Writings of Gregory of Nyssa - Against Eunomius - Book II

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Translated, with prolegomena, notes, and indices,

by William Moore, M.A., Rector of Appleton,
Late Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford;

and Henry Austin Wilson, M.A.,
Fellow and librarian of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Edited by Henry Wace,
Kings College, London, 6th November, 1892.

Against Eunomius.

Book II.


ø1. The second book declares the Incarnation of God the Word, and the faith delivered by the Lord to His disciples, and asserts that the heretics who endeavour to overthrow this faith and devise other additional names are of their father the devil.

The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the Life, the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wisdom, and all else that He is by nature, for this cause above all was made in the likeness of man, and shared our nature, becoming like us in all things, yet without sin. He was like us in all things, in that He took upon Him manhood in its entirety with soul and body, so that our salvation was accomplished by means of both:--He, I say, appeared on earth and "conversed with men [242] ," that men might no longer have opinions according to their own notions about the Self-existent, formulating into a doctrine the hints that come to them from vague conjectures, but that we might be convinced that God has truly been manifested in the flesh, and believe that to be the only true "mystery of godliness [243] ," which was delivered to us by the very Word and God, Who by Himself spake to His Apostles, and that we might receive the teaching concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, "through a glass darkly [244] " from the older Scriptures,--from the Law, and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of the truth fully revealed to us, reverently accepting the meaning of the things which have been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scriptures [245] , which faith we guard as we received it, word for word, in purity, without falsification, judging even a slight divergence from the words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy and impiety. We believe, then, even as the Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when He said, "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost [246] ." This is the word of the mystery whereby through the new birth from above our nature is transformed from the corruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed from "the old man," "according to the image of Him who created [247] " at the beginning the likeness to the Godhead. In the Faith then which was delivered by God to the Apostles we admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor addition, knowing assuredly that he who presumes to pervert the Divine utterance by dishonest quibbling, the same "is of his father the devil," who leaves the words of truth and "speaks of his own," becoming the father of a lie [248] . For whatsoever is said otherwise than in exact accord with the truth is assuredly false and not true.

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Footnotes

[242] Bar. iii. 37. [243] 1 Tim. iii. 16. [244] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [245] This is perhaps the force of ton holon: "the Lord of the Old Covenant as well as of the New." But ton holon may mean simply "the Universe." [246] S. Matt. xxviii. 19. [247] Cf. Col. iii. 10 [248] Cf. S. John viii. 44.
ø2. Gregory then makes an explanation at length touching the eternal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Since then this doctrine is put forth by the Truth itself, it follows that anything which the inventors of pestilent heresies devise besides to subvert this Divine utterance,--as, for example, calling the Father "Maker" and "Creator" of the Son instead of "Father," and the Son a "result," a "creature," a "product," instead of "Son," and the Holy Spirit the "creature of a creature," and the "product of a product," instead of His proper title the "Spirit," and whatever those who fight against God are pleased to say of Him,--all such fancies we term a denial and violation of the Godhead revealed to us in this doctrine. For once for all we have learned from the Lord, through Whom comes the transformation of our nature from mortality to immortality,--from Him, I say, we have learned to what we ought to look with the eyes of our understanding,--that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We say that it is a terrible and soul-destroying thing to misinterpret these Divine utterances and to devise in their stead assertions to subvert them,--assertions pretending to correct God the Word, Who appointed that we should maintain these statements as part of our faith. For each of these titles understood in its natural sense becomes for Christians a rule of truth and a law of piety. For while there are many other names by which Deity is indicated in the Historical Books, in the Prophets and in the Law, our Master Christ passes by all these and commits to us these titles as better able to bring us to the faith about the Self-Existent, declaring that it suffices us to cling to the title, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," in order to attain to the apprehension of Him Who is absolutely Existent, Who is one and yet not one. In regard to essence He is one, wherefore the Lord ordained that we should look to one Name: but in regard to the attributes indicative of the Persons, our belief in Him is distinguished into belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost [249] ; He is divided without separation, and united without confusion. For when we hear the title "Father" we apprehend the meaning to be this, that the name is not understood with reference to itself alone, but also by its special signification indicates the relation to the Son. For the term "Father" would have no meaning apart by itself, if "Son" were not connoted by the utterance of the word "Father." When, then, we learnt the name "Father" we were taught at the same time, by the selfsame title, faith also in the Son. Now since Deity by its very nature is permanently and immutably the same in all that pertains to its essence, nor did it at any time fail to be anything that it now is, nor will it at any future time be anything that it now is not, and since He Who is the very Father was named Father by the Word, and since in the Father the Son is implied,--since these things are so, we of necessity believe that He Who admits no change or alteration in His nature was always entirely what He is now, or, if there is anything which He was not, that He assuredly is not now. Since then He is named Father by the very Word, He assuredly always was Father, and is and will be even as He was. For surely it is not lawful in speaking of the Divine and unimpaired Essence to deny that what is excellent always belonged to It. For if He was not always what He now is, He certainly changed either from the better to the worse or from the worse to the better, and of these assertions the impiety is equal either way, whichever statement is made concerning the Divine nature. But in fact the Deity is incapable of change and alteration. So, then, everything that is excellent and good is always contemplated in the fountain of excellency. But "the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father [250] " is excellent, and beyond all excellency:--mark you, He says, "Who is in the bosom of the Father," not "Who came to be" there.

Well then, it has been demonstrated by these proofs that the Son is from all eternity to be contemplated in the Father, in Whom He is, being Life and Light and Truth, and every noble name and conception--to say that the Father ever existed by Himself apart from these attributes is a piece of the utmost impiety and infatuation. For if the Son, as the Scripture saith, is the Power of God, and Wisdom, and Truth, and Light, and Sanctification, and Peace, and Life, and the like, then before the Son existed, according to the view of the heretics, these things also had no existence at all. And if these things had no existence they must certainly conceive the bosom of the Father to have been devoid of such excellences. To the end, then, that the Father might not be conceived as destitute of the excellences which are His own, and that the doctrine might not run wild into this extravagance, the right faith concerning the Son is necessarily included in our Lord's utterance with the contemplation of the eternity of the Father. And for this reason He passes over all those names which are employed to indicate the surpassing excellence of the Divine nature [251] , and delivers to us as part of our profession of faith the title of "Father" as better suited to indicate the truth, being a title which, as has been said, by its relative sense connotes with itself the Son, while the Son, Who is in the Father, always is what He essentially is, as has been said already, because the Deity by Its very nature does not admit of augmentation. For It does not perceive any other good outside of Itself, by participation in which It could acquire any accession, but is always immutable, neither casting away what It has, nor acquiring what It has not: for none of Its properties are such as to be cast away. And if there is anything whatsoever blessed, unsullied, true and good, associated with Him and in Him, we see of necessity that the good and holy Spirit must belong to Him [252] , not by way of accretion. That Spirit is indisputably a princely Spirit [253] , a quickening Spirit, the controlling and sanctifying force of all creation, the Spirit that "worketh all in all" as He wills [254] . Thus we conceive no gap between the anointed Christ and His anointing, between the King and His sovereignty, between Wisdom and the Spirit of Wisdom, between Truth and the Spirit of Truth, between Power and the Spirit of Power, but as there is contemplated from all eternity in the Father the Son, Who is Wisdom and Truth, and Counsel, and Might, and Knowledge, and Understanding, so there is also contemplated in Him the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of Wisdom, and of Truth, and of Counsel, and of Understanding, and all else that the Son is and is called. For which reason we say that to the holy disciples the mystery of godliness was committed in a form expressing at once union and distinction,--that we should believe on the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. For the differentiation of the subsistences [255] makes the distinction of Persons [256] clear and free from confusion, while the one Name standing in the forefront of the declaration of the Faith clearly expounds to us the unity of essence of the Persons [257] Whom the Faith declares,--I mean, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For by these appellations we are taught not a difference of nature, but only the special attributes that mark the subsistences [258] , so that we know that neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Holy Spirit either the Father or the Son, and recognize each by the distinctive mark of His Personal Subsistence [259] , in illimitable perfection, at once contemplated by Himself and not divided from that with Which He is connected.


Footnotes

[249] Or, somewhat more literally, "He admits of distinction into belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being divided," &c. [250] S. John i. 18 [251] That nature which transcends our conceptions (huperkeimene). [252] Or "be conjoined with such attribute:" auto probably refers, like peri auton kai en auto just above, to Theos or to Theion, but it may conceivably refer to ei ti makarion, k.t.l. [253] hegemonikon. Cf. Ps. li. 12 in LXX. (Spiritus principalis in Vulg., "free spirit" in the "Authorised" Version, and in the Prayer-book Version). [254] Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 6. [255] hupostaseon [256] prosopon [257] prosopon [258] hupostaseon [259] hupostaseon


ø3. Gregory proceeds to discuss the relative force of the unnameable name of the Holy Trinity and the mutual relation of the Persons, and moreover the unknowable character of the essence, and the condescension on His part towards us, His generation of the Virgin, and His second coming, the resurrection from the dead and future retribution.

What then means that unnameable name concerning which the Lord said, "Baptizing them into the name," and did not add the actual significant term which "the name" indicates? We have concerning it this notion, that all things that exist in the creation are defined by means of their several names. Thus whenever a man speaks of "heaven" he directs the notion of the hearer to the created object indicated by this name, and he who mentions "man" or some animal, at once by the mention of the name impresses upon the hearer the form of the creature, and in the same way all other things, by means of the names imposed upon them, are depicted in the heart of him who by hearing receives the appellation imposed upon the thing. The uncreated Nature alone, which we acknowledge in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, surpasses all significance of names. For this cause the Word, when He spoke of "the name" in delivering the Faith, did not add what it is,--for how could a name be found for that which is above every name?--but gave authority that whatever name our intelligence by pious effort be enabled to discover to indicate the transcendent Nature, that name should be applied alike to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whether it be "the Good" or "the Incorruptible," whatever name each may think proper to be employed to indicate the undefiled Nature of Godhead. And by this deliverance the Word seems to me to lay down for us this law, that we are to be persuaded that the Divine Essence is ineffable and incomprehensible: for it is plain that the title of Father does not present to us the Essence, but only indicates the relation to the Son. It follows, then, that if it were possible for human nature to be taught the essence of God, He "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth [260] " would not have suppressed the knowledge upon this matter. But as it is, by saying nothing concerning the Divine Essence, He showed that the knowledge thereof is beyond our power, while when we have learnt that of which we are capable, we stand in no need of the knowledge beyond our capacity, as we have in the profession of faith in the doctrine delivered to us what suffices for our salvation. For to learn that He is the absolutely existent, together with Whom, by the relative force of the term, there is also declared the majesty of the Son, is the fullest teaching of godliness; the Son, as has been said, implying in close union with Himself the Spirit of Life and Truth, inasmuch as He is Himself Life and Truth.

These distinctions being thus established, while we anathematize all heretical fancies in the sphere of divine doctrines, we believe, even as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledging together with this faith also the dispensation that has been set on foot on behalf of men by the Lord of the creation. For He "being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant [261] ," and being incarnate in the Holy Virgin redeemed us from death "in which we were held," "sold under sin [262] ," giving as the ransom for the deliverance of our souls His precious blood which He poured out by His Cross, and having through Himself made clear for us the path of the resurrection [263] from the dead, shall come in His own time in the glory of the Father to judge every soul in righteousness, when "all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation [264] ." But that the pernicious heresy that is now being sown broadcast by Eunomius may not, by falling upon the mind of some of the simpler sort and being left without investigation, do harm to guileless faith, we are constrained to set forth the profession which they circulate and to strive to expose the mischief of their teaching.


Footnotes

[260] 1 Tim. ii. 4. [261] Phil. ii. 6. [262] Or, "in which we were held by sin, being sold." The reference is to Rom. vii. 7 and 14, but with the variation of hupo tes hamartias, for hupo ten hamartian, and a change in the order of the words. [263] A similar phrase is to be found in Book V. With both may be compared the language of the Eucharistic Prayer in the Liturgy of S. Basil (where the context corresponds to some extent with that of either passage in S. Gregory):--kai anastas te trite hemera, kai hodopoiesas pase sarki ten ek nekron anastasin, k.t.l. [264] S. John v. 29


ø4. He next skilfully confutes the partial, empty and blasphemous statement of Eunomius on the subject of the absolutely existent.

Now the wording of their doctrine is as follows: "We believe in the one and only true God, according to the teaching of the Lord Himself, not honouring Him with a lying title (for He cannot lie), but really existent, one God in nature and in glory, who is without beginning, eternally, without end, alone." Let not him who professes to believe in accordance with the teaching of the Lord pervert the exposition of the faith that was made concerning the Lord of all to suit his own fancy, but himself follow the utterance of the truth. Since then, the expression of the Faith comprehends the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, what agreement has this construction of theirs to show with the utterances of the Lord, so as to refer such a doctrine to the teaching of those utterances? They cannot manage to show where in the Gospels the Lord said that we should believe on "the one and only true God:" unless they have some new Gospel. For the Gospels which are read in the churches continuously from ancient times to the present day, do not contain this saying which tells us that we should believe in or baptize into "the one and only true God," as these people say, but "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." But as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, this we say, that the word "one" does not indicate the Father alone, but comprehends in its significance the Son with the Father, inasmuch as the Lord said, "I and My Father are one [265] ." In like manner also the name "God" belongs equally to the Beginning in which the Word was, and to the Word Who was in the Beginning. For the Evangelist tells us that "the Word was with God, and the Word was God [266] ." So that when Deity is expressed the Son is included no less than the Father. Moreover, the true cannot be conceived as something alien from and unconnected with the truth. But that the Lord is the Truth no one at all will dispute, unless he be one estranged from the truth. If, then, the Word is in the One, and is God and Truth, as is proclaimed in the Gospels, on what teaching of the Lord does he base his doctrine who makes use of these distinctive terms? For the antithesis is between "only" and "not only," between "God" and "no God," between "true" and "untrue." If it is with respect to idols that they make their distinction of phrases, we too agree. For the name of "deity" is given, in an equivocal sense, to the idols of the heathen, seeing that "all the gods of the heathen are demons," and in another sense marks the contrast of the one with the many, of the true with the false, of those who are not Gods with Him who is God [267] . But if the contrast is one with the Only-begotten God [268] , let our sages learn that truth has its opposite only in falsehood, and God in one who is not God. But inasmuch as the Lord Who is the Truth is God, and is in the Father and is one relatively to the Father [269] , there is no room in the true doctrine for these distinctions of phrases. For he who truly believes in the One sees in the One Him Who is completely united with Him in truth, and deity, and essence, and life, and wisdom, and in all attributes whatsoever: or, if he does not see in the One Him Who is all these it is in nothing that he believes. For without the Son the Father has neither existence nor name, any more than the Powerful without Power, or the Wise without Wisdom. For Christ is "the Power of God and the Wisdom of God [270] ;" so that he who imagines he sees the One God apart from power, truth, wisdom, life, or the true light, either sees nothing at all or else assuredly that which is evil. For the withdrawal of the good attributes becomes a positing and origination of evil.

"Not honouring Him," he says, "with a lying title, for He cannot lie." By that phrase I pray that Eunomius may abide, and so bear witness to the truth that it cannot lie. For if he would be of this mind, that everything that is uttered by the Lord is far removed from falsehood, he will of course be persuaded that He speaks the truth Who says, "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me [271] ,"--plainly, the One in His entirety, in the Other in His entirety, the Father not superabounding in the Son, the Son not being deficient in the Father,--and Who says also that the Son should be honoured as the Father is honoured [272] , and "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father [273] ," and "no man knoweth the Father save the Son [274] ," in all which passages there is no hint given to those who receive these declarations as genuine, of any variation [275] of glory, or of essence, or anything else, between the Father and the Son.

"Really existent," he says, "one God in nature and in glory." Real existence is opposed to unreal existence. Now each of existing things is really existent in so far as it is; but that which, so far as appearance and suggestion go, seems to be, but is not, this is not really existent, as for example an appearance in a dream or a man in a picture. For these and such like things, though they exist so far as appearance is concerned, have not real existence. If then they maintain, in accordance with the Jewish opinion, that the Only-begotten God does not exist at all, they are right in predicating real existence of the Father alone. But if they do not deny the existence of the Maker of all things, let them be content not to deprive of real existence Him Who is, Who in the Divine appearance to Moses gave Himself the name of Existent, when He said, "I am that I am [276] :" even as Eunomius in his later argument agrees with this, saying that it was He Who appeared to Moses. Then he says that God is "one in nature and in glory." Whether God exists without being by nature God, he who uses these words may perhaps know: but if it be true that he who is not by nature God is not God at all, let them learn from the great Paul that they who serve those who are not Gods do not serve God [277] ." But we "serve the living and true God," as the Apostle says [278] : and He Whom we serve is Jesus the Christ [279] . For Him the Apostle Paul even exults in serving, saying, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ [280] ." We then, who no longer serve them which by nature are no Gods [281] , have come to the knowledge of Him Who by nature is God, to Whom every knee boweth "of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth [282] ." But we should not have been His servants had we not believed that this is the living and true God, to Whom "every tongue maketh confession that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father [283] ."

"God," he says, "Who is without beginning, eternally, without end, alone." Once more "understand, ye simple ones," as Solomon says, "his subtlety [284] ," lest haply ye be deceived and fall headlong into the denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten Son. That is without end which admits not of death and decay: that, likewise, is called everlasting which is not only for a time. That, therefore, which is neither everlasting nor without end is surely seen in the nature which is perishable and mortal. Accordingly he who predicates "unendingness" of the one and only God, and does not include the Son in the assertion of "unendingness" and "eternity," maintains by such a proposition, that He Whom he thus contrasts with the eternal and unending is perishable and temporary. But we, even when we are told that God "only hath immortality [285] ," understand by "immortality" the Son. For life is immortality, and the Lord is that life, Who said, "I am the Life [286] ." And if He be said to dwell "in the light that no man can approach unto [287] ," again we make no difficulty in understanding that the true Light, unapproachable by falsehood, is the Only-begotten, in Whom we learn from the Truth itself that the Father is [288] . Of these opinions let the reader choose the more devout, whether we are to think of the Only-begotten in a manner worthy of the Godhead, or to call Him, as heresy prescribes, perishable and temporary.


Footnotes

[265] S. John x. 30 [266] S. John i. 1 [267] Or, possibly, "and the contrast he makes between the one and the many, &c. is irrelevant" (allos antidiairei): the quotation is from Ps. xcvi. 6 (LXX.). [268] Cf. S. John i. 18, reading (as S. Gregory seems to have done) theos for hui& 231;s. [269] kai hen pros ton patera ontos. It may be questioned whether the text is sound: the phrase seems unusual; perhaps hen has been inserted in error from the preceding clause kai en to patri ontos, and we should read "is in the Father and is with the Father" (cf. the 2nd verse of the 1st Epistle, and verses 1 and 2 of the Gospel of S. John). [270] 1 Cor. i. 24. [271] S. John xiv. 10 [272] Cf. S. John v. 23 [273] S. John xiv. 9 [274] S. Matt. xi. 27 [275] parallage (Cf. S. James i. 17). [276] Or "I am He that is," Ex. iii. 14. [277] The reference seems to be to Gal. iv. 8. [278] 1 Thess. i. 10. [279] There is perhaps a reference here to Col. iii. 24. [280] Rom. i. 1. [281] Cf. Gal. iv. 8 [282] Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11. [283] Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11. [284] Prov. viii. 5 (Septuagint). [285] 1 Tim. vi. 16. [286] S. John xiv. 6 [287] 1 Tim. vi. 16. [288] S. John xiv. 11


ø5. He next marvellously overthrows the unintelligible statements of Eunomius which assert that the essence of the Father is not separated or divided, and does not become anything else.

"We believe in God," he tells us, "not separated as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from being what He is, or passing from one essence to assume the guise of a threefold personality: for He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God." From these citations the discreet reader may well separate first of all the idle words inserted in the statement without any meaning from those which appear to have some sense, and afterwards examine the meaning that is discoverable in what remains of his statement, to ascertain whether it is compatible with due reverence towards Christ.

The first, then, of the statements cited is completely divorced from any intelligible meaning, good or bad. For what sense there is in the words, "not separated, as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from being what He is," Eunomius himself could not tell us, and I do not think that any of his allies could find in the words any shadow of meaning. When he speaks of Him as "not separated in regard to the essence wherein He is one," he says either that He is not separated from His own essence, or that His own essence is not divided from Him. This unmeaning statement is nothing but a random combination of noise and empty sound. And why should one spend time in the investigation of these meaningless expressions? For how does any one remain in existence when separated from his own essence? or how is the essence of anything divided and displayed apart? Or how is it possible for one to depart from that wherein he is, and become another, getting outside himself? But he adds, "not passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons: for He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God." I think the absence of meaning in his statement is plain to every one without a word from me: against this let any one argue who thinks there is any sense or meaning in what he says: he who has an eye to discern the force of words will decline to involve himself in a struggle with unsubstantial shadows. For what force has it against our doctrine to say "not separated or divided into more than one as regards the essence wherein He is one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons?"--things that are neither said nor believed by Christians nor understood by inference from the truths we confess. For who ever said or heard any one else say in the Church of God, that the Father is either separated or divided as regards His essence, or becomes sometimes one, sometimes another, coming to be outside Himself, or assumes the guise of three persons? These things Eunomius says to himself, not arguing with us but stringing together his own trash, mixing with the impiety of his utterances a great deal of absurdity. For we say that it is equally impious and ungodly to call the Lord of the creation a created being and to think that the Father, in that He is, is separated or split up, or departs from Himself, or assumes the guise of three persons, like clay or wax moulded in various shapes.

But let us examine the words that follow: "He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God." If he is speaking about the Father, we agree with him, for the Father is most truly one, alone and always absolutely uniform and unchangeable, never at any time present or future ceasing to be what He is. If then such an assertion as this has regard to the Father, let him not contend with the doctrine of godliness, inasmuch as on this point he is in harmony with the Church. For he who confesses that the Father is always and unchangeably the same, being one and only God, holds fast the word of godliness, if in the Father he sees the Son, without Whom the Father neither is nor is named. But if he is inventing some other God besides the Father, let him dispute with the Jews or with those who are called Hypsistiani, between whom and the Christians there is this difference, that they acknowledge that there is a God Whom they term the Highest [289] or Almighty, but do not admit that he is Father; while a Christian, if he believe not in the Father, no Christian at all.


Footnotes

[289] hupsiston, whence the name of the sect.


ø6. He then shows the unity of the Son with the Father and Eunomius' lack of understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures.

What he adds next after this is as follows:--"Having no sharer," he says, "in His Godhead, no divider of His glory, none who has lot in His power, or part in His royal throne: for He is the one and only God, the Almighty, God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords." I know not to whom Eunomius refers when he protests that the Father admits none to share His Godhead with Himself. For if he uses such expressions with reference to vain idols and to the erroneous conceptions of those who worship them (even as Paul assures us that there is no agreement between Christ and Belial, and no fellowship between the temple of God and idols [290] ) we agree with him. But if by these assertions he means to sever the Only-begotten God from the Godhead of the Father, let him be informed that he is providing us with a dilemma that may be turned against himself to refute his own impiety. For either he denies the Only-begotten God to be God at all, that he may preserve for the Father those prerogatives of deity which (according to him) are incapable of being shared with the Son, and thus is convicted as a transgressor by denying the God Whom Christians worship, or if he were to grant that the Son also is God, yet not agreeing in nature with the true God, he would be necessarily obliged to acknowledge that he maintains Gods sundered from one another by the difference of their natures. Let him choose which of these he will,--either to deny the Godhead of the Son, or to introduce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as regards impiety: for we who are initiated into the mystery of godliness by the Divinely inspired words of the Scripture do not see between the Father and the Son a partnership of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the Lord hath taught us this by His own words, when He saith, "I and the Father are one [291] ," and "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father [292] ." For if He were not of the same nature as the Father, how could He either have had in Himself that which was different [293] ? or how could He have shown in Himself that which was unlike, if the foreign and alien nature did not receive the stamp of that which was of a different kind from itself? But he says, "nor has He a divider of His glory." Herein he speaks in accordance with the fact, even though he does not know what he is saying: for the Son does not divide the glory with the Father, but has the glory of the Father in its entirety, even as the Father has all the glory of the Son. For thus He spake to the Father "All Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine [294] ." Wherefore also He says that He will appear on the Judgment Day "in the glory of the Father [295] ," when He will render to every man according to his works. And by this phrase He shows the unity of nature that subsists between them. For as "there is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon [296] ," because of the difference between the natures of those luminaries (since if both had the same glory there would not be deemed to be any difference in their nature), so He Who foretold of Himself that He would appear in the glory of the Father indicated by the identity of glory their community of nature.

