Hilary of Poitiers – On the Trinity

 

On the Trinity
De Trinitate

 

 

1. When I was seeking an employment adequate to the powers of human life and righteous in itself, whether prompted by nature or suggested by the researches of the wise, whereby I might attain to some result worthy of that Divine gift of understanding which has been given us, many things occurred to me which in general esteem were thought to render life both useful and desirable. And especially that which now, as always in the past, is regarded as most to be desired, leisure combined with wealth, came before my mind. The one without the other seemed rather a source of evil than an opportunity for good, for leisure in poverty is felt to be almost an exile from life itself, while wealth possessed amid anxiety is in itself an affliction, rendered the worse by the deeper humiliation which he must suffer who loses, after possessing, the things that most are wished and sought. And yet, though these two embrace the highest and best of the luxuries of life, they seem not far removed from the normal pleasures of the beasts which, as they roam through shady places rich in herbage, enjoy at once their safety from toil and the abundance of their food. For if this be regarded as the best and most perfect conduct of the life of man, it results that one Object is common, though the range of feelings differ, to us and the whole unreasoning animal world, Since all of them, in that bounteous provision and absolute leisure which nature bestows, have full scope for enjoyment without anxiety for possession.

2. I believe that the mass of mankind have spurned from themselves and censured in others this acquiescence in a thoughtless, animal life, for no other reason than that nature herself has taught them that it is unworthy of humanity to hold themselves born only to gratify their greed and their sloth, and ushered into life for no high aim of glorious deed or fair accomplishment, and that this very life was granted without the power of progress towards immortality; a life, indeed, which then we should confidently assert did not deserve to be regarded as a gift of God, since, racked by pain and laden with trouble, it wastes itself upon itself from the blank mind of infancy to the wanderings of age. I believe that men, prompted by nature herself, have raised themselves through teaching and practice to the virtues which we name patience and temperance and forbearance, under the conviction that right living means right action and right thought, and that Immortal God has not given life only to end in death; for none can believe that the Giver of good has bestowed the pleasant sense of life in order that it may be overcast by the gloomy fear of dying.

3. And yet, though I could not tax with folly and uselessness this counsel of theirs to keep the soul free from blame, and evade by foresight or elude by skill or endure with patience the troubles of life, still I could not regard these men as guides competent to lead me to the good and happy Life. Their precepts were platitudes, on the mere level of human impulse; animal instinct could not fail to comprehend them, and he who understood but disobeyed would have fallen into an insanity baser than animal unreason. Moreover, my soul was eager not merely to do the things, neglect of which brings shame and suffering, but to know the God and Father Who had given this great gift, to Whom, it felt, it owed its whole self, Whose service was its true honour, on Whom all its hopes were fixed, in Whose lovingkindness, as in a safe home and haven, it could rest amid all the troubles of this anxious life. It was inflamed with a passionate desire to apprehend Him or to know Him.

Fresco of St Hilary of Poitiers4. Some of these teachers brought forward large households of dubious deities, and under the persuasion that there is a sexual activity in divine beings narrated births and lineages from god to god. Others asserted that there were gods greater and less, of distinction proportionate to their power. Some denied the existence of any gods whatever, and confined their reverence to a nature which, in their opinion owes its being to chance-led vibrations and collisions. On the other hand, many followed the common belief in asserting the existence of a God, but proclaimed Him heedless and indifferent to the affairs of men. Again, some worshipped in the elements of earth and air the actual bodily and visible forms of created things; and, finally, some made their gods dwell within images of men or of beasts, tame or wild, of birds or of snakes, and confined the Lord of the universe and Father of infinity within these narrow prisons of metal or stone or wood. These I was sure, could be no exponents of truth, for though they were at one in the absurdity, the foulness, the impiety of their observances, they were at variance concerning the essential articles of their senseless belief. My soul was distracted amid all these claims, yet still it pressed along that profitable road which leads inevitably to the true knowledge of God. It could not hold that neglect of a world created by Himself was worthily to be attributed to God, or that deities endowed with sex, and lines of begetters and begotten, were compatible with the pure and mighty nature of the Godhead. Nay, rather, it was sure that that which is Divine and eternal must be one without distinction of sex, for that which is self-existent cannot have left outside itself anything superior to itself. Hence omnipotence and eternity are the possession of One only, for omnipotence is incapable of degrees of strength or weakness, and eternity of priority or succession. In God we must worship absolute eternity and absolute power.

5. While my mind was dwelling on these and on many like thoughts, I chauced upon the books which, according to the tradition of the Hebrew faith, were written by Moses and the prophets, and found in these words spoken by God the Creator testifying of Himself ‘I AM THAT I AM, and again, He THAT IS hath sent me unto you.’ I confess that I was amazed to find in them an indication concerning God so exact that it expressed in the terms best adapted to human understanding an unattainable insight into the mystery of the Divine nature. For no property of God which the mind can grasp is more characteristic of Him than existence, since existence, in the absolute sense, cannot be predicated of that which shall come to an end, or of that which has had a beginning, and He who now joins continuity of being with the possession of perfect felicity could not in the past, nor can in the future, be non-existent; for whatsoever is Divine can neither be originated nor destroyed. Wherefore, since God’s eternity is inseparable from Himself, it was worthy of Him to reveal this one thing, that He is, as the assurance of His absolute eternity.

6. For such an indication of God’s infinity the words ‘I AM THAT I AM’ were clearly adequate; but, in addition, we needed to apprehend the operation of His majesty and power. For while absolute existence is peculiar to Him Who, abiding eternally, had no beginning in a past however remote, we hear again an utterance worthy of Himself issuing from the eternal and Holy God, Who says, Who ho! deth the heaven in His palm and the earth in His hand, and again, The heaven is My throne and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What house will ye build Me or what shall be the place of My rest? The whole heaven is held in the palm of God, the whole earth grasped, in His hand. Now the word of God, profitable as it is to the cursory thought of a pious mind, reveals a deeper meaning to the patient student than to the momentary hearer. For this heaven which is held in the palm of God is also His throne, and the earth which is grasped in His hand is also the footstool beneath His feet. This was not written that from throne and footstool, metaphors drawn from the posture of one sitting. we should conclude that He has extension in space, as of a body, for that which is His throne and footstool is also held in hand and palm by that infinite Omnipotence. It was written that in all born and created things God might be known within them and without, overshadowing and indwelling, surrounding all and interfused through all, since palm and hand, which hold, reveal the might of His external control, while throne and footstool. by their support of a sitter, display the subservience of outward things to One within Who, Himself outside them, encloses all in His grasp, let dwells within the external world which is His own. In this wise does God, from within and from without, control and correspond to the universe; being infinite He is present in all things, in Him Who is infinite all are included. In devout thoughts such as these my soul, engrossed in the pursuit of truth, took its delight. For it seemed that the greatness of God so far surpassed the mental powers of His handiwork, that however far the limited mind of man might strain in the hazardous effort to define Him, the gap was not lessened between the finite nature which struggled and the boundless infinity that lay beyond its ken, I had come by reverent reflection on my own part to understand this, but I found it confirmed by the words of the prophet, Whether shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I go down into hell, Thou art there also; if I have taken my wings before dawn and made my dwelling in the uttermost parts of the sea (Thou art there). For thither Thy hand shall guide me and Thy right hand shall hold me. There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus He embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.

7. Therefore, although my soul drew joy from the apprehension of this august and unfathomable Mind, because it could worship as its own Father and Creator so limitless an Infinity, yet with a still more eager desire it sought to know the true aspect of its infinite and eternal Lord, that it might be able to believe that that immeasurable Deity was apparelled in splendour befitting the beauty of His wisdom. Then, while the devout soul was baffled and astray through its own feebleness, it caught from the prophet’s voice this scale of comparison for God, admirably expressed, By the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He hath made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned. The Creator of great things is supreme in greatness, of beautiful things in beauty. Since the work transcends our thoughts, all thought must be transcended by the Maker. Thus heaven and air and earth and seas are fair: fair also the whole universe, as the Greeks agree, who from its beautiful ordering call it kosmos , that is, order. But if our thought can estimate this beauty of the universe by a natural instinct–an instinct such as we see in certain birds and beasts whose voice, though it fall below the level of our understanding, yet has a sense clear to them though they cannot utter it, and in which, since all speech is the expression of some thought, there lies a meaning patent to themselves–must not the Lord of this universal beauty be recognised as Himself most beautiful amid all the beauty that surrounds Him? For though the splendour of His eternal glory overtax our mind’s best powers, it cannot fail to see that He is beautiful. We must in truth confess that God is most beautiful, and that with a beauty which, though it transcend our comprehension, forces itself upon our perception.

8. Thus my mind, full of these results which by its own reflection and the teaching of Scripture it had attained, rested with assurance, as on some peaceful watch-tower, upon that glorious conclusion, recognising that its true nature made it capable of one homage to its Creator, and of none other, whether greater or less; the homage namely of conviction that His is a greatness too vast for our comprehension but not for our faith. For a reasonable faith is akin to reason and accepts its aid, even though that same reason cannot cope with the vastness of eternal Omnipotence.

9. Beneath all these thoughts lay an instinctive hope, which strengthened my assertion of the faith, in some perfect blessedness hereafter to be earned by devout thoughts concerning God and upright life; the reward, as it were, that awaits the triumphant warrior. For true faith in God would pass unrewarded, if the soul be destroyed by death, and quenched in the extinction of bodily life. Even unaided reason pleaded that it was unworthy of God to usher man into an existence which has some share of His thought and wisdom, only to await the sentence of life withdrawn and of eternal death; to create him out of nothing to take his place in the World, only that when he has taken it he may perish. For, on the only rational theory of creation, its purpose was that things non-existent should come into being, not that things existing should cease to be.

10. Yet my soul was weighed down with fear both for itself and for the body. It retained a firm conviction, and a devout loyalty to the true faith concerning God, but had come to harbour a deep anxiety concerning itself and the bodily dwelling which must, it thought, share its destruction. While in this state, in addition to its knowledge of the teaching of the Law and Prophets, it learned the truths taught by the Apostle in the Gospel;–In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made. That which was made in Him is life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light. That was the true light, which lighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own things, and they that were His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Here the soul makes an advance beyond the attainment of its natural capacities, is taught more than it had dreamed concerning God. For it learns that its Creator is God of God; it hears that the Word is God and was with God in the beginning. It comes to understand that the Light of the world was abiding in the world and that the world knew Him not; that He came to His own possession and that they that were His own received Him not; but that they who do receive Him by virtue of their faith advance to be sons of God, being born not of the embrace of the flesh nor of the conception of the blood nor of bodily desire, but of God; finally, it learns that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and that His glory was seen, which, as of the Only-begotten from the Father, is perfect through grace and truth.

11. Herein my soul, trembling and distressed, found a hope wider than it had imagined. First came its introduction to the knowledge of God the Father. Then it learnt that the eternity and infinity and beauty which, by the light of natural reason, it had attributed to its Creator belonged also to God the Only-begotten. It did not disperse its faith among a plurality of deities, for it heard that He is God of God; nor did it fall into the error of attributing a difference of nature to this God of God, for it learnt that He is full of grace and truth. Nor yet did my soul perceive anything contrary to reason in God of God, since He was revealed as having been in the beginning God with God. It saw that there are very few who attain to the knowledge of this saving faith, though its reward be great, for even His own received Him not though they who receive Him are promoted to be sons of God by a birth, not of the flesh but of faith. It learnt also that this sonship to God is not a compulsion but a possibility. for, while the Divine gift is offered to all, it is no heredity inevitably imprinted but a prize awarded to willing choice. And test this very truth that whosoever will may become a son of God should stagger the weakness of our faith (for most we desire, but least expect, that which from its very greatness we find it hard to hope for), God the Word became flesh, that through His Incarnation our flesh might attain to union with God the Word. And lest we should think that this incarnate Word was some other than God the Word, or that His flesh was of a body different from ours, He dwelt among us that by His dwelling He might be known as the indwelling God, and, by His dwelling among us, known as God incarnate in no other flesh than our own, and moreover, though He had condescended to take our flesh, not destitute of His own attributes; for He, the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, is fully possessed of His own attributes and truly endowed with ours.

12. This lesson in the Divine mysteries was gladly welcomed by my soul, now drawing near through the flesh to God, called to new birth through faith, entrusted with liberty and power to win the heavenly regeneration, conscious of the love of its Father and Creator, sure that He would not annihilate a creature whom He had summoned out of nothing into life. And it could estimate how high are these truths above the mental vision of man; for the reason which deals with the common objects of thought can conceive of nothing as existent beyond what it perceives within itself or can create out of itself. My soul measured the mighty workings of God, wrought on the scale of His eternal omnipotence, not by its own powers of perception but by a boundless faith; and therefore refused to disbelieve, because it could not understand, that God was in the beginning with God, and that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but bore in mind the truth that with the will to believe would come the power to understand.

13. And lest the soul should stray and linger in some delusion of heathen philosophy, it receives this further lesson of perfect loyalty to the holy faith, taught by the Apostle in words inspired:–Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the word, and not after Christ; for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are made full in Him, Which is the Head of all principality and power; in Whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in putting off the body, of the flesh, but wash the circumcision of Christ; buried with Him in Baptism, wherein also ye have risen again through faith in the working of God, Who raised Him from the dead. And you, when ye were dead in sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He hath quickened with Him, having forgiven you all your sins, blotting out the band which was against us by its ordinances, which was contrary to us; and He hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the Cross; and having put off the flesh He made a show of powers openly, triumphing over them through confidence in Himself. Steadfast faith rejects the vain subtleties of philosophic enquiry; truth refuses to be vanquished by these treacherous devices of human folly, and enslaved by falsehood. It will not confine God within the limits which barred our common reason, nor judge after the rudiments of the world concerning Christ, in Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in such wise that the utmost efforts of the earthly mind to comprehend Him are baffled by that immeasurable Eternity and Omnipotence. My soul judged of Him as One Who, drawing us upward to partake of His own Divine nature, has loosened henceforth the bond of bodily observances Who, unlike the Symbolic Law, has initiated us into no rites of mutilating the flesh, but Whose purpose is that our spirit, circumcised from vice, should purify all the natural faculties of the body by abstinence from sin, that we being buried with His Death in Baptism may return to the life of eternity (since regeneration to life is death to the former life), and dying to our sins be born again to immortality, that even as He abandoned His immortality to die for us, so should we awaken from death to immortality with Him. For He took upon Him the flesh in which we have sinned that by wearing our flesh He might forgive sins; a flesh which He shares with us by wearing it, not by sinning in it. He blotted out through death the sentence of death, that by a new creation of our race in Himself He might sweep away the penalty appointed by the former Law. He let them nail Him to the cross that He might nail to the curse of the cross and abolish all the curses to which the world is condemned. He suffered as man to the utmost that He might put powers to shame. For Scripture had foretold that He Who is God should die; that the victory and triumph of them that trust in Him lay in the fact that He, Who is immortal and cannot be overcome by death, was to die that mortals might gain eternity. These deeds of God, wrought in a manner beyond our comprehension, cannot, I repeat, be understood by our natural faculties, for the work of the Infinite and Eternal can only be grasped by an infinite intelligence. Hence, just as the truths that God became man, that the Immortal died that the Eternal was buried, do not belong to the rational order but are an unique work of power, so on the other hand it is an effect not of intellect but of omnipotence that He Who is man is also God, that He Who died is immortal, that He Who was buried is eternal. We, then, are raised together by God in Christ through His death. But, since in Christ there is the fulness of the Godhead, we have herein a revelation of God the Father joining to raise us in Him Who died; and we must confess that Christ Jesus is none other than God in all the fulness of the Deity.

14. In this calm assurance of safety did my soul gladly and hopefully take its rest, and feared so little the interruption of death, that death seemed only a name for eternal life. And the life of this present body was so far from seeming a burden or affliction that it was regarded as children regard their alphabet, sick men their draught, shipwrecked sailors their swim, young men the training for their profession, future commanders their first campaign; that is, as an endurable submission to present necessities, bearing the promise of a blissful immortality. And further, I began to proclaim those truths in which my soul had a personal faith, as a duty of the episcopate which had been laid upon me, employing my office to promote the salvation of all men.

15. While I was thus engaged there came to light certain fallacies of rash and wicked men, hopeless for themselves and merciless towards others, who made their own feeble nature the measure of the might of God’s nature. They claimed, not that they had ascended to an infinite knowledge of infinite things, but that they had reduced all knowledge, undefined before, within the scope of ordinary reason, and fixed the limits of the faith. Whereas the true work of religion is a service of obedience; and these were men heedless of their own weakness, reckless of Divine realities, who undertook to improve upon the teaching of God.

16. Not to touch upon the vain enquiries of other heretics–concerning whom however, when the course of my argument gives occasion, I will not be silent–there are those who tamper with the faith of the Gospel by denying, under the cloak of loyalty to the One God, the birth of God the Only-begotten. They assert that there was an extension of God into man, not a descent; that He, Who for the season that He took our flesh was Son of Man, had not been previously, nor was then, Son of God; that there was no Divine birth in His case, but an identity of Begetter and Begotten; and (to maintain what they consider a perfect loyalty to the unity of God) that there was an unbroken continuity in the Incarnation, the Father extending Himself into the Virgin, and Himself being born as His own Son. Others, on the contrary (heretics, because there is no salvation apart from Christ, Who in the beginning was God the Word with God), deny that He was born and declare that He was merely created. Birth, they hold, would confess Him to be true God, while creation proves His Godhead unreal; and though this explanation be a fraud against the faith in the unity of God, regarded as an accurate definition, yet they think it may pass muster as figurative language. They degrade, in name and in belief, His true birth to the level of a creation, to cut Him off front the Divine unity, that, as a creature called into being, He may not claim the fulness of the Godhead, which is not His by a true birth.

17. My soul has been burning to answer these insane attacks. I call to mind that the very centre of a saving faith is the belief not merely in God, but in God as a Father; not merely in Christ, but in Christ as the Son of God; in Him, not as a creature, but as God the Creator, born of God. My prime object is by the clear assertions of prophets and evangelists to refute the insanity and ignorance of men who use the unity of God (in itself a pious and profitable confession) as a cloak for their denial either that in Christ God was born, or else that He is very God. Their purpose is to isolate a solitary God at the heart of the faith by making Christ, though mighty, only a creature; because, so they allege, a birth of God widens the believer’s faith into a trust in more gods than one. But we, divinely taught to confess neither two Gods nor yet a solitary God, will adduce the evidence of the Gospels and the prophets for our confession of God the Father and God the Son, united, not confounded, in our faith. We will not admit Their identity nor allow, as a compromise, that Christ is God in some imperfect sense; for God, born of God, cannot be the same as His Father, since He is His Son, nor yet can He be different in nature.

18. And you, whose warmth of faith and passion for a truth unknown to the world and its philosophers shall prompt to read me, must remember to eschew the feeble and baseless conjectures of earthly minds, and in devout willingness to learn must break down the barriers of prejudice and half-knowledge. The new faculties of the regenerate intellect are needed; each must have his understanding enlightened by the heavenly gift imparted to the soul. First he must take his stand upon the sure ground [substantia = upostai ] of God, as holy Jeremiah says, that since he is to hear about that nature [substantial he may expand his thoughts till they are worthy of the theme, not fixing some arbitrary standard for himself, but judging as of infinity. And again, though he be aware that he is partaker of the Divine nature, as the holy apostle Peter says in his second Epistle, yet he must not measure the Divine nature by the limitations of his own, but gauge God’s assertions concerning Himself by the scale of His own glorious self-revelation. For he is the best student who does not read his thoughts into the book, but lets it reveal its own; who draws from it its sense, and does not import his own into it, nor force upon its words a meaning which he had determined was the right one before he opened its pages. Since then we are to discourse of the things of God, let us assume that God has full knowledge of Himself, and bow with humble reverence to His words. For He Whom we can only know through His own utterances is the fitting witness concerning Himself.

19. If in our discussion of the nature and birth of God we adduce certain analogies, let no one suppose that such comparisons are perfect and complete. There can be no comparison between God and earthly things, yet the weakness of our understanding forces us to seek for illustrations from a lower sphere to explain our meaning about loftier themes. The course of daily life shews how our experience in ordinary matters enables us to form conclusions on unfamiliar subjects. We must therefore regard any comparison as helpful to man rather than as descriptive of God, since it suggests, rather than exhausts, the sense we seek. Nor let such a comparison be thought too bold when it sets side by side carnal anti spiritual natures, things invisible and things palpable, since it avows itself a necessary aid to the weakness of the human mind, and deprecates the condemnation due to an imperfect analogy. On this principle I proceed with my task, intending to use the terms supplied by God, yet colouring my argument with illustrations drawn from human life.

20. And first, I have so laid out the plan of the whole work as to consult the advantage of the reader by the logical order in which its books are arranged. It has been my resolve to publish no half-finished and ill-considered treatise, lest its disorderly array should resemble the confused clamour of a mob of peasants. And since no one can scale a precipice unless there be jutting ledges to aid his progress to the summit, I have here set down in order the primary outlines of our ascent leading our difficult course of argument up the easiest path; not cutting steps in the face of the rock, but levelling it to a gentle slope, that so the traveller, almost without a sense of effort may reach the heights.

21. Thus, after the present first book, the second expounds the mystery of the Divine birth, that those who shall be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost may know the true Names, and not be perplexed about their sense but accurately informed as to fact and meaning, and so receive full assurance that in the words which are used they have the true Names, and that those Names involve the truth.

22. After this short and simple discourse concerning the Trinity, the third book makes further progress, sure though slow. Citing the greatest instances of His power, it brings within the range of faith’s understanding that saying, in itself beyond our comprehension, I in the Father and the Father in Me, which Christ utters concerning Himself. Thus truth beyond the dull wit of man is the prize of faith equipped with reason and knowledge; for neither may we doubt God’s Word concerning Himself, nor can we suppose that the devout reason is incapable of apprehending His might.

23. The fourth book starts With the doctrines of the heretics, and disowns complicity in the fallacies whereby they are traducing the faith of the Church. It publishes that infidel creed which a number of them have lately promulgated, and exposes the dishonesty, and therefore the wickedness, of their arguments from the Law for what they call the unity of God. It sets out the whole evidence of Law and Prophets to demonstrate the impiety of asserting the unity of God to the exclusion of the Godhead of Christ, and the treason of alleging that if Christ be God the Only-begotten, then God is not one.

24. The fifth book follows in reply the sequence of heretical assertion. They had falsely declared that they followed the law in the sense which they assigned to the unity of God, and that they had proved from it that the true God is of one Person; and this in order to rob the Lord Christ of His birth by their conclusion concerning the One true God, for birth is the evidence of origin. In answer I assert, step by step, what they deny; for from the Law and the Prophets I demonstrate that there are not two gods, nor one isolated true God, neither perverting the faith in the Divine unity nor denying the birth of Christ. And since they say that the Lord Jesus Christ, created rather than born, bears the Divine Name by gift and not by right, I have proved His true Divinity from the Prophets in such a way that, He being acknowledged very God, the assurance of His inherent Godhead shall hold us fast to the certainty that God is One.

25. The sixth book reveals the full deceitfulness of this heretical teaching. To win credit for their assertions they denounce the impious doctrine of heretics:–of Valentinus, to wit, and Sabellius and Manichaeus and Hieracas, and appropriate the godly language of the Church as a cover for their blasphemy. They reprove and alter the language of these heretics, correcting it into a vague resemblance to orthodoxy, in order to suppress the holy faith while apparently denouncing heresy. But we state clearly what is the language and what the doctrine of each of these men, and acquit the Church of any complicity or fellowship with condemned heretics. Their words which deserve condemnation we condemn, and those which claim our humble acceptance we accept. Thus that Divine Sonship of Jesus Christ, which is the object of their most strenuous denial, we prove by the witness of the Father, by Christ’s own assertion, by the preaching of Apostles, by the faith of believers, by the cries of devils, by the contradiction of Jews, in itself a confession, by the recognition of the heathen who had not known God; and all this to rescue from dispute a truth of which Christ had left us no excuse for ignorance.

26. Next the seventh book, starting from the basis of a true faith now attained, delivers its verdict in the great debate. First, armed with its sound and incontrovertible proof of the impregnable faith, it takes part in the conflict raging between Sabellius and Hebion and these opponents of the true Godhead. It joins issue with Sabellius on his denial of the pre-existence of Christ, and with his assailants on their assertion that He is a creature. Sabellius overlooked the eternity of the Son, but believed that true God worked in a human body. Our present adversaries deny that He was born, assert that He was created, and fail to see in His deeds the works of very God. What both sides dispute, we believe. Sabellius denies that it was the Son who was working, and he is wrong; but he proves his case triumphantly when he alleges that the work done was that of true God. The Church shares his victory over those who deny that in Christ was very God. But when Sabellius denies that Christ existed before the worlds, his adversaries prove to conviction that Christ’s activity is from everlasting, and we are on their side in this confutation of Sabellius, who recognises true God, but not God the Son, in this activity. And our two previous adversaries join forces to refute Hebion, the second demonstrating the eternal existence of Christ, while the first proves that His work is that of very God. Thus the heretics overthrow one another, while the Church, as against Sabellius, against those who call Christ a creature, against Hebion, bears witness that the Lord Jesus Christ is very God of very God, born before the worlds and born in after times as man.

27. No one can doubt that we have taken the course of true reverence and of sound doctrine when, after proving from Law and Prophets first that Christ is the Son of God, and next that He is true God, and flits without breach of the mysterious unity, we proceed to support the Law and the Prophets by the evidence of the Gospels, and prove from them also that He is the Son of God and Himself very God. It is the easiest of tasks, after demonstrating His right to the Name of Son, to shew that the Name truly describes His relation to the Father; though indeed universal usage regards the granting of the name of son as convincing evidence of sonship. But, to leave no loophole for the trickery and deceit of these traducers of the true birth of God the Only-begotten, we have used His true Godhead as evidence of His true Sonship; to shew that He Who (as is confessed by all) bears the Name of Son of God is actually God, we have adduced His Name, His birth, His nature, His power, His assertions. We have proved that His Name is an accurate description of Himself, that the title of Son is an evidence of birth, that in His birth He retained His Divine Nature, and with His nature His power, and that that power manifested itself in conscious and deliberate self-revelation. I have set down the Gospel proofs of each several point, shewing how His self-revelation displays His power. how His power reveals His nature, how His nature is His by birthright, and from His birth comes His title to the name of Son. Thus every whisper of blasphemy is silenced, for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself by the witness of His own mouth has taught us that He is, as His Name, His birth, His nature, His power declare, in the true sense of Deity, very God of very God.

28. While its two predecessors have been devoted to the confirmation of the faith in Christ as Son of God and true God, the eighth book is taken up with the proof of the unity of God, shewing that this unity is consistent with the birth of the Son, and that the birth involves no duality in the Godhead. First it exposes the sophistry with which these heretics have attempted to avoid, though they could not deny, the confession of the real existence of God, Father and Son; it demolishes their helpless and absurd plea that in such passages as, And the multitude of them that believed were one soul and heart, and again, He that planteth and He that watereth are one, and Neither far these only do I pray, but for them also that shall believe on Me through their word, that they may all be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, a unity of will and mind, not of Divinity, is expressed. From a consideration of the true sense of these texts we shew that they involve the reality of the Divine birth; and then, displaying the whole series of our Lord’s self-revelations, we exhibit, in the language of Apostles and in the very words of the Holy Spirit, the whole and perfect mystery of the glory of God as Father and as Only-begotten Son. Because there is a Father we know that there is a Son; in that Son the Father is manifested to us, and hence our certainty that He is born the Only-begotten and that He is very God.

29. In matters essential to salvation it is not enough to advance the proofs which faith supplies and finds sufficient. Arguments which we have not tested may delude us into a misapprehension of the meaning of our own words, unless we take the offensive by exposing the hollowness of the enemy’s proofs, and so establish our own faith upon the demonstrated absurdity of his. The ninth book, therefore, is employed in refuting the arguments by which the heretics attempt to invalidate the birth of God the Only-begotten;–heretics who ignore the mystery of the revelation hidden from the beginning of the world, and forget that the Gospel faith proclaims the union of God and man. For their denial that our Lord Jesus Christ is God, like unto God and equal with God as Son with Father, born of God and by right of His birth subsisting as very Spirit, they are accustomed to appeal to such words of our Lord as, Why callest thou Me good? None is good save One, even God. They argue that by His reproof of the man who called Him good, and by His assertion of the goodness of God only, He excludes Himself from the goodness of that God Who alone is good and from that true Divinity which belongs only to One. With this text their blasphemous reasoning connects another, And this is life eternal that they should know Thee the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ. Here, they say, He confesses that the Father is the only true God, and that He Himself is neither true nor God, since this recognition of an only true God is limited to the Possessor of the attributes assigned. And they profess to be quite clear about His meaning in this passage, since He also says, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing. The fact that He can only copy is said to be evidence of the limitation of His nature. There can be no comparison between Omnipotence and One whose action is dependent upon the previous activity of Another reason itself draws an absolute line between power and the want of power. That line is so clear that He Himself has avowed concerning God the Father, The Father is greater than I. So frank a confession silences all demur; it is blasphemy and madness to assign the dignity and nature of Gaol to One who disclaims them. So utterly devoid is He of the qualities of true God that He actually bears witness concerning Himself, But of that day and hour knoweth no one, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but God only L A son who knows not his father’s secret must, from his ignorance, be alien from the father who knows; a nature limited in knowledge cannot partake of that majesty and might which alone is exempt from the tyranny of ignorance.

30. We therefore expose the blasphemous misunderstanding at which they have arrived by distortion and perversion of the meaning of Christ’s words. We account for those words by stating what manner of questions He was answering, at what times He was speaking, what partial knowledge He was deigning to impart; we make the circumstances explain the words, and do not force the former into consistency with the latter. Thus each case of variance, that for instance between The Father is greater than I, and I and the Father are One, or between None is good save One, even God, and He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also, or a difference so wide as that between Father, all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and That they may know Thee, the only, true God, or between I in the Father and the Father in Me, and But of the day and hour knoweth no one, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father only, is explained by a discrimination between gradual revelation and full expression of His nature and power. Both are utterances of the same Speaker, and an exposition of the real force of each group will shew that Christ’s true Godhead is no whir impaired because, to form the mystery of the Gospel faith, the birth and Name of Christ were revealed gradually, and under conditions which He chose of occasion and time.

31. The purpose of the tenth book is one in harmony with the faith. For since, in the folly which passes with them for wisdom, the heretics have twisted some Of the circumstances and utterances of the Passion into an insolent contradiction of the Divine nature and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am compelled to prove that this is a blasphemous misinterpretation, and that these things were put on record by the Lord Himself as evidences of His true and absolute majesty. In their parody of the faith they deceive themselves with words such as, My saul is sorrowful even unto death. He, they think, must be far removed from the blissful and passionless life of God, over Whose soul brooded this crushing fear of an impending woe, Who under the pressure of suffering even humbled Himself to pray, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me, and assuredly bore the appearance of fearing to endure the trials from which He prayed for release; Whose whole nature was so overwhelmed by agony that in those moments on the Cross He cried, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? forced by the bitterness of His pain to complain that He was forsaken: Who, destitute of the Father’s help, gave up the ghost with the words, Father; into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. The fear, they say, which beset Him at the moment of expiring made Him entrust His Spirit to the care of God the Father: the very hopelessness of His own condition forced Him to commit His Soul to the keeping of Another.

32. Their folly being as great as their blasphemy, they fail to mark that Christ’s words, spoken under similar circumstances, are always consistent; they cleave to the letter and ign re the purpose of His words. There is the widest difference between My soul is sorrowful even unto death, and Henceforth ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power so also between Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away, from Me, and The cup which the Father hath given Me, shall

I not drink it? and further between My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? and Verily I say unto thee, Today shall thou be with Me in Paradise, and between Father into Thy hands I commend My Spirit, and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do; and their narrow minds, unable to grasp the Divine meaning, plunge into blasphemy in the attempt at explanation. There is a broad distinction between anxiety and a mind at ease, between haste and the prayer for delay, between words of anguish and words of encouragement, between despair for self and confident entreaty for others; and the heretics display their impiety by ignoring the assertions of Deity and the Divine nature of Christ, which account for the one class, of His words, while they concentrate their attention upon the deeds and words which refer only to His ministry on earth. I have therefore set out all the elements contained in the mystery of the Soul and Body of the Lord Jesus Christ; all have been sought out, none suppressed. Next, casting the calm light of reason upon the question, I have referred each of His sayings to the class to which its meaning attaches it, and so have shewn that He had also a confidence which never wavered a will which never faltered, an assurance which never murmured, that, when He commended His own soul to the Father, in this was involved a prayer for the pardon of others. Thus a complete presentment of the teaching of the Gospel interprets and confirms all (and not some only) of the words of Christ.

33. And so–for not even the glory of the Resurrection has opened the eyes of these lost men and kept them within the manifest bounds of the faith–they have forged a weapon for their blasphemy out of a pretended reverence, and even perverted the revelation of a mystery into an insult to God. From the words, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to My God and your God, they argue that since that Father is ours as much as His, and that God also ours and His, His own confession that He shares with us in that relation to the Father and to God excludes Him from true Divinity, and subordinates Him to God the Creator Whose creature and inferior He is, as we are, although He has received the adoption of a Son. Nay more, we must not suppose that He possesses any of the characters of the Divine nature, since the Apostle says, But when He saith, all things are put in subjection, this is except Him Who did subject all things unto Him, for when all things shall have been subjected unto Him, then shall also He Himself be subjected to Him that did subject all things unto Him, that God may be all in all. For, so they say, subjection is evidence of want of power in the subject and of its possession by the sovereign. The eleventh book is employed in a reverent discussion of this argument; it proves from these very words of the Apostle not only that subjection is no evidence of want of power in Christ but that it actually is a sign of His true Divinity as God the Son; that the fact that His Father and God is also our Father and God is an infinite advantage to us and no degradation to Him, since He Who has been born as Man and suffered all the afflictions of our flesh has gone up on high to our God and Father, to receive His glory as Man our Representative.

34. In this treatise we have followed the course which we know is pursued in every branch of education. First come easy lessons and a familiarity, slowly attained by practice, with the groundwork of the subject; then the student may make proof, in the business of life, of the training which he has received. Thus the soldier, when he is perfect in his exercises, can go out to battle; the advocate ventures into the conflicts of the courts when he is versed in the pleadings of the school of rhetoric; the sailor who has learned to navigate his ship in the land-locked harbour of his home may be trusted amid the storms of open seas and distant climes. Such has been our proceeding in this most serious and difficult science in which the whole faith is taught. First came simple instruction for the untaught believer in the birth, the name, the Divinity, the true Divinity of Christ; since then we have quietly and steadily advanced till our readers can demolish every plea or the heretics; and now at last we have pitted them against the adversary in the present great and glorious conflict. The mind of men is powerless with the ordinary resources of unaided reason to grasp the idea of an eternal birth, but they attain by study of things Divine to the apprehension of mysteries which lie beyond the range of common thought. They can explode that paradox concerning the Lord Jesus, which derives all its strength and semblance of cogency from a purblind pagan philosophy: the paradox which asserts, There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was barn, and He was made out of nothing; as though His birth were proof that He had previously been non-existent and at a given moment came into being, and God the Only-begotten could thus be subjected to the conception of time, as if the faith itself [by conferring the title of ‘Son’] and the very nature of birth proved that there was a time when He was not. Accordingly they argue that He was born out of nothing, on the ground that birth implies the grant of being to that which previously had no being. We proclaim in answer, on the evidence of Apostles and Evangelists, that the Father is eternal and the Son eternal, and demonstrate that the Son is God of all with an absolute, not a limited, pre-existence; that these bold assaults of their blasphemous logic–He was born out of nothing, and He was not before He was barn–are powerless against Him; that His eternity is consistent with sonship, and His sonship with eternity; that there was in Him no unique exemption from birth but a birth from everlasting, for, while birth implies a Father, Divinity is inseparable from eternity.

35. Ignorance of prophetic diction and unskilfulness in interpreting Scripture has led them into a perversion of the point and meaning of the passage, The Lord created Me far a beginning of His ways for His works. They labour to establish from it that Christ is created, rather than born, as God, and hence partakes the nature of created beings, though He excel them in the manner of His creation, and has no glory of Divine birth but only the powers of a transcendent creature. We in reply, without importing any new considerations or preconceived opinions, will make this very passage of Wisdom display its own true meaning and object. We will show that the fact that He was created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works, cannot be twisted into evidence concerning the Divine and eternal birth, because creation for these purposes and birth from everlasting are two entirely different things. Where birth is meant, there birth, and nothing but birth, is spoken of; where creation is mentioned, the cause of that creation is first named. There is a Wisdom born before all things, and again there is a wisdom created for particular purposes; the Wisdom which is from everlasting is one, the wisdom which has come into existence during the lapse of time is another.

36. Having thus concluded that we must reject the word ‘creation’ from our confession of faith in God the Only-begotten, we proceed to lay down the teachings of reason and of piety concerning the Holy Spirit, that the reader, whose convictions have been established by patient and earnest study of the preceding books, may be provided with a complete presentation of the faith. This end will be attained when the blasphemies of heretical teaching on this theme also have been swept away, and the mystery, pure and undefiled, of the Trinity which regenerates us has been fixed in terms of saving precision on the authority of Apostles and Evangelists. Men will no longer dare, on the strength of mere human reasoning, to rank among creatures that Divine Spirit, Whom we receive as the pledge of immortality and source of fellowship with the sinless nature of God.

37. I know, O Lord God Almighty, that I owe Thee, as the chief duty of my life, the devotion of all my words and thoughts to Thyself. The gift of speech which Thou hast bestowed can bring me no higher reward than the opportunity of service in preaching Thee and displaying Thee as Thou art, as Father and Father of God the Only-begotten, to the world in its blindness and the heretic in his rebellion. But this is the mere expression of my own desire; I must pray also for the gift of Thy help and compassion, that the breath of Thy Spirit may fill the sails of faith and confession which I have spread, and a favouring wind be sent to forward me on my voyage of instruction. We can trust the promise of Him Who said, Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you; and we in our want shall pray for the things we need. We shall bring an untiring energy to the study of Thy Prophets and Apostles, and we shall knock for entrance at every gate of hidden knowledge, but it is Thine to answer the prayer, to grant the thing we seek, to open the door on which we beat. Our minds are born with dull and clouded vision, our feeble intellect is penned within the barriers of an impassable ignorance concerning things Divine; but the study of Thy revelation elevates our soul to the comprehension of sacred truth, and submission to the faith is the path to a certainty beyond the reach of unassisted reason.

38. And therefore we look to Thy support for the first trembling steps of this undertaking, to Thy aid that it may gain strength and prosper. We look to Thee to give us the fellowship of that Spirit Who guided the Prophets and the Apostles, that we may take their words in the sense in which they spoke and assign its right shade of meaning to every utterance. For we shall speak of things which they preached in a mystery; of Thee, O God Eternal, Father of the Eternal and Only-begotten God, Who alone art without birth, and of the One Lord Jesus Christ, born of Thee from everlasting. We may not sever Him from Thee, or make Him one of a plurality of Gods, on any plea of difference of nature. We may not say that He is not begotten of Thee, because Thou art One. We must not fail to confess Him as true God, seeing that He is born of Thee, true God, His Father. Grant us, therefore, precision of language, soundness of argument, grace of style, loyalty to truth. Enable us to utter the things that we believe, that so we may confess, as Prophets and Apostles have taught us, Thee, One God our Father, and One Lord Jesus Christ, and put to silence the gainsaying of heretics, proclaiming Thee as God, yet not solitary, and Him as God, in no unreal sense.

Book 2 (back to top)

1. BELIEVERS have always found their satisfaction in that Divine utterance, which our ears heard recited from the Gospel at the moment when that Power, which is its attestation, was bestowed upon us:–Go now and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I command you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. What element in the mystery of man’s salvation is not included in those words? What is forgotten, what left in darkness? All is full, as from the Divine fulness; perfect, as from the Divine perfection. The passage contains the exact words to be used, the essential acts, the sequence of processes, an insight into the Divine nature. He bade them baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is with confession of the Creator and of the Only-begotten, and of the Gift. For God the Father is One, from Whom are all things; and our Lord Jesus Christ the Only-begotten, through Whom are all things, is One; and the Spirit, God’s Gift to us, Who pervades all things, is also One. Thus all are ranged according to powers possessed and benefits conferred;–the One Power from Whom all, the One Offspring through Whom all, the One Gilt Who gives us perfect hope. Nothing can be found lacking in that supreme Union which embraces, in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, infinity in the Eternal, His Likeness in His express Image, our enjoyment of Him in the Gift.

2. But the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.

3. For there have risen many who have given to the plain words of Holy Writ some arbitrary interpretation of their own, instead of its true anti only sense, and this in defiance of the clear meaning of words. Heresy lies in the sense assigned, not in the word written; the guilt is that of the expositor, not of the text. Is not truth indestructible? When we hear the name Father, is not sonship involved in that Name? The Holy Ghost is mentioned by name; must He not exist? We can no more separate fatherhood from the Father or sonship from the Son than we can deny the existence in the Holy Ghost of that gift which we receive. Yet men of distorted mind plunge the whole matter in doubt and difficulty, fatuously reversing the clear meaning of words, and depriving the Father of His fatherhood because they wish to strip the Son of His sonship. They take away the fatherhood by asserting that the Son is not a Son by nature; for a son is not of the nature of his father when begetter and begotten have not the same properties, and he is no son whose being is different from that of the father, and unlike it. Yet in what sense is God a Father (as He is), if He have not begotten in His Son that same substance and nature which are His own?

4. Since, therefore, they cannot make any change in the facts recorded, they bring novel principles and theories of man’s device to bear upon them. Sabellius, for instance, makes the Son an extension of the Father, and the faith in this regard a matter of words rather than of reality, for he makes one and the same Person, Son to Himself and also Father. Hebion allows no beginning to the Son of God except from Mary, and represents Him not as first God and then man. but as first man then God; declares that the Virgin did not receive into herself One previously existent, Who had been in the beginning God the Word dwelling with God, but that through the agency of the Word she bore Flesh; the ‘Word’ meaning in his opinion not the nature of the pre-existent Only-begotten God, but only the sound of an uplifted voice. Similarly certain teachers of our present day assert that the Image and Wisdom and Power of God was produced out of nothing, and in time. They do this to save God, regarded as Father of the Son, from being lowered to the Son’s level. They are fearful lest this birth of the Son from Him should deprive Him of His glory, and therefore come to God’s rescue by styling His Son a creature made out of nothing, in order that God may live on in solitary perfection without a Son born of Himself and partaking His nature. What wonder that their doctrine of the Holy Ghost should be different from ours, when they presume to subject the Giver of that Holy Ghost to creation, and change, and non-existence. Thus do they destroy the consistency and completeness of the mystery of the faith. They break up the absolute unity of God by assigning differences of nature where all is clearly common to Each; they deny the Father by robbing he Son of His true Sonship; they deny the Holy Ghost in their blindness to the facts that we possess Him and that Christ gave Him. They betray ill-trained souls to ruin by their boast of the logical perfection of their doctrine; they deceive their hearers by emptying terms of their meaning, through the Names remain to witness to the truth. I pass over the pitfalls of other heresies, Valentinian, Marcionite, Manichee and the rest. From time to time they catch the attention of some foolish souls and prove fatal by the very infection of their contact; one plague as destructive as another when once the poison of their teaching has found its way into the hearer’s thoughts.

5. Their treason involves us in the difficult and dangerous position of having to make a definite pronouncement, beyond the statements of Scripture, upon this grave and abstruse matter. The Lord said that the nations were to be baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The words of the faith are clear; the heretics do their utmost to involve the meaning in doubt. We may not on this account add to the appointed form, yet we must set a limit to their license of interpretation. Since their malice, inspired by the devil’s cunning, empties the doctrine of its meaning while it retains the Names which convey the truth, we must emphasise the truth which those Names convey. We must proclaim, exactly as we shall find them in the words of Scripture, the majesty and functions of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and so debar the heretics from robbing these Names of their connotation of Divine character, and compel them by means of these very Names to confine their use of terms to their proper meaning. I cannot conceive what manner of mind our opponents have, who pervert the truth, darken the light, divide the indivisible rend the scatheless, dissolve the perfect unity. It may seem to them a light thing to tear up Perfection, to make laws for Omnipotence, to limit Infinity; as for me, the task of answering them fills me with anxiety; my brain whirls, my intellect is stunned, my very words must be a confession, not that I am weak of utterance, but that I am dumb. Yet a wish to undertake the task forces itself upon me; it means withstanding the proud, guiding the wanderer, warning the ignorant. But the subject is inexhaustible; I can see no limit to my venture of speaking concerning God in terms more precise than He Himself has used. He has assigned the Names–Father, Son and Holy Ghost,–which are our information of the Divine nature. Words cannot express or feeling embrace or reason apprehend the re suits of enquiry carried further; all is ineffable, unattainable, incomprehensible. Language is exhausted by the magnitude of the theme, the splendour of its effulgence blinds the gazing eye, the intellect cannot compass its boundless extent. Still, under the necessity that is laid upon us, with a prayer for pardon to Him Whose attributes these are, we will venture, enquire and speak; and moreover–it is the only promise that in so grave a matter we dare to make–we will accept whatever conclusion He shall indicate.

6. It is the Father to Whom all existence owes its origin. In Christ and through Christ He is the source of all. In contrast to all else He is self-existent. He does not draw His being from without, but possesses it from Himself and in Himself. He is infinite, for nothing contains Him and He contains all things; He is eternally unconditioned by space, for He is illimitable; eternally anterior to time, for time is His creation. Let imagination range to what you may suppose is God’s utmost limit, and you will find Him present there; strain as you will there is always a further horizon towards which to strain. Infinity is His property, just as the power of making such effort is yours. Words will fail you, but His being will not be circumscribed. Or again, turn back the pages of history, and you will find Him ever present; should numbers fail to express the antiquity to which you have penetrated, yet God’s eternity is not diminished. Gird up your intellect to comprehend Him as a whole; He eludes you, God, as a whole, has left something within your grasp, but this something is inextricably involved in His entirety. Thus you have missed the whole, since it is only a part which remains in your hands; nay, not even a part, for you are dealing with a whole which you have failed to divide. For a part implies division, a whole is undivided, and God is everywhere and wholly present wherever He is.

Reason, therefore, cannot cope with Him, since no point of contemplation can be found outside Himself and since eternity is eternally His. This is a true statement of the mystery of that unfathomable nature which is expressed by the Name ‘Father:’ God invisible, ineffable, infinite. Let us confess by our silence that words cannot describe Him; let sense admit that it is foiled in the attempt to apprehend, and reason in the effort to define. Yet He has, as we said, in ‘Father’ a name to indicate His nature; He is a Father unconditioned. He does not, as men do, receive the power of paternity from an external source. He is unbegotten, everlasting, inherently eternal. To the Son only is He known, for no one knoweth the Father save the Son and him to whom the Son willeth to reveal Him, nor yet the Son save the Father. Each has perfect and complete knowledge of the Other. Therefore, since no one knoweth the Father save the Son, let our thoughts of the Father be at one with the thoughts of the Son, the only faithful Witness, Who reveals Him to us.

7. It is easier for me to feel this concerning the Father than to say it. I am well aware that no words are adequate to describe His attributes. We must feel that He is invisible, incomprehensible, eternal. But to say that He is self-existent and self-originating and self-sustained, that He is invisible and incomprehensible and immortal; all this is an acknowledgment of His glory, a hint of our meaning, a sketch of our thoughts, but speech is powerless to tell us what God is, words cannot express the reality. You hear that He is self-existent; human reason cannot explain such independence. We can find objects which uphold, and objects which are upheld, but that which thus exists is obviously distinct from that which is the cause of its existence. Again, if you hear that He is self-originating, no instance can be found in which the giver of the gift of life is identical with the life that is given. If you hear that He is immortal, then there is something which does not spring from Him and with which He has, by His very nature, no contact; and, indeed, death is not the only thing which this word ‘immortal’ claims as independent of God. If you hear that He is incomprehensible, that is as much as to say that He is non-existent, since contact with Him is impossible. If you say that He is invisible, a being that does not visibly exist cannot be sure of its own existence. Thus our confession of God fails through the defects of language; the best combination of words we can devise cannot indicate the reality and the greatness of God. The perfect knowledge of God is so to know Him that we are sure we must not be ignorant of Him, yet cannot describe Him. We must believe, must apprehend, must worship; and such acts of devotion must stand in lieu of definition.

8. We have now exchanged the perils of a harbourless coast for the storms of the open sea. We can neither safely advance nor safely retreat, yet the way that lies before us has greater hardships than that which lies behind. The Father is what He is, and as He is manifested, so we must believe. The mind shrinks in dread from treating of the Son; at every word I tremble lest I be betrayed into treason. For He is the Offspring of the Unbegotten, One from One, true from true, living from living, perfect from perfect; the Power of Power, the Wisdom of Wisdom, the Glory of Glory, the Likeness of the invisible God, the ImageUnbegotten Father. Yet in what sense can we conceive that the Only-begotten is the Offspring of the Unbegotten? Repeatedly the Father cries from heaven, This is My beloved Son in Whom I well pleased. It is no rending or severance, for He that begat is without passions, and He that was born is the Image of the invisible God and bears witness, The Father is in Me and I in the Father. It is no mere adoption, for He is the true Son of God and cries, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. Nor did He come into existence in obedience to a command as did created things, for He is the Only-begotten of the One God; and He has life in Himself, even as He that begot Him has life, for He says, As the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son to have life in Himself. Nor is there a portion of the Father resident in the Son, for the Son bears witness, All things that the Father hath are Mine, and again, And all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and the Apostle testifies, For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and by the nature of things a portion cannot possess the whole. He is the perfect Son of the perfect Father, for He Who has all has given all to Him. Yet we must not imagine that the

Father did not give, because He still possesses, or that He has lost, because He gave to the Son.

9. The manner of this birth is therefore a secret confined to the Two. If any one lays upon his personal incapacity his failure to solve the mystery, ill spite of the certainty that Father and Son stand to Each Other in those relations, he will be still more pained at the ignorance to which I confess. I, too, am in the dark, yet I ask no questions. I look for comfort to the fact that Archangels share my ignorance, that Angels have not heard the explanation, and worlds do not contain it, that no prophet has espied it and no Apostle sought for it, that the Son Himself has not revealed it. Let such pitiful complaints cease. Whoever you are that search into these mysteries, I do not bid you resume your exploration of height and breadth and depth; I ask you rather to acquiesce patiently in your ignorance of the mode of Divine generation, seeing that you know not how His creatures come into existence. Answer me this one question:–Do your senses give you any evidence that you yourself were begotten? Can you explain the process by which you became a father? I do not ask whence you drew perception, how you obtained life, whence your reason comes, what is the nature of your senses of smell, touch, sight, hearing; the fact that we have the use of all these is the evidence that they exist. What I ask is:–How do you give them to your children? How do you ingraft the senses, lighten the eyes, implant tile mind? Tell me, if you can. You have, then, powers which you do not understand, you impart gifts which you cannot comprehend. You are calmly indifferent to the mysteries of your own being, profanely impatient of ignorance concerning the mysteries of God’s.

10. Listen then to the Unbegotten Father, listen to the Only-begotten Son. Hear His words, The Father is greater than I, and I and the Father are One, and He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also, and The Father is in Me and I in the Father, and I went out from the Fathers, and Who is in the bosom of the Father, and Whatsoever the Father hath He hath delivered to the Son, and The Son hath life in Himself, even as the Father hath in Himself. Hear in these words the Son, the Image, the Wisdom, the Power, the Glory of God. Next mark the Holy Ghost proclaiming Who shall declare His generation? Note the Lord’s assurance, No one knoweth the Son save the Father, neither doth any know the Father save the Son and He to whom the Son willeth to reveal Him, Penetrate into the mystery, plunge into the darkness which shrouds that birth, where you will be alone with God the Unbegotten and God the Only-begotten. Make your start, continue, persevere. I know that you will not reach the goal, but I shall rejoice at your progress. For He who devoutly treads an endless road, though he reach no conclusion, will profit by his exertions. Reason will fail for want of words, but when it comes to a stand it will be the better for the effort made.

11. The Son draws His life from that Father Who truly has life; the Only begotten from the Unbegotten, Offspring from Parent, Living from Living. As the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself. The Son is perfect from Him that is perfect, for He is whole from Him that is whole. This is no division or severance, for Each is in the Other, and the fulness of the Godhead is in the Son. Incomprehensible is begotten of Incomprehensible, for none else knows Them, but Each knows the Other; Invisible is begotten of Invisible, for the Son is the Image of the invisible God, and he that has seen the Son has seen the Father also. There is a distinction, for They are Father and Son; not that Their Divinity is different in kind, for Both are One, God of God, One God Only begotten of One God Unbegotten. They are not two Gods, but One of One; not two Unbegotten, for the Son is born of the Unborn. There is no diversity, for the life of the living God is in the living Christ. So much I have resolved to say concerning the nature of their Divinity not imagining that I have succeeded in making a summary of the faith, but recognising that the theme is inexhaustible. So faith, you object, has no service to render, since there is nothing that it can comprehend. Not so; the proper service of faith is to grasp and confess the truth that it is incompetent to comprehend its Object.

12. It remains to say something more concerning the mysterious generation of the Son; or rather this something more is everything. I quiver, I linger, my powers fail, I know not where to begin. I cannot tell the time of the Son’s birth; it were impious not to be certain of the fact. Whom shall I entreat? Whom shall I call to my aid? From what books shall I borrow the terms needed to state so hard a problem? Shall I ransack the philosophy of Greece? No! I have read, Where is the wise? Where is the enquirer of this world? In this matter, then, the world’s philosophers, the wise men of paganism, are dumb: for they have rejected the wisdom of God. Shall I turn to the Scribe of the law? He is in darkness, for the Cross of Christ is an offence to him. Shall I, perchance, bid you shut your eyes to heresy, and pass it by in silence, on the ground that sufficient reverence is shown to Him Whom we preach if we believe that lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the lame ran, the palsied stood, the blind (in general) received sight, the blind from his birth had eyes given to him, devils were routed, the sick recovered, the dead lived. The heretics confess all this, and perish.

13. Look now to see a thing not less miraculous than lame men running, blind men seeing, the flight of devils, the life from the dead. There stands by my side, to guide me through the difficulties which I have enunciated, a poor fisherman, ignorant, uneducated, fishing-lines in hand, clothes dripping, muddy feet, every inch a sailor. Consider and decide whether it were the greater feat to raise the dead or impart to an untrained mind the knowledge of mysteries so deep as he reveals by saying, In the beginning was the Word. What means this In the beginning was? He ranges backward over the spaces of time, centuries are left behind, ages are cancelled. Fix in your mind what date you will for this beginning; you miss the mark, for even then He, of Whom we are speaking, was. Survey the universe, note well what is written of it, In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. This word beginning fixes the moment of creation; you can assign its date to an event which is definitely stated to have happened in the beginning. But this fisherman of mine, unlettered and unread, is untrammelled by time, undaunted by its immensity; he pierces beyond the beginning. For his was has no limit of time and no commencement; the uncreated Word was in the beginning.

14. But perhaps we shall find that our fisherman has been guilty of departure from the terms of the problem proposed for solution. He has set the Word free from the limitations of time; that which is free lives its own life and is bound to no obedience. Let us, therefore, pay our best attention to what follows:–And the Word was with God. We find that it is with God that the Word, Which was before the beginning, exists unconditioned by time. The Word, Which was, is with God. He Who is absent when we seek for His or gin in time is present all the while with the Creator of time. For this once our fisherman has escaped; perhaps he will succumb to the difficulties which await him.

15. For you will plead that a word is the sound of a voice; that it is a naming of things. an utterance of thoughts. This Word was with God, and was in the beginning; the expression of the eternal Thinker’s thoughts must be eternal. For the present I will give you a brief answer of my own on the fisherman’s behalf, till we see what defence he has to make for his own simplicity. The nature, then, of a word is that it is first a potentiality, afterwards a past event; an existing thing only while it is being heard. How can we say, In the beginning was the Word, when a word neither exists before, nor lives after, a definite point of time? Can we even say that there is a point of time in which a word exists? Not only are the words in a speaker’s mouth non-existent until they are spoken, and perished the instant they are uttered, but even in the moment of utterance there is a change from the sound which commences to that which ends a word. Such is the reply that suggests itself to me as a bystander. But your opponent the Fisherman has an answer of his own. He will begin by reproving you for your inattention. Even though your unpractised ear failed to catch the first clause, In the beginning was the Word, why complain of the next, And the Word was with God? Was it And the Word was in God that you heard,–the dictum of some profound philosophy? Or is it that your provincial dialect makes no distinction between in and with? The assertion is that Which was in the beginning was with, not in, Another. But I will not argue from the beginning of the sentence; the sequel can take care of itself. Hear now the rank and the name of the Word:–And the Word was God. Your plea that the Word is the sound of a voice, the utterance of a thought, falls to the ground. The Word is a reality, not a sound, a Being, not a speech, God, not a nonentity.

16. But I tremble to say it; the audacity staggers me. I hear, And the Word was God; I, whom the prophets have taught that God is One. To save me from further fears, give me, friend Fisherman, a fuller imparting of this great mystery. Show that these assertions are consistent with the unity of God; that there is no blasphemy in them, no explaining away, no denial of eternity. He continues, He was in the beginning with God. This He was in the beginning removes the limit of time; the word God shows that He is more than a voice; that He is with God proves that He neither encroaches nor is encroached upon, for His identity is not swallowed up in that of Another, and He is clearly stated to be present with the One Unbegotten God as God, His One and Only-begotten Son.

17. We are still waiting, Fisherman, for your full description of the Word. He was in the beginning, it may be said, but perhaps He was not before the beginning. To this also I will furnish a reply on my Fisherman’s behalf. The Word could not be other than He was; that was is unconditional and unlimited. But what says the Fisherman for himself? All things were made through Him. Thus, since nothing exists apart from Him through Whom the universe came into being, He, the Author of all things, must have an immeasurable existence. For time is a cognisable and divisible measure of extension, not in space, but in duration. All things are from Him, without exception; time then itself is His creature.

18. But, my Fisherman, the objection will be raised that you are reckless and extravagant in your language; that All things were made through Him needs qualification. There is the Unbegotten, made of none; there is also the Son, begotten of the Unborn Father. This All things is an unguarded statement, admitting no exceptions. While we are silent, not daring to answer or trying to think of some reply, do you break in with, And without film was nothing made. You have restored the Author of the Godhead to His place, while proclaiming that He has a Companion. From your saying that nothing was made without Him, I learn that He was not alone. He through Whom the work was done is One; He without Whom it was not done is Another: a distinction is drawn between Creator and Companion.

19. Reverence for the One Unbegotten Creator distressed me, lest in your sweeping assertion that all things were made by the Word you had included Him. You have banished my fears by your Without Him was nothing made. Yet this same Without Him was nothing made brings trouble and distraction. There was, then, something made by that Other; not made, it is true, without Him. If the Other did make anything, even though the Word were present at the making, then it is untrue that through Him all things were made. It is one thing to be the Creator’s Companion, quite another to be the Creator’s Self. I could find answers of my own to the previous objections; in this case, Fisherman, I can only turn at once to your words, All things were made through Him. And now I understand, for the Apostle has enlightened me:–Things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all are through Him and in Him..

20. Since, then, all things were made through Him, come to our help and tell us what it was that was made not without Him. That which was made in Him is life. That which was made in Him was certainly not made without Him; for that which was made in Him was also made through Him. All things were created in Him and through Him. They were created in Him, for He was born as God the Creator. Again, nothing that was made in Him was made without Him, for the reason that God the Begotten was life, and was born as Life, not made life after His birth; for there are not two elements in Him, one inborn and one afterwards conferred. There is no interval in His case between birth and maturity. None of the things that were created in Him was made without Him, for He is the Life which made their creation possible. Moreover God, the Son of God, became God by virtue of His birth, not after He was born. Being born the Living from the Living, the True from the True, the Perfect from the Perfect, He was born in full possession of His powers. He needed not to learn in after time what His birth was, but was conscious of His Godhead by the very fact that He was born as God of God. I and the Father are One, are the words of the Only-begotten Son of the Unbegotten. It is the voice of the One God proclaiming Himself to be Father and Son; Father speaking in the Son and Son in the Father. Hence also He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also; hence All that the Father hath, He hath given to the Son; hence As the Father hath life in Himself so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; hence No one knoweth the Father save the Son, nor the Son save the Father; hence In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

21. This Life is the Light of men, the Light which lightens the darkness. To comfort us for that powerlessness to describe His generation of which the prophet speaks, the Fisherman adds, And the darkness comprehended Him not. The language of unaided reason was baffled and silenced; the Fisherman who lay on tile bosom of the Lord was taught to express the mystery. His language is not the world’s language, for He deals with things that are not of the world. Let us know what it is, if there be any teaching that you can extract from his words, more than their plain sense conveys; if you can translate into other terms the truth we have elicited, publish them abroad. If there be none–indeed, because there are none–let us accept with reverence this teaching of the fisherman, and recognise in his words the oracles of God. Let us cling in adoration to the true confession of Father and Son, Unbegotten and Only-begotten ineffably, Whose majesty defies all expression and all perception. Let us, like John, lie on the bosom of the Lord Jesus, that we too may understand and proclaim the mystery.

22. This faith, and every part of it, is impressed upon us by the evidence of the Gospels, by the teaching of the Apostles, by the futility of the treacherous attacks which heretics make on every side. The foundation stands firm and unshaken in face of winds and rains and torrents; storms cannot overthrow it, nor dripping waters hollow it, nor floods sweep it away. Its excellence is proved by the failure of countless assaults to impair it. Certain remedies are so compounded as to be of value not merely against some single disease but against all; they are of universal efficacy. So it is with the Catholic faith. It is not a medicine for some special malady, but for every ill; virulence cannot master, nor numbers defeat, nor complexity baffle it. One and unchanging it faces and conquers all its foes. Marvellous it is that one form of words should contain a remedy for every disease, a statement of truth to confront every contrivance of falsehood. Let heresy muster its forces and every sect come forth to battle. Let our answer to their challenge be that there is One Unbegotten God the Father, and One Only-begotten Son of God, perfect Offspring of perfect Parent; that the Sun was begotten by no lessening of the Father or subtraction from His Substance, but that He Who possesses all things begot an all-possessing Son; a Son not emanating nor proceeding from the Father, but compact of, and inherent in, the whole Divinity, of Him Who wherever He is present is present eternally; One free from time, unlimited in duration, since by Him all things were mode, and, indeed, He could not be confined within a limit created by Himself. Such is the Catholic and Apostolic Faith which the Gospel has taught us and we avow.

23. Let Sabellius, if he dare, confound Father and Son as two names with one meaning, making of them not Unity but One Person. He shall have a prompt answer from the Gospels, not once or twice, but often repeated, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. He shall hear the words, The Father is greater than I, and I go to the Father, and Father, I thank Thee, and Glorify Me, Father, and Thou art the Son of the living God. Let Hebion try to sap the faith, who allows the Son of God no life before the Virgin’s womb, and sees in Him the Word only after His life as flesh had begun. We will bid him read again, Father, glorify Me with Thine own Self with that glory which I had with Thee before the world was, and In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and All things were made through Him, and He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world knew Him not. Let the preachers whose apostleship is of the newest fashion–an apostleship of Antichrist–come forward and pour their mockery and insult upon the Son of God. They must hear, I came out from the Father and The Son in the Father’s bosom, and I and the Father are One, and I in the Father, and the Father in Me. And lastly, if they be wrath, as the Jews were, that Christ should claim God for His own Father, making Himself equal with God, they must take the answer which He gave the Jews, Believe My works, that the Father is in Me and I in the Father. Thus our one immovable foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, is the confession from Peter’s mouth, Thou art the Son of the living God. On it we can base an answer to every objection with which perverted ingenuity or embittered treachery may assail the truth.

24. In what remains we have the appointment of the Father’s will. The Virgin, the birth, the Body, then the Cross, the death, the visit to the lower world; these things are our salvation. For the sake of mankind the Son of God was born of tile Virgin and of the Holy Ghost. In this process He ministered to Himself; by His own power–the power of God–which overshadowed her He sowed the beginning of His Body, and entered on the first stage of His life in the flesh. He did it that by His Incarnation He might take to Himself from the Virgin the fleshly nature, and that through this commingling there might come into being a hallowed Body of all humanity; that so through that Body which He was pleased to assume all mankind might be hid in Him, and He in return, through His unseen existence, be reproduced in all. Thus the invisible Image of God scorned not the shame which marks the beginnings of human life. He passed through every stage; through conception, birth, wailing, cradle and each successive humiliation.

25. What worthy return can we make for so great a condescension? The One Only-begotten God, ineffably born of God, entered the Virgin’s womb and grew and took the frame of poor humanity. He Who upholds the universe, within Whom and through Whom are all things, was brought forth by common childbirth; He at Whose voice Archangels and Angels tremble, and heaven and earth and all the elements of this world are melted, was heard in childish wailing. The Invisible and Incomprehensible, Whom sight and feeling and touch cannot gauge, was wrapped in a cradle. If any man deem all this unworthy of God, the greater must he own his debt for the benefit conferred the less such condescension befits the majesty of God. He by Whom man was made had nothing to gain by becoming Man; it was our gain that God was incarnate and dwelt among us, making all flesh His home by taking upon Him the flesh of One. We were raised because He was lowered; shame to Him was glory to us. He, being God, made flesh His residence, and we in return are lifted anew from the flesh to God.

26. But lest perchance fastidious minds be exercised by cradle and wailing, birth and conception, we must render to God the glory which each of these contains, that we may approach His self-abasement with souls duly filled with His claim to reign, and not forget His majesty in His condescension. Let us note, therefore, who were attendant on His conception. All Angel speaks to Zacharias; fertility is given to the barren; the priest comes forth dumb from the place of incense; John bursts forth into speech while yet confined within his mother’s womb; an Angel blesses Mary and promises that she, a virgin, shall be the mother of the Son of God. Conscious of her virginity, she is distressed at this hard thing; the Angel explains to her the mighty working of God, saying, The Holy Ghost shall come from above into thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. The Holy Ghost, descending from above, hallowed the Virgin’s womb, and breathing therein (for The Spirit bloweth where it listeth), mingled Himself with the fleshly nature of man, and annexed by force and might that foreign domain. And, lest through weakness of the human structure failure should ensue, the power of the Most High overshadowed the Virgin, strengthening her feebleness in semblance of a cloud east round her, that the shadow, which was the might of God, might fortify her bodily frame to receive the procreative power of the Spirit. Such is the glory of the conception.

27. And now let us consider the glory which accompanies the birth, the wailing and the cradle. The Angel tells Joseph that the Virgin shall bear a Son, and that Son shall be named Emmanuel, that is, God with us. The Spirit foretells it through the prophet, the Angel bears witness; He that is born is God with us. The light of a new star shines forth for the Magi; a heavenly sign escorts the Lord of heaven. An Angel brings to the shepherds the news that Christ the Lord is born, the Saviour of the world. A multitude of the heavenly host flock together to sing the praise of that childbirth; the rejoicing of the Divine company proclaims the fulfilment of the mighty work. Then glory to God in heaven, and peace an earth to men of good will is announced. And now the Magi come and worship Him wrapped in swaddling clothes; after a life devoted to mystic rites of vain philosophy they bow the knee before a Babe laid in His cradle. Thus the Magi stoop to reverence the infirmities of Infancy; its cries are saluted by the heavenly joy of angels; the Spirit Who inspired the prophet, the heralding Angel, the light of the new star, all minister around Him. In such wise was it that the Holy Ghost’s descent and the overshadowing power of the Most High brought Him to His birth. The inward reality is widely different from the outward appearance; the eye sees one thing, the soul another. A virgin bears; her child is of God. An Infant wails; angels are heard in praise. There are coarse swaddling clothes; God is being worshipped. The glory of His Majesty is not forfeited when He assumes the lowliness of flesh.

28. So was it also during His further life on earth. The whole time which He passed in human form was spent upon the works of God. I have no space for details; it must suffice to say that in all the varied acts of power and healing which He wrought, the fact is conspicuous that He was man by virtue of the flesh He had taken, God by the evidence of the works He did.

29. Concerning the Holy Spirit I ought not to be silent, and yet I have no need to speak; still, for the sake of those who are in ignorance, I cannot refrain. There is no need to speak, because we are bound to confess Him, proceeding, as He does, from Father and Son. For my own part, I think it wrong to discuss the question of His existence. He does exist, inasmuch as He is given, received, retained; He is joined with Father and Son in our confession of the faith, and cannot he excluded from a true confession of Father and Son; take away a part, and the whole faith is marred. If any man demand what meaning we attach to this conclusion, he, as well as we, has read the words of the Apostle, Because ye are sons of God, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father, and Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom ye have been sealed, and again, But we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are given unto us by Gad, and also But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God is in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is not His, and further, But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies for the sake of His Spirit which dwelleth in you. Wherefore since He is, and is given, and is possessed, and is of God, let His traducers take refuge in silence. When they ask, Through Whom is He? To what end does He exist? Of what nature is He? We answer that He it is through Whom all things exist, and from Whom are all things, and that He is the Spirit of God, God’s gift to the faithful. If our answer displease them, their displeasure must also fall upon the Apostles and the Prophets, who spoke of Him exactly as we have spoken. And furthermore, Father and Son must incur the same displeasure.

30. The reason, I believe, why certain people continue in ignorance or doubt is that they see this third Name, that of the Holy Spirit, often used to signify the Father or the Son. No objection need be raised to this; whether it be Father or Son, He is Spirit, and He is holy.

31. But the words of the Gospel, For God is Spirit, need careful examination as to their sense and their purpose. For every saying has an antecedent cause and an aim which must be ascertained by study of the meaning. We must bear this in mind lest, on the strength of the words, God is Spirit, we deny not only the Name, but also the work and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Lord was speaking with a woman of Samaria, for He had come to be the Redeemer for all mankind, After He had discoursed at length of the living water, and of her five husbands, and of him whom she then had who was not her husband, the woman answered, Lord, I perceive that Thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. The Lord replied, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. Ye worship that which ye know not; we warship that which we know; far salvation is from the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. For God is Spirit, and they that warship Him must worship in the Spirit and in truth, for God is Spirit. We see that the woman, her mind full of inherited tradition, thought that God must be worshipped either on a mountain, as at Samaria, or in a temple, as at Jerusalem; for Samaria in disobedience to the Law had chosen a site upon the mountain for worship, while the Jews regarded the temple founded by Solomon as the home of their religion, and the prejudices of both confined the all-embracing and illimitable God to the crest of a hill or the vault of a building. God is invisible, incomprehensible, immeasurable; the Lord said that the time had come when God should be worshipped neither on mountain nor in temple. For Spirit cannot be cabined or confined; it is omnipresent in space and time, and under all conditions present in its fulness. Therefore, He said, they are the true worshippers who shall worship in the Spirit and in truth. And these who are to worship God the Spirit in the Spirit shall have the One for the means, the Other for the object, of their reverence: for Each of the Two stands in a different relation to the worshipper. The words, God is Spirit, do not alter the fact that the Holy Spirit has a Name of His own, and that He is the Gift to us. The woman who confined God to hill or temple was told that God contains all things and is self-contained: that He, the Invisible and Incomprehensible must be worshipper by invisible and incomprehensible means. The imparted gift and the object of reverence were clearly shewn when Christ taught that God, being Spirit, must be worshipped in the Spirit, and revealed what freedom and knowledge, what boundless scope for adoration, lay in this worship of God, the Spirit, in the Spirit.

32. The words of the Apostle are of like purport; For the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. To make his meaning clear he has distinguished between the Spirit, Who exists, and Him Whose Spirit He is Proprietor and Property, He and Iris are different in sense. Thus when he says, The Lord is Spirit he reveals the infinity of God; when He adds, Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, he indicates Him Who belongs to God; for He is the Spirit of the Lord, and Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The Apostle makes the statement not from any necessity of his own argument, but in the interests of clearness. For the Holy Ghost is everywhere One, enlightening all patriarchs and prophets and the whole company of the Law, inspiring John even in his mother’s womb, given in due time to the Apostles and other believers, that they might recognise the truth vouchsafed them.

33. Let us hear from our Lord’s own words what is the work of the Holy Ghost within us. He says, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. For it is expedient for you that I go: if I go I will send you the Advocate. And again, I will ask the Father and He shall send you another Advocate, that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth. He shall guide you into all truth, far He shall not speak from Himself, but whatsoever things He shall hear lie shall speak, and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me, far He shall take of Mine. These words were spoken to show how multitudes should enter the kingdom of heaven; they contain an assurance of the goodwill of the Giver, and of the mode and terms of the Gift. They tell how, because our feeble minds cannot comprehend the Father or the Son, our faith which finds God’s incarnation hard of credence shall be illumined by the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Bond of union and the Source of light.

34. The next step naturally is to listen to the Apostle’s account of the powers and functions of this Gift. He says, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God. For ye received not the Spirit of bondage again unto fear, but ye received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father; and again, For no man by the Spirit of God saith anathema to Jesus, and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit; and he adds, Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, and diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord, and diversities of workings, but the same God, Who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the enlightenment of the Spirit, to profit withal. Now to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith in the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings in the One Spirit, to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another kinds of tongues, to another interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh the One and same Spirit. Here we have a statement of the purpose and results of the Gift; and I cannot conceive what doubt can remain, after so clear a definition of His Origin, His action and His powers.

35. Let us therefore make use of this great benefit, and seek for personal experience of this most needful Gift. For the Apostle says, in words I have already cited, But we have not received the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the the things that are given unto us by God. We receive Him, then, that we may know. Faculties of the human body, if denied their exercise, will lie dormant. The eye without light, natural or artificial, cannot fulfil its office; the ear will be ignorant of its function unless some voice or sound be heard; the nostrils unconscious of their purpose unless some scent be breathed. Not that the faculty will be absent, because it is never called into use, but that there will be no experience of its existence. So, too, the soul of man, unless through faith it have appropriated the gift of the Spirit, will have the innate faculty Of apprehending God, but be destitute of the light of knowledge, That Gift, which is in Christ, is One, yet offered, and offered fully, to all; denied to none, and given to each according to the measure of his willingness to receive; its stores the richer, the more earnest the desire to earn them. This gift is with us unto the end of the world, the solace of our waiting, the assurance, by the favours which He bestows, of the hope that shall be ours, the light of our minds, the sun of our souls. This Holy Spirit we must seek and must earn, and then hold fast by faith and obedience to the commands of God.

Book 3 (Back to the Top)

1. THE words of the Lord, I in the Father, and the Father in Me, confuse many minds, and not unnaturally, for the powers of human reason cannot provide them with any intelligible meaning. It seems impossible that one object should be both within and without another, or that (since it is laid down that the Beings of whom we are treating, though They do not dwell apart, retain their separate existence and condition) these Beings can reciprocally contain One Another, so that One should permanently envelope, and also be permanently enveloped by, the Other, whom yet He envelopes. This is a problem which the wit of man will never solve, nor will human research ever find an analogy for this condition of Divine existence. But what man cannot understand, God can be. I do not mean to say that the fact that this is an assertion made by God renders it at once intelligible to us. We must think for ourselves, and come to know the meaning of the words, I in the Father, and the Father in Me: but this will depend upon our success in gasping the truth that reasoning based upon Divine verities can establish its conclusions, even though they seem to contradict the laws of the universe.

2. In order to solve as easily as possible this most difficult problem, we must first master the knowledge which the Divine Scriptures give of Father and of Son, that so we may speak with more precision, as dealing with familiar and accustomed matters. The eternity of the Father, as we concluded after full discussion in the last Book, transcends space, and time, and appearance, and all the forms of human thought. He is without and within all things, He contains all and can be contained by none, is incapable of change by increase or diminution, invisible, incomprehensible, full, perfect, eternal, not deriving anything that He has from another, but, if ought be derived from Him, still complete and self-sufficing.

3. He therefore, the Unbegotten, before time was begot a Son from Himself; not from any pre-existent matter, for all things are through the Son; not from nothing, for the Son is from the Father’s self; not by way of childbirth, for in God there is neither change nor void; not as a piece of Himself cut or torn off or stretched out, for God is passionless and bodiless, and only a possible and embodied being could so be treated, and, as the [Apostle says, in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Incomprehensibly, ineffably, before time or worlds, He begat the Only-begotten from His own unbegotten substance, bestowing through love and power His whole Divinity upon that Birth. Thus He is the Only-begotten, perfect, eternal Son of the unbegotten, perfect, eternal Father. But those properties which He has in consequence of the Body which He took, are the fruit of His goodwill toward our salvation. For He, being invisible and bodiless and incomprehensible, as the Son of God, took upon Him such a measure of matter and of lowliness as was needed to bring Him within the range of our understanding, and perception, and contemplation. It was a condescension to our feebleness rather than a surrender of His own proper attributes.

4. He, therefore, being the perfect Father’s perfect Son. the Only-begotten Offspring of the unbegotten God, who has received all from Him Who possesses all, being God from God, Spirit from Spirit, Light from Light, says boldly, The Father in Me, and I in the Father. For as the Father is Spirit, so is the Son Spirit; as the Father is God, so is the Son God; as the Father is Light, so is the Son Light. Thus those properties which are in the Father are the source of those wherewith the Son is endowed; that is, He is wholly Son of Him Who is wholly Father; not imported from without, for before the Son nothing was; not made from nothing, for the Son is from God; not a son partially, for the fulness of the Godhead is in the Son; not a Son in some respects, but in all; a Son according to the will of Him who had the power, after a manner which He only knows. What is in the Father is in the Son also; what is in the Unbegotten is in the Only-begotten also. The One is from the Other, and they Two are a Unity; not Two made One, yet One in the Other, for that which is in Both is the same. The Father is in the Son, for the Son is from Him; the Son is in the Father, because the

Father is His sole Origin; the Only-begotten is in the Unbegotten, because He is the Only-begotten from the Unbegotten. Thus mutually Each is in the Other, for as all is perfect in the Unbegotten Father, so all is perfect in the Only-begotten Son. This is the Unity which is in Son and Father, this the power, this the love; our hope, and faith, and truth, and way, and life is not to dispute the Father’s powers or to depreciate the Son, but to reverence the mystery and majesty of His birth; to set the unbegotten Father above all rivalry, and count the Only-begotten Son as His equal in eternity and might, confessing concerning God the Son that He is from God.

5. Such powers are there in God; powers which the methods of our reason cannot comprehend, but of which our faith, on the sure evidence of His action, is convinced. We shall find instances of this action in the bodily sphere as well as in the spiritual, its manifestation taking, not the form of an analogy which might illustrate the Birth, but of a deed marvellous yet comprehensible. On the wedding day in Galilee water was made wine. Have we words to tell or senses to ascertain what methods produced the change by which the tastelessness of water disappeared, and was replaced by the full flavour of wine? It was not a mixing; it was a creation, and a creation which was not a beginning, but a transformation. A weaker liquid was not obtained by admixture of a stronger element; an existing thing perished and a new thing came into being. The bridegroom was anxious. the household in confusion, the harmony of the marriage feast imperilled. Jesus is asked for help. He does not rise or busy Himself; He does the work without an effort. Water is poured into the vessels, wine drawn out in the cups. The evidence of the senses of the pourer contradicts that of the drawer. They who poured expect water to be drawn; they who draw think that wine must have been poured in. The intervening time cannot account for any gain or loss of character in the liquid. The mode of action baffles sight and sense, but the power of God is manifest in the result achieved.

6. In the case of the five loaves a miracle of the same type excites our wonder. By their increase five thousand men and countless women and children are saved from hunger; the method eludes our powers of observation. Five loaves are offered and broken; while the Apostles are dividing them a succession of new-created portions passes, they cannot tell how, through their hands. The loaf which they are dividing grows no smaller, yet their hands are continually full of the pieces. The swiftness of the process baffles sight; you follow with the eye a hand full of portions, and meantime you see that the contents of the other hand are not diminished, and all the while the heap of pieces grows. The carvers are busy at their task, the eaters are hard at work; the hungry are satisfied, and the fragments fill twelve baskets. Sight or sense cannot discover the mode of so noteworthy a miracle. What was not existent is created; what we see passes our understanding. Our only resource is faith in God’s omnipotence.

7. There is no deception in these miracles of God, no subtle pretence to please or to deceive. These works of the Son of God were done from no desire for self-display; He Whom countless myriads of angels serve never deluded man. What was there of ours that He could need, through Whom all that we have was created? Did He demand praise from us who now are heavy with sleep, now sated with lust, now laden with the guilt of riot and bloodshed, now drunken from revelling;–He Whom Archangels, and Dominions, and Principalities, and Powers, without sleep or cessation or sin, praise in heaven with everlasting and unwearied voice? They praise Him because He, the Image of the Invisible God, created all their host in Himself, made the worlds, established the heavens, appointed the stars, fixed the earth, laid the foundations of the deep; because in after time He was born, He conquered death, broke the gates of hell, won for Himself a people to be His fellow-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up to the glory of eternity. There was nothing, then, that He might gain from us, that could induce Him to assume the splendour of these mysterious and inexplicable works, as though He needed our praise. But God foresaw how human sin and folly would be misled, and knew that disbelief would dare to pass its judgment even on the things of God, and therefore He vanquished presumption by tokens of His power which must give pause to our boldest.

8. For there are many of those wise men of the world whose wisdom is folly with God, who contradict our proclamation of God from God, True from True, Perfect from Perfect, One from One, as though we taught things impossible They pin their faith to certain conclusions which they have reached by process of logic:–Nothing can be born of one, far every birth requires two parents, and If this Son be born of One He has received a part of His Begetter: if He be a part, then Neither of the Two is perfect, for something is missing from Him from Whom the Son issued, and there cannot be fulness in One Who consists of a portion of Another. Thus Neither is perfect, for the Begetter has lost His fulness, and the Begotten has not acquired it. This is that wisdom of the world which was foreseen by God even in the prophet’s days, and condemned through him in the words, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and reject the understanding of the prudent. And the apostle says: Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the inquirer of this world? Hath na God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For because in the wisdom of God he world through wisdom knew not God, it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews seek signs, and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews indeed a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

9. The Son of God, therefore, having the charge of mankind, was first made man, that men might believe on Him; that He might be to us a witness, sprung from ourselves, of things Divine, and preach to us, weak and carnal as we are, through the weakness of the flesh concerning God the Father, so fulfilling the Father’s will, even as He says, I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. It was not that He Himself was unwilling, but that He might manifest His obedience as the result of His Father’s will, for His own will is to do His Father’s. This is that will to carry out the Father’s will of which He testifies in the words: Father, the hour is come; ,glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee; even as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that whatsoever Thou hast given Him, He should give it eternal life. And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ. I have glorified Thee upon earth, having accomplished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy Name unto the men whom Thou hast given Me. In words short and few He has revealed the whole task to which He was appointed and assigned. Yet those words, short and few as they are, are the true faith’s safeguard against every suggestion of the devil’s cunning. Let us briefly consider the force of each separate phrase.

10. He says, Father the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee. He says that the hour, not the day nor the time, is come. An hour is a fraction of a day. What hour must this be? The hour, of course, of which lie speaks, to strengthen His disciples, at the time of His passion:–Lo, the hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified. This then is the hour in which He prays to be glorified by the Father, that He Himself may glorify the Father. But what does He mean? Does One who is about to give glory look to receive it? Does One who is about to confer honour make request for Himself? Is He in want of the very thing which He is about to repay? Here let the world’s philosophers, the wise men of Greece, beset our path, and spread their syllogistic nets to entangle the truth. Let them ask How? and Whence? and Why? When they can find no answer, let us tell them that it is because God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. That is the reason why we in our foolishness understand things incomprehensible to the world’s philosophers.The Lord had said, Father, the hour is come; He had revealed the hour of His passion, for these words were spoken at the very moment; and then He added, Glorify Thy Son. But how was the Son to be glorified? He had been born of a virgin, from cradle and childhood He had grown to man’s estate, through sleep and hunger and thirst anti weariness and tears He had lived man’s life: even now He was to be spitted on, scourged, crucified And why? These things were ordained for our assurance that in Christ is pure man. But the shame of the cross is not ours; we are not sentenced to the scourge, nor defiled by spitting. The Father glorifies the Son; how? He is next nailed to the cross. Then what followed? The sun, instead of setting, fled. How so? It did not retire behind a cloud, but abandoned its appointed orbit, and all the elements of the world felt that same shock of the death of Christ. The stars in their courses, to avoid complicity in the crime, escaped by self-extinction from beholding the scene. What did the earth? It quivered beneath the burden of the Lord hanging on the tree, protesting that it was powerless to confine Him who was dying. Yet surely rock and stone will not refuse Him a resting-place. Yes, they are rent and cloven, and their strength fails. They must confess that the rock-hewn sepulchre cannot imprison the Body which awaits its burial.

