Saturday, May 29, 2010

St. Irenaeus on Man's Infancy

Chapter 38 of the fourth book of St. Irenaeus's Adversus Haeraeses addresses the question of why God did not simply make man perfect from the beginning so that he would not have sinned.

St. Irenaeus's answer is that this comparative imperfection is simply part of what it means to be a created being. Created beings, "from the very fact of their later origin", are inferior to the Creator, who possesses perfection eternally. Instead, nature reflects the glory of the eternal God through growth and duration:
With God there are simultaneously exhibited power, wisdom, and goodness. His power and goodness [appear] in this, that of His own will He called into being and fashioned things having no previous existence; His wisdom [is shown] in His having made created things parts of one harmonious and consistent whole; and those things which, through His super-eminent kindness, receive growth and a long period of existence, do reflect the glory of the uncreated One, of that God who bestows what is good ungrudgingly. For from the very fact of these things having been created, [it follows] that they are not uncreated; but by their continuing in being throughout a long course of ages, they shall receive a faculty of the Uncreated, through the gratuitous bestowal of eternal existence upon them by God. (4.38.3, ANF 1, 521)
Man, like the rest of creation, shares this pattern of development over time, and, thus, though God could have bestowed perfection, the first man was not capable of recieving it, being merely in "infancy". This is both parallel to and different from the view of St. Augustine, who pictures Adam not just as free from sin and death, but something close to perfection, saving for the changeableness that comes with being a creature. (See Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 362, and references cited there). The latter view would seem to render an ideal of man that is basically static, with his mutability being a defect that has no particular aim. In the former view, on the other hand, this mutability is neutral or even positive, at least in its divine intent. Its aim is an reflection, within time, of God's perfection. It would seem to lead to a view of man that is more like, or at least leaves more room for, a modern view of development through history.

Of course, on some level, this sort of just begs the question. Sure, man is part of creation and creation is subject to change, growth and decay, but couldn't an omnipotent God have made creation different? Well, maybe. St. Irenaeus (and St. Augustine, I think) seem to be saying, however, that this is simply part of what it means to be created. A created being not subject to growth and change would be a contradiction in terms, like a triangle with four sides. Those wishing it were otherwise are really wishing to be something other than human, like animals who blame God for not making them men, when the mere fact of our existence is entirely a gift.

Instead we ought to marvel at the glory of what God has done, making in man, in his very creatureliness, an image of God's own perfection.
By this arrangement, therefore, and these harmonies, and a sequence of this nature, man, a created and organized being, is rendered after the image and likeness of the uncreated God, the Father planning everything well and giving His commands, the Son carrying these into execution and performing the work of creating, and the Spirit nourishing and increasing [what is made], but man making progress day by day, and ascending towards the perfect, that is, approximating to the uncreated One. For the Uncreated is perfect, that is, God. Now it was necessary that man should in the first instance be created; and having been created, should receive growth; and having received growth, should be strengthened; and having been strengthened, should abound; and having abounded, should recover [from the disease of sin]; and having recovered, should be glorified; and being glorified, should see his Lord. For God is He who is yet to be seen, and the beholding of God is productive of immortality, but immortality renders one nigh unto God. (4.38.3)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Trinity Sunday, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Proverbs 8:22–31
Second Reading Romans 5:1–5
Gospel John 16:12–15

Tertullian on the role of the Word in creation:
‎ “When He prepared the heaven,” says Wisdom, “I was present with Him; and when He made His strong places upon the winds, which are the clouds above; and when He secured the fountains, (and all things) which are beneath the sky, I was by, arranging all things with Him; I was by, in whom He delighted; and daily, too, did I rejoice in His presence.” (Pr 8:27-30) Now, as soon as it pleased God to put forth into their respective substances and forms the things which He had planned and ordered within Himself, in conjunction with His Wisdom’s Reason and Word, He first put forth the Word Himself, having within Him His own inseparable Reason and Wisdom, in order that all things might be made through Him through whom they had been planned and disposed, yea, and already made, so far forth as (they were) in the mind and intelligence of God. This, however, was still wanting to them, that they should also be openly known, and kept permanently in their proper forms and substances. (Tertullian, Adv. Prax. 6, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 601)

