Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IX:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Title Page: Book VIII
p. 137 Book VIII.
1. The Blessed Apostle Paul in laying down the form for appointing a bishop and creating by his instructions an entirely new type of member of the Church, has taught us in the following words the sum total of all the virtues perfected in him:—Holding fast the word according to the doctrine of faith that he may be able to exhort to sound doctrine and to convict gainsayers. For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers 884 . For in this way he points out that the essentials of orderliness and morals are only profitable for good service in the priesthood if at the same time the qualities needful for knowing how to teach and preserve the faith are not lacking, for a man is not straightway made a good and useful priest 885 by a merely innocent life or by a mere knowledge of preaching. For an innocent minister is profitable to himself alone unless he be instructed also; while he that is instructed has nothing to support his teaching unless he be innocent. For the words of the Apostle do not merely fit a man for his life in this world by precepts of honesty and uprightness, nor on the other hand do they educate in expertness of teaching a mere Scribe of the Synagogue for the expounding of the Law: but the Apostle is training a leader of the Church, perfected by the perfect accomplishment of the greatest virtues, so that his life may be adorned by his teaching, and his teaching by his life. Accordingly he has provided Titus, the person to whom his words were addressed, with an injunction as to the perfect practice of religion to this effect:—In all things shewing thyself an ensample of good works, teaching with gravity sound words that cannot be condemned, that the adversary may be ashamed, having nothing disgraceful or evil to say of us 886 . This teacher of the Gentiles and elect doctor of the Church, from his consciousness of Christ who spoke and dwelt within him, knew well that the infection of tainted speech would spread abroad, and that the corruption of pestilent doctrine would furiously rage against the sound form of faithful words, and infusing the poison of its own evil tenets into the inmost soul, would creep on with deep-seated mischief. For it is of these that he says, Whose word spreadeth like a cancer 887 , tainting the health of the mind, invaded by it with a secret and stealthy contagion. For this reason, he wished that there should be in the bishop the teaching of sound words, a good conscience in the faith and expertness in exhortation to withstand wicked and false and wild gainsayings. For there are many who pretend to the faith, but are not subject to the faith, and rather set up a faith for themselves than receive that which is given, being puffed up with the thoughts of human vanity, knowing the things they wish to know and unwilling to know the things that are true; since it is a mark of true wisdom sometimes to know what we do not like. However, this will-wisdom is followed by foolish preaching, for what is foolishly learnt must needs be foolishly preached. Yet how great an evil to those who hear is foolish preaching, when they are misled into foolish opinions by conceit of wisdom! And for this cause the Apostle described them thus: There are many unruly, vain talkers and deceivers 888 . Hence we must utter our voice against arrogant wickedness and boastful arrogance and seductive boastfulness,—yes, we must speak against such things through the soundness of our doctrine, the truth of our faith, the sincerity of our preaching, so that we may have the purity of truth and the truth of sound doctrine.
2. The reason why I have just mentioned this utterance of the Apostle is this; men of crooked minds and false professions, void of hope and venomous of speech, lay upon me the necessity of inveighing against them, because under the guise of religion they instil deadly doctrines, infectious thoughts and corrupt desires into the simple minds of their hearers. And this they do with an utter disregard of the true sense of the apostolic teaching, so that the Father is not a Father, nor the Son, Son, nor the Faith, the Faith. In resisting their wild falsehoods, we have extended the course of our reply so far, that after proving from the Law that God and God were distinct and that very God was in very God, we then shewed from the teaching of evangelists and p. 138 apostles the perfect and true birth of the Only-begotten God; and lastly, we pointed out in the due course of our argument that the Son of God is very God, and of a nature identical with the Fathers, so that the faith of the Church should neither confess that God is single nor that there are two Gods. For neither would the birth of God allow God to be solitary, nor would a perfect birth allow different natures to be ascribed to two Gods. Now in refuting their vain speaking we have a twofold object, first that we may teach what is holy and perfect and sound, and, that our discourse should not by straying through any by-paths and crooked ways, and struggling out of devious and winding tunnels, seem rather to search for the truth than declare it. Our second object is that we should reveal to the conviction of all men the folly and absurdity of those crafty arguments of their vain and deceitful opinions which are adapted to a plausible show of seductive truth. For it is not enough for us to have pointed out what things are good, unless they are understood to be absolutely good by our refutation of their opposites.
3. But as it is the nature and endeavour of the good and wise to prepare themselves wholly for securing either the reality or the opportunity of some precious hope lest their preparedness should in some respects fall short of that which they look for,—so in like manner those who are filled with the madness of heretical frenzy make it their chiefest anxiety to labour with all the ingenuity of their impiety against the truth of pious faith, in order that against those who are religious they may establish their own irreligion; that they may surpass the hope of our life in the hopelessness of their own, and that they may spend more thought over false than we spend over true teaching. For against the pious assertions of our faith they have carefully devised such objections of their impious misbelief, as first to ask whether we believe in one God, next, whether Christ also be God, lastly, whether the Father is greater than the Son, in order that when they hear us confess that God is one they may use our reply to shew that Christ cannot be God. For they do not enquire concerning the Son whether He be God; all they wish for in asking questions about Christ is to prove that He is not a Son, that by entrapping men of simple faith they may through the belief in one God divert them from the belief in Christ as God, on the ground that God is no longer one if Christ also must be acknowledged as God. Again with what subtlety of worldly wisdom do they contend when they say, If God is one, whosoever that other shall be shewn to be, he will not be God. For if there be another God He can no longer be one, since nature does not permit that where there is another there should be one only, or that where there is only one there should be another. Afterwards, when by the crafty cunning of this insidious argument they have misled those who are ready to believe and listen, they then apply this proposition (as if they could now establish it by an easier method), that Christ is God rather in name than in nature, because this generic name in Him can destroy in none that only true belief in one God: and they contend that through this the Father is greater than the Son, because, the natures being different, as there is but one God, the Father is greater from the essential character of His nature; and that the Other is only called Son while He is really a creature subsisting by the will of the Father, because He is less than the Father; and also that He is not God, because God being one does not admit of another God, since he who is less must necessarily be of a nature alien from that of the person who is greater. Again, how foolish they are in their attempts to lay down a law for God when they maintain that no birth can take place from one single being, because throughout the universe birth arises from the union of two; moreover, that the unchangeable God cannot accord from Himself birth to one who is born, because that which is changeless is incapable of addition, nor can the nature of a solitary and single being contain within itself the property of generation.
4. We, on the contrary, having by spiritual teaching arrived at the faith of the evangelists and apostles, and following after the hope of eternal blessedness by our confession of the Father and the Son, and having proved out of the Law the mystery of God and God, without overstepping the limits of our faith in one God, or failing to proclaim that Christ is God, have adopted this method of reply from the Gospels, that we declare the true nativity of Only-begotten God from God the Father, because that through this He was both very God and not alien from the nature of the One very God, and thus neither could His Godhead be denied nor Himself be described as another God, because while the birth made Him God, the nature within him of one God of God did not separate Him off as another God. And although our human reason led us to this conclusion, that the names of distinct natures could not meet together in the same nature, and not be one, where the essence of each did not differ in kind; nevertheless, it seemed good that we should prove this from the exp. 139 press sayings of our Lord, Who after frequently making known that the God of our faith and hope was One, in order to affirm the mystery of the One God, while declaring and proving His own Godhead, said, I and the Father are one; and, If ye had known Me, ye would have known My Father also; and, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also; and, Believe Me, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father: or else believe for the very works sake 889 . He has signified His own birth in the name Father, and declares that in the knowledge of Himself the Father is known. He avows the unity of nature, when those who see Him see the Father. He bears witness that He is indivisible from the Father, when He dwells in the Father Who dwells in Him. He possesses the confidence of self-knowledge when He demands credit for His words from the operations of His power. And thus in this most blessed faith of the perfect birth, every error, as well that of two Gods as of a single God, is abolished, since They Who are one in essence are not one person, and He Who is not one person with Him Who is, is yet so free from difference from Him that They Two are One God.
