1 The custom of New Year's gifts (strenarum commercium) had been discontinued by Tiberius, because of the trouble it involved to himself, and abolished by Claudius: but in these times it had been revived. We find mention of it in the reigns of Theodosius, and of Arcadius; Auson. Ep. xviii. 4; Symmach. Ep. x. 28.
1 The Cod. Medic. has "to John and Maximinian." In this letter but one person seems to be addressed. Gregory here speaks, without doubt, of his books against Eunomius: not of his Antirrhetic against Apollinaris, which could have been transcribed in a very short time. Therefore we can place the date about 383, some months after Gregory's twelve Books against Eunomius, according to Hermantius, were published.
6 It is difficult to reproduce the play upon words in deciaj, and skaiothti, which refer to the kata to decion h euwnumon in the description of the game of ball: the words having both a local meaning, "right," and "left," and a metaphorical one, "favourable," and "sinister" (H. C. O.).
1 Euphrasius, mentioned in this Letter, had subscribed to the first Council of Constantinople, as Bishop of Nicomedia. On his death, clergy and laity proceeded to a joint election of a successor. The date of this is uncertain; Zacagni and Page think that the dispute here mentioned is to be identified with that which Sozomen records, and which is placed by Baronius and Basnage in 400, 401. But we have no evidence that Gregory's life was prolonged so far.
2 oudemia gegone twn efestwtwn epistrofh, literally, "no return from existing (or besetting) evils." The words might possibly mean something very different; "no concern shown on the part of those set over you" (H. C. O.).
6 Reading efolkon: if efolkion, "a boat taken in tow," perhaps still regarding S. Peter as the master of a ship: or "an appendage;" Gregory so uses it in his De Animâ. Some suggest efodion, meaning "resource," but efolkon is simpler.
7 i. e. Nicaea. "The whirligig of time has brought about its revenge," and Nicomedia (Ismid) is now more important than Nicaea (Isnik). Nicomedia had, in fact, been the residence of the Kings of Bithynia; and Diocletian had intended to make it the rival of Rome (cf. Lactantius, De Mort. Persec. c. 7). But it had been destroyed by an earthquake in the year 368: Socrates, ii. 39.
14 For humility and spirituality required in prelates, cf. Origen, c. Cels. viii. 75. "We summon to the magistracies of these churches men of ability and good life: but instead of selecting the ambitious amongst these we put compulsion upon those whose deep humility makes them backward in accepting this general charge of the Church. Our best rulers then, are like consuls compelled to rule by a mighty Emperor: no other, we are persuaded, than the Son of God, Who is the Word of God. If, then, these magistrates in the assembly of God's nation rule well, or at all events strictly in accordance with the Divine enactment, they are not because of that to meddle with the secular law-making. It is not that the Christians wish to escape all public responsibility, that they keep themselves away from such things; but their wish to reserve themselves for the higher and more urgent responsibilities (anagkaiotera leitourgia) of God's Church."
1 To Otreius, Bishop of Melitene (in eastern Cappadocia, on or near the tipper Euphrates), to whose successor Letoius Gregory addressed his Canonical Epistle about Penitents (Cod. Medic.). Written when Gregory was in exile under Valens. Zacagni thinks that the "war," and the carping criticisms here complained of, refer to the followers of Eustathius of Sebasteia or of Macedonius, who had plenty to find fault with, even in the gestures and dress of the Catholics (of. Basil, De Spirit. S., end).
6 kat andraj, kai dhmouj, kai esxatiaj. But the Latin, having "solitudines," shows that erhmouj was read for dhmouj. We seem to get here a glimpse of Gregory's activity during his exile (376-78). Rupp thinks that Macrina's words to her brother also refer to this period: "Thee the Churches call to help them and correct them." He moved from place to place to strengthen the Catholic cause; "we," he says in the longer Antirrhetic, "who have sojourned in many spots, and have had serious conversation upon the points in dispute both with those who hold and those who reject the Faith." Gregory of Nazianzum consoles him during these journeys, so exhausting and discouraging to one of his spirit, by comparing him to the comet which is ruled while it seems to wander, and of seeing in the seeming advance of heresy only the last hiss of the dying snake. His travels probably ended in a visit to Palestine: for his Letter On Pilgrimages certainly presupposes former visits in which he had learnt the manners of Jerusalem. His love of Origen, too, makes it likely that he made a private pilgrimage (distinct from the visit of 379) to the land where Origen had chiefly studied.