11. And next? The centurion of the cohort, the guardian of the cross, cries out, Truly this was the Son of God. Creation is set free by the mediation of this Sin-offering; the very rocks lose their solidity and strength. They who had nailed Him to the cross confess that truly this is the Son of God. The outcome justifies the assertion. The Lord had said, Glorify Thy Son. He had asserted, by that word Thy, that He was God’s Son not in name only, but in nature. Multitudes of us are sons of God; He is Son in another sense. For He is God’s true and own Son, by origin and not by adoption, not by name only but in truth, born and not created. So, after He was glorified, that confession touched the truth; the centurion confessed Him the true Son of God, that no believer might doubt a fact which even the servant of His persecutors could not deny.

12. But perhaps some may suppose that He was destitute of that glory for which He prayed, and that His looking to be glorified by a Greater is evidence of want of power. Who, indeed, would deny that the Father is the greater; the Unbegotten greater than the Begotten, the Father than the Son, the Sender than the Sent, He that wills than He that obeys? He Himself shall be His own witness:–The Father is greater than I. It is a fact which we must recognise, but we must take heed lest with unskilled thinkers the majesty of the Father should obscure the glory of the Son. Such obscuration is forbidden by this same glory for which the Son prays; for the prayer, Father glorify Thy Son, is completed by, That the San may glorify Thee. Thus there is no lack of power in the Son, Who, when He has received this glory, will make His return for it in glory. But why, if He were not in want, did He make the prayer? No one makes request except for something which he needs. Or can it be that the Father too is in want? Or has He given His glory away so recklessly that He needs to have it returned Him by the Son? No; the One has never been in want, nor the Other needed to ask, and yet Each shall give to the Other. Thus the prayer for glory to be given and to be paid back is neither a robbery of the Father nor a depreciation of the Son, but a demonstration of the power of one Godhead resident in Both. The Son prays that He may be glorified by the Father; the Father deems it no humiliation to be glorified by the Son, The exchange of glory given and received proclaims the unity of power in Father and in Son.

13. We must next ascertain what and whence this glorifying is. God, I am sure, is subject to no change; His eternity admits not of defect or amendment, of gain or of loss. It is the character of Him alone, that what He is, He is from everlasting. What He from everlasting is, it is by His nature impossible that He should ever cease to be. How then can He receive glory, a thing which He fully possesses, and of which His store does not diminish; there being no fresh glory which He can obtain, and none that He has lost and can recover? We are brought to a standstill. But the Evangelist does not fail us, though our reason has displayed its help- lessness. To tell us what return of glory it was that the Son should make to the Father, he gives the words: Even as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that whatsoever Thou hast given Him He may give it eternal life. And this is life eternal that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. The Father, then, is glorified through the Son, by His being made known to us. And the glory was this, that the Son, being made flesh, received from Him power over all flesh, and the charge of restoring eternal life to us, ephemeral beings burdened with the body. Eternal life for us was the result not of work done, but of innate power; not by a new creation, but simply by knowledge of God, was the glory of that eternity to be acquired. Nothing was added to God’s glory; it had not decreased, and so could not be replenished. But He is glorified through the Son in the sight of us, ignorant, exiled, defiled, dwelling in hopeless death and lawless darkness; glorified inasmuch as the Son, by virtue of that power over all flesh which the Father gave Him, was to bestow on us eternal life. It is through this work of the Son that the Father is glorified. So when the Son received all things from the Father, the Father glorified Him; and conversely, when all things were made through the Son, He glorified the Father. The return of glory given lies herein, that all the glory which the Son has is the glory of the Father, since everything He has is the Father’s gift. For the glory of Him who executes a charge redounds to the glory of Him Who gave it, the glory of the Begotten to the glory of the Begetter.

14. But in what does eternity of life consist? His own words tell us:–That they way know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. Is there any doubt or difficulty here, or any inconsistency? It is life to know the true God; but the bare knowledge of Him does not give it. What, then, does He add? And Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. In Thee, the only true God, the Son pays the honour due to His Father; by the addition, And Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent, He associates Himself with the true Godhead. The believer in his confession draws no line between the Two, for his hope of life rests in Both, and indeed, the true God is inseparable from Him Whose Name follows in the creed. Therefore when we read, That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent, these terms of Sender and of Sent are not intended, under any semblance of distinction or discrimination, to convey a difference between the true Godhead of Father and of Son, but to be a guide to the devout confession of Them as Begetter and Begotten.

15. And so the Son glorifies the Father fully and finally in the words which follow, I have glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. All the Father’s praise is from the Son, for every praise bestowed upon the Son is praise of the Father, since all that He accomplished is what the Father had willed The Son of God is born as man; but the power of God is in the virgin-birth. The Son of God is seen as man; but God is president in His human actions. The Son of God is nailed to the cross; but on the cross God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies; but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell; but man is carried back to heaven. In proportion to our praise of Christ for these His works, will be the praise we bring to Him from Whom Christ’s Godhead is. These are the ways in which the Father glorifies the Son on earth; and in return the Son reveals by works of power to the ignorance of the heathen and to the foolishness of the world, Him from Whom He is. This exchange of glory, given anti received, implies no augmentation of the Godhead, but means the praises rendered for the knowledge granted to those who had lived in ignorance of God. What, indeed, could there be which the Father, from Whom are all things, did not richly possess? In what was the Son lacking, in Whom all the fulness of the Godhead had been pleased to dwell? The Father is glorified on earth because the work which He had commanded is finished.

16. Next let us see what this glory is which the Son expects to receive from the Father; and then our exposition will be complete. The sequel is, I have glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy name unto men. It is, then, by the Son’s works that the Father is glorified, in that He is recognised as God, as Father of God time Only-begotten, Who for our salvation willed that His Son should be born as man, even of a virgin; that Son Whose whole life, consummated in the Passion, was consistent with the humiliation of the virgin birth. Thus, because the Son of God, all-perfect and horn from everlasting in the fulness of the Godhead, had now by incarnation become Man and was ready for His death, He prays that He may be glorified with God, even as He was glorifying His Father on the earth; for at that moment the powers of God were being glorified in the flesh before the eyes of a world that knew Him not. But what is this glory with the Father, for which He looks? It is that, of course, which He had with Him before the world was. He had the fulness of the Godhead; He has it still, for He is God’s Son. But He Who was the Son of God had become the Son of man also, for The Word was made flesh. He had not lost His former being, but He had become what He was not before; He had not abdicated His own position, yet He had taken ours; He prays that the nature which He had assumed may be promoted to the glory which He had never renounced. Therefore, since the Son is the Word, and the Word was made flesh, and the Word was God, and was in the beginning with God, and the Word was Son before the foundation of the world; this Son, now incarnate, prayed that flesh might be to the Father what the Son had been. He prayed that flesh, born in time, might receive the splendour of the everlasting glory, that the corruption of the flesh might be swallowed up, transformed into the power of God and the purity of the Spirit. It is His prayer to God, the Son’s confession of the Father, the entreaty of that flesh wherein all shall see Him on the Judgment-day, pierced and bearing the marks of the cross; of that flesh wherein His glory was foreshown upon the Mount, wherein He ascended to heaven and is set down at the right hand of God, wherein Paul saw Him, anti Stephen paid Him worship.

17. The name Father has thus been revealed to men; the question arises, What is this Father’s own name? Yet surely the name of God has never been unknown. Moses heard it from the bush, Genesis announces it at the beginning of the history of creation, the Law has proclaimed and the prophets extolled it, the history of the world has made mankind familiar with it; the very heathen have worshipped it under a veil of falsehood. Men have never been left in ignorance of the name of God. And yet they were, in very truth, in ignorance. For no man knows God unless He confess Him as Father, Father of the Only-begotten Son, and confess also the Son a Son by no partition or extension or procession, but born of Him, as Son of Father, ineffably and incomprehensibly, and retaining the fulness of that Godhead from which and in which He was born as true and infinite and perfect God. This is what the fulness of the Godhead means. If any of these things be lacking, there will not be that fulness which was pleased to dwell in Him. This is the message of the Son, His revelation to men in their ignorance. The Father is glorified through the Son when men recognise that, He is Father of a Son so Divine.

18. The Son, wishing to assure us of the truth of this, His Divine birth, has appointed His works to serve as an illustration, that from the ineffable power displayed in ineffable deeds we may learn the lesson of the ineffable birth. For instance, When water was made wine, and five loaves satisfied five thousand men, beside women and children, and twelve baskets were filled with the fragments, we see a fact though we cannot understand it; a deed is done though it bares our reason; the process cannot be followed, though the result is obvious. It is folly to intrude in the spirit of carping, when the matter into which we enquire is such that we cannot probe it to the bottom. For even as the Father is ineffable because He is Unbegotten, so is the Son ineffable because He is the Only-begotten, since the Begotten is the Image of the Unbegotten. Now it is by the use of our senses and of language that we have to form our conception of an image; and it must be by the same means that we form our idea of that which the image represents. But in this case we, whose faculties can deal only with visible and tangible things, are straining after the invisible, and striving to grasp the impalpable. Yet we take no shame to ourselves, we reproach ourselves with no irreverence, when we doubt and criticise the mysteries and powers of God. How is He the Son? Whence is He? What did the Father lose by His birth? Of what portion of the Father was He born? So we ask; yet all the while there has been confronting us the evidence of works done to assure us that God’s action is not limited by our power of comprehending His methods.

19. You ask what was the manner in which, as the Spirit teaches, the Son was born? I will put a question to you as to things corporal. I ask not in what manner He was born of a virgin; I ask only whether her flesh, in the course of bringing His flesh to readiness for birth, suffered any loss. Assuredly she did not conceive Him in the common way, or suffer the shame of human intercourse, in order to bear Him: yet she bore Him, complete in His human Body, without loss of her own completeness. Surely piety requires that we should regard as possible with God a thing which we see became possible through his power in the case of a human being.

20. But you, whoever you are that would seek into the unsearchable, and in all seriousness form an opinion upon the mysteries and powers of God;–I turn to you for counsel, and beg you to enlighten me, an unskilled and simple believer of all that God says, as to a circumstance which I am about to mention. I listen to the Lord’s words and, since I believe what is recorded, I am sure that after His Resurrection He offered Himself repeatedly in the Body to the sight of multitudes of unbelievers. At any rate, He did so to Thomas who had protested that he would not believe unless he handled His wounds. His words are, Unless I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. The Lord stoops to the level even of our feeble understanding; to satisfy the doubts of unbelieving minds He works a miracle of His invisible power. Do you, my critic of the ways of heaven, explain His action if you can. The disciples were in a closed room; they had met and held their assembly in secret since the Passion of the Lord. The Lord presents Himself to strengthen the faith of Thomas by meeting his challenge; He gives him His Body to feel, His wounds to handle. He, indeed, who would be recognised as having suffered wounds must needs produce the body in which those wounds were received. I ask at what point in the walls of that closed house the Lord bodily entered. The Apostle has recorded the circumstances with careful precision; Jesus came when the doors were shut, and stood in the midst. Did He penetrate through bricks and mortar, or through stout woodwork, substances whose very nature it is to bar progress? For there He stood in bodily presence; there was no suspicion of deceit Let the eye of your mind follow His path as He enters; let your intellectual vision accompany Him as He passes into that closed dwelling. There is no breach in the walls, no door has been unbarred; yet lo, He stands in the midst Whose might no barrier can resist. You are a critic of things invisible; I ask you to explain a visible event. Everything remains firm as it was; no body is capable of insinuating itself through the interstices of wood and stone. The Body of the Lord does not disperse itself, to come together again after a disappearance; yet whence comes He Who is standing in the midst? Your senses and your words are powerless to account for it; the fact is certain, but it lies beyond the region of human explanation. If, as you say, our account of the Divine birth is a lie, then prove that this account of tile Lord’s entrance is a fiction. If we assume that an event did not happen, because we cannot discover how it was done, we make the limits of our understanding into the limits of reality. But the certainty of the evidence proves the falsehood of our contradiction. The Lord did stand in a closed house in the midst of the disciples; the Son was born of the Father. Deny not that He stood, because your puny wits cannot ascertain how He came there; renounce a disbelief in GOd the Only-begotten and perfect Son of God the Unbegotten and perfect Father, which is based only on the incapacity of sense and speech to comprehend the transcendent miracle of that birth.

21. Nay more, the whole constitution of nature would bear us out against the impiety of doubting the works and powers of God. And yet our disbelief tilts even against obvious truth; we strive in our fury to pluck even God from His throne. If we could, we would climb by bodily strength to heaven, would fling into confusion the ordered courses of sun and stars, would disarrange the ebb and flow of tides, check rivers at their source or make their waters flow backward, would shake the foundations of the world, in the utter irreverence of our rage against the paternal work of God. It is well that our bodily limitations confine us within more modest bounds. Assuredly, there is no concealment of the mischief we would do if we could. In one respect we are free; and so with blasphemous insolence we distort the truth and turn our weapons against the words of God.

22. The Son has said, Father, I have manifested Thy Name unto men. What reason is there for denunciation or fury here? Do you deny the Father? Why, it was the primary purpose of the Son to enable us to know the Father. But in fact you do deny Him when, according to you, the Son was not born of Him. Yet why should He have the name of Son if He be, as others are, an arbitrary creation of God? I could feel awe of God as Creator of Christ as well as Founder of the universe; it were an exercise of power worthy of Him to be the Maker of Him Who made Archangels and Angels, things visible and things invisible, heaven and earth and the whole creation around us. But the work which the Lord came to do was not to enable you to recognise the omnipotence of God as Creator of all things, but to enable you to know Him as the Father of that Son Who addresses you. In heaven there are Powers beside Himself, Powers mighty and eternal; there is but one Only-begotten Son, and the difference between Him and them is not one of mere degree of might, but that they all were made through Him. Since He is the true and only Son, let us not make Him a bastard by asserting that He was made out of nothing. You hear the name Son; believe that He is the Son. You hear the name Father; fix it in your mind that He is the Father. Why surround these names with doubt and illwill and hostility? The things of God are provided with names which give a true indication of the realities; why force an arbitrary meaning upon their obvious sense Father and Son are spoken of; doubt not that the words mean what they say. The end and aim of the revelation of the Son is that you should know the Father. Why frustrate the labours of the Prophets, the Incarnation of the Word, the Virgin’s travail, the effect of miracles, the cross of Christ? It was all spent upon you, it is all offered to you, that through it all Father and Son may be manifest to you. And you replace the truth by a theory of arbitrary action, of creation or adoption. Turn your thoughts to the warfare, the conflict waged by Christ. He describes it thus:–Father, I have manifested Thy Name unto men. He does not say, Thou hast created the Creator of all the heavens, or Thou hast made the Maker of the whole earth. He says, Father, I have manifested Thy Name unto men. Accept your Saviour’s gift of knowledge. Be assured that there is a Father Who begot, a Son Who was born; born in the truth of His Nature of the Father, Who is. Remember that the revelation is not of the Father manifested as God, but of God manifested as the Father.

23. You hear the words, I and the Father are one. Why do you rend and tear the Son away from the Father? They are a unity: an absolute Existence having all things in perfect communion with that absolute Existence, from Whom He is. When you hear the Son saying, I and the Father are one, adjust your view of facts to the Persons; accept the statement which Begetter and Begotten make concerning Themselves. Believe that They are One, even as They are also Begetter and Begotten. Why deny the common nature? Why impugn the true Divinity? You hear again, The Father in Me, and I in the Father. That this is true of Father and of Son is demonstrated by the Son’s works. Our science cannot envelope body in body, or pour one into another, as water into wine; but we confess that in Both is equivalence of power and fulness of the Godhead. For the Son has received all things from the Father; He is the Likeness of God, the Image of His substance. The words, Image of His substance, discriminate between Christ and Him from Whom He is but only to establish Their distinct existence not to teach a difference of nature; and the meaning of Father in Son and Son in Father is that there is the perfect fulness of the Godhead in Both. The Father is not impaired by the Son’s existence, nor is the Son a mutilated fragment of the Father. An image implies its original; likeness is a relative term. Now nothing can be like God unless it have its source in Him; a perfect likeness can be reflected only from that which it represents; an accurate resemblance forbids the assumption of any element of difference. Disturb not this likeness; make no separation where truth shews no variance, for He Who said, Let us make man after our image and likeness, by those words Our likeness revealed the existence of Beings, Each like the Other. Touch not handle not, pervert not. Hold fast the Names which teach the truth, hold fast the Son’s declaration of Himself. I would not have you flatter the Son with praises of your own invention; it is well with you if you be satisfied with the written word.

24. Again, we must not repose so blind a confidence in human intellect as to imagine that we have complete knowledge of the objects of our thought, or that the ultimate problem is solved as soon as we have formed a symmetrical and consistent theory. Finite minds cannot conceive the Infinite; a being dependent for its existence upon another cannot attain to perfect knowledge either of its Creator or of itself, for its consciousness of self is coloured by its circumstances, and bounds are set which its perception cannot pass. Its activity is not self-caused, but due to the Creator, and a being dependent on a Creator has perfect possession of none of its faculties, since its origin lies outside itself. Hence by an inexorable law it is folly for that being to say that it has perfect knowledge of any matter; its powers have limits which it cannot modify, and only while it is under the delusion that its petty bounds are coterminous with infinity can it make the empty boast of possessing wisdom. For of wisdom it is incapable, its knowledge being limited to the range of its perception, and sharing the impotence of its dependent existence. And therefore this masquerade of a finite nature boasting that it possesses the wisdom Which springs only from infinite knowledge earns the scorn and ridicule of the Apostle, who calls its wisdom folly. He says, For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not in the language of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ should be made void. Far the word of the cross is foolishness to then that are perishing, but unto them that are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the prudent I will reject. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the enquirer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, God decreed through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews indeed a stumbling-block and to Gentiles foolishness, but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the weakness of God is stranger than men, and the foolishness of God is wiser than men. Thus all unbelief is foolishness, for it takes such wisdom as its own finite perception can attain, and, measuring infinity by that petty scale, concludes that what it cannot understand must be impossible. Unbelief is the result of incapacity engaged in argument. Men are sure that an event never happened, because they have made up their minds that it could not happen.

25. Hence the Apostle, familiar with the narrow assumption of human thought that what it does not know is not truth, says that he does not speak in the language of knowledge, lest his preaching should be in vain. To save himself from being regarded as a preacher of foolishness he adds that the word of the cross is foolishness to them that perish, He knew that the unbelievers held that the only true knowledge was that which formed their own wisdom, and that, since their wisdom was cognisant only of matters which lay within their narrow horizon, the other wisdom, which alone is Divine and perfect, seemed foolishness to them. Thus their foolishness actually consisted, in that feeble imagination which they mistook for wisdom. Hence it is that the very things which to them that perish are foolishness are the power of God to them that are saved; for these last never use their own inadequate faculties as a measure, but attribute to the Divine activities the omnipotence of heaven. God rejects the wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the prudent in this sense, that just because they recognise their own foolishness, salvation is granted to them that believe. Unbelievers pronounce the verdict of foolishness on everything that lies beyond their ken, while believers leave to the power and majesty of God the choice of the mysteries wherein salvation is bestowed. There is no foolishness in the things of God; the foolishness lies in that human wisdom which demands of God, as the condition of belief, signs and wisdom. It is the foolishness of the Jews to demand signs; they have a certain knowledge of the Name of God through long acquaintance with the Law, but the offence of the cross repels them. The foolishness of the Greeks is to demand wisdom; with Gentile folly and the philosophy of men they seek the reason why God was lifted up on the cross. And because, in consideration for the weakness of our mental powers, these things have been hidden in a mystery, this foolishness. of Jews and Greeks turns to unbelief; for they denounce, as unworthy of reasonable credence, truths which their mind is inherently incapable of comprehending. But, because the world’s wisdom was so foolish,–for previously through God’s wisdom it knew not God, that is, the splendour of the universe, and the wonderful order which He planned for His handiwork, taught it no reverence for its Creator–God was pleased through the preaching of foolishness to save them that believe, that is, through the faith of the cross to make everlasting life the lot of mortals; that so the self-confidence of human wisdom might be put to shame, and salvation found where men had thought that foolishness dwelt. For Christ, Who is foolishness to Gentiles, and offence to Jews, is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God; because what seems weak and foolish to human apprehension in the things of God transcends in true wisdom and might the thoughts and the powers of earth.

26. And therefore the action of God must not be canvassed by human faculties; the Creator must not be judged by those who are the work of His hands. We must clothe ourselves in foolishness that we may gain wisdom; not in the foolishness of hazardous conclusions, but in the foolishness of a modest sense of our own infirmity, that so the evidence of God’s power may teach us truths to which the arguments of earthly philosophy cannot attain. For when we are fully conscious of our own foolishness, and have felt the helplessness and destitution of our reason, then through the counsels of Divine Wisdom we shall be initiated into the wisdom of God; setting no bounds to boundless majesty and power, nor tying the Lord of nature down to nature’s laws; sure that for us the one true faith concerning God is that of which He is at once the Author and the Witness.

Book 4 (Back to the Top)

1. THE earlier books of this treatise, written some time ago, contain, I think, an invincible proof that we hold and profess the faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is taught by the Evangelists and Apostles, and that no commerce is possible between us and the heretics, inasmuch as they deny unconditionally, irrationally, and recklessly, the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet certain points remained which I have felt myself bound to include in this and the following books, in order to make our assurance of the faith even more certain by exposure of every one of their falsehoods and blasphemies. Accordingly, we will enquire first What are the dangers of their teaching, the risks involved by such irreverence; next, what principles they hold, and what arguments they advance against the apostolic faith to which we adhere, and by what sleight of language they impose upon the can dour of their hearers; and lastly, by what method of comment they disarm the words of Scripture of their force and meaning.

2. We are well aware that neither the speech of men nor the analogy of human nature can give us a full insight into the things of God. The ineffable cannot submit to the bounds and limits of definition; that which is spiritual is distinct from every class or instance of bodily things. Yet, since our subject is that of heavenly natures, we must employ ordinary natures and ordinary speech as our means of expressing what our mind apprehends; a means no doubt unworthy of the majesty of God, but forced upon us by feebleness of our intellect, which can use only our own circumstances and our own words to convey to others our perceptions and our conclusions. This truth has been enforced already in the first book, but is now repeated in order that, in any analogies from human affairs which we adduce, we may not be supposed to think of God as resembling embodied natures, or to compare spiritual Beings with our passible selves, but rather be regarded as advancing the outward appearance of visible things as a clue to the inward meaning of things invisible.

3. For the heretics say that Christ is not from God, that is, that the Son is not born from the Father, and is God not by nature but by appointment; in other words, that He has received an adoption which consists in the giving of a name, being God’s Son in the sense m which many are sons of God; again, that Christ’s majesty is an evidence of God’s widespread bounty, He being God in the sense in which there are gods many; although they admit that in His adoption and naming as God a more liberal affection than in other cases was shewn, His adoption being the first in order of time, and He greater than other adopted sons, and first in rank among the creatures because of the greater splendour which accompanied His creation. Some add, by way of confessing the omnipotence of God, that He was created into God’s likeness, and that it was out of nothing that He, like other creatures, was raised up to be the Image of the eternal Creator, bidden at a word to spring from non-existence into being by the power of God, Who can frame out of nothing the likeness of Himself.

4. Moreover, they use their knowledge of the historical fact that bishops of a former time have taught that Father and Son are of one substance, to subvert the truth by the ingenious plea that this is a heretical notion. They say that this term ‘of one substance,’ in the Greek homoousion, is used to mean and express that the Father is the same as the Son; that is, that He extended Himself out of infinity into the Virgin, and took a body from her, and gave to Himself, in the body which He had taken, the name of Son. This is their first lie concerning the homoousion. Their next lie is that this word homoousion implies that Father and Son participate in something antecedent to Either and distinct from Both, and that a certain imaginary substance, or ousia, anterior to all matter whatsoever, has existed heretofore and been divided and wholly distributed between the Two; which proves, they say, that Each of the Two is of a nature pro-existent to Himself, and Each identical in matter with the Other. And so they profess to condemn the confession of the homoousion on the ground that term does not discriminate between Father and Son, and makes the Father subsequent in time to that matter which He has in common with the Son. And they have devised this third objection to the word homoousion, that its meaning, as they explain it, is that the Son derives His origin from a partition of the Father’s substance, as though one object had been cut in two and He were the severed portion. The meaning of ‘one substance,’ they say, is that the part cut off from the whole continues to share the nature of that from which it has been severed; but God, being impossible, cannot be divided, for, if He must submit to be lessened by division. He is subject to change, and will be rendered imperfect if His perfect substance leave Him to reside in the severed portion.

5. They think also that they have a compendious refutation of Prophets, Evangelists and Apostles alike, in their assertion that the Son was born within time. They pronounce us illogical for saying that the Son has existed from everlasting; and, since they reject the possibility of His eternity, they are forced to believe that He was born at a point in time. For if He has not always existed, there was a time when He was not; and if there be a time when He was not, time was anterior to Him. He who has not existed everlastingly began to exist within time, while He Who is free from the limits of time is necessarily eternal. The reason they give for their rejection of the eternity of the Son is that His everlasting existence contradicts the faith in His birth; as though by confessing that He has existed eternally, we made His birth impossible.

6. What foolish and godless fears! What impious anxiety on God’s behalf! The meaning which they profess to detect in the word homoousion, and in the assertion of the eternity of the Son, is detested, rejected, denounced by the Church. She confesses one God front Whom are all things; she confesses one Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom are all things; One from Whom, One through Whom; One the Source of all, One the Agent through Whom all were created. In the One from Whom are all things she recognises the Majesty which has no beginning, and in the One through Whom are all things she recognises a might coequal with His Source; for Both are jointly supreme in the work of creation and in rule over created things. In the Spirit she recognises God as Spirit, impossible and indivisible, for she has learnt from the Lord that Spirit has neither flesh nor bones; a warning to save her from supposing that God, being Spirit, could be burdened with bodily suffering and loss. She recognises one God, unborn from everlasting; she recognises also one Only-begotten Son of God. She confesses the Father eternal and without beginning; she confesses also that the Son’s beginning is from eternity. Not that He has no beginning, but that He is Son of the Father Who has none; not that He is self-originated, but that He is from Him Who is unbegotten from everlasting; born from eternity, receiving, that is, His birth from the eternity of the Father. Thus our faith is free from the guesswork of heretical perversity; it is expressed in fixed and published terms, though as yet no reasoned defence of our confession has been put forth. Still, lest any suspicion should linger around the sense in which the Fathers have used the word homoousion and round our confession of the eternity of the Son, I have set down the proofs whereby we may be assured that the Son abides ever in that substance wherein He was begotten from the Father, and that the birth of His Son has not diminished ought of that Substance wherein the Father was abiding; that holy men, inspired by the teaching of God, when they said that the Son is homoousios with the Father pointed to no such flaws or defects as I have mentioned. My purpose has been to counteract the impression that this ousia, this assertion that He is homoousios with the Father, is a negation of the nativity of the Only-begotten Son.

7. To assure ourselves of the needfulness of these two phrases, adopted and employed as the best of safeguards against the heretical rabble of that day, I think it best to reply to the obstinate misbelief of our present heretics, and refute their vain and pestilent teaching by the witness of the evangelists and apostles. They flatter themselves that they can furnish a proof for each of their propositions; they have, in fact, appended to each some passages or other from holy Writ; passages so grossly misinterpreted as to ensnare none but the illiterate by the semblance of truth with which perverted ingenuity has masked their explanation.

8. For they attempt, by praising the Godhead of the Father only, to deprive the Son of His Divinity, pleading that it is written, Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord thy God is One, and that the Lord repeats this in His answer to the doctor of the Law who asked Him what was the greatest commandment in the Law;–Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. Again, they say that Paul proclaims, For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and men. And furthermore, they insist that God alone is wise, in order to leave no wisdom for the Son, relying upon the words of the

Apostle, Now to Him that is able to stablish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according, to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through age-long times, but now is manifested through the scriptures of the prophets according to the commandment of the eternal God Who is made known unto all nations unto obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory far ever and every. They argue also that He alone is true, for Isaiah says, They shall bless Thee, the true God, and the Lord Himself has borne witness in the Gospel, saying, And this is life eternal that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent Again they reason that He alone is good, to leave no goodness for the Son, because it has been said through Him, There is none goad save One, even God; and that He alone has power, because Paul has said, Which in His own times He shall skew to us, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords. And further, they profess themselves certain that in the Father there is no change nor turning, because He has said through the prophet, I am the Lord your God, and I am not changed, and the apostle James, With Whom there is no change; certain also that He is the righteous Judge, for it is written, God is the righteous Judge, strong and patient; that He cares for all, because the Lord has said, speaking of the birds, And your heavenly. Father feedeth them, and, Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And not one of them falleth upon the ground without the will of your Father; but the very hairs of your head are numbered. They say that the Father has prescience of all things, as the blessed Susanna says, O eternal God, that knowest secrets, and knowest all things before they be; that He is incomprehensible, as it is written, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What house will ye build Me, or what is the place of My rest? For these things hath My hand made, and all these things are mine; that He contains all things, as Paul bears witness, For in Him we live and move and have our being, and the psalmist, Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, and whither shall I fly from Thy face? If I climb up into heaven, Thou art there; if I go down to hell, Thou art present. If I take my wings before the light and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even thither Thy hand shall lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me; that He is without body, for it is written, For God is Spirit, and they that warship Him must worship in spirit and in truth; that He is immortal and invisible, as Paul says, Who only hath immortality, and dwelleth in light unapproachable, whom no man hath seen nor can sees, and the Evangelist, No one hath seen God at any time, except the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father; that He alone abides eternally unborn, for it is written, I Am That I Am, and Thus shall thou say to the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you, and through Jeremiah, O Lord, Who art Lord.

9. Who can fail to observe that these statements are full of fraud and fallacy? Cleverly as issues have been confused and texts combined, malice and folly is the character indelibly imprinted upon this laborious effort of cunning and clumsiness. For instance, among their points of faith they have included this, that they confess the Father only to be unborn; as though any one on our side could suppose that He, Who begot Him through Whom are all things, derived His being from any external source. The very fact that He bears the name of Father reveals Him as the cause of His Son’s existence. That name of lather gives no hint that He who bears it is Himself descended from another, while it tells us plainly from Whom it is that the Son is begotten. Let us therefore leave to the Father His own special and incommunicable property, confessing that in Him reside the eternal powers of an omnipotence without beginning. None, I am sure, can doubt that the reason why, in their confession of God the Father, certain attributes are dwelt upon as peculiarly and inalienably His own, is that He may be left in isolated possession of them. For when they say that He alone is true, alone is righteous, alone is wise, alone is invisible, alone is good, alone is mighty, alone is immortal, they are raising up this word alone as a barrier to cut off the Son from His share in these attributes. He Who is alone, they say, has no partner in His properties. But if we suppose that these attributes reside in the Father only, and not in the Son also, then we must believe that God the Son has neither truth nor wisdom; that He is a bodily being compact of visible and material elements, ill-disposed and feeble and void of immortality; for we exclude Him from all these attributes of which we make the Father the solitary Possessor.

10. We, however, who propose to discourse of that most perfect majesty and fullest Divinity which appertains to the Only-begotten Son of God, have no fear lest our readers should imagine that amplitude of phrase in speaking of the Son is a detraction from the glory of God the Father, as though every praise assigned to the Son had first been withdrawn from Him. For, on the contrary, the majesty of the Son is glory to the Father; the Source must be glorious from which He Who is worthy of such glory comes. The Son has nothing but by virtue of His birth; the Father shares all veneration received by that birthright. Thus the suggestion that we diminish the Father’s honour is put to silence, for all the glory which, as we shall teach, is inherent in the Son will be reflected back, to the increased glory of Him who has begotten a Son so great.

11. Now that we have exposed their plan of belittling the Son under cover of magnifying the Father, the next step is to listen to the exact terms in which they express their own belief concerning the Son. For, since we have to answer in succession each of their allegations and to display on the evidence of Holy Scripture the impiety of their doctrines, we must append, to what they say of the Father, the decisions which they bare put on record concerning the Son, that by a comparison of their confession of the Father with their confession of the Son we may follow a uniform order in our solution of the questions as they arise. They state as their verdict that the Son is not derived from any pre-existent matter, for through Him all things were created, nor yet begotten from God, for nothing can be withdrawn from God; but that He was made out of what was nonexistent, that is, that He is a perfect creature of God, though different from His other creatures. They argue that He is a creature, because it is written, The Lord hath created Me for a beginning of His ways; that He is the perfect handiwork of God, though different from His other works, they prove, as to the first point, by what Paul writes to the Hebrews, Being made so much belief than the angels, as He possesseth a more excellent name than they, and again, Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus Christ, who is faithful to Him that made Him. For their depreciation of the might and majesty and Godhead of the Son they rely chiefly on His own words, The Father is greater than I. But they admit that He is not one of the common herd of creatures on the evidence of All things were made through Him. And so they sum up the whole of their blasphemous teaching in these words which follow:–

12. “We confess One God, alone unmade, alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone true, alone possessing immortality, alone good, alone mighty, Creator, Ordainer and Disposer of all things, unchangeable and unalterable, righteous and good, of the Law and the Prophets and the New Testament. We believe that this God gave birth to the Only-begotten Son before all worlds, through Whom He made the world and all things; that He gave birth to Him not in semblance, but in truth, following His own Will, so that He is unchangeable and unalterable, God’s perfect creature but not as one of His other creatures, His handiwork, but not as His Other works; not, as Valentinus maintained, that the Son is a development of the Father; nor, as Manichaeus has declared of the Son, a consubstantial part of the Father; nor, as Sabellius, who makes two out of one, Son and Father at once; nor, as Hieracas, a light from a light, or a lamp with two flames; nor as if He was previously in being and afterwards born or created afresh to be a Son, a notion often condemned by thyself, blessed Pope, publicly in the Church and in the assembly of the brethren. But, as we have affirmed, we believe that He was created by the will of God before times and worlds, and has His life and existence from the Father, Who gave Him to share His own glorious perfections. For, when the Father gave to Him the inheritance of all things, He did not thereby deprive Himself of attributes which are His without origination, He being the source of all things.

13. “So there are three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God, for His part, is the cause of all things, utterly unoriginate and separate from all; while the Son, put forth by the Father outside time, and created and established before the worlds, did not exist before He was born, but, being born outside time before the worlds, came into being as the Only Son of the Only Father. For He is neither eternal, nor co-eternal, nor co-uncreate with the Father, nor has He an existence collateral with the Father, as some say, who postulate two unborn principles. But God is before all things, as being indivisible and the beginning of all. Wherefore He is before the Son also, as indeed we have learnt from thee in thy public preaching. Inasmuch then as He hath His being from God, and His glorious perfections, and His life, and is entrusted with all things, for this reason God is His source, and hath rule over Him, as being His God, since He is before Him. As to such phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and I went out from the Father and am came, if they be understood to denote that the Father extends a part and, as it were, a development of that one substance, then the Father will be of a compound nature and divisible and changeable and corporeal, according to them; and thus, as far as their words go, the incorporeal God will be subjected to the properties of matter.”

14. Such is their error, such their pestilent teaching; to support it they borrow the words of Scripture, perverting its meaning and using the ignorance of men as their opportunity of gaining credence for their lies. Yet it is certainly by these same words of God that we must come to understand the things of God. For human feebleness cannot by any strength of its own attain to the knowledge of heavenly things; the faculties which deal with bodily matters can form no notion of the unseen world. Neither our created bodily substance, nor the reason given by God for the purposes of ordinary life, is capable of ascertaining and pronouncing upon the nature and work of God. Our wits cannot rise to the level of heavenly knowledge, our powers of perception lack the strength to apprehend that limitless might. We must believe God’s word concerning Himself, and humbly accept such insight as He vouchsafes to give. We must make our choice between rejecting His witness, as the heathen do, or else believing in Him as He is, and this in the only possible way, by thinking of Him in the aspect in which He presents Himself to us. Therefore let private judgment cease; let human reason refrain from passing barriers divinely set. In this spirit we eschew all blasphemous and reckless assertion concerning God, and cleave to the very letter of revelation. Each point in our enquiry shall be considered in the light of His instruction, Who is our theme; there shall be no stringing together of isolated phrases whose context is suppressed, to trick and misinform the unpractised listener. The meaning of words shall be ascertained by considering the circumstances under which they were spoken words must be explained by circumstances not circumstances forced into conformity will words. We, at any rate, will treat our subject completely; we will state both the circumstances under which words were spoken, and the true purport of the words. Each point shall be considered in orderly sequence.

15. Their starting-point is this; We confess, they say, One only God, because Moses says, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. But is this a truth which anyone has ever dared to doubt? Or was any believer ever known to confess otherwise than that there is One God from Whom are all things, One Majesty which has no birth, and that He is that unoriginated Power? Yet this fact of the Unity of God offers no chance for denying the Divinity of His Son. For Moses, or rather God through Moses, laid it down as His first commandment to that people, devoted both in Egypt and in the Desert to idols and the worship of imaginary gods, that they must believe in One God. There was truth and reason in the commandment, for God, from Whom are all things, is One. But let us see whether this Moses have not confessed that He, through Whom are all things, is also God. God is not robbed, He is still God, if His Son share the Godhead. For the case is that of God from God, of One from One, of God Who is One because God is from Him. And conversely the Son is not less God because God the Father is One, for He is the Only-begotten Son of God; not eternally unborn, so as to deprive the Father of His Oneness, nor yet different from God, for He is born from Him. We must not doubt that He is God by virtue of that birth from God which proves to us who believe that God is One; yet let us see whether Moses, who announced to Israel, The Lord thy God is One, has also proclaimed the Godhead of the Son. To make good our confession of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ we must employ the evidence of that same witness on whom the heretics rely for the confession of One Only God, which they imagine to involve the denial of the Godhead of the Son.

16. Since, therefore, the words of the Apostle, One God the Father, from Whom are all things, and one Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom are all things, form an accurate and complete confession concerning God, let us see what Moses has to say of the beginning of the world. His words are, And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and let it divide the water from the water. And it was so, and God made the firmament and God divided the water through the midst. Here, then, you have the God from Whom, and the God through Whom. If you deny it, you must tell us through whom it was that God’s work in creation was done, or else point for your explanation to an obedience in things yet uncreated, which, when God said Let there be a firmament, impelled the firmament to establish itself. Such suggestions are inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture. For all things, as the Prophet says, were made out of nothing; it was no transformation of existing things, but the creation into a perfect form of the non-existent. Through whom? Hear the Evangelist: things were made through Him. If you ask Who this is, the same Evangelist will tell you: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him. If you are minded to combat the view that it was the Father Who said, Let there be a firmament, the prophet will answer you: He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created. The recorded words, Let there be a firmament, reveal to us that the Father spoke. But in the words which follow, And it was so, in the statement that God did this thing, we must recognise the Person of the Agent. He spake, and they, were made; the Scripture does not say that He willed it, and did it. He commanded, and they were created; you observe that it does not say they came into existence, because it was His pleasure. In that case there would be no office for a Mediator between God and the world which was awaiting its creation. God, from Whom are all things, gives the order for creation which God, through Whom are all things, executes. Under one and the same Name we confess Him Who gave and Him Who fulfilled the command. If you dare to deny that God made is spoken of the Son, how do you explain All things were made through Him? Or the Apostle’s words, One resets Christ, our Lord, through, Whom are all things? Or, He spake, and they were made? If these inspired words succeed in convincing your stubborn mind, you will cease to regard that text, Hear, O Israel, the lord Hey God is One, as a refusal of Divinity to the Son of God, since at the very foundation of the world He Who spoke it proclaimed that His Son also is God. But let us see what increase of profit we may draw from this distinction of God Who commands and God Who executes. For though it is repugnant even to our natural reason to suppose that in the words, He commanded, and they were made, one single and isolated Person is intended, yet, for the avoidance of all doubts, we must expound the events which followed upon the creation of the world.

17. When the world was complete and its inhabitant was to be created, the words spoken concerning him were, Let Us make man after Our image and likeness. I ask you, Do you suppose that God spoke those words to Himself? Is it not obvious that He was addressing not Himself, but Another? If you reply that He was alone, then out of His own mouth He confutes you, for He says, Let Us make man after Our image and likeness. God has spoken to us through the Lawgiver in the way which is intelligible to us; that is, He makes us acquainted with His action by means of language, the faculty with which He has been pleased to endow us. There is, indeed, an indication of the Son of God through Whom all things were made, in the words, And God said, Let there be a firmament, and in, And God maple the firmament, which follows: but lest we should think these words of God were wasted and meaningless, supposing that He issued to Himself the command of creation, and Himself obeyed it,–for what notion could be further from the thought of a solitary God than that of giving a verbal order to Himself, when nothing was necessary except an exertion of His will?–He determined to give us a more perfect assurance that these words refer to Another beside Himself. When He said, Let Us make man after Our image and likeness, His cation of a Partner demolishes the theory of His isolation. For an isolated being cannot be partner to himself; and again, the words, Let Us make, are inconsistent with solitude, while Our cannot be used except to a companion. Both words, Us and Our are inconsistent with the notion of a solitary God speaking to Himself, and equally inconsistent with that of the address being made to a stranger who has nothing in common with the Speaker. If you interpret the passage to mean that He is isolated, I ask you whether you suppose that He was speaking with Himself? If you do not understand that He was speaking with Himself, how can you assume that He was isolated? If He were isolated, we should find Him described as isolated; if He had a companion, then as not isolated. I and Mine would describe the former state; the latter is indicated by Us and Our.

18. Thus, when we read, Let Us make man after Our image and likeness, these two words Us and Our reveal that there is neither one isolated God, nor yet one God in two dissimilar Persons; and our confession must be framed in harmony with the second as well as with the first truth. For the words our image–not our images–prove that there is one nature possessed by Both But an argument from words is an insufficient proof; unless its result be confirmed by the evidence of facts; and accordingly it is written, And God made man; after the image of God made He him. If the words He spoke, I ask, were the soliloquy of an isolated God, what meaning shall we assign to this last statement? For in it I see a triple allusion, to the Maker, to the being made, and to the image. The being made is man; God made him, and made him in the image of God. If Genesis were speaking of an isolated God, it would certainly have been And made him after His own image. But since the book was foreshowing the Mystery of the Gospel, it spoke not of two Gods, but of God and God, for it speaks of man made through God in the image of God. Thus we find that God wrought man after an image and likeness common to Himself and to God; that the mention of an Agent forbids us to assume that He was isolated; and that the work, done after an image and likeness which was that of Both, proves that there is no difference in kind between the Godhead of the One and of the Other.

19. It may seem waste of time to bring forward further arguments, for truths concerning God gain no strength by repetition; a single statement suffices to establish them. Yet it is well for us to know all that has been revealed upon the subject, for though we are not responsible for the words of Scripture, yet we shall have to render an account for the sense we have assigned to them. One of the many commandments which God gave to Noah is, Whoso sheddeth man’s blood for his blood shall his life be shed, far after the image of God made 1 man. Here again is the distinction between likeness, creature, and Creator. God bears wireless that He made man after the image of God. When He was about to make man, because He was speaking of Himself, yet not to Himself, God said, After our image; and again, after man was made, God made man after the image of God. It would have been no inaccuracy of language, had He said, addressing Himself, I have made man after My image, for He had shewn that the Persons are one in nature by, Let us make man after Our image. But for the more perfect removal of all doubt as to whether God be, or be not, a solitary Being, when He made man He made him, we are told, After the image of God.

20. If you still wish to assert that God the Father in solitude said these words to Him self, I can go with you as far as to admit the possibility that He might in solitude nave spoken to Himself as if He were conversing with a companion, and that it is credible that He wished the words I have made man after the image of God to be equivalent to I have made man after My own image. But your own confession of faith will refute you. For you have confessed that all things are from the Father, but all through the Son; and the words, Let Us make man, shew that the Source from Whom are all things is He Who spoke thus, while God made him after the image of God clearly points to Him through Whom the work was done.

21. And furthermore, to make all self-deception unlawful, that Wisdom, which you have yourself confessed to be Christ, shall confront you with the words, When tare was establishing the fountains under the heaven, when He was making strong the foundations of the earth. I was with Him, setting them in order. It was I, over Whom He rejoiced. Moreover, I was daily rejoicing in His sight, all the while that He was rejoining in the world that He hart made, and in the sans of men. Every difficulty is removed; error itself must recognise the truth. There is with God Wisdom, begotten before the worlds; and not only present with Him, but setting in order, for She was with Him, setting them in order. Mark this work of setting in order, or arranging. The Father, by His commands, is the Cause; the Son, by His execution of the things commanded, sets in order. The distinction between the Persons is marked by the work assigned to Each. When it says

Let us make, creation is identified with the word of command; but when it is written, I was with Him, setting them in order, God reveals that He did not do the work in isolation. For He was rejoicing before Him, Who, He tells us, rejoiced in return; Moreover, I was daily rejoicing in His sight, all the while that He was rejoicing in the world that He had made, and in the sans of men. Wisdom has taught us the reason of Her joy. She rejoiced because of the joy of the Father, Who rejoices over the completion of the world and over the sons of men. For it is written, And God saw that they were good. She rejoices that God is well pleased with His work, which has been made through Her, at His command. She avows that Her joy results from the Father’s gladness over the finished world and over the sons of men; over the sons of men, because in the one man Adam the whole human race had begun its course. Thus in the creation of the world there is no mere soliloquy of an isolated Father; His Wisdom is His partner in the work, and rejoices with Him when their conjoint labour ends.

22. I am aware that the full explanation of these words involves the discussion of many and weighty problems. I do not shirk them, but postpone them for the present, reserving their consideration for later stages of the enquiry. For the present I devote myself to that article of the blasphemers’ faith, or rather faithlessness, which asserts that Moses proclaims the solitude of God. We do not forget that the assertion is true in the sense that there is One God, from Whom are all things; but neither do we forget that this truth is no excuse for denying the Godhead of the Son, since Moses throughout the course of his writings clearly indicates the existence of God and God. We must examine bow the history of God’s choice, and of the giving of the Law, proclaims God co-ordinate with God.

23. After God had often spoken with Abraham, Sarah was moved to wrath against Hagar, being jealous that she, the mistress, was barren, while her handmaid had conceived a son. Then, when Hagar had departed from her sight, the Spirit speaks thus concerning her, And the angel of the Lord said unto Hagar, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, and it shall not be numbered for multitude, and again, And she called the Name of the Lord that spake with her. Thou art God, Who hast seen me. It is the Angel of God Who speaks, and speaks of things far beyond the powers which a messenger, for that is the meaning of the word, could have. He says, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, and it shall not be numbered for multitude. The power of multiplying na tions lies outside the ministry of an angel. Yet what says the Scripture of Him Who is called the Angel of God, yet speaks words which belong to God alone? And she calico the Name of the Lord that spake with her, Thou art God, Who hast seen me. First He is the Angel of God; then He is the Lord, for She called the Name of the Lord; then, thirdly, He is God, for Thou art God, Who hast seen me. He Who is called the Angel of God is also Lord and God. The Son of God is also, according to the prophet, the Angel of great counsel. To discriminate clearly between the Persons, He is called the Angel of God; He Who is God from God is also the Angel of God. but, that He may have the honour which is His due, He is entitled also Lord and God.

24. In this passage the one Deity is first the Angel of God, anti then, successively. Lord and God. But to Abraham He is God only. For when the distinction of Persons had first been made, as a safeguard against the delusion that God is a solitary Being, then His true and unqualified name could safely be uttered. And so it is written. And God said to Abraham, Behold Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as far Ishmael, behold. I have heard thee and have blessed him, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve nations shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. Is it possible to doubt that He Who was previously called the Angel of God is here, in the sequel, spoken of as God? In both instances He is speaking of Ishmael; in both it is the same Person Who shall multiply him. To save us from supposing that this was a different Speaker from Him who had addressed Hagar, the Divine words expressly attest the identity, saying, And I have blessed him, and will multiply him. The blessing is repeated from a former occasion, for Hagar had already been addressed; the multiplication is promised for a future day, for this is God’s first word to Abraham concerning Ishmael. Now it is God Who speaks to Abraham; to Hagar the Angel of God had spoken. Thus God and the Angel of God are One; He Who is the Angel of God is also God the Son of God. He is called the Angel because He is the Angel of great counsel; but afterwards He is spoken of as Go I, lest we should suppose that He Who is God is only an angel. Let us now repeat the facts in order. The Angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar; He spoke also to Abraham as God. One Speaker addressed both. The blessing was given to Ishmael, and the promise that he should grow into a great people.

25. In another instance the Scripture reveals through Abraham that it was God Who spoke. He receives the further promise of a son, Isaac. Afterwards there appear to him three men. Abraham, though he sees three, worships One, and acknowledges Him as Lord. Three were standing before him, Scripture says, but he knew well Which it was that he must worship and confess. There was nothing in outward appearance to distinguish them, but by the eye of faith, the vision of the soul, he knew his Lord. Then the Scripture goes on, And He said unto him, I will certainly return unto thee at this time hereafter, and Sarah thy wife shall have a son; and afterwards the Lord said to Him, I will not conceal from Abraham My servant the things that I will do; and again, Moreover the Lord said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is filled up, and their sins are exceeding great. Then after long discourse, which for the sake of brevity shall be omitted, Abraham, distressed at the destruction which awaited the innocent as well as the guilty, said, In no wise wilt Thou, Who judgest the earth, execute this judgment. And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. Afterwards, when the warning to Lot, Abraham’s brother, was ended, the Scripture says, And the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and, after a while, And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and did unto Sarah as He had spoken, and Sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And afterwards, when the handmaid with her son had been driven from Abraham’s house, and was dreading test her child should die in the wilderness for want of water, the same Scripture says And the Lord God heard the voice of the lad, where he was, and the Angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What is it, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad from the place where he is. Arise, and take the lad and hold his hand, for I will make him a great nation.

26. What blind faithlessness it is, what dulness of an unbelieving heart, what headstrong impiety, to abide in ignorance of all this, or else to know and yet neglect it! Assuredly it is written for the very purpose that error or oblivion may not hinder the recognition of the truth. If, as we shall prove, it is impossible to escape knowledge of the facts, then it must be nothing less than blasphemy to deny them. This record begins with the speech of the Angel to Hagar, His promise to multiply Ishmael into a great nation and to give him a countless offspring. She listens, and by her confession reveals that He is Lord and God. The story begins with His appearance as the Angel of God; at its termination He stands confessed as God Himself. Thus He Who, while He executes the ministry of declaring the great counsel is God’s Angel, is Himself in name and nature God. The name corresponds to the nature; the nature is not falsified to make it conform to the name. Again, God speaks to Abraham of this same matter; he is told that Ishmael has already received a blessing, and shall be increased into a nation; I have blessed him, God says. This is no change from the Person indicated before; He shews that it was He Who had already given the blessing. The Scripture has obviously been consistent throughout in its progress from mystery to clear revelation; it began with the Angel of God, and proceeds to reveal that it was God Himself Who had spoken in this same matter.

27. The course of the Divine narrative is accompanied by a progressive development of doctrine. In the passage which we have discussed God speaks to Abraham. and promises that Sarah shall bear a son. Afterwards three men stand by him; he worships One and acknowledges Him as Lord. After this worship and acknowledgment by Abraham, the One promises that He will return hereafter at the same season, and that then Sarah shall have her son. This One again is seen by Abraham in the guise of a man, and salutes him with the same promise. The change is one of name only; Abraham’s acknowledgment in each case is the same. It was a Man whom he saw, yet Abraham worshipped Him as Lord; he beheld, no doubt, in a mystery the coming Incarnation. Faith so strong has not missed its recognition; the Lord says in the Gospel, Your father Abraham rejoined to see My day; and he saw it, and was glade. To continue the history; the Man Whom he saw promised that He would return at the same season. Mark the fulfilment of the promise, remembering meanwhile that it was a Man Who made it. What says the Scripture? And the Lord visited Sarah. So this Man is the Lord, fulfilling His own promise. What follows next? And God did unto Sarah as He had said. The narrative calls His words those of a Man, relates that Sarah was visited by the Lord, proclaims that the result was the work of God. You are sure that it was a Man who spoke, for Abraham not only heard, but saw Him. Can you be less certain that He was God, when the same Scripture, which had called Him Man, confesses Him God? For its words are, And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, and at the set time of which God had spoken to him. But it was the Man who had promised that He would come. Believe that He was nothing more than man; unless, in fact, He Who came was God and Lord. Connect the incidents. It was, confessedly, the Man who promised that He would come that Sarah might conceive and bear a son. And now accept instruction, and confess the faith; it was the Lord God Who came that she might conceive and bear. The Man made the promise in the power of God; by the same power God fulfilled the promise. Thus God reveals Himself both in word and deed. Next, two of the three men whom Abraham saw depart; He Who remains behind is Lord and God. And not only Lord and God, but also Judge, for Abraham stood before the Lord and said, In no wise shall Thou do this things, to slay the righteous with the wicked, for then the righteous shall be as the wicked. In no wise wilt Thou Who judgest the whole earth, execute this judgment. Thus by all his words Abraham instructs us in that faith, for which he was justified; he recognises the Lord from among the three, he worships Him only, and confesses that He is Lord and Judge.

28. Lest you fall into the error of supposing that this acknowledgment of the One was a payment of honor to all the three whom Abraham saw in company, mark the words of Lot when he saw the two who had departed; And when Lot saw them, he rose up to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; and he said, Behold, my lords, turn in to your servant’s house. Here the plural lords shews that this was nothing more than a vision of angels; in the other case the faithful patriarch pays the honour due to One only. Thus the sacred narrative makes it clear that two of the three were mere angels; it had previously proclaimed the One as Lord and God by the words, And the lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I then bear a child? But I am grown old. Is anything from God impossible? this season I will return to thee hereafter, and Sarah shall have a son. The Scripture is accurate and consistent; we detect no such confusion as the plural used of the One God and Lord, no Divine honours paid to the two angels. Lot, no doubt, calls them lords, while the Scripture calls them angels. The one is human reverence, the other literal truth.

29. And now there fails on Sodom and Gomorrah the vengeance of a righteous judgment. What can we learn from it for the purposes of our enquiry? The Lord rained brimstone and fire from the Lord. It is The Lord from the Lord; Scripture makes no distinction, by difference of name, between Their natures, but discriminates between Themselves. For we read in the Gospel, The Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment to the Son. Thus what the Lord gave, the Lord had received from the Lord.

30. You have now had evidence of God the Judge as Lord and Lord; learn next that there is the same joint ownership of name in the case of God and God. Jacob, when he fled through fear of his brother, saw in his dream a ladder resting upon the earth and reaching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it, and the Lord resting above it, Who gave him all the blessings which He had bestowed upon Abraham and Isaac. At a later time God spoke to him thus: And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to the place Bethel, and dwell there, and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of thy brother. God demands honour for God, and makes it clear that demand is on behalf of Another than Himself. He who appeared to thee when than fleddest are His words: He guards carefully against any confusion of the Persons. It is God Who speaks, and God of Whom He speaks. Their majesty is asserted by the combination of Both under Their true Name of God, while the words plainly declare Their several existence.

31. Here again there occur to me considerations which must be taken into account in a complete treatment of the subject. But the order of defence must adapt itself to the order of attack, and I reserve these outstanding questions for discussion in the next book. For the present, in regard to God Who demanded honour for God, it will suffice for me to point out that He Who was the Angel of God, when He spoke with Hagar, was God and Lord when tie spoke of the same matter with Abraham; that the Man Who spoke with Abraham was also God and Lord, while the two angels, who were seen with the Lord and whom He sent to Lot, are described by the prophet as angels, and nothing more. Nor was it to Abraham only that God appeared in human guise; He appeared as Man to Jacob also. And not only did He appear, but, so we are told, He wrestled; and not only did He wrestle, but He was vanquished by His adversary. Neither the time at my disposal, nor the subject, will allow me to discuss the typical meaning of this wrestling. It was certainly God Who wrestled, for Jacob prevailed against God, and Israel saw God.

32. And now let us enquire whether elsewhere than in the case of Hagar the Angel of God has been discovered to be God Himself. He has been so discovered, and found to be not only God, but the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. For the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses from the bush; and Whose voice, think you, are we to suppose was heard? The voice of Him Who was seen, or of Another? There is no room for deception; the words of Scripture are clear: And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire from a bush, and again, The Lord called unto him from the bush, Moses, Moses, and he answered, What is it? And the Lord said, Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. And He said unto him, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, He who appeared in the bush speaks from the bush; the place of the vision and of the voice is one; He Who speaks is none other than He Who was seen. He Who is the Angel of God when the eye beholds Him is the Lord when the ear hears Him, and the Lord Whose voice is heard is recognised as the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. When He is styled the Angel of God, the fact is revealed that He is no self-contained and solitary Being: for He is the Angel of God. When He is designated Lord and God, He receives the full title which is due to His nature and His name. You have, then, in the Angel Who appeared from the bush, Him Who is Lord and God.

33. Continue your study of the witness borne by Moses; mark how diligently he seizes every opportunity of proclaiming the Lord and God. You take note of the passage, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. Note also the words of that Divine song of his; See, See, that I am the Lord, and there is no God beside Me. While God has been the Speaker throughout the poem, he ends with, Rejoice, ye heavens, together with Him and let all the sans of God praise Him. Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people, and let all the Angels of God do Him honour. God is to be glorified by the Angels of God, and He says, For I am the Lord, and there is no Gad beside Me. For He is God the Only-begotten, and the title ‘Only-begotten’ excludes all partnership in that character, just as the title ‘Unoriginate’ denies that there is, in that regard, any who shares the character of the Unoriginate Father. The Son is One from One. There is none unoriginate except God the Unoriginate, and so likewise there is none only-begotten except God the Only-begotten. They stand Each single and alone, being respectively the One Unoriginate and the One Only-begotten. And so They Two are One God, for between the One, and the One Who is His offspring there lies no gulf of difference of nature in the eternal Godhead. Therefore He must be worshipped by the sons of God and glorified by the angels of God. Honour and reverence is demanded for God from the sons and from the angels of God. Notice Who it is that shall receive this honour, and by whom it is to lie paid. It is God, and they are the sons and angels of God. And test you should imagine that honour is not demanded for God Who shares our nature, but that Moses is thinking here of reverence due to God the Father,–though, indeed, it is in the Son that the Father must be honoured–examine the words of the blessing bestowed by God upon Joseph, at the end of the same book. They are, And let the things that are well-pleasing to Him that appeared in the bush came upon the head and crown of Joseph. Thus God is to be worshipped by the sons of God; but God Who is Himself the Son of God. And God is to be reverenced by the angels of God; but God Who is Himself the Angel of God. For God appeared from the bush as the Angel of God, and the prayer for Joseph is that he may receive such blessings as He shall please, He is none the less God because He is the Angel of God; and none the less the Angel of God because He is God. A clear indication is given of the Divine Persons; the line is definitely drawn between the Unbegot-ten and the Begotten. A revelation of the mysteries of heaven is granted, and we are taught not to dream of God as dwelling in solitude, when angels and sons of God shall worship Him, Who is God’s Angel and Its Son.

34. Let this be taken as our answer from the books of Moses, or rather as the answer of Moses himself. The heretics imagine that they can use his assertion of the Unity of God in disproof of the Divinity of God the Son; a blasphemy in defiance of the clear warning of their own witness, for whenever he confesses that God is One he never fails to teach the Son’s Divinity. Our next step must be to adduce the manifold utterance of the prophets concerning the same Son.

35. You know the words, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One; would that you knew them aright! As you interpret them, I seek in vain for their sense. It is said in the Psalms, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee . Impress upon the reader’s mind the distinction between the Anointer and the Anointed; discriminate between the Thee and the Thy: make it clear to Whom and of Whom the words are spoken. For this definite confession is the conclusion of the preceding passage, which runs thus; Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity. And then he continues, Therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee. Thus the God of the eternal kingdom, in reward for His love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity, is anointed by His God. Surely some broad difference is drawn, some gap too wide for our mental span, between these names? No; the distinction of Persons is indicated by Thee and Thy, but nothing suggests a difference of nature. Thy points to the Author, Thee to Him Who is the Author’s offspring. For He is God from God, as these same words of the prophet declare, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee. And His own words bear wireless that there is no God anterior to God the Un-originate; Be ye My witnesses, and I am witness, saith the Lord God, and My Servant Whom I have chosen, that ye may know and believe and understand that I am, and before? Me there is no other God, nor shall be after Me. Thus the majesty of Him that has no beginning is declared, and the glory of Him that is from the Unoriginate is safeguarded; for God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee. That word Thy declares His birth, yet does not contradict His nature; Thy God means that the Son was born from Him to share the Godhead. But the fact that the Father is God is no obstacle to the Son’s being God also, for God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee. Mention is made both of Father and of Son; the one title of God conveys the assurance that in character and majesty They are One.

36. But lest these words, For I am, and before Me there is no other God, nor shall be after Me, be made a handle for blasphemous presumption, as proving that the Son is not God, since after the God, Whom no God precedes, there follows no other God, the purpose of the passage must be considered. God is His own best interpreter, but His chosen Servant joins with Him to assure us that there is no God before Him, nor shall be after Him. His oxen witness concerning Himself is, indeed, sufficient, but He has added the witness of the Servant Whom He has chosen. Thus we have the united testimony of the Two, that there is no God before Him; we accept the truth, because all things are from Him. We have Their witness also that there shall be no God after Him; but They do not deny that God has been born from Him in the past. Already there was the Servant speaking thus, and bearing witness to the Father; the Servant born in that tribe from which God’s elect was to spring. He sets forth also the same truth in the Gospels: Behold, My Servant Whom I have chosen, My Beloved in Whom My soul is well pleased. This is the sense, then, in which God says, There is no other God before Me, nor shall be after Me. He reveals the infinity of His eternal and unchanging majesty by this assertion that there is no God before or after Himself. But He gives His Servant a share both in the bearing of wireless and in the possession of the Name of God.

37. The fact is obvious from His own words. For He says to Hosea the prophet, I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel, but will altogether be their enemy. But I will have mercy upon the children Judah, and will save them in the Lord their God. Here God the Father gives the name of God, without any ambiguity, to the Son, in Whom also He chose us before countless ages. Their God, He says, for while the Father, being Unoriginate, is independent of all, He has given us for an inheritance to His Son. In like manner we read, Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance. None can be God to Him from Whom are all things, for He is eternal and has no beginning; but the Son has God, from Whom He was born, for His Father. Yet to us the Father is God and the Son is God; the Father reveals to us that the Son is our God, and the Son teaches that the Father is God over us. The point for us to remember is that in this passage the Father gives to the Son the name of God, the title of His own unoriginate majesty. But I have commented sufficiently on these words of Hosea.

38. Again, how clear is the declaration made by God the Father through Isaiah concerning our Lord! He says, For thus saith the Lord, the holy God of Israel, Who made the things to came, Ask me concerning your sons and your daughters, and concerning the works of My hands command ye Me. I have made the earth and man upon it, I have commanded all the stars, I have raised up a King with righteousness, and all His ways are straight. He shall build My city, and shall turn back the captivity of My people, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of Sabaoth. Egypt shall labour, and the merchandise of the Ethiopians and Sabeans. Men of stature shall come over unto Thee and shall be Thy servants, and shall follow after Thee, bound in chains, and shall worship Thee and make supplication unto Thee, for God is in Thee and there is no God beside Thee. For Thou art God, and we knew it not, O God of Israel, the Saviour. All that resist Him shall be ashamed and confounded, and shall walk in confusion. Is any opening left for gainsaying, or excuse for ignorance? If blasphemy continue, is it not in brazen defiance that it survives? God from Whom are all things, Who made all by His command, asserts that He is the Author of the universe, for, unless He had spoken, nothing had been created. He asserts that He has raised up a righteous King, who builds for Himself, that is, for God, a city, and turns back the captivity of His people, for no gift nor reward, for freely are we all saved. Next, He tells how after the labours of Egypt, and after the traffic of Ethiopians and Sabeans, men of stature shall come over to Him. How shall we understand these labours in Egypt, this traffic of Ethiopians and Sabeans? Let us call to mind how the Magi of the East worshipped and paid tribute to the Lord; let us estimate the weariness of that long pilgrimage to Bethlehem of Judah. In the toilsome journey of the Magian princes we see the labours of Egypt to which the prophet alludes. For when the Magi executed, in their spurious, material way, the duty ordained for them by the power of God, the whole heathen world was offering in their person the deepest reverence of which its worship was capable. And these same Magi presented gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh from the merchandise of the Ethiopians and Sabeans; a thing foretold by another prophet, who has said, The Ethiopians shall full down before His face, and is enemies shall lick the dust. The Kings of Tharsis shall offer presents, the Kings of the Arabians and Sabeans shall bring gifts, and there shall be given to Him of the gold of Arabia? The Magi and their offerings stand for the labour of Egypt and for the merchandise of Ethiopians and Sabeans; the adoring Magi represent the heathen world, and offer the choicest gifts of the Gentiles to the Lord Whom they adore.

39. As for the men of stature who shall come over to Him and follow Him in chains, there is no doubt who they are. Turn to the Gospels; Peter, when he is to follow his Lord, is girded up. Read the Apostles: Paul, the servant of Christ, boasts of his bonds. Let us see whether this ‘prisoner of Jesus Christ’ conforms in his teaching to the prophecies uttered by God concerning God His Son. God hart said, They shall make supplication, for God is in Thee. Now mark and digest these words of the Apostle:–God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. And then the prophecy continues, And there is no God beside Thee. The Apostle promptly matches this with For there is one Jesus Christ our Lord, through Whom are all things. Obviously there can be none other but He, for He is One. The third prophetic statement is, Thou art God and we knew it not. But Paul, once the persecutor of the Church, says, Whose are the fathers, from Whom is Christ, Who is God over all. Such is to be the message of these men in chains; men of stature, indeed, they will be, and shall sit on twelve thrones to judge the tribes of Israel, and shall follow their Lord, witnesses to Him in teaching and in martyrdom.

40. Thus God is in God, and it is God in Whom God dwells. But how is There is no God beside Thee true, if God be within Him? Heretic! In support of your confession of a solitary Father you employ the words, There is no God beside Me; what sense can you assign to the solemn declaration of God the Father, There is no God beside Thee, if your explanation of There is no God beside Me be a denial of the Godhead of the Son? To whom, in that case, can God have said, There is no God beside Thee? You cannot suggest that this solitary Being said it to Himself. It was to the King Whom He summoned that the Lord said, by the mouth of the men of stature who worshipped and made supplication, For God is in Thee. The facts are inconsistent with solitude. In Thee implies that there was One present within range, if I may say so, of the Speaker’s voice. The complete sentence, God is in Thee, reveals not only God present, but also God abiding in Him Who is present. The words distinguish the Indweller from Him in Whom He dwells, but it is a distinction of Person only, not of character. God is in Him, and He, in Whom God is, is God. The residence of God cannot be within a nature strange and alien to His own. He abides in One Who is His own, born from Himself. God is in God, because God is from God. Far Than art God, and we knew it not, O God of Israel, the Saviour

41. My next book is devoted to the refutation of your denial that God is in God; for the prophet continues, All that resist Him shall be ashamed and confounded and shall walk in confusion. This is God’s sentence, passed upon your unbelief. You set yourself in opposition to Christ, and it is on His account that the Father’s voice is raised in solemn reproof; for He, Whose Godhead you deny, is God. And you deny it under cloak of reverence for God, because He says, There is no other God beside Me. Submit to shame and confusion; the Unoriginate God has no need of the dignity you offer; He has never asked for this majesty of isolation which you attribute to Him. He repudiates your officious interpretation which would twist His words, There is no other God beside Me, into a denial of the Godhead of the Son Whom He begot from Himself. To frustrate your purpose of demolishing the Divinity of the Son by assigning the Godhead in some special sense to Himself, He rounds off the glories of the Only-begotten by the attribution of absolute Divinity:–And there is no God beside Thee. Why make distinctions between exact equivalents? Why separate what is perfectly matched? It is the peculiar characteristic of the Son of God that there is no God beside Him; the peculiar characteristic of God the Father that there is no God apart from Him. Use His words concerning Himself; confess Him in His own terms, and entreat Him as King; For God is in Thee, and there is no God beside Thee. For Thou art God, and we knew it not, O God of Israel, the Saviour. A confession couched in words so reverent is free from the taint of presumption: its terms can excite no repugnance. Above all, we must remember that to refuse it means shame and ignominy. Brood in thought over these words God; employ them in your confession of Him, and so escape the threatened shame. For if you deny the Divinity of the Son of God, you will not be augmenting the glory of God by adoring Him in lonely majesty; you will be slighting the Father by refusing to reverence the Son. In faith and veneration confess of the Unoriginate God that there is no God beside Him; claim for God the Only-begotten that apart from Him there is no God.

42. As you have listened already to Moses and Isaiah, so listen now to Jeremiah inculcating the same truth as they:–This is our God, and there shall be none other likened unto Him, Who hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He shew Himself upon earth and dwelt among men. For previously he had said, And He is Man, and Who shall know Him? Thus you have God seen on earth and dwelling among men. Now I ask you what sense you would assign to No one hath seen Gad at any time, save the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, when Jeremiah proclaims God seen on earth and dwelling among men? The Father confessedly cannot be seen except by the Son; Who then is This who was seen and dwelt among men? He must be our God, for He is God visible in human form, Whom men can handle. And take to heart the prophet’s words, There shall be none other likened to Him. If you ask how this can be, listen to the remainder of the sentence, lest you be tempted to deny to the Father His share of the confession. Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. The whole passage is, There shall be none likened unto Him, Who hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He skew Himself upon earth and dwelt among men. For there is one Mediator between God and Men, Who is both God and Man; Mediator both in giving of the Law and in taking of our body. Therefore none other can be likened unto Him, for He is One, born from God into God, and the it was through Whom all things were created in heaven and earth, through Whom times and worlds were made. Everything, in fine, that exists owes its existence to His action. He it is that instructs Abraham, that speaks with Moses, that testifies to Israel, that abides in the prophets, that was born through the Virgin from the Holy Ghost, that nails to the cross of His passion the powers that are our foes, that slays death in hell, that strengthens the assurance of our hope by His Resurrection, that destroys the corruption of human flesh by the glory of His Body. Therefore none shall be likened unto Him. For these are the peculiar powers of God the Only-begotten; He alone was born from God, the blissful Possessor of such great prerogatives. No second god can be likened unto Him, for He is God from God, not born from any alien being. There is nothing new or strange or modern created in Him. When Israel hears that its God is one, and that no second god is likened, that men may deem him God, to God Who is God’s Son, the revelation means that God the Father and God the Son are One altogether, not by confusion of Person but by unity of substance. For the prophet forbids us, because God the Son is God, to liken Him to some second deity.

Book 5 (Back to the Top)

1. OUR reply, in the previous books, to the mad and blasphemous doctrines of the heretics has led us with open eyes into the difficulty that our readers incur an equal danger whether we refute our opponents, or whether we forbear. For while unbelief with boisterous irreverence was thrusting upon us the unity of God, a unity which devout and reasonable faith cannot deny, the scrupulous soul was caught in the dilemma that, whether it asserted or denied the proposition, the danger of blasphemy was equally incurred. To human logic it may seem ridiculous and irrational to say that it can be impious to assert, and impious to deny, the same doctrine, since what it is godly to maintain it must be godless to dispute; if it serve a good purpose to demolish a statement, it may seem folly to dream that good can come from supporting it. But human logic is fallacy in the presence of the counsels of God, and folly when it would cope with the wisdom of heaven; its thoughts are fettered by its limitations, its philosophy confined by the feebleness of natural reason. It must be foolish in its own eyes before it can be wise unto God; that is, it must learn the poverty of its own faculties and seek after Divine wisdom. It must become wise, not by the standard of human philosophy, but of that which mounts to God, before it can enter into His wisdom, and its eyes be opened to the folly of the world. The heretics have ingeniously contrived that this folly, which passes for wisdom, shall be their engine. They employ the confession of One God, for which they appeal to the witness of the Law and the Gospels in the words, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. They are well aware of the risks involved, whether their assertion be met by contradiction or passed over in silence; and, whichever happens, they see an opening to promote their heresy. If sacred truth, pressed with a blasphemous intent, be met by silence, that silence is construed as consent; as a confession that, because God is One, therefore His Son is not God, and God abides in eternal solitude. If, on the other hand, the heresy involved in their bold argument be met by contradiction, this opposition is branded as a departure from the true Gospel faith, which states in precise terms the unity of God, or else they cast in the opponent’s teeth that he has fallen into the contrary heresy, which allows but one Person of Father and of Son. Such is the deadly artifice, wearing the aspect of an attractive innocence, which the world’s wisdom, which is folly with God, has forged to beguile us in this first article of their faith, which we can neither confess nor deny without risk of blasphemy. We walk between dangers on either hand; the unity of God may force us into a denial of the Godhead of His Son, or, if we confess that the Father is God and the Son is God, we may be driven into the heresy of interpreting the unity of Father and of Son in the Sabellian sense. Thus their device of insisting upon the One God would either shut out the Second Person from the Godhead, or destroy the Unity by admitting Him as a second God, or else make the unity merely nominal. For unity, they would plead, excludes a Second; the existence of a Second is destructive of unity; and Two cannot be One.

2. But we who have attained this wisdom of God, which is folly to the world, and purpose, by means of the sound and saving profession of true faith in the Lord, to unmask the snake-like treachery of their teaching; we have so laid out the plan of our undertaking as to gain a vantage ground for the display of the truth without entangling ourselves in the dangers of heretical assertion. We carefully avoid either extreme; not denying that God is One, yet setting forth distinctly, on the evidence of the Lawgiver who proclaims the unity of God, the truth that there is God and God. We teach that it is by no confusion of the Two that God is One; we do not rend Him in pieces by preaching a plurality of Gods, nor yet do we profess a distinction only in name. But we present Him as God and God, postponing at present for fuller discussion hereafter the question of the Divine unity. For the Gospels tell us that Moses taught the truth when he proclaimed that God is One; and Moses by his proclamation of One God confirms the lesson of the Gospels, which tell of God and God.

Thus we do not contradict our authorities, but base our teaching upon them, proving that the revelation to Israel of the unity of God gives no sanction to the refusal of Divinity to the Son of God; since he who is our authority for asserting that there is One God is our authority also for confessing the Godhead of His Son.

3. And so the arrangement of our treatise follows closely the order of the objections raised. Since the next article of their blasphemous and dishonest confession is, We confess One true God, the whole of this second book is devoted to the question whether the Son of God be true God. For it is clear that the heretics have ingeniously contrived this arrangement of first naming One God and then One true God, in order to detach the Son from the name and nature of God; since the thought must suggest itself that, truth being inherent in the One God, it must be strictly confined to Him. And therefore, since it is clear beyond a doubt that Moses, when he proclaimed the unity of God, meant therein to assert the Divinity of the Son, let us return to the leading passages in which his teaching is conveyed, and enquire whether or no he wishes us to believe that the Son, Who, as he has taught us, is God, is also true God. It is clear that the truth, or genuineness, of a thing is a question of its nature and its powers. For instance, true wheat is that which grows to a head with the beard bristling round it, which is purged from the chaff and ground to flour, compounded into a loaf and taken for food, and renders the nature and the uses of bread. Thus natural powers are the evidence of truth; and let us see, by this test, whether He, Whom Moses calls God, be true God. We will defer for the present our discourse concerning this One God, Who is also true God, lest, if I fail at once to take up their challenge and uphold the One True God in the two Persons of Father and of Son, eager and anxious souls be oppressed by dangerous doubts.

4. And now, since we accept as common ground the fact that God recognises His Son as God, I ask you: how does the creation of the world disprove our assertion that the Son is true God? There is no doubt that all things are through the Son, for, in the Apostle’s words, All things are through Him, and in Him. If all things are through Him, and all were made out of noticing, and none otherwise than through Him, in what element of true Godhead is He defective, Who possesses both the nature and the power of God? He bad at His disposal the powers of the Divine nature, to bring into being the non-existent and to create at His pleasure. For God saw that they were good.

5. When the Law says, And God said, Let there be a firmament, and then adds, And God made the firmament, it introduces no other distinction than that of Person. It indicates no difference of power or nature, and makes no change of name. Under the one title of God it reveals, first, the thought of Him Who spoke, and then the action of Him Who created. The language of the narrator says nothing to deprive Him of Divine nature and power; nay rather, how precisely does it inculcate His true Godhead. The power to give effect to the word of creation belongs only to that Nature with Whom to speak is the same as to fulfil. How then is He not true God, Who creates, if He is true God, Who commands? If the word spoken was truly Divine, the deed done was truly Divine also. God spoke, and God created; if it was true God Who spoke, He Who created was true God also; unless indeed, while the presence of true Godhead was displayed in the speech of the One, its absence was manifested in the action of the Other. Thus in the Son of God we behold the true Divine nature. He is God, He is Creator, He is Son of God, He is omnipotent. It is not merely that He can do whatever He will, for will is always the concomitant of power; but He can do also whatever is commanded Him. Absolute power is this, that its possessor can execute as Agent whatever His words as Speaker can express. When unlimited power of expression is combined with unlimited power of execution, then this creative power, commensurate with the commanding word, possesses the true nature of God. Titus the Son of God is not false God, nor God by adoption, nor God by gift of the name, but true God. Nothing would be gained by the statement of the arguments by which His true Godhead is opposed. His possession of the name and of the nature of God is conclusive proof. He, by Whom all things were made, is God. So much the creation of the world tells me about Him. He is God, equal with God in name; true God, equal with true God in power. The might of God is revealed to us in the creative word; the might of God is manifested also in the creative act. And now again I ask by what authority you deny, in your confession of Father and Son, the true Divine nature of

Him Whose name reveals His power, Whose power proves His right to the Name.

6. My reader must bear in mind that I am silent about the current objections through no forgetfulness, and no distrust of my cause. For that constantly cited text, The Father is greater than I, and its cognate passages are perfectly familiar to me, and I have my interpretation of them ready, which makes them witness to the true Divine nature of the Son. But it serves my purpose best to adhere in reply to the order of attack, that our pious effort may follow close upon the progress of their impious scheme, and when we see them diverge into godless heresy we may at once obliterate the track of error. To this end we postpone to the end of our work the testimony of the Evangelists and Apostles, and join battle with the blasphemers for the present on the ground of the Law and the Prophets, silencing their crooked argument, based on misinterpretation and deceit, by the very texts with which they strive to delude us. The sound method of demonstrating a truth is to expose the fallacy of the objections raised against it; and the disgrace of the deceiver is complete if his own lie be converted into an evidence for the truth. And, indeed, the universal experience of mankind has learned that falsehood and truth are incompatible, and cannot be reconciled or made coherent; that by their very nature they are among those opposites which are eternally repugnant, and can never combine or agree.

7. This being the case, I ask how a distinction can be made in the words, Let Us make man after Our own image and likeness between a true God and a false. The words express a meaning, the meaning is the outcome of thought; the thought is set in motion by truth. Let us follow the words back to their meaning, and learn from the meaning the thought, and from the thought attain to the underlying truth. Thy enquiry is, whether He to Whom the words Let Us make man after Our own image and likeness were spoken, was not thought of as true by Him Who spoke; for they undoubtedly express the feeling and thought of the Speaker. In saying Let Us make, He clearly indicates One in no discord with Himself, no alien or powerless Being, but One endowed with power to do the thing of which He speaks. His own words assure us that this is the sense in which we must understand that they were spoken.

8. To assure us still more fully of the true Godhead manifested in the nature and work of the Son, He, Who expressed His meaning in the words I have cited, shews that His thought was suggested by the true Divinity of Him to Whom He said, After Our own image and likeness. How is He falsely called God, to Whom the true God says, After Our own image and likeness? Our is inconsistent with isolation, and with difference either in purpose or in nature. Man is created, taking the words in their strict sense, in Their common image. Now there can be nothing common to the true and to the false. God, the Speaker, is speaking to God; man is being created in the image of Father and of Son. The Two are One in name and One in nature. It is only out image after which man is made. The time has not yet come for me to discuss this matter; hereafter I will explain what is this image of God the Father and of God the Son into which man was created. For the present we will stick to the question, was, or was not, He true God, to Whom the true God said, La Us make man after Our own image and likeness? Separate, if you can, the true from the false elements in this image common to Both; in your heretical madness divide the indivisible. For They Two are One, of Whose one image and likeness man is the one copy.

9. But now let us continue our reading of this Scripture, to shew how the consistency of truth is unaffected by these dishonest objections. The next words are, And God made man; after the image of God made He him. The image is in common; God made man after the image of God. I would ask him who denies that God’s Son is true God, in what God’s image he supposes that God made man? He must bear constantly in mind that all things are through the Son; heretical ingenuity must not, for its own purposes, twist this passage into action on the part of the Father. If, therefore, man is created through God the Son after the image of God the Father, he is created also after the image of the Son; for all admit that the words After Our image and likeness were spoken to the Son. Thus His true Godhead is as explicitly asserted by the Divine words as manifested in the Divine action; so that it is God Who moulds man into the image of God, Who reveals Himself as God, and, moreover, as true God. For His joint possession of the Divine image proves Him true God, while His creative action displays Him as God the Son.

10. What wild insanity of abandoned souls! What blind audacity of reckless blasphemy! You hear of God and God; you hear of Our image. Why suggest that One is, and One is not, true God? Why distinguish between God by nature and God in name? Why, under pretext of defending the faith, do you destroy the faith? Why struggle to pervert the revelation of One God, One true God, into a denial that God is One and true? Not yet will I stifle your insane efforts with the clear words of Evangelists and Prophets, in which Father and Son appear not as one Person, but as One in nature, and Each as true God. For the present the Law, unaided, annihilates you. Does the Law ever speak of One true God, and One not true? Does it ever speak of Either, except by the name of God, which is the true expression of Their nature? It speaks of God and God; it speaks also of God as One. Nay, it does more than so describe Them. It manifests Them as true God and true God, by the sure evidence of Their joint image. It begins by speaking of Them first by their strict name of God; then it attributes true Godhead to Both in common. For when man, Their creature, is created after the image of Both, sound reason forces the conclusion that Each of Them is true God.

11. But let us travel once more in our journey of instruction over the lessons taught in the holy Law of God. The Angel of God speaks to Hagar; and this same Angel is God. But perhaps His being the Angel of God means that He is not true God. For this title seems to indicate a lower nature y where the name points to a difference in kind, it is thought that true equality must be absent. The last book has already exposed the hollowness of this objection; the title of Angel informs us of His office, not of His nature. I have prophetic evidence for this explanation; Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flaming fire. That flaming fire is His ministers; that spirit which comes, His angels. These figures shew the nature and the power of His messengers, or angels, and of His ministers. This spirit is an angel, that flaming fire a minister, of God. Their nature adapts them for the function of messenger or minister. Thus the Law, or rather God through the Law, wishing to indicate God the Son as a Person, yet as bearing the same name with the Father, calls Him the Angel, that is, the Messenger, of God. The title Messenger proves that He has an office of His own; that His nature is truly Divine is proved when lie is called God. But this sequence, first Angel, then God, is in the order of revelation, not in Himself. For we confess Them Father and Son in the strictest sense, in such equality that the Only-begotten Son, by virtue of His birth, possesses true Divinity from the Unbegotten Father. This revelation of Them as Sender and as Sent is but another expression for Father and Son; not contradicting the true Divine nature of the Son, nor cancelling His possession of the Godhead as His birthright. For none can doubt that the Son by His birth partakes congenitally of the nature of His Author, in such wise that from the One there comes into being an indivisible Unity, because One is from One.

