1. The second book declares the Incarnation of God the Word, and the faith delivered by the Lord to His disciples, and asserts that the heretics who endeavour to overthrow this faith and devise other additional names are of their father the devil.
The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the Life, the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wisdom, and all else that He is by nature, for this cause above all was made in the likeness of man, and shared our nature, becoming like us in all things, yet without sin. He was like us in all things, in that He took upon Him manhood in its entirety with soul and body, so that our salvation was accomplished by means of both:—He, I say, appeared on earth and “conversed with men,” that men might no longer have opinions according to their own notions about the Self-existent, formulating into a doctrine the hints that come to them from vague conjectures, but that we might be convinced that God has truly been manifested in the flesh, and believe that to be the only true “mystery of godliness,” which was delivered to us by the very Word and God, Who by Himself spake to His Apostles, and that we might receive the teaching concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, “through a glass darkly” from the older Scriptures,—from the Law, and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of the truth fully revealed to us, reverently accepting the meaning of the things which have been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scriptures, which faith we guard as we received it, word for word, in purity, without falsification, judging even a slight divergence from the words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy and impiety. We believe, then, even as the Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when He said, “Go, teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This is the word of the mystery whereby through the new birth from above our nature is transformed from the corruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed from “the old man,” “according to the image of Him who created” at the beginning the likeness to the Godhead. In the Faith then which was delivered by God to the Apostles we admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor addition, knowing assuredly that he who presumes to pervert the Divine utterance by dishonest quibbling, the same “is of his father the devil,” who leaves the words of truth and “speaks of his own,” becoming the father of a lie. For whatsoever is said otherwise than in exact accord with the truth is assuredly false and not true.
2. Gregory then makes an explanation at length touching the eternal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Since then this doctrine is put forth by the Truth itself, it follows that anything which the inventors of pestilent heresies devise besides to subvert this Divine utterance,—as, for example, calling the Father “Maker” and “Creator” of the Son instead of “Father,” and the Son a “result,” a “creature,” a “product,” instead of “Son,” and the Holy Spirit the “creature of a creature,” and the “product of a product,” instead of His proper title the “Spirit,” and whatever those who fight against God are pleased to say of Him,—all such fancies we term a denial and violation of the Godhead revealed to us in this doctrine. For once for all we have learned from the Lord, through Whom comes the transformation of our nature from mortality to immortality,—from Him, I say, we have learned to what we ought to look with the eyes of our understanding,—that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We say that it is a terrible and soul-destroying thing to misinterpret these Divine utterances and to devise in their stead assertions to subvert them,—assertions pretending to correct God the Word, Who appointed that we should maintain these statements as part of our faith. For each of these titles understood in its natural sense becomes for Christians a rule of truth and a law of piety. For while there are many other names by which Deity is indicated in the Historical Books, in the Prophets and in the Law, our Master Christ passes by all these and commits to us these titles as better able to bring us to the faith about the Self-Existent, declaring that it suffices us to cling to the title, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” in order to attain to the apprehension of Him Who is absolutely Existent, Who is one and yet not one. In regard to essence He is one, wherefore the Lord ordained that we should look to one Name: but in regard to the attributes indicative of the Persons, our belief in Him is distinguished into belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; He is divided without separation, and united without confusion. For when we hear the title “Father” we apprehend the meaning to be this, that the name is not understood with reference to itself alone, but also by its special signification indicates the relation to the Son. For the term “Father” would have no meaning apart by itself, if “Son” were not connoted by the utterance of the word “Father.” When, then, we learnt the name “Father” we were taught at the same time, by the selfsame title, faith also in the Son. Now since Deity by its very nature is permanently and immutably the same in all that pertains to its essence, nor did it at any time fail to be anything that it now is, nor will it at any future time be anything that it now is not, and since He Who is the very Father was named Father by the Word, and since in the Father the Son is implied,—since these things are so, we of necessity believe that He Who admits no change or alteration in His nature was always entirely what He is now, or, if there is anything which He was not, that He assuredly is not now. Since then He is named Father by the very Word, He assuredly always was Father, and is and will be even as He was. For surely it is not lawful in speaking of the Divine and unimpaired Essence to deny that what is excellent always belonged to It. For if He was not always what He now is, He certainly changed either from the better to the worse or from the worse to the better, and of these assertions the impiety is equal either way, whichever statement is made concerning the Divine nature. But in fact the Deity is incapable of change and alteration. So, then, everything that is excellent and good is always contemplated in the fountain of excellency. But “the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father” is excellent, and beyond all excellency:—mark you, He says, “Who is in the bosom of the Father,” not “Who came to be” there.
Well then, it has been demonstrated by these proofs that the Son is from all eternity to be contemplated in the Father, in Whom He is, being Life and Light and Truth, and every noble name and conception—to say that the Father ever existed by Himself apart from these attributes is a piece of the utmost impiety and infatuation. For if the Son, as the Scripture saith, is the Power of God, and Wisdom, and Truth, and Light, and Sanctification, and Peace, and Life, and the like, then before the Son existed, according to the view of the heretics, these things also had no existence at all. And if these things had no existence they must certainly conceive the bosom of the Father to have been devoid of such excellences. To the end, then, that the Father might not be conceived as destitute of the excellences which are His own, and that the doctrine might not run wild into this extravagance, the right faith concerning the Son is necessarily included in our Lord’s utterance with the contemplation of the eternity of the Father. And for this reason He passes over all those names which are employed to indicate the surpassing excellence of the Divine nature, and delivers to us as part of our profession of faith the title of “Father” as better suited to indicate the truth, being a title which, as has been said, by its relative sense connotes with itself the Son, while the Son, Who is in the Father, always is what He essentially is, as has been said already, because the Deity by Its very nature does not admit of augmentation. For It does not perceive any other good outside of Itself, by participation in which It could acquire any accession, but is always immutable, neither casting away what It has, nor acquiring what It has not: for none of Its properties are such as to be cast away. And if there is anything whatsoever blessed, unsullied, true and good, associated with Him and in Him, we see of necessity that the good and holy Spirit must belong to Him251, not by way of accretion. That Spirit is indisputably a princely Spirit, a quickening Spirit, the controlling and sanctifying force of all creation, the Spirit that “worketh all in all” as He wills. Thus we conceive no gap between the anointed Christ and His anointing, between the King and His sovereignty, between Wisdom and the Spirit of Wisdom, between Truth and the Spirit of Truth, between Power and the Spirit of Power, but as there is contemplated from all eternity in the Father the Son, Who is Wisdom and Truth, and Counsel, and Might, and Knowledge, and Understanding, so there is also contemplated in Him the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of Wisdom, and of Truth, and of Counsel, and of Understanding, and all else that the Son is and is called. For which reason we say that to the holy disciples the mystery of godliness was committed in a form expressing at once union and distinction,—that we should believe on the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. For the differentiation of the subsistences makes the distinction of Persons clear and free from confusion, while the one Name standing in the forefront of the declaration of the Faith clearly expounds to us the unity of essence of the Persons Whom the Faith declares,—I mean, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For by these appellations we are taught not a difference of nature, but only the special attributes that mark the subsistences, so that we know that neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Holy Spirit either the Father or the Son, and recognise each by the distinctive mark of His Personal Subsistence, in illimitable perfection, at once contemplated by Himself and not divided from that with Which He is connected.
3. Gregory proceeds to discuss the relative force of the unnameable name of the Holy Trinity and the mutual relation of the Persons, and moreover the unknowable character of the essence, and the condescension on His part towards us, His generation of the Virgin, and His second coming, the resurrection from the dead and future retribution.
What then means that unnameable name concerning which the Lord said, “Baptizing them into the name,” and did not add the actual significant term which “the name” indicates? We have concerning it this notion, that all things that exist in the creation are defined by means of their several names. Thus whenever a man speaks of “heaven” he directs the notion of the hearer to the created object indicated by this name, and he who mentions “man” or some animal, at once by the mention of the name impresses upon the hearer the form of the creature, and in the same way all other things, by means of the names imposed upon them, are depicted in the heart of him who by hearing receives the appellation imposed upon the thing. The uncreated Nature alone, which we acknowledge in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, surpasses all significance of names. For this cause the Word, when He spoke of “the name” in delivering the Faith, did not add what it is,—for how could a name be found for that which is above every name?—but gave authority that whatever name our intelligence by pious effort be enabled to discover to indicate the transcendent Nature, that name should be applied alike to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whether it be “the Good” or “the Incorruptible,” whatever name each may think proper to be employed to indicate the undefiled Nature of Godhead. And by this deliverance the Word seems to me to lay down for us this law, that we are to be persuaded that the Divine Essence is ineffable and incomprehensible: for it is plain that the title of Father does not present to us the Essence, but only indicates the relation to the Son. It follows, then, that if it were possible for human nature to be taught the essence of God, He “Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” would not have suppressed the knowledge upon this matter. But as it is, by saying nothing concerning the Divine Essence, He showed that the knowledge thereof is beyond our power, while when we have learnt that of which we are capable, we stand in no need of the knowledge beyond our capacity, as we have in the profession of faith in the doctrine delivered to us what suffices for our salvation. For to learn that He is the absolutely existent, together with Whom, by the relative force of the term, there is also declared the majesty of the Son, is the fullest teaching of godliness; the Son, as has been said, implying in close union with Himself the Spirit of Life and Truth, inasmuch as He is Himself Life and Truth.
These distinctions being thus established, while we anathematize all heretical fancies in the sphere of divine doctrines, we believe, even as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledging together with this faith also the dispensation that has been set on foot on behalf of men by the Lord of the creation. For He “being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant,” and being incarnate in the Holy Virgin redeemed us from death “in which we were held,” “sold under sin,” giving as the ransom for the deliverance of our souls His precious blood which He poured out by His Cross, and having through Himself made clear for us the path of the resurrection from the dead, shall come in His own time in the glory of the Father to judge every soul in righteousness, when “all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” But that the pernicious heresy that is now being sown broadcast by Eunomius may not, by falling upon the mind of some of the simpler sort and being left without investigation, do harm to guileless faith, we are constrained to set forth the profession which they circulate and to strive to expose the mischief of their teaching.
4. He next skilfully confutes the partial, empty and blasphemous statement of Eunomius on the subject of the absolutely existent.
Now the wording of their doctrine is as follows: “We believe in the one and only true God, according to the teaching of the Lord Himself, not honouring Him with a lying title (for He cannot lie), but really existent, one God in nature and in glory, who is without be- ginning, eternally, without end, alone.” Let not him who professes to believe in accordance with the teaching of the Lord pervert the exposition of the faith that was made concerning the Lord of all to suit his own fancy, but himself follow the utterance of the truth. Since then, the expression of the Faith comprehends the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, what agreement has this construction of theirs to show with the utterances of the Lord, so as to refer such a doctrine to the teaching of those utterances? They cannot manage to show where in the Gospels the Lord said that we should believe on “the one and only true God:” unless they have some new Gospel. For the Gospels which are read in the churches continuously from ancient times to the present day, do not contain this saying which tells us that we should believe in or baptize into “the one and only true God,” as these people say, but “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” But as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, this we say, that the word “one” does not indicate the Father alone, but comprehends in its significance the Son with the Father, inasmuch as the Lord said, “I and My Father are one.” In like manner also the name “God” belongs equally to the Beginning in which the Word was, and to the Word Who was in the Beginning. For the Evangelist tells us that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So that when Deity is expressed the Son is included no less than the Father. Moreover, the true cannot be conceived as something alien from and unconnected with the truth. But that the Lord is the Truth no one at all will dispute, unless he be one estranged from the truth. If, then, the Word is in the One, and is God and Truth, as is proclaimed in the Gospels, on what teaching of the Lord does he base his doctrine who makes use of these distinctive terms? For the antithesis is between “only” and “not only,” between “God” and “no God,” between “true” and “untrue.” If it is with respect to idols that they make their distinction of phrases, we too agree. For the name of “deity” is given, in an equivocal sense, to the idols of the heathen, seeing that “all the gods of the heathen are demons,” and in another sense marks the contrast of the one with the many, of the true with the false, of those who are not Gods with Him who is God. But if the contrast is one with the Only-begotten God, let our sages learn that truth has its opposite only in falsehood, and God in one who is not God. But inasmuch as the Lord Who is the Truth is God, and is in the Father and is one relatively to the Father, there is no room in the true doctrine for these distinctions of phrases. For he who truly believes in the One sees in the One Him Who is completely united with Him in truth, and deity, and essence, and life, and wisdom, and in all attributes whatsoever: or, if he does not see in the One Him Who is all these it is in nothing that he believes. For without the Son the Father has neither existence nor name, any more than the Powerful without Power, or the Wise without Wisdom. For Christ is “the Power of God and the Wisdom of God;” so that he who imagines he sees the One God apart from power, truth, wisdom, life, or the true light, either sees nothing at all or else assuredly that which is evil. For the withdrawal of the good attributes becomes a positing and origination of evil.
“Not honouring Him,” he says, “with a lying title, for He cannot lie.” By that phrase I pray that Eunomius may abide, and so bear witness to the truth that it cannot lie. For if he would be of this mind, that everything that is uttered by the Lord is far removed from falsehood, he will of course be persuaded that He speaks the truth Who says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me,”—plainly, the One in His entirety, in the Other in His entirety, the Father not superabounding in the Son, the Son not being deficient in the Father,—and Who says also that the Son should be honoured as the Father is honoured, and “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” and “no man knoweth the Father save the Son,” in all which passages there is no hint given to those who receive these declarations as genuine, of any variation of glory, or of essence, or anything else, between the Father and the Son.
“Really existent,” he says, “one God in nature and in glory.” Real existence is opposed to unreal existence. Now each of existing things is really existent in so far as it is; but that which, so far as appearance and suggestion go, seems to be, but is not, this is not really existent, as for example an appearance in a dream or a man in a picture. For these and such like things, though they exist so far as appearance is concerned, have not real existence. If then they maintain, in accordance with the Jewish opinion, that the Only-begotten God does not exist at all, they are right in predicating real existence of the Father alone. But if they do not deny the existence of the Maker of all things, let them be content not to deprive of real existence Him Who is, Who in the Divine appearance to Moses gave Himself the name of Existent, when He said, “I am that I am:” even as Eunomius in his later argument agrees with this, saying that it was He Who appeared to Moses. Then he says that God is “one in nature and in glory.” Whether God exists without being by nature God, he who uses these words may perhaps know: but if it be true that he who is not by nature God is not God at all, let them learn from the great Paul that they who serve those who are not Gods do not serve God.” But we “serve the living and true God,” as the Apostle says: and He Whom we serve is Jesus the Christ. For Him the Apostle Paul even exults in serving, saying, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” We then, who no longer serve them which by nature are no Gods, have come to the knowledge of Him Who by nature is God, to Whom every knee boweth “of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth.” But we should not have been His servants had we not believed that this is the living and true God, to Whom “every tongue maketh confession that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
“God,” he says, “Who is without beginning, eternally, without end, alone.” Once more “understand, ye simple ones,” as Solomon says, “his subtlety,” lest haply ye be deceived and fall headlong into the denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten Son. That is without end which admits not of death and decay: that, likewise, is called everlasting which is not only for a time. That, therefore, which is neither everlasting nor without end is surely seen in the nature which is perishable and mortal. Accordingly he who predicates “unendingness” of the one and only God, and does not include the Son in the assertion of “unendingness” and “eternity,” maintains by such a proposition, that He Whom he thus contrasts with the eternal and unending is perishable and temporary. But we, even when we are told that God “only hath immortality,” understand by “immortality” the Son. For life is immortality, and the Lord is that life, Who said, “I am the Life.” And if He be said to dwell “in the light that no man can approach unto,” again we make no difficulty in understanding that the true Light, unapproachable by falsehood, is the Only-begotten, in Whom we learn from the Truth itself that the Father is. Of these opinions let the reader choose the more devout, whether we are to think of the Only-begotten in a manner worthy of the Godhead, or to call Him, as heresy prescribes, perishable and temporary.