St. Athanasius explains that if Proverbs refers to the Word as a creature, it only does so in regard to the manhood he assumed:
‎For the passage in the Proverbs, as I have said before, signifies, not the Essence, but the manhood of the Word; for if He says that He was created ‘for the works,’ He shews His intention of signifying, not His Essence, but the Economy which took place ‘for His works,’ which comes second to being. For things which are in formation and creation are made specially that they may be and exist, and next they have to do whatever the Word bids them, as may be seen in the case of all things. (Athanasius, Discourses against the Arians 2.20.51, NPNF2, vol. 4, pg. 376)

St. Augustine--we are only able to love our duty through the Holy Spirit:
‎A man’s free-will, indeed, avails for nothing except to sin, if he knows not the way of truth; and even after his duty and his proper aim shall begin to become known to him, unless he also take delight in and feel a love for it, he neither does his duty, nor sets about it, nor lives rightly. Now, in order that such a course may engage our affections, God’s “love is shed abroad in our hearts,” not through the free-will which arises from ourselves, but “through the Holy Ghost, which is given to us.” (Rom 5:5) (Augustine, De spir. et litt. 3.5, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 84)

St. John Chrysostom--God's gift is so great that we glory in the struggle just as much as the rewards:
‎Now, consider how great the things to come are, when even at things that seem to be distressful we can be elated; so great is God’s gift, and such a nothing any distastefulness in them! For in the case of external goods, the struggle for them brings trouble and pain and irksomeness along with it; and it is the crowns and rewards that carry the pleasure with them. But in this case it is not so, for the wrestlings have to us no less relish than the rewards. For since there were sundry temptations in those days, and the kingdom existed in hopes, the terrors were at hand, but the good things in expectation, and this unnerved the feebler sort, even before the crowns he gives them the prize now, by saying that we should “glory even in tribulations.” (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 9, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 397)

St. Hilary of Poitiers--the Son possesses all the divine attributes of the Father:
‎The Father gave all, the Son received all; as is plain from His words, All things, whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine (Jn 16:15). He is not speaking here of species of created things, and processes of material change, but He unfolds to us the glory of the blessed and perfect Divinity, and teaches us that God is here manifested as the sum of His attributes, His power, His eternity. His providence, His authority; not that we should think that He possesses these as something extraneous to Himself, but that by these His qualities He Himself has been expressed in terms partly comprehensible by our sense. (Hilary, De Trin. 9.31, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 166)

St. Ambrose--the Son and Holy Spirit receive all things from the Father through unity of substance:
‎But if you are willing to learn that the Son of God knows all things, and has foreknowledge of all, see that those very things which you think to be unknown to the Son, the Holy Spirit received from the Son. He received them, however, through Unity of Substance, as the Son received from the Father. “He,” says He, “shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine, therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine, and shall declare it unto you.” (Jn 16:14, 15). What, then, is more clear than this Unity? What things the Father hath pertain to the Son; what things the Son hath the Holy Spirit also has received. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 2.11.118, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 130)

St. Augustine--the apostles could not yet bear all Christ had to say because they had not yet recieved the Holy Spirit:
‎In the same way, therefore, one may say that Christian people, even when desiring to hear, ought not to be told what those things are of which the Lord then said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” If the apostles were still unable, much more so are ye: although it may be that many now can bear what Peter then could not, in the same way as many are able to be crowned with martyrdom which at that time was still beyond the power of Peter, more especially that now the Holy Spirit has been sent, as He was not then, of whom He went on immediately to add the words “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth,” thereby showing of a certainty that they could not bear what He had still to say, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 96.1, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 371)

