming and foreshadowing His Body as our meat, and His Blood as our drink, which fulfil in us the mystery of life. Whilst these were thus engaged round about the manger, the angels in heaven were singing praises unto Him; and let us, in the renewal of that life which was decayed, join in their exultations.

(o) "The Invisible Will came down, took a parsopa, and appeared openly, and thereby renew-ed that which was broken up. And the rain of the wicked one descended furiously upon Him, because without water He made the rod of the wonderful Virgin Child to bud, and without germinating heat He made it to blossom anew, and thereby consummated all by restoring our nature.

(p) "The form which had been marred [human nature] was again glorified; the piece of silver which had been lost was found; the sheep that had wandered was brought home safe; the hungry prodigal ate, and left of that which was placed before him; the leaven leavened the three measures of meal; the stranger in Jerusalem, who had fallen among thieves that robbed him in the descent to Jericho, and who was found plundered, wounded, and stricken, despised, and cast out, has been healed, since the Heavenly Physician has been sent to the earth to dispense medicine to the afflicted, to heal the sick, and to give sight to the blind; and not to this end only, but also to break the gates of steel, and to raise the dead, because His power is great, and His medicine healing, and whatever pleaseth Him that He doeth. Therefore, O Christ, Thy birth is worthy of all worship and praise.

(q) "The wicked one foresaw the shadow of salvation in Moses, and hence it was that he stirred up the deceitful Pharaoh not to suffer a Hebrew child to live, thereby hoping to destroy Moses among the children. And when Satan could not compass this his wicked end, he made use of Herod as a cloak, whom he incited to slay all the children of Bethlehem, the fool thinking in this way to destroy Him Who gives life to all. (Consider these ways of the Creator, thou discriminating one, and observe how His providence is ordered by rule, and preserves the middle of the road. Who can deny His wisdom but the unbelieving; and who can refuse coming to Him to be sanctified but the impure?) When the vile fox discovered that he could not approach the place of the Lion, he was confounded and put to shame, both he and his mean instrument with him. Then the Father brought His Son out of Egypt, even as the prophet David, that lyre of the Spirit, had declared when he said: 'Out of Egypt have I called My Son.' (Attend now, thou prudent one, and perceive how he reminds us of the things relating to Moses in Egypt, who was saved from the water in an ark of bulrushes, even as Pharaoh was afterwards drowned by water.) The birth of the Saviour at Bethlehem, which spot had been purchased by a good and accepted man for seven sheep, and called by him Ephratha on account of its spring, typifies, declares, and makes known to us that He destroys the power of the seven carnal lusts which matter generates, and, moreover, that from Him shall flow forth rivers of the knowledge of the fear of God, which shall destroy the wicked one as by a flood. The material water drowned in its depths the material man [Pharaoh], and the immaterial water drowns the immaterial one [i.e. Satan]. Behold a great mystery! Hail, then, to the economy which surpasses all comprehension! Hail to that Providence, the story of which strikes even the pure in heart with awe! Behold, on this day, drink is set down in the place appointed for meat, from the manger issues the spring of life, which is meat and drink, spirit and power, unto all such as believe on Him, but a drowning flood to all those who resist Him. Such is the property of water, that it quenches the thirst of the thirsty, and destroys the rash and froward. Here, then, in the cave of a flinty rock, is set up the beautiful stone, the very building of the Born One, the Temple of the Lord, figuring to us that faith in Him cannot be moved for ever and ever, because it is founded on a truth which frees the world from all doubt and uncertainty.

(r) "The life-giving Spirit was the agent in His pure conception, and gave a body and members to the Infant by the power of God, and joined it to Him in one immutable parsopal dignity, not to be changed for ever and ever. …

(s) "Abraham, Moses, and David, were truly the beauty, excellency, and dignity of the Old Testament, and in their wonderful actions and lives figured forth the mystery of the Son. Abraham through the lamb, Moses through the fire, and the illustrious David, in all his actions, ministered to the mystery of Him. Saul persecuted with all his might the injured David; even so did the wicked and deceitful Herod [persecute the Saviour]. On David's account the priests were slain by the sword of the proud, just as the innocent children were slaughtered on Christ's account. From among the priests Abiathar was the only one saved; so John the son of the barren ones was the only child preserved. David fled and dwelt among the Gentiles; and the Son of David fled into Egypt from the hand of the infidel. The high-priesthood was cut off from the house of Eli in Abiathar; and in John prophecy ceased in the house of Jacob. And whereas He twisted the Old and New Covenants into one, we believe that He is Lord of both. At the annunciation He was called Jesus, that is, a Saviour, because he was destined to redeem men from the power of the Hater. He was also called Christ, a name of union and of dignity, because in Him a new life was joined to the mortality of dust. The legal shadow has now passed away, and the light has broken forth in the renewing of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter. The grace of the Father has appeared in the Wonderful Begotten One, teaching us, as it is written, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. On this day the bark of prophecy has reached the shore; in This Begotten One all the types are fulfilled. Water and clay have become like the subtler elements of air and fire, since Jesus took from them a body. Whereto, then, serve the orders, multitudes, classes, and appointments, of the heavenly hosts who magnify the Lord within the veil? Whereto the circuits of the spheres, the sun, and the moon? Whereto the sea and the dry land, the mountains and plains? Wherefore dost thou thus ask, inquirer? Wouldest thou say that their creation was superfluous, or that humanity could have done without them, or that they cannot hide that radiance? If thereby thou meanest what the apostle did when he said, 'that God may be all in all,' thou dost rightly interpret the mystery of the perfect man [Saint Paul], for this is its true signification. For the Parsopa of the Word, as on this day, appeared in the body, and has centred in His own beauty the sight and contemplation of all minds. Henceforth men will not be deluded into the worship of bulls and calves, nor be attracted after the bright shining of any of the planets. But, thou, keep this charge of mine and be watchful.

(t) "The Church exults in Thy adorable birth, Thou Saviour of the world, since thereby the nations and the nations [Jews and Gentiles] are made one, and the shepherds of earth and the angels in the heavens above unitedly sing and praise Thee.