12. Faith burns with passionate ardour; the burden of silence is intolerable, and my thoughts imperiously demand an utterance. Already, in the preceding book I have departed from the intended method of my demonstration. I was denouncing that blasphemous sense in which the heretics speak of One God, and expounding the passages in which Moses speaks of God and God. I hastened on with a precipitate, though devout, zeal to the true sense in which we hold the unity of God. And now again, wrapped up in the pursuit of another enquiry, I have suffered myself to wander from the course, and, while I was engaged upon the true Divinity of the Son, the ardour of my soul has hurried me on before the time to make the confession of true God as Father and as Son. But our own faith must wait its proper place in the treatise. This preliminary statement of it has been made as a safeguard for the reader; it shall be so developed and explained hereafter as to frustrate the schemes of the gainsayer.

13. To resume the argument; this title of office indicates no difference of nature, for He, Who is the Angel of God, is God. The test of His true Godhead shall be, whether or no His words and acts were those of God. He increases Ishmael into a great people, and promises that many nations shall bear his name. Is this, I ask, within an angel’s power? If not, and this is the power of God, why do you refuse true Divinity to Him Who, on your own confession, has the true power of God? Thus He possesses the true and perfect powers of the Divine nature. True God, in all the types in which He reveals Himself for the world’s salvation, is not, nor ever can be, other than true God.

14. Now first, I ask, what is the meaning of these terms, ‘true God’ and ‘not true God’? If any one says to me ‘This is fire, but not true fire; water, but not true water,’ I can attach no intelligible meaning to his words. What difference in kind can there be between one true specimen, and another true specimen, of the same class? If a thing be fire, it must be true fire; while its nature remains the same it cannot lose this character of true fire. Deprive water of its watery nature, and by so doing you destroy it as true water; let it remain water, and it will inevitably still be true water. The only way in which an object can lose its nature is by losing its existence; if it continue to exist it must be truly itself. If the Son of God is God, then He is true God; if He is not true God, then in no possible sense is tie God at all. If He has not the nature, then He has no right to the name; if, on the contrary, the name which indicates the nature is His by inherent right, then it cannot be that He is destitute of that nature in its truest sense.

15. But perhaps it will be argued that, when the Angel of God is called God, He receives the name as a favour, through adoption, and has in consequence a nominal, not a true, Godhead. If He gave us an inadequate revelation of His Divine nature at the time when He was styled the Angel of God, judge whether He has not fully manifested His true Godhead under the name of a nature lower than the angelic. For a Man spoke to Abraham, and Abraham worshipped Him as God. Pestilent heretic! Abraham confessed Him, you deny Him, to be God. What hope is there for you, in your blasphemy, of the blessings promised to Abraham? He is Father of the Gentiles, but not for you; you cannot go forth from your regeneration to join the household of his seed, through the blessings given to his faith. You are no son, raised up to Abraham from the stones; you are a generation of vipers, an adversary of his belief. You are not the Israel of God, the heir of Abraham, justified by faith; for you have disbelieved God, while Abraham was justified and appointed to be the Father of the Gentiles through that faith wherein he worshipped the God Whose word he trusted. God it was Whom that blessed and faithful Patriarch worshipped then; and mark how truly He was God, to Whom, in His own words, all things are possible. Is there any, but God alone, to Whom nothing is impossible? And He, to Whom all things are possible, does He fall short of true Divinity?

16. I ask further, Who is this God Who overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah? For the Lord rained from the Lord; was it not the true Lord from the true Lord? Have you any alternative to this Lord, and Lord? Or any other meaning for the terms, except that in Lord, and Lord, their Persons are distinguished? Bear in mind that Him Whom you have confessed as Alone true, you have also confessed as Alone the righteous Judge 9. Now mark that the Lord who rains from the Lord, and slays not the just with the unjust, and judges the whole earth, is both Lord and also righteous Judge, and also rains from the Lord. In the face of all this, I ask you Which it is that you describe as alone the righteous Judge. The Lord rains from the Lord; you will not deny that He Who rains from the Lord is the righteous, Judge, for Abraham, the Father of the Gentiles–but not of the unbelieving Gentiles–speaks thus: In no wise shall Thou do tills thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, for then shall the righteous be as the wicked. In no wise shall Thou, Who judgest the earth, execute this judgment. This God, then, the righteous Judge, is clearly also the true God. Blasphemer! Your own falsehood confutes you. Not yet do I bring forward the witness of the Gospels concerning God the Judge; the Law has told me that He is the Judge. You must deprive the Son of His judgeship before you can deprive Him of His true Divinity. You have solemnly confessed that He Who is the only righteous Judge is also the only true God; your own statements bind you to the admission that He Who is the righteous Judge is also true God. This Judge is the Lord, to Whom all things are possible, the Promiser of eternal blessings, Judge of righteous and of wicked. He is the God of Abraham, worshipped by him. Fool and blasphemer that you are, your shameless readiness of tongue must invent some new fallacy, if you are to prove that He is not true God.

17. His merciful and mysterious self-revelations are in no wise inconsistent with His true heavenly nature; and His faithful saints never fail to penetrate the guise He has assumed in order that faith may see Him. The types of the Law foreshew the mysteries of the Gospel; they enable the Patriarch to see and to believe what hereafter the Apostle is to gaze on and publish. For, since the Law is the shadow of things to come, the shadow that was seen was a true outline of the reality which cast it. God was seen and believed and worshipped as Man, Who was indeed to be born as Man in the fulness of time. He takes upon Him, to meet the Patriarch’s eye, a semblance which foreshadows the future truth. In that old day God was only seen, not born, as Man; in due time He was born, as well as seen. Familiarity with the human appearance, which He took that men might behold Him, was to prepare them for the time when He should, in very truth, be born as Man. Then it was that the shadow took substance, the semblance reality, the vision life. But God remained unchanged, whether He were seen in the appearance, or born in the reality, of manhood. The resemblance was perfect between Himself, after His birth, and Himself, as He had been seen in vision. As He was born, so He had appeared; as He had appeared, so was He born. But, since the time has not yet come for us to compare the Gospel account with that of the prophet Moses, let us pursue our chosen course through the pages of the Law. Hereafter we shall prove from the Gospels that it was the true Son of God Who was born as Man; for the present, we are shewing from the Law that it was true God, the Son of God, Who appeared to the Patriarchs in human form. For when One appeared to Abraham as Man, He was worshipped as God and proclaimed as Judge; and when the Lord rained from the Lord, beyond a doubt the Law tells us that the Lord rained from the Lord in order to reveal to us the Father and the Son. Nor can we for a moment suppose that when the Patriarch, with full knowledge, worshipped the Son as God, he was blind to the fact that it was true God Whom he worshipped.

18. But godless unbelief finds it very hard to apprehend the true faith. Their capacity for devotion has never been expanded by belief, and is too narrow to receive a full presentment of the truth. Hence the unbelieving soul cannot grasp the great work done by God in being born as Man to accomplish the salvation of mankind; in the work of its salvation it fails to see the power of God. They think of the travail of His birth, the feebleness of infancy, the growth of childhood, the attainment of maturity, of bodily suffering and of the Cross with which it ended, and of the death upon the Cross; and all this conceals His true Godhead from their eyes. Yet He had called into being all these capacities for Himself, as additions to His nature; capacities which in His true Divine nature He had not possessed. Thus He acquired them without loss of His true Divinity, and ceased not to be God when He became Man; when He, Who is God eternally, became Man at a point in time. They cannot see an exercise of the true God’s power in His becoming what He was not before, yet never ceasing to be His former Self. And yet there would have been no acceptance of our feeble nature, had not He by the strength of His own omnipotent nature, while remaining what He was, come to be what previously He was not. What blindness of heresy, what foolish wisdom of the world, which cannot see that the reproach of Christ is the power of God, the folly of faith the wisdom of God! So Christ in your eyes is not God because He, Who was from eternity, was born, because the Unchangeable grew with years, the Impassible suffered, the Living died, the Dead lives; because all His history contradicts the common course of nature! Is not all this simply to say that He, being God, was omnipotent? Not yet, ye holy and venerable Gospels, do I turn your pages, to prove from them that Christ Jesus, amid these changes and sufferings, is God. For the Law is tile forerunner of the Gospels, and the Law must teach us that, when God clothed Himself in infirmity, He lost not His Godhead. The types of the Law are our convincing assurance of the mysteries of the Gospel faith.

19. Be with me now in thy faithful spirit, holy and blessed Patriarch Jacob, to combat the poisonous hissings of the serpent of unbelief. Prevail once more in thy wrestling with the Man, and, being the stronger, once more entreat His blessing. Why pray for what thou mightest demand from thy weaker Opponent? Thy strong arm has vanquished Him Whose blessing thou prayest. Thy bodily victory is in broad contrast to thy soul’s humility, thy deeds to thy thoughts. It is a Man whom thou holdest powerless in thy strong grasp; but in thine eye this Man is true God, and God not in name only, but in nature. It is not the blessing of a God by adoption that thou dost claim, but the true God’s blessing. With Man thou strivest; but face to face thou seest God. What thou seest with the bodily eye is different far from what thou beholdest with the vision of faith. Thou hast felt Him to be weak Man; but thy soul has been saved because it saw God in Him. When thou wast wrestling thou wast Jacob; thou art Israel now, through faith in the blessing which thou didst claim. According to the flesh, the Man is thy inferior, for a type of His passion in the flesh; but thou canst recognise God in that weak flesh, for a sign of His blessing in the Spirit. The witness of the eye does not disturb thy faith,; His feebleness does not mislead thee into neglect of His blessing. Though He is Man, His humanity is no bar to His being God, His Godhead no bar to His being true God; for, being God, He must indeed be true.

20. The Law in its progress still follows the sequence of the Gospel mystery, of which it is the shadow; its types are a faithful anticipation of the truths taught by the Apostles. In the vision of his dream the blessed Jacob saw God; this was the revelation of a mystery, not a bodily manifestation. For there was shown to him the descent of angels by the ladder, and their ascent to heaven, and God resting above the ladder; and the vision, as it was interpreted, foretold that his dream should some day become a revealed truth. The Patriarch’s words, The house of God and the gate of heaven, skew us the scene of Iris vision; and then, after a long account of what he did, the narrative proceeds thus: And God said unto Jacob, Arise, and go up to the place Bethel, and dwell there: and make there a Sacrifice unto God, that appeared unto thee widen thou fleddest from the face of Esau. If the faith of the Gospel has access through God the Son to God the Father, and if it is only through God that God can be apprehended, ellen shew us in what sense This is not true God, Who demands reverence for God, Who rests above the heavenly ladder. What difference of nature separates the Two, when Both bear the one name which indicates the one nature? It is God Who was seen; it is also God Who speaks about God Who was seen. God cannot be apprehended except through God; even as also God accepts no worship from us except through God. We could not understand that the One must be reverenced, unless the Other had taught us reverence for Him; we could not have known that the One is God, unless we had known the Godhead of the Other. The revelation of mysteries holds its appointed course; it is by God that we are initiated into the worship of God. And when one name, which tells of one nature, combines the Father with the Son, how can the Son so fall beneath Himself as to be other than true God?

21. Human judgment must not pass its sentence upon God. Our nature is not such that it Can lift itself by its own forces to the contemplation of heavenly things. We must learn from God what we are to think of God; we have no source of knowledge but Himself. You may be as carefully trained as you will in secular philosophy; you may have lived a life of righteousness. All this will contribute to your mental satisfaction, but it will not help you to know God. Moses was adopted as the son of the queen, and instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; he had, moreover, out of loyalty to his race avenged the wrong of the Hebrew by slaying the Egyptian, and yet he knew not the God Who had blessed his fathers. For when he left Egypt through fear of the discovery of his deed, and was living as a shepherd in the land of Midian, he saw a fire in the bush, and the bush unconsumed.

Then it was that he heard the voice of God, and asked His name, and learned His nature. Of all this he could have known nothing except through God Himself. And we, in like manner, must confine ourselves, in whatever we say of God, to the terms in which He has spoken to our understanding concerning Himself.

22. It is the Angel of God Who appeared in the fire from the bush; and it is God Who spoke from the bush amid the fire. He is manifested as Angel; that is His office, not His nature. The name which expresses His nature is given you as God; for the Angel of God is God. But perhaps He is not true God. Is the God of Abraham, then, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, not true God? For the Angel Who speaks from the bush is their God eternally. And, lest you insinuate that the name is His only by adoption, it is the absolute God Who speaks to Moses. These are His words:–And the Lord said unto Moses, I Am that I Am; and He said, Thus shale thou say unto the children of Israel, He that is hath sent me unto you. God’s discourse began as the speech of the Angel, in order to reveal the mystery of human salvation in the Son. Next He appears as the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, that we may know the name which is His by nature. Finally it is the God that is Who sends Moses to Israel, that we may have full assurance that in the absolute sense He is God.

23. What further fictions can the futile folly of insane blasphemy devise? Do you still persist in your nightly sowing of tares, predestined to be burnt, among the pure wheat, when the knowledge of all the Patriarchs contradicts you? Nay more: if you believed Moses, you would believe also in God, the Son of God; unless perchance you deny that it was of Him that Moses spoke. If you propose to deny that, you must listen to the words of God:–For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me also, far he wrote of Me. Moses, indeed, will refute you with the whole volume of the Law, ordained through angels, which he received by the hand of the Mediator. Enquire whether He, Who gave the Law, were not true God; for the Mediator was the Giver. And was it not to meet God that Moses led out the people to the Mount? Was it not God Who came down into the Mount? Or was it, perhaps, only by a fiction or an adoption, and not by right of nature, that He, Who did all this, bore the name of God? Mark the blare of the trumpets, the flashing of the torches, the clouds of smoke, as from a furnace, rolling over the mountain, the terror of conscious impotence on the part of man in the presence of God, the confession of the people, when they prayed Moses to be their spokesman, that at the voice of God they would die. Is He, in your judgment, not true God, when simple dread lest He should speak filled Israel with the fear of death? He Whose voice could not be borne by human weakness? In your eyes is He not God, because He addressed you through the weak faculties of a man, that you might hear, and live? Moses entered the Mount; in forty days and nights he gained the knowledge of the mysteries of heaven, and set it all in order according to the vision of the truth which was revealed to him there. From intercourse with God, Who spoke with him, he received the reflected splendour of that glory on which none may gaze? his corruptible countenance was transfigured into the likeness of the unapproachable light of Him, with Whom he was dwelling. Of this God he bears witness, of this God he speaks; he summons the angels of God to come and worship Him amid the gladness of the Gentiles, and prays that the blessings which please Him may descend upon the head of Joseph. In face of such evidence as this, dare any man say that He has nothing but the name of God, and deny His true Divinity?

24. This long discussion has, I believe, brought out the truth that no sound argument has ever been adduced in favour of a distinction between One Who is, and One Who is not, true God, in those passages where the Law speaks of God and God, of Lord and Lord. I have proved that these terms are inconsistent with difference between Them in name or in nature, and that we can use the name as a test of the nature, and the nature as a clue to the name. Thus I have shewn that the character, the power, the attributes, the name of God are inherent in Him Whom the Law has called God. I have shewn also that the Law, gradually unfolding the Gospel mystery, reveals the Son as a Person by manifesting God as obedient, in the creation of the world, to the words of God, and in the formation of man making what is the joint image of God, and of God; and again, that in the judgment of the men of Sodom the Lord is Judge from the Lord; that, in the giving of blessings and ordaining of the mysteries of the Law, the Angel of God is God. Thus, in support of the saving confession of God as ever manifested in the Persons of Father and of Son, we have shewn how the Law teaches the true Godhead by the use of the strict name of God; for, while the Law states clearly that They are Two, it casts no shadow of doubt upon the true Godhead of either.

25. And now the time has come for us to put a stop to that cunning artifice of heresy, by which they pervert the devout and godly teachings of the Law into a support for their own godless delusion. They preface their denial of the Son of God with the words, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One; and then, because their blasphemy would be refuted by the identity of name, since the Law speaks of God and God, they invoke the authority of the prophetic words, They shall bless Thee, the true God, to prove that the name is not used in the true sense. They argue that these words teach that God is One, and that God, the Son of God, has His name only and not His nature; and that therefore we must conclude that the true God is one Person only. But perhaps you imagine, fool, that we shall contradict these texts of yours, and so deny that there is one true God. Assuredly we do not contradict them by a confession conceived in your sense. Our faith receives them, our reason accepts them, our words declare them. We recognise One God, and Him true God. The name of God has no dangers for our confession, which proclaims that in the nature of the Son there is the One true God. Learn the meaning of your own words, recognise the One true God, and then you will be able to make a faithful confession of God, One and true. It is the words of our faith which you are turning into the instrument of your blasphemy, preserving the sound and perverting the sense. Masquerading in a foolish garb of imaginary wisdom, under cover of loyalty to truth you are the truth’s destroyer. You confess that God is Out and true, on purpose to deny the truth which you confess. Your language claims a reputation for piety on the strength of its impiety, for truth on the strength of its falsehood. Your preaching of One true God leads up to a denial of Him. For you deny that the Son is true God, though you admit that He is God, but God in name only, not in nature. If His birth be in name, not in nature, then you are justified in denying His true right to the name; but if He be truly born as God, how then can He fail to be true God by virtue of His birth? Deny the fact, and you may deny the consequence; if you admit the fact, how can He be other than Himself? No being can alter its own essential nature. About His birth I shall speak presently; meantime I will refute your blasphemous falsehoods concerning His true Divine nature by the utterances of prophets. But I shall take care that in our assertion of the One true God I give no cover to the Sabellian heresy that the Father is one Person with the Son, and none to that slander against the Son’s true Godhead, which you evolve out of the unity of the One true God.

26. Blasphemy is incompatible with wisdom; where the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, is absent, no glimmer of intelligence survives. An instance of this is seen in the heretics’ citation of the prophet’s words, And they shall bless Thee, the true God, as evidence against the Godhead of the Son. First, we see here the folly, which clogs unbelief in the misuderstanding or (if it were understood) in the suppression of the earlier part of the prophecy: and again we see it in their fraudulent interpolation of that one little word, not to be found in the book itself. This proceeding is as stupid as it is dishonest, since no one would trust them so far as to accept their reading without referring for corroboration to the prophetic text. For that text does not stand thus: They shall bless Thee, the true God, but thus: They shall bless the true God. There is no slight difference between Thee, the true God and The true Gad. If Thee be retained, the pronoun of the second person implies that Another is being addressed; if Thee be omitted, True God, the object of the sentence, is the Speaker.

27. To ensure that our explanation of the passage shall be complete and certain, I cite the words in full:–Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, they that serve Me shall eat, but ye shall be hungry, behold, they that serve Me shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty, behold, they that serve Me shall rejoice with gladness, but ye shall cry for sorrow of your heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. For ye shall leave your name for a rejoicing unto My chosen, but the Lord shall slay you. But My servants shall be called by a new name, which shall be blessed upon earth; and they shall bless the true God, and they that swear upon the earth shall swear by the true God. There is always a good reason for any departure from the accustomed modes of expression, but novelty is also made an opportunity for misinterpretation. The question here is, Why, when so many earlier prophecies have been uttered concerning God, and the name God, alone and without epithet, has sufficed hitherto to indicate the Divine majesty and nature, the Spirit of prophecy should now foretell through Isaiah that the true God was to be blessed, and that men should swear upon earth by the true God. First, we must bear in mind that this discourse was spoken concerning times to come. Now, I ask, was not He, in the mind of the Jews, true God, Whom men used then to bless, and by whom they swore? The Jews, unaware of the typical meaning of their mysteries, and therefore ignorant of God the Son, worshipped God simply as God, and not as Father; for, if they had worshipped Him as Father, they would have worshipped the Son also. It was God, therefore, Whom they blessed and by Whom they swore. But the prophet testifies that it is trite God Who shall be blessed hereafter; calling Him true God, because the mysteriousness of His Incarnation was to blind the eyes of some to His true Godhead. When falsehood was to be published abroad, it was necessary that the truth should be clearly stated. And now let us review this passage, clause by clause.

28. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, they that serve Me shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, they that serve Me shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty. Note that one clause contains two different tenses, in order to teach truth concerning two different times; They that serve Me shall eat. Present piety is rewarded with a future prize, and similarly present godlessness shall suffer the penalty of future thirst and hunger. Then He adds, Behold, they that serve Me shall rejoice with gladness, but ye shall cry for sorrow of your heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. Here again, as before, there is a revelation for the future and for the present. They who serve now shall rejoice with gladness, while they who do not serve shall abide in crying and howling through sorrow of heart and vexation of spirit. He proceeds, For ye shall leave your name for a rejoicing unto My chosen, but the Lord shall slay you. These words, dealing with a future time, are addressed to the carnal Israel, which is taunted with the prospect of having to surrender its name to the chosen of God. What is this name? Israel, of course; for to Israel the prophecy was addressed. And now I ask, What is Israel to-day? The Apostle gives the answer:–They who are in the spirit, not in the letter, they who walk in the Law of Christ, are the Israel of God.

29. Furthermore, we must form a conclusion why it is that the words cited above, Therefore thus saith the Lord, are followed by But the Lord shall slay you, and as to the meaning of the next sentence, But my servants shall be called by a new name, which shall be blessed upon earth. There can be no doubt that both Therefore thus saith the

Lord, and afterwards But the Lord shall slay you, prove that it was the Lord Who both spoke, and also purposed to slay, Who meant to reward His servants with that new name, Who was well known to have spoken through the prophets and was to he the judge of the righteous and of the wicked. And thus the remainder of this revelation of the mystery of the Gospel removes all doubt concerning the Lord as Speaker and as Slayer. It continues:–But My servants shall be called by a new name, which shall be blessed upon earth Here everything is in the future. What then is this new name of a religion; a name which shall be blessed upon earth? If ever in past ages there were a blessing upon the name Christian, it is not a new name. But if this hallowed name of our devotion towards God be new, then this new title of Christian, awarded to our faith, is that heavenly blessing which is our reward upon earth.

30. And now come words in perfect harmony with the inward assurance of our faith. He says, And they shall bless the true God, and they that swear upon earth shall swear by the true God. And indeed they who in God’s service have received the new name shall bless God; and moreover the God by Whom they shall swear is the true God. What doubt is there as to Who this true God is, by Whom men shall swear and Whom they shall bless, through Whom a new and blessed name shall be given to them that serve Him? I have on my side, in opposition to the blasphemous misrepresentations of heresy, the clear and definite evidence of the Church’s faith; the witness of the new name which Thou, O Christ, hast given, of the blessed title which Thou hast bestowed in reward of loyal service. It swears that Thou art true God. Every mouth, O Christ, of them that believe tells that Thou art God. The faith of all believers swears that Thou art God, confesses, proclaims, is inwardly assured, that Thou art true God.

31. And thus this passage of prophecy, taken with its whole context, clearly describe, as God both Him Whom we serve for the new name’s sake, and Him through Whom the new name is blessed upon earth. It tells us Who it is that is blessed as true God, and Who is sworn by as true God. And this is the confession of faith made, in the fulness of time, by the Church in loyal devotion to Christ her Lord. We can see how exactly the words of prophecy conform to the truth, by their refraining from the insertion of that pronoun of the second person. Had the words been Thee, the true God, then they might have been interpreted as spoken to another. The true God can refer to none but the Speaker. The passage, taken by itself, shews to Whom it refers; the preceding words, taken in connexion with it, declare Who the Speaker is Who makes this confession of God. They are these:–I have appeared openly to them that asked not for Me, and, I have been found of them that sought Me not. I said, Here am I, unto a nation that called not an My name. I have spread out My hands all the day to an unbelieving and gainsaying people. Could a dishonest attempt to suppress the truth be more completely exposed, or the Speaker be more distinctly revealed as true God, than here? Who, I demand, was it that appeared to them that asked not for Him, and was found of them that sought Him not? What nation is it that formerly called not on His name? Who is it that spread out His hands all the day to an unbelieving and gainsaying people? Compare with these words that holy and Divine Song of Deuteronomy, in which God, in His wrath against them that are no Gods, moves the unbelievers to jealousy against those that are no people and a foolish nation. Conclude for yourself, Who it is that makes Himself manifest to them that knew Him not; Who, though one people is His own, becomes the possession of strangers; Who it is that spreads out His hands before an unbelieving and gainsaying people, nailing to the cross the writing of the former sentence against us. For the same Spirit in the prophet, whom we are considering, proceeds thus in the course of this one prophecy, which is connected in argument as well as continous in utterance:But My servants shall be called by a new name, which shall be blessed upon earth, and they shall bless the true God, and they that swear upon the earth shall swear by the trite God.

32. If heresy, in its folly and wickedness, shall attempt to entice the simple-minded and uninstructed away from the true belief that these words were spoken in reference to God the Son, by reigning that they are an utterance of God the Father concerning Himself, it shall hear sentence passed upon the lie by the Apostle and Teacher of the Gentiles. He interprets all these prophecies as allusions to the passion of the Lord and to the times of Gospel faith, when he is reproving the unbelief of Israel, which will not recognise that the Lord is come in the flesh. His words are:–For whosoever shall have called upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? But how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, excerpt they hare been sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feel of them that proclaim peace, of them that proclaim good things. But all do not obey the Gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing through the word. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy against them that are no people, and against a foolish nation I will anger you. Moreover Esaias is bold, and saith, I appeared unto them that seek Me not, I was found by them that asked not after Me. But to Israel what saith He? All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a people that hearken not. Who art thou that bast mounted up through the successive heavens, knowing not whether thou wert in the body or out of the body, and canst explain more faithfully than he the words of the prophet? Who art thou that hast heard, and mayst not tell, the ineffable mysteries of the secret things of heaven, and hast proclaimed with greater assurance the knowledge granted thee by God for revelation? Who art thou that hast been fore-ordained to a full share of the Lord’s suffering on the Cross, and first has been caught up to Paradise and drawn nobler teaching from the Scriptures of God than this chosen vessel? If there be such a man, has he been ignorant that these are the deeds and words of the true GOd, proclaimed to us by His own true and chosen Apostle that we may recognise in Him their Author?

33. But it may be argued that the Apostle was not inspired by the Spirit of prophecy when he borrowed these prophetic words; that he was only interpreting at random the words of another man, and though, no doubt, everything the Apostle says of himself comes to him by revelation from Christ, yet his knowledge of the words of Isaiah is only derived from the book. I answer that in the beginning of that utterance in which it is said that the servants of the true God shall bless Him and swear by Him, we read this adoration by the prophet:–From everlasting we have not heard, nor have our eyes seen God, except Thee, and Thy works which Thou wilt do for them that await Thy mercy. Isaiah says that he has seen no God but Him. For he did actually see the glory of God, the mystery of Whose taking flesh from the Virgin he foretold. And if you, in your heresy, do not know that it was God the Only-begotten Whom the prophet saw in that glory, listen to the Evangelist:–These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him. The Apostle, the Evangelist, the Prophet combine to silence your objections. Isaiah did see God; even though it is written, No one hath seen God at any time, save the Only-begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father; He hath declared Him, it was God Whom the prophet saw. He gazed upon the Divine glory, and men were filled with envy at such honour vouchsafed to his prophetic greatness. For this was the reason why the Jews passed sentence of death upon him.

34. Thus the Only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, has told us of God, Whom no man has seen. Either disprove the fact that the Son has thus informed us, or else believe Him Who has been seen, Who appeared to them who knew Him not, and became the God of the Gentiles who called not upon Him and spread out His bands before a gainsaying people. And believe this also concerning Him, that they who serve Him are called by a new name, and that on earth men bless Him and swear by Him as true God. Prophecy tells, the Gospel confirms, the Apostle explains, the Church confesses, that He Who was seen is true God; but none venture to say that God the Father was seen. And yet the madness of heresy has run to such lengths that, while they pro-less to recognise this truth, they really deny it. They deny it by means of the newfangled and godless device of evading the truth, while making a studied pretence of adhesion to it. For when they confess one God, alone true and alone righteous, alone wise, alone unchangeable, alone immortal, alone mighty, they attach to Him a Son different in substance, not born from God to be God, but adopted through creation to be a Son, having the name of God not by nature, but as a title received by adoption; and thus they inevitably deprive the Son of all those attributes which they accumulate upon the Father in His lonely majesty.

35. The distorted mind of heresy is incapable of knowing and confessing the One true God; the sound faith and reason necessary for such confession is incompatible with unbelief. We must confess Father and Son before we can apprehend God as One awl true. When we have known the mysteries of man’s salvation, accomplished in us through the power of regeneration unto life in the

Father and the Son, then we may hope to penetrate the mysteries of the Law and the Prophets. Godless ignorance of the teaching of Evangelists and Apostles cannot frame the thought of One true God. Out of the teaching of Evangelists and Apostles we shall present the sound doctrine concerning Him, In accurate agreement with the faith of true believers. We shall present Him in such wise that the Only-begotten, Who is of the substance of the Father, shall be known as indivisible and inseparable in nature, not in Person. We shall set forth God as One, because God is from the nature of God. But we shall also establish this doctrine of the perfect unity of God upon the words of the Prophets, and make them the foundations of the Gospel structure, proving that there is One God, with one Divine nature, by the fact that God the Only-begotten is never classed apart as a second God. For throughout this book of our treatise we have followed the same course as in its predecessor; the same methods which proved there that the Son is God, have proved here that He is true God. I trust that our explanation of each passage has been so convincing that we have now manifested Him as true God as effectually as we formerly demonstrated His Godhead. The remainder of the book shall be devoted to the proof that He, Who is now recognised as true God, must not be regarded as a second God. Our disproof of the notion of a second God will further establish the unity; and this truth shall be displayed as not inconsistent with the personal existence of the Son, while yet it maintains the unity of nature in God and God.

36. The true method of our enquiry demands that we should begin with him, through whom God first manifested Himself to the world, that is, with Moses, by whose mouth God the Only-begotten thus declared Himself; See, see that I am God, and there is no God beside Me. That godless heresy must not assign these words to God, the unbegotten Father, is clear by the sense of the passage and by the evidence of the Apostle who, as we have already stated, has taught us to understand this whole discourse as spoken by God the Only-begotten. The Apostle also points out the words, Rejoice, 0 ye nations, with His people as those of the Son, and in corroboration further cites this:–And there shall be a root of Jesse, and One that shall arise to rule the nations; in Him shall the nations trust. Thus Moses by the words, Rejoice,

O ye nations, with His people indicates Him Who said, There is no Gad beside Me; and the Apostle refers the same words to our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Only-begotten, in Whose rising as a king from the root of Jesse, according to the flesh, the hope of the Gentiles rests. And therefore we must now consider the meaning of these words, that we, who know that they were spoken by Him, may ascertain in what sense He spoke them.

37. That true and absolute and perfect doctrine, which forms our faith, is the confession of God from God and God in God, by no bodily process but by Divine power, by no transfusion from nature into nature but through the secret and mighty working of the One nature; God from God, not by division or extension or emanation, but by the operation of a nature which brings into existence, by means of birth, a nature One with itself. The facts shall receive a fuller treatment in the next book, which is to be devoted to an exposition of the teaching of the Evangelists and Apostles; for the present we must maintain our assertion and belief by means of the Law and the Prophets. The nature with which God is born is necessarily the same as that of His Source. He cannot come into existence as other than God, since His origin is from none other than God. His nature is the same, not in the sense that the Begetter also was begotten–for then the Unbegotten, having been begotten, would not be Himself–but that the substance of the Begotten consists in all those elements which are summed up in the substance of the Begetter, Who is His only Origin. Thus it is due to no external cause that His origin is from the One, and that His existence partakes the Unity; their is no novel element in Him, because His life is from the Living; no element absent, because the Living begot Him to partake His own life. Hence, in the generation of the Son, the incorporeal and unchangeable God begets, in accordance with His own nature, God incorporeal and unchangeable; and this perfect birth of incorporeal and unchangeable God from incorporeal and unchangeable God involves, as we see in the light of the revelation of God from God, no diminution of the Begetter’s substance. And so God the Only-begotten bears witness through the holy Moses; See, see that I am God, and there is no God beside Me. For there is no second Divine nature, and so there can be no God beside Him, since He is God, yet by the powers of His nature God is also in Him. And because He is God and God is in Him, there is no God beside Him; for God, than Whom there is no other Source of Deity, is in Him, and consequently there is within Him not only His own existence, but the Author of that existence.

38. This saving faith which we profess is sustained by the spirit of prophecy, speaking with one voice through many mouths, and never, through long and changing ages, bearing an uncertain witness to the truths of revelation. For instance, the words which, as we are told through Moses, were spoken by God the Only-begotten, are confirmed for our better instruction by the prophetic spirit, speaking this time through those men of stature,–For God is in Thee, and there is no Goa beside Thee. Thou art God, and we knew it not, O God Israel, the Saviour. Let heresy fling itself with its utmost effort of despair and rage against this declaration of a name and nature inseparably joined, and rend in twain, if its furious struggles can, a union perfect in title and in fact. God is in God and beside Him there is no God. Let heresy, if it can, divide the God within from the God within Whom He is, and classify, Each after His kind, the members of that mystic union. For when He says God is in Thee, He teaches that the true nature of God the Father is present in God the Son; for we must understand that it is the God Who is that is in Him. And when He adds, And there is no God beside Thee, He shews that outside Him there is no God, since God’s dwelling is within Himself. And the third assertion, Thou art God and we knew it not, sets forth for our instruction what must be the confession of the devout and believing soul. When it has learnt the mysteries of the Divine birth, and the name Emmanuel which the angel announced to Joseph, it must cry, Thou art God, and we knew it not, O God of Israel, the Saviour. It must recognise the subsistence of the Divine nature in Him, in asmuch as God is in God, and the nonexistence of any other God except the true. For, He being God and God being in Him, the delusion of another God, of what kind soever, must be surrendered. Such is the message of the prophet Isaiah; he bears witness to the indivisible and inseparable Godhead of Father and of Son.

39. Jeremiah also, a prophet equally inspired, has taught that God the Only-begotten is of a nature one with that of God the Father. His words are:–This is our God, and there shall be none other likened unto Him, hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved Afterward He was seen upon earth, and dwelt among men. Why try to transform the Son of God into a second God? Learn to recognise and to confess the One True God. No second God is likened to Christ, and so can claim to be God. He is God from God by nature and by birth, for the Source of His Godhead is God. And, again, He is not a second God, for no other is likened unto Him; the truth that is in Him is nothing else than the truth of God. Why link together, in pretended devotion to the unity of God, true and false, base and genuine, unlike and unlike? The Father is God and the Son is God. God is in God; beside Him there is no God, and none other is likened unto Him so as to be God. If in these Two you shall recognise the Unity, instead of the solitude, of God, you will share the Church’s faith, which confesses the Father in the Son. But if, in ignorance of the heavenly mystery, you insist that God is One in order to enforce the doctrine of His isolation, then you are a stranger to the knowledge of God, for you deny that God is in God.

Book 6 (Back to the Top)

1. It is with a full knowledge of the dangers and passions of the time that I have ventured to attack this wild and godless heresy, which asserts that the Son of God is a creature. Multitudes of Churches, in almost every province of the Roman Empire, have already caught the plague of this deadly doctrine; error, persistently inculcated and falsely claiming to be the truth, has become ingrained in minds which vainly imagine that they are loyal to the faith. I know how hardly the will is moved to a thorongh recantation, when zeal for a mistaken cause is encouraged by the sense of numbers and confirmed by the sanction of general approval. A multitude under delusion can only be approached with difficulty and danger. When the crowd has gone astray, even though it know that it is in the wrong, it is ashamed to return. It claims consideration for its numbers, and has the assurance to command that its folly shall be accounted wisdom. It assumes that its size is evidence of the correctness of its opinions; and thus a falsehood which has found general credence is boldly asserted to have established its truth.

2. For my own part, it was not only the claim which my vocation has upon me, the duty of diligently preaching the Gospel which, as a bishop, I owe to the Church, that has led me on. My eagerness to write has increased with the increasing numbers endangered and enthralled by this heretical theory. There was a rich prospect of joy in the thought of multitudes who might be saved, if they could know the mysteries of the right faith in God, and abandon the blasphemous principles of bureau folly, desert the heretics and surrender themselves to God; if they would forsake the bait with which the fowler snares his prey, and soar aloft in freedom and safety, following Christ as Leader, prophets as instructors, apostles as guides, and accepting the perfect faith and sure salvation in the confession of Father and of Son. So would they, in obedience to the words of the Lord, He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him, be setting themselves to honour the Father, through honour paid to the Son.

3. For of late the infection of a mortal evil has gone abroad among mankind, whose ravages have dealt destruction and death on every hand. The sudden desolation of cities smitten, with their people in them, by earthquake to the ground, the terrible slaughter of recurring wars, the widespread mortality of an irresistible pestilence, have never wrought such fatal mischief as the progress of this heresy throughout the world. For God, unto Whom all the dead live, destroys those only who are self-destroyed. From Him Who is to be the Judge of all, Whose Majesty will temper with mercy the punishment allotted to the mistakes of ignorance, they who deny Him can expect not even judgment, but only denial.

4. For this mad heresy does deny; it denies the mystery of the true faith by means of statements borrowed from our confession, which it employs for its own godless ends. The confession of their misbelief, which I have already cited in an earlier book, begins thus:–“We confess one God, alone unmade, alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone true, alone possessing immortality, alone good, alone mighty.” Thus they parade the opening words of our own confession, which runs, “One God, alone unmade and alone un-originate,” that this semblance of truth may serve as introduction to their blasphemous additions. For, after a multitude of words in which an equally insincere devotion to the Son is expressed, their confession continues, “God’s perfect creature, but not as one of His other creatures, His Handiwork, but not as His other works.” And again, after an interval in which true statements are occasionally interspersed in order to veil their impious purpose of alleging, as by sophistry they try to prove, that He came into existence out of nothing, they add, “He, created and established before the worlds, did not exist before He was born.” And lastly, as though every point of their false doctrine, that He is to be regarded neither as Son nor as God, were guarded impregnably against assault, they continue:–“As to such phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and I went out from the Father and am come, if they be understood to denote that the Father extends a part and, as it were, a development of that one substance, then the Father will be of a compound nature and divisible and changeable and corporeal, according to them; and thus, as far as their words go, the incorporeal God will be subjected to the properties of matter.” But, as we are now about to cover the whole ground once more, employing this time the language of the Gospels as our weapon against this most godless heresy, it has seemed best to repeat here, in the sixth book, the whole heretical document, though we have already given a full copy of it in the fourth, in order that our opponents may read it again, and compare it, point by point, with our reply, and so be forced, however reluctant and argumentative, by the clear teaching of the Evangelists and Apostles, to recognise the truth. The heretical confession is as follows:–

5. “We confess one GOd, alone unmade, alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone posessing immortality, alone good, alone mighty, Creator, Ordainer and Disposer of all things, unchangeable and unalterable, righteous and good, of the Law and the Prophets and the New Testament. We believe that this God gave birth to the Only-begotten Son before all worlds, through Whom He made the world and all things, that He gave birth to Him not in semblance, but in truth, following His own will, so that He is unchangeable and unalterable, God’s perfect Creature, but not as one of His other creatures, His Handiwork, but not as His other works; not, as Valentinus maintained, that the Son is a development of the Father, nor, as Manichaeus has declared of the Son, a consubstantial part of the Father, nor, as Sabellius, who makes two out of One, Son and Father at once, nor, as Hieracas, a light from a light, or a lamp with two flames, nor, as if He was previously in being and afterwards born, or created afresh, to be a Son, a notion often condemned by thyself, blessed Pope, publicly in the Church, and in the assembly of the brethren. But, as we have affirmed, we believe that He was created by the will of God before times and worlds, and has His life and existence from the Father, Who gave Him to share His own glorious perfections. For, when the Father gave to Him the inheritance of all things, He did not thereby deprive Himself of attributes which are His without origination, He being the source of all things.

6. “So there are three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. God, for His part, is the Cause of all things, utterly unoriginate and separate from all; while the Son, put forth by the Father outside time, and created and established before the worlds, did not exist before He was born, but, being born outside time before the worlds, came into being as the Only Son of the Only Father. For He is neither eternal, nor co-eternal, nor co-uncreate with the Father, nor has He an existence collateral with the Father, as some say who postulate two unborn principles. But God is before all things, as being indivisible and the beginning of all. Wherefore He is before the Son also, as indeed we have learnt from thee in thy public preaching. Inasmuch then as He has His being from God, and His glorious perfections, and His life, and is entrusted with all things, for this reason God is His Source. For He rules over Him, as being His God, since He is before Him. As to such phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and I went out from the Father and am come, if they be understood to denote that the Father extends a part and, as it were, a development of that one Substance, then the Father will be of a compound nature and divisible and changeable and corporeal, according to them; and thus, as far as their words go, the incorporeal God will be subjected to the properties of matter.”

7. Who can fail to see here the slimy windings of the serpent’s track: the coiled adder, with forces concentrated for the spring, concealing the deadly weapon of its poisonous fangs within its folds? Presently we shall stretch it out and examine it, and expose the venom of this hidden head. For their plan is first to impress with certain sound statements, and then to infuse the poison of their heresy. They speak us fair, in order to work us secret harm. Yet, amid all their specious professions, I nowhere hear God’s Son entitled God; I never hear sonship attributed to the Son. They say much about His having the name of Son, but nothing about His having the nature. That is kept out of sight, that He may seem to have no right even to the name. They make a show of unmasking other heresies to conceal the fact that they are heretics themselves. They strenuously assert that there is One only, One true God, to the end that they may strip the Son of God of His true and personal Divinity.

8. And therefore, although in the two last books I have proved from the teaching of the Law and Prophets that God and God, true God and true God, true God the Father and true God the Son, must be confessed as One true God, by unity of nature and not by confusion of Persons, yet, for the complete presentation of the faith, I must also adduce the teaching of the Evangelists and Apostles. I must show from them that true God, the Son of God, is not of a different, an alien nature from that of the Father, but possesses the same Divinity while having a distinct existence through a true birth. And, indeed, I cannot think that any soul exists so witless as to fancy that, although we know God’s self-revelations, yet we cannot understand them; that, if they can be understood, would not wish to understand, or would dream that human reason can devise improvements upon them. But before I begin to discuss the facts contained in these saving mysteries, I must first humble the pride with which these heretics rebuke the names of other heresies. I shall hold up to the light this ingenious cloak for their own impiety. I shall shew that this very means of concealing the deadliness of their teaching serves rather to reveal and betray it, and is a widely effectual warning of the true character of this honeyed poison.

9. For instance, these heretics would have it that the Son of God is not from God; that God was not born from God out of, and in, the nature of God. To this end, when they have solemnly borne witness to “One God, alone true,” they refrain from adding “The Father.” And then, in order to escape from confessing one true Godhead of Father anti of Son by a denial of the true birth, they proceed, “Not, as Valentinus maintained, that the Son is a development of the Father.” Thus they think to cast discredit upon the birth of God from God by calling it a “development,” as though it were a form of the Valentinian heresy. For Valentinus was the author of foul and foolish imaginations; beside the chief God, he invented a whole household of deities and countless powers called aeons, and taught that our Lord Jesus Christ was a development mysteriously brought about by a secret action of will. The faith of the Church, the faith of the Evangelists and Apostles, knows nothing of this imaginary development, sprung from the brain of a reckless and senseless dreamer. It knows nothing of the “Depth” and “Silence” and the thrice ten aeons of Valentinus. It knows none but One God the Father, from Whom are all things, and One Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom are all things, Who is God born from God. But it occurred to them that He, in being born as God from God, neither withdrew anything from the Divinity of His Author nor was Himself born other than God; that He became God not by a new beginning of Deity but by birth from the existing God; and that every birth appears, as far as human faculties can judge, to be a development, so that even that birth might be regarded as a development. And these considerations have induced them to make an attack upon the Valentinian heresy of development as a means of destroying faith in the true birth of the Son. For the experience of common life leads worldly wisdom to suppose that there is no great difference between a birth and a development. The mind of man, dull and slow to grasp the things of God, needs to be constantly reminded of the principle, which I have stated more than once, that analogies drawn from human experience are not of perfect application to the mysteries of Divine power; that their only value is that this comparison with material objects imparts to the spirit such a notion of heavenly things that we may rise, as by a ladder of nature, to an apprehension of the majesty of God. But the birth of God must not be judged by such development as takes place in human births. When One is born from One, God born from God, the circumstances of human birth enable us to apprehend the fact; but a birth which presupposes intercourse and conception and time and travail can give us no clue to the Divine method. When we are told that God was born from God, we must accept it as true that He was born, and be content with that. We shall, however, in the proper place discourse of the truth of the Divine birth, as the Gospels and the Apostles set it forth. Our present duty has been to expose this device of heretical ingenuity, this attack upon the true birth of Christ, concealed under the form of an attack upon a so-called development.

10. And then, in continuation of this same fraudulent assault upon the faith, their confession proceeds thus:–“Nor, as Manichaeus has declared of the Son, a consubstantial part of the Father.” They have already denied that He is a development, in order to escape from the admission of His birth; now they introduce, labelled with the name of Manichaeus, the doctrine that the Son is a portion of the one Divine substance, and deny it, in order to subvert the belief in God from God. For Manichaeus, the furious adversary of the Law and Prophets, the strenuous champion of the devil’s cause and blind worshipper of the sun, taught that That which was in the Virgin’s womb was a portion of the one Divine substance, and that by the Son we must understand a certain piece of God’s substance which was cut off, and made its appearance in the flesh. And so they make the most of this heresy that in the birth of the Son there was a division of the one substance and use it as a means of evading the doctrine of the birth of the Only-begotten, and the very name of the unity of substance. Because it is sheer blasphemy to speak of a birth re-suiting from division of the one substance they deny any birth; all forms of birth are joined in the condemnation which they pass upon the Manichaean notion of birth by severance. And again, they abolish the unity of substance, both name and thing, because the heretics hold that the unity is divisible; and deny that the Son is God from God, by refusing to believe that He is truly possessed of the Divine nature. Why does this mad heresy profess a fictitious reverence, a senseless anxiety? The faith of the Church does, as these insane propounders of error remind us, condemn Manichaeus, for she knows nothing of the Son as a portion. She knows Him as whole God from whole God, as One from One, not severed but born. She is assured that the birth of God involves neither impoverishment of the Begetter nor inferiority of the Begotten. If this be the Church’s own imagining, reproach her with the follies of a wisdom falsely claimed; but if she have learned it from her Lord, confess that the Begotten knows the manner of His begetting. She has learnt from God the Only-begotten these truths, that Father and Son are One, and that in the Son the fulness of the Godhead dwells. And therefore she loathes this attribution to the Son of a portion of the one substance; and, because she knows that He was truly born of God, she worships the Son as rightful Possessor of true Divinity. But, for the present, let us defer our full answer to these several allegations, and hasten through the rest of their denunciations.

11. What follows is this:–“Nor, as Sabellius, who makes two out of One, Son and Father at once.” Sabellius holds this in wilful blindness to the revelation of the Evangelists and Apostles. But what we see here is not one heretic honestly denouncing other. It is the wish to leave no point of union between Father and Son that prompts them to reproach Sabellius with his division of an indivisible Person; a division which does not result in the birth of a second Person, but cuts the One Person into two parts, one of which enters the Virgin’s womb. But we confess a birth; we reject this confusion of two Persons in One, while yet we cleave to the Divine unity. That is, we hold that God from God means unity of nature; for that Being, Who, by a true birth from God, became God, can draw His substance from no other source than the Divine. And since He continues to draw His being, as He drew it at first, from God, He must remain true God for ever; and hence They Two are One, for He, Who is God from God, has no other than the Divine nature, and no other than the Divine origin. But the reason why this blasphemous Sabellian confusion of two Persons into One is here condemned is that they wish to rob the Church of her true faith in Two Persons in One God. But now I must examine the remaining instances of this perverted ingenuity, to save myself from the reputation of a censorious judge of sincere enquirers, moved rather by dislike than genuine fear. I shall shew, by the terms with which they wind up their confession, what is the deadly conclusion which they have skilfully contrived shall be its inevitable issue.

12. Their next clause is:–“Nor, as Hieracas, a light from a light, or a lamp with two flames, nor as if He was previously in being, and afterwards born, or created afresh, to be a Son.” Hieracas ignores the birth of the Only-begotten, and, in complete unconsciousness of the meaning of the Gospel revelations, talks of two flames from one lamp. This symmetrical pair of flames, fed by the supply of oil contained in one bowl, is His illustration of the substance of Father and Son. It is as though that substance were something separate from Either Person, like the oil in the lamp, which is distinct from the two flames, though they depend upon it for their existence; or like the wick, of one material throughout and burning at both ends, which is distinct from the flames, yet provides them and connects them together. All this is a mere delusion of human folly, which has trusted to itself, and not to God, for knowledge. But the true faith asserts that God is born from God, as light from light, which pours itself forth without self-diminution, giving what it has yet having what it gave. It asserts that by His birth He was what He is, for as He is so was He born; that His birth was the gift of the existing Life, a gift which did not lessen the store from which it was taken; and that They Two are One, for He, from Whom He is born, is as Himself, and He that was born has neither another source nor another nature, for He is Light from Light. It is in order to draw men’s faith away from this, the true doctrine, that this lantern or lamp of Hieracas is cast in the teeth of those who confess Light from Light. Because the phrase has been used in an heretical sense, and condemned both now and in earlier days, they want to persuade us that there is no true sense in which it can be employed. Let heresy forthwith abandon these groundless fears, and refrain from claiming to be the protector of the Church’s faith on the score of a reputation for zeal earned so dishonestly. For we allow nothing bodily, nothing lifeless, to have a place among the attributes of God; whatever is God is perfect God. In Him is nothing but power, life, light, blessedness, Spirit. That nature contains no dull, material elements; being immutable, it has no incongruities within it. God, because He is God, is unchangeable; and the unchangeable God begat God. Their bond of union is not, like that of two flames, two wicks of one lamp, something outside Themselves. The birth of the Only-begotten Son from God is not a prolongation in space, but a begetting; not an extension, but Light from Light. For the unity of light with light is a unity of nature, not unbroken continuation.

13. And again, what a wonderful example of heretical ingenuity is this:–“Nor as if He were previously in being, and afterwards born or created afresh, to be a Son.” God, since He was born from God, was assuredly not born from nothing, nor from things non-existent. His birth was that of the eternally living nature. Yet, though He is God, He is not identical with the pre-existing God; God was born from God Who existed before Him; in, and by, His birth He partook of the nature of His Source. If we are speaking words of our own, all this is mere irreverence; but if, as we shall prove, God Himself has taught us how to speak, then the necessity is laid upon us of confessing the Divine birth in the sense revealed by God. And it is this unity of nature in Father and in Son, this ineffable mystery of the living birth, which the madness of heresy is struggling to banish from belief, when it says, “Nor as if He were previously in being, and afterwards born, or created afresh, to be a Son.” Now who is senseless enough to suppose that the Father ceased to be Himself; that the same Person Who had previously existed was afterwards born, or created afresh, to be the Son? That God disappeared, and that His disappearance was followed by an emergence in birth, when, in fact, that birth is evidence of the continuous existence of its Author? Or who is so insane as to suppose that a Son can come into existence otherwise than through birth? Who so void of reason as to say that the birth of God resulted in anything else than in God being born? The abiding God was not born, but God was born from the abiding God; the nature bestowed in that birth was the very nature of the Begetter. And God by His birth, which was from God into God, received, because His was a true birth, not things new-created but things which were and are the permanent possession of God. Thus it is not the pre-existent God that was born; yet God was born, and began to exist, out of and with the properties of God. And thus we see how heresy, throughout this long prelude, has been treacherously leading up to this most blasphemous doctrine. Its object being to deny God the Only-begotten, it starts with what purports to be a defence of truth, to go on to the assertion that Christ is born not from God but out of nothing, and that His birth is due to the Divine counsel of creation from the non-existent.

14. And then again, after an interval designed to prepare us for what is coming, their heresy delivers this assault;–“While the Son, put forth outside time, and created and established before the worlds, did not exist before He was born.” This “He did not exist before He was born” is a form of words by which the heresy flatters itself that it gains two ends; support for its blasphemy, and a screen for itself if its doctrine be arraigned. A support for its blasphemy, because, if He did not exist before He was born, He cannot be of one nature with His eternal Origin. He must have His beginning out of nothing, if He have no powers but such as are coeval with His birth. And a screen for its heresy, for if this statement be condemned, it furnishes a ready answer. He that did exist, it will be said, could not be born; being in existence already, He could not possibly come into being by passing through the process of birth, for the very meaning of birth is the entry into existence of the being that is born. Fool and blasphemer! Who dreams of birth in the case of Him Who is the unborn and eternal? How can we think of God, Who is, being born, when being born implies the process of birth? It is the birth of God the Only-begotten from God His Father that you are striving to disprove, and it was your purpose to escape the confession of that truth by means of this “He did not exist before He was born;” the confession that God, from Whom the Son of God was born, did exist eternally, and that it is from His abiding nature that God the Son draws His existence through birth. If, then, the Son is born from God, you must confess that His is a birth of that abiding nature; not a birth of the pre-existing God, but a birth of God from God the pre-existent.

15. But the fiery zeal of this heresy is such that it cannot restrain itself from passionate outbreak. In its effort to prove, in conformity with its assertion that He did not exist before He was born, that the Son was born from the non-existent, that is, that He was not born from God the Father to be God the Son by a true and perfect birth, it winds up its confession by rising in rage and hatred to the highest pitch of possible blasphemy:–“As to such phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and I went out front the Father and am come, if they be understood to denote that the Father extends a part, and, as it were, a development of that one substance, then the Father will be of a compound nature and divisible and changeable and corporeal, according to them; and thus, as far as their words go, the incorporeal God will be subjected to the properties of matter.” The defence of the true faith against the falsehoods of heresy would indeed be a task of toil and difficulty, if it were needful for us to follow the processes of thought as far as they have plunged into the depths of godlessness. Happily for our purpose it is shallowness of thought that has engendered their eagerness to blaspheme. And hence, while it is easy to refute, the folly, it is difficult to amend the fool, for he will neither think out right conclusions for himself, nor accept them when offered by another. Yet I trust that they who in pious ignorance, not in wilful folly bred of self-conceit, are enchained by error, will welcome correction. For our demonstration of the truth will afford convincing proof that heresy is nothing else than folly.

16. You said in your unreason, and you are still repeating to-day, ignorant that your wisdom is a defiance of God, “As to such phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and I went out from the Father and am come,” I ask you, Are these phrases, or are they not, words of God? They certainly are His; and, since they are spoken by God about Himself, we are bound to accept them exactly as they were spoken. Concerning the phrases themselves, and the precise force of each, we shall speak i in the proper place. For the present I will only put this question to the intelligence of every reader; When we see From Himself, are we to take it as equivalent to “From sortie one else,” or to “From nothing,” or are we to accept it as the truth? It is not “From some one else,” for it is From Himself; that is, His Godhead has no other source than God. It is not “From nothing,” for it is From Himself; a declaration of the nature from which His birth is. It is not “Himself,” but From Himself; a statement that They are related as Father and Son. And next, when the revelation From the womb is made, I ask whether we can possibly believe that He is born from nothing, when the truth of His birth is clearly indicated in terms borrowed from bodily functions. It is not because He has bodily members, that God records the generation of the Son in the words, I bore Thee from the womb before the morning star . He uses language which assists our understanding to assure us that His Only-begotten Son was ineffably born of His own true Godhead. His purpose is to educate the faculties of men up to the knowledge of the faith, by clothing Divine verities in words descriptive of human circumstances. Thus, when He says, From the womb, He is teaching us that His Only-begotten was, in the Divine sense, born, and did not come into existence by means of creation out of nothing. And lastly, when the Son said, I went forth from the Father and am come, did He leave it doubtful whether His Divinity were, or were not, derived from the Father? He went out from the Father; that is, He had a birth, and the Father, and no other, gave Him that birth. He bears witness that He, from Whom He declares that He came forth, is the Author of His being. The proof and interpretation of all this shall be given hereafter.

17. But meanwhile let us see what ground these men have for the confidence with which they forbid us to accept as true the utterances of God concerning Himself; utterances, the authenticity of which they do not deny. What more grievous insult could be flung by human folly and insolence at God’s self-revelation, than a condemnation of it, shewn in correction? For not even doubt and Criticism will satisfy them. What more grievous than this profane handling and disputing of the nature and power of God? Than the presumption of saying that, if the Son is from God, then God is changeable and corporeal, since He has extended or developed a part of Himself to be His Son? Whence this anxiety to prove the immutability of God? We confess the birth, we proclaim the Only-begotten, for so God has taught us. You, in order to banish the birth and the Only-begotten from the faith of the Church, confront us with an unchangeable

God, incapable, by His nature, of extension or development. I could bring forward instances of birth, even in natures belonging to this world, which would refute this wretched delusion that every birth must be an extension. And I could save you from the error that a being can come into existence only at the cost of loss to that which begets it, for there are many examples of life transmitted, without bodily intercourse, from one living creature to another. But it would be impious to deal in evidences, when God has spoken; and the utmost excess of madness to deny His authority to give us a faith, when our worship is a confession that He alone can give us life. For if life comes through Him alone, must not He be the Author of the faith which is the condition of that life? And if we hold Him an untrustworthy witness concerning Himself, how can we be sure of the life which is His gift?

18. For you attribute, most godless of heretics, the birth of the Son to an act of creative will; you say that He is not born from God, but that He was created and came into existence by the choice of the Creator. And the unity of the Godhead, as you interpret it, will not allow Him to be God, for, since God remains One, the Son cannot retain His original nature in that state into which He has been born. He has been endowed, through creation, you say, with a substance different from the Divine, although, being in a sense the Only-begotten, He is superior to God’s other creatures and works. You say that He was raised up, that He in His turn might perform the task committed to Him of raising up the created world; but that His birth did not confer upon Him the Divine nature. He was born, according to you, in the sense that He came into existence out of nothing. You call Him a Son, not because He was born from God, but because He was created by God. For you call to mind that God has deemed even holy men worthy of this title, and you consider that it is assigned to the Son in exactly the same sense in which the words, I have said, Ye are Gods, and all of you sons of the Most High , were spoken; that is, that He bears the name through the Giver’s condescension, and not by right of nature. Thus, in your eyes, He is Son by adoption, God by gift of the title, Only-begotten by favour, First-born in date, in every sense a creature, in no sense God. For you hold that His generation was not a birth from God, in the natural sense, but the beginning of the life of a created substance.

19. And now, Almighty God, I first must pray Thee to forgive my excess of indignation, and permit me to address Thee; and next to grant me, dust and ashes as I am, yet bound in loyal devotion to Thyself, freedom of utterance in this debate. There was a time when I, poor wretch, was not; before my life and consciousness and personality began to exist. It is to Thy mercy that I owe my life; and I doubt not that Thou, in Thy goodness, didst give me my birth for my good, for Thou, Who hast no need of me, wouldst never have made the beginning of my life the beginning of evil. And then, when Thou hadst breathed into me the breath of life and endowed me with the power of thought, Thou didst instruct me in the knowledge of Thyself, by means of the sacred volumes given us through Thy servants Moses and the prophets. From them I learnt Thy revelation, that we must not worship Thee as a lonely God. For their pages taught me of God, not different from Thee in nature but One with Thee in mysterious unity of substance. I learnt that Thou art God in God, by no mingling or confusion but by Thy very nature, since the Divinity which is Thyself dwells in Him Who is from Thee. But the true doctrine of the perfect birth revealed that Thou, the Indwelt, and Thou, the Indweller, are not One Person, yet that Thou dost dwell in Him Who is from Thee. And the voices of Evangelists and Apostles repeat the lesson, and the very words which fell from the holy mouth of Thy Only-begotten are recorded, telling how Thy Son, God the Only-begotten from Thee the Unbegotten God, was born of the Virgin as man to fulfil the mystery of my salvation; holy Thou dwellest in Him, by virtue of His true generation from Thyself, and He in Thee, because of the nature given in His abiding birth from Thee.

20. What is this hopeless quagmire of error into which Thou hast plunged me? For I have learnt all this and have come to believe it; this faith is so ingrained into my mind that I have neither the power nor the wish to change it. Why this deception of an unhappy man, this ruin of a poor wretch in body and soul, by deluding him with falsehoods concerning Thyself? After the Red Sea had been divided, the splendour on the face of Moses, descending from the Mount, deceived me. He had gazed, in Thy presence, upon all the mysteries of heaven, and I believed his words, dictated by Thee, concerning Thyself. And David, the man that was found after Thine own heart, has betrayed me to destruction, and Solomon, who was thought worthy of the gift of Divine Wisdom, and Isaiah, who saw the Lord of Sabaoth and prophesied, and Jeremiah consecrated in the womb, before he was fashioned, to be the prophet of nations to be rooted out and planted in, and Ezekiel, the witness of the mystery of the Resurrection, and Daniel, the man beloved, who had knowledge of times, and all the hallowed band of the Prophets; and Matthew also, chosen to proclaim the whole mystery of the Gospel, first a publican, then an Apostle, and John, the Lord’s familiar friend, and therefore worthy to reveal the deepest secrets of heaven, and blessed Simon, who after his confession of the mystery was set to be the foundation-stone of the Church, and received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and all his companions who spoke by the Holy Ghost, and Paul, the chosen vessel, changed from persecutor into Apostle, who, as a living man abode under the deep sea and ascended into the third heaven, who was in Paradise before his martyrdom, whose martyrdom was the perfect offering of a flawless faith; all have deceived me.

21. These are the men who have taught me the doctrines which I hold, and so deeply am I impregnated with their teaching that no antidote can release me from their influence. Forgive me, O God Almighty, my powerlessness to change, my willingness to die in this belief. These propagators of blasphemy, for so they seem to me, are a product of these last times, too modern to avail me. It is too late for them to correct the faith which I received from Thee. Before I had ever heard their names, I had put my trust in Thee had received regeneration from Thee and become Thine, as still I am. I know that Thou art omnipotent; I look not that Thou shouldst reveal to me the mystery of that ineffable birth which is secret between Thyself and Thy Only-begotten. Nothing is impossible with Thee, and I doubt not that in begetting Thy Son Thou didst exert Thy full omnipotence. To doubt it would be to deny that Thou an omnipotent. For my own birth teaches me that Thou art good, and therefore I am sure that in the birth of Thine Only-begotten Thou didst grudge Him no good gift. I believe that all that is Thine is His, and all that is His is Thine. The creation of the world is sufficient evidence to me that Thou art wise; and I am sure that Thy Wisdom, Who is like Thee, must have been begotten from Thyself. And Thou art One God, in very truth, in my eyes; I will never believe that in Him, Who is God from Thee, there is ought that is not Thine. Judge me in Him, if it be sin in me that, through Thy Son, I have trusted too well in Law and Prophets and Apostles.

22. But this wild talk must cease; the rhetoric of exposing heretical folly must give place to the drudgery of framing arguments. So, I trust, those among them who are capable of being saved will set their faces towards the true faith taught by the Evangelists and Apostles, and recognise Him Who is the true Son of God, not by adoption but by nature. For the plan of our reply must be that of first proving that He is the Son of God, and therefore fully endowed with that Divine nature in the possession of which His Sonship consists. For the chief aim of the heresy, which we are considering, is to deny that our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and truly the Son of God. Many evidences assure us that our Lord Jesus Christ is, and is revealed to be, God the Only-begotten, truly the Son of God. His Father bears witness to it, He Himself asserts it, the Apostles proclaim it, the faithful believe it, devils confess it, Jews deny it, the heathen at His passion recognised it. The name of God is given Him in the right of absolute ownership, not because He has been admitted to joint use with others of the title. Every work and word of Christ transcends the power of those who bear the title of sons; the foremost lesson that we learn from all that is most prominent in His life is that He is the Son of God, and that He does not hold the name of Son as a title shared with a widespread company of friends.

23. I will not weaken the evidence for this truth by intermixing words of my own. Let us hear the Father, when the baptism of Jesus Christ was accomplished, speaking, as often, concerning His Only-begotten, in order to save us from being misled by His visible body into a failure to recognise Him as the Son. His words are:–This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased . Is the truth presented here with dim outlines? Is the proclamation made in uncertain tones? The promise of the Virgin birth brought by the angel from the Holy Ghost, the guiding star of the Magi, the reverence paid Him in His cradle, the majesty, attested by the Baptist, of Him Who condescended to be baptized; all these are deemed an insufficient witness to His glory. The Father Himself speaks from heaven, and His words are, This is My Son. What means this evidence, not of titles, but of pronouns? Titles may be appended to names at will; pronouns are a sure indication of the persons to whom they refer. And here we have, in This and My, the clearest of indications. Mark the true meaning aid the purpose of the words. You have read,

I have begotten sons, and have raised them up ; but you did not read there My sons, for He had begotten Himself those sons by division among the Gentiles, and from the people of His inheritance. And lest we should suppose that the name Son was given as an additional title to God the Only-begotten, to signify His share by adoption in some joint heritage, His true nature is expressed by the pronoun which gives the indubitable sense of ownership. I will allow you to interpret the word Son, if you will, as signifying that Christ is one of a number, if you can furnish an instance where it is said of another of that number, This is My Son. If, on the other hand, This is My Son be His peculiar designation, why accuse the Father, when He asserts His ownership, of making an unfounded claim? When He says This is My Son, may we not paraphrase His meaning thus:–“He has given to others the title of sons, but He Himself is My own Son; I have given the name to multitudes by adoption, but this Son is My very own. Seek not for another lest you lose your faith that This is He. By gesture and by voice, by This, and My, and Son, I declare Him to you.” And now what reasonable excuse remains for lack of faith? This, and nothing less than this, it was that the Father’s voice proclaimed. He willed that we should not be left in ignorance of the nature of Him Who came to be baptized, that He might fulfil all righteousness; that by the voice of God we might recognise as the Son of God Him Who was visible as Man, to accomplish the mystery of our salvation.

24. And again, because the life of believers was involved in the confession of this faith,–for there is no other way to eternal life than the assurance that Jesus Christ, God the Only-begotten, is the Son of God–the Apostles heard once more the voice from heaven repeating the same message, in order to strengthen this life-giving belief, in negation of which is death. When the Lord, apparelled in splendour, was standing upon the Mountain, with Moses and Elias at His side, and the three Pillars of the churches who had been chosen as witnesses to the truth of the vision and the voice, the Father spoke thus from heaven:-This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him . The glory which they saw was not sufficient attestation of His majesty; the voice proclaims, This is My Son. The Apostles cannot face the glory of God; mortal eyes grow dim in its presence. The trust of Peter and James and John fails them, and they are prostrate in fear. But this solemn declaration, spoken from the Father’s knowledge, comes to their relief; He is revealed as His Father’s own true Son. And over and above the witness of This and My to His true Sonship, the words are uttered, Hear Him. It is the witness of the Father from heaven, in confirmation of the witness borne by the Son on earth; for we are bidden to hear Him. Though this recognition by the Father of the Son removes all doubt, yet we are bidden also to accept the Son’s self-revelation. When the Father’s voice commands us to shew our obedience by hearing Him, we are ordered to repose an absolute confidence in the words of the Son. Since, therefore, the Father has manifested His will in this message to us to hear the Son, let us hear what it is that the Son has told us concerning Himself.

25. I can conceive of no man so destitute of ordinary-reason as to recognise in each of the Gospels confessions by the Son of the humiliation to which He has submitted in taking a body upon Him,–as for instance His words, often repeated, Father, glorify Me , and Ye shall see the Son of Man , and The Father is greater than I , and, more strongly, Now is My saul troubled exceedingly , and even this, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me “? and many more, of which I shall speak in due time,–and yet, in the face of these constant expressions of His humility, to charge Him with presumption because He calls God His Father, as when He says, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up , or, Ye have made my Father’s house an house of merchandise . I can conceive of no one foolish enough to regard His assertion, consistently made, that God is His Father, not as the simple truth sincerely stated from certain knowledge, but as a bold and baseless claim. We cannot denounce this constantly professed humility as an insolent demand for the rights of another, a laying of hands on what is not His own, an appropriation of powers which only God can wield. Nor, when He calls Himself the Son, as in, For God sent not His Son into this world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved , and in, Dost thou believe on the Son of God ? can we accuse Him of what would be an equal presumption with that of calling God His Father. But what else is it than such an accusation, if we allow to Jesus Christ the name of Son by adoption only? Do we not charge Him, when He calls God His Father, with daring to make a baseless claim? The Father’s voice from heaven says Hear Him. I hear Him saying, Father I thank Thee , and Say ye that I blasphemed, because l said, I am the Son of God ? If I may not believe these names, and assume that they mean what they assert, how am I to trust and to understand? No hint is given of an alternative meaning. The Father bears witness from heaven, This is My Son; the Son on His part speaks of My Father’s house, and My Father. The confession of that name gives salvation, when faith is demanded in the question, Dost thou believe an the Son of God? The pronoun My indicates that the noun which follows belongs to the speaker. What right, I demand, have you heretics to suppose it otherwise? You contradict the Father’s word the Son’s assertion; you empty language of its meaning, and distort the words of God into a sense they cannot bear. On you alone rests the guilt of this shameless blasphemy, that God has lied concerning Himself.

26. And thus, although nothing but a sincere belief that these names are truly significant,–that, when we read, This is My Son and My Father, the words really indicate Persons of Whom, and to Whom, they were spoken–can make them intelligible, yet, lest it be supposed that Son and Father are titles the one merely of adoption, the other merely of dignity, let us see what are the attributes attached, by the Son Himself, to His name of Son. He says, All things are delivered Me of My Father, and no one knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any the Father save the Son, and he to Whom the Son will reveal Him . Are the words of which we are speaking, This is My Son and My Father, consistent, or are they not, with No one knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any the Father save the Son? For it is only by witness mutually borne that the Son can be known through the Father, and the Father through the Son. We hear the voice from heaven; we hear also the words of the Son. We have as little excuse for not knowing the Son, as we have for not knowing the Father. All things are delivered unto Him; from this All there is no exception. If They possess an equal might; if They share an equal mutual knowledge, hidden from us; if these names of Father and Son express the relation between Them, then, I demand, are They not in truth what They are in name, wielders of the same omnipotence, shrouded in the same impenetrable mystery? God does not speak in order to deceive. The Fatherhood of the Father, the Sonship of the Son, are literal truths. And now learn how facts bear out the verities which these names reveal.

27. The Son speaks thus:–For the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works which I do, bear witness of Me that the Father hath sent Me ; and the Father Himself which hath sent Me hath borne witness of Me . God the Only-begotten proves His Sonship by an appeal not only to the name, but to the power; the works which He does are evidence that He has been sent by the Father. What, I ask, is the fact which these works prove? That He was sent. That He was sent, is used as a proof of His sonlike obedience and of His Father’s authority: for the works which He does could not possibly be done by any other than Him Who is sent by the Father. Yet the evidence of His works fails to convince the unbelieving that the Father sent Him. For He proceeds, And the Father Himself which hath sent Me hath borne witness of Me; and ye have neither heard His voice nor seen His shape . What was this witness of the Father concerning Him? Turn over the pages of the Gospels and review their contents. Read us other of the attestations given by the Father beside those which we have heard already; This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, and Than art My Son. John, who heard these words, needed them not, for He knew the truth already. It was for our instruction that the Father spoke. But this is not all. John in the wilderness was honoured with this revelation; the Apostles were not to be denied the same assurance. It came to them in the very same words, but with an addition which John did not receive. He had been a prophet from the womb, and needed not the commandment, Hear Him. Yes; I will hear Him, and will hear none but Him and His Apostle, who heard for my instruction. Even though the books contained no further witness, borne by the Father to the Son, than that He is the Son, I have, for confirmation of the truth, the evidence of His Father’s works which He does. What is this modern slander that His name is a gift by adoption, His Godhead a lie, His titles a pretence? We have the Father’s witness to His Sonship; by works, equal to the Father’s, the Son bears witness to His own equality with the Father. Why such blindness to His obvious possession of the true Sonship which He both claims and displays. It is not through condescending kindness on the part of God the Father that Christ bears the name of Son; not by holiness that He has earned the title, as many have won it by enduring hardness in confession of the faith. Such sonship is not of right; it is by a favour, worthy of Himself, that God bestows the title. But that which is indicated by This, and My, and Hear Him, is different in kind from the other. It is the true and real and genuine Sonship.

28. And indeed the Son never makes for Himself a lower claim than is contained in this designation, given Him by His Father. The Father’s words, This is My Son, reveal His nature; those which follow, Hear Him, are a summons to us to listen to the mystery and the faith which He came down from heaven to bring; to learn that, if we would be saved, our confession must be a copy of His teaching. And in like manner the Son Himself teaches us, in words of His own, that He was truly born and truly came;–Ye neither know Me, nor know ye whence I am, for I am not came of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, Whom ye know not, but I know Him, for I am from Him, and He hath sent Me . No man knows the Father; the Son often assures us of this. The reason why He says that none knows Him but Himself, is that He is from the Father. Is it, I ask, as the result of an act of creation, or of a genuine birth, that He is from Him? If it be an act of creation, then all created things are from God. How then is it that none of them know the Father, when the Son says that the reason why He has this knowledge is that He is from Him? If He be created, not born, we shall observe in Him a resemblance to other beings who are from God. Since all, on this supposition, are from God, why is He not as ignorant of the Father as are the others? But if this knowledge of the Father be peculiar to Him, Who is from the Father, must not this circumstance also, that He is from the Father, be peculiar to Him? That is, must He not be the true Son born from the nature of God? For the reason why He alone knows God is that He alone is from God. You observe, then, a knowledge, which is peculiar to Himself, resulting from a birth which also is peculiar to Himself. You recognise that it is not by an act of creative power, but through a true birth, that He is from the Father; and that this is why He alone knows the Father, Who is unknown to all other beings which are from Him.

29. But He immediately adds, For I am from Him, and He hath sent Me, to debar heresy from the violent assumption that His being from God dates from the time of His Advent. The Gospel revelation of the mystery proceeds in a logical sequence; first He is born, then He is sent. Similarly, in the previous declaration, we were told of ignorance , first as to Who He is, and then as to whence He is. For the words, I am from Him, and He hath sent Me, contain two separate statements, as also do the words, Ye neither know Me, nor know ye whence I am. Every man is born in the flesh; yet does not universal consciousness make every man spring from God? How then can Christ assert that either He, or the source of His being, is unknown? He can only do so by assigning His immediate parentage to the ultimate Author of existence; and, when He has done this, He can demonstrate their ignorance of God by their ignorance of the fact that He is the Son of God. Let the victims of this wretched delusion reflect upon the words, Ye neither know Me, nor know ye whence I am. All things, they argue, are from nothing; they allow of no exception. They even dare to misrepresent God the Only-begotten as sprung from nothing. How can we explain this ignorance of Christ, and of the origin of Christ, on the part of the blasphemers? The very fact that, as the Scripture says, they know not whence He is, is an indication of that unknowable origin from which He springs. If we can say of a thing that it came into existence out of nothing, then we are not ignorant of its origin; we know that it was made out of nothing, and this is a piece of definite knowledge. Now He Who came is not the Author of His own being; but He Who sent Him is true, Whom the blasphemers know not. He it was Who sent Him; and they know not that He was the Sender. Thus the Sent is from the Sender; from Him Whom they know not as His Author. The reason why they know not Who Christ is, is that they know not from Whom He is. None can confess the Son who denies that He was born; none can understand that He was born who has formed the opinion that He is from nothing. And indeed He is so far from being made out of nothing, that the heretics cannot tell whence He is.

30. They are blankly ignorant who separate the Divine name from the Divine nature; ignorant, and content to be ignorant. But let them listen to the reproof which the Son inflicts upon unbelievers for their want of this knowledge, when the Jews said that God was their Father:–If God were your Father, ye would surely love Me; for I went forth from God, and am come; neither am I come of Myself, but He sent Me. The Son of God has here no word of blame for the devout confidence of those who combine the confession that He is true God, the Son of God, with their own claim to be God’s sons. What He is blaming is the insolence of the Jews in daring to claim God as their Father, when meanwhile they did not love Him, the Son:–If God were your Father, ye would surely love Me; for I went forth from God. All, who have God for their Father through faith, have Him for Father through that same faith whereby we confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But to confess that He is the Son in a sense which covers the whole company of saints; to say, in effect, that He is one of the sons of God;–what faith is there in that? Are not all the rest, feeble created beings though they be, in that sense sons? In what does the eminence of a faith, which has confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, consist, if He, as one of a multitude of sons, have the name only, and not the nature, of the Son? This unbelief has no love for Christ; it is a mockery of the faith for these perverters of the truth to claim God as their Father. If He were their Father, they would love Christ because He had gone forth from God. And now I must enquire the meaning of this going forth from God. His going forth is obviously different from His coming, for the two are mentioned side by side in this passage, I went forth from God and am come. In order to elucidate the separate meanings of I went forth from God and I am come, He immediately subjoins, Neither am I come of Myself, but He sent Me. He tells us that He is not the source of His own existence in the words, Neither am I come of Myself. In them He tells us that He has proceeded forth a second time from God, and has been sent by Him. But when He tells us that they who call God their Father must love Himself because He has gone forth from God, He makes His birth the reason for their love. Went forth carries back our thoughts to the incorporeal birth, for it is by love of Christ, Who was born from Him, that we must gain the right of devoutly claiming God for our Father. For when the Son says, He that hateth Me hateth My Father also, this My is the assertion of a relation to the Father which is shared by none. On the other hand, He condemns the man who claims God as his Father, and loves not the Son, as using a wrongful liberty with the Father’s name; since he who hates Him, the Son, must hate the Father also, and none can be devoted to the Father save those who love the Son. For the one and only reason which He gives for loving the Son is His origin from the Father. The Son, therefore, is from the Father, not by His Advent, but by His birth; and love for the Father is only possible to those who believe that the Son is from Him.

31. To this the Lord’s words bear witness;–I will not say unto you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and believe that I went forth from God, and am come from the Father into this world. A complete faith concerning the Son, which accepts and loves the truth that He went forth from God, has access to the Father without need of His intervention. The confession that the Son was born and sent from God wins for it direct audience and love from Him. Thus the narrative of His birth and coming must be taken in the strictest and most literal sense. I went forth from God, He says, conveying that His nature is exactly that which was given Him by His birth; for what being but God could go forth from God, that is, could enter upon existence by birth from Him? Then He continues, And am come from the Father into this world. To assure us that this going forth from God means birth from the Father, He tells us that He came from the Father into this world. The latter statement refers to His incarnation, the former to His nature. And again, His putting on record first the fact of His going forth from God, and then His coming from the Father, forbids us to identify the going with the coming. Coming from the Father, and going forth from God, are not synonymous; they might be paraphrased as ‘Birth’ and ‘Presence,’ and are as different in meaning as these. It is one thing to have gone forth from God, and entered by birth upon a substantial existence; another to have come from the Father into this world to accomplish the mysteries of our salvation.

32. In the order of our defence, as I have arranged it in my mind, this has seemed the most convenient place for proving that, thirdly, the Apostles believed our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, not merely in name but in nature, not by adoption but by birth.

It is true that there remain unmentioned many and most weighty words of God the Only-begotten concerning Himself, in which the truth of His Divine birth is set so clearly forth as to silence any whisper of objection. Yet since it would be unwise to burden the reader’s mind with an accumulation of evidence, and ample proof has been already given of the genuineness of His birth, I will hold back the remainder of His utterances till later stages of our enquiry. For we have so arranged I the course of our argument that now, after hearing the Father’s witness and the Son’s self-revelation, we are to be instructed by the Apostles’ faith in the true and, as we must confess, the truly born Son of God. We must see whether they could find in the words of the Lord, I went forth from God, any other meaning than this, that there was in Him a birth of the Divine nature.

33. After many dark sayings, spoken in parables by Him Whom they already knew as the Christ foretold by Moses and the Prophets, Whom Nathanael had confessed as the Son of God and King of Israel, Who had Himself reproached Philip, in his question about the Father, for not perceiving, by the works which He did, that the Father was in Him and He in the Father; after He had already often taught them that He was sent from the Father; still, it was not till they had heard Him assert that He had gone forth from God that they confessed, in the words which immediately follow in the Gospel;–His disciples say unto Him, Now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now therefore we are sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee; by this we believe that Thou wentest forth from God. What was there so marvellous in this form of words, Went forth from God, which He had used? Had ye seen, O holy and blessed men, who for the reward of your faith have received the keys of the kingdom of heaven and power to bind and to loose in heaven and earth, works so great, so truly Divine, wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and do ye yet profess that it was not until He had first told you that He had gone forth from God that ye attained the knowledge of the truth? And yet ye had seen water at the marriage turned into the marriage wine; one nature becoming another nature, whether it were by change, or by development, or by creation. And your hands had broken up the five loaves into a meal for that great multitude, and when all were satisfied ye had found that twelve baskets were needed to contain the fragments of the loaves; a small quantity of matter, in the process of relieving hunger, had multiplied into a great quantity of matter of the same nature. And ye had seen withered hands recover their suppleness, the tongues of dumb men loosened into speech, the feet of the lame made swift to run, the eyes of the blind endowed with vision, and life restored to the dead. Lazarus, who stank already, had risen to his feet at a word. He was summoned from the tomb and instantly came forth, without a pause between the word and its fulfilment. He was standing before you, a living man, while yet the air was carrying the odour of death to your nostrils. I speak not of other exertions of His mighty, His Divine powers. And is it, in spite of all this, only after ye heard Him say, I went forth from God, that ye understood Who He is that had been sent from heaven? Is this the first time that the truth had been told you without a proverb? The first time that the powers of His nature made it manifest to you that He went forth from God? And this in spite of His silent scrutiny of the purposes of your will, of His needing not to ask you concerning anything as though He were ignorant, of His universal knowledge? For all these things, done in the power and in the nature of God, are evidence that He must have gone forth from God.

34. By this the holy Apostles did not understand that He had gone forth, in the sense of having been sent, from God. For they had often heard Him confess, in His earlier discourses, that He was sent; but what they hear now is the express statement that He had gone forth from God. This opens their eyes to perceive from His works His Divine nature. The fact that He had gone forth from God makes clear to them His true Divinity, and so they say, Now therefore we are sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee; by this we believe that Thou wentest forth from God. The reason why they believe that He went forth from God is that He both can, and does, perform the works of God. Their perfect assurance of His Divine nature is the result of their knowledge, not that He is come from God, but that He did go forth from God. Accordingly we find that it is this truth, now heard for the first time, which clenches their faith. The Lord had made two statements; I went forth from God, and I am come from the Father into this world. One of these, I am come from the Father into this world, they had often heard, and it awakens no surprise. But their reply makes it manifest that they now believe and understand the other, that is, I went forth from God. Their answer, By this we believe that Thou wentest forth from God, is a response to it, and to it only; they do not add, ‘And art come from the Father into this world.’ The one statement is welcomed with a declaration of faith; the other is passed over in silence. The confession was wrung from them by the sudden presentation of a new truth, which convinced their reason and constrained them to avow their certainty. They knew already that He, like God, could do all things; but His birth, which accounted for that omnipotence, had not been revealed. They knew that He had been sent from God, but they knew not that He had gone forth from God. Now at last, taught by this utterance to understand the ineffable and perfect birth of the Son, they confess that He had spoken to them without a proverb.

35. For God is not born from God by the ordinary process of a human childbirth; this is no case of one being issuing from another by the exertion of natural forces. That birth is pure and perfect and stainless; indeed, we must call it rather a proceeding forth than a birth. For it is One from One; no partition, or withdrawing, or lessening, or efflux, or extension, or suffering of change, but the birth of living nature from living nature. It is God going forth from God, not a creature picked out to bear the name of God. His existence did not take its beginning out of nothing, but went forth from the Eternal; and this going forth is rightly entitled a birth, though it would be false to call it a beginning. For the proceeding forth of God from God is a thing entirely different from the coming into existence of a new substance. And though our apprehension of this truth, which is ineffable, cannot be defined in words, yet the teaching of the Son, as He reveals to us that He went forth from God, imparts to it the certainty of an assured faith.

