One of the most extensive resources on the internet for the study of early Christianity

“Rufinus reflects on the significance of Christ Crucified, and compares the cross to a hook baited (with the divinity of Christ) for the devil - Latin Text with English translation”

Commentary on the Apostles' Creed, 14-17

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more about our use of cookies here.

Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.

earlychurchtexts.com

  • Is like an electronic encyclopedia of the first five centuries of Church History, with extensive links (subscription version only) to information on around 800 people and themes, and around 230 Church Councils;

  • Is a Reader in Early Christian History and Theology with 225+ carefully prepared on-site texts (Greek and/or Latin with English translation alongside) from the first five centuries of the life of the Church. These cover a range of significant themes and represent several authors (a sample text is here and a complete list of on-site texts here). All have dictionary lookup links. There is also an introduction to each text (to help in understanding its context and significance) together with background notes linked with the text, carefully prepared printable versions, a site search engine and many other helpful features;

  • Gives easy access to complete Greek and Latin texts which are in the public domain and translations (where found available) from the first five centuries. There are carefully indexed links to authors and their works, including an index of commentaries, homilies etc. by biblical book. Nearly all of the Greek and Latin texts from this period contained in the Migne Patrologia series are covered. Some other sources are also used. The texts used are the scanned versions available at Google Books and elsewhere. A distinctive feature of the Early Church Texts website is that where English translations have been found available online they can easily be read immediately alongside the original Greek and Latin. (A complete list of authors represented is here. A sample text is here.)

Try out the feature rich subscription version of the Early Church Texts website for just $5 for a trial period or $30 for a year ($15 student rate). Click here for more information. Check out the video demo of the site. Click here to go to the Early Church Texts Home Page for the publicly available version of the site which has just the original Greek and Latin texts with dictionary lookup links.

 

iPad at Amazon

Click on picture for more details.

 For UK click here.

--------------

Relevant books
available at Amazon

 

Amidon Philip R., S.J (1997), The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia: Books 10 and 11 (Bks.10 & 11) (Oxford)

 

---------------

 

Kelly, J. N. D. (1978), Rufinus: A Commentary on the Apostles' Creed (Ancient Christian Writers -20)

 

---------------

 

Scheck, Thomas P. (2010), Apology for Origen: with On the Falsification of the Books of Origen by Rufinus (Fathers of the Church Patristic Series - 120)

 

---------------

 

Clark E. A. (1992), The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate (Princeton Legacy Library) - pages 159 - 193

 

14. HE WAS CRUCIFIED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE AND WAS BURIED: HE DESCENDED INTO HELL. The Apostle Paul teaches us that we ought to have “the eyes of our understanding enlightened” “that we may understand what is the height and breadth and depth.” “The height and breadth and depth” is a description of the Cross, of which that part which is fixed in the earth he calls the depth, the height that which is erected upon the earth and reaches upward, the breadth that which is spread out to the right hand and to the left. Since, therefore, there are so many kinds of death by which it is given to men to depart this life, why does the Apostle wish us to have our understanding enlightened so as to know the reason why, of all of them, the Cross was chosen in preference for the death of the Saviour. We must know, then, that that Cross was a triumph. It was a signal trophy. A triumph is a token of victory over an enemy. Since then Christ, when He came, brought three kingdoms at once into subjection under His sway (for this He signifies when he says, “That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth”), and conquered all of these by His death, a death was sought answerable to the mystery, so that being lifted up in the air, and subduing the powers of the air, He might make a display of His victory over these supernatural and celestial powers. Moreover the holy Prophet says that “all the day long He stretched out His hands” to the people on the earth, that He might both make protestation to unbelievers and invite believers: finally, by that part which is sunk under the earth, He signified His bringing into subjection to Himself the kingdoms of the nether world.