(u) "Let the Church rejoice in this first-born of festivals, and on this chief of her solemn assemblies, in the contemplation of this glorious and wonderful providence, and let her with watchful mind keep guard over its mysteries, and let her show herself beauteous and perfect by being ready to do good deeds, and in nothing coming short of perfection. Let her bring up her children in every good work little by little, and at all times cause the idea of the Saviour's Image to be conceived in the bowels of their spiritual thoughts, in order that Christ may be truly-formed in their hearts, as saith the Apostle Paul in his Epistle. For such is the profit to be derived from all the festivals observed by the Church; and unless this is the result, all our labour will be in vain, and in vain all the round whereby we commemorate the life and actions of the Saviour. O God, make us to be blameless, that we may live in purity, in faith, and in a right spirit, and that we may apprehend salvation by the eye of our minds, close our sight against every earthly lust, and lift up our eyes towards the high and heavenly kingdom, and there behold Him, Who is clothed in a bodily garment hiding therewith His dazzling Form, seated on the right hand of the Almighty, invisible to mortal ken. And as we have honoured this festival of the Nativity with the voice of the [Church] services, so may we sing to the Begotten in the mystical Sion. And now with an equal praise we magnify the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, because He has saved His people in a wonderful way, and redeemed us with a mighty arm.

(w) "We praise the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one Essence, because He has saved those of earth by the birth of Jesus Christ; to Him be glory. And may this illustrious festival of the Nativity be blessed, and Satan driven far off from the baptized, and may the grace of the Adorable Spirit descend upon us. To the erring author [of this hymn] stretch forth Thy hand, O Lord."—From the Khâmees, and appointed in the Gezza to be read on the Feast of the Holy Nativity.

§ 7. "In the Name of God the Most Merciful. The orthodox creed of the Nestorians, drawn up by the undeserving Abd Yeshua, Metropolitan of Nisibis and Armenia. Abd Yeshua, Metropolitan of Nisibis and its dependencies, says: That the most glorious and exalted Creator is the Existent, the Self-Existent, the One, the Truth, the only One, Who is not susceptive of plurality in any way, Whose Essence is eternal, the Wise, the Living. Christians apply to Him, whose Essence is eternal, the name of Father, because He is the Cause and Source, and the Maker of all created beings, and pre-existent to them in Nature and Essence. They apply to the Wise the name of Son, because wisdom is begotten of the Essence of the Wise, without time [i.e., eternally] or separation, or diminution. They apply to the Living the name of Holy Ghost, because He is the Living, the Eternal, the very Spirit, the Holy. And this is what they mean by the declaration, that God is Three Persons, One Essence, One God. Unity is ascribed to Him becau se of the Unity of His Essence, and Trinity because of His essential proprieties. And they believe of Christ that the eternal Word, Who is the Wisdom of the exalted Creator and called the Son, and Who is one of the Three Persons, as we have stated, dwelt in the human nature taken from the Virgin Mary, and united therewith. Hence the name of Christ has a double meaning with them, the Divinity and the Humanity, and hence they say that Christ is perfect God and perfect Man, One Lord.

"Now union implies two or more things becoming one thing: either by mixture and confusion as the union of water with wine15 by mingling, or of honey with vinegar in [the drink called] sekinjebeen; or by construction, as the union of wood with iron in the manufacture of a door or a bed; or [a union] of the will and affections, as saith the Scripture, 'the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul;' or of parsopeita as the union of a sovereign with his lieutenant in what is commanded and in what is forbidden [i.e., the order of the one is equivalent to the order of the other]; or of connexion, as saith the Scripture, 'a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh;' or of attachment and regard, as the union between the word of God and the written word [i.e., he who reveres the one reveres the other].

"Christians hold the doctrine of The Union in three different ways. The Jacobites believe that the union was of the Person and the Nature by mixture and confusion; so that the Eternal Word and the human nature taken from Mary became One Nature and one Person. The Melchites believe that the union was of the Person and not of the Nature,—a union of construction and fabrication,—so that God the Word and the Man taken from Mary became two Natures and One Person. The Nestorians believe that the union was of anointment [the becoming Christ] and filiation, of dominion and power,—a union of will, design, affection, honour, and parsopeita,—so that the Eternal Word and the Man taken from Mary, two Natures, one eternal and the other temporal, and two Persons, one Divine and the other Human, became One Son, One Christ, in will, honour, design, affection, reverence, and parsopeita.

"In answer to the Jacobites who hold that the Lord Christ is one Nature and one Person, we say that this One must either be God, [and if so] there is no humanity with Him, and thus the declarations of Scripture which refer to Him are impugned; or This [one must be] Man, and thus the Divinity is destroyed, and the sentences of the Gospel which declare His existence in Christ are contradicted. But and if He is made up of both. His two-fold nature [literally, His two-foldedness] is destroyed, and He must be a third thing which is neither God nor Man. All which three conclusions are impious; and the preamble also, from which they are deduced, viz., their saying of Christ that He subsists in one Nature and one Person, is an impiety and gross error.

"In like manner the way of the Melchites, who say that in Christ there are two Natures and one Person, is erroneous; because this statement of one Person is like the previous statement of one Nature, since if this one Person is the Divine Person the humanity is abolished and destroyed, and if it be the human Person, the Divinity is abolished, because the Person is the first essence [or principle] which betokens the reality of the existence of the general essence, as Aristotle has proved; and if this is compounded of two the two-foldedness is destroyed, and the two essences are destroyed [or corrupted], and a third thing results which is neither humanity nor Divinity, all which three conclusions are impious. Now if the error of these two ways is proved, the truth of the third, i.e. of the Nestorian, appears. God confirm us therein, and aid us in that work which may bring us nigh unto Himself.

"Here endeth the creed; written by the hand of the author in the early part of the month Rebiäa el Awwel, a.h. 698." [a.d. 1298.]