5. Now seeing that heretics cannot deny these things because they are so clearly stated and understood, they nevertheless pervert them by the most foolish and wicked lies so as afterwards to deny them. For the words of Christ, I and the Father are one 890 , they endeavour to refer to a mere concord of unanimity, so that there may be in them a unity of will not of nature, that is, that they may be one not by essence of being, but by identity of will. And they apply to the support of their case the passage in the Acts of the Apostles, Now of the multitude of them that believed the heart and soul were one 891 , in order to prove that a diversity of souls and hearts may be united into one heart and soul through a mere conformity of will. Or else they cite those words to the Corinthians, Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one 892 , to shew that, since They are one in Their work for our salvation, and in the revelation of one mystery, Their unity is an unity of wills. Or again, they quote the prayer of our Lord for the salvation of the nations who should believe in Him: Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that shall believe on Me through their Word; that they all may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us 893 , to shew that since men cannot, so to speak, be fused back into God or themselves coalesce into one undistinguished mass, this oneness must arise from unity of will, while all perform actions pleasing to God, and unite one with another in the harmonious accord of their thoughts, and that thus it is not nature which makes them one, but will.
6. He clearly knows not wisdom who knows not God. And since Christ is Wisdom he must needs be beyond the pale of wisdom who knows not Christ or hates Him 894 . As, for instance, they do who will have it that the Lord of Glory, and King of the Universe, and Only-begotten God is a creature of God and not His Son, and in addition to such foolish lies shew a still more foolish cleverness in the defence of their falsehood. For even putting aside for a little that essential character of unity which exists in God the Father and God the Son, they can be refuted out of the very passages which they adduce.
7. For as to those whose soul and heart were one, I ask whether they were one through faith in God? Yes, assuredly, through faith, for through this the soul and heart of all were one. Again I ask, is the faith one or is there a second faith? One undoubtedly, and that on the authority of the Apostle himself, who proclaims one faith even as one Lord, and one baptism, and one hope, and one God 895 . If then it is through faith, that is, through the nature of one faith, that all are one, how is it that thou dost not understand a natural unity in the case of those who through the nature of one faith are one? For all were born again to innocence, to immortality, to the knowledge of God, to the faith of hope. And if these things cannot differ within themselves because there is both one hope and one God, as also there is one Lord and one baptism of regeneration; if these things are one rather by agreement than by nature, ascribe a unity of will to those also who have been born again into them. If, however, they have been begotten again into the nature of one life and eternity, then, inasmuch as their soul and heart are one, the unity of will fails to account for their case who are one by regeneration into the same nature.
8. These are not our own conjectures which we offer, nor do we falsely put together any of these things in order to deceive the ears of our hearers by perverting the meaning of words; but holding fast the form of sound teaching we know and preach the things which are true. For the Apostle shews that this unity of the faithful arises from the nature of the sacraments when he writes to the Gap. 140 latians, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus 896 . That these are one amid so great diversities of race, condition, sex,—is it from an agreement of will or from the unity of the sacrament, since these have one baptism and have all put on one Christ? What, therefore, will a concord of minds avail here when they are one in that they have put on one Christ through the nature of one baptism?
9. Or, again, since he who plants and he who waters are one, are they not one because, being themselves born again in one baptism they form a ministry of one regenerating baptism? Do not they do the same thing? Are they not one in One? So they who are one through the same thing are one also by nature, not only by will, inasmuch as they themselves have been made the same thing and are ministers of the same thing and the same power.
10. Now the contradiction of fools always serves to prove their folly, because with regard to the faults which they contrive by the devices of an unwise or crooked understanding against the truth, while the latter remains unshaken and immovable the things which are opposed to it must needs be regarded as false and foolish. For heretics in their attempt to deceive others by the words, I and the Father are one 897 , that there might not be acknowledged in them the unity and like essence of deity, but only a oneness arising from mutual love and an agreement of wills—these heretics, I say, have brought forward an instance of that unity, as we have shewn above, even from the words of our Lord, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us 898 . Every man is outside the promises of the Gospel who is outside the faith in them, and by the guilt of an evil understanding has lost all simple hope. For to know not what thou believest demands not so much excuse as a reward, for the greatest service of faith is to hope for that which thou knowest not. But it is the madness of most consummate wickedness either not to believe things which are understood or to have corrupted the sense in which one believes.
11. But although the wickedness of man can pervert his intellectual powers, nevertheless the words retain their meaning. Our Lord prays to His Father that those who shall believe in Him may be one, and as He is in the Father and the Father in Him, so all may be one in Them. Why dost thou bring in here an identity of mind, why a unity of soul and heart through agreement of will? For there would have been no lack of suitable words for our Lord, if it were will that made them one, to have prayed in this fashion,—Father, as We are one in will, so may they also be one in will, that we may all be one through agreement. Or could it be that He Who is the Word was unacquainted with the meaning of words? and that He Who is Truth knew not how to speak the truth? and He Who is Wisdom went astray in foolish talk? and He Who is Power was compassed about with such weakness that He could not speak what He wished to be understood? He has clearly spoken the true and sincere mysteries of the faith of the Gospel. And He has not only spoken that we may comprehend, He has also taught that we may believe, saying, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us. For those first of all is the prayer of whom it is said, That they all may be one. Then the promotion of unity is set forth by a pattern of unity, when He says, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, so that as the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, so through the pattern of this unity all might be one in the Father and the Son.
12. But because it is proper to the Father alone and the Son that They should be one by nature because God is from God, and the Only-begotten from the Unbegotten can subsist in no other nature than that of His origin; so that He Who was begotten should exist in the substance of His birth, and the birth should possess no other and different truth of deity than that from which it issued; for our Lord has left us in no doubt as to our belief by asserting throughout the whole of the discourse which follows the nature of this complete unity. For the next words are these, That the world may believe that Thou didst send Me 899 . Thus the world is to believe that the Son has been sent by the Father because all who shall believe in Him will be one in the Father and the Son. And how they will be so we are soon told,—And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given unto them 900 . Now I ask whether glory is identical with will, since will is an emotion of the mind while glory is an ornament or embellishment of nature. So then it is the glory received from the Father that the Son hath given to all who shall believe in Him, and certainly not will. Had this been given, faith would carry with p. 141 it no reward, for a necessity of will attached to us would also impose faith upon us. However He has shewn what is effected by the bestowal of the glory received, That they may be one, even as We are one 901 . It is then with this object that the received glory was bestowed, that all might be one. So now all are one in glory, because the glory given is none other than that which was received: nor has it been given for any other cause than that all should be one. And since all are one through the glory given to the Son and by the Son bestowed upon believers, I ask how can the Son be of a different glory from the Fathers, since the glory of the Son brings all that believe into the unity of the Fathers glory. Now it may be that the utterance of human hope in this case may be somewhat immoderate, yet it will not be contrary to faith; for though to hope for this were presumptuous, yet not to have believed it is sinful, for we have one and the same Author both of our hope and of our faith. We will treat of this matter more clearly and at greater length in its own place, as is fitting. Yet in the meantime it is easily seen from our present argument that this hope of ours is neither vain nor presumptuous. So then through the glory received and given all are one. I hold the faith and recognise the cause of the unity, but I do not yet understand how it is that the glory given makes all one.
13. Now our Lord has not left the minds of His faithful followers in doubt, but has explained the manner in which His nature operates, saying, That they may be one, as We are one: I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in one 902 . Now I ask those who bring forward a unity of will between Father and Son, whether Christ is in us to-day through verity of nature or through agreement of will. For if in truth the Word has been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that He abides in us naturally, Who, born as a man, has assumed the nature of our flesh now inseparable from Himself, and has conjoined the nature of His own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which His flesh is communicated to us? For so are we all one, because the Father is in Christ and Christ in us. Whosoever then shall deny that the Father is in Christ naturally must first deny that either he is himself in Christ naturally, or Christ in him, because the Father in Christ and Christ in us make us one in Them. Hence, if indeed Christ has taken to Himself the flesh of our body, and that Man Who was born from Mary was indeed Christ, and we indeed receive in a mystery the flesh of His body—(and for this cause we shall be one, because the Father is in Him and He in us),—how can a unity of will be maintained, seeing that the special property of nature received through the sacrament is the sacrament of a perfect unity 903 ?