1 sxolastikoj, or possibly "student," but the title of logisthj, afterwards employed of the person to whom the letter is addressed, rather suggests the profession of an "advocate," than the occupation of a scholar.
3 That is, on an inner line; the upper row having their supports at the angles of the inscribed octagon, and therefore at a point further removed from the centre of the circle than those of the lower tier, which correspond to the sides of the octagon. Or, simply, "those inside the building," the upper tier showing in the outside view of the structure, while the lower row would only be visible from the interior. There is apparently a corresponding row of windows above the upper row of arches, carrying the central tower four cubits higher. This at least seems the sense of the clause immediately following.
1 This Letter was published, Paris 1606, by R. Stephens (not the great lexicographer), who also translated On Pilgrimages into French for Du Moulin (see p. 382): and this edition was reprinted a year after at Hanover, with notes by Isaac Casaubon, "viro docto, sed quod dolendum, in castris Calvinianis militanti" (Gretser). Heyns places it in 382, and Rupp also.
2 swthria sumbola. Casaubon remarks "hoc est tou swthroj, Salvatoris, non autem swthriaj poihtika." This is itself doubtful; and he also makes the astounding statement that both Jerome, Augustine, and the whole primitive Church felt that visits to the Sacred Places contributed nothing to the alteration of character. But see especially Jerome, De Peregrinat., and Epistle to Marcella. Fronto Ducaeus adds, "At, velis nolis, swthria sunt illa loca: turn quia aspectu sui corda ad poenitentiam et salutares lacrymas non taro commovent, ut patet de Mariâ Aegyptiacâ; tum quia ..."
3 epouranion politeian. Even Casaubon (against Du Moulin here) allows this to mean the ascetic or monastic Life; "sublimius propositum." Cf. Macarius. Hom. v. p. 85. enaretoj politeia: Isidore of Pelusium, lib. 1, c. xiv, pneumatikh politeia.
10 Compare Gregory against Apollinaris (Ad Theophil. iii. 265): "The first-fruits of humanity assumed by omnipotent Deity were, like a drop of vinegar merged in a boundless ocean, found still in that Deity, but not in their own distinctive properties: otherwise we should be obliged to think of a duality of Sons." In Orat. Cat. c. 10, he says that the Divine nature is to be conceived as having been so united with the human, as flame is with its fuel, the former extending beyond the latter, as our souls also overstep the limits of our bodies. The first of these passages appeared to Hooker (V. liii. 2) to be "so plain and direct for Eutyches," that he doubted whether the words were Gregory's. But at the Council of Ephesus, S. Cyril (of Alexandria), in his contest with the Nestorians, had showed that these expressions were capable of a Catholic interpretation, and pardonable in discussing the difficult and mysterious question of the union of the Two Natures.
12 "Here is the trite vicariousness of the Atonement, which consisted not in the substitution of His punishment for ours, but in His offering the sacrifice which man had neither the purity nor the power to offer. From out of the very heart or centre of human nature ...there is raised the sinless sacrifice of perfect humanity by the God Man. ...It is a representative sacrifice, for it consists of no unheard-of experience, of no merely symbolic ceremony, but of just those universal incidents of suffering, which, though he must have felt them with a bitterness unknown to us, are intensely human." Lux Mundi, p. 218.
14 As early as 250, Dionysius of Alexandria, in his letter to Paul of Samosata, frequently speaks of h qeotokoj Maria. Later, in the Council of Ephesus (430), it was decreed that "the immaculate and ever-Virgin mother of our Lord should be called properly (kuriwj) and really qeotokoj," against the Nestorian title xristotokoj. Cf. Theodoret. Anath. I. tom. iv. p. 709, "We call Mary not Mother of Man, but Mother of God;" and Greg. Naz. Or. li. p. 738. "If any one call not Mary Mother of God he is outside `divinity.0'"