36. A belief that the Son of God is Son in name only and not in nature, is not the faith of the Gospels and of the Apostles. If this be a mere title, to which adoption is His only claim; if He be not the Son in virtue of having proceeded forth from God, whence, I ask, was it that the blessed Simon Bar-Jona confessed to Him, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God? Because He shared with all mankind the power of being born as one of the sons of God through the sacrament of regeneration? If Christ be the Son of God only in this titular way, what was the revelation made to Peter, not by flesh and blood, but by the Father in heaven? What praise could he deserve for making a declaration which was universally applicable? What credit was due to Him for stating a fact of general knowledge? If He be Son by adoption, wherein lay the blessedness of Peter’s confession, which offered a tribute to the Son to which, in that case, He had no more title than any member of the company of saints? The Apostle’s faith penetrates into a region closed to human reasoning. He had, no doubt, often heard, He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and He that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. Hence he knew well that Christ had been sent; he had heard Him, Whom he knew to have been sent, making the declaration, All things are delivered unto Me of the Father, and no one knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any one the Father save the Son. What then is this truth, which the Father now reveals to Peter, which receives the praise of a blessed confession? It cannot have been that the names of ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ were novel to him; he had heard them often. Yet he speaks words which the tongue of man had never framed before:–Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. For though Christ, while dwelling in the body, had avowed Himself to be the Son of God, yet now for the first time the Apostle’s faith had recognised in Him the presence of the Divine nature. Peter is praised not merely for his tribute of adoration, but for his recognition of the mysterious truth; for confessing not Christ only, but Christ the Son of God. It would clearly have sufficed for a payment of reverence, had he said, Thou art the Christ, and nothing more. But it would have been a hollow confession, had Peter only hailed Him as Christ, without confessing Him the Son of God. And so his words Thou art declare that what is asserted of Him is strictly and exactly true to His nature. Next, the Father’s utterance, This is My Son, had revealed to Peter that he must confess Thou art the Son of God, for in the words This is, God the Revealer points Him out, and the response, Thou art, is the believer’s welcome to the truth. And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built. But the perceptive faculties of flesh and blood cannot attain to the recognition and confession of this truth. It is a mystery, Divinely revealed, that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. Was it only the Divine name; was it not rather the Divine nature that was revealed to Peter? If it were the name, he had heard it often from the Lord, proclaiming Himself the Son of God. What honour, then, did he deserve for announcing the name? No; it was not the name; it was the nature, for the name had been repeatedly proclaimed.

37. This faith it is which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. This is the faith which has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever this faith shall have loosed or bound on earth shall be loosed or bound in heaven. This faith is the Father’s gift by revelation; even the knowledge that we must not imagine a false Christ, a creature made out of nothing, but must confess Him the Son of God, truly possessed of the Divine nature. What blasphemous madness and pitiful folly is it, that will not heed the venerable age and faith of that blessed martyr, Peter himself, for whom the Father was prayed that his faith might not fail in temptation; who twice repeated the declaration of love for God that was demanded of him, and was grieved that he was tested by a third renewal of the question, as though it were a doubtful and wavering devotion, and then, because this third trial had cleansed him of his infirmities, had the reward of hearing the Lord’s commission, Feed My sheep, a third time repeated; who, when all the Apostles were silent, alone recognised by the Father’s revelation the Son of God, and won the pre-eminence of a glory beyond the reach of human frailty by his confession of his blissful faith! What are the conclusions forced upon us by the study of his words? He confessed that Christ is the Son of God; you, lying bishop of the new apostolate, thrust upon us your modern notion that Christ is a creature, made out of nothing. What violence is this, that so distorts the glorious words? The very reason why he is blessed is that he confessed the Son of God. This is the Father’s revelation, this the foundation of the Church, this the assurance of her permanence. Hence has she the keys of the kingdom of heaven, hence judgment in heaven and judgment on earth. Through revelation Peter learnt the mystery hidden from the beginning of the world, proclaimed the faith, published the Divine nature, confessed the Son of God. He who would deny all this truth and confess Christ a creature, must first deny the apostleship of Peter, his faith, his blessedness, his episcopate, his martyrdom. And when he has done all this, he must learn that he has severed himself from Christ; for it was by confessing Him that Peter won these glories.

38. Do you think, wretched heretic of today, that Peter would have been the more blessed now, if he had said, ‘Thou art Christ, God’s perfect creature, His handiwork, though excelling all His other works. Thy beginning was from nothing, and through the goodness of God, Who alone is good, the name of Son has been given Thee by adoption, although in fact Thou wast not born from God?’ What answer, think you, would have been given to such words as these, when this same Peter’s reply to the announcement of the Passion, Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be, was rebuked with, Get thee behind Me, Satan, thou art an offence unto Me? Yet Peter could plead his human ignorance in extenuation of his guilt, for as yet the Father had not revealed all the mystery of the Passion; still, mere defect of faith was visited with this stern condemnation. Now, why was it that the Father did not reveal to Peter your true confession, this faith in an adopted creature? I fancy that God must have grudged him the knowledge of the truth; that He wanted to postpone it to a later age, and keep it as a novelty for your modern preachers. Yes; you may have a change of faith, if the keys of heaven are changed. You may have a change of faith, if there is a change in that Church against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. You may have a change of faith, if there shall be a fresh apostolate, binding and loosing in heaven what it has bound and loosed on earth. You may have a change of faith, if another Christ the Son of God, beside the true Christ, shall be preached. But if that faith which confesses Christ as the Son of God, and that faith only, received in Peter’s person every accumulated blessing, then perforce the faith which proclaims Him a creature, made out of nothing, holds not the keys of the Church and is a stranger to the apostolic faith and power. It is neither the Church’s faith, nor is it Christ’s.

39. Let us therefore cite every example of a statement of the faith made by an Apostle. All of them, when they confess the Son of God, confess Him not as a nominal and adoptive Son, but as Son by possession of the Divine nature. They never degrade Him to the level of a creature, but assign Him the splendour of a true birth from God. Let John speak to us, while he is waiting, just as he is, for the coming of the Lord; John, who was left behind and appointed to a destiny hidden in the counsel of God, for he is not told that he shall not die, but only that he shall tarry. Let him speak to us in his own familiar voice:–No one hath seen God at any time, except the Only-begotten Son, Which is in the bosom of the Father. It seemed to him that the name of Son did not set forth with sufficient distinctness His true Divinity, unless he gave an external support to the peculiar majesty of Christ by indicating the difference between Him and all others. Hence he not only calls Him the Son, but adds the further designation of the Only-begotten, and so cuts away the last prop from under this imaginary adoption. For the fact that He is Only-begotten is proof positive of His right to the name of Son.

40. I defer the consideration of the words, which is in the bosom of the Father, to a more appropriate place. My present enquiry is into the sense of Only-begotten, and the claim upon us which that sense may make. And first let us see whether the word mean, as you assert, a perfect creature of God; Only-begotten being equivalent to perfect, and Son a synonym for creature. But John described the Only-begotten Son as God, not as a perfect creature. His words, Which is in the bosom of the Father, shew that he anticipated these blasphemous designations; and, indeed, he had heard his Lord say, For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God, Who loved the world, gave His Only-begotten Son as a manifest token of His love. If the evidence of His love be this, that He bestowed a creature upon creatures, gave a worldly being on the world’s behalf, granted one raised up from nothing for the redemption of objects equally raised up from nothing, this cheap and petty sacrifice is a poor assurance of His favour towards us. Gifts of price are the evidence of affection the greatness of the surrender of the greatness of the love. God, Who loved the world, gave not an adopted Son, but His own, His Only-begotten. Here is personal interest, true Sonship, sincerity; not creation, or adoption, or pretence. Herein is the proof of His love and affection, that He gave His own, His Only-begotten Son.

41. I appeal not now to any of the titles which are given to the Son; there is no loss in delay when it is the result of an embarrassing abundance of choice. My present argument is that a successful result implies a sufficient cause; some clear and cogent motive must underlie every effectual performance. And so the Evangelist has been obliged to reveal his motive in writing. Let us see what is the purpose which he confesses;–But these things are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The one reason which he alleges for writing his Gospel is that all may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. If it be sufficient for salvation to believe that He is the Christ, why does he add The Son of God? But if the true faith be nothing less than the belief that Christ is not merely Christ, but Christ the Son of God, then assuredly the name of Son is not attached to Christ as a customary appendage due to adoption, seeing that it is essential to salvation. If then salvation consists in the confession of the name, must not the name express the truth? If the name express the truth, by what authority can He be called a creature? It is not the confession of a creature, but the confession of the Son, which shall give us salvation.

42. To believe, therefore, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is true salvation, is the acceptable service of an unfeigned faith. For we have no love within us towards God the Father except through faith in the Son. Let us hear Him speaking to us in the words of the Epistle;–Every one that loveth the Father loveth Him that is born from Him. What, I ask, is the meaning of being born from Him? Can it mean, perchance, being created by Him? Does the Evangelist lie in saying that He was born from God, while the heretic more correctly teaches that He was created? Let us all listen to the true character of this teacher of heresy. It is written, He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. What will you do now, champion of the creature, conjurer up of a novel Christ out of nothing? Hear the title which awaits you, if you persist in your assertion. Or do you think that perhaps you may still describe the Father and the Son as Creator and Creature, and yet by an ingenious ambiguity of language escape being recognised as antichrist? If your confession embraces a Father in the true sense, and a Son in the true sense, then I am a slanderer, assailing you with a title of infamy which you have not deserved. But if in your confession all Christ’s attributes are spurious and nominal, and not His own, then learn from the Apostle the right description of such a faith as yours; and hear what is the true faith which believes in the Son. The words which follow are these;–He that denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son hath both the Son and the Father. He that denies the Son is destitute of the Father; he that confesses and has the Son has the Father also. What room is there here for adoptive names? Does not every word tell of the Divine nature? Learn how completely that nature is present.

43. John speaks thus;–For we know that the Son of God is came, and was incarnate for us, and suffered, and rose again from the dead and took us for Himself, and gave us a good understanding that we may know Him that is true, and may be in His true Son Jesus Christ. He is true and is life eternal and our resurrection. Wisdom doomed to an evil end, void of the Spirit of God, destined to possess the spirit and the name of Antichrist, blind to the truth that the Son of God came to fulfil the mystery of our salvation, and unworthy in that blindness to perceive the light of that sovereign knowledge! For this wisdom asserts that Jesus Christ is no true Son of God, but a creature of His, Who bears the Divine name by adoption. In what dark oracle of hidden knowledge was the secret learnt? To whose research do we owe this, the great discovery of the day? Were you he that lay upon the bosom of the Lord? You he to whom in the familiar intercourse of love He revealed the mystery? Was it you that alone followed Him to the foot of the Cross? And while He was charging you to receive Mary as your Mother, did He teach you this secret, as the token of His peculiar love for yourself? Or did you run to the Sepulchre, and reach it sooner even than Peter, and so gain this knowledge there? Or was it amid the throngs of angels, and sealed books whose clasps none can open, and manifold influences of the signs of heaven, and unknown songs of the eternal choirs, that the Lamb, your Guide, revealed to you this godly doctrine, that the Father is no Father, the Son no Son, nor nature, nor truth? For you transform all these into lies. The Apostle, by that most excellent knowledge that was granted him, speaks of the Son of God as true. You assert His creation, proclaim His adoption, deny His birth. While the true Son of God is eternal life and resurrection to us, for him, in whose eyes He is not true, there is neither eternal life nor resurrection. And this is the lesson taught by John, the disciple beloved of the Lord.

44. And the persecutor, who was converted to be an Apostle and a chosen vessel, delivers the very same message. What discourse is there of his which does not presuppose the confession of the Son? What Epistle of his that does not begin with a confession of that mysterious truth? When he says, We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, and, God sent His Son to be the likeness of the flesh of sin, and again, God is faithful, by Whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son, is any loophole left for heretical misrepresentation? His Son, Son of God; so we read, but nothing is said of His adoption, or of God’s creature. The name expresses the nature; He is God’s Son, and therefore the Sonship is true. The Apostle’s confession asserts the genuineness of the relation. I see not how the Divine nature of the Son could have been more completely stated. That Chosen Vessel has proclaimed in no weak or wavering voice that Christ is the Son of Him Who, as we believe, is the Father. 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. 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.

45. But now let us learn what is this faith concerning the Son of God, which the Apostle holds. For though there is no single discourse, among the many which he delivered concerning the Church’s doctrine, in which he mentions the Father without also making confession of the Son, yet, in order to display the truth of the relation which that name conveys with the utmost definiteness of which human language is capable, he speaks thus:–What then? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us. Can Son, by any remaining possibility, be a title received through adoption, when He is expressly called God’s own Son? For the Apostle, wishing to make manifest the love of God towards us, uses a kind of comparison, to enable us to estimate how great that love is, when He says that it was His own Son Whom God did not spare. He suggests the thought that this was no sacrifice of an adopted Son, on behalf of those whom He purposed to adopt, of a creature for creatures, but of His Son for strangers, His own Son for those to whom He had willed to give a share in the name of sons. Seek out the full import of the term, that you may understand the extent of the love. Consider the meaning of own; mark the genuineness of the Sonship which it implies. For the Apostle now describes Him as God’s own Soil; previously he had often spoken of Him as God’s Son, or Son of God. And though many manuscripts, through a want of apprehension on the part of the translators, read in this passage His Son, instead of His own, Son, yet the original Greek, the tongue in which the Apostle wrote, is more exactly rendered by His own than by His. And though the casual reader may discern no great difference between His own and His, yet the Apostle, who in all his other statements had spoken of His Son, which is, in the Greek, ton eautou uion , in this passage uses the words os ge tou idiou uion ouk efeisato , that is, Who spared not His own Son, expressly and emphatically indicating His true Divine nature, PrevioUsly he had declared that through the Spirit of adoption there are many sons; now his object is to point to God’s own Son, God the Only-begotten.

46. This is no universal and inevitable error; they who deny the Son cannot lay the fault upon their ignorance, for ignorance of the truth which they deny is impossible. They describe the Son of God as a creature who came into being out of nothing. If the Father has never asserted this, nor the Son confirmed it, nor the Apostles proclaimed it, then the dating which prompts their allegation is bred not of ignorance, but of hatred for Christ. When the Father says of His Son, This is, and the Son of Himself, It is He that talketh with Thee, and when Peter confesses Thou art, and John assures us, This is the true God, and Paul is never weary of proclaiming Him as God’s own Son, I can conceive of no other motive for this denial than hatred. The plea of want of familiarity with the subject cannot be urged in extenuation of their guilt. It is the suggestion of that Evil One, uttered now through these prophets and forerunners of his coming; he will utter it himself hereafter when he comes as Antichrist. He is using this novel engine of assault to shake us m our saving confession of the faith. His first object is to pluck from our hearts the confident assurance of the Divine nature of the Son; next, he would fill our minds with the notion of Christ’s adoption, and leave no room for the memory of His other claims. For they who hold that Christ is but a creature, must regard Christ as Antichrist, since a creature cannot be God’s own Son, and therefore He must lie in calling Himself the Son of God. Hence also they who deny that Christ is the Son of God must have Antichrist for their Christ.

47. What is the hope of which this futile passion of yours is in pursuit? What is the assurance of your salvation which emboldens you with blasphemous licence of tongue to maintain that Christ is a creature, and not a Son? It was your duty to know this mystery, from the Gospels, and to hold the knowledge fast. For though the Lord can do all things, yet He resolved that every one who prays for His effectual help must earn it by a true confession of Himself. Not, indeed, that the suppliant’s confession could augment the power of Him, Who is the Power of God; but the earning was to be the reward of faith. So, when He asked Martha, who was entreating Him for Lazarus, whether she believed that they who had believed in Him should not die eternally, her answer expressed the trust of her soul;–Yea, Lord, I believe that Than art the Christ, the Son of God, Who art come into this world. This confession is eternal life; this faith has immortality. Martha, praying for her brother’s life, was asked whether she believed this. She did so believe. What life does the denier expect, from whom does he hope to receive it, when this belief, and this only, is eternal life? For great is the mystery of this faith, and perfect the blessedness which is the fruit of this confession.

48. The Lord had given sight to a man blind from his birth; the, Lord of nature had removed a defect of nature. Because this blind man had been born for the glory of God, that God’s work might be made manifest in the work of Christ, the Lord did not delay till the man had given evidence of his faith by a confession of it. But though he knew not at the time Who it was that had bestowed the great gift of eyesight, yet afterwards he earned a knowledge of the faith. For it was not the dispelling of his blindness that won him eternal life. And so, when the man was already healed and had suffered ejection from the synagogue, the Lord put to him the question, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? This was to save him from the thought of loss, in exclusion from the synagogue, by the certainty that confession of the true faith had restored him to immortality. When the man, his soul still unenlightened, made answer, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe on Him? The Lord’s reply was, Thou hast bath seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. For He was minded to remove the ignorance of the man whose sight he had restored, and whom He was now enriching with the knowledge of so glorious a faith. Does the Lord demand from this man, as from others, who prayed Him to heal them, a confession of faith as the price of their recovery? Emphatically not. For the blind man could already see when he was thus addressed. The Lord asked the question in order to receive the answer, Lord, I believe. The faith which spoke in that answer was to receive not sight, but life. And now let us examine carefully the force of the words. The Lord asks of the man, Dost thou believe an the Son of God? Surely, if a simple confession of Christ, leaving His nature in obscurity, were a complete expression of the faith, the terms of the question would have been, ‘Dost thou believe in Christ?’ But in days to come almost every heretic was to make a parade of that name, confessing Christ and yet denying that He is the Son; and therefore He demands, as the condition of faith, that we should believe in what is peculiar to Himself, that is, in His Divine Sonship. What is the profit of faith in the Son of God, if it be faith in a creature, when He requires of us faith in Christ, not the creature, but the Son, of God.

49. Did devils fail to understand the full meaning of this name of Son? For we are valuing the heretics at their true worth if we refute them no longer by the teaching of Apostles, but out of the mouth of devils. They cry, and cry often, What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God most High? Truth wrung this confession from them against their will; their reluctant obedience is a witness to the force of the Divine nature within Him. When they fly from the bodies they have long possessed, it is His might that conquers them; their confession of His nature is an act of reverence. These transactions display Christ as the Son of God both in power and in name. Can you hear, amid all these cries of devils confessing Him, Christ once styled a creature, or God’s condescension in adopting Him once named?

50. If you will not learn Who Christ is from those that know Him, learn it at least from those that know Him not. So shall the confession, which their ignorance is forced to make, rebuke your blasphemy. The Jews did not recognise Christ, come in the body, though they knew that the true Christ must be the Son of God. And so, when they were employing false witnesses, without one word of truth in their testimony, against Him, their priest asked Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? They knew not that in Him the mystery was fulfilled; they knew that the Divine nature was the condition of its fulfilment. They did not ask whether Christ be the Son of God; they asked whether He were Christ, the Son of God. They were wrong as to the Person, not as to the Sonship, of Christ. They did not doubt that Christ is the Son of God; and thus, while they asked whether He were the Christ, they asked without denying that the Christ is the Son of God. What, then, of your faith, which leads you to deny what even they, in their blindness, confessed? The perfect knowledge is this, to be assured that Christ, the Son of God, Who existed before the worlds, was also born of the Virgin. Even they, who know nothing of His birth from Mary, know that He is the Son of God. Mark the fellowship with Jewish wickedness in which your denial of the Divine Sonship has involved you! For they have put on record the reason of their condemnation:–And by our Law He aught to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. Is not this the same charge which you are blasphemously bringing against Him, that, while you pronounce Him a creature, He calls Himself the Son? He confesses Himself the Son, and they declare Him guilty of death: you too deny that He is the Son of God. What sentence do you pass upon Him? You have the same repugnance to His claim as had the Jews. You agree with their verdict; I want to know whether you will quarrel about the sentence. Your offence, in denying that He is the Son of God, is exactly the same as theirs, though their guilt is less, for they sinned in ignorance. They knew not that Christ was born of Mary, yet they never doubted that Christ must be the Son of God. You are perfectly aware of the fact that Christ was born of Mary, yet you refuse Him the name of Son of God. If they come to the faith, there awaits them an un-imperilled salvation, because of their past ignorance. Every gate of safety is shut to you, because you persist in denying a truth which is obvious to you. For you are not ignorant that He is the Son of God; you know it so well that you allow Him the name as a title of adoption, and feign that He is a creature adorned, like others, with the right to call Himself a Son. You rob Him, as far as you can, of the Divine nature; if you could, you would rob Him of the Divine name as well. But, because you cannot, you divorce the name from the nature; He is called a Son, but He shall not be the true Son of God.

51. The confession of the Apostles, for whom by a word of command the raging wind and troubled sea were restored to calm, was an opportunity for you. You might have confessed, as they did, that He is God’s true Son; you might have borrowed their very words, Of a truth, this is the Son of God. But an evil spirit of madness is driving you on to shipwreck of your life; your reason is distracted and overwhelmed, like the ocean tormented by the fury of the storm.

52. If this witness of the voyagers seem in conclusive to you because they were Apostles,–though to me it comes with the greater weight for the same reason, though it surprises me the less,–accept at any rate a corroboration given by the Gentiles. Hear how the soldier of the Roman cohort, one of the stern guard around the Cross, was humbled to the faith. The centurion sees the mighty workings of Christ’s power; and this is the witness borne by him:–Truly this was the Son of God. The truth was forced upon him, after Christ had given up the ghost, by the torn veil of the Temple, and the earth that shook, and the rocks that were rent, and the sepulchres that were opened, and the dead that rose. And it was the confession of an unbeliever. The deeds that were done convinced him that Christ’s nature was omnipotent; he names Him the Son of God, being assured of His true Divinity. So cogent was the proof, so strong the man’s conviction, that the force of truth conquered his will, and even he who had nailed Christ to the Cross was driven to confess that He is the Lord of eternal glory, truly the Son of God.

Book 7 (Back to the Top)

1. This is the seventh book of our treatise against the wild extravagance of modern heresy. In order of place it must follow its predecessors; in order of importance, as an exposition of the mysteries of the right faith, it precedes. and excels them all. I am well aware how hard and steep is the path of evangelical instruction up which we are mounting. The fears inspired by consciousness of my own incapacity are plucking me back, but the warmth of faith urges me on; the assaults of heresy heat my blood, and the dangers of the ignorant excite my compassion. I fear to speak, and yet I cannot be silent. A double dread subdues my spirit; it may be that speech, it may be that silence, will render me guilty of a desertion of the truth. For this cunning heresy has hedged itself round with marvellous devices of perverted ingenuity. First there is the semblance of devotion; then the language carefully chosen to lull the suspicions of a candid listener; and again, the accommodation of their views to secular philosophy; and finally, their withdrawing of attention from manifest truth by a pretended explanation of Divine methods. Their loud profession of the unity of God is a fraudulent imitation of the faith; their assertion that Christ is the Son of God a play upon words for the delusion of their hearers; their saying that He did not exist before He was born a bid for the support of the world’s philosophers; their confession of God as incorporeal and immutable leads, by a display of fallacious logic, up to a denial of the birth of God from God. They turn our arguments against ourselves; the Church’s faith is made the engine of its own destruction. They have contrived to involve us in the perplexing position of an equal danger, whether we reason with them or whether we refrain. For they use the fact that we allow certain of their assumptions to pass unchallenged as an argument on behalf of those which we do contradict.

2. We call to mind that in the preceding books the reader has been urged to study the whole of that blasphemous manifesto, and mark how it is animated throughout by the one aim of propagating the belief that our

Lord Jesus Christ is neither God, nor Son of God. Its authors argue that He is permitted to use the names of God and of Son by virtue of a certain adoption, though neither Godhead nor Sonship be His by nature. They use the fact, true in itself, that God is immutable and incorporeal, as an argument against the birth of the Son from Him. They value the truth, that God the Father is One, only as a weapon against our faith in the Godhead of Christ; pleading that an incorporeal nature cannot be rationally conceived as generating another, and that our faith in One God is inconsistent with the confession of God from God. But our earlier books have already refuted and foiled this argument of theirs by an appeal to the Law and the Prophets. Our defence has followed, step by step, the course of their attack. We have set forth God from God, and at the same time confessed One true God; shewing that this presentation of the faith neither falls short of the truth by ascribing singleness of Person to the One true God, nor adds to the faith by asserting the existence of a second Deity. For we confess neither an isolated God, nor yet two Gods. Thus, neither denying that God is One nor maintaining that He is alone, we hold the straight road of truth. Each Divine Person is in the Unity, yet no Person is the One God. Next, our purpose being to demonstrate the irrefragable truth of this mystery by the evidence of the Evangelists and Apostles, our first duty has been to make our readers acquainted with the nature, truly subsisting and truly born, of the Son of God; to demonstrate that He has no origin external to God, and was not created out of nothing, but is the Son, born from God. This is a truth which the evidence adduced in the last book has placed beyond all doubt. The assertion that He bears the name of Son by virtue of adoption has been put to silence, and He stands forth as a true Son by a true birth. Our present task is to prove from the Gospels that, because He is true Son, He is true God also. For unless He be true Son He cannot be true God, nor true God unless He be true Son.

3. Nothing is more harassing to human nature than the sense of impending danger. If calamities unknown or unanticipated befall us, we may need pity, yet we have been free from care; no load of anxiety has oppressed us. But he whose mind is full of possibilities of trouble suffers already a torment in his fear. I who now am venturing out to sea, am a mariner not unused to shipwreck, a traveller who knows by experience holy brigands lurk in the forests, an explorer of African deserts aware of the danger from scorpions and asps and basilisks. I enjoy no instant of relief from the knowledge and fear of present danger. Every heretic is on the watch, noting every word as it drops from my mouth. The whole progress of my argument is infested with ambuscades and pitfalls and snares. It is not of the road, of its hardness or steepness, that I complain; I am following in the footsteps of the Apostles, not choosing my own path. My trouble is the constant peril, the constant dread, of wandering into some ambush, of stumbling into some pit, of being entangled in some net. My purpose is to proclaim the unity of God, in the sense of the Law and Prophets and Apostles. Sabellius is at hand, eager with cruel kindness to welcome me, on the strength of this unity, and swallow me up in his own destruction. If I withstand him, and deny that, in the Sabellian sense, God is One a fresh heresy is ready to receive me, pointing out that I teach the existence of two Gods. Again, if I undertake to tell holy the Son of God was born from Mary, Photinus, the Ebion of our day, will be prompt to twist this assertion of the truth into a confirmation of his lie. I need mention no other heresies save one; all the world knows that they are alien from the Church. It is one that has been often denounced, often rejected, yet it preys upon our vitals still. Galatia has reared a large brood of godless assertors of the unity of God. Alexandria has sown broadcast, over almost the whole world, her denial, which is an affirmation, of the doctrine of two Gods. Pannonia upholds her pestilent doctrine that the only birth of Jesus Christ was from the Virgin. And the Church, distracted by these rival faiths, is in danger of being led by means of truth into a rejection of truth. Doctrines are being forced upon her for godless ends, which, according to the use that is made of them, will either support or overthrow the faith. For instance, we cannot, as true believers, assert that God is One, if we mean by it that He is alone; for faith in a lonely God denies the Godhead of the Son. If, on the other hand, we assert, as we truly can, that the Son is God, we are in danger, so they fondly imagine, of deserting the truth that God is One. We are in peril on either hand; we may deny the unity or we may maintain the isolation. But it is a danger which has no terrors for the foolish things of the word. Our adversaries are blind to the fact that His assertion that He is not alone is consistent with unity; that though He is One He is not solitary.

4. But I trust that the Church, by the light of her doctrine, will so enlighten the world’s vain wisdom, that, even though it accept not the mystery of the faith, it will recognise that in our conflict with heretics we, and not they, are the true representatives of that mystery. For great is the force of truth; not only is it its own sufficient witness, but the more it is assailed the more evident it becomes; the daily shocks which it receives only increase its inherent stability. It is the peculiar property of the Church that when she is buffeted she is triumphant, when she is assaulted with argument she proves herself in the right, when she is deserted by her supporters she holds the field. It is her wish that all men should remain at her side and in her bosom; if it lay with her, none would become unworthy to abide under the shelter of that august mother, none would be cast out or suffered to depart from her calm retreat. But when heretics desert her or she expels them, the loss she endures, in that she cannot save them, is compensated by an increased assurance that she alone can offer bliss. This is a truth which the passionate zeal of rival heresies brings into the clearest prominence. The Church, ordained by the Lord and established by His Apostles, is one for all; but the frantic folly of discordant sects has severed them from her. And it is obvious that these dissensions concerning the faith result from a distorted mind, which twists the words of Scripture into conformity with its opinion, instead of adjusting that opinion to the words of Scripture. And thus, amid the clash of mutually destructive errors, the Church stands revealed not only by her own teaching, but by that of her rivals. They are ranged, all of them, against her; and the very fact that she stands single and alone is her sufficient answer to their godless delusions. The hosts of heresy assemble themselves against her; each of them can defeat all the others, but not one can win a victory for itself. The only victory is the triumph which the Church celebrates over them all. Each heresy wields against its adversary some weapon already shattered, in another instance, by the Church’s condemnation. There is no point of union between them, and the outcome of their internecine struggles is the confirmation of the faith.

5. Sabellius sweeps away the birth of the Son, and then preaches the unity of God; but he does not doubt that the mighty Nature, which acted in the human Christ, was God. He shuts his eyes to the revealed mystery of the Sonship; the works done seem to him so marvellous that he cannot believe that He who performed them could undergo a true generation. When he hears the words,,He that hath, seen Me hath seen the Father also, he jumps to the blasphemous conclusion of an inseparable and indistinguishable identity of nature in Father and Son, because he fails to see that the revelation of the birth is the mode in which Their unity of nature is manifested to. us. For the fact that the Father is seen in the Son is a proof of the Son’s Divinity, not a disproof of His birth. Thus our knowledge of Each of Them is conditioned-by our knowledge of the Other, for there is no difference of nature between them and, since in this respect they are One, a reverent study of the character of Either will give us a true insight into the nature of Both For, indeed, it is certain that He, Who was in the form of God, must in His self-revelation present Himself to us in the exact aspect of the form of God. Again, this perverse and insane delusion derives a further encouragement from the words, I and the Father are One. From the fact of unity in the same nature they have impiously deduced a confusion of Persons; their interpretation, that the words signify a single Power, contradicts the tenour of the passage. For I and the Father are One does not indicate a solitary God. The use of the conjunction and shews clearly that more than one Person is signified; and are requires a plurality of subject. Moreover, the One is not incompatible with a birth. Its sense is, that the Two Persons have the one nature in common. The One is inconsistent with difference; the are with identity.

6. Set our modern heresy in array against the delusion, equally wild, of Sabellius; let them make the best of their case. The new heretics will advance the passage. The Father is greater than I. Neglecting the mystery of the Divine birth, and the mystery of God’s emptying Himself and taking flesh, they will argue the inferiority of His nature from His assertion that the Father is the greater. They will plead against Sabellius that Christ is a Son, in so far as One can be a Son who is inferior to the Father and needs to ask for restoration to His glory, and fears to die and indeed did die. In reply Sabellius will adduce His deeds in evidence of His Divine nature; and while our novel heresy, to escape the admission of Christ’s true Sonship, will heartily agree with him that God is One, Sabellius will emphatically assert the same article of the faith, in the sense that no Son exists. The one side lays stress upon the action of the Son; the other urges that in that action God is manifest. the one will demonstrate the unity, the other disprove the identity. Sabellius will defend his position thus:–“The works that were done could have been done by no other nature than the Divine. Sins were remitted, the sick were healed, the lame ran, the blind saw, the dead lived. God alone has power for this. The words I and the Father are One could only have been spoken from self-knowledge; no nature, outside the Father’s, could have uttered them. Why then suggest a second substance, and urge me to believe in a second God? These works are peculiar to God; the One God wrought them.” His adversaries, animated by a hatred, equally venomous, for the faith, will argue that the Son is unlike in nature to God the Father:–“You are ignorant of the mystery of your salvation. You must believe in a Son through Whom the worlds were made, through Whom man was fashioned, Who gave the Law through Angels, Who was born of Mary, Who was sent by the Father, was crucified, dead and buried, Who rose again from the dead and is at the right hand of God, Who is the Judge of quick and dead. Unto Him we must use again, we must confess Him, we must earn our place in His kingdom.” Each of the two enemies of the Church is fighting the Church’s battle. Sabellius displays Christ as God by the witness of the Divine nature manifested in His works; Sabellius’ antagonists confess Christ, on the evidence of the revealed faith, to be the Son of God.

7. Again, how glorious a victory for our faith is that in which Ebionin other words, Photinus–both wins the day and loses it! He castigates Sabellius for denying that the Son of God is Man, and in his turn has to submit to the reproaches of Arian fanatics for failing to see that this Man is the Son of God. Against Sabellius he calls the Gospels to his aid, with their evidence concerning the Son of Mary; Arius deprives him of this ally by proving that the Gospels make Christ something more than the Son of Mary. Sabellius denies that there is a Son of God; against him Photinus elevates man to the place of Son. Photinus will hear nothing of a Son born before the worlds; against him, Arius denies that the only birth of the Son of God was His human birth. Let them defeat one another to their hearts’ content, for every victory which each of them wins is balanced by a defeat Our present adversaries are ranted in the matter of the Divine nature of the Son; Sabellius in the matter of the Son’s revealed existence; Photinus is convicted of ignorance, or else of falsehood, in his denial of the Son’s birth before the worlds. Meanwhile the Church, whose faith is based upon the teaching of Evangelists and Apostles, holds fast, against Sabellius, her assertion that the Son exists; against Arius, that He is God by nature; against Photinus, that He created the universe. And she is the more convinced of her faith, in that they cannot combine to contradict it. For Sabellius points to the works of Christ in proof of the Divinity of Him Who wrought them, though he knows not that the Son was their Author. The Arians grant Him tile name of Son, though they confess not that the true nature of God dwelt in Him. Photinus maintains His manhood, though in maintaining it he forgets that Christ was born as God before the worlds. Thus, in their several assertions and denials, there are points in which each heresy is in the right in defence or attack; and the result of their conflicts is that the truth of our confession is brought into clearer light.

8. I felt that I must spare a little space to point this out. It has been from no love for amplification, but that it might serve as a warning. First, I wished to expose the vague and confused character of this crowd of heresies, whose mutual feuds turn, as we have seen, to our advantage. Secondly, in my warfare against the blasphemous doctrines of modern heresy; that is, in my task of proclaiming that both God the Father and God the Son are God,–in other words, that Father and Son are One in name, One in nature, One in the kind of Divinity which they possess,–I wished to shield myself from any charge which might be brought against me, either as an advocate of two Gods or of one lonely and isolated Deity. For in God the Father and God the Son, as I have set them forth, no confusion of Persons can be detected; nor in my exposition of Their common nature can any difference between the Godhead of the One and of the Other be discerned. In the preceding book I have sufficiently refuted, by the witness of the Gospels, those who deny the subsistence of I God the Son by a true birth from God; my present duty is to shew that He, Who in the truth of His nature is Son of God, is also in the truth of His nature God. But this proof must not degenerate into the fatal profession of a solitary God, or of a second God. It shall manifest God as One yet not alone; but in its care to avoid the error of making Him lonely it shall not fall into the error of denying His unity.

9. Thus we have all these different assurances of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ:–His name, His birth, His nature, His power, His own assertion. As to the name, I conceive that no doubt is possible. It is written, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. What reason can there be for suspecting that He is not what His name indicates? And does not this name clearly describe His nature? If a statement be contradicted, it must be for some reason. What reason, I demand, is there in this instance for denying that He is God? The name is given Him, plainly and distinctly, and unqualified by any incongruous addition which might raise a doubt. The Word, we read, which was made flesh, was none other than God. Here is no loophole for any such conjecture as that He has received this name as a favour or taken it upon Himself, so possessing a titular Godhead which is not His by nature.

10. Consider the other recorded instances in which this name was given by favour or assumed. To Moses it was said, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh. Does not this addition, to Pharaoh, account for the title? Did God impart to Moses the Divine nature? Did He not rather make Moses a god in the sight of Pharaoh, who was to be smitten with terror when Moses’ serpent swallowed the magic serpents and returned into a rod, when he drove back the venomous flies which he had called forth, when he stayed the hail by the same power wherewith he had summoned it, and made the locusts depart by the same might which had brought them; when in the wonders that he wrought the magicians saw the finger of God? That was the sense in which Moses was appointed to be god to Pharaoh; he was feared and entreated, he chastised and healed. It is one thing to be appointed a god; it is another thing to be God. He was made a god to Pharaoh; he had not that nature and that name wherein God consists. I call to mind another instance of the name being given as a title; that where it is written, I have said, Ye are gods. But this is obviously the granting of a favour. I have said proves that it is no definition, but only a description by One Who chooses to speak thus, A definition gives us knowledge of the object defined; a description depends on the arbitrary will of the speaker. When a speaker is manifestly conferring a title, that title has its origin only in the speaker’s words, not in the thing itself. The title is not the name which expresses its nature and kind.

11. But in this case the Word in very truth is God; the essence of the Godhead exists in the Word, and that essence is expressed in the Word’s name. For the name Word is inherent in the Son of God as a consequence of His mysterious birth, as are also the names Wisdom and Power. These, together with the substance which is His by a true birth, were called into existence to be the Son of God; yet, since they are the elements of God’s nature, they are still immanent in Him in undiminished extent, although they were born from Him to be His Son. For, as we have said so often, the mystery which we preach is that of a Son Who owes His existence not to division but to birth. He is not a segment cut off, and so incomplete, but an Offspring born, and therefore perfect; for birth involves no diminution of the Begetter, and has the possibility of perfection for the Begotten. And therefore the titles of those substantive properties are applied to God the Only-begotten, for when He came into existence by birth it was they which constituted His perfection; and this although they did not thereby desert the Father, in Whom, by the immutability of His nature, they are eternally present. For instance, the Word is God the Only-begotten, and yet the Unbegotten Father is never without His Word. Not that the nature of the Son is that of a sound which is uttered. He is God from God, subsisting through a true birth; God’s own Son, born from the Father, indistinguishable from Him in nature, and therefore inseparable. This is the lesson which His title of the Word is meant to teach us. And in the same way Christ is the Wisdom and the Power of God; not that He is, as He is often regarded, the inward activity of the Father’s might or thought, but that His nature, possessing through birth a true substantial existence, is indicated by these names of inward forces. For an object, which has by birth an existence of its own, cannot be regarded as a property; a property is necessarily inherent in some being and can have no independent existence. But it was to save us from concluding that the Son is alien from the Divine nature of His Father that He, the Only-begotten from the eternal God His Father, born as God into a substantial existence of His own, has had Himself revealed to us under these names of properties, of which the Father, out of Whom He came into existence, has suffered no diminution. Thus He, being God, is nothing else than God. For when I hear the words, And the Word was God, they do not merely tell me that the Son was called God; they reveal to my understanding that He is God. In those previous instances, where Moses was called god and others were styled gods, there was the mere addition of a name by way of title. Here a solid essential truth is stated; The Word was God. That was indicates no accidental title, but an eternal reality, a permanent element of His existence, an inherent character of His nature.

12. And now let us See whether the confession of Thomas the Apostle, when he cried, My Lord and My God, corresponds with this assertion of the Evangelist. We see that he speaks of Him, Whom he confesses to be God, as My God. Now Thomas was undoubtedly familiar with those words of the Lord, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. How then could the faith of an Apostle become so oblivious of that primary command as to confess Christ as God, when life is conditional upon the confession of the Divine unity? It was because, in the light of the Resurrection, the whole mystery of the faith had become visible to the Apostle. He had often heard such words as, I and the Father are One, and, All things that the Father hath are Mine, and, I in the Father and the Father in Me; and now he can confess that the name of God expresses the nature of Christ, without peril to the faith. Without breach of loyalty to the One God, the Father, his devotion could now regard the Son of God as God, since he believed that everything contained in the nature of the Son was truly of the same nature with the Father. No longer need he fear that such a confession as his was the proclamation of a second God, a treason against the unity of the Divine nature; for it was not a second God Whom that perfect birth of the Godhead had brought into being. Thus it was with full knowledge of the mystery of the Gospel that Thomas confessed his Lord and his God. It was not a title of honour; it was a confession of nature. He believed that Christ was God in substance and in power. And the Lord, in turn, shews that this act of worship was the expression not of mere reverence, but of faith, when He says, Because than hast seen, thou hast believed; blessed are they which have not seen, and have believed. For Thomas had seen before he believed. But, you ask, What was it that Thomas believed? That, beyond a doubt, which is expressed in his words, My Lord and my God. No nature but that of God could have risen by its own might from death to life; and it is this fact, that Christ is God, which was confessed by Thomas with the confidence of an assured faith. Shall we, then, dream that His name of God is not a substantial reality, when that name has been proclaimed by a faith based upon certain evidence? Surely a Son devoted to His Father, One Who did not His own will but the will of Him that sent Him, Who sought not His own glory but the glory of Him from Whom He came, would have rejected the adoration involved in such a name as destructive of that unity of God which had been the burden of His teaching. Yet, in fact, He confirms this assertion of the mysterious truth, made by the believing Apostle; He accepts as His own the name which belongs to the nature of the Father. And He teaches that they are blessed who, though they have not seen Him rise from the dead, yet have believed, on the assurance of the Resurrection, that He is God.

13. Thus the name which expresses His nature proves the truth of our confession of the faith. For the name, which indicates any single substance, points out also any other substance of the same kind; and, in this instance, there are not two substances but one substance, of the one kind. For the Son of God is God; this is the truth expressed in His name. The one name does not embrace two Gods; for the one name God is the name of one indivisible nature. For since the Father is God and the Son is God, and that name which is peculiar to the Divine nature is inherent in Each, therefore the Two are One. For the Son, though He subsists through a birth from the Divine nature, yet preserves the unity in His name; and this birth of the Son does not compel loyal believers to acknowledge two Gods, since our confession declares that Father and Son are One, both in nature and in name. Thus the Son of God has the Divine name as the result of His birth. Now the second step in our demonstration was to be that of shewing that it is by virtue of His birth that He is God. I have still to bring forward the evidence of the Apostles that the Divine name is used of Him in an exact sense; but for the present I purpose to continue our enquiry into the language of the Gospels.

14. And first I ask what new element, destructive of His Godhead, can have been imported by birth into the nature of the Son? Universal reason rejects the supposition that a being can become different in nature, by the process of birth, from the being to which its birth is due; although we recognise the possibility that from parents, different in kind, an offspring sharing the nature of both, yet diverse from either, may be propagated. The fact is familiar in the case of beasts, both tame and wild. But even in this case there is no real novelty; the new qualities already exist, concealed in the two different parental natures, and are only developed by the connexion. The birth of their joint offspring is not the cause of that offspring’s difference from its parents. The difference is a gift from them of various diversities, which are received and combined in one frame. When this is the case as to the transmission and reception even of bodily differences, is it not a form of madness to assert that the birth of God the Only-begotten was the birth from God of a nature inferior to Himself? For the giving of birth is a function of the true nature of the transmitter of life; and without the presence and action of that true nature there can be no birth. The object of all this heat and passion is to prove that there was no birth, but a creation, of the Son of God; that the Divine nature is not His origin and that He does not possess that nature in His personal subsistence, but draws, from what was non-existent, a nature different in kind from the Divine. They are angry because He says, That which is barn of the flesh is flesh, and that which is barn of the Spirit is Spirit. For, since God is a Spirit, it is clear that in One born from Him there can be nothing alien or different froth that Spirit from which He was born. Thus the birth of God constitutes Him perfect God. And hence also it is clear that we must not say that He began to exist, but only that He was born. For there is a sense in which beginning is different from birth. A thing which begins to exist either comes into existence out of nothing, or develops out of one state into another, ceasing to be what it was before; so, for instance, gold is formed out of earth, solids melt into liquids, cold changes to warmth, white to red, water breeds moving creatures, lifeless objects torn into living. In contrast to all this, the Son of God did not begin, out of nothing, to be God, but was born as God; nor had He an existence of another kind before the Divine. Thus He Who was born to be God had neither a beginning of His Godhead, nor yet a development up to it. His birth retained for Him that nature out of which He came into being; the Son of God, in His distinct existence, is what God is, and is nothing else.

15. Again, any one who is in doubt concerning this matter may gain from the Jews an accurate knowledge of Christ’s nature; or rather learn that He was truly born from the Gospel, where it is written, Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him because He not only broke the Sabbath, but said also that God was His own Father, making Himself equal with God. This passage is unlike most others in not giving us the words spoken by the Jews, but the Apostle’s explanation of their motive in wishing to kill the Lord. We see that no plea of misapprehension can excuse the wickedness of these blasphemers; for we have the Apostle’s evidence that the true nature of Christ was fully revealed to them. They could speak of His birth:–He said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Was not His clearly a birth of nature from nature, when He published the equality of His nature by speaking of God, by name, as His own Father? Now it is manifest that equality consists in the absence of difference between those who are equal. Is it not also manifest that the result of birth must be a nature in which there is an absence of difference between Son and Father? And this is the only possible origin of true equality; birth can only bring into existence a nature equal to its origin. But again, we can no more hold that there is equality where there is confusion, than we can where there is difference. Thus equality, as of the image, is incompatible with isolation and with diversity; for equality cannot dwell with difference, nor yet in solitude.

16. And now, although we have found the sense of Scripture, as we understand it, in harmony with the conclusions of ordinary reason, the two agreeing that equality is incompatible either with diversity or with isolation, yet we must seek a fresh support for Our contention from actual words of our Lord. For only so can we check that licence of arbitrary interpretation whereby these bold traducers of the faith would even venture to cavil at the Lord’s solemn self-revelation. His answer to the Jews was this:–The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth; and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. The course of our argument, as I had shaped it in my mind, required that each several point of the debate should be handled singly; that, since we had been taught that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God in name, in birth, in nature, in power, in self-revelation, our demonstration of the faith should establish each successive point in that order. But His birth is a barrier to such a treatment of the question; for a consideration of it includes a consideration of His name and nature and power and self-revelation. For His birth involves all these, and they are His by the fact that He is born. And thus our argument concerning His birth has taken such a course that it is impossible for us to keep these other matters back for separate discussion in their turn.

17. The chief reason why the Jews wished to kill the Lord was that, in calling God His Father, He had made Himself equal with God; and therefore He put His answer, in which He reproved their evil passion, into the form of an exposition of the whole mystery of our faith. For just before this, when He had healed the paralytic and they had passed their judgment upon Him that He was worthy of death for breaking the Sabbath, He had said, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Their jealousy had been inflamed to the utmost by the raising of Himself to the level of God which was involved in this use of the name of Father. And now He wishes to assert His birth and to reveal the powers of His nature, and so He says, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. These opening words of His reply are aimed at that wicked zeal of the Jews, which hurried them on even to the desire of slaying Him. It is in reference to the charge of breaking the Sabbath that He says, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. He wished them to understand that His practice was justified by Divine authority; and He taught them by the same words that His work must be regarded as the work of the Father, Who was working in Him all that He wrought. And again, it was to subdue the jealousy awakened by His speaking of God as His Father that He uttered those words, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. Lest this making of Himself equal to God, as having the name and nature of God’s Son, should withdraw men’s faith from the truth that He had been born, He says that the Son can do nothing but what He sees the Father do. Next, in confirmation of the saving harmony of truths in our confession of Father and of Son, He displays this nature which is His by birth; a nature which derives its power of action not from successive gifts of strength to do particular deeds, but from knowledge. He shews that this knowledge is not imparted by the Father’s performance of any bodily work, as a pattern, that the Son may imitate what the Father has previously done; but that, by the action of the Divine nature, He had come to share the subsistence of the Divine nature, or, in other words, had been born as Son from the Father. He told them that, because the power and the nature of God dwelt consciously within Him, it was impossible for Him to do anything which He had not seen the Father doing; that, since it is in the might of the Father that God the Only-begotten performs His works His liberty of action coincides in its range with His knowledge of the powers of the nature of God the Father; a nature inseparable from Himself, and lawfully owned by Him in virtue of His birth. For God sees not after a bodily fashion, but possesses, by His nature, the vision of Omnipotence.

18. The next words are, For what things soever He–the Father–doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. This likewise is added to indicate His birth; whatsoever and same to indicate the true Divinity of His nature. Whatsoever and same make it impossible that there should be any actions of His that are different from or outside, the actions of the Father. Thus He, Whose nature has power to do all the same things as the Father, is included in the same nature with the Father. But when, in contrast with this, we read that all these same things are done by the Son likewise, the fact that the works are like those of Another is fatal to the supposition that He Who does them works in isolation. Thus the same things that the Father does are all done likewise by the Son. Here we have clear proof of His true birth, and at the same time a convincing attestation of the Mystery of our faith, which, with its foundation in the Unity of the nature of God, confesses that there resides in Father and Son an indivisible Divinity. For the Son does the same things as the Father, and does them likewise; while acting in like manner He does the same things. Two truths are combined in one proposition; that His works are done likewise proves His birth; that they are the same works proves His nature.

19. Thus the progressive revelation contained in our Lord’s reply is at one with the progressive statement of truth in the Church’s confession of faith. Neither of them divides the nature, and both declare the birth. For the next words of Christ are, For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth; and He will skew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Rather raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. Can there be any other purpose in this revelation of the manner in which God works, except that of inculcating the true birth; the faith in a subsisting Son born from the subsisting God, His Father? The only other explanation is that God the Only-begotten was so ignorant that He needed the instruction conveyed in this showing; but the reckless blasphemy of the suggestion makes this alternative impossible. For He, knowing, as He does, everything that He is taught, has no need of the teaching. And accordingly, after the words, The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth, we are next informed that all this skewing is for our instruction in the faith; that the Father and the Son may have their equal share in our confession, and we be saved, by this statement that the Father shews all that He does to the Son, from the delusion that the Son’s knowledge is imperfect. With this object He goes on to say, And He will skew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. We see that the Son has full knowledge of the future works which the Father will shew Him hereafter. He knows that He will be shewn how, after His Father’s example, He is to give life to the dead. For He says that the Father will shew to the Son things at which they shall marvel; and at once proceeds to tell them what these things are;For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. The power is equal because the nature is one and the same. The skewing of the works is an aid, not to ignorance in

Him, but to faith in us. It conveys to the Son no knowledge of things unknown, but it imparts to us the confidence to proclaim His birth, by assuring us that the Father has shewn to Him all the works that He Himself can do. The terms used in this Divine discourse have been chosen with the utmost deliberation, lest any vagueness of language should suggest a difference of nature between the Two. Christ says that the Father’s works were shewn Him, instead of saying that, to enable Him to perform them, a mighty nature was given Him. Hereby He wishes to reveal to us that this shewing was a substantive part of the process of His birth, since, simultaneously with that birth, there was imparted to Him by the Father’s love a knowledge of the works which the Father willed that He should do. And again, to save us from being led, by this declaration of the shewing, to suppose that the Son’s nature is ignorant and therefore different from the Father’s, He makes it clear that He already knows the things that are to be shewn Him. So far, indeed, is He from needing the authority of precedent to enable Him to act, that He is to give life to whom He will. To will implies a free nature, subsisting with power to choose in the blissful exercise of omnipotence.

20. And next, lest it should seem that to give life to whom He will is not within the power of One Who has been truly born, but is only the prerogative of ingenerate Omnipotence, He hastens to add, For the _Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment to the Son. The statement that all judgment is given teaches both His birth and His Sonship; for only a nature which is altogether one with the Father’s could possess all things; and a Son can possess nothing, except by gift. But all judgment has been given Him for He quickens whom He will. Now we cannot suppose that judgment is taken away from the Father, although He does not exercise it; for the Son’s whole power of judgment proceeds from the Father’s, being a gift from Him. And there is no concealment of the reason why judgment has been given to the Son, for the words which follow are, But He hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men may honour the Son even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father Which hath sent Him. What possible excuse remains for doubt, or for the irreverence of denial? The reason for the gift of judgment is that the Son may receive an honour equal to that which is paid to the Father; and thus he who dishonours the Son is guilty of dishonouring the Father also. How, after this proof, can we imagine that the nature given Him by birth is different from the Father’s, when He is the Father’s equal in work, in power, in honour, in the punishment awarded to gainsayers? Thus this whole Divine reply is nothing else than an unfolding of the mystery of His birth. And the only distinction that it is right or possible to make between Father and Son is that the Latter was born; yet born in such a sense as to be One with His Father.

21. Thus the Father works hitherto and the Son works. In Father and Son you have the names which express Their nature in relation to Each other. Note also that it is the Divine nature, that through which God works, that is working here. And remember, lest you fall into the error of imagining that the operation of two unlike natures is here described, how it was said concerning the blind man, But that the works of God may be made manifest in him, I must work the works of Him that sent Me. You see that in his case the work wrought by the Son is the Father’s work; and the Son’s work is God’s work. The remainder of the discourse which we are considering also deals with works; but my defence is at present only concerned with assigning the whole work to Both, and pointing out that They are at one in Their method of working, since the Son is employed upon that work which the Father does hitherto. The sanction contained in this fact that, by virtue of His Divine birth, the Father is working with Him in all that He does, will save us from supposing that the Lord of the Sabbath was doing wrong in working on the Sabbath. His Sonship is not affected, for there is no confusion of His Divinity with the Father’s, and no negation of it; His Godhead is not affected, for His Divine nature is untouched. Their unity is not affected, for no difference is revealed to sever Them; and Their unity is not presented in such a light as to contradict Their distinct existence. First recognise the Sonship of the Son; The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do Here His birth is manifest; because of i. He can do nothing of Himself till He sees it bring done. He cannot be unbegotten, because He can do nothing of Himself; He has no power of initiation, and therefore He must have been born. But the fact that He can see the Father’s works proves that He has the comprehension which belongs to the conscious Possessor of Divinity. Next, mark that He does possess this true Divine nature;–For what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. And now that we have seen Him endowed with the powers of that nature, note how this results in unity, how one nature dwells in the Two;–That all men may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. And then, lest reflection on this unity entangle you in the delusion of a solitary and self-contained God, take to heart the mystery of the faith manifested in these words, He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father Which hath sent Him. The rage and cunning of heresy may do their worst; our position is impregnable. He is the Son, because He can do nothing of Himself; He is God, because, whatever the Father does, He does the same; They Two are One, because He is equal in honour to the Father and does the very same works; He is not the Father, because He is sent. So great is the wealth of mysterious truth contained in this one doctrine of the birth! It embraces His name, His nature, His power, His self-revelation; for everything conveyed to Him in His birth must be contained in that nature from which His birth is derived. Into His nature no element of any substance different in kind from that of His Author is introduced, for a nature which springs from one nature only must be entirely one with that nature which is its parent. An unity is that which, containing no discordant elements, is one in kind with itself; an unity constituted through birth cannot be solitary; for solitude can have but a single occupant, while an unity constituted through birth implies the conjunction of Two.

22. And furthermore, let His own Divine words bear witness to Himself. He says, They that are of My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them of My hand. That which My Father hath given Me is greater than all, and no man shall be able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. What lethargy can blunt so utterly, the edge of our understanding as to render so precise a statement for one moment obscure to us? What proud sophistry can play such pranks with human docility as to persuade those, who have learnt from these words the knowledge of what God is that they must not recognise God in Him Whose Godhead was here revealed to them? Heresy ought either to bring forward other Gospels in support of its doctrine; or else, if our existing Gospels are the only documents which teach of God, why do they not believe the lessons taught? If they are the only source of knowledge, why not draw faith, as well as knowledge, from them? Yet now we find that their faith is held in defiance of their knowledge; and hence it is a faith rooted not in knowledge, but in sin; a faith of bold irreverence, instead of reverent humility, towards the truth confessedly known. God the Only-begotten, as we have seen, fully assured of His own nature, reveals with the utmost precision of language the mystery of His birth. He reveals it, ineffable though it is, in such wise that we can believe and confess it; that we can understand that He was born and believe that He has the nature of God and is One with the Father, and One with Him in such a sense that God is not alone nor Son another name for Father, but that in very truth He is the Son. For, firstly, He assures us of the powers of His Divine nature, saying of His sheep, and no man shall pluck them out of My hand. It is the utterance of conscious power, this confession of free and irresistible energy, that will allow no man to pluck His sheep from His hand. But more than this; not only has He the nature of God, but He would have us know that nature is His by birth from God, and hence He adds, That which the Father has given Me is greater than all. He makes no secret of His birth from the Father, for what He received from the Father He says is greater than all. And He Who received it, received it at His birth, not after His birth, and yet it came to Him from Another, for He received it. But He, Who received this gift from Another, forbids us to suppose that He Himself is different in kind from That Other, and does not eternally subsist with the same nature as that of Him Who gave the gift, by saying, No man shall be able to pluck them out of My, Father’s hand. None can pluck them out of His hand, for He has received from His Father that which is greater than all things. What, then, means this contradictory assertion that none can pluck them from His Father’s hand? It is the Son’s hand which received them from the Father, the Father’s hand which gave them to the Son: in what sense is it said that what cannot be plucked from the Son’s hand cannot be plucked from the Father’s hand? Hear, if you wish to know:–I and the Father are one. The Son’s hand is the Father’s hand. For the Divine nature does not deteriorate or cease to be the same in passing through birth: nor yet is this sameness a bar to our faith in the birth, for in that birth no alien element was admitted into His nature. And here He speaks of the Son’s hand, which is the hand of the Father, that by a bodily similitude you may learn the power of the one Divine nature which is in Both; for the nature and the power of the Father is in the Son. And lastly, that in this mysterious truth of the birth you may discern the true and indistinguishable unity of the nature of God, the words were spoken, I and the Father are One. They were spoken that in this unity we might see neither difference nor solitude; for They are Two, and yet no second nature came into being through that true birth and generation.

23. There still remains, if I read them aright, the same desire in these maddened souls, though their opportunity for fulfilling it is lost. Their bitter hearts still cherish a longing for mischief which they can no longer hope to satisfy. The Lord is on His throne in heaven, and the furious hatred of heresy cannot drag Him, as the Jews did, to the Cross. But the spirit of unbelief is the same, though now it takes the form of rejecting His Godhead. They bid defiance to His words, though they cannot deny that He spoke them. They vent their hatred in blasphemy; instead of stones they shower abuse. If they could they would bring Him down from His throne to a second crucifixion. When the Jews were moved to wrath by the novelty of Christ’s teaching we read, The Jews therefore took up stones to stone Him. He answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from the Father; far which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy; and because Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God. I bid you, heretic, to recognise herein your own deeds, your own words. Be sure that you are their partner, for you have made their unbelief your pattern. It was at the words, I and the Father are One, that the Jews took up stones. Their godless irritation at the revelation of that saving mystery hurried them on even to an attempt to slay. There is no one whom you can stone; but is your guilt in denying Him less than theirs? The will is the same, though it is frustrated by His throne in heaven. Nay, it is you that are more impious than the Jew. He lifted his stone against the Body, you lift yours against the Spirit; he as he thought, against man, you against God; he against a sojourner on earth, you against Him that sits upon the throne of majesty; he against One Whom he knew not, you against Him Whom you confess; he against the mortal Christ, you against the Judge of the universe. The Jew says, Being Man; you say, ‘Being a creature.’ You and he join in the cry, Makest Thyself God, with the same insolence of blasphemy. You deny that He is God begotten of God; you deny that He is the Son by a true birth; you deny that His words, I and the Father are One, contain the assertion of one and the same nature in Both. You foist upon us in His stead a modern, a strange, an alien god; you make Him God of another kind from the Father, or else not God at all, as not subsisting by a birth from God.

24. The mystery contained in those words, I and the Father are One, moves you to wrath. The Jew answered, Thou, being a man makest Thyself God; your blasphemy is a match for his:–‘Thou, being a creature, makest Thyself God.’ You say, in effect, ‘Thou art not a Son by birth, Thou art not God in truth; Thou art a creature, excelling all other creatures. But Thou wast not born to be God, for I refuse to believe that the incorporeal God gave birth to Thy nature. Thou and the Father are not One. Nay more. Thou art not the Son, Thou art not like God, Thou art not God.’ The Lord had His answer for the Jews; an answer that meets the case of your blasphemy even better than it met theirs:–Is it not written in the Law, I said, Ye are gods? If, therefore, He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Me, Whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into this world, that I have blasphemed, because I said I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of the Father, believe Me not; but if I do, and ye will not believe Me, believe the works, that ye may know and be sure that the Father is in Me, and I in Him. The matter of this reply was dictated by that of the blasphemous attack upon Him. The accusation was that He, being a man, made Himself God. Their proof of this allegation was His own statement, I and the Father are One. He therefore sets Himself to prove that the Divine nature, which is His by birth, gives Him the right to assert that He and the Father are One. He begins by exposing the absurdity, as well as the insolence, of such a charge as that of making Himself God, though He was a man. The Law had conferred the title upon holy men; the word of God, from which there is no appeal, had given its sanction to the public use of the name. What blasphemy, then, could there be in the assumption of the title of Son of

God by Him Whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world? The unalterable record of the Word of God has confirmed the title to those to whom the Law assigned it. There is an end, therefore, of the charge that He, being a man, makes Himself God, when the Law gives the name of gods to those who are confessedly men. And further, if other men may use this name without blasphemy, there can obviously be no blasphemy in its use by the Man Whom the Father has sanctified,–and note here that throughout this argument He calls Himself Man, for the Son of God is also Son of Man–since He excels the rest, who yet are guilty of no irreverence in styling themselves gods. He excels them, in that He has been hallowed to be the Son, as the blessed Paul says, who teaches us of this sanctification:–Which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, Which was made of the seal of David according to the flesh, and was appointed to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of sanctification. Thus the accusation of blasphemy on His part, in making Himself God, falls to the ground. For the Word of God has conferred this name upon many men; and He, Who was sanctified and sent by the Father, did no more than proclaim Himself the Son of God.

25. There remains, I conceive, no possibility of doubt but that the words, I and the Father are One, were spoken with regard to the nature which is His by birth. The Jews had rebuked Him because by these words He, being a man, made Himself God. The coarse of His answer proves that, in this I and the Father are One, He did profess Himself the Son of God, first in name, then in nature, and lastly by birth. For I and Father are the names of substantive Beings; One is a declaration of Their nature, namely, that it is essentially the same in Both; are forbids us to confound Them together; are one, while forbidding confusion, teaches that the unity of the Two is the result of a birth. Now all this truth is drawn out from that name, the Son of God, which He being sanctified by the Father, bestows upon Himself; a name, His right to which is confirmed by His assertion, I and the Father are One. For birth cannot confer any nature upon the offspring other than that of the parent from whom that offspring is born.

26. Once more, God the Only-begotten has summed up for us, in words of’ His own, the whole revealed mystery of the faith. When He had given His answer to the charge that He, being a man, made Himself God, He determined to shew that His words, I and the Father are One, are a clear and necessary conclusion; and therefore He thus pursued His argument;–Ye say that I have blasphemed, because I said, I am the Son of God. If I do not the works of the Father, believe Me not; but if I do, and ye will not believe Me, believe the works, that ye may know and be sure that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. After this, heresy that still persists in its course perpetrates a wilful outrage in conscious despair; the assertion of unbelief is deliberate shamelessness. They who make it take pride in folly and are dead to the faith. for it is not ignorance, but madness, to contradict this saying. The Lord had said, I and the Father are One; and the mystery of His birth, which He revealed, was the unity in nature of Father and Son. Again, when He was accused for claiming the Divine nature, He justified His claim by advancing a reason; –If I do not the works of the Father, believe Me not. We are not to believe His assertion that He is the Son of God, unless He does His Father’s works. Hence we see that His birth has given Him no new or alien nature, for His doing of the Father’s works is to be the reason why we mast believe that He is the Son. What room is there here for adoption, or for leave to use the name, or for denial that He was born from the nature of God, when the proof that He is God’s Son is that He does the works which belong to the Father’s nature? No creature is equal or like to God, no nature external to His is comparable in might to Him; it is only the Son, born from Himself, Whom we can without blasphemy liken and equal to Him. Nothing outside Himself can be compared to God without insult to His august majesty. If any being, not born from God’s sell, can be discovered that is like Him and equal to Him in power, then God, in admitting a partner to share His throne, forfeits His pre-eminence. No longer is God One, for a second, indistinguishable from Himself, has arisen. On the other hand, there is no insult in making His own true Son His equal. For then that which is like Him is His own; that which is compared with Him is born from Himself; the Power that can do His own works is not external to Him. Nay more, it is an actual heightening of His glory, that He has begotten Omnipotence, and yet not severed that Omnipotent nature from Himself. The Son performs the Father’s works, and on that ground demands that we should believe that He is God’s Son. This is no claim of mere arrogance; for He bases it upon His works, and bids us examine them. And He bears witness that these works are not His own, but His Father’s. He would not have our thoughts distracted by the splendour of the deeds from the evidence for His birth. And because the Jews could not penetrate the mystery of the Body which He had taken, the Humanity born of Mary, and recognise the Son of God, He appeals to His deeds for confirmation of His right to the name;–But if I do them, and ye will not believe Me, believe the works. First, He would not have them believe that He is the Son of God, except on the evidence of God’s works which He does. Next, if He does the works, yet seems unworthy, in His bodily humility, to bear the Divine name, He demands that they shall believe the works. Why should the mystery of His human birth hinder our recognition of His birth as God, when He that is Divinely born fulfils every Divine task by the agency of that Manhood which He has assumed? If we believe not the Man, for the works’ sake, when He tells us that He is the Son of God, let us believe the works when they, which are beyond a doubt the works of God, are manifestly wrought by the Son of God. For the Son of God possesses, in virtue of His birth, everything that is God’s; and therefore the Son’s work is the Father’s work because His birth has not excluded Him from that nature which is His source and wherein He abides, and because He has in Himself that nature to which He owes it that He exists eternally.

27. And so the Son, Who does the Father’s works and demands of us that, if we believe not Him, at least we believe His works, is bound to tell us what the point is as to which we are to believe the works. And He does tell us in the words which follow:–But if I do, and ye will not believe Me, believe the works, that ye may know and be sure that the Father is in Me, and I in Him. It is the same truth as is contained in I am the Son of God, and I and the Father are One. This is the nature which is His by birth; this the mystery of the saving faith, that we must not divide the unity, nor separate the nature from the birth, but must confess that the living God was in truth born from the living God. God, Who is Life, is not a Being built up of various and lifeless portions; He is Power, and not compact of feeble elements, Light, intermingled with no shades of darkness, Spirit, that can harmonise with no incongruities. All that is within Him is One; what is Spirit is Light and Power and Life, and what is Life is Light and Power and Spirit. He Who says, I am, and I change not, can suffer neither change in detail nor transformation in kind. For these attributes, which I have named, are not attached to different portions of Him, but meet and unite, entirely and perfectly, in the whole being of the living God. He is the living God, the eternal Power of the living Divine nature; and that which is born from Him, according to the mysterious truth which He reveals, could not be other than living. For when He said, As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live through the Father, He taught that it is through the living Father that He has life in Himself. And, moreover, when He said, For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son also to have life in Himself, He bore witness that life, to the fullest extent, is His gift from the living God. Now if the living Son was born from the living Father, that birth took place without a new nature coming into existence. Nothing new comes into existence when the Living is begotten by the Living; for life was not sought out from the non-existent to receive birth; and Life, which receives its birth from Life, must needs, because of that unity of nature and because of the mysterious event of that perfect and ineffable birth, live always in Him that lives and have the life of the Living in Himself.

28. I call to mind that, at the beginning of our treatises, I gave the warning that human analogies correspond imperfectly to their Divine counterparts, yet that our understanding receives a real, if incomplete, enlightenment by comparing the latter with visible types. And now I appeal to human experience in the matter of birth, whether the source of their children’s being remain not within the parents. For though the lifeless and ignoble matter, which sets in motion the beginnings of life, pass from one parent into the other, yet these retain their respective natural forces. They have brought into existence a nature one with their own, and therefore the begetter is bound up with the existence of the begotten; and the begotten, receiving birth through a force transmitted, yet not lost, by the begetter, abides in that begetter. This may suf-fice as a statement of what happens in a human birth. It is inadequate as a parallel to the perfect birth of God the Only-begotten; for humanity is born in weakness and from the union of two unlike natures, and maintained in life by a combination of lifeless substances. Again, humanity does not enter at once into the exercise of its appointed life, and never fully lives that life, being always encumbered with a multitude of members which decay and are insensibly discarded. In God, on the other hand, the Divine life is lived in the fullest sense, for God is Life; and from Life nothing that is not truly living can be born. And His birth is not by way of emanation but results from an act of power. Thus, since God’s life is perfect in its intensity, and since that which is born from Him is perfect in power, God has the power of giving birth but not of suffering change. His nature is capable of increase, not of diminution, for He continues in, and shares the life of, that Son to Whom He gave in birth a nature like to, and inseparable from, His own. And that Son, the Living born from the Living, is not separated by the event of His birth from the nature that begat Him.

29. Another analogy which casts some light upon the meaning of the faith is that of fire as containing fire in itself and as abiding in fire. Fire contains the brightness of light, the heat which is its essential nature, the property of destroying by combustion the flickering inconstancy of flame. Yet all the while it is fire, and in all these manifestations there is but one nature. Its weakness is that it is dependent for its existence upon inflammable matter, and that it perishes with the matter on which it has lived. A comparison with fire gives us, in some measure, an insight into the incomparable nature of God; it helps us to believe in the properties of God that we find them, to a certain extent, present in an earthly element. I ask, then, whether in fire derived from fire there is any division or separation. When one flame is kindled from another, is the original nature cut off from the derived, so as not to abide in it? Does it not rather follow on, and dwell in the second flame by a kind of increase, as it were by birth? For no portion has been cut off from the nature of the first flame, and yet there is light from light. Does not the first flame live on in the second, which owes its existence, though not by division, to the first? Does not the second still dwell in the first, from which it was not cut off; from which it went forth, retaining its unity with the substance to which its nature belongs? Are not the two one, when it is physically impossible to derive light from light by division, and logically impossible to distinguish between them in nature.

30. These illustrations, I repeat, must only be used as aids to apprehension of the faith, not as standards of comparison for the Divine majesty. Our method is that of using bodily instances as a clue to the invisible. Reverence land reason justify us in using such help, which we find used in God’s witness to Himself, while yet we do not aspire to find a parallel to the nature of God. But the minds of simple believers have been distressed by the mad heretical objection that it is wrong to accept a doctrine concerning God which needs, in order to become intelligible, the help of bodily analogies. And therefore, in accordance with that word of our Lord which we have already cited, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit, we have thought it expedient, since God is Spirit, to give to these comparisons a certain place in our argument. By so doing we shall avert from God the charge that He has deceived us in using these analogies; shewing, as we have done, that such illustrations from the nature of His creatures enable us to grasp the meaning of God’s self-revelation to us.

31. We see how the living Son of the living Father, He Who is God from God, reveals the unity of the Divine nature, indissolubly One and the same, and the mystery of His birth in these words, I and the Father are One. Because the seeming arrogance of them engendered a prejudice against Him, He made it more clear that He had spoken in the conscious possession of Divinity by saying, Ye say that I have blasphemed because I said, I am the Son of God; thus shewing that the oneness of His nature with that of God was due to birth from God. And then, to clench their faith in His birth by a positive assertion, and to guard them, at the same time, from imagining that the birth involves a difference of nature, He crowns His argument with the words, Believe the works, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. Does His birth, as here revealed, display His Divinity as not His by nature, as not His own by right? Each is in the Other; the birth of the Son is from the Father only; no alien or unlike nature has been raised to Godhead and subsists as God. God from God, eternally abiding, owes His Godhead to none other than God. Import, if you see your opportunity, two gods into the Church’s faith; separate Son from Father as far as you can, consistently with the birth which you admit; yet still the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, and this by no interchange of emanations but by the perfect birth of the living nature. Thus you cannot add together God the Father and God the Son, and count Them as two Gods, for They Two are One God. You cannot confuse Them together, for They Two are not One Person. And so the Apostolic faith rejects two gods; for it knows nothing of two Fathers or two Sons. In confessing the Father it confesses the Son; it believes in the Son in believing in the Father. For the name of Father involves that of Son, since without having a son none can be a father. Evidence of the existence of a son is proof that there has been a father, for a son cannot exist except from a father. When we confess that God is One we deny that He is single; for the Son is the complement of the Father, and to the Father the Son’s existence is due. But birth works no change in the Divine nature; both in Father and in Son that nature is true to its kind. And the right expression for us of this unity of nature is the confession that They, being Two by birth and generation, are One God, not one Person.

32. We will leave it to him to preach two Gods, who can preach One God without confessing the unity; he shall proclaim that God is solitary, who can deny that there are two Persons, Each dwelling in the Other by the power of Their nature and the mystery of birth given and received. And that man may assign a different nature to Each of the Two, who is ignorant that the unity of Father and of Son is a revealed truth. Let the heretics blot out this record of the Son’s self-revelation I in the Father and the Father in Me; then, and not till then, shall they assert that there are two Gods, or one God in loneliness. There is no hint of more natures than one in what we are told of Their possession of the one Divine nature. The truth that God is from God does not multiply God by two; the birth destroys the supposition of a lonely God. And again, because They are interdependent They form an unity; and that They are interdependent is proved by Their being One from One. For the One, in begetting the One, conferred upon Him nothing that was not His own; and the One, in being begotten, received from the One only what belongs to one. Thus the apostolic faith, in proclaiming the Father, will proclaim Him as One God, and in confessing the Son will confess Him as One God; since one and the same Divine nature exists in Both, and because, the Father being God and the Son being God, and the one name of God expressing the nature of Both, the term ‘One God’ signifies the Two. God from God, or God in God, does not mean that there are two Gods, for God abides, One from One, eternally with the one Divine nature and the one Divine name; nor does God dwindle down to a single Person, for One and One can never be in solitude.

33. The Lord has not left in doubt or obscurity the teaching conveyed in this great mystery; He has not abandoned us to lose our way in dim uncertainty. Listen to Him as He reveals the full knowledge of this faith to His Apostles;–I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but through Me. If ye know Me, ye know My Father also; and from henceforth ye shall know Him, and have seen Him. Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and ye have not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Rather? Dost than not believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth His works. Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe for the very works’ sake. He Who is the Way leads us not into by-paths or trackless wastes: He Who is the Truth mocks us not with lies; He Who is the Life betrays us not into delusions which are death. He Himself has chosen these winning names to indicate the methods which He has appointed for our salvation. As the Way, He will guide us to the Truth; the Truth will establish us in the Life. And therefore it is all-important for us to know what is the mysterious mode, which He reveals, of attaining this life. No man cometh to the Rather but through Me. The way to the Father is through the Son. And now we must enquire whether this is to be by a course of obedience to His teaching, or by faith in His Godhead. For it is conceivable that our way to the Father may be through adherence to the Son’s teaching, rather than through believing that the Godhead of the Father dwells in the Son. And therefore let us, in the next place, seek out the true meaning of the instruction given us here. For it is not by cleaving to a preconceived opinion, but by studying the force of the words, that we shall enter into possession of this faith.

34. The words which follow those last cited are, If ye know Me, ye know My Father also. It is the Man, Jesus Christ, Whom they behold. How can a knowledge of Him be a knowledge of the Father? For the Apostles see Him wearing the aspect of that human nature which belongs to Him; but God is not encumbered with body and flesh, and is incognisable by those who dwell in our weak and fleshly body. The answer is given by the Lord, Who asserts that under the flesh, which, in a mystery, He had taken, His Father’s nature dwells within Him. He sets the facts in their due order thus;–If ye know Me, ye know My Father also; and from henceforth ye shall know Him, and have seen Him. He makes a distinction between the time of sight, and the time of knowledge. He says that from henceforth they shall know Him Whom they had already seen; and so shall possess. from the time of this revelation on-war I. the knowledge of that nature, on which, in Him, they long had gazed.

35. But the novel sound of these words disturbed the Apostle Philip. A Man is before their eyes; this Man avows Himself the Son of God, and declares that when they have known Him they will know the Father. He tells them that they have seen the Father, and that, because they have seen Him, they shall know Him hereafter. This truth is too broad for the grasp of weak humanity; their faith fails in the presence of these paradoxes. Christ says that the Father has been seen already and shall now be known; and this, although sight, is knowledge. He says that if the Son has been known, the Father has been known also; and this though the Son has imparted knowledge of Himself through the bodily senses of sight and sound, while the Father’s nature, different altogether from that of the visible Man, which they know, could not be learnt from their knowledge of the nature of Him Whom they have seen. He has also often borne witness that no man has seen the Father. And so Philip broke forth, with the loyalty and confidence of an Apostle, with the request, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. He was not tampering with the faith; it was but a mistake made in ignorance. For the Lord had said that the Father had been seen already and henceforth should be known but the Apostle had not understood that He had been seen. Accordingly he did not deny that the Father had been seen, but asked to see Him. He did not ask that the Father should be unveiled to his bodily gaze, but that he might have such an indication as should enlighten him concerning the Father Who had been seen. For he had seen the Son under the aspect of Man, but cannot understand how he could thereby have seen the Father. His adding, And it sufficeth us, to the prayer, Lard, shew us the Father, reveals clearly that it was a mental, not a bodily vision of the Father which he desired. He did not refuse faith to the Lord’s words, but asked for such enlightenment to his mind as should enable him to believe; for the fact that the Lord had spoken was conclusive evidence to the Apostle that faith was his duty. The consideration which moved him to ask that the Father might be shewn, was that the Son had said that He had been seen, and should be known because He had been seen. There was no presumption in this prayer that He, Who had already been seen, should now be made manifest.

36. And therefore the Lord answered Philip thus;–Have I been so long time with you, and ye have not known Me, Philip? He rebukes the Apostle for defective knowledge of Himself; for previously He had said that when He was known the Father was known also. But what is the meaning of this complaint that for so long they had not known Him? It means this; that if they had known Him, they must have recognised in Him the Godhead which belongs to His Father’s nature. For His works were the peculiar works of God. He walked upon the waves, commanded the winds, manifestly, though none could tell how, changed the water into wine and multiplied the loaves, put devils to flight, healed diseases, restored injured limbs and repaired the defects of nature, forgave sins and raised the dead to life. And all this He did while wearing flesh; and He accompanied the works with the assertion that He was the Son of God. Hence it is that He justly complains that they did not recognise in His mysterious human birth and life the action of the nature of God, performing these deeds through the Manhood which He had assumed.

37. And therefore the Lord reproached them that they had not known Him, though He had so long been doing these works, and answered their prayer that He would shew them the Father by saying, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. He was not speaking of a bodily manifestation, of perception by the eye of flesh, but by that eye of which He had once spoken;–Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look an the fields; for they are white to harvest. The season of the year, the fields white to harvest are allusions equally incompatible with an earthly and visible prospect. He was bidding them lift the eyes of their understanding to contemplate the bliss of the final harvest. And so it is with His present words, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. It was not the carnal body, which He had received by birth from the Virgin, that could manifest to them the image and likeness of God. The human aspect which He wore could be no aid towards the mental vision of the incorporeal God. But God was recognised in Christ, by such as recognised Christ as the Son on the evidence of the powers of His Divine nature; and a recognition of God the Son produces a recognition of God the Father. For the Son is in such a sense the Image, as to be One in kind with the Father, and yet to indicate that the Father is His Origin. Other images, made of metals or colours or other materials by various arts, reproduce the appearance of the objects which they represent. Yet can lifeless copies be put on a level with their living originals? Painted or carved or molten effigies with the nature which they imitate? The Son is not the Image of the Father after such a fashion as this; He is the living Image of the Living. The Son that is born of the Father has a nature in no wise different from His; and, because His nature is not different, He possesses the power of that nature which is the same as His own. The fact that He is the Image proves that God the Father is the Author of the birth of the Only-begotten, Who is Himself revealed as the Likeness and Image of the invisible God. And hence the likeness, which is joined in union with the Divine nature, is indelibly His, because the powers of that nature are inalienably His own.

38. Such is the meaning of this passage, Have I been so long time with you, and ye have not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Father? Dost thou not believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? It is only the Word of God, of Whom we men are enabled, in our discourse concerning Divine things, to reason. All else that belongs to the Godhead is dark and difficult, dangerous and obscure. If any man propose to express what is known in other words than those supplied by God, he must inevitably either display his own ignorance, or else leave his readers’ minds in utter perplexity. The Lord, when He was asked to shew the Father, said, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. He that would alter this is an antichrist, he that would deny it is a Jew, he that is ignorant a Pagan. If we find ourselves in difficulty, let us lay the fault to our own reason; if God’s declaration seem involved in obscurity, let us assume that our want of faith is the cause. These words state with precision that God is not solitary, and yet that there are no differences within the

Divine nature. For the Father is seen in the Son, and this could be the case neither if He were a lonely Being, nor yet if He were unlike the Son. it is through the Son that the Father is seen: and this mystery which the Son reveals is that They are One God, but not one Person. What other meaning can you attach to this saying of the Lord’s, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also? This is no case of identity; the use of the conjunction also shews that the Father is named in addition to the Son. These words, The Father also, are incompatible with the notion of an isolated and single Person. No conclusion is possible but that the Father was made visible through the Son, because They are One and are alike in nature. And, lest our faith in this regard should be left in any doubt, the Lord proceeded, How safest thou, Shew us the Father? The Father had been seen in the Son; how then could men be ignorant of the Father? What need could there be for Him to be shewn?

39. Again, the unity of Begetter and Begotten, manifested in sameness of nature and true oneness of kind, proves that the Father was seen in His true nature. And this is shewn by the Lord’s next words, Believe not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? In no other words than these, which the Son has used, can the fact be state that Father and Son, being alike in nature, are inseparable. The Son, Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life, is not deceiving us by some theatrical transformation of names and aspects, when He, while wearing Manhood, styles Himself the Son of God. He is not falsely concealing the fact that He is God the Father; He is not a single Persons Who hides His features under a mask, that we may imagine that Two are present. He is not a solitary Being, now posing as His own Son, and again calling Himself the Father; tricking out one unchanging nature with varying names. Far removed from this is the plain honesty of the words. The Father is the Father, and the Son is the Son. But these names, and the realities which they represent, contain no innovation upon the Divine nature, nothing inconsistent, nothing alien. For the Divine nature, being true to itself, persists in being itself; that which is from God is God. The Divine birth imports neither diminution nor difference into the Godhead, for the Son is born into, and subsists with, a nature that is within the Divine nature and is like to it, and the Father sought out no alien element to be mingled in the nature of His Only-begotten Son, but endowed Him with all things that are His own, and this without loss to the Giver. And thus the Son is not destitute of the Divine nature, for, being God, He is from God and from none other; and He is not different from God, but is indeed nothing else than God, for that which is begotten from God is the Son, and the Son only, and the Divine nature, in receiving birth as a Son, has not forfeited its Divinity. Thus the Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father, God is in God. And this is not by the combination of two harmonious, though different, kinds of being, nor by the incorporating power of an ampler substance exercised upon a lesser; for the properties of matter make it impossible that things which enclose others should also be enclosed by them. It is by the birth of living nature from living nature. The substance remains the same, birth causes no deterioration in the Divine nature; God is not born from God to be ought else than God. Herein is no innovation, no estrangement, no division. It is sin to believe that Father and Son are two Gods, sacrilege to assert that Father and Son are one solitary God, blasphemy to deny the unity, consisting in sameness of kind. of God from God.

40. Lest they, whose faith conforms to the Gospel, should regard this mystery as something vague and obscure, the Lord has expounded it in this order;–Dost thou not believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth His works. In what other words than these could, or can, the possession of the Divine nature by Father and Son be declared, consistently with prominence for the Son’s birth? When He says, The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself, He neither suppresses His personality, nor denies His Sonship, nor conceals the presence in Himself of His Father’s Divine nature. While speaking of Himself–and that He does so speak is proved by the pronoun I–He speaks as abiding in the Divine substance; while speaking not of Himself, He bears witness to the birth which took place in Him of God from God His Father. And He is inseparable and indistinguishable in unity of nature from the Father; for He speaks, though He speaks not of Himself. He Who speaks, though He speak not of Himself, necessarily exists, inasmuch as He speaks; and, inasmuch as He speaks not of Himself, He makes it manifest that His words are not His own. For He has added, But the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth His works. That the Father dwells in the Son proves that the Father is not isolated and alone; that the Father works through the Son proves that the Son is not an alien or a stranger. There cannot be one Person only, for He speaks not of Himself; and, conversely, They cannot be separate and divided when the One speaks through the voice of the Other. These words are the revelation of the mystery of Their unity. And again, They Two are not different One from the Other, seeing that by Their inherent nature Each is in the Other; and They are One, seeing that He, Who speaks, speaks not of Himself, and He, Who speaks not of Himself, yet does speak. And then, having taught that the Father both spoke and wrought in Him, the Son establishes this perfect unity as the rule of our faith;–But the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth His works. Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe far the very works’ sake. The Father works in the Son; but the Son also works the works of His Father.