14. The words in which we speak of the things of God must be used in no mere human and worldly sense, nor must the perverseness of an alien and impious interpretation be extorted from the soundness of heavenly words by any violent and headstrong preaching. Let us read what is written, let us understand what we read, and then fulfil the demands of a perfect faith. For as to what we say concerning the reality of Christs nature within us, unless we have been taught by Him, our words are foolish and impious. For He says Himself, My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him 904 . As to the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubt. For now both from the declaration of the Lord Himself and our own faith, it is verily flesh and verily blood. And these when eaten and drunk, bring it to pass that both we are in Christ and Christ in us. Is not this true? Yet they who affirm that Christ Jesus is not truly God are welcome to find it false. He therefore Himself is in us through the flesh and we in Him, whilst together with Him our own selves are in God.
15. Now how it is that we are in Him through the sacrament of the flesh and blood bestowed upon us, He Himself testifies, saying, And the world will no longer see Me, but ye shall see Me; because I live ye shall live also; because I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you 905 . If He wished to indicate a mere unity of will, why did He set forth a kind of gradation and sequence in the completion of the unity, unless it were that, since He was in the Father through the nature of Deity, and we on the contrary in Him through His birth in the body, He would have us believe that He is in us through the mystery of the sacraments? and thus there might be taught a perfect unity through a Mediator, whilst, we abiding in Him, He abode in the Father, and as abiding in the Father abode p. 142 also in us; and so we might arrive at unity with the Father, since in Him Who dwells naturally in the Father by birth, we also dwell naturally, while He Himself abides naturally in us also.
16. Again, how natural this unity is in us He has Himself testified on this wise,—He who eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him 906 . For no man shall dwell in Him, save him in whom He dwells Himself, for the only flesh which He has taken to Himself is the flesh of those who have taken His. Now He had already taught before the sacrament of this perfect unity, saying, As the living Father sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he that eateth My flesh shall himself also live through Me 907 . So then He lives through the Father, and as He lives through the Father in like manner we live through His flesh. For all comparison is chosen to shape our understanding, so that we may grasp the subject of which we treat by help of the analogy set before us. This is the cause of our life that we have Christ dwelling within our carnal selves through the flesh, and we shall live through Him in the same manner as He lives through the Father. If, then, we live naturally through Him according to the flesh, that is, have partaken of the nature of His flesh, must He not naturally have the Father within Himself according to the Spirit since He Himself lives through the Father? And He lives through the Father because His birth has not implanted in Him an alien and different nature inasmuch as His very being is from Him yet is not divided from Him by any barrier of an unlikeness of nature, for within Himself He has the Father through the birth in the power of the nature.
17. I have dwelt upon these facts because the heretics falsely maintain that the union between Father and Son is one of will only, and make use of the example of our own union with God, as though we were united to the Son and through the Son to the Father by mere obedience and a devout will, and none of the natural verity of communion were vouchsafed us through the sacrament of the Body and Blood; although the glory of the Son bestowed upon us through the Son abiding in us after the flesh, while we are united in Him corporeally and inseparably, bids us preach the mystery of the true and natural unity.
18. So we have made our reply to the folly of our violent opponents, merely to prove the emptiness of their falsehoods and so prevent them from misleading the unwary by the error of their vain and foolish statements. But the faith of the Gospel did not of necessity require our answer. The Lord prayed on our behalf for our union with God, but God keeps His own unity and abides in it. It is not through any mysterious appointment of God that they are one, but through a birth of nature, for God loses nothing in begetting Him from Himself. They are one, for the things which are not plucked out of His hand are not plucked out of the hand of the Father 908 , for, when He is known, the Father is known, for, when He is seen, the Father is seen, for what He speaks the Father speaks as abiding in Him, for in His works the Father works, for He is in the Father and the Father in Him 909 . This proceeds from no creation but from birth; it is not brought about by will but by power; it is no agreement of mind that speaks, it is nature; because to be created and to be born are not one and the same, any more than to will and to be able; neither is it the same thing to agree and to abide.
19. Thus we do not deny a unanimity between the Father and the Son,—for heretics are accustomed to utter this falsehood, that since we do not accept concord by itself as the bond of unity we declare Them to be at variance. But let them listen how it is that we do not deny such a unanimity. The Father and the Son are one in nature, honour, power, and the same nature cannot will things that are contrary. Moreover, let them listen to the testimony of the Son as touching the unity of nature between Himself and the Father, for He says, When that advocate is come, Whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me 910 . The Advocate shall come and the Son shall send Him from the Father, and He is the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth from the Father. Let the whole following of heretics arouse the keenest powers of their wit; let them now seek for what lies they can tell to the unlearned, and declare what that is which the Son sends from the Father. He Who sends manifests His power in that which He sends. But as to that which He sends from the Father, how shall we regard it, as received or sent forth or begotten? For His words that He will send from the Father must imply one or other of these modes of sending. And He will send from the Father that Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father; He therefore p. 143 cannot be the Recipient, since He is revealed as the Sender. It only remains to make sure of our conviction on the point, whether we are to believe an egress of a co-existent Being, or a procession of a Being begotten.
20. For the present I forbear to expose their licence of speculation, some of them holding that the Paraclete Spirit comes from the Father or from the Son. For our Lord has not left this in uncertainty, for after these same words He spoke thus,—I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak from Himself: but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak; and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you 911 . Accordingly He receives from the Son, Who is both sent by Him, and proceeds from the Father. Now I ask whether to receive from the Son is the same thing as to proceed from the Father. But if one believes that there is a difference between receiving from the Son and proceeding from the Father, surely to receive from the Son and to receive from the Father will be regarded as one and the same thing. For our Lord Himself says, Because He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. That which He will receive,—whether it will be power, or excellence, or teaching,—the Son has said must be received from Him, and again He indicates that this same thing must be received from the Father. For when He says that all things whatsoever the Father hath are His, and that for this cause He declared that it must be received from His own, He teaches also that what is received from the Father is yet received from Himself, because all things that the Father hath are His. Such a unity admits no difference, nor does it make any difference from whom that is received, which given by the Father is described as given by the Son. Is a mere unity of will brought forward here also? All things which the Father hath are the Sons, and all things which the Son hath are the Fathers. For He Himself saith, And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine 912 . It is not yet the place to shew why He spoke thus, For He shall receive of Mine: for this points to some subsequent time, when it is revealed that He shall receive. Now at any rate He says that He will receive of Himself, because all things that the Father had were His. Dissever if thou canst the unity of the nature, and introduce some necessary unlikeness through which the Son may not exist in unity of nature. For the Spirit of truth proceedeth from the Father and is sent from the Father by the Son. All things that the Father hath are the Sons; and for this cause whatever He Who is to be sent shall receive, He shall receive from the Son, because all things that the Father hath are the Sons. The nature in all respects maintains its law, and because Both are One that same Godhead is signified as existing in Both through generation and nativity; since the Son affirms that that which the Spirit of truth shall receive from the Father is to be given by Himself. So the frowardness of heretics must not be allowed an unchecked licence of impious beliefs, in refusing to acknowledge that this saying of the Lord,—that because all things which the Father hath are His, therefore the Spirit of truth shall receive of Him,—is to be referred to unity of nature.
21. Let us listen to that chosen vessel and teacher of the Gentiles, when he had already commended the faith of the people of Rome because of their understanding of the truth. For wishing to teach the unity of nature in the case of the Father and the Son, he speaks thus, But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God is in you. But if any have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead through sin, but the Spirit is life through righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Christ from the dead dwelleth in you; He Who raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit Who dwelleth in you 913 . We are all spiritual if the Spirit of God dwells in us. But this Spirit of God is also the Spirit of Christ, and though the Spirit of Christ is in us, yet His Spirit is also in us Who raised Christ from the dead, and He Who raised Christ from the dead shall quicken our mortal bodies also on account of His Spirit that dwelleth in us. We are quickened therefore on account of the Spirit of Christ that dwelleth in us, through Him Who raised Christ from the dead. And since the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, and yet the Spirit of Christ is in us, nevertheless the Spirit Which is in us cannot but be the Spirit of God. Separate, p. 144 then, O heretic, the Spirit of Christ from the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ raised from the dead from the Spirit of God Which raises Christ from the dead; when the Spirit of Christ that dwelleth in us is the Spirit of God, and when the Spirit of Christ Who was raised from the dead is yet the Spirit of God Who raises Christ from the dead.
