Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
De Spiritu Sancto.: Of the origin of the word “with,” and what force it has. Also concerning the unwritten laws of the church.
Of the origin of the word “with,” and what force it has. Also concerning the unwritten laws of the church.
65. The word “in,” say our opponents, “is exactly appropriate to the Spirit, and sufficient for every thought concerning Him. Why then, they ask, have we introduced this new phrase, saying, “with the Spirit” instead of “in the Holy Spirit,” thus employing an expression which is quite unnecessary, and sanctioned by no usage in the churches? Now it has been asserted in the previous portion of this treatise that the word “in” has not been specially allotted to the Holy Spirit, but is common to the Father and the Son. It has also been, in my opinion, sufficiently demonstrated that, so far from detracting anything from the dignity of the Spirit, it leads all, but those whose thoughts are wholly perverted, to the sublimest height. It remains for me to trace the origin of the word “with;” to explain what force it has, and to shew that it is in harmony with Scripture.
66. 1268 Of the beliefs and practices whether p. 41 generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church 1269 some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in a mystery” 1270 by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay;—no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more. 1271 For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying 1272 of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. p. 42 Moreover we bless the water of baptism and the oil of the chrism, and besides this the catechumen who is being baptized. On what written authority do we do this? Is not our authority silent and mystical tradition? Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil 1273 itself taught? And whence comes the custom of baptizing thrice? 1274 And as to the other customs of baptism from what Scripture do we derive the renunciation of Satan and his angels? Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation? Well had they learnt the lesson that the awful dignity of the mysteries is best preserved by silence. What the uninitiated are not even allowed to look at was hardly likely to be publicly paraded about in written documents. What was the meaning of the mighty Moses in not making all the parts of the tabernacle open to every one? The profane he stationed without the sacred barriers; the first courts he conceded to the purer; the Levites alone he judged worthy of being servants of the Deity; sacrifices and burnt offerings and the rest of the priestly functions he allotted to the priests; one chosen out of all he admitted to the shrine, and even this one not always but on only one day in the year, and of this one day a time was fixed for his entry so that he might gaze on the Holy of Holies amazed at the strangeness and novelty of the sight. Moses was wise enough to know that contempt stretches to the trite and to the obvious, while a keen interest is naturally associated with the unusual and the unfamiliar. In the same manner the Apostles and Fathers who laid down laws for the Church from the beginning thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices, that the knowledge of our dogmas may not become neglected and contemned by the multitude through familiarity. “Dogma” and “Kerugma” are two distinct things; the former is observed in silence; the latter is proclaimed to all the world. One form of this silence is the obscurity employed in Scripture, which makes the meaning of “dogmas” difficult to be understood for the very advantage of the reader: Thus we all look to the East 1275 at our prayers, but few of us know that we are seeking our own old country, 1276 Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East. 1277 We pray standing, 1278 on the first day of the week, but we do not all know the reason. On the day of the resurrection (or “standing again” Grk. ἀνάστασις) we remind ourselves of the grace given to us by standing at prayer, not only because we rose with Christ, 1279 and are bound to “seek those things which are above,” 1280 but because the day seems to us to be in some sense an image of the age which we expect, wherefore, though it is the beginning of days, it is not called by Moses first, but one. 1281 For he says “There was evening, and there was morning, one day,” as though the same day often recurred. Now “one” and “eighth” are the same, in itself distinctly indicating that really “one” and “eighth” of which the Psalmist makes mention in certain titles of the Psalms, the state which follows after this present time, the day which knows no waning or eventide, and no successor, that age which endeth not or groweth old. 1282 Of necessity, then, the church teaches her own foster children to offer their prayers on that day standing, to the end that through continual reminder of the endless life we may not neglect to make provision for our removal thither. Moreover all Pentecost is a reminder of the resurrection expected in the age to come. For that one and first day, if seven times multiplied by seven, completes the seven weeks of the holy Pentecost; for, beginning at the first, Pentecost ends with the same, making fifty revolutions through the like intervening days. And so it is a likeness of eternity, beginning as it does and ending, as in a circling course, at the same point. On this day the rules of the church have educated us to prefer the upright attitude of prayer, for by their plain reminder they, as it were, make our mind to dwell no longer in the present but in the future. Moreover every time we fall upon our knees and rise p. 43 from off them we shew by the very deed that by our sin we fell down to earth, and by the loving kindness of our Creator were called back to heaven.