But to say that the Son has no part in His Father's royal throne argues an extraordinary amount of research into the oracles of God on the part of Eunomius, who, after his extreme devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has not yet heard, "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God [297] ," and many similar passages, of which it would not be easy to reckon up the number, but which Eunomius has never learnt, and so denies that the Son is enthroned together with the Father. Again the phrase, "not having lot in his power," we should rather pass by as unmeaning than confute as ungodly. For what sense is attached to the term "having lot" is not easy to discover from the common use of the word. Those cast lots, as the Scripture tells us, for the Lord's vesture, who were unwilling to rend His garment, but disposed to make it over to that one of their number in whose favour the lot should decide [298] . They then who thus cast lots among themselves for the "coat" may be said, perhaps, to "have had lot" in it. But here in the case of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as Their power resides in Their nature (for the Holy Spirit breathes "where He listeth [299] ," and "worketh all in all as He will [300] ," and the Son, by Whom all things were made, visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth, "did all things whatsoever He pleased [301] ," and "quickeneth whom He will [302] ," and the Father put "the times in His own power [303] ," while from the mention of "times" we conclude that all things done in time are subject to the power of the Father), if, I say, it has been demonstrated that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alike are in a position of power to do what They will, it is impossible to see what sense there can be in the phrase "having lot in His power." For the heir of all things, the maker of the ages [304] , He Who shines with the Father's glory and expresses in Himself the Father's person, has all things that the Father Himself has, and is possessor of all His power, not that the right is transferred from the Father to the Son, but that it at once remains in the Father and resides in the Son. For He Who is in the Father is manifestly in the Father with all His own might, and He Who has the Father in Himself includes all the power and might of the Father. For He has in Himself all the Father, and not merely a part of Him: and He Who has Him entirely assuredly has His power as well. With what meaning, then, Eunomius asserts that the Father has "none who has lot in His power," those perhaps can tell who are disciples of his folly: one who knows how to appreciate language confesses that he cannot understand phrases divorced from meaning. The Father, he says, "has none Who has lot in His power." Why, who is there that says that the Father and Son contend together for power and cast lots to decide the matter? But the holy Eunomius comes as mediator between them and by a friendly agreement without lot assigns to the Father the superiority in power.

Mark, I pray you, the absurdity and childishness of this grovelling exposition of his articles of faith. What! He Who "upholds all things by the word of His power [305] ," Who says what He wills to be done, and does what He wills by the very power of that command, He Whose power lags not behind His will and Whose will is the measure of His power (for "He spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they were created [306] "), He Who made all things by Himself, and made them consist in Himself [307] , without Whom no existing thing either came into being or remains in being,--He it is Who waits to obtain His power by some process of allotment! Judge you who hear whether the man who talks like this is in his senses. "For He is the one and only God, the Almighty," he says. If by the title of "Almighty" he intends the Father, the language he uses is ours, and no strange language: but if he means some other God than the Father, let our patron of Jewish doctrines preach circumcision too, if he pleases. For the Faith of Christians is directed to the Father. And the Father is all these--Highest, Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in a word all terms of highest significance are proper to the Father. But all that is the Father's is the Son's also; so that, on this understanding [308] , we admit this phrase too. But if, leaving the Father, he speaks of another Almighty, he is speaking the language of the Jews or following the speculations of Plato,--for they say that that philosopher also affirms that there exists on high a maker and creator of certain subordinate gods. As then in the case of the Jewish and Platonic opinions he who does not believe in God the Father is not a Christian, even though in his creed he asserts an Almighty God, so Eunomius also falsely pretends to the name of Christian, being in inclination a Jew, or asserting the doctrines of the Greeks while putting on the guise of the title borne by Christians. And with regard to the next points he asserts the same account will apply. He says He is "God of Gods." We make the declaration our own by adding the name of the Father, knowing that the Father is God of Gods. But all that belongs to the Father certainly belongs also to the Son. "And Lord of Lords." The same account will apply to this. "And Most High over all the earth." Yes, for whichever of the Three Persons you are thinking of, He is Most High over all the earth, inasmuch as the oversight of earthly things from on high is exercised alike by the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, too, with what follows the words above, "Most High in the heavens, Most High in the highest, Heavenly, true in being what He is, and so continuing, true in words, true in works." Why, all these things the Christian eye discerns alike in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. If Eunomius does assign them to one only of the Persons acknowledged in the creed, let him dare to call Him "not true in words" Who has said, "I am the Truth [309] ," or to call the Spirit of truth "not true in words," or let him refuse to give the title of "true in works" to Him Who doeth righteousness and judgment, or to the Spirit Who worketh all in all as He will. For if he does not acknowledge that these attributes belong to the Persons delivered to us in the creed, he is absolutely cancelling the creed of Christians. For how shall any one think Him a worthy object of faith Who is false in words and untrue in works.

But let us proceed to what follows. "Above all rule, subjection and authority," he says. This language is ours, and belongs properly to the Catholic Church,--to believe that the Divine nature is above all rule, and that it has in subordination to itself everything that can be conceived among existing things. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Divine nature. If he assigns this property to the Father alone, and if he affirms Him alone to be free from variableness and change, and if he says that He alone is undefiled, the inference that we are meant to draw is plain, namely, that He who has not these characteristics is variable, corruptible, subject to change and decay. This, then, is what Eunomius asserts of the Son and the Holy Spirit: for if he did not hold this opinion concerning the Son and the Spirit, he would not have employed this opposition, contrasting the Father with them. For the rest, brethren, judge whether, with these sentiments, he is not a persecutor of the Christian faith. For who will allow it to be right to deem that a fitting object of reverence which varies, changes, and is subject to decay? So then the whole aim of one who flames such notions as these,--notions by which he makes out that neither the Truth nor the Spirit of Truth is undefiled, unvarying, or unchangeable,--is to expel from the Church the belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.


Footnotes

[290] Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16. [291] S. John x. 30 [292] S. John xiv. 9 [293] S. John xvii. 10. [294] S. John xvii. 10. [295] S. Mark viii. 38. [296] 1 Cor. xv. 41. [297] Col. iii. 1. [298] Cf. S. John xix. 23, 24. [299] S. John iii. 8 [300] Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 6 and 11. [301] Ps. cxxxv. 6. [302] S. John v. 21 [303] Acts i. 7. [304] Cf. Heb. i. 2 [305] Heb. i. 3. [306] Ps. cxlviii. 5, or xxxiii. 9 in LXX. [307] Cf. Col. i. 16 and 17. [308] "If this is so:" i.e. if Eunomius means his words in a Christian sense. [309] S. John xiv. 6


ø7. Gregory further shows that the Only-Begotten being begotten not only of the Father, but also impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, does not divide the substance; seeing that neither is the nature of men divided or severed from the parents by being begotten, as is ingeniously demonstrated from the instances of Adam and Abraham.

And now let us see what he adds to his previous statements. "Not dividing," he says, "His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible." Of such a kind as this, perhaps, is that of which the prophet says, touching the ungodly, "They weave a spider's web [310] ." For as in the cobweb there is the appearance of something woven, but no substantiality in the appearance,--for he who touches it touches nothing substantial, as the spider's threads break with the touch of a finger,--just such is the unsubstantial texture of idle phrases. "Not dividing His own essence by begetting and being at once begetter and begotten." Ought we to give his words the name of argument, or to call them rather a swelling of humours secreted by some dropsical inflation? For what is the sense of "dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten?" Who is so distracted, who is so demented, as to make the statement against which Eunomius thinks he is doing battle? For the Church believes that the true Father is truly Father of His own Son, as the Apostle says, not of a Son alien from Him. For thus he declares in one of his Epistles, "Who spared not His own Son [311] ," distinguishing Him, by the addition of "own," from those who are counted worthy of the adoption of sons by grace and not by nature. But what says He who disparages this belief of ours? "Not dividing His own essence by begetting, or being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible." Does one who hears in the Gospel that the Word was in the beginning, and was God, and that the Word came forth from the Father, so befoul the undefiled doctrine with these base and fetid ideas, saying "He does not divide His essence by begetting?" Shame on the abomination of these base and filthy notions! How is it that he who speaks thus fails to understand that God when manifested in flesh did not admit for the formation of His own body the conditions of human nature, but was born for us a Child by the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest; nor was the Virgin subject to those conditions, nor was the Spirit diminished, nor the power of the Highest divided? For the Spirit is entire, the power of the Highest remained undiminished: the Child was born in the fulness of our nature [312] , and did not sully the incorruption of His mother. Then was flesh born of flesh without carnal passion: yet Eunomius will not admit that the brightness of the glory is from the glory itself, since the glory is neither diminished nor divided by begetting the light. Again, the word of man is generated from his mind without division, but God the Word cannot be generated from the Father without the essence of the Father being divided! Is any one so witless as not to perceive the irrational character of his position? "Not dividing," quoth he, "His own essence by begetting." Why, whose own essence is divided by begetting? For in the case of men essence means human nature: in the case of brutes, it means, generically, brute nature, but in the case of cattle, sheep, and all brute animals, specifically, it is regarded according to the distinctions of their kinds. Which, then, of these divides its own essence by the process of generation? Does not the nature always remain undiminished in the case of every animal by the succession of its posterity? Further a man in begetting a man from himself does not divide his nature, but it remains in its fulness alike in him who begets and in him who is begotten, not split off and transferred from the one to the other, nor mutilated in the one when it is fully formed in the other, but at once existing in its entirety in the former and discoverable in its entirety in the latter. For both before begetting his child the man was a rational animal, mortal, capable of intelligence and knowledge, and also after begetting a man endowed with such qualities: so that in him are shown all the special properties of his nature; as he does not lose his existence as a man by begetting the man derived from him, but remains after that event what he was before without causing any diminution of the nature derived from him by the fact that the man derived from him comes into being.

Well, man is begotten of man, and the nature of the begetter is not divided. Yet Eunomius does not admit that the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, is truly of the Father, for fear forsooth, lest he should mutilate the inviolable nature of the Father by the subsistence of the Only-begotten: but after saying "Not dividing His essence by begetting," he adds, "Or being Himself begetter and begotten, or Himself becoming Father and Son [313] ," and thinks by such loose disjointed phrases to undermine the true confession of godliness or to furnish some support to his own ungodliness, not being aware that by the very means he uses to construct a reductio ad absurdum he is discovered to be an advocate of the truth. For we too say that He who has all that belongs to His own Father is all that He is, save being Father, and that He who has all that belongs to the Son exhibits in Himself the Son in His completeness, save being Son: so that the reductio ad absurdum, which Eunomius here invents, turns out to be a support of the truth, when the notion is expanded by us so as to display it more clearly, under the guidance of the Gospel. For if "he that hath seen the Son seeth the Father [314] " then the Father begat another self, not passing out of Himself, and at the same time appearing in His fulness in Him: so that from these considerations that which seemed to have been uttered against godliness is demonstrated to be a support of sound doctrine.

But he says, "Not dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible." Most cogent conclusion! What do you mean, most sapient sir? Because He is incorruptible, therefore He does not divide His own essence by begetting the Son: nor does He beget Himself or be begotten of Himself, nor become at the same time His own Father and His own Son because He is incorruptible. It follows then, that if any one is of corruptible nature he divides his essence by begetting, and is begotten by himself, and begets himself, and is his own father and his own son, because he is not incorruptible. If this is so, then Abraham, because he was corruptible, did not beget Ishmael and Isaac, but begat himself by the bondwoman and by his lawful wife or, to take the other mountebank tricks of the argument, he divided his essence among the sons who were begotten of him, and first, when Hagar bore him a son, he was divided into two sections, and in one of the halves became Ishmael, while in the other he remained half Abraham; and subsequently the residue of the essence of Abraham being again divided took subsistence in Isaac. Accordingly the fourth part of the essence of Abraham was divided into the twin sons of Isaac, so that there was an eighth in each of his grandchildren! How could one subdivide the eighth part, cutting it small in fractions among the twelve Patriarchs, or among the threescore and fifteen souls with whom Jacob went down into Egypt? And why do I talk thus when I really ought to confute the folly of such notions by beginning with the first man? For if it is a property of the incorruptible only not to divide its essence in begetting, and if Adam was corruptible, to whom the word was spoken, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return [315] ," then, according to Eunomius' reasoning, he certainly divided his essence, being cut up among those who were begotten of him, and by reason of the vast number of his posterity (the slice of his essence which is to be found in each being necessarily subdivided according to the number of his progeny), the essence of Adam is used up before Abraham began to subsist, being dispersed in these minute and infinitesimal particles among the countless myriads of his descendants, and the minute fragment of Adam that has reached Abraham and his descendants by a process of division, is no longer discoverable in them as a remnant of his essence, inasmuch as his nature has been already used up among the countless myriads of those who were before them by its division into infinitesimal fractions. Mark the folly of him who "understands neither what he says nor whereof he affirms [316] ." For by saying "Since He is incorruptible" He neither divides His essence nor begets Himself nor becomes His own father, he implicitly lays it down that we must suppose all those things from which he affirms that the incorruptible alone are free to be incidental to generation in the case of every one who is subject to corruption. Though there are many other considerations capable of proving the inanity of his argument, I think that what has been said above is sufficient to demonstrate its absurdity. But this has surely been already acknowledged by all who have an eye for logical consistency, that, when he asserted incorruptibility of the Father alone, he places all things which are considered after the Father in the category of corruptible, by virtue of opposition to the incorruptible, so as to make out even the Son not to be free from corruption. If then he places the Son in opposition to the incorruptible, he not only defines Him to be corruptible, but also asserts of Him all those incidents from which he affirms only the incorruptible to be exempt. For it necessarily follows that, if the Father alone neither begets Himself nor is begotten of Himself, everything which is not incorruptible both begets itself and is begotten of itself, and becomes its own father and son, shifting from its own proper essence to each of these relations. For if to be incorruptible belongs to the Father alone, and if not to be the things specified is a special property of the incorruptible, then, of course, according to this heretical argument, the Son is not incorruptible, and all these circumstances of course, find place about Him,--to have His essence divided, to beget Himself and to be begotten by Himself, to become Himself His own father and His own son.

Perhaps, however, it is waste of time to linger long over such follies. Let us pass to the next point of his statement. He adds to what he had already said, "Not standing in need, in the act of creation, of matter or parts or natural instruments: for He stands in need of nothing." This proposition, though Eunomius states it with a certain looseness of phrase, we yet do not reject as inconsistent with godly doctrine. For learning as we do that "He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created [317] ," we know that the Word is the Creator of matter, by that very act also producing with the matter the qualities of matter, so that for Him the impulse of His almighty will was everything and instead of everything, matter, instrument, place, time, essence, quality, everything that is conceived in creation. For at one and the same time did He will that that which ought to be should be, and His power, that produced all things that are, kept pace with His will, turning His will into act. For thus the mighty Moses in the record of creation instructs us about the Divine power, ascribing the production of each of the objects that were manifested in the creation to the words that bade them be. For "God said," he tells us, "Let there be light, and there was light [318] :" and so about the rest, without any mention either of matter or of any instrumental agency. Accordingly the language of Eunomius on this point is not to be rejected. For God, when creating all things that have their origin by creation, neither stood in need of any matter on which to operate, nor of instruments to aid Him in His construction: for the power and wisdom of God has no need of any external assistance. But Christ is "the Power of God and the Wisdom of God [319] ," by Whom all things were made and without Whom is no existent thing, as John testifies [320] . If, then, all things were made by Him, both visible and invisible, and if His will alone suffices to effect the subsistence of existing things (for His will is power), Eunomius utters our doctrine though with a loose mode of expression [321] . For what instrument and what matter could He Who upholds all things by the word of His power [322] need in upholding the constitution of existing things by His almighty word? But if he maintains that what we have believed to be true of the Only-begotten in the case of the creation, is true also in the case of the Son--in the sense that the Father created Him in like manner as the creation was made by the Son,--then we retract our former statement, because such a supposition is a denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten. For we have learnt from the mighty utterance of Paul that it is the distinguishing feature of idolatry to worship and serve the creature more than the Creator [323] , as well as from David, when He says "There shall no new God be in thee: neither shalt thou worship any alien God [324] ." We use this line and rule to arrive at the discernment of the object of worship, so as to be convinced that that alone is God which is neither "new" nor "alien." Since then we have been taught to believe that the Only-begotten God is God, we acknowledge, by our belief that He is God, that He is neither "new" or "alien." If, then, He is God, He is not "new," and if He is not new, He is assuredly eternal. Accordingly, neither is the Eternal "new," nor is He Who is of the Father and in the bosom of the Father and Who has the Father in Himself "alien" from true Deity. Thus he who severs the Son from the nature of the Father either absolutely disallows the worship of the Son, that he may not worship an alien God, or bows down before an idol, making a creature and not God the object of his worship, and giving to his idol the name of Christ.

Now that this is the meaning to which he tends in his conception concerning the Only-begotten will become more plain by considering the language he employs touching the Only-begotten Himself, which is as follows. "We believe also in the Son of God, the Only-begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds, named Son not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate." I think that the mere reading of his exposition of his faith is quite sufficient to render its impiety plain without any investigation on our part. For though he calls Him "first-born," yet that he may not raise any doubt in his readers' minds as to His not being created, he immediately adds the words, "not uncreate," lest if the natural significance of the term "Son" were apprehended by his readers, any pious conception concerning Him might find place in their minds. It is for this reason that after at first confessing Him to be Son of God and Only-begotten God, he proceeds at once, by what he adds, to pervert the minds of his readers from their devout belief to his heretical notions. For he who hears the titles "Son of God" and "Only-begotten God" is of necessity lifted up to the loftier kind of assertions respecting the Son, led onward by the significance of these terms, inasmuch as no difference of nature is introduced by the use of the title "God" and by the significance of the term "Son." For how could He Who is truly the Son of God and Himself God be conceived as something else differing from the nature of the Father? But that godly conceptions may not by these names be impressed beforehand on the hearts of his readers, he forthwith calls Him "the first-born of all creation, named Son, not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate." Let us linger a little while, then, over his argument, that the miscreant may be shown to be holding out his first statements to people merely as a bait to induce them to receive the poison that he sugars over with phrases of a pious tendency, as it were with honey. Who does not know how great is the difference in signification between the term "only-begotten" and "first-born?" For "first-born" implies brethren, and "only-begotten" implies that there are no other brethren. Thus the "first-born" is not "only-begotten," for certainly "first-born" is the first-born among brethren, while he who is "only-begotten" has no brother: for if he were numbered among brethren he would not be only-begotten. And moreover, whatever the essence of the brothers of the first-born is, the same is the essence of the first-born himself. Nor is this all that is signified by the title, but also that the first-born and those born after him draw their being from the same source, without the first-born contributing at all to the birth of those that come after him: so that hereby [325] is maintained the falsehood of that statement of John, which affirms that "all things were made by Him [326] ." For if He is first-born, He differs from those born after Him only by priority in time, while there must be some one else by Whom the power to be at all is imparted alike to Him and to the rest. But that we may not by our objections give any unfair opponent ground for an insinuation that we do not receive the inspired utterances of Scripture, we will first set before our readers our own view about these titles, and then leave it to their judgment which is the better.


Footnotes

[310] Is. lix. 5. [311] Rom. viii. 32. [312] This, or something like this, appears to be the force of holon. [313] The quotation does not verbally correspond with Eunomius' words as cited above. [314] Cf. S. John xiv. 9 [315] Gen. iii. 19. [316] Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7 [317] Ps. cxlviii. 5, or xxxiii. 9 in LXX. [318] Gen. i. 3. [319] 1 Cor. i. 24. [320] Cf. S. John i. 3 [321] Reading en atonouse te lexei for enatonouse te lexei (the reading of the Paris edition, which Oehler follows). [322] Cf. Heb. i. 3. The quotation is not verbally exact. [323] Cf. Rom. i. 26 [324] Ps. lxxxi. 10, LXX. The words prosphatos ("new") and allotrios ("alien") are both represented in the A.V. by "strange," and so in R.V. The Prayer-book version expresses them by "strange" and "any other." Both words are subsequently employed by Gregory in his argument. [325] Hereby, i.e. by the use of the term prototokos as applicable to the Divinity of the Son. [326] S. John i. 3


ø8. He further very appositely expounds the meaning of the term "Only-Begotten," and of the term "First born," four times used by the Apostle.

The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only-begotten God, Who has the pre-eminence in all things [327] , is the author and cause of all good, bears witness to Him that not only was the creation of all existent things wrought by Him, but that when the original creation of man had decayed and vanished away [328] , to use his own language, and another new creation was wrought in Christ, in this too no other than He took the lead, but He is Himself the first-born of all that new creation of men which is effected by the Gospel. And that our view about this may be made clearer let us thus divide our argument. The inspired apostle on four occasions employs this term, once as here, calling Him, "first-born of all creation [329] ," another time, "the first-born among many brethren [330] ," again, "first-born from the dead [331] ," and on another occasion he employs the term absolutely, without combining it with other words, saying, "But when again He bringeth the first-born into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him [332] ." Accordingly whatever view we entertain concerning this title in the other combinations, the same we shall in consistency apply to the phrase "first-born of all creation." For since the title is one and the same it must needs be that the meaning conveyed is also one. In what sense then does He become "the first-born among many brethren?" in what sense does He become "the first-born from the dead?" Assuredly this is plain, that because we are by birth flesh and blood, as the Scripture saith, "He Who for our sakes was born among us and was partaker of flesh and blood [333] ," purposing to change us from corruption to incorruption by the birth from above, the birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit. But since it was also meet that He should implant in our nature the power of rising again from the dead, He becomes the "first-fruits of them that slept [334] " and the "first-born from the dead [335] ," in that He first by His own act loosed the pains of death [336] , so that His new birth from the dead was made a way for us also, since the pains of death, wherein we were held, were loosed by the resurrection of the Lord. Thus, just as by having shared in the washing of regeneration [337] He became "the first-born among many brethren," and again by having made Himself the first-fruits of the resurrection, He obtains the name of the "first-born from the dead," so having in all things the pre-eminence, after that "all old things," as the apostle says, "have passed away [338] ," He becomes the first-born of the new creation of men in Christ by the two-fold regeneration, alike that by Holy Baptism and that which is the consequence of the resurrection from the dead, becoming for us in both alike the Prince of Life [339] , the first-fruits, the first-born. This first-born, then, hath also brethren, concerning whom He speaks to Mary, saying, "Go and tell My brethren, I go to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God [340] ." In these words He sums up the whole aim of His dispensation as Man. For men revolted from God, and "served them which by nature were no gods [341] ," and though being the children of God became attached to an evil father falsely so called. For this cause the mediator between God and man [342] having assumed the first-fruits of all human nature [343] , sends to His brethren the announcement of Himself not in His divine character, but in that which He shares with us, saying, "I am departing in order to make by My own self that true Father, from whom you were separated, to be your Father, and by My own self to make that true God from whom you had revolted to be your God, for by that first-fruits which I have assumed, I am in Myself presenting all humanity to its God and Father."

Since, then, the first-fruits made the true God to be its God, and the good Father to be its Father, the blessing is secured for human nature as a whole, and by means of the first-fruits the true God and Father becomes Father and God of all men. Now "if the first-fruits be holy, the lump also is holy [344] ." But where the first-fruits, Christ, is (and the first-fruits is none other than Christ), there also are they that are Christ's, as the apostle says. In those passages therefore where he makes mention of the "first-born" in connexion with other words, he suggests that we should understand the phrase in the way which I have indicated: but where, without any such addition, he says, "When again He bringeth the first-born into the world [345] ," the addition of "again" asserts that manifestation of the Lord of all which shall take place at the last day. For as "at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth [346] ," although the human name does not belong to the Son in that He is above every name, even so He says that the First-born, Who was so named for our sakes, is worshipped by all the supramundane creation, on His coming again into the world, when He "shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with equity [347] ." Thus the several meanings of the titles "First-born" and "Only begotten" are kept distinct by the word of godliness, its respective significance being secured for each name. But how can he who refers the name of "first-born" to the pre-temporal existence of the Son preserve the proper sense of the term "Only-begotten"? Let the discerning reader consider whether these things agree with one another, when the term "first-born" necessarily implies brethren, and the term "Only-begotten" as necessarily excludes the notion of brethren. For when the Scripture says, "In the beginning was the Word [348] ," we understand the Only-begotten to be meant, and when it adds "the Word was made flesh [349] " we thereby receive in our minds the idea of the first-born, and so the word of godliness remains without confusion, preserving to each name its natural significance, so that in "Only-begotten" we regard the pre-temporal, and by "the first-born of creation" the manifestation of the pre-temporal in the flesh.


Footnotes

[327] Cf. Col. i. 18 [328] Cf. Heb. viii. 13, whence the phrase is apparently adapted. [329] Col. i. 15. [330] Rom. viii. 29. [331] Col. i. 18 (cf. Rev. i. 5). [332] Heb. i. 6. [333] Cf. Heb. i. 14 [334] 1 Cor. xv. 20. [335] Col. i. 18. [336] Cf. Acts ii. 24. See note 2, p. 104, supra. [337] The phrase is not verbally the same as in Tit. iii. 5. [338] Cf. 2 Cor. v. 17 [339] Cf. Acts iii. 15 [340] Cf. S. John xx. 17: the quotation is not verbal. [341] Cf. Gal. iv. 8 [342] Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5 [343] The Humanity of Christ being regarded as this "first-fruits:" unless this phrase is to be understood of the Resurrection, rather than of the Incarnation, in which case the first-fruits will be His Body, and analabon should be rendered by "having resumed." [344] Rom. ix. 16. The reference next following may be to S. John xii. 26, or xiv. 3; or to Col. iii. 3. [345] Heb. i. 6. [346] Phil. ii. 10, 11. [347] Cf. Ps. xcviii. 10. [348] S. John i. 1 [349] S. John i. 14


ø9. Gregory again discusses the generation of the Only-Begotten, and other different modes of generation, material and immaterial, and nobly demonstrates that the Son is the brightness of the Divine glory, and not a creature.