St. Augustine--the Holy Spirit does not "hear" in a carnal sense, but receives knowledge, and all His being from the Father from Whom He proceeds:
‎Accordingly, “He shall not speak of Himself;” because He is not of Himself. “But whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak:” He shall hear of Him from whom He proceedeth. To Him hearing is knowing; but knowing is being, as has been discussed above. Because, then, He is not of Himself, but of Him from whom He proceedeth, and of whom He has essence, of Him He has knowledge; from Him, therefore, He has hearing, which is nothing else than knowledge. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 99.4, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 382)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Pentecost, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 2:1–11
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 12:3b–7, 12–13 or Romans 8:8–17
Gospel John 20:19–23 or John 14:15–16, 23b–26

St. Cyril of Jerusalem on the Holy Spirit manifested in wind and fire at Pentecost:
‎‎And lest men should be ignorant of the greatness of the mighty gift coming down to them. there sounded as it were a heavenly trumpet, For suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind (Acts 2:2), signifying the presence of Him who was to grant power unto men to seize with violence the kingdom of God; that both their eyes might see the fiery tongues, and their ears hear the sound. And it filled all the house where they were sitting; for the house became the vessel of the spiritual water; as the disciples sat within, the whole house was filled. Thus they were entirely baptized according to the promise, and invested soul and body with a divine garment of salvation. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives lustre to the soul. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lect. 17.15, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 128)

St. Augustine--the Church now speaks with the tongues of all nations:
‎‎They “were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with the tongues of all nations;” (Ac 2:4) now was the calling manifest, now He went out to hire. For now the power of truth began to be made known to all. For then even one man having received the Holy Ghost, spake by himself with the tongues of all nations. But now in the Church oneness itself, as one man speaks in the tongues of all nations. For what tongue has not the Christian religion reached? to what limits does it not extend? (Augustine, Serm. 87.7.9, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 376)

Tertullian--St. Paul condemns the works of the flesh, not the substance of the flesh:
‎‎You may notice that the apostle everywhere condemns the works of the flesh in such a way as to appear to condemn the flesh; but no one can suppose him to have any such view as this, since he goes on to suggest another sense, even though somewhat resembling it. For when he actually declares that “they who are in the flesh cannot please God,” he immediately recalls the statement from an heretical sense to a sound one, by adding, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” (Rom 8:8, 9) Now, by denying them to be in the flesh who yet obviously were in the flesh, he showed that they were not living amidst the works of the flesh, and therefore that they who could not please God were not those who were in the flesh, but only those who were living after the flesh; whereas they pleased God, who, although existing in the flesh, were yet walking after the Spirit. (Tertullian, De Resurrectione 46, ANF vol. 3, pg. 579)

St. Hilary of Poitiers--our work done in obedience to the Spirit of adoption gives us the title of sons of God:
‎‎The Teacher of the Gentiles, the Apostle of Christ, has left us no uncertainty, no opening for error in his presentation of the doctrine. He is quite clear upon the Subject of children by adoption; of those who by faith attain so to be and so to be named. in his own words, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom 8:14, 15) This is the name granted to us, who believe, through the sacrament of regeneration; our confession of the faith wins us this adoption. For our work done in obedience to the Spirit of God gives us the title of sons of God. Abba, Father, is the cry which we raise, not the expression of our essential nature. For that essential nature of ours is untouched by that tribute of the voice. It is one thing for God to be addressed as Father; another thing for Him to be the Father of His Son. (Hilary, De Trin. 2.34, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 114)

St. John Chrysostom--by "in the flesh", St. Paul means not in the body, but in that life which is fleshly and worldly:
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

‎What then? Are we, it will be said, to cut our bodies in pieces to please God, and to make our escape from the flesh? and would you have us be homicides, and so lead us to virtue? You see what inconsistencies are gendered by taking the words literally. For by “the flesh” in this passage, he does not mean the body, or the essence of the body, but that life which is fleshly and worldly, and uses self-indulgence and extravagance to the full, so making the entire man flesh. For as they that have the wings of the Spirit, make the body also spiritual, so do they who bound off from this, and are the slaves of the belly, and of pleasure, make the soul also flesh, not that they change the essence of it, but that they mar its noble birth. (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 13, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 434-435)