41. And so, lest we should believe and say that the Father works in the Son through His own omnipotent energy, and not through the Son’s possession, as His birthright, of the Divine nature, Christ says, Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. What means this, Believe Me? Clearly it refers back to the previous, Shew us the Father. Their faith–that faith which had demanded that the Father should be shewn–is confirmed by this command to believe. He was not satisfied with saying, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. He goes further, and expands our knowledge, so that we can contemplate the Father in the Son, remembering meanwhile that the Son is in the Father. Thus He would save us from the error of imagining a reciprocal emanation of the One into the Other, by teaching Their unity in the One nature through birth given and received. The Lord would have us take Him at His word, lest our hold upon the faith be shaken by His condescension in assuming Humanity. If His flesh, His body, His passion seem to make His Godhead doubtful, let us at least believe, on the evidence of the works, that God is in God and God is flora God, and that They are One. For by the power of Their nature Each is in the Other. The Father loses nothing that is His because it is in the Son, and the Son receives His whole Sonship from the Father. Bodily natures are not created after such a fashion that they mutually contain each other, or possess the perfect unity of one abiding nature. In their case it would be impossible that an Onlybegotten Son could exist eternally, inseparable from the true Divine nature of His Father. Yet this is the peculiar property of God the Only-begotten, this the faith revealed in the mystery of His true birth, this the work of the Spirit’s power, that to be, and to be in God, is for Christ the same thing; and that this being in God is not the presence of one thing within another, as a body inside another body, but that the life and subsistence of Christ is such that He is within the subsisting God, and within Him, yet having a subsistence of His own. For Each subsists in such wise as not to exist apart from the Other, since They are Two through birth given and received, and therefore only one Divine nature exists. This is the meaning of the words, I and the Father are One, and He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also, and I in the Father and the Father in Me. They tell us that the Son Who is born is not different or inferior to the Father; that His possession, by right of birth, of the Divine nature as Son of God, and therefore nothing else than God, is the supreme truth conveyed in the mysterious revelation of the One Godhead in Father and Son. And therefore the doctrine of the generation of the Only-begotten is guiltless of ditheism, for the Son of God, in being born into the Godhead, manifested in Himself the nature of God His Begetter.

Book 8 (Back to the Top)

1. THE Blessed Apostle Paul in laying down the form for appointing a bishop and creating by his instructions an entirely new type of member of the Church, has taught us in the following words the sum total of all the virtues perfected in him:–Holding fast the word according to the doctrine of faith that he may be able to exhort to sound doctrine and to convict gainsavers. For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers. For in this way he points out that the essentials of orderliness and morals are only profitable for good service in the priesthood if at the same time the qualities needful for knowing how to teach and preserve the faith are not lacking, for a man is not straightway made a good and useful priest by a merely innocent life or by a mere knowledge of preaching. For an innocent minister is profitable to himself alone unless he be instructed also; while he that is instructed has nothing to support his teaching unless he be innocent. For the words of the Apostle do not merely fit a man for his life in this world by precepts of honesty and uprightness, nor on the other hand do they educate in expertness of teaching a mere Scribe of the Synagogue for the expounding of the Law: but the Apostle is training a leader of the Church, perfected by the perfect accomplishment of: the greatest virtues, so that his life may be adorned by his teaching, and his teaching by his life. Accordingly he has provided Titus, the person to whom his words were addressed, with an injunction as to the perfect practice of religion to this effect:–In all things shewing thyself an ensample of good works, teaching with gravity sound words that cannot be condemned, that the adversary may be ashamed, having nothing disgraceful or evil to say of us. This teacher of the Gentiles and elect doctor of the Church, from his consciousness of Christ who spoke and dwelt within him, knew well that the infection of tainted speech would spread abroad, and that the corruption of pestilent doctrine would furiously rage against the sound form of faithful words, and infusing the poison of its own evil tenets into the inmost soul, would creep on with deep-seated mischief. For it is of these that he says, Whose word spreadeth like a cancer, tainting the health of the mind, invaded by it with a secret and stealthy contagion. For this reason, he wished that there should be in the bishop the teaching of sound words, a good conscience in the faith and expertness in exhortation to withstand wicked and false and wild gainsayings. For there are many who pretend to the faith, but are not subject to the faith, and rather set up a faith for themselves than receive that which is given, being puffed up with the thoughts of human vanity, knowing the things they wish to know and unwilling to know the things that are true; since it is a mark of true wisdom sometimes to know what we do not like. However, this will-wisdom is followed by foolish preaching, for what is foolishly learnt must needs be foolishly preached. Yet how great an evil to those who hear is foolish preaching, when they are misled into foolish opinions by conceit of wisdom! And for this cause the Apostle described them thus: There are many unruly, vain talkers and deceivers. Hence we must utter our voice against arrogant wickedness and boastful arrogance and seductive boastfulness,–yes, we must speak against such things through the soundness of our doctrine, the truth of our faith, the sincerity of our preaching, so that we may have the purity of truth and the truth of sound doctrine.

2. The reason why I have just mentioned this utterance of the Apostle is this; men of crooked minds and false professions, void of hope and venomous of speech, lay upon me the necessity of inveighing against them, because under the guise of religion they instil deadly doctrines, infectious thoughts and corrupt desires into the simple minds of their hearers. And this they do with an utter disregard of the true sense of the apostolic teaching, so that the Father is not a Father, nor the Son, Son, nor the Faith, the Faith. In resisting their wild falsehoods, we have extended the course of our reply so far, that after proving from the Law that God and God were distinct and that very God was in very God, we then shewed from the teaching of evangelists and apostles the perfect and true birth of the Only-begotten God; and lastly, we pointed out in the due course of our argument that the Son of God is very God, and of a nature identical with the Father’s, so that the faith of the Church should neither confess that God is single nor that there are two Gods. For neither would the birth of God allow God to be solitary, nor would a perfect birth allow different natures to be ascribed to two Gods. Now in refuting their vain speaking we have a twofold object, first that we may teach what is holy and perfect and sound, and, that our discourse should not by straying through any by-paths and crooked ways, and struggling out of devious and winding tunnels, seem rather to search for the truth than declare it. Our second object is that we should reveal to the conviction of all men the folly and absurdity of those crafty arguments of their vain and deceitful opinions which are adapted to a plausible show of seductive truth. For it is not enough for us to have pointed out what things are good, unless they are understood to be absolutely good by our refutation of their opposites.

3. But as it is the nature and endeavour of the good and wise to prepare themselves wholly for securing either the reality or the opportunity of some precious hope lest their preparedness should in some respects fall short of that which they look for,–so in like manner those who are filled with the madness of heretical frenzy make it their chiefest. anxiety to labour with all the ingenuity of their impiety against the truth of pious faith, in order that against those who are religious they may establish their own irreligion; that they may surpass the hope of our life in the hopelessness of their own, and that they may spend more thought over false than we spend over true teaching. For against the pious assertions of our faith they have carefully devised such objections of their impious misbelief, as first to ask whether we believe in one God, next, whether Christ also be God, lastly, whether the Father is greater than the Son, in order that when they hear us confess that God is one they may use our reply to shew that Christ cannot be God. For they do not enquire concerning the Son whether He be God; all they wish for in asking questions about Christ is to prove that He is not a Son, that by entrapping men of simple faith they may through the belief in one God divert them from the belief in Christ as God, on the ground that God is no longer one if Christ also must be acknowledged as God. Again with what subtlety of worldly wisdom do they contend when they say, If God is one, whosoever that other shall be shewn to be, he will not he God. For if there be another God He can no longer be one, since nature does not permit that where there is another there should be one only, or that where there is only one there should be another. Afterwards, when by the crafty cunning of this insidious argument they have misled those who are ready to believe and listen, they then apply this proposition (as if they could now establish it by an easier method), that Christ is God rather in name than in nature, because this generic name in Him can destroy in none that only true belief in one God: and they contend that through this the Father is greater than the Son, because, the natures being different, as there is but one God, the Father is greater from the essential character of His nature; and that the Other is only called Son while He is really a creature subsisting by the will of the Father, because He is less than the Father; and also that He is not God, because God being one does not admit of another God, since he who is less must necessarily be of a nature alien from that of the person who is greater. Again, how foolish they are in their attempts to lay down a law for God when they maintain that no birth can take place from one single being, because throughout the universe birth arises from the union of two; moreover, that the unchangeable God cannot accord from Himself birth to one who is born, because that which is changeless is incapable of addition, nor can the nature of a solitary and single being contain within itself the property of generation.

4. We, on the contrary, having by spiritual teaching arrived at the faith of the evangelists and apostles, and following after the hope of eternal blessedness by our confession of the Father and the Son, and having proved out of the Law the mystery of God and God, without overstepping the limits of our faith in one God, or failing to proclaim that Christ is God, have adopted this method of reply from the Gospels, that we declare the true nativity of Only-begotten God from God the Father, because that through this He was both very God and not alien from the nature of the One very God, and thus neither could His Godhead be denied nor Himself be described as another God, because while the birth made Him God, the nature within him of one God of God did not separate Him off as another God. And although our human reason led us to this conclusion, that the names of distinct natures could not meet together in the same nature, and not be one, where the essence of each did not differ in kind; nevertheless, it seemed good that we should prove this from the express sayings of our Lord, Who after frequently making known that the God of our faith and hope was One, in order to affirm the mystery of the One God, while declaring and proving His own Godhead, said, I and the Father are one; and, If ye had known Me, ye would have known My Father also; and, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also; and, Believe Me, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father: or else believe for the very works’ sake . He has signified His own birth in the name Father, and declares that in the knowledge of Himself the Father is known. He avows the unity of nature, when those who see Him see the Father. He bears witness that He is indivisible from the Father, when He dwells in the Father Who dwells in Him. He possesses the confidence of self-knowledge when He demands credit for His words from the operations of His power. And thus in this most blessed faith of the perfect birth, every error, as well that of two Gods as of a single God, is abolished, since They Who are one in essence are not one person, and He Who is not one person with HIM WHO IS, is yet so free from difference from Him that They Two are One God.

5. Now seeing that heretics cannot deny these things because they are so clearly stated and understood, they nevertheless pervert them by the most foolish and wicked lies so as afterwards to deny them. For the words of Christ, I and the Father are one, they endeavour to refer to a mere concord of unanimity, so that there may be in them a unity of will not of nature, that is, that they may be one not by essence of being, but by identity of will. And they apply to the support of their case the passage in the Acts of the Apostles, Now of the multitude of them that believed the heart and soul were one, in order to prove that a diversity of souls and hearts may be united into one heart and soul through a mere conformity of will. Or else they cite those words to the Corinthians, Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one, to shew that, since They are one in Their work for our salvation, and in the revelation of one mystery, Their unity is an unity of wills. Or again, they quote the prayer of our Lord for the salvation of the nations who should believe in Him: Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that shall believe on Me through their Word; that they all may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, to shew that since men cannot, so to speak, be fused back into God or themselves coalesce into one undistinguished mass, this oneness must arise from unity of will, while all perform actions pleasing to God, and unite one with another in the harmonious accord of their thoughts, and that thus it is not nature which makes them one, but will.

6. He clearly knows not wisdom who knows not God. And since Christ is Wisdom he must needs be beyond the pale of wisdom who knows not Christ or hates Him. As, for instance, they do who will have it that the Lord of Glory, and King of the Universe, and Only-begotten God is a creature of God and not His Son, and in addition to such foolish lies shew a still more foolish cleverness in the defence of their falsehood. For even putting aside for a little that essential character of unity which exists in God the Father and God the Son, they can be refuted out of the very passages which they adduce.

7. For as to those whose soul and heart were one, I ask whether they were one through faith in God? Yes, assuredly, through faith, for through this the soul and heart of all were one. Again I ask, is the faith one or is there a second faith? One undoubtedly, and that on the authority of the Apostle himself, who proclaims one faith even as one Lord, and one baptism, and one hope, and one God. If then it is through faith, that is, through the nature of one faith, that all are one, how is it that thou dost not understand a natural unity in the case of those who through the nature of one faith are one? For all were born again to innocence, to immortality, to the knowledge of God, to the faith of hope. And if these things cannot differ within themselves because there is both one hope and one God, as also there is one Lord and one baptism of regeneration; if these things are one rather by agreement than by nature, ascribe a unity of will to those also who have been born again into them. If, however, they have been begotten again into the nature of one life and eternity, then, inasmuch as their soul anti heart are one, the unity of will fails to account for their case who are one by regeneration into the same nature.

8. These are not our own conjectures which we offer, nor do we falsely put together any of these things in order to deceive the ears of our bearers by perverting the meaning of words; but holding fast the form of sound teaching we know and preach the things which are true. For the Apostle shews that this unity of the faithful arises from the nature of the sacraments when be writes to the Galatians. Fear as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There is neither few nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. That these are one amid so great diversities of race, condition, sex,–is it from an agreement of will or from the unity of the sacrament, since these have one baptism and have all put on one Christ? What, therefore, will a concord of minds avail here when they are one in that they have put on one Christ through the nature of one baptism?

9. Or, again, since he who plants and he who waters are one, are they not one because, being themselves born again in one baptism they form a ministry of one regenerating baptism? Do not they do the same thing? Are they not one in One? So they who are one through the same thing are one also by nature, not only by will, inasmuch as they themselves have been made the same thing and are ministers of the same thing and the same power.

10. Now the contradiction of fools always serves to prove their folly, because with regard to the faults which they contrive by the devices of an unwise or crooked understanding against the truth, while the latter remains unshaken and immovable the things which are opposed to it must needs be regarded as false and foolish. For heretics in their attempt to deceive others by the words, I and the Father are ones, that there might not be acknowledged in them the unity and like essence of deity, but only a oneness arising from mutual love and an agreement of wills–these heretics, I say, have brought forward an instance of that unity, as we have shewn above, even from the words of our Lord, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us. Every man is outside the promises of the Gospel who is outside the faith in them, and by the guilt of an evil understanding has lost all simple hope. For to know not what thou believest demands not so much excuse as a reward, for the greatest service of faith is to hope for that which thou knowest not. But it is the madness of most consummate wickedness either not to believe things which are understood or to have corrupted the sense in which one believes.

11. But although the wickedness of man can pervert his intellectual powers, nevertheless the words retain their meaning. Our Lord prays to His Father that those who shall believe in Him may be one, and as He is in the Father and the Father in Him, so all may be one in Them. Why dost thou bring in here an identity of mind, why a unity of soul and heart through agreement of will? For there would have been no lack of suitable words for our Lord, if it were will that made them one, to have prayed in this fashion,–Father, as We are one in will, so may they also be one in will, that we may all be one through agreement. Or could it be that He Who is the Word was unacquainted with the meaning of words? and that He Who is Truth knew not how to speak the truth? and He Who is Wisdom went astray in foolish talk? and He Who is Power was compassed about with such weakness that He could not speak what He wished to be understood? He has clearly spoken the true and sincere mysteries of the faith of the Gospel. And He has not only spoken that we may comprehend, He has also taught that we may believe, saying, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us. For those first of all is the prayer of whom it is said, That they all may be one. Then the promotion of unity is set forth by a pattern of unity, when He says, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, so that as the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, so through the pattern of this unity all might be one in the Father and the Son.

12. But because it is proper to the Father alone and the Son that They should be one by nature because God is from God, and the Only-begotten from the Unbegotten can subsist in no other nature than that of His origin; so that He Who was begotten should exist in the substance of His birth, and the birth should possess no other and different truth of deity than that from which it issued; for our Lord has left us in no doubt as to our belief by asserting throughout the whole of the discourse which follows the nature of this complete unity. For the next words are these, That the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. Thus the world is to believe that the Son has been sent by the Father because all who shall believe in Him will be one in the Father and the Son. And how they will be so we are soon told,–And the glory which Than hast given Me I have given unto them. Now I ask whether glory is identical with will, since will is an emotion of the mind while glory is an ornament or embellishment of nature. So then it is the glory received from the Father that the Son hath given to all who shall believe in Him, and certainly not will. Had this been given, faith would carry with it no required, for a necessity of will attached to us would also impose faith upon us. However He has shewn what is effected by the bestowal of the glory received, That they may be one, even as We are one. It is then with this object that the received glory was bestowed, that all might be one. So now all are one in glory, because the glory given is none other than that which was received: nor has it been given for any other cause than that all should be one. And since all are one through the glory given to the Son and by the Son bestowed upon believers, I ask how can the Son be of a different glory from the Father’s, since the glory of the Son brings all that believe into the unity of the Father’s glory. Now it may be that the utterance of human hope in this case may be somewhat immoderate, yet it will not be contrary to faith; for though to hope for this were presumptuous, yet not tO have believed it is sinful, for we have one and the same Author both of our hope and of our faith. We will treat of this matter more clearly and at greater length in its own place, as is fitting. Yet in the meantime it is easily seen from our present argument that this hope of ours is neither vain nor presumptuous. So then through the glory received and given all are one. I hold the faith and recognise the cause of the unity, but I do not yet understand how it is that the glory given makes all one.

13. Now our Lord has not left the minds of His faithful followers in doubt, but has explained the manner in which His nature operates, saying, That they may be one, as We are one: I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in one. Now I ask those who bring forward a unity of will between Father and Son, whether Christ is in us to-day through verity of nature or through agreement of will. For if in truth the Word has been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that He abides in us naturally, Who, born as a man, has assumed the nature of our flesh now inseparable from Himself, and has conjoined the nature of His own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which His flesh is communicated to us? For so are we all one, because the Father is in Christ and Christ in us. Whosoever then shall deny that the Father is in Christ naturally must first deny that either he is himself in Christ naturally, or Christ in him, because the Father in Christ and

Christ in us make us one in Them. Hence, if indeed Christ has taken to Himself the flesh of our body, and that Man Who was born froth Mary was induced Christ, and we indeed receive in a mystery the flesh of His body–(and for this cause we shall be one, because the Father is in Him and He in us), — how can a unity of will be maintained, seeing that the special property of nature received through the sacrament is the sacrament of a perfect unity?

14. The words in which we speak of the things of God must be used in no mere human and worldly sense, nor must the perverseness of an alien and impious interpretation be extorted from the soundness of heavenly words by any violent and headstrong preaching. Let us read what is written, let us understand what we read, and then fulfil the demands of a perfect faith. For as to what we say concerning the reality of Christ’s nature within us, unless we have been taught by Him, our words are foolish and impious. For He says Himself, My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. As to the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubt. For now both from the declaration of the Lord Himself and our own faith, it is verily flesh and verily blood. And these when eaten and drunk, bring it to pass that both we are in Christ and Christ in us. Is not this true? Yet they who affirm that Christ Jesus is not truly God are welcome to find it false. He therefore Himself is in us through the flesh and we in Him, whilst together with Him our own selves are in God.

15. Now how it is that we are in Him through the sacrament of the flesh and blood bestowed upon us, He Himself testifies, saying, And the world will no longer see Me, but ye shall see Me ; because I live ye shall live also; because I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. If He wished to indicate a mere unity of will, why did He set forth a kind of gradation and sequence in the completion of the unity, unless it were that, since He was in the Father through the nature of Deity, and we on the contrary in Him through His birth in the body, He would have us believe that He is in us through the mystery of the sacraments? and thus there might be taught a perfect unity through a Mediator, whilst, we abiding in Him, He abode in the Father, and as abiding in the Father abode also in us; and so we might arrive at unity with tile Father, since in Him Who dwells naturally in the Father by birth, we also dwell naturally, while He Himself abides naturally in us also.

16. Again, how natural this unity is in us He has Himself testified on this wise,–He who eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. For no man shall dwell in Him, save him in whom He dwells Himself, for the only flesh which He has taken to Himself is the flesh of those who have taken His. Now He had already taught before the sacrament of this perfect unity, saying, As the living Father sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he that eateth My flesh shall himself also live through Me. So then He lives through the Father, and as He lives through the Father in like manner we live through His flesh. For all comparison is chosen to shape our understanding, so that we may grasp the subject of which we treat by help of the analogy set before us. This is the cause of our life that we have Christ dwelling within our carnal selves through the flesh, and we shall live through Him in the same manner as He lives through the Father. if, then, we live naturally through Him according to the flesh, that is, have partaken of the nature of His flesh, must He not naturally have the Father within Himself according to the Spirit since He Himself lives through the Father? And He lives through the Father because His birth has not implanted in Him an alien and different nature inasmuch as His very being is from Him yet is not divided from Him by any barrier of an unlikeness of nature, for within Himself He has the Father through the birth in the power of the nature.

17. I have dwelt upon these facts because the heretics falsely maintain that the union between Father and Son is one of will only, and make use of the example of our own union with God, as though we were trailed to the Son and through the Son to the Father by mere obedience and a devout will, and none of the natural verity of communion were vouchsafed us through the sacrament of the Body and Blood; although the glory of the Son bestowed upon us through the Son abiding in us after the flesh, while we are united in Him corporeally and inseparably, bids us preach the mystery of the true and natural unity.

18. So we have made our reply to the folly of our violent opponents, merely to prove the emptiness of their falsehoods and so prevent them from misleading the unwary by the error of their vain and foolish statements. But the faith of the Gospel did not of necessity require our answer. The Lord prayed on our behalf for our union with God, but God keeps His own unity and abides in it. It is not through any mysterious appointment of God that they are one, but through a birth of nature, for God loses nothing in begetting Him from Himself. They are one, for the things which are not plucked out of His hand are not plucked out of the hand of the Father, for, when He is known, the Father is known, for, when He is seen, the Father is seen, for what He speaks the Father speaks as abiding in Him, for in His works the Father works, for He is in the Father and the Father in Him. This proceeds from no creation but from birth; it is not brought about by will but by power; it is no agreement of mind that speaks, it is nature; because to be created and to be born are not one and the same, any more than to will and to be able; neither is it the same thing to agree and to abide

19. Thus we do not deny a unanimity between the Father and the Son,–for heretics are accustomed to utter this falsehood, that since we do not accept concord by itself as the bond of unity we declare Them to be at variance. But let them listen how it is that we do not deny such a unanimity. The Father and the Son are one in nature, honour, power, and the same nature cannot will things that are contrary. Moreover, let them listen to the testimony of the Son as touching the unity of nature between Himself and the Father, for He says, When that advocate is come, Whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth front the Father, He shall testify of Me. The Advocate shall come and the Son shall send Him from the Father, and He is the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth from the Father. Let the whole following of heretics arouse the keenest powers of their wit; let them now seek for what lies they can tell to the unlearned, and declare what that is which the Son sends from the Father. He Who sends manifests His power in that which He sends. But as to that which He sends from the Father, how shall we regard it, as received or sent forth or begotten? For His words that He will send from the Father must imply one or other of these modes of sending. And He will send from the Father that Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father; He therefore cannot be the Recipient, since He is revealed as the Sender. It only remains to make sure of our conviction on the point, whether we are to believe an egress of a co-existent Being, or a procession of a Being begotten.

20. For the present I forbear to expose their licence of speculation, some of them holding that the Paraclete Spirit comes from the Father or from the Son. For our Lord has not left this in uncertainty, for after these same words He spoke thus,–I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak from Himself: but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak; and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine and stroll 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. Accordingly He receives from the Son, Who is both sent by Him, and proceeds from the Father. Now I ask whether to receive from the Son is the same thing as to proceed from the Father. But if one believes that there is a difference between receiving from the Son and proceeding from the Father, surely to receive from the Son and to receive from the Father will be regarded as one and the same thing. For our Lord Himself says, Because 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. That which He will receive,–whether it will be power, or excellence, or teaching,–the Son has said must be received from Him, and again He indicates that this same thing must be received from the Father. For when tie says that all things whatsoever the Father hath are His, and that for this cause He declared that it must be received from His own, He teaches also that what is received from the Father is yet received from Himself, because all things that the Father hath are His. Such a unity admits no difference, nor does it make any difference from whom that is received, which given by the Father is described as given by the Son. Is a mere unity of will brought forward here also? All things which the Father hath are the Son’s, and all things which the Son hath are the Father’s. For He Himself saith, And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine. It is not yet the place to shew wily He spoke thus, For He shall receive of Mine: for this points to some subsequent time, when it is revealed that He shall receive. Now at any rate He says that He will receive of Himself, because all things that the Father had were His. Dissever if thou canst the unity of the nature, and introduce some necessary unlikeness through which the Son may not exist in unity of nature. For the Spirit of truth proceedeth from the Father and is sent from the Father by the Son. All things that the Father hath are the Son’s; and for this cause whatever He Who is to be sent shall receive, He shall receive from the Son, because all things that the Father hath are the Son’s. The nature in all respects maintains its law, and because Both are One that same Godhead is signified as existing in Both through generation and nativity; since the Son affirms that that which the Spirit of truth shall receive from the Father is to be given by Himself. So the frowardness of heretics must not be allowed an unchecked licence of impious beliefs, in refusing to acknowledge that this saying of the Lord,–that because all things which the Father hath are His, therefore the Spirit of truth shall receive of Him,–is to be referred to unity of nature.

21. Let us listen to that chosen vessel and teacher of the Gentiles, when he had already commended the faith of the people of Rome because of their understanding of the truth. For wishing to teach the unity of nature in the case of the Father and the Son, he speaks thus, But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God is in you. But if any have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead through sin, but the Spirit is life through righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Christ from the dead dwelleth in you; He Who raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit Who dwelleth in you. We are all spiritual if the Spirit of God dwells in us. But this Spirit of God is also the Spirit of Christ, and though the Spirit of Christ is in us, yet His Spirit is also in us Who raised Christ from the dead, and He Who raised Christ from the dead shall quicken our mortal bodies also on account of His Spirit that dwelleth in us. We are quickened therefore on account of the Spirit of Christ that dwelleth in us, through Him Who raised Christ from the dead. And since the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, and yet the Spirit of Christ is in us, nevertheless the Spirit Which is in us cannot but be the Spirit of God. Separate, then, O heretic, the Spirit of Christ from the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ raised from the dead from the Spirit of God Which raises Christ from the dead; when the Spirit of Christ that dwelleth in us is the Spirit of God, and when the Spirit of Christ Who was raised from the dead is yet the Spirit of God Who raises Christ from the dead.

22. And now I ask whether thou thinkest that in the Spirit of God is signified a nature or a property belonging to a nature. For a nature is not identical with a thing belonging to it, just as neither is a man identical with what belongs to a man, nor fire with what belongs to fire itself, and in like manner God is not the same as that which belongs to God.

23. For I am aware that the Son of God is revealed under the title Spirit of God in order that we may understand the presence of the Farther in Him, and that the term Spirit of God may be employed to indicate Either, and that this is shewn not only on the authority of prophets but of evangelists also, when it is said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He hath anointed Me. And again, Behold My Servant Whom I have chosen, My beloved in Whom My soul is well pleased, I will put My Spirit upon Him. And when the Lord Himself bears witness of Himself, But if I in the Spirit of God cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God come upon you. For the passages seem without any doubt to denote either Father or Son, while they yet manifest the excellence of nature.

24. For I think that the expression ‘Spirit of God’ was used with respect to Each, lest we should believe that the Son was present in the Father or the Father in the Son in a merely corporeal manner, that is, lest God might be thought to abide in one position and exist nowhere else apart from Himself. For a man or any other thing like him, when he is in one place, cannot be in another, because what is in one place is confined to the place where it is: his nature cannot allow him to be everywhere when he exists in some one position. But God is a living Force, of infinite power, present everywhere and nowhere absent, and manifests His whole self through His own, and signifies that His own are naught else than Himself, so that where they are He may be understood to be Himself. Yet we must not think that, after a corporeal fashion, when He is in one place He ceases to be everywhere, for through His own things He is still present in all places, while the things which are His are none other than His own self. Now these things have been said to make us understand what is meant by ‘nature.’

25. Now I think that it ought to be clearly understood that God the Father is denoted by the Spirit of God, because our Lord Jesus Christ declared that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him since He anoints Him and sends Him to preach the Gospel. For in Him is made manifest the excellence of the Father’s nature, disclosing that the Son partakes of His nature even when born in the flesh through the mystery of this spiritual unction, since after the birth ratified in. His baptism this intimation of His inherent Sonship was heard as a voice bore witness from Heaven:–Thou art My Son; this day have begotten Thee. For not even He Himself can be understood as resting upon Himself or coming to Himself from Heaven, or as bestowing on Himself the title of Son: but all this demonstration was for our faith, in order that under the mystery of a complete and true birth we should recognise that the unity of the nature dwells in the Son Who had begun to be also man. We have thus found that in the Spirit of God the Father is designated; but we understand that the Son is indicated in the same way, when He says: But if I in the Spirit of God cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God come upon you. That is, He shews clearly that He, by the power of His nature, casts out devils, which cannot be cast out save by the Spirit of God. The phrase ‘Spirit of God’ denotes also the Paraclete Spirit, and that not only on the testimony of prophets but also of apostles, when it is said:–This is that which was spoken through the Prophet, It shall come to pass on the last day, saith the Lord, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sans and their daughters shall prophesy And we learn that all this prophecy was fulfilled in the case of the Apostles, when, after the sending of the Holy Spirit, they all spoke with the tongues of the Gentiles.

26. Now we have of necessity set these things forth with this object, that in whatever direction the deception of heretics betakes itself, it might yet be kept in check by the boundaries and limits of the gospel truth. For Christ dwells in us, and where Christ dwells God dwells. And when the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, this indwelling means not that any other Spirit dwells in us than the Spirit of God. But if it is understood that Christ dwells in us through the Holy

Spirit, we must yet recognise this Spirit of God as also the Spirit of Christ. And since the nature dwells in us as the nature of one substantive Being, we must regard the nature of the Son as identical with that of the Father, since the Holy Spirit Who is both the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God is proved to be a Being of one nature. I ask now, therefore, how can They fail to be one by nature? The Spirit of Truth proceeds from the Father, He is sent by the Son and receives from the Son. But all things that the Father hath are the Son’s, and for this cause He Who receives from Him is the Spirit of God but at the same time the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit is a Being of the nature of the Son but the same Being is of the nature of the Father. He is the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead; but this is no other than the Spirit of Christ Who was so raised. The nature of Christ and of God must differ in some respect so as not to be the same, if it can be shewn that the Spirit which is of God is not the Spirit of Christ also.

27. But you, heretic, as you wildly rave and are driven about by the Spirit of your deadly doctrine the Apostle seizes and constrains, establishing Christ for us as the foundation of our faith, being well aware also of that saying of our Lord, If a man love Me, he will also keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. For by this He testified that while the Spirit of Christ abides in us the Spirit of God abides in us, and that the Spirit of Him that was raised from the dead differs not from the Spirit of Him that raised Him from the dead. For they come and dwell in us: and I ask whether they will come as alleges associated together and make Their abode, or in unity of nature? Nay, the teacher of the Gentiles contends that it is not two Spirits–the Spirits of God and of Christ–that are present in those who believe, but the Spirit of Christ which is also the Spirit of God. This is no joint indwelling, it is one indwelling: yet an indwelling under the mysterious semblance of a joint indwelling, for it is not the case that two Spirits indwell, nor is one that indwells different from the other. For there is in us the Spirit of God and there is also in us the Spirit of Christ, and when the Spirit of Christ is in us there is also in us the Spirit of God. And so since what is of God is also of Christ, and what is of Christ is also of God, Christ cannot be anything different from what God is. Christ, therefore, is God, one Spirit with God.

28. Now the Apostle asserts that those words in the Gospel, I and the Father are one, imply unity of nature and not a solitary single Being, as he writes to the Corinthians, Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man in the Spirit of God calleth Jesus anathema. Perceivest thou now, O heretic, in what spirit thou callest Christ a creature? For since they are under a curse who have served the creature more than the Creator–in affirming Christ to be a creature, learn what thou art, since thou knowest full well that the worship of the creature is accursed. And observe what follows, And no one can call Jesus Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. Dost thou perceive what is lacking to thee, when thou deniest Christ what is His own? If thou holdest that Christ is Lord through His Divine nature, thou hast the Holy Spirit. But if He be Lord merely by a name of adoption thou lackest the Holy Spirit, and art animated by a spirit of error: because no one can call Jesus Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. But when thou sayest that He is a creature rather than God, although thou stylest Him Lord, still thou dost not say that He is the Lord. For to thee He is Lord as one of a common class and by a familiar name, rather than by nature. Yet learn from Paul His nature.

29. For the Apostle goes on to say, Now there are diversities of gifts, but there is the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministrations but one and the same Lord; and there are di- versities of workings but the same God, Who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for that which profiteth. In this passage before us we perceive a fourfold statement: in the diversity of gifts it is the same Spirit, in the diversity of ministrations it is the very same Lord, in the diversity of workings it is the same God, and in the bestowal of that which is profitable there is a manifestation of the Spirit. And in order that the bestowal of what is profitable might be recognised in the manifestation of the Spirit, he continues: To one indeed is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith in the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing in the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another kinds of tongues ; to another the interpretation of tongues.

30. And indeed that which we called the fourth statement, that is the manifestation of the Spirit in the bestowal of what is profitable, has a clear meaning. For the Apostle has enumerated the profitable gifts through which this manifestation of the Spirit took place. Now in these diverse activities that Gift is set forth in no uncertain light of which our Lord had spoken to the apostles when He taught them not to depart from Jerusalem; but wait, said He, for the promise of the Father which ye heard from My lips: for John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, which ye shall also receive not many days hence. And again: But ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost cometh upon you; and ye shah be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. He bids them wait for the promise of the Father of which they had beard from His lips. We may be sure that here we have a reference to the Father’s same promise. Hence it is by these miraculous workings that the manifestation of the Spirit takes place. For the gift of the Spirit is manifest, where wisdom makes utterance and the words of life are heard, and where there is the knowledge that comes of God-given insight, lest after the fashion of beasts through ignorance of God we should fail to know the Author of our life; or by faith in God, lest by not believing the Gospel of God, we should be outside His Gospel; or by the gift of healings, that by the cure of diseases we should bear witness to His grace Who bestoweth these things; or by the working of miracles, that what we do may be understood to be the power of God, or by prophesy, that through our understanding of doctrine we might be known to be taught of God; or by discerning of spirits, that we should not be unable to tell whether any one speaks with a holy or a perverted spirit; or by kinds of tongues, that the speaking in tongues may be bestowed as a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit; or by the interpretation of tongues, that the faith of those that hear may not be imperilled through ignorance, since the interpreter of a tongue explains the tongue to those who are ignorant of it. Thus in all these things distributed to each one to profit withal there is the manifestation of the Spirit, the gift of the Spirit being apparent through these marvellous advantages vestowed upon each.

31. Now the blessed Apostle Paul in revealing the secret of these heavenly mysteries, most difficult to human comprehension, has preserved a clear enunciation and a carefully worded caution in order to shew that these diverse gifts are given through the Spirit and in the Spirit (for to be given through the Spirit and in the Spirit is not the same thing), because the granting of a gift which is exercised in the Spirit is yet bestowed through the Spirit. But he sums up these diversities of gifts thus: Now all these things worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one as He will. Now, therefore, I ask what Spirit works these things, dividing to each one according as He wills: is it He by Whom or He in Whom there is this distribution of gifts? But if any one shall dare to say that it is the same Person which is indicated, the Apostle will refute so faulty an opinion, for he says above, And there are diversities of workings, but the same God Who worketh all things in all. So there is one Who distributes and another in Whom the distribution is vouchsafed. Yet know that it is always God Who worketh all these things, but in such a way that Christ works, and the Son in His working performs the Father’s work. And if in the Holy Spirit thou confessest Jesus to be Lord, understand the force of that threefold indication in the Apostle’s letter; forasmuch as in the diversities of gifts, it is the same Spirit, and in the diversities of ministrations it is the same Lord, and in the diversities of workings it is the same God; and again, one Spirit that worketh all things distributing to each according as He will. And grasp the idea if thou canst that the Lord in the distribution of ministrations, and God in the distribution of workings, are this one and the same Spirit Who both works and distributes as He will; because in the distribution of gifts there is one Spirit, and the same Spirit works and distributes.

32. But if this one Spirit of one Divinity, one in both God and Lord through the mystery of the birth, does not please thee, then point out to me what Spirit both works and distributes these diverse gifts to us, and in what Spirit He does this. But, thou must shew me nothing but what accords with our faith, because the Apostle shews us Who is to be understood, saying, For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. He affirms that diversities of gifts come from one Lord Jesus Christ Who is the body of all. Because after he had made known the Lord in ministration, and made known also God in workings, he yet shews that one Spirit both works and distributes all these things, distributing these varieties of His gracious gifts for the perfecting of one body.

33. Unless perchance we think that the Apostle did not keep to the principle of unity in that he said, And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord, and there are diversities of workings, but the same God. So that because he referred ministrations to the Lord and workings to God, be does not appear to have understood one and the same Being in ministrations and operations. Learn how these members which minister are also members which work, when he says, Ye are the body of Christ, and of Him members indeed. For God hath set same in the Church, first apostles, in whom is the word of wisdom; secondly prophets, in whom is the gift of knowledge thirdly teachers, in whom is the doctrine of faith; next mighty works, among which are the healing of diseases, the power to help,, governments by the prophets, and gifts of either speaking or interpreting divers kinds of tongues. Clearly these are the Church’s agents of ministry and work of whom the body of Christ consists; and God has ordained them. But perhaps thou maintainest that they have not been ordained by Christ, because it was God Who ordained them. But thou shall hear what the Apostle says himself: Now to each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. And again, He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens that He might fill all things. And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and same, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministering. Are not then the gifts of ministration Christ’s, while they are also the gifts of God?

34. But if impiety has assumed to itself that because he says, The same Lord and the same God, they are not in unity of nature, I will support this interpretation with what you deem still stronger arguments. For the same Apostle says, But for us there is one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him. And again, One Lord, one .faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is both through all, and in us all. By these words one God and one Lord it would seem that to God only is attributed, as to one God, the property of being God; since the property of oneness does not admit of partnership with another. Verily how rare and hard to attain are such spiritual gifts! How truly is the manifestation of the Spirit seen in the bestowal of such useful gifts! And with reason has this order in the distribution of graces been appointed, that the foremost should be the word of wisdom; for true it is, And no one can call Jesus Lord but in the Holy Spirit, because but through this word of wisdom Christ could not be understood to be Lord; that then there should follow next the word of understanding, that we might speak with understanding what we know, and might know the word of wisdom; and that the third gift should consist of faith, seeing that those leading and higher graces would be unprofitable gifts did we not believe that He is God. So that in the true sense of this greatest and most noble utterance of the Apostle no heretics possess either the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge or the faith of religion, inasmuch as wilful wickedness, being incapable of understanding, is void of knowledge of the word and of genuineness of faith. For no one utters what he does not know; nor can he believe that which he cannot utter; and thus when the Apostle preached one God, a proselyte as He was from the Law, and called to the gospel of Christ, he has attained to the confession of a perfect faith. And lest the simplicity of a seemingly unguarded statement might afford heretics any opportunity for denying through the preaching of one God the birth of the Son, the Apostle has set forth one God while indicating His peculiar attribute in these words, One God the Father, of Whom are all thing, and we in Him, in order that He Who is God might also be acknowledged as Father. Afterwards, inasmuch as this bare belief in one God the Father would not suffice for salvation, he added, And one, our Lord Jesus Christ, throughh Whom are all things, and we through Him, shewing that the purity of saving faith consists in the preaching of one God and one Lord, so that we might believe in one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ. For he knew full well how our Lord had said, For this is the will of My Father, that every one that seeth the Son and believeth on Him should have eternal life. But in fixing the order of the Church’s faith, and basing our faith upon the Father and the Son, he has uttered the mystery of that indivisible and indissoluble unity and faith in the words one God and one Lord.

35. First of all, then, O heretic that hast no part in the Spirit which spoke by the Apostle, learn thy folly. If thou wrongly employest the confession of one God to deny the Godhead of

Christ, on the ground that where one God exists He must be regarded as solitary, and that to be One is characteristic and peculiar to Him Who is One,–what sense wilt thou assign to the statement that Jesus Christ is one Lord? For if, as thou assertest, the fact that the Father alone is God has not left to Christ the possibility of Godhead, it must needs be also according to thee that the fact of Christ being one Lord does not leave God the possibility of being Lord, seeing that thou wilt have it that to be One must be the essential property of Him Who is One. Hence if thou deniest that the one Lord Christ is also God, thou must needs deny that the one God the Father is also Lord. And what will the greatness of God amount to if He be not Lord, and the power of the Lord if He be not God: since it(viz., the greatness or power) causes that to be God which is Lord, and makes that Lord which is God?

36. Now the Apostle, maintaining the true sense of the Lord’s saying, I and the Father are one, whilst He asserts that Both are One, signifies that Both are One not after the manner of the soleness of a single being, but in the unity of the Spirit; for one God the Father and one Christ the Lord, since Each is both Lord and God, do not yet admit in our creed either two Gods or two Lords. So then Each is one, and though one, neither is sole. We shall not be able to express the mystery of the faith except in the words of the Apostle. For there is one God and one Lord, and the fact that there is one God and one Lord proves that there is at once Lordship in God, and Godhead in the Lord. Thou canst not maintain a trojan of person, so making God single; nor yet canst thou divide the Spirit, so preventing the Two from being One. Nor in the one God and one Lord wilt thou be able to separate the power, so that He Who is Lord should not also be God, and He Who is God should not also be Lord. For the Apostle in the enunciation of the Names has taken care not to preach either two Gods or two Lords. And for this reason he has employed such a method of teaching as in the one Lord Christ to set forth also one God, and in the one God the Father to set forth also one Lord. And, not to misguide us into the blasphemy that God is solitary, which would destroy the birth of the Only-begotten God, he has confessed both Father and Christ.

37. Unless perchance the frenzy of utter desperation will venture to rush to such lengths that, inasmuch as the Apostle has called Christ Lord, no one ought to acknowledge Him as aught else save Lord, and that because He has the property of Lord He has not the true Godhead. But Paul knows full well that Christ is God, for he says, Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, Who is Gad over all. It is no creature here who is reckoned as God; nay, it is the God of things created Who is God over all.

38. Now that He Who is God over all is also Spirit inseparable from the Father, learn also from that very utterance of the Apostle, of which we are now speaking. For when he confessed one God the Father from Whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through Whom are all things; what difference, I ask, dirt he intend by saying that all things are from God and that all things are through Christ? Can He possibly be regarded as of a nature and spirit separable from Himself, He from Whom and through Whom are all things? For all things have come into being through the Son out of nothing, and the Apostle has referred them to God the Father, From Whom are all things, but also to the Son, through Whom are all things. And I find here no difference, since by Each is exercised the same power. For if with regard to the subsistence of the universe it was an exact sufficient statement that things created are from God, what need was there to state that the things which are from God are through Christ, unless it be one and the same thing to be through Christ and from God? But as it has been ascribed to Each of Them that They are Lord and God in such wise that each title belongs to Both, so too from Whom and through Whom is here referred to Both; and this to shew the unity of Both, not to make known God’s singleness. The language of the Apostle affords no opening for wicked error, nor is his faith too exalted for careful statement. For he has guarded himself by those specially appropriate words from being understood to mean two Gods or a solitary God: for while he rejects oneness of person he yet does not divide the unity of Godhead. For this from Whom are all things and through Whom are all things, although it did not posit a solitary Deity in the sole possession of majesty, must yet set forth One not different in efficiency, since from Whom are all things and through Whom are all things must signify an Author of the same nature engaged in the same work. He affirms, moreover, that Each is properly of the same nature. For after announcing the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, and after asserting the mystery of His inscrutable judgments and avowing our ignorance of His ways past finding out, he has yet made use of the exercise of human faith, and rendered this homage to the depth of the unsearchable and inscrutable mysteries of heaven, for of Him and through Him and in Him are all things: to Him be glory for ever. Amen. He employs to indicate the one nature, that which cannot but be the work of one nature.

39. For whereas he has specially ascribed to God that all things are from Him, and he has assigned as a peculiar property to Christ, that all things are through Him, and it is now the glory of God that from Him and through Him and in Him are all things; and whereas the Spirit of God is the same as the Spirit of Christ, or whereas in the ministration of the Lord and in the working of God, one Spirit both works and divides, They cannot but be one Whose properties are those of one; since in the same Lord the Son, and in the same God the Father, one and the same Spirit distributing in the same Holy Spirit accomplishes all things. How worthy is this saint of the knowledge of exalted and heavenly mysteries, adopted and chosen to share in the secret things of God, preserving a due silence over things which may not be uttered, true apostle of Christ! How by the announcement of his clear teaching has he restrained the imaginations of human wilfulness, confessing, as he does, one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ, so that meanwhile no one can either preach two Gods or one solitary God; although He Who is not one person cannot multiply into two Gods, nor on the other hand can They Who are not two Gods be understood to be one single person; while meantime the revelation of God as Father demonstrates the true nativity of Christ.

40. Thrust out now your quivering and hissing tongues, ye vipers of heresy, whether it be thou Sabellius or thou Photinus, or ye who now preach that the Only-begotten God is a creature. Whosoever denies the Son shall hear of one God the Father, because inasmuch as a father becomes a father only by having a son, this name Father necessarily connotes the existence of the Son. And again, let him who takes away from the Son the unity of an identical nature, acknowledge one Lord Jesus Christ. For unless through unity of the Spirit He is one Lord room will not be left for God the Father to be Lord. Again, let him who holds the Son to have become Son in time and by His
Incarnation, learn that through Him are all things and we through Him, and that His timeless Infinity was creating all things before time was. And meanwhile let him read again that there is one hope of our calling, and one baptism, and one faith; if, after that, he oppose himself to the preaching of the Apostle, he, being accursed because he framed strange doctrines of his own device, is neither called nor baptized nor believing; because in one God the Father and in one Lord Jesus Christ there lies the one faith of one hope and baptism. And no alien doctrine can boast that it has a place among the truths which belong to one God and Lord and hope and baptism and faith.

41. So then the one faith is, to confess the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father through the unity of an indivisible nature, not confused but inseparable, not intermingled but identical, not conjoined but coexisting, not incomplete but perfect. For there is birth not separation, there is a Son not an adoption; and He is God, not a creature. Neither is He a God of a different kind, but the Father and Son are one: for the nature was not altered by birth so as to be alien from the property of its original. So the Apostle holds the faith of the Son abiding in the Father and the Father in the Son when he proclaims that for him there is one God the Father and one Lord Christ, since in Christ the Lord there was also God, and in God the Father there was also Lord, and They Two are that unity which is God, and They Two are also that unity which is the Lord, for reason indicates that there must be something imperfect in God unless He be Lord, and in the Lord unless He were God. And so since Both are one, and Both are implied under either name, and neither exists apart from the unity, the Apostle has not gone beyond the preaching of the Gospel in his teaching, nor does Christ when He speaks in Paul differ from the words which He spoke while abiding in the world in bodily form.

42. For the Lord had said in the gospels, Work not for the meat which `perisheth, but for the meat which abideth unto life eternal, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him the Father, even God, hath sealed. They said therefore unto Him, What must we do that we may work the works of God? And He said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent. In setting forth the mystery of His Incarnation and His Godhead our Lord has also uttered the teaching of our faith and hope that we should work for food, not that which perisheth but that which abideth for ever; that we should remember that this food of eternity is given us by the Son of Man; that we should know the Son of Man as sealed by God the Father; that we should know that this is the work of God, even faith in Him Whom He has sent. And Who is it Whom the Father has sent? Even He Whom the Father has sealed. And Who is He Whom the Father has sealed? In truth, the Son of Man, even He who gives the food of eternal life. And further who are they to whom He gives it? They who shall work for the food that does not perish. Thus, then, the work for this food is at the same time the work of God, namely, to believe on Him Whom He has sent. But these words are uttered by the Son of Man. And how shall the Son of Man give the food of life eternal? Why, he knows not the mystery of his own salvation, who knows not that the Son of Man, bestowing food unto life eternal, has been sealed by God the Father. At this point I now ask in what sense are we to understand that the Son of Man has been sealed by God the Father?

43. Now we ought to recognise first of all that God has spoken not for Himself but for us, and that He has so far tempered the language of His utterance as to enable the weakness of our nature to grasp and understand it. For after being rebuked by the Jews for having made Himself the equal of God by professing to be the Son of God, He had answered that He Himself did all things that the Father did, and that He had received all judgment from the Father; moreover that He must be honoured even as the Father. And in all these things having before declared Himself Son, He had made Himself equal to the FAther in honour, power and nature. Afterwards He had said that as the Father had life in Himself, so He had given the Son to have life in Himself, wherein He signified that by virtue of the mystery of the birth He possessed the unity of the same nature. For when He says that He has what the Father has, He means that He has the Father’s self. For that God is not after human fashion of a composite being, so that in Him there is a difference of kind between Possessor and Possessed; but all that He is is life, a nature, that is, complete, absolute and infinite, not composed of dissimilar elements but with one life permeating the whole. And since this life was in such wise given as it was possessed, although the fact the it was given manifestly reveals the birth of the Recipient, it yet does not involve a difference of kind since the life given was such as was possessed.

44. Therefore after this manifold and precise revelation of the presence of the Father’s nature in Himself, He goes on to say, For Him hath the Father sealed, even God. It is the nature of a seal to exhibit the whole form of the figure graven upon it, and that an impression taken from it reproduces it in every respect; and since it receives the whole of that which is impressed, it displays also in itself wholly whoever has been impressed upon it. Yet this comparison is not adequate to exemplify the Divine birth, because in seals there is a matter, difference of nature, and an act of impression, whereby the likeness of stronger natures is impressed upon things of a more yielding nature. But the Only-begotten God, Who was also through the Mystery of our salvation the Son of Man, desiring to point out to us the likeness of His Father’s proper nature in Himself, said that He was sealed by God; because the Son of Man was about to give the food of eternal life, and that we thereby might perceive in Him the power of giving food unto eternity, in that He possessed within Himself all the fulness of His Father’s form, even of the God Who sealed Him: so that what God had sealed should display in itself none other than the form of the God Who sealed it. These things indeed the Lord spoke to the Jews, who could not receive His saying because of unbelief.

45. But in us the preacher of the Gospel by the Spirit of Christ Who spoke through him, instils the knowledge of this His proper nature when he says, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to grasp a that He was equal with God, but emplied Himself, taking the form of a servant. For He, Whom God had sealed, could be naught else than the form of God, and that which has been sealed in the form of God must needs present at the same time imaged forth within itself all that God possesses. And for this cause the Apostle taught that He Whom God sealed is God abiding in the form of God. For when about to speak of the Mystery of the batty assumed and born in Him, he says, He thought it not a thing to grasp at that He was equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. As regards His being in the form of God, by virtue of God’s seal upon Him, he still remained God. But inasmuch as He was to take the form of a servant and become obedient unto death, not grasping at His equality with God, He emptied Himself through obedience to take the form of a slave. And He emptied Himself of the form of God, that is, of that wherein He was equal with God–not that He regarded His equality with God as any encroachment,–although He was in the form of God and equal with God and sealed by God as God.

46. At this point I ask whether He Who abides as God in the form of God is a God of another kind, as we perceive in the case of seals in respect of the likenesses which stamp and those which are stamped, since a steel die impressed upon lead or a gem upon wax shapes the figure cut in it or imprints that which stands in relief upon it. But if there be any one so foolish and senseless as to think that that, pertaining to Himself, which God fashions to be God, is aught but God, and that He Who is in the form of God is in any respect anything else save God after the mystery of His Incarnation and of His humility, made perfect through obedience even unto the death of the cross, he shall hear, by the confession of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth and of every tongue, that Jesus is in the glory of God the Father. If then, when His form had become that of a slave He abides in such glory, how, I ask, did He abide when in the form of God? Must not Christ the Spirit have been in the nature of Gods–for this is what is meant by ‘in the glory of God’–when Christ as Jesus, that is, born as man, exists in the glory of God the Father?

47. In all things the blessed Apostle preserves the unchangeable teaching of the Gospel faith. The Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed as God in such wise that neither does the Apostle’s faith, by calling Him a God of a different order, fall away to the confession of two Gods, nor by making God the Son inseparable from the Father does it leave an opening for the unholy doctrine of a single and solitary God. For when he says, in the form of God and in the glory of the Father the Apostle neither teaches that They differ one from another, nor allows us to think of Him as not existing. For He Who is in the form of God neither ends by becoming another God nor Himself loses His Godhead: for He cannot be severed from the form of God since He exists in it, nor is He, Who is in the form of God, not God Just as He Who is in the glory of God cannot be aught else than God, and, since He is God in the glory of God, cannot be proclaimed as another god and one different from the true God, seeing that by reason of the fact that He is in the glory of God He possesses naturally from Him in Whose glory He is, the property of divinity.

48. But there is no danger that the one faith will cease to be such through diversity in its preaching. The Evangelist had taught that our Lord said, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also. But has Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles, forgotten or kept back the meaning of the Lord’s words, when he says, Who is the image of the invisible God? I ask whether He is the visible likeness of the invisible God, and whether the infinite God can also be presented to view under the likeness of a finite form? For a likeness must needs repeat the form of that of which it is the likeness. Let those, however, who will have a nature of a different sort in the Son determine what sort of likeness of the invisible God they wish the Son to be. Is it a bodily likeness exposed to the gaze, and moving from place to place with human gait and motion? Nay, but let them remember that according to the Gospels and the Prophets both Christ is a Spirit and God is a Spirit. If they confine this Christ the Spirit within the bounds of shape and body, such a corporeal Christ will not be the likeness of the invisible God, nor will a finite limitation represent that which is infinite.

49. But, as it is, neither did the Lord leave us in doubt: He who hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also; nor was the Apostle silent as to His nature, Who is the image of the invisible God. For the Lord had said, If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not, teaching them to see the Father in Himself in that He did the works of the Father; that through perceiving the power of His nature they might understand the nature of that power which they perceived. Wherefore the Apostle proclaiming that this is the image of God, says, Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in Him were all things made in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and for Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell, and through Him all things should be reconciled to Him. So through the power of these works He is the image of God. For assuredly the Creator of things invisible is not compelled by any necessity inherent in His nature to be the visible image of the invisible God. And lest He should be regarded as the likeness of the form and not of the nature, He is styled the likeness of the invisible God in order that we may understand by His exercise of the powers (not the invisible attributes) of the Divine nature, that that nature is in Him.

50. He is accordingly the first-born of every creature because in Him all things were created. And lest any one should dare to refer to any other than Him the creation of all things in Himself, he says, All things have been created through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and far Him all things consist. All things then consist for Him Who is before all things, and in Whom are all things. Now this indeed describes the origin of created things. But concerning the dispensation by which He assumed our body, he adds, And He is the head of the body, the Church: Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead: that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell, and that through Him all things should be reconciled to Him. The Apostle has assigned to the spiritual mysteries their material effects. For He Who is the image of the invisible God is Himself the head of His body, the Church, and He Who is the first-born of every creature is at the same time the beginning, the first born from the dead: that in all things He might have the pre-eminence, being for us the Body, while He is also the image of God, since He, Who is the first-born of created things, is at the same time the first-born for eternity; so that as to Him things spiritual, being created in the First-born, owe it that they abide, even so all things human also owe it to Him that in the First-born from the dead they are born again into eternity. For He is Himself the beginning, Who as Son is therefore the image, and because the image, is of God. Further He is the first-born of every created thing, possessing in Himself the origin of the universe: and again He is the head of His body, the Church, and the first-born from the dead, so that in all things He has the pre-eminence. And because all things consist for Him, in Him the fulness of the Godhead is pleased to dwell, for in Him all things are reconciled through Him to Him, through Whom all things were created in Himself.

51. Do you now perceive what it is to be the image of God? It means that all things are created in Him through Him. Whereas all things are created in Him, understand that He, Whose image He is, also creates all things in Him. And since all things which are created in Him are also created through Him, recognize that in Him Who is the image there is present the nature of Him, Whose image He is. For through Himself He creates the things which are created in Him, just as through Himself all things are reconciled in Him. Inasmuch as they are reconciled in Him, recognise in Him the nature of the Father’s unity, reconciling all things to Himself in Him. Inasmuch as all things are reconciled through Him, perceive Him reconciling to the Father in Himself all things which He reconciled through Himself. For the same Apostle says, But all things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Compare with this the whole mystery of the faith of the Gospel. For He Who is seen when Jesus is seen, Who works in His works, and speaks in His words, also reconciles in His reconciliation. And for this cause, in Him and through Him there is reconciliation, because the Father abiding in Him through a like nature restored the world to Himself by reconciliation through and in Him.

52. Thus God out of regard for human weakness has not set forth the faith in bare and uncertain statements. For although the authority of our Lord’s mere words of itself compelled their acceptance, He nevertheless has informed our reason by a revelation which explains their meaning, that we might learn to know His words, I and the Father are one, by means of that which was itself the cause of the unity in question. For in saying that the Father speaks in His words, and works through His working, and judges through His judgment, and is seen in His manifestation, and reconciles through His reconciliation, and abides in Him, while He in turn abides in the Father,–what more fitting words, I ask, could He have employed in His teaching to suit the faculties of our reason, that we might believe in Their unity, than those by which, through the truth of the birth and the unity of the nature, it is declared that whatever the Son did and said, the Father said and did in the Son? This says nothing of a nature foreign to Himself, or added by creation to God, or born into Godhead by a partition of God, but it betokens the divinity of One Who by a perfect birth is begotten perfect God, Who has so confident an assurance of His nature that He says, I in the Father and the Father in Me, and again, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine. For nought of the Godhead is lacking in Him, in Whose working and speaking and manifestation God works and speaks and is beheld. They are not two Gods, Who in their working and words and manifestation put on a semblance of unity. Neither is He a solitary God. Who in the works and words and sight of God, Himself worked and spoke and was seen as God. The Church understands this. The Synagogue does not believe, philosophy does not know, that being One of One, Whole of Whole, God and Son, He has neither by His birth deprived the Father of His completeness, nor failed to possess the same completeness in Himself by right of His birth. And whosoever is caught in this folly of unbelief is a disciple either of the Jews or of the heathen.

53. Now that you may understand the saying of the Lord, when He said, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine, learn the teaching and faith of the Apostle who said, Take heed lest any lead you astray through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world and not after Christ; for in Him dwelleth the fulness of Godhead bodily. That man is of the world and savours of the teaching of men and is the victim of philosophy, who does not know Christ to be the true God, who does not recognise in Him the fulness of Godhead. The mind of man knows only that which it understands, and the world’s powers of belief are limited, since it judges according to the laws of the material elements that that alone is possible which it can see or do. For the elements of the world have come into being out of nothing, but Christ’s continuity of existence did not begin in the non-existent, nor did He ever begin to exist, but He took from the beginning a beginning which is eternal. The elements of the world are either without life, or have issued out of this stage into life, but Christ is life, born to be living God from the living God. The elements of the world have been established by God, but they are not God: Christ as God of God is Himself wholly all that God is. The elements of the world, since they are within it, cannot possibly rise out of their condition and cease to be within it, but Christ, while having God within Himself through the Mystery, is Himself in God. The elements of the universe, generating from themselves creatures with a life like their own, do indeed through the exercise of their bodily functions bestow upon them from their own bodies the beginnings of life, but they are not themselves present as living beings in their offspring, whereas in Christ all the fulness of the Godhead is present in bodily shape.

54. Now I ask, whose Godhead is it whereof the fulness dwells in Him? If it be not that of the Father, what other God do you, misleading preacher of one God, thrust upon me as Him Whose Godhead dwells fully in Christ? But if it be that of the Father, inform me how this fulness dwells in Him in bodily fashion. If you hold that the Father abides in the Son in bodily fashion, the Father, while dwelling in the Son, will not exist in Himself. If on the other hand, and this is more true, the Godhead abiding in Him in bodily shape displays within Him the verity of the nature of God from God, inasmuch as God is in Him, abiding neither through condescension nor through will but by birth, true and wholly in bodily fulness according as He is; and inasmuch as, in the whole compass of His being, He was born by His divine birth to be God, and within the Godhead there is no difference or dissimilarity, except that in Christ He dwells in bodily form, and yet whatever dwells in Him bodily is according to the fulness of Godhead; why follow after the doctrines of men? Why cleave to the teaching of empty falsehoods? Why talk of ‘agreement’ or ‘harmony of will’ or ‘a creature?’ The fulness of Godhead dwells in Christ bodily.

55. The Apostle has herein held fast to the canon of his faith, by teaching that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ bodily; and this, in order that the teaching of the faith might not degenerate into an unholy profession of a oneness of Persons or sinful frenzy break forth into the belief of two different natures. For the fulness of Godhead which dwells in Christ in bodily fashion is neither solitary nor separable; for the fulness in bodily form does not admit any partition from the other bodily fulness, and the indwelling Godhead cannot be regarded as also the dwelling-place of the Godhead. And Christ is so constituted that the fulness of Godhead dwells in Him in bodily fashion, and that this fulness must be held one in nature with Christ. Lay hands on every chance that offers for your quibbles, sharpen the points of your blasphemous wit. Name, at least, the imaginary being whose fulness of Godhead it is which dwells in Christ in bodily fashion. For He is Christ, and there is dwelling in Him in bodily fashion the fulness of Godhead.

56. And if you would know what it is to ‘dwell in bodily fashion,’ understand what it is to speak in one that speaks, to be seen in one who is seen, to work in one who works, to be God in God, whole of whole, one of one; and thus learn what is meant by the fulness of God in bodily shape. Remember, too, that the Apostle does not keep silence on the question, whose Godhead it is, which dwells fully in Christ in bodily fashion, for he says, For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity. So it is His Godhead that dwells in Christ in bodily fashion, not partially but wholly, not parcelwise but in fulness; and so dwelling that the Two are one, and so one, that the One Who is God does not differ from the Other Who is God: Both so equally divine, as a perfect birth engendered perfect God. And the birth exists thus in its perfection, because the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily in God born of God.

Book 9 (Back to the Top)

1. IN the last book we treated of the indistinguishable nature of God the Father and God the Son, and demonstrated that the words, I and the Father are One, go to prove not a solitary God, but a unity of the Godhead unbroken by the birth of the Son: for God can be born only of God, and He that is born God of God must be all that God is. We reviewed, although not exhaustively, yet enough to make our meaning clear, the sayings of our Lord and the Apostles, which teach the inseparable nature and power of the Father and the Son; and we came to the passage in the teaching of the Apostle, where he says, Take heed lest there shall be any one that leadeth you astray through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ; for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. We pointed out that here the words, in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, prove Him true and perfect God of His Father’s nature, neither severing Him from, nor identifying Him with, the Father. On the one hand we are taught that, since the incorporeal God dwelt in Him bodily, the Son as God begotten of God is in natural unity with the Father: and on the other hand, if God dwelt in Christ, this proves the birth of the personal Christ in Whom He dwell. We have thus, it seems to me, more than answered the irreverence of those who refer to a unity or agreement of will such words of the Lord as, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, or, The Father is in Me and I in the Father, or, I and the Father are One, or, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine. Not daring to deny the words themselves, these false teachers, in the mask of religion, corrupt the sense of the words. For instance, it is true that where the unity of nature is proclaimed the agreement of will cannot be denied; but in order to set aside that unity which follows from the birth, they profess merely a relationship of mutual harmony. But the blessed Apostle, after many indubitable statements of the real truth, cuts short their rash and profane assertions, by saying, in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, for by the bodily indwelling of the incorporeal God in Christ is taught the strict unity of Their nature. It is, therefore, not a matter of words, but a real truth that the Son was not alone, but the Father abode in Him: and not only abode, but also worked and spoke: not only worked and spoke, but also manifested Himself in Him. Through the Mystery of the birth the Son’s power is the power of the Father, His authority the Father’s authority, His nature the Father’s nature. By His birth the Son possesses the nature of the Father: as the Father’s image, He reproduces from the Father all that is in the Father, because He is the reality as well as the image of the Father, for a perfect birth produces a perfect image, and the fulness of the Godhead dwelling bodily in Him indicates the truth of His nature.

2. All this is indeed as it is: He, Who is by nature God of God, must possess the nature of His origin, which God possesses, and the indistinguishable unity of a living nature cannot be divided by the birth of a living nature. Yet nevertheless the heretics, under cover of the saving confession of the Gospel faith, are stealing on to the subversion of the truth: for by forcing their own interpretations on words uttered with other meanings and intentions, they are robbing the Son of His natural unity. Thus to deny the Son of God, they quote the authority of His own words, Why callest than Me good? None is good, save one, God. These words, they say, proclaim the Oneness of God: anything else, therefore, which shares the name of God, cannot possess the nature of God, for God is One. And from His words, This is life eternal, that they should know Thee the only true God, they attempt to establish the theory that Christ is called God by a mere title, not as being very God. Further, to exclude Him from the proper nature of the true God, they quote, The Son can do nothing of Himself except that which He hath seen the Father do. They use also the text, The Father is greater than I Finally, when they repeat the words, Of that day and that hour knoweth no one, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only, as though they were the absolute renunciation of His claim to divinity, they boast that they have overthrown the faith of the Church. The birth, they say, cannot raise to equality the nature which the limitation of ignorance degrades. The Father’s omniscience and the Son’s ignorance reveal unlikeness in the Divinity, for God must be ignorant of nothing, and the ignorant cannot be compared with the omniscient. All these passages they neither understand rationally, nor distinguish as to their occasions, nor apprehend in the light of the Gospel mysteries, nor realize in the strict meaning of the words and so they impugn the divine nature of Christ with crude and insensate rashness, quoting single detached utterances to catch the ears of the unwary, and keeping back either the sequel which explains or the incidents which prompted them, though the meaning of words must be sought in the context before or after them.

3. We will offer later an explanation of these texts in the words of the Gospels and Epistles themselves. But first we hold it right to remind the members of our common faith, that the knowledge of the Eternal is presented in the same confession which gives eternal life. He does not, he cannot know his own life, who is ignorant that Christ Jesus was very God, as He was very man. It is equally perilous, whether we deny that Christ Jesus was God the Spirit, or that He was flesh of our body: Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven. So said the Word made flesh; so taught the man Jesus Christ, the Lord of majesty, constituted Mediator in His own person for the salvation of the Church, and being in that very mystery of Mediatorship between men and God, Himself one Person, both man and God. For He, being of two natures united for that Mediatorship, is the full reality of each nature; while abiding in each, He is wanting in neither; He does not cease to be God because He becomes man, nor fail to be mall because He remains for ever God. This is the true faith for human blessedness, to preach at once the Godhead and the manhood, to confess the Word and the flesh, neither forgetting the God, because He is man, nor ignoring the flesh, because He is the Word.

4. It is contrary to our experience of nature, that He should be born man and still remain God; bill it accords with the tenor of our expectation, that being born man, He still remained God, for when the higher nature is born into the lower, it is credible that the lower should also be born into the higher. And, indeed, according to the laws and habits of nature, the working of our expectation even anticipates the divine mystery. For in every tiling that is born, nature has the capacity for increase, but has no power of decrease. Look at the trees, the crops, the cattle. Regard man himself, the possessor of reason. He always expands by growth, he does not contract by decrease; nor does he ever lose the self into which he has grown. He wastes indeed with age, or is cut off by death; he undergoes change by lapse of time, or reaches the end allotted to the constitution of life, yet it is not in his power to cease to be what he is; I mean that he cannot make a new self by decrease from his old self, that is, become a child again from an old man. So the necessity of perpetual increase, which is imposed on our nature by natural law, leads us on good grounds to expect its promotion into a higher nature, since its increase is according to, and its decrease contrary to, nature. It was God alone Who could become something other than before, and yet not cease to be what He had ever been; Who could shrink within the limits of womb, cradle, anti infancy, yet not depart from the power of God. This is a mystery, not for Himself, but for us. The assumption of our nature was no advancement for God, but His willingness to lower Himself is our promotion, for He did not resign His divinity but conferred divinity on man.

5. The Only-begotten God, therefore, when He was born man of the Virgin, and in the fulness of time was about in His own person to raise humanity to divinity, always maintained this form of the Gospel teaching. He taught, namely, to believe Him the Son of God, and exhorted to preach Him the Son of Man; man saying and doing all that belongs to God; God saying and doing all that belongs to man. Yet never did He speak without signifying by the twofold aspect of these very utterances both His manhood and His divinity. Though He proclaimed one God the Father, He declared Himself to be in the nature of the one God, by the truth of His generation. Yet in His office as Son and His condition as man, He subjected Himself to God the Father, since everything that is born must refer itself back to its author, and all flesh must confess itself weak before God. Here, accordingly, the heretics find opportunity to deceive the simple and ignorant. These words, uttered in His human character, they falsely refer to the weakness of His divine nature; and because He was one and the same Person in all His utterances, they claim that He spoke always of His entire self.

6. We do not deny that all the sayings which are preserved of His, refer to His nature. But, if Jesus Christ be man and God, neither God for the first time, when He became man, nor then ceasing to be God, nor after He became Man in God less than perfect man and perfect God, then the mystery of His words must be one and the same with that of His nature. When according to the time indicated, we disconnect His divinity from humanity, then let us also disconnect His language as God from the language of man; when we confess Him God and man at the same time, let us distinguish at the same time tits words as God and His words as man; when after His manhood and Godhead, we recognise again the time when His whole manhood is wholly God, let us refer to that time all that is revealed concerning it. It is one thing, that He was God before He was man, another, that He was man and God, and another, that after being man and God, He was perfect man and perfect God. Do not then confuse the times and natures in the mystery of the dispensation, for according to the attributes of His different natures, He must speak of Himself in relation to the mystery of His humanity, in one way before His birth, in another while He was yet to die, and in another as eternal.

7. For our sake, therefore, Jesus Christ, retaining all these attributes, and being born man in our body, spoke after the fashion of our nature without concealing that divinity belonged to His own nature. In His birth, His passion, and His death, He passed through all the circumstances of our nature, but He bore them all by the power of His own. He was Himself the cause of His birth, He willed to suffer what He could not suffer, He died though He lives for ever. Yet God did all this not merely through man, for He was born of Himself, He suffered of His own free will, and died of Himself. He did it also as man, for He was really born, suffered and died. These were the mysteries of the secret counsels of heaven, determined before the world was made. The Only-begotten God was to become man of His own will, and man was to abide eternally in God. God was to suffer of His own will, that the malice of the devil, working in the weakness of human infirmity, might not confirm the law of sin in us, since God had assumed our weakness. God was to die of His own will, that no power, after that the immortal God had constrained Himself within the law of death, might raise up its head against Him, or put forth the natural strength which He bad created in it. Thus God was born to take us into Himself, suffered to justify us, and died to avenge us; for our manhood abides for ever in Him, the weakness of our infirmity is united with His strength, and the spiritual powers of iniquity and wickedness are subdued m the triumph of our flesh, since God died through the flesh.

8. The Apostle, who knew this mystery, and had received the knowledge of the faith through the Lord Himself, was not unmindful, that neither the world, nor mankind, nor philosophy could contain Him, for he writes, Take heed, lest there shall be any one that leadeth you astray through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Jesus Christ, for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are made full, Who is the head of all principalities and powers. After the announcement that in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, follows immediately the mystery of our assumption, in the words, in Him ye are made full. As the fulness of the Godhead is in Him, so we are made full in Him. The Apostle says not merely ye are made full, but, in Him ye are made full; for all who are, or shall be, regenerated through the hope of faith to life eternal, abide even now in the body of Christ; and afterwards they shall be made full no longer in Him, but in themselves, at the time of which the Apostle says, Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory. Now, therefore, we are made full in Him, that is, by the assumption of His flesh, for in Him dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Nor has this our hope a light authority in Him. Our fulness in Him constitutes His headship and principality over all power, as it is written, That in His name every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things below, and every tongue confess that fester is Lord in the glory of God life Father. Jesus shall be confessed in the glory of God the Father, born in man, yet now no longer abiding in the infirmity of our body. but in the glory of God. Every tongue shall confess this. But though all things in heaven and earth shall bow the knee to Him, yet herein He is head of all principalities and powers, that to Him the whole universe shall bow the knee in submission, in Whom we are made full, Who through the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily, shall be confessed in the glory of God the Father.

9. But after the announcement of the mystery of Christ’s nature, and our assumption, that is, the fulness of Godhead abiding in Christ, and ourselves made full in Him by His birth as man, the Apostle continues the dispensation of human salvation in the words. In whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcison not made with hands, in the stripping off of the body of the flesh, but with the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. We are circumcised not with a fleshly circumcision but with the circumcision of Christ, that is, we are born again into a new man; for, being buried with Him in His baptism, we must die to the old man, because the regeneration of baptism has the force of resurrection. The circumcision of Christ does not mean the putting off of foreskins, but to die entirely with Him, and by that death to live henceforth entirely to Him. For we rise again in Him through faith in God, Who raised Him from the dead; wherefore we must believe in God, by Whose Working Christ was raised from the dead, for our faith rises again in and with Christ.

10. Then is completed the entire mystery of the assumed manhood, And you being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you I say, did He quicken together with Him, having, forgiven you all your trespasses, blotting out the bond written in ordinances, that was against us, which was contrary to us; and He hath taken it out of the way, nailing a to the cross, and having put off from Himself His flesh, He hath made a shew of powers, triumphing over them in Himself. The worldly man cannot receive the faith of the Apostle, nor can any language but that of the Apostle explain his meaning. God raised Christ from the dead; Christ in Whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. But He quickened us also together with Him, forgiving us our sins, blotting out the bond of the law of sin, which through the ordinances made aforetime was against us, taking it out of the way, and fixing it to His cross, stripping Himself of His flesh by the law of death, holding up the powers to shew, and triumphing over them in Himself. Concerning the powers and how He triumphed over them in Himself, and held them up to shew, and the bond which he blotted out, and the life which He gave us, we have already spoken. But who can understand or express this mystery? The working of God raises Christ from the dead; the same working of God quickens us together with Christ, forgives our sins, blots out the bond, and fixes it to the cross; He puts off from Himself His flesh, holds up the powers to shew, and triumphs over them in Himself. We have the working of God raising Christ from the dead, and we have Christ working in Himself the very things which God works in Him, for it was Christ who died, stripping from Himself His flesh. Hold fast then to Christ the man, raised from the dead by God, and hold fast to Christ the God, working out our salvation when He was yet to die. God works in Christ, but it is Christ Who strips from Himself His flesh and dies. It was Christ who died, and Christ Who worked with the power of God before His death, yet it was the working of God which raised the dead Christ, and it was none other who raised Christ from the dead but Christ Himself, Who worked before His death, and put off His flesh to die.

11. Do you understand already the Mysteries of the Apostle’s Faith? Do you think to know Christ already? Tell me, then, Who is it Who strips from Himself His flesh, and what is that flesh stripped off? I see two thoughts expressed by the Apostle, the flesh stripped off, and Him Who strips it off: and then I hear of Christ raised from the dead by the working of God. If it is Christ Who is raised from the dead, and God Who raises Him; Who, pray, strips from Himself the flesh? Who raises Christ from the dead, and quickens us with Him? If the dead Christ be not the same as the flesh stripped off, tell me the name of the flesh stripped off, and expound me the nature of Him Who strips it off. I find that Christ the God, Who was raised from the dead, is the same as He Who stripped from Himself His flesh, and that flesh, the same as Christ Who was raised from the dead; then I see Him holding principalities and powers up to shew, and triumphing in Himself. Do you understand this triumphing in Himself? Do you perceive that the flesh stripped off, and He Who strips it off, are not different from one another? He triumphs in Himself, that is in that flesh which He stripped from Himself. Do you see that thus are proclaimed His humanity and His divinity, that death is attributed to the man, and the quickening of the flesh to the God, though He Who dies and He Who raises the dead to life are not two, but one Person? The flesh stripped off is the dead Christ: He Who raises Christ from the dead is the same Christ Who stripped from Himself the flesh. See His divine nature in the power to raise again, and recognise in His death the dispensation of His manhood. And though either function is performed by its proper nature, yet remember that He Who died, and raised to life, was one, Christ Jesus.

12. I remember that the Apostle often refers to God the Father as raising Christ from the dead; but he is not inconsistent with himself or at variance with the Gospel faith, for the Lord Himself says:–Therefore doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it again. No one shall take it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command have I received from the Father: and again, when asked to shew a sign concerning Himself, that they night believe in Him, He says of the Temple of His body, Detroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up. By the power to take His soul again and to raise the Temple up, He declares Himself God, and the Resurrection His own work: yet He refers all to the authority of His Father’s command. This is not contrary to the meaning of the Apostle, when He proclaims Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God, thus referring all the magnificence of His work to the glory of the Father: for whatever Christ does, the power and the wisdom of God does: and whatever the power and the wisdom of God does, without doubt God Himself does, Whose power and wisdom Christ is. So Christ was raised from the dead by the working of God; for He Himself worked the works of God the Father with a nature indistinguishable from God’s. And our faith in the Resurrection rests on the God Who raised Christ from the dead.

13. It is this preaching of the double aspect of Christ’s Person which the blessed Apostle emphasises. He points out in Christ His human infirmity, and His divine power and nature. Thus to the Corinthians he writes, For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth through the power of God, attributing His death to human infirmity, but His life to divine power: and again to the Romans, For the death, that He died unto sin, He died once: but the life, that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Even so reckon ye yourselves also to he dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus, ascribing His death to sin, that is, to our body, but His life to God, Whose nature it is to live We ought, therefore, he says, to die to our body, that we may live to God in Christ Jesus, Who after the assumption of our body of sin, lives now wholly unto God, uniting the nature He shared with us with the participation of divine immortality.

14. I have been compelled to dwell briefly on this, lest we should forget our Lord Jesus Christ is being treated of as a Person of two natures, since He, Who was abiding in the form of God, took the form of a servant, in which He was obedient even unto death. The obedience of death has nothing to do with the form of God, just as the form of God is not inherent in the form of a servant. Yet through the Mystery of the Gospel Dispensation the I same Person is in the form of a servant and in the form of God, though it is not the same thing to take the form of a servant and to be abiding in the form of God; nor could He Who was abiding in the form of God, take the form of a servant without emptying Himself, since the combination of the two forms would be incongruous. Yet it was not another and a different Person Who emptied Himself and Who took the form of a servant. To take anything cannot be predicated of some one who is not, for he only can take who exists. The emptying of the form does not then imply the abolition of the nature: He emptied Himself, but did not lose His self: He took a new form, but remained what He was. Again, whether emptying or taking, He was the same Person: there is, therefore, a mystery, in that He emptied Himself, and took the form of a servant, but He does not come to an end, so as to cease to exist in emptying Himself, and to be non-existent when He took. The emptying availed to bring about the taking of the servant’s form, but not to prevent Christ, Who was in the form of God, from continuing to be Christ, for it was in very deed Christ Who took the form of a servant. When He emptied Himself to become Christ the man, while continuing to be Christ the Spirit, the changing of His bodily fashion, and the assumption of another nature in His body, did not put an end to the nature of His eternal divinity, for He was one and the same Christ when He changed His fashion, and when He assumed our nature.

15. We have now expounded the Dispensation of the Mysteries, through which the heretics deceive certain of the unlearned into ascribing to infirmity in the divinity, what Christ said and did through His assumed human nature, and attributing to the form of God what is appropriate only to the form of the servant. Let us pass on, then, to answer their statements in detail. We can always safely distinguish the two kinds of utterances, since the only true faith lies in the confession of Jesus Christ as Word and flesh, that is, God and Man. The heretics consider it necessary to deny that our Lord Jesus Christ by virtue of His nature was divine, because He said, Why callest thou Me good? None is good save one, God. Now a satisfactory answer must stand in direct relation to the matter of enquiry, for only in that case will it furnish a reply to the question put. At the outset, then, I would ask these misinterpreters, “Do you think that the Lord resented being called good?” Would He rather have been called bad, as seems to be signified by the words, Why callest thou Me good? I do not think any one is so unreasonable as to ascribe to Him a confession of wickedness, when it was He Who said, Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. He says He is meek and lowly: can we believe that He was angry because He was called good? The two propositions are inconsistent. He Who witnesses to His own goodness would not repudiate the name of Good. Plainly, then, He was not angry because He was called good: and if we cannot believe that He resented being called good, we must ask what was said of Him which He did resent.

16. Let us see, then, how the questioner styled Him, beside calling Him good. He said, Good Master, what good thing shall I do? adding to the title of “good” that of master. If Christ then did not chide because He was called good, it must have been because He was called “good Master.” Further the manner of His reproof shews that it was the disbelief of the questioner, rather than the name of master, or of good, which He resented. A youth, who provides himself upon the observance of the law, but did not know the end of the law, which is Christ, who thought himself justified by works, without perceiving that Christ came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to those who believe that the law cannot save through the faith of justification, questioned the Lord of the law, tile Only-begotten God, as though He were a teacher of the common precepts and the writings of the law. But the Lord, abhorring this declaration of irreverent unbelief, which addresses Him as a teacher of the law, answered, Why callest thou Me good? and to shew how we may know, and call Him good, He added, None is good, save one, God, not repudiating the name of good, if it be given to Him as God.

17. Then, as a proof that He resents the name “good master,” on the ground of the unbelief, which addresses Him as a man, He replies to the vain-glorious youth, and his boast that he had fulfilled the law, One thing thou lackest; go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. There is no shrinking from the title of “good” in the promise of heavenly treasures, no reluctance to be regarded as “master” in the offer to lead the way to perfect blessedness. But there is reproof of the unbelief which draws an earthly opinion of Him from the teaching, that goodness belongs to God alone. To signify that He is both good and God, He exercises the functions of goodness, opening the heavenly treasures, and offering Himself as guide to them. All the homage offered to Him as man He repudiates, but he does not disown that which He paid to God; for at the moment when He confesses that the one God is good, His words and actions are those of the power and the goodness and the nature of the one God.

18. That He did not shrink from the title of good, or decline the office of master, but resented the unbelief which perceived no more in Him than body and flesh, may be proved from the difference of His language, when the apostles confessed Him their Master, Ye call Me Master, and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am; and on another occasion, Be yet not called masters, far Christ is your Master. From the faithful, to whom He is master, He accepts the title with words of praise, but here

He rejects the name “good master,” when He is not acknowledged to be the Lord and the Christ, and pronounces the one God alone good, but without distinguishing Himself from God, for He calls Himself Lord, and Christ, and guide to the heavenly treasures.

19. The Lord always maintained this definition of the faith of the Church, which consists in teaching that there is one God the Father, but without separating Himself from the mystery of the one God, for He declared Himself, by the nature which is His by birth, neither a second God, nor the sole God. Since the nature of the One God is in Him, He cannot be God of a different kind from Him; His birth requires that, being Son, it should be with a perfect Sonship. So He can neither be separated from God nor merged in God. Hence He speaks in words deliberately chosen, so that whatever He claims for the Father, He signifies in modest language to be appropriate to Himself also. Take as an instance the command, Believe in God, and believe also in Me. He is identified with God in honour; how, pray, can He be separated from His nature? He says, Believe in Me also, just as He said Believe in God. Do not the words in Me signify His nature? Separate the two natures, but you must separate also the two beliefs. If it be life, that we should believe in God without Christ, strip Christ of the name and qualities of God. But if perfect life is given to those who believe in God, only when they believe in Christ also, let the careful reader ponder the meaning of the saying, Believe in God, and believe in Me also, for these words, uniting faith in Him with faith in God, unite His nature to God’s. He enjoins first of all the duty of belief in God, but adds to it the command that we should believe in Himself also; which implies that He is God, since they who believe in God must also believe in Him. Yet He excludes the suggestion of a unity contrary to religion, for the exhortation Believe in God, believe in Me also, forbids us to think of Him as alone in solitude.