And now let us return once more to the precise statement of Eunomius. "We believe also in the Son of God, the only begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not Ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds." That he transfers, then, the sense of generation to indicate creation is plain from his expressly calling Him created, when he speaks of Him as "coming into being" and "not uncreate". But that the inconsiderate rashness and want of training which shows itself in the doctrines may be made manifest, let us omit all expressions of indignation at his evident blasphemy, and employ in the discussion of this matter a scientific division. For it would be well, I think, to consider in a somewhat careful investigation the exact meaning of the term "generation." That this expression conveys the meaning of existing as the result of some cause is plain to all, and I suppose there is no need to contend about this point: but since there are different modes of existing as the result of a cause, this difference is what I think ought to receive thorough explanation in our discussion by means of scientific division. Of things which have come into being as the results of some cause we recognize the following differences. Some are the result of material and art, as the fabrics of houses and all other works produced by means of their respective material, where some art gives direction and conducts its purpose to its proper aim. Others are the result of material and nature; for nature orders [350] the generation of animals one from another, effecting her own work by means of the material subsistence in the bodies of the parents; others again are by material efflux. In these the original remains as it was before, and that which flows from it is contemplated by itself, as in the case of the sun and its beam, or the lamp and its radiance, or of scents and ointments, and the quality given off from them. For these, while remaining undiminished in themselves, have each accompanying them the special and peculiar effect which they naturally produce, as the sun his ray, the lamp its brightness, and perfumes the fragrance which they engender in the air. There is also another kind of generation besides these, where the cause is immaterial and incorporeal, but the generation is sensible and takes place through the instrumentality of the body; I mean the generation of the word by the mind. For the mind being in itself incorporeal begets the word by means of sensible instruments. So many are the differences of the term generation, which we discover in a philosophic view of them, that is itself, so to speak, the result of generation.

And now that we have thus distinguished the various modes of generation, it will be time to remark how the benevolent dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, imparts that instruction which transcends reason by such methods as we can receive. For the inspired teaching adopts, in order to set forth the unspeakable power of God, all the forms of generation that human intelligence recognizes, yet without including the corporeal senses attaching to the words. For when it speaks of the creative power, it gives to such an energy the name of generation, because its expression must stoop to our low capacity; it does not, however, convey thereby all that we include in creative generation, as time, place, the furnishing of matter, the fitness of instruments, the design in the things that come into being, but it leaves these, and asserts of God in lofty and magnificent language the creation of all existent things, when it says, "He spake the word and they were made [351] , He commanded and they were created." Again when it interprets to us the unspeakable and transcendent existence of the Only-begotten from the Father, as the poverty of human intellect is incapable of receiving doctrines which surpass all power of speech and thought, there too it borrows our language and terms Him "Son,"--a name which our usage assigns to those who are born of matter and nature. But just as Scripture, when speaking of generation by creation, does not in the case of God imply that such generation took place by means of any material, affirming that the power of God's will served for material substance, place, time and all such circumstances, even so here too, when using the term Son, it rejects both all else that human nature remarks in generation here below,--I mean affections and dispositions and the co-operation of time, and the necessity of place,--and, above all, matter, without all which natural generation here below does not take place. But when all such material, temporal and local [352] existence is excluded from the sense of the term "Son," community of nature alone is left, and for this reason by the title "Son" is declared, concerning the Only-begotten, the close affinity and genuineness of relationship which mark His manifestation from the Father. And since such a kind of generation was not sufficient to implant in us an adequate notion of the ineffable mode of subsistence of the Only-begotten, Scripture avails itself also of the third kind of generation to indicate the doctrine of the Son's Divinity,--that kind, namely, which is the result of material efflux, and speaks of Him as the "brightness of glory [353] ," the "savour of ointment [354] ," the "breath of God [355] ;" illustrations which in the scientific phraseology we have adopted we ordinarily designate as material efflux.

But as in the cases alleged neither the birth of the creation nor the force of the term "Son" admits time, matter, place, or affection, so here too the Scripture employing only the illustration of effulgence and the others that I have mentioned, apart from all material conception, with regard to the Divine fitness of such a mode of generation, shows that we must understand by the significance of this expression, an existence at once derived from and subsisting with the Father. For neither is the figure of breath intended to convey to us the notion of dispersion into the air from the material from which it is formed, nor is the figure of fragrance designed to express the passing off of the quality of the ointment into the air, nor the figure of effulgence the efflux which takes place by means of the rays from the body of the sun: but as has been said in all cases, by such a mode of generation is indicated this alone, that the Son is of the Father and is conceived of along with Him, no interval intervening between the Father and Him Who is of the Father. For since of His exceeding loving-kindness the grace of the Holy Spirit so ordered that the divine conceptions concerning the Only-begotten should reach us from many quarters, and so be implanted in us, He added also the remaining kind of generation,--that, namely, of the word from the mind. And here the sublime John uses remarkable foresight. That the reader might not through inattention and unworthy conceptions sink to the common notion of "word," so as to deem the Son to be merely a voice of the Father, he therefore affirms of the Word that He essentially subsisted in the first and blessed nature Itself, thus proclaiming aloud, "In the Beginning was the Word, and with God, and God, and Light, and Life [356] ," and all that the Beginning is, the Word was also.

Since, then, these kinds of generation, those, I mean, which arise as the result of some cause, and are recognized in our every-day experience, are also employed by Holy Scripture to convey its teaching concerning transcendent mysteries in such wise as each of them may reasonably be transferred to the expression of divine conceptions, we may now proceed to examine Eunomius' statement also, to find in what sense he accepts the meaning of "generation." "Very Son," he says, "not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds." One may, I think, pass quickly over the violence done to logical sequence in his distinction, as being easily recognizable by all. For who does not know that while the proper opposition is between Father and Son, between generate and ungenerate, he thus passes over the term "Father" and sets "ungenerate" in opposition to "Son," whereas he ought, if he had any concern for truth, to have avoided diverting his phrase from the due sequence of relationship, and to have said, "Very Son, not Father"? And in this way due regard would have been paid at once to piety and to logical consistency, as the nature would not have been rent asunder in making the distinction between the persons. But he has exchanged in his statement of his faith the true and scriptural use of the term "Father," committed to us by the Word Himself, and speaks of the "Ungenerate" instead of the "Father," in order that by separating Him from that close relationship towards the Son which is naturally conceived of in the title of Father, he may place Him on a common level with all created objects, which equally stand in opposition to the "ungenerate [357] ." "Verily begotten," he says, "before the worlds." Let him say of Whom He is begotten. He will answer, of course, "Of the Father," unless he is prepared unblushingly to contradict the truth. But since it is impossible to detach the eternity of the Son from the eternal Father, seeing that the term "Father" by its very signification implies the Son, for this reason it is that he rejects the title Father and shifts his phrase to "ungenerate," since the meaning of this latter name has no sort of relation or connection with the Son, and by thus misleading his readers through the substitution of one term for the other, into not contemplating the Son along with the Father, he opens up a path for his sophistry, paving the way of impiety by slipping in the term "ungenerate." For they who according to the ordinance of the Lord believe in the Father, when they hear the name of the Father, receive the Son along with Him in their thought, as the mind passes from the Son to the Father, without treading on an unsubstantial vacuum interposed between them. But those who are diverted to the title "ungenerate" instead of Father, get a bare notion of this name, learning only the fact that He did not at any time come into being, not that He is Father. Still, even with this mode of conception, the faith of those who read with discernment remains free from confusion. For the expression "not to come into being" is used in an identical sense of all uncreated nature: and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equally uncreated. For it has ever been believed by those who follow the Divine word that all the creation, sensible and supramundane, derives its existence from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He who has heard that "by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth [358] ," neither understands by "word" mere utterance, nor by "breath" mere exhalation, but by what is there said frames the conception of God the Word and of the Spirit of God. Now to create and to be created are not equivalent, but all existent things being divided into that which makes and that which is made, each is different in nature from the other, so that neither is that uncreated which is made, nor is that created which effects the production of the things that are made. By those then who, according to the exposition of the faith given us by our Lord Himself, have believed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it is acknowledged that each of these Persons is alike unoriginate [359] , and the meaning conveyed by "ungenerate" does no harm to their sound belief: but to those who are dense and indefinite this term serves as a starting-point for deflection from sound doctrine. For not understanding the true force of the term, that "ungenerate" signifies nothing more than "not having come into being," and that "not coming into being" is a common property of all that transcends created nature, they drop their faith in the Father, and substitute for "Father" the phrase "ungenerate:" and since, as has been said, the Personal existence of the Only-begotten is not connoted in this name, they determine the existence of the Son to have commenced from some definite beginning in time, affirming (what Eunomius here adds to his previous statements) that He is called Son not without generation preceding His existence.

What is this vain juggling with words? Is he aware that it is God of Whom he speaks, Who was in the beginning and is in the Father, nor was there any time when He was not? He knows not what he says nor whereof he affirms [360] , but he endeavours, as though he were constructing the pedigree of a mere man, to apply to the Lord of all creation the language which properly belongs to our nature here below. For, to take an example, Ishmael was not before the generation that brought him into being, and before his birth there was of course an interval of time. But with Him Who is "the brightness of glory [361] ," "before" and "after" have no place: for before the brightness, of course neither was there any glory, for concurrently with the existence of the glory there assuredly beams forth its brightness; and it is impossible in the nature of things that one should be severed from the other, nor is it possible to see the glory by itself before its brightness. For he who says thus will make out the glory in itself to be darkling and dim, if the brightness from it does not shine out at the same time. But this is the unfair method of the heresy, to endeavour, by the notions and terms employed concerning the Only-begotten God, to displace Him from His oneness with the Father. It is to this end they say, "Before the generation that brought Him into being He was not Son:" but the "sons of rams [362] ," of whom the prophet speaks,--are not they too called sons after coming into being? That quality, then, which reason notices in the "sons of rams," that they are not "sons of rams" before the generation which brings them into being,--this our reverend divine now ascribes to the Maker of the worlds and of all creation, Who has the Eternal Father in Himself, and is contemplated in the eternity of the Father, as He Himself says, "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me [363] ." Those, however, who are not able to detect the sophistry that lurks in his statement, and are not trained to any sort of logical perception, follow these inconsequent statements and receive what comes next as a logical consequence of what preceded. For he says, "coming into being before all creation," and as though this were not enough to prove his impiety, he has a piece of profanity in reserve in the phrase that follows, when he terms the Son "not uncreate." In what sense then does he call Him Who is not uncreate "very Son"? For if it is meet to call Him Who is not uncreate "very Son," then of course the heaven is "very Son;" for it too is "not uncreate." So the sun too is "very Son," and all that the creation contains, both small and great, are of course entitled to the appellation of "very Son." And in what sense does He call Him Who has come into being "Only-begotten"? For all things that come into being are unquestionably in brotherhood with each other, so far, I mean, as their coming into being is concerned. And from whom did He come into being? For assuredly all things that have ever come into being did so from the Son. For thus did John testify, saying, "All things were made by Him [364] ." If then the Son also came into being, according to Eunomius' creed, He is certainly ranked in the class of things which have come into being. If then all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words that the Lord and Maker of all creation is "not uncreate"? Let him tell us whence he has this boldness of assertion. From what inspired utterance? What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? and how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatry [365] ? For, were the Son created, either he would not have worshipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over all [366] , for so he terms the Son in his Epistle to the Romans. Why then do those who divorce the Son from the essence of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on Him in mockery the fictitious title of Deity, idly conferring on one alien from true Divinity the name of "God," as they might confer it on Bel or Dagon or the Dragon? Let those, therefore, who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that He is not God at all, that they may be seen to be nothing but Jews in disguise, or, if they confess one who is created to be God, let them not deny that they are idolaters.


Footnotes

[350] Reading oikonomei or oikodomei [351] Or "were generated." The reference is to Ps. cxlviii. 5. [352] diastematikes seems to include the idea of extension in time as well as in space. [353] Heb. i. 3. [354] The reference may be to the Song of Solomon i. 3. [355] Wisd. vii. 25. [356] Cf. S. John i. 1 sqq. [357] That is, by using as the terms of his antithesis, not "Son" and "Father," but "Son" and "Ungenerate," he avoids suggesting relationship between the two Persons, and does suggest that the Second Person stands in the same opposition to the First Person in which all created objects stand as contrasted with Him. [358] Ps. xxxiii. 6. [359] to me genesthai ti touton epises homologeitai. This may possibly mean "it is acknowledged that each of those alternatives" (viz. that that which comes into being is uncreate, and that that which creates should itself be created) "is equally untrue." But this view would not be confined to those who held the Catholic doctrine: the impossibility of the former alternative, indeed, was insisted upon by the Arians as an argument in their own favour. [360] Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7 [361] Cf. Heb. i. 3 [362] Ps. cxiv. 4, in Septuagint. [363] S. John xiv. 10 [364] S. John i. 3 [365] Rom. i. 25, where para ton ktisanta may be better translated "besides the Creator," or "rather than the Creator," than as in the A.V. [366] Rom. ix. 5.


ø10. He explains the phrase "The Lord created Me," and the argument about the origination of the Son, the deceptive character of Eunomius' reasoning, and the passage which says, "My glory will I not give to another," examining them from different points of view.

But of course they bring forward the passage in the book of Proverbs which says, "The Lord created Me as the beginning of His ways, for His works [367] ." Now it would require a lengthy discussion to explain fully the real meaning of the passage: still it would be possible even in a few words to convey to well-disposed readers the thought intended. Some of those who are accurately versed in theology do say this, that the Hebrew text does not read "created," and we have ourselves read in more ancient copies "possessed" instead of "created." Now assuredly "possession" in the allegorical language of the Proverbs marks that slave Who for our sakes "took upon Him the form of a slave [368] ." But if any one should allege in this passage the reading which prevails in the Churches, we do not reject even the expression "created." For this also in allegorical language is intended to connote the "slave," since, as the Apostle tells us, "all creation is in bondage [369] ." Thus we say that this expression, as well as the other, admits of an orthodox interpretation. For He Who for our sakes became like as we are, was in the last days truly created,--He Who in the beginning being Word and God afterwards became Flesh and Man. For the nature of flesh is created: and by partaking in it in all points like as we do, yet without sin, He was created when He became man: and He was created "after God [370] ," not after man, as the Apostle says, in a new manner and not according to human wont. For we are taught that this "new man" was created--albeit of the Holy Ghost and of the power of the Highest--whom Paul, the hierophant of unspeakable mysteries, bids us to "put on," using two phrases to express the garment that is to be put on, saying in one place, "Put on the new man which after God is created [371] ," and in another, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ [372] ." For thus it is that He, Who said "I am the Way [373] ," becomes to us who have put Him on the beginning of the ways of salvation, that He may make us the work of His own hands, new modelling us from the evil mould of sin once more to His own image. He is at once our foundation before the world to come, according to the words of Paul, who says, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid [374] ," and it is true that "before the springs of the waters came forth, before the mountains were settled, before He made the depths, and before all hills, He begetteth Me [375] ." For it is possible, according to the usage of the Book of Proverbs, for each of these phrases, taken in a tropical sense, to be applied to the Word [376] . For the great David calls righteousness the "mountains of God [377] ," His judgments "deeps [378] ," and the teachers in the Churches "fountains," saying "Bless God the Lord from the fountains of Israel [379] "; and guilelessness he calls "hills," as he shows when he speaks of their skipping like lambs [380] . Before these therefore is born in us He Who for our sakes was created as man, that of these things also the creation may find place in us. But we may, I think, pass from the discussion of these points, inasmuch as the truth has been sufficiently pointed out in a few words to well-disposed readers; let us proceed to what Eunomius says next.

"Existing in the Beginning," he says, "not without beginning." In what fashion does he who plumes himself on his superior discernment understand the oracles of God? He declares Him Who was in the beginning Himself to have a beginning: and is not aware that if He Who is in the beginning has a beginning, then the Beginning itself must needs have another beginning. Whatever He says of the beginning he must necessarily confess to be true of Him Who was in the beginning: for how can that which is in the beginning be severed from the beginning? and how can any one imagine a "was not" as preceding the "was"? For however far one carries back one's thought to apprehend the beginning, one most certainly understands as one does so that the Word which was in the beginning (inasmuch as It cannot be separated from the beginning in which It is) does not at any point of time either begin or cease its existence therein. Yet let no one be induced by these words of mine to separate into two the one beginning we acknowledge. For the beginning is most assuredly one, wherein is discerned, indivisibly, that Word Who is completely united to the Father. He who thus thinks will never leave heresy a loophole to impair his piety by the novelty of the term "ungenerate." But in Eunomius' next propositions his statements are like bread with a large admixture of sand. For by mixing his heretical opinions with sound doctrines, he makes uneatable even that which is in itself nutritious, by the gravel which he has mingled with it. For he calls the Lord "living wisdom," "operative truth," subsistent power, and "life":--so far is the nutritious portion. But into these assertions he instils the poison of heresy. For when he speaks of the "life" as "generate" he makes a reservation by the implied opposition to the "ungenerate" life, and does not affirm the Son to be the very Life. Next he says:--"As Son of God, quickening the dead, the true light, the light that lighteneth every man coming into the world [381] , good, and the bestower of good things." All these things he offers for honey to the simple-minded, concealing his deadly drug under the sweetness of terms like these. For he immediately introduces, on the heels of these statements, his pernicious principle, in the words "Not partitioning with Him that begat Him His high estate, not dividing with another the essence of the Father, but becoming by generation glorious, yea, the Lord of glory, and receiving glory from the Father, not sharing His glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath said, `My glory will I not give to another. [382] '" These are his deadly poisons, which they alone can discover who have their souls' senses trained so to do: but the mortal mischief of the words is disclosed by their conclusion:--Receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath said, `My glory will I not give to another.' Who is that "other" to whom God has said that He will not give His glory? The prophet speaks of the adversary of God, and Eunomius refers the prophecy to the only begotten God Himself! For when the prophet, speaking in the person of God, had said, "My glory will I not give to another," he added, "neither My praise to graven images." For when men were beguiled to offer to the adversary of God the worship and adoration due to God alone, paying homage in the representations of graven images to the enemy of God, who appeared in many shapes amongst men in the forms furnished by idols, He Who healeth them that are sick, in pity for men's ruin, foretold by the prophet the loving-kindness which in the latter days He would show in the abolishing of idols, saying, "When My truth shall have been manifested, My glory shall no more be given to another, nor My praise bestowed upon graven images: for men, when they come to know My glory, shall no more be in bondage to them that by nature are no gods." All therefore that the prophet says in the person of the Lord concerning the power of the adversary, this fighter against God, refers to the Lord Himself, Who spake these words by the prophet! Who among the tyrants is recorded to have been such a persecutor of the faith as this? Who maintained such blasphemy as this, that He Who, as we believe, was manifested in the flesh for the salvation of our souls, is not very God, but the adversary of God, who puts his guile into effect against men by the instrumentality of idols and graven images? For it is what was said of that adversary by the prophet that Eunomius transfers to the only-begotten God, without so much as reflecting that it is the Only-begotten Himself Who spoke these words by the prophet, as Eunomius himself subsequently confesses when he says, "this is He Who spake by the prophets."

Why should I pursue this part of the subject in more detail? For the words preceding also are tainted with the same profanity--"receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty God is incommunicable." For my own part, even had his words referred to Moses who was glorified in the ministration of the Law,--not even then should I have tolerated such a statement, even if it be conceded that Moses, having no glory from within, appeared completely glorious to the Israelites by the favour bestowed on him from God. For the very glory that was bestowed on the lawgiver was the glory of none other but of God Himself, which glory the Lord in the Gospel bids all to seek, when He blames those who value human glory highly and seek not the glory that cometh from God only [383] . For by the fact that He commanded them to seek the glory that cometh from the only God, He declared the possibility of their obtaining what they sought. How then is the glory of the Almighty incommunicable, if it is even our duty to ask for the glory that cometh from the only God, and if, according to our Lord's word, "every one that asketh receiveth [384] ?" But one who says concerning the Brightness of the Father's glory, that He has the glory by having received it, says in effect that the Brightness of the glory is in Itself devoid of glory, and needs, in order to become Himself at last the Lord of some glory, to receive glory from another. How then are we to dispose of the utterances of the Truth,--one which tells us that He shall be seen in the glory of the Father [385] , and another which says, "All things that the Father hath are Mine [386] "? To whom ought the hearer to give ear? To him who says, "He that is, as the Apostle says, the `heir of all things [387] ' that are in the Father, is without part or lot in His Father's glory"; or to Him Who declares that all things that the Father hath, He Himself hath also? Now among the "all things," glory surely is included. Yet Eunomius says that the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable. This view Joel does not attest, nor yet the mighty Peter, who adopted, in his speech to the Jews, the language of the prophet. For both the prophet and the apostle say, in the person of God,--"I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh [388] ." He then Who did not grudge the partaking in His own Spirit to all flesh,--how can it be that He does not impart His own glory to the only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, Who has all things that the Father has? Perhaps one should say that Eunomius is here speaking the truth, though not intending it. For the term "impart" is strictly used in the case of one who has not his glory from within, whose possession of it is an accession from without, and not part of his own nature: but where one and the same nature is observed in both Persons, He Who is as regards nature all that the Father is believed to be stands in no need of one to impart to Him each several attribute. This it will be well to explain more clearly and precisely. He Who has the Father dwelling in Him in His entirety--what need has He of the Father's glory, when none of the attributes contemplated in the Father is withdrawn from Him?


Footnotes

[367] Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.). The versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus (to one or more of which perhaps 9 refers), all render the Hebrew by ektesato ("possessed"), not by ektise ("created"). But Gregory may be referring to mss. of the LXX. version which read ektesato. It is clear from what follows that Mr. Gwatkin is hardly justified in his remark (Studies of Arianism, p. 69), that "the whole discussion on Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.), Kurios ektise me, k.t.l., might have been avoided by a glance at the original." The point of the controversy might have been changed, but that would have been all. Gregory seems to feel that ektesato requires an explanation, though he has one ready. [368] Phil. ii. 7. [369] Rom. viii. 20-1. [370] Eph. iv. 24. [371] Eph. iv. 24. [372] Rom. xiii. 14. [373] S. John xiv. 6 [374] 1 Cor. iii. 11. [375] Prov. viii. 23-25 (not quite verbal, from the LXX.). [376] Or "to be brought into harmony with Christian doctrine" (epharmosthenai to logo). [377] Ps. xxxvi. 6. [378] Ps. xxxvi. 6. [379] Ps. lxviii. 26 (LXX.). [380] Cf. Ps. cxiv. 6 [381] Cf. S. John i. 9 [382] Is. xlii. 8. [383] Cf. S. John v. 44 [384] S. Matt. vii. 8 [385] S. Mark viii. 38. [386] S. John xvi. 15 [387] Heb. i. 2. [388] Joel ii. 28; Acts ii. 17.


ø11. After expounding the high estate of the Almighty, the Eternity of the Son, and the phrase "being made obedient," he shows the folly of Eunomius in his assertion that the Son did not acquire His sonship by obedience.

What, moreover, is the high estate of the Almighty in which Eunomius affirms that the Son has no share? Let those, then, who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight [389] , utter their groundling opinions--they who, as the prophet says, "speak out of the ground [390] ." But let us who reverence the Word and are disciples of the Truth, or rather who profess to be so, not leave even this assertion unsifted. We know that of all the names by which Deity is indicated some are expressive of the Divine majesty, employed and understood absolutely, and some are assigned with reference to the operations over us and all creation. For when the Apostle says "Now to the immortal, invisible, only wise God [391] ," and the like, by these titles he suggests conceptions which represent to us the transcendent power, but when God is spoken of in the Scriptures as gracious, merciful, full of pity, true, good, Lord, Physician, Shepherd, Way, Bread, Fountain, King, Creator, Artificer, Protector, Who is over all and through all, Who is all in all, these and similar titles contain the declaration of the operations of the Divine loving-kindness in the creation. Those then who enquire precisely into the meaning of the term "Almighty" will find that it declares nothing else concerning the Divine power than that operation which controls created things and is indicated by the word "Almighty," stands in a certain relation to something. For as He would not be called a Physician, save on account of the sick, nor merciful and gracious, and the like, save by reason of one who stood in need of grace and mercy, so neither would He be styled Almighty, did not all creation stand in need of one to regulate it and keep it in being. As, then, He presents Himself as a Physician to those who are in need of healing, so He is Almighty over one who has need of being ruled: and just as "they that are whole have no need of a physician [392] ," so it follows that we may well say that He Whose nature contains in it the principle of unerring and unwavering rectitude does not, like others, need a ruler over Him. Accordingly, when we hear the name "Almighty," our conception is this, that God sustains in being all intelligible things as well as all things of a material nature. For this cause He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, for this cause He holdeth the ends of the earth in His hand, for this cause He "meteth out leaven with the span, and measureth the waters in the hollow of His hand [393] "; for this cause He comprehendeth in Himself all the intelligible creation, that all things may remain in existence controlled by His encompassing power. Let us enquire, then, Who it is that "worketh all in all." Who is He Who made all things, and without Whom no existing thing does exist? Who is He in Whom all things were created, and in Whom all things that are have their continuance? In Whom do we live and move and have our being? Who is He Who hath in Himself all that the Father hath? Does what has been said leave us any longer in ignorance of Him Who is "God over all [394] ," Who is so entitled by S. Paul,--our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, as He Himself says, holding in His hand "all things that the Father hath [395] ," assuredly grasps all things in the all-containing hollow of His hand and is sovereign over what He has grasped, and no man taketh from the hand of Him Who in His hand holdeth all things? If, then, He hath all things, and is sovereign over that which He hath, why is He Who is thus sovereign over all things something else and not Almighty? If heresy replies that the Father is sovereign over both the Son and the Holy Spirit, let them first show that the Son and the Holy Spirit are of mutable nature, and then over this mutability let them set its ruler, that by the help implanted from above, that which is so overruled may continue incapable of turning to evil. If, on the other hand, the Divine nature is incapable of evil, unchangeable, unalterable, eternally permanent, to what end does it stand in need of a ruler, controlling as it does all creation, and itself by reason of its immutability needing no ruler to control it? For this cause it is that at the name of Christ "every knee boweth, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth [396] ." For assuredly every knee would not thus bow, did it not recognize in Christ Him Who rules it for its own salvation. But to say that the Son came into being by the goodness of the Father is nothing else than to put Him on a level with the meanest objects of creation. For what is there that did not arrive at its birth by the goodness of Him Who made it? To what is the formation of mankind ascribed? to the badness of its Maker, or to His goodness? To what do we ascribe the generation of animals, the production of plants and herbs? There is nothing that did not take its rise from the goodness of Him Who made it. A property, then, which reason discerns to be common to all things, Eunomius is so kind as to allow to the Eternal Son! But that He did not share His essence or His estate with the Father--these assertions and the rest of his verbiage I have refuted in anticipation, when dealing with his statements concerning the Father, and shown that he has hazarded them at random and without any intelligible meaning. For not even in the case of us who are born one of another is there any division of essence. The definition expressive of essence remains in its entirety in each, in him that begets and in him who is begotten, without admitting diminution in him who begets, or augmentation in him who is begotten. But to speak of division of estate or sovereignty in the case of Him Who hath all things whatsoever that the Father hath, carries with it no meaning, unless it be a demonstration of the propounder's impiety. It would therefore be superfluous to entangle oneself in such discussions, and so to prolong our treatise to an unreasonable length. Let us pass on to what follows.

