1. BERRUYER SAYS THAT JESUS CHRIST, DURING THE THREE DAYS HE WAS IN THE SEPULCHRE, CEASED TO BE A LIVING MAN, AND, CONSEQUENTLY, WAS NO LONGER THE SON OF GOD. AND WHEN GOD AGAIN RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, HE ONCE MORE GENERATED HIM, AND AGAIN MADE HIM THE SON OF GOD.

 

  1. One must have a great deal of patience to wade through all these extravagant falsehoods. Christ, he says, during the three days he was in the sepulchre, ceased to be the natural Son of God: “Factum est morte Christi, ut homo Christus Jesus, cum jam non esset homo vivens, atque adeo pro triduo quo corpus ab Anima separatum jacuit in sepulchro, fieret Christus incapax illius appellationis, Filius Dei (1); and he repeats the same thing in another part of his work, in different words : ” Actione Dei unius, Filium suum Jesum suscitantis, factum est, ut Jesus qui desierat essc homo vivens, et consequenter Filius Dei, iterum viveret deinceps non moriturus.” This error springs from that false supposition we have already examined, for supposing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God subsisting in three Persons, that is the Son of the Trinity by an operation ad extra, he was then a mere man, and as by death he ceased to be a living man, he also ceased to be the Son of God subsisting in three Persons; because if Jesus Christ were the Son of God, as first Person of the Trinity, then in him was the Word, which, being hypostatically united to his soul and body, could never be separated from him, even when his soul was by death separated from his body.
  2. Supposing, then, that Jesus Christ, dying, ceased to be the Son of God, Bcrruycr must admit that in those three days in which our Lord’s body was separated from his soul, the Divinity was separated from his body and soul. Let us narrow the proposition. Christ, he says, was made the Son of God, not because the Word assumed his humanity, but because the Word was united to his humanity, and hence, he says, as in the sepulchre he ceased to be a living man, his soul being separated from his body, he was no longer the Son of God, and, therefore, the Word ceased to be united with his humanity. Nothing, however, can be more false than this, for the Word assumed and hypostatically and inseparably united to himself in unity of Person the soul and body of Jesus Christ, and hence when our Lord died, and his most holy body was laid in the tomb, the Divinity of the Word could not be separated either from the body or the soul. This truth has been taught by St. Athanasius (2) : ” Cum Deitas neque Corpus in sepulchro dcsereret, neqno ab Anima in inferno separarctur.” St. Gregory of Nyssa writes (3) : ” Deus qui totum homincm per suam cum illo conjunctionem in naturam Divinam mutaverat, mortis sempore a neutra illius, quam semel assumpserat, parte recessit ;” and St. Augustine says (4) : ” Cum credimus Dei Filium, qui sepultus est, profecto Filium Dei dicimus et Carnem, quæ sola sepulta est.”

(1) Berruyer, t. 8, p. 63. (2) St. Athanasius, contra Apollinar l. 1, w. 15. (3) St. Greg. Nyss. Orat. 1 in Christ. Resur. (4) St. Aug. Tract 78, in Joan. w. 2.

  1. St. John of Damascus tells us the reason the soul of Christ had not a different subsistence from his body, as it was the one Person alone which sustained both : ” Neque enim unquam aut Anima, aut Corpus peculiarem atque a Verbi subsistentia diversam subsistentiam habuit” (5). On that account, he says, as it was one Person which sustained the soul and body of Christ, although the soul was separated from the body, still the Person of the Word could not be separated from them : ” Corpus, et Anima simul ab initio in Verbi Persona existentiam habuerant, ac licet in morte divulsa fuerint, utrumque tamen eorum unam Verbi Personam, qua subsisteret, semper habuit.” As, therefore, when Jesus descended into hell, the Word descended, likewise, with his soul, so, while his body was in the sepulchre, the Word was present, likewise; and, therefore, the body of Christ was free from corruption, as David foretold : “Nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption” (Psalm, xv, 10). And St. Peter, as we read in the Acts (ii, 27), shows that this text was applied to our Lord lying in his tomb. It is true, St. Hilary (6) says, that, when Christ died, the Divinity left his body; but St. Ambrose (7) explains this, and says, that all the Holy Doctor meant to say was, that, in the Passion, the Divinity abandoned the humanity of Christ to that great desolation, which caused him to cry out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” (Matt, xxvii, 46). In his death, therefore, the Word abandoned his body, inasmuch as the Word did not preserve his life, but never ceased to be hypostatically united with him. Christ never, then, could cease to be the Son of God in the sepulchre, as Berruyer teaches; for it is one of the axioms of all Catholic schools (8) : ” Quod semel Verbum assumpsit, nunquam misit” The Word, having once assumed human nature, never gives it up again. But when Berruyer admits, then, that the Word was united in the beginning in unity of Person with the body and soul of Jesus Christ, how can he afterwards say that, when the soul was separated from the body, the Word was no longer united with the body? This is a doctrine which surely neither he nor any one else can understand.