22. And now I ask whether thou thinkest that in the Spirit of God is signified a nature or a property belonging to a nature. For a nature is not identical with a thing belonging to it, just as neither is a man identical with what belongs to a man, nor fire with what belongs to fire itself, and in like manner God is not the same as that which belongs to God.
23. For I am aware that the Son of God is revealed under the title Spirit of God in order that we may understand the presence of the Father in Him, and that the term Spirit of God may be employed to indicate Either, and that this is shewn not only on the authority of prophets but of evangelists also, when it is said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He hath anointed Me 914 . And again, Behold My Servant Whom I have chosen, My beloved in Whom My soul is well pleased, I will put My Spirit upon Him 915 . And when the Lord Himself bears witness of Himself, But if I in the Spirit of God cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God come upon you 916 . For the passages seem without any doubt to denote either Father or Son, while they yet manifest the excellence of nature.
24. For I think that the expression Spirit of God was used with respect to Each, lest we should believe that the Son was present in the Father or the Father in the Son in a merely corporeal manner, that is, lest God might be thought to abide in one position and exist nowhere else apart from Himself. For a man or any other thing like him, when he is in one place, cannot be in another, because what is in one place is confined to the place where it is: his nature cannot allow him to be everywhere when he exists in some one position. But God is a living Force, of infinite power, present everywhere and nowhere absent, and manifests His whole self through His own, and signifies that His own are naught else than Himself, so that where they are He may be understood to be Himself. Yet we must not think that, after a corporeal fashion, when He is in one place He ceases to be everywhere, for through His own things He is still present in all places, while the things which are His are none other than His own self. Now these things have been said to make us understand what is meant by nature.
25. Now I think that it ought to be clearly understood that God the Father is denoted by the Spirit of God, because our Lord Jesus Christ declared that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him since He anoints Him and sends Him to preach the Gospel. For in Him is made manifest the excellence of the Fathers nature, disclosing that the Son partakes of His nature even when born in the flesh through the mystery of this spiritual unction, since after the birth ratified in His baptism this intimation of His inherent Sonship was heard as a voice bore witness from Heaven:—Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee 917 . For not even He Himself can be understood as resting upon Himself or coming to Himself from Heaven, or as bestowing on Himself the title of Son: but all this demonstration was for our faith, in order that under the mystery of a complete and true birth we should recognise that the unity of the nature dwells in the Son Who had begun to be also man. We have thus found that in the Spirit of God the Father is designated; but we understand that the Son is indicated in the same way, when He says: But if I in the Spirit of God cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God come upon you. That is, He shews clearly that He, by the power of His nature, casts out devils, which cannot be cast out save by the Spirit of God. The phrase Spirit of God denotes also the Paraclete Spirit, and that not only on the testimony of prophets but also of apostles, when it is said:—This is that which was spoken through the Prophet, It shall come to pass on the last day, saith the Lord, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy 918 . And we learn that all this prophecy was fulfilled in the case of the Apostles, when, after the sending of the Holy Spirit, they all spoke with the tongues of the Gentiles.
26. Now we have of necessity set these things forth with this object, that in whatever direction the deception of heretics betakes itself, it might yet be kept in check by the boundaries and limits of the gospel truth. For Christ dwells in us, and where Christ dwells God dwells. And when the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, this indwelling means not that any other Spirit dwells in us than the Spirit of God. But if it is understood that Christ dwells in us through the Holy p. 145 Spirit, we must yet recognise this Spirit of God as also the Spirit of Christ. And since the nature dwells in us as the nature of one substantive Being, we must regard the nature of the Son as identical with that of the Father, since the Holy Spirit Who is both the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God is proved to be a Being of one nature. I ask now, therefore, how can They fail to be one by nature? The Spirit of Truth proceeds from the Father, He is sent by the Son and receives from the Son. But all things that the Father hath are the Sons, and for this cause He Who receives from Him is the Spirit of God but at the same time the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit is a Being of the nature of the Son but the same Being is of the nature of the Father. He is the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead; but this is no other than the Spirit of Christ Who was so raised. The nature of Christ and of God must differ in some respect so as not to be the same, if it can be shewn that the Spirit which is of God is not the Spirit of Christ also.
27. But you, heretic, as you wildly rave and are driven about by the Spirit of your deadly doctrine the Apostle seizes and constrains, establishing Christ for us as the foundation of our faith, being well aware also of that saying of our Lord, If a man love Me, he will also keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him 919 . For by this He testified that while the Spirit of Christ abides in us the Spirit of God abides in us, and that the Spirit of Him that was raised from the dead differs not from the Spirit of Him that raised Him from the dead. For they come and dwell in us: and I ask whether they will come as aliens associated together and make Their abode, or in unity of nature? Nay, the teacher of the Gentiles contends that it is not two Spirits—the Spirits of God and of Christ—that are present in those who believe, but the Spirit of Christ which is also the Spirit of God. This is no joint indwelling, it is one indwelling: yet an indwelling under the mysterious semblance of a joint indwelling, for it is not the case that two Spirits indwell, nor is one that indwells different from the other. For there is in us the Spirit of God and there is also in us the Spirit of Christ, and when the Spirit of Christ is in us there is also in us the Spirit of God. And so since what is of God is also of Christ, and what is of Christ is also of God, Christ cannot be anything different from what God is. Christ, therefore, is God, one Spirit with God.
28. Now the Apostle asserts that those words in the Gospel, I and the Father are one 920 , imply unity of nature and not a solitary single Being, as he writes to the Corinthians, Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man in the Spirit of God calleth Jesus anathema 921 . Perceivest thou now, O heretic, in what spirit thou callest Christ a creature? For since they are under a curse who have served the creature more than the Creator—in affirming Christ to be a creature, learn what thou art, since thou knowest full well that the worship of the creature is accursed. And observe what follows, And no one can call Jesus Lord, but in the Holy Spirit 922 . Dost thou perceive what is lacking to thee, when thou deniest Christ what is His own? If thou holdest that Christ is Lord through His Divine nature, thou hast the Holy Spirit. But if He be Lord merely by a name of adoption thou lackest the Holy Spirit, and art animated by a spirit of error: because no one can call Jesus Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. But when thou sayest that He is a creature rather than God, although thou stylest Him Lord, still thou dost not say that He is the Lord. For to thee He is Lord as one of a common class and by a familiar name, rather than by nature. Yet learn from Paul His nature.
29. For the Apostle goes on to say, Now there are diversities of gifts, but there is the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministrations but one and the same Lord; and there are diversities of workings but the same God, Who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for that which profiteth 923 . In this passage before us we perceive a fourfold statement: in the diversity of gifts it is the same Spirit, in the diversity of ministrations it is the very same Lord, in the diversity of workings it is the same God, and in the bestowal of that which is profitable there is a manifestation of the Spirit. And in order that the bestowal of what is profitable might be recognised in the manifestation of the Spirit, he continues: To one indeed is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith in the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing in the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues 924 .