"Glorified," he says, "by the Father before the worlds." The word of truth hath been demonstrated, confirmed by the testimony of its adversaries. For this is the sum of our faith, that the Son is from all eternity, being glorified by the Father: for "before the worlds" is the same in sense as "from all eternity," seeing that prophecy uses this phrase to set forth to us God's eternity, when it speaks of Him as "He that is from before the worlds [397] ." If then to exist before the worlds is beyond all beginning, he who confers glory on the Son before the worlds, does thereby assert His existence from eternity before that glory [398] : for surely it is not the non-existent, but the existent which is glorified. Then he proceeds to plant for himself the seeds of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; not with a view to glorify the Son, but that he may wantonly outrage the Holy Ghost. For with the intention of making out the Holy Spirit to be part of the angelic host, he throws in the phrase "glorified eternally by the Spirit, and by every rational and generated being," so that there is no distinction between the Holy Spirit and all that comes into being; if, that is, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord in the same sense as all the other existences enumerated by the prophet, "angels and powers, and the heaven of heavens, and the water above the heavens, and all the things of earth, dragons, deeps, fire and hail, snow and vapour, wind of the storm, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, worms and feathered fowls [399] ." If, then, he says, that along with these the Holy Spirit also glorifies the Lord, surely his God-opposing tongue makes out the Holy Spirit Himself also to be one of them.

The disjointed incoherencies which follow next, I think it well to pass over, not because they give no handle at all to censure, but because their language is such as might be used by the devout, if detached from its malignant context. If he does here and there use some expressions favourable to devotion it is just held out as a bait to simple souls, to the end that the hook of impiety may be swallowed along with it. For after employing such language as a member of the Church might use, he subjoins, "Obedient with regard to the creation and production of all things that are, obedient with regard to every ministration, not having by His obedience attained Sonship or Godhead, but, as a consequence of being Son and being generated as the Only-begotten God, showing Himself obedient in words, obedient in acts." Yet who of those who are conversant with the oracles of God does not know with regard to what point of time it was said of Him by the mighty Paul, (and that once for all), that He "became obedient [400] "? For it was when He came in the form of a servant to accomplish the mystery of redemption by the cross, Who had emptied Himself, Who humbled Himself by assuming the likeness and fashion of a man, being found as man in man's lowly nature--then, I say, it was that He became obedient, even He Who "took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses [401] ," healing the disobedience of men by His own obedience, that by His stripes He might heal our wound, and by His own death do away with the common death of all men,--then it was that for our sakes He was made obedient, even as He became "sin [402] " and "a curse [403] " by reason of the dispensation on our behalf, not being so by nature, but becoming so in His love for man. But by what sacred utterance was He ever taught His list of so many obediences? Nay, on the contrary every inspired Scripture attests His independent and sovereign power, saying, "He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created [404] ":--for it is plain that the Psalmist says this concerning Him Who upholds "all things by the word of His power [405] ," Whose authority, by the sole impulse of His will, framed every existence and nature, and all things in the creation apprehended by reason or by sight. Whence, then, was Eunomius moved to ascribe in such manifold wise to the King of the universe the attribute of obedience, speaking of Him as "obedient with regard to all the work of creation, obedient with regard to every ministration, obedient in words and in acts"? Yet it is plain to every one, that he alone is obedient to another in acts and words, who has not yet perfectly achieved in himself the condition of accurate working or unexceptionable speech, but keeping his eye ever on his teacher and guide, is trained by his suggestions to exact propriety in deed and word. But to think that Wisdom needs a master and teacher to guide aright Its attempts at imitation, is the dream of Eunomius' fancy, and of his alone. And concerning the Father he says, that He is faithful in words and faithful in works, while of the Son he does not assert faithfulness in word and deed, but only obedience and not faithfulness, so that his profanity extends impartially through all his statements. But it is perhaps right to pass in silence over the inconsiderate folly of the assertion interposed between those last mentioned, lest some unreflecting persons should laugh at its absurdity when they ought rather to weep over the perdition of their souls, than laugh at the folly of their words. For this wise and wary theologian says that He did not attain to being a Son as the result of His obedience! Mark his penetration! with what cogent force does he lay it down for us that He was not first obedient and afterwards a Son, and that we ought not to think that His obedience was prior to His generation! Now if he had not added this defining clause, who without it would have been sufficiently silly and idiotic to fancy that His generation was bestowed on Him by His Father, as a reward of the obedience of Him Who before His generation had showed due subjection and obedience? But that no one may too readily extract matter for laughter from these remarks, let each consider that even the folly of the words has in it something worthy of tears. For what he intends to establish by these observations is something of this kind, that His obedience is part of His nature, so that not even if He willed it would it be possible for Him not to be obedient.

For he says that He was so constituted that His nature was adapted to obedience alone [406] , just as among instruments that which is fashioned with regard to a certain figure necessarily produces in that which is subjected to its operation the form which the artificer implanted in the construction of the instrument, and cannot possibly trace a straight line upon that which receives its mark, if its own working is in a curve; nor can the instrument, if fashioned to draw a straight line, produce a circle by its impress. What need is there of any words of ours to reveal how great is the profanity of such a notion, when the heretical utterance of itself proclaims aloud its monstrosity? For if He was obedient for this reason only that He was so made, then of course He is not on an equal footing even with humanity, since on this theory, while our soul is self-determining and independent, choosing as it will with sovereignty over itself that which is pleasing to it, He on the contrary exercises, or rather experiences, obedience under the constraint of a compulsory law of His nature, while His nature suffers Him not to disobey, even if He would. For it was "as the result of being Son, and being begotten, that He has thus shown Himself obedient in words and obedient in acts." Alas, for the brutish stupidity of this doctrine! Thou makest the Word obedient to words, and supposest other words prior to Him Who is truly the Word, and another Word of the Beginning is mediator between the Beginning and the Word that was in the Beginning, conveying to Him the decision. And this is not one only: there are several words, which Eunomius makes so many links of the chain between the Beginning and the Word, and which abuse His obedience as they think good. But what need is there to linger over this idle talk? Any one can see that even at that time with reference to which S. Paul says that He became obedient (and he tells us that He became obedient in this wise, namely, by becoming for our sakes flesh, and a servant, and a curse, and sin),--even then, I say, the Lord of glory, Who despised the shame and embraced suffering in the flesh, did not abandon His free will, saying as He does, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up [407] ;" and again, "No man taketh My life from Me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again [408] "; and when those who were armed with swords and staves drew near to Him on the night before His Passion, He caused them all to go backward by saying "I am He [409] ," and again, when the dying thief besought Him to remember him, He showed His universal sovereignty by saying, "To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise [410] ." If then not even in the time of His Passion He is separated from His authority, where can heresy possibly discern the subordination to authority of the King of glory?


Footnotes

[389] Is. v. 21. [390] Is. xxix. 4. [391] Cf. 1 Tim. i. 17 [392] Cf. S. Matt. ix. 12, and parallel passages. [393] Cf. Is. xl. 12 and 24. The quotation is not verbally from the LXX. [394] Rom. ix. 5. [395] S. John xvi. 15 [396] Cf. Phil. ii. 10 [397] Ps. lv. 19 (LXX.). [398] Reading autes, with Oehler. The general sense is the same, if auto be read; "does yet more strongly attest His existence from all eternity." [399] Cf. Ps. cxlviii. 2-10. [400] Phil. ii. 8. [401] Cf. S. Matt. viii. 17. [402] 2 Cor. v. 21. [403] Gal. iii. 13. [404] Ps. cxlviii. 5. [405] Heb. i. 3. [406] If this phrase is a direct quotation from Eunomius, it is probably from some other context: its grammatical structure does not connect it with what has gone before, nor is it quite clear where the quotation ends, or whether the illustration of the instrument is Eunomius' own, or is Gregory's exposition of the statement of Eunomius. [407] S. John ii. 19 [408] S. John x. 18 [409] S. John xviii. 5-6. [410] S. Luke xxiii. 43.
ø12. He thus proceeds to a magnificent discourse of the interpretation of "Mediator," "Like," "Ungenerate," and "generate," and of "The likeness and seal of the energy of the Almighty and of His Works."

Again, what is the manifold mediation which with wearying iteration he assigns to God, calling Him "Mediator in doctrines, Mediator in the Law [411] "? It is not thus that we are taught by the lofty utterance of the Apostle, who says that having made void the law of commandments by His own doctrines, He is the mediator between God and man, declaring it by this saying, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus [412] ;" where by the distinction implied in the word "mediator" he reveals to us the whole aim of the mystery of godliness. Now the aim is this. Humanity once revolted through the malice of the enemy, and, brought into bondage to sin, was also alienated from the true Life. After this the Lord of the creature calls back to Him His own creature, and becomes Man while still remaining God, being both God and Man in the entirety of the two several natures, and thus humanity was indissolubly united to God, the Man that is in Christ conducting the work of mediation, to Whom, by the first-fruits assumed for us, all the lump is potentially united [413] . Since, then, a mediator is not a mediator of one [414] , and God is one, not divided among the Persons in Whom we have been taught to believe (for the Godhead in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one), the Lord, therefore, becomes a mediator once for all betwixt God and men, binding man to the Deity by Himself. But even by the idea of a mediator we are taught the godly doctrine enshrined in the Creed. For the Mediator between God and man entered as it were into fellowship with human nature, not by being merely deemed a man, but having truly become so: in like manner also, being very God, He has not, as Eunomius will have us consider, been honoured by the bare title of Godhead.

What he adds to the preceding statements is characterized by the same want of meaning, or rather by the same malignity of meaning. For in calling Him "Son" Whom, a little before, he had plainly declared to be created, and in calling Him "only begotten God" Whom he reckoned with the rest of things that have come into being by creation, he affirms that He is like Him that begat Him only "by an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense." Accordingly, we must first distinguish the significations of the term "like," in how many senses it is employed in ordinary use, and afterwards proceed to discuss Eunomius' positions. In the first place, then, all things that beguile our senses, not being really identical in nature, but producing illusion by some of the accidents of the respective subjects, as form, colour, sound, and the impressions conveyed by taste or smell or touch, while really different in nature, but supposed to be other than they truly are, these custom declares to have the relation of "likeness," as, for example, when the lifeless material is shaped by art, whether carving, painting, or modelling, into an imitation of a living creature, the imitation is said to be "like" the original. For in such a case the nature of the animal is one thing, and that of the material, which cheats the sight by mere colour and form, is another. To the same class of likeness belongs the image of the original figure in a mirror, which gives appearances of motion, without, however, being in nature identical with its original. In just the same way our hearing may experience the same deception, when, for instance, some one, imitating the song of the nightingale with his own voice, persuades our hearing so that we seem to be listening to the bird. Taste, again, is subject to the same illusion, when the juice of figs mimics the pleasant taste of honey: for there is a certain resemblance to the sweetness of honey in the juice of the fruit. So, too, the sense of smell may sometimes be imposed upon by resemblance, when the scent of the herb camomile, imitating the fragrant apple itself, deceives our perception: and in the same way with touch also, likeness belies the truth in various modes, since a silver or brass coin, of equal size and similar weight with a gold one, may pass for the gold piece if our sight does not discern the truth.

We have thus generally described in a few words the several cases in which objects, because they are deemed to be different from what they really are, produce delusions in our senses. It is possible, of course, by a more laborious investigation, to extend one's enquiry through all things which are really different in kind one from another, but are nevertheless thought, by virtue of some accidental resemblance, to be like one to the other. Can it possibly be such a form of "likeness" as this, that he is continually attributing to the Son? Nay, surely he cannot be so infatuated as to discover deceptive similarity in Him Who is the Truth. Again, in the inspired Scriptures, we are told of another kind of resemblance by Him Who said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [415] ;" but I do not suppose that Eunomius would discern this kind of likeness between the Father and the Son, so as to make out the Only-begotten God to be identical with man. We are also aware of another kind of likeness, of which the word speaks in Genesis concerning Seth,--"Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image [416] "; and if this is the kind of likeness of which Eunomius speaks, we do not think his statement is to be rejected. For in this case the nature of the two objects which are alike is not different, and the impress and type imply community of nature. These, or such as these, are our views upon the variety of meanings of "like." Let us see, then, with what intention Eunomius asserts of the Son that "especial likeness" to the Father, when he says that He is "like the Father with an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense, not as Father to Father, for they are not two Fathers." He promises to show us the "especial likeness" of the Son to the Father, and proceeds by his definition to establish the position that we ought not to conceive of Him as being like. For by saying, "He is not like as Father to Father," he makes out that He is not like; and again when he adds, "nor as Ungenerate to Ungenerate," by this phrase, too, he forbids us to conceive a likeness in the Son to the Father; and finally, by subjoining "nor as Son to Son," he introduces a third conception, by which he entirely subverts the meaning of "like." So it is that he follows up his own statements, and conducts his demonstration of likeness by establishing unlikeness. And now let us examine the discernment and frankness which he displays in these distinctions. After saying that the Son is like the Father, he guards the statement by adding that we ought not to think that the Son is like the Father, "as Father to Father." Why, what man on earth is such a fool as, on learning that the Son is like the Father, to be brought by any course of reasoning to think of the likeness of Father to Father? "Nor as Son to Son":--here, again, the acuteness of the distinction is equally conspicuous. When he tells us that the Son is like the Father, he adds the further definition that He must not be understood to be like Him in the same way as He would be like another Son. These are the mysteries of the awful doctrines of Eunomius, by which his disciples are made wiser than the rest of the world, by learning that the Son, by His likeness to the Father, is not like a Son, for the Son is not the Father: nor is He like "as Ungenerate to Ungenerate," for the Son is not ungenerate. But the mystery which we have received, when it speaks of the Father, certainly bids us understand the Father of the Son, and when it names the Son, teaches us to apprehend the Son of the Father. And until the present time we never felt the need of these philosophic refinements, that by the words Father and Son are suggested two Fathers or two Sons, a pair, so to say, of ungenerate beings.

Now the drift of Eunomius' excessive concern about the Ungenerate has been often explained before; and it shall here be briefly discovered yet again. For as the term Father points to no difference of nature from the Son, his impiety, if he had brought his statement to a close here, would have had no support, seeing that the natural sense of the names Father and Son excludes the idea of their being alien in essence. But as it is, by employing the terms "generate" and "ungenerate," since the contradictory opposition between them admits of no mean, just like that between "mortal" and "immortal," "rational" and "irrational," and all those terms which are opposed to each other by the mutually exclusive nature of their meaning,--by the use of these terms, I repeat, he gives free course to his profanity, so as to contemplate as existing in the "generate" with reference to the "ungenerate" the same difference which there is between "mortal" and "immortal": and even as the nature of the mortal is one, and that of the immortal another, and as the special attributes of the rational and of the irrational are essentially incompatible, just so he wants to make out that the nature of the ungenerate is one, and that of the generate another, in order to show that as the irrational nature has been created in subjection to the rational, so the generate is by a necessity of its being in a state of subordination to the ungenerate. For which reason he attaches to the ungenerate the name of "Almighty," and this he does not apply to express providential operation, as the argument led the way for him in suggesting, but transfers the application of the word to arbitrary sovereignty, so as to make the Son to be a part of the subject and subordinate universe, a fellow-slave with all the rest to Him Who with arbitrary and absolute sovereignty controls all alike. And that it is with an eye to this result that he employs these argumentative distinctions, will be clearly established from the passage before us. For after those sapient and carefully-considered expressions, that He is not like either as Father to Father, or as Son to Son,--and yet there is no necessity that father should invariably be like father or son like son: for suppose there is one father among the Ethiopians, and another among the Scythians, and each of these has a son, the Ethiopian's son black, but the Scythian white-skinned and with hair of a golden tinge, yet none the more because each is a father does the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian's account, nor does the Ethiopian's body change to white on account of the Scythian,--after saying this, however, according to his own fancy, Eunomius subjoins that "He is like as Son to Father [417] ." But although such a phrase indicates kinship in nature, as the inspired Scripture attests in the case of Seth and Adam, our doctor, with but small respect for his intelligent readers, introduces his idle exposition of the title "Son," defining Him to be the image and seal of the energy [418] of the Almighty. "For the Son," he says, "is the image and seal of the energy of the Almighty." Let him who hath ears to hear first, I pray, consider this particular point--What is "the seal of the energy"? Every energy is contemplated as exertion in the party who exhibits it, and on the completion of his exertion, it has no independent existence. Thus, for example, the energy of the runner is the motion of his feet, and when the motion has stopped there is no longer any energy. So too about every pursuit the same may be said;--when the exertion of him who is busied about anything ceases, the energy ceases also, and has no independent existence, either when a person is actively engaged in the exertion he undertakes, or when he ceases from that exertion. What then does he tell us that the energy is in itself, which is neither essence, nor image, nor person? So he speaks of the Son as the similitude of the impersonal, and that which is like the non-existent surely has itself no existence at all. This is what his juggling with idle opinions comes to,--belief in nonentity! for that which is like nonentity surely itself is not. O Paul and John and all you others of the band of Apostles and Evangelists, who are they that arm their venomous tongues against your words? who are they that raise their frog-like croakings against your heavenly thunder? What then saith the son of thunder? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [419] ." And what saith he that came after him, that other who had been within the heavenly temple, who in Paradise had been initiated into mysteries unspeakable? "Being," he says, "the Brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His person [420] ." What, after these have thus spoken, are the words of our ventriloquist [421] ? "The seal," quoth he, "of the energy of the Almighty." He makes Him third after the Father, with that non-existent energy mediating between them, or rather moulded at pleasure by non-existence. God the Word, Who was in the beginning, is "the seal of the energy":--the Only-begotten God, Who is contemplated in the eternity of the Beginning of existent things, Who is in the bosom of the Father [422] , Who sustains all things, by the word of His power [423] , the creator of the ages, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom are all things [424] , Who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and hath meted out heaven with the span, Who measureth the water in the hollow of his hand [425] , Who holdeth in His hand all things that are, Who dwelleth on high and looketh upon the things that are lowly [426] , or rather did look upon them to make all the world to be His footstool [427] , imprinted by the footmark of the Word--the form of God [428] is "the seal" of an "energy." Is God then an energy, not a Person? Surely Paul when expounding this very truth says He is "the express image," not of His energy, but "of His Person." Is the Brightness of His glory a seal of the energy of God? Alas for his impious ignorance! What is there intermediate between God and His own form? and Whom does the Person employ as mediator with His own express image? and what can be conceived as coming between the glory and its brightness? But while there are such weighty and numerous testimonies wherein the greatness of the Lord of the creation is proclaimed by those who were entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel, what sort of language does this forerunner of the final apostasy hold concerning Him? What says he? "As image," he says, "and seal of all the energy and power of the Almighty." How does he take upon himself to emend the words of the mighty Paul? Paul says that the Son is "the Power of God [429] "; Eunomius calls Him "the seal of a power," not the Power. And then, repeating his expression, what is it that he adds to his previous statement? He calls Him "seal of the Father's works and words and counsels." To what works of the Father is He like? He will say, of course, the world, and all things that are therein. But the Gospel has testified that all these things are the works of the Only-begotten. To what works of the Father, then, was He likened? of what works was He made the seal? what Scripture ever entitled Him "seal of the Father's works"? But if any one should grant Eunomius the right to fashion his words at his own will, as he desires, even though Scripture does not agree with him, let him tell us what works of the Father there are of which he says that the Son was made the seal, apart from those that have been wrought by the Son. All things visible and invisible are the work of the Son: in the visible are included the whole world and all that is therein; in the invisible, the supramundane creation. What works of the Father, then, are remaining to be contemplated by themselves, over and above things visible and invisible, whereof he says that the Son was made the "seal"? Will he perhaps, when driven into a corner, return once more to the fetid vomit of heresy, and say that the Son is a work of the Father? How then does the Son come to be the seal of these works when He Himself, as Eunomius says, is the work of the Father? Or does he say that the same Person is at once a work and the likeness of a work? Let this be granted: let us suppose him to speak of the other works of which he says the Father was the creator, if indeed he intends us to understand likeness by the term "seal." But what other "words" of the Father does Eunomius know, besides that Word Who was ever in the Father, Whom he calls a "seal"--Him Who is and is called the Word in the absolute, true, and primary sense? And to what counsels can he possibly refer, apart from the Wisdom of God, to which the Wisdom of God is made like, in becoming a "seal" of those counsels? Look at the want of discrimination and circumspection, at the confused muddle of his statement, how he brings the mystery into ridicule, without understanding either what he says or what he is arguing about. For He Who has the Father in His entirety in Himself, and is Himself in His entirety in the Father, as Word and Wisdom and Power and Truth, as His express image and brightness, Himself is all things in the Father, and does not come to be the image and seal and likeness of certain other things discerned in the Father prior to Himself.

Then Eunomius allows to Him the credit of the destruction of men by water in the days of Noah, of the rain of fire that fell upon Sodom, and of the just vengeance upon the Egyptians, as though he were making some great concessions to Him Who holds in His hand the ends of the world, in Whom, as the Apostle says, "all things consist [430] ," as though he were not aware that to Him Who encompasses all things, and guides and sways according to His good pleasure all that hath already been and all that will be, the mention of two or three marvels does not mean the addition of glory, so much as the suppression of the rest means its deprivation or loss. But even if no word be said of these, the one utterance of Paul is enough by itself to point to them all inclusively--the one utterance which says that He "is above all, and through all, and in all [431] ."


Footnotes

[411] Here again the exact connexion of the quotation from Eunomius with the extracts preceding is uncertain. [412] Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5 [413] Cf. Rom. xi. 16 [414] Gal. iii. 20. [415] Gen. i. 26. [416] Gen. v. 3. [417] This is apparently a quotation from Eunomius in continuation of what has gone before. [418] The word employed is energeia; which might be translated by "active force," or "operation," as elsewhere. [419] S. John i. 1 [420] Heb. i. 3. [421] Cf. the use of engastrimuthos in LXX. (e.g. Lev. xix. 31, Is. xliv. 25). [422] S. John i. 18 [423] Cf. Heb. i. 3 [424] Cf. Rom. xi. 36 [425] Cf. Isa. xl. 12-22. [426] Cf. Ps. cxxxviii. 6. [427] Cf. Isa. lxvi. 1 [428] Cf. Phil. ii. 5 [429] 1 Cor. i. 24. [430] Col. i. 17. [431] Eph. iv. 6. The application of the words to the Son is remarkable.


ø13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, "The Father judgeth no man," and further speaks of the assumption of man with body and soul wrought by the Lord, of the transgression of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of the dead.

Next he says, "He legislates by the command of the Eternal God." Who is the eternal God? and who is He that ministers to Him in the giving of the Law? Thus much is plain to all, that through Moses God appointed the Law to those that received it. Now inasmuch as Eunomius himself acknowledges that it was the only-begotten God Who held converse with Moses, how is it that the assertion before us puts the Lord of all in the place of Moses, and ascribes the character of the eternal God to the Father alone, so as, by thus contrasting Him with the Eternal, to make out the only-begotten God, the Maker of the Worlds, to be not Eternal? Our studious friend with his excellent memory seems to have forgotten that Paul uses all these terms concerning himself, announcing among men the proclamation of the Gospel by the command of God [432] . Thus what the Apostle asserts of himself, that Eunomius is not ashamed to ascribe to the Lord of the prophets and apostles, in order to place the Master on the same level with Paul, His own servant. But why should I lengthen out my argument by confuting in detail each of these assertions, where the too unsuspicious reader of Eunomius' writings may think that their author is saying what Holy Scripture allows him to say, while one who is able to unravel each statement critically will find them one and all infected with heretical knavery. For the Churchman and the heretic alike affirm that "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son [433] ," but to this assertion they severally attach different meanings. By the same words the Churchman understands supreme authority, the other maintains subservience and subjection.

