I. (i) Against Eunomius. The work under this title comprises five books, the first three generally accepted as genuine, the last two sometimes regarded as doubtful. Gregory of Nazianzus, 303 Jerome, 304 and Theodoret 305 all testify to Basils having written against Eunomius, but do not specify the number of books. Books IV. and V. are accepted by Bellarmine, Du Pin, Tillemont, and Ceillier, mainly on the authority of the edict of Justinian against the Three Chapters (Mansi ix., 552), the Council of Seville (Mansi x., 566) and the Council of Florence (Hardouin ix., 200). Maran (Vit. Bas. xliii.) speaks rather doubtfully. Böhringer describes them as of suspicious character, alike on grounds of style, and of their absence from some mss. They may possibly be notes on the controversy in general, and not immediately directed against Eunomius. Fesslers conclusion is “Major tamen eruditorum pars eos etiam genuinos esse censet.”
The year 364 is assigned for the date of the publication of the three books. 306 At that time Basil sent them with a few words of half ironical depreciation to Leontius the sophist. 307 He was now about thirty-four years of age, and describes himself as hitherto inexperienced in such a kind of composition. 308 Eunomius, like his illustrious opponent, was a Cappadocian. Emulous of the notoriety achieved by Aetius the Anomœan, and urged on by Secundus of Ptolemais, an intimate associate of Aetius, he went to Alexandria about 356 and resided there for two years as Aetius admiring pupil and secretary. In 358 he accompanied Aetius to Antioch, and took a prominent part in the assertion of the extreme doctrines which revolted the more moderate Semiarians. He was selected as the champion of the advanced blasphemers, made himself consequently obnoxious to Constantius, and was apprehended and relegated to Migde in Phrygia. At the same time Eudoxius withdrew for a while into Armenia, his native province, but ere long was restored to the favour of the fickle Constantius, and was appointed to the see of Constantinople in 359. Eunomius now was for overthrowing Aetius, and removing whatever obstacles stood between him and promotion, and, by the influence of Eudoxius, was nominated to the see of Cyzicus, vacant by the deposition of Eleusius. Here for a while he temporized, but ere long displayed his true sentiments. To answer for this he was summoned to Constantinople by Constantius, and, in his absence, condemned and deposed. Now he became more marked than ever in his assertion of the most extreme Arianism, and the advanced party were henceforward known under his name. The accession of Julian brought him back with the rest of the banished bishops, and he made Constantinople the centre for the dissemination of his views. 309
Somewhere about this period he wrote the work entitled Apologeticus, in twenty-eight chapters, to which Basil replies. The title was at once a parody on the Apologies of defenders of the Faith, and, at the same time, a suggestion that his utterances were not spontaneous, but forced from him by attack. The work is printed in Fabricius, Bibl. Græc. viii. 262, and in the appendix to Mignes Basil. Pat. Gr. xxx. 837. 310 It is a brief treatise, and occupies only about fifteen columns of Mignes edition. It professes to be a defence of the “simpler creed which is common to all Christians.” 311
p. xxxiv This creed is as follows: “We believe in one God, Father Almighty, of Whom are all things: and in one only-begotten Son of God, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things: and in one Holy Spirit, the Comforter.” 312 But it is in reality like the extant Exposition of the Creed, 313 a reading into this “simpler” creed, in itself orthodox and unobjectionable, of explanations which ran distinctly counter to the traditional and instinctive faith of the Church, and inevitably demanded corrective explanations and definitions.
In the creed of Eunomius the Son is God, and it is not in terms denied that He is of one substance with the Father. But in his doctrinal system there is a practical denial of the Creed; the Son may be styled God, but He is a creature, and therefore, in the strict sense of the term, not God at all, and, at best, a hero or demigod. The Father, unbegotten, stood alone and supreme; the very idea of “begotten” implied posteriority, inferiority, and unlikeness. Against this position Basil 314 protests. The arguments of Eunomius, he urges, are tantamount to an adoption of what was probably an Arian formula, “We believe that ingenerateness is the essence of God,” 315 i.e., we believe that the Only-begotten is essentially unlike the Father. 316 This word “unbegotten,” of which Eunomius and his supporters make so much, what is its real value? Basil admits that it is apparently a convenient term for human intelligence to use; but, he urges, “It is nowhere to be found in Scripture; it is one of the main elements in the Arian blasphemy; it had better be left alone. The word Father implies all that is meant by Unbegotten, and has moreover the advantage of suggesting at the same time the idea of the Son. He Who is essentially Father is alone of no other. In this being of no other is involved the sense of Unbegotten. The title unbegotten will not be preferred by us to that of Father, unless we wish to make ourselves wiser than the Saviour, Who said, Go and baptize in the name not of the Unbegotten, but of the Father.” 317 To the Eunomian contention that the word “Unbegotten” is no mere complimentary title, but required by the strictest necessity, in that it involves the confession of what He is, 318 Basil rejoins that it is only one of many negative terms applied to the Deity, none of which completely expresses the Divine Essence. “There exists no name which embraces the whole nature of God, and is sufficient to declare it; more names than one, and these of very various kinds, each in accordance with its own proper connotation, give a collective idea which may be dim indeed and poor when compared with the whole, but is enough for us.” 319 The word “unbegotten,” like “immortal,” “invisible,” and the like, expresses only negation. “Yet essence 320 is not one of the qualities which are absent, but signifies the very being of God; to reckon this in the same category as the non-existent is to the last degree unreasonable.” 321 Basil “would be quite ready to admit that the essence of God is unbegotten,” but he objects to the statement that the essence and the unbegotten are identical. 322 It is sometimes supposed that the Catholic theologians have been hair-splitters in the sphere of the inconceivable, and that heresy is the exponent of an amiable and reverent vagueness. In the Arian controversy it was Arius himself who dogmatically defined with his negative “There was when He was not,” and Eunomius with his “The essence is the unbegotten.” “What pride! What conceit!” exclaims Basil. “The idea of imagining that one has discovered the very essence of God most high! Assuredly in their magniloquence they quite throw into the shade even Him who said, I will exalt my throne above the stars. 