§ 8. "Who can mentally conceive, or speak and declare with his mouth, of that chaste, pure, holy, sanctified, unknown [by man,] and unmarried one, ever Virgin, who was sanctified from the womb, and chosen from the belly, to be an abode, dwelling-place, habitation, temple, resting-place, tower, palace, and throne, for the ever living God! The mouths of men are insufficient to praise the Mother of the Lord of angels and of men. Those in the body come short, nor can the spiritual ones attain unto it. If she be so great and so exalted, how can vile lips declare her! For, if they speak, they cannot add to her glory, and if they are silent they cannot lessen it. Who believes that clay can adorn pure gold, or that ashes can add beauty to the pearl? An unpleasant scent cannot add sweetness to the fragrance of exquisite odour, neither can a rotten rag ornament a costly garment. Such things as bitumen, pitch, and brimstone, do not enter into the kingdom, nor are they suffered to come in contact with clean vessels, neither are they brought before honourable persons. What can I do, then, who am full of these things? What have I to bestow upon her? Nothing that I possess can profit her. I would not give, but I wish to receive, O Lord. Grant to me, therefore, that I may magnify Thy Mother before Thy Church and before Thy people. Spit upon the blind eyes of my mind a pure spittle from Thy life-giving mouth, that like Bartimæus, I may be enlightened in Thee, receive light from Thee, and speak through Thee. Thou who hast made me worthy to hear of her, make me at the last to look upon the beauty of her countenance. I know that I am vile, therefore I flee to Thy holiness. Give me of Thy water, O fountain of life, that I may delight in Thee, Thou Tree of life. Thou art the Fountain of life, and Thy Mother is a pure garden. The fruit which Eve did not see, Mary bare and nourished. Eve died in her lust after it; but thereby Mary received life herself, and imparted life to others. That female thief [Eve] did not find this fruit; but the guarded and sealed one found it in herself. Eve who did not guard herself inherited a curse, and gave it as an inheritance to her children; but Mary who guarded her members freed herself and gave freedom to all. In infancy she learned how to walk between the porch and the altar. Her eyes looked not upon a man, neither did she listen to his words. Her lips did not utter fond words either to boy or girl. She did not put forth her hand to receive, but it was ever stretched out to bestow. Her foot did not go forth to the market-place, neither did it wander from the house of her Lord. Her pure person was clothed with a cloud of modesty and dignity. From without the angels kept her, and from within her wisdom and discretion directed her. Twenty-two psalms of David are appropriate to her. The 1st declares her perfection and purity; the 3rd, the persecutions which she underwent; the 4th, her quietness; the 5th, the malice which was borne towards her; the 15th, her righteousness; the 16th, the guard which was kept over her; the 17th her integrity; the 23rd, her good education; the 26th, her watchfulness against slipping; the 24th declares how the Lord blessed and supported her on the earth; the 46th, how she became an abode for the Lord the Sanctifier of all; the 48th also witnesses that she became a temple for the Son of the Highest; the 61st typifies her retiredness, and the psalm following, her success; in the 87th, it is said that the Son of the Highest dwelt in her; and in the 91st, that the angels kept watch over her body; in the 101st, that through her alone He appeared to the world; and the large psalm on perfection, containing in its alphabetical division the mystery of numerical perfection, is throughout applicable to Mary. Psalm 137th declares how she confessed the Lord with her mouth and mind; and Psalm 138th how the right hand of the Lord rested on her. If what is said in these psalms was said of the righteous, yet they are included as through her, and in her, and by her. This is she who was never known of man; she is the ground which the Lord only sowed. She is the door spoken of by the prophet Barbozi [Ezekiel] by the word of the Lord, which is shut, and which none can enter but the Lord only Who enters and goes out by it. She is the sealed fountain from which the whole world have quenched their thirst. She is the untouched treasure by which all men have been enriched. This is she in whom God dwelt, and from whom sprang the Son of God. This is she, the begotten of Eve, through whom the curse of Eve is loosed. This is she, the daughter of the earthly, who was saluted by the prince of the spiritual ones. This is she who bare Him Who is the Upholder of the height and depth, and in Whom both are comprehended. This is she who in a natural way brought forth a God-Man supernaturally. This is the Virgin from whom aged matrons may learn all piety. This is the poor girl who was reverently adored by kings. From her infancy she did not lust, and to her old age none lusted after her. Her infancy was spotless, and her youth immaculate. Her purity was uncorrupted, and her disposition without disorder. Her heart was full of fear, and her mind full of faith. Her mind believed on the Lord, and her body was guarded against men. She is the eyry in whom the King of Eagles truly dwelt. No nail ever lasciviously pinched her, and the spirit that walketh at noonday never accosted her. She ever abode with her Infant, and after man she never walked. Her body was pure, and her mind full of holiness. She was not luxurious in eating, nor intemperate in desire. She did not put on costly raiment, neither did she pride herself in ornament. What she possessed was nothing, and the fear of the Lord was her teacher. The mourning of Elijah was little compared to hers, and she was incomparably more excellent than Daniel who hated lust. The furnace of contrition did not burn in her, and the hunter of men did not hunt for her body. She did not fall into his snare, neither did she stumble through his wiles. Woe, woe, unto me! what have I said? Little indeed have I declared and spoken! She who delivered our race, whom did she worship? She who loosed our bands, who could bind her? She who became the Mother of the Lord, how could she become a nurse to the son of any other? She who suckled Him Who nurtures all, who can say that she is in need of any one? She who ran after her Son, after whom else could she run? She whom angels ministered unto, what were any earthly ones to her? She whose Son is in the heaven of heavens, who says that any one is to be compared to her? She whom the prophets praise, the apostles also honour and glorify her. Who knows the praises which she is truly worthy of! In her lifetime, men died, and I wonder at this. In her death, men lived, and I wonder at this far more. While living she was dead to the world, and in her death she called the living and gave them life. The prophets issued out of their graves, and the fathers came forth out of the dust; the Apostles, of whom some were dead and others were living and afar off, of these the dead arose, and those afar off came to follow her, and worthily did they revere and praise her as was most fit. Angels from above came, as they were ordered, to do her honour, and the spiritual ones ministered unto her. The chiefs among the angels lauded her; and the powers strengthened her strength. The archangels spread out clouds of light for her, and the dominions rejoiced over her. The principalities delighted in her, and the thrones joined in her praises. The seraphim declared her body blessed, and the cherubim, when they beheld her enter their ranks, chanted hallelujahs to her. The firmament and the expanse above worshipped her, and the lightning and thunder magnified her, and her Son. The rain and dew which nourish the seed that is sown emulated her breasts; but she it was who nourished Him Who is the Lord of all seed. The morning stars worshipped her, and the sun and moon bowed the head to her. The heavens called her blessed, and the heaven of heavens joined in the beatitude. The Apostles bare her body, and the prophets and priests followed her bier. Angels wove crowns for her, and the mouths of fire extolled her. The sick and afflicted called upon her name and were healed, and when she rested [died] her prayers were a tower of help to all the distressed. The Jews, however, that generation of vipers, wished to burn her body, and collected heaps of fuel around the abode of the Virgin; but ere they kindled it a fire issued therefrom and consumed them, so their priests and scribes were burnt, as were also the sons of Aaron. The hair of their chiefs was burnt, and their hanging locks were singed. But the Virgin came forth, and fled away in a cloud, and with her choirs of angels playing on their trumpets and horns, saying: 'Blessed art thou, O Mary,' and all joined in this beatitude. 'Blessed art thou, O Virgin, who wert affianced but never married, and never known of man. Blessed art thou, O woman, who hadst a Son, and yet whose virginity was never loosed by man. Blessed art thou, O mother, without a father, and to whose Son no man was father. Blessed art thou, O earth, from which was moulded the Lord of Adam Who dwelt in thee bodily. Blessed art thou, O unploughed garden, in which no man cultivator ever entered. Blessed art thou, O unsowed ground, which wast never sowed by the sower. Blessed art thou, O wonderful tree, which broughtest forth a most wonderful fruit. Blessed art thou, O wonderful bush, which wast not burnt by the flame. Blessed art thou, since the rod of the son of Amram witnesseth of thy bosom that it is above all. That rod bare almonds without being planted, and in like manner in thy bosom, O Mary, a Man was brought forth. Blessed art thou, since Isaiah praised thee, calling thee a Virgin, and thy Son, God. Blessed art thou, O fleece which was seen by Gideon, and through which fleece he learnt thy mystery. The dew which descended thereon descended upon no other place, and the rain which fell on every place did not let fall even a drop upon her. Blessed art thou, O city placed on high, and O dwelling-place for the Son of the Highest. Blessed art thou, O heaven, which art of the earth, and which the waters that are above the heavens envied. Blessed art thou, O bodily throne, which wast envied by the throne of light, and on which exalted throne the Invisible One was hid for a long time without appearing unto men. Blessed art thou, since through thee salvation from destruction has come to Adam and to his children. Blessed art thou, since through thee the curses against women have been removed. Blessed art thou, since through thee women cursed of old are blessed. Blessed art thou, O Virgin, who didst attain old age without losing thy virginity. Blessed art thou, O Child-bearing Virgin, who didst bring forth without being unloosed or corrupted. Blessed art thou, O Mother, whose Son is greater than Abraham His ancestor.' With words and praises like these did the heavenly choirs magnify her. As to myself, however, I have not spoken as they spoke, neither have I heard as they heard; but according to my ability my weak mouth has declared her story,—the story of her who is full of holiness. I myself am altogether vile, even as a fountain full of mire. Have pity, have pity upon me, Thou Who art full of compassion! Have pity on me, who have made known the story of Thy Mother. Forgive me, forgive me. Thou merciful One,—me who have offered to Thy Mother this sacrifice. Do thou bestow upon the author of these few words far more at the wedding [i.e. in heaven] of Thy super-excellent Mother. He has spoken imperfectly, do Thou, in Thy mercy, perfect him to higher and nobler tasks; and may the Virgin's prayers be a wall of defence to all the world which ever commemorates her festival with great rejoicings. And to Thee, O Christ, with Thy Father, and the Holy Spirit, be praise for ever and ever."—From the Warda, and appointed to be read on any of the festivals commemorative of the Blessed Virgin.