But to what has been already said, ought to be added some notice of that position which they make a kind of foundation of their impiety in their discussions concerning the Incarnation, the position, namely, that not the whole man has been saved by Him, but only the half of man, I mean the body. Their object in such a malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to show that the less exalted statements, which our Lord utters in His humanity, are to be thought to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that so they may show their blasphemy to have a stronger case, if it is upheld by the actual acknowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it is that Eunomius says, "He who in the last days became man did not take upon Himself the man made up of soul and body." But, after searching through all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as this, that the Creator of all things, at the time of His ministration here on earth for man, took upon Himself flesh only without a soul. Under stress of necessity, then, looking to the object contemplated by the plan of salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to the inspired Scriptures, I will endeavour to confute the impious falsehood which is being fabricated with regard to this matter. The Lord came "to seek and to save that which was lost [434] ." Now it was not the body merely, but the whole man, compacted of soul and body, that was lost: indeed, if we are to speak more exactly, the soul was lost sooner than the body. For disobedience is a sin, not of the body, but of the will: and the will properly belongs to the soul, from which the whole disaster of our nature had its beginning, as the threat of God, that admits of no falsehood, testifies in the declaration that, in the day that they should eat of the forbidden fruit, death without respite would attach to the act. Now since the condemnation of man was twofold, death correspondingly effects in each part of our nature the deprivation of the twofold life that operates in him who is thus mortally stricken. For the death of the body consists in the extinction of the means of sensible perception, and in the dissolution of the body into its kindred elements: but "the soul that sinneth," he saith, "it shall die [435] ." Now sin is nothing else than alienation from God, Who is the true and only life. Accordingly the first man lived many hundred years after his disobedience, and yet God lied not when He said, "In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die [436] ." For by the fact of his alienation from the true life, the sentence of death was ratified against him that self-same day: and after this, at a much later time, there followed also the bodily death of Adam. He therefore Who came for this cause that He might seek and save that which was lost, (that which the shepherd in the parable calls the sheep,) both finds that which is lost, and carries home on His shoulders the whole sheep, not its skin only, that He may make the man of God complete, united to the deity in body and in soul. And thus He Who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, left no part of our nature which He did not take upon Himself. Now the soul is not sin though it is capable of admitting sin into it as the result of being ill-advised: and this He sanctifies by union with Himself for this end, that so the lump may be holy along with the first-fruits. Wherefore also the Angel, when informing Joseph of the destruction of the enemies of the Lord, said, "They are dead which sought the young Child's life [437] ," (or "soul"): and the Lord says to the Jews, "Ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth [438] ." Now by "Man" is not meant the body of a man only, but that which is composed of both, soul and body. And again, He says to them, "Are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day [439] ?" And what He meant by "every whit whole," He showed in the other Gospels, when He said to the man who was let down on a couch in the midst, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," which is a healing of the soul, and, "Arise and walk [440] ," which has regard to the body: and in the Gospel of S. John, by liberating the soul also from its own malady after He had given health to the body, where He saith, "Thou art made whole, sin no more [441] ," thou, that is, who hast been cured in both, I mean in soul and in body. For so too does S. Paul speak, "for to make in Himself of twain one new man [442] ." And so too He foretells that at the time of His Passion He would voluntarily detach His soul from His body, saying, "No man taketh" my soul "from Me, but I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again [443] ." Yea, the prophet David also, according to the interpretation of the great Peter, said with foresight of Him, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption [444] ," while the Apostle Peter thus expounds the saying, that "His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption." For His Godhead, alike before taking flesh and in the flesh and after His Passion, is immutably the same, being at all times what It was by nature, and so continuing for ever. But in the suffering of His human nature the Godhead fulfilled the dispensation for our benefit by severing the soul for a season from the body, yet without being Itself separated from either of those elements to which it was once for all united, and by joining again the elements which had been thus parted, so as to give to all human nature a beginning and an example which it should follow of the resurrection from the dead, that all the corruptible may put on incorruption, and all the mortal may put on immortality, our first-fruits having been transformed to the Divine nature by its union with God, as Peter said, "This same Jesus Whom ye crucified, hath God made both Lord and Christ [445] ;" and we might cite many passages of Scripture to support such a position, showing how the Lord, reconciling the world to Himself by the Humanity of Christ, apportioned His work of benevolence to men between His soul and His body, willing through His soul and touching them through His body. But it would be superfluous to encumber our argument by entering into every detail.

Before passing on, however, to what follows, I will further mention the one text, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up [446] ." Just as we, through soul and body, become a temple of Him Who "dwelleth in us and walketh in us [447] ," even so the Lord terms their combination a "temple," of which the "destruction" signifies the dissolution of the soul from the body. And if they allege the passage in the Gospel, "The Word was made flesh [448] ," in order to make out that the flesh was taken into the Godhead without the soul, on the ground that the soul is not expressly mentioned along with the flesh, let them learn that it is customary for Holy Scripture to imply the whole by the part. For He that said, "Unto Thee shall all flesh come [449] ," does not mean that the flesh will be presented before the Judge apart from the souls: and when we read in sacred History that Jacob went down into Egypt with seventy-five souls [450] we understand the flesh also to be intended together with the souls. So, then, the Word, when He became flesh, took with the flesh the whole of human nature; and hence it was possible that hunger and thirst, fear and dread, desire and sleep, tears and trouble of spirit, and all such things, were in Him. For the Godhead, in its proper nature, admits no such affections, nor is the flesh by itself involved in them, if the soul is not affected co-ordinately with the body.


Footnotes

[432] Cf. Rom. xvi. 26 [433] S. John v. 22 [434] Cf. S. Luke xix. 10 [435] Ezek. xviii. 20. [436] Cf. Gen. ii. 17 [437] S. Matt. ii. 20. The word psuchen may be rendered by either "life" or "soul." [438] S. John viii. 40. This is the only passage in which our Lord speaks of Himself by this term. [439] S. John vii. 20 [440] Cf. S. Luke v. 20, 23, and the parallel passages in S. Matt. ix. and S. Mark ii. [441] S. John v. 14 [442] Eph. ii. 15. [443] Cf. S. John x. 17, 18. Here again the word psuchen is rendered in the A.V. by "life." [444] Ps. xvi. 8. Acts ii. 27, 31. [445] Acts ii. 36. A further exposition of Gregory's views on this passage will be found in Book V. [446] S. John ii. 19 [447] Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 16. [448] S. John i. 14 [449] Ps. lxv. 2. [450] Acts vii. 14. Cf. Gen. xlvi. 27, and Deut. x. 22.


ø14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by Eunomius, and by the Church, touching the Holy Spirit; and to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three Gods, but one God. He also discusses different senses of "Subjection," and therein shows that the subjection of all things to the Son is the same as the subjection of the Son to the Father.

Thus much with regard to his profanity towards the Son. Now let us see what he says about the Holy Spirit. "After Him, we believe," he says, "on the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth." I think it will be plain to all who come across this passage what object he has in view in thus perverting the declaration of the faith delivered to us by the Lord, in his statements concerning the Son and the Father. Though this absurdity has already been exposed, I will nevertheless endeavour, in few words, to make plain the aim of his knavery. As in the former case, he avoided using the name "Father," that so he might not include the Son in the eternity of the Father, so he avoided employing the title Son, that he might not by it suggest His natural affinity to the Father; so here, too, he refrains from saying "Holy Spirit," that he may not by this name acknowledge the majesty of His glory, and His complete union with the Father and the Son. For since the appellation of "Spirit," and that of "Holy," are by the Scriptures equally applied to the Father and the Son (for "God is a Spirit [451] ," and "the anointed Lord is the Spirit before our face [452] ," and "the Lord our God is Holy [453] ," and there is "one Holy, one Lord Jesus Christ [454] ") lest there should, by the use of these terms, be bred in the minds of his readers some orthodox conception of the Holy Spirit, such as would naturally arise in them from His sharing His glorious appellation with the Father and the Son, for this reason, deluding the ears of the foolish, he changes the words of the Faith as set forth by God in the delivery of this mystery, making a way, so to speak, by this sequence, for the entrance of his impiety against the Holy Spirit. For if he had said, "We believe in the Holy Spirit," and "God is a Spirit," any one instructed in things divine would have interposed the remark, that if we are to believe in the Holy Spirit, while God is called a Spirit, He is assuredly not distinct in nature from that which receives the same titles in a proper sense. For of all those things which are indicated not unreally, nor metaphorically, but properly and absolutely, by the same names, we are necessarily compelled to acknowledge that the nature also, which is signified by this identity of names, is one and the same. For this reason it is that, suppressing the name appointed by the Lord in the formula of the faith, he says, "We believe in the Comforter." But I have been taught that this very name is also applied by the inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost alike. For the Son gives the name of "Comforter" equally to Himself and to the Holy Spirit [455] ; and the Father, where He is said to work comfort, surely claims as His own the name of "Comforter." For assuredly he Who does the work of a Comforter does not disdain the name belonging to the work: for David says to the Father, "Thou, Lord, hast holpen me and comforted me [456] ," and the great Apostle applies to the Father the same language, when he says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation [457] "; and John, in one of his Catholic Epistles, expressly gives to the Son the name of Comforter [458] . Nay, more, the Lord Himself, in saying that another Comforter would be sent us, when speaking of the Spirit, clearly asserted this title of Himself in the first place. But as there are two senses of the word parakalein [459] ,--one to beseech, by words and gestures of respect, to induce him to whom we apply for anything, to feel with us in respect of those things for which we apply,--the other to comfort, to take remedial thought for affections of body and soul,--the Holy Scripture affirms the conception of the Paraclete, in either sense alike, to belong to the Divine nature. For at one time Paul sets before us by the word parakalein the healing power of God, as when he says, "God, Who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus [460] "; and at another time he uses this word in its other meaning, when he says, writing to the Corinthians, "Now we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God [461] ." Now since these things are so, in whatever way you understand the title "Paraclete," when used of the Spirit, you will not in either of its significations detach Him from His community in it with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, he has not been able, even though he wished it, to belittle the glory of the Spirit by ascribing to Him the very attribute which Holy Scripture refers also to the Father and to the Son. But in styling Him "the Spirit of Truth," Eunomius' own wish, I suppose, was to suggest by this phrase subjection, since Christ is the Truth, and he called Him the Spirit of Truth, as if one should say that He is a possession and chattel of the Truth, without being aware that God is called a God of righteousness [462] ; and we certainly do not understand thereby that God is a possession of righteousness. Wherefore also, when we hear of the "Spirit of Truth," we acquire by that phrase such a conception as befits the Deity, being guided to the loftier interpretation by the words which follow it. For when the Lord said "The Spirit of Truth," He immediately added "Which proceedeth from the Father [463] ," a fact which the voice of the Lord never asserted of any conceivable thing in creation, not of aught visible or invisible, not of thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, nor of any other name that is named either in this world or in that which is to come. It is plain then that that, from share in which all creation is excluded, is something special and peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids us believe in "the Guide of godliness." Let a man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and Titus, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those by whom we have been led into the way of the faith. For if we are to believe in "that which guides us to godliness," along with the Father and the Son, all the prophets and lawgivers and patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, and teachers, have equal honour with the Holy Spirit, as they have been "guides to godliness" to those who came after them. "Who came into being," he goes on, "by the only God through the Only-begotten." In these words he gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father "only God," who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? what apostle? what prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are the children of God? For thus He expressly ascribes the birth of the children of God to the Spirit, saying, that as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. But as many as are born of the Spirit are called the children of God [464] . So also when the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had imparted to them the Holy Spirit, John says, "Of His fulness have all we received [465] ." And that "in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead [466] ," the mighty Paul attests: yea, moreover, through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to the manifestation of the Divine appearance vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat "on the throne high and lifted up [467] ;" the older tradition, it is true, says that it was the Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist John refers the prophecy to our Lord, saying, touching those of the Jews who did not believe the words uttered by the prophet concerning the Lord, "These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spoke of Him [468] ." But the mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the Holy Spirit in his speech made to the Jews at Rome, when he says, "Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet concerning you, saying, Hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand [469] ," showing, in my opinion, by Holy Scripture itself, that every specially divine vision, every theophany, every word uttered in the Person of God, is to be understood to refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence when David says, "they provoked God in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert [470] ," the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit the despite done by the Israelites to God, in these terms: "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me [471] ," and goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to God, to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those who keep repeating against us the phrase "three Gods," because we hold these views, have perhaps not yet learnt how to count. For if the Father and the Son are not divided into duality, (for they are, according to the Lord's words, One, and not Two [472] ) and if the Holy Ghost is also one, how can one added to one be divided into the number of three Gods? Is it not rather plain that no one can charge us with believing in the number of three Gods, without himself first maintaining in his own doctrine a pair of Gods? For it is by being added to two that the one completes the triad of Gods. But what room is there for the charge of tritheism against those by whom one God is worshipped, the God expressed by the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost?

Let us however resume Eunomius' statement in its entirety. "Having come into being from the only God through the Only-begotten, this Spirit also--" What proof is there of the statement that "this Spirit also" is one of the things that were made by the Only-begotten? They will say of course that "all things were made by Him [473] ," and that in the term "all things" "this Spirit also" is included. Our answer to them shall be this, All things were made by Him, that were made. Now the things that were made, as Paul tells us, were things visible and invisible, thrones, authorities, dominions, principalities, powers, and among those included under the head of thrones and powers are reckoned by Paul the Cherubim and Seraphim [474] : so far does the term "all things" extend. But of the Holy Spirit, as being above the nature of things that have come into being, Paul said not a word in his enumeration of existing things, not indicating to us by his words either His subordination or His coming into being; but just as the prophet calls the Holy Spirit "good," and "right," and "guiding [475] " (indicating by the word "guiding" the power of control), even so the apostle ascribes independent authority to the dignity of the Spirit, when he affirms that He works all in all as He wills [476] . Again, the Lord makes manifest the Spirit's independent power and operation in His discourse with Nicodemus, when He says, "The Spirit breatheth where He willeth [477] ." How is it then that Eunomius goes so far as to define that He also is one of the things that came into being by the Son, condemned to eternal subjection. For he describes Him as "once for all made subject," enthralling the guiding and governing Spirit in I know not what form of subjection. For this expression of "subjection" has many significations in Holy Scripture, and is understood and used with many varieties of meaning. For the Psalmist says that even irrational nature is put in subjection [478] , and brings under the same term those who are overcome in war [479] , while the apostle bids servants to be in subjection to their own masters [480] , and that those who are placed over the priesthood should have their children in subjection [481] , as their disorderly conduct brings discredit upon their fathers, as in the case of the sons of Eli the priest. Again, he speaks of the subjection of all men to God, when we all, being united to one another by the faith, become one body of the Lord Who is in all, as the subjection of the Son to the Father, when the adoration paid to the Son by all things with one accord, by things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, redounds to the glory of the Father; as Paul says elsewhere, "To Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father [482] ." For when this takes place, the mighty wisdom of Paul affirms that the Son, Who is in all, is subject to the Father by virtue of the subjection of those in whom He is. What kind of "subjection once for all" Eunomius asserts of the Holy Spirit, it is thus impossible to learn from the phrase which he has thrown out,--whether he means the subjection of irrational creatures, or of captives, or of servants, or of children who are kept in order, or of those who are saved by subjection. For the subjection of men to God is salvation for those who are so made subject, according to the voice of the prophet, who says that his soul is subject to God, since of Him cometh salvation by subjection [483] , so that subjection is the means of averting perdition. As therefore the help of the healing art is sought eagerly by the sick, so is subjection by those who are in need of salvation. But of what life does the Holy Spirit, that quickeneth all things, stand in need, that by subjection He should obtain salvation for Himself? Since then it is not on the strength of any Divine utterance that he asserts such an attribute of the Spirit, nor yet is it as a consequence of probable arguments that he has launched this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it must be plain at all events to sensible men that he vents his impiety against Him without any warrant whatsoever, unsupported as it is by any authority from Scripture or by any logical consequence.


Footnotes

[451] S. John iv. 24 [452] Cf. Lam. iv. 20 in LXX. [453] Ps. xcix. 9. [454] Cf. the response to the words of the Priest at the elevation the Gifts in the Greek Liturgies. [455] S. John xiv. 16 [456] Ps. lxxvi. 17. [457] 2 Cor. i. 3-4. [458] 1 S. John ii. 1. (The word is in the A.V. rendered "advocate.") [459] From which is derived the name Paraclete, i.e. Comforter or Advocate. [460] 2 Cor. vii. 6. [461] 2 Cor. v. 20. [462] The text reads, "that God is called righteousness," but the argument seems to require the genitive case. The reference may be to Ps. iv. 1. [463] S. John xv. 26 [464] With this passage cf. S. John i. 12, iii. 6; Rom. viii. 14; 1 S. John iii. 3. [465] S. John xx. 21, and i. 16. [466] Col. ii. 9. [467] Is. vi. 1. [468] S. John xii. 41. The "older tradition" means presumably the ancient interpretation of the Jews. [469] Cf. Acts xxviii. 25, 26. The quotation is not verbal. [470] Cf. Ps. lxxviii. 40. [471] Heb. iii. 7. [472] S. John x. 30 [473] Cf. S. John i. 3 [474] Cf. Col. i. 16; but the enumeration varies considerably. [475] The last of these epithets is from Ps. li. 14 (pneuma hegemonikon, the "Spiritus principalis" of the Vulgate, the "free spirit" of the English version); the "right spirit" of ver. 12 being also applied by S. Gregory to the Holy Spirit, while the epithet "good" is from Ps. cxlii. 10. [476] Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 11. [477] S. John iii. 8 [478] Ps. viii. 7, 8. [479] Ps. xlvii. 3. [480] Tit. ii. 9. [481] 1 Tim. iii. 4. [482] Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11, a passage which is apparently considered as explanatory of 1 Cor. xv. 28. [483] Cf. Ps. lxii. 1 (LXX.).


ø15. Lastly he displays at length the folly of Eunomius, who at times speaks of the Holy Spirit as created, and as the fairest work of the Son, and at other times confesses, by the operations attributed to Him, that He is God, and thus ends the book.

He goes on to add, "Neither on the same level with the Father, nor connumerated with the Father (for God over all is one and only Father), nor on an equality with the Son, for the Son is only-begotten, having none begotten with Him." Well, for my own part, if he had only added to his previous statement the remark that the Holy Ghost is not the Father of the Son, I should even then have thought it idle for him to linger over what no one ever doubted, and forbid people to form notions of Him which not even the most witless would entertain. But since he endeavours to establish his impiety by irrelevant and unconnected statements, imagining that by denying the Holy Spirit to be the Father of the Only-begotten he makes out that He is subject and subordinate, I therefore made mention of these words, as a proof of the folly of the man who imagines that he is demonstrating the Spirit to be subject to the Father on the ground that the Spirit is not Father of the Only-begotten. For what compels the conclusion, that if He be not Father, He must be subject? If it had been demonstrated that "Father" and "despot" were terms identical in meaning, it would no doubt have followed that, as absolute sovereignty was part of the conception of the Father, we should affirm that the Spirit is subject to Him Who surpassed Him in respect of authority. But if by "Father" is implied merely His relation to the Son, and no conception of absolute sovereignty or authority is involved by the use of the word, how does it follow, from the fact that the Spirit is not the Father of the Son, that the Spirit is subject to the Father? "Nor on an equality with the Son," he says. How comes he to say this? for to be, and to be unchangeable, and to admit no evil whatsoever, and to remain unalterably in that which is good, all this shows no variation in the case of the Son and of the Spirit. For the incorruptible nature of the Spirit is remote from corruption equally with that of the Son, and in the Spirit, just as in the Son, His essential goodness is absolutely apart from its contrary, and in both alike their perfection in every good stands in need of no addition.

Now the inspired Scripture teaches us to affirm all these attributes of the Spirit, when it predicates of the Spirit the terms "good," and "wise," and "incorruptible," and "immortal," and all such lofty conceptions and names as are properly applied to Godhead. If then He is inferior in none of these respects, by what means does Eunomius determine the inequality of the Son and the Spirit? "For the Son is," he tells us, "Only-begotten, having no brother begotten with Him." Well, the point, that we are not to understand the "Only-begotten" to have brethren, we have already discussed in our comments upon the phrase "first-born of all creation [484] ." But we ought not to leave unexamined the sense that Eunomius now unfairly attaches to the term. For while the doctrine of the Church declares that in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost there is one power, and goodness, and essence, and glory, and the like, saving the difference of the Persons, this man, when he wishes to make the essence of the Only-begotten common to the creation, calls Him "the first-born of all creation" in respect of His pre-temporal existence, declaring by this mode of expression that all conceivable objects in creation are in brotherhood with the Lord; for assuredly the first-born is not the first-born of those otherwise begotten, but of those begotten like Himself [485] . But when he is bent upon severing the Spirit from union with the Son, he calls Him "Only-begotten, not having any brother begotten with Him," not with the object of conceiving of Him as without brethren, but that by the means of this assertion he may establish touching the Spirit His essential alienation from the Son. It is true that we learn from Holy Scripture not to speak of the Holy Ghost as brother of the Son: but that we are not to say that the Holy Ghost is homogeneous [486] with the Son, is nowhere shown in the divine Scriptures. For if there does reside in the Father and the Son a life-giving power, it is ascribed also to the Holy Spirit, according to the words of the Gospel. If one may discern alike in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the properties of being incorruptible, immutable, of admitting no evil, of being good, right, guiding, of working all in all as He wills, and all the like attributes, how is it possible by identity in these respects to infer difference in kind? Accordingly the word of godliness agrees in affirming that we ought not to regard any kind of brotherhood as attaching to the Only-begotten; but to say that the Spirit is not homogeneous with the Son, the upright with the upright, the good with the good, the life-giving with the life-giving, this has been clearly demonstrated by logical inference to be a piece of heretical knavery.

Why then is the majesty of the Spirit curtailed by such arguments as these? For there is nothing which can be the cause of producing in him deviation by excess or defect from conceptions such as befit the Godhead, nor, since all these are by Holy Scripture predicated equally of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, can he inform us wherein he discerns inequality to exist. But he launches his blasphemy against the Holy Ghost in its naked form, ill-prepared and unsupported by any consecutive argument. "Nor yet ranked," he says, "with any other: for He has gone above [487] all the creatures that came into being by the instrumentality of the Son in mode of being, and nature, and glory, and knowledge, as the first and noblest work of the Only-begotten, the greatest and most glorious." I will leave, however, to others the task of ridiculing the bad taste and surplusage of his style, thinking as I do that it is unseemly for the gray hairs of age, when dealing with the argument before us, to make vulgarity of expression an objection against one who is guilty of impiety. I will just add to my investigation this remark. If the Spirit has "gone above" all the creations of the Son, (for I will use his own ungrammatical and senseless phrase, or rather, to make things clearer, I will present his idea in my own language) if he transcends all things wrought by the Son, the Holy Spirit cannot be ranked with the rest of the creation; and if, as Eunomius says, he surpasses them by virtue of priority of birth, he must needs confess, in the case of the rest of creation, that the objects which are first in order of production are more to be esteemed than those which come after them. Now the creation of the irrational animals was prior to that of man. Accordingly he will of course declare that the irrational nature is more honourable than rational existence. So too, according to the argument of Eunomius, Cain will be proved superior to Abel, in that he was before him in time of birth, and so the stars will be shown to be lower and of less excellence than all the things that grow out of the earth; for these last sprang from the earth on the third day, and all the stars are recorded by Moses to have been created on the fourth. Well, surely no one is such a simpleton as to infer that the grass of the earth is more to be esteemed than the marvels of the sky, on the ground of its precedence in time, or to award the meed to Cain over Abel, or to place below the irrational animals man who came into being later than they. So there is no sense in our author's contention that the nature of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of the creatures that came into being subsequently, on the ground that He came into being before they did. And now let us see what he who separates Him from fellowship with the Son is prepared to concede to the glory of the Spirit: "For he too," he says, "being one, and first and alone, and surpassing all the creations of the Son in essence and dignity of nature, accomplishing every operation and all teaching according to the good pleasure of the Son, being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth." He speaks of the Holy Ghost as "accomplishing every operation and all teaching." What operation? Does he mean that which the Father and the Son execute, according to the word of the Lord Himself Who "hitherto worketh [488] " man's salvation, or does he mean some other? For if His work is that named, He has assuredly the same power and nature as Him Who works it, and in such an one difference of kind from Deity can have no place. For just as, if anything should perform the functions of fire, shining and warming in precisely the same way, it is itself certainly fire, so if the Spirit does the works of the Father, He must assuredly be acknowledged to be of the same nature with Him. If on the other hand He operates something else than our salvation, and displays His operation in a contrary direction, He will thereby be proved to be of a different nature and essence. But Eunomius' statement itself bears witness that the Spirit quickeneth in like manner with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, from the identity of operations it results assuredly that the Spirit is not alien from the nature of the Father and the Son. And to the statement that the Spirit accomplishes the operation and teaching of the Father according to the good pleasure of the Son we assent. For the community of nature gives us warrant that the will of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, and thus, if the Holy Spirit wills that which seems good to the Son, the community of will clearly points to unity of essence. But he goes on, "being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth." If he had not previously said what he has concerning the Spirit, the reader would surely have supposed that these words applied to some human teacher. For to receive a mission is the same thing as to be sent, and to have nothing of one's own, but to receive of the free favour of him who gives the mission, and to minister his words to those who are under instruction, and to be a guide into truth for those that are astray. All these things, which Eunomius is good enough to allow to the Holy Spirit, belong to the present pastors and teachers of the Church,--to be sent, to receive, to announce, to teach, to suggest the truth. Now, as he had said above "He is one, and first, and alone, and surpassing all," had he but stopped there, he would have appeared as a defender of the doctrines of truth. For He Who is indivisibly contemplated in the One is most truly One, and first Who is in the First, and alone Who is in the Only One. For as the spirit of man that is in him, and the man himself, are but one man, so also the Spirit of God which is in Him, and God Himself, would properly be termed One God, and First and Only, being incapable of separation from Him in Whom He is. But as things are, with his addition of his profane phrase, "surpassing all the creatures of the Son," he produces turbid confusion by assigning to Him Who "breatheth where He willeth [489] ," and "worketh all in all [490] ," a mere superiority in comparison with the rest of created things.