St. Cyprian of Carthage--Christ bestowed the power to remit sins to those who are set over the Church:
‎ But it is manifest where and by whom remission of sins can be given; to wit, that which is given in baptism. For first of all the Lord gave that power to Peter, upon whom He built the Church, and whence He appointed and showed the source of unity—the power, namely, that whatsoever he loosed on earth should be loosed in heaven. And after the resurrection, also, He speaks to the apostles, saying, “As the Father hath sent me, even so I send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith, unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (Jn 20:21-23) Whence we perceive that only they who are set over the Church and established in the Gospel law, and in the ordinance of the Lord, are allowed to baptize and to give remission of sins; but that without, nothing can either be bound or loosed, where there is none who can either bind or loose anything. (Cyprian, Ep. 73.7-8, ANF 5, pg. 381)

St. Augustine--the Holy Spirit is necessary to love Christ and keep His commandments. Those who do so become worthy of a fuller possesion:
‎And how, then, did they love, but in the Holy Spirit? And yet they are commanded to love Him and keep His commandments, previous and in order to their receiving the Holy Spirit: and yet, without having that Spirit, they certainly could not love Him and keep His commandments.

We are therefore to understand that he who loves has already the Holy Spirit, and by what he has becomes worthy of a fuller possession, that by having the more he may love the more. Already, therefore, had the disciples that Holy Spirit whom the Lord promised, for without Him they could not call Him Lord; but they had Him not as yet in the way promised by the Lord. Accordingly they both had, and had Him not, inasmuch as they had Him not as yet to the same extent as He was afterwards to be possessed. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 74.1-2, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 334)

For 1 Corinthians 12, cf. Ordinary Time 2, Year C.
For John 20, cf. Easter 2, Year C.
For John 14, cf. Easter 6, Year C.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Ascension, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 1:1–11
Second Reading Ephesians 1:17–23 or Hebrews 9:24–28, 10:19–23
Gospel Luke 24:46–53

St. Augustine--Christ ascended into heaven, but His Body, the Church, remains on earth:
I am ascended into heaven, but still I lie on earth: here I sit at the right hand of the Father, but there I yet hunger, thirst, and am a stranger. In what manner then did He commend to us His Body, when about to ascend into heaven? When the disciples asked Him, saying, “Lord, wilt thou at this time present thyself, and when shall be the kingdom of Israel?” (Ac 1:6-8) He made answer, now at the point to depart, “It is not for you to know the time which the Father hath put in His own power: but ye shall receive strength of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me.” See where His Body is spread abroad, see where He will not be trodden upon: “Ye shall be witnesses to me, unto Jerusalem, and unto Judea, and even unto all the earth.” Lo, where I lie that am ascending! For I ascend, because I am the Head: my Body lies yet beneath. Where lies? Throughout the whole earth. Beware thou strike not, beware thou hurt not, beware thou trample not: these be the last words of Christ about to go into heaven. (Augustine, Tract. in ep. Joan. 10.9, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 525)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ commands the disciples to remain in Jerusalem that they might not go out before they have been armed with the Spirit:
“He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father.” (v. 4.) First, He led them out to Galilee, afraid and trembling, in order that they might listen to His words in security. Afterwards, when they had heard, and had passed forty days with Him, “He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem.” Wherefore? Just as when soldiers are to charge a multitude, no one thinks of letting them issue forth until they have armed themselves, or as horses are not suffered to start from the barriers until they have got their charioteer; so Christ did not suffer these to appear in the field before the descent of the Spirit, that they might not be in a condition to be easily defeated and taken captive by the many. (Chrysostom, Hom. Act. 1, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 5-6)

St. Hilary draws a lesson in Christology from Eph 1:16, 17:
No one disputes that God the Father is also the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, but this reverent confession offers no occasion for irreverence. God is His God but not as possessing a different order of divinity from His. He was begotten God of the Father, and born a servant by the Dispensation: and so God is His Father because He is God of God, and God is His God, because He is flesh of the Virgin. All this the Apostle confirms in one short and decisive sentence, Making mention of you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph 1:16, 17). When he speaks of Him as Jesus Christ, he mentions His God: when his theme is the glory of Christ, he calls God His Father. To Christ, as having glory, God is Father: to Christ, as being Jesus, God is God. (Hilary, De Trin. 11.17, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 208)

