For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in trial.
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Gregory The Dialogist
60. It sounds hard that any should be sought who might convict God, but it will not be hard, if we recall to mind what He Himself says by another Prophet; for He charges us by Isaiah, Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come, and convict [arguite] Me, saith the Lord. [Is. 1, 16—18.] For one whom we convict, we encounter with the authority of reason. And what is this, that when the Lord bids us do holy actions, He adds, Come, and convict Me, but that He plainly intimates the great assurance He vouchsafes to good works? As if it were said in plain words, ‘Do right, and then no longer meet the motions of My displeasure by the groan of entreaty, but by the confident voice of authority.’ For it is hence that John saith, If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. [I John 3, 21] It is hence that Moses, in that he is acceptable in rendering service, is heard while keeping silence, where it is said to him when he was silent, Wherefore criest thou unto Me? [Ex. 14, 15] It is hence that he withholds Him waxing wrath, when he hears the words, Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against this people. [Ex. 32, 10] It is hence that the Lord complains that He had no one to convict Him, where it is said by the Prophet, And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the way against Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. [Ez. 22, 30] It is hence that Isaiah laments bitterly, saying, And we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon Thy Name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee. [Is. 64, 6. 7.]
61. Now any of the righteous may sometimes be able to resist the visitations of a present judgment, by the merits of a derived innocency, but they have no power by their own goodness to rid mankind of the woes of the death to come. Therefore let the holy man bethink himself whereunto the human race has run out, let him cast his eye on the woes of eternal death, which it is plain that human righteousness can never withstand, let him see how frowardly man has offended, let him see how severely the wrath of the Creator is directed against man, and let him call for the Mediator between God and man, God and Man in one, forasmuch as he beholds Him destined to come long after; let him lament and say, Neither is there any that is able to convict both of us, and to lay his hand upon us both. For the Redeemer of Mankind, who was made the Mediator between God and Man through the flesh, because that He alone appeared righteous among men, and yet, even though without sin, was notwithstanding brought to the punishment of sin, did both convict man, that he might not sin, and withstand God, that He might not smite; He gave examples of innocency that He took upon Him the punishment due to wickedness. Thus by suffering He convinced both the One and the other, in that He both rebuked the sin of man by infusing righteousness, and moderated the wrath of the Judge by undergoing death; and He ‘laid His hand upon both,’ in that He at once gave examples to men which they might imitate, and exhibited in Himself those works to God, by which He might be reconciled to men. For before Him there never was forthcoming One, Who interceded for the guiltinesses of others in such wise, as not to have any of His own. Therefore none could encounter eternal death in the case of others, in the degree that he was bound by the guilt of his own. Therefore there came to men a new Man, as to sin a rebuker, as to punishment a befriender. He manifested miracles, He underwent cruel treatment. Thus He laid His hand upon both, for by the same steps by which He taught the guilty good things, He appeased the indignant Judge. And He did this too the more marvellously by His very miracles themselves, in that He reformed the hearts of offenders by mildness rather than by terror.