20. In many, nay almost all His discourses, He offers the explanation of this mystery, never separating Himself from the divine unity, when He confesses God the Father, and never characterising God as single and solitary, when He places Himself in unity with Him. But nowhere does He more plainly teach the mystery of His unity and His birth than when He says, But the witness which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father hath given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me, and the Father which sent Me, He hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. And ye have not His word abiding in you, for Whom He sent, Him ye believe not How can the Father be truly said to have borne witness of the Son, when neither He Himself was seen, nor His voice heard? Yet I remember that a voice was heard from Heaven, which said, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I have been well pleased; hear ye Him. How can it be said that they did not hear the voice of God, when the voice which they heard itself asserted that it was the Father’s voice? But perhaps the dwellers in Jerusalem had not heard what John had heard in the solitude of the desert. We must ask, then, “How did the Father bear witness in Jerusalem?” It is no longer the witness given to John, who heard the voice from heaven, but a witness greater than that of John. What that witness is He goes on to say, The works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works which I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me. We must admit the authority of the testimony, for no one, except the Son sent of the Father, could do such works. His works are therefore His testimony. But what follows? And the Father, which sent Me, He hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form, and ye have not His word abiding in you. Are they blameless, in that they did not know the testimony of the Father, Who was never heard or seen amongst them, and Whose word was not abiding in them? No, for they cannot plead that His testimony was hidden from them; as Christ says, the testimony of His works is the testimony of the Father concerning Him. His works testify of Him that He was sent of the Father; but the testimony of these works is the Father’s testimony; since, therefore, the working of the Son is the Father’s testimony, it follows of necessity that the same nature was operative in Christ, by which the Father testifies of Him. So Christ, Who works the works, and the Father Who testifies through them, are revealed as possessing one inseparable nature through the birth, for the operation of Christ is signified to be itself the testimony of God concerning Him.

21. They are not, therefore, acquitted of blame for not recognising the testimony; for the works of Christ are the Father’s testimony concerning Him. Nor can they plead ignorance of the testimony on the ground that they had not heard the voice of the Testifier, nor seen His form, nor had His word abiding in them. For immediately after the words, Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form, and ye have not His word abiding in you, He points out why the voice was not heard, nor the form seen, and the word did not abide in them, though the Father had testified concerning Him: For Whom He sent, Him ye believe not; that is, if they had believed Him, they would have heard the voice of God, and seen the form of God, and His word would have been in them, since through the unity of Their nature the Father is heard and manifested and possessed in the Son. Is He not also the expression of the Father, since He was sent from Him? Does He distinguish Himself by any difference of nature from the Father, when He says that the Father, testifying of Him, was neither heard, nor seen, nor understood, because they did not believe in Him, Whom the Father sent? The Only-begotten God does not, therefore, separate Himself from God when He confesses God the Father; but, proclaiming by the word “Father” His relationship to God. He includes Himself in the honour due to God.

22. For, in this very same discourse in which He pronounces that His works testify of Him that He was sent of the Father, and asserts that the Father testifies of Him, that He was sent from Him, He says, The honour of Him, Who alone is God, ye seek not. This is not, however, a bare statement, without any previous preparation for the belief in His unity with the Father. Hear what precedes it, Ye will not come to Me that ye may have life. I receive not glory from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves. I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in His name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive glory, from men, and the glory of Him, Who alone is God, ye seek not He disdains the glory of men, for glory should rather be sought of God. It is the mark of unbelievers to receive glory of one another: for what glory can man give to man? He says He knows that the love of God is not in them, and pronounces, as the cause, that they do not receive Him coming in His Father’s name. “Coming in His Father’s name:” what does that mean but “coming in the name of God?” Is it not because they rejected Him Who came in the name of God, that the love of God is not in them? Is it not implied that He has the nature of God, when He says, Ye will not come to Me that ye may have life. Hear what He said of Himself in the same discourse, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they there hear shall live. He comes in the name of the Father: that is, He is not Himself the Father, yet is in the same divine nature as the Father: for as Son and God it is natural for Him to come in the name of the Father. Then, another coming in the same name they will receive: but he is one from whom men will expect glory, and to whom they will give glory in return, though he will feign to have come in the name of the Father. By this, doubtless, is signified the Antichrist, glorying in his false use of the Father’s name. Him they will glorify, and will be glorified of him: but the glory of Him, Who alone is God, they will not seek.

23. They have not the love of God in them, He says, because they rejected Him coming in the name of the Father, but accepted another, who came in the same name, and received glory of one another, but neglected the glory of Him, Who is the only true God. Is it possible to think that He separates Himself from the glory of the only God, when He gives as the reason why they seek not the glory of the only God, that they receive Antichrist, and Himself they will not receive? To reject Him is to neglect the glory of the only God; is not, then, His glory the glory of the only God, if to receive Him steadfastly was to seek the glory of the only God? This very discourse is our witness: for at its beginning we read, That all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent Him. It is only things of the same nature that are equal in honour; equality of honour denotes that there is no separation between the honoured. But with the revelation of the birth is combined, the demand for equality of honour. Since the Son is to be honoured as the Father’, and since they seek not the honour of Him, Who is the only God, He is not excluded from the honour of the only God, for His honour is one and the same as that of God: just as He that honoureth not the Son, hanoureth not the Father also, so he who seeks not the honour of the only God, seeks not the honour of Christ also. Accordingly the honour of Christ is inseparable from the honour of God. By His words, when the news of Lazarus’ sickness was brought to Him, He illustrates the complete identification of Father and Son in honour: This sickness is not unto death, but far the glory of God, that the Son of Man may be glorified through him Lazarus dies for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through him. Is there any doubt that the glory of the Son of God is the glory of God, when the death of Lazarus, which is glorious to God, glorifies the Son of God? Thus Christ is declared to be one in nature with God the Father through His birth, since the sickness of Lazarus is for the glory of God, and at the same time the Mystery of the faith is not violated, for the Son of God is to be glorified through Lazarus. The Son of God is to be regarded as God, yet He is none the less to be confessed also Son of God: for by glorifying God through Lazarus, the Son of God is glorified.

24. By the mystery of the divine nature we are forbidden to separate the birth of the living Son from His living Father. The Son of God suffers no such change of kind, that the truth of His Father’s nature does not abide in Him. For even where, by the confession of one God only, He seems to disclaim for Himself the nature of God by the term “only,” nevertheless, without destroying the belief in one God, He places Himself in the unity of the Father’s nature. Thus, when the Scribe asked Him, which is the chief commandment of the law, He answered, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy spirit, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it, Than shall love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. They think that He severs Himself from the nature and worship of the One God when He pronounces as the chief commandment, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and does not even make Himself the object of worship in the second commandment, since the law bids us to love our neighbour, as it bids us to believe in one God. Nor must we pass over the answer of the Scribe, Of a truth thou hast well said, that God is one, and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart, and all the strength and all the soul, and to love his neighbour as himself, this is greater than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. The answer of the Scribe seems to accord with the words of the Lord, for He too proclaims the innermost and inmost love of one God, and professes the love of one’s neighbour as real as the love of self, and places love of God and love of one’s neighbour above all the burnt offerings of sacrifices. But let us see what follows.

25. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of Gads. What is the meaning of such moderate praise? Believe in one God, and love Him with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy heart, and love thy neighbour as thyself; if this be the faith which makes man perfect for the Kingdom of God, why is not the Scribe already within, instead of not far from the Kingdom of Heaven? It is in another strain that He grants the Kingdom of Heaven to those who clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and visit the sick and the prisoner, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; or rewards the poor in spirit, Blessed are the poor in spirit: far theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Their gain is perfect, their possession complete, their inheritance of the kingdom prepared for them is secured. But was this young man’s confession short of theirs? His ideal of duty raises love of neighbour to the level of love of self; what more did he want to attain to the perfection of good conduct? To be occasionally charitable, and ready to help, is not perfect love; but perfect love has fulfilled the whole duty of charity, when a man leaves no debt to his neighbour unpaid, but gives him as much as he gives ,himself. But the Scribe was debarred from perfection, because he did not know the mystery which had been accomplished. He received, indeed, the praise of the Lord for his profession of faith, he heard the reply that he was not far from the kingdom, but he was not put in actual possession of the blessed hope. His course, though ignorant, was favourable; he put the love of God before all things, and charity towards his neighbour on a level with love of self. And when he ranked the love of God even higher than charity towards his neighbour, he broke through the law of burnt offerings and sacrifices; and that was not far from the mystery of the Gospel.

26. We may perceive also, from the words of our Lord Himself, why He said, Thou art not far from the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than, Thou shall be in the Kingdom of Heaven. Then follows: And no man after that durst ask Him any question. And Jesus answered and said, as He taught in the Temple, How say the Scribes that the Christ is the Son of David? David himself saith in the Holy Spirit, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou an My right hand, till I make Thine enemies the footstool of Thy feet (Ps. cx. 1). David himself calleth Him Lord, and whence is He his Son? The Scribe is not far from the Kingdom of God when he confesses one God, Who is to be loved above all things. But his own statement of the law is a reproach to him that the mystery of the law has escaped him, that he does not know Christ the Lord, the Son of God, by the nature of His birth to be included in the confession of the one God. The confession of one God according to the law seemed to leave no room for the Son of God in the mystery of the one Lord; so He asks the Scribe, how he can call Christ the Son of David, when David calls Him his Lord, since it is against the order of nature that the son of so great a Patriarch should be also his Lord. He would bid the Scribe, who regards Him only in respect of His flesh, and His birth from Mary, the daughter of David, to remember that, in respect of His Spirit, He is David’s Lord rather than his son; that the words, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, do not sever Christ from the mystery of the One Lord, since so great a Patriarch and Prophet calls Him his Lord, as the Son begotten of the Lord before the morning star. He does not pass over the law, or forget that none other is to be confessed Lord, but without violating the faith of the law, He teaches that He is Lord, in that He had His being by the mystery of a natural birth from the substance of the incorporeal God. He is one, born of one, and the nature of the one Lord has made Him by nature Lord.

27. What room is any longer left for doubt? The Lord Himself proclaiming that the chief commandment of the law is to confess and love the one Lord, proves Himself to be Lord not by words of His own, but by the Prophet’s testimony, always signifying, however, that He is Lord, because He is the Son of God. By virtue of His birth He abides in the mystery of the one God, for the birth transmitting with it, as it did, the nature of God is not the issuing forth of another God with a different nature; and, because the generation is real, neither is the Father degraded from being Lord, nor is the Son born less than Lord. The Father retains His authority, the Son obtains His nature. God the Father is one Lord, but the Only-begotten God the Lord is not separated from the One, since He derives His nature as Lord from the one Lord. Thus by the law Christ teaches that there is one Lord; by the witness of the prophets He proves Himself Lord also.

28. May the faith of the Gospel ever profit thus by the rash contentions of the ungodly to defend itself with the weapons of their attack, and conquering with the arms prepared for its destruction, prove that the words of the one Spirit are the doctrine of the one faith! For Christ is none other than. He is preached, namely the true God, and abiding in the glory of the one true God. Just as He proclaims Himself Lord out of the law, even when He seems to deny the fact, so in the Gospels He proves Himself the true God, even when He appears to confess the opposite. To escape the acknowledgment that He is the true God, the heretics plead that He said, And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God. and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. When He says, Thee, the only true God, they think He excludes Himself from the reality of God by the restriction of solitariness; for the only true God cannot be understood except as a solitary God. It is true the Apostolic faith does not suffer us to believe in two true Gods, for nothing which is foreign to the nature of the one God can be put on equality with the truth of that nature; and there is more than one God in the reality of the one God, if there exists outside the nature of the only true God a true God of another kind, not possessing by virtue of His birth the same nature with Him.

29. But by these very words He proclaims Himself plainly to be true God in the nature of the only true God. To understand this, let our answer proceed from statements which He made previously, though the connection is unbroken right down to these words. We can then establish the faith step by step, and let the confidence of our freedom rest at last on the summit of our argument, the true Godhead of Christ. There comes first the mystery of His words, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father ; and, Do ye not believe Me that ! am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say unto you, I speak not front Myself; but the Father abiding in Me, Himself doeth His works. Believe Me that I and in the Father and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. At the close of this discourse, teeming with deep mysteries, follows the reply of the disciples, Now know we that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that Thou camest forth front God. They perceived in Him the nature of God l by the divine powers which He exercised; for to know all things, and to read the thoughts of the heart belongs to the Son, not to the mere messenger of God. They confessed, therefore, that He was come from God, because the power of the divine nature was in Him.

30. The Lord praised their understanding, and answered not that He was sent from, but that He was come out from, God, signifying by the words “come out from” the great fact of His birth from the incorporeal God. He had already proclaimed the birth in the same language, when He said, Ye love Me, and believe that I came out from the Father, and came from the Father into this world. He had come from the Father into this world, because He had come out from God. To shew that He signifies His birth by the coming out, He adds that He has come from the Father; and since He had come out from God, because He had come from the Father, that “coming out,” followed, as it is, by the confession of the Father’s name, is simply and solely the birth. To the Apostles, then, as understanding this mystery of His coming out, He continues, Ye believe now, Behold the hour cometh, yea is come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. He would shew that the “coming out” is not a separation from God the Father, but a birth, which by His being born continues in Him the nature of God the Father, and therefore He adds that He is not alone, but the Father is with Him; in power, that is, and unity of nature, for the Father was abiding in Him, speaking in His words, and working in His works. Lastly to shew the reason of this whole discourse, He adds, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me ye may have peace. In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, for I have overcame the worlds. He has spoken these things unto them, that in Him they may abide in peace, not torn asunder by the passion of dissension over debates about the faith. He was left alone, but was not alone, for He had come out from God, and there abode still in Him the God, from Whom He had come out. Therefore he bade them, when they were harassed in the world, to wait for His promises, for since He had come out from God, and God was still in Him, He had conquered the world.

31. Then, finally, to express in words the whole Mystery, He raised His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come: glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee. Even as Thou gavest Him authority over all flesh, that, whatsoever Thou hast given Him, to them He should give eternal life. Do you call Him weak because He asks to be glorified? So be it, if He does not ask to be glorified in order that He may Himself glorify Him by Whom He is glorified. Of the receiving and giving of glory we have spoken in another book, and it would be superfluous to go over the question again. But of this at least we are certain, that He prays for glory in order that the Father may be glorified by granting it. But perhaps He is weak in that He receives power over all flesh. And indeed the receiving of power might be a sign of weakness if He were not able to give to those whom He receives life eternal. Yet the very fact of receiving is used to prove inferiority of nature. It might, if Christ were not true God by birth as truly as is the Unbegotten. But if the receiving of power signifies neither more nor less than the Birth, by which He received all that He has, that gift does not degrade the Begotten, because it makes Him perfectly and entirely what God is. God Unbegotten brought God Only-begotten to a perfect birth of divine blessedness: it is, then, the mystery of the Father to be the Author of the Birth, but it is no degradation to the Son to be made the perfect image of His Author by a real birth. ‘The giving of power over all flesh, and this, in order that to all flesh might be given eternal life, postulates the Fatherhood of the Giver and the Divinity of the Receiver: for by giving is signified that the One is the Father, and in receiving the power to give eternal life, the Other remains God the Son. All power is therefore natural and congenital to the Son of God; and though it is given, that does not separate Him from His Author, for that which is given is the property of His Author, power to bestow eternal life. to change the corruptible into the incorruptible. The Father gave all, the Son received all; as is plain from His words, All things, whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. 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. The Only-be-gotten, therefore, taught that He had all that the Father has, and that the Holy Spirit should receive of Him: as He says, All things, whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine; therefore I said, He shall take of Mine. All that the Father hath are His, delivered and received: but these gifts do not degrade His divinity, since they give Him the same attributes as the Father.

32. These are the steps by which He advances the knowledge of Himself. He teaches that He is come out from the Father, pro-. claims that the Father is with Him, and testifies that He has conquered the world. He is to be glorified of the Father, and will glorify Him: He will use the power He has received, to give to all flesh eternal life. Then hear the crowning point, which concludes the whole series, ,And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. Learn, heretic, to confess, if you cannot believe, the faith which gives eternal life. Separate, if you can, Christ from God, the Son from the Father, God over all from the true God, the One from the Only: if, as you say, eternal life is to believe in one only true God without Jesus Christ. But if there is no eternal life in a confession of the only true God, which separates Christ from Him, how, pray, can Christ be separated from the true God for our faith, when He is not separable for our salvation?

33. I know that laboured solutions of difficult questions do not find favour with the reader, but it will perhaps be to the advantage of the faith if I permit myself to postpone for a time the exposition of the full truth, and wrestle against the heretics with these wonts of the Gospel. You hear the statement of the Lord, This is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. What is it, pray, which suggests to you that Christ is not the true God? No further indication is given to shew you what you should think of Christ. There is nothing but Jesus Christ: not Son of Man, as He generally called Himself: not San of God, as He often declared Himself: not the living bread which cometh down from Heaven, as He repeated to the scandal of many. He says, Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ, omitting all His usual names and titles, natural and assumed. Hence, if the confession of the only true God, and at Jesus Christ, gives us eternal life, without doubt the name Jesus Christ has here the full sense of that of God.

34. But perhaps by saying, Thee the only, Christ severs Himself from communion and unity with God. Yes, but after the words, Thee the only true God, does He not immediately continue, and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ? I appeal to the sense of the reader: what must we believe Christ to be, when we are commanded to believe in Him also, as well as the Father the only true God? Or, perhaps, if the Father is the only true God, there is no room for Christ to be God. It might be so, if, because there is one God the Father, Christ were not the one Lord. The fact that God the Father is one, leaves Christ none the less the one Lord: and similarly the Father’s one true Godhead makes Christ none the less true God: for we can only obtain eternal life if we believe in Christ, as well as in the only true God

35. Come, heretic, what will your fatuous doctrine instruct us to believe of Christ; Christ, Who dispenses eternal life, Who is glorified of, and glorifies, the Father, Who overcame the world, Who, deserted, is not alone, but has the Father with Him, Who came out from God, and came from the Father? He is born with such divine powers; what of the nature and reality of God will you allow Him? It is in vain that we believe in the only true God the Father, unless we believe also in Him, Whom He sent, even Jesus Christ. Why do you hesitate? Tell us, what is Christ to be confessed? You deny what has been written: what is left, but to believe what has not been written? O unhappy wilfulness ! O falsehood striving against the truth! Christ is united in belief and confession with the only true God the Father: what faith is it, pray, to deny Him to be true God, and to call Him a creature, when it is no faith to believe in the only true God without Christ? But you are narrow, heretic, and unable to receive the Holy Spirit. The sense of the heavenly words escapes you; stung with the asp’s poison of error, you forget that Christ is to be confessed true God in the faith of the only true God, if we would obtain eternal life.

36. But the faith of the Church, while confessing the only true God the Father, confesses Christ also. It does not confess Christ true God without the Father the only true God; nor the Father the only true God without Christ. It confesses Christ true God, because it confesses the Father the only true God. Thus the fact that God the Father is the only true God constitutes Christ also true God. The Only-begotten God suffered no change of nature by His natural birth: and He Who, according to the nature of His divine origin was born God from the living God, is, by the truth of that nature, inalienable from the only true God. Thus there follows from the true divine nature its necessary result, that the outcome of true divinity must be a true birth, and that the one God could not produce from Himself a God of a second kind. The mystery of God consists neither in simplicity, nor in multiplicity: for neither is there another God, Who springs from God with qualities of His own nature, nor does God remain as a single Person, for the true birth of the Son teaches us to confess Him as Father. The begotten God did not, therefore, lose the qualities of His nature: He possesses the natural power of Him, Whose nature He retains in Himself by a natural birth. The divinity in Him is not changed, or degenerate, for if His birth had brought with it any defect, it would more justly cast upon the Nature, through which He came into being, the reflection of having failed to implant in its offspring the properties of itself. The change would not degrade the Son, Who had passed into a new substance by birth, but the Father, Who had been unable to maintain the constancy of His nature in the birth of the Son, and had brought forth something external and foreign to Himself.

37. But, as we have often said, the inadequacy of human ideas has no corresponding inadequacy in the unity of God the Father and God the Son: as though there were extension, or series, or flux, like a spring pouring forth its stream from the source, or a tree supporting its branch on the stem, or fire giving out its heat into space. In these cases we have expansion without any separation: the parts are bound together and do not exist of themselves, but the heat is in the fire, the branch in the tree, the stream in the spring. So the thing itself alone has an independent existence; the one does not pass into the other, for the tree and the branch are one and the same, as also the fire and the heat, the spring and the stream. But the Only-begotten God is God, subsisting by virtue of a perfect and ineffable birth, true Scion of the Unbegotten God, incorporeal offspring of an incorporeal nature, living and true God of living and true God, God of a nature inseparable from God. The fact of birth does not make Him God with a different nature, nor did the generation, which produced His substance, change its nature in kind.

38. Put in the dispensation of the flesh which He assumed, and through the obedience whereby He emptied Himself of the form of God, Christ, born man, took to Himself a new nature, not by loss of virtue or nature but by change of fashion. He emptied Himself of the form of God and took the form of a servant, when He was born. But the Fathers nature, with which He was in natural unity, was not affected by this assumption of flesh; while Christ, though abiding in the virtue of His nature, yet in respect of the humanity assumed in this temporal change, lost together with the form of God the unity with the divine nature also. But the Incarnation is summed up in this, that the whole Son, that is, His manhood as well as His divinity, was permitted by the Father’s gracious favour to continue in the unity of the Father’s nature, and retained not only the powers of the divine nature, but also that nature’s self. For the object to be gained was that man might become God. But the assumed manhood could not in any wise abide in the unity of God, unless, through unity with God, it attained to unity with the nature of God. Then, since God the Word was in the nature of God, the Word made flesh would in its turn also be in the nature of God. Thus, if the flesh were united to the glory of the Word, the man Jesus Christ could abide in the glory of God the Father, and the Word made flesh could be restored to the unity of the Father’s nature, even as regards His manhood, since the assumed flesh had obtained the glory of the Word. Therefore the Father must reinstate the Word in His unity, that the offspring of His nature might again return to be glorified in Himself: for the unity had been infringed by the new dispensation, and could only be restored perfect as before if the Father glorified with Himself the flesh assumed by the Son.

39. For this reason, having already so well prepared their minds for the understanding of this belief, the Lord follows up the words, And this is eternal life, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ, with a reference to the obedience displayed in His incarnation I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have accomplished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And then, that we might know the reward of His obedience, and the secret purpose of the whole divine plan, He continued, And now, O Father, glorify Thou slate with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. Does any one deny that Christ remained in the nature of God or believe Him separable and distinct from the only true God? Let him tell us what is the meaning of this prayer. And now, 0 Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self. For what purpose should the Father glorify Him with His own self? What is the signification of these words? What follows from their signification? The Father neither stood in need of glory, nor had He emptied Himself of the form of His glory. How should He glorify the Son with His own self, and with that glory which He had with Him before the world was made? And what is the sense of which He had with Him? Christ does not say, “The glory which I had before the world was made, when I was with Thee,” but, The glory which I had with Thee. When I was with Thee would signify, “when I dwelt by Thy side:” but which I had with Thee teaches the Mystery of His nature. Further, Glorify Me with Thyself is not the same as “Glorify Me.” He does not ask merely that He may be glorified, that He may have some special glory of His own, but prays that He may be glorified of the Father with Himself. The Father was to glorify Him with Himself, that He might abide in unity with Him as before, since the unity with the Father’s glory had left Him through the obedience of the Incarnation. And this means that the glorifying should reinstate Him in that nature, with which He was united by the Mystery of His divine birth; that He might be glorified of the Father with Himself; that He should resume all that He had had with the Father before; that the assumption of the servant’s form should not estrange from Him the nature of the form of God, but that God should glorify in Himself the form of the servant, that it might become for ever the form of God, since He, Who had before abode in the form of God, was now in the form of a servant. land since the form of a servant was to be glorified in the form of God, it was to be glorified in Him in Whose form the fashion of the servant’s form was to be honoured.

40. But these words of the Lord are not new, or attested now for the first time in the teaching of the Gospels, for He testified to this very mystery of God the Father glorifying the Son with Himself by the noble joy at the fulfilment of His hope, with which He rejoiced at the very moment when Judas went forth to betray Him. Filled with joy that His purpose was now to be fully accomplished. He said, Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, He hath glorified Him in Himself, and straightway hath He glorified Him. How can we whose souls are burdened with bodies of clay, whose minds are polluted and stained with foul consciousness of sin, be so puffed up as to judge of His divine claim? How can we set up ourselves to criticise His heavenly nature, rebelling against God with our unhallowed and blasphemous disputations? The Lord enunciated the faith of the Gospel in the simplest words that could be found, and fitted His discourses to our understanding, so far as the weakness of our nature allowed Him, without saying anything unworthy of the majesty of His own nature. The signification of His opening words cannot, I think, be doubted, Now is the Son of Man glorified; that is, all the glory which He obtains is not for the Word but for His flesh: not for the birth of His Godhead, but for the dispensation of His manhood born into the world. What then, may I ask, is the meaning of what follows, And God is glorified in Him? I hear that God is glorified in Him; but what that can be according to your interpretation, heretic, I do not know. God is glorified in Him, in the Son of Man, that is: tell me, then, is the Son of Man the same as the Son of God? And since the Son of Man is not one and the Son of God another, but He Who is Son of God is Himself also Son of Man, Who, pray, is the God Who is glorified in this Son of Man, Who is also Son of God?

41. So God is glorified in the Son of Man, Who is also Son of God. Let us see, then, what is this third clause which is added, If God is glorified in Him, God hath also glorified Him in Himself. What, pray, is this secret mystery? God, in the glorified Son of Man, glorifies a glorified God in Himself The glory of God is in the Son of Man, and the glory of God is in the glory of the Son of Man. God glorifies in Himself, but man is not glorified through himself. Again the God Who is glorified in the man, though He receives the glory, yet is Himself none other than God. But since in the glorifying of the Son of Man. the God, Who glorifies, glorifies God in Himself, I recognise that the glory of Christ’s nature is taken into the glory of that nature which glorifies His nature. God does not glorify Himself; but He glorifies in Himself God glorified in man. And this “glorifies in Himself,” though it is not a glorifying of Himself, yet means that He took the nature, which He glorified, into the glory of His own nature Since the God, Who glorifies the God glorified in man, glorifies Him in Himself, He proves that the God Whom He glorifies is in Himself, for He glorifies Him in Himself. Come, heretic, whoever you be, produce the inextricable objections of your tortuous doctrine; though they bind themselves in their own tangles, yet, marshal them as you will, we shall not be in danger of sticking in their snares. The Son of Man is glorified; God is glorified in Him; God glorifies in Himself Him, Who is glorified in the man. It is not the same that the Son of Man is glorified, as that God is glorified in the Son of Man, or that God glorifies in Himself Him, Who is glorified in the man. Express in the terms of your unholy belief, what you mean by God being glorified in the Son of Man. It must certainly be either Christ Who is glorified in the flesh, or the Father Who is glorified in Christ. If it is Christ Christ is manifestly God, Who is glorified in the flesh. If it is the Father, we are face to face with the mystery of the unity, since the Father is glorified in the Son. Thus, if you allow it to be Christ, despite yourself you confess Him God; if you understand it of God the Father, you cannot deny the nature of God the Father in Christ. Let this be enough concerning the glorified Son of Man and God glorified in Him. But when we consider that God glorifies in Himself God, Who is glorified in the Son of Man, by what loophole, pray, can your profane doctrine escape from the confession that Christ is very God according to the verity of His nature? God glorifies in Himself Christ, Who was born a man; is Christ then outside Him, when He glorifies Him in Himself? He restores to Christ in Himself the glory which He had with Himself, and now that the servant’s form, which He assumed, is in turn assumed into the form of God, God Who is glorified in man is glorified in Himself; He was in God’s self before the dispensation, by which He emptied Himself, and now He is united with God’s self, both in the form of the servant, and in the nature belonging to His birth. For His birth did not make Him God of a new and foreign nature, but by generation He was made natural Son of a natural Father. After His human birth, when He is glorified in His manhood, He shines again with the glory of His own nature; the Father glorifies Him in Himself, when He is assumed into the glory of His Father’s nature, of which He had emptied Himself in the dispensation.

42. The words of the Apostle’s faith are a barrier against your reckless and frenzied profanity, which forbids you to turn the freedom of speculation into licence, and wander into error. Every tongue, he says, shall confess that Jesus is Lord in the glory of God the Father. The Father has glorified Him in Himself, therefore He must be confessed in the glory of the Father. And if He is to be confessed in the Father’s glory, and the Father has glorified Him in Himself, is He not plainly all that His Father is, since the Father has glorified Him in Himself and He is to be confessed in the Father’s glory? He is now not merely in the glory of God, but in the glory of God the Father. The Father glorifies Him. not with a glory from without, but in Himself. By taking Him back into that glory, which belongs to Himself, and which He had with Him before, the Father glorifies Him with Himself and in Himself. Therefore this confession is inseparable from Christ even in the humiliation of His manhood, as He says, And this is eternal life, that they should know Thee, the only true God, Him, Whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ; for firstly there is no life eternal in the confession of God the Father without Jesus Christ, and secondly Christ is glorified in the Father. Eternal life is precisely this, to know the only true God and Him, Whom He sent, even Jesus Christ; deny that Christ is true God, if you can have life by believing in God without Him. As for the truth that God the Father is the only true God let this be untrue of the God Christ, unless Christ’s glory is wholly in the only true God the Father. For if the Father glorifies Him in Himself, and the Father is the only true God, Christ is not outside the only true God, since the Father, Who is the only true God, glorifies in Himself Christ, Who is raised into the glory of God. And in that He is glorified by the only true God in Himself, He is not estranged from the only true God, for He is glorified by the true God in Himself, the only God.

43. But perhaps the godless unbeliever meets the pious believer with the assertion that we cannot understand of the true God a confession of powerlessness, such as, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing. If the twofold angers of the Jews had not demanded a twofold answer, it would indeed have been a confession of weakness, that the Son could do nothing of Himself, except what He had seen the Father doing. But Christ was answering in the same sentence the double charge of the Jews, who accused Him of violating the Sabbath, and of making Himself equal with God by calling God His Father. Do you think, then, that by fixing attention upon the form of His reply you can withdraw it for the substance? We have already treated of this passage in another book; yet as the exposition of the faith gains rather than loses by repetition, let us ponder once more on the words, since the occasion demands it of us.

44. Hear how the necessity for the reply arose:– And for this cause did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He did these things on the Sabbath. Their anger was so kindled against Him, that they desired to kill Him, because He did His works on the Sabbath. But let us see also what the Lord answered, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. Tell us, heretic, what is that work of the Father; since through the Son, and in the Son, are all things, visible and invisible? You, who are wise beyond the Gospels, have doubtless obtained from some other secret source of learning the knowledge of the Father’s work, to reveal Him to us. But the Father works in the Son, as the Son Himself says, The words that I say unto you, I speak not from Myself, but the Father who abideth in Me, He doeth His works. Do you grasp the meaning of the words, My Father worketh even until now? He speaks that we may recognise in Him the power of the Father’s nature employing the nature, which has that power, to work on the Sabbath. The Father works in Him while He works; without doubt, then, He works along with the working of the Father, and therefore He says, My Father worketh even until now, that this present work of His words and actions may be regarded as the working of the Father’s nature in Himself. This worketh even until now identifies the time with the moment of speaking, and therefore we must regard Him as referring to that very work of the Father’s which He was then doing, for it implies the working of the Father at the very time of His words. And lest the Faith, being restricted to a knowledge of the Father only, should fair of the hope of eternal life, He adds at once, And I work; that is, what the Father worketh even until now, the Son also worketh. Thus He expounds the whole of the faith; for the work which is now, belongs to the present time; and if the Father works, and the Son works, no union exists between them, which merges them into a single Person. But the wrath of the bystanders is now redoubled. Hear what follows, For this cause, therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but because He called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Allow me here to repeat that, by the judgment of the Evangelist and by common consent of mankind, the Son is in equality with the Father’s nature; and that equality cannot exist except by identity of nature. The begotten cannot derive what it is save from its source and the thing generated cannot be foreign to that which generates it, since from that alone has it come to be what it is. Let us see, then, what the Lord replied to this double outburst of wrath, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing: for what things soever He doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.

45. Unless we regard these words as an integral part of His statement, we do them violence by forcing upon them an arbitrary and unbelieving interpretation. But if His answer refers to the grounds of their anger, our faith expresses rightly what He meant to teach, and the perversity of the ungodly is left without support for its profane delusion. Let us see then whether this reply is suitable to an accusation of working on the Sabbath. The Son can do nothing, of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing. He has said just above, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. If by virtue of the authority of the Father’s nature within Him, all that He works, He works with the Father in Him, and the Father works even until now on the Sabbath, then the Son, Who pleads the authority of the Father’s working, is acquitted of blame.

For the words, can do nothing, refer not to strength hut to authority; He can do nothing of Himself, except what He has seen. Now, to have seen does not confer the power to do, and therefore He is not weak, if He can do nothing without having seen, but His authority is shewn to depend on seeing. Again the words, unless He hath seen, signify the consciousness derived from seeing, as when He says to the Apostles, Behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are while already unto harvest. With the consciousness that the Father’s nature is abiding in Him, and working in Him when He works, to forestall the idea that the Lord of the Sabbath has violated the Sabbath, He pronounces that, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing. And thus He demonstrates that His every action springs from His consciousness of the nature working within Him; when He works on the Sabbath, the Father worketh even until now on the Sabbath. In what follows, however, He refers to the second cause of their indignation, For what things soever He doeth, the Son doeth in like manner. Is it false that, what things soever the Father doeth, the Son doeth in like manner? Does the Son of God admit a distinction between the Father’s power and working and His own? Does He shrink from claiming the equality of homage befitting an equal in power and nature? If He does, disdain His weakness, and degrade Him from equality of nature with the Father But He Himself says only a little later, That all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent Him. Discover, if you can, the inferiority, when Both are equal in honour; make out the weakness, when Both work with the same power.

46. Why do you misrepresent the occasion of the reply in order to detract from His divinity? To the working on the Sabbath He answers that He can do nothing of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing: to demonstrate His equality, He professes to do what things soever the Father doeth. Enforce your charge of weakness, by His answer concerning the Sabbath, if you can disprove that what things soever the Father doeth, the Son doeth in like manner. But if what things soever includes all things without exception; in what is He found weak, when there is nothing that the Father doeth, which He cannot also do? Where is His claim to equality refuted by any episode of weakness, when one and the same honour is demanded for Him and for the Father? If Both have the same power in operation, and both claim the same reverence in worship, I cannot understand what dishonour of inferiority can exist, since Father and Son possess the same power of operation, and equality of honour.

47. Although we have treated this passage as the facts themselves explain it, yet to prove that the Lord’s words, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father doing, so far from supporting this unholy degradation of His nature, testify to His conscious possession of the nature of the Father, by Whose authority He worked on the Sabbath, let us shew them that we can produce another saying of the Lord, which bears upon the question, I do nothing of Myself, but as the Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He that sent Me is with Me: He hath not left Me alone, for I do always the things that are pleasing to Him. Do you feel what is implied in the words, The San can do nothing, but what He hath seen the Father doing? Or what a mystery is contained in the saying, I can do nothing of myself, and He hath not left me alone, far I do always the things that are pleasing to Him? He does nothing of Himself, because the Father abides in Him; can you reconcile with this the fact that the Father does not leave Him, because He does the things which are pleasing to Him? Your interpretation, heretic, sets up a contradiction between these two statements, that He does nothing of Himself, unless taught of the Father abiding in Him, and that the Father abides in Him, because He does always the things which are pleasing to Him. For if the Father’s abiding in Him means that He does nothing of Himself, how could He have deserved that the Father should abide in Him, by doing always the things which are pleasing to the Father. It is no merit, not to do of oneself what one does. Conversely, how are the Son’s deeds pleasing to the Father, if the Father Himself, abiding in the Son, be their Author? Impiety, thou art in a sore strait; the well-armed piety of the faith hath hemmed thee in. The Son is either an Agent, or He is not. If He is not an Agent, how does He please by his acts? If He is an Agent, in what sense are deeds, done not of Himself, His own? On the one hand, He must have done the things which are pleasing; on the other, it is no merit to have done, yet not of oneself, what one does.

48. But, my opponent, the unity of Their nature is such, that the several action of

Each implies the con oint action of Both, and Their joint activity a several activity of Each. Conceive the Son acting, and the Father acting through Him. He acts not of Himself, for we have to explain how the Father abides in Him. He acts in His own Person, for in accordance with His birth as the Son, He does Himself what is pleasing. His acting not of Himself would prove Him weak, were it not the case that He so acts that what He does is pleasing to the Father. But He would not be in the unity of the divine nature, if the deeds which He does, and wherein He pleases, were not His own, and He were merely prompted to action by the Father abiding in Him. The Father then in abiding in Him, teaches Him, and the Son in acting, acts not of Himself; while, on the other hand, the Son, though not acting of Himself, acts Himself, for what He does is pleasing. Thus is the unity of Their nature retained in Their action, for the One, though He acts Himself, does not act of Himself, while the Other, Who has abstained from action, is yet active.

49. Connect with this that saying, which you lay hold of to support the imputation of infirmity, All that the Father giveth Me shall come unto Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise east out; for I am come down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of the Father that sent Me. But, perhaps you say, the Son has no freedom of will: the weakness of His nature subjects Him to necessity, and He is denied free-will, and subjected to necessity that He may not reject those who are given to Him and come from the Father. Nor was the Lord content to demonstrate the mystery of the Unity by His action in not rejecting those who are given to Him, nor seeking to do His own will instead of the will of him that sent Him, but when the Jews, after the repetition of the words, Him that sent Me, began to murmur, He confirms our interpretation by saying, Every one who heareth from the Father and learneth, cometh unto Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is from God, He hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth in Me hath eternal life. Now, tell me first, where has the Father been heard, and where has He taught His hearers? No one hath seen the Father, save Him Who is from God: has any one ever heard Him Whom no one has ever seen? He that has heard from the Father, comes to the Son: and he that has heard the teaching of the Son, has heard the teaching of the Father’s nature, for its properties are revealed in the Son. When, therefore, we hear the Son teaching, we must understand that we are hearing the teaching of the Father. No one hath seen the Father, yet he who comes to the Son, hears and learns from the Father to come: it is manifest, therefore, that the Father teaches through the words of the Son, and, though seen of none, speaks to us in the manifestation of the Son, because the Son, by virtue of His perfect birth, possesses all the properties of His Father’s nature. The Only-begotten God desiring, therefore, to testify of the Father’s authority, yet inculcating His own unity with tile Father’s nature. does not cast out those who are given to Him of the Father, or work His own will instead of the will of Him that sent Him: not that the does not will what He does, or is not Himself heard when He teaches; but in order that He may reveal Him Who sent Him, and Himself the Sent, under the aspect of one indistinguishable nature, He shews all that He wills, and says, and does, to be the will and works of the Father.

50. But He proves abundantly that His will is free by the words, As the Father raiseth the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son also quickeneth whom He will. When the equality of Father and Son in power and honour is indicated, then the freedom of the Son’s will is made manifest: when Their unity is demonstrated, His conformity to the Father’s will is signified, for what the Father wills, the Son does. But to do is something more than to obey a will: the latter would imply external necessity, while to do another’s will requires unity with him, being an act of volition. In doing the will of the Father the Son teaches that through the identity of Their nature His will is the same in nature with the Father’s, since all that He does is the Father’s will. The Son plainly wills all that the Father wills, for wills of the same nature cannot dissent from one another. It is the will of the Father which is revealed in the words, For this is the will of My Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son and believeth in Him, should have eternal life, and that I should raise Him up at the last day. Hear now, whether the will of the Son is discordant with the Father’s, when He says, Father, those whom Thou hast given Me, I will that where I am they also may be with Me. Here is no doubt that the Son wills: for while the Father wills that those who believe in the Son should have eternal life, the Son wills that the believer should be where He is. For is it not eternal life to dwell together with Christ? And does He not grant to the believer in Him all perfection of blessing when He says, No one hath known the Son save the Father, neither hath any known the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him? Has He not freedom of will, when He wills to impart to us the knowledge of the Father’s mystery? Is not His will so free that He can bestow on whom He will the knowledge of Himself and His Father? Thus Father anti Son are manifestly joint Possessors of a nature common to Both through birth and common through unity: for the Son is free of will, hut what He does willingly is an act of the Father’s will.

51. 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. 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? We confess that the Only-begotten God, while He abode in the form of God, abode in the nature of God, but we do not at once reabsorb into the substance of the divine unity His unity bearing the form of a servant. Nor do we teach that the Father is in the Son, as if He entered into Him bodily; but that the nature which was begotten by the Father of the same kind as His own, possessed by nature the nature which begot it: and that this nature, abiding in the form of the nature which begot it, took the form of human nature and weakness. Christ possessed all that was proper to His nature: but the form of God had departed from Him, for by emptying Himself of it. He had taken the form of a servant. The divine nature had not ceased to be, but still abiding in Him, it had taken upon itself the humility of earthly birth, and was exercising its proper power in the fashion of the humility it assumed. So God, born of God, being found as man in the form of a servant, but acting as God in His miracles, was at once God as His deeds proved, and yet man, for He was found in the fashion of man

52. Therefore, in the discourse we have expounded above, He had borne witness to the unity of His nature with the Father’s: He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also: The Father is in Me, and I in the Father. These two passages perfectly agree, since Both Persons are of equal nature; to behold the Son is the same as to behold the Father; that the One abides in the One shows that They are inseparable And. lest they should misunderstand Him, as though when they beheld His body, they beheld the Father in Him, He had added, Believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. His power belonged to His nature, and His working was the exercise of that power; in the exercise of that power, then, they might recognise in Him the unity with the Father’s nature. In proportion as any one recognised Him to be God in the power of His nature, he would come to know God the Father, present in that mighty nature. The Son, Who is equal with the Father, shewed by His works that the Father could be seen in Him: in order that we, perceiving in the Son a nature like the Father’s in its power, might know that in Father and Son there is no distinction of nature.

53. So the Only-begotten God, just before He finished His work in the flesh, and completed the mystery of taking the servant’s form, in order to establish our faith, thus speaks, Ye heard how I said unto you, I go away, and I came unto you. If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice, because I go unto the Father; for the Father is greater than I. He has already, in an earlier part of this very discourse unfolded in all its aspects the teaching of His divine nature: can we, then, on the strength of this confession deprive the Son of that equality, which His true birth has perfected in Him? Or is it an indignity to the Only-begotten God, that the Unbegotten God is His Father, seeing that His Only-begotten birth from the Unbegotten gives Him the Only-begotten nature? He is not the source of His own being, nor did He, being Himself non-existent, bring to pass His own birth out of nothing; but, existing as a living nature and from a living nature, He possesses the power of that nature, and declares the authority of that nature, by bearing witness to His honour, and in His honour to the grace belonging to the birth He received. He pays to the Father the tribute of obedience to the will of Him Who sent Him, but the obedience of humility does not dissolve the unity of His nature: He becomes obedient unto death, but, after death, He is above every name.

54. But if His equality is doubted because the Name is given Him after He put off the form of God, we dishonour Him by ignoring the mystery of the humility which He assumed. The birth of His humanity brought to Him a new nature, and His form was changed in His humility, by the assumption of a servant’s form, but now the giving of the Name restores to Him equality of form. Ask yourself what it is, which is given. If the gift be something pertaining to God, the grant to the receiving nature does not impair the divinity of the giving nature. Again, the words, And gave Him the Name, involve a mystery in the giving, but the giving of the Name does not make it another name. To Jesus is given, that to Him, Every knee shall bow of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord in the glory of God the Father. The honour is given Him that He should be confessed in the glory of God the Father. Do you hear Him say, The Father is greater than I? Know Him also, of Whom it is said in reward of His obedience, And gave unto Him the Name which is above every name; hear Him Who said, I and the Father are one; He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also; I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. Consider the honour of the confession which is granted Him, that Jesus is Lord in the glory of God the Father. When, then, is the Father greater than the Son? Surely, when He gives Him the Name above every name. And on the other hand, when is it that the Son and the Father are one? Surely, when every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord in the glory of God the Father. If, then, the Father is greater through His authority to give, is the Son less through the confession of receiving? The Giver is greater: but the Receiver is not less, for to Him it is given to be one with the Giver. If it is not given to Jesus to be confessed in the glory of God the Father, He is less than the Father. But if it is given Him to be in that glory, in which the Father is, we see in the prerogative of giving, that the Giver is greater, and in the confession of the gift, that the Two are One. The Father is, therefore, greater than the Son: for manifestly the is greater, Who makes another to be all that He Himself is, Who imparts to the Son by the mystery of the birth the image of His own unbegotten nature, Who begets Him from Himself into His own form, and restores Him again from the form of a servant to the form of God, Whose work it is that Christ, born God according to the Spirit in the glory of the Father, but now Jesus Christ dead in the flesh, should be once more God in the glory of the Father. When, therefore, Christ says that He is going to the Father, He reveals the reason why they should rejoice if they loved Him, because the Father is greater than He.

55. After the explanation that love is the source of this joy, because love rejoices that Jesus is to be confessed in the glory of God the Father, He next expresses His claim to receive back that glory, in the words, For the prince of this world cometh, and he hath nothing in Me. The prince of this world hath nothing in Him: for being found in fashion as a man, He dwelt in the likeness of the flesh of sin, yet apart from the sin of the flesh, and in the flesh condemned sin by sin. Then, giving obedience to the Father’s command as His only motive, He adds, But that the world may know that I love the Father, even as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go hence. In His zeal to do the Father’s commandment, He rises and hastens to complete the mystery of His bodily passion. But the next moment He unfolds the mystery of His assumption of flesh. Through this assumption we are in Him, as the branches in the vinestock; and unless He had become the

Vine. we could have borne no good fruit. He exhorts us to abide in Himself, through faith in His assumed body, that, since the Word has been made flesh, we may be in the nature of His flesh, as the branches are in the Vine. He separates the form of the Father’s majesty from the humiliation of the assumed flesh by calling Himself the Vine, the source of unity for all the branches, and the Father the careful Husbandman, Who prunes away its useless and barren branches to be burnt in the fire. In the words, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also, and The words that I say unto you, I speak not of Myself, but the Father abiding in Me, He do the His works, and Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me, He reveals the truth of His birth and the mystery of His Incarnation. He then continues the thread of His discourse, until He comes to the saying, The Father is greater than I; and after this, to complete the meaning of these words, He hastens to add the illustration of the husbandman, the vine, and the branches, which directs our notice to His submission to bodily humiliation. He says that, because the Father is greater than Himself, He is going to the Father, and that love should rejoice, that He is going to the Father, that is, to receive back His glory from the Father: with Him, and in Him, to be glorified not with a brand-new honour, but with the old, not with some strange honour but with that which He had with Him before. If then Christ shall not enter into Him with glory, to abide in the glory of God, you may disparage His nature: but if the glory which He receives is the proof of His Godhead, recognise that it as Giver of this proof that the Father is the greater.

56. Why do you distort the Incarnation into a blasphemy? Why pervert the mystery of salvation into a weapon of destruction? The Father, Who glorifies the Son, is greater: The Son, Who is glorified in the Father, is not less. How can He be less, when He is in the glory of God the Father? And how can the Father not be greater? The Father therefore is greater, because He is Father: but the Son, because He is Son, is not less. By the birth of the Son the Father is constituted greater: the nature that is His by birth, does not suffer the Son to be less. The Father is greater, for the Son prays Him to render glory to manhood He has assumed. The Son is not less, for He receives back His glory with the Father. Thus are consummated at once the mystery of the Birth, and the dispensation of the Incarnation. The Father, as Father, and as glorifying Him Who now is Son of Man, is greater: Father and Son are one, in that the Son, born of the Father, after assuming an earthly body is taken back to the glory of the Father.

57. The birth, therefore, does not constitute His nature inferior, for He is in the form of God, as being born of God. And though by their very signification, ‘Unbegotten’ and ‘Begotten’ seem to be opposed, yet the Begotten cannot be excluded from the nature of the Unbegotten, for there is none other from whom He could derive His substance. He does not indeed share in the supreme majesty of being unbegotten: but He has received from the Unbegotten God the nature of divinity. Thus faith confesses the eternity of the Only-begotten God, though it can give no meaning to begetting or beginning in His case. His nature forbids us to say that He ever began to be, for His birth lies beyond the beginnings of time. But while we confess Him existent before all ages, we do not hesitate to pronounce Him born in timeless eternity, for we believe His birth, though we know it never had a beginning.

58 Seeking to disparage His nature, the heretics lay hold of such sayings as, The Father is greater than I, or, But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only. It is turned to a reproach against the Only-begotten God that He did not know the day and the hour: that, though God, born of God, He is not in the perfection of divine nature, since He is subjected to the limitation of ignorance; that is, an external force stronger than Himself, triumphing, as it were, over His weakness, makes Him captive to this infirmity. And, indeed, it is with an apparent right to claim that this confession is inevitable, that the heretics, in their frenzy, would drive us to such a blasphemous interpretation. The words are those of the Lord Himself, and what, it may be asked, could be more unholy than to corrupt His express assertion by our attempt to explain it away.

59. But, before we investigate the meaning and occasion of these words, let us first appear to the judgment of common sense. Is it credible, that He, Who stands to all things as the Author of their present and future, should not know all things? If all things are through and in Christ, and in such a way through Christ that they are also in Him, must not that, which is both in Him and through Him, be also in His knowledge, when that knowledge, by virtue of a nature which cannot be nescient, habitually apprehends what is neither in, nor through Him? But that which derives from Him alone its origin, and has in Him alone the efficient cause of its present state and future development, can that be beyond the ken of His nature, through which is effected, and in which is contained, all that it is and shall be? Jesus Christ knows the thoughts of the mind, as it is now, stirred by present motives, and as it will be to-morrow, aroused by the impulse of future desires. Hear the witness of the Evangelist, For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that should betray Him. By its virtue His nature could perceive the unborn future, and foresee the awakening of passions yet dormant in the mind: do you believe that it did not know what is through itself, and within itself? He is Lord of all that belongs to others, is He not Lord of His own? Remember what is written of Him, All things have been created through Him, and in Him: and He is before all things: or again, For it was the good pleasure of the Father, that in Him should all the fulness dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, all fulness is in Him, all things were made through Him, and are reconciled in Him, and for that day of reconciliation we wait expectant; did He not, then, know it, when its time was in His bands, and fixed by His mystery, for it is the day of His coming, of which the Apostle wrote, When Christ, Who is your life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory. No one is ignorant of that which is through himself and Within himself: shall Christ come, and does He not know the day of His coming? It is His day, for the same Apostle says, The day of the Lord shall come as a thief in the night: can we believe, then, that He did not know it? Human natures, so far as in them lies, foresee what they determine to do: knowledge of the end desired accompanies the desire to act: does not He Who is born God, know what is in, and through, Himself? The times are through Him, the day is in His hand, for the future is constituted through Him, and the Dispensation of His coming is in His power: is His understanding so dull, that the sense of His torpid nature does not tell Him what He has Himself determined? Is He like the brute and the beast, which, animated by no reason or foresight, not even conscious of acting but driven to and fro by the impulse of irrational desire, proceed to their end with fortuitous and uncertain course?

60. But, again, how can we believe that the Lord of glory, because He was able not to know the day of His own coming, was of a discordant and imperfect nature, subject to the necessity of coming, but ignorant of the day of His coming? This would make God weaker than the power of ignorance, which took from Him the prerogative of knowledge. Then, too, how we redouble occasions of blasphemy, if we impute not only infirmity to Christ, but also defect to God the Father, saying that He defrauded of foreknowledge of this day the Only-begotten God, the Son of His love, and in malice denied Him certainty concerning the future consummation: suffered Him to know the day and hour of His passion, but withheld from Him the day of His power, and the hour of His glory among His Saints: took from Him the knowledge of His blessedness, while He granted Him prescience of His death? The trembling conscience of man dare not presume to think thus of God, or ascribe to Him such taint of human fickleness, that the Father should deny anything to the Son, or the Son, Who was born as God, should possess an imperfect knowledge.

61. But God can never be anything but love, or anything but the Father: and He, Who loves, does not envy; He Who is Father, is wholly and entirely Father. This name admits of no compromise: no one can be partly father, and partly not. A father is father in respect of his whole personality; all that he is present in the child, for paternity by piecemeal is impossible: not that paternity extends to self-generation, but that a father is altogether father in all his qualities, to the offsprings born of him. According to the constitution of human bodies, which are made of dissimilar elements, and composed of various parts, the father must be father of the whole, since a perfect birth hands on to the child all the different elements and parts, which are in the father. The father is, therefore, father of all that is his; the birth proceeds froth the whole of himself, and constitutes the whole of the child. God, however, has no body, but simple essence: no parts, but an all-embracing whole: nothing quickened, but everything living. God is therefore all life, and all one, not compounded of parts, but perfect in His simplicity, and, as the Father, must be Father to His begotten in all that He Himself is, for the perfect birth of the Son makes Him perfect Father in all that He has. So, if He is proper Father to the Son the Son must possess all the properties of the Father. Yet how can this be, if the Son has not the quality of prescience, if there is anything from His Author, which is wanting in His birth? To say that there is one of God’s properties which He has not, is almost equivalent to saying that He has none of them. And what is proper to God, if not the knowledge of the future, a vision, which embraces the invisible and unborn world, and has within its scope that which is not yet, hut is to be?

62. Moreover Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles, forestalls the impious falsehood, that the Only-begotten God was partially nescient. Listen to his words, Being instructed in love, unto all riches of the fulness of understanding, unto knowledge of the mystery of God, even Christ, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. God, even Christ, is the mystery, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him. But a portion is one thing, the whole another: a part is not the same as all, nor can all be called a part. If the Son does not know the day, all the treasures of knowledge are not in Him; but He has all the treasures of knowledge in Him, therefore He is not ignorant of the day. But we must remember that those treasures of knowledge were hidden in Him, though not, because hidden, therefore wanting. As in God, they are in Him: as in the mystery, they are hidden. But Christ, the mystery of God, in Whom are all the treasures of knowledge hidden, is not Himself hidden from our eyes and minds. Since then He is Himself the mystery, let us see whether He is ignorant when He does not know. If elsewhere His profession of ignorance does not imply that He does not know, here also it will be wrong to call Him ignorant, if He does not know. In Him are hidden all the treasures of knowledge, and so His ignorance is an economy rather than ignorance. Thus we can assign a reason for His ignorance, without the assumption that He did not know.

63. Whenever God says that He does not know, He professes ignorance indeed, but is not under the defect of ignorance. It is not because of the infirmity of ignorance that He does not know, but because it is not yet the time to speak, or the divine Plan to act. Thus He says to Abraham, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is full, and their sin is very grievous. Therefore I will go down now, and see if they have done altogether according to the cry of it: and if not, I will know. Here we perceive God not knowing that which notwithstanding He knows. He knows that their sins are very grievous, but He comes down again to see whether they have done altogether, and to know if they have not. We observe, then, that He is not ignorant, although He does not know, but that, when the time comes for action, He knows. This knowledge is not, therefore, a change from ignorance, but the coming of the fulness of time. He waits still to know, but we cannot suppose that He does not know: therefore His not knowing what He knows, and His knowing what He does not know, is nothing else than a divine economy in word and deed.

64. We cannot, then, doubt that the knowledge of God depends on the occasion and not on any change on His part: by the occasion being meant the occasion, not of obtaining but of declaring knowledge, as we learn from His words to Abraham, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto hint, far now I know that thou fearest thy God, and hast not withheld thy beloved son, for My sake. God knows now, but that now I know is a profession of previous ignorance: yet it is not true, that until now God did not know the faith of Abraham, for it is written, Abraham believed in God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, and therefore this now I know marks the time when Abraham received this testimony, not when God began to know. Abraham had proved, by the sacrifice of his son, the love he bore to God, and God knew it at the time He spoke: but as we cannot suppose that He did not know before, we must for this reason suppose that He took knowledge of it then because He spoke.

By way of example, we have chosen, for our consideration this passage out of many in the Old Testament, which treat of, the knowledge of God, in order to skew that when God does not know, the cause lies, not in His ignorance, but in the occasion.

65. We find our Lord in the Gospels knowing, yet not knowing, many things. Thus He does not know the workers of iniquity, who glory in their mighty works and in His name, for He says to them, Then will swear, I never knew you; depart from all ye that work iniquity. He declares with an oath even, that He does not know them, but nevertheless He knows them to be workers of iniquity. He does not know them, not because He does not know, but because by the iniquity of their deeds they are unworthy of His knowledge, and He even confirms His denial with the sanctity of an oath. By the virtue of His nature He could not be ignorant, by the mystery of His will He refused to know. Again the Unbegotten God does not know the foolish virgins; He is ignorant of those who were too careless to have their oil ready, when He entered the chamber of His glorious coming. They come and implore, and so far from not knowing them, He cries, Verily, I say unto you, I know you not. Their coming and their prayer compel Him to recognize them, but His profession of ignorance refers to His will, not to His nature they are unworthy to be known of Him to Whom nothing is unknown. Hence, in order that we should not impute His ignorance to infirmity, He says immediately to the Apostles, Watch therefore, for ye know not the day north the hour. When He bids them watch, for they know not the day or the hour, He points out that He knew not the virgins, because through sleep and neglect they had no oil, and therefore were unworthy to enter into His is chamber.

66. The Lord Jesus Christ, then, Who searcheth the heart and the reins, has no weakness in His nature, that He should not know, for, as we perceive, even the fact of His ignorance proceeds from the omniscience of His nature. Yet if any there be, who impute to Him ignorance, let them tremble, lest He Who knows their thoughts should say to them, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? The All-knowing, though not ignorant of thoughts and deeds, sometimes enquires as if He were, as for instance when He asks the woman who it was that touched the hem of His garment, or the Apostles, why they quarrelled among themselves, or the mourners, where the sepulchre of Lazarus was: but His ignorance was not ignorance, except in words. It is against reason that He should know from afar the death and burial of Lazarus, but not the place of his sepulchre: that He should read the thoughts of the mind, and not recognise the faith of the woman: that He should not need to ask concerning anything, yet be ignorant of the dissension of the Apostles. But He, Who knows all things, sometimes by a practice of economy professes ignorance, even though He is not ignorant. Thus, in the case of Abraham, God concealed His knowledge for a time: in that of the foolish virgins and the workers of iniquity, He refused to recognise the unworthy: in the mystery of the Son of Man, His asking, as if ignorant, expressed His humanity. He accommodated Himself to the reality of His birth in the flesh in everything to which the weakness of our nature is subject, not in such wise that He became weak in His divine nature, but that God, born man, assumed the weaknesses of humanity, yet without thereby reducing His unchangeable nature to a weak nature, for the unchangeable nature was that wherein He mysteriously assumed flesh. He, Who was God is man, but, being man, has not ceased to remain God. Conducting Himself then as one born man, and proving Himself such, though remaining God the Word, He often uses the language of man (though God, speaking as God, makes frequent use of human terms), and does not know that which it is not yet time to declare, or which is not deserving of His recognition.

67. We can now understand why He said that He knew not the day. If we believe Him to have been really ignorant, we contradict the Apostle, who says, In Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. There is knowledge which is hidden in Him, and because it has to be hidden, it must sometimes for this purpose be professed as ignorance, for once declared, it will no longer he secret. In order, therefore, that the knowledge may remain hidden, He declares that He does not know. But if He does not know, in order that the knowledge may remain hidden, this ignorance is not due to His nature, which is omniscient, for He is ignorant solely in order that it may be hidden. Nor is it hard to see why the knowledge of the day is hidden. He exhorts us to watch continually with unrelaxing faith, and withholds from us the security of certain knowledge, that our minds may be kept on the stretch by the uncertainty of suspense, and while they hasten towards and continually look for the day of His coming, may always watch in hope; and that, though we know the time must come, its very uncertainty may make us careful and vigilant. Thus the Lord says, Therefore be ye also ready, for ye know not what hour the Son of Man shall comes; and again, Blessed is that servant whom His lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing. The ignorance is, therefore, a means not to delude, but to encourage in perseverance. It is no loss to be denied a knowledge which it is an advantage not to have, for the security of knowledge might breed negligence of the faith, which now is concealed, while the uncertainty of expectation keeps us continually prepared, even as the master of the house, with the fear of loss before his eyes, watches and guards against the dreaded coming of the thief, who chooses the time of sleep for his work.

68. Manifestly, therefore, the ignorance of God is not ignorance but a mystery: in the economy of His actions and words and manifestations, He does not know and at the same time He knows, or knows and at the same time does not know. But we must ask, whether it may not be through the Son’s infirmity that He knows not what the Father knows. He could perhaps read the thoughts of the human heart, because His stronger nature can unite itself with a weaker in all its movement’s, and by the force of its power, as it were, pass through and through the feeble nature. But a weaker nature is powerless to penetrate a stronger: light things may be penetrated by heavy, rare by dense, liquid by solid, but the heavy are impenetrable to the light, the dense to the rare, and the solid to the liquid: the strong are not exposed to the weak, but the weak are penetrated by the strong. Therefore, the heretics say, the Son knew not the thoughts of the Father, because, being Himself weak, He could not approach the more powerful and enter into Him, or pass through Him.

69. Should any one presume, not merely to speak thus of the Only-begotten God in the rashness of his tongue, but even to think so in the wickedness of his heart, let him hear what the Apostle thought of the Holy Ghost, from the words he wrote to the Corinthians, But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. For who among men knoweth the things of a man, which are in him, save the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the things which are in God, none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But let us cast aside these empty illustrations of material things, and measure God born of God, Spirit of Spirit, by His own powers and not by earthly conditions. Let us measure Him not by our own senses, but by His divine claims. Let us believe Him Who said, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also. Let us not forget that He said, Believe, if only by My works, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father, and again, I and the Father are one. If the names which correspond to realities, when intelligibly used, impart to us any true information, then He Who is seen in Another by the eye of understanding is not different in nature from that Other; not different in kind, since He abides in the Father, and the Father in Him; not separate, since Both are One. Perceive their unity in the indivisibility of their nature, and apprehend the mystery of that indivisible nature by regarding the One as the mirror of the Other. But remember that He is the mirror, not as the image reflected by the splendour of a nature outside Himself, but as being a living nature, indistinguishable from the Father’s living nature, derived wholly from the whole of His Father’s, having the Father’s in Him because He is the Only begotten, and abiding in the Father, because He is God.

70. The heretics cannot deny that the Lord used these words to signify the mystery His birth, but they attempt to escape from them by referring them to a harmony of will. They make the unity of God the Father and God the Son not one of divinity, but merely of will: as if the divine teaching were poor in expression and the Lord could not have said, I and the Father are one in will; or as if those words could have the same meaning as I and the Father are one; or as if He meant, He that hath seen My will, hath seen the will of My Father also, but, being unskilled statement, tried to express that idea in the words, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also: or as if the divine vocabulary did not contain the terms, The will of My Father is in Me, and My will is in the Father, but this thought could be expressed by I the Father and the Father in Me. All this is nauseous and irreverent nonsense; common sense condemns the judgment of such silly fancies, as that the Lord could not say what He wanted, or did not say what He said. True, we find Him speaking in parables and allegories, but it is a different thing to strengthen one’s words with illustrations, or satisfy the dignity of the subject with the help of suggestive proverbs, or adapt one’s language to the needs of the moment. But this passage concerning the unity, of which we are speaking, does not allow us to look for the meaning outside the plain sound of the words. If Father and Son are one, in the sense that They are one in will, and if separable natures cannot be one in will, because their diversity of kind and nature must draw them into diversities of will and judgment, how call They be one in will. not being one in knowledge? There can be no unity of will between ignorance and knowledge. Omniscience and nescience are opposites, and opposites cannot be of the same will.

71. But perhaps it may be held to confirm the Son in His confession of ignorance that He says the Father alone knows. But unless He had plainly said that the Father alone knows, it would have been a matter of the greatest danger for our understanding, since we might have thought that He Himself did not know. For, since His ignorance is due to the economy of hidden knowledge, and not to a nature capable of ignorance, now that He says the Father alone knows, we cannot believe that He does not know; for, as we said above, God’s knowledge is not the discovery of what He did not know, but its declaration. The fact that the Father alone knows, is no proof that the Son ignorant: He says that He does not know, that others may not know: that the Father alone knows, to shew that He Himself also knows. If we say that God came to know the love of Abraham, when He ceased to conceal His knowledge, it follows that only because He did not conceal it from the Son, can the Father be said to know the day, for God does not learn by sudden perception, but declares His knowledge with the occasion. If, then, the Son according to the mystery does not know the day, that He may not reveal it: on the other hand, only by the fact that He has revealed it can the Father be proved to know the day.

72. Far be it from us to imagine vicissitudes of bodily change in the Father and Son, as though the Father sometimes spoke to the Son, and sometimes was silent. We remember, indeed, that a voice was sometimes uttered from heaven for us, that the power of the Father’s words might confirm for us the mystery of the Son, as the Lord says, This voice hath not come from Heaven for My sake but for your sakes. But the divine nature can dispense with the various combinations necessary for human functions, the motion of the tongue, the adjustment of the mouth, the forcing of the breath, and the vibration of the air. God is a simple Being: we must understand Him by devotion, and confess Him by reverence. He is to be worshipped, not pursued by our senses, for a conditioned and weak nature cannot grasp with the guesses of its imagination the mystery of an infinite and omnipotent nature. In God is no variability, no parts, as of a composite divinity, that in Him will should follow inaction, speech silence, or work rest, or that He should not will, without passing from some other mental state to volition, or speak, without breaking the silence with His voice, or act, without going forth to labour. He is not subject to the laws of nature, for nature has received its law from Him: He never suffers weakness or change when He acts, for His power is boundless, as the Lord said, Father, all things are possible unto Thee. He can do more than human sense can conceive. The Lord does not deprive even Himself of the quality of omnipotence, for He says, What things soever the Father doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. Nothing is difficult, when there is no weakness; for only a power which is weak to effect, knows the need of effort. The cause of difficulty is the weakness of the motive force; a force of limitless power rises above the conditions of impotence.

73. We have established this point to exclude the idea that after silence God spoke to the Son, or after ignorance the Son began to know. To reach our intelligence terms must be used applicable to our own nature: thus we do not understand communication except by word of mouth, or comprehend the opposite of nescience except as knowledge. Thus the Son does not know the day for the reason that He does not reveal it: the Father, He says, alone knows it for the reason that He reveals it to the Son alone. But, as we have said, Christ is conscious of no such natural impediments as an ignorance which must be removed before He can come to know, or a knowledge which is not His before the Father begins to speak. He declares the unity of His nature, as the only-begotten, with the Father, by the unmistakable words, All things whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. There is no mention here of coming into possession: it is one tiring, to be the Possessor of things external to Him; another, to be self-contained and self-existent. The former is to possess heaven and earth and the universe, the latter to be able to describe Himself by His own properties, which are His, not as something external and subject, but as something of which He Himself subsists. When He says, therefore, that all things which the Father has, are His, He alludes to the divine nature, and not to a joint ownership of gifts bestowed. For referring to His words that the Holy Spirit should take of His, He says, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine, therefore said I, He shall take of Mine: that is, the Holy Spirit takes of His, but takes also of the Father’s: and if He receives of the Father’s, He receives also of His. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, and does not receive of a creature, but teaches us that He receives all these gifts, because they are all God’s. All things that belong to the Father are the Spirit’s; but we must not think that whatever He received of the Son, He did not receive of the Father also; for all that the Father hath belongs equally to the Son.

74. So the nature of Christ needed no change, or question, or answer, that it should advance from ignorance to knowledge, or ask of One Who had continued in silence, and wait to receive His answer: but, abiding perfectly in mysterious unity with Him, it received of God its whole being as it derived from Him its origin. And, further, it received all that belonged to the whole being of God, namely, His knowledge and His will. What the Father knows, the Son does not learn by question and answer; what the Father wills, the Son does not will by command. Since all that the Father has, is His, it is the property of His nature to will and know, exactly as the Father wills and knows. But to prove His birth He often expounds the doctrine of His Person, as when He says, I came not to do Mine own will, but, the will of Him that sent Me. He does the Father’s will, not His own, and by the will of Him that sent Me, He means His Father. But that He Himself wills the same, is unmistakeably declared in the words, Father, those whom Thou hast given Me, I will, that, where also may be with Me. The Father wills that we should be with Christ, in Whom, according to the Apostle, He chose us before the foundation of the world, and the Son wills the same, namely that we should be with Him. His will is, therefore, the same in nature as the Father’s will, though to make plain the fact of the birth it is distinguished from the Father’s.

75. The Son is ignorant, then, of nothing which the Father knows, nor does it follow because the Father alone knows, that the Son does not know. Father and Son abide in unity of nature, and the ignorance of the Son belongs to the divine Plan of silence seeing that in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. This the Lord Himself testified, when He answered the question of the Apostles concerning the times, It is not yours to know times or moments, which the Father hath set within His own authority. The knowledge is denied them, and not only that, but the anxiety to learn is forbidden, because it is not theirs to know these times. Yet now that He is risen, they ask again, though their question on the former occasion had been met with the reply, that not even the Son knew. They cannot possibly have understood literally that the Son did not know, for they ask Him again as though He did know. They perceived in the mystery of His ignorance a divine Plan of silence, and now, after His resurrection, they renew the question, thinking that the time has come to speak. And the Son no longer denies that He knows, but tells them that it is not theirs to know, because the Father has set it within His own authority. If then, the Apostles attributed it to the divine Plan, and not to weakness, that the Son did not know the day, shall we say that the Son knew not the day for the simple reason that He was not God? Remember, God the Father set the day within His authority, that it might not come to the knowledge of man, and the Son, when asked before, replied that He did not know, but now, no longer denying His knowledge, replies that it is theirs not to know, for the Father has set the times not in His own knowledge, but in His own authority. The day and the moment are included in the word ‘times’: can it be, then, that He, Who was to restore Israel to its kingdom, did not Himself know the day and the moment of that restoration? He instructs us to see an evidence of His birth in this exclusive prerogative of the Father, yet He does not deny that He knows: and while He proclaims that the possession of this knowledge is withheld from ourselves, He asserts that it belongs to the mystery of the Father’s authority.

We must not therefore think, because He said He did not know the day and the moment, that the Son did not know. As man He wept, and slept, and sorrowed, but God is incapable of tears, or fear, or sleep. According to the weakness of His flesh He shed tears, slept, hungered, thirsted, was weary, and feared, yet without impairing the reality of His Only-begotten nature; equally so must we refer to His human nature, the words that He knew not the day or the hour.

Book 10 (Back to the Top)

1. It is manifest that there is nothing which men have ever said which is not liable to opposition. Where the will dissents the mind also dissents: under the bias of opposing judgment it joins battle, and denies the assertions to which it objects. Though every word we say be incontrovertible if gauged by the standard of truth, yet so long as men think or feel differently, the truth is always exposed, to the cavils of opponents, because they attack, under the delusion of error or prejudice, the truth they misunderstand or dislike. For decisions once formed cling with excessive obstinacy: and the passion of controversy cannot be driven from the course it has taken, when the will is not subject to the reason. Enquiry after truth gives way to the search for proofs of what we wish to believe; desire is paramount over truth. Then the theories we concoct build themselves on names rather than things the logic of truth gives place to the logic of prejudice: a logic which the will adjusts to defend its fancies, not one which stimulates the will through the understanding of truth by the reason. From these defects of partisan spirit arise all controversies between opposing theories. Then follows an obstinate battle between truth asserting itself, and prejudice defending itself: truth maintains its ground and prejudice resists. But if desire had not forestalled reason: if the understanding of the truth had moved us to desire what was true: instead of trying to set up our desires as doctrines, we should let our doctrines dictate our desires; there would be no contradiction of the truth, for every one would begin by desiring what was true, not by defending the truth of that which he desired.

2. Not unmindful of this sin of wilfulness, the Apostle, writing to Timothy, after many injunctions to bear witness to the faith and to preach the word, adds, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears will heap up teachers to themselves after their own lusts, and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables. For when their unhallowed zeal shall drive them beyond the endurance of sound doctrine, they will heap up teachers for their lusts, that is, construct schemes of doctrine to suit their own desires, not wishing to be taught, hut getting together teachers who will tell them what they wish: that the crowd of teachers whom they have ferreted out and gathered together, may satisfy them with the doctrines of their own tumultuous desires. And if these madmen in their godless folly do not know with what spirit they reject the sound, and yearn after the corrupt doctrine, let them hear the words of the same Apostle to the same Timothy, But the Spirit saith expressly that in the last days some shall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils through the hypocrisy of lying talk. What advancement of doctrine is it to discover what one fancies, and not what one ought to learn? Or what piety in doctrine is it not to desire what one ought to learn, but to heap up doctrine after our desires? But this is what the promptings of seducing spirits supply. They confirm the falsehoods of pretended godliness, for a canting hypocrisy always succeeds to defection from the faith: so that at least in word the reverence is retained, which the conscience has lost. Even that pretended piety they make impious by all manner of lies, violating by schemes of false doctrine the sacredness of the faith: for they pile up doctrines to suit their desires, and not according to the faith of the Gospel. They delight, with an uncontrollable pleasure, to have their itching ears tickled by the novelty of their favourite preaching; they estrange themselves utterly from the hearing of the truth, and surrender themselves entirely to fables: so that their incapacity for either speaking or understanding the truth invests their discourse with what is, to them, a semblance of truth.

3. We have clearly fallen on the evil times prophesied by the Apostle; for nowadays teachers are sought after who preach not God but a creature. And men are more zealous for what they themselves desire, than for what the sound faith teaches. So far have their itching ears stirred them to listen to what they desire, that for the moment that preaching alone rules among their crowd of doctors which estranges the Only-begotten God from the power and nature of God the Father, and makes Him in our faith either a God of the second order, or not a God at all; in either case a damning profession of impiety, whether one profess two Gods by making different grades of divinity; or else deny divinity altogether to Him Who drew His nature by birth from God. Such doctrines please those whose ears are estranged from the hearing of the truth and turned to fables, while the hearing of this our sound faith is not endured, and is driven bodily into exile with its preachers.

4. But though many may heap up teachers according to their desires, and banish sound doctrine, yet from the company of the Saints the preaching of truth can never be exiled. From our exile we shall speak by these our writings, and the Word of God which cannot be bound will run unhindered, warning us of this time which the Apostle prophesied. For when men shew themselves impatient of the’ true message, and heap up teachers according to their own human desires, we can no longer doubt about the times, but know that while the preachers of sound doctrine are banished truth is banished too. We do not complain of the times: we rejoice rather, that iniquity has revealed itself in this our exile, when, unable to endure the truth, it banishes the preachers of sound doctrine, that it may heap up for itself teachers after its own desires. We glory in our exile, and rejoice in the Lord that in our person the Apostle’s prophecy should be fulfilled.

5. In the earlier books, then, while maintaining the profession of a faith, I trust, sincere, and a truth uncorrupted, we arranged the method of our answer throughout, so that (though such are our limitations, that human language can never be safe from exception) no one could contradict us without an open profession of godlessness. For so completely have we demonstrated the true meaning of those texts which they cunningly filch from the Gospels and appropriate for their own teaching, that if any one denies it, he cannot escape on the plea of ignorance, but is condemned out of his own mouth of godlessness. Further, we have, according to the gift of the Holy Ghost, so cautiously proceeded throughout in our proof of the faith, that no charge could possibly be trumped up against us. For it is their way to fill the ears of the unwary with declarations that we deny the birth of Christ, when we preach the unity of the Godhead; and they say that by the text, I and the Father are one, we confess that God is solitary: thus, according to them, we say that the Unbegotten God descended into the Virgin, and was born man, and that He refers the opening word ‘I’ to the dispensation of His flesh, but adds to it the proof of His divinity, And the Father, as being the Father of Himself as man; and further, that, consisting of two Persons, human and divine, He said of Himself, We are one.

6. But we have always maintained the birth existing out of time: we have taught that God the Son is God of the same nature with God the Father, not co-equal with the Unbegotten, for He was not Himself Unbegotten, but, as the Only-begotten, not unequal because begotten; that the Two are One, not by the giving of a double name to one Person, but by a true begetting and being begotten; that neither are there two Gods, different in kind, in our faith, nor is God solitary because He is one, in the sense in which we confess the mystery of the Only-begotten God: but that the Son is both indicated in the name of, and exists in, the Father, Whose name and Whose nature are in Him, while the Father by His name implies, and abides in, the Son, since a son cannot be spoken of, or exist, except as born of a father. Further, we say that He is the living copy of the living nature, the impression of the divine seal upon the divine nature, so undistinguished from God in power and kind, that neither His works nor His words nor His form are other than the Father’s: but that, since the image by nature possesses the nature of its author, the Author also has worked and spoken and appeared through His natural image.

7. But by the side of this timeless and ineffable generation of the Only-begotten, which transcends the perception of human understanding, we taught as well the mystery of God born to be man from the womb of the Virgin, shewing how according to the plan of the Incarnation, when He emptied Himself of the form of God and took the form of a servant, the weakness of the assumed humanity did not weaken the divine nature, but that Divine power was imparted to humanity without the virtue of divinity being lost in the human form. For when God was born to be man the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost, but that, the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be God. Thus Emmanuel is His name, which is God with us, that God might not be lowered to the level of man, but man raised to that of God. Nor, when He asks that lie may be glorified, is it in any way a glorifying of His divine nature, but of the lower nature He assumed: for He asks for that glory which He had with God before the world was made.

8. As we are answering all, even their most insensate statements, we come now to the discussion of the unknown hour. Now, I even if, as they say, the Son had not known it, this could give no ground for an attack upon His Godhead as the Only-begotten. It was not in the nature of things that His birth should avail to put His beginning back, until it was equivalent to the existence which is unbegotten, and had no beginning; and the Farther reserves as His prerogative, to demonstrate His authority as the Unbegotten, the fixing of this still undetermined day. Nor may we conclude that in His Person there is any defect in that nature which contained by right of birth all the fulness of that nature which a perfect birth could impart. Nor again could the ignorance of day and hour be imputed in the Only-begotten God to a lower degree of Divinity. It is to demonstrate against the Sabellian heretics that the Father’s authority is without birth or beginning, that this prerogative of unbegotten authority is not granted to the Son. But if, as we have maintained, when He said that He knew not the day, He kept silence not from ignorance, but in accordance with the Divine Plan, all occasion for irreverent declarations must be removed, and the blasphemous teachings of heresy thwarted, that the truth of the Gospel may be illustrated by the very words which seem to obscure it.

9. Thus the greater number of them will not allow Him to have the impossible nature of God because He feared His Passion and shewed Himself weak by submitting to suffering. They assert that He Who feared and felt pain could not enjoy that confidence of power which is above fear, or that incorruption of spirit which is not conscious of suffering: but, being of a nature lower than God the Father, He trembled with fear at human suffering, and groaned before the violence of bodily pain. These impious assertions are based on the words, My soul is sorrowful event unto death, and Father if it be possible let this cup pass away from He, and also, My God, My God, why hast Than forsaken He? to which they also add, Father into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. All these words of our holy faith they appropriate to the use of their unholy blasphemy: that He feared, Who was sorrowful, and even prayed that the cup might be taken away from Him; that He felt pain, because He complained that God had deserted Him in His suffering; that He was infirm, because He commended His Spirit to the Father. His doubts and anxieties preclude us, they say, from assigning to Him that likeness to God which would belong to a nature equal to God as being born His Only-begotten. He proclaims His own weakness and inferiority by the prayer to remove the cup, by the complaint of desertion and the commending of His Spirit.

10. Now first of all, before we shew from these very texts, that He was subject to no infirmity of fear or sorrow on His own account, let us ask, “What can we find for Him to fear, that the dread of an unendurable pain should have seized Him?” The objects of His fear, which they allege, are, I suppose, suffering and death. Now I ask those who are of this opinion, “Can we reasonably suppose that He feared death, Who drove away the terrors of death from His Apostles, exhorting them to the glory of martyrdom with the words, He that doth not take his crass and follow after Me is not worth of Me; and, He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that hath last his life far My sake shall find it? If to die for Him is life, what pain can we think He had to suffer in the mystery of death, Who rewards with life those who die for Him? Could death make Him fear what could be done to the body, when He exhorted the disciples, Pear not those which kill the body?

II. Further, what terror had the pain of death for Him, to Whom death was an act of His own free will? In the human race death is brought on either by an attack upon the body of an external enemy, such as fever wound, accident or fall: or our bodily nature is overcome by age, and yields to death. But the Only-begotten God, Who had the power of laying down His life, and of taking it up again, after the drought of vinegar, having borne witness that His work of human suffering was finished, in order to accomplish in Himself the mystery of death, bowed His head and gave up His Spirit. If it has been granted to our mortal nature of its own will to breathe its last breath, and seek rest in death; if the buffeted soul may depart, without the breaking up of the body, and the spirit burst forth and flee away, without being as it were violated in its own home by the breaking and piercing and crushing of limbs; then fear of death might seize the Lord of life; if, that is, when He gave up the ghost and died, His death were not an exercise of His own free will. But if He died of His own will, and through His own will gave back His Spirit, death had no terror; because it was in His own power.

12. But perchance with the fearfulness of human ignorance, He feared the very power of death, which He possessed; so, though He died of His own accord, He feared because He was to die. If any think so, let them ask “To which was death terrible, to His Spirit or to His body?” If to His body, are they ignorant that the Holy One should not see corruption, that within three days He was to revive the temple of His body? But if death was terrible to H s Spirit, should Christ fear the abyss of hell, while Lazarus was rejoicing in Abraham’s bosom? It is foolish and absurd, that He should fear death, Who could lay down His soul, and take it up again, Who, to fulfil the mystery of human life, was about to die of His own free will. He cannot fear death Whose power and purpose in dying is to die but for a moment: fear is incompatible with willingness to die, and the power to live again, for both of these rob death of his terrors.

13. But was it perhaps the physical pain of hanging on the cross, or the rough cords with which He was bound, or the cruel wounds, where the nails were driven in, that dismayed Him? Let us see of what body the Man Jesus was, that pain should dwell in His crucified, bound, and pierced body.

14. The nature of our bodies is such, that when endued with life and feeling by conjunction with a sentient soul, they become something more than inert, insensate matter. They feel when touched, suffer when pricked, shiver with cold, feet pleasure in warmth, waste with hunger, and grow fat with food. By a certain transfusion of the soul, which supports and penetrates them, they feel pleasure or pain according to the surrounding circumstances. When the body is pricked or pierced, it is the sold which pervades it that is conscious, and suffers pain. For instance a flesh-wound is felt even to the bone, while the fingers feel nothing when we cut the nails which protrude from the flesh. And if through some disease a limb becomes withered, it loses the feeling of living flesh: it can be cut or burnt, it feels no pain whatever, because the soul is no longer mingled with it. Also when through some grave necessity part of the body must be cut away, the soul can be lulled to sleep by drugs, which overcome the pain, and produce in the mind a death-like forgetfulness of its power of sense. Then limbs can be cut off without pain: the flesh is dead to all feeling, and does not heed the deep thrust of the knife, because the soul within it is asleep. It is, therefore, because the body lives by admixture with a weak soul, that it is subject to the weakness of pain.

15. If the Man Jesus Christ began His bodily life with the same beginning as our body and soul, if He were not, as God, the immediate Author of His own body and soul alike, when He was fashioned in the likeness and form of man, and born as man, then we may suppose that He felt the pain of our body; since by His beginning, a conception like ours, He had a body animated with a soul like our own. But if through His own act He took to Himself flesh from the Virgin, and likewise by His own act joined a soul to the body thus conceived, then the nature of His suffering must have corresponded with the nature of His body and soul. For when He emptied Himself of the form of God and received the form of a servant when the Son of God was born also Son of Man, without losing His own self and power, God the Word formed the perfect living Man. For how was the Son of God born Son of Man, how did He receive the form of a servant, still remaining in the forth of God, unless (God the Word being able of Himself to take flesh from the Virgin and to give that flesh a soul, for the redemption of our soul and body), the Man Christ Jesus was born perfect, and made in the form of a servant by the assumption of the body, which the Virgin conceived? For the Virgin conceived, what she conceived, from the Holy Ghost alone, and though for His birth in the flesh she supplied from herself that element, which women always contribute to the seed planted in them, still Jesus Christ was not formed by an ordinary human conception. In His birth, the cause of which was transmitted solely by the Holy Ghost, His mother performed the same part as in all human conceptions: but by virtue of His origin He never ceased to be God.