St. Hilary--the subjection of all things under Christ's feet can be spoken of as future and as past:
 The language of the Apostle, as befits the power of God, speaks of the future as already past: for that which is to be wrought by the completion of time already exists in Christ, in Whom is all fulness, and ‘future’ refers only to the temporal order of the Dispensation, not to a new development. Thus, God has put all things under His feet, though they are still to be subjected. By their subjection, conceived as already past, is expressed the immutable power of Christ: by their subjection, as future, is signified their consummation at the end of the ages as the result of the fulness of time. (Hilary, De Trin. 11.31, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 212)

St. John Chrysostom--the Church shares on the glory of Christ, Her Head:
“And gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church.”
Amazing again, whither hath He raised the Church? as though he were lifting it up by some engine, he hath raised it up to a vast height, and set it on yonder throne; for where the Head is, there is the body also. There is no interval to separate between the Head and the body; for were there a separation, then were it no longer a body, then were it no longer a head. “Over all things,” he says. What is meant by “over all things?” He hath suffered neither Angel nor Archangel nor any other being to be above Him. But not only in this way hath He honored us, in exalting that which is of ourselves, but also in that He hath prepared the whole race in common to follow Him, to cling to Him, to accompany His train. (Chrysotom, Hom. Eph. 3, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 62)

St. John Chrysostom on Hebrews 10:22:
“Let us draw near” (he says) “with a true heart.” To what should we “draw near”? To the holy things, the faith, the spiritual service. “With a true heart, in full assurance of faith,” since nothing is seen; neither the priest hence-forward, nor the sacrifice, nor the altar. And yet neither was that priest visible, but stood within, and they all without, the whole people. But here not only has this taken place, that the priest has entered into the holy of holies, but that we also enter in. Therefore he says,“in full assurance of faith.” For it is possible for the doubter to believe in one way, as there are even now many who say, that of some there is a resurrection and of others not. But this is not faith. “In full assurance of faith” (he says); for we ought to believe as concerning things that we see, nay, even much more; for “here” it is possible to be deceived in the things that are seen, but there not: “here” we trust to the senses, but there to the Spirit. (Chrysostom, Hom. Heb. 19.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 455)

St. Gregory the Great--Christ's admonition to the apsotles to remain in the city until the descent of the Holy Spirit teaches us the office of preaching should not be undertaken without proper preparation:
For hence it is that the Truth Himself, Who could all at once have strenghted whom He would, in order to give an example to His followers that they should not presume to preach while imperfect, after He had fully instructed His disciples concerning the power of preaching, forthwith added, But tarry ye in the city until ye be endued withpower from on high (Luke 24:49). For indeed we tarry together in the city, if we restrain ourselves within the enclosures of our souls from wandering abroad in speech; so that, when we are perfectly endued with divine power, we may then go out as it were from ourselves abroad, instructing others also. (Gregory the Great, Pastor. 3.25, NPNF2, vol. 12, pg. 54)

St. John Chrysostom on the Ascension:
But you will say, How does this concern me? Because thou also shalt be taken up in like manner into the clouds. For thy body is of like nature to His body, therefore shall thy body be so light, that it can pass through the air. For as is the head, so also is the body; as the beginning, so also the end. See then how thou art honoured by this beginning. Man was the lowest part of the rational creation, but the feet have been made the head, being lifted up aloft into the royal throne in their head. (Chyrsostom in Cat. Aur. 3.2, 794)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 15:1–2, 22–29
Second Reading Revelation 21:10–14, 22–23
Gospel John 14:23–29