See also Appendix B. Part III. c. iv.—vii.

REMARKS.

I have quoted thus largely under this article, because it comprises the chief doctrine for which the Nestorians are adjudged to be heretical. What Nestorius himself believed, it boots not to inquire, our object being to arrive at a clear knowledge of what his so-called followers have held, and still hold, respecting the Person of our Blessed Saviour.

That they believe Nestorius to have been orthodox on this important article of faith, and are persuaded that they agree therein with him, is perfectly plain from several passages in the above extracts. But it is equally clear that they may be as wrong in one of these respects as they are in the other: for they may not really hold what Nestorius held, notwithstanding their assurance to the contrary. This assurance, however, leads them to cherish a regard for his person corresponding with their estimate of his merits both as a teacher of the truth, and as a sufferer in its behalf. Yet this regard has not exceeded the reverence in which they hold Athanasius, Chrysostom, and other famous saints of the Church. His name, it is true, is frequently mentioned in their rituals, as is also that of Theodorus; but neither is specially canonized,16 and both are commemorated on the same festival, styled the "festival of the Greek Doctors," in the service for which most of the eminent fathers of the primitive Church are recorded. And although their reputed followers do not scruple to confess themselves Nestorians, still if the term is applied to them by way of reproach, as if they had left Christ to follow a mere man, they are ever ready to resent the imputation, and to vindicate themselves by denying that they are Nestorians in any such acceptation of the term. The apology of Mar Abd Yeshua conveys their sentiments on this head most fully: "The Easterns, however, who never changed their faith, but kept it as they received it from the Apostles, were unjustly styled 'Nestorians,' since Nestorius was not their Patriarch, neither did they understand his language; but when they heard that he taught the doctrine of the two Natures and two Persons, one Son of God, one Christ, and that he confessed the orthodox faith, they bore witness to him, because they themselves held the same faith. Nestorius, then, followed them, and not they him, and that more especially in the matter of the appellation 'Mother of God.' Therefore when called upon to excommunicate him they refused, maintaining that their excommunication of Nestorius would be equivalent to their excommunication of the Sacred Scriptures from which they received what they professed, and for which they are censured together with Nestorius."

The decrees of the Council of Ephesus they do not, of course, receive, but whether this arises from any essential difference in the faith as held by them, or from a misapprehension of the terms in which those decrees were expressed,17 it remains for competent authority to determine after full examination had of the doctrines contained in their rituals. It is worthy of note, however, that although the Gezza, as quoted in § 5 denounces the Chalcedonians, Mar Abd Yeshua considers the decrees of that synod orthodox and valid, and that the doctrine of the One Person in our Blessed Lord was declared because the Greek language had not a word to convey the idea which they express by Parsopa. Speaking of Chalcedon he says: "This council confirmed the confession that there are two Natures in Christ, distinct in the attributes of each, and also two wills, and anathematized all who should speak of mixture which destroys the two Natures. But because in Greek there is no difference between the meaning of the word Person and Parsopa, they confessed but one Person in Christ." Besides this testimony to the council of Chalcedon there are several extracts from its decrees embodied in the various synodal collections in use among the Nestorians.

Further, the Divinity and Humanity of Christ are most fully declared in the extracts above adduced; no language, indeed, could convey these truths more explicitly. What, for example, can be clearer on this point than the clause in § 1. "One is the Messiah adored by all in two Natures, Who, as touching His Godhead is begotten of the Father, without beginning, and before all ages; and, as touching His Manhood, was born of Mary, in the fulfilment of time, a body of union."[1] And, again, in § 4. "He Who is, by His Self-existence, perfect God, the Word, abounded in His compassion for our frailty, and took upon Him our similitude to be an abode for His Divinity, raised and nailed it to the Cross, and yielded it up unto death, thereby to give us life, then raised it again, and seated it in the heavens, far above the highest dominions and powers." And, once more, in § 6. e. "Behold Him, Who is clothed with light wrapped in swaddling bauds; what a mystery is here! No less wonderful is it that He Who is seated on the throne of heaven should have been laid in a manger! The Ancient of times became a Son of Mary in the latter times, and appeared as the Father, Lord, and Master, of the sons of Adam."