Let us now see further what he adds to this "sanctifying the saints." If any one says this also of the Father and of the Son, he will speak truly. For those in whom the Holy One dwells, He makes holy, even as the Good One makes men good. And the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are holy and good, as has been shown. "Acting as a guide to those who approach the mystery." This may well be said of Apollos who watered what Paul planted. For the Apostle plants by his guidance [491] , and Apollos, when he baptizes, waters by Sacramental regeneration, bringing to the mystery those who were instructed by Paul. Thus he places on a level with Apollos that Spirit Who perfects men through baptism. "Distributing every gift." With this we too agree; for everything that is good is a portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. "Co-operating with the faithful for the understanding and contemplation of things appointed." As he does not add by whom they are appointed, he leaves his meaning doubtful, whether it is correct or the reverse. But we will by a slight addition advance his statement so as to make it consistent with godliness. For since, whether it be the word of wisdom, or the word of knowledge, or faith, or help, or government, or aught else that is enumerated in the lists of saving gifts, "all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will [492] ," we therefore do not reject the statement of Eunomius when he says that the Spirit "co-operates with the faithful for understanding and contemplation of things appointed" by Him, because by Him all good teachings are appointed for us. "Sounding an accompaniment to those who pray." It would be foolish seriously to examine the meaning of this expression, of which the ludicrous and meaningless character is at once manifest to all. For who is so demented and beside himself as to wait for us to tell him that the Holy Spirit is not a bell nor an empty cask sounding an accompaniment and made to ring by the voice of him who prays as it were by a blow? "Leading us to that which is expedient for us." This the Father and the Son likewise do: for "He leadeth Joseph like a sheep [493] ," and, "led His people like sheep [494] ," and, "the good Spirit leadeth us in a land of righteousness [495] ." "Strengthening us to godliness." To strengthen man to godliness David says is the work of God; "For Thou art my strength and my refuge [496] ," says the Psalmist, and "the Lord is the strength of His people [497] ," and, "He shall give strength and power unto His people [498] ." If then the expressions of Eunomius are meant in accordance with the mind of the Psalmist, they are a testimony to the Divinity of the Holy Ghost: but if they are opposed to the word of prophecy, then by this very fact a charge of blasphemy lies against Eunomius, because he sets up his own opinions in opposition to the holy prophets. Next he says, "Lightening souls with the light of knowledge." This grace also the doctrine of godliness ascribes alike to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. For He is called a light by David [499] , and from thence the light of knowledge shines in them who are enlightened. In like manner also the cleansing of our thoughts of which the statement speaks is proper to the power of the Lord. For it was "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person," Who "purged our sins [500] ." Again, to banish devils, which Eunomius says is a property of the Spirit, this also the only-begotten God, Who said to the devil, "I charge thee [501] ," ascribes to the power of the Spirit, when He says, "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils [502] ," so that the expulsion of devils is not destructive of the glory of the Spirit, but rather a demonstration of His divine and transcendent power. "Healing the sick," he says, "curing the infirm, comforting the afflicted, raising up those who stumble, recovering the distressed." These are the words of those who think reverently of the Holy Ghost, for no one would ascribe the operation of any one of these effects to any one except to God. If then heresy affirms that those things which it belongs to none save God alone to effect, are wrought by the power of the Spirit, we have in support of the truths for which we are contending the witness even of our adversaries. How does the Psalmist seek his healing from God, saying, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed [503] !" It is to God that Isaiah says, "The dew that is from Thee is healing unto them [504] ." Again, prophetic language attests that the conversion of those in error is the work of God. For "they went astray in the wilderness in a thirsty land," says the Psalmist, and he adds, "So He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to the city where they dwelt [505] :" and, "when the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion [506] ." In like manner also the comfort of the afflicted is ascribed to God, Paul thus speaking, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation [507] ." Again, the Psalmist says, speaking in the person of God, "Thou calledst upon Me in trouble and I delivered thee [508] ." And the setting upright of those who stumble is innumerable times ascribed by Scripture to the power of the Lord: "Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall, but the Lord was my help [509] ," and "Though he fall, he shall not be cast away, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand [510] ," and "The Lord helpeth them that are fallen [511] ." And to the loving-kindness of God confessedly belongs the recovery of the distressed, if Eunomius means the same thing of which we learn in prophecy, as the Scripture says, "Thou laidest trouble upon our loins; Thou sufferedst men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, and Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place [512] ."

Thus far then the majesty of the Spirit is demonstrated by the evidence of our opponents, but in what follows the limpid waters of devotion are once more defiled by the mud of heresy. For he says of the Spirit that He "cheers on those who are contending": and this phrase involves him in the charge of extreme folly and impiety. For in the stadium some have the task of arranging the competitions between those who intend to show their athletic vigour; others, who surpass the rest in strength and skill, strive for the victory and strip to contend with one another, while the rest, taking sides in their good wishes with one or other of the competitors, according as they are severally disposed towards or interested in one athlete or another, cheer him on at the time of the engagement, and bid him guard against some hurt, or remember some trick of wrestling, or keep himself unthrown by the help of his art. Take note from what has been said to how low a rank Eunomius degrades the Holy Spirit. For while on the course there are some who arrange the contests, and others who settle whether the contest is conducted according to rule, others who are actually engaged, and yet others who cheer on the competitors, who are acknowledged to be far inferior to the athletes themselves, Eunomius considers the Holy Spirit as one of the mob who look on, or as one of those who attend upon the athletes, seeing that He neither determines the contest nor awards the victory, nor contends with the adversary, but merely cheers without contributing at all to the victory. For He neither joins in the fray, nor does He implant the power to contend, but merely wishes that the athlete in whom He is interested may not come off second in the strife. And so Paul wrestles "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [513] ," while the Spirit of power does not strengthen the combatants nor distribute to them His gifts, "dividing to every man severally as He will [514] ," but His influence is limited to cheering on those who are engaged.

Again he says, "Emboldening the faint-hearted." And here, while in accordance with his own method he follows his previous blasphemy against the Spirit, the truth for all that manifests itself, even through unfriendly lips. For to none other than to God does it belong to implant courage in the fearful, saying to the faint-hearted, "Fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed [515] ," as says the Psalmist, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me [516] ." Nay, the Lord Himself says to the fearful,--"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid [517] ," and, "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith [518] ?" and, "Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid [519] ," and again, "Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world [520] ." Accordingly, even though this may not have been the intention of Eunomius, orthodoxy asserts itself by means even of the voice of an enemy. And the next sentence agrees with that which went before:--"Caring for all, and showing all concern and forethought." For in fact it belongs to God alone to care and to take thought for all, as the mighty David has expressed it, "I am poor and needy, but the Lord careth for me [521] ." And if what remains seems to be resolved into empty words, with sound and without sense, let no one find fault, seeing that in most of what he says, so far as any sane meaning is concerned, he is feeble and untutored. For what on earth he means when he says, "for the onward leading of the better disposed and the guardianship of the more faithful," neither he himself, nor they who senselessly admire his follies, could possibly tell us.


Footnotes

[484] See above, 8 of this book. [485] Or, "not the first-born of beings of a different race, but of those of his own stock." [486] homogene, "of the same stock": the word being the same which (when coupled with adelphon) has been translated, in the passages preceding, by "begotten with." [487] anabebeke: the word apparently is intended by Eunomius to have the force of "transcended"; Gregory, later on, criticizes its employment in this sense. [488] S. John v. 17 [489] S. John iii. 8 [490] 1 Cor. xii. 6. [491] If we read katechseos for the kathegeseos of Oehler's text we have a clearer sense, "the Apostle plants by his instruction." [492] 1 Cor. xii. 11. [493] Ps. lxxx. 1. [494] Ps. lxxvii. 20. [495] Cf. Ps. cxliii. 10. [496] Cf. Ps. xxxi. 3 [497] Ps. xxviii. 8. [498] Ps. lxviii. 35. [499] Ps. xxvii. 1. [500] Heb. i. 3. [501] Cf. S. Mark ix. 25 [502] S. Matt. xii. 28. [503] Ps. vi. 3. [504] Is. xxvi. 19 (LXX.). [505] Ps. cviii. 4-7. [506] Ps. cxxvi. 1. [507] 2 Cor. i. 3, 4. [508] Ps. lxxxi. 17. [509] Ps. cxviii. 13. [510] Ps. xxxvii. 24. [511] Ps. cxlvi. 8. [512] Ps. lxvi. 10, 11. [513] Eph. vi. 12. [514] 1 Cor. xii. 11. [515] Is. xli. 10. [516] Ps. xxiii. 4. [517] S. John xiv. 27 [518] S. Matt. viii. 26. [519] S. Mark vi. 50 [520] S. John xvi. 33 [521] Ps. xl. 20.

.


Book III.


ø1. This third book shows a third fall of Eunomius, as refuting himself, and sometimes saying that the Son is to be called Only-begotten in virtue of natural generation, and that Holy Scripture proves this from the first; at other times, that by reason of His being created He should not be called a Son, but a "product," or "creature."

If, when a man "strives lawfully [522] ," he finds a limit to his struggle in the contest by his adversary's either refusing the struggle, and withdrawing of his own accord in favour of his conqueror from his effort for victory, or being thrown according to the rules of wrestling in three falls (whereby the glory of the crown is bestowed with all the splendour of proclamation upon him who has proved victorious in the umpire's judgment), then, since Eunomius, though he has been already twice thrown in our previous arguments, does not consent that truth should hold the tokens of her victory over falsehood, but yet a third time raises the dust against godly doctrine in his accustomed arena of falsehood with his composition, strengthening himself for his struggle on the side of deceit, our statement of truth must also be now called forth to put his falsehood to rout, placing its hopes in Him Who is the Giver and the Judge of victory, and at the same time deriving strength from the very unfairness of the adversaries' tricks of wrestling. For we are not ashamed to confess that we have prepared for our contest no weapon of argument sharpened by rhetoric, that we can bring forward to aid us in the fight with those arrayed against us, no cleverness or sharpness of dialectic, such as with inexperienced judges lays even on truth the suspicion of falsehood. One strength our reasoning against falsehood has--first the very Word Himself, Who is the might of our word, [523] and in the next place the rottenness of the arguments set against us, which is overthrown and falls by its own spontaneous action. Now in order that it may be made as clear as possible to all men, that the very efforts of Eunomius serve as means for his own overthrow to those who contend with him, I will set forth to my readers his phantom doctrine (for so I think that doctrine may be called which is quite outside the truth), and I would have you all, who are present at our struggle, and watch the encounter now taking place between my doctrine and that which is matched with it, to be just judges of the lawful striving of our arguments, that by your just award the reasoning of godliness may be proclaimed as victor to the whole theatre of the Church, having won undisputed victory over ungodliness, and being decorated, in virtue of the three falls of its enemy, with the unfading crown of them that are saved. Now this statement is set forth against the truth by way of preface to his third discourse, and this is the fashion of it:--"Preserving," he says, "natural order, and abiding by those things which are known to us from above, we do not refuse to speak of the Son, seeing He is begotten, even by the name of `product of generation [524] ,' since the generated essence and [525] the appellation of Son make such a relation of words appropriate." I beg the reader to give his attention carefully to this point, that while he calls God both "begotten" and "Son," he refers the reason of such names to "natural order," and calls to witness to this conception the knowledge possessed from above: so that if anything should be found in the course of what follows contrary to the positions he has laid down, it is clear to all that he is overthrown by himself, refuted by his own arguments before ours are brought against him. And so let us consider his statement in the light of his own words. He confesses that the name of "Son" would by no means be properly applied to the Only-begotten God, did not "natural order," as he says, confirm the appellation. If, then, one were to withdraw the order of nature from the consideration of the designation of "Son," his use of this name, being deprived of its proper and natural significance, will be meaningless. And moreover the fact that he says these statements are confirmed, in that they abide by the knowledge possessed from above, is a strong additional support to the orthodox view touching the designation of "Son," seeing that the inspired teaching of the Scriptures, which comes to us from above, confirms our argument on these matters. If these things are so, and this is a standard of truth that admits of no deception, that these two concur--the "natural order," as he says, and the testimony of the knowledge given from above confirming the natural interpretation--it is clear, that to assert anything contrary to these, is nothing else than manifestly to fight against the truth itself. Let us hear again what this writer, who makes nature his instructor in the matter of this name, and says that he abides by the knowledge given to us from above by the instruction of the saints, sets out at length a little further on, after the passage I have just quoted. For I will pretermit for the time the continuous recital of what is set next in order in his treatise, that the contradiction in what he has written may not escape detection, being veiled by the reading of the intervening matter. "The same argument," he says, "will apply also in the case of what is made and created, as both the natural interpretation and the mutual relation of the things, and also the use of the saints, give us free authority for the use of the formula: wherefore one would not be wrong in treating the thing made as corresponding to the maker, and the thing created to the creator." Of what product of making or of creation does he speak, as having naturally the relation expressed in its name towards its maker and creator? If of those we contemplate in the creation, visible and invisible (as Paul recounts, when he says that by Him all things were created, visible and invisible) [526] , so that this relative conjunction of names has a proper and special application, that which is made being set in relation to the maker, that which is created to the creator,--if this is his meaning, we agree with him. For in fact, since the Lord is the Maker of angels, the angel is assuredly a thing made by Him that made him: and since the Lord is the Creator of the world, clearly the world itself and all that is therein are called the creature of Him that created them. If however it is with this intention that he makes his interpretation of "natural order," systematizing the appropriation of relative terms with a view to their mutual relation in verbal sense, even thus it would be an extraordinary thing, seeing that every one is aware of this, that he should leave his doctrinal statement to draw out for us a system of grammatical trivialities [527] . But if it is to the Only-begotten God that he applies such phrases, so as to say that He is a thing made by Him that made Him, a creature of Him that created Him, and to refer this terminology to "the use of the saints," let him first of all show us in his statement what saints he says there are who declared the Maker of all things to be a product and a creature, and whom he follows in this audacity of phrase. The Church knows as saints those whose hearts were divinely guided by the Holy Spirit,--patriarchs, lawgivers, prophets, evangelists, apostles. If any among these is found to declare in his inspired words that God over all, Who "upholds all things with the word of His power," and grasps with His hand all things that are, and by Himself called the universe into being by the mere act of His will, is a thing created and a product, he will stand excused, as following, as he says, the "use of the saints [528] " in proceeding to formulate such doctrines. But if the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures is freely placed within the reach of all, and nothing is forbidden to or hidden from any of those who choose to share in the divine instruction, how comes it that he endeavours to lead his hearers astray by his misrepresentation of the Scriptures, referring the term "creature," applied to the Only-begotten, to "the use of the saints"? For that by Him all things were made, you may hear almost from the whole of their holy utterance, from Moses and the prophets and apostles who come after him, whose particular expressions it would be tedious here to set forth. Enough for our purpose, with the others, and above the others, is the sublime John, where in the preface to his discourse on the Divinity of the Only-begotten he proclaims aloud the fact that there is none of the things that were made which was not made through Him [529] , a fact which is an incontestable and positive proof of His being Lord of the creation, not reckoned in the list of created things. For if all things that are made exist by no other but by Him (and John bears witness that nothing among the things that are, throughout the creation, was made without Him), who is so blinded in understanding as not to see in the Evangelist's proclamation the truth, that He Who made all the creation is assuredly something else besides the creation? For if all that is numbered among the things that were made has its being through Him, while He Himself is "in the beginning," and is "with God," being God, and Word, and Life, and Light, and express Image, and Brightness, and if none of the things that were made throughout creation is named by the same names--(not Word, not God, not Life, not Light, not Truth, not express Image, not Brightness, not any of the other names proper to the Deity is to be found employed of the creation)--then it is clear that He Who is these things is by nature something else besides the creation, which neither is nor is called any of these things. If, indeed, there existed in such phrases an identity of names between the creation and its Maker, he might perhaps be excused for making the name of "creation" also common to the thing created and to Him Who made it, on the ground of the community of the other names: but if the characteristics which are contemplated by means of the names, in the created and in the uncreated nature, are in no case reconcilable or common to both, how can the misrepresentation of that man fail to be manifest to all, who dares to apply the name of servitude to Him Who, as the Psalmist declares, "ruleth with His power for ever [530] ," and to bring Him Who, as the Apostle says, "in all things hath the pre-eminence [531] ," to a level with the servile nature, by means of the name and conception of "creation"? For that all [532] the creation is in bondage the great Paul declares [533] ,-- he who in the schools above the heavens was instructed in that knowledge which may not be spoken, learning these things in that place where every voice that conveys meaning by verbal utterance is still, and where unspoken meditation becomes the word of instruction, teaching to the purified heart by means of the silent illumination of the thoughts those truths which transcend speech. If then on the one hand Paul proclaims aloud "the creation is in bondage," and on the other the Only-begotten God is truly Lord and God over all, and John bears witness to the fact that the whole creation of the things that were made is by Him, how can any one, who is in any sense whatever numbered among Christians, hold his peace when he sees Eunomius, by his inconsistent and inconsequent systematizing, degrading to the humble state of the creature, by means of an identity of name that tends to servitude, that power of Lordship which surpasses all rule and all authority? And if he says that he has some of the saints who declared Him to be a slave, or created, or made, or any of these lowly and servile names, lo, here are the Scriptures. Let him, or some other on his behalf, produce to us one such phrase, and we will hold our peace. But if there is no such phrase (and there could never be found in those inspired Scriptures which we believe any such thought as to support this impiety), what need is there to strive further upon points admitted with one who not only misrepresents the words of the saints, but even contends against his own definitions? For if the "order of nature," as he himself admits, bears additional testimony to the Son's name by reason of His being begotten, and thus the correspondence of the name is according to the relation of the Begotten to the Begetter, how comes it that he wrests the significance of the word "Son" from its natural application, and changes the relation to "the thing made and its maker"--a relation which applies not only in the case of the elements of the universe, but might also be asserted of a gnat or an ant--that in so far as each of these is a thing made, the relation of its name to its maker is similarly equivalent? The blasphemous nature of his doctrine is clear, not only from many other passages, but even from those quoted: and as for that "use of the saints" which he alleges that he follows in these expressions, it is clear that there is no such use at all.


Footnotes

[522] 2 Tim. ii. 5. [523] The earlier editions here omit a long passage, which Oehler restores. [524] gennema. [525] Inserting kai, which does not appear here in Oehler's text, but is found in later quotations of the same passage: autes is also found in the later citations. [526] Cf. Col. i. 16 [527] Oehler's punctuation here seems to admit of alteration. [528] Reading te chresei ton hagion for te krisei ton hagion, the reading of Oehler: the words are apparently a quotation from Eunomius, from whom the phrase chresis ton hagion has already been cited. [529] Cf. S. John i. 3 [530] Ps. lxvi. 6 (LXX.). [531] Col. i. 18. [532] Substituting pasan for the pasin of Oehler's text. [533] Rom. viii. 21.


ø2. He then once more excellently, appropriately, and clearly examines and expounds the passage, "The Lord Created Me."

Perhaps that passage in the Proverbs might be brought forward against us which the champions of heresy are wont to cite as a testimony that the Lord was created--the passage, "The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways, for His works [534] ." For because these words are spoken by Wisdom, and the Lord is called Wisdom by the great Paul [535] , they allege this passage as though the Only-begotten God Himself, under the name of Wisdom, acknowledges that He was created by the Maker of all things. I imagine, however, that the godly sense of this utterance is clear to moderately attentive and painstaking persons, so that, in the case of those who are instructed in the dark sayings of the Proverbs, no injury is done to the doctrine of the faith. Yet I think it well briefly to discuss what is to be said on this subject, that when the intention of this passage is more clearly explained, the heretical doctrine may have no room for boldness of speech on the ground that it has evidence in the writing of the inspired author. It is universally admitted that the name of "proverb," in its scriptural use, is not applied with regard to the evident sense, but is used with a view to some hidden meaning, as the Gospel thus gives the name of "proverbs [536] " to dark and obscure sayings; so that the "proverb," if one were to set forth the interpretation of the name by a definition, is a form of speech which, by means of one set of ideas immediately presented, points to something else which is hidden, or a form of speech which does not point out the aim of the thought directly, but gives its instruction by an indirect signification. Now to this book such a name is especially attached as a title, and the force of the appellation is at once interpreted in the preface by the wise Solomon. For he does not call the sayings in this book "maxims," or "counsels," or "clear instruction," but "proverbs," and proceeds to add an explanation. What is the force of the signification of this word? "To know," he tells us, "wisdom and instruction [537] "; not setting before us the course of instruction in wisdom according to the method common in other kinds of learning; he bids a man, on the other hand [538] , first to become wise by previous training, and then so to receive the instruction conveyed by proverb. For he tells us that there are "words of wisdom" which reveal their aim "by a turn [539] ." For that which is not directly understood needs some turn for the apprehension of the thing concealed; and as Paul, when about to exchange the literal sense of the history for figurative contemplation, says that he will "change his voice [540] ," so here the manifestation of the hidden meaning is called by Solomon a "turn of the saying," as if the beauty of the thoughts could not be perceived, unless one were to obtain a view of the revealed brightness of the thought by turning the apparent meaning of the saying round about, as happens with the plumage with which the peacock is decked behind. For in him, one who sees the back of his plumage quite despises it for its want of beauty and tint, as a mean sight; but if one were to turn it round and show him the other view of it, he then sees the varied painting of nature, the half-circle shining in the midst with its dye of purple, and the golden mist round the circle ringed round and glistening at its edge with its many rainbow hues. Since then there is no beauty in what is obvious in the saying (for "all the glory of the king's daughter is within [541] ," shining with its hidden ornament in golden thoughts), Solomon of necessity suggests to the readers of this book "the turn of the saying," that thereby they may "understand a parable and a dark saying, words of the wise and riddles [542] ." Now as this proverbial teaching embraces these elements, a reasonable man will not receive any passage cited from this book, be it never so clear and intelligible at first sight, without examination and inspection; for assuredly there is some mystical contemplation underlying even those passages which seem manifest. And if the obvious passages of the work necessarily demand a somewhat minute scrutiny, how much more do those passages require it where even immediate apprehension presents to us much that is obscure and difficult?

Let us then begin our examination from the context of the passage in question, and see whether the reading of the neighbouring clauses gives any clear sense. The discourse describes Wisdom as uttering certain sayings in her own person. Every student knows what is said in the passage [543] where Wisdom makes counsel her dwelling-place, and calls to her knowledge and understanding, and says that she has as a possession strength and prudence (while she is herself called intelligence), and that she walks in the ways of righteousness and has her conversation in the ways of just judgment, and declares that by her kings reign, and princes write the decree of equity, and monarchs win possession of their own land. Now every one will see that the considerate reader will receive none of the phrases quoted without scrutiny according to the obvious sense. For if by her kings are advanced to their rule, and if from her monarchy derives its strength, it follows of necessity that Wisdom is displayed to us as a king-maker, and transfers to herself the blame of those who bear evil rule in their kingdoms. But we know of kings who in truth advance under the guidance of Wisdom to the rule that has no end--the poor in spirit, whose possession is the kingdom of heaven [544] , as the Lord promises, Who is the Wisdom of the Gospel: and such also we recognize as the princes who bear rule over their passions, who are not enslaved by the dominion of sin, who inscribe the decree of equity upon their own life, as it were upon a tablet. Thus, too, that laudable despotism which changes, by the alliance of Wisdom, the democracy of the passions into the monarchy of reason, brings into bondage what were running unrestrained into mischievous liberty, I mean all carnal and earthly thoughts: for "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit [545] ," and rebels against the government of the soul. Of this land, then, such a monarch wins possession, whereof he was, according to the first creation, appointed as ruler by the Word.