67. Time will fail me if I attempt to recount the unwritten mysteries of the Church. Of the rest I say nothing; but of the very confession of our faith in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what is the written source? If it be granted that, as we are baptized, so also under the obligation to believe, we make our confession in like terms as our baptism, in accordance with the tradition of our baptism and in conformity with the principles of true religion, let our opponents grant us too the right to be as consistent in our ascription of glory as in our confession of faith. If they deprecate our doxology on the ground that it lacks written authority, let them give us the written evidence for the confession of our faith and the other matters which we have enumerated. While the unwritten traditions are so many, and their bearing on “the mystery of godliness” 1283 is so important, can they refuse to allow us a single word which has come down to us from the Fathers;—which we found, derived from untutored custom, abiding in unperverted churches;—a word for which the arguments are strong, and which contributes in no small degree to the completeness of the force of the mystery?
68. The force of both expressions has now been explained. I will proceed to state once more wherein they agree and wherein they differ from one another;—not that they are opposed in mutual antagonism, but that each contributes its own meaning to true religion. The preposition “in” states the truth rather relatively to ourselves; while “with” proclaims the fellowship of the Spirit with God. Wherefore we use both words, by the one expressing the dignity of the Spirit; by the other announcing the grace that is with us. Thus we ascribe glory to God both “in” the Spirit, and “with” the Spirit; and herein it is not our word that we use, but we follow the teaching of the Lord as we might a fixed rule, and transfer His word to things connected and closely related, and of which the conjunction in the mysteries is necessary. We have deemed ourselves under a necessary obligation to combine in our confession of the faith Him who is numbered with Them at Baptism, and we have treated the confession of the faith as the origin and parent of the doxology. What, then, is to be done? They must now instruct us either not to baptize as we have received, or not to believe as we were baptized, or not to ascribe glory as we have believed. Let any man prove if he can that the relation of sequence in these acts is not necessary and unbroken; or let any man deny if he can that innovation here must mean ruin everywhere. Yet they never stop dinning in our ears that the ascription of glory “with” the Holy Spirit is unauthorized and unscriptural and the like. We have stated that so far as the sense goes it is the same to say “glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost,” and “glory be to the Father and to the Son with the Holy Ghost.” It is impossible for any one to reject or cancel the syllable “and,” which is derived from the very words of our Lord, and there is nothing to hinder the acceptance of its equivalent. What amount of difference and similarity there is between the two we have already shewn. And our argument is confirmed by the fact that the Apostle uses either word indifferently,—saying at one time “in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God;” 1284 at another “when ye are gathered together, and my Spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,” 1285 with no idea that it makes any difference to the connexion of the names whether he use the conjunction or the preposition.
The genuineness of this latter portion of the Treatise was objected to by Erasmus on the ground that the style is unlike that of Basils soberer writings. Bp. Jeremy Taylor follows Erasmus (Vol. vi. ed. 1852, p. 427). It was vindicated by Casaubon, who recalls St. John Damascenes quotation of the Thirty Chapters to Amphilochius. Mr. C.F.H. Johnston remarks, “The later discovery of the Syriac Paraphrases of the whole book pushes back this argument to about one hundred years from the date of St. Basils writing. The peculiar care taken by St. Basil for the writing out of the treatise, and for its safe arrival in Amphilochius hands, and the value set upon it by the friends of both, make the forgery of half the present book, and the substitution of it for the original within that period, almost incredible.” Section 66 is quoted as an authoritative statement on the right use of Tradition “as a guide to the right understanding of Holy Scripture, for the right ministration of the Sacraments, and the preservation of sacred rights and ceremonies in the purity of their original institution,” in Philarets Longer Catechism of the Eastern Church.