323 It is not stars, it is not heaven, that they dare to assail. It is in the very essence of the God of p. xxxv all the world that they boast that they make their haunt. Let us question him as to where he acquired comprehension of this essence. Was it from the common notion that all men share? 324 This does indeed suggest to us that there is a God, but not what God is. Was it from the teaching of the Spirit? What teaching? Where found? What says great David, to whom God revealed the hidden secrets of His wisdom? He distinctly asserts the unapproachableness of knowledge of Him in the words, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 325 And Isaiah, who saw the glory of God, what does he tell us concerning the Divine Essence? In his prophecy about the Christ he says, Who shall declare His generation? 326 And what of Paul, the chosen vessel, in whom Christ spake, who was caught up into the third heaven, who heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful to man to utter? What teaching has he given us of the essence of God? When Paul is investigating the special methods of the work of redemption 327 he seems to grow dizzy before the mysterious maze which he is contemplating, and utters the well-known words, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 328 These things are beyond the reach even of those who have attained the measure of Pauls knowledge. What then is the conceit of those who announce that they know the essence of God! I should very much like to ask them what they have to say about the earth whereon they stand, and whereof they are born. What can they tell us of its essence? If they can discourse without hesitation of the nature of lowly subjects which lie beneath our feet, we will believe them when they proffer opinions about things which transcend all human intelligence. What is the essence of the earth? How can it be comprehended? Let them tell us whether reason or sense has reached this point! If they say sense, by which of the senses is it comprehended? Sight? Sight perceives colour. Touch? Touch distinguishes hard and soft, hot and cold, and the like; but no idiot would call any of these essence. I need not mention taste or smell, which apprehend respectively savour and scent. Hearing perceives sounds and voices, which have no affinity with earth. They must then say that they have found out the earths essence by reason. What? In what part of Scripture? A tradition from what saint? 329
“In a word, if any one wishes to realise the truth of what I am urging, let him ask himself this question; when he wishes to understand anything about God, does he approach the meaning of the unbegotten? I for my part see that, just us when we extend our thought over the ages that are yet to come, we say that the life bounded by no limit is without end, so is it when we contemplate in thought the ages of the past, and gaze on the infinity of the life of God as we might into some unfathomable ocean. We can conceive of no beginning from which He originated: we perceive that the life of God always transcends the bounds of our intelligence; and so we call that in His life which is without origin, unbegotten. 330 The meaning of the unbegotten is the having no origin from without.” 331 As Eunomius made ingenerateness the essence of the Divine, so, with the object of establishing the contrast between Father and Son, he represented the being begotten to indicate the essence of the Son. 332 God, said Eunomius, being ingenerate, could never admit of generation. This statement, Basil points out, may be understood in either of two ways. It may mean that ingenerate nature cannot be subjected to generation. It may mean that ingenerate nature cannot generate. Eunomius, he says, really means the latter, while he makes converts of the multitude on the lines of the former. Eunomius makes his real meaning evident by what he adds to his dictum, for, after saying “could never admit of generation,” he goes on, “so as to impart His own proper nature to the begotten.” 333 As in relation to the Father, so now in relation to the Son, Basil objects to the term. Why “begotten”? 334 Where did he get this word? From what teaching? From what prophet? Basil nowhere finds the Son called “begotten” in Scripture. 335 We read that the Father begat, but nowhere that the Son was a begotten thing. “Unto us a child is born, 336 unto us a Son is given.” 337 But His name is not begotten thing but “angel of great counsel.” 338 If this word had indicated the essence of the Son, no other word would have been revealed by the Spirit. 339 Why, if God begat, may we not call that which was begotten a thing begotten? It is a terrible thing for us to coin names for Him to Whom p. xxxvi God has given a “name which is above every name.” 340 We must not add to or take from what is delivered to us by the Spirit. 341 Things are not made for names, but names for things. 342 Eunomius unhappily was led by distinction of name into distinction of being. 343 If the Son is begotten in the sense in which Eunomius uses the word, He is neither begotten of the essence of God nor begotten from eternity. Eunomius represents the Son as not of the essence of the Father, because begetting is only to be thought of as a sensual act and idea, and therefore is entirely unthinkable in connexion with the being of God. “The essence of God does not admit of begetting; no other essence exists for the Sons begetting; therefore I say that the Son was begotten when non-existent.” 344 Basil rejoins that no analogy can hold between divine generation or begetting and human generation or begetting. “Living beings which are subject to death generate through the operation of the senses: but we must not on this account conceive of God in the same manner; nay, rather shall we be hence guided to the truth that, because corruptible beings operate in this manner, the Incorruptible will operate in an opposite manner.” 345 “All who have even a limited loyalty to truth ought to dismiss all corporeal similitudes. They must be very careful not to sully their conceptions of God by material notions. They must follow the theologies 346 delivered to us by the Holy Ghost. They must shun questions which are little better than conundrums, and admit of a dangerous double meaning. Led by the ray that shines forth from light to the contemplation of the divine generation, they must think of a generation worthy of God, without passion, partition, division, or time. They must conceive of the image of the invisible God not after the analogy of images which are subsequently fashioned by craft to match their archetype, but as of one nature and subsistence with the originating prototype 347 .… 348 This image is not produced by imitation, for the whole nature of the Father is expressed in the Son as on a seal.” 349 “Do not press me with the questions: What is the generation? Of what kind was it? In what manner could it be effected? The manner is ineffable, and wholly beyond the scope of our intelligence; but we shall not on this account throw away the foundation of our faith in Father and Son. If we try to measure everything by our comprehension, and to suppose that what we cannot comprehend by our reasoning is wholly non-existent, farewell to the reward of faith; farewell to the reward of hope! If we only follow what is clear to our reason, how can we be deemed worthy of the blessings in store for the reward of faith in things not seen”? 350
