Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: The Paraclete, or Holy Ghost. He is Distinct from the Father and the Son as to Their Personal Existence. One and Inseparable from Them as to Their Divine Nature. Other Quotations Out of St. John's Gospel.
Chapter XXV.—The Paraclete, or Holy Ghost. He is Distinct from the Father and the Son as to Their Personal Existence. One and Inseparable from Them as to Their Divine Nature. Other Quotations Out of St. Johns Gospel.
What follows Philips question, and the Lords whole treatment of it, to the end of Johns Gospel, continues to furnish us with statements of the same kind, distinguishing the Father and the Son, with the properties of each. Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He promises to pray for to the Father, and to send from heaven after He had ascended to the Father. He is called “another Comforter,” indeed; 8111 but in what way He is another we have already shown, 8112 “He shall receive of mine,” says Christ, 8113 just as Christ Himself received of the Fathers. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are one 8114 essence, not one Person, 8115 as it is said, “I and my Father are One,” 8116 in respect of unity of substance not singularity of number. Run through the whole Gospel, and you will find that He whom you believe to be the Father (described as acting for the Father, although you, for your part, forsooth, suppose that “the Father, being the husbandman,” 8117 must surely have been on earth) is once more recognised by the Son as in heaven, when, “lifting up His eyes thereto,” 8118 He commended His disciples to the safe-keeping of the Father. 8119 We have, moreover, in that other Gospel a clear revelation, i.e. of the Sons distinction from the Father, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” 8120 and again, (in the third Gospel,) “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” 8121 But even if (we had not these passages, we meet with satisfactory evidence) after His resurrection and glorious victory over death. Now that all the restraint of His humiliation is taken away, He might, if possible, have shown Himself as the Father to so faithful a woman (as Mary Magdalene) when she approached to touch Him, out of love, not from curiosity, nor with Thomas incredulity. But not so; Jesus saith unto her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren” (and even in this He proves Himself to be the Son; for if He had been the Father, He would have called them His children, (instead of His brethren), “and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” 8122 Now, does this mean, I ascend as the Father to the Father, and as God to God? Or as the Son to the Father, and as the Word to God? Wherefore also does this Gospel, at its very termination, intimate that these things were ever written, if it be not, to use its own words, “that ye might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” 8123 Whenever, therefore, you take any of the statements of this Gospel, and apply them to demonstrate the identity of the Father and the Son, supposing that they serve your views therein, you are contending against the definite purpose of the Gospel. For these things certainly are not written that you may believe that Jesus Christ is the Father, but the Son. 8124
John xiv. 16.621:8112
See above ch. xiii.621:8113
John xvi. 14.621:8114
Unum. [On this famous passage see Elucidation III.]621:8115
John x. 30.621:8117
John xv. 1.621:8118
John xvii. 1.621:8119
John xvii. 11.621:8120
Matt. xxvii. 46.621:8121
Luke xxiii. 46.621:8122
John xx. 17.621:8123
John xx. 31.621:8124
[A curious anecdote is given by Carlyle in his Life of Frederick (Book xx. cap. 6), touching the text of “the Three Witnesses.” Gottsched satisfied the king that it was not in the Vienna ms. save in an interpolation of the margin “in Melanchthons hand.” Luthers Version lacks this text.]
Next: A Brief Reference to the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. Their Agreement with St. John, in Respect to the Distinct Personality of the Father and the Son.
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