30. And indeed that which we called the fourth statement, that is the manifestation of the Spirit in the bestowal of what is profitable, p. 146 has a clear meaning. For the Apostle has enumerated the profitable gifts through which this manifestation of the Spirit took place. Now in these diverse activities that Gift is set forth in no uncertain light of which our Lord had spoken to the apostles when He taught them not to depart from Jerusalem; but wait, said He, for the promise of the Father which ye heard from My lips: for John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, which ye shall also receive not many days hence 925 . And again: But ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost cometh upon you; and ye shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth 926 . He bids them wait for the promise of the Father of which they had heard from His lips. We may be sure that here 927 we have a reference to the Fathers same promise. Hence it is by these miraculous workings that the manifestation of the Spirit takes place. For the gift of the Spirit is manifest, where wisdom makes utterance and the words of life are heard, and where there is the knowledge that comes of God-given insight, lest after the fashion of beasts through ignorance of God we should fail to know the Author of our life; or by faith in God, lest by not believing the Gospel of God, we should be outside His Gospel; or by the gift of healings, that by the cure of diseases we should bear witness to His grace Who bestoweth these things; or by the working of miracles, that what we do may be understood to be the power of God, or by prophesy, that through our understanding of doctrine we might be known to be taught of God; or by discerning of spirits, that we should not be unable to tell whether any one speaks with a holy or a perverted spirit; or by kinds of tongues, that the speaking in tongues may be bestowed as a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit; or by the interpretation of tongues, that the faith of those that hear may not be imperilled through ignorance, since the interpreter of a tongue explains the tongue to those who are ignorant of it. Thus in all these things distributed to each one to profit withal there is the manifestation of the Spirit, the gift of the Spirit being apparent through these marvellous advantages bestowed upon each.
31. Now the blessed Apostle Paul in revealing the secret of these heavenly mysteries, most difficult to human comprehension, has preserved a clear enunciation and a carefully worded caution in order to shew that these diverse gifts are given through the Spirit and in the Spirit (for to be given through the Spirit and in the Spirit is not the same thing), because the granting of a gift which is exercised in the Spirit is yet bestowed through the Spirit. But he sums up these diversities of gifts thus: Now all these things worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one as He will 928 . Now, therefore, I ask what Spirit works these things, dividing to each one according as He wills: is it He by Whom or He in Whom there is this distribution of gifts 929 ? But if any one shall dare to say that it is the same Person which is indicated, the Apostle will refute so faulty an opinion, for he says above, And there are diversities of workings, but the same God Who worketh all things in all. So there is one Who distributes and another in Whom the distribution is vouchsafed. Yet know that it is always God Who worketh all these things, but in such a way that Christ works, and the Son in His working performs the Fathers work. And if in the Holy Spirit thou confessest Jesus to be Lord, understand the force of that threefold indication in the Apostles letter; forasmuch as in the diversities of gifts, it is the same Spirit, and in the diversities of ministrations it is the same Lord, and in the diversities of workings it is the same God; and again, one Spirit that worketh all things distributing to each according as He will. And grasp the idea if thou canst that the Lord in the distribution of ministrations, and God in the distribution of workings, are this one and the same Spirit Who both works and distributes as He will; because in the distribution of gifts there is one Spirit, and the same Spirit works and distributes.
32. But if this one Spirit of one Divinity, one in both God and Lord through the mystery of the birth, does not please thee, then point out to me what Spirit both works and distributes these diverse gifts to us, and in what Spirit He does this. But, thou must shew me nothing but what accords with our faith, because the Apostle shews us Who is to be understood, saying, For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ 930 . He affirms that diversities of gifts come from one Lord Jesus Christ Who is the body of all. Because after he had made known the Lord in ministration, and made known also God in workings, he yet shews that one Spirit both works and distributes all these things, distrip. 147 buting these varieties of His gracious gifts for the perfecting of one body.
33. Unless perchance we think that the Apostle did not keep to the principle of unity in that he said, And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord, and there are diversities of workings, but the same God 931 . So that because he referred ministrations to the Lord and workings to God, he does not appear to have understood one and the same Being in ministrations and operations. Learn how these members which minister are also members which work, when he says, Ye are the body of Christ, and of Him members indeed. For God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, in whom is the word of wisdom; secondly prophets, in whom is the gift of knowledge; thirdly teachers, in whom is the doctrine of faith; next mighty works, among which are the healing of diseases, the power to help, governments by the prophets, and gifts of either speaking or interpreting divers kinds of tongues. Clearly these are the Churchs agents of ministry and work of whom the body of Christ consists; and God has ordained them. But perhaps thou maintainest that they have not been ordained by Christ, because it was God Who ordained them. But thou shalt hear what the Apostle says himself: Now to each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. And again, He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens that He might fill all things. And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministering 932 . Are not then the gifts of ministration Christs, while they are also the gifts of God?
34. But if impiety has assumed to itself that because he says, The same Lord and the same God 933 , they are not in unity of nature, I will support this interpretation with what you deem still stronger arguments. For the same Apostle says, But for us there is one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him 934 . And again, One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is both through all, and in us all 935 . By these words one God and one Lord it would seem that to God only is attributed, as to one God, the property of being God; since the property of oneness does not admit of partnership with another. Verily how rare and hard to attain are such spiritual gifts! How truly is the manifestation of the Spirit seen in the bestowal of such useful gifts! And with reason has this order in the distribution of graces been appointed, that the foremost should be the word of wisdom; for true it is, And no one can call Jesus Lord but in the Holy Spirit 936 , because but through this word of wisdom Christ could not be understood to be Lord; that then there should follow next the word of understanding, that we might speak with understanding what we know, and might know the word of wisdom; and that the third gift should consist of faith, seeing that those leading and higher graces would be unprofitable gifts did we not believe that He is God. So that in the true sense of this greatest and most noble utterance of the Apostle no heretics possess either the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge or the faith of religion, inasmuch as wilful wickedness, being incapable of understanding, is void of knowledge of the word and of genuineness of faith. For no one utters what he does not know; nor can he believe that which he cannot utter; and thus when the Apostle preached one God, a proselyte as He was from the Law, and called to the gospel of Christ, he has attained to the confession of a perfect faith. And lest the simplicity of a seemingly unguarded statement might afford heretics any opportunity for denying through the preaching of one God the birth of the Son, the Apostle has set forth one God while indicating His peculiar attribute in these words, One God the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him 937 , in order that He Who is God might also be acknowledged as Father. Afterwards, inasmuch as this bare belief in one God the Father would not suffice for salvation, he added, And one, our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him, shewing that the purity of saving faith consists in the preaching of one God and one Lord, so that we might believe in one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ. For he knew full well how our Lord had said, For this is the will of My Father, that every one that seeth the Son and believeth on Him should have eternal life 938 . But in fixing the order of the Churchs faith, and basing our faith upon the Father and the Son, he has uttered the mystery of that indivisible and indissoluble unity and faith in the words one God and one Lord.
35. First of all, then, O heretic that hast no part in the Spirit which spoke by the Apostle, learn thy folly. If thou wrongly employest the confession of one God to deny the Godhead of p. 148 Christ, on the ground that where one God exists He must be regarded as solitary, and that to be One is characteristic and peculiar to Him Who is One,—what sense wilt thou assign to the statement that Jesus Christ is one Lord? For if, as thou assertest, the fact that the Father alone is God has not left to Christ the possibility of Godhead, it must needs be also according to thee that the fact of Christ being one Lord does not leave God the possibility of being Lord, seeing that thou wilt have it that to be One must be the essential property of Him Who is One. Hence if thou deniest that the one Lord Christ is also God, thou must needs deny that the one God the Father is also Lord. And what will the greatness of God amount to if He be not Lord, and the power of the Lord if He be not God: since it (viz., the greatness or power) causes that to be God which is Lord, and makes that Lord which is God?
36. Now the Apostle, maintaining the true sense of the Lords saying, I and the Father are one 939 , whilst He asserts that Both are One, signifies that Both are One not after the manner of the soleness of a single being, but in the unity of the Spirit; for one God the Father and one Christ the Lord, since Each is both Lord and God, do not yet admit in our creed either two Gods or two Lords. So then Each is one, and though one, neither is sole. We shall not be able to express the mystery of the faith except in the words of the Apostle. For there is one God and one Lord, and the fact that there is one God and one Lord proves that there is at once Lordship in God, and Godhead in the Lord. Thou canst not maintain a union of person, so making God single; nor yet canst thou divide the Spirit, so preventing the Two from being One 940 . Nor in the one God and one Lord wilt thou be able to separate the power, so that He Who is Lord should not also be God, and He Who is God should not also be Lord. For the Apostle in the enunciation of the Names has taken care not to preach either two Gods or two Lords. And for this reason he has employed such a method of teaching as in the one Lord Christ to set forth also one God, and in the one God the Father to set forth also one Lord. And, not to misguide us into the blasphemy that God is solitary, which would destroy the birth of the Only-begotten God, he has confessed both Father and Christ.