If not of the essence of God, the Son could not be held to be eternal. “How utterly absurd,” exclaims Basil, “to deny the glory of God to have had brightness; 351 to deny the wisdom of God to have been ever with God!…The Father is of eternity. So also is the Son of eternity, united by generation to the unbegotten nature of the Father. This is not my own statement. I shall prove it by quoting the words of Scripture. Let me cite from the Gospel In the beginning was the Word, 352 and from the Psalm, other words spoken as in the person of the Father, From the womb before the morning I have begotten them. 353 Let us put both together, and say, He was, and He was begotten.…How absurd to seek for something higher in the case of the unoriginate and the unbegotten! Just as absurd is it to start questions as to time, about priority in the case of Him Who was with the Father from eternity, and between Whom and Him that begat Him there is no interval.” 354
A dilemma put by Eunomius was the following: When God begat the Son, the Son either was or was not. 355 If He was not, no argument could lie against Eunomius and the Arians. If He was, the position is blasphemous and absurd, for that which is needs no begetting. 356
To meet this dilemma, Basil drew a distinction between eternity and the being unoriginate. 357 The Eunomians, from the fact of the unoriginateness of the Father being called eternity, maintained that unoriginateness and eternity are identical. 358 Because the Son is not unbegotten they do not even allow Him to be eternal. But there is a wide distinction to be observed in the meaning of the terms. The word unbegotten is p. xxxvii predicated of that which has origin of itself, and no cause of its being: the word eternal is predicated of that which is in being beyond all time and age. 359 Wherefore the Son is both not unbegotten and eternal. 360 Eunomius was ready to give great dignity to the Son as a supreme creature. He did not hold the essence of the Son to be common to that of the things created out of nothing. 361 He would give Him as great a preëminence as the Creator has over His own created works. 362 Basil attributes little importance to this concession, and thinks it only leads to confusion and contradiction. If the God of the universe, being unbegotten, necessarily differs from things begotten, and all things begotten have their common hypostasis of the non-existent, what alternative is there to a natural conjunction of all such things? Just as in the one case the unapproachable effects a distinction between the natures, so in the other equality of condition brings them into mutual contact. They say that the Son and all things that came into being under Him are of the non-existent, and so far they make those natures common, and yet they deny that they give Him a nature of the non-existent. For again, as though Eunomius were Lord himself, and able to give to the Only Begotten what rank and dignity he chooses, he goes on to argue,—We attribute to Him so much supereminence as the Creator must of necessity have over His own creature. He does not say, “We conceive,” or “We are of opinion,” as would be befitting when treating of God, but he says “We attribute,” as though he himself could control the measure of the attribution. And how much supereminence does he give? As much as the Creator must necessarily have over His own creatures. This has not yet reached a statement of difference of substance. Human beings in art surpass their own works, and yet are consubstantial with them, as the potter with his clay, and the shipwright with his timber. For both are alike bodies, subject to sense, and earthy. 363 Eunomius explained the title “Only Begotten” to mean that the Son alone was begotten and created by the Father alone, and therefore was made the most perfect minister. “If,” rejoins Basil, “He does not possess His glory in being perfect God, if it lies only in His being an exact and obedient subordinate, in what does He differ from the ministering spirits who perform the work of their service without blame? 364 Indeed Eunomius joins created to begotten with the express object of shewing that there is no distinction between the Son and a creature! 365 And how unworthy a conception of the Father that He should need a servant to do His work! He commanded and they were created. 366 What service was needed by Him Who creates by His will alone? But in what sense are all things said by us to be through the Son? In that the divine will, starting from the prime cause, as it were from a source, proceeds to operation through its own image, God the Word.” 367 Basil sees that if the Son is a creature mankind is still without a revelation of the Divine. He sees that Eunomius, “by alienating the Only Begotten from the Father, and altogether cutting Him off from communion with Him, as far as he can, deprives us of the ascent of knowledge which is made through the Son. Our Lord says that all that is the Fathers is His. 368 Eunomius states that there is no fellowship between the Father and Him Who is of Him.” 369 If so there is no “brightness” of glory; no “express image of hypostasis.” 370 So Dorner, 371 who freely uses the latter portion of the treatise, “The main point of Basils opposition to Eunomius is that the word unbegotten is not a name indicative of the essence of God, but only of a condition of existence. 372 The divine essence has other predicates. If every peculiar mode of existence causes a distinction in essence also, then the Son cannot be of the same essence with the Father, because He has a peculiar mode of existence, and the Father another; and men cannot be of the same essence, because each of them represents a different mode of existence. By the names of Father, Son, and Spirit, we do not understand different essences, (οὐσίας), but they are names which distinguish the ὕπαρξις of each. All are God, and the Father is no more God than the Son, as one man is no more man than another. Quantitative differences are not reckoned in respect of essence; the question is only of being or non-being. But this does not exclude the idea of a variety in condition in the p. xxxviii Father and the Son (ἑτέρως ἕχειν),—the generation of the Latter. The dignity of both is equal. The essence of Begetter and Begotten is identical. 373
I Cor. xv. 28. On the Subjection of the Son.
“If the Son is subjected to the Father in the Godhead, then He must have been subjected from the beginning, from whence He was God. But if He was not subjected, but shall be subjected, it is in the manhood, as for us, not in the Godhead, as for Himself.”
Philipp. ii. 9. On the Name above every Name.
“If the name above every name was given by the Father to the Son, Who was God, and every tongue owned Him Lord, after the incarnation, because of His obedience, then before the incarnation He neither had the name above every name nor was owned by all to be Lord. It follows then that after the incarnation He was greater than before the incarnation, which is absurd.” So of Matt. xxviii. 18. “We must understand this of the incarnation, and not of the Godhead.”
John xiv. 28. “My Father is Greater than I.”