In these passages the Only-begotten, Who appeared in the flesh, and Who is called "the Son of God," is exhibited,18 not as a Being distinct from the One Supreme God, or as a companion, attribute, reflection, or emanation of Divinity; but as the Very and Only God, as incapable of being separate in essence from the Father, as it is impossible that reason should be separate from the mind, or, to use the scriptural simile adduced by Mar Abd Yeshua in his chapter on the Trinity, as that the bright shining of the sun should be separate from the sun itself. His words are these: "As the reasonable soul has a threefold, energy, mind, word, and life, and is one and not three; even so should we conceive of the three in one, and one in three. The sun, also, which is one in its disk, radiance, and heat, is another simile adduced by the second Theologus Paul, the chosen vessel:—'He is the brightness of His glory, and the Express Image of His Person;' and, again: 'Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.'" The Sonship of the Son is a propriety[2] of the One Infinite Indivisible Essence,19 and is called a "Person" to distinguish it from every thing else which it is not, and which it cannot be, for there is no other thing like it, and all comparisons used to express it are therefore necessarily defective. On this subject also the language of the author just quoted is remarkably plain: "The Self-existent can in no wise be susceptible of accidents. The three proprieties in the Divinity must be essential, and are on this account called Persons, and not accidental powers, and do not cause any change or plurality in the essence of the Self-existent; for He is the Mind, the Same He, [or, as in the original, He He,] is the Wisdom, the Same He is the Life, Who ever begets without cessation, [i.e. there was no time in which He did not beget the Son,] and puts forth, [i.e. makes to proceed,] without distance, [i.e. without removal from Himself."]

Should any further testimony be required in order to establish the perfect unity of the Son with the Father, as held by the Nestorians, it is supplied by the following clause in § 6. c. "The spiritual essences, those who dwell in the regions of the Spirit, were enraptured, and the earthly, such as were alive, and such as were in the grave, rejoiced, saying: 'He is One to all generations;'" and, again, in par. o. "Whilst these shepherds were engaged round about the manger, the angels in heaven were singing praises unto Him;" which declaration is equivalent to saying, that He Who was worshipped in the manger at Bethlehem was the same Who was being praised by the hosts above, and is of like import with our Blessed Lord's own words: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven."

It is proper to note, however, that § 6. o. begins with the words ܨܒܝܢ ܟܣܝܐ‎ the Invisible or Hidden Will, applied to the Son of God. Exception might justly be made against this appellative, which is of frequent occurrence in the Nestorian rituals, did it stand alone, for alone it seems to teach that not God the Word, but the Will of God, as an attribute or property of the Godhead, was that which became incarnate. The term is hardly a safe one, but the following extract from a hymn in the Khâmees, and appointed to be read on the Feast of the Ascension, is sufficient to show that the Nestorians hold no such heresy, but use the appellative when speaking of the second Person of the glorious Trinity in the same sense as in Scripture the name, "Word of God" is applied to Him.—"The Invisible Will has returned to His own, and has ascended up to the heaven of heavens. The gates of the sky were opened unto Him, and the planets were confounded in their courses. … The Son of the Essence of the glorious Father has ascended." In this quotation, the titles "Invisible Will," and the "Son of the Essence of the glorious Father," are evidently cognate or commutable terms denoting the second Person incarnate, and not a mere attribute of the Divinity. There is also a coincidence between the extract just quoted and that referred to in § 6. o., which clearly shows that the two appellatives refer to the Person of the Son. The latter begins with ܨܒܝܢ ܟܣܝܐ ܢܚܬ‎ "the Invisible Will descended," and the former with ܥܳܢܐ ܠܐܬܪܗ ܨܒܝܢ ܟܣܝܐ‎ "the Invisible Will returned to His own." And the Warda, in a poem on "the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho," has the following clear declaration bearing on the same subject: "If the Father was in Him, and He in the Father, who can draw a distinction between Him and the Father, but such as deny the Father, and have Satan for their teacher?"

The doctrine of the perfect humanity of the Son is so firmly held by the Nestorians, that if they are in error, it arises from their steadfast resolution to hold this truth whole and undefiled. His immaculate conception by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary is too plainly taught in the above extracts to need any comment. The author of the Khâmees, as quoted in § 6. b. goes so far as to say that "He was borne in the womb according to the laws and peculiarities of nature, and was brought forth by His mother through the … pangs of labour;"[3] and the condemnation contained in § 5. is directed against the different heresies which, in their estimation, go to destroy the perfect humanity of the Saviour. He was everything, say they, that man is,[4] sin only excepted, and therefore, they add, He must have a Person as man has, otherwise He would be man imperfectly. Every nature must have a person in order to subsist, and without which it cannot subsist; so argues Mar Abd Yeshua after Aristotle, "since the Person is the first essence or principle which betokens the reality of the existence of the general essence." And the same author in Appendix B. part iii. c. 5, reasons thus: "The Divine Nature and Person,21 before and after the union, is an eternal, uncompounded Spirit. But the human nature and person is a temporal and compound body. Now, if the union destroys the attributes which distinguish the Natures and Persons in Christ, either the one or the other of these becomes a nonentity, or they become a thing which is neither God nor man. But if the union does not destroy the attributes which distinguish the Natures and Persons in Christ, then Christ must exist in two Natures, and two Persons, which are united in the Parsopa[5] of Filiation." This human Person, however, was so intimately, and after a manner so incomprehensible, joined to the Divine Person in the Parsopa of the Word, that what the Humanity did, that the Divinity did, and yet in no such way or sense as that we should be necessitated to ascribe to the Godhead any of the frailties of the Manhood. The impassibility of the Divinity is a truth acknowledged by all, nor does it appear to me that the Nestorians, by their theological system, make the mysterious fact one whit plainer, that the Word, Who is very God of very God, was born of Mary, suffered, died, was buried, rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, from whence He shall come at the end of the world to judge the quick and the dead. The Parsopa does indeed indicate the Son as distinct from the Father, that is, that it was the Son and not the Father Who thus became Man; but this Parsopa they admit to be the second Person of the Glorious Trinity, in and by that Person equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and One in every way with the Infinite Self-Existent; and in and by His Parsopa likewise not less than the other Two Persons of the Trinity in all the essential attributes of the Godhead, (though distinct through it) but ever One with the Father and the Holy Ghost "in dominion and power, will, design, affection, honour and Parsopa," as Mar Abd Yeshua declares in his creed given in § 7.