St. Basil is, however, strong on the supremacy of Holy Scripture, as in the passages quoted in Bp. H. Browne, On the xxxix Articles: “Believe those things which are written; the things which are not written seek not.” (Hom. xxix. adv. Calum. S. Trin.) “It is a manifest defection from the faith, and a proof of arrogance, either to reject anything of what is written, or to introduce anything that is not.” (De Fide. i.) cf. also Letters CV. and CLIX. On the right use of Tradition cf. Hooker, Ecc. Pol. lxv. 2, “Lest, therefore, the name of tradition should be offensive to any, considering how far by some it hath been and is abused, we mean by traditions ordinances made in the prime of Christian Religion, established with that authority which Christ hath left to His Church for matters indifferent, and in that consideration requisite to be observed, till like authority see just and reasonable causes to alter them. So that traditions ecclesiastical are not rudely and in gross to be shaken off, because the inventors of them were men.”
cf. Tert., De Præsc. 36, 20, 21, “Constat omnem doctrinam quæ cum illis ecclesiis apostolicis matricibus et originalibus fidei conspiret veritati deputandam, id sine dubio tenentem quod ecclesiæ ab apostolis, apostoli a Christo, Christus a Deo accepit.” VideThomasius, Christ. Dogm. i. 105.41:1269
“τῶς ἐν τῇ Εκκλησί& 139· πεφυλαγμένων δογμάτων καὶ κηρυγμάτων.” To give the apparent meaning of the original seems impossible except by some such paraphrase as the above. In Scripture δόγμα, which occurs five times (Luke 2:1, Acts 16:4, Acts 17:7, Eph. 2:15, Col. 2:14), always has its proper sense of decree or ordinances. cf. Bp. Lightfoot, on Col. ii. 14, and his contention that the Greek Fathers generally have mistaken the force of the passage in understanding δόγματα in both Col. and Eph. to mean the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel. Κήρυγμα occurs eight times (Matt. 12:41, Luke 11:32, Rom. 16:25, 1 Cor. 1:21, 1 Cor. 2:4, 1 Cor. 15:14, 2 Tim. 4:17, Titus 1:3), always in the sense of preaching or proclamation.
“The later Christian sense of δόγμα, meaning doctrine, came from its secondary classical use, where it was applied to the authoritative and categorical sentences of the philosophers: cf. Just. Mart., Apol. i. 7. οἰ ἐν ῞Ελλησι τὰ αὐτοῖς ἀρεστὰ δογματίσαντες ἐκ παντὸς τῷ ενὶ ὀνόματι φιλοσοφίας προσαγορεύοντα, καίπερ τῶν δογμάτων ἐναντίων ὄντων.” [All the sects in general among the Greeks are known by the common name of philosophy, though their doctrines are different.] Cic., Acad. ii. 19. De suis decretis quæ philosophi vocant δόγματα.…There is an approach towards the ecclesiastical meaning in Ignat., Mag. 13, βεβαιωθῆσαι ἐν τοῖς δόγμασι τοῦ κυρίου καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων.” Bp. Lightfoot in Col. ii. 14. The “doctrines” of heretics are also called δόγματα, as in Basil, Ep. CCLXI. and Socr., E. H. iii. 10. cf. Bp. Bull, in Serm. 2, “The dogmata or tenets of the Sadducees.” In Orig., c. Cels. iii. p. 135, Ed. Spencer, 1658, δόγμα is used of the gospel or teaching of our Lord.