16. This deep and beautiful mystery of His assumption of manhood the Lord Himself reveals in the words, No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. ‘Descended from heaven’ refers to His origin from the Spirit: for though Mary contributed to His growth in the womb and birth all that is natural to her sex, His body did not owe to her its origin. The ‘Son of Man’ refers to the birth of the flesh conceived in the Virgin; ‘Who is in heaven’ implies the power of His eternal nature: an infinite nature, which could not restrict itself to the limits of the body, of which it was itself the source and base. By the virtue of the Spirit and the power of God the Word, though He abode in the form of a servant, He was ever present as Lord of all, within and beyond the circle of heaven and earth. So He descended from heaven and is the Son of Man, yet is in heaven: for the Word made flesh did not cease to be the Word. As the Word, He is in heaven, as flesh He is the Son of Man. As Word made flesh, He is at once from heaven, and Son of Man, and in heaven, for the power of the Word, abiding eternally without body, was present still in the heaven He had left: to Him and to none other the flesh owed its origin. So the Word made flesh, though He was flesh, yet never ceased to be the Word.

17. The blessed Apostle also perfectly describes this mystery of the ineffable birth of Christ’s body in the words, The first man was from the soil of the ground, the second man from heaven. Calling Him ‘Man’ he expresses His birth from the Virgin, who in the exercise of her office as mother, performed the duties of her sex in the conception and birth of man. And when he says, The second man from heaven he testifies His origin from the Holy Ghost, Who came upon the Virgin. As He is then man, and from heaven, this Man was born of the Virgin, and conceived of the Holy Ghost. So speaks the Apostle.

18. Again the Lord Himself revealing this mystery of His birth, speaks thus: I am the living bread Who have descended from Heaven: if any one shall eat of My bread he shall live far ever: calling Himself the Bread since He is the origin of His own body. Further, that it may not be thought the Word left His own virtue and nature for the flesh, He says again that it is His bread; since He is the bread which descends from heaven, His body cannot be regarded as sprung from human conception, because it is shewn to be from heaven. And His language concerning His bread is an assertion that the Word took a body, for He adds, Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have not life in you. Hence, inasmuch as the Being Who is Son of Man descended also as bread from heaven, by the ‘Bread descending from heaven’ and by the ‘Flesh and Blood of the Son of Man’ must be understood His assumption of the flesh, conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin.

19. Being, then, Man with this body, Jesus Christ is both the Son of God and Son of Man, Who emptied Himself of the form of God, and received the form of a servant. There is not one Son of Man and another Son of God; nor one in the form of God, and another born perfect man in the form of a servant: so that, as by the nature determined for us by God, the Author of our being, man is born with body and soul, so likewise Jesus Christ, by His own power, is God and Man with flesh and soul, possessing in Himself whole and perfect manhood, and whole and perfect Godhead.

20. Yet many, with the art by which they seek to prove their heresy, are wont to delude the ears of the unlearned with the error, that as the body and soul of Adam both sinned, so the Lord must have taken the soul and body of Adam from the Virgin, and that it was not the whole Man that she conceived from the Holy Ghost. If they had understood the mystery of the Incarnation, these men would have understood at the same time the mystery that the Son of Man is also Son of God. As if in receiving so much from the Virgin, He received from her His soul also; whereas though flesh is always born of flesh, every soul is the direct work of God.

21. With a view tO deprive of substantive divinity the Only-begotten God, Who was God the Word with God in the beginning, they make Him merely the utterance of the voice of God. The Son is related to God His Father, they say, as the words to the speaker. They are trying to creep into the position, that it was not God the eternal Word, abiding in the form of God, Who was born as Christ the Man, Whose life therefore springs from a human origin, not from the mystery of a spiritual conception; that He was not God the Word, making Himself man by birth from the Virgin, but the Word of God dwelling in Jesus as the spirit of prophecy dwelt in the prophets. They accuse us of saying that Christ was born man with body and soul different from ours. But we preach the Word made flesh Christ emptying Himself of the form of God and taking the form of a servant, perfect according to the fashion of human form, born a man after the likeness of ourselves: that being true Son of God, He is indeed true Son of Man, neither the less Man because born of God, nor the less God because Man born of God.

22. But as He by His own act assumed a body from the Virgin, so He assumed from Himself a soul; though even in ordinary human birth the soul is never derived from the parents. If, then, the Virgin received from God alone the flesh which she conceived, far more certain is it that the soul of that body can have come from God alone. If, too, the same Christ be the Son of Man, Who is also the Son of God (for the whole Son of Man is the whole Son of God), how ridiculous is it to preach besides the Son of God, the Word made flesh, another I know not whom, inspired, like a prophet, by God the Word; whereas our Lord Jesus Christ is both Son of Man and Son of God. Yet because His soul was sorrowful unto death, and because He had the power to lay down His soul and the power to take it up again, they want to derive it from some alien source, and not from the Holy Ghost, the Author of His body’s conception: for God the Word became man without departing from the mystery of His own nature. He was born also not to be at one time two separate beings, but that it might be made plain, that He Who was God before He was Man, now that He has taken humanity, is God and Man. How could Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have been born of Mary, except by the Word becoming flesh: that is by the Son of God, though in the form of God, taking the form of a slave? When He Who was in the form of God took the form of a slave, two contraries were brought together. Thus it was just as true, that He received the form of a slave, as that He remained in the form of God. The use of the one word ‘form’ to describe both natures compels us to recognise that He truly possessed both. He is in the form of a servant, Who is also in the form of God. And though He is the latter by His eternal nature, and the former in accordance with the divine Plan of Grace, the word has its true significance equally in both cases, because He is both: as truly in the form of God as in the form of Man. Just as to take the form of a servant is none other than to be born a man, so to be in the form of God is none other than to be God: and we confess Him as one and the same Person, not by loss of the Godhead, but by assumption of the manhood: in the form of God through His divine nature, in the form of man from His conception by the Holy Ghost, being found in fashion as a man. That is why alter His birth as Jesus Christ, His suffering, death, and burial, He also rose again. We cannot separate Him from Himself in all these diverse mysteries, so that He should be no longer Christ; for Christ, Who took the form of a servant, was none other than He Who was in the form of God: He Who died was the same as He Who was born: He Who rose again as He Who died; He Who is in heaven as He Who rose again; lastly, He Who is in heaven as He Who before descended from heaven.

23. So the Man Jesus Christ, Only-begotten God, as flesh and as Word at the same time Son of Man and Son of God, without ceasing to be Himself, that is, God, took true humanity after the likeness of our humanity. But when, in this humanity, He was struck with blows, or smitten with wounds, or bound with ropes, or lifted on high, He felt the force of suffering, but without its pain. Thus a dart passing through water, or piercing a flame, or wounding the air, inflicts all that it is its nature to do: it passes through, it pierces, it wounds; but all this is without effect on the thing it strikes; since it is against the order of nature to make a hole in water, or pierce flame, or wound the air, though it is the nature of a dart to make holes, to pierce and to wound. So our Lord Jesus Christ suffered blows, hanging, crucifixion and death: but the suffering which attacked the body of the Lord, without ceasing to be suffering, had not the natural effect of suffering. It exercised its function of punishment with all its violence; but the body of Christ by its virtue suffered the violence of the punishment, without its consciousness. True, the body of the Lord would have been capable of feeling pain like our natures, if our bodies possessed the power of treading on the waters, and walking over the waves without weighing them down by our tread or forcing them apart by the pressure of our steps, if we could pass through solid substances, and the barred doors were no obstacle to us. But, as only the body of our Lord could be borne up by the power of His soul in the waters, could walk upon the waves, and pass through walls, how can we judge of the flesh conceived of the Holy Ghost on the analogy of a human body? That flesh, that is, that Bread, is from Heaven; that humanity is from God. He had a body to suffer, and He suffered: but He had not a nature which could feel pain. For His body possessed a unique nature of its own; it was transformed into heavenly glory on the Mount, it put fevers to flight by its touch, it gave new eyesight by its spittle.

24. It may perhaps be said, ‘We find Him giving way to weeping, to hunger and thirst: must we not suppose Him liable to all the other affections of human nature?’ But if we do not understand the mystery of His tears, hunger, and thirst, let us remember that He Who wept also raised the dead to life: that He did not weep for the death of Lazarus, but rejoiced; that He Who thirsted, gave from Himself rivers of living water. He could not be parched with thirst, if He was able to give the thirsty drink. Again, He Who hungered could condemn the tree which offered no fruit for His hunger: but how could His nature be overcome by hunger if He could strike the green tree barren by His word? And if, beside the mystery of weeping, hunger and thirst, the flesh He assumed, that is His entire manhood, was exposed to our weaknesses: even then it was not left to suffer from their indignities. His weeping was not for Himself; His thirst needed no water to quench it; His hunger no food to stay it. It is never said that the Lord ate or drank or wept when He was hungry, or thirsty, or sorrowful. He conformed to the habits of the body to prove the reality of His own body, to satisfy the custom of human bodies by doing as our nature does. When He ate and drank, it was a concession, not to His own necessities, but to our habits.

25. For Christ had indeed a body, but unique, as befitted His origin. He did not come into existence through the passions incident to human conception: He came into the form of our body by an act of His own power. He bore our collective humanity in the form of a servant, but He was free from the sins and imperfections of the human body: that we might be in Him, because He was born of the Virgin, and yet our faults might not be in Him, because He is the source of His own humanity, born as man but not born under the defects of human conception. It is this mystery of His birth which the Apostle upholds and demonstrates, when he says, He humbled Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of a man and being formed in fashion as a man: that is, in that He took the form of a servant, He was born in the form of a man: in that He was made in the likeness of a man, and formed in fashion as a man, the appearance and reality of His body testified His humanity, yet, though He was formed in fashion as a man, He knew not what sin was. For His conception was in the likeness of our nature, not in the possession of our faults. For lest the words, He took the form of a servant, might be understood of a natural birth, the Apostle adds, made in the likeness of a man, and formed in fashion as a man. The truth of His birth is thus prevented from suggesting the defects incident to our weak natures, since the form of a servant implies the reality of His birth, and found in fashion as a man, the likeness of our nature. He was of Himself born man through the Virgin, and found in the likeness of our degenerate body of sin: as the Apostle testifies in his letter to the Romans, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, condemned sin of sin. He was not found in the fashion of a man: but found in fashion as a man: nor was His flesh the flesh of sin, but the likeness of the flesh of sin. Thus the fashion of flesh implies the truth of His birth, and the likeness of the flesh of sin removes Him from the imperfections of human weakness. So the Man Jesus Christ as man was truly born, as Christ had no sin in His nature: for, on His human side, He was born, and could not but be a man; on His divine side, He could never cease to be Christ. Since then Jesus Christ was man, He submitted as man to a human birth: yet as Christ He was free from the infirmity of our degenerate race.

26. The Apostles’ belief prepares us for the understanding of this mystery; when it testifies that Jesus Christ was found in fashion as a man and was sent in the likeness of the flesh of sin. For being fashioned as a man, He is in the form of a servant, but not in the imperfections of a servant’s nature; and being in the likeness of the flesh of sin, the Word is indeed flesh, but is in the likeness of the flesh of sin and not the flesh of sin itself. In like manner Jesus Christ being man is indeed human, but even thus cannot be aught else but Christ, born as man by the birth of His body, but not human in defects, as He was not human in origin. The Word made flesh could not but be the flesh that He was made; yet He remained always the Word, though He was made flesh. As the Word made flesh could not vacate the nature of His Source, so by virtue of the origin of His nature He could not but remain the Word: but at the same time we must believe that the Word is that flesh which He was made; always, however, with the reserve, that when He dwelt among us, the flesh was not the Word, but was the flesh of the Word dwelling in the flesh.

Though we have proved this, still we will see whether in the whole range of suffering, which He endured, we can anywhere detect in our Lord the weakness of bodily pain. We will put off for a time the discussion of the passages on the strength of which heresy has attributed fear to our Lord; now let us turn to the facts themselves: for His words cannot signify fear if His actions display confidence.

27. Do you suppose, heretic, that the Lord of glory feared to suffer? Why, when Peter made this error through ignorance, did He not call him ‘Satan’ and a ‘stumbling-block? Thus was Peter, who deprecated the mystery of the Passion, established in the faith by so sharp a rebuke from the lips of the gentle Christ, Whom not flesh and blood, but the Father in Heaven had revealed to him.

What phantom hope are you chasing when you deny that Christ is God, and attribute to Him fear of suffering? He afraid, Who went forth to meet the armed bands of His captors? Weakness in His body, at Whose approach the pursuers reeled and broke their ranks and fell prone, unable to endure His Majesty as He offered Himself to their chains? What weakness could enthral His body, Whose nature had such power?

28. But perhaps He feared the pain of wounds. Say then, What terror had the thrust of the nail for Him Who merely by His touch restored the ear that was cut off? You who assert the weakness of the Lord, explain this work of power at the moment when His flesh was weak and suffering. Peter drew his sword and smote: the High Priest’s servant stood there, lopped of his ear. How was the flesh of the ear restored from the bare wound by the touch of Christ? Amidst the flowing blood, and the wound left by the cleaving sword, when the body was so maimed, whence sprang forth an ear which was not there? Whence came that which did not exist before? Whence was restored that which was wanting? Did the hand, which created an ear, feel the pain of the nails? He prevented another from feeling the pain of a wound: did He feel it Himself? His touch could restore the flesh that was cut off; was He sorrowful because He feared the piercing of His own flesh? And if the body of Christ had this virtue, dare we allege infirmity in that nature, whose natural force could counteract all the natural infirmities of man?

29. But, perhaps, in their misguided and impious perversity, they infer His weakness from the fact that His soul was sorrowful unto death. It is not yet the time to blame you, heretic, for misunderstanding the passage. For the present I will only ask you, Why do you forget that when Judas went forth to betray Him, He said, Now is the Son of Man glorified? If suffering was to glorify Him, how could the fear of it have made Him sorrowful? How, unless He was so void of reason, that He feared to suffer when suffering was to glorify Him?

30. But perhaps He may be thought to have feared to the extent that He prayed that the cup might be removed from Him: Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee: remove this cup from Me. To take the narrowest ground of argument, might you not have refuted for yourself this dull impiety by your own reading of the words, Put up thy sword into its sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? Could fear induce Him to pray for the removal from Him of that which, in His zeal for the Divine Plan, He was hastening to fulfil? To say He shrank from the suffering He desired is not consistent. You allow that He suffered willingly: would it not be more reverent to confess that you had misunderstood this passage, than to rush with blasphemous and headlong folly to the assertion that He prayed to escape suffering. though you allow that He suffered willingly?

31. Yet, I suppose, you will arm yourself also for your godless contention with these words of the Lord, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Perhaps you think that after the disgrace of the cross, the favour of His Father’s help departed from Him, and hence His cry that He was left alone in His weakness. But if you regard the contempt, the weakness, the cross of Christ as a disgrace, you should remember His words, Verily I say unto you, From henceforth ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven.

32. Where, pray, can you see fear in His Passion? Where weakness? Or pain? Or dishonour? Do the godless say He feared? But He proclaimed with His own lips His willingness to suffer. Do they maintain that He was weak? He revealed His power, when His pursuers were stricken with panic and dared not face Him. Do they contend that He felt the pain of the wounds in His flesh? But He shewed, when He restored the wounded flesh of the ear, that, though He was flesh, He did not feel the pain of fleshly wounds. The hand which touched the wounded ear belonged to His body: yet that hand created an ear out of a wound: how then can that be the hand of a body which was subject to weakness?

33. But, they say, the cross was a dishonour to Him; yet it is because of the cross that we can now see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, that He Who was born man of the womb of the Virgin has returned in His Majesty with the clouds of heaven. Your irreverence blinds you to the natural relations of cause and event: not only does the spirit of godlessness and error, with which you are filled, hide from your understanding the mystery of faith, but the obtuseness of heresy drags you below the level of ordinary human intelligence. For it stands to reason that whatever we fear, we avoid: that a weak nature is a prey to terror by its very feebleness: that whatever feels pain possesses a nature always liable to pain: that whatever dishonours is always a degradation. On what reasonable principle, then, do you hold that our Lord Jesus Christ feared that towards which He pressed: or awed the brave, yet trembled Himself with weakness: or stopped the pain of wounds, yet felt the pain of His own: or was dishonoured by the degradation of the cross, yet through the cross sat down by God on high, and returned to His Kingdom?

34. But perhaps you think your impiety has still an opportunity left to see in the words, Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirits, a proof that He feared the descent into the lower world, and even the necessity of death. But when you read these words and could not understand them, would it not have been better to say nothing, or to pray devoutly to be shewn their meaning, than to go astray with such barefaced assertions, too mad with your own folly to perceive the truth? Could you believe that He feared the depths of the abyss, the scorching flames, or the pit of avenging punishment, when you listen to His words to the thief on the cross, Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shall thou be with Me in Paradise? Such a nature with such power could not be shut up within the confines of the nether world, nor even subjected to fear of it. When He descended to Hades, He was never absent from Paradise (just as He was always in Heaven when He was preaching on earth as the Son of Man), but promised His martyr a home there, and held out to him the transports of perfect happiness. Bodily fear cannot touch Him Who reaches indeed down as far as Hades, but by the power of His nature is present in all things everywhere. As little can the abyss s of Hell and the terrors of death lay hold upon the nature which rules the world, boundless in the freedom of its spiritual power, confident of the raptures of Paradise; for the Lord Who was to descend to Hades, was also to dwell in Paradise. Separate, if you can, from His indivisible nature a part which could fear punishment: send the one part of Christ to Hades to suffer pain, the other, you must leave in Paradise to reign: for the thief says, Remember me when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom. It was the groan he heard, I suppose, when the nails pierced the hands of our Lord, which provoked in him this blessed confession of faith: he learnt the Kingdom of Christ from His weakened and stricken body! He begs that Christ will remember him when He comes in His Kingdom: you say that Christ feared as He hung dying upon the cross. The Lord promises him, To-day, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise; you would subject Christ to Hades and fear of punishment. Your faith has the opposite expectation. The thief confessed Christ in His Kingdom as He hung on the cross, and was rewarded with Paradise from the cross: you who impute to Christ the pain of punishment and the fear of death, will fail of Paradise and His Kingdom.

35. We have now seen the power that lay in the acts and words of Christ. We have incontestably proved that His body did not share the infirmity of a natural body, because its power could expel the infirmities of the body that when He suffered, suffering laid hold of His body, but did not inflict upon it the nature of pain: and this because, though the form of our body was in the Lord, yet He by virtue of His origin was not in the body of our weakness and imperfection. He was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin, who performed the office of her sex, but did not receive the seed of His conception from man. She brought forth a body, but one conceived of the Holy Ghost; a body possessing inherent reality, but with no infirmity in its nature. That body was truly and indeed body, because it was born of the Virgin: but it was above the weakness of our body, because it had its beginning in a spiritual conception.

36. But even now that we have proved what was the faith of the Apostle, the heretics think to meet it by the text, My soul is sorrowful even. unto death. These words, they say, prove the consciousness of natural infirmity which made Christ begin to be sorrowful. Now, first, I appeal to common intelligence: what do we mean by sorrowful unto death? It cannot signify the same as ‘to be sorrowful because of death:’ for where there is sorrow because of death, it is the death that is the cause of the sadness. But a sadness even to death implies that death is the finish, not the cause, of the sadness. If then He was sorrowful even to death, not because of death, we must enquire, whence came His sadness? He was sorrowful, not for a certain time, or for a period which human ignorance could not determine, but even unto death. So far from His sadness being caused by His death, it was removed by it.

37. That we may understand what was the cause of His sadness, let us see what precedes and follows this confession of sadness: for in the Passover supper our Lord completely signified the whole mystery of His Passion and our faith. After He had said that they should all be offended in Him, but promised that He would go before them into Galilee, Peter protested that though all the rest should be offended, he would remain faithful and not be offended. But the Lord knowing by His Divine Nature what should come to pass, answered that Peter would deny Him thrice: that we might know from Peter how the others were offended, since even he lapsed into so great peril to his faith by the triple denial. After that, He took Peter, James and John, chosen, the first two to be His martyrs, John to be strengthened for the proclamation of the Gospel, and declared that He was sorrowful unto death. Then He went before, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. He prays that the cup may pass from Him, when it was certainly already before Him: for even then was being fulfilled that pouting forth of His blood of the New Testament for the sins of many. He does not pray that it may not be with Him; but that it may pass away from Him. Then He prays that His wilt may not be done, and wills that what He wishes to be effected, may not be granted Him. For He says, Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt: signifying by His spontaneous prayer for the cup’s removal His fellowship with human anxiety, yet associating Himself with the decree of the Will which He shares inseparably with the Father. To shew, moreover, that He does not pray for Himself, and that He seeks only a conditional fulfilment of what He desires and prays for, He prefaces the whole of this request with the words, My Father, if it is possible. Is there anything for the Father the possibility of which is uncertain? But if nothing is impossible to the Father, we can see on what depends this condition, if it is possible: for this prayer is immediately followed by the words, And He came to His disciples and findeth sleeping, and saith to Peter, Could ye not watch one hour with Me? Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: for the spirit indeed is willing, but the fresh is weak. Is the cause of this sadness and this prayer any longer doubtful? He bids them watch and pray with Him for this purpose, that they may not enter into temptation; for the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. They were under the promise made in the constancy of faithful souls not to be offended, yet, through weakness of the flesh, they were to be offended It is not, therefore, for Himself that He is sorrowful and prays: it is for those whom He exhorts to watchfulness and prayer, lest He cup of suffering should be their lot: lest that cup which He prays may pass away from Him, should abide with them.

38. And the reason He prayed that the cup might be removed from Him, if that were possible, was that, though with God nothing is impossible, as Christ Himself says, Father, all things are possible to Thee, yet for man it is. impossible to withstand the fear of suffering, and only by trial can faith be proved. Wherefore, as Man He prays for men that the cup may pass away, but as God from God, His will is in unison with the Father’s effectual will. He teaches what He meant by If it is possible, in His words to Peter Lo, Satan hath sought you that He might sift you as wheat: but f have prayed for thee that thy faith may not fail. The cup of the Lord’s Passion was to be a trial for there all, and He prays the Father for Peter that his faith may not fail: that when he denied through weakness, at least he might not fail t of penitential sorrow, for repentance would mean that faith survived.

39. The Lord was sorrowful then unto death s because in presence of the death, the earthquake, the darkened day, the rent veil, the opened graves, and the resurrection of the dead, the faith of the disciples would need to be established which had been so shaken by the terror of tile night arrest, the scourging, the striking, the spitting upon, the crown of thorns, the bearing of the cross, and all the insults of the Passion, but most of all by the condemnation to the accursed cross. Knowing that all this would be at an end after His Passion, He was sad unto death. He knew, too, that the cup could not pass away unless He drank it, for He said, My Father, this cup cannot pass from Me unless I drink it: Thy will be done: that is, with the completion of His Passion, the fear of the cup would pass away which could not pass away unless He drank it: the end of that fear would follow only when His Passion was completed and terror destroyed, because after His death, the stumbling-block of the disciples’ weakness would be removed by the glory of His power.

40. Although by His words, Thy will be done, He surrendered the Apostles to the decision of His Father’s will, in regard to the offence of the cup, that is, of His Passion, still He repeated His prayer a second and a third time. After that He said, Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is not without the consciousness of some secret reason that He Who had reproached them for their sleep, now bade them sleep on, add take their rest. Luke is thought to have given us the meaning of this command. After He had told us how Satan had sought to sift the Apostles as it were wheat, and how the Lord had been entreated that the faith of Peter might not fails, he adds that the Lord prayed earnestly, and then that an angel stood by Him comforting Him, and as the angel stood by Him, He prayed the more earnestly, so that the sweat poured from His hotly in drops of blood. The Angel was sent, then, to watch over the Apostles, and when the Lord was comforted by him, so that He no longer sorrowed for them, He said, without fear of sadness, Sleep on now, and take your rest. Matthew and Mark are silent about the angel, and the request of the devil: but after the sorrowfulness of His soul, the reproach of the sleepers, and the prayer that the cup may be taken away, there must be some good reason for the command to the sleepers which follows; unless we assume that He Who was about to leave them, and Himself had received comfort from the Angel sent to Him, meant to abandon them to their sleep, soon to be arrested and kept in durance.

41. We must not indeed pass over the fact hat in many manuscripts, both Latin and Greek, nothing is said of the angel’s coming or the Bloody Sweat. But while we suspend judgment, whether this is an omission, where it is wanting, or an interpolation, where it is found (for the discordance of the copies leaves the question uncertain), let not the heretics encourage themselves that herein lies a confirmation of His weakness, that He needed the help and comfort of an angel. Let them remember the Creator of the angels needs not the support of His creatures. Moreover His comforting must be explained in the same way as His sorrow. He was sorrowful for us, that is, on our account; He must also have been comforted for us, that is, on our account. If He sorrowed concerning us, He was comforted concerning us. The object of His comfort is the saint as that of His sadness. Nor let any one dare to impute the Sweat to a weakness, for it is contrary to nature to sweat blood. It was no infirmity, for His power reversed the law of nature. The bloody sweat does not for one moment support the heresy of weakness, while it establishes against the heresy which invents an apparent body, the reality all His body. Since, then, His fear was concerning us, and His prayer on our behalf, we are forced to the conclusion that all this happened on our account, for whom He feared, and for whom He prayed.

42. Again the Gospels fill up what is lacking in one another: we learn some things from one, some from another, and so on, because all are the proclamation of the same spirit. Thus John, who especially brings out the working of spiritual causes in the Gospel, preserves this prayer of the Lord for the Apostles, which all the others passed over: how He prayed, namely, Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name. … while I was them I kept them in Thy Name: those whom Thou gavest Me I have kept. That prayer was not for Himself but for His Apostles; nor was He sorrowful for Himself, since He bids them pray that they be not tempted; nor is the angel sent to Him, for He could summon down from Heaven, if He would, twelve thousand angels; nor did He fear because of death when He was troubled unto death. Again, He does not pray that the cup may pass over Himself, but that it may pass away from Himself, though before it could pass away He must have drunk it. But, further, ‘to pass away’ does not mean merely ‘to leave the place,’ but ‘not to exist any more at all:’ which is shewn in the language of the Gospels and Epistles: for example, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall not perish: also the Apostle says, Behold the old things are passed away; they are become new. And again, The fashion of this world shall pass away. The cup, therefore, of which He prays to the Father, cannot pass away unless it be drunk; and when He prays, He prays for those whom He preserved, so long as He was with them, whom He now hands over to the Father to preserve. Now that He is about to accomplish the mystery of death He begs the Father to guard them. The presence of the angel who was sent to Him (if this explanation be true) is not of doubtful significance. Jesus shewed His certainty that the prayer was answered when, at its close, He bade the disciples sleep on. The effect of this prayer and the security which prompted the command, ‘sleep on,’ is noticed by the Evangelist in the course of the Passion, when he says of the Apostles just before they escaped from the hands of the pursuers, That the word might be fulfilled which He had spoken, Of those whom Thou hast given Me I lost not one of them. He fulfils Himself the petition of His prayer, and they are all safe; but He asks that those whom He has preserved the Father will now preserve in His own Name. And they are preserved: the faith of Peter does not fail: it cowered, but repentance followed immediately.

43. Combine the Lord’s prayer in John, the request of the devil in Luke, the sorrowfulness unto death, and the protest against sleep, followed by the command, Sleep on, in Matthew and Mark, and all difficulty disappears. The prayer in John, in which He commends the Apostles to His Father, explains the cause of His sorrowfulness, and the prayer that the cup may pass away. It is not from Himself that the Lord prays the suffering may be taken away. He beseeches the Father to preserve the disciples during His coming passion. In the same way, the prayer against Satan in St. Luke explains the confidence with which He permitted the sleep He had just forbidden.

44. There was, then, no place for human anxiety and trepidation in that nature, which was more than human. It was superior to the ills of earthly flesh; a body not sprung from earthly elements, although His origin as Son of Man was due to the mystery of the conception by the Holy Ghost. The power of the Most High imparted its power to the booty which the Virgin bare from the conception of the Holy Ghost. The animated body derives its conscious existence from association with a soul, which is diffused throughout it, and quickens it to perceive pains inflicted from without. Thus the soul, warned by the happy glow of its own heavenly faith and hope, soars above its own origin in the beginnings of an earthly body, and raises that body to union with itself in thought and spirit, so that it ceases to feel the suffering of that which, all the while, it suffers. Why need we then say more about the nature of the Lord’s body, that of the Son of Man Who came down from heaven? Even earthly bodies can sometimes be made indifferent to the natural necessities of pain and fear.

45. Did the Jewish children fear the flames blazing up with the fuel cast upon them in the fiery furnace at Babylon? Did the terror of that terrible fire prevail over their nature, conceived though it was like ours? Did they feel pain, when the flames surrounded them? Perhaps, however, you may say they felt no pain, because they were not burnt: the flames were deprived of their burning nature. To be sure it is natural to the body to fear burning, and to be burnt by fire. But through the spirit of faith their earthly bodies (that is, bodies which had their origin according to the principles of natural birth) could neither be burnt nor made afraid. What, therefore, in the case of men was a violation of the order of nature, produced by faith in God, cannot be judged in God’s case natural, but as an activity of the Spirit commencing with His earthly origin. The children were bound in the midst of the fire; they had no fear as they mounted the blazing pile: they felt not the flame as they prayed: though in the midst of the furnace, they could not be burnt. Both the fire and their bodies lost their proper natures; the one did not burn, the others were not burnt. Yet in all other respects, both fire and bodies retained their natures: for the bystanders were consumed, and the ministers of punishment were themselves punished. Impious heretic you will have it that Christ suffered pain from the piercing of the nails, that He felt the bitterness of the wound, when they were driven through His hands: why, pray, did not the children fear the flames? Why did they suffer no pain? What was the nature in their bodies, which overcame that of fire? In the zeal of their faith and the glory of a blessed martyrdora they forgot to fear the terrible; should Christ be sorrowful from fear of the cross, Christ, Who even if He had been conceived with our sinful origin, would have been still God upon the cross, Who was to judge the world and reign for ever and ever? Could He forget such a reward, and tremble with the anxiety of dishonourable fear?

46. Daniel, whose meat was the scanty portion of a prophet, did not fear the lions’ den. The Apostles rejoiced in suffering and death for the Name of Christ. To Paul his sacrifice was the crown of righteousness. The Martyrs sang hymns as they offered their necks to the executioner, and climbed with psalms the blazing logs piled for them. The consciousness of faith takes away the weakness of nature, transforms the bodily senses that they feel no pain, and so the body is strengthened by the fixed purpose of the soul, and feels nothing except the impulse of its enthusiasm. The suffering which the mind despises in its desire of glory, the body does not feel, so long as the soul invigorates it. It is, then, a natural effect in man, that the zeal of the soul glowing for glory should make him unconscious of suffering, heedless of wounds, and regardless of death. But Jesus Christ the Lord of glory, the hem of Whose garment can heal, Whose spittle and word can create; for the than with the withered hand at His command stretched it forth whole, he who was born blind felt no more the defect of his birth, and the smitten ear was made sound as the other; dare we think of His pierced body in that pain and weakness, from which the spirit of faith in Him rescued the glorious and blessed Martyrs?

47. The Only-begotten God, then, suffered in His person the attacks of all the infirmities to which we are subject; but He suffered them in the power of His own nature, just as He was born in the power of His own nature, for at His birth He did not lose His omnipotent nature by being born. Though born under human conditions, He was not so conceived: His birth was surrounded by human circumstances, but His origin went beyond them. He suffered then in His body alter the manner of our infirm body, yet bore the sufferings of our body in the power of His own body. To this article of our faith the prophet bears witness when he says, He beareth our sins and grieveth for us: and we esteemed Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted: He was wounded for our transgressions and made weak for our sins. It is then a mistaken opinion of human judgment, which thinks He felt pain because He suffered. He bore our sins, that is, He assumed our body of sin, but was Himself sinless. He was sent in the likeness of the flesh of sin, bearing sin indeed in His flesh but our sin. So too He felt pain for us, but not with our senses; He was found in fashion as a man, with a body which could feel pain, but His nature could not feel pain; for, though His fashion was that of a man, His origin was not human, but He was born by conception of the Holy Ghost.

For the reasons mentioned, He was esteemed ‘stricken, smitten and afflicted.’ He took the form of a servant: and ‘man born of a Virgin’ conveys to us the idea of One Whose nature felt pain when He suffered. But though He was wounded it was ‘for our transgressions.’ The wound was not the wound of His own trangressions: the suffering not a suffering for Himself. He was not born man for His own sake, nor did He transgress in His own action. The Apostle explains the principle of the Divine Plan when he says, We beseech you through Christ to be reconciled to God. Him, Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf. To condemn sin through sin in the flesh, He Who knew no sin was Himself made sin; that is, by means of the flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, He became flesh on our behalf but knew not flesh: and therefore was wounded because of our transgressions.

48. Again, the Apostle knows nothing in Christ about fear of pain. When He wishes to speak of the dispensation of the Passion, He includes it in the mystery of Christ’s Divinity. Forgiving us all our trespasses, blotting out the band written in ordinances, that was against us, which was contrary to us: taking it away, and nailing it to the cross; stripping off from Himself His flesh, He made a shew of principalities and towers openly triumphing over them in Himself. Was that the power, think you, to yield to the wound of the nail, to wince under the piercing blow, to convert itself into a nature that can feel pain? Yet the Apostle, who speaks as the mouthpiece of Christ, relating the work of our salvation through the Lord, describes the death of Christ as ‘stripping off from Himself His flesh, boldly putting to shame the powers and triumphing over them in Himself.’ If His passion was a necessity of nature and not the free gift of your salvation: if the cross was merely the suffering of wounds, and not the fixing upon Himself of the decree of death made out against you: if His dying was a violence done by death, and not the stripping off of the flesh by the power of God: lastly, if His death itself was anything but a dishonouring of powers, an act of boldness, a triumph: then ascribe to Him infirmity, because He was therein subject to necessity and nature, to force, to If ear and disgrace. But if it is the exact opposite in the mystery of the Passion, as it was preached to us, who, pray, can be so senseless as to repudiate the faith taught by the Apostles, to reverse all feelings of religion, to distort into the dishonourable charge of natural weakness, what was an act of free-will, a mystery, a display of power and boldness, a triumph? And what a triumph it was, when He offered Himself to those who sought to crucify Him, and they could not endure His presence: when He stood under sentence of death, Who shortly was to sit on the right hand of power: when He prayed for His persecutors while the nails were driven through Him: when He completed the mystery as He drained the draught of vinegar; when He was numbered among the transgressors and meanwhile granted Paradise: that when He was lifted on the tree, the earth quaked: when He hung on the cross, sun and day were put to flight: that He left His own body, yet cubed life back to the bodies of others: was buffed a corpse and rose again God: as man suffered all weaknesses for our sakes, as God triumphed in them all.

49. There is still, the heretics say, another serious and far reaching confession of weakness, all the more so because it is in the mouth of the Lord Himself, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? They construe this into the expression of a bitter complaint, that He was deserted and given over to weakness. But what a violent interpretation of an irreligious mind! how repugnant to the whole tenor of our Lord’s words! He hastened to the death, which was to glorify Him, and after which He was to sit on the right hand of power; with all those blessed expectations could He fear death, and therefore complain that His God had betrayed Him to its necessity, when it was the entrance to eternal blessedness?

50. Further their heretical ingenuity presses on in the path prepared by their own godlessness, even to the entire absorption of God the Word into the human soul, and consequent denial that Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, was the same as the Son of God. So either God the Word ceased to be Himself while He performed the function of a soul in giving life to a body, or the man who was born was not the Christ at all, but the Word dwelt in him, as the Spirit dwelt in the prophets.

These absurd and perverse errors have grown in boldness and godlessness till they assert that Jesus Christ was not Christ until He was born of Mary. He Who was born was not a pre-existent Being, but began at that moment to exist.

Hence follows also the error that God the Word, as it were some part of the Divine power extending itself in unbroken continuation, dwelt within that man who received from Mary the beginning of his being, and endowed him with the power of Divine working: though that man lived and moved by the nature of his own soul.

51. Through this subtle and mischievous doctrine they are drawn into the error that God the Word became soul to the body, His nature by self-humiliation working the change upon itself, and thus the Word ceased to be God; or else, that the Man Jesus, in the poverty and remoteness from God of His nature, was animated only by the life and motion of His own human soul, wherein the Word of God, that is, as it were, the might of His uttered voice, resided. Thus the way is opened for all manner of irreverent theorising: the sum of which is, either that God the Word was merged in the soul and ceased to be God: or that Christ had no existence before His birth from Mary, since Jesus Christ, a mere man of ordinary body and soul, began to exist only at His human birth anti was raised to the level of the Power, which worked within Him, by the extraneous force of the Divine Word extending itself into Him. Then when God the Word, after this extension, was withdrawn, He cried, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? or at least when the divine nature of the Word once more gave place within Him to a human soul, He Who had hitherto relied on His Father’s help, now separated from it, and abandoned to death, bemoaned His solitude and chid His deserter. Thus in every way arises a deadly danger of error in belief, whether it be thought that the cry of complaint denotes a weakness of nature in God the Word, or that God the Word was not pre-existent because the birth of Jesus Christ from Mary was the beginning of His being.

52. Amid these irreverent and ill-grounded theories the faith of the Church, inspired by the teaching of the Apostles, has recognised a birth of Christ, but no beginning. It knows of the dispensation, but of no division: it refuses to make a separation in Jesus Christ; whereby Jesus is one and Christ another; nor does it distinguish the Son of Man from the Son of God, lest perhaps the Son of God be not regarded as Son of Man also. It does not absorb the Son of God in the Son of Man; nor does it by a tripartite belief tear asunder Christ, Whose coat woven from the top throughout was not parted, dividing Jesus Christ into the Word, a body and a soul; nor, on the other hand, does it absorb the Word in body and soul. To it He is perfectly God the Word, and perfectly Christ the Man. To this alone we hold fast in the mystery of our confession, namely, the faith that Christ is none other than Jesus, and the doctrine that Jesus is none other than Christ.

53. I am not ignorant how much the grandeur of the divine mystery baffles our weak understanding, so that language can scarcely express it, or reason define it, or thought even embrace it. The Apostle, knowing that the most difficult task for an earthly nature is to apprehend, unaided, God’s mode of action (for then our judgment were keener to discern than God is mighty to effect), writes to his true son according to the faith, who had received the Holy Scripture from his childhood, As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, the which minister questionings, rattler than the edification of God which is in faith. He bids him forbear to handle wordy genealogies and fables, which minister endless questionings. The edification of God, he says, is in faith: he limits human reverence to the faithful worship of the Almighty, and does not suffer our weakness to strain itself in the attempt to see what only dazzles the eye. If we look at the brightness of the sun, the sight is strained and weakened: and sometimes when we scrutinise with too curious gaze the source of the shining light, the eyes lose their natural power, and the sense of sight is even destroyed. Thus it happens that through trying to see too much we see nothing at all. What must we then expect in the case of God, the Sun of Righteousness? Will not foolishness be their reward, who would be over wise? Will not dull and brainless stupor usurp the place of the burning light of intelligence? A lower nature cannot understand the principle of a higher: nor can Heaven’s mode of thought be revealed to human conception, for whatever is within the range of a limited consciousness, is itself limited. The divine power exceeds therefore the capacity of the human mind. If the limited strains itself to reach so far, it becomes even feebler than before. It loses what certainty it had: instead of seeing heavenly things it is only blinded by them. No mind can fully comprehend the divine: it punishes the obstinacy of the curious by depriving them of their power. Would we look at the sun we must remove as much of his brilliancy as we need, in order to see him: if not, by expecting too much, we fall short of the possible. In the same way we can only hope to understand the purposes of Heaven, so far as is permitted. We must expect only what He grants to our apprehension: if we attempt to go beyond the limit of His indulgence, it is withdrawn altogether. There is that in God which we can perceive: it is visible to all if we are content with the possible. Just as with the sun we can see something, if we are content to see what can be seen, but if we strain beyond the possible we lose all: so is it with the nature of God. There is that which we can understand if we are content with understanding what we can: but aim beyond your powers and you will lose even the power of attaining what was within your reach.

54. The mystery of that other timeless birth I will not yet touch upon: its treatment demands an ampler space than this. For the present I will speak of the Incarnation only. Tell me, I pray, ye who pry into secrets of Heaven, the mystery of Christ born of a Virgin and His nature; whence will you explain that He was conceived and born of a Virgin? What was the physical cause of His origin according to your disputations? How was He formed within His mother’s womb? Whence His body and His humanity?

And lastly, what does it mean that the Son of Man descended from heaven Who remained in heaven? It is not possible by the laws of bodies for the same object to remain and to descend: the one is the change of downward motion; the other the stillness of being at rest. The Infant wails but is in Heaven: the Boy grows but remains ever the immeasurable God. By what perception of human understanding can we comprehend that He ascended where He was before, and He descended Who remained in heaven? The Lord says, What if ye should behold the Son of Man ascending thither where He was before? The Son of Man ascends where He was before: can sense apprehend this? The Son of Man descends from heaven, Who is in heaven: can reason cope with this? The Word was made flesh: can words express this? The Word becomes flesh, that is, God becomes Man: the Man is in heaven: the God is from heaven. He ascends Who descended: but He descends and yet does not descend. He is as He ever was, yet He was not ever what He is. We pass in review the causes, but we cannot explain the manner: we perceive the manner, and we cannot understand the causes. Yet if we understand Christ Jesus even thus, we shall know Him: if we seek to understand Him further we shall not know Him at all.

55. Again, how great a mystery of word and act it is that Christ wept, that His eyes filled with tears from the anguish of His mind. Whence came this defect in His soul that sorrow should wring tears from His body? What bitter fate, what unendurable pain, could move to a flood of tears the Son of Man Who descended from heaven? Again, what was it in Him which wept? God the Word? or His human soul? For though weeping is a bodily function, the body is but a servant; tears are, as it were, the sweat of the agonised soul. Again, what was the cause of His weeping? Did He owe to Jerusalem the debt of His tears, Jerusalem, the godless parricide, whom no suffering could requite for the slaughter of Apostles and Prophets, and the murder of her Lord Himself? He might weep for the disasters and death which befall mankind: but could He grieve for the fall of that doomed and desperate race? What, I ask, was this mystery of weeping? His soul wept for sorrow; was not it the soul which sent forth the Prophets? Which would so often have gathered the chickens together under the shadow of His wings? But God the Word cannot grieve, nor can the Spirit weep: nor could His soul possibly do anything before the body existed. Yet we cannot doubt that Jesus Christ truly wept.

56. No less real were the tears He shed for Lazarus. The first question here is, What was there to weep for in the case of Lazarus? Not his death, for that was not unto death, but for the glory of God: for the Lord says, That sickness is not unto death, but far the glory of God, that the Son of God may be honoured through him. The death which was the cause of God’s being glorified could not bring sorrow and tears. Nor was there any occasion for tears in His absence from Lazarus at the time of his death. He says plainly, Lazarus is dead, and I rejoice for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that ye may believe. His absence then, which aided the Apostles’ belief, was not the cause of His sorrow: for with the knowledge of Divine omniscience, He declared the death of the sick man from afar. We can find, then, no necessity for tears, yet He wept. And again I ask, To whom must we ascribe the weeping? To God, or the soul, or the body? The body, of itself, has no tears except those it sheds at the command of the sorrowing soul. Far less can God have wept, for He was to be glorified in Lazarus. Nor is it reason to say His soul recalled Lazarus from the tomb: can a soul linked to a body, by the power of its command, call another soul back to the dead hotly from which it has departed? Can He grieve Who is about to be glorified? Can He weep Who is about to restore the dead to life? Tears are not for Him Who is about to give life, or grief for Him Who is about to receive glory. Yet He Who wept and grieved was also the Giver of life.

57. If there are many points which we treat scantily it is not because we have nothing to say, or do not know what has already been said; our purpose is, by abstaining from too laborious a process of argument, to render the results as attractive as possible to the reader. We know the deeds and words of our Lord, yet we know them not: we are not ignorant of them, yet they cannot be understood. The facts are real, but the power behind them is a mystery. We will prove this from His own words, For thus reason doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one taketh it from Me, but l lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again. This commandment received I from the Father. He lays down His life of Himself, but I ask who lays it down? We confess without hesitation, that Christ is God the Word: but on the other hand, we know that the Son of Man was composed of a soul and a body: compare the angel’s words to Joseph, Arise and take the child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead who sought the soul of the child. Whose soul is it? His body’s, or God’s? If His body’s, what power has the body to lay down the soul, when it is only by the working of the soul that it is quickened into life? Again, how could the body, which apart from the soul is inert and dead, receive a command from the Father? But if, on the other hand, any man suppose that God the Word laid aside His soul, that He might take it up again, he must prove that God the Word died, that is, remained without life and feeling like a dead body, and took up His soul again to be quickened once more into life by it.

58. But, further, no one who is endued with reason can impute to God a soul; though it is written in many places that the soul of God hates sabbaths and new moons: and also that it delights in certain things. But this is merely a conventional expression to be understood in the same way as when God is spoken of as possessing body, with hands, and eyes, and fingers, and arms, and heart. As the Lord said, A Spirit hath not flesh and bones: He then Who is, and changeth not, cannot have the limbs and parts of a tangible body. He is a simple and blessed nature, a single, complete, all-embracing Whole. God is therefore not quickened into life, like bodies, by the action of an indwelling soul, but is Himself His own life.

59. How does He then lay down His soul, or take it up again? What is the meaning of this command He received? God could not lay it down that is, die, or take it up again, that is, come to life. But neither did the body receive the command to take it up again; it could not do so of itself, for He said of the Temple of His body, Destroy this temple and after three days I will raise it up. Thus it is God Who raises up the temple of His body. And Who lays down His soul to take it again? The body does not take it up again of itself: it is raised up by God. That which is raised up again must have been dead, and that which is living does not lay down its soul. God then was neither dead nor buried: and yet He said, In that she has poured this ointment upon My body she did it for My burial. In that it was poured upon His body it was done for His burial: but the His is not the same as Him. It is quite another use of the pronoun when we say, ‘it was done for the burial of Him,’ and when we say, ‘His body was anointed:’ nor is the sense the same in ‘His body was buried,’ and ‘He was buried.’

60. To grasp this divine mystery we must see the God in Him without ignoring the Man; and the Man without ignoring the God. We must not divide Jesus Christ, for the Word was made flesh: yet we must not call Him buried, though we know He raised Himself again: must not doubt His resurrection, though we dare not deny He was buried. Jesus Christ was buried, for He died: He died, and even cried out at the moment of death, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Yet He, Who uttered these words, said also: Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise, and He Who promised Paradise to the thief cried aloud, Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit; and having said this He gave up the Ghost.

61. Ye who trisect Christ into the Word, the soul and the body, or degrade the whole Christ, even God the Word, into a single member of our race, unfold to us this mystery of great godliness which was manifested in the flesh. What Spirit did Christ give up? Who commended His Spirit into the hands of His Father? Who was to be in Paradise that same day? Who complained that He was deserted of God? The cry of the deserted betokens the weakness of the dying: the promise of Paradise the sovereign power of the living God. To commend His Spirit denoted confidence: to give up His Spirit implied His departure by death. Who then, I demand, was it Who died? Surely He Who gave up His Spirit? but Who gave up His Spirit? Certainly He Who commended it to His Father. And if He Who commended His Spirit is the same as He Who gave it up and died, was it the body which commended its soul, or God Who commended the body’s soul? I say ‘soul,’ because there is no doubt it is frequently synonymous with ‘spirit,’ as might be gathered merely from the language here: Jesus gave up His ‘Spirit’ when He was on the point of death. If, therefore, you hold the conviction that the body commended the soul, that the perishable commended the living, the corruptible the eternal, that which was to be raised again, that which abides unchanged, then, since He Who commended His Spirit to the Father was also to be in Paradise with the thief that same day, I would fain know if, while the sepulchre received Him, He was abiding in heaven, or if He was abiding in heaven, when He cried out that God had deserted Him.

62. It is one and the same Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, Who expresses Himself in all these utterances, Who is man when He says He is abandoned to death: yet while man still rules in Paradise as God, and though reigning in Paradise, as Son of God commends His Spirit to His Father, as Son of Man gives up to death the Spirit He commended to the Father. Why do we then view as a disgrace that which is a mystery? We see Him complaining that He is left to die, because He is Man: we see Him, as He dies, declaring that He reigned in Paradise, because He is God. Why should we harp, to support our irreverence, on what He said to make us understand His death, and keep back what He proclaimed to demonstrate His immortality? The words and the voice are equally His, when He complains of desertion, and when He declares His rule: by what method of heretical logic do we split up our belief and deny that He Who died was at the same time He Who rules? Did He not testify both equally of Himself, when He commended His Spirit, and when He gave it up? But if He is the same, Who commended His Spirit, and gave it up, if He dies when ruling and rides when dead: then the mystery of the Son of God and Son of Man means that He is One, Who dying reigns, and reigning dies.

63. Stand aside then, all godless unbelievers, for whom the divine mystery is too great, who do not know that Christ wept not for Himself but for us, to prove the reality of His assumed manhood by yielding to the emotion common to humanity: who do not perceive that Christ died not for Himself, but for our life, to renew human life by the death of the deathless God: who cannot reconcile the complaint of the deserted with the confidence of the Ruler: who would teach us that because He reigns as God and complains that He is dying, we have here a dead man and the reigning God. For He Who dies is none other than He Who reigns, He Who commends His spirit than He Who gives it up: He Who was buried, rose again: ascending or descending He is altogether one.

64. Listen to the teaching of the Apostle and see in it a faith instructed not by the understanding of the flesh but by the gift of the Spirit. The Greeks seek after wisdom, he says, and the Jews ask for a sign; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ Jesus, the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Is Christ divided here so that Jesus the crucified is one, and Christ, the power and wisdom of God, another? This is to the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness; but to us Christ Jesus is the power of God, and the wisdom of God: wisdom, however, not known of the world, nor understood by a secular philosophy. Hear the same blessed Apostle when he declares that it has not been understood, We speak the wisdom of God, which hath been hidden in a mystery, which God foreordained before the world for our glory: which none of the rulers of this world has known: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Does not the Apostle know that this wisdom of God is hidden in a mystery, and cannot be known of the rulers of this world? Does he divide Christ into a Lord of Glory and a crucified Jesus? Nay, rather, he contradicts this most foolish and impious idea with the words, For I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

65. The Apostle knew nothing else, and he determined to know nothing else: we men of feebler wit, and feebler faith, split up, divide and double Jesus Christ, constituting ourselves judges of the unknown, and blaspheming the hidden mystery. For us Christ crucified is one, Christ the wisdom of God another: Christ Who was buried different from Christ Who descended from Heaven: the Son of Man not at the same time also Son of God. We teach that which we do not understand: we seek to refute that which we cannot grasp. We men improve upon the revelation of God: we are not content to say with the Apostle, Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus, that died, yea, rather, that was raised front the dead, Who is at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession far us. Is He Who intercedes for us other than He Who is at the right hand of God? Is not He Who is at the right hand of God the very same Who rose again? Is He Who rose again other than He Who died? He Who died than He Who condemns us? Lastly, is not He Who condemns us also God Who justifies us? Distinguish, if you can, Christ our accuser from God our defender, Christ Who died from Christ Who condemns, Christ sitting at the right hand of God and praying for us from Christ Who died. Whether, therefore, dead or buried, descended into Hades or ascended into Heaven, all is one and the same Christ: as the Apostle says, Now this ‘He ascended’ what is it, but that He also descended to the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens, that He may fill all things. How far then shall we push our babbling ignorance and blasphemy, professing to explain what is hidden in the mystery of God? He that descended is the same also that ascended. Can we longer doubt that the Man Christ Jesus rose from the dead, ascended above the heavens and is at the right hand of God? We cannot say His body descended into Hades, which lay in the grave. If then He Who descended is one with Him, Who ascended; if His body did not go down into Hades, yet really arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, what remains, except to believe in the secret mystery, which is hidden from the world and the rulers of this age, and to confess that, ascending or descending, He is but One, one Jesus Christ for us, Son of God and Son of Man, God the Word and Man in the flesh, Who suffered, died, was buried, rose again, was received into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God: Who possesses in His one single self, according to the Divine Plan and nature, in the form of God and in the form of a servant, the Human and Divine without separation or division.

66. So the Apostle moulding our ignorant and haphazard ideas into conformity with truth says of this mystery of the faith, For He was crucified through weakness but He liveth through the power of God. Preaching the Son of Man and Son of God, Man through the Divine Plan, God through His eternal nature, he says, that He Who was crucified through weakness is He Who lives through the power of God. His weakness arises from the form of a servant, His nature remains because of the form of God. He took the form of a servant, though He was in form of God: therefore there can be no doubt as to the mystery according to which He both suffered and lived. There existed in Him both weakness to suffer, and power of God to give life: and hence He Who suffered and lived cannot be more than One, or other than Himself.

67. The Only-begotten God suffered indeed all that men can suffer: but let us express ourselves in the words anti faith of the Apostle. He says, For I delivered unto you first of all how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. This is no unsupported statement of his own, which might lead to error, but a warning to us to confess that Christ died and rose after a real manner, not a nominal, since the tact is certified by the full weight of Scripture authority; and that we must understand His death in that exact sense in which Scripture declares it. In his regard for the perplexities and scruples of the weak and sensitive believer, he adds these solemn concluding words, according to the Scriptures, to his proclamation of the death and the resurrection. He would not have us grow weaker, driven about by every wind of vain doctrine, or vexed by empty subtleties and false doubts: he would summon faith to return, before it were shipwrecked, to the haven of piety, believing and confessing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God, according to the Scriptures, this being the safeguard of reverence against the attack of the adversary, so to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as it was written of Him. There is no danger in faith: the reverent confession of the hidden mystery of God is always safe. Christ was born of the Virgin, but conceived of the Holy Ghost according to the Scriptures. Christ wept, but according to the Scriptures: that which made Him weep was also a cause of joy. Christ hungered; but according to the Scriptures, He used His power as God against the tree which bore no fruit, when He had no loath Christ suffered: but according to the Scriptures, He was about to sit at the right hand of Power. He complained that He was abandoned to die: but according to the Scriptures, at the same moment He received in His kingdom in Paradise the thief who confessed Him. He died: but according to the Scriptures, He rose again and sits at the right hand of God. In the belief of this mystery there is life: this confession resists all attack.

68. The Apostle is careful to leave no room for doubt: we cannot say, “Christ was born, suffered, was dead and buried, and rose again but how, by what power, by what division of parts of Himself? Who wept? Who rejoiced? Who complained? Who descended? and Who ascended?” He rests the merits of faith entirely on the confession of unquestioning reverence. The righteousness, he says, which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who hath ascended into heaven, that is, to bring Christ down: or Who hath descended into the abyss: that is, to bring Christ up from the dead? But what saith the Scripture? Thy word is nigh, in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach: because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart, that God hath raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Faith perfects the righteous man: as it is written, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Did Abraham impugn the word of God, when he was promised the inheritance of the Gentiles, and an abiding posterity as many as the sand or the stars for multitude? To the reverent faith, which trusts implicitly on the omnipotence of God, the limits of human weakness are no barrier. Despising all that is feeble and earthly in itself, it believes the divine promise, even though it exceeds the possibilities of human nature. It knows that the laws which govern man are no hindrance to the power of God, Who is as bountiful in the performance as He is gracious in the promise. Nothing is more righteous than Faith. For as in human conduct it iS equity and self-restraint that receive our approval, so in the case of God, what is more righteous for man than to ascribe omnipotence to Him, Whose Power He perceives to be without limits?

69. The Apostle then looking in us for the righteousness which is of Faith, cuts at the root of incredulous doubt and godless unbelief. He forbids us to admit into our hearts the cares of anxious thought, and points to the authority of the Prophet’s words, Say not in thy heart, Who hath ascended into heaven? Then He completes the thought of the Prophet’s words with the addition, That is to bring Christ down. The perception of the human mind cannot attain to the knowledge of the divine: but neither can a reverent faith doubt the works of God. Christ needed no human help, that any one should ascend into heaven to bring Him down from His blessed Home to His earthly body. It was no external force which drove Him down to the earth. We must believe that He came, even as He did come: it is true religion to confess Jesus Christ not brought down, but descending. The mystery both of the time and the method of His coming, belongs to Him alone. We may not think because He came but recently, that therefore He must have been brought down, nor that His coming in time depended upon another, who brought Him down.

Nor does the Apostle give room for unbelief in the other direction. He quotes at once the words of the Prophet, Or Who hath descended into the abyss, and adds immediately the explanation, That is to bring Christ back from the dead. He is free to return into heaven, Who was free to descend to the earth. All hesitation and doubt is then removed. Faith reveals what omnipotence plans: history relates the effect, God Almighty was the cause.

70. But there is demanded from us an unwavering certainty. The Apostle expounding the whole secret of the Scripture passes on, Thy word is nigh, in thy mouth and in thy heart. The words of our confession must not be tardy or deliberately vague: there must be no interval between heart and lips, lest what ought to be the confession of true reverence become a subterfuge of infidelity. The word must be near us, and within us; no delay between the heart and the lips; a faith of conviction as well as of words. Heart and lips must be in harmony, and reveal in thought and utterance a religion which does not waver. Here too, as before, the Apostle adds the explanation of the Prophet’s words, That is the word of Faith, which we preach; because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Piety consists in rejecting doubt, righteousness in believing, salvation in confessing. Trifle not with ambiguities, be not stirred up to vain babblings, do not debate in any way the powers of God, or impose limits upon His might, cease searching again and again for the causes of unsearchable mysteries: confess rather that Jesus is the Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead; herein is salvation. What folly is it to depreciate the nature and character of Christ, when this alone is salvation, to know that He is the Lord. Again, what an error of human vanity to quarrel about His resurrection, when it is enough for eternal life to believe that God raised Him up. In simplicity then is faith, in faith righteousness, and in confession true godliness. For God does not call us to the blessed life through arduous investigations. He does not tempt us with the varied arts of rhetoric. The way to eternally is plain and easy; believe that Jesus was raised from the dead by God and confess that He is the Lord. Let no one therefore wrest into an occasion for impiety, what was said because of our ignorance. It had to be proved to us, that Jesus Christ died, that we might live in Him.

71. If then He said, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me, and Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit, that we might be sure that He did die, was not this, in His care for our faith, rather a scattering of our doubts, than a confession of His weakness? When He was about to restore Lazarus, He prayed to the Father: but what need had He of prayer, Who said, Father, I thank Thee, that Thou hast heard Me; and I know that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the multitude I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me? He prayed then for us, that we may know Him to be the Son; the words of prayer availed Him nothing, but He said them for the advancement of our faith. He was not in want of help, but we of teaching. Again He prayed to be glorified; and immediately was heard from heaven the voice of God the Father glorifying Him: but when they wondered at the voice, He said, This voice hath not come for My sake, but for your sakes. The Father is besought for us, He speaks for us: may all this lead us to believe and confess! The answer of the Glorifier is granted not to the prayer for glory, but to the ignorance of the bystanders: must we not then regard the complaint of suffering, when He found His greatest joy in suffering, as intended for the building up of our faith? Christ prayed for His persecutors, because they knew not what they did. He promised Paradise from the cross, because He is God the King. He rejoiced upon the cross, that all was finished when He drank the vinegar, because He had fulfilled all prophecy before He died. He was born for us, suffered for us, died for us, rose again for us. This alone is necessary for our salvation, to confess the Son of God risen from the dead: why then should we die in this state of godless unbelief? If Christ, ever secure of His divinity, made clear to us His death, Himself indifferent to death, yet dying to assure that it was true humanity that He had assumed: why should we use this very confession of the Son of God that for us He became Son of Man and died as the chief weapon to deny His divinity?

Book 11 (Back to the Top)

1. The Apostle in his letter to the Ephesians, reviewing in its manifold aspects the full and perfect mystery of the Gospel, mingles with other instructions in the knowledge of God the following: As ye also were called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, and through all, and in us all. He does not leave us in the vague and misleading paths of an indefinite teaching, or abandon us to the shifting fancies of imagination, but limits the unimpeded license of intellect and desire by the appointment of restraining barriers. He gives us no opportunity to be wise beyond what he preached, but defines in exact and precise language the faith fixed for all time, that there may be no excuse for instability of belief. He declares one faith, as he preaches one Lord, and pronounces one baptism, as he declares one faith of one Lord, that as there is one faith of one Lord, so there may be one baptism of one faith in one Lord. And since the whole mystery of the baptism and the faith is not only in one Lord, but also in one God, he completes the consummation of our hope by the confession of one God. The one baptism and the one faith are of one God, as they are of one Lord. Lord and God are each one, not by union of person but by distinction of properties: for, on the one hand, it is the property of Each to be one, whether of the Father in His Fatherhood, or of the Son in His Sonship, and on the other hand, that property of individuality, which Each possesses, constitutes for Each the mystery of His union with the Other. Thus the one Lord Christ cannot take away from God the Father His Lordship, or the one God the Father deny to the one Lord Christ His Godhead. If, because God is one, Christ is not also by nature divine, then we cannot allow that the one God is Lord, because there is one Lord Christ: that is, on the supposition that by their ‘oneness’ is signified not the mystery, but an exclusive unity. So there is one baptism and one faith of one Lord, as of one God.

2. But how can it be any longer one faith, if it does not steadfastly and sincerely confess one Lord and one God the Father: and how can the faith which is not one faith confess one Lord and one God the Father? Further, how can the faith be one, when its preachers are so at variance? One comes teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ, being in the weakness of our nature, groaned with anguish when the nails pierced His hands, that He lost the virtue of His own power and nature, and shrank shuddering from the death which threatened Him. Another even denies the cardinal doctrine of the Generation and pronounces Him a creature. Another will call Him, but not think Him, God on the ground that religion allows us to speak of more Gods than One, but He, Whom we recognise as God, must be conscious of sharing the divine nature. Again, how can Christ the Lord be one, when some say that as God He feels no pain, others make Him weak and fearful: to some He is God in name, to others God in nature: to some the Son by Generation, to others the Son by appellation? And if this is so, how can God the Father be one in the faith, when to some He is Father by His authority, to others Father by generation, in the sense that God is Father of the universe?

And yet, who will deny that whatever is not the one faith, is not faith at all? For in the one faith there is one Lord Christ, and God the Father is one. But the one Lord Jesus Christ is not one in the truth of the confession, as well as in name, unless He is Son, unless He is God, unless He is unchangeable, unless His Sonship and His Godhead have been eternally present in Him. He who preaches Christ other than He is, that is, other than Son and God, preaches another Christ. Nor is he in the one faith of the one baptism, for in the teaching of the Apostle the one faith is the faith of that one baptism, in which the one Lord is Christ, the Son of God Who is also God.

3. Yet it cannot be denied that Christ was Christ. It cannot be that He was incognisable to mankind. The books of the prophets have set their seal upon Him: the fulness of the times, which waxes daily, witnesses of Him: by the working of wonders the tombs of Apostles and Martyrs proclaim Him: the power of His name reveals Him: the unclean spirits confess Him, and the devils howling in their torment call aloud His name. In all we see the dispensation of His power. But our faith must preach Him as He is, namely, one Lord not in name but in confession, in one faith of one baptism: for on our faith in one Lord Christ depends our confession of one God the Father.

4. But these teachers of a new Christ, who deny to Him all that is His, preach another Lord Christ as well as another God the Father. The One is not the Begetter but the Creator, the Other not begotten, but created. Christ is therefore not very God, because He is not God by birth, and faith cannot recognise a Father in God, because there is no generation to constitute Him Father. They glorify God the Father indeed, as is His right and due, when they predicate of Him a nature unapproachable, invisible, inviolable, ineffable, and infinite, endued with omniscience and omnipotence, instinct with love, moving in all and permeating all, immanent and transcendent, sentient in all sentient existence. But when they proceed to ascribe to Him the unique glory of being alone good, alone omnipotent, alone immortal, who does not feel that this pious praise aims to exclude the Lord Jesus Christ froth the blessedness, which by the reservation ‘alone’ is restricted to the glory of God? Does it not leave Christ in sinfulness and weakness and death, while the Father reigns in solitary perfection? Does it not deny in Christ a natural origin from God the Father, in the fear lest He should be thought to inherit by a birth, which bestows upon the Begotten the same virtue of nature as the Begetter, a blessedness natural to God the Father alone?

5. Unlearned in the teaching of the Gospels and Apostles, they extol the glory of God the Father, not, however, with the sincerity of a devout believer, but with the cunning of impiety, to wrest from it an argument for their wicked heresy. Nothing, they say, can be compared with His nature: therefore the Only-begotten God is excluded from the comparison, because He possesses a lower and weaker nature. And this they say of God, the living image of the living God, the perfect form of His blessed nature, the only-begotten offspring of His unbegotten substance; Who is not truly the image of God unless He possesses the perfect glory of the Father’s blessedness: and reproduces in its exactitude the likeness of His whole nature. But if the Only-begotten God is the image of the Unbegotten God, the verity of that perfect and supreme nature resides in Him and makes Him the image of the very God. Is the Father omnipotent? The weak Son is not the image of omnipotence. Is He good? The Son, Whose divinity is of a lower stamp, does not reflect in His sinful nature the image of goodness. Is He incorporeal? The Son, Whose very spirit is confined to the limits of a body, is not in the forth of the Incorporeal. Is He ineffable? The Son, Whom language can define, Whose nature the tongue can describe, is not the image of the Ineffable. Is He the true God? The Son possesses only a fictitious divinity, and the false cannot be the image of the True. The Apostle, however, does not ascribe to Christ a portion of the image, or a part of the form, but pronounces Him unreservedly the image of the invisible God and the form of God. And how could He declare more expressly the divine nature of the Son of God, than by saying that Christ is the image of the invisible God even in respect of His invisibility: for if the substance of Christ were discernible how could He be the image of an invisible nature?

6. But, as we pointed out in the former books, they seize the Dispensation of the assumed manhood as a pretext to dishonour His divinity, and distort the Mystery of our salvation into an occasion of blasphemy. Had they held fast the faith of the Apostle, they would neither have forgotten that He, Who was in the form of God, took the form of a servant, nor made use of the servant’s forth to dishonour the form of God (for the form of God includes the fulness of divinity), but they would have noted, reasonably and reverently, the distinction of occasions s and mysteries, without dishonouring the divinity, or being misled by the Incarnation of Christ. But now, when we have, I am convinced, proved everything to the utmost, and pointed out the power of the divine nature underlying the birth of the assumed body, there is no longer room for doubt. He Who was at once man and the Only-begotten God performed all things by the power of God, and in the power of God accomplished all things through a true human nature. As begotten of God He possessed the nature of divine omnipotence, as born of the Virgin He had a perfect and entire humanity. Though He had a real body, He subsisted in the nature of God, and though He subsisted in the nature of God, He abode in a real body.

7. In our reply we have followed Him to the moment of His glorious death, and taking one by one the statements of their unhallowed doctrine, we have refuted them from the teaching of the Gospels and the Apostle. But even after His glorious resurrection there are certain things which they have made bold to construe as proofs of the weakness of a lower nature, and to these we must now reply. Let us adopt once more our usual method of drawing out from the words themselves their true signification, that so we may discover the truth precisely where they think to overthrow it. For the Lord spoke in simple words for our instruction in the faith, and His words cannot need support or comment from foreign and irrelevant sayings.

8. Among their other sins the heretics often employ as an argument the words of the Lord, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and your God. His Father is also their Father, His God their God; therefore He is not in the nature of God, for He pronounces God the Father of others as of Himself, and His unique Sonship ceases when He shares with others the nature and the origin which make Him Son and God. But let them add further the words of the Apostle, But when He saith All things are put in subjection, He is excepted Who did subject all things unto Him. And when all things have been subjected unto Him, then shall He Himself be subjected unto Him that did subject all things unto Himself, that God may be all in all, whereby, since they regard that subjection as a proof of weakness, they may dispossess Him of the virtue of His Father’s nature, because His natural infirmity subjected Him to the dominion of a stronger nature. And after that, let them adopt their very strongest position and their impregnable defence, before which the truth of the Divine birth is to he demolished; namely, that if He is subjected, He is not God; if His God and Father is ours also, He shares all in common with creatures, and therefore is Himself also a creature: created of God and not begotten, since the creature has its substance out of nothing, but the begotten possesses the nature of its author.

9. Falsehood is always infamous, for the liar throwing off the bridle of shame dares to gainsay the truth, or else at times he hides behind some veil of pretext, that he may appear to defend with modesty what is shameless in intention. But in this case, when they sacrilegiously use the Scriptures to degrade the dignity of our Lord, there is no room for the blush or the false excuse; for there are occasions when even pardon accorded to ignorance is refused, and wilful misconstruction is exposed in its naked profanity. Let us postpone for a moment the exposition of this passage in the Gospel, and ask them first whether they have forgotten the preaching of the Apostle, who said, Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory. Who is so dull that he cannot comprehend that the mystery of godliness is simply the Dispensation of the flesh assumed by the Lord? At the outset then, he who does not agree in this confession is not in the faith of God. For the Apostle leaves no doubt that all must confess that the hidden secret of our salvation is not the dishonour of God, but the mystery of great godliness, and a mystery no longer kept from our eyes, but manifested in the flesh; no longer weak through the nature of flesh, but justified in the Spirit. And so by the justification of the Spirit is removed from our faith the idea of fleshly weakness; through the manifestation of the flesh is revealed that which was secret, and in the unknown cause of that which was secret is contained the only confession, the confession of the mystery of great godliness. This is the whole system of the faith set forth by the Apostle in its proper order. From godliness proceeds the mystery, from the mystery the manifestation in the flesh, from the manifestation in the flesh the justification in the Spirit: for the mystery of godliness which was manifested in the flesh, to be truly a mystery, was manifested in the flesh through the justification of the Spirit. Again, we must not forget what manner of justification in the Spirit is this manifestation in the flesh: for the mystery which was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, and believed on in this world, this same mystery was received up in glory. Thus is it in every way a mystery of great godliness, when it is manifested in the flesh, when it is justified in the Spirit, when it is seen of angels, when it is preached among the nations, when it is believed on in the world, and when it is received up in glory. The preaching follows the seeing, and the believing the preaching, and the consummation of all is the receiving up in glory: for the assumption into glory is the mystery of great godliness, and by faith in the Dispensation we are prepared to be received up, and to be conformed to the glory of the Lord. The assumption of flesh is therefore also the mystery of great godliness, for through the assumption of flesh the mystery was manifested in the flesh. But we mast believe that the manifestation in the flesh also is this same mystery of great godliness, for His manifestation in the flesh is His justification in the Spirit, and His assumption into glory. And now what room does our faith leave for any to think that the secret of the Dispensation of godliness is the enfeebling of the divinity, when through the assumption of glory is to be confessed the mystery of great godliness? What was ‘infirmity’ is now the ‘mystery:’ what was ‘necessity’ becomes ‘godliness.’ And now let us turn to the meaning of the Evangelist’s words, that the secret of our salvation and our glory may not be converted into an occasion of blasphemy.

10. You credit with the weight of irresistible authority, heretic, that saying of the Lord, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God. The same Father, you say, is His Father and ours, the same God His God and ours. He partakes, therefore, of our weakness, for in the possession of the same Father we are not inferior as sons, and in the service of the same God we are equal as servants. Since, then, we are of created origin and a servant’s nature, but have a common Father and God with Him, He is in common with our nature a creature and a servant. So runs this infatuated and unhallowed teaching. It produces also the words of the Prophet, Thy God hath anointed Thee, O God, to prove that Christ does not partake of that glorious nature which belongs to God, since the God Who anoints Him is preferred before Him as His God.

11. We do not know Christ the God unless we know God the Begotten. But to be born God is to belong to the nature of God, for the name Begotten signifies indeed the manner of His origin, but does not make Him different in kind from the Begetter. And if so, the Begotten owes indeed to His Author the source of His being, but is not dispossessed of the nature of that Author, for the birth of God can arise but from one origin, and have but one nature. If its origin is not from God, it is not a birth; if it is anything but a birth, Christ is not God. But He is God of God, and therefore God the Father stands to God the Son as God of His birth and Father of His nature, for the birth of God is from God, and in the specific nature of God.

12. See in all that He said, how carefully the Lord tempers the pious acknowledgment of His debt, so that neither the confession of the birth could be held to reflect upon His divinity, nor His reverent obedience to infringe upon His sovereign nature. He does not withhold the homage due from Him as the Begotten, Who owed to His Author His very existence, but He manifests by His confident bearing the consciousness of participation in that nature, which belongs to Him by virtue of the origin whereby He was born as God. Take, for instance, the words, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also, and, The wards that I say, I speak not from Myself. He does not speak from Himself: therefore He receives from His Author that which He says. But if any have seen Him, they have seen the Father also: they are conscious, by this evidence, given to shew that God is in Him, that a nature, one in kind with that of God, was born from God to subsist as God. Take again the words, That which the Father hath given unto Me, is greater than all, and, I and the Father are one. To say that the Father gave, is a confession that He received His origin: but the unity of Himself with the Father is a property of His nature derived from that origin. Take another instance, He hath given all judgment unto the Son, that all may honour the Son even as they honour the Father. He acknowledges that the judgment is given to Him, and therefore He does not put His birth in the background: but He claims equal honour with the Father, and therefore He does not resign His nature. Yet another example, I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me, and, The Father is greater than I. The One is in the Other: recognise, then, the divinity of God, the Begotten of God: the Father is greater than He: perceive, then, His acknowledgment of the Father’s authority. In the same way He says, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He hath seen the Father doing: for what things soever He doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. He doeth nothing of Himself: that is, in accordance with His birth the Father prompts His actions: yet what things soever the Father doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner; that is, He subsists as nothing less than God, and by the Father’s omnipotent nature residing in Him, can do all that God the Father does. All is uttered in agreement with His unity of Spirit with the Father, and the properties of that nature, which He possesses by virtue of His birth. That birth, which brought Him into being, constituted Him divine, and His being reveals the consciousness of that divine nature. God the Son confesses God His Father, because He was born of Him; but also, because He was barn, He inherits the whole nature of God.

13. So the Dispensation of the great and godly mystery makes Him, Who was already Father of the divine Son, also His Lord in the created form which He assumed, for He, Who was in the form of God, was found also in the form of a servant. Yet He was not a servant, for according to the Spirit He was God the Son of God. Every one will agree also that there is no servant where there is no lord. God is indeed Father in the Generation of the Only-begotten God, but only in the case that the Other is a servant can we call Him Lord as well as Father. The Son was not at the first a servant by nature, but afterwards began to be by nature something which He was not before. Thus the Father is Lord on the same grounds as the Son is servant. By the Dispensation of His nature the Son had a Lord, when He made Himself a servant by the assumption of manhood.

14. Being, then, in the form of a servant, Jesus Christ, Who before was in the form of God, said as a man, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God. He was speaking as a servant to servants: how can we then dissociate the words from Christ the servant, and transfer them to that nature, which had nothing of the servant in it? For He Who abode in the form of God took upon Him the form of a servant, this form being the indispensable condition of His fellowship as a servant with servants. It is in this sense that God is His Father and the Father of men, His God and the God of servants. Jesus Christ was speaking as a man in the form of a servant to men anti servants; what difficulty is there then in the idea, that in His human aspect the Father is His Father as ours, in His servant’s nature God is His God as all men’s?

15. These, then, are the words with which He prefaces the message, Go unto My brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and your God. I ask, Are they to be understood as His brethren with reference to the form of God or to the form of a servant? And has our flesh kinship with Him in regard to the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Him, that we should be reckoned His brothers in respect of His divinity? No, for the Spirit of prophecy recognises clearly in what respect we are the brethren of the Only-begotten God. It is as a warm and no man that He says, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren. As a worm, which is born without the ordinary process of conception, or else comes up into the world, already living, from the depths of the earth, He speaks here in manifestation of the fact that He had assumed flesh and also brought it up, living, from Hades. Throughout the Psalm He is foretelling by the Spirit of prophecy the mysteries of His Passion: it is therefore in respect of the Dispensation, in which He suffered, that He has brethren. The Apostle also recognises the mystery of this brotherhood, for he calls Him not only the firstborn from the dead, but also the firstborn among many brethren. Christ is the Firstborn among many brethren in the same sense in which He is Firstborn from the dead: and as the mystery of death concerns His body, so the mystery of brotherhood also refers to His flesh. Thus God has brethren according to His flesh, for the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us: but the Only-begotten Son, unique as the Only-begotten, has no brethren.

16. By assuming flesh, however, He acquired our nature in our totality, and became all that we are, but did not lose that which He was before. Both before by His heavenly origin, and now by His earthly constitution, God is His Father. By His earthly constitution God is His Father, since all things are from God the Father, and God is Father to all things, since from Him and in Him are all things. But to the Only-begotten God, God is Father, not only because the Word became flesh; His Fatherhood extends also to Him Who was, as God the Word, with God in the beginning. Thus, when the Word became flesh, God was His Father both by the birth of God the Word, and by the constitution of His flesh: for God is the Father of all flesh, though not in the same way that He is Father to God the Word. But God the Word, though He did not cease to be God, really did become flesh: and while He thus dwelt He was still truly the Word, just as when the Word became flesh He was still truly God as well as man. For to ‘dwell’ can only be said of one who abides in something: and to become flesh’ of one who is born. He dwelt among us; that is, He assumed our flesh. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us; that is, He was God in the reality of our body. If Christ Jesus, the man according to the flesh, robbed God the Word of the divine nature, or was not according to the mystery of godliness also God the Word, then it reduces His nature to our level that God is His Father, and our Father, His God and our God. But if God the Word, when He became the man Christ Jesus, did not cease to be God the Word, then God is at the same time His Father and ours, His God and ours, only in respect of that nature, by which the Word is our brother, and the message to His brethren, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and your God, is not that of the Only-begotten God the Word, but of the Word made flesh.

17. The Apostle here speaks in carefully guarded words, which by their definiteness can give no occasion to the ungodly. We have seen that the Evangelist makes the Lord use the word ‘Brethren’ in the preface to the message, thus signifying that the whole message, being addressed to His brethren, refers to His fellowship in that nature which makes Him their brother. Thus he makes manifest that the mystery of godliness, which is here proclaimed, is no degradation of His divinity. The community with Him, by which God is our Father and His, our God and His, exists in regard to the Dispensation of the flesh: we are counted His brethren, because He was born into the body. 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. 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. For the angel, when speaking of Christ the Lord, Who should be born of Mary, calls Him by the name ‘Jesus:’ but to the prophets Christ the Lord is ‘Spirit.’ The Apostle’s words in this passage seem to many, on account of the Latin, somewhat obscure, for Latin has no articles, which the beautiful and logical usage of Greek employs. The Greek runs, o Qeos tou K uriou hmsou X r stou , o pathr ths doxhs , which we might translate into Latin, if the usage of the article were permitted, ‘Ille Deus illius Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ille pater illius claritatis’ (The God of the Lord [of us] Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory). In this form ‘The God of the Jesus Christ,’ and ‘the Father of the glory,’ the sentence expresses, so far as we can comprehend them, certain truths of His nature. Where the glory of Christ is concerned, God is His Father; where Christ is Jesus, there the Father is His God. In the Dispensation by which He is a servant, He has as God Him Whom, in the glory by which He is God, He has as Father.

18. Time and the lapse of ages make no difference to a Spirit. Christ is one and the same Christ, whether in the body, or abiding by the Spirit in the prophets. Speaking through the mouth of the holy Patriarch David, He says, Thy God, O God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows, which refers to no less a mystery than the Dispensation of His assumption of flesh. He, Who now sends the message to His brethren that their Father is His Father, and their God His God, announced Himself then as anointed by His God above His fellows. No one is fellow to the Only-begotten Christ, God the Word: but we know that we are His fellows by the assumption which made Him flesh. That anointing did not exalt the blessed and incorruptible Begotten Who abides in the nature of God, but it established the mystery of His body, and sanctified the manhood which He assumed. To this the Apostle Peter witnesses, Of a truth in this city were they gathered together against Thy holy Son Jesus, Whom Thou didst anoint: and on another occasion, Ye know that the saying was published through all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached: even Jesus of Nazareth, how that God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and with power. Jesus was anointed, therefore, that the mystery of the regeneration of flesh might be accomplished. Nor are we left in doubt how He was thus anointed with the Spirit of God and with power, when we listen to the Father’s voice, as it spoke when He came up out of the Jordan, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Thus is testified the sanctification of His flesh, and in this testimony we must recognise His anointing with the power of the Spirit.

19. But the Word was God, and with God in the beginning, and therefore the anointing could neither be related nor explained, if it referred to that nature, of which we are told nothing, except that it was in the beginning. And in fact He Who was God had no need to anoint Himself with the Spirit and power of God, when He was Himself the Spirit and power of God. So He, being God, was anointed by His God above His fellows. And, although there were many Christs (i.e. anointed persons) according to the Law before the Dispensation of the flesh, yet Christ, Who was anointed above His fellows, came after them, for He was preferred above His anointed fellows. Accordingly, the words of the prophecy bring out the fact that the anointing took place in time, and comparatively late in time. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore Thy God, O God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. Now, a fact which follows later upon other facts, cannot be dated before them. That a reward be deserved postulates as a prior condition the existence of one who can deserve it, for merit earned implies that there has been one capable of acquiring it. If, therefore, we attribute the birth of the Only-begotten God to this anointing, which is His reward for loving righteousness and hating iniquity, we shall be regarding Him not as born, but as promoted by unction, to be the Only-begotten God. But then we imply that He advanced with gradual progress and promotion to perfect divinity, and that He was not born God, but afterwards for His merit anointed God. Thus we shall make Christ as God Himself conditioned, whereas He is the final cause of all conditions; and what becomes then of the Apostle’s words, All things are through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and in Him all things consist? The Lord Jesus Christ was not deified because of anything, or by means of anything, but was born God: God by origin, not promoted to divinity for any cause after His birth, but as the Son; and one in kind with God because begotten of Him. His anointing then, though it is the result of a cause, did not enhance that in Him, which could not be made more perfect. It concerned that part of Him which was to be made perfect through the perfection of the Mystery: that is, our manhood was sanctified in Christ by unction. If then the prophet here also teaches us the dispensation of the servant, for which Christ is anointed by His God above His fellows, and that because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity, then surely the words of the prophet must refer to that nature in Christ, by which He has fellows through His assumption of flesh. Can we doubt this when we note how carefully the Spirit of prophecy chooses His words? God is anointed by His God; that is, in His own nature He is God, but in the dispensation of the anointing God is His God. God is anointed: but tell me, is that Word anointed, Who was God in the beginning? Manifestly not, for the anointing comes after His divine birth. It was then not the begotten Word, God with God in the beginning, Who was anointed, but that nature in God which came to Him through the dispensation later than His divinity: and when His God anointed Him, He anointed in Him the whole nature of the servant, which He assumed in the mystery of His flesh.

20. Let no one then defile with his godless interpretations the mystery of great godliness which was manifested in the flesh, or reckon himself equal to the Only-begotten in respect of His divine substance. Let Him be our brother and our fellow, inasmuch as the Word made flesh dwelt among us, inasmuch as the man Jesus Christ is Mediator between God and man. Let Him, after the manner of servants, have a common Father and a common God with us, and as anointed above His fellows, let Him be of the same nature as His anointed fellows, though His be an unction of special privilege. In the mystery of the Mediatorship let Him be at once very man and very God, Himself God of God, but having a common Father and God with us in that community by which He is our brother.

21. But perhaps that subjection, that delivering of the kingdom, and lastly that end betoken the dissolution of His nature, or the loss of His power, or the enfeebling of His divinity. Many argue thus: Christ is included in the common subjection of all to God, and by the condition of subjection loses His divinity: He surrenders His Kingdom, therefore He is no longer King: the end which overtakes Him entails as its consequence the loss of His power.

22. It will not be out of place here if we review the full meaning of the Apostle’s teaching upon this subject. Let us take, then, each single sentence and expound it, that we may grasp the entire Mystery by comprehending it in its fulness. The words of the Apostle are, For since by man came death by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ are all made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered the Kingdom to God, even the Father, when He shall have emptied all authority and all power. For He must reign until He put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be conquered is death. But when He saith, All things are put in subjection, He is excepted Who did subject all things unto Him. But when all things have been subjected to Him, then shall He also Himself be subjected to Him, that did subject all things unto Him, that God may be all in all.