The frequent occurrence, however, of the words "temple," "abode," and "tabernacle," as applied in the Nestorian rituals to the body of our blessed Saviour, seems at first sight to convey the idea that the Only-begotten selected some particular man, and then dwelt in Him, which interpretation in no way answers to the force of the scriptural declaration 'the Word was made flesh." But a passage in § 3 contradicts such an opinion. "When the angel assured the Virgin that her wonderful conception should be of the operation of the Holy Ghost, she believed that what had been announced to her would take place; and forthwith the Word made for Himself a reasonable abode, and made it His temple. Not that He first formed it, and afterwards dwelt in it; for He wove a temple to clothe Himself withal, and clothed Himself therewith when He wove it, that this His clothing might not be any other than the clothing of the Word, which He wrought for Himself,"—that is, "He became what He was not before. He took into His own Infinite Essence man's nature itself, in all its original fulness, creating a body and soul, and, at the moment of creation, making them His own, so that they were never other than His, never existed by themselves or except as in Him, being properties or attributes of Him (to use defective words) as really as His Divine goodness, or His Eternal Sonship, or His perfect likeness to the Father. And whilst thus adding a new nature to Himself, He did not in any respect cease to be what He was before. How was that possible? All the while He was on earth, when He was conceived, when He was born, when He was tempted, on the cross, in the grave, and now at the right hand of God,—all the time through He was the Eternal and Unchangeable Word, the Son of God."[6] That the Nestorians thus believe24 of the Second Person of the Glorious Trinity made man is clear from § 6, par. c. "The Begotten, the Highest, the Ancient of Days, Who has set us free, drew milk from the breast as do sucklings and infants, was bound in swaddling clothes, and was placed in a manger like a child of the poor and needy, although He is verily and indeed the King of kings to Whom the highest worship is due." And, again, in par. m. "David says of Him, that 'His throne shall stand as the sun, and shall endure as the moon to order and to establish all things;' that is, by His manifested Divinity, and by the life and wisdom of His Humanity; for in the motions of Himself He comprehends all the angels in the highest, and in the members of His body He comprehends man who is on the earth, thereby fulfilling, as in a rational way, that the two worlds are, by the power of His Spirit, but one body, and He is that very One Who through these sees the things which we cannot see. He is the very One Who makes all visible creatures to subsist, Who tries and judges them. Before the Union these offices belonged to the Person of the Divinity; afterwards it was given to the Person of the Humanity. And since all these things are fulfilled in this Begotten One, He is therefore Man and Lord, most truly, certainly, and beyond all doubt." And, again, in par. e. "Behold Him, Who is clothed with light, wrapped in swaddling bands; what a mystery is here! No less wonderful is it that He Who is seated on the throne of heaven should have been laid in a manger! The Ancient of times became a Son of Mary in the latter time, and appeared as the Father, Lord, and Master of the sons of Adam."

But, further; any notion of duality on account of their confession of two Persons in our blessed Lord is repudiated in the strongest language by the Nestorians, not only by the addition of the "One Parsopa," but also by their reiterated declarations. Thus in § 3 we read, "there is plurality in the Natures, but these subsist in One, their proprieties subsisting in One Parsopa of Filiation." Again in § 6, c. "The spiritual essences who dwell in the regions of the Spirit were enraptured; and the earthly, such as were alive, and such as were in the grave, rejoiced, saying: 'He is One to all generations.'" And, again, in par. d. "From these things let us rest assured that the Messiah is One in two Natures and two Persons subsisting in One Parsopa of Filiation, since the Natures did not commingle; and in like manner we believe of the Persons. The Son of the Father clothed Himself with Him of Mary, and was conceived in the womb. But let no man filch a word from this, and wilfully pervert it by specious philosophy so as to conclude that there are two Sons. For there is one Son only, not a Son and a Son making two; but One Son, we repeat, as is most proper to maintain."

That the Nestorians believe the incarnation of the Son of God, and the union of the Divine and human Natures in Him, to be an incomprehensible mystery, the extracts adduced under this article most fully testify. What, for example, can be clearer on this point than the following clause from § 3? "The descent of the Word is inexplicable, and is beyond the examination of all inquirers, and the Union so exalted, that no words can express it." And, again, in § 6, par. l. "Hitherto the law of nature was in force, but in the appearance of the Saviour from a Virgin, the law of birth from [conjugal] union was abrogated, and the mind that would comprehend how this was must lose itself in the inquiry." See also par. k, passim.

That the Nestorians further believe the union of the Divine and Human natures in the Person, or Parsopa of the Son to be indissoluble is equally plain. Thus in § 1 we read, "Therefore, O Lord, we worship Thy Divinity and Thy Humanity without dividing them; for the power of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is one, the sovereignty is one, and the will is one." And in § 6, par. s. "The life-giving Spirit was the agent in His pure conception, and gave a body and members to the Infant by the power of God, and joined it to Him in one inimitable parsopal dignity, not to be changed for ever and ever." And again in par. v. "O Lord, make us blameless, that we may live in purity, in faith, and in a right spirit, and that we may apprehend salvation by the eye of our minds, close our sight against every earthly lust, and lift up our eyes towards the high and heavenly kingdom, and there behold Him, Who is clothed in a bodily garment hiding therewith His dazzling form, seated on the right hand of the Almighty, invisible to mortal ken."

It appears, therefore, that the Nestorians adopted the symbol of two Persons and One Parsopa, in order to point out the particular Person of the Holy Trinity Who became Man, and at the same time to maintain the doctrine of the impassibility of God, which they believed to be impugned by the Monophysite doctrine of one Nature and one Person in our Blessed Lord. Whether they have succeeded in this design, or made the truth plainer than it is in the Catholic confession of two Natures and One Person is, to say the least, very doubtful; but whether they hereby deny or controvert the teaching of the Church, it is for the Church to determine. The same object, doubtless, has led them, in discoursing of His works, to distinguish between the Christ Who lived on earth and the Son of God Most High, an example of which is given in the beautiful hymn contained in § 5, and which, amidst the numerous alterations made by the Chaldeans in the Nestorian rituals, has been allowed to remain, and is still used by them in its original form. Many of our own orthodox theologians frequently adopt, as a matter of necessity, the same style of speaking and writing when treating of the Divine and Human Natures in Christ; and the Nestorians base the propriety of so distinguishing between them on such passages of the Scripture as the following.—"And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man." "Jesus, a Man approved among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you." "There is One God, and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus." "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." "This Jesus Whom ye crucified, God has made Him Lord and Christ.' See Appendix B. Part iii. c. v.