5. He next marvellously overthrows the unintelligible statements of Eunomius which assert that the essence of the Father is not separated or divided, and does not become anything else.
“We believe in God,” he tells us, “not separated as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from being what He is, or passing from one essence to assume the guise of a threefold personality: for He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God.” From these citations the discreet reader may well separate first of all the idle words inserted in the statement without any meaning from those which appear to have some sense, and afterwards examine the meaning that is discoverable in what remains of his statement, to ascertain whether it is compatible with due reverence towards Christ.
The first, then, of the statements cited is completely divorced from any intelligible meaning, good or bad. For what sense there is in the words, “not separated, as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from being what He is,” Eunomius himself could not tell us, and I do not think that any of his allies could find in the words any shadow of meaning. When he speaks of Him as “not separated in regard to the essence wherein He is one,” he says either that He is not separated from His own essence, or that His own essence is not divided from Him. This unmeaning statement is nothing but a random combination of noise and empty sound. And why should one spend time in the investigation of these meaningless expressions? For how does any one remain in existence when separated from his own essence? or how is the essence of anything divided and displayed apart? Or how is it possible for one to depart from that wherein he is, and become another, getting outside himself? But he adds, “not passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons: for He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God.” I think the absence of meaning in his statement is plain to every one without a word from me: against this let any one argue who thinks there is any sense or meaning in what he says: he who has an eye to discern the force of words will decline to involve himself in a struggle with unsubstantial shadows. For what force has it against our doctrine to say “not separated or divided into more than one as regards the essence wherein He is one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes an- other, or passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons?”—things that are neither said nor believed by Christians nor understood by inference from the truths we confess. For who ever said or heard any one else say in the Church of God, that the Father is either separated or divided as regards His essence, or becomes sometimes one, sometimes another, coming to be outside Himself, or assumes the guise of three persons? These things Eunomius says to himself, not arguing with us but stringing together his own trash, mixing with the impiety of his utterances a great deal of absurdity. For we say that it is equally impious and ungodly to call the Lord of the creation a created being and to think that the Father, in that He is, is separated or split up, or departs from Himself, or assumes the guise of three persons, like clay or wax moulded in various shapes.
But let us examine the words that follow: “He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God.” If he is speaking about the Father, we agree with him, for the Father is most truly one, alone and always absolutely uniform and unchangeable, never at any time present or future ceasing to be what He is. If then such an assertion as this has regard to the Father, let him not contend with the doctrine of godliness, inasmuch as on this point he is in harmony with the Church. For he who confesses that the Father is always and unchangeably the same, being one and only God, holds fast the word of godliness, if in the Father he sees the Son, without Whom the Father neither is nor is named. But if he is inventing some other God besides the Father, let him dispute with the Jews or with those who are called Hypsistiani, between whom and the Christians there is this difference, that they acknowledge that there is a God Whom they term the Highest288 or Almighty, but do not admit that he is Father; while a Christian, if he believe not in the Father, no Christian at all.
6. He then shows the unity of the Son with the Father and Eunomius’ lack of understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures.
What he adds next after this is as follows:—“Having no sharer,” he says, “in His Godhead, no divider of His glory, none who has lot in His power, or part in His royal throne: for He is the one and only God, the Almighty, God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.” I know not to whom Eunomius refers when he protests that the Father admits none to share His Godhead with Himself. For if he uses such expressions with reference to vain idols and to the erroneous conceptions of those who worship them (even as Paul assures us that there is no agreement between Christ and Belial, and no fellowship between the temple of God and idols) we agree with him. But if by these assertions he means to sever the Only-begotten God from the Godhead of the Father, let him be informed that he is providing us with a dilemma that may be turned against himself to refute his own impiety. For either he denies the Only-begotten God to be God at all, that he may preserve for the Father those prerogatives of deity which (according to him) are incapable of being shared with the Son, and thus is convicted as a transgressor by denying the God Whom Christians worship, or if he were to grant that the Son also is God, yet not agreeing in nature with the true God, he would be necessarily obliged to acknowledge that he maintains Gods sundered from one another by the difference of their natures. Let him choose which of these he will,—either to deny the Godhead of the Son, or to introduce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as regards impiety: for we who are initiated into the mystery of godliness by the Divinely inspired words of the Scripture do not see between the Father and the Son a partnership of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the Lord hath taught us this by His own words, when He saith, “I and the Father are one,” and “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” For if He were not of the same nature as the Father, how could He either have had in Himself that which was different? or how could He have shown in Himself that which was unlike, if the foreign and alien nature did not receive the stamp of that which was of a different kind from itself? But he says, “nor has He a divider of His glory.” Herein he speaks in accordance with the fact, even though he does not know what he is saying: for the Son does not divide the glory with the Father, but has the glory of the Father in its entirety, even as the Father has all the glory of the Son. For thus He spake to the Father “All Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine.” Wherefore also He says that He will appear on the Judgment Day “in the glory of the Father,” when He will render to every man according to his works. And by this phrase He shows the unity of nature that subsists between them. For as “there is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon,” because of the difference between the natures of those luminaries (since if both had the same glory there would not be deemed to be any difference in their nature), so He Who foretold of Himself that He would appear in the glory of the Father indicated by the identity of glory their community of nature.
But to say that the Son has no part in His Father’s royal throne argues an extraordinary amount of research into the oracles of God on the part of Eunomius, who, after his extreme devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has not yet heard, “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” and many similar passages, of which it would not be easy to reckon up the number, but which Eunomius has never learnt, and so denies that the Son is enthroned together with the Father. Again the phrase, “not having lot in his power,” we should rather pass by as unmeaning than confute as ungodly. For what sense is attached to the term “having lot” is not easy to discover from the common use of the word. Those cast lots, as the Scripture tells us, for the Lord’s vesture, who were unwilling to rend His garment, but disposed to make it over to that one of their number in whose favour the lot should decide. They then who thus cast lots among themselves for the “coat” may be said, perhaps, to “have had lot” in it. But here in the case of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as Their power resides in Their nature (for the Holy Spirit breathes “where He listeth,” and “worketh all in all as He will,” and the Son, by Whom all things were made, visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth, “did all things whatsoever He pleased,” and “quickeneth whom He will,” and the Father put “the times in His own power,” while from the mention of “times” we conclude that all things done in time are subject to the power of the Father), if, I say, it has been demonstrated that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alike are in a position of power to do what They will, it is impossible to see what sense there can be in the phrase “having lot in His power.” For the heir of all things, the maker of the ages, He Who shines with the Father’s glory and expresses in Himself the Father’s person, has all things that the Father Himself has, and is possessor of all His power, not that the right is transferred from the Father to the Son, but that it at once remains in the Father and resides in the Son. For He Who is in the Father is manifestly in the Father with all His own might, and He Who has the Father in Himself includes all the power and might of the Father. For He has in Himself all the Father, and not merely a part of Him: and He Who has Him entirely assuredly has His power as well. With what meaning, then, Eunomius asserts that the Father has “none who has lot in His power,” those perhaps can tell who are disciples of his folly: one who knows how to appreciate language confesses that he cannot understand phrases divorced from meaning. The Father, he says, “has none Who has lot in His power.” Why, who is there that says that the Father and Son contend together for power and cast lots to decide the matter? But the holy Eunomius comes as mediator between them and by a friendly agreement without lot assigns to the Father the superiority in power.
Mark, I pray you, the absurdity and childishness of this grovelling exposition of his articles of faith. What! He Who “upholds all things by the word of His power,” Who says what He wills to be done, and does what He wills by the very power of that command, He Whose power lags not behind His will and Whose will is the measure of His power (for “He spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they were created”), He Who made all things by Himself, and made them consist in Himself, without Whom no existing thing either came into being or remains in being,—He it is Who waits to obtain His power by some process of allotment! Judge you who hear whether the man who talks like this is in his senses. “For He is the one and only God, the Almighty,” he says. If by the title of “Almighty” he intends the Father, the language he uses is ours, and no strange language: but if he means some other God than the Father, let our patron of Jewish doctrines preach circumcision too, if he pleases. For the Faith of Christians is directed to the Father. And the Father is all these—Highest, Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in a word all terms of highest significance are proper to the Father. But all that is the Father’s is the Son’s also; so that, on this understanding, we admit this phrase too. But if, leaving the Father, he speaks of another Almighty, he is speaking the language of the Jews or following the speculations of Plato,—for they say that that philosopher also affirms that there exists on high a maker and creator of certain subordinate gods. As then in the case of the Jewish and Platonic opinions he who does not believe in God the Father is not a Christian, even though in his creed he asserts an Almighty God, so Eunomius also falsely pretends to the name of Christian, being in inclination a Jew, or asserting the doctrines of the Greeks while putting on the guise of the title borne by Christians. And with regard to the next points he asserts the same account will apply. He says He is “God of Gods.” We make the declaration our own by adding the name of the Father, knowing that the Father is God of Gods. But all that belongs to the Father certainly belongs also to the Son. “And Lord of Lords.” The same ac- count will apply to this. “And Most High over all the earth.” Yes, for whichever of the Three Persons you are thinking of, He is Most High over all the earth, inasmuch as the oversight of earthly things from on high is exercised alike by the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, too, with what follows the words above, “Most High in the heavens, Most High in the highest, Heavenly, true in being what He is, and so continuing, true in words, true in works.” Why, all these things the Christian eye discerns alike in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. If Eunomius does assign them to one only of the Persons acknowledged in the creed, let him dare to call Him “not true in words” Who has said, “I am the Truth,” or to call the Spirit of truth “not true in words,” or let him refuse to give the title of “true in works” to Him Who doeth righteousness and judgment, or to the Spirit Who worketh all in all as He will. For if he does not acknowledge that these attributes belong to the Persons delivered to us in the creed, he is absolutely cancelling the creed of Christians. For how shall any one think Him a worthy object of faith Who is false in words and untrue in works.
But let us proceed to what follows. “Above all rule, subjection and authority,” he says. This language is ours, and belongs properly to the Catholic Church,—to believe that the Divine nature is above all rule, and that it has in subordination to itself everything that can be conceived among existing things. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Divine nature. If he assigns this property to the Father alone, and if he affirms Him alone to be free from variableness and change, and if he says that He alone is undefiled, the inference that we are meant to draw is plain, namely, that He who has not these characteristics is variable, corruptible, subject to change and decay. This, then, is what Eunomius asserts of the Son and the Holy Spirit: for if he did not hold this opinion concerning the Son and the Spirit, he would not have employed this opposition, contrasting the Father with them. For the rest, brethren, judge whether, with these sentiments, he is not a persecutor of the Christian faith. For who will allow it to be right to deem that a fitting object of reverence which varies, changes, and is subject to decay? So then the whole aim of one who flames such notions as these,—notions by which he makes out that neither the Truth nor the Spirit of Truth is undefiled, unvarying, or unchangeable,—is to expel from the Church the belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
7. Gregory further shows that the Only-Begotten being begotten not only of the Father, but also impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, does not divide the substance; seeing that neither is the nature of men divided or severed from the parents by being begotten, as is ingeniously demonstrated from the instances of Adam and Abraham.
And now let us see what he adds to his previous statements. “Not dividing,” he says, “His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible.” Of such a kind as this, perhaps, is that of which the prophet says, touching the ungodly, “They weave a spider’s web.” For as in the cobweb there is the appearance of something woven, but no substantiality in the appearance,—for he who touches it touches nothing substantial, as the spider’s threads break with the touch of a finger,—just such is the unsubstantial texture of idle phrases. “Not dividing His own essence by begetting and being at once begetter and begotten.” Ought we to give his words the name of argument, or to call them rather a swelling of humours secreted by some dropsical inflation? For what is the sense of “dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten?” Who is so distracted, who is so demented, as to make the statement against which Eunomius thinks he is doing battle? For the Church believes that the true Father is truly Father of His own Son, as the Apostle says, not of a Son alien from Him. For thus he declares in one of his Epistles, “Who spared not His own Son,” distinguishing Him, by the addition of “own,” from those who are counted worthy of the adoption of sons by grace and not by nature. But what says He who disparages this belief of ours? “Not dividing His own essence by begetting, or being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible.” Does one who hears in the Gospel that the Word was in the beginning, and was God, and that the Word came forth from the Father, so befoul the undefiled doctrine with these base and fetid ideas, saying “He does not divide His essence by begetting?” Shame on the abomination of these base and filthy notions! How is it that he who speaks thus fails to understand that God when manifested in flesh did not admit for the formation of His own body the conditions of human nature, but was born for us a Child by the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest; nor was the Virgin subject to those conditions, nor was the Spirit diminished, nor the power of the Highest divided? For the Spirit is entire, the power of the Highest remained undiminished: the Child was born in the fulness of our nature311, and did not sully the incorruption of His mother. Then was flesh born of flesh without carnal passion: yet Eunomius will not admit that the brightness of the glory is from the glory itself, since the glory is neither diminished nor divided by begetting the light. Again, the word of man is generated from his mind without division, but God the Word cannot be generated from the Father without the essence of the Father being divided! Is any one so witless as not to perceive the irrational character of his position? “Not dividing,” quoth he, “His own essence by begetting.” Why, whose own essence is divided by begetting? For in the case of men essence means human nature: in the case of brutes, it means, generically, brute nature, but in the case of cattle, sheep, and all brute animals, specifically, it is regarded according to the distinctions of their kinds. Which, then, of these divides its own essence by the process of generation? Does not the nature always remain undiminished in the case of every animal by the succession of its posterity? Further a man in begetting a man from himself does not divide his nature, but it remains in its fulness alike in him who begets and in him who is begotten, not split off and transferred from the one to the other, nor mutilated in the one when it is fully formed in the other, but at once existing in its entirety in the former and discoverable in its entirety in the latter. For both before begetting his child the man was a rational animal, mortal, capable of intelligence and knowledge, and also after begetting a man endowed with such qualities: so that in him are shown all the special properties of his nature; as he does not lose his existence as a man by begetting the man derived from him, but remains after that event what he was before without causing any diminution of the nature derived from him by the fact that the man derived from him comes into being.
