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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

IT is now the proper place to show that the very name of JESUS, as also that of CHRIST, was honoured by the pious prophets of old. And first, Moses himself, having intimated how exceedingly august and illustrious the name of Christ is, delivering types and mystical images, according to the oracle which declared to him, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern which was shown thee on the mount,”—the same man whom, as far as it was lawful, he had called the high priest of God, the self-same he calls Christ. And in this way, to the dignity of thee priesthood, which surpasses with him all superiority among men, as additional honour and glory, he attaches the name of Christ. Hence he evidently understood that Christ was a being Divine. The same Moses, under the divine Spirit, foreseeing also the epithet Jesus, likewise dignifies this with a certain distinguished privilege. For this name, which had never been uttered among men before Moses, he applies first to him alone, who, by a type and sign, he knew would be his successor, after his death, in the government of the nation. His successor, therefore, who had not assumed the appellation Jesus (Joshua), before this period, being called by his other name, Oshea, which his parents had given, was called by Moses Jesus (Jehoshua, Joshua), Num. 13:17. This name, as an honourable distinction, far superior to any royal diadem, was conferred on Joshua, because Joshua the son of Nun bore a resemblance to our Saviour, as the only one after Moses, and because of the completion of that symbolical worship, given through him, that should succeed him in a government of pure and undefiled religion. Thus Moses attaches the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, as the greatest honour, to two men, who, according to him, excelled all the rest in virtue and glory; the one to the high priest, the other to him that should have the government after him. But the prophets that lived subsequently to these times, also plainly announced Christ before by name; whilst at the same time they foretold the machinations of the Jews against him, and the calling of the Gentiles through him. Jeremiah bears testimony, speaking thus: “The breath (the spirit) before our face, Christ the Lord, was taken away in their destructions; of whom we said, Under his shadow will we live among the nations” (Lam. 4:20). David also, fixed in astonishment, speaks of him as follows: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Christ.” To which he afterwards adds, in the person of Christ himself: “The Lord said to me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee; ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2).

Nor was the name of Christ, among the Hebrews, given solely as an honour to those that were dignified with the priesthood, in consequence of their being anointed with oil prepared for the purpose, as a sacred symbol; the same was done also to the kings, whom the prophets, after anointing them under a divine impulse, constituted certain typical Christs, as they themselves also were, the shadows of the royal and princely sovereignty of the only and true Christ, of that divine Word which holds sovereignty over all. Moreover, we are also told respecting the prophets, that some were typical Christs, by reason of their unction; so that all these have a reference to the true Christ, the divine and heavenly Word, the only High Priest of all men, the only King of all creation, and the Father’s only supreme Prophet of the prophets. The proof of this is evident, from the fact that none of those anciently anointed, whether priests, kings, or prophets, obtained such power with divine excellence as our Saviour and Lord Jesus, the only and true Christ, has exhibited. For these, although illustrious among their countrymen in dignity and honour, and for a long series of generations, never called their subjects after themselves by a similar epithet, “Christians,” and neither was there ever divine honour paid to any of these from their subjects; nor even after their death, was there ever so strong a disposition in any as to be prepared to die for the honoured individual. And never was there so great a commotion among the nations of the earth, respecting any one then existing, since the mere force of the type could not act with such efficacy among them, as the exhibition of the reality by our Saviour. Though he received no badges and emblems of priesthood from any, though he did not even derive his earthly origin from a sacerdotal race, nor was raised to empire under the escort of guards, nor installed a prophet, like those of old, nor obtained a peculiar, or even any dignity among the Jews; yet notwithstanding all this, he was adorned by the Father with all these, not merely typical honours, but with the reality itself. Although he did not obtain then the same honours with those mentioned above, yet he is called Christ by a far superior claim; and as he is the only and the true Christ of God, he has filled the whole world with a name really august and sacred, the name of Christians. To those who are admitted among these, he no longer imparts mere types and similitudes, but undisguised virtues, and a heavenly life, in the doctrines of truth. He received an unction, not formed of material substances, but that which comports with Deity, the divine Spirit itself, by a participation of the uncreated divinity of the Father. This is shown by Isaiah, who seems to exclaim, in the very person of Christ, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, wherefore he hath anointed me (he hath sent me) to proclaim glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the recovery of sight to the blind.” And not only Isaiah but David also, addressing him, says “Thy throne, O God, is from everlasting to everlasting. A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore hath God, thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows;” in which words, he calls him God in the first verse; and in the second he ascribes to him the royal sceptre; and, thus proceeding after the divine and royal power, in the third place, he represents him as Christ, anointed not by the oil of material substances, but by the divine oil of gladness. By this, also, he shows his excellence and great superiority over those who, in former ages, had been anointed as typical images with the material substance. The same speaks of him in another place, thus: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool;” and a little after, “From the womb before the morning star did I beget thee; the Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.” This Melchisedek is mentioned in the holy Scriptures, as a priest of the Most High God, not consecrated by any unction prepared of any material substance, and not even succeeding to the priesthood of the Jews, by any descent of lineage. Hence, Christ our Saviour is denominated, with the addition of an oath, Christ and priest after his own order, but not according to the order of those who received merely the badges and emblems. Hence, also, neither does history represent him anointed corporeally among the Jews, nor even as sprung from a tribe of the priesthood, but as coming into existence from God himself, before the morning star; that is, before the constitution of the world, obtaining an immortal priesthood, subject to no infirmity of age, to endless ages. But the great and convincing evidence of that incorporeal and divine power in him, is the fact that he alone, of all that have ever existed to the present day, even now is known by the title of Christ, among all men over the world; and with this title he is acknowledged and professed by all, and celebrated both among Barbarians and Greeks. Even to this day, he is honoured by his votaries throughout the world, as a King; he is admired as more than a Prophet; and glorified as the only true High Priest of God. In addition to all these, as the pre-existing Word of God, coming into existence before all ages, and who has received the honours of worship, he is also adored as God; but what is most remarkable, is the fact, that we who are consecrated to him, honour him not only with the voice and sound of words, but with all the affections of the mind; so that we prefer giving a testimony to him, beyond even the preservation of our own lives.








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