“Greater is predicated in bulk, in time, in dignity, in power, or as cause. The Father cannot be called greater than the Son in bulk, for He is incorporeal: nor yet in time, for the Son is Creator of times: nor yet in dignity, for He was not made what He had once not been: nor yet in power, for what things the Father doeth, these also doeth the son likewise: 374 nor as cause, since (the Father) would be similarly greater than He and than we, if He is cause of Him and of us. The words express rather the honour given by the Son to the Father than any depreciation by the speaker; moreover what is greater is not necessarily of a different essence. Man is called greater than man, and horse than horse. If the Father is called greater, it does not immediately follow that He is of another substance. In a word, the comparison lies between beings of one substance, not between those of different substances. 375
“A man is not properly said to be greater than a brute, than an inanimate thing, but man than man and brute than brute. The Father is therefore of one substance with the Son, even though He be called greater.” 376
“If the Son is the Creator of the world, and does not know the time of the judgment, then He does not know what He created. For He said that He was ignorant not of the judgment, but of the time. How can this be otherwise than absurd?
“If the Son has not knowledge of all things whereof the Father has knowledge, then He spake untruly when He said All things that the Father hath are mine 378 and As the Father knoweth me so know I the Father. 379 If there is a distinction between knowing the Father and knowing the things that the Father hath, and if, in proportion as every one is greater than what is his, it is greater to know the Father than to know what is His, then the Son, though He knew the greater (for no man knoweth the Father save the Son), 380 did not know the less.
“This is impossible. He was silent concerning the season of the judgment, because it was not expedient for men to hear. Constant expectation kindles a warmer zeal for true religion. The knowledge that a long interval of time was to elapse would have made men more careless about true religion, from the hope of being saved by a subsequent change of p. xxxix life. How could He who had known everything up to this time (for so He said) not know that hour also? If so, the Apostle vainly said In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 381
“If the Holy Spirit, who searcheth the deep things of God, 382 cannot be ignorant of anything that is Gods, then, as they who will not even allow Him to be equal must contend, the Holy Ghost is greater than the Son.” 383
On Matt. xxvi. 39. Father, if it be Possible, let this Cup pass from Me.
“If the Son really said, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, He not only shewed His own cowardice and weakness, but implied that there might be something impossible to the Father. The words if it be possible are those of one in doubt, and not thoroughly assured that the Father could save Him. How could not He who gave the boon of life to corpses much rather be able to preserve life in the living? Wherefore then did not He Who had raised Lazarus and many of the dead supply life to Himself? Why did He ask life from the Father, saying, in His fear, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me? If He was dying unwillingly, He had not yet humbled Himself; He had not yet been made obedient to the Father unto death; 384 He had not given Himself, as the Apostle says, who gave Himself for our sins, 385 a ransom. 386 If He was dying willingly, what need of the words Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away? No: this must not be understood of Himself; it must be understood of those who were on the point of sinning against Him, to prevent them from sinning; when crucified in their behalf He said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. 387 We must not understand words spoken in accordance with the œconomy 388 to be spoken simply.”
“If the Son lives on account of 390 the Father, He lives on account of another, and not of Himself. But He who lives on account of another cannot be Self-life. 391 So He who is holy of grace is not holy of himself. 392 Then the Son did not speak truly when He said, I am the life, 393 and again the Son quickeneth whom He will. 394 We must therefore understand the words to be spoken in reference to the incarnation, and not to the Godhead.”
On John v. 19. The Son can do Nothing of Himself.
“If freedom of action 395 is better than subjection to control, 396 and a man is free, while the Son of God is subject to control, then the man is better than the Son. This is absurd. And if he who is subject to control cannot create free beings (for he cannot of his own will confer on others what he does not possess himself), then the Saviour, since He made us free, cannot Himself be under the control of any.”
“If the Son could do nothing of Himself, and could only act at the bidding of the Father, He is neither good nor bad. He was not responsible for anything that was done. Consider the absurdity of the position that men should be free agents both of good and evil, while the Son, who is God, should be able to do nothing of His own authority!”
On John xv. 1. “I am the Vine.”
“If, say they, the Saviour is a vine, and we are branches, but the Father is husbandman; and if the branches are of one nature with the vine, and the vine is not of one nature with the husbandman; then the Son is of one nature with us, and we are a part of Him, but the Son is not of one nature with, but in all respects of a nature foreign to, the Father, I shall reply to them that He called us branches not of His Godhead, but of His flesh, as the Apostle says, we are the body of Christ, and members in particular, 397 and again, know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? 398 and in other places, as is p. xl the earthy, such are they that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, let us all bear the image of the heavenly. 399 If the head of the man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God, 400 and man is not of one substance with Christ, Who is God (for man is not God), but Christ is of one substance with God (for He is God) therefore God is not the head of Christ in the same sense as Christ is the head of man. The natures of the creature and the creative Godhead do not exactly coincide. God is head of Christ, as Father; Christ is head of us, as Maker. If the will of the Father is that we should believe in His Son (for this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life), 401 the Son is not a Son of will. That we should believe in Him is (an injunction) found with Him, or before Him.” 402
On Mark x. 18. There is none Good, etc.
“If the Saviour is not good, He is necessarily bad. For He is simple, and His character does not admit of any intermediate quality. How can it be otherwise than absurd that the Creator of good should be bad? And if life is good, and the words of the Son are life, as He Himself said, the words which I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life, 403 in what sense, when He hears one of the Pharisees address Him as good Master does He rejoin, There is none good but One, that is God? It was not when He had heard no more than good that he said, there is none good, but when He had heard good Master. He answered as to one tempting Him, as the gospel expresses it, or to one ignorant, that God is good, and not simply a good master.”
On John xvii. 5. Father, glorify Me.