37. Unless perchance the frenzy of utter desperation will venture to rush to such lengths that, inasmuch as the Apostle has called Christ Lord, no one ought to acknowledge Him as aught else save Lord, and that because He has the property of Lord He has not the true Godhead. But Paul knows full well that Christ is God, for he says, Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, Who is God over all 941 . It is no creature here who is reckoned as God; nay, it is the God of things created Who is God over all.
38. Now that He Who is God over all is also Spirit inseparable from the Father, learn also from that very utterance of the Apostle, of which we are now speaking. For when he confessed one God the Father from Whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through Whom are all things; what difference, I ask, did he intend by saying that all things are from God and that all things are through Christ? Can He possibly be regarded as of a nature and spirit separable from Himself, He from Whom and through Whom are all things? For all things have come into being through the Son out of nothing, and the Apostle has referred them to God the Father, From Whom are all things, but also to the Son, through Whom are all things. And I find here no difference, since by Each is exercised the same power. For if with regard to the subsistence of the universe it was an exact sufficient statement that things created are from God, what need was there to state that the things which are from God are through Christ, unless it be one and the same thing to be through Christ and from God? But as it has been ascribed to Each of Them that They are Lord and God in such wise that each title belongs to Both, so too from Whom and through Whom is here referred to Both; and this to shew the unity of Both, not to make known Gods singleness. The language of the Apostle affords no opening for wicked error, nor is his faith too exalted for careful statement. For he has guarded himself by those specially appropriate words from being understood to mean two Gods or a solitary God: for while he rejects oneness of person he yet does not divide the unity of Godhead. For this from Whom are all things and through Whom are all things, although it did not posit a solitary Deity in the sole possession of majesty, must yet set forth One not different in efficiency, since from Whom are all things and through Whom are all things must signify an Author of the same nature engaged in the same work. He affirms, moreover, that Each is properly of the same nature. For after announcing the depth of the riches and wisdom and p. 149 knowledge of God, and after asserting the mystery of His inscrutable judgments and avowing our ignorance of His ways past finding out, he has yet made use of the exercise of human faith, and rendered this homage to the depth of the unsearchable and inscrutable mysteries of heaven, For of Him and through Him and in Him are all things: to Him be glory for ever. Amen 942 . He employs to indicate the one nature, that which cannot but be the work of one nature.
39. For whereas he has specially ascribed to God that all things are from Him, and he has assigned as a peculiar property to Christ, that all things are through Him, and it is now the glory of God that from Him and through Him and in Him are all things; and whereas the Spirit of God is the same as the Spirit of Christ, or whereas in the ministration of the Lord and in the working of God, one Spirit both works and divides, They cannot but be one Whose properties are those of one; since in the same Lord the Son, and in the same God the Father, one and the same Spirit distributing in the same Holy Spirit accomplishes all things. How worthy is this saint of the knowledge of exalted and heavenly mysteries, adopted and chosen to share in the secret things of God, preserving a due silence over things which may not be uttered, true apostle of Christ! How by the announcement of his clear teaching has he restrained the imaginations of human wilfulness, confessing, as he does, one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ, so that meanwhile no one can either preach two Gods or one solitary God; although He Who is not one person cannot multiply into two Gods, nor on the other hand can They Who are not two Gods be understood to be one single person; while meantime the revelation of God as Father demonstrates the true nativity of Christ.
40. Thrust out now your quivering and hissing tongues, ye vipers of heresy, whether it be thou Sabellius or thou Photinus, or ye who now preach that the Only-begotten God is a creature. Whosoever denies the Son shall hear of one God the Father, because inasmuch as a father becomes a father only by having a son, this name Father necessarily connotes the existence of the Son. And again, let him who takes away from the Son the unity of an identical nature, acknowledge one Lord Jesus Christ. For unless through unity of the Spirit He is one Lord room will not be left for God the Father to be Lord. Again, let him who holds the Son to have become Son in time and by His Incarnation, learn that through Him are all things and we through Him, and that His timeless Infinity was creating all things before time was. And meanwhile let him read again that there is one hope of our calling, and one baptism, and one faith; if, after that, he oppose himself to the preaching of the Apostle, he, being accursed because he framed strange doctrines of his own device, is neither called nor baptized nor believing; because in one God the Father and in one Lord Jesus Christ there lies the one faith of one hope and baptism. And no alien doctrine can boast that it has a place among the truths which belong to one God and Lord and hope and baptism and faith.
41. So then the one faith is, to confess the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father through the unity of an indivisible nature, not confused but inseparable, not intermingled but identical, not conjoined but coexisting, not incomplete but perfect. For there is birth not separation, there is a Son not an adoption; and He is God, not a creature. Neither is He a God of a different kind, but the Father and Son are one: for the nature was not altered by birth so as to be alien from the property of its original. So the Apostle holds the faith of the Son abiding in the Father and the Father in the Son when he proclaims that for him there is one God the Father and one Lord Christ, since in Christ the Lord there was also God, and in God the Father there was also Lord, and They Two are that unity which is God, and They Two are also that unity which is the Lord, for reason indicates that there must be something imperfect in God unless He be Lord, and in the Lord unless He were God. And so since Both are one, and Both are implied under either name, and neither exists apart from the unity, the Apostle has not gone beyond the preaching of the Gospel in his teaching, nor does Christ when He speaks in Paul differ from the words which He spoke while abiding in the world in bodily form.
42. For the Lord had said in the gospels, Work not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which abideth unto life eternal, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him the Father, even God, hath sealed. They said therefore unto Him, What must we do that we may work the works of God? And He said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent 943 . In setting forth the mystery of His Incarnation and His Godhead our Lord has also uttered the teaching of our faith and hope that we p. 150 should work for food, not that which perisheth but that which abideth for ever; that we should remember that this food of eternity is given us by the Son of Man; that we should know the Son of Man as sealed by God the Father; that we should know that this is the work of God, even faith in Him Whom He has sent. And Who is it Whom the Father has sent? Even He Whom the Father has sealed. And Who is He Whom the Father has sealed? In truth, the Son of Man, even He who gives the food of eternal life. And further who are they to whom He gives it? They who shall work for the food that does not perish. Thus, then, the work for this food is at the same time the work of God, namely, to believe on Him Whom He has sent. But these words are uttered by the Son of Man. And how shall the Son of Man give the food of life eternal? Why, he knows not the mystery of his own salvation, who knows not that the Son of Man, bestowing food unto life eternal, has been sealed by God the Father. At this point I now ask in what sense are we to understand that the Son of Man has been sealed by God the Father?
43. Now we ought to recognise first of all that God has spoken not for Himself but for us, and that He has so far tempered the language of His utterance as to enable the weakness of our nature to grasp and understand it. For after being rebuked by the Jews for having made Himself the equal of God by professing to be the Son of God, He had answered that He Himself did all things that the Father did, and that He had received all judgment from the Father; moreover that He must be honoured even as the Father. And in all these things having before declared Himself Son, He had made Himself equal to the Father in honour, power and nature. Afterwards He had said that as the Father had life in Himself, so He had given the Son to have life in Himself, wherein He signified that by virtue of the mystery of the birth He possessed the unity of the same nature. For when He says that He has what the Father has, He means that He has the Fathers self. For that God is not after human fashion of a composite being, so that in Him there is a difference of kind between Possessor and Possessed; but all that He is is life, a nature, that is, complete, absolute and infinite, not composed of dissimilar elements but with one life permeating the whole. And since this life was in such wise given as it was possessed, although the fact that it was given manifestly reveals the birth of the Recipient, it yet does not involve a difference of kind since the life given was such as was possessed.
