lovedst them, even as Thou lovedst Me.
We say, and therein we are justified, that the Only-begotten hath an essential and natural unity with HisFather, insomuch as He was both in the true sense begotten, and from Him proceeds, and is in Him: andthough He seem in His own Person to have a separate and distinct Being, yet that He is accounted, byreason of His innate identity of Substance, as One with the Father. But since, in His Incarnation, on our behalf, in order to save our souls, He abdicated, as it were, that place which was His at the beginning, Imean His equality with God the Father, and appears to have been in some sort so far removedtherefrom as to have stepped outside His invisible glory, for this is what is meant by the expression, Hemade Himself of no reputation, He that of old and from the very beginning was enthroned with theFather, receives this as a gift when in the Flesh; His earthy and mortal frame and human form, whichwas actually part of His Nature, of necessity requiring as a gift that which was His by Nature; for Hewas and is in the form of the Father, and in equality with Him. Though, therefore, the flesh from awoman's womb, that temple wherewith the Virgin endowed Him, was not in |554 any wiseconsubstantial with God the Father, nor of like Nature with Him; yet, when once received into the Bodyof the Word, henceforth it was accounted as One with Him. For Christ is One, and the Son is One, evenwhen He became Man. In this aspect of His Person He is conceived of as taken into union with theFather, being admitted thereto even in the Flesh, which originally enjoys not union with God. And, tospeak more concisely and clearly, the Only-begotten says, that that which was given unto Him wasgiven to His Flesh; given too, of course, wholly by the Father, through Himself, in the Spirit. For in noother way than this can union with God be effected, even in the case of Christ Himself, so far as Hemanifested Himself as, and indeed became, Man. The flesh, that is, was sanctified by union with theSpirit, the twain coming together in an ineffable way; and so unconfusedly attains to God the Word,and through Him to the Father, in habit of mind, that is, and not in any physical sense. This favour andglory then, He says, given unto Me, O Father, by Thee, that is, the glory of being One with Thee,
I have given unto them, that they may be one, even as We are One.
For we are made one with each other after the manner already indicated, and we are also made one withGod. And in what sense we are made one with Him, the Lord very clearly explained, and to make the benefit of His teaching plain, added the words:
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfected into one.
For the Son dwells in us in a corporeal sense as Man, commingled and united withus by the mystery of the Eucharist; and also in a spiritual sense as God, by the effectual working andgrace of His own Spirit, building up our spirit into newness of life, and making us partakers of HisDivine Nature. Christ, then, is seen to be the bond of union between us and God the Father; as Manmaking us, as it were, His branches, and as God by Nature inherent in His own Father. For nootherwise could that nature which is subject to corruption be |555 uplifted into incorruption, but by thecoming down to it of That Nature Which is high above all corruption and variableness, lightening the burthen of ever sinking humanity, so that it can attain its own good; and by drawing it into fellowshipand intercourse with Itself, well-nigh extricating it from the limitations which suit the creature, andfashioning into conformity with Itself that which is of itself contrary to It. We have, therefore, beenmade perfect in unity with God the Father, through the mediation of Christ. For by receiving inourselves, both in a corporeal and spiritual sense, as I said just now, Him that is the Son by Nature, andWho has essential union with the Father, we have been glorified and become partakers in the Nature of the Most High.When Christ desires us to be admitted to union with God the Father, He at the same time calls downupon our nature this blessing from the Father, and also declares that the power which the grace conferswill be a convincing refutation of those who think that He is not from God. For what ground will there be any longer for this false accusation, if of Himself He exalts to union with the Father those who have been brought near to Him through faith and sincere love? When, then, O Father, they gain union with