Well, man is begotten of man, and the nature of the begetter is not divided. Yet Eunomius does not admit that the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, is truly of the Father, for fear forsooth, lest he should mutilate the inviolable nature of the Father by the subsistence of the Only-begotten: but after saying “Not dividing His essence by begetting,” he adds, “Or being Himself begetter and begotten, or Himself becoming Father and Son,” and thinks by such loose disjointed phrases to undermine the true confession of godliness or to furnish some support to his own ungodliness, not being aware that by the very means he uses to construct a reductio ad absurdum he is discovered to be an advocate of the truth. For we too say that He who has all that belongs to His own Father is all that He is, save being Father, and that He who has all that belongs to the Son exhibits in Himself the Son in His completeness, save being Son: so that the reductio ad absurdum, which Eunomius here invents, turns out to be a support of the truth, when the notion is expanded by us so as to display it more clearly, under the guidance of the Gospel. For if “he that hath seen the Son seeth the Father” then the Father begat another self, not passing out of Himself, and at the same time appearing in His fulness in Him: so that from these considerations that which seemed to have been uttered against godliness is demonstrated to be a support of sound doctrine. But he says, “Not dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible.” Most cogent conclusion! What do you mean, most sapient sir? Because He is incorruptible, therefore He does not divide His own essence by begetting the Son: nor does He beget Himself or be begotten of Himself, nor become at the same time His own Father and His own Son because He is incorruptible. It follows then, that if any one is of corruptible nature he divides his essence by begetting, and is begotten by himself, and begets himself, and is his own father and his own son, because he is not incorruptible. If this is so, then Abraham, because he was corruptible, did not beget Ishmael and Isaac, but begat himself by the bondwoman and by his lawful wife or, to take the other mountebank tricks of the argument, he divided his essence among the sons who were begotten of him, and first, when Hagar bore him a son, he was divided into two sections, and in one of the halves became Ishmael, while in the other he remained half Abraham; and subsequently the residue of the essence of Abraham being again divided took subsistence in Isaac. Accordingly the fourth part of the essence of Abraham was divided into the twin sons of Isaac, so that there was an eighth in each of his grandchildren! How could one subdivide the eighth part, cutting it small in fractions among the twelve Patriarchs, or among the threescore and fifteen souls with whom Jacob went down into Egypt? And why do I talk thus when I really ought to confute the folly of such notions by beginning with the first man? For if it is a property of the incorruptible only not to divide its essence in be- getting, and if Adam was corruptible, to whom the word was spoken, “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return,” then, according to Eunomius’ reasoning, he certainly divided his essence, being cut up among those who were begotten of him, and by reason of the vast number of his posterity (the slice of his essence which is to be found in each being necessarily subdivided according to the number of his progeny), the essence of Adam is used up before Abraham began to subsist, being dispersed in these minute and infinitesimal particles among the countless myriads of his descendants, and the minute fragment of Adam that has reached Abraham and his descendants by a process of division, is no longer discoverable in them as a remnant of his essence, inasmuch as his nature has been already used up among the countless myriads of those who were before them by its division into infinitesimal fractions. Mark the folly of him who “understands neither what he says nor whereof he affirms.” For by saying “Since He is incorruptible” He neither divides His essence nor begets Himself nor becomes His own father, he implicitly lays it down that we must suppose all those things from which he affirms that the incorruptible alone are free to be incidental to generation in the case of every one who is subject to corruption. Though there are many other considerations capable of proving the inanity of his argument, I think that what has been said above is sufficient to demonstrate its absurdity. But this has surely been already acknowledged by all who have an eye for logical consistency, that, when he asserted incorruptibility of the Father alone, he places all things which are considered after the Father in the category of corruptible, by virtue of opposition to the incorruptible, so as to make out even the Son not to be free from corruption. If then he places the Son in opposition to the incorruptible, he not only defines Him to be corruptible, but also asserts of Him all those incidents from which he affirms only the incorruptible to be exempt. For it necessarily follows that, if the Father alone neither begets Himself nor is begotten of Himself, everything which is not in- corruptible both begets itself and is begotten of itself, and becomes its own father and son, shifting from its own proper essence to each of these relations. For if to be incorruptible belongs to the Father alone, and if not to be the things specified is a special property of the incorruptible, then, of course, according to this heretical argument, the Son is not incorruptible, and all these circumstances of course, find place about Him,—to have His essence divided, to beget Himself and to be begotten by Himself, to become Himself His own father and His own son.
Perhaps, however, it is waste of time to linger long over such follies. Let us pass to the next point of his statement. He adds to what he had already said, “Not standing in need, in the act of creation, of matter or parts or natural instruments: for He stands in need of nothing.” This proposition, though Eunomius states it with a certain looseness of phrase, we yet do not reject as inconsistent with godly doctrine. For learning as we do that “He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created,” we know that the Word is the Creator of matter, by that very act also producing with the matter the qualities of matter, so that for Him the impulse of His almighty will was everything and instead of everything, matter, instrument, place, time, essence, quality, everything that is conceived in creation. For at one and the same time did He will that that which ought to be should be, and His power, that produced all things that are, kept pace with His will, turning His will into act. For thus the mighty Moses in the record of creation instructs us about the Divine power, ascribing the production of each of the objects that were manifested in the creation to the words that bade them be. For “God said,” he tells us, “Let there be light, and there was light:” and so about the rest, without any mention either of matter or of any instrumental agency. Accordingly the language of Eunomius on this point is not to be rejected. For God, when creating all things that have their origin by creation, neither stood in need of any matter on which to operate, nor of instruments to aid Him in His construction: for the power and wisdom of God has no need of any external assistance. But Christ is “the Power of God and the Wisdom of God,” by Whom all things were made and without Whom is no existent thing, as John testifies. If, then, all things were made by Him, both visible and invisible, and if His will alone suffices to effect the subsistence of existing things (for His will is power), Eunomius utters our doctrine though with a loose mode of expression. For what instrument and what matter could He Who upholds all things by the word of His power need in upholding the constitution of existing things by His almighty word? But if he maintains that what we have believed to be true of the Only-begotten in the case of the creation, is true also in the case of the Son—in the sense that the Father created Him in like manner as the creation was made by the Son,—then we retract our former statement, because such a supposition is a denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten. For we have learnt from the mighty utterance of Paul that it is the distinguishing feature of idolatry to worship and serve the creature more than the Creator, as well as from David, when He says “There shall no new God be in thee: neither shalt thou worship any alien God.” We use this line and rule to arrive at the discernment of the object of worship, so as to be convinced that that alone is God which is neither “new” nor “alien.” Since then we have been taught to believe that the Only-begotten God is God, we acknowledge, by our belief that He is God, that He is neither “new” or “alien.” If, then, He is God, He is not “new,” and if He is not new, He is assuredly eternal. Accordingly, neither is the Eternal “new,” nor is He Who is of the Father and in the bosom of the Father and Who has the Father in Himself “alien” from true Deity. Thus he who severs the Son from the nature of the Father either absolutely disallows the worship of the Son, that he may not worship an alien God, or bows down before an idol, making a creature and not God the object of his worship, and giving to his idol the name of Christ.
Now that this is the meaning to which he tends in his conception concerning the Only- begotten will become more plain by considering the language he employs touching the Only-begotten Himself, which is as follows. “We believe also in the Son of God, the Only- begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds, named Son not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate.” I think that the mere reading of his exposition of his faith is quite sufficient to render its impiety plain without any investigation on our part. For though he calls Him “first-born,” yet that he may not raise any doubt in his readers’ minds as to His not being created, he immediately adds the words, “not uncreate,” lest if the natural significance of the term “Son” were apprehended by his readers, any pious conception concerning Him might find place in their minds. It is for this reason that after at first confessing Him to be Son of God and Only-begotten God, he proceeds at once, by what he adds, to pervert the minds of his readers from their devout belief to his heretical notions. For he who hears the titles “Son of God” and “Only-begotten God” is of necessity lifted up to the loftier kind of assertions respecting the Son, led onward by the significance of these terms, inasmuch as no difference of nature is introduced by the use of the title “God” and by the significance of the term “Son.” For how could He Who is truly the Son of God and Himself God be conceived as something else differing from the nature of the Father? But that godly conceptions may not by these names be impressed beforehand on the hearts of his readers, he forthwith calls Him “the first-born of all creation, named Son, not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate.” Let us linger a little while, then, over his argument, that the miscreant may be shown to be holding out his first statements to people merely as a bait to induce them to receive the poison that he sugars over with phrases of a pious tendency, as it were with honey. Who does not know how great is the difference in signification between the term “only-begotten” and “first-born?” For “first-born” implies brethren, and “only-begotten” implies that there are no other brethren. Thus the “first-born” is not “only-begotten,” for certainly “first-born” is the first-born among brethren, while he who is “only-begotten” has no brother: for if he were numbered among brethren he would not be only-begotten. And moreover, whatever the essence of the brothers of the first-born is, the same is the essence of the first-born himself. Nor is this all that is signified by the title, but also that the first-born and those born after him draw their being from the same source, without the first-born contributing at all to the birth of those that come after him: so that hereby is maintained the falsehood of that statement of John, which affirms that “all things were made by Him.” For if He is first-born, He differs from those born after Him only by priority in time, while there must be some one else by Whom the power to be at all is imparted alike to Him and to the rest. But that we may not by our objections give any unfair opponent ground for an insinuation that we do not receive the inspired utterances of Scripture, we will first set before our readers our own view about these titles, and then leave it to their judgment which is the better.
8. He further very appositely expounds the meaning of the term “Only-Begotten,” and of the term “First born,” four times used by the Apostle.
The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only-begotten God, Who has the pre-eminence in all things, is the author and cause of all good, bears witness to Him that not only was the creation of all existent things wrought by Him, but that when the original creation of man had decayed and vanished away, to use his own language, and another new creation was wrought in Christ, in this too no other than He took the lead, but He is Himself the first- born of all that new creation of men which is effected by the Gospel. And that our view about this may be made clearer let us thus divide our argument. The inspired apostle on four occasions employs this term, once as here, calling Him, “first-born of all creation,” another time, “the first-born among many brethren,” again, “first-born from the dead,” and on another occasion he employs the term absolutely, without combining it with other words, saying, “But when again He bringeth the first-born into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Accordingly whatever view we entertain concerning this title in the other combinations, the same we shall in consistency apply to the phrase “first-born of all creation.” For since the title is one and the same it must needs be that the meaning conveyed is also one. In what sense then does He become “the first-born among many brethren?” in what sense does He become “the first-born from the dead?” Assuredly this is plain, that because we are by birth flesh and blood, as the Scripture saith, “He Who for our sakes was born among us and was partaker of flesh and blood,” purposing to change us from corruption to incorruption by the birth from above, the birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit. But since it was also meet that He should implant in our nature the power of rising again from the dead, He becomes the “first-fruits of them that slept” and the “first-born from the dead,” in that He first by His own act loosed the pains of death, so that His new birth from the dead was made a way for us also, since the pains of death, wherein we were held, were loosed by the resurrection of the Lord. Thus, just as by having shared in the washing of regeneration He became “the first-born among many brethren,” and again by having made Himself the first-fruits of the resurrection, He obtains the name of the “first-born from the dead,” so having in all things the pre-eminence, after that “all old things,” as the apostle says, “have passed away,” He becomes the first- born of the new creation of men in Christ by the two-fold regeneration, alike that by Holy Baptism and that which is the consequence of the resurrection from the dead, becoming for us in both alike the Prince of Life, the first-fruits, the first-born. This first-born, then, hath also brethren, concerning whom He speaks to Mary, saying, “Go and tell My brethren, I go to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.” In these words He sums up the whole aim of His dispensation as Man. For men revolted from God, and “served them which by nature were no gods,” and though being the children of God became attached to an evil father falsely so called. For this cause the mediator between God and man having assumed the first-fruits of all human nature, sends to His brethren the announcement of Himself not in His divine character, but in that which He shares with us, saying, “I am departing in order to make by My own self that true Father, from whom you were separated, to be your Father, and by My own self to make that true God from whom you had revolted to be your God, for by that first-fruits which I have assumed, I am in Myself presenting all humanity to its God and Father.”
Since, then, the first-fruits made the true God to be its God, and the good Father to be its Father, the blessing is secured for human nature as a whole, and by means of the first- fruits the true God and Father becomes Father and God of all men. Now “if the first-fruits be holy, the lump also is holy.” But where the first-fruits, Christ, is (and the first-fruits is none other than Christ), there also are they that are Christ’s, as the apostle says. In those passages therefore where he makes mention of the “first-born” in connexion with other words, he suggests that we should understand the phrase in the way which I have indicated: but where, without any such addition, he says, “When again He bringeth the first-born into the world,” the addition of “again” asserts that manifestation of the Lord of all which shall take place at the last day. For as “at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth,” although the human name does not belong to the Son in that He is above every name, even so He says that the First-born, Who was so named for our sakes, is worshipped by all the supramundane creation, on His coming again into the world, when He “shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with equity.” Thus the several meanings of the titles “First-born” and “Only begotten” are kept distinct by the word of godliness, its respective significance being secured for each name. But how can he who refers the name of “first-born” to the pre-temporal existence of the Son preserve the proper sense of the term “Only-begotten”? Let the discerning reader consider whether these things agree with one another, when the term “first-born” necessarily implies brethren, and the term “Only-begotten” as necessarily excludes the notion of brethren. For when the Scripture says, “In the beginning was the Word,” we understand the Only-begotten to be meant, and when it adds “the Word was made flesh” we thereby receive in our minds the idea of the first-born, and so the word of godliness remains without confusion, preserving to each name its natural significance, so that in “Only-begotten” we regard the pre-temporal, and by “the first-born of creation” the manifestation of the pre-temporal in the flesh.
9. Gregory again discusses the generation of the Only-Begotten, and other different modes of generation, material and immaterial, and nobly demonstrates that the Son is the brightness of the Divine glory, and not a creature.
And now let us return once more to the precise statement of Eunomius. “We believe also in the Son of God, the only begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not Ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds.” That he transfers, then, the sense of generation to indicate creation is plain from his expressly calling Him created, when he speaks of Him as “coming into being” and “not uncreate”. But that the inconsiderate rashness and want of training which shows itself in the doctrines may be made manifest, let us omit all expressions of indignation at his evident blasphemy, and employ in the discussion of this matter a scientific division. For it would be well, I think, to consider in a somewhat careful investigation the exact meaning of the term “generation.” That this expression conveys the meaning of existing as the result of some cause is plain to all, and I suppose there is no need to contend about this point: but since there are different modes of existing as the result of a cause, this difference is what I think ought to receive thorough explanation in our discussion by means of scientific division. Of things which have come into being as the results of some cause we recognise the following differences. Some are the result of material and art, as the fabrics of houses and all other works produced by means of their respective material, where some art gives direction and conducts its purpose to its proper aim. Others are the result of material and nature; for nature orders the generation of animals one from another, effecting her own work by means of the material subsistence in the bodies of the parents; others again are by material efflux. In these the original remains as it was before, and that which flows from it is contemplated by itself, as in the case of the sun and its beam, or the lamp and its radiance, or of scents and ointments, and the quality given off from them. For these, while remaining undiminished in themselves, have each accompanying them the special and peculiar effect which they naturally produce, as the sun his ray, the lamp its brightness, and perfumes the fragrance which they engender in the air. There is also another kind of generation besides these, where the cause is immaterial and incorporeal, but the generation is sensible and takes place through the instrumentality of the body; I mean the generation of the word by the mind. For the mind being in itself incorporeal begets the word by means of sensible instruments. So many are the differences of the term generation, which we dis- cover in a philosophic view of them, that is itself, so to speak, the result of generation.