15. Moreover,—to touch briefly some of the more recondite topics,—when God made the world in the beginning, He set over it and appointed certain powers of celestial virtues by whom the race of mortal men might be governed and directed. That this was so done Moses signifies in the Song in Deuteronomy, “When the Most High divided the nations, He appointed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.” But some of these, as he who is called the Prince of this world, did not exercise the power which God had committed to them according to the laws by which they had received it, nor did they teach mankind to obey God’s commandments, but taught them rather to follow their own perverse guidance. Thus we were brought under the bonds of sin, because, as the Prophet saith, “We were sold under our sins.” For every man, when he yields to lust, is receiving the purchase-money of his soul. Under that bond then every man was held by those most wicked rulers, which same bond Christ, when He came, tore down and stripped them of this their power. This Paul signifies under a great mystery, when he says of Him, “He destroyed the hand-writing which was against us, nailing it to His cross, and led away principalities and powers, triumphing over them in Himself.” Those rulers, then, whom God had set over mankind, having become contumacious and tyrannical, took in hand to assail the men who had been committed to their charge and to rout them utterly in the conflicts of sin, as the Prophet Ezekiel mystically intimates when he says, “In that day angels shall come forth hastening to exterminate Ethiopia, and there shall be perturbation among them in the day of Egypt; for behold He comes.” Having stript them then of their almighty power, Christ is said to have triumphed, and to have delivered to men the power which was taken from them, as also Himself saith to His disciples in the Gospel, “Behold I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the might of the enemy.” The Cross of Christ, then, brought those who had wrongfully abused the authority which they had received into subjection to those who had before been in subjection to them. But us, that is, mankind, it teaches first of all to resist sin even unto death, and willingly to die for the sake of religion. Next, this same Cross sets before us an example of obedience, in like manner as it hath punished the contumacy of those who were once our rulers. Hear, therefore, how the Apostle would teach us obedience by the Cross of Christ: “Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking upon Him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and, being found in fashion as a man, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” As, then, a consummate master teaches both by example and precept, so Christ taught the obedience, which good men are to render even at the cost of death, by Himself first dying in rendering it.

16. But perhaps some one is alarmed at hearing us discourse of the death of Him of Whom, a short while since, we said that He is everlasting with God the Father, and that He was begotten of the Father’s substance, and is one with God the Father, in dominion, majesty, and eternity. But be not alarmed, O faithful hearer. Presently thou wilt see Him of Whose death thou hearest once more immortal; for the death to which He submits is about to spoil death. For the object of that mystery of the Incarnation which we expounded just now was that the divine virtue of the Son of God, as though it were a hook concealed beneath the form and fashion of human flesh (He being, as the Apostle Paul says, “found in fashion as a man”), might lure on the Prince of this world to a conflict, to whom offering His flesh as a bait, His divinity underneath might catch him and hold him fast with its hook, through the shedding of His immaculate blood. For He alone Who knows no stain of sin hath destroyed the sins of all, of those, at least, who have marked the door-posts of their faith with His blood. As, therefore, if a fish seizes a baited hook, it not only does not take the bait off the hook, but is drawn out of the water to be itself food for others, so He Who had the power of death seized the body of Jesus in death, not being aware of the hook of Divinity inclosed within it, but having swallowed it he was caught forthwith, and the bars of hell being burst asunder, he was drawn forth as it were from the abyss to become food for others. Which result the Prophet Ezekiel long ago foretold under this same figure, saying, “I will draw thee out with My hook, and stretch thee out upon the earth: the plains shall be filled with thee, and I will set all the fowls of the air over thee, and I will satiate all the beasts of the earth with thee.” The Prophet David also says, “Thou hast broken the heads of the great dragon, Thou hast given him to be meat to the people of Ethiopia.” And Job in like manner witnesses of the same mystery, for he says in the person of the Lord speaking to him, “Wilt thou draw forth the dragon with a hook, and wilt thou put thy bit in his nostrils?”

17. It is with no loss or disparagement therefore of His Divine nature that Christ suffers in the flesh, but His Divine nature through the flesh descended into death, that by the infirmity of the flesh He might effect salvation; not that He might be detained by death according to the law of mortality, but that He might by Himself in his resurrection open the gates of death. It is as if a king were to proceed to a prison, and to go in and open the doors, undo the fetters, break in pieces the chains, the bars, and the bolts, and bring forth and set at liberty the prisoners, and restore those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death to light and life. The king, therefore, is said indeed to have been in prison, but not under the same condition as the prisoners who were detained there. They were in prison to be punished, He to free them from punishment.

 



Mac Users please note that the site may not work with Safari versions lower than version 4. (It has been tested with version 4.0.3.) It will work with Firefox, which can be downloaded from here.

Please note that for all features of the site to work correctly javascript must be enabled and the operation of "pop-up" windows must not be blocked. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rufinus
Rufinus on the cross
Commentarius In Symbolum Apostolorum
Commentary on the Apostles Creed
baited hook
Christ bait for the devil
mousetrap theory of atonement
Christus Victor
Christ triumphant
Migne Latin Text
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Latina

 

Back to Entry Page