Anf-03 iv.ix.ix Pg 11—in order that you may regard not the sound only of the name, but the sense too. For the Hebrew sound, which is Emmanuel, has an interpretation, which is, God with us. Inquire, then, whether this speech, “God with us” (which is Emmanuel), be commonly applied to Christ ever since Christ’s light has dawned, and I think you will not deny it. For they who out of Judaism believe in Christ, ever since their believing on Him, do, whenever they shall wish to say1257
In Isa. viii. 8; 10, compared with vii. 14 in the Eng. ver. and the LXX., and also Lowth, introductory remarks on ch. viii.
1257 Or, “to call him.” Emmanuel, signify that God is with us: and thus it is agreed that He who was ever predicted as Emmanuel is already come, because that which Emmanuel signifies is come—that is, “God with us.” Equally are they led by the sound of the name when they so understand “the power of Damascus,” and “the spoils of Samaria,” and “the kingdom of the Assyrians,” as if they portended Christ as a warrior; not observing that Scripture premises, “since, ere the child learn to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria, in opposition to the king of the Assyrians.” For the first step is to look at the demonstration of His age, to see whether the age there indicated can possibly exhibit the Christ as already a man, not to say a general. Forsooth, by His babyish cry the infant would summon men to arms, and would give the signal of war not with clarion, but with rattle, and point out the foe, not from His charger’s back or from a rampart, but from the back or neck of His suckler and nurse, and thus subdue Damascus and Samaria in place of the breast. (It is another matter if, among you, infants rush out into battle,—oiled first, I suppose, to dry in the sun, and then armed with satchels and rationed on butter,—who are to know how to lance sooner than how to lacerate the bosom!)1258
1258 See adv. Marc. l. iii. c. xiii., which, with the preceding chapter, should be compared throughout with the chapter before us. Certainly, if nature nowhere allows this,—(namely,) to serve as a soldier before developing into manhood, to take “the power of Damascus” before knowing your father,—it follows that the pronouncement is visibly figurative. “But again,” say they, “nature suffers not a ‘virgin’ to be a parent; and yet the prophet must be believed.” And deservedly so; for he bespoke credit for a thing incredible, by saying that it was to be a sign. “Therefore,” he says, “shall a sign be given you. Behold, a virgin shall conceive in womb, and bear a son.” But a sign from God, unless it had consisted in some portentous novelty, would not have appeared a sign. In a word, if, when you are anxious to cast any down from (a belief in) this divine prediction, or to convert whoever are simple, you have the audacity to lie, as if the Scripture contained (the announcement), that not “a virgin,” but “a young female,” was to conceive and bring forth; you are refuted even by this fact, that a daily occurrence—the pregnancy and parturition of a young female, namely—cannot possibly seem anything of a sign. And the setting before us, then, of a virgin-mother is deservedly believed to be a sign; but not equally so a warrior-infant. For there would not in this case again be involved the question of a sign; but, the sign of a novel birth having been awarded, the next step after the sign is, that there is enunciated a different ensuing ordering1259
Anf-02 vi.iii.iii.iii Pg 11.1
Anf-03 v.viii.xxii Pg 6
Joel iii. 9–15; Dan. vii. 13, 14