And now that we have thus distinguished the various modes of generation, it will be time to remark how the benevolent dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, imparts that instruction which transcends reason by such methods as we can receive. For the inspired teaching adopts, in order to set forth the unspeakable power of God, all the forms of generation that human intelligence recognises, yet without including the corporeal senses attaching to the words. For when it speaks of the creative power, it gives to such an energy the name of generation, because its expression must stoop to our low capacity; it does not, however, convey thereby all that we include in creative generation, as time, place, the furnishing of matter, the fitness of instruments, the design in the things that come into being, but it leaves these, and asserts of God in lofty and magnificent language the creation of all existent things, when it says, “He spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they were created.” Again when it interprets to us the unspeakable and transcendent existence of the Only-begotten from the Father, as the poverty of human intellect is incapable of receiving doctrines which surpass all power of speech and thought, there too it borrows our language and terms Him “Son,”—a name which our usage assigns to those who are born of matter and nature. But just as Scripture, when speaking of generation by creation, does not in the case of God imply that such generation took place by means of any material, affirming that the power of God’s will served for material substance, place, time and all such circumstances, even so here too, when using the term Son, it rejects both all else that human nature remarks in generation here below,—I mean affections and dispositions and the co-operation of time, and the necessity of place,—and, above all, matter, without all which natural generation here below does not take place. But when all such material, temporal and local existence is excluded from the sense of the term “Son,” community of nature alone is left, and for this reason by the title “Son” is declared, concerning the Only-begotten, the close affinity and genuineness of relationship which mark His manifestation from the Father. And since such a kind of generation was not sufficient to implant in us an adequate notion of the ineffable mode of subsistence of the Only-begotten, Scripture avails itself also of the third kind of generation to indicate the doctrine of the Son’s Divinity,—that kind, namely, which is the result of material efflux, and speaks of Him as the “brightness of glory,” the “savour of ointment,” the “breath of God;” illustrations which in the scientific phraseology we have adopted we ordinarily designate as material efflux.
But as in the cases alleged neither the birth of the creation nor the force of the term “Son” admits time, matter, place, or affection, so here too the Scripture employing only the illustration of effulgence and the others that I have mentioned, apart from all material conception, with regard to the Divine fitness of such a mode of generation, shows that we must understand by the significance of this expression, an existence at once derived from and subsisting with the Father. For neither is the figure of breath intended to convey to us the notion of dispersion into the air from the material from which it is formed, nor is the figure of fragrance designed to express the passing off of the quality of the ointment into the air, nor the figure of effulgence the efflux which takes place by means of the rays from the body of the sun: but as has been said in all cases, by such a mode of generation is indicated this alone, that the Son is of the Father and is conceived of along with Him, no interval intervening between the Father and Him Who is of the Father. For since of His exceeding loving-kindness the grace of the Holy Spirit so ordered that the divine conceptions concerning the Only- begotten should reach us from many quarters, and so be implanted in us, He added also the remaining kind of generation,—that, namely, of the word from the mind. And here the sublime John uses remarkable foresight. That the reader might not through inattention and unworthy conceptions sink to the common notion of “word,” so as to deem the Son to be merely a voice of the Father, he therefore affirms of the Word that He essentially subsisted in the first and blessed nature Itself, thus proclaiming aloud, “In the Beginning was the Word, and with God, and God, and Light, and Life,” and all that the Beginning is, the Word was also.
Since, then, these kinds of generation, those, I mean, which arise as the result of some cause, and are recognised in our every-day experience, are also employed by Holy Scripture to convey its teaching concerning transcendent mysteries in such wise as each of them may reasonably be transferred to the expression of divine conceptions, we may now proceed to examine Eunomius’ statement also, to find in what sense he accepts the meaning of “generation.” “Very Son,” he says, “not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds.” One may, I think, pass quickly over the violence done to logical sequence in his distinction, as being easily recognisable by all. For who does not know that while the proper opposition is between Father and Son, between generate and ungenerate, he thus passes over the term “Father” and sets “ungenerate” in opposition to “Son,” whereas he ought, if he had any concern for truth, to have avoided diverting his phrase from the due sequence of relationship, and to have said, “Very Son, not Father”? And in this way due regard would have been paid at once to piety and to logical consistency, as the nature would not have been rent asunder in making the distinction between the persons. But he has exchanged in his statement of his faith the true and scriptural use of the term “Father,” committed to us by the Word Himself, and speaks of the “Ungenerate” instead of the “Father,” in order that by separating Him from that close relationship towards the Son which is naturally conceived of in the title of Father, he may place Him on a common level with all created objects, which equally stand in opposition to the “ungenerate.” “Verily begotten,” he says, “before the worlds.” Let him say of Whom He is begotten. He will answer, of course, “Of the Father,” unless he is prepared unblushingly to contradict the truth. But since it is impossible to detach the eternity of the Son from the eternal Father, seeing that the term “Father” by its very signification implies the Son, for this reason it is that he rejects the title Father and shifts his phrase to “ungenerate,” since the meaning of this latter name has no sort of relation or connection with the Son, and by thus misleading his readers through the substitution of one term for the other, into not contemplating the Son along with the Father, he opens up a path for his sophistry, paving the way of impiety by slipping in the term “ungenerate.” For they who according to the ordinance of the Lord believe in the Father, when they hear the name of the Father, receive the Son along with Him in their thought, as the mind passes from the Son to the Father, without treading on an unsubstantial vacuum interposed between them. But those who are diverted to the title “ungenerate” instead of Father, get a bare notion of this name, learning only the fact that He did not at any time come into being, not that He is Father. Still, even with this mode of conception, the faith of those who read with discernment remains free from confusion. For the expression “not to come into being” is used in an identical sense of all uncreated nature: and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equally uncreated. For it has ever been believed by those who follow the Divine word that all the creation, sensible and supramundane, derives its existence from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He who has heard that “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth,” neither understands by “word” mere utterance, nor by “breath” mere exhalation, but by what is there said frames the conception of God the Word and of the Spirit of God. Now to create and to be created are not equivalent, but all existent things being divided into that which makes and that which is made, each is different in nature from the other, so that neither is that uncreated which is made, nor is that created which effects the production of the things that are made. By those then who, according to the exposition of the faith given us by our Lord Himself, have believed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it is acknowledged that each of these Persons is alike unoriginate, and the meaning conveyed by “ungenerate” does no harm to their sound belief: but to those who are dense and indefinite this term serves as a starting-point for de- flection from sound doctrine. For not understanding the true force of the term, that “ungenerate” signifies nothing more than “not having come into being,” and that “not coming into being” is a common property of all that transcends created nature, they drop their faith in the Father, and substitute for “Father” the phrase “ungenerate:” and since, as has been said, the Personal existence of the Only-begotten is not connoted in this name, they determine the existence of the Son to have commenced from some definite beginning in time, affirming (what Eunomius here adds to his previous statements) that He is called Son not without generation preceding His existence.
What is this vain juggling with words? Is he aware that it is God of Whom he speaks, Who was in the beginning and is in the Father, nor was there any time when He was not? He knows not what he says nor whereof he affirms, but he endeavours, as though he were constructing the pedigree of a mere man, to apply to the Lord of all creation the language which properly belongs to our nature here below. For, to take an example, Ishmael was not before the generation that brought him into being, and before his birth there was of course an interval of time. But with Him Who is “the brightness of glory,” “before” and “after” have no place: for before the brightness, of course neither was there any glory, for concurrently with the existence of the glory there assuredly beams forth its brightness; and it is impossible in the nature of things that one should be severed from the other, nor is it possible to see the glory by itself before its brightness. For he who says thus will make out the glory in itself to be darkling and dim, if the brightness from it does not shine out at the same time. But this is the unfair method of the heresy, to endeavour, by the notions and terms employed concerning the Only-begotten God, to displace Him from His oneness with the Father. It is to this end they say, “Before the generation that brought Him into being He was not Son:” but the “sons of rams,” of whom the prophet speaks,—are not they too called sons after coming into being? That quality, then, which reason notices in the “sons of rams,” that they are not “sons of rams” before the generation which brings them into being,—this our reverend divine now ascribes to the Maker of the worlds and of all creation, Who has the Eternal Father in Himself, and is contemplated in the eternity of the Father, as He Himself says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” Those, however, who are not able to detect the sophistry that lurks in his statement, and are not trained to any sort of logical perception, follow these inconsequent statements and receive what comes next as a logical consequence of what preceded. For he says, “coming into being before all creation,” and as though this were not enough to prove his impiety, he has a piece of profanity in reserve in the phrase that follows, when he terms the Son “not uncreate.” In what sense then does he call Him Who is not uncreate “very Son”? For if it is meet to call Him Who is not uncreate “very Son,” then of course the heaven is “very Son;” for it too is “not uncreate.” So the sun too is “very Son,” and all that the creation contains, both small and great, are of course entitled to the appellation of “very Son.” And in what sense does He call Him Who has come into being “Only-begotten”? For all things that come into being are unquestionably in brotherhood with each other, so far, I mean, as their coming into being is concerned. And from whom did He come into being? For assuredly all things that have ever come into being did so from the Son. For thus did John testify, saying, “All things were made by Him.” If then the Son also came into being, according to Eunomius’ creed, He is certainly ranked in the class of things which have come into being. If then all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words that the Lord and Maker of all creation is “not uncreate”? Let him tell us whence he has this boldness of assertion. From what inspired utterance? What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were di- vinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? and how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatry? For, were the Son created, either he would not have worshipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over all, for so he terms the Son in his Epistle to the Romans. Why then do those who divorce the Son from the essence of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on Him in mockery the fictitious title of Deity, idly conferring on one alien from true Divinity the name of “God,” as they might confer it on Bel or Dagon or the Dragon? Let those, therefore, who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that He is not God at all, that they may be seen to be nothing but Jews in disguise, or, if they confess one who is created to be God, let them not deny that they are idolaters.
10. He explains the phrase “The Lord created Me,” and the argument about the origination of the Son, the deceptive character of Eunomius’ reasoning, and the passage which says, “My glory will I not give to another,” examining them from different points of view.
But of course they bring forward the passage in the book of Proverbs which says, “The Lord created Me as the beginning of His ways, for His works.” Now it would require a lengthy discussion to explain fully the real meaning of the passage: still it would be possible even in a few words to convey to well-disposed readers the thought intended. Some of those who are accurately versed in theology do say this, that the Hebrew text does not read “created,” and we have ourselves read in more ancient copies “possessed” instead of “created.” Now assuredly “possession” in the allegorical language of the Proverbs marks that slave Who for our sakes “took upon Him the form of a slave.” But if any one should allege in this passage the reading which prevails in the Churches, we do not reject even the expression “created.” For this also in allegorical language is intended to connote the “slave,” since, as the Apostle tells us, “all creation is in bondage.” Thus we say that this expression, as well as the other, admits of an orthodox interpretation. For He Who for our sakes became like as we are, was in the last days truly created,—He Who in the beginning being Word and God afterwards became Flesh and Man. For the nature of flesh is created: and by partaking in it in all points like as we do, yet without sin, He was created when He became man: and He was created “after God,” not after man, as the Apostle says, in a new manner and not according to human wont. For we are taught that this “new man” was created—albeit of the Holy Ghost and of the power of the Highest—whom Paul, the hierophant of unspeakable mysteries, bids us to “put on,” using two phrases to express the garment that is to be put on, saying in one place, “Put on the new man which after God is created,” and in another, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” For thus it is that He, Who said “I am the Way,” becomes to us who have put Him on the beginning of the ways of salvation, that He may make us the work of His own hands, new modelling us from the evil mould of sin once more to His own image. He is at once our foundation before the world to come, according to the words of Paul, who says, “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,” and it is true that “before the springs of the waters came forth, before the mountains were settled, before He made the depths, and before all hills, He begetteth Me.” For it is possible, accord ing to the usage of the Book of Proverbs, for each of these phrases, taken in a tropical sense, to be applied to the Word. For the great David calls righteousness the “mountains of God,” His judgments “deeps,” and the teachers in the Churches “fountains,” saying “Bless God the Lord from the fountains of Israel”; and guilelessness he calls “hills,” as he shows when he speaks of their skipping like lambs. Before these therefore is born in us He Who for our sakes was created as man, that of these things also the creation may find place in us. But we may, I think, pass from the discussion of these points, inasmuch as the truth has been sufficiently pointed out in a few words to well-disposed readers; let us proceed to what Eunomius says next.
“Existing in the Beginning,” he says, “not without beginning.” In what fashion does he who plumes himself on his superior discernment understand the oracles of God? He declares Him Who was in the beginning Himself to have a beginning: and is not aware that if He Who is in the beginning has a beginning, then the Beginning itself must needs have another beginning. Whatever He says of the beginning he must necessarily confess to be true of Him Who was in the beginning: for how can that which is in the beginning be severed from the beginning? and how can any one imagine a “was not” as preceding the “was”? For however far one carries back one’s thought to apprehend the beginning, one most certainly understands as one does so that the Word which was in the beginning (inasmuch as It cannot be separated from the beginning in which It is) does not at any point of time either begin or cease its existence therein. Yet let no one be induced by these words of mine to separate into two the one beginning we acknowledge. For the beginning is most assuredly one, wherein is discerned, indivisibly, that Word Who is completely united to the Father. He who thus thinks will never leave heresy a loophole to impair his piety by the novelty of the term “ungenerate.” But in Eunomius’ next propositions his statements are like bread with a large admixture of sand. For by mixing his heretical opinions with sound doctrines, he makes uneatable even that which is in itself nutritious, by the gravel which he has mingled with it. For he calls the Lord “living wisdom,” “operative truth,” subsistent power, and “life”:—so far is the nutritious portion. But into these assertions he instils the poison of heresy. For when he speaks of the “life” as “generate” he makes a reservation by the implied opposition to the “ungenerate” life, and does not affirm the Son to be the very Life. Next he says:—“As Son of God, quickening the dead, the true light, the light that lighteneth every man coming into the world, good, and the bestower of good things.” All these things he offers for honey to the simple-minded, concealing his deadly drug under the sweetness of terms like these. For he immediately introduces, on the heels of these statements, his pernicious principle, in the words “Not partitioning with Him that begat Him His high estate, not dividing with another the essence of the Father, but becoming by generation glorious, yea, the Lord of glory, and receiving glory from the Father, not sharing His glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath said, ‘My glory will I not give to another.’” These are his deadly poisons, which they alone can discover who have their souls’ senses trained so to do: but the mortal mischief of the words is disclosed by their conclusion:—Receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath said, ‘My glory will I not give to another.’ Who is that “other” to whom God has said that He will not give His glory? The prophet speaks of the adversary of God, and Eunomius refers the prophecy to the only begotten God Himself! For when the prophet, speaking in the person of God, had said, “My glory will I not give to another,” he added, “neither My praise to graven images.” For when men were beguiled to offer to the adversary of God the worship and adoration due to God alone, paying homage in the representations of graven images to the enemy of God, who appeared in many shapes amongst men in the forms furnished by idols, He Who healeth them that are sick, in pity for men’s ruin, foretold by the prophet the loving-kindness which in the latter days He would show in the abolishing of idols, saying, “When My truth shall have been manifested, My glory shall no more be given to another, nor My praise bestowed upon graven images: for men, when they come to know My glory, shall no more be in bondage to them that by nature are no gods.” All therefore that the prophet says in the person of the Lord concerning the power of the adversary, this fighter against God, refers to the Lord Himself, Who spake these words by the prophet! Who among the tyrants is recorded to have been such a persecutor of the faith as this? Who maintained such blasphemy as this, that He Who, as we believe, was manifested in the flesh for the salvation of our souls, is not very God, but the adversary of God, who puts his guile into effect against men by the instrumentality of idols and graven images? For it is what was said of that adversary by the prophet that Eunomius transfers to the only-begotten God, without so much as reflecting that it is the Only-begotten Himself Who spoke these words by the prophet, as Eunomius himself subsequently confesses when he says, “this is He Who spake by the prophets.”
Why should I pursue this part of the subject in more detail? For the words preceding also are tainted with the same profanity—“receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty God is incommunicable.” For my own part, even had his words referred to Moses who was glorified in the ministration of the Law,—not even then should I have tolerated such a statement, even if it be conceded that Moses, having no glory from within, appeared completely glorious to the Israelites by the favour bestowed on him from God. For the very glory that was bestowed on the lawgiver was the glory of none other but of God Himself, which glory the Lord in the Gospel bids all to seek, when He blames those who value human glory highly and seek not the glory that cometh from God only. For by the fact that He commanded them to seek the glory that cometh from the only God, He declared the possibility of their obtaining what they sought. How then is the glory of the Almighty incommunicable, if it is even our duty to ask for the glory that cometh from the only God, and if, according to our Lord’s word, “every one that asketh receiveth?” But one who says concerning the Brightness of the Father’s glory, that He has the glory by having received it, says in effect that the Brightness of the glory is in Itself devoid of glory, and needs, in order to become Himself at last the Lord of some glory, to receive glory from another. How then are we to dispose of the utterances of the Truth,—one which tells us that He shall be seen in the glory of the Father, and another which says, “All things that the Father hath are Mine”? To whom ought the hearer to give ear? To him who says, “He that is, as the Apostle says, the ‘heir of all things’ that are in the Father, is without part or lot in His Father’s glory”; or to Him Who declares that all things that the Father hath, He Himself hath also? Now among the “all things,” glory surely is included. Yet Eunomius says that the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable. This view Joel does not attest, nor yet the mighty Peter, who adopted, in his speech to the Jews, the language of the prophet. For both the prophet and the apostle say, in the person of God,—“I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” He then Who did not grudge the partaking in His own Spirit to all flesh,—how can it be that He does not impart His own glory to the only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, Who has all things that the Father has? Perhaps one should say that Eunomius is here speaking the truth, though not intending it. For the term “impart” is strictly used in the case of one who has not his glory from within, whose possession of it is an accession from without, and not part of his own nature: but where one and the same nature is observed in both Persons, He Who is as regards nature all that the Father is believed to be stands in no need of one to impart to Him each several attribute. This it will be well to explain more clearly and precisely. He Who has the Father dwelling in Him in His entirety—what need has He of the Father’s glory, when none of the attributes contemplated in the Father is withdrawn from Him?
11. After expounding the high estate of the Almighty, the Eternity of the Son, and the phrase “being made obedient,” he shows the folly of Eunomius in his assertion that the Son did not acquire His sonship by obedience.
What, moreover, is the high estate of the Almighty in which Eunomius affirms that the Son has no share? Let those, then, who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight, utter their groundling opinions—they who, as the prophet says, “speak out of the ground.” But let us who reverence the Word and are disciples of the Truth, or rather who profess to be so, not leave even this assertion unsifted. We know that of all the names by which Deity is indicated some are expressive of the Divine majesty, employed and understood absolutely, and some are assigned with reference to the operations over us and all creation. For when the Apostle says “Now to the immortal, invisible, only wise God,” and the like, by these titles he suggests conceptions which represent to us the transcendent power, but when God is spoken of in the Scriptures as gracious, merciful, full of pity, true, good, Lord, Physician, Shepherd, Way, Bread, Fountain, King, Creator, Artificer, Protector, Who is over all and through all, Who is all in all, these and similar titles contain the declaration of the operations of the Divine loving-kindness in the creation. Those then who enquire precisely into the meaning of the term “Almighty” will find that it declares nothing else concerning the Divine power than that operation which controls created things and is indicated by the word “Almighty,” stands in a certain relation to something. For as He would not be called a Physician, save on account of the sick, nor merciful and gracious, and the like, save by reason of one who stood in need of grace and mercy, so neither would He be styled Almighty, did not all creation stand in need of one to regulate it and keep it in being. As, then, He presents Himself as a Physician to those who are in need of healing, so He is Almighty over one who has need of being ruled: and just as “they that are whole have no need of a physician,” so it follows that we may well say that He Whose nature contains in it the principle of unerring and unwavering rectitude does not, like others, need a ruler over Him. Accordingly, when we hear the name “Almighty,” our conception is this, that God sustains in being all intelligible things as well as all things of a material nature. For this cause He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, for this cause He holdeth the ends of the earth in His hand, for this cause He “meteth out leaven with the span, and measureth the waters in the hollow of His hand”; for this cause He comprehendeth in Himself all the intelligible creation, that all things may remain in existence controlled by His encompassing power. Let us enquire, then, Who it is that “worketh all in all.” Who is He Who made all things, and without Whom no existing thing does exist? Who is He in Whom all things were created, and in Whom all things that are have their continuance? In Whom do we live and move and have our being? Who is He Who hath in Himself all that the Father hath? Does what has been said leave us any longer in ignorance of Him Who is “God over all,” Who is so entitled by S. Paul,—our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, as He Himself says, holding in His hand “all things that the Father hath,” assuredly grasps all things in the all-containing hollow of His hand and is sovereign over what He has grasped, and no man taketh from the hand of Him Who in His hand holdeth all things? If, then, He hath all things, and is sovereign over that which He hath, why is He Who is thus sovereign over all things something else and not Almighty? If heresy replies that the Father is sovereign over both the Son and the Holy Spirit, let them first show that the Son and the Holy Spirit are of mutable nature, and then over this mutability let them set its ruler, that by the help implanted from above, that which is so overruled may continue incapable of turning to evil. If, on the other hand, the Divine nature is incapable of evil, unchangeable, unalterable, eternally permanent, to what end does it stand in need of a ruler, controlling as it does all creation, and itself by reason of its immutability needing no ruler to control it? For this cause it is that at the name of Christ “every knee boweth, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” For assuredly every knee would not thus bow, did it not recognise in Christ Him Who rules it for its own salvation. But to say that the Son came into being by the goodness of the Father is nothing else than to put Him on a level with the meanest objects of creation. For what is there that did not arrive at its birth by the goodness of Him Who made it? To what is the formation of mankind ascribed? to the badness of its Maker, or to His goodness? To what do we ascribe the generation of animals, the production of plants and herbs? There is nothing that did not take its rise from the goodness of Him Who made it. A property, then, which reason discerns to be common to all things, Eunomius is so kind as to allow to the Eternal Son! But that He did not share His essence or His estate with the Father—these assertions and the rest of his verbiage I have refuted in anticipation, when dealing with his statements concerning the Father, and shown that he has hazarded them at random and without any intelligible meaning. For not even in the case of us who are born one of another is there any division of essence. The definition expressive of essence remains in its entirety in each, in him that begets and in him who is begotten, without admitting diminution in him who begets, or augmentation in him who is begotten. But to speak of division of estate or sovereignty in the case of Him Who hath all things whatsoever that the Father hath, carries with it no meaning, unless it be a demonstration of the propounder’s impiety. It would therefore be superfluous to entangle oneself in such discussions, and so to prolong our treatise to an unreasonable length. Let us pass on to what follows.
“Glorified,” he says, “by the Father before the worlds.” The word of truth hath been demonstrated, confirmed by the testimony of its adversaries. For this is the sum of our faith, that the Son is from all eternity, being glorified by the Father: for “before the worlds” is the same in sense as “from all eternity,” seeing that prophecy uses this phrase to set forth to us God’s eternity, when it speaks of Him as “He that is from before the worlds.” If then to exist before the worlds is beyond all beginning, he who confers glory on the Son before the worlds, does thereby assert His existence from eternity before that glory: for surely it is not the non-existent, but the existent which is glorified. Then he proceeds to plant for himself the seeds of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; not with a view to glorify the Son, but that he may wantonly outrage the Holy Ghost. For with the intention of making out the Holy Spirit to be part of the angelic host, he throws in the phrase “glorified eternally by the Spirit, and by every rational and generated being,” so that there is no distinction between the Holy Spirit and all that comes into being; if, that is, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord in the same sense as all the other existences enumerated by the prophet, “angels and powers, and the heaven of heavens, and the water above the heavens, and all the things of earth, dragons, deeps, fire and hail, snow and vapour, wind of the storm, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, worms and feathered fowls.” If, then, he says, that along with these the Holy Spirit also glorifies the Lord, surely his God-opposing tongue makes out the Holy Spirit Himself also to be one of them.
The disjointed incoherencies which follow next, I think it well to pass over, not because they give no handle at all to censure, but because their language is such as might be used by the devout, if detached from its malignant context. If he does here and there use some expressions favourable to devotion it is just held out as a bait to simple souls, to the end that the hook of impiety may be swallowed along with it. For after employing such language as a member of the Church might use, he subjoins, “Obedient with regard to the creation and production of all things that are, obedient with regard to every ministration, not having by His obedience attained Sonship or Godhead, but, as a consequence of being Son and being generated as the Only-begotten God, showing Himself obedient in words, obedient in acts.” Yet who of those who are conversant with the oracles of God does not know with regard to what point of time it was said of Him by the mighty Paul, (and that once for all), that He “became obedient”? For it was when He came in the form of a servant to accomplish the mystery of redemption by the cross, Who had emptied Himself, Who humbled Himself by assuming the likeness and fashion of a man, being found as man in man’s lowly nature—then, I say, it was that He became obedient, even He Who “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses,” healing the disobedience of men by His own obedience, that by His stripes He might heal our wound, and by His own death do away with the common death of all men,—then it was that for our sakes He was made obedient, even as He became “sin” and “a curse” by reason of the dispensation on our behalf, not being so by nature, but becoming so in His love for man. But by what sacred utterance was He ever taught His list of so many obediences? Nay, on the contrary every inspired Scripture attests His independent and sovereign power, saying, “He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created”:—for it is plain that the Psalmist says this concerning Him Who upholds “all things by the word of His power,” Whose authority, by the sole impulse of His will, framed every existence and nature, and all things in the creation apprehended by reason or by sight. Whence, then, was Eunomius moved to ascribe in such manifold wise to the King of the universe the attribute of obedience, speaking of Him as “obedient with regard to all the work of creation, obedient with regard to every ministration, obedient in words and in acts”? Yet it is plain to every one, that he alone is obedient to another in acts and words, who has not yet perfectly achieved in himself the condition of accurate working or unexceptionable speech, but keeping his eye ever on his teacher and guide, is trained by his suggestions to exact propriety in deed and word. But to think that Wisdom needs a master and teacher to guide aright Its attempts at imitation, is the dream of Eunomius’ fancy, and of his alone. And concerning the Father he says, that He is faithful in words and faithful in works, while of the Son he does not assert faithfulness in word and deed, but only obedience and not faithfulness, so that his profanity extends impartially through all his statements. But it is perhaps right to pass in silence over the inconsiderate folly of the assertion interposed between those last mentioned, lest some unreflecting persons should laugh at its absurdity when they ought rather to weep over the perdition of their souls, than laugh at the folly of their words. For this wise and wary theologian says that He did not attain to being a Son as the result of His obedience! Mark his penetration! with what cogent force does he lay it down for us that He was not first obedient and afterwards a Son, and that we ought not to think that His obedience was prior to His generation! Now if he had not added this defining clause, who without it would have been sufficiently silly and idiotic to fancy that His generation was bestowed on Him by His Father, as a reward of the obedience of Him Who before His generation had showed due subjection and obedience? But that no one may too readily extract matter for laughter from these remarks, let each consider that even the folly of the words has in it something worthy of tears. For what he intends to establish by these observations is something of this kind, that His obedience is part of His nature, so that not even if He willed it would it be possible for Him not to be obedient.
For he says that He was so constituted that His nature was adapted to obedience alone, just as among instruments that which is fashioned with regard to a certain figure necessarily produces in that which is subjected to its operation the form which the artificer implanted in the construction of the instrument, and cannot possibly trace a straight line upon that which receives its mark, if its own working is in a curve; nor can the instrument, if fashioned to draw a straight line, produce a circle by its impress. What need is there of any words of ours to reveal how great is the profanity of such a notion, when the heretical utterance of itself proclaims aloud its monstrosity? For if He was obedient for this reason only that He was so made, then of course He is not on an equal footing even with humanity, since on this theory, while our soul is self-determining and independent, choosing as it will with sovereignty over itself that which is pleasing to it, He on the contrary exercises, or rather experiences, obedience under the constraint of a compulsory law of His nature, while His nature suffers Him not to disobey, even if He would. For it was “as the result of being Son, and being begotten, that He has thus shown Himself obedient in words and obedient in acts.” Alas, for the brutish stupidity of this doctrine! Thou makest the Word obedient to words, and supposest other words prior to Him Who is truly the Word, and another Word of the Beginning is mediator between the Beginning and the Word that was in the Beginning, conveying to Him the decision. And this is not one only: there are several words, which Eunomius makes so many links of the chain between the Beginning and the Word, and which abuse His obedience as they think good. But what need is there to linger over this idle talk? Any one can see that even at that time with reference to which S. Paul says that He became obedient (and he tells us that He became obedient in this wise, namely, by be- coming for our sakes flesh, and a servant, and a curse, and sin),—even then, I say, the Lord of glory, Who despised the shame and embraced suffering in the flesh, did not abandon His free will, saying as He does, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up;” and again, “No man taketh My life from Me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again”; and when those who were armed with swords and staves drew near to Him on the night before His Passion, He caused them all to go backward by saying “I am He,” and again, when the dying thief besought Him to remember him, He showed His universal sovereignty by saying, “Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” If then not even in the time of His Passion He is separated from His authority, where can heresy possibly discern the subordination to authority of the King of glory?
12. He thus proceeds to a magnificent discourse of the interpretation of “Mediator,” “Like,” “Ungenerate,” and “generate,” and of “The likeness and seal of the energy of the Almighty and of His Works.”
Again, what is the manifold mediation which with wearying iteration he assigns to God, calling Him “Mediator in doctrines, Mediator in the Law”? It is not thus that we are taught by the lofty utterance of the Apostle, who says that having made void the law of commandments by His own doctrines, He is the mediator between God and man, declaring it by this saying, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus;” where by the distinction implied in the word “mediator” he reveals to us the whole aim of the mystery of godliness. Now the aim is this. Humanity once revolted through the malice of the enemy, and, brought into bondage to sin, was also alienated from the true Life. After this the Lord of the creature calls back to Him His own creature, and becomes Man while still remaining God, being both God and Man in the entirety of the two several natures, and thus humanity was indissolubly united to God, the Man that is in Christ conducting the work of mediation, to Whom, by the first-fruits assumed for us, all the lump is potentially united. Since, then, a mediator is not a mediator of one, and God is one, not divided among the Persons in Whom we have been taught to believe (for the Godhead in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one), the Lord, therefore, becomes a mediator once for all betwixt God and men, binding man to the Deity by Himself. But even by the idea of a mediator we are taught the godly doctrine enshrined in the Creed. For the Mediator between God and man entered as it were into fellowship with human nature, not by being merely deemed a man, but having truly become so: in like manner also, being very God, He has not, as Eunomius will have us consider, been honoured by the bare title of Godhead.
What he adds to the preceding statements is characterised by the same want of meaning, or rather by the same malignity of meaning. For in calling Him “Son” Whom, a little before, he had plainly declared to be created, and in calling Him “only begotten God” Whom he reckoned with the rest of things that have come into being by creation, he affirms that He is like Him that begat Him only “by an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense.” Accordingly, we must first distinguish the significations of the term “like,” in how many senses it is employed in ordinary use, and afterwards proceed to discuss Eunomius’ positions. In the first place, then, all things that beguile our senses, not being really identical in nature, but producing illusion by some of the accidents of the respective subjects, as form, colour, sound, and the impressions conveyed by taste or smell or touch, while really different in nature, but supposed to be other than they truly are, these custom declares to have the relation of “likeness,” as, for example, when the lifeless material is shaped by art, whether carving, painting, or modelling, into an imitation of a living creature, the imitation is said to be “like” the original. For in such a case the nature of the animal is one thing, and that of the material, which cheats the sight by mere colour and form, is another. To the same class of likeness belongs the image of the original figure in a mirror, which gives appearances of motion, without, however, being in nature identical with its original. In just the same way our hearing may experience the same deception, when, for instance, some one, imitating the song of the nightingale with his own voice, persuades our hearing so that we seem to be listening to the bird. Taste, again, is subject to the same illusion, when the juice of figs mimics the pleasant taste of honey: for there is a certain resemblance to the sweetness of honey in the juice of the fruit. So, too, the sense of smell may sometimes be imposed upon by resemblance, when the scent of the herb camomile, imitating the fragrant apple itself, deceives our perception: and in the same way with touch also, likeness belies the truth in various modes, since a silver or brass coin, of equal size and similar weight with a gold one, may pass for the gold piece if our sight does not discern the truth.
We have thus generally described in a few words the several cases in which objects, be- cause they are deemed to be different from what they really are, produce delusions in our senses. It is possible, of course, by a more laborious investigation, to extend one’s enquiry through all things which are really different in kind one from another, but are nevertheless thought, by virtue of some accidental resemblance, to be like one to the other. Can it possibly be such a form of “likeness” as this, that he is continually attributing to the Son? Nay, surely he cannot be so infatuated as to discover deceptive similarity in Him Who is the Truth. Again, in the inspired Scriptures, we are told of another kind of resemblance by Him Who said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;” but I do not suppose that Eunomius would discern this kind of likeness between the Father and the Son, so as to make out the Only-begotten God to be identical with man. We are also aware of another kind of likeness, of which the word speaks in Genesis concerning Seth,—“Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image”; and if this is the kind of likeness of which Eunomius speaks, we do not think his statement is to be rejected. For in this case the nature of the two objects which are alike is not different, and the impress and type imply community of nature. These, or such as these, are our views upon the variety of meanings of “like.” Let us see, then, with what intention Eunomius asserts of the Son that “especial likeness” to the Father, when he says that He is “like the Father with an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense, not as Father to Father, for they are not two Fathers.” He promises to show us the “especial likeness” of the Son to the Father, and proceeds by his definition to establish the position that we ought not to conceive of Him as being like. For by saying, “He is not like as Father to Father,” he makes out that He is not like; and again when he adds, “nor as Ungenerate to Ungenerate,” by this phrase, too, he forbids us to conceive a likeness in the Son to the Father; and finally, by subjoining “nor as Son to Son,” he introduces a third conception, by which he entirely subverts the meaning of “like.” So it is that he follows up his own statements, and conducts his demonstration of likeness by establishing unlikeness. And now let us examine the discernment and frankness which he displays in these distinctions. After saying that the Son is like the Father, he guards the statement by adding that we ought not to think that the Son is like the Father, “as Father to Father.” Why, what man on earth is such a fool as, on learning that the Son is like the Father, to be brought by any course of reasoning to think of the likeness of Father to Father? “Nor as Son to Son”:—here, again, the acuteness of the distinction is equally conspicuous. When he tells us that the Son is like the Father, he adds the further definition that He must not be understood to be like Him in the same way as He would be like another Son. These are the mysteries of the awful doctrines of Eunomius, by which his disciples are made wiser than the rest of the world, by learning that the Son, by His likeness to the Father, is not like a Son, for the Son is not the Father: nor is He like “as Ungenerate to Ungenerate,” for the Son is not ungenerate. But the mystery which we have received, when it speaks of the Father, certainly bids us understand the Father of the Son, and when it names the Son, teaches us to apprehend the Son of the Father. And until the present time we never felt the need of these philosophic refinements, that by the words Father and Son are suggested two Fathers or two Sons, a pair, so to say, of ungenerate beings.
Now the drift of Eunomius’ excessive concern about the Ungenerate has been often explained before; and it shall here be briefly discovered yet again. For as the term Father points to no difference of nature from the Son, his impiety, if he had brought his statement to a close here, would have had no support, seeing that the natural sense of the names Father and Son excludes the idea of their being alien in essence. But as it is, by employing the terms “generate” and “ungenerate,” since the contradictory opposition between them admits of no mean, just like that between “mortal” and “immortal,” “rational” and “irrational,” and all those terms which are opposed to each other by the mutually exclusive nature of their meaning,—by the use of these terms, I repeat, he gives free course to his profanity, so as to contemplate as existing in the “generate” with reference to the “ungenerate” the same difference which there is between “mortal” and “immortal”: and even as the nature of the mortal is one, and that of the immortal another, and as the special attributes of the rational and of the irrational are essentially incompatible, just so he wants to make out that the nature of the ungenerate is one, and that of the generate another, in order to show that as the irrational nature has been created in subjection to the rational, so the generate is by a necessity of its being in a state of subordination to the ungenerate. For which reason he attaches to the ungenerate the name of “Almighty,” and this he does not apply to express providential operation, as the argument led the way for him in suggesting, but transfers the application of the word to arbitrary sovereignty, so as to make the Son to be a part of the subject and subordinate universe, a fellow-slave with all the rest to Him Who with arbitrary and absolute sovereignty controls all alike. And that it is with an eye to this result that he employs these argumentative distinctions, will be clearly established from the passage before us. For after those sapient and carefully-considered expressions, that He is not like either as Father to Father, or as Son to Son,—and yet there is no necessity that father should invari- ably be like father or son like son: for suppose there is one father among the Ethiopians, and another among the Scythians, and each of these has a son, the Ethiopian’s son black, but the Scythian white-skinned and with hair of a golden tinge, yet none the more because each is a father does the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian’s account, nor does the Ethiopian’s body change to white on account of the Scythian,—after saying this, however, according to his own fancy, Eunomius subjoins that “He is like as Son to Father.” But although such a phrase indicates kinship in nature, as the inspired Scripture attests in the case of Seth and Adam, our doctor, with but small respect for his intelligent readers, introduces his idle ex- position of the title “Son,” defining Him to be the image and seal of the energy of the Almighty. “For the Son,” he says, “is the image and seal of the energy of the Almighty.” Let him who hath ears to hear first, I pray, consider this particular point—What is “the seal of the energy”? Every energy is contemplated as exertion in the party who exhibits it, and on the completion of his exertion, it has no independent existence. Thus, for example, the energy of the runner is the motion of his feet, and when the motion has stopped there is no longer any energy. So too about every pursuit the same may be said;—when the exertion of him who is busied about anything ceases, the energy ceases also, and has no independent existence, either when a person is actively engaged in the exertion he undertakes, or when he ceases from that exertion. What then does he tell us that the energy is in itself, which is neither essence, nor image, nor person? So he speaks of the Son as the similitude of the impersonal, and that which is like the non-existent surely has itself no existence at all. This is what his juggling with idle opinions comes to,—belief in nonentity! for that which is like nonentity surely itself is not. O Paul and John and all you others of the band of Apostles and Evangelists, who are they that arm their venomous tongues against your words? who are they that raise their frog-like croakings against your heavenly thunder? What then saith the son of thunder? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And what saith he that came after him, that other who had been within the heavenly temple, who in Paradise had been initiated into mysteries unspeakable? “Being,” he says, “the Brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His person.” What, after these have thus spoken, are the words of our ventriloquist? “The seal,” quoth he, “of the energy of the Almighty.” He makes Him third after the Father, with that non-existent energy mediating between them, or rather moulded at pleasure by non-existence. God the Word, Who was in the beginning, is “the seal of the energy”:—the Only-begotten God, Who is contemplated in the eternity of the Beginning of existent things, Who is in the bosom of the Father, Who sustains all things, by the word of His power, the creator of the ages, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom are all things, Who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and hath meted out heaven with the span, Who measureth the water in the hollow of his hand, Who holdeth in His hand all things that are, Who dwelleth on high and looketh upon the things that are lowly, or rather did look upon them to make all the world to be His footstool, imprinted by the footmark of the Word—the form of God is “the seal” of an “energy.” Is God then an energy, not a Person? Surely Paul when expounding this very truth says He is “the express image,” not of His energy, but “of His Person.” Is the Brightness of His glory a seal of the energy of God? Alas for his impious ignorance! What is there inter- mediate between God and His own form? and Whom does the Person employ as mediator with His own express image? and what can be conceived as coming between the glory and its brightness? But while there are such weighty and numerous testimonies wherein the greatness of the Lord of the creation is proclaimed by those who were entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel, what sort of language does this forerunner of the final apostasy hold concerning Him? What says he? “As image,” he says, “and seal of all the energy and power of the Almighty.” How does he take upon himself to emend the words of the mighty Paul? Paul says that the Son is “the Power of God”; Eunomius calls Him “the seal of a power,” not the Power. And then, repeating his expression, what is it that he adds to his previous statement? He calls Him “seal of the Father’s works and words and counsels.” To what works of the Father is He like? He will say, of course, the world, and all things that are therein. But the Gospel has testified that all these things are the works of the Only-begotten. To what works of the Father, then, was He likened? of what works was He made the seal? what Scripture ever entitled Him “seal of the Father’s works”? But if any one should grant Eunomius the right to fashion his words at his own will, as he desires, even though Scripture does not agree with him, let him tell us what works of the Father there are of which he says that the Son was made the seal, apart from those that have been wrought by the Son. All things visible and invisible are the work of the Son: in the visible are included the whole world and all that is therein; in the invisible, the supramundane creation. What works of the Father, then, are remaining to be contemplated by themselves, over and above things visible and invisible, whereof he says that the Son was made the “seal”? Will he perhaps, when driven into a corner, return once more to the fetid vomit of heresy, and say that the Son is a work of the Father? How then does the Son come to be the seal of these works when He Himself, as Eunomius says, is the work of the Father? Or does he say that the same Person is at once a work and the likeness of a work? Let this be granted: let us suppose him to speak of the other works of which he says the Father was the creator, if indeed he intends us to understand likeness by the term “seal.” But what other “words” of the Father does Eunomius know, besides that Word Who was ever in the Father, Whom he calls a “seal”—Him Who is and is called the Word in the absolute, true, and primary sense? And to what counsels can he possibly refer, apart from the Wisdom of God, to which the Wisdom of God is made like, in becoming a “seal” of those counsels? Look at the want of discrimination and circumspection, at the confused muddle of his statement, how he brings the mystery into ridicule, without understanding either what he says or what he is arguing about. For He Who has the Father in His entirety in Himself, and is Himself in His entirety in the Father, as Word and Wisdom and Power and Truth, as His express image and brightness, Himself is all things in the Father, and does not come to be the image and seal and likeness of certain other things discerned in the Father prior to Himself.
Then Eunomius allows to Him the credit of the destruction of men by water in the days of Noah, of the rain of fire that fell upon Sodom, and of the just vengeance upon the Egyptians, as though he were making some great concessions to Him Who holds in His hand the ends of the world, in Whom, as the Apostle says, “all things consist,” as though he were not aware that to Him Who encompasses all things, and guides and sways according to His good pleasure all that hath already been and all that will be, the mention of two or three marvels does not mean the addition of glory, so much as the suppression of the rest means its deprivation or loss. But even if no word be said of these, the one utterance of Paul is enough by itself to point to them all inclusively—the one utterance which says that He “is above all, and through all, and in all.”
13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, “The Father judgeth no man,” and further speaks of the assumption of man with body and soul wrought by the Lord, of the transgression of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of the dead.
Next he says, “He legislates by the command of the Eternal God.” Who is the eternal God? and who is He that ministers to Him in the giving of the Law? Thus much is plain to all, that through Moses God appointed the Law to those that received it. Now inasmuch as Eunomius himself acknowledges that it was the only-begotten God Who held converse with Moses, how is it that the assertion before us puts the Lord of all in the place of Moses, and ascribes the character of the eternal God to the Father alone, so as, by thus contrasting Him with the Eternal, to make out the only-begotten God, the Maker of the Worlds, to be not Eternal? Our studious friend with his excellent memory seems to have forgotten that Paul uses all these terms concerning himself, announcing among men the proclamation of the Gospel by the command of God. Thus what the Apostle asserts of himself, that Eunomius is not ashamed to ascribe to the Lord of the prophets and apostles, in order to place the Master on the same level with Paul, His own servant. But why should I lengthen out my argument by confuting in detail each of these assertions, where the too unsuspicious reader of Eunomius’ writings may think that their author is saying what Holy Scripture allows him to say, while one who is able to unravel each statement critically will find them one and all infected with heretical knavery. For the Churchman and the heretic alike affirm that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son,” but to this assertion they severally attach different meanings. By the same words the Churchman under- stands supreme authority, the other maintains subservience and subjection.
But to what has been already said, ought to be added some notice of that position which they make a kind of foundation of their impiety in their discussions concerning the Incarnation, the position, namely, that not the whole man has been saved by Him, but only the half of man, I mean the body. Their object in such a malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to show that the less exalted statements, which our Lord utters in His humanity, are to be thought to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that so they may show their blasphemy to have a stronger case, if it is upheld by the actual acknowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it is that Eunomius says, “He who in the last days became man did not take upon Himself the man made up of soul and body.” But, after searching through all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as this, that the Creator of all things, at the time of His ministration here on earth for man, took upon Himself flesh only without a soul. Under stress of necessity, then, looking to the object contemplated by the plan of salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to the inspired Scriptures, I will endeavour to confute the impious falsehood which is being fabricated with regard to this matter. The Lord came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Now it was not the body merely, but the whole man, compacted of soul and body, that was lost: indeed, if we are to speak more exactly, the soul was lost sooner than the body. For disobedience is a sin, not of the body, but of the will: and the will properly belongs to the soul, from which the whole disaster of our nature had its beginning, as the threat of God, that admits of no falsehood, testifies in the declaration that, in the day that they should eat of the forbidden fruit, death without respite would attach to the act. Now since the condemnation of man was twofold, death correspondingly effects in each part of our nature the deprivation of the twofold life that operates in him who is thus mortally stricken. For the death of the body consists in the extinction of the means of sensible perception, and in the dissolution of the body into its kindred elements: but “the soul that sinneth,” he saith, “it shall die.” Now sin is nothing else than alienation from God, Who is the true and only life. Accordingly the first man lived many hundred years after his disobedience, and yet God lied not when He said, “In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die.” For by the fact of his alienation from the true life, the sentence of death was ratified against him that self-same day: and after this, at a much later time, there followed also the bodily death of Adam. He therefore Who came for this cause that He might seek and save that which was lost, (that which the shepherd in the parable calls the sheep,) both finds that which is lost, and carries home on His shoulders the whole sheep, not its skin only, that He may make the man of God complete, united to the deity in body and in soul. And thus He Who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, left no part of our nature which He did not take upon Himself. Now the soul is not sin though it is capable of admitting sin into it as the result of being ill-advised: and this He sanctifies by union with Himself for this end, that so the lump may be holy along with the first-fruits. Wherefore also the Angel, when informing Joseph of the destruction of the enemies of the Lord, said, “They are dead which sought the young Child’s life,” (or “soul”): and the Lord says to the Jews, “Ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth.” Now by “Man” is not meant the body of a man only, but that which is composed of both, soul and body. And again, He says to them, “Are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?” And what He meant by “every whit whole,” He showed in the other Gospels, when He said to the man who was let down on a couch in the midst, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” which is a healing of the soul, and, “Arise and walk,” which has regard to the body: and in the Gospel of S. John, by liberating the soul also from its own malady after He had given health to the body, where He saith, “Thou art made whole, sin no more,” thou, that is, who hast been cured in both, I mean in soul and in body. For so too does S. Paul speak, “for to make in Himself of twain one new man.” And so too He foretells that at the time of His Passion He would voluntarily detach His soul from His body, saying, “No man taketh” my soul “from Me, but I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Yea, the prophet David also, according to the interpretation of the great Peter, said with foresight of Him, “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption,” while the Apostle Peter thus expounds the saying, that “His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption.” For His Godhead, alike before taking flesh and in the flesh and after His Passion, is immutably the same, being at all times what It was by nature, and so continuing for ever. But in the suffering of His human nature the Godhead fulfilled the dispensation for our benefit by severing the soul for a season from the body, yet without being Itself separated from either of those elements to which it was once for all united, and by joining again the elements which had been thus parted, so as to give to all human nature a beginning and an example which it should follow of the resurrection from the dead, that all the corruptible may put on incorruption, and all the mortal may put on immortality, our first-fruits having been transformed to the Divine nature by its union with God, as Peter said, “This same Jesus Whom ye crucified, hath God made both Lord and Christ;” and we might cite many passages of Scripture to support such a position, showing how the Lord, reconciling the world to Himself by the Humanity of Christ, apportioned His work of benevolence to men between His soul and His body, willing through His soul and touching them through His body. But it would be superfluous to encumber our argument by entering into every detail.
Before passing on, however, to what follows, I will further mention the one text, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Just as we, through soul and body, become a temple of Him Who “dwelleth in us and walketh in us,” even so the Lord terms their combination a “temple,” of which the “destruction” signifies the dissolution of the soul from the body. And if they allege the passage in the Gospel, “The Word was made flesh,” in order to make out that the flesh was taken into the Godhead without the soul, on the ground that the soul is not expressly mentioned along with the flesh, let them learn that it is customary for Holy Scripture to imply the whole by the part. For He that said, “Unto Thee shall all flesh come,” does not mean that the flesh will be presented before the Judge apart from the souls: and when we read in sacred History that Jacob went down into Egypt with seventy-five souls we understand the flesh also to be intended together with the souls. So, then, the Word, when He became flesh, took with the flesh the whole of human nature; and hence it was possible that hunger and thirst, fear and dread, desire and sleep, tears and trouble of spirit, and all such things, were in Him. For the Godhead, in its proper nature, admits no such affections, nor is the flesh by itself involved in them, if the soul is not affected coordinately with the body.
14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by Eunomius, and by the Church, touching the Holy Spirit; and to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three Gods, but one God. He also discusses different senses of “Subjection,” and therein shows that the subjection of all things to the Son is the same as the subjection of the Son to the Father.
Thus much with regard to his profanity towards the Son. Now let us see what he says about the Holy Spirit. “After Him, we believe,” he says, “on the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth.” I think it will be plain to all who come across this passage what object he has in view in thus perverting the declaration of the faith delivered to us by the Lord, in his statements concerning the Son and the Father. Though this absurdity has already been exposed, I will nevertheless endeavour, in few words, to make plain the aim of his knavery. As in the former case, he avoided using the name “Father,” that so he might not include the Son in the eternity of the Father, so he avoided employing the title Son, that he might not by it suggest His natural affinity to the Father; so here, too, he refrains from saying “Holy Spirit,” that he may not by this name acknowledge the majesty of His glory, and His complete union with the Father and the Son. For since the appellation of “Spirit,” and that of “Holy,” are by the Scriptures equally applied to the Father and the Son (for “God is a Spirit,” and “the anointed Lord is the Spirit before our face,” and “the Lord our God is Holy,” and there is “one Holy, one Lord Jesus Christ”) lest there should, by the use of these terms, be bred in the minds of his readers some orthodox conception of the Holy Spirit, such as would naturally arise in them from His sharing His glorious appellation with the Father and the Son, for this reason, deluding the ears of the foolish, he changes the words of the Faith as set forth by God in the delivery of this mystery, making a way, so to speak, by this sequence, for the entrance of his impiety against the Holy Spirit. For if he had said, “We believe in the Holy Spirit,” and “God is a Spirit,” any one instructed in things divine would have interposed the remark, that if we are to believe in the Holy Spirit, while God is called a Spirit, He is as- suredly not distinct in nature from that which receives the same titles in a proper sense. For of all those things which are indicated not unreally, nor metaphorically, but properly and absolutely, by the same names, we are necessarily compelled to acknowledge that the nature also, which is signified by this identity of names, is one and the same. For this reason it is that, suppressing the name appointed by the Lord in the formula of the faith, he says, “We believe in the Comforter.” But I have been taught that this very name is also applied by the inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost alike. For the Son gives the name of “Comforter” equally to Himself and to the Holy Spirit; and the Father, where He is said to work comfort, surely claims as His own the name of “Comforter.” For assuredly he Who does the work of a Comforter does not disdain the name belonging to the work: for David says to the Father, “Thou, Lord, hast holpen me and comforted me,” and the great Apostle applies to the Father the same language, when he says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation”; and John, in one of his Catholic Epistles, expressly gives to the Son the name of Comforter. Nay, more, the Lord Himself, in saying that another Comforter would be sent us, when speaking of the Spirit, clearly asserted this title of Himself in the first place. But as there are two senses of the word παρακαλεῖν,—one to beseech, by words and gestures of respect, to induce him to whom we apply for anything, to feel with us in respect of those things for which we apply,—the other to comfort, to take remedial thought for affections of body and soul,—the Holy Scripture affirms the conception of the Paraclete, in either sense alike, to belong to the Divine nature. For at one time Paul sets before us by the word παρακαλεῖν the healing power of God, as when he says, “God, Who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus”; and at another time he uses this word in its other meaning, when he says, writing to the Corinthians, “Now we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Now since these things are so, in whatever way you understand the title “Paraclete,” when used of the Spirit, you will not in either of its significations detach Him from His community in it with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, he has not been able, even though he wished it, to belittle the glory of the Spirit by ascribing to Him the very attribute which Holy Scripture refers also to the Father and to the Son. But in styling Him “the Spirit of Truth,” Eunomius’ own wish, I suppose, was to suggest by this phrase subjection, since Christ is the Truth, and he called Him the Spirit of Truth, as if one should say that He is a possession and chattel of the Truth, without being aware that God is called a God of righteousness; and we certainly do not understand thereby that God is a possession of righteousness. Wherefore also, when we hear of the “Spirit of Truth,” we acquire by that phrase such a conception as befits the Deity, being guided to the loftier interpretation by the words which follow it. For when the Lord said “The Spirit of Truth,” He immediately added “Which proceedeth from the Father,” a fact which the voice of the Lord never asserted of any conceivable thing in creation, not of aught visible or invisible, not of thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, nor of any other name that is named either in this world or in that which is to come. It is plain then that that, from share in which all creation is excluded, is something special and peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids us believe in “the Guide of godliness.” Let a man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and Titus, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those by whom we have been led into the way of the faith. For if we are to believe in “that which guides us to godliness,” along with the Father and the Son, all the prophets and lawgivers and patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, and teachers, have equal honour with the Holy Spirit, as they have been “guides to godliness” to those who came after them. “Who came into being,” he goes on, “by the only God through the Only-begotten.” In these words he gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father “only God,” who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? what apostle? what prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are the children of God? For thus He expressly ascribes the birth of the children of God to the Spirit, saying, that as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. But as many as are born of the Spirit are called the children of God. So also when the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had imparted to them the Holy Spirit, John says, “Of His fulness have all we received.” And that “in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead465,” the mighty Paul attests: yea, moreover, through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to the manifestation of the Divine appearance vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat “on the throne high and lifted up;” the older tradition, it is true, says that it was the Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist John refers the prophecy to our Lord, saying, touching those of the Jews who did not believe the words uttered by the prophet concerning the Lord, “These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.” But the mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the Holy Spirit in his speech made to the Jews at Rome, when he says, “Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet concerning you, saying, Hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand,” showing, in my opinion, by Holy Scripture itself, that every specially divine vision, every theophany, every word uttered in the Person of God, is to be understood to refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence when David says, “they provoked God in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert,” the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit the despite done by the Israelites to God, in these terms: “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me,” and goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to God, to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those who keep repeating against us the phrase “three Gods,” because we hold these views, have perhaps not yet learnt how to count. For if the Father and the Son are not divided into duality, (for they are, according to the Lord’s words, One, and not Two) and if the Holy Ghost is also one, how can one added to one be divided into the number of three Gods? Is it not rather plain that no one can charge us with believing in the number of three Gods, without himself first maintaining in his own doctrine a pair of Gods? For it is by being added to two that the one completes the triad of Gods. But what room is there for the charge of tritheism against those by whom one God is worshipped, the God expressed by the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost?
Let us however resume Eunomius’ statement in its entirety. “Having come into being from the only God through the Only-begotten, this Spirit also—” What proof is there of the statement that “this Spirit also” is one of the things that were made by the Only-begotten? They will say of course that “all things were made by Him,” and that in the term “all things” “this Spirit also” is included. Our answer to them shall be this, All things were made by Him, that were made. Now the things that were made, as Paul tells us, were things visible and invisible, thrones, authorities, dominions, principalities, powers, and among those included under the head of thrones and powers are reckoned by Paul the Cherubim and Seraphim: so far does the term “all things” extend. But of the Holy Spirit, as being above the nature of things that have come into being, Paul said not a word in his enumeration of existing things, not indicating to us by his words either His subordination or His coming into being; but just as the prophet calls the Holy Spirit “good,” and “right,” and “guiding” (indicating by the word “guiding” the power of control), even so the apostle ascribes independent authority to the dignity of the Spirit, when he affirms that He works all in all as He wills. Again, the Lord makes manifest the Spirit’s independent power and operation in His discourse with Nicodemus, when He says, “The Spirit breatheth where He willeth.” How is it then that Eunomius goes so far as to define that He also is one of the things that came into being by the Son, condemned to eternal subjection. For he describes Him as “once for all made subject,” enthralling the guiding and governing Spirit in I know not what form of subjection. For this expression of “subjection” has many significations in Holy Scripture, and is understood and used with many varieties of meaning. For the Psalmist says that even irrational nature is put in subjection, and brings under the same term those who are overcome in war, while the apostle bids servants to be in subjection to their own masters, and that those who are placed over the priesthood should have their children in subjection, as their disorderly conduct brings discredit upon their fathers, as in the case of the sons of Eli the priest. Again, he speaks of the subjection of all men to God, when we all, being united to one another by the faith, become one body of the Lord Who is in all, as the subjection of the Son to the Father, when the adoration paid to the Son by all things with one accord, by things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, redounds to the glory of the Father; as Paul says elsewhere, “To Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” For when this takes place, the mighty wisdom of Paul affirms that the Son, Who is in all, is subject to the Father by virtue of the subjection of those in whom He is. What kind of “subjection once for all” Eunomius asserts of the Holy Spirit, it is thus impossible to learn from the phrase which he has thrown out,—whether he means the subjection of irrational creatures, or of captives, or of servants, or of children who are kept in order, or of those who are saved by subjection. For the subjection of men to God is salvation for those who are so made subject, according to the voice of the prophet, who says that his soul is subject to God, since of Him cometh salvation by subjection, so that subjection is the means of averting perdition. As therefore the help of the healing art is sought eagerly by the sick, so is subjection by those who are in need of salvation. But of what life does the Holy Spirit, that quickeneth all things, stand in need, that by subjection He should obtain salvation for Himself? Since then it is not on the strength of any Divine utterance that he asserts such an attribute of the Spirit, nor yet is it as a consequence of probable arguments that he has launched this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it must be plain at all events to sensible men that he vents his impiety against Him without any warrant whatsoever, unsupported as it is by any authority from Scripture or by any logical consequence.
15. Lastly he displays at length the folly of Eunomius, who at times speaks of the Holy Spirit as created, and as the fairest work of the Son, and at other times confesses, by the operations attributed to Him, that He is God, and thus ends the book.
He goes on to add, “Neither on the same level with the Father, nor connumerated with the Father (for God over all is one and only Father), nor on an equality with the Son, for the Son is only-begotten, having none begotten with Him.” Well, for my own part, if he had only added to his previous statement the remark that the Holy Ghost is not the Father of the Son, I should even then have thought it idle for him to linger over what no one ever doubted, and forbid people to form notions of Him which not even the most witless would entertain. But since he endeavours to establish his impiety by irrelevant and unconnected statements, imagining that by denying the Holy Spirit to be the Father of the Only-begotten he makes out that He is subject and subordinate, I therefore made mention of these words, as a proof of the folly of the man who imagines that he is demonstrating the Spirit to be subject to the Father on the ground that the Spirit is not Father of the Only-begotten. For what compels the conclusion, that if He be not Father, He must be subject? If it had been demonstrated that “Father” and “despot” were terms identical in meaning, it would no doubt have followed that, as absolute sovereignty was part of the conception of the Father, we should affirm that the Spirit is subject to Him Who surpassed Him in respect of authority. But if by “Father” is implied merely His relation to the Son, and no conception of absolute sovereignty or authority is involved by the use of the word, how does it follow, from the fact that the Spirit is not the Father of the Son, that the Spirit is subject to the Father? “Nor on an equality with the Son,” he says. How comes he to say this? for to be, and to be unchange- able, and to admit no evil whatsoever, and to remain unalterably in that which is good, all this shows no variation in the case of the Son and of the Spirit. For the incorruptible nature of the Spirit is remote from corruption equally with that of the Son, and in the Spirit, just as in the Son, His essential goodness is absolutely apart from its contrary, and in both alike their perfection in every good stands in need of no addition.
Now the inspired Scripture teaches us to affirm all these attributes of the Spirit, when it predicates of the Spirit the terms “good,” and “wise,” and “incorruptible,” and “immortal,” and all such lofty conceptions and names as are properly applied to Godhead. If then He is inferior in none of these respects, by what means does Eunomius determine the inequality of the Son and the Spirit? “For the Son is,” he tells us, “Only-begotten, having no brother begotten with Him.” Well, the point, that we are not to understand the “Only-begotten” to have brethren, we have already discussed in our comments upon the phrase “first-born of all creation.” But we ought not to leave unexamined the sense that Eunomius now unfairly attaches to the term. For while the doctrine of the Church declares that in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost there is one power, and goodness, and essence, and glory, and the like, saving the difference of the Persons, this man, when he wishes to make the essence of the Only-begotten common to the creation, calls Him “the first-born of all creation” in respect of His pre-temporal existence, declaring by this mode of expression that all conceivable objects in creation are in brotherhood with the Lord; for assuredly the first-born is not the first-born of those otherwise begotten, but of those begotten like Himself. But when he is bent upon severing the Spirit from union with the Son, he calls Him “Only-begotten, not having any brother begotten with Him,” not with the object of conceiving of Him as without brethren, but that by the means of this assertion he may establish touching the Spirit His essential alienation from the Son. It is true that we learn from Holy Scripture not to speak of the Holy Ghost as brother of the Son: but that we are not to say that the Holy Ghost is homogeneous with the Son, is nowhere shown in the divine Scriptures. For if there does reside in the Father and the Son a life-giving power, it is ascribed also to the Holy Spirit, according to the words of the Gospel. If one may discern alike in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the properties of being incorruptible, immutable, of admitting no evil, of being good, right, guiding, of working all in all as He wills, and all the like attributes, how is it possible by identity in these respects to infer difference in kind? Accordingly the word of godliness agrees in affirming that we ought not to regard any kind of brotherhood as attaching to the Only-begotten; but to say that the Spirit is not homogeneous with the Son, the upright with the upright, the good with the good, the life-giving with the life-giving, this has been clearly demonstrated by logical inference to be a piece of heretical knavery.
Why then is the majesty of the Spirit curtailed by such arguments as these? For there is nothing which can be the cause of producing in him deviation by excess or defect from conceptions such as befit the Godhead, nor, since all these are by Holy Scripture predicated equally of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, can he inform us wherein he discerns inequality to exist. But he launches his blasphemy against the Holy Ghost in its naked form, ill-prepared and unsupported by any consecutive argument. “Nor yet ranked,” he says, “with any other: for He has gone above all the creatures that came into being by the instrumentality of the Son in mode of being, and nature, and glory, and knowledge, as the first and noblest work of the Only-begotten, the greatest and most glorious.” I will leave, however, to others the task of ridiculing the bad taste and surplusage of his style, thinking as I do that it is un- seemly for the gray hairs of age, when dealing with the argument before us, to make vulgarity of expression an objection against one who is guilty of impiety. I will just add to my investigation this remark. If the Spirit has “gone above” all the creations of the Son, (for I will use his own ungrammatical and senseless phrase, or rather, to make things clearer, I will present his idea in my own language) if he transcends all things wrought by the Son, the Holy Spirit cannot be ranked with the rest of the creation; and if, as Eunomius says, he surpasses them by virtue of priority of birth, he must needs confess, in the case of the rest of creation, that the objects which are first in order of production are more to be esteemed than those which come after them. Now the creation of the irrational animals was prior to that of man. Accordingly he will of course declare that the irrational nature is more honourable than rational existence. So too, according to the argument of Eunomius, Cain will be proved superior to Abel, in that he was before him in time of birth, and so the stars will be shown to be lower and of less excellence than all the things that grow out of the earth; for these last sprang from the earth on the third day, and all the stars are recorded by Moses to have been created on the fourth. Well, surely no one is such a simpleton as to infer that the grass of the earth is more to be esteemed than the marvels of the sky, on the ground of its precedence in time, or to award the meed to Cain over Abel, or to place below the irrational animals man who came into being later than they. So there is no sense in our author’s contention that the nature of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of the creatures that came into being subsequently, on the ground that He came into being before they did. And now let us see what he who separates Him from fellowship with the Son is prepared to concede to the glory of the Spirit: “For he too,” he says, “being one, and first and alone, and surpassing all the creations of the Son in essence and dignity of nature, accomplishing every operation and all teaching according to the good pleasure of the Son, being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth.” He speaks of the Holy Ghost as “accomplishing every operation and all teaching.” What operation? Does he mean that which the Father and the Son execute, according to the word of the Lord Himself Who “hitherto worketh” man’s salvation, or does he mean some other? For if His work is that named, He has assuredly the same power and nature as Him Who works it, and in such an one difference of kind from Deity can have no place. For just as, if anything should perform the functions of fire, shining and warming in precisely the same way, it is itself certainly fire, so if the Spirit does the works of the Father, He must assuredly be acknowledged to be of the same nature with Him. If on the other hand He operates something else than our salvation, and displays His operation in a contrary direction, He will thereby be proved to be of a different nature and essence. But Eunomius’ statement itself bears witness that the Spirit quickeneth in like manner with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, from the identity of operations it results assuredly that the Spirit is not alien from the nature of the Father and the Son. And to the statement that the Spirit accomplishes the operation and teaching of the Father according to the good pleasure of the Son we assent. For the community of nature gives us warrant that the will of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, and thus, if the Holy Spirit wills that which seems good to the Son, the community of will clearly points to unity of essence. But he goes on, “being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth.” If he had not pre- viously said what he has concerning the Spirit, the reader would surely have supposed that these words applied to some human teacher. For to receive a mission is the same thing as to be sent, and to have nothing of one’s own, but to receive of the free favour of him who gives the mission, and to minister his words to those who are under instruction, and to be a guide into truth for those that are astray. All these things, which Eunomius is good enough to allow to the Holy Spirit, belong to the present pastors and teachers of the Church,—to be sent, to receive, to announce, to teach, to suggest the truth. Now, as he had said above “He is one, and first, and alone, and surpassing all,” had he but stopped there, he would have appeared as a defender of the doctrines of truth. For He Who is indivisibly contemplated in the One is most truly One, and first Who is in the First, and alone Who is in the Only One. For as the spirit of man that is in him, and the man himself, are but one man, so also the Spirit of God which is in Him, and God Himself, would properly be termed One God, and First and Only, being incapable of separation from Him in Whom He is. But as things are, with his addition of his profane phrase, “surpassing all the creatures of the Son,” he produces turbid confusion by assigning to Him Who “breatheth where He willeth,” and “worketh all in all,” a mere superiority in comparison with the rest of created things.
Let us now see further what he adds to this “sanctifying the saints.” If any one says this also of the Father and of the Son, he will speak truly. For those in whom the Holy One dwells, He makes holy, even as the Good One makes men good. And the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are holy and good, as has been shown. “Acting as a guide to those who approach the mystery.” This may well be said of Apollos who watered what Paul planted. For the Apostle plants by his guidance, and Apollos, when he baptises, waters by Sacramental regeneration, bringing to the mystery those who were instructed by Paul. Thus he places on a level with Apollos that Spirit Who perfects men through baptism. “Distributing every gift.” With this we too agree; for everything that is good is a portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “Co-operating with the faithful for the understanding and contemplation of things appointed.” As he does not add by whom they are appointed, he leaves his meaning doubtful, whether it is correct or the reverse. But we will by a slight addition advance his statement so as to make it consistent with godliness. For since, whether it be the word of wisdom, or the word of knowledge, or faith, or help, or government, or aught else that is enumerated in the lists of saving gifts, “all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will,” we therefore do not reject the statement of Eunomius when he says that the Spirit “co-operates with the faithful for understanding and contemplation of things appointed” by Him, because by Him all good teachings are appointed for us. “Sounding an accompaniment to those who pray.” It would be foolish seriously to examine the meaning of this expression, of which the ludicrous and meaningless character is at once manifest to all. For who is so demented and beside himself as to wait for us to tell him that the Holy Spirit is not a bell nor an empty cask sounding an accompaniment and made to ring by the voice of him who prays as it were by a blow? “Leading us to that which is expedient for us.” This the Father and the Son likewise do: for “He leadeth Joseph like a sheep,” and, “led His people like sheep,” and, “the good Spirit leadeth us in a land of righteous- ness.” “Strengthening us to godliness.” To strengthen man to godliness David says is the work of God; “For Thou art my strength and my refuge,” says the Psalmist, and “the Lord is the strength of His people,” and, “He shall give strength and power unto His people.” If then the expressions of Eunomius are meant in accordance with the mind of the Psalmist, they are a testimony to the Divinity of the Holy Ghost: but if they are opposed to the word of prophecy, then by this very fact a charge of blasphemy lies against Eunomius, because he sets up his own opinions in opposition to the holy prophets. Next he says, “Lightening souls with the light of knowledge.” This grace also the doctrine of godliness ascribes alike to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. For He is called a light by David, and from thence the light of knowledge shines in them who are enlightened. In like manner also the cleansing of our thoughts of which the statement speaks is proper to the power of the Lord. For it was “the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person,” Who “purged our sins.” Again, to banish devils, which Eunomius says is a property of the Spirit, this also the only-begotten God, Who said to the devil, “I charge thee,” ascribes to the power of the Spirit, when He says, “If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils,” so that the expulsion of devils is not destructive of the glory of the Spirit, but rather a demonstration of His divine and transcendent power. “Healing the sick,” he says, “curing the infirm, comforting the afflicted, raising up those who stumble, recovering the distressed.” These are the words of those who think reverently of the Holy Ghost, for no one would ascribe the operation of any one of these effects to any one except to God. If then heresy affirms that those things which it belongs to none save God alone to effect, are wrought by the power of the Spirit, we have in support of the truths for which we are contending the witness even of our adversaries. How does the Psalmist seek his healing from God, saying, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed!” It is to God that Isaiah says, “The dew that is from Thee is healing unto them.” Again, prophetic language attests that the conversion of those in error is the work of God. For “they went astray in the wilderness in a thirsty land,” says the Psalmist, and he adds, “So He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to the city where they dwelt:” and, “when the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion.” In like manner also the comfort of the afflicted is ascribed to God, Paul thus speaking, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation.” Again, the Psalmist says, speaking in the person of God, “Thou calledst upon Me in trouble and I delivered thee.” And the setting upright of those who stumble is innumerable times ascribed by Scripture to the power of the Lord: “Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall, but the Lord was my help,” and “Though he fall, he shall not be cast away, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand,” and “The Lord helpeth them that are fallen.” And to the loving-kindness of God confessedly belongs the recovery of the distressed, if Eunomius means the same thing of which we learn in prophecy, as the Scripture says, “Thou laidest trouble upon our loins; Thou sufferedst men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, and Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
Thus far then the majesty of the Spirit is demonstrated by the evidence of our opponents, but in what follows the limpid waters of devotion are once more defiled by the mud of heresy. For he says of the Spirit that He “cheers on those who are contending”: and this phrase involves him in the charge of extreme folly and impiety. For in the stadium some have the task of arranging the competitions between those who intend to show their athletic vigour; others, who surpass the rest in strength and skill, strive for the victory and strip to contend with one another, while the rest, taking sides in their good wishes with one or other of the competitors, according as they are severally disposed towards or interested in one athlete or another, cheer him on at the time of the engagement, and bid him guard against some hurt, or remember some trick of wrestling, or keep himself unthrown by the help of his art. Take note from what has been said to how low a rank Eunomius degrades the Holy Spirit. For while on the course there are some who arrange the contests, and others who settle whether the contest is conducted according to rule, others who are actually engaged, and yet others who cheer on the competitors, who are acknowledged to be far inferior to the athletes themselves, Eunomius considers the Holy Spirit as one of the mob who look on, or as one of those who attend upon the athletes, seeing that He neither determines the contest nor awards the victory, nor contends with the adversary, but merely cheers without contributing at all to the victory. For He neither joins in the fray, nor does He implant the power to contend, but merely wishes that the athlete in whom He is interested may not come off second in the strife. And so Paul wrestles “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” while the Spirit of power does not strengthen the combatants nor distribute to them His gifts, “dividing to every man severally as He will,” but His influence is limited to cheering on those who are engaged.
Again he says, “Emboldening the faint-hearted.” And here, while in accordance with his own method he follows his previous blasphemy against the Spirit, the truth for all that manifests itself, even through unfriendly lips. For to none other than to God does it belong to implant courage in the fearful, saying to the faint-hearted, “Fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed,” as says the Psalmist, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” Nay, the Lord Himself says to the fearful,—“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” and, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” and, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid,” and again, “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.” Accordingly, even though this may not have been the intention of Eunomius, orthodoxy asserts itself by means even of the voice of an enemy. And the next sentence agrees with that which went before:—“Caring for all, and showing all concern and forethought.” For in fact it belongs to God alone to care and to take thought for all, as the mighty David has expressed it, “I am poor and needy, but the Lord careth for me.” And if what remains seems to be resolved into empty words, with sound and without sense, let no one find fault, seeing that in most of what he says, so far as any sane meaning is concerned, he is feeble and untutored. For what on earth he means when he says, “for the onward leading of the better disposed and the guardianship of the more faithful,” neither he himself, nor they who senselessly admire his follies, could possibly tell us.