“If when the Son asked to be glorified of the Father He was asking in respect of His Godhead, and not of His manhood, He asked for what He did not possess. Therefore the evangelist speaks falsely when he says we beheld His glory; 404 and the apostle, in the words They would not have crucified the Lord of glory, 405 and David in the words And the King of glory shall come in. 406 It is not therefore an increase of glory which he asks. He asks that there may be a manifestation of the œconomy. 407 Again, if He really asked that the glory which He had before the world might be given Him of the Father, He asked it because He had lost it. He would never have sought to receive that of which He was in possession. But if this was the case, He had lost not only the glory, but also the Godhead. For the glory is inseparable from the Godhead. Therefore, according to Photinus, 408 He was mere man. It is then clear that He spoke these words in accordance with the œconomy of the manhood, and not through failure in the Godhead.”
On Coloss. i. 15. Firstborn of every Creature.
“If before the creation the Son was not a generated being but a created being, 409 He would have been called first created and not firstborn. 410 If, because He is called first p. xli begotten of creation He is first created, then because He is called first begotten of the dead 411 He would be the first of the dead who died. If on the other hand He is called first begotten of the dead because of His being the cause of the resurrection from the dead, He is in the same manner called first begotten of creation, because He is the cause of the bringing of the creature from the non existent into being. If His being called first begotten of creation indicates that He came first into being then the Apostle, when he said, all things were created by Him and for Him 412 ought to have added, And He came into being first of all. But in saying He is before all things, 413 he indicated that He exists eternally, while the creature came into being. Is in the passage in question is in harmony with the words In the beginning was the Word. 414 It is urged that if the Son is first begotten, He cannot be only begotten, and that there must needs be some other, in comparison with whom He is styled first begotten. Yet, O wise objector, though He is the only Son born of the Virgin Mary, He is called her first born. For it is said, Till she brought forth her first born Son. 415 There is therefore no need of any brother in comparison with whom He is styled first begotten. 416
“It might also be said that one who was before all generation was called first begotten, and moreover in respect of them who are begotten of God through the adoption of the Holy Ghost, as Paul says, For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.” 417
“If it is the incarnate Lord who says I am the way, 419 and No man cometh unto the Father but by me, 420 it is He Himself Who said, The Lord created me beginning of ways. The word is also used of the creation and making of a begotten being, 421 as I have created a man through the Lord, 422 and again He begat sons and daughters, 423 and so David, Create in me a clean heart, O God, 424 not asking for another, but for the cleansing of the heart he had. And a new creature is spoken of, not as though another creation came into being, but because the enlightened are established in better works. If the Father created the Son for works, He created Him not on account of Himself, but on account of the works. But that which comes into being on account of something else, and not on its own account, is either a part of that on account of which it came into being, or is inferior. The Saviour will then be either a part of the creature, or inferior to the creature. We must understand the passage of the manhood. And it might be said that Solomon uttered these words of the same wisdom whereof the Apostle makes mention in the passage For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God. 425 It must moreover be borne in mind that the speaker is not a prophet, but a writer of proverbs. Now proverbs are figures of other things, not the actual things which are uttered. If it was God the Son Who said, The Lord created me, He would rather have said, The Father created me. Nowhere did He call Him Lord, but always Father. The word begot, then, must be understood in reference to God the Son, and the word created, in reference to Him who took on Him the form of a servant. In all these cases we do not mention two, God apart and man apart (for He was One), but in thought we take into account the nature of each. Peter had not two in his mind when he said, Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh. 426 If, they argue, the Son is a thing begotten and not a thing made, how does Scripture say, Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ? 427 We must also say here that p. xlii this was spoken according to the flesh about the Son of Man; just as the angel who announced the glad tidings to the shepherds says, To you is born to-day a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord. 428 The word to-day could never be understood of Him Who was before the ages. This is more clearly shewn by what comes afterwards where it is said, That same Jesus whom ye have crucified. 429 If when the Son was born 430 He was then made wisdom, it is untrue that He was the power of God and the wisdom of God. 431 His wisdom did not come into being, but existed always. And so, as though of the Father, it is said by David, Be thou, God, my defender, 432 and again, thou art become my salvation, 433 and so Paul, Let God be true, but every man a liar. 434 Thus the Lord of God is made unto us wisdom and sanctification and redemption. 435 Now when the Father was made defender and true, He was not a thing made; and similarly when the Son was made wisdom and sanctification, He was not a thing made. If it is true that there is one God the Father, it is assuredly also true that there is one Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour. According to them the Saviour is not God nor the Father Lord, and it is written in vain, the Lord said unto my Lord. 436 False is the statement, Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee. 437 False too, The Lord rained from the Lord. 438 False, God created in the image of God, 439 and Who is God save the Lord? 440 and Who is a God save our God. 441 False the statement of John that the Word was God and the Word was with God; 442 and the words of Thomas of the Son, my Lord and my God. 443 The distinctions, then, ought to be referred to creatures and to those who are falsely and not properly called gods, and not to the Father and to the Son.”
On John xvii. 3. That they may know Thee, the only true God.
“The true (sing.) is spoken of in contradistinction to the false (pl.). But He is incomparable, because in comparison with all He is in all things superexcellent. When Jeremiah said of the Son, This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison with Him, 444 did he describe Him as greater even than the Father? That the Son also is true God, John himself declares in the Epistle, That we may know the only true God, and we are (in Him that is true, even) in his (true) Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 445 It would be wrong, on account of the words There shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him, to understand the Son to be greater than the Father; nor must we suppose the Father to be the only true God. Both expressions must be used in connexion with those who are falsely styled, but are not really, gods. In the same way it is said in Deuteronomy, So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him. 446 If God is alone invisible and wise, it does not at once follow that He is greater than all in all things. But the God Who is over all is necessarily superior to all. Did the Apostle, when he styled the Saviour God over all, describe Him as greater than the Father? The idea is absurd. The passage in question must be viewed in the same manner. The great God cannot be less than a different God. When the Apostle said of the Son, we look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, 447 did he think of Him as greater than the Father? 448 It is the Son, not the Father, Whose appearance and advent we are waiting for. These terms are thus used without distinction of both the Father and the Son, and no exact nicety is observed in their employment. Being equally with God 449 is identical with being equal with God. 450 Since the Son thought it not robbery to be equal with God, how can He be unlike and unequal to God? Jews are nearer true religion than Eunomius. Whenever the Saviour called Himself no more than Son of God, as though it were due to the Son, if He be really Son, to be Himself equal to the Father, they wished, it is said, to stone Him, not only because He was breaking the Sabbath, but because, by saying that God was His own Father, He made Himself equal with God. 451 Therefore, even though p. xliii Eunomius is unwilling that it should be so, according both to the Apostle and to the Saviours own words, the Son is equal with the Father.”