44. Therefore after this manifold and precise revelation of the presence of the Fathers nature in Himself, He goes on to say, For Him hath the Father sealed, even God 944 . It is the nature of a seal to exhibit the whole form of the figure graven upon it, and that an impression taken from it reproduces it in every respect; and since it receives the whole of that which is impressed, it displays also in itself wholly whoever has been impressed upon it. Yet this comparison is not adequate to exemplify the Divine birth, because in seals there is a matter, difference of nature, and an act of impression, whereby the likeness of stronger natures is impressed upon things of a more yielding nature. But the Only-begotten God, Who was also through the Mystery of our salvation the Son of Man, desiring to point out to us the likeness of His Fathers proper nature in Himself, said that He was sealed by God; because the Son of Man was about to give the food of eternal life, and that we thereby might perceive in Him the power of giving food unto eternity, in that He possessed within Himself all the fulness of His Fathers form, even of the God Who sealed Him: so that what God had sealed should display in itself none other than the form of the God Who sealed it. These things indeed the Lord spoke to the Jews, who could not receive His saying because of unbelief.
45. But in us the preacher of the Gospel by the Spirit of Christ Who spoke through him, instils the knowledge of this His proper nature when he says, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to grasp at that He was equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant 945 . For He, Whom God had sealed, could be naught else than the form of God, and that which has been sealed in the form of God must needs present at the same time imaged forth within itself all that God possesses. And for this cause the Apostle taught that He Whom God sealed is God abiding in the form of God. For when about to speak of the Mystery of the body assumed and born in Him, he says, He thought it not a thing to grasp at that He was equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant 946 . As regards His being in the form of God, by virtue of Gods seal upon Him, he still remained God. But inasmuch as He was to take the form of a p. 151 servant and become obedient unto death, not grasping at His equality with God, He emptied Himself through obedience to take the form of a slave. And He emptied Himself of the form of God, that is, of that wherein He was equal with God—not that He regarded His equality with God as any encroachment,—although He was in the form of God and equal with God and sealed by God as God.
46. At this point I ask whether He Who abides as God in the form of God is a God of another kind, as we perceive in the case of seals in respect of the likenesses which stamp and those which are stamped, since a steel die impressed upon lead or a gem upon wax shapes the figure cut in it or imprints that which stands in relief upon it. But if there be any one so foolish and senseless as to think that that, pertaining to Himself, which God fashions to be God, is aught but God, and that He Who is in the form of God is in any respect anything else save God after the mystery of His Incarnation and of His humility, made perfect through obedience even unto the death of the cross, he shall hear, by the confession of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth and of every tongue, that Jesus is in the glory of God the Father. If then, when His form had become that of a slave He abides in such glory, how, I ask, did He abide when in the form of God? Must not Christ the Spirit have been in the nature of Gods—for this is what is meant by in the glory of God—when Christ as Jesus, that is, born as man, exists in the glory of God the Father?
47. In all things the blessed Apostle preserves the unchangeable teaching of the Gospel faith. The Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed as God in such wise that neither does the Apostles faith, by calling Him a God of a different order, fall away to the confession of two Gods, nor by making God the Son inseparable from the Father does it leave an opening for the unholy doctrine of a single and solitary God. For when he says, in the form of God and in the glory of the Father the Apostle neither teaches that They differ one from another, nor allows us to think of Him as not existing. For He Who is in the form of God neither ends by becoming another God nor Himself loses His Godhead: for He cannot be severed from the form of God since He exists in it, nor is He, Who is in the form of God, not God Just as He Who is in the glory of God cannot be aught else than God, and, since He is God in the glory of God, cannot be proclaimed as another god and one different from the true God, seeing that by reason of the fact that He is in the glory of God He possesses naturally from Him in Whose glory He is, the property of divinity.
48. But there is no danger that the one faith will cease to be such through diversity in its preaching. The Evangelist had taught that our Lord said, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also 947 . But has Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles, forgotten or kept back the meaning of the Lords words, when he says, Who is the image of the invisible God 948 ? I ask whether He is the visible likeness of the invisible God, and whether the infinite God can also be presented to view under the likeness of a finite form? For a likeness must needs repeat the form of that of which it is the likeness. Let those, however, who will have a nature of a different sort in the Son determine what sort of likeness of the invisible God they wish the Son to be. Is it a bodily likeness exposed to the gaze, and moving from place to place with human gait and motion? Nay, but let them remember that according to the Gospels and the Prophets both Christ is a Spirit and God is a Spirit. If they confine this Christ the Spirit within the bounds of shape and body, such a corporeal Christ will not be the likeness of the invisible God, nor will a finite limitation represent that which is infinite.
49. But, as it is, neither did the Lord leave us in doubt: He who hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also; nor was the Apostle silent as to His nature, Who is the image of the invisible God. For the Lord had said, If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not 949 , teaching them to see the Father in Himself in that He did the works of the Father; that through perceiving the power of His nature they might understand the nature of that power which they perceived. Wherefore the Apostle proclaiming that this is the image of God, says, Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in Him were all things made in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and for Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell, and through Him all things should be reconciled to Him 950 . So through the power of these works He is the image of God. For assuredly the Creator of things invisible is not p. 152 compelled by any necessity inherent in His nature to be the visible image of the invisible God. And lest He should be regarded as the likeness of the form and not of the nature, He is styled the likeness of the invisible God in order that we may understand by His exercise of the powers (not the invisible attributes) of the Divine nature, that that nature is in Him.
50. He is accordingly the first-born of every creature because in Him all things were created. And lest any one should dare to refer to any other than Him the creation of all things in Himself, he says, All things have been created through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and for Him all things consist. All things then consist for Him Who is before all things, and in Whom are all things. Now this indeed describes the origin of created things. But concerning the dispensation by which He assumed our body, he adds, And He is the head of the body, the Church: Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead: that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell, and that through Him all things should be reconciled to Him. The Apostle has assigned to the spiritual mysteries their material effects. For He Who is the image of the invisible God is Himself the head of His body, the Church, and He Who is the first-born of every creature is at the same time the beginning, the first born from the dead: that in all things He might have the pre-eminence, being for us the Body, while He is also the image of God, since He, Who is the first-born of created things, is at the same time the first-born for eternity; so that as to Him things spiritual, being created in the First-born, owe it that they abide, even so all things human also owe it to Him that in the First-born from the dead they are born again into eternity. For He is Himself the beginning, Who as Son is therefore the image, and because the image, is of God. Further He is the first-born of every created thing, possessing in Himself the origin of the universe: and again He is the head of His body, the Church, and the first-born from the dead, so that in all things He has the pre-eminence. And because all things consist for Him, in Him the fulness of the Godhead is pleased to dwell, for in Him all things are reconciled through Him to Him, through Whom all things were created in Himself.
51. Do you now perceive what it is to be the image of God? It means that all things are created in Him through Him. Whereas all things are created in Him, understand that He, Whose image He is, also creates all things in Him. And since all things which are created in Him are also created through Him, recognize that in Him Who is the image there is present the nature of Him, Whose image He is. For through Himself He creates the things which are created in Him, just as through Himself all things are reconciled in Him. Inasmuch as they are reconciled in Him, recognise in Him the nature of the Fathers unity, reconciling all things to Himself in Him. Inasmuch as all things are reconciled through Him, perceive Him reconciling to the Father in Himself all things which He reconciled through Himself. For the same Apostle says, But all things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself 951 . Compare with this the whole mystery of the faith of the Gospel. For He Who is seen when Jesus is seen, Who works in His works, and speaks in His words, also reconciles in His reconciliation. And for this cause, in Him and through Him there is reconciliation, because the Father abiding in Him through a like nature restored the world to Himself by reconciliation through and in Him.