The special point about St. Basils use of δόγματα is that he uses the word of doctrines and practices privately and tacitly sanctioned in the Church (like ἀπόρρητα, which is used of the esoteric doctrine of the Pythagoreans, Plat., Phæd. 62. B.), while he reserves κηρύγματα for what is now often understood by δόγματα, i.e. “legitima synodo decreta.” cf. Ep. LII., where he speaks of the great κήρυγμα of the Fathers at Nicæa. In this he is supported by Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria, 579–607, of whom Photius (Cod. ccxxx. Migne Pat. Gr. ciii. p. 1027) writes, “In this work,” i.e. Or. II. “he says that of the doctrines (διδαγμάτων) handed down in the church by the ministers of the word, some are δόγματα, and others κηρύγματα. The distinction is that δόγματα are announced with concealment and prudence, and are often designedly compassed with obscurity, in order that holy things may not be exposed to profane persons nor pearls cast before swine. Κηρύγματα, on the other hand, are announced without any concealment.” So the Benedictine Editors speak of Origen (c. Cels. i. 7) as replying to Celsus, “prædicationem Christianorum toti orbi notiorem esse quam placita philosophorum: sed tamen fatetur, ut apud philosophos, ita etiam apud Christianos nonulla esse veluti interiora, quæ post exteriorem et propositam omnibus doctrinam tradantur.” Of κηρύματα they note, “Videntur hoc nomine designari leges ecclesiasticæ et canonum decreta quæ promulgari in ecclesia mos erat, ut neminem laterent.” Mr. C.F.H. Johnston remarks: “The ὁμοούσιον, which many now-a-days would call the Nicene dogma (τὰ τοῦ ὁμοουσίου δόγματα, Soc., E.H. iii. 10) because it was put forth in the Council of Nicæa, was for that reason called not δόγμα, but κήρυγμα, by St. Basil, who would have said that it became the κήρυγμα (definition) of that Council, because it had always been the δόγμα of the Church.”
In extra theological philosophy a dogma has all along meant a certainly expressed opinion whether formally decreed or not. So Shaftesbury, Misc. Ref. ii. 2, “He who is certain, or presumes to say he knows, is in that particular whether he be mistaken or in the right a dogmatist.” cf. Littré S.V. for a similar use in French. In theology the modern Roman limitation of dogma to decreed doctrine is illustrated by the statement of Abbé Bérgier (Dict. de Théol. Ed. 1844) of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. “Or, nous convenons que ce nest pas un dogme de foi,” because, though a common opinion among Romanists, it had not been so asserted at the Council of Trent. Since the publication of Pius IXs Edict of 1854 it has become, to ultramontanists, a “dogma of faith.”41:1270
1 Cor. ii. 7. Whether there is or is not here a conscious reference to St. Pauls words, there seems to be both in the text and in the passage cited an employment of μυστήριον in its proper sense of a secret revealed to the initiated.41:1271
i.e. if nothing were of weight but what was written, what need of any authorisation at all? There is no need of κήρυγμα for a δόγμα expressly written in Scripture.41:1272
ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναδείξει. The Benedictine note is: “Non respicit Basilius ad ritum ostensionis Eucharistiæ, ut multi existimarunt, sed potius ad verba Liturgiæ ipsi ascriptæ, cum petit sacerdos, ut veniat Spiritus sanctus ἁγιάσαι και ἀναδεῖξαι τὸν μὲν ἄρτον τοῦτον αὐτὸ τὸ τίμιον σῶμα τοῦ κυρίου. Haec autem verba ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναδειξει, sic reddit Erasmus,cum ostenditur. Vituperat eum Ducæus; sicque ipse vertit, cum conficitur, atque hanc interpretationem multis exemplis confirmat. Videtur tamen nihil prorsus vitii habitura haec interpretatio, Invocationis verba cum ostenditur panis Eucharistiæ, id est, cum panis non jam panis est, sed panis Eucharistiæ, sive corpus Christi ostenditur; et in liturgia, ut sanctificet et ostendat hunc quidem panem, ipsum pretiosum corpus Domini. Nam 10 Cur eam vocem reformidemus, qua Latini uti non dubitant, ubi de Eucharistia loquuntur? Quale est illud Cypriani in epistola 63 ad Cæcilium: Vino Christi sanguis ostenditur. Sic etiam Tertullianus I. Marc. c. 14: Panem quo ipsum corpus suum repræsentat 20 Ut Græce, ἀναδεῖξαι, ἀποφαίνειν, ita etiam Latine, ostendere, corpus Christi præsens in Eucharistia significatione quodam modo exprimit. Hoc enim verbum non solum panem fieri corpus Domini significat, sed etiam fidem nostram excitat, ut illud corpus sub specie panis videndum, tegendum, adorandum ostendi credamus. Quemadmodum Irenæus, cum ait lib. iv. cap. 33: Accipiens panem suum corpus esse confitebatur, et temperamentum calicis suum sanguinem conformavit, non solum mutationem panis et vini in corpus et sanguinem Christi exprimit, sed ipsam etiam Christi asseverationem, quæ hanc nobis mutationem persuadet: sic qui corpus Christi in Eucharistia ostendi et repræsentari dicunt, non modo jejuno et exiliter loqui non videntur, sed etiam acriores Christi præsentis adorandi stimulos subjicere. Poterat ergo retineri interpretatio Erasmi; sed quia viris eruditis displicuit, satius visum est quid sentirem in hac nota exponere.”
This view of the meaning of ἀναδείκνυσθαι and ἀνάδειξις as being equivalent to ποιεῖν and ποίησις is borne out and illustrated by Suicer, S.V. “Ex his jam satis liquere arbitror ἀναδειξαι apud Basilium id esse quod alii Græci patres dicunt ποιεῖν vel ἀποφαίνειν σῶμα χριστοῦ.”
It is somewhat curious to find Bellarmine (De Sacr. Euch. iv. § 14) interpreting the prayer to God εὐλογῆσαι καὶ ἁγιάσαι καὶ ἀναδεῖξαι to mean “ostende per effectum salutarem in mentibus nostris istum panem salutificatum non esse panem vulgarem sed cœlestem.”42:1273
For the unction of catechumens cf. Ap. Const. vii. 22; of the baptized, Tertullian, De Bapt. vii.; of the confirmed, id. viii.; of the sick vide Plumptre on St. James v. 14, in Cambridge Bible for Schools. cf. Letter clxxxviii.42:1274
For trine immersion an early authority is Tertullian, c. Praxeam xxvi. cf. Greg. Nyss., De Bapt. ὕδατι ἑαυτοὺς ἐγκρύπτομεν …καὶ τρίτον τοῦτο ποιήσαντες. Dict. Ch. Ant. i. 161.42:1275
cf. my note on Theodoret in this series, p. 112.42:1276
Heb. xi. 14, R.V.42:1277
Gen. ii. 8.42:1278
The earliest posture of prayer was standing, with the hands extended and raised towards heaven, and with the face turned to the East. cf. early art, and specially the figures of “oranti.” Their rich dress indicates less their actual station in this life than the expected felicity of Paradise. Vide, Dict. Christ. Ant. ii. 1684.42:1279
“Stood again with”—συναναστάντες.42:1280
Col. iii. 1.42:1281
Gen. i. 5. Heb. LXX. Vulg. R.V. cf. p. 64.42:1282
Vide Titles to Pss. vi. and xii. in A.V. “upon Sheminith,” marg. “the eighth.” LXX ὑπὲρ τῆς ὀγδόης. Vulg. pro octava. On various explanations of the Hebrew word vide Dict Bib. S. V. where Dr. Aldis Wright inclines to the view that it is a tune or key, and that the Hebrews were not acquainted with the octave.43:1283
1 Tim. iii. 16.43:1284
1 Cor. vi. 11.43:1285
1 Cor. v. 4.
Next: That our opponents refuse to concede in the case of the Spirit the terms which Scripture uses in the case of men, as reigning together with Christ.
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