Chrysostom, the twofold nativity

An excerpt from Homily II in Matthaeum (PG 57)

∆ιὰ τοῦτο διπλῆ γέγονεν ἡ γέννησις, καὶ ἐοικυῖα ἡμῖν, καὶ ὑπερβαίνουσα τὴν ἡμετέραν. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἐκ γυναικὸς γεννηθῆναι ἡμῖν συνέβαινε· τὸ δὲ μὴ ἐξ αἵματος, μηδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς ἢ ἀνδρὸς, ἀλλ’ ἐκ Πνεύματος ἁγίου, τὴν ὑπερβαίνουσαν ἡμᾶς καὶ τὴν μέλλουσαν προανεφώνει γέννησιν, ἣν ἡμῖν ἔμελλεν ἐκ Πνεύματος χαρίζεσθαι. Καὶ πάντα δὲ τὰ ἄλλα τοιαῦτα ἦν. Καὶ γὰρ τὸ λουτρὸν τοιοῦτον· εἶχε γάρ τι τοῦ παλαιοῦ, εἶχέ τι καὶ τοῦ καινοῦ. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὸ τοῦ προφήτου βαπτισθῆναι, τὸ παλαιὸν ἐδείκνυ· τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα κατελθεῖν, τὸ νέον ὑπέγραψε. Καὶ καθάπερ τις ἐν μεταιχμίῳ στὰς, δύο τινῶν ἀλλήλων διεστηκότων, ἀμφοτέρας ἁπλώσας τὰς χεῖρας ἑκατέρωθεν λαβὼν συνάψειεν· οὕτω καὶ αὐτὸς ἐποίησε, τὴν παλαιὰν τῇ καινῇ συνάπτων, τὴν θείαν φύσιν τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ, τὰ αὑτοῦ τοῖς ἡμετέροις.


Therefore the nativity is rendered twofold, both like unto us and surpassing ours. For being born of a woman conforms to our birth, but not by blood, nor the will of flesh nor man, but by the holy Spirit, manifests in advance the birth to come, that surpasses us, which he was about to bestow to use by the Spirit. And everything else was like this too. For the washing is of this sort: for it held something of the old, and something also of the new. For his being baptized by the prophet, displayed the old; the Spirit descending traced out the new. And just as if someone standing in the interval, between two other people standing apart, stretching out and taking the hands of both, unites them, thus also he himself, conjoining the old with the new, made the divine nature join with the human one, his with ours.

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