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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter X. The objection taken on the ground of the Son's obedience is disproved, and the unity of power, Godhead, and operation in the Trinity set forth, Christ's obedience to His mother, to whom He certainly cannot be called inferior, is noticed.

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Chapter X.

The objection taken on the ground of the Son’s obedience is disproved, and the unity of power, Godhead, and operation in the Trinity set forth, Christ’s obedience to His mother, to whom He certainly cannot be called inferior, is noticed.

84. In like manner our adversaries commonly make a difficulty of the Son’s obedience, forasmuch as it is written: “And p. 235 being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient even unto death.” 2027 The writer has not only told us that the Son was obedient even unto death, but also first shown that He was man, in order that we might understand that obedience unto death was the part not of His Godhead but of His Incarnation, whereby He took upon Himself both the functions and the names belonging to our nature.

85. Thus we have learnt that the power of the Trinity is one, as we are taught both in and after the Passion itself: for the Son suffers through His body, which is the earnest of it; the Holy Spirit is poured upon the apostles: into the Father’s hands the spirit is commended; furthermore, God is with a mighty voice proclaimed the Father. We have learnt that there is one form, one likeness, one sanctification, of the Father and of the Son, one activity, one glory, finally, one Godhead.

86. There is, therefore, but one only God, for it is written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” 2028 One God, not in the sense that the Father and the Son are the same Person, as the ungodly Sabellius affirms—but forasmuch as there is one Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. But where there is one Godhead, there is one will, one purpose.

87. Again, that thou mayest know that the Father is, and the Son is, and that the work of the Father and of the Son is one, follow the saying of the Apostle: “Now may God Himself, and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way unto you.” 2029 Both Father and Son are named, but there is unity of direction, 2030 because unity of power. So also in another place we read: “Now may our Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, and God and our Father, Who hath loved us, and given us eternal consolation, and good hope in grace, console and strengthen your hearts.” 2031 How perfect a unity it is that the Apostle presents to us, insomuch that the fount of consolation is not many, but one. Let doubt be dumb, then, or, if it will not be overcome by reason, let the thought of our Lord’s gracious kindliness bend it.

88. Let us call to mind how kindly our Lord hath dealt with us, in that He taught us not only faith but manners also. For, having taken His place in the form of man, He was subject to Joseph and Mary. 2032 Was He less than all mankind, then, because He was subject? The part of dutifulness is one, that of sovereignty is another, but dutifulness doth not exclude sovereignty. Wherein, then, was He subject to the Father’s law? In His body, surely, wherein He was subject to His mother.



Phil. 2:7, 8.


Deut. vi. 13.


1 Thess. iii. 11.


The act of direction is one and, correspondingly, the verb “direct” is, in the Latin and the Greek, put in the singular number.


2 Thess. 2:15, 16.


S. Luke ii. 51.

Next: Chapter XI. The purpose and healing effects of the Incarnation. The profitableness of faith, whereby we know that Christ bore all infirmities for our sakes,--Christ, Whose Godhead revealed Itself in His Passion; whence we understand that the mission of the Son of God entailed no subservience, which belief we need not fear lest it displease the Father, Who declares Himself to be well pleased in His Son.

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