But another cause, which I conceive to have influenced the Nestorians to adopt the confession of two Persons in Christ, is referable to the Syriac rendering of several passages in the New Testament. Thus, for example, the passage in S. John v. 26. "For as the Father hath life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son to have life in Himself," reads thus in the Syriac version: "For as the Father hath life in His Person [aknooma,] so hath He given to the Son to have life in His Person" [aknooma.] If, say they, it is maintained, that the Father gave life to the Person of the Son, i.e. the Divine Person, this is an error, since in His Divine Person He is equally Lord of life with the Father from everlasting; therefore, they conclude, it was given to the human Person of the Son. And this interpretation they support by the verse following: "and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man."

The third verse of the first chapter of Hebrews, which, is rendered as follows in the Syriac, is also adduced to the same end: "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by His Person purged our sins,"[7] &c. The argument from this passage is, that the Person here mentioned must be that of the human nature, since the Divine Person is impassible. Nevertheless, as we have seen, they do not separate the Divinity from the humanity, but believe them to be united indissolubly for ever and ever.

It now remains that something should be said on the rejection by the Nestorians of the title θεότοκος. It is not to be doubted that however much the design has been forgotten, this appellative was originally meant not to exalt the person of the Blessed Virgin, but to declare the truth of Christ's Divinity and Humanity, and with this object, I conceive the council of Ephesus adopted it. Even the learned Lutheran divine Doctor Mosheim calls the title "a trite and innocent term,"[8] and our own Nelson, rightly apprehending its true import, sanctions and approves of it. His answer to the query, "Why is the blessed virgin Mary styled the mother of God?" is as follows: "Because the second Person in the blessed Trinity, the Son of God, by virtue of an eternal generation, vouchsafed to descend from heaven, and to stoop so low as to enter into the womb of the virgin; where being united to our nature, which was formed and conceived there. He submitted to a second generation according to the flesh. So that this Son of God was truly the Son of the virgin, and consequently, she that brought forth the man was really the mother of God, and by her cousin Elizabeth she is styled the mother of her Lord; which word. Lord, was accounted equivalent to the word God."[9] But the Nestorians rendered, so to speak, immeasurably more jealous of the doctrine of God's impassibility by the Eutychian heresies which, by confounding the human and Divine Natures, seemed to lead to the monstrous conclusion that the Godhead suffered, shrunk from the use of a term which savoured of the very essence of Monophysitism, and finding no authority for it in the Sacred Scriptures they rejected it, as they do at this day. Their reasons for so doing are given seriatim in Appendix B. Part iii. c. vi., each and all of which tend to confirm what has been suggested, that an innate horror of Eutychianism led them to denounce the title as verging on blasphemy. They flattered themselves, perhaps, that by adopting the confession of two Natures, two Persons one Parsopa, they avoided the semblance of ascribing passibility to God, and fortified their theology against so gross an error far better than it could be secured by the Catholic doctrine of two Natures and one Person, whereas, so far as I may judge, they can, agreeably with its teaching, apply the title of θεότοκος to the Virgin Mary, in the true Catholic sense, as consistently as Nelson could.

The quotation given in § 8 affords decisive proof that in rejecting the appellative "Mother of God," the Nestorians do not intend to detract aught from the blessedness of the Virgin Mary. On the contrary, the whole tenour of the poem, and there are many of like import in their rituals, goes to substantiate the fact, that if they have erred in this respect, the error lies in their tendency to Mariolatry, of which they can hardly be pronounced innocent by the most lenient judgment. However, not to enlarge on this point, which will be treated of more fully hereafter, it is clear from several passages in the extract referred to, that the Nestorians do not believe the Virgin Mother to have brought forth a mere man. She is therein styled " the abode and temple of the ever-living God;" "this is she in whom God dwelt, and from whom sprang the Son of God;" "this is she who bare Him Who is the upholder of the height and depth, and in Whom both are comprehended; this is she who in a natural way brought forth a God-man supernaturally; "Blessed art thou since Isaiah praised thee, calling thee a Virgin, and thy Son, God." And if any further testimony is required it is supplied by a passage in the Gezza appointed to be read on the festival of the Nativity, where the following, among other reasons, is given why Mary continued a virgin after the birth of the Saviour,—"The fourth reason was in order that Mary might prove that she did not bring forth a mere man; but that she brought forth the Christ, as it is written. Whose power kept her, so that her virginity was not lost."

The design of the Incarnation of our Blessed Saviour, which is the subject of the latter clause in the Article at the head of this chapter, is so clearly and so fully declared in the extracts adduced, that no explanatory remarks seem called for, more especially as the doctrine of the Atonement will come under consideration in the sequel.

  1. Or, "a united body." This term frequently occurs in Nestorian theology, and is designed to express that body which the Son of God took, and in which His Divinity and Humanity were conjoined or united.
  2. I have used this word propriety,20 in order to express the meaning of the Syriac deeleita, which literally signifies a thing or attribute belonging to some one. The term in the original is doubtless derived from the possessive case of the third personal pronoun, viz. His, and designates that which the Latins signify by proprium, as when they say, "Proprium est Spiritui Sancto procedere." Thus the deeleita, (or as I have taken the liberty to write,) the propriety of the Father is Fatherhood, the propriety of the Son is Sonship, or Filiation, and the propriety of the Holy Spirit is Procession.

    The above remarks are illustrated by a doxology contained in the Gezza, and appointed to be read in the service for the Epiphany: "Come, my beloved, and let us together ascribe triple glory unto Him whose from everlasting are ܟܝܢܝܵܛ݄ܐ Kianayâtha, ܕܝܠܝܵܛ݄ܐ deelayâtha, and ܡܪܢܿܝܛܐ maranayâtha. [By] Kianayâtha [we understand] eternity and creation, which are His Who is the Cause of all. [By] deelayâtha, which are also truly His, [we understand] Paternity, Filiation, and Procession. [By] maranayâtha, which are also undoubtedly His, [we understand] immutability, incomprehensibility, and infinity."