“If the Son has not authority over the judgment, and power to benefit some and chastise others, how could He say, The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son? 453 And in another place, The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins; 454 and again, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; 455 and to Peter, I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; 456 and to the disciples, Verily, I say unto you that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration,…shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 457 The explanation is clear from the Scripture, since the Saviour said, Then will I reward every man according to his work; 458 and in another place, They that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. 459 And the Apostle says, We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 460 It is therefore the part of the recipients to make themselves worthy of a seat on the left and on the right of the Lord: it is not the part of Him Who is able to give it, even though the request be unjust.” 461
On Ps. xviii. 31, LXX. Who is God, save the Lord? Who is God save our God?
“It has already been sufficiently demonstrated that the Scriptures employ these expressions and others of a similar character not of the Son, but of the so-called gods who were not really so. I have shewn this from the fact that in both the Old and the New Testament the son is frequently styled both God and Lord. David makes this still clearer when he says, Who is like unto Thee? 462 and adds, among the gods, O Lord, and Moses, in the words, So the Lord alone did lead them, and there was no strange god with him. 463 And yet although, as the Apostle says, the Saviour was with them, They drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ, 464 and Jeremiah, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth,…let them perish under the heavens. 465 The Son is not meant among these, for He is himself Creator of all. It is then the idols and images of the heathen who are meant alike by the preceding passage and by the words, I am the first God and I am the last, and beside me there is no God, 466 and also, Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me, 467 and Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 468 None of these passages must be understood as referring to the Son.”
The Fifth Book against Eunomius is on the Holy Spirit, and therefore, even if it were of indubitable genuineness, it would be of comparatively little importance, as the subject is fully discussed in the treatise of his mature life. A reason advanced against its genuineness has been the use concerning the Holy Ghost of the term God. (§ 3.) But it has been replied that the reserve which St. Basil practiced after his elevation to the episcopate was but for a special and temporary purpose. He calls the Spirit God in Ep. VIII. §11. At the time of the publication of the Books against Eunomius there would be no such reason for any “economy” 469 as in 374.
(ii) De Spiritu Sancto. To the illustration and elucidation of this work I have little to add to what is furnished, however inadequately, by the translation and notes in the following pages. The famous treatise of St. Basil was one of several put out about the same time by the champions of the Catholic cause. Amphilochius, to whom it was p. xliv addressed, was the author of a work which Jerome describes (De Vir. Ill., cxxxiii.) as arguing that He is God Almighty, and to be worshipped. The Ancoratus of Epiphanius was issued in 373 in support of the same doctrine. At about the same time Didymus, the blind master of the catechetical school at Alexandria, wrote a treatise which is extant in St. Jeromes Latin; and of which the work of St. Ambrose, composed in 381, for the Emperor Gratian, is “to a considerable extent an echo.” 470
So in East and West a vigorous defence was maintained against the Macedonian assault. The Catholic position is exactly defined in the Synodical Letter sent by Damasus to Paulinus of Tyre in 378. 471 Basil died at the crisis of the campaign, and with no bright Pisgah view of the ultimate passage into peace. The generalship was to pass into other hands. There is something of the irony of fate, or of the mystery of Providence, in the fact that the voice condemned by Basil to struggle against the mean din and rattle of Sasima should be the vehicle for impressing on the empire the truths which Basil held dear. Gregory of Sasima was no archiepiscopal success at Constantinople. He was not an administrator or a man of the world. But he was a great divine and orator, and the imperial basilica of the Athanasia rang with outspoken declarations of the same doctrines, which Basil had more cautiously suggested to inevitable inference. The triumph was assured, Gregory was enthroned in St. Sophia, and under Theodosius the Catholic Faith was safe from molestation.
Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, καὶ εἰς Κύριον Ιησοῦν Χριστὸν, τὸν ῾Υιὸν αὐτοῦ, τὸν ἐξ αὐτοῦ πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰ& 240·νων γεγεννημενον, Θεὸν Λόγον, δι᾽ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο τά τε ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὸν κατελθόντα, καὶ σαρκωθέντα, καὶ παθόντα, καὶ ἀναστάντα, καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς· καὶ εἰς τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα· καὶ εἰς σαρκὸς ἀναστάσιν· καὶ εἰς ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰ& 242·νος· καὶ εἰς Βασιλείαν οὐρανῶν· καὶ εἰς μίαν καθολικὴν ἐκκλησιαν τοῦ θεοῦ τὴν ἀπὸ περάτων ἑ& 241·ς περάτων.xxxiv:313
Εκθεσις τῆς πίστεως, published in the notes of Valesius to Soc., Ecc. Hist. v. 12. This was offered to Theodosius after the Council of Constantinople. The Son is πρωτότοκον πάσης κτίσεως, and πρὸ πάσης κτίσεως γενόμενον, but οὐκ ἄκτιστον. The οὔτε τῷ Υἱ& 254· συνεξισούμενον οὔτε μὴν ἄλλῳ τινὶ συντασσόμενον… πρῶτον ἔργον καὶ κρὰτιστον τοῦ Μονογενοῦς. cf. St. Aug., De Hær. liv., “Eunomius asserted that the Son was altogether dissimilar to the Father and the Spirit to the Son,” and Philostrius, De Hær. lxviii., who represents the Eunomians as believing in three essences descending in value like gold, silver, and copper. Vide Swete, Doctrine of the Holy Ghost, p. 61.xxxiv:314 xxxiv:315 xxxiv:316 xxxiv:317
Matt. xxviii. 19. Adv. Eun. i. 5.xxxiv:318 xxxiv:319 xxxiv:320 xxxiv:321 xxxiv:322 xxxiv:323
i.e. Lucifer, cf. Is. xiv. 13.xxxv:324 xxxv:325 xxxv:326 xxxv:327 xxxv:328 xxxv:329 xxxv:330 xxxv:331 xxxv:332 xxxv:333 xxxv:334 xxxv:335 xxxv:336 xxxv:337 xxxv:338 xxxv:339 xxxvi:340 xxxvi:341 xxxvi:342 xxxvi:343 xxxvi:344 xxxvi:345 xxxvi:346 xxxvi:347
συνυπάρχουσαν καὶ παρυφεστηκυῖαν τῷ πρωτοτύπῳ ὑποστήσαντι. Expressions of this kind, used even by Basil, may help to explain the earlier Nicene sense of ὑπόστασις. The Son has, as it were, a parallel hypostasis to that of the Father, Who eternally furnishes this hypostasis. cf. p. 195, n.xxxvi:348 xxxvi:349 xxxvi:350 xxxvi:351
ἀπαύγασμα. cf. Heb. i. 13.xxxvi:352 xxxvi:353
Ps. cx. 3, LXX.xxxvi:354 xxxvi:355 xxxvi:356 xxxvi:357 xxxvi:358 xxxvii:359 xxxvii:360 xxxvii:361 xxxvii:362 xxxvii:363 xxxvii:364 xxxvii:365 xxxvii:366 xxxvii:367 xxxvii:368
cf. John xvii. 10.xxxvii:369 xxxvii:370 xxxvii:371 xxxvii:372 xxxviii:373 xxxviii:374 xxxviii:375 xxxviii:376
It will be noted that Basil explains this passage on different grounds from those suggested by the Clause in the Athanasian Creed, on which Waterlands remark is that it “needs no comment.” St. Athanasius himself interpreted the “minority” not of the humanity, or of the special subordination of the time when the words were uttered. cf. Ath., Orat. c. Ar. i. § 58: “The Son says not my Father is better than I, lest we should conceive Him to be foreign to His nature, but greater, not indeed in size, nor in time, but because of His generation from the Father Himself; nay, in saying greater, He again shews that He is proper to His essence” (Newmans transl.). The explanation given in Letter viii., p. 118, does include the inferiority as touching His manhood.xxxviii:377 xxxviii:378 xxxviii:379 xxxviii:380 xxxix:381 xxxix:382 xxxix:383 xxxix:384
cf. Phil. ii. 8.xxxix:385 xxxix:386 xxxix:387 xxxix:388
cf. pp. 7 and 12. Most commentators that I am acquainted with write on the lines of Bengel, “poculum a patre oblatum, tota passionis massa plenum.” cf. Athanasius, “the terror was of the flesh.” C. Arian. Orat. III., § xxix., Amphilochius, Apud Theod. Dial. iii., and Chrysost., Hom. in Matt. lxxxiii.xxxix:389 xxxix:390 xxxix:391 xxxix:392 xxxix:393 xxxix:394 xxxix:395 xxxix:396 xxxix:397 xxxix:398 xl:399 xl:400 xl:401 xl:402
i.e.simultaneous with, or even anterior to, His advent. Maran hesitates as to the meaning of the phrase, and writes: “Suspicor tamen intelligi sic posse. Quanquam voluntas patris est ut in Filium credamus, non tamen propterea sequitur, Filium ex voluntate esse. Nam credere nos oportet in Filium, ut primum in hunc mundum venit, imo antequam etiam naturam humanam assumeret, cum patriarchæ et Judæi prisci ad salutem consequendam in Christum venturum credere necesse habuerint. Itaque cum debeamus necessario credere in Filium omni ætate et tempore; hinc efficitur, Filium esse natura, non voluntate, neque adoptione. Si voluntas est Patris ut nos in ejus Filium credamus, non est ex voluntate Filius, quippe nostra in ipsum fides aut cum ipso aut ante ipsum invenitur. Subtilis hæc ratiocinatio illustratur ex alia simili, quæ reperitur (i.e. at the beginning of Book IV.). Si fides in Filium nostra opus est Dei, ipse Dei opus esse non potest. Nam fides in ipsum et ipse non idem.”xl:403 xl:404 xl:405 xl:406 xl:407 xl:408
On Photinus cf. Socrates, Ecc. Hist. ii. 29, and Theodoret, Hær. Fab. iii. 1, and Epiphanius, Hær. lxxi. § 2. The question as to what Synod condemned and deposed him has been thought to have been settled in favour of that of Sirmium in 349. (D.C.B. iv. 394.) cf. Hefeles Councils, tr. Oxenham, ii. 188.xl:409
οὐ γέννημα ἀλλὰ κτίσμα. The use of the word γέννημα in this book is one of the arguments alleged against its genuineness, for in Book. II., Capp. 6, 7, and 8. Basil objects to it; but in the same Book II., Cap. 32, he uses it apparently without objection in the sentence ἐκ τοῦ γεννήματος νοῆσαι ῥ& 140·διον τοῦ γεγεννηκότος τὴν φύσιν. Maran, Vit. Bas. xliii. 7.xl:410