St. Cyprian of Carthage--peace is our heritage from Christ and is to be carefully preserved:
The son of peace ought to seek peace and ensue it. He who knows and loves the bond of charity, ought to refrain his tongue from the evil of dissension. Among His divine commands and salutary teachings, the Lord, when He was now very near to His passion, added this one, saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (Jn 14:27) He gave this to us as an heritage; He promised all the gifts and rewards of which He spoke through the preservation of peace. If we are fellow-heirs with Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are sons of God, we ought to be peacemakers. “Blessed,” says He, “are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Mt 5:9) It behoves the sons of God to be peacemakers, gentle in heart, simple in speech, agreeing in affection, faithfully linked to one another in the bonds of unanimity. (Cyprian, De unit. eccl. 24, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 429)

St. Gregory Nazianzen--the Holy Spirit, given to the Church, teaches His own Divinity:
Our Saviour had some things which, He said, could not be borne at that time by His disciples (Jn 16:12) (though they were filled with many teachings), perhaps for the reasons I have mentioned; and therefore they were hidden. And again He said that all things should be taught us by the Spirit when He should come to dwell amongst us. (Jn 14:26) Of these things one, I take it, was the Deity of the Spirit Himself, made clear later on when such knowledge should be seasonable and capable of being received after our Saviour’s restoration, when it would no longer be received with incredulity because of its marvellous character. For what greater thing than this did either He promise, or the Spirit teach. If indeed anything is to be considered great and worthy of the Majesty of God, which was either promised or taught. (Greg. Naz., Orat. 31.27, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 326)

St. Hilary explains Our Lord's saying that the Father is greater:
He who has not grasped the manifest truths of the faith, obviously cannot have an understanding of its mysteries; because he has not the doctrine of the Gospel he is an alien to the hope of the Gospel. We must confess the Father to be in the Son and the Son in the Father, by unity of nature, by might of power, as equal in honour as Begetter and Begotten. But. perhaps you say, the witness of our Lord Himself is contrary to this declaration, for He says, The Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28). Is this, heretic, the weapon of your profanity? Are these the arms of your frenzy? Has it escaped you, that the Church does not admit two Unbegotten, or confess two Fathers? Have you forgotten the Incarnation of the Mediator, with the birth, the cradle, the child hood, the passion, the cross and the death belonging to it? When you were born again, did you not confess the Son of God, born of Mary? If the Son of God, of Whom these things are true, says, The Father is greater than I, can you be ignorant that the Incarnation for your salvation was an emptying of the form of God, and that the Father, unaffected by this assumption of human conditions, abode in the blessed eternity of His own incorrupt nature without taking our flesh? (Hilary, De Trin. 9.51, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 173)

St. Augustine--Jesus leaves us peace in this world and will give us His own peace in the world to come. He Himself is our peace:
“Peace,” He said, “I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” It is here we read in the prophet, “Peace upon peace:” peace He leaves with us when going away, His own peace He will give us when He cometh in the end. Peace He leaveth with us in this world, His own peace He will give us in the world to come. His own peace He leaveth with us, and abiding therein we conquer the enemy. His own peace He will give us when, with no more enemies to fight, we shall reign as kings. Peace He leaveth with us, that here also we may love one another: His own peace will He give us, where we shall be beyond the possibility of dissension. Peace He leaveth with us, that we may not judge one another of what is secret to each, while here on earth: His own peace will He give us, when He “will make manifest the counsels of the heart; and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Co 4:5) And yet in Him and from Him it is that we have peace, whether that which He leaveth with us when going to the Father, or that which He will give us when we ourselves are brought by Him to the Father. And what is it He leaveth with us, when ascending from us, save His own presence, which He never withdraweth? For He Himself is our peace who hath made both one. (Eph 2:14) It is He, therefore, that becomes our peace, both when we believe that He is, and when we see Him as He is. (1 Jn 3:2) For if, so long as we are in this corruptible body that burdens the soul, and are walking by faith, not by sight, He forsaketh not those who are sojourning at a distance from Himself; (2 Co 5:6, 7) how much more, when we have attained to that sight, shall He fill us with Himself? (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 77.3, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 339)