Damastheis

Franz von Stuck, Luzifer, ca. 1890
Franz von Stuck, Luzifer (ca. 1890)

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Τοίη μὲν κείνων στρατιή, τοῖος δὲ τε ἀρχός,
Χριστὸς δ’ οὔτε μιν ἔσχεν ἀϊστώσας ἰότητι
ᾗ καὶ κόσμον ἔτευξεν ὅλον. καὶ τόνδ’ ἂν ὄλεσσεν
αἶψ’ ἐθέλων (χαλεπὴ δὲ Θεοῦ κοτέοντος ἄλυξις)
οὐδὲ μὲν οὐδ’ ἀνέηκεν ἐλεύθερον ἐχθρὸν ἐμεῖο,
ἀλλὰ μέσον μεθέηκεν ὁμῶς ἀγαθῶν τε κακῶν τε,
δῶκε δ’ ἐπ’ ἀλλήλοισι κακὸν μόθον, ὡς ὁ μὲν αἰνὸν
αἶσχος ἔχῃ καὶ τῇδε, χερείονί περ πτολεμίζων,
οἱ δ’ ἀρετῇ μογέοντες ἑὸν κλέος αἰὲν ἔχωσιν,
ὡς χρυσὸς χοάνοισι καθαιρόμενοι βιότοιο
ἢ τάχα κεν μετέπειτα δίκας τίσειεν ἀτειρής,
ὕλης δαπτομένης, ὅτε ἔμπυρός ἐστιν ἄμειψις,
πολλὰ πάροιθεν ἑοῖσιν ἐνὶ δρηστῆρσι δαμασθεὶς
τειρομένοις· τὸ γάρ ἐστι κακῶν γεννήτορι τίσις.
ταῦτα μὲν ἀγγελικῆς αἴγλης πέρι Πνεῦμ’ ἐδίδαξε
πρώτης θ’ ὑστατίης τε. μέτρον δέ τε κἀνθάδ’ ἀνεῦρον,
μέτρον δ’ αὖ Θεός ἐστιν. ὅσον πελάει τις ἄνακτι,
τοσσάτιον φάος ἐστίν, ὅσον φάος, εὖχος ὁμοῖον.
(Gregory of Nazianzus, Poëmata Arcana 6.82-98)

Such is their army, such their leader. Christ did not by any act of will hold him in destruction, that will by which he had also created the whole world. Had he willed it, he could have annihilated Lucifer immediately (for it is hard to escape the anger of God). Yet it is not that he left my enemy in total freedom. Rather did he dismiss him to a midpoint between good and evil men. He provoked a dreadful struggle between Lucifer and humanity, that he might incur further awful shame, inasmuch as he was warring against a weaker opponent, whereas his human adversaries, striving through the exercise of goodness, might gain their everlasting glory, being purified like gold in the melting-pots of life. Perhaps also might Lucifer, for all his stubborn resistance, hereafter pay his penalty, his substance consumed, when there is requital by fire, though indeed he was to a great degree subdued before in the persons of his harried minions. These truths the Spirit has taught me concerning the radiance of angels, whether in first or later state. I have discovered even in this world a standard, and that standard, moreover, is God. The closer a man comes to the King, the more he is light and represents a corresponding glory. (tr. Donald A. Sykes)

2 thoughts on “Damastheis”

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