The English word firstborn is not an exact rendering of the Greek πρωτότοκος, and in its theological use it may lead to confusion. “Bear” and its correlatives in English are only used of the mother. τίκτω (¶TEK. cf. Ger. Zeug.) is used indifferently of both father and mother. πρωτότοκος is exactly rendered firstborn in Luke ii. 7; but first begotten, as in A.V. Heb. i. 6, and Rev. i. 5, more precisely renders the word in the text, and in such passages as Ex. xiii. 2, and Psalm lxxxix. 28, which are Messianically applied to the divine Word. So early as Clemens Alexandrinus the only begotten and first begotten had been contrasted with the first created, and highest order of created being. With him may be compared Tertullian, Adv. Prax. 7, Adv. Marc. v. 19, Hippolytus, Hær. x. 33, Origen, C. Cels. vi. 47, 63, 64, In Ioann. 1, § 22 (iv. p. 21), xix. § 5 (p. 305), xxviii. § 14 (p. 392), Cyprian, Test. ii. 1, Novatian, De Trin. 16. On the history and uses of the word, see the exhaustive note of Bp. Lightfoot on Col. i. 15.xli:411 xli:412 xli:413 xli:414 xli:415 xli:416
Jeromes Tract on the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin appeared about 383, and was written at Rome in the episcopate of Damasus (363–384). The work of Helvidius which Jerome controverted was not published till about 380, and there can be no reference to him in the passage in the text. Basil is contending against the general Arian inference, rather than against any individual statement as to who the “Brethren of the Lord” were. cf. also dub. Hom. in Sanct. Christ. Gen. p. 600. Ed. Garn. On the whole subject see Bp. Lightfoot, in his Ep. to the Galatians, E. S. Ffoulkes in D.C.B. s.v. Helvidius, and Archdeacon Farrar in his Life of Christ, chap. vii., who warmly supports the Helvidian theory in opposition to the almost universal belief of the early Church. Basil evidently has no more idea that the ἕως οὗ of Matt. i. 25, implies anything as to events subsequent to the τόκος than the author of 2 Sam. 6:23. had when he said that Michal had no child till (LXX. ἕως) the day of her death, or St. Paul had that Christs reigning till (ἄχρις οὗ) He had put all enemies under His feet implied that He would not reign afterwards. Too much importance must not be given to niceties of usage in Hellenistic Greek, but it is a well-known distinction in Attic Greek that πρίν with the infinitive is employed where the action is not asserted to take place, while it is used with the indicative of a past fact. Had St. Matthew written πρίν συνῆλθον, the Helvidians might have laid still greater stress than they did on the argument from Matt. i. 18, which St. Jerome ridicules. His writing πρὶν ἢ συνελθεῖν is what might have been expected if he wished simply to assert that the conception was not preceded by any cohabitation.xli:417 xli:418 xli:419 xli:420 xli:421 xli:422
The Heb. verb here is the same as in Prov. viii. 22, though rendered ἐκτησάμην in the LXX.xli:423
Gen. v. 4. Here Basil has ἐποίησεν for the LXX. ἐγέννησεν, representing another Hebrew verb.xli:424
Ps. li. 10 καρδίαν καθαρὰν κτίσον.xli:425 xli:426 xli:427 xlii:428 xlii:429 xlii:430 xlii:431 xlii:432
Ps. xxxi. 2, LXX.xlii:433 xlii:434 xlii:435 xlii:436 xlii:437 xlii:438 xlii:439 xlii:440 xlii:441 xlii:442 xlii:443 xlii:444
Baruch iii. 35. The quoting of Baruch under the name of Jeremiah has been explained by the fact that in the LXX. Baruch was placed with the Lamentations, and was regarded in the early Church as of equal authority with Jeremiah. It was commonly so quoted, e.g. by Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Tertullian. So Theodoret, Dial. i. (in this edition, p. 165, where cf. note).xlii:445
1 John v. 20. There is some MS. authority for the insertion of “God” in the first clause, but none for the omission of the former ἐν τῷ.xlii:446 xlii:447 xlii:448
St. Basil, with the mass of the Greek Orthodox Fathers, has no idea of any such interpretation of Tit. ii. 13, as Alford endeavours to support. cf. Theodoret, pp. 391 and 321, and notes.xlii:449
τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ, as in Phil. ii. 6, tr. in A.V. to be equal with God; R.V. has to be on an equality with God.xlii:450 xlii:451 xliii:452
I do not here render with the Arian gloss of A.V., infelicitously reproduced in the equally inexact translation of R.V. The insertion of the words “it shall be given” and “it is” is apparently due to a pedantic prejudice against translating ἀλλά by “save” or “except,” a rendering which is supported in classical Greek by such a passage as Soph., O.T. 1331, and in Hellenistic Greek by Mark ix. 8. The Vulgate has, quite correctly, “non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est a patre meo,” so far as the preservation of the Son as the giver is concerned. A similar error is to be found in both the French and German (Luthers) of Bagsters polyglot edition. Wiclif has correctly, “is not myn to geve to you but to whiche it is made redi of my fadir.” So Tyndale, “is not myne to geve but to them for whom it is prepared of my father.” The gloss begins with Cranmer (1539), “it shall chance unto them that it is prepared for,” and first appears in the Geneva of 1557 as the A.V. has perpetuated it. The Rheims follows the vobis of the Vulgate, but is otherwise correct. cf. note on Theodoret in this edition, p. 169.xliii:453 xliii:454 xliii:455 xliii:456 xliii:457 xliii:458
cf. Matt. xvi. 27.xliii:459 xliii:460 xliii:461
These last words are explained by a Scholium to the MS. Reg. II. to be a reference to the unreasonable petition of James and John. It will be seen how totally opposed Basils interpretation is to that required by the gloss of A.V.xliii:462 xliii:463 xliii:464 xliii:465
Jer. x. 2, LXX.xliii:466
Is. xliv. 6, “God” inserted.xliii:467 xliii:468 xliii:469 xliv:470
Swete, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, p. 71, who further notes: “St. Jerome is severe upon St. Ambrose for copying Didymus, and says that the Archbishop of Milan had produced “ex Græcis bonis Latina non bona. The work of the Latin Father is, however, by no means a mere copy; and other writers besides Didymus are laid under contribution in the argument; e.g. St. Basil and perhaps St. Athanasius.”xliv:471