(5) St. Jo. Damasc. 1. 3, de Fide, c. 27. (6) St. Hilar. r. 33, in Matth. part 2, pag. 487. (7) St. Ambros. I. 10, in Luc. c. 13. (8) Cont. Tournely, de Incarn. t, 4,

  1. When Berruyer says that Jesus Christ, at his death, ceased to be the natural Son of God, because he was no longer a living man, he must, consequently, hold that the humanity, previous to his death, was not sustained by the Person of the Word, but by its own proper human subsistence, and was a Person distinct from the Person of the Word. But, then, how can he escape being considered a Nestorian, admitting two distinct Persons in Jesus Christ. Both Nestorius and Berruyer are expressly condemned by the Symbol promulgated in the Council of Constantinople, which says that we are bound to believe in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, and consubstantial to the Father, who, for our salvation, came down from heaven, and became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, suffered, was buried, and rose again the third day. It is, therefore, the only-begotten Son of God the Father, generated by the Father from all eternity, and who came down from heaven, that was made man, died, and was buried. But, how could God die and be buried ? you will say. By assuming human flesh, as the Council teaches. As another General Council, the Fourth of Lateran, says (9), as God could not die nor suffer, by becoming man he became mortal and passible : ” Qui cum secundum Divinitatem sit immortalis et impassibilis, idem ipse secundum humanitatem factus est mortalis et passibilis.”
  2. As one error is always the parent of another, so Berruyer having said that Jesus Christ in the sepulcher ceased to be the natural son of God, said, likewise, that when God raised Christ-man again from the dead, he again generated him, and made him Man-God, because, by raising him again, he caused him to be his Son, who, dying, ceased to be his Son. We have already (N. 18) alluded to this falsehood. He says : “Actione Dei unius, Filium suum Jesum suscitantis, factum est, ut Jesus, qui desierat esse homo vivens, et consequenter Filius Dei, iterum viveret deinceps non moriturus.” He says the same thing, in other words, in another place : ” Deus Christum hominem resuscitans, hominem Deum iterate generat, dum facit resuscitando, ut Filius sit, qui moriendo Filius esse desierat” (10).

(9) Conc. Lat. IV. in cap. Firmiter, de Summ. Trin. &c. (10) Berruyer, t. 8, p. 66.

We should, indeed, be rejoiced to hear of this new dogma, never before heard of, that the Son of God twice became incarnate, and was made man first, when he was conceived in the holy womb of the Virgin, and, again, when he arose from the tomb. We should, indeed, feel obliged to Berruyer, for enlightening us on a point never before heard of in the Church. Another consequence of this doctrine is, that the Blessed Virgin must have been twice made the Mother of God; for, as Jesus ceased to be the Son of God while in the tomb, so she ceased also to be the Mother of God at the same time, and then, after his resurrection, her Divine Maternity was again restored to her. In the next paragraph we will examine even a more brainless error than this. I use the expression, “brainless,” for I think the man’s head was more in fault than his conscience. A writer, who attacked Berruyer’s errors, said that he fell into all these extravagancies, because he would not follow the Tradition of the Fathers, and the method they employed in the interpretation of the Scriptures, and the announcement of the unwritten Word of God, preserved in the Works of these Doctors and Pastors. It is on this account, as the Prelate, the Author of “The Essay,” remarks, that Berruyer, in his entire work, does not cite one authority either from Fathers or Theologians, although the Council of Trent (Sess. iv, Dec. de Scrip. S.) expressly prohibits the interpretation of the Sacred Writings, in a sense contrary to the generality of the Fathers. We now pass on to the examination of the next error a most pernicious and enormous one.