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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter VI. The passages of Scripture above cited are taken as an occasion for a digression, wherein our Lord's freedom of action is proved from the ascription to the Spirit of such freedom, and from places where it is attributed to the Son.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.

The passages of Scripture above cited are taken as an occasion for a digression, wherein our Lord’s freedom of action is proved from the ascription to the Spirit of such freedom, and from places where it is attributed to the Son.

47. Let us now, for the present, explain more fully why our Lord said, “If it be possible,” and so call a truce, as it were, while we show that He possessed freedom of will. Ye deny—so far are ye gone in the way of iniquity—that the Son of God had a free will. Moreover, it is your wont to detract from the Holy Spirit, though you cannot deny that it is written: “The Spirit doth breathe, where He will.” 1962 “Where He will,” saith the Scripture, not “where He is ordered.” If, then, the Spirit doth breathe where He will, cannot the Son do what He will? Why, it is the very same Son of God Who in His Gospel saith that the Spirit has power to breathe where He will. Doth the Son, therefore, confess the Spirit to be greater, in that He has power to do what is not permitted to Himself?

48. The Apostle also saith that “all is the work of one and the same Spirit, distributing to each according to His will.” 1963 “According to His will,” mark you—that is, according to the judgment of a free will, not in obedience to compulsion. Furthermore, the gifts distributed by the Spirit are no mean gifts, but such works as God is wont to do,—the gift of healing and of working deeds of power. While the Spirit, then, distributes as He will, the Son of God cannot set free whom He will. But hear Him speak when He does even as He will: “I have willed to do Thy will, O my God;” 1964 and again: “I will offer Thee a freewill offering.” 1965

49. The holy Apostle later knew that Jesus had it in His power to do as He would, and therefore, seeing Him walk upon the sea, said: “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee over the waters.” 1966 Peter believed that if Christ commanded, the natural conditions could be changed, so that water might support human footsteps, and things discrepant be reduced to harmony and agreement. Peter asks of Christ to command, not to request: Christ requested not, but commanded, and it was done—and Arius denies it!

50. What indeed is there that the Father will have, but the Son will not, or that the Son will have, but the Father will not? “The Father quickeneth whom He will,” and the Son quickeneth whom He will, even as it is written. 1967 Tell me now whom the Son hath quickened, and the Father would not quicken. Since, however, the Son quickeneth whom He will, and the action [of Father and Son] is one, you see that not only doeth the Son the Father’s will, but the Father also doeth the Son’s. For what is quickening but quickening through the passion of Christ? But the passion of Christ is the Father’s will. Whom, therefore, the Son quickeneth, He quickeneth by the will of the Father; therefore their will is one.

51. Again, what was the will of the Father, but that Jesus should come into the world p. 230 and cleanse us from our sins? Hear the words of the leper: “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” 1968 Christ answered, “I will,” and straightway health, the effect, followed. See you not that the Son is master of His own will, and Christ’s will is the same as the Father’s. Indeed, seeing that He hath said, “All things that the Father hath are Mine,” 1969 nothing of a certainty being excepted, the Son hath the same will that the Father hath.


Footnotes

229:1962

S. John iii. 8. The same word in Greek at least, serves to denote “wind” and “spirit”—the invisible and yet sensible and real air, wind, or breath being taken as the best emblem of the spirit, which is known and its presence realized only by its effects. Spiritus, “spirit,” primarily means “breath.”

229:1963

1 Cor. xii. 11.

229:1964

Ps. xl. 10.

229:1965

Ps. liv. 8.

229:1966

S. Matt. xiv. 28.

229:1967

S. John v. 21.

230:1968

S. Matt. viii. 2.

230:1969

S. John xvi. 15.


Next: Chapter VII. The resolution of the difficulty set forth for consideration is again taken in hand. Christ truly and really took upon Him a human will and affections, the source of whatsoever was not in agreement with His Godhead, and which must be therefore referred to the fact that He was at the same time both God and man.

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