Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
De Spiritu Sancto.: Against those who assert that it is not proper for “with whom” to be said of the Son, and that the proper phrase is “through whom.”
Against those who assert that it is not proper for “with whom” to be said of the Son, and that the proper phrase is “through whom.”
16. But their contention is that to use the phrase “with him” is altogether strange and unusual, while “through him” is at once most familiar in Holy Scripture, and very common in the language of the brotherhood. 817 What is our answer to this? We say, Blessed are the ears that have not heard you and the hearts that have been kept from the wounds of your words. To you, on the other hand, who are lovers of Christ, 818 I say that the Church recognizes both uses, and deprecates neither as subversive of the other. For whenever we are contemplating the majesty of the nature of the Only Begotten, and the excellence of His dignity, we bear witness that the glory is with the Father; while on the other hand, whenever we bethink us of His bestowal 819 on us of good gifts, and of our access 820 to, and admission into, the household of God, 821 we confess that this grace is effected for us through Him and by 822 Him.
It follows that the one phrase “with whom” is the proper one to be used in the ascription of glory, while the other, “through whom,” is specially appropriate in giving of thanks. It is also quite untrue to allege that the phrase “with whom” is unfamiliar in the usage of the devout. All those whose soundness of character leads them to hold the dignity of antiquity to be more honourable than mere new-fangled novelty, and who have preserved the tradition of their fathers 823 unadulterated, alike in town and in country, have employed this phrase. It is, on the contrary, they who are surfeited with the familiar and the customary, and arrogantly assail the old as stale, who welcome innovation, just as in dress your lovers of display always prefer some utter novelty to what is generally worn. So you may even still see that the language of country folk preserves the ancient fashion, while of these, our cunning experts 824 in logomachy, the language bears the brand of the new philosophy.
What our fathers said, the same say we, that the glory of the Father and of the Son is common; wherefore we offer the doxology to the Father with the Son. But we do not rest only on the fact that such is the tradition of the Fathers; for they too followed the sense of Scripture, and started from the evidence which, a few sentences back, I deduced from Scripture and laid before you. For “the brightness” is always thought of p. 11 with “the glory,” 825 “the image” with the archetype, 826 and the Son always and everywhere together with the Father; nor does even the close connexion of the names, much less the nature of the things, admit of separation.
The word ἀδελφότης is in the New Testament peculiar to S. Peter (1 Pet. 2:17, 1 Pet. 5:9); it occurs in the Epistle of St. Clement to the Corinthians, Chap. ii.10:818
Φιλόχριστοι. The word is not common, but occurs in inscriptions. cf. Anth. Pal. I. x. 13.
ὀρθὴν πίστιν ἔχουσα φιλοχρίστοιο μενοινῆς.10:819
χορηγία. cf. the use of the cognate verb in 1 Pet. iv. 11. ἐξ ἰσχύος ἧς χορηγεί ὁ θεός.10:820
προσαγωγή. cf. Eph. ii. 18.10:821
οἰκείωσιν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν. cf. οἰκεῖοι τοῦ Θεοῦ in Eph. ii. 19.10:822
cf. Gal. i. 14.10:824
The verb, ἐντρίβομαι, appears to be used by St. Basil, if he wrote ἐντετριμμένων in the sense of to be ἐντριβής or versed in a thing (cf. Soph. Ant. 177)—a sense not illustrated by classical usage. But the reading of the Moscow ms. (μ) ἐντεθραμμένων, “trained in,” “nurtured in,” is per se much more probable. The idea of the country folk preserving the good old traditions shews the change of circumstances in St. Basils day from those of the 2d c., when the “pagani” or villagers were mostly still heathen, and the last to adopt the novelty of Christianity. cf. Plinys Letter to Trajan (Ep. 96), “neque civitates tantum sed vicos etiam atque agros superstitionis istius contagio pervagata est.”11:825
Heb. i. 1. cf. Aug. Ep. ii. ad Serap.: “The Father is Light, and the Son brightness and true light.”11:826
2 Cor. iv. 4.
Next: In how many ways “Through whom” is used; and in what sense “with whom” is more suitable. Explanation of how the Son receives a commandment, and how He is sent.
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