23. The Apostle who was chosen not of then nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, to be the teacher of the Gentiles, expounds in language as express as he can command the secrets of the heavenly Dispensations. He who had been caught up into the third heaven and had heard unspeakable words, reveals to the perception of human understanding as much as human nature can receive. But he does not forget that there are things which cannot be understood in the moment of hearing. The infirmity of man needs time to review before the true and perfect tribunal of the mind, that which is poured indiscriminately into the ears. Comprehension follows the spoken words more slowly than hearing, for it is the ear which hears, but the reason which understands, though it is God Who reveals the inner meaning to those who seek it. We learn this from the words written among many other exhortations to Timothy, the disciple instructed from a babe in the Holy Scriptures by the glorious faith of his grandmother and mother: Understand what I say, for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things. The exhortation to understand is prompted by the difficulty of understanding. But God’s gift of understanding is the reward of faith, for through faith the infirmity of sense is recompensed with the gift of revelation. Timothy, that ‘man of God’ as the Apostle witnesses of him, Paul’s true child in the faith, is exhorted to understand because the Lord will give him understanding in all things: let us, therefore, knowing that the Lord will grant us understanding in all things, remember that the Apostle exhorts us also to understand.

24. And if, by an error incident to human nature, we be clinging to some preconception of our own, let us not reject the advance in knowledge through the gift of revelation. If we have hitherto used only our own judgment, let that not make us ashamed to change its decisions for the better. Guiding this advance wisely and carefully, the same blessed Apostle writes to the Philippians, Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall Gad reveal unto you. Only, wherein we have hastened, in that same let us walk. Reason cannot anticipate with preconceptions the revelation of God. For the Apostle has here shewn us wherein consists the wisdom of those who have the perfect wisdom, and for those who are otherwise minded, he awaits the revelation of God, that they may obtain the perfect wisdom. If any, then, have otherwise conceived this profound dispensation of the hidden knowledge, anti if that which we offer them is in any respect more right or better approved, let them not be ashamed to receive the perfect wisdom, as the Apostle advises, through the revelation of God, and if they hate to abide in untruth let them not love ignorance more. If to them, who had another wisdom, God has revealed this also, the Apostle exhorts them to hasten on the road in which they have started, to cast aside the notions of their former ignorance, and obtain the revelation of perfect understanding by the path into which they have eagerly entered. Let us, therefore, keep on in the path along which we have hastened: or, if the error of our wandering steps has delayed our eager haste, let us, notwithstanding, start again through the revelation of God towards the goal of our desire, and not turn our feet from the path. We have hastened towards Christ Jesus the Lord of Glory, the King of the eternal ages, in Whom are restored all things in Heaven and in earth, by Whom all things consist, in Whom and with Whom we shall abide for ever. So long as we walk in this path we have the perfect wisdom: and if we have another wisdom, God will reveal to us what is the perfect wisdom. Let us, then, examine in the light of the Apostle’s faith the mystery of the words before us: and let our treatment be, as it always has been, a refutation from the actual truth of the Apostle’s confession of every interpretation, which they would profanely foist upon his words.

25. Three assertions are here disputed, which, in the order in which the Apostle makes them, are first the end, then the delivering, and lastly the subjection. The object is to prove that Christ ceases to exist at the end, that He loses His kingdom, when He delivers it up, that He strips Himself of the divine nature, when He is subjected to God.

26. At the outset take note that this is not the order of the Apostle’s teaching, for in that order the surrender of the Kingdom is first, then the subjection, and lastly the end. But every cause is itself the result of its particular cause, so that, in every chain of causation, each cause, itself producing a result, has inevitably its underlying antecedent. Thus the end will come, but when He has delivered the Kingdom to God. He will deliver the Kingdom, but when He has abolished all authority and power. He will abolish all authority and power, because He must reign. He will reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. He will put all enemies under His feet, because God has subjected everything under His feet. God has so subjected them as to make death the last enemy to be conquered by Him. Then, when all things are subjected unto God. except Him Who subjected all things unto Him, He too will be subjected unto Him, Who subjects all to Himself. But the cause of the subjection is none other than that God may be all in all; and therefore the end is that God is all in all.

27. Before going any further we must now enquire whether the end is a dissolution, or the delivering a forfeiture, or the subjection an enfeebling of Christ. And if we find that these are contraries, which cannot be connected as causes and effects, we shall be able to understand the words in the true sense in which they were spoken.

28. Christ is the end of the law; but, tell me, is He come to destroy it or to fulfil it? And if Christ, the end of the law, does not destroy it, but fulfils it (as He says, I am come not to destroy the law but fulfil it), is not the end of the law, so far from being its dissolution, the very opposite, namely its final perfection? All things are advancing towards an end, but that end is a condition of rest in the perfection, which is the goal of their advance, and not their abolition. Further, all things exist for the sake of the end, but the end itself is not the means to anything beyond: it is an ultimate, all-embracing whole, which rests in itself. And because it is self-contained, and works for no other time or object than itself, the goal is always that to which our hopes are directed. Therefore the Lord exhorts us to wait with patient and reverent faith until the end comes: Blessed is He that endureth to the end. It is not a blessed dissolution, which awaits us, nor is non-existence the fruit, and annihilation the appointed reward of faith: but the end is the final attainment of the promised blessedness, and they are blessed who endure until the goal of perfect happiness is reached, when the expectation of faithful hope has no object beyond. Their end is to abide with unbroken rest in that condition, towards which they are pressing. Similarly, as a deterrent, the Apostle warns us of the end of the wicked, Whose end is perdition, ….. but our expectation is in heaven. Suppose then we interpret the end as a dissolution, we are forced to acknowledge that, since there is an end for the blessed and for the wicked, the issue levels the godly with the ungodly, for the appointed end of both is a common annihilation. What of our expectation in heaven, if for us as well as for the wicked the end is a cessation of being? But even if there remains for the saints an expectation. whereas for the wicked there waits the end they have deserved, we cannot conceive that end as a final dissolution. What punishment would it be for the wicked to be beyond the feeling of avenging torments, because the capability of suffering has been removed by dissolution? The end is, therefore, a culminating and irrevocable condition which awaits us, reserved for the blessed and prepared for the wicked.

29. We can therefore no longer doubt that by the end is meant an ultimate and final condition and not a dissolution. We shall have something more to say upon this subject, when we come to the explanation of this passage, but for the present this is enough to make our meaning clear. Let us, therefore, turn now to the delivering of the Kingdom, and see whether it means a surrender of rule, whether the Son by delivering ceases to possess that which He delivers to the Father. If this is what the wicked contend in their unreasoning infatuation, they must allow that the Father, by delivering, lost all, when He delivered all to the Son, if delivery implies the surrender of that which is delivered. For the Lord said, All things have been delivered unto Me of My Father, and again, All authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and earth. If, therefore, to deliver is to yield possession, the Father no longer possessed that which He delivered. But if the Father did not cease to possess that which He delivered, neither does the Son surrender that which He delivers. Therefore, if He did not lose by the delivering that which He delivered, we must recognise that only the Dispensation explains how the

Father still possesses what He delivered, and the Son does not forfeit what He gave.

30. As to the subjection, there are other facts which come to the help of our faith, and prevent us from putting an indignity on Christ upon this score, but above all this passage contains its own defence. First, however, I appeal to common reason: is the subjection still to be understood as the subordination of servitude to lordship, weakness to power, meanness to honour, qualities the opposite of one another? Is the Son in this manner subjected to the Father by the distinction of a different nature? If, indeed, we would think so, we shall find in the Apostle’s words a preventive for such errors of the imagination. When all things are subjected to Him, says He, then must He be subjected to Him, Who subjects all things to Himself; and by this ‘then’ he means to denote the temporal Dispensation. For if we put any other construction on the subjection, Christ, though then to be subjected, is not subjected now, and thus we make Him an insolent and impious rebel, whom the necessity of time, breaking as it were and subduing His profane and overweening pride, will reduce to a tardy obedience. But what does He Himself say? I am not come to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me: and again, Therefore hath the Father loved Me because I do all things that are pleasing unto Him: and, Father, Thy will be done. Or hear the Apostle, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death. Although He humbled Himself, His nature knew no humiliation: though He was obedient, it was a voluntary obedience, for He became obedient by humbling Himself. The Only-begotten God humbled Himself, and obeyed His Father even to the death of the Cross: but as what, as man or as God, is He to be subjected to the Father, when all things have been subjected to Him? Of a truth this subjection is no sign of a fresh obedience, but the Dispensation of the Mystery, for the allegiance is eternal, the subjection an event within time. The subjection is then in its signification simply a demonstration of the Mystery.

31. What that is must be understood in view of this same hope of our faith. We cannot be ignorant that the Lord Jesus Christ rose again from the dead, and sits at the right hand of God, for we have also the witness of the Apostle, According to the working of the strength of His might, which He wrought in Christ, when tie raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at tits right hand in the heavenly places above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world but also in that which is to came, and put all things in subjection under His feet. 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.

32. The meaning of the abolishing of every power which is against Him is not obscure The prince of the air, the power of spiritual wickedness, shall be delivered to eternal destruction, as Christ says, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which My Father hath prepared far the devil and his angels. The abolishing is not the same as the subjecting. To abolish the power of the enemy is to sweep away for ever his prerogative of power, so that by the abolition of his power is brought to an end the rule of his kingdom. Of this the Lord testifies when He says, My kingdom is not of this world: as He had once before testified that the ruler of that kingdom is the prince of the world, whose power shall be destroyed by the abolition of the rule of His kingdom. A subjection, on the other hand, which implies obedience and allegiance, is a proof of submission and mutability.

33. So when their authority is abolished, His enemies shall be subjected: and so subjected, that He shall subject them to Himself. Moreover He shall so subject them to Himself, that God shall subject them to Him. Was the Apostle ignorant, think you, of the force of these words in the Gospel, No one cometh to Me, except the Father draw Him to Me which stand side by side with those other words, No one cometh unto the Father but by Me: just as in this Epistle Christ subjects His enemies to Himself, yet God subjects them to Him, and He witnesses throughout this, his work of subjection, that God is working in Him? Except through Him there is no approach to the Father, but there is also no approach to Him, unless the Father draw us. Understanding Him to be the Son of God, we recognise in Him the true nature of the Father. Hence, when we learn to know the Son, God the Father calls us: when we believe the Son, God the Father receives us; for our recognition and knowledge of the Father is in the Son, Who shews us in Himself God the Father, Who draws us, if we be devout, by His fatherly love into a mutual bond with His Son. So then the Father draws us, when, as the first condition, He is acknowledged Father: but no one comes to the Father except through the Son, because we cannot know the Father, unless faith in the Son is active in us, since we cannot approach the Father in worship, unless we first adore the Son, while if we know the Son, the Father draws us to eternal life and receives us. But each result is the work of the Son, for by the preaching of the Father, Whom the Son preaches, the Father brings us to the Son, and the Son leads us to the Father. The statement of this Mystery was necessary for the more perfect understanding of the present passage, to shew that through the Son the Father draws us and receives us; that we might understand the two aspects, the Son subjecting all to Himself, and the Father subjecting all to Him. Through the birth the nature of God is abiding in the Son, and does that which He Himself does. What He does God does, but what God does in Him, He Himself does: in the sense that where He acts Himself we must believe the Son of God acts; and where God acts, we must perceive the properties of the Father’s nature existing in Him as the Son.

34. When authorities and powers are abolished, His enemies shall be subjected under His feet. The same Apostle tells who are these enemies, As touching the Gospel they are enemies for your sakes, but as touching the election they are beloved far the fathers’ sake. We remember that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; let us remember also that, because they are beloved for the fathers’ sake, they are reserved for the subjection, as the Apostle says, I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved, even as it is written, There shall come out of Sion a Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: and this is the covenant firm Me to them, when I have taken away their sins. So His enemies shall be subjected under His feet.

35. But we must not forget what follows the subjection, namely, Last of all is death conquered by Him. This victory over death is nothing else than the resurrection from the dead: for when the corruption of death is stayed, the quickened and now heavenly nature is made eternal, as it is written, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in strife. O death, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy strife? In the subjection of His enemies death is Conquered; and, death conquered, life immortal follows. The Apostle tells us also of the special reward attained by this subjection which is made perfect by the subjection of belief: Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the works of His power, whereby He is able to subject all things to Himself. There is then another subjection, which consists in a transition from one nature to another, for our nature ceases, so far as its present character is concerned, and is subjected to Him, into Whose form it passes. But by ‘ceasing’ is implied not an end of being, but a promotion into something higher. Thus our nature by being merged into the image of the other nature which it receives, becomes subjected through the imposition of a new form.

36. Hence the Apostle, to make his explanation of this Mystery complete, after saying that death is the last enemy to be conquered, adds: But when He saith, rill things are put in subjection except Him, Who did subject all things to Him, then must He be subjected to Him, that did subject all things to Him, that God may be all in all. The first step of the Mystery is that all things are subjected to Him: then He is subjected to Him, Who subjects all things to Himself. As we are subjected to the glory of the rule of His body, so He also, reigning in the glory of His body, is by the same Mystery in turn subjected to Him, Who subjects all things to Himself. And we are subjected to the glory of His body, that we may share that splendour with which He reigns in the body, since we shall be conformed to His body.

37. Nor are the Gospels silent concerning the glory of His present reigning body. It is written that the Lord said, Verily, I say unto you, there be same of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom. And it came to pass, after six days Jesus taketh with Him Peter and James and John His brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart. And Jesus was transfigured before them, and His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became as snow Thus was shewn to the Apostles the glory of the body of Christ coming into His Kingdom: for in the fashion of His glorious Transfiguration, the Lord stood revealed in the splendour of His reigning body.

38. He promised also to the Apostles the participation in this His glory. So shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather together out of His Kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and He shall send them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Were their natural and bodily ears closed to the hearing of the words, that the Lord should need to admonish them to hear? Yet the Lord, hinting at the knowledge of the Mystery, commands them to listen to the doctrine of the faith. In the end of the world all things that cause stumbling shall be removed from His Kingdom. We see the Lord then reigning in the splendour of His body, until the things that cause stumbling are removed. And we see ourselves, in consequence, conformed to the glory of His body in the Kingdom of the Father, shining as with the splendour of the sun, the splendour in which He shewed the fashion of His Kingdom to the Apostles, when He was transfigured on the mountain.

39. He shall deliver the Kingdom to God the Father, not in the sense that He resigns His power by the delivering, but that we, being conformed to the glory of His body, shall form the Kingdom of God. It is not said, He shall deliver up His Kingdom, but, He shall deliver up the Kingdom, that is, deliver up to God us who have been made the Kingdom by the glorifying of His body. He shall deliver us into the Kingdom, as it is said in the Gospel, Came, re blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. The just shall shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father, and the Son shall deliver to the Father, as His Kingdom, those whom He has called into His Kingdom, to whom also He has promised the blessedness of this Mystery, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shah see God. While He reigns, He shall remove all things that cause stumbling, and then the just shall shine as the sun in the Kingdom of the Father. Afterwards He shall deliver the Kingdom to the Father, and those whom He has handed to the Father, as the Kingdom, shall see God. He Himself witnesses to the Apostles what manner of Kingdom this is: The Kingdom of God is within you. Thus it is as King that He shall deliver up the Kingdom, and if any ask Who it is that delivers up the Kingdom, let him hear, Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep; since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. All that is said on the point before us concerns the Mystery of the body, since Christ is the firstfruits of the dead. Let us gather also from the words of the Apostle by what Mystery Christ rose from the dead: Remember that Christ hath risen from the dead, of the seed of David. Here he teaches that the death and resurrection are due only to the Dispensation by which Christ was flesh.

40. In His body, the game body though now made glorious, He reigns until the authorities are abolished, death conquered, and His enemies subdued. This distinction is carefully preserved by the Apostle: the authorities and powers are abolished, the enemies are subjected. Then, when they are subjected, He, that is the Lord, shall be subjected to Him that subjecteth all things to Himself, that God may be all in all, the nature of the Father’s divinity imposing itself upon the nature of our body which was assumed. It is thus that God shall be all in all: according to the Dispensation He becomes by His Godhead and His manhood the Mediator between men and God, and so by the Dispensation He acquires the nature of flesh, and by the subjection shall obtain the nature of God in all things, so as to be God not in part, but wholly and entirely. The end of the subjection is then simply that God may be all in all, that no trace of the nature of His earthly body may remain in Him. Although before this time the two were combined within Him, He must now become God only; not, however, by casting off the body, but by translating it through subjection; not by losing it through dissolutions, but by transfiguring it in glory: adding humanity to His divinity, not divesting Himself of divinity by His humanity. And He is subjected, not that He may cease to be, but that God may be all in all, having, in the mystery of the subjection, to continue to be that which He no longer is, not having by dissolution to be robbed of Himself, that is, to be deprived of His being.

41. We have a sufficient and sacred guarantee for this belief in the authority of the Apostle. Through the Dispensation, and within time, the Lord Jesus Christ, the firstfruits of them that sleep, is to be subjected, that God may be all in all, and this subjection is not the debasement of His divinity, but the promotion of His assumed nature, for He Who is God and Man is now altogether God. But some may think that, when we say He was both glorified in the body whilst reigning in the body, and is hereafter to be subjected that God may be all in all, our belief finds no support for itself in the Gospels nor yet in the Epistles. We will, therefore, produce testimony of our faith, not only from the words of the Apostle, but also from our Lord’s mouth. We will shew that Christ said first with His own lips what He afterwards said by the mouth of Paul.

42. Does He not reveal to His Apostles the Dispensation of this glory by the express signification of the words, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God hath been glorified in Him, Gad hath glorified Him in Himself, and straightway hath He glorified Him. In the words, Now is the Son of Man honoured, and God is honoured in Him, we have first the glory of the Son of Man, then the glory of God in the Son of Man. So there is first signified the glory of the body, which it borrows from its association with the divine nature: and then follows the promotion to a fuller glory derived from an addition to the glory of the body. If God hath been honoured in Him, God hath honoured Him in Himself, and straightway hath God honoured Him. God has glorified Him in Himself, because He has already been glorified in Him. God was glorified in Him: this refers to the glory of the body, for by this glory is expressed in a human body the glory of God, in the glory of the Son of Man is seen the divine glory. God was glorified in Him, and therefore hath God glorified Him in Himself: that is, by His promotion to the Godhead, whose glory was increased in Him, God has glorified Him in Himself. Already before this He was reigning in the glory which springs from the divine glory: from henceforth, however, He is Himself to pass into the divine glory. God hath glorified Him in Himself: that is, in that nature by which God is what He is. That God may be all in all: that His whole being, leaving behind the Dispensation by which He is man, may be eternally transformed into divinity. Nor is the time of this hidden from us: And God hath glorified Him in Himself, and straightway hath He glorified Him. At the moment when Judas arose to betray Him, He signified as present the glory which He would obtain after His Passion through the Resurrection, but assigned to the future the glory with which God would glorify Him with Himself. The glory of God is seen in Him in the power of the Resurrection, but He Himself, out of the Dispensation of subjection, will be taken eternally into the glory of God, that is, into God, the all in all.

43. But what absurd folly is it of the heretics to regard as unattainable for God that goal to which man hopes to attain, to imply that He is powerless to effect in Himself that which He is mighty to effect in us. It is not the language of reason or common sense to say that God is bound by some necessity of His nature to consult our happiness, but cannot bestow the like blessings upon Himself. God does not, indeed, need any further blessedness, for His nature and power stand fast in their eternal perfection. But although in the Dispensation, that mystery of great godliness, He Who is God became man, He is not powerless to make Himself again entirely God, for without doubt He will transform us also into that which as yet we are not. The final sequel of man’s life and death is the resurrection: the assured reward of our warfare is immortality and incorruption, not the ceaseless persistence of everlasting punishment, but the unbroken enjoyment anti happiness of eternal glory. These bodies of earthly origin shall be exalted to the fashion of a higher nature, and conformed to the glory of the Lord’s body. But what then of God found in the form of a servant? Though already, while still in the form of a servant, glorified in the body, shall He not be also conformed to God? Shall He bestow upon us the form of His glorified body, and yet be able to do for His own body nothing more than He does for Himself in common with us? For the most part the heretics interpret the words, Then shall He be subjected to Him that did subject all things to Himself, that God may be all in all, as if they meant that the Son is to be subjected to God the Father, in order that by the subjection of the Son, God the Father may be all in all. But is there still lacking in God some perfection which He is to obtain by the subjection of the Son? Can they believe that God does not already possess that final accession of blessed divinity, because it is said that by the coming of the fulness of time He shall be made all in all?

44. To me, who hold that God cannot be known except by devotion, even to answer such objections seems no less unholy than to support them. What presumption to suppose that words can adequately describe His nature, when thought is often too deep for words, and His nature transcends even the conceptions of thought! What blasphemy even to discuss whether anything is lacking in God, whether He is Himself full, or it remains for Him to be fuller than His fulness! If God, Who is Himself the source of His own eternal divinity, were capable of progress, that He should be greater to-day than yesterday, He could never reach the time when nothing would be wanting to Him, for the nature to which advance is still possible must always in its progress leave some ground ahead still untrodden: if it be subject to the law of progress, though always progressing it must always be susceptible of further progress. But to Him, Who abides in perfect fulness, Who for ever is, there is no fulness left by which He can be made more full, for perfect fulness cannot receive an accession of further fulness. And this is the attitude of thought in which reverence contemplates God, namely, that nothing is wanting to Him, that He is full.

45. But the Apostle does not neglect to say with what manner of confession we should bear witness of God. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out! Far who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him? For of Him, and through Him, and in Him are all things. To Him be the glory for ever and ever. No earthly mind can define God, no understanding can penetrate with its perception to sound the depth of His wisdom. His judgments defy the searching scrutiny of His creatures: the trackless paths of His knowledge baffle the zeal of all pursuers. His ways are plunged in the depths of incomprehensibility: nothing can be fathomed or traced to the end in the things of God. No one has ever been taught to know His mind, no one besides Himself ever permitted to share His counsel. But all this applies to us men only, and not to Him, through Whom are all things, the Angel of mighty Counsel, Who said, Na one knoweth the Son save the Father: neither doth arty one know the Father save the Son, and him to whom the Son hath willed to reveal Him. It is to curb our own feeble intellect, when it strains itself to fathom the depth of the divine nature with its descriptions and definitions, that we must re-echo the language of the Apostle’s exclamation, lest we should attempt by rash conjecture to snatch from God more than He has been pleased to reveal to us.

46. It is a recognised axiom of natural philosophy, that nothing falls within the scope of the senses unless it is subjected to their observation, as for instance an object placed before the eyes, or an event posterior to the birth of human sense and intelligence. The former we can see and handle, and therefore the mind is qualified to pass a verdict upon it, since it can be examined by the senses of touch and sight. The latter, which is an event in time, produced or constituted since the origin of man, falls within the limits in which the discerning sense may claim to pass judgment, since it is not prior in time to our perception and reason. For our sight cannot perceive the invisible, since it only distinguishes, the seen; our reason cannot project itself into the time when it was not, because it can only judge of that, to which it is prior in time. And even within these limits, the infirmity which is bound up with its nature robs it of absolutely certain knowledge of the sequence of cause and effect. How much less then can it go back behind the time when it had its origin, and comprehend with its perception things which existed before it in the realms of eternity?

47. The Apostle then recognised that nothing can fall within our knowledge, except it be posterior in time to the faculty of sense. Accordingly when he had asserted the depth of the wisdom of God, the infinity of His inscrutable judgments, the secret of His un-searchable ways, the mystery of His unfathomable mind, the incomprehensibility of His uncommunicated counsel, he continued, For who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? Far of Him, and through Him, and in Him are all things. The eternal God is neither subject to limitation, nor did human reason and intelligence exercise their functions before He had His being. His whole being is therefore a depth, which we can neither examine nor penetrate. We say His whole being, not to define it as limited, but to understand it in its unlimited boundlessness: because of no one has He received His being, no antecedent giver can claim service from Him in return for a gift bestowed: for of Him and through Him and in Him are all things. He does not lack things that are of Him and through Him and in Him. The Source and Maker of all, Who contains all, Who is beyond all, does not need that which is within Him, the Creator His creatures, the Possessor His possessions. Nothing is prior to Him, nothing derived from any other than Him, nothing beyond Him. What element of fulness is still lacking in God, which time will supply to make Him all in all? Whence can He receive it, if outside Him is nothing, and while nothing is outside Him, He is eternally Himself? And if He is eternally Himself, and there is nothing outside Him, with what increase shall He be made full, by what addition shall He be made other than He is? Did He not say, I am and I change not? What possibility is there of change in Him? What scope for progress? What is prior to eternity? What more divine than God? The subjection of the Son will not therefore make God to be all in all, nor will any cause perfect Him, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom are all causes. He remains God as He ever was, and He needs nothing further, for what He is, He is eternally of Himself and for Himself.

48. But neither is it necessary for the Only-begotten God that He should change. He is God, and that is the name of full and perfect divinity. For, as we said before, the meaning of the repeated glorifying, and the cause of the subjection is that God may be all in all: but it is a Mystery, not a necessity, that God is to be all in all. Christ abode in the form of God when He assumed the form of a servant, not being subjected to change, but emptying Himself; hiding within Himself, and remaining master of Himself though He was emptied. He constrained Himself even to the form and fashion of a man, lest the weakness of the assumed humility should not be able to endure the immeasurable power of His nature. His unbounded might contracted itself, until it could fulfil the duty of obedience even to the endurance of the body to which it was yoked. But since He was self-contained even when He emptied Himself, His authority suffered no diminution, for in the humiliation of the emptying He exercised within Himself the power of that authority which was emptied.

49. It is therefore for the promotion of us, the assumed humanity, that God shall be all in all. He Who was found in the form of a servant, though He was in the form of God, is now again to be confessed in the glory of God the Father: that is, without doubt He dwells in the form of God, in Whose glory He is to be confessed. All is therefore a dispensation only, and not a change of His nature; for He abides still in Him, in Whom He ever was. But there intervenes a new nature, which began in Him with His human birth, and so all that He obtains is on behalf of that nature which before was not God, since after the Mystery of the Dispensation God is all in all. It is, therefore, we who are the gainers, we who are promoted, for we shall be conformed to the glory of the body of God. Further the Only-begotten God, despite His human birth, is nothing less than God, Who is all in all. That subjection of the body, by which all that is fleshly in Him, is swallowed up into the spiritual nature, will make Him to be God and all in all, since He is Man also as well as God; and His humanity which advances towards this goal is ours also. We shall be promoted to a glory conformable to that of Him Who became Man for us, being renewed unto the knowledge of God, and created again in the image of the Creator, as the Apostle says, Having put off the old man with his doings, and put on the new man, which is being renewed unto the knowledge of God, after the image of Him that created him. Thus is man made the perfect image of God. For, being conformed to the glory of the body of God, he is exalted to the image of the Creator, after the pattern assigned to the first man. Leaving sin and the old man behind, he is made a new man unto the knowledge of God, and arrives at the perfection of his constitution, since through the knowledge of his God he becomes the perfect image of God. Through godliness he is promoted to immortality, through immortality he shall live for ever as the image of his Creator.

Book 12 (Back to the Top)

1. At length, with the Holy Ghost speeding our way, we are approaching the safe, calm harbour of a firm faith. We are in the position of men, long tossed about by sea and wind, to whom it very often happens, that while great heaped-up waves delay them for a time around the coasts near the ports, at last that very surge of the vast and dreadful billows drives them on into a trusty, well-known anchorage. And this, I hope, will befall us, as we struggle in this twelfth book against the storm of heresy; so that while we venture out trusty bark therein upon the wave of this grievous impiety, this very wave may bring us to the haven of rest for which we long. For while all are driven about by the uncertain wind of doctrine, there is panic here and danger there, and then again there often is even shipwreck, because it is maintained on prophetic authority that God Only-begotten is a creature–so that to Him there belongs not birth but creation, because it has been said in the character of Wisdom, The Lord created Me as the beginning of His ways.

This is the greatest billow in the storm they raise, this is the big wave of the whirling tempest: yet when we have faced it, and it has broken without damage to our ship, it will speed us forward even to the all-safe harbour of the shore for which we long.

2. Yet we do not rest, like sailors, on uncertain or on idle hopes: whom, as they shape their course to their wish, and not by assured knowledge, at times the shifting, fickle winds forsake or drive from their course. But we have by our side the unfailing Spirit of faith, abiding with us by the gift of the Only-begotten God, and leading us to smooth waters in an unwavering course. For we recognise the Lord Christ as no creature, for indeed He is none such; nor as something that has been made, since He is Himself the Lord of all things that are made; but we know Him to be God, God the true generation of God the Father. All we indeed, as His goodness has thought fit, have been named and adopted as sons of God: but He is to God the Father the one, true Son, and the true and perfect birth, which abides only in the knowledge of the Father and the Son. But this only, and this alone, is our religion, to confess Him as the Son not adopted but born, not chosen but begotten. For we do not speak of Him either as made, or as not born; since we neither compare the Creator to His creatures, nor falsely speak of birth without begetting. He does not exist of Himself, Who exists through birth; nor is He not born, Who is the Son; nor can He, Who is the Son, come to exist otherwise than by being born, because He is the Son.

3. Moreover no one doubts that the assertions of impiety always contradict and resist the assertions of religious faith; and that that cannot be piously held now which is already condemned as impiously conceived; as, for instance, the discrepancy and variance which these new correctors of the apostolic faith maintain between the Spirit of the Evangelists and that of Prophets; or their assertion that the Prophets prophesied one thing and the Evangelists preached another, since Solomon calls upon us to adore a creature, while Paul convicts those who serve a creature. And certainly these two texts do not seem to agree together, according to the blasphemous theory, whereby the Apostle, who was trained by the law, and separated by divine appointment, and spoke through Christ speaking in him, either was ignorant of the prophecy, or was not ignorant but contradicted it; and thus did not know Christ to be a creature when he named Him the Creator; and forbade the worship of a creature, warning us that the Creator alone is to be served, and saying, Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and served the creature, passing by the Creator Who is blessed far ever and ever.

4. Does Christ, Who is God, speaking in Paul, fail to refute this impiety of falsehood? Does He fail to condemn this lying perversion of truth? For through the Lord Christ all things were created; and therefore it is His proper name that He should be the Creator. Does not both the reality and the title of His creative power belong to Him? Melchisedec is our witness, thus declaring God to be Creator of heaven and earth: Blessed be Abraham of God most high, Who created heaven and earth. The prophet

Hosea also is witness, saying, I am the Lord thy God, that establish the heavens and create the earth, Whose hands have created all the host of heaven. Peter too is witness, writing thus, Committing your souls as to a faithful Creator. Why do we apply the name of the work to the Maker of that work? Why do we give the same name to God and to our fellowmen? He is our Creator, He is the Creator of all the heavenly host.

5. Since by the faith of the Apostles and Evangelists these statements are referred in their meaning to the Son, through Whom all things were made, how shall He be made equal to the very works of His hands and be in the same category of nature as all other things? In the first place our human intelligence repudiates this statement that the Creator is a creature; since creation comes to exist by means of the Creator. But if He is a creature, He is both subject to corruption and exposed to the suspense of waiting, and is subjected to bondage. For the same blessed Apostle Paul says: For the long expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was subject to vanity, not of its own will, but on account of Him Who has made it subject in hope. Because also the creature itself shall be freed from the slavery of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. If, therefore, Christ is a creature, it must needs be that He is in uncertainty, hoping always with a tedious expectation, and that His long expectation, rather than ours, is waiting, and that while He waits He is subjected to vanity, and is subjected through a subjection due to necessity, not of His own will. But since He is subjected not of His own will, He must needs be also a bondservant; moreover since tie is a bondservant He must needs also be dwelling in a corruptible nature. For the Apostle teaches that all these things belong to the creature, and that, when it shall be freed from these through a long expectation, it will shine with a glory proper to man. But what a thoughtless and impious assertion about God is this, to imagine Him exposed, through the insults which the creature bears, to such mockeries as that He should hope and serve, and be under compulsion and receive recognition, and be freed hereafter into a condition which is ours, not His; while really it is of His gift that we make our little progress.

6. But our impiety, by the licence of this forbidden language, waxes apace with yet deeper faithlessness; asserting that since the Son is a creature it is bound to maintain that the Father also does not differ from a creature. For Christ, remaining in the form of God, took the form of a servant; and if He is a creature Who is in the form of God, God can never be separate from the creature, because there is a creature in the form of God. But to be in the form of God can only be understood to mean, remaining in the nature of God whence also God is a creature, because there is a creature with His nature. But He Who was in the form of God, did not grasp at being equal with God, because from equality with God, that is, from the form of God, He descended into the form of a servant. But He could not descend from God into man, except by emptying Himself, as God, of the form of God. But when He emptied Himself, He was not effaced, so as not to be; since then He would have become other in kind than He had been. For neither did He, Who emptied Himself within Himself, cease to be Himself; since the power of His might remains even in the power of emptying Himself; and the transition into the form of a servant does not mean the loss of the nature of God, since to have put off the form of God is nothing less than a mighty act of divine power.

7. But to be in this way in the form of God is nothing else than to be equal with God: so that equality of honour is owed to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is in the form of God, as He Himself says, That all men may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father Who sent Him. There is never a difference between things which does not also imply a different degree of honour. The same objects deserve the same reverence; for otherwise the highest honour will be unworthily bestowed on those which are inferior, or with insult to the superior the inferior will be made equal to them in honour. But if the Son, regarded as a creation rather than a birth, be treated with a reverence equal to that paid the Father, then we grant no special meed of honour to the Father, since we charge ourselves with only such reverence towards Him as is shewn to a creature. But since He is equal to God the Father, inasmuch as He is born as God from Him, He is also equal to Him in honour, for He is a Son and not a creature.

8. This again is a notable utterance of the Father concerning Him: From the womb, before the morning star I begat Thee. Here, as we have often said already, nothing derogatory to God is implied in the concession to our weakness of understanding; as though, because He said that He begot Him from the womb, He were therefore composed of inner and outer parts, which unite to form His members, and owed Ills being to the same causes within time to which earthly bodies owe theirs; when in fact He Whose existence is due to no natural necessities, free and perfect, and eternal Lord of all nature, in explanation of the true character of the birth of His Only-begotten, points to power of His own unchangeable nature. For though Spirit be born of Spirit (consistently, be it remembered, with the true character of Spirit, through which itself is also Spirit), nevertheless its only cause for being born lies within those perfect and unchangeable causes. And though it is from a perfect and unchangeable cause that it is born, it must needs be born from that cause, in accordance with the true character of that cause. Now the necessary process of human birth is conditioned by the causes which operate upon the womb. But as God is not made up of parts, but is unchangeable as being Spirit, for God is Spirit, He is subject to no natural necessity working within Him. But since He was telling us of the birth of Spirit from Spirit, He instructed our understanding by an example from causes which work among us: not to give an example of the manner of birth, but to declare the fact of generation; not that the example might prove Him subject to necessity, but that it might enlighten our mind. If, therefore, God Only-begotten is a created being, what meaning is there in a revelation which uses the common facts of human birth to indicate that He was divinely generated?

9. For often by means of these members of our bodies, God illustrates for us the method of His own operations, enlightening our intelligence by using terms commonly understood: as when He says, Whose hands created all the host of heaven; or again, The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous; or again, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart. Now by the heart is denoted the desire, to which David was well-pleasing through the uprightness of his character; and knowledge of the whole universe, whereby nothing is beyond God’s ken, is expressed under the term ‘eyes;’ and His creative activity, whereby nothing exists which is not of God, is understood by the name of ‘hands.’ Therefore as God wills and foresees and does everything, and even in the use of terms denoting bodily action must be understood to have no need of the assistance of a body; surely, now, in the statement that He begat from the womb, the idea is brought forward not of a human origin produced by a bodily act, but of a birth which must be understood as spiritual, since in the other cases where members are spoken of, this is done to represent to us other active powers in God.

10. Therefore since heart is put for desire, and eyes for sight, and hands for work achieved,–and yet, without in any way being made up of parts, God desires and foresees and acts, these same operations being expressed by the words heart, and eyes, and hand,–is not the meaning of the phrase that He begat from the womb an assertion of the reality of the birth? Not that He begat the Son from His womb, just as neither does He act by means of a hand, nor see by means of eyes, nor desire by means of a heart. But since by the employment of these terms it is made clear that He really acts and sees and wills everything, so from the word ‘womb’ it is clear that He really begot from Himself Him Whom He begat; not that he made use of a womb, but that He purposed to express reality. Just in the same way He does not trill or see or act through bodily faculties, but uses the names of these members in order that through the services performed by corporeal forces we may understand the power of forces which are not corporeal.

11. Now the constitution of human society does not allow, nor indeed do the words of our Lord’s teaching permit, that the disciple should be above his master, or the slave rule over his lord; because, in these contrasted positions, subordination to knowledge is the fitting state of ignorance, and unconditional submission the appointed lot of servitude. And since it is the common judgment of all that this is so, whose rashness now shall induce us to say or think that God is a creature, or that the Son has been made? For nowhere do we find that our Master and Lord spoke thus of Himself to His servants and disciples, or that He taught that His birth was a creation or a making. Moreover, the Father never bore witness to Him as being aught else but a Son, nor did the Son profess that God was aught else than His own true Father, assuredly affirming that He was born, not made nor created, as He says, Every one that loveth the Father, loveth also the Son Who is born of Him.

12. On the other hand His works in creation are acts of making and not a birth through generation. For the heaven is not a son, neither is the earth a son, nor is the world a birth; for of these it is said, All things were made through Him; and by the prophet, The heavens are the works of Thy hands; and by the same prophet, Neglect not the works of Thy hands. Is the picture a son of the painter, or the sword a son of the smith or the house a son of the architect? These are the works of their making: but He alone is the Son of the Father Who is born of the Father.

13. And we indeed are sons of God, but sons because the Son has made us such. For we were once sons of wrath, but have been made sons of God through the Spirit of adoption, and have earned that title by favour, not by right of birth. And since everything that is made, before it was made, was not, so we, although we were not sons, have been made what we are. For formerly we were not sons: but after we have earned the name we are such. Moreover, we have not been born, but made; not begotten, but purchased. For God purchased a people for Himself, and by this act begot them. But we never learn that God begot sons in the strict sense of the term. For He does not say, “I have begotten and brought up My sons,” but only, I have begotten and brought up sons.

14. Yet perchance inasmuch as He says, My firstborn Son Israel, some one will interpret the fact that He said, My firstborn, so as to deprive the Son of the characteristic property of birth; as though, because God also applied to Israel the epithet Mine, the adoption of those who have been made sons was misrepresented as though it were an actual birth, and therefore the phrase used of Him, This is My beloved Son, is not solely applicable to the birth of God, since the epithet My is (so it is asserted) shared with those who clearly were not born sons. But that they were not really born, although they are said to have been born, is shewn even from that passage where it is said, A people which shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.

15. Therefore the people of Israel is born, in such wise that it is made; nor do we take the assertion that it is born as contradictory to the fact that it is made. For it is a son by adoption, not by generation; nor is this its true character, but its title. For although the words. My firstborn are written of it; there is yet a great and wide difference between My beloved Son, and My firstborn son. For where there is birth, there we see, My beloved Son; but where there is a choice from among the nations, and adoption through an act of will, there is My firstborn son. Here the people is God’s, in regard to its character as firstborn; in the former ease the fact that He is God’s, relates to His character as a Son. Again, in a case of birth the father’s ownership comes first, and then his love; in a case of adoption the primary fact is that the son is made a firstborn, and then comes the ownership. Thus to Israel, adopted for a son out of all the peoples of the earth, properly belonged the character of a firstborn; but to Him alone, Who is born God, properly belongs the character of a Son. Accordingly there is no true and complete birth where sonship is imputed rather than real: since it is not doubtful that that people, which is born into a state of sonship, is also made. But since it would not have been what it is now become, and inasmuch as its birth is but a name for its being made, it has no true birth, since it was something else before it was born. And for this reason it was not before it was born, that is, before it was made, because that which is a son from among the nations was a nation before it was a son: and accordingly it is not truly a son, because it was not always a son. But God Only-begotten was neither at any time not a Son, nor was He anything before He was a Son, nor is He Himself anything except a Son. And so He Who is always a Son, has rendered it impossible for us to think of Him that there was a time when He was not.

16. For indeed human births involve a previous non-existence, because, as a first reason, all are born from those, all of whom formerly were not. For although each one who is born has his origin from one who has been, nevertheless that very parent, from whom he is born, was not before he was born. Again, as a second reason, he who is born, is born after that he was not, for time existed before he was born. For if he is born to-day, in the time which was yesterday, he was not; and he has come into a state of being from a state of not being; and our reason enforces that that which is born to-day did not exist yesterday. And so it remains that his birth, by virtue of which he is, took place after a state of non-existence; since necessarily today implies the previous existence of yesterday, so that it is true of it that there was a time when it was not. And these facts hold good of the origin of everything relating to man: all receive a beginning, previously to which they had not been: firstly, as we have explained, in respect of time, and then in respect of cause And in respect of time indeed there is no doubt that things which now begin to be, formerly were not; and this is true also in respect of cause, since it is certain that their existence is not derived from a cause within themselves. For think over all the causes of beginnings, and direct your understanding to their antecedents: you will find that nothing began by self-causation, since nothing is born by the free act of the parent, but all things are created what they are through the power of God. Whence also it is a natural property of each class of things by virtue of actual heredity, that it once was not and then began to be, beginning after time began, and existing within time. And while all existing things have an origin later than that of time, their causes also, in their turn, were once nonexistent, being born from things which once were not. Even Adam, the first parent of the human race, was formed from the earth, which was made out of nothing, and after time, that is to say, after the heaven and earth, and the day and the sun, moon and stars, and he had no first beginning in being born, and began to be when he once had not been.

17. But for God Only-begotten, Who is preceded by no antecedent time, the possibility is excluded that at some time He was not, since that “some time” thus becomes prior to Him; and again, the assertion that He was not involves the potion of time: whence time will not begin to be after Him, but He Himself will begin to be after time, and, inasmuch as He was not before He was born, the very period when He was not will take precedence of Him. Further, He Who is born from Him Who really is, cannot be understood to have been born from that which was not: since He Who really is, is the cause of His existing, and His birth cannot have its origin in that which is not. And therefore since in His case it is not true either in regard of time that He ever was not, or in regard of the Father, that is, the Author of His being, that He has come into existence out of nothing, He has left no possibility with regard to Himself either of His having been born out of nothing, or of His not having existed before He was born.

18. Now I am not ignorant that most of those, whose mind being dulled by impiety does not accept the mystery of God, or who through the strong influence of a hostile spirit are ready to manifest, under the cover of reverence, a marl passion for disparaging God, are wont to make strange assertions in the ears of simple-minded men. They assert that since we say that the Son always has been, and that He never has been anything which He has not always been, we are therefore declaring that He is without birth, inasmuch as He always has been; since, according to the workings of human reason, that which always has existed cannot possibly have been born: since (so they urge) the cause of a thing being born, is that something, which was not, may come into existence, while the coming into existence of something which was not, means nothing else, according to the judgment of common sense, than its being born. They may add those arguments, subtle enough and pleasant to hear;–“If He was born, He began to be; at the time when He began to be, He was not: and when He was not, it cannot be that He was.” By such proofs let them maintain that it is the language of reasonable piety to say, “He was not before He was born: because in order that He might come to be, One Who was not, not One Who was, was born. Nor did He Who was, require a birth, although He WhO was not was born, to the end that He might come to be.”

19. Now, first of all, men professing a devout knowledge of divine things, in matters where the truth preached by Evangelists and Apostles shewed the way, ought to have laid aside the intricate questions of a crafty philosophy, and rather to have followed after the faith which rests in God: because the sophistry of a syllogistical question easily disarms a weak understanding of the protection of its faith, since treacherous assertion lures on the guileless defender, who tries to support his case by enquiry into facts, till at last it robs him, by means of his own enquiry, of his certainty; so that the answerer no longer retains in his consciousness a truth which by his admission he has surrendered. For what answer accommodates itself so well to the questioner’s purpose, as the admission on our part, when we are asked, “Does anything exist before it is born?” that that which is born, did not previously exist? For it is contrary both to nature and to necessary reason that a thing which already exists should be born: since a thing must needs be born in order that it may come to be, and not because it already existed. But when we have made this concession, because it is rightly made, we lose the certainty of our faith, and being ensnared we fall in with their impious and unchristian designs.

20. But the blessed Apostle Paul, taking precaution against this, as we have often shewn, warned us to be on our guard, saying: Take heed lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ, in Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Therefore we must be on our guard against philosophy, and methods which rest upon traditions of men we must not so much avoid as refute. Any concession that we make must imply not that we are out-argued but that we are confused, for it is right that we, who declare that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, should not flee from the doctrines of men, but rather overthrow them; and we must restrain and instruct the simple-minded lest they be spoiled by these teachers. For since God can do all things, and in His wisdom can do all things wisely, for neither is His purpose unarmed with power nor His power unguided by purpose, it behoves those who proclaim Christ to the world, to face the irreverent and faulty doctrines of the world with the knowledge imparted by that wise Omnipotence, according to the saying of the blessed Apostle: For our weapons are not carnal but powerful for God, for the casting down of strongholds, casting down reasonings and every high thing which is exalted against the knowledge of God. The Apostle did not leave us a faith which was bare and devoid of reason; for although a bare faith may be most mighty to salvation, nevertheless, unless it is trained by teaching, while it will have indeed a secure retreat to withdraw to in the midst of foes, it will yet be unable to maintain a safe and strong position for resistance. Its position will be like that which a camp affords to a weak force after a flight; not like the undismayed courage of men who have a camp to hold. Therefore we must beat down the insolent arguments which are raised against God, and destroy the fastnesses of fallacious reasoning, and crush cunning intellects which hit themselves up to impiety, with weapons not carnal but spiritual, not with earthly, learning but with heavenly wisdom; so that in proportion as divine things differ from human, so may the philosophy of heaven surpass the rivalry of earth.

21. Accordingly let misbelief abandon its efforts; let it not think, because it does not understand, that we deny a truth which, in fact, we alone rightly understand and believe. For while we declare in so many words that He was born, nevertheless we do not assert that He was ever not born. For it is not the same thing to be not born and to be born: since the latter term expresses origin derived from some other, the former origin derived from none. And it is one thing to exist always, as the Eternal, without any source of being, and another to be co-eternal with a Father, having Him for the Source of being. For where a father is the source of being, there also is birth; and further, where the Source of being is eternal, the birth also is eternal: for since birth comes from the source of being, birth which comes from an eternal Source of being must be eternal. Now everything which always exists, is also eternal. But nevertheless, not everything which is eternal is also not born; since that which is born from eternity has eternally the character of having been born; but that which is not born is ingenerate as well as eternal. But if that which has been born from the Eternal is not born eternal, it will follow that the Father also is not an eternal Source of being. Therefore if any measure of eternity is wanting to Him Who has been born of the eternal Father, clearly the very same measure is wanting to the Author of His being; since what belongs in an infinite degree to Him Who begets, belongs in an infinite degree to Him also Who is born. For neither reason nor intelligence allows of any interval between the birth of God the Son and the generation by God the Father; since the generation consists in the birth, and the birth in the generation. Thus each of these events coincides exactly with the other; neither took place unless both took place. Therefore that which owes its existence to both these events cannot be eternal unless they both are eternal; since neither of the two correlatives, apart from the other, has any reality, because it is impossible for one to exist without the other.

22. But some one, who cannot receive this divine mystery, will say, “Everything which has been born, once was not; since it was born in order that it might come into existence.”

23. But does any one doubt that all human beings that have been born, at one time were not? It is, however, one thing to be born of some one who once was not, and another to be born of One Who always is. For every state of infancy, since previously it had no existence, began from some point of time. And tiffs again, growing up into childhood, still later urges on youth to fatherhood. Yet the man was not always a father, for he advanced to youth through boyhood, and to boyhood through original infancy. Therefore he who was not always a father, also did not always beget: but where the Father is eternal, the Son also is eternal. And so if you hold, whether by argument or by instinct, that God, in the mystery of our knowledge of Whom one property is that He is Father, was not always the Father of the begotten Son, you hold also, as a matter of understanding and of knowledge, that the Son, Who was begotten, did not always exist. But if the property of fatherhood be co-eternal with the Father, then necessarily also the property of sonship must be co-eternal with the Son. And how will it square with our language or our understanding to maintain that He was not before He was born, Whose property it is that He always was what He has been born.

24. And so God Only-begotten, containing in Himself the form and image of the invisible God, in all things which are properties of God the Father is equal to Him by virtue of the fulness of true Godhead in Himself. For, as we have shewn in the former books, in respect of power and veneration He is as mighty and as worthy of honour as the Father: so also, inasmuch as the Father is always Father, He too, inasmuch as He is the Son, possesses the like property of being always the Son. For according to the words spoken to Moses, He Who is, hath sent Me unto you, we obtain the unambiguous conception that absolute being belongs to God; since that which is, cannot be thought of or spoken of as not being. For being and not being are contraries, nor can these mutually exclusive descriptions be simultaneously true of one and the same object: for while the one is present, the other must be absent. Therefore, where anything is, neither conception nor language will admit of its not being. When our thoughts are turned backwards, and are continually carried back further and further to understand the nature of Him Who is, this sole fact about Him, that He is, remains ever prior to our thoughts; since that quality, which is infinitely present in God, always withdraws itself from the backward gaze of our thoughts, though they reach back to an infinite distance. The result is that the backward straining of our thoughts can never grasp anything prior to God’s property of absolute existence; since nothing presents itself, to enable us to understand the nature of God, even though we go on seeking to eternity, save always the fact that God always is. That then which has both been declared about God by Moses, that of which our human intelligence can give no further explanation; that very quality the Gospels testify to be a property of God Only-begotten; since in the beginning was the Word, and since the Word was with God, and since He was the true Light, and since God Only-begotten is in the bosom of the Father, and since Jesus Christ is God over all.

25. Therefore He was, and He is, since He is from Him Who always is what He is. But to be from Him, that is to say, to be from the Father, is birth. Moreover, to be always from Him, Who always is, is eternity; but this eternity is derived not from Himself, but from the Eternal. And from the Eternal nothing can spring but what is eternal: for if the Offspring is not eternal, then neither is the Father, Who is the source of generation, eternal. Now since it is the special characteristic of His being that His Father always exists, and that He is always His Son, and since eternity is expressed in the name HE THAT IS, therefore, since He possesses absolute being, He possesses also eternal being. Moreover, no one doubts that generation implies birth, and that birth points to one existing from that time forth, and not to one who does not continue. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that no one who already was in existence could be born. For no cause of birth can accrue to Him, Who of Himself continues eternal. But God Only-begotten, Who is the Wisdom of God, and the Power and the Word of God, since He was born, bears witness to the Father as the source of His being. Since He was born of One, Who eternally exists, He was not born of nothing. Since He was born before times eternal, His birth must necessarily be prior to all thought. There is no room for the verbal quibble, “He was not, before He was born.” For if He is within the range of our thought, in the sense that He was not before He was born, then both our thought and time are prior to His birth; since everything which once was not, is within the compass of thought and time, by the very meaning of the assertion that it once was not, which separates off, within time, a period when it did not exist. But He is from the Eternal, and yet has always been; He is not ingenerate, yet never was non-existent; since to have always been transcends time, and to have been born is birth.

26. And so we confess that God Only-begotten was born, but born before times eternal: since we must make our confession within such limits as the express preaching of Apostles and Prophets assigns to us; though at the same time human thought cannot grasp any intelligible idea of birth out of time, since it is inconsistent with the nature of earthly beings that any of them should be born before all times. But when we make this assertion, how can we reconcile with it, as part of the same doctrine, the contradictory statement that before His birth He was not, when according to the Apostle He is God Only-begotten before times eternal? If, therefore, the belief that He was born before times eternal is not only the reasonable conclusion of human intelligence, but the confession of thoughtful faith, then, since birth implies some author of being, and what surpasses all time is eternal, and whatever is born before times eternal transcends earthly perception, we are certainly exalting by impious self-will a notion of human reason, if we maintain in a carnal sense that before He was born He was not, since He is born eternal, beyond human perception or carnal intelligence. And again, whatever transcends time is eternal.

27. For we can embrace all time in imagination or knowledge, since we know that what is now to-day, did not exist yesterday, because what was yesterday is not now; and on the other hand what is now, is only now and was not also yesterday. And by imagination we can so span the past that we have no doubt that before some city was founded, there existed a time in which that city had not been founded. Since, therefore, all time is the sphere of knowledge or imagination, we judge of it by the perceptions of human reason; hence we are considered to hare reasonably asserted about anything, “It was not, before it was born,” since antecedent time is prior to the origin of every single thing. But on the other hand, since in things of God, that is to say, in regard to the birth of God, there is nothing that is not before time eternal: it is illogical to use of Him the phrase “before He was born,” or to suppose that He Who possesses before times eternal the eternal promise, is merely (in the language of the blessed Apostle) in hope of eternal life, which God Who cannot lie has promised before times eternal, or to say that once He was not. For reason rejects the notion that He began to exist after anything, Who, so we must confess, existed before times eternal.

28. We may grant that for anything to be born before times eternal is not the way of human nature, nor a matter which we can understand; and yet in this we believe God’s declarations about Himself. How then does the infidelity of our own day assert, according to the conceptions of human intelligence, that that had no existence before it was born, which the Apostolic faith tells us was, in some manner inconceivable to the human understanding, always born, or in other words existed before times eternal? For what is born before time is always born; since that which exists before time eternal, always exists. But what has always been born, cannot at any time have had no existence; since non-existence at a given time is directly contrary to eternity of existence. Moreover, existing always excludes the idea of not having existed always. And the idea of not having existed always being excluded by the postulate that He has always been born, we cannot conceive the supposition that He did not exist before He was born. For it is obvious that He Who was born before times eternal, has always been born, although we can forth no positive conception of anything having been born before all time. For if we must confess (as is clearly necessary) that He has been born before every creature, whether invisible or corporeal, and before all ages and times eternal, and before all perception, Who always exists through the very fact that He has been so born;–then by no manner of thought can it be conceived that before He was born, He did not exist; since He Who has been born before times eternal, is prior to all thought, and we can never think that once He did not exist, when we have to confess that He always exists.

29. But our opponent cunningly anticipates us with this carping objection. “If,” be urges, “it is inconceivable that He did not exist before He was born, it must be conceivable that One Who already existed was born.”

30. I will ask this objector in reply, whether he remembers my calling Him anything else than born, and whether I did not say that existence before times eternal and birth have the same meaning in the case of Him that was, For the birth of One already existing is not really birth, but a self-wrought change through birth, and the eternal existence of One Who is born means that in His birth He is prior to any conception of time, and that there is no tooth for the mind to suppose that at any time He was unborn. And so an eternal birth before times eternal is not the same as existence before being born. But to have been born always before times eternal excludes the possibility of having had no existence be fore birth.

31. Again, this same fact excludes the possibility of saying that He existed before He was born; because He Who transcends perception transcends it in every respect. For if the notion of being born, though always existing, transcends thought, it is equally impossible that the notion that He did not exist before He was born should be a subject of thought. And so, since we must confess that to have been always born means for us nothing beyond the fact of birth, the question whether He did or did not exist before He was born cannot be determined under our conditions of thought; since this one fact that He was born before times eternal ever eludes the grasp of our thought. So He was born and yet has always existed; He Who does not allow anything else to be understood or said about Him than that He was born. For since He is prior to time itself within which thought exists (since time eternal is previous to thought), He debars thought from determining concerning Him, whether He was or was not before He was born; since existence before birth is incompatible with the idea of birth, and previous non-existence involves the idea of time. Therefore, while the infinity of times eternal is fatal to any explanation involving the idea of time–that is to say, to the notion that He did not exist; His birth equally forbids any that is inconsistent with it,–that is to say, the notion that He existed before He was born. For if the question of His existence or His non-existence can be determined under our conditions of thought, then the birth itself must be after time; for He Who does not always exist must, of necessity, have begun to be after some given point of time.

32. Therefore the conclusion reached by faith and argument and thought is that the Lord Jesus both was born and always existed: since if the mind survey the past in search of knowledge concerning the Son, this one fact and nothing else, will be constantly present to the enquirer’s perception, that He was born and always existed. As therefore it is a property of God the Father to exist without birth, so also it must belong to the Son to exist always through birth. But birth can declare nothing except that there is a Father and the title Father nothing else except that there is a birth. For neither those names nor the nature of the case, will allow of any intermediate position. For either He was not always a Father, unless there was always also a Son; or if He was always a Father, there was always also a Son; since whatever period of time is denied to the Son, to make His sonship non-eternal, just so much the Father lacks of having been always a Father: so that although He was always God, nevertheless He cannot have been also a Father for the same infinity during which He is God.

33. Now the declarations of impiety even go so far as not only to ascribe to the Son birth in time, but also generation in time to the Father; because the process of generation and the birth take place within one period.

34. But, heretic, do you consider it pious and devout to confess that God indeed always existed, yet was not always Father? For if it is pious for you to think so, you must then condemn Paul of impiety, when he says that the Son existed before times eternal: you must also accuse Wisdom itself, when it bears witness concerning itself that it was founded before the ages: for it was present with the Father when He was preparing the heaven. But in order that you may assign to God a beginning of His being a Father, first determine the starting-point at which the times must have begun. For if they had a beginning, the Apostle is a liar for declaring them to be eternal. For you all are accustomed to reckon the times from the creation of the sun and the moon, since it is written of them, And let them be far signs and for times and for years. But He Who is before the heaven, which in your view is even before time, is also before the ages. Nor is He merely before the ages, but also before the generations of generations which precede the ages. Why do you limit things divine and infinite by what is perishable and earthly and narrow? With regard to Christ, Paul knows of nothing except an eternity of times. Wisdom does not say that it is after anything, but before everything. In your judgment the times were established by the sun and the moon; but David shews that Christ remains before the sun, saying, His is name is before the sun. And lest you should think that the things of God began with the formation of this universe, he says again, And for generations of generations before the moon. These great men counted worthy of prophetic inspiration look down upon time: every opening is barred whereby human perception might penetrate behind the birth, which transcends times eternal. Yet let the faith of a devout imagination accept this as limit of its speculations, remembering that the Lord Jesus Christ, God Only-begotten, is born in a manner to be acknowledged as a perfect birth, and in the reverence paid to His divinity, not forgetting that He is eternal.

35. But we are accused of lying, and together with us the doctrine preached by the Apostle is attacked, because while it confesses the birth, it asserts the eternity of that birth: the result being that, while the birth bears witness to an Author of being, the assertion of eternity in the mystery of the divine birth transgresses the limits of human thought. For there is brought forward against us the declaration of Wisdom concerning itself, when it taught that it was created in these words The Lord created Me for the beginning of His ways.

36. And, O wretched heretic! you turn the weapons granted to the Church against the Synagogue, against belief in the Church’s preaching, and distort against the common salvation of all the sure meaning of a saving doctrine. For you maintain by these words that Christ is a creature, instead of silencing the Jew, who denies that Christ was God before eternal ages, and that His power is active in all the working and teaching of God, by these words of the living Wisdom! For Wisdom has in this passage asserted that it had been created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works from the commencement of the ages, lest perchance it might be supposed that it did not subsist before Mary; yet has not employed this word ‘created’ in order to signify that its birth was a creation, since it was created for the beginning of God’s ways and for His works. Nay rather lest any one should suppose that this beginning of the ways, which is indeed the starting-point for the human knowledge of things divine, was meant to subordinate an infinite birth to conditions of time, Wisdom declared itself established before the ages. For, since it is one thing to be created for the beginning of the ways and for the works of God, and another to be established before the ages, the establishing was intended to be understood as prior to the creation; and the very fact of its being established for God’s works before the ages was intended to point to the mystery of the creation; since the establishing is before the ages, but the creation for the beginning of the ways and for the works of God is after the commencement of the ages.

37. But now, test the terms ‘creation’ and ‘establishing’ should be an obstacle to belief in the divine birth, these words follow, Before He made the earth, before He made firm the mountains, before all the hills He begat Me. Thus He is begotten before the earth, Who is established before the ages; and not only before the earth, but also before the mountains and hills. And indeed in these expressions, since Wisdom speaks of itself, more is meant than is said. For all objects which are used to convey the idea of infinity must be of such a kind as to be subsequent in point of time to no single thing and to no class of things. But things existing in time cannot possibly be fitted to indicate eternity; because, from the very fact that they are posterior to other things, they are incapable of suggesting the thought of infinity as a beginning, themselves having their own beginning in time. For what wonder is it, that God should have begotten the Lord Christ before the earth, when the origin of the angels is found to be prior to the creation of the earth? Or why should He, Who was said to be begotten before the earth, be also declared to be born before the mountains, and not only before the mountains but also before the hills; the hills being mentioned, as an afterthought, after the mountains, and reason requiring that there should be a world before mountains could exist? For such reasons it cannot be supposed that these words were used merely in order that He might be understood to exist prior to hills and mountains and earth, Who surpasses by the eternity of His own infinity things which are themselves prior to earth and mountains and hills.

38. But this divine discourse has not left our understandings unenlightened, since it explains the reason of the phrase in what follows:–God made the regions, both the uninhabitable parts and the heights which are inhabited under the heaven. When He was preparing the heaven, I was with Him; and when He was setting apart His own seat. When above the winds He made the clouds huge in the upper air, and when He placed securely the springs under the heaven, and when He made firm the foundations of the earth, I was by Him, joining all things together. What period in time is here? Or how far are the conceptions of human intelligence allowed to reach beyond the infinite birth of God Only-begotten? By means of things whose creation we can conceive in our mind, it is not possible to understand the generation of Him, Who is prior to all these things; and hence we cannot maintain that He came, indeed, first in time, yet was not infinite, inasmuch as the only privilege bestowed upon Him was a birth prior to things temporal. For in that case, since they, by their constitution, are subject to the conditions of time, He, though prior to them all, would be equally subject to conditions of time, because their creation within time would define the time of His birth, namely that He was born before then; for that which is antecedent to temporal things stands in the same relation to time as they.

39. But the voice of God, our instruction in true wisdom, speaks what is perfect, and expresses the absolute truth, when it teaches that itself is prior not merely to things of time, but even to things infinite. For when the heaven was being prepared, it was present with God. Is the preparation of the heaven an act of God within time; so that an impulse of thought suddenly surprised His mind, as though it had been previously dull and inert. and after the fashion of men He sought for materials and instruments for fashioning the heaven? Nay, the prophet’s conception of the working of God is far different, when He says, By the word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all their power by the breath of His mouth. Yet the heavens needed the command of God, that they might be established; for their arrangement and excellence in this firm unshaken constitution, which they display, did not arise from the blending and commingling of some kind of matter, but from the breath of the mouth of God. What then does it mean, that Wisdom begotten of God was present with Him, when He was preparing the heaven? For neither does the creation of heaven consist in a preparation of material, nor does it consist with the nature of God to linger over preliminary thoughts concerning His work. For everything, which there is in created things, was always with God: for although these things in respect of their creation have a beginning, nevertheless they have no beginning in respect of the knowledge and power of God. And here the prophet is our witness, saying, O God, Who hast made all things which shah be. For although things future, in so far as they are to be created, are still to be made, yet to God, with Whom there is nothing new or sudden in creation they have already been made; since there is a dispensation of times for their creation, and in the prescient working of the divine power they have already been made. Here, therefore, Wisdom, in teaching that it was born before the ages, teaches that it is not merely prior to things which have been created, but is even co-eternal with what is eternal, to wit, with the preparation of the heaven, and the setting apart of the abode of God. For this abode was not set apart at the time when it was actually made, for setting apart and fashioning an abode are different things. Nor again was the heaven formed at the time when it was (ideally) prepared, for Wisdom was with God both when He prepared and when He set apart the heaven. And afterwards it was fashioning the heaven by the side of God Who formed it: it proves its eternity by its presence with Him as He prepares; it reveals its functions, when it fashions by the side of God Who forms. Therefore, in the passage before us it said that it was begotten even before the earth and mountains and hills, because it meant to teach that it was present at the preparation of the heaven; in order that it might shew that, even when the heaven was being prepared, this work was already finished in the counsel of God, for to Him there is nothing new.

40. For the preparation for creation is perpetual and eternal: nor was the frame of this universe actually made by isolated acts of thought, in the sense that first the heaven was thought of, and afterwards there came into God’s mind a thought anti plan concerning the earth; that He thought of each part singly, so that first the earth was spread out as a plain, and then through better counsels was made to rise up in mountains, and yet again was diversified with hills, and in the fourth place was also made habitable even in the heights; that so the heaven was prepared an I the abode of God set apart, and huge clouds in the upper air held the exhalations caught up by the winds; then afterwards sure springs began to run under the heaven, and, last of all, the earth was made firm with strong foundations. For Wisdom declares that it is prior to all these things. But since all things under the heaven were made through God, and Christ was present at the fashioning of the heaven, and preceded even the eternity of the heaven which was prepared, this fact does not allow us to think in respect to God of disconnected thoughts on details, since the whole preparation of these things is co-eternal with God. For although, as Moses teaches, each act of creation had its proper order;–the making the firmament solid, the laying bare of the dry land, the gathering together of the sea, the ordering of the stars, the generation by the waters and the earth when they brought forth living creatures out of themselves; yet the creation of the heaven and earth and other elements is not separated by the slightest interval in God’s working, since their preparation had been completed in like infinity of eternity in the counsel of God.

41. Thus, though Christ was present in God with these infinite and eternal decrees, He has granted to us nothing more than a knowledge of the fact of His birth; in order that, just as an apprehension of the birth is the means which leads to faith in God, so also the knowledge of the eternity of His birth might avail to sustain piety; since neither reason nor experience allow us to speak of any but an eternal Son as proceeding from a Father Who is eternal.

42. But perhaps the word ‘creation,’ and its employment of Him, disturbs us. Certainly the word ‘creation’ would disturb us, if birth before the ages and creation for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works were not affirmed of Him. For birth cannot be understood to denote creation, since the birth precedes causation, but the creation takes place through causation. For before the preparation of the heaven and before the commencement of the ages was He established, Who was created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works. Is it possible that to be created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works, means the same as to be born before all things? No: one of these ideas relates to time employed in action, but the other bears a sense which has no relation to time.

43. Or perhaps you wish the assertion that He was created for the works to be understood in the sense that He was created on account of the works; in other words that Christ was created for the sake of performing the works. In that case He exists as a servant and a builder of the universe, and was not born the Lord of Glory; He was created for the service of forming the ages, and was not always the beloved Son and the King of the ages. But, although the general understanding of Christians contradicts this impious thought of yours, recognising that it is one thing to be created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works, and another to be born before the ages, yet this very same passage thwarts your purpose of falsely asserting that the Lord Christ was created, on account of the formation of the universe, since it shews that God the Father is the Maker and Former of the universe, and shews it convincingly, since Christ Himself was present fashioning by the side of Him Who was forming all things. But, while all Scripture was designed to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Creator of the universe, Wisdom, to destroy all occasion for impiety, has here declared that though God the Father was the Constructor of the universe, yet itself was not absent from Him while constructing it, since it was present with Him even when He was preparing it beforehand, and that when the Father formed the universe, Wisdom also was fashioning it by the side of Him Who formed it, and was present with Him even when He prepared it. Whence Wisdom would have us understand that it was not created on account of God’s works, by the very fact that it had been present at the eternal preparation of works yet to be, and proves Scripture not to be false, by the fact that it fashioned the universe by the side of God when He formed it.

44. Learn at last, heretic, from the revelation of Catholic teaching, what is the meaning of the saying that Christ was created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works; and be taught by the words of Wisdom itself the folly of your impious dulness. For thus it begins: If I shall declare unto you the things which are done every day, I will remember to recount those things which are from of old. For Wisdom had said before, You, O men, I entreat, and I utter my voice to the sons of men. O ye simple, understand subtilty, moreover ye unlearned, apply your heart; and again, Through Me kings reign, and mighty men decree justice. Through Me princes are magnified, and through Me despots possess the earth; and again, I walk in the ways of equity, and move in the midst of the paths of justice; that I may divide substance to those that love Me, and fill their treasures with good things. Wisdom is not silent about its daily work. And firstly entreating all men, it advises the simple to understand subtilty, and the unlearned to apply their heart, in order that a zealous and diligent reader may ponder the different and separate meanings of the words. And so it teaches that by its methods and ordinances all success, all attainment of knowledge or fame or wealth, is achieved: it shews that within itself are contained the reigns of kings and the prudence of the mighty, and the famous works of princes, and the justice of despots who possess the earth; that it moreover does not mingle with wicked deeds and has no part in acts of injustice; and that all this is done by Wisdom in order that, by taking part in every work of equity and justice, it may supply to those that love it, a wealth of eternal goods anti incorruptible treasures. Therefore Wisdom, after declaring that it will relate the things which are done every day, promises that it will also be mindful to recount the things which are from of old. And now what blindness is it, to think that things were performed before the beginning of the ages, which are expressly declared to date merely from the beginning of the ages! For every work among those which date from the beginning of the ages is itself posterior to that beginning: but on the contrary, things which are before the beginning of the ages, precede the ordering of the ages, which are later than they. And so Wisdom, after declaring that it is mindful to speak of the things which date from the beginning of the ages, says, The Lord created Me for the beginning of His ways for His works, by these words denoting things performed from the date of the beginning of the ages. Thus Wisdom’s teaching concerns not a generation declared to precede the ages, but a dispensation which began with the ages themselves.

45. We must also enquire what is the meaning of the saying that God, born before the ages, was again created for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works. This surely is said because where there is a birth before the commencement of the ages, there is the eternity of an endless generation: but where the same birth is represented as a creation from the commencement of the ages, for the ways of God and for His works, it is applied as the creative cause to the works and to the ways. And first, since Christ is Wisdom, we must see whether He is Himself the beginning of the way of the works of God. Of this, I think, there is no doubt; for He says, I am the way, and, No man cometh to the Father except through Me. A way is the guide of those who go, the course marked out for those who hasten, the safeguard of the ignorant, a teacher, so to speak, of things unknown and longed for. Therefore He is created for the beginning of the ways, for the works of God; because He is the Way and leads men to the Father. But we must seek for the purpose of this creation, which is from the commencement of the ages. For it is also the mystery of the last dispensation, wherein Christ was again created in bodily form, and declared that He was the way of the works of God. Again, He was created for the ways of God from the commencement of the ages, when, subjecting Himself to the visible form of a creature, He took the form of a created being.

46. And so let us see for what ways of God, and for what works of God, Wisdom was created from the commencement of the ages, though born of God before all ages. Adam heard the voice of One walking in Paradise. Do you think that His approach could have been heard, had He not assumed the guise of a created being? Is not the fact, that He was heard as He walked, proof that He was present in a created form? I do not ask in what guise He spoke to Cain and Abel and Noah, and in what guise He was near to Enoch also, blessing him. An Angel speaks to Hagar, and certainly He is also God. Has He the same form, when He appears like an Angel, as He has in that nature, by virtue of which He is God? Certainly the form of an Angel is revealed, where afterwards mention is made of the nature of God. But why should I speak of an Angel? He comes as a man to Abraham. Under the guise of a man, in the shape of that created being, is not Christ present in that nature, which He possesses as being also God? A man speaks, and is present in the body, and is nourished by food; and yet God is adored. Surely He Who was an Angel is now also man, in order to save us from the assumption that any of these diverse aspects of one state, that of the creature, is His natural form as God. Again, He comes to Jacob in human shape, and even grasps him for wrestling; and He takes hold with His hands, and struggles with His limbs, and bends His flanks, and adopts every movement and gesture of ours. But again He is revealed, this time to Moses, and as a fire; in order that you might learn to believe that this created nature was to provide Him with an outward guise, not to embody the reality of His nature. He possessed, at that moment, the power of burning, but He did not assume the destructive property which is inherent in the nature of fire, for the fire evidently burned and yet the bush was not injured.

47. Glance over the whole course of time, and realist in what guise He appeared to Joshua the son of Nun, a prophet bearing His name, or to Isaiah, who relates that he saw Him, as the Gospel also bears witness, or to Ezekiel, who was admitted even to knowledge of the Resurrection, or to Daniel, who confesses the Son of Man in the eternal kingdom of the ages, or to all the rest to whom He presented Himself in the form of various created beings, for the ways of God and for the works of God, that is to say, to teach us to know God, and to profit our eternal state. Why dues this method, expressly designed for human salvation, bring about at the present time such an impious attack upon His eternal birth? The creation, of which you speak, dates from the commencement of the ages; but His birth is without end, and before the ages. Maintain by all means that we are doing violence to words, if a Prophet, or the Lord, or an Apostle, or any oracle whatever has described by the name of creation the birth of His eternal divinity. In all these manifestations God, Who is a consuming fire, is present, as created, in such a manner that He could lay aside the created form by the same power by which He assumed it, being able to destroy again that which had come into existence merely that it might be looked upon.

48. But that blessed and true birth of the flesh conceived within the Virgin the Apostle has named both a creating and a making, for then there was born both the nature and form of our created being. And without doubt in his view this name belongs to Christ’s true birth as a man, since he says, But when the fulness of the time came, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, in order that He might redeem those who are under the law, that we might obtain the adoption of sons. And so He is God’s own Son, Who is made in human form and of human origin; nor is He only made but also created, as it is said: Even as the truth is in Jesus, that ye put away according to your former manner of life, that old man, which becomes corrupt according to the lusts of deceit. However, be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put ye on that new man, which is created according God. So the new man is to be put on Who has been created according to God. For He Who was Son of God was born also Son Man. This was not the birth of the divinity, but the creating of the flesh; the new Man taking the title of the race, and being created according to God Who was born before the ages. And how the new man was created according to God, he explains in what follows, adding, in righteousness, and in holiness, and in truth. For there was no guile in Him; and He has been made unto us righteousness and sanctification, and is Himself the Truth. This, then, is the Christ, created a new man according to God, Whom we put on.

49. If, then, Wisdom, in saying that it was mindful of the things which have been performed since the beginning of the ages, said that it was created for the works of God and for the ways of God; and yet, while saying that it was created, taught that it was established before the ages, lest we should suppose that the mystery of that created form, so variously and frequently assumed, involved some change in its nature;–for although the firmness with which it was established would not allow of any disturbance that could overthrow it, yet, lest the establishment might seem to mean something less than birth, Wisdom declared itself to be begotten before all things:–if this is so, why is the term ‘creation’ now applied to the birth of that which was both begotten before all things, and also established before the ages? Because that which was established before the ages was created anew froth the commencement of the ages for the beginning of the ways of God and for His works. In this sense must we understand the difference between creation from the commencement of the ages and that birth which precedes the ages and all things. Impiety at least has not this excuse, that it can plead error as the cause of its profanity.

50. For although the weakness of the understanding might hinder the perceptions of a man devoutly disposed, so that, even after this explanation, he might fail to grasp the meaning of “creation,” nevertheless, even the letter of the Apostle’s saying, when he applies the term “making” to a true birth, should have sufficed for a sincere, if not intelligent, belief, that the term “creation” was designed to conduce to a belief in generation. For when the Apostle was minded to assert the birth of One from one Parent, that is to say, the birth of the Lord from a virgin without a conception due to human passions, he clearly had a definite purpose in calling Him “made of a woman,” Whom he knew and had frequently asserted to have been born. He desired that the ‘birth’ should point to the reality of the generation, and the ‘making’ should testify to the birth of One from one Parent; because the term ‘making’ excludes the idea of a conception by means of human intercourse, it being expressly stated that He was made of a virgin, though it is equally certain that He was born and not made. But see, heretic, how impious you are. No sentence of prophet, or evangelist, or apostle has said that Jesus Christ was created from God, rather than born from Him: yet you deny the birth. and assert the creation, but not according to the Apostle’s meaning, when he said that He was made, lest there should be any doubt that He was born as One from one Parent. You make your assertion in a most impious sense, implying that God did not derive His being by way of birth conveying nature; although a creature would rather have come into being out of nothing. This is the primary infection in your unhappy mind, not that you term birth a creating, but that you adapt your faith to the idea of creation instead of birth. And yet while it would mark a poor intellect, still it would not mark a man entirely undevout, if you had called Christ created, in order that men might recognise His impossible birth from God, as being that of One from One.

51. But none of these phrases does a firm apostolic faith permit. For it knows in what dispensation of time Christ was created, and in what eternity of times He was born. Moreover, He was born God of God, and the divinity of His true birth and perfect generation is not doubtful. For in relation to God we acknowledge only two modes of being, birth and eternity: birth, moreover, not after anything, but before all things, so that birth only bears witness to a Source of being, and does not predicate any incongruity between the offspring and the Source of being. Still, by common admission, this birth, because it is from God, implies a secondary position in respect to the Source of being, and yet cannot be separated from that Source, since any attempt of thought to pass beyond acceptance of the fact of birth, must also necessarily penetrate the mystery of the generation. And so this is the only pious language to use about God: to know Him as Father, and with Him to know also Him, Who is the Son born of Him. Nor assuredly are we taught anything concerning God, except that He is the Father of God the Only-begotten and the Creator. So let not human weakness overreach itself; and let it make this only confession, in which alone lies its salvation–that, before the mystery of the Incarnation, it is ever assured, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, of this one fact that He had been born.

52. For my part, so long as I shall have the power by means of this Spirit Whom Thou hast granted me, Holy Father, Almighty God, I will confess Thee to be not only eternally God, but also eternally Father. Nor will I ever break out into such folly and impiety, as to make myself the judge of Thy omnipotence and Thy mysteries, nor shall this weak understanding arrogantly seek for more than that devout belief in Thy infinitude and faith in Thy eternity, which have been taught me. I will not assert that Thou wast ever without Thy Wisdom, and Thy Power, and Thy Word, without God Only-begotten, my Lord Jesus Christ. The weak and imperfect language, to which our nature is limited, does not dominate my thoughts concerning Thee, so that my poverty of utterance should choke faith into silence. For although we have a word and wisdom and power of our own, the product of our free inward activity, yet Thine is the absolute generation of perfect God, Who is Thy Word and Wisdom and Power; so that He can never be separated from Thee, Who in these names of Thy eternal properties is shewn to be born of Thee. Yet His birth is only so far shewn as to make manifest the fact that Thou art the Source of His being; yet sufficiently to confirm our belief in His infinity, inasmuch as it is related that He was born before times eternal.

53. For in human affairs Thou hast set before us many things of such a sort, that though we do not know their cause, yet the effect is not unknown; and reverence inculcates faith, where ignorance is inherent in our nature. Thus when I raised to Thy heaven these feeble eyes of mine, my certainty regarding it was limited to the fact that it is Thine. For seeing therein these orbits where the stars are fixed, and their annual revolutions, and the Pleiades and the Great Bear and the Morning Star, each having their varied duties in the service which is appointed them, I recognise Thy presence, O God, in these things whereof I cannot gain any clear understanding. And when I view the marvellous swellings of Thy sea, I know that I have failed to comprehend not merely the origin of the waters but even the movements of this changeful expanse; yet I grasp at faith in some reasonable cause, although it is one that I cannot see, and fail not to recognise Thee in these things also, which I do not know. Furthermore, when in thought I turn to the earth, which by the power of hidden agencies causes to decay all the seeds which it receives, quickens them when decayed, multiplies them when quickened, and makes them strong when multiplied; in all these changes I find nothing which my mind can understand, yet my ignorance helps towards recognising Thee, for though I know nothing of the nature that waits on me, I recognise Thee by actual experience of the advantages I possess. Moreover, though I do not know myself, yet I perceive so much that I marvel at Thee the more because I am ignorant of myself. For without understanding it, I perceive a certain motion or order or life in my mind when it exercises its powers; and this very perception I owe to Thee, for though Thou deniest the power of understanding my natural first beginning, yet Thou givest that of perceiving nature with its charms. And since in what concerns myself I recognise Thee, ignorant as I am, so recognising Thee I will not in what concerns Thee cherish a feebler faith in Thy omnipotence, because I do not understand. My thoughts shall not attempt to grasp and master the origin of Thy Only-begotten Son, nor shall my faculties strain to reach beyond the truth that He is my Creator and my God.

54. His birth is before times eternal. If anything exist which precedes eternity, it will be something which, when eternity is comprehended, still eludes comprehension. And this something is Thine, and is Thy Only-begotten; no portion, nor extension, nor any empty name devised to suit some theory of Thy mode of action. He is the Son, a Son born of Thee, God the Father, Himself true God, begotten by Thee in the unity of Thy nature, and meet to be acknowledged after Thee, and yet with Thee, since Thou art the eternal Author of His eternal origin. For since He is from Thee, He is second to Thee; yet since He is Thine, Thou art not to be separated from Him. For we must never assert that Thou didst once exist without Thy Son, test we should be reproaching Thee either with imperfection, as then unable to generate, or with superfluousness after the generation. And so the exact meaning for us of the eternal generation is that we know Thee to be the eternal Father of Thy Only-begotten Son, Who was born of Thee before times eternal.

55. But, for my part, I cannot be content by the service of my faith and voice, to deny that my Lord and my God, Thy Only-begotten, Jesus Christ, is a creature; I must also deny that this name of ‘creature’ belongs to Thy Holy Spirit, seeing that He proceeds from Thee and is sent through Him, so great is my reverence for everything that is Thine. Nor, because I know that Thou alone art unborn and that the Only-begotten is born of Thee, will I refuse to say that the Holy Spirit was begotten, or assert that He was ever created. I fear the blasphemies which would be insinuated against Thee by such use of this title ‘creature,’ which I share with the other beings brought into being by Thee. Thy Holy Spirit, as the Apostle says, searches and knows Thy deep things, and as Intercessor for me speaks to Thee words I could not utter; and shall I express or rather dishonour, by the title ‘creature,’ the power of His nature, which subsists eternally, derived from Thee through Thine Only-begotten? Nothing, except want belongs to Thee, penetrates into Thee; nor can the agency of a power foreign and strange to Thee measure the depth of Thy boundless majesty. To Thee belongs whatever enters into Thee; nor is anything strange to Thee, which dwells in Thee through its searching power.

56. But I cannot describe Him, Whose pleas for me I cannot describe. As in the revelation that Thy Only-begotten was born of Thee before times eternal, when we cease to struggle with ambiguities of language and difficulties of thought, the one certainty of His birth remains; so I hold fast in my consciousness the truth that Thy Holy Spirit is from Thee and through Him, although I cannot by my intellect comprehend it. For in Thy spiritual things I am dull, as Thy Only-begotten says, Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be barn anew. The Spirit breathes where it will, and thou hearest the voice of it; but dost not know whence it comes or whither it goes. So is every one who is barn of water and of the Holy Spirit. Though I hold a belief in my regeneration, I hold it in ignorance; I possess the reality, though I comprehend it not. For my own consciousness had no part in causing this new birth, which is manifest in its effects. Moreover the Spirit has no limits; He speaks when He will, and what He will, and where He will. Since, then, the cause of His coming and going is unknown, though the watcher is conscious of the fact, shall I count the nature of the Spirit among created things, and limit Him by fixing the time of His origin? Thy servant John says, indeed, that all things were made through the Son, Who as God the Word was in the beginning, O God, with Thee. Again, Paul recounts all things as created in Him, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. And, while he declared that everything was created in Christ and through Christ, he thought, with respect to the Holy Spirit, that the description was sufficient, when he called Him Thy Spirit. With these men, peculiarly Thine elect, I will think in these matters; just as, after their example, I will say nothing beyond my comprehension about Thy Only-begotten, but simply declare that He was born, so also after their example I will not trespass beyond that which human intellect can know about Thy Holy Spirit, but simply declare that He is Thy Spirit. May my lot be no useless strife of words, but the unwavering confession of an unhesitating faith!

57. Keep, I pray Thee, this my pious faith undefiled, and even till my spirit departs, grant that this may be the utterance of my convictions: so that I may ever hold fast that which I professed in the creed of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let me, in short, adore Thee our Father, and Thy Son together with Thee; let me win the favour of Thy Holy Spirit, Who is from Thee, through Thy Only-begotten. For I have a convincing Witness to my faith, Who says, Father, all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, even my Lord Jesus Christ, abiding in Thee, and from Thee, and with Thee, for ever God: Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.