    The term "essential attribute" might have been used to express the Syriac deeleita; but the word "attribute" being also used to designate other properties of God immeasurably distinct from this peculiar thing, would have been somewhat equivocal; so I chose to adopt another less liable to be misunderstood.

  3. The idea conveyed in the latter part of this quotation is contradicted by many eminent Nestorian writers, and especially by Yohanan bar Zöobi.
  4. They support this by Heb. ii. 24: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same;" and verse 17: "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren."
  5. This term,22 peculiar to Nestorian theology, and the derivation of which is doubtful, though usually derived from πρόσωπον, is often understood to signify "aspect," or "appearance;" but such a rendering is far from expressing the idea which their writers thereby design to convey. The unutterable manner in which the Son is of the Father, and therefore in a certain sense, distinct from the First Person of the Trinity, though ever One with Him, and which manner of being of they express, as we have already shown, by the word deeleita, appears to supply a clue to the idea which they intend by the term Parsopa. They wanted a word to express distinctly that Person of the Trinity, Who is the Son and not the Father, and not the Holy Spirit, Which Person and no other, took man's nature, and this they called Parsopa.
    The following creed drawn up by Yohanan bar Zöobi, an ancient eminent writer among the Nestorians, throws some light on this difficult subject:—"I believe in One God, Who is the everlasting, self-existent, subsisting in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is Father from eternity; the Son is the Begotten from eternity; and the Spirit from eternity is Proceeding.—One Essence co-equal in its self-existence. These are united and not distinguishable in Essence or in their Persons; but the Persons are distinguishable the One from the other by their names and proprieties. There is no distinction in Essence, because the Essence is One, neither is there any distinction by or through the Persons because of infinity; since if you would distinguish the Person of the Father in order afterwards to adduce the Person of the Son, where will you find a place for it? And if there is no place which can contain the Persons of the Father and the Son, where will you place the Holy Spirit in order to distinguish It? Whereas myriads of worlds like ours would not suffice to contain One Person of the Self-Existent. The Father is God and an Essence because of His Person, The Son also is God, and an Essence because of His Person. And in like manner, the Holy Ghost is God and an Essence because of His Person. By this name of 'God' and 'Essence,' each is all and the whole, and they are not three Essences or three Gods. Hence they are not distinguishable in Essence or Person;23 but by the proprieties and the names of the Parsopas. The propriety of the Father is that He is Begetter and not Begotten, the Cause, and Paternity, which denote the name of His Person. The propriety of the Son is that He is Begotten and not Begetter, Filiation, and the Being caused, which denote the name of His Person. The propriety of the Holy Ghost is that He is neither Begetter nor Begotten, but Caused and Proceeding, which denote the name of His Person. The Father is Father, and not the Son or the Holy Spirit, and is distinguished from the Son and the Holy Spirit by the parsopa of Fatherhood. The Son, also, is Son, and not the Father or the Spirit, and is distinguished from the Father and the Spirit by the parsopa of Filiation. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit, and not the Son or the Father, and is distinguished from the Son and the Father, by the parsopa of Procession, There is no distinction between the Persons in the propriety of the Essence, for they are co-equal in the essential propriety general [to the Three Persons.] The propriety of the general Essence is spirit, eternity, nature, Divinity, Sovereignty, judgment, authority, infinity, creation, immortality, and so forth. The proprieties of the Persons, however, are those which are peculiar or proper to each of them. The proprieties of the Essence are general to all the Three Persons, and the equality subsisting in the Essence is of these proprieties of that Essence; so that the Father is not before the Son, nor the Son before the Holy Ghost; neither is the Father greater than the Son, nor the Son greater than the Holy Ghost. Let Arius and Sabellius, therefore, be confounded. A notion of priority, however, may arise in the

    proprieties of the Persons, because we say that the Father is the Cause, and the Son and Holy Ghost Caused; as also from our enumerating the Son and Spirit after the Father. But whoever thus thinks is in error; for when it is said of the Father that He is the Cause it is meant that He is the Cause of the proprieties of the Parsopas and not the Cause of the Persons, for otherwise co-equality would be destroyed. Moreover the numbering of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost does not beget priority or inferiority in the Persons, for it is the orderly enumeration of the proprieties of the Parsopas; and the Holy Trinity is not a subject of numbers, for numbers we ascribe to things tangible, and everything that is the subject of numbers is subject also to place, time, and limit. But the Holy Trinity is without time or place. In numbering, the second follows the first, and the fourth the third; but in the Adorable Trinity the Second does not come after the First, nor the Third after the Second; but [we say] One Father, One Son, One Spirit, indivisible Three Persons, One Essence—One Essence, Three Persons."

    From the above it would seem that by the "Parsopa of Filiation," the Nestorians mean that Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who through the Infinite Essence is the Son, in His special office of Son, and for which our theology supplies no equivalent term. The nearest approach to it with us is when we ascribe, often in a very lax way, different offices to the Three Persons of the Trinity in the universal Providence. As, e.g. when we say that Creation is the peculiar office of the Father, Redemption of the Son, and Sanctification of the Holy Ghost. The Nestorians would not ascribe these distinctions to the Persons of the Godhead, which being infinite, may not be distinguished, but to the Parsopas of the Three Persons of Which the Self-Existent is the Cause, but which nevertheless are eternal, since the Son is the Begotten from eternity: and the Holy Ghost is Proceeding from eternity; and infinite, also, through the proprieties of the Persons appertaining to each, and through which all partake of the same One Divine Essence, and are One in It.

    These efforts to interpret the majestic declarations of Holy Writ, I hesitate to denounce as vain and curious, or to judge as rash and erroneous, since they bear the impress of deep reflection and devout reverence, and may eventually be found to be in accordance with Catholic truth; still the more one pursues such inquiries the more he finds cause of being thankful for the comparatively simple creed which the primitive Church has bequeathed unto us as a sacred deposit, and perpetual gift.

  6. Newman's Parochial Sermons, Vol. III., Serm. 12.
  7. The Nestorians in their rituals frequently use the term aknooma, which in these passages of the Syriac is used, to express the "Himself" of the English version. Thus in the service appointed in the Khudhra for Good Friday we read: "Christ, Who by the sacrifice of Himself [His aknooma] has saved us, have pity upon His Church redeemed through His cross," According to their theology the Human Person of the Saviour which was joined to the Divine Person in the Parsopa of the Word is here meant.
  8. Ecclesiastical History, Cent. V., c. v. § 9.
  9. Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England. Art. "the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin."