Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 3
Chapter 3.—Why the Son Chiefly is Intimated in the Scriptures by the Name of Wisdom, While Both the Father and the Holy Spirit are Wisdom. That the Holy Spirit, Together with the Father and the Son, is One Wisdom.
4. Why, then, is scarcely anything ever said in the Scriptures of wisdom, unless to show that it is begotten or created of God?—begotten in the case of that Wisdom by which all things are made; but created or made, as in men, when they are converted to that Wisdom which is not created and made but begotten, and are so enlightened; for in these men themselves there comes to be something which may be called their wisdom: even as the Scriptures foretell or narrate, that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;” 630 for in this way Christ was made wisdom, because He was made man. Is it on this account that wisdom does not speak in these books, nor is anything spoken of it, except to declare that it is born of God, or made by Him (although the Father is Himself wisdom), namely, because wisdom ought to be commended and imitated by us, by the imitation of which we are fashioned [rightly]? For the Father speaks it, that it may be His Word: yet not as a word producing a sound proceeds from the mouth, or is thought before it is pronounced. For this word is completed in certain spaces of time, but that is eternal, and speaks to us by enlightening us, what ought to be spoken to men, both of itself and of the Father. And therefore He says, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him:” 631 since the Father reveals by the Son, that is, by His Word. For if that word which we utter, and which is temporal and transitory, declares both itself, and that of which we speak, how much more the Word of God, by which all things are made? For this Word so declares the Father as He is the Father; because both itself so is, and is that which is the Father, in so far as it is wisdom and essence. For in so far as it is the Word, it is not what the Father is; because the Word is not the Father, and Word is spoken relatively, as is also Son, which assuredly is not the Father. And therefore Christ is the power and wisdom of God, because He Himself, being also power and wisdom, is from the Father, who is power and wisdom; as He is light of the Father, who is light, and the fountain of life with God the Father, who is Himself assuredly the fountain p. 108 of life. For “with Thee,” He says, “is the fountain of life, and in Thy light shall we see light.” 632 Because, “as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself:” 633 and, “He was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world:” and this light, “the Word,” was “with God;” but “the Word also was God;” 634 and “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all:” 635 but a light that is not corporeal, but spiritual; yet not in such way spiritual, that it was wrought by illumination, as it was said to the apostles, “Ye are the light of the world,” 636 but “the light which lighteth every man,” that very supreme wisdom itself who is God, of whom we now treat. The Son therefore is Wisdom of wisdom, namely the Father, as He is Light of light, and God of God; so that both the Father singly is light, and the Son singly is light; and the Father singly is God, and the Son singly is God: therefore the Father also singly is wisdom, and the Son singly is wisdom. And as both together are one light and one God, so both are one wisdom. But the Son is “by God made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification;” 637 because we turn ourselves to Him in time, that is, from some particular time, that we may remain with Him for ever. And He Himself from a certain time was “the Word made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
5. On this account, then, when anything concerning wisdom is declared or narrated in the Scriptures, whether as itself speaking, or where anything is spoken of it, the Son chiefly is intimated to us. And by the example of Him who is the image, let us also not depart from God, since we also are the Image of God: not indeed that which is equal to Him, since we are made so by the Father through the Son, and not born of the Father, as that is. And we are so, because we are enlightened with light; but that is so, because it is the light that enlightens; and which, therefore, being without pattern, is to us a pattern. For He does not imitate any one going before Him, in respect to the Father, from whom He is never separable at all, since He is the very same substance with Him from whom He is. But we by striving imitate Him who abides, and follow Him who stands still, and walking in Him, reach out towards Him; because He is made for us a way in time by His humiliation, which is to us an eternal abiding-place by His divinity. For since to pure intellectual spirits, who have not fallen through pride, He gives an example in the form of God and as equal with God and as God; so, in order that He might also give Himself as an example of returning to fallen man who on account of the uncleanness of sins and the punishment of mortality cannot see God, “He emptied Himself;” not by changing His own divinity, but by assuming our changeableness: and “taking upon Him the form of a servant” 638 He came to us into this world,” 639 who “was in this world,” because “the world was made by Him;” 640 that He might be an example upwards to those who see God, an example downwards to those who admire man, an example to the sound to persevere, an example to the sick to be made whole, an example to those who are to die that they may not fear, an example to the dead that they may rise again, “that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.” 641 So that, because man ought not to follow any except God to blessedness, and yet cannot perceive God; by following God made man, he might follow at once Him whom he could perceive, and whom he ought to follow. Let us then love Him and cleave to Him, by charity spread abroad in our hearts, through the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. 642 It is not therefore to be wondered at, if, on account of the example which the Image, which is equal to the Father, gives to us, in order that we may be refashioned after the image of God, Scripture, when it speaks of wisdom, speaks of the Son, whom we follow by living wisely; although the Father also is wisdom, as He is both light and God.
6. The Holy Spirit also, whether we are to call Him that absolute love which joins together Father and Son, and joins us also from beneath, that so that is not unfitly said which is written, “God is love;” 643 how is He not also Himself wisdom, since He is light, because “God is light”? or whether after any other way the essence of the Holy Spirit is to be singly and properly named; then, too, since He is God, He is certainly light; and since He is light, He is certainly wisdom. But that the Holy Spirit is God, Scripture proclaims by the apostle, who says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” and immediately subjoins, “And the Spirit of God dwelleth in you;” 644 for God dwelleth in His own temple. For the Spirit of God does not dwell in the temple of God as a servant, since he says more plainly in another place, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? p. 109 For ye are bought with a great price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 645 But what is wisdom, except spiritual and unchangeable light? For yonder sun also is light, but it is corporeal; and the spiritual creature also is light, but it is not unchangeable. Therefore the Father is light, the Son is light, and the Holy Spirit is light; but together not three lights, but one light. And so the Father is wisdom, the Son is wisdom, and the Holy Spirit is wisdom, and together not three wisdoms, but one wisdom: and because in the Trinity to be is the same as to be wise, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are one essence. Neither in the Trinity is it one thing to be and another to be God; therefore the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are one God.
John 1.14John i. 14107:631
Ps. 36.9Ps. xxxvi. 9108:633
John 5.2John v. 2108:634
John 1:9, 1John 1:9, 1108:635
1 John 1.51 John i. 5108:636
1 Cor. 1.301 Cor. i. 30108:638
Phil. 2.7Phil. ii. 7108:639
1 Tim. 1.151 Tim. i. 15108:640
John 1.10John i. 10108:641
Col. 1.18Col. i. 18108:642
Rom. 5.5Rom. v. 5108:643
1 John 4.81 John iv. 8108:644
1 Cor. 3.161 Cor. iii. 16109:645
1 Cor. 6:19, 201 Cor. 6:19, 20
Next: Chapter 4
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