52. Thus God out of regard for human weakness has not set forth the faith in bare and uncertain statements. For although the authority of our Lords mere words of itself compelled their acceptance, He nevertheless has informed our reason by a revelation which explains their meaning, that we might learn to know His words, I and the Father are one 952 , by means of that which was itself the cause of the unity in question. For in saying that the Father speaks in His words, and works through His working, and judges through His judgment, and is seen in His manifestation, and reconciles through His reconciliation, and abides in Him, while He in turn abides in the Father,—what more fitting words, I ask, could He have employed in His teaching to suit the faculties of our reason, that we might believe in Their unity, than those by which, through the truth of the birth and the unity of the nature, it is declared that whatever the Son did and said, the Father said and did in the Son? This says nothing of a nature foreign to Himself, or added by creation to God, or born into Godhead by a partition of God, but it betokens the divinity of One Who by a perfect birth is begotten perfect God, Who has so confident an assurance of His nature that He says, I in the Father and the Father in Me 953 , and again, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine 954 . For nought p. 153 of the Godhead is lacking in Him, in Whose working and speaking and manifestation God works and speaks and is beheld. They are not two Gods, Who in their working and words and manifestation put on a semblance of unity. Neither is He a solitary God. Who in the works and words and sight of God, Himself worked and spoke and was seen as God. The Church understands this. The Synagogue does not believe, philosophy does not know, that being One of One, Whole of Whole, God and Son, He has neither by His birth deprived the Father of His completeness, nor failed to possess the same completeness in Himself by right of His birth. And whosoever is caught in this folly of unbelief is a disciple either of the Jews or of the heathen.
53. Now that you may understand the saying of the Lord, when He said, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine 955 , learn the teaching and faith of the Apostle who said, Take heed lest any lead you astray through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world and not after Christ; for in Him dwelleth the fulness of Godhead bodily 956 . That man is of the world and savours of the teaching of men and is the victim of philosophy, who does not know Christ to be the true God, who does not recognise in Him the fulness of Godhead. The mind of man knows only that which it understands, and the worlds powers of belief are limited, since it judges according to the laws of the material elements that that alone is possible which it can see or do. For the elements of the world have come into being out of nothing, but Christs continuity of existence did not begin in the non-existent, nor did He ever begin to exist, but He took from the beginning a beginning which is eternal. The elements of the world are either without life, or have issued out of this stage into life, but Christ is life, born to be living God from the living God. The elements of the world have been established by God, but they are not God: Christ as God of God is Himself wholly all that God is. The elements of the world, since they are within it, cannot possibly rise out of their condition and cease to be within it, but Christ, while having God within Himself through the Mystery, is Himself in God. The elements of the universe, generating from themselves creatures with a life like their own, do indeed through the exercise of their bodily functions bestow upon them from their own bodies the beginnings of life, but they are not themselves present as living beings in their offspring, whereas in Christ all the fulness of the Godhead is present in bodily shape.
54. Now I ask, whose Godhead is it whereof the fulness dwells in Him? If it be not that of the Father, what other God do you, misleading preacher of one God, thrust upon me as Him Whose Godhead dwells fully in Christ? But if it be that of the Father, inform me how this fulness dwells in Him in bodily fashion. If you hold that the Father abides in the Son in bodily fashion, the Father, while dwelling in the Son, will not exist in Himself. If on the other hand, and this is more true, the Godhead abiding in Him in bodily shape displays within Him the verity of the nature of God from God, inasmuch as God is in Him, abiding neither through condescension nor through will but by birth, true and wholly in bodily fulness according as He is; and inasmuch as, in the whole compass of His being, He was born by His divine birth to be God, and within the Godhead there is no difference or dissimilarity, except that in Christ He dwells in bodily form, and yet whatever dwells in Him bodily is according to the fulness of Godhead; why follow after the doctrines of men? Why cleave to the teaching of empty falsehoods? Why talk of agreement or harmony of will or a creature? The fulness of Godhead dwells in Christ bodily.
55. The Apostle has herein held fast to the canon of his faith, by teaching that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ bodily; and this, in order that the teaching of the faith might not degenerate into an unholy profession of a oneness of Persons or sinful frenzy break forth into the belief of two different natures. For the fulness of Godhead which dwells in Christ in bodily fashion is neither solitary nor separable; for the fulness in bodily form does not admit any partition from the other bodily fulness, and the indwelling Godhead cannot be regarded as also the dwelling-place of the Godhead. And Christ is so constituted that the fulness of Godhead dwells in Him in bodily fashion, and that this fulness must be held one in nature with Christ. Lay hands on every chance that offers for your quibbles, sharpen the points of your blasphemous wit. Name, at least, the imaginary being whose fulness of Godhead it is which dwells in Christ in bodily fashion. For He is Christ, and there is dwelling in Him in bodily fashion the fulness of Godhead.
56. And if you would know what it is to dwell in bodily fashion, understand what it is to speak in one that speaks, to be seen in one who is seen, to work in one who works, to be God in God, whole of whole, one of one; and thus learn what is meant by the p. 154 fulness of God in bodily shape. Remember, too, that the Apostle does not keep silence on the question, whose Godhead it is, which dwells fully in Christ in bodily fashion, for he says, For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity 957 . So it is His Godhead that dwells in Christ in bodily fashion, not partially but wholly, not parcelwise but in fulness; and so dwelling that the Two are one, and so one, that the One Who is God does not differ from the Other Who is God: Both so equally divine, as a perfect birth engendered perfect God. And the birth exists thus in its perfection, because the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily in God born of God.
Titus 1:9, 10.137:885
Titus 2:7, 8.137:887
2 Tim. ii. 17.137:888
Tit. i. 9.139:889
St. John 10:30, John 14:7, 9, 10, 11.139:890
Acts iv. 32.139:892
1 Cor. iii. 8.139:893
St. John 17:20, 21.139:894
Eph. 4:4, 5.140:896
Gal. 3:27, 28.140:897
St. John x. 30.140:898
St. John xvii. 21.140:900
St. John xvii. 22.141:902
John 17:22, 23.141:903
If in the Sacrament we hold real communion with the Father and the Son, the union of Father and Son on which it is based must be also real, and not a mere concord of will.141:904
St. John 6:55, 56.141:905
John 14:19, 20.142:906
St. John vi. 56.142:907
St. John 10:28, 29.142:909
John 14:7, 9, 10, 12.142:910
St. John xvi. 12-15.143:912
Rom. viii. 9-11.144:914
St. Luke iv. 18.144:915
St. Matt. xii. 18.144:916
Ps. 2:8, Matt. 3:17, &c.144:918
Acts 2:16, 17.145:919
St. John xiv. 23.145:920
St. John x. 30.145:921
1 Cor. xii. 3.145:922
1 Cor. 12.3.145:923
1 Cor. 12.4-7.145:924
1 Cor. 12.8-10.146:925
Acts 1:4, 5.146:926
I.e. in 1 Cor. xii. 8 f.146:928
1 Cor. xii. 11.146:929
Hilarys interpretation of this passage is not strictly Trinitarian. His view is that there are two Divine Persons at work, the Father and the Son, and that Both are embraced under the common name of Spirit. Compare ii. 30, and the exegesis of St. John iv. 24, which follows.146:930
1 Cor. xii. 12.147:931
1 Cor. 12:5, 6.147:932
Eph. 4:7, 10.147:933
1 Cor. 12:5, 6.147:934
1 Cor. 8.6.147:935
Eph. 4:5, 6.147:936
1 Cor. xii. 3.147:937
1 Cor. 8.6.147:938
St. John vi. 40.148:939
St. John x. 30.148:940
See § 31, supr., and note.148:941
Rom. ix. 5.149:942
Rom. xi. 36.149:943
St. John vi. 27-29.150:944
St. John vi. 27.150:945
Phil. 2:6, 7. The sense in which Hilary understands non rapinam arbitratus est, is to be seen in his explanation, non sibi rapiens esse se æqualem Deo (see just below).150:946
Phil. 2:6, 7151:947
St. John xiv. 9.151:948
Col. i. 15.151:949
St. John x. 37.151:950
Col. i. 15-20.152:951
2 Cor. 5:18, 19.152:952
St. John x. 30.152:953
St. John xvi. 15.153:956
Col. 2:8, 9.154:957
Rom. i. 20.
Next: Book IX
Like & share St-Takla.org
© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: https://st-takla.org / Contact us at