Seeing then that all reasonable men admit that these expressions are to be read in such a sense as this, rather than in that which appears in the words at first sight, it is consequently probable that the phrase we are discussing, being written in close connection with them, is not received by prudent men absolutely and without examination. "If I declare to you," she says, "the things that happen day by day, I will remember to recount the things from everlasting: the Lord created me [546] ." What, pray, has the slave of the literal text, who sits listening closely to the sound of the syllables, like the Jews, to say to this phrase? Does not the conjunction, "If I declare to you the things that happen day by day, the Lord created me," ring strangely in the ears of those who listen attentively? as though, if she did not declare the things that happen day by day, she will by consequence deny absolutely that she was created. For he who says, "If I declare, I was created," leaves you by his silence to understand, "I was not created, if I do not declare." "The Lord created me," she says, "in the beginning of His ways, for His works. He set me up from everlasting, in the beginning, before He made the earth, before He made the depths, before the springs of the waters came forth, before the mountains were settled, before all hills, He begetteth me [547] ." What new order of the formation of a creature is this? First it is created, and after that it is set up, and then it is begotten. "The Lord made," she says, "lands, even uninhabited, and the inhabited extremes of the earth under heaven [548] ." Of what Lord does she speak as the maker of land both uninhabited and inhabited? Of Him surely, who made wisdom. For both the one saying and the other are uttered by the same person; both that which says, "the Lord created me," and that which adds, "the Lord made land, even uninhabited." Thus the Lord will be the maker equally of both, of Wisdom herself, and of the inhabited and uninhabited land. What then are we to make of the saying, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made [549] "? For if one and the same Lord creates both Wisdom (which they advise us to understand of the Son), and also the particular things which are included in the Creation, how does the sublime John speak truly, when he says that all things were made by Him? For this Scripture gives a contrary sound to that of the Gospel, in ascribing to the Creator of Wisdom the making of land uninhabited and inhabited. So, too, with all that follows [550] :--she speaks of a Throne of God set apart upon the winds, and says that the clouds above are made strong, and the fountains under the heaven sure; and the context contains many similar expressions, demanding in a marked degree that interpretation by a minute and clear-sighted intelligence, which is to be observed in the passages already quoted. What is the throne that is set apart upon the winds? What is the security of the fountains under the heaven? How are the clouds above made strong? If any one should interpret the passage with reference to visible objects [551] , he will find that the facts are at considerable variance with the words. For who knows not that the extreme parts of the earth under heaven, by excess in one direction or in the other, either by being too close to the sun's heat, or by being too far removed from it, are uninhabitable; some being excessively dry and parched, other parts superabounding in moisture, and chilled by frost, and that only so much is inhabited as is equally removed from the extreme of each of the two opposite conditions? But if it is the midst of the earth that is occupied by man, how does the proverb say that the extremes of the earth under heaven are inhabited? Again, what strength could one perceive in the clouds, that that passage may have a true sense, according to its apparent intention, which says that the clouds above have been made strong? For the nature of cloud is a sort of rather slight vapour diffused through the air, which, being light, by reason of its great subtilty, is borne on the breath of the air, and, when forced together by compression, falls down through the air that held it up, in the form of a heavy drop of rain. What then is the strength in these, which offer no resistance to the touch? For in the cloud you may discern the slight and easily dissolved character of air. Again, how is the Divine throne set apart on the winds that are by nature unstable? And as for her saying at first that she is "created," finally, that she is "begotten," and between these two utterances that she is "set up," what account of this could any one profess to give that would agree with the common and obvious sense? The point also on which a doubt was previously raised in our argument, the declaring, that is, of the things that happen day by day, and the remembering to recount the things from everlasting, is, as it were, a condition of Wisdom's assertion that she was created by God.

Thus, since it has been clearly shown by what has been said, that no part of this passage is such that its language should be received without examination and reflection, it may be well, perhaps, as with the rest, so not to interpret the text, "The Lord created me," according to that sense which immediately presents itself to us from the phrase, but to seek with all attention and care what is to be piously understood from the utterance. Now, to apprehend perfectly the sense of the passage before us, would seem to belong only to those who search out the depths by the aid of the Holy Spirit, and know how to speak in the Spirit the divine mysteries: our account, however, will only busy itself with the passage in question so far as not to leave its drift entirely unconsidered. What, then, is our account? It is not, I think, possible that that wisdom which arises in any man from divine illumination should come alone, apart from the other gifts of the Spirit, but there must needs enter in therewith also the grace of prophecy. For if the apprehension of the truth of the things that are is the peculiar power of wisdom, and prophecy includes the clear knowledge of the things that are about to be, one would not be possessed of the gift of wisdom in perfection, if he did not further include in his knowledge, by the aid of prophecy, the future likewise. Now, since it is not mere human wisdom that is claimed for himself by Solomon, who says, "God hath taught me wisdom [552] ," and who, where he says "all my words are spoken from God [553] ," refers to God all that is spoken by himself, it might be well in this part of the Proverbs to trace out the prophecy that is mingled with his wisdom. But we say that in the earlier part of the book, where he says that "Wisdom has builded herself a house [554] ," he refers darkly in these words to the preparation of the flesh of the Lord: for the trite Wisdom did not dwell in another's building, but built for Itself that dwelling-place from the body of the Virgin. Here, however, he adds to his discourse [555] that which of both is made one--of the house, I mean, and of the Wisdom which built the house, that is to say, of the Humanity and of the Divinity that was commingled with man [556] ; and to each of these he applies suitable and fitting terms, as you may see to be the case also in the Gospels, where the discourse, proceeding as befits its subject, employs the more lofty and divine phraseology to indicate the Godhead, and that which is humble and lowly to indicate the Manhood. So we may see in this passage also Solomon prophetically moved, and delivering to us in its fulness the mystery of the Incarnation [557] . For we speak first of the eternal power and energy of Wisdom; and here the evangelist, to a certain extent, agrees with him in his very words. For as the latter in his comprehensive [558] phrase proclaimed Him to be the cause and Maker of all things, so Solomon says that by Him were made those individual things which are included in the whole. For he tells us that God by Wisdom established the earth, and in understanding prepared the heavens, and all that follows these in order, keeping to the same sense: and that he might not seem to pass over without mention the gift of excellence in men, he again goes on to say, speaking in the person of Wisdom, the words we mentioned a little earlier; I mean, "I made counsel my dwelling-place, and knowledge, and understanding [559] ," and all that relates to instruction in intellect and knowledge.

After recounting these and the like matters, he proceeds to introduce also his teaching concerning the dispensation with regard to man, why the Word was made flesh. For seeing that it is clear to all that God Who is over all has in Himself nothing as a thing created or imported, not power nor wisdom, nor light, nor word, nor life, nor truth, nor any at all of those things which are contemplated in the fulness of the Divine bosom (all which things the Only-begotten God is, Who is in the bosom of the Father [560] , the name of "creation" could not properly be applied to any of those things which are contemplated in God, so that the Son Who is in the Father, or the Word Who is in the Beginning, or the Light Who is in the Light, or the Life Who is in the Life, or the Wisdom Who is in the Wisdom, should say, "the Lord created me." For if the Wisdom of God is created (and Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God [561] ), God, it would follow, has His Wisdom as a thing imported, receiving afterwards, as the result of making, something which He had not at first. But surely He Who is in the bosom of the Father does not permit us to conceive the bosom of the Father as ever void of Himself. He Who is in the beginning is surely not of the things which come to be in that bosom from without, but being the fulness of all good, He is conceived as being always in the Father, not waiting to arise in Him as the result of creation, so that the Father should not be conceived as at any time void of good, but He Who is conceived as being in the eternity of the Father's Godhead is always in Him, being Power, and Life, and Truth, and Wisdom, and the like. Accordingly the words "created me" do not proceed from the Divine and immortal nature, but from that which was commingled with it in the Incarnation from our created nature. How comes it then that the same, called wisdom, and understanding, and intelligence, establishes the earth, and prepares the heavens, and breaks up the deeps, and yet is here "created for the beginning of His works [562] "? Such a dispensation, he tells us, is not set forward without great cause. But since men, after receiving the commandment of the things we should observe, cast away by disobedience the grace of memory, and became forgetful, for this cause, "that I may declare to you the things that happen day by day for your salvation, and may put you in mind by recounting the things from everlasting, which you have forgotten (for it is no new gospel that I now proclaim, but I labour at your restoration to your first estate),--for this cause I was created, Who ever am, and need no creation in order to be; so that I am the beginning of ways for the works of God, that is for men. For the first way being destroyed, there must needs again be consecrated for the wanderers a new and living way [563] , even I myself, Who am the way." And this view, that the sense of "created me" has reference to the Humanity, the divine apostle more clearly sets before us by his own words when he charges us, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ [564] ," and also where (using the same word) he says, "Put on the new man which after God is created. [565] " For if the garment of salvation is one, and that is Christ, one cannot say that "the new man, which after God is created," is any other than Christ, but it is clear that he who has "put on Christ" has "put on the new man which after God is created." For actually He alone is properly named "the new man," Who did not appear in the life of man by the known and ordinary ways of nature, but in His case alone creation, in a strange and special form, was instituted anew. For this reason he names the same Person, when regarding the wonderful manner of His birth [566] , "the new man, which after God is created," and, when looking to the Divine nature, which was blended [567] in the creation of this "new man," he calls Him "Christ": so that the two names (I mean the name of "Christ" and the name of "the new man which after God is created") are applied to one and the same Person.

Since, then, Christ is Wisdom, let the intelligent reader consider our opponent's account of the matter, and our own, and judge which is the more pious, which better preserves in the text those conceptions which are befitting the Divine nature; whether that which declares the Creator and Lord of all to have been made, and places Him on a level with the creation that is in bondage, or that rather which looks to the Incarnation, and preserves the due proportion with regard to our conception alike of the Divinity and of the Humanity, bearing in mind that the great Paul testifies in favour of our view, who sees in the "new man" creation, and in the true Wisdom the power of creation. And, further, the order of the passage agrees with this view of the doctrine it conveys. For if the "beginning of the ways" had not been created among us, the foundation of those ages for which we look would not have been laid; nor would the Lord have become for us "the Father of the age to come [568] ," had not a Child been born to us, according to Isaiah, and His name been called, both all the other titles which the prophet gives Him, and withal "The Father of the age to come." Thus first there came to pass the mystery wrought in virginity, and the dispensation of the Passion, and then the wise master-builders of the Faith laid the foundation of the Faith: and this is Christ, the Father of the age to come, on Whom is built the life of the ages that have no end. And when this has come to pass, to the end that in each individual believer may be wrought the divine decrees of the Gospel law, and the varied gifts of the Holy Spirits--(all which the divine Scripture figuratively names, with a suitable significance, "mountains" and "hills," calling righteousness the "mountains" of God, and speaking of His judgments as "deeps [569] ," and giving the name of "earth" to that which is sown by the Word and brings forth abundant fruit; or in that sense in which we are taught by David to understand peace by the "mountains," and righteousness by the "hills [570] "),--Wisdom is begotten in the faithful, and the saying is found true. For He Who is in those who have received Him, is not yet begotten in the unbelieving. Thus, that these things may be wrought in us, their Maker must be begotten in us. For if Wisdom is begotten in us, then in each of us is prepared by God both land, and land uninhabited,--the land, that which receives the sowing and the ploughing of the Word, the uninhabited land, the heart cleared of evil inhabitants,--and thus our dwelling will be upon the extreme parts of the earth. For since in the earth some is depth, and some is surface, when a man is not buried in the earth, or, as it were, dwelling in a cave by reason of thinking of things beneath (as is the life of those who live in sin, who "stick fast in the deep mire where no ground is [571] ," whose life is truly a pit, as the Psalm says, "let not the pit shut her mouth upon me [572] ")--if, I say, a man, when Wisdom is begotten in him, thinks of the things that are above, and touches the earth only so much as he needs must, such a man inhabits "the extreme parts of the earth under heavens," not plunging deep in earthly thought; with him Wisdom is present, as he prepares in himself heaven instead of earth: and when, by carrying out the precepts into act, he makes strong for himself the instruction of the clouds above, and, enclosing the great and widespread sea of wickedness, as it were with a beach, by his exact conversation, hinders the troubled water from proceeding forth from his mouth; and if by the grace of instruction he be made to dwell among the fountains, pouring forth the stream of his discourse with sure caution, that he may not give to any man for drink the turbid fluid of destruction in place of pure water, and if he be lifted up above all earthly paths and become aerial in his life, advancing towards that spiritual life which he speaks of as "the winds," so that he is set apart to be a throne of Him Who is seated in him (as was Paul separated for the Gospel to be a chosen vessel to bear the name of God, who, as it is elsewhere expressed, was made a throne, bearing Him that sat upon him)--when, I say, he is established in these and like ways, so that he who has already fully made up in himself the land inhabited by God, now rejoices in gladness that he is made the father, not of wild and senseless beasts, but of men (and these would be godlike thoughts, which are fashioned according to the Divine image, by faith in Him Who has been created and begotten, and set up in us;--and faith, according to the words of Paul, is conceived as the foundation whereby wisdom is begotten in the faithful, and all the things that I have spoken of are wrought)--then, I say, the life of the man who has been thus established is truly blessed, for Wisdom is at all times in agreement with him, and rejoices with him who daily finds gladness in her alone. For the Lord rejoices in His saints, and there is joy in heaven over those who are being saved, and Christ, as the father, makes a feast for his rescued son. Though we have spoken hurriedly of these matters, let the careful man read the original text of the Holy Scripture, and fit its dark sayings to our reflections, testing whether it is not far better to consider that the meaning of these dark sayings has this reference, and not that which is attributed to it at first sight. For it is not possible that the theology of John should be esteemed true, which recites that all created things are the work of the Word, if in this passage He Who created Wisdom be believed to have made together with her all other things also. For in that case all things will not be by her, but she will herself be counted with the things that were made.

And that this is the reference of the enigmatical sayings is clearly revealed by the passage that follows, which says, "Now therefore hearken unto me, my son: and blessed is he that keepeth my ways [573] ," meaning of course by "ways" the approaches to virtue, the beginning of which is the possession of Wisdom. Who, then, who looks to the divine Scripture, will not agree that the enemies of the truth are at once impious and slanderous?--impious, because, so far as in them lies, they degrade the unspeakable glory of the Only-begotten God, and unite it with the creation, striving to show that the Lord Whose power over all things is only-begotten, is one of the things that were made by Him: slanderous, because, though Scripture itself gives them no ground for such opinions, they arm themselves against piety as though they drew their evidence from that source. Now since they can by no means show any passage of the Holy Scriptures which leads us to look upon the pre-temporal glory of the Only-begotten God in conjunction with the subject creation, it is well, these points being proved, that the tokens of victory over falsehood should be adduced as testimony to the doctrine of godliness, and that sweeping aside these verbal systems of theirs by which they make the creature answer to the creator, and the thing made to the maker, we should confess, as the Gospel from heaven teaches us, the well-beloved Son--not a bastard, not a counterfeit; but that, accepting with the name of Son all that naturally belongs to that name, we should say that He Who is of Very God is Very God, and that we should believe of Him all that we behold in the Father, because They are One, and in the one is conceived the other, not overpassing Him, not inferior to Him, not altered or subject to change in any Divine or excellent property.


Footnotes

[534] Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.). On this passage see also Book II. 10. [535] 1 Cor. i. 24. [536] E. g.S. John xvii. 25. [537] Prov. i. 2. [538] The hiatus in the Paris editions ends here. [539] Cf. Prov. i. 3 (LXX.). [540] Gal. iv. 20. [541] Ps. xlv. 13 (LXX.). [542] Prov. i. 6 (LXX.). [543] Compare with what follows Prov. viii. 12, sqq. (LXX.). [544] S. Matt. v. 3 [545] Gal. v. 17. [546] Prov. viii. 21-22 (LXX.). [547] Prov. viii. 22 sqq. (LXX.). [548] Prov. viii. 26 (LXX.). [549] S. John i. 3 [550] Cf. Prov. viii. 27-8 (LXX.). [551] Or "according to the apparent sense." [552] Prov. xxx. 3 (LXX. ch. xxiv.). [553] Prov. xxxi. 1 (LXX. ch. xxiv.). The ordinary reading in the LXX. seems to be hupo theou, while Oehler retains in his text of Greg. Nyss. the apo theou of the Paris editions. [554] Prov. ix. 1, which seems to be spoken of as "earlier" in contrast, not with the main passage under examination, but with those just cited. [555] If prostithesi be the right reading, it would almost seem that Gregory had forgotten the order of the passages, and supposed Prov. viii. 22 to have been written after Prov. ix. 1. To read protithesi, ("presents to us") would get rid of this difficulty, but it may be that Gregory only intends to point out that the idea of the union of the two natures, from which the "communicatio idiomatum" results, is distinct from that of the preparation for the Nativity, not to insist upon the order in which, as he conceives, they are set forth in the book of Proverbs. [556] anakratheises to anthropo [557] tes oikonomias [558] perilepte appears to be used as equivalent to perileptike [559] Cf. Prov. viii. 12 (LXX.). [560] S. John i. 18 [561] 1 Cor. i. 24. [562] The quotation is an inexact reproduction of Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.). [563] Cf. Heb. x. 20 [564] Rom. xiii. 14. [565] Eph. iv. 24. [566] genneseos [567] enkratheisan [568] Is. ix. 6 (LXX.). "The Everlasting Father" of the English Version. [569] Cf. Ps. xxxvi. 6 [570] Ps. lxxii. 3. [571] Ps. lxix. 2. [572] Ps. lxix. 16. [573] Prov. viii. 32 (not verbally agreeing with the LXX.).


ø3. He then shows, from the instance of Adam and Abel, and other examples, the absence of alienation of essence in the case of the "generate" and "ungenerate."

Now seeing that Eunomius' conflict with himself has been made manifest, where he has been shown to contradict himself, at one time saying, "He ought to be called `Son,' according to nature, because He is begotten," at another that, because He is created, He is no more called "Son," but a "product," I think it right that the careful and attentive reader, as it is not possible, when two statements are mutually at variance, that the truth should be found equally in both, should reject of the two that which is impious and blasphemous--that, I mean, with regard to the "creature" and the "product," and should assent to that only which is of orthodox tendency, which confesses that the appellation of "Son" naturally attaches to the Only-begotten God: so that the word of truth would seem to be recommended even by the voice of its enemies.

I resume my discourse, however, taking up that point of his argument which we originally set aside. "We do not refuse," he says, "to call the Son, seeing He is generate, even by the name of `product of generation [574] ,' since the generated essence itself, and the appellation of `Son,' make such a relation of words appropriate." Meanwhile let the reader who is critically following the argument remember this, that in speaking of the "generated essence" in the case of the Only-begotten, he by consequence allows us to speak of the "ungenerate essence" in the case of the Father, so that neither absence of generation, nor generation, can any longer be supposed to constitute the essence, but the essence must be taken separately, and its being, or not being begotten, must be conceived separately by means of the peculiar attributes contemplated in it. Let us, however, consider more carefully his argument on this point. He says that an essence has been begotten, and that the name of this generated essence is "Son." Well, at this point our argument will convict that of our opponents on two grounds, first, of an attempt at knavery, secondly, of slackness in their attempt against ourselves. For he is playing the knave when he speaks of "generation of essence," in order to establish his opposition between the essences, when once they are divided in respect of a difference of nature between "generate" and "ungenerate": while the slackness of their attempt is shown by the very positions their knavery tries to establish. For he who says the essence is generate, clearly defines generation as being something else distinct from the essence, so that the significance of generation cannot be assigned to the word "essence." For he has not in this passage represented the matter as he often does, so as to say that generation is itself the essence, but acknowledges that the essence is generated, so that there is produced in his readers a distinct notion in the case of each word: for one conception arises in him who hears that it was generated, and another is called up by the name of "essence." Our argument may be made clearer by example. The Lord says in the Gospel [575] that a woman, when her travail is drawing near, is in sorrow, but afterwards rejoices in gladness because a man is born into the world. As then in this passage we derive from the Gospel two distinct conceptions,--one the birth which we conceive to be by way of generation, the other that which results from the birth (for the birth is not the man, but the man is by the birth),--so here too, when Eunomius confesses that the essence was generated, we learn by the latter word that the essence comes from something, and by the former we conceive that subject itself which has its real being from something. If then the signification of essence is one thing, and the word expressing generation suggests to us another conception, their clever contrivances are quite gone to ruin, like earthen vessels hurled one against the other, and mutually smashed to pieces. For it will no longer be possible for them, if they apply the opposition of "generate" and "ungenerate" to the essence of the Father and the Son, to apply at the same time to the things themselves the mutual conflict between these names [576] . For as it is confessed by Eunomius that the essence is generate (seeing that the example from the Gospel explains the meaning of such a phrase, where, when we hear that a man is generated, we do not conceive the man to be the same thing as his generation, but receive a separate conception in each of the two words), heresy will surely no longer be permitted to express by such words her doctrine of the difference of the essences. In order, however, that our account of these matters may be cleared up as far as possible, let us once more discuss the point in the following way. He Who framed the universe made the nature of man with all things in the beginning, and after Adam was made, He then appointed for men the law of generation one from another, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply [577] ." Now while Abel came into existence by way of generation, what reasonable man would deny that, in the actual sense of human generation, Adam existed ungenerately? Yet the first man had in himself the complete definition of man's essential nature, and he who was generated of him was enrolled under the same essential name. But if the essence that was generated was made anything other than that which was not generated, the same essential name would not apply to both: for of those things whose essence is different, the essential name also is not the same. Since, then, the essential nature of Adam and of Abel is marked by the same characteristics, we must certainly agree that one essence is in both, and that the one and the other are exhibited in the same nature. For Adam and Abel are both one so far as the definition of their nature is concerned, but are distinguished one from the other without confusion by the individual attributes observed in each of them. We cannot therefore properly say that Adam generated another essence besides himself, but rather that of himself he generated another self, with whom was produced the whole definition of the essence of him who generated him. What, then, we learn in the case of human nature by means of the inferential guidance afforded to us by the definition, this I think we ought to take for our guidance also to the pure apprehension of the Divine doctrines. For when we have shaken off from the Divine and exalted doctrines all carnal and material notions, we shall be most surely led by the remaining conception, when it is purged of such ideas, to the lofty and unapproachable heights. It is confessed even by our adversaries that God, Who is over all, both is and is called the Father of the Only-begotten, and they moreover give to the Only-begotten God, Who is of the Father, the name of "begotten," by reason of His being generated. Since then among men the word "father" has certain significances attaching to it, from which the pure nature is alien, it behoves a man to lay aside all material conceptions which enter in by association with the carnal significance of the word "father," and to form in the case of the God and Father a conception befitting the Divine nature, expressive only of the reality of the relationship. Since, therefore, in the notion of a human father there is included not only all that the flesh suggests to our thoughts, but a certain notion of interval is also undoubtedly conceived with the idea of human fatherhood, it would be well, in the case of the Divine generation, to reject, together with bodily pollution, the notion of interval also, that so what properly belongs to matter may be completely purged away, and the transcendent generation may be clear, not only from the idea of passion, but from that of interval. Now he who says that God is a Father will unite with the thought that God is, the further thought that He is something: for that which has its being from some beginning, certainly also derives from something the beginning of its being, whatever it is: but He in Whose case being had no beginning, has not His beginning from anything, even although we contemplate in Him some other attribute than simple existence. Well, God is a Father. It follows that He is what He is from eternity: for He did not become, but is a Father: for in God that which was, both is and will be. On the other hand, if He once was not anything, then He neither is nor will be that thing: for He is not believed to be the Father of a Being such that it may be piously asserted that God once existed by Himself without that Being. For the Father is the Father of Life, and Truth, and Wisdom, and Light, and Sanctification, and Power, and all else of a like kind that the Only-begotten is or is called. Thus when the adversaries allege that the Light "once was not," I know not to which the greater injury is done, whether to the Light, in that the Light is not, or to Him that has the Light, in that He has not the Light. So also with Life and Truth and Power, and all the other characters in which the Only-begotten fills the Father's bosom, being all things in His own fulness. For the absurdity will be equal either way, and the impiety against the Father will equal the blasphemy against the Son: for in saying that the Lord "once was not," you will not merely assert the non-existence of Power, but you will be saying that the Power of God, Who is the Father of the Power, "was not." Thus the assertion made by your doctrine that the Son "once was not," establishes nothing else than a destitution of all good in the case of the Father. See to what an end these wise men's acuteness leads, how by them the word of the Lord is made good, which says, "He that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me [578] :" for by the very arguments by which they despise the existence at any time of the Only-begotten, they also dishonour the Father, stripping off by their doctrine from the Father's glory every good name and conception.


Footnotes

[574] gennema. This word, in what follows, is sometimes translated simply by the word "product," where it is not contrasted with poiema (the "product of making"), or where the argument depends especially upon its grammatical form (which indicates that the thing denoted is the result of a process), rather than upon the idea of the particular process. [575] Cf. S. John xvi. 21 [576] If, that is, they speak of the "generated essence" in contra-distinction to "ungenerate essence" they are precluded from saying that the essence of the Son is that He is begotten, and that the essence of the Father is that He is ungenerate: that which constitutes the essence cannot be made an epithet of the essence. [577] Gen. i. 28. [578] S. Luke x. 16


ø4. He thus shows the oneness of the Eternal Son with the Father the identity of essence and the community of nature (wherein is a natural inquiry into the production of wine), and that the terms "Son" and "product" in the naming of the Only-Begotten include a like idea of relationship.

What has been said, therefore, has clearly exposed the slackness which is to be found in the knavery of our author, who, while he goes about to establish the opposition of the essence of the Only-begotten to that of the Father, by the method of calling the one "ungenerate," and the other "generate," stands convicted of playing the fool with his inconsistent arguments. For it was shown from his own words, first, that the name of "essence" means one thing, and that of "generation" another; and next, that there did not come into existence, with the Son, any new and different essence besides the essence of the Father, but that what the Father is as regards the definition of His nature, that also He is Who is of the Father, as the nature does not change into diversity in the Person of the Son, according to the truth of the argument displayed by our consideration of Adam and Abel. For as, in that instance, he that was not generated after a like sort was yet, so far as concerns the definition of essence, the same with him that was generated, and Abel's generation did not produce any change in the essence, so, in the case of these pure doctrines, the Only-begotten God did not, by His own generation, produce in Himself any change in the essence of Him Who is ungenerate (coming forth, as the Gospel says, from the Father, and being in the Father,) but is, according to the simple and homely language of the creed we profess, "Light of Light, very God of very God," the one being all that the other is, save being that other. With regard, however, to the aim for the sake of which he carries on this system-making, I think there is no need for me at present to express any opinion, whether it is audacious and dangerous, or a thing allowable and free from danger, to transform the phrases which are employed to signify the Divine nature from one to another, and to call Him Who is generated by the name of "product of generation."

