Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XVII. That the glory and honour of Christ is not to be ascribed to the Holy Ghost in such a way as to deny that it proceeds from Christ Himself, as if all that excellency, which was in Him, was another's and proceeded from another source.
That the glory and honour of Christ is not to be ascribed to the Holy Ghost in such a way as to deny that it proceeds from Christ Himself, as if all that excellency, which was in Him, was anothers and proceeded from another source.
You say then in another discussion, nay rather in another blasphemy of yours, “and He separated 2630 the Spirit from the Divine nature Who created His humanity. For Scripture says that that which was born of Mary is of the Holy Ghost. 2631 Who also filled with righteousness (justitia) that which was created: for it says He appeared in the flesh, was justified in the Spirit. 2632 Again: Who made Him also to be feared by the devils: For I, He says, by the Spirit of God cast out devils. 2633 Who also made His flesh a temple. For I saw His spirit descending like a dove and abiding upon Him. 2634 Again: Who granted to Him His ascension into Heaven. For it says, “Giving a commandment to the apostles whom He had chosen, by the Holy Ghost He was taken up.” 2635 Finally that it was He who granted such glory to Christ.” The whole of your blasphemy then consists in this: that Christ had nothing of Himself: nor did He, a mere man, as you say, receive anything from the Word, i.e., the Son of God; but everything in Him was the gift of the Spirit. If then we can show that all that which you refer to the Spirit, is His own, what remains but that we prove that He whom you therefore would have taken to be a man, because as you say everything which He has is anothers, is therefore God, because everything which He has is His own? And indeed we will prove this not only by discussion and argument, but by the voice of Divinity Itself: for nothing testifies of God better than things divine. And because nothing knows itself better than the very glory of God, we believe nothing on the subject of God with greater right than those writings in which God Himself is His own witness. First then, as to this that you say that the Holy Spirit created His humanity; we might take it simply, if we could acknowledge that you had not brought it forward in the interests of unbelief. For neither do we deny that the flesh of the Lord was conceived by the Holy Ghost: but we assert that the body was conceived by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost in such a way that we can say that His Humanity 2636 was created for Himself by the Son of God, as the Holy Spirit Itself says in holy Scripture, testifying that “Wisdom hath builded for Itself a house.” 2637 You see then that that which was conceived by the Holy Ghost was built and perfected by the Son of God: not that the work of the Son of God is one thing, and the work of the Holy Ghost another: but that through the unity of the Godhead and glory the operation of the Spirit is the building of the Son of God; and the building of the Son of God is the co-operation of the Holy Ghost. And so we read not only that the Holy Ghost came upon the Virgin, but also that the power of the Most High overshadowed the Virgin; that since Wisdom Itself is the fulness of the Godhead, no one might doubt that when Wisdom built Itself a house all the fulness of the Godhead was present. But the wretched hardness of your blasphemy, while it tries to sever Christ from the Son of God, fails to see that it is entirely severing the nature of the Godhead from Itself. Unless perhaps you believe that the house is therefore built for Him by the Holy Ghost because He Himself was insufficient and incapable of building for Himself an house. But it is as absurd as it is wild, to believe that He, whom we believe to have created the whole universe of things heavenly and earthly by His will, was unable to build for Himself a body: especially as the power of the Holy Ghost is His power, and the Divinity and Glory of the Trinity are so united and inseparable, that we cannot think of anything at all in One Person of the Trinity, which can be separated from the fulness of the Godhead. Therefore when this is laid down and grasped; viz., that according to the faith of holy Scripture, when the Holy Ghost came upon (the Virgin) and the power of the Most High overshadowed her, Wisdom builded Itself an house; the rest of the slanders of your blasphemy come to nothing. For neither is it doubtful that He made all things by Himself and in Himself, in whose name and faith, the faith even of believers can do anything. For neither did He need the aid of another, as neither have they needed it, who have trusted in His power. And so as for your assertions that He was justified by the Spirit, and that the Spirit made Him to be feared by the devils, and that His flesh became the temple of the Holy Ghost, and that He was taken up by the Spirit into heaven, they are all blasphemous and wild: not because we are to believe that in all these things which He Himself did, the unity and cooperation of the Spirit was wanting—since the Godhead is never wanting to Itself, and the power of the Trinity was ever present in the Saviours works—but because you will have it that the Holy Ghost gave assistance to the Lord Jesus Christ as if He had been feeble and powerless; and that He granted those p. 614 things to Him, which He was unable to procure for Himself. Learn then from sacred witnesses to believe God, and not to mingle falsehood with truth: for the subject does not admit it, and common sense abhors the idea of mingling the notions of the spirit of the devil with the witnesses that are Divine.
S. Matt. i. 20.613:2632
1 Tim. iii. 16.613:2633
S. Luke xi. 20.613:2634
S. John i. 32.613:2635
Acts i. 2.613:2636
Prov. ix. 1.
Next: Chapter XVIII. How we are to understand the Apostle's words: “He appeared in the flesh, was justified in the Spirit,” etc.
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