Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Death, the Defeated Tyrant

"For the old, before the divine sojourn of the Savior took place, even to the saints death was terrible, and all wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Savior has raised His body, death is no longer terrible; for all who believe in Christ tread him under as naught, and choose rather to die than deny their faith in Christ. For they verily know that when they die they are not destroyed, but actually [begin to] live, and become incorruptible through the Resurrection….

For as when a tyrant has been defeated by a real king, and bound hand and foot, then all that pass by laugh him to scorn, buffeting and riviling him, no longer fearing his fury and barbarity, because of the king who has conquerered him; so also, death having been conquered and exposed by the Savior on the Cross, and bound hand and foot, all they who are in Christ, as they pass by, trample on him, and witnessing to Christ scoff at death, jesting him, and saying what has been written against him of old: “O death, where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting.”

This exceptional fact must be tested by experience. Let those who doubt it become Christians."

–Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word

(HT: Glen)

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