I let these matters pass, that my discourse may not busy itself too much in the strife against lesser points, and neglect the greater; but I say that we ought carefully to consider the question whether the natural relation does introduce the use of these terms: for this surely Eunomius asserts, that with the affinity of the appellations there is also asserted an essential relationship. For he would not say, I presume, that the mere names themselves, apart from the sense of the things signified, have any mutual relation or affinity; but all discern the relationship or diversity of the appellations by the meanings which the words express. If, therefore, he confesses that "the Son" has a natural relation with "the Father," let us leave the appellations, and consider the force that is found in their significations, whether in their affinity we discern diversity of essence, or that which is kindred and characteristic. To say that we find diversity is downright madness. For how does something without kinship or community "preserve order," connected and conformable, in the names, where "the generated essence itself," as he says, "and the appellation of `Son,' make such a relation of words appropriate"? If, on the other hand, he should say that these appellations signify relationship, he will necessarily appear in the character of an advocate of the community of essence, and as maintaining the fact that by affinity of names is signified also the connection of subjects: and this he often does in his composition without being aware of it [579] . For, by the arguments wherewith he endeavours to destroy the truth, he is often himself unwittingly drawn into an advocacy of the very doctrines against which he is contending. Some such thing the history tells us concerning Saul, that once, when moved with wrath against the prophets, he was overcome by grace, and was found as one of the inspired, (the Spirit of prophecy willing, as I suppose, to instruct the apostate by means of himself,) whence the surprising nature of the event became a proverb in his after life, as the history records such an expression by way of wonder, "Is Saul also among the prophets [580] ?"

At what point, then, does Eunomius assent to the truth? When he says that the Lord Himself, "being the Son of the living God, not being ashamed of His birth from the Virgin, often named Himself, in His own sayings, `the Son of Man'"? For this phrase we also allege for proof of the community of essence, because the name of "Son" shows the community of nature to be equal in both cases. For as He is called the Son of Man by reason of the kindred of His flesh to her of whom He was born, so also He is conceived, surely, as the Son of God, by reason of the connection of His essence with that from which He has His existence, and this argument is the greatest weapon of the truth. For nothing so clearly points to Him Who is the "mediator between God and man [581] " (as the great Apostle called Him), as the name of "Son," equally applicable to either nature, Divine or Human. For the same Person is Son of God, and was made, in the Incarnation, Son of Man, that, by His communion with each, He might link together by Himself what were divided by nature. Now if, in becoming Son of Man, he were without participation in human nature, it would be logical to say that neither does He share in the Divine essence, though He is Son of God. But if the whole compound nature of man was in Him (for He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" [582] ), it is surely necessary to believe that every property of the transcendent essence is also in Him, as the Word "Son" claims for Him both alike--the Human in the man, but in the God the Divine.

If then the appellations, as Eunomius says, indicate relationship, and the existence of relationship is observed in the things, not in the mere sound of the words (and by things I mean the things conceived in themselves, if it be not over-bold thus to speak of the Son and the Father), who would deny that the very champion of blasphemy has by his own action been dragged into the advocacy of orthodoxy, overthrowing by his own means his own arguments, and proclaiming community of essence in the case of the Divine doctrines? For the argument that he unwillingly casts into the scale on the side of truth does not speak falsely as regards this point,--that He would not have been called Son if the natural conception of the names did not verify this calling. For as a bench is not called the son of the workman, and no sane man would say that the builder engendered the house, and we do not say that the vineyard is the "product [583] " of the vine-dresser, but call what a man makes his work, and him who is begotten of him the son of a man, (in order, I suppose, that the proper meaning might be attached by means of the names to the respective subjects,) so too, when we are taught that the Only-begotten is Son of God, we do not by this appellation understand a creature of God, but what the word "Son" in its signification really displays. And even though wine be named by Scripture the "product [584] " of the vine, not even so will our argument with regard to the orthodox doctrine suffer by this identity of name. For we do not call wine the "product" of the oak, nor the acorn the "product" of the vine, but we use the word only if there is some natural community between the "product" and that from which it comes. For the moisture in the vine, which is drawn out from the root through the stem by the pith, is, in its natural power, water: but, as it passes in orderly sequence along the ways of nature, and flows from the lowest to the highest, it changes to the quality of wine, a change to which the rays of the sun contribute in some degree, which by their warmth draw out the moisture from the depth to the shoots, and by a proper and suitable process of ripening make the moisture wine: so that, so far as their nature is concerned, there is no difference between the moisture that exists in the vine and the wine that is produced from it. For the one form of moisture comes from the other, and one could not say that the cause of wine is anything else than the moisture which naturally exists in the shoots. But, so far as moisture is concerned, the differences of quality produce no alteration, but are found when some peculiarity discerns the moisture which is in the form of wine from that which is in the shoots, one of the two forms being accompanied by astringency, or sweetness, or sourness, so that in substance the two are the same, but are distinguished by qualitative differences. As, therefore, when we hear from Scripture that the Only-begotten God is Son of man, we learn by the kindred expressed in the name His kinship with true man, so even, if the Son be called, in the adversaries' phrase, a "product," we none the less learn, even by this name, His kinship in essence with Him that has "produced [585] " Him, by the fact that wine, which is called the "product" of the vine has been found not to be alien, as concerns the idea of moisture, from the natural power that resides in the vine. Indeed, if one were judiciously to examine the things that are said by our adversaries, they tend to our doctrine, and their sense cries out against their own fabrications, as they strive at all points to establish their "difference in essence." Yet it is by no means an easy matter to conjecture whence they were led to such conceptions. For if the appellation of "Son" does not merely signify "being from something," but by its signification presents to us specially, as Eunomius himself says, relationship in point of nature, and wine is not called the "product" of an oak, and those "products" or "generation of vipers [586] ," of which the Gospel somewhere speaks, are snakes and not sheep, it is clear, that in the case of the Only-begotten also, the appellation of "Son" or of "product" would not convey the meaning of relationship to something of another kind: but even if, according to our adversaries' phrase, He is called a "product of generation," and the name of "Son," as they confess, has reference to nature, the Son is surely of the essence of Him Who has generated or "produced" Him, not of that of some other among the things which we contemplate as external to that nature. And if He is truly from Him, He is not alien from all that belongs to Him from Whom He is, as in the other cases too it was shown that all that has its existence from anything by way of generation is clearly of the same kind as that from whence it came.


Footnotes

[579] Oehler's punctuation is here slightly altered. [580] 1 Sam. xix. 24. [581] 1 Tim. ii. 5. [582] Heb. iv. 15. [583] gennema. [584] gennema. E.g. S. Matt. xxvi. 29. [585] gegennekota: which, as answering to gennema, is here translated "produced" rather than "begotten." [586] gennemata echidnon. E.g. S. Matt. iii. 7.


ø5. He discusses the incomprehensibility of the Divine essence, and the saying to the woman of Samaria, "Ye worship ye know not what."

Now if any one should ask for some interpretation, and description, and explanation of the Divine essence, we are not going to deny that in this kind of wisdom we are unlearned, acknowledging only so much as this, that it is not possible that that which is by nature infinite should be comprehended in any conception expressed by words. The fact that the Divine greatness has no limit is proclaimed by prophecy, which declares expressly that of His splendour, His glory, His holiness, "there is no end [587] :" and if His surroundings have no limit, much more is He Himself in His essence, whatever it may be, comprehended by no limitation in any way. If then interpretation by way of words and names implies by its meaning some sort of comprehension of the subject, and if, on the other hand, that which is unlimited cannot be comprehended, no one could reasonably blame us for ignorance, if we are not bold in respect of what none should venture upon. For by what name can I describe the incomprehensible? by what speech can I declare the unspeakable? Accordingly, since the Deity is too excellent and lofty to be expressed in words, we have learnt to honour in silence what transcends speech and thought: and if he who "thinketh more highly than he ought to think [588] ," tramples upon this cautious speech of ours making a jest of our ignorance of things incomprehensible, and recognizes a difference of unlikeness in that which is without figure, or limit, or size, or quantity (I mean in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and brings forward to reproach our ignorance that phrase which is continually alleged by the disciples of deceit, "`Ye worship ye know not what [589] ,' if ye know not the essence of that which ye worship," we shall follow the advice of the prophet, and not fear the reproach of fools [590] , nor be led by their reviling to talk boldly of things unspeakable, making that unpractised speaker Paul our teacher in the mysteries that transcend knowledge, who is so far from thinking that the Divine nature is within the reach of human perception, that he calls even the judgments of God "unsearchable," and His ways "past finding out [591] ," and affirms that the things promised to them that love Him, for their good deeds done in this life, are above comprehension so that it is not possible to behold them with the eye, nor to receive them by hearing, nor to contain them in the heart [592] . Learning this, therefore, from Paul, we boldly declare that, not only are the judgments of God too high for those who try to search them out, but that the ways also that lead to the knowledge of Him are even until now untrodden and impassable. For this is what we understand that the Apostle wishes to signify, when he calls the ways that lead to the incomprehensible "past finding out," showing by the phrase that that knowledge is unattainable by human calculations, and that no one ever yet set his understanding on such a path of reasoning, or showed any trace or sign of an approach, by way of perception, to the things incomprehensible.

Learning these things, then, from the lofty words of the Apostle, we argue, by the passage quoted, in this way:--If His judgments cannot be searched out, and His ways are not traced, and the promise of His good things transcends every representation that our conjectures can frame, by how much more is His actual Godhead higher and loftier, in respect of being unspeakable and unapproachable, than those attributes which are conceived as accompanying it, whereof the divinely instructed Paul declares that there is no knowledge:--and by this means we confirm in ourselves the doctrine they deride, confessing ourselves inferior to them in the knowledge of those things which are beyond the range of knowledge, and declare that we really worship what we know. Now we know the loftiness of the glory of Him Whom we worship, by the very fact that we are not able by reasoning to comprehend in our thoughts the incomparable character of His greatness; and that saying of our Lord to the Samaritan woman, which is brought forward against us by our enemies, might more properly be addressed to them. For the words, "Ye worship ye know not what," the Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman, prejudiced as she was by corporeal ideas in her opinions concerning God: and to her the phrase well applies, because the Samaritans, thinking that they worship God, and at the same time supposing the Deity to be corporeally settled in place, adore Him in name only, worshipping something else, and not God. For nothing is Divine that is conceived as being circumscribed, but it belongs to the Godhead to be in all places, and to pervade all things, and not to be limited by anything: so that those who fight against Christ find the phrase they adduce against us turned into an accusation of themselves. For, as the Samaritans, supposing the Deity to be compassed round by some circumscription of place, were rebuked by the words they heard, "`Ye worship ye know not what,' and your service is profitless to you, for a God that is deemed to be settled in any place is no God,"--so one might well say to the new Samaritans, "In supposing the Deity to be limited by the absence of generation, as it were by some local limit, `ye worship ye know not what,' doing service to Him indeed as God, but not knowing that the infinity of God exceeds all the significance and comprehension that names can furnish."


Footnotes

[587] Cf. Ps. cxlv. 3 [588] Rom. xii. 3. [589] S. John iv. 22 [590] Cf. Is. li. 7 [591] Rom. xi. 33. [592] Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 9


ø6. Thereafter he expounds the appellation of "Son," and of "product of generation," and very many varieties of "sons," of God, of men, of rams, of perdition, of light, and of day.

But our discourse has diverged too far from the subject before us, in following out the questions which arise from time to time by way of inference. Let us therefore once more resume its sequence, as I imagine that the phrase under examination has been sufficiently shown, by what we have said, to be contradictory not only to the truth, but also to itself. For if, according to their view, the natural relation to the Father is established by the appellation of "the Son," and so with that of the "product of generation" to Him Who has begotten Him (as these men's wisdom falsely models the terms significant of the Divine nature into a verbal arrangement, according to some grammatical frivolity), no one could longer doubt that the mutual relation of the names which is established by nature is a proof of their kindred, or rather of their identity of essence. But let not our discourse merely turn about our adversaries' words, that the orthodox doctrine may not seem to gain the victory only by the weakness of those who fight against it, but appear to have an abundant supply of strength in itself. Let the adverse argument, therefore, be strengthened as much as may be by us ourselves with more energetic advocacy, that the superiority of our force may be recognized with full confidence, as we bring to the unerring test of truth those arguments also which our adversaries have omitted. He who contends on behalf of our adversaries will perhaps say that the name of "Son," or "product of generation," does not by any means establish the fact of kindred in nature. For in Scripture the term "child of wrath [593] " is used, and "son of perdition [594] ," and "product of a viper [595] ;" and in such names surely no community of nature is apparent. For Judas, who is called "the son of perdition," is not in his substance the same with perdition, according to what we understand by the word [596] . For the signification of the "man" in Judas is one thing, and that of "perdition" is another. And the argument may be established equally from an opposite instance. For those who are called in a certain sense "children of light," and "children of the day [597] ," are not the same with light and day in respect of the definition of their nature, and the stones are made Abraham's children [598] when they claim their kindred with him by faith and works; and those who are "led by the Spirit of God," as the Apostle says, are called "Sons of God [599] ," without being the same with God in respect of nature; and one may collect many such instances from the inspired Scripture, by means of which deceit, like some image decked with the testimonies of Scripture, masquerades in the likeness of truth.

Well, what do we say to this? The divine Scripture knows how to use the word "Son" in both senses, so that in some cases such an appellation is derived from nature, in others it is adventitious and artificial. For when it speaks of "sons of men," or "sons of rams [600] ," it marks the essential relation of that which is begotten to that from which it has its being: but when it speaks of "sons of power," or "children of God," it presents to us that kinship which is the result of choice. And, moreover, in the opposite sense, too, the same persons are called "sons of Eli," and "sons of Belial [601] ," the appellation of "sons" being easily adapted to either idea. For when they are called "sons of Eli," they are declared to have natural relationship to him, but in being called "sons of Belial," they are reproved for the wickedness of their choice, as no longer emulating their father in their life, but addicting their own purpose to sin. In the case, then, of this lower nature of ours, and of the things with which we are concerned, by reason of human nature being equally inclined to either side (I mean, to vice and to virtue), it is in our power to become sons either of night or of day, while our nature yet remains, so far as the chief part of it is concerned, within its proper limits. For neither is he who by sin becomes a child of wrath alienated from his human generation, nor does he who by choice addicts himself to good reject his human origin by the refinement of his habits, but, while their nature in each case remains the same, the differences of their purpose assume the names of their relationship, according as they become either children of God by virtue, or of the opposite by vice.

But how does Eunomius, in the case of the divine doctrines at least--he who "preserves the natural order" (for I will use our author's very words), "and abides by those things which are known to us from the beginning, and does not refuse to call Him that is begotten by the name of `product of generation,' since the generated essence itself" (as he says) "and the appellation of `Son' makes such a relation of words appropriate",--how does he alienate the Begotten from essential kindred with Him that begat Him? For in the case of those who are called "sons" or "products" by way of reproach, or again where some praise accompanies such names, we cannot say that any one is called "a child of wrath," being at the same time actually begotten by wrath; nor again had any one the day for his mother, in a corporeal sense, that he should be called its son; but it is the difference of their will which gives occasion for names of such relationship. Here, however, Eunomius says, "we do not refuse to call the Son, seeing He is begotten, by the name of `product of generation,' since the generated essence," he tells us, "and the appellation of `Son,' makes such a relation of words appropriate." If, then, he confesses that such a relation of words is made appropriate by the fact that the Son is really a "product of generation," how is it opportune to assign such a rationale of names, alike to those which are used inexactly by way of metaphor, and to those where the natural relation, as Eunomius tells us, makes such a use of names appropriate? Surely such an account is true only in the case of those whose nature is a border-land between virtue and vice, where one often shares in turn opposite classes of names, becoming a child, now of light, then again of darkness, by reason of affinity to the good or to its opposite. But where contraries have no place, one could no longer say that the word "Son" is applied metaphorically, in like manner as in the case of those who by choice appropriate the title to themselves. For one could not arrive at this view, that, as a man casting off the works of darkness becomes, by his decent life, a child of light, so too the Only-begotten God received the more honourable name as the result of a change from the inferior state. For one who is a man becomes a son of God by being joined to Christ by spiritual generation: but He Who by Himself makes the man to be a son of God does not need another Son to bestow on Him the adoption of a son, but has the name also of that which He is by nature. A man himself changes himself, exchanging the old man for the new; but to what shall God be changed, so that He may receive what He has not? A man puts off himself, and puts on the Divine nature; but what does He put off, or in what does He array Himself, Who is always the same? A man becomes a son of God, receiving what he has not, and laying aside what he has; but He Who has never been in the state of vice has neither anything to receive nor anything to relinquish. Again, the man may be on the one hand truly called some one's son, when one speaks with reference to his nature; and, on the other hand, he may be so called inexactly, when the choice of his life imposes the name. But God, being One Good, in a single and uncompounded nature, looks ever the same way, and is never changed by the impulse of choice, but always wishes what He is, and is, assuredly, what He wishes: so that He is in both respects properly and truly called Son of God, since His nature contains the good, and His choice also is never severed from that which is more excellent, so that this word is employed, without inexactness, as His name. Thus there is no room for these arguments (which, in the person of our adversaries, we have been opposing to ourselves), to be brought forward by our adversaries as a demurrer to the affinity in respect of nature.


Footnotes

[593] Cf. Eph. ii. 3 [594] S. John xvii. 12. [595] Cf. S. Matt. iii. 7 [596] Reading kata to nooumenon, for kata ton nooumenon as the words stand in the text of Oehler, who cites no mss. in favour of the change which he has made. [597] Cf. 1 Thess. v. 5. [598] Cf. S. Matt. iii. 9 [599] Rom. viii. 14. [600] Ps. xxix. 1 (LXX.). [601] 1 Sam. ii. 12. The phrase is huioi loimoi, or "pestilent sons," as in the LXX. Gregory's argument would seem to require the reading huioi loimou.


ø7. Then he ends the book with an exposition of the Divine and Human names of the Only-Begotten, and a discussion of the terms "generate" and "ungenerate."

But as, I know not how or why, they hate and abhor the truth, they give Him indeed the name of "Son," but in order to avoid the testimony which this word would give to the community of essence, they separate the word from the sense included in the name, and concede to the Only-begotten the name of "Son" as an empty thing, vouchsafing to Him only the mere sound of the word. That what I say is true, and that I am not taking a false aim at the adversaries' mark, may be clearly learnt from the actual attacks they make upon the truth. Such are those arguments which are brought forward by them to establish their blasphemy, that we are taught by the divine Scriptures many names of the Only-begotten--a stone, an axe, a rock, a foundation, bread, a vine, a door, a way, a shepherd, a fountain, a tree, resurrection, a teacher, light, and many such names. But we may not piously use any of these names of the Lord, understanding it according to its immediate sense. For surely it would be a most absurd thing to think that what is incorporeal and immaterial, simple, and without figure, should be fashioned according to the apparent senses of these names, whatever they may be, so that when we hear of an axe we should think of a particular figure of iron, or when we hear of light, of the light in the sky, or of a vine, of that which grows by the planting of shoots, or of any one of the other names, as its ordinary use suggests to us to think; but we transfer the sense of these names to what better becomes the Divine nature, and form some other conception, and if we do designate Him thus, it is not as being any of these things, according to the definition of His nature, but as being called these things while He is conceived by means of the names employed as something else than the things themselves. But if such names are indeed truly predicated of the Only-begotten God, without including the declaration of His nature, they say that, as a consequence, neither should we admit the signification of "Son," as it is understood according to the prevailing use, as expressive of nature, but should find some sense of this word also, different from that which is ordinary and obvious. These, and others like these, are their philosophical arguments to establish that the Son is not what He is and is called. Our argument was hastening to a different goal, namely to show that Eunomius' new discourse is false and inconsistent, and argues neither with the truth nor with itself. Since, however, the arguments which we employ to attack their doctrine are brought into the discussion as a sort of support for their blasphemy [602] , it may be well first briefly to discuss his point, and then to proceed to the orderly examination of his writings.

What can we say, then, to such things without relevance? That while, as they say, the names which Scripture applies to the Only-begotten are many, we assert that none of the other names is closely connected with the reference to Him that begat Him. For we do not employ the name "Stone," or "Resurrection," or "Shepherd," or "Light," or any of the rest, as we do the name "Son of the Father," with a reference to the God of all. It is possible to make a twofold division of the signification of the Divine names, as it were by a scientific rule: for to one class belongs the indication of His lofty and unspeakable glory; the other class indicates the variety of the providential dispensation: so that, as we suppose, if that which received His benefits did not exist, neither would those words be applied with respect to them [603] which indicate His bounty. All those on the other hand, that express the attributes of God, are applied suitably and properly to the Only-begotten God, apart from the objects of the dispensation. But that we may set forth this doctrine clearly, we will examine the names themselves. The Lord would not have been called a vine, save for the planting of those who are rooted in Him, nor a shepherd, had not the sheep of the house of Israel been lost, nor a physician, save for the sake of them that were sick, nor would He have received for Himself the rest of these names, had He not made the titles appropriate, in a manner advantageous with regard to those who were benefited by Him, by some action of His providence. What need is there to mention individual instances, and to lengthen our argument upon points that are acknowledged? On the other hand, He is certainly called "Son," and "Right Hand," and "Only-begotten," and "Word," and "Wisdom," and "Power," and all other such relative names, as being named together with the Father in a certain relative conjunction. For He is called the "Power of God," and the "Right Hand of God," and the "Wisdom of God," and the "Son and Only-begotten of the Father," and the "Word with God," and so of the rest. Thus, it follows from what we have stated, that in each of the names we are to contemplate some suitable sense appropriate to the subject, so that we may not miss the right understanding of them, and go astray from the doctrine of godliness. As, then, we transfer each of the other terms to that sense in which they may be applied to God, and reject in their case the immediate sense, so as not to understand material light, or a trodden way, or the bread which is produced by husbandry, or the word that is expressed by speech, but, instead of these, all those thoughts which present to us the magnitude of the power of the Word of God,--so, if one were to reject the ordinary and natural sense of the word "Son," by which we learn that He is of the same essence as Him that begat Him, he will of course transfer the name to some more divine interpretation. For since the change to the more glorious meaning which has been made in each of the other terms has adapted them to set forth the Divine power, it surely follows that the significance of this name also should be transferred to what is loftier. But what more Divine sense could we find in the appellation of "Son," if we were to reject, according to our adversaries' view, the natural relation to Him that begat Him? I presume no one is so daring in impiety as to think that, in speech concerning the Divine nature, what is humble and mean is more appropriate than what is lofty and great. If they can discover, therefore, any sense of more exalted character than this, so that to be of the nature of the Father seems a thing unworthy to conceive of the Only-begotten, let them tell us whether they know, in their secret wisdom, anything more exalted than the nature of the Father, that, in raising the Only-begotten God to this level, they should lift Him also above His relation to the Father. But if the majesty of the Divine nature transcends all height, and excels every power that calls forth our wonder, what idea remains that can carry the meaning of the name "Son" to something greater still? Since it is acknowledged, therefore, that every significant phrase employed of the Only-begotten, even if the name be derived from the ordinary use of our lower life, is properly applied to Him with a difference of sense in the direction of greater majesty, and if it is shown that we can find no more noble conception of the title "Son" than that which presents to us the reality of His relationship to Him that begat Him, I think that we need spend no more time on this topic, as our argument has sufficiently shown that it is not proper to interpret the title of "Son" in like manner with the other names.

But we must bring back our enquiry once more to the book. It does not become the same persons "not to refuse" (for I will use their own words) "to call Him that is generated a `product of generation,' since both the generated essence itself and the appellation of Son make such a relation of words appropriate," and again to change the names which naturally belong to Him into metaphorical interpretations: so that one of two things has befallen them,--either their first attack has failed, and it is in vain that they fly to "natural order" to establish the necessity of calling Him that is generated a "product of generation"; or, if this argument holds good, they will find their second argument brought to nought by what they have already established. For the person who is called a "product of generation" because He is generated, cannot, for the very same reason, be possibly called a "product of making," or a "product of creation." For the sense of the several terms differs very widely, and one who uses his phrases advisedly ought to employ words with due regard to the subject, that we may not, by improperly interchanging the sense of our phrases, fall into any confusion of ideas. Hence we call that which is wrought out by a craft the work of the craftsman, and call him who is begotten by a man that man's son; and no sane person would call the work a son, or the son a work; for that is the language of one who confuses and obscures the true sense by an erroneous use of names. It follows that we must truly affirm of the Only-begotten one of these two things,--if He is a Son, that He is not to be called a "product of creation," and if He is created, that He is alien from the appellation of "Son [604] ," just as heaven and sea and earth, and all individual things, being things created, do not assume the name of "Son." But since Eunomius bears witness that the Only-begotten God is begotten (and the evidence of enemies is of additional value for establishing the truth), he surely testifies also, by saying that He is begotten, to the fact that He is not created. Enough, however, on these points: for though many arguments crowd upon us, we will be content, lest their number lead to disproportion, with those we have already adduced on the subject before us.


Footnotes

[602] The meaning of this seems to be that the Anomoean party make the same charge of "inconsistency" against the orthodox, which Gregory makes against Eunomius, basing that charge on the fact that the title "Son" is not interpreted in the same figurative way as the other titles recited. Gregory accordingly proceeds to show why the name of "Son" stands on a different level from those titles, and is to be treated in a different way. [603] ep' auton: perhaps "with reference to man," the plural being employed here to denote the race of men, spoken of in the preceding clause collectively as to euergetoumenon [604] Oehler's punctuation here seems faulty, and is accordingly not followed.


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