Writings of Athanasius. Introduction to de Decretis or Defence of the Nicene Definition

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Edited by Archibald Robertson
Principal of Bishop Hatfield's Hall, Durham, Late Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford

Under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Semimary, New York, and Henry Wace, D.D., Principal of King's College, London

Published in 1892 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

Introduction to de Decretis or Defence of the Nicene Definition.

This letter must have been written in the interval between the return of Athanasius in 346 and his flight in 356. Acacius was already (§3) Bishop of Cæsarea 339; Eusebius of Nicomedia is not referred to as though still living (he died 342). Moreover the language of §2 ("for in no long time they will turn to outrage," &c.) implies a period of actual peace, but with a prospect of the repetition of the scenes of the year 339. This actually occurred in 356. Accordingly we must probably place the tract under the sole reign of Constantius, between 351 and the end of 355.

It is written in answer to a friend who in disputing with Arians had been posed by their objection to the use of non-scriptural terms in the Nicene Definition. He accordingly asks for some account of what the council had done.

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Athanasius begins his answer by stigmatising the evasions and inconsistency of the Arianisers, and describing their conduct at the council, and how they eventually subscribed to the terms now complained of (1-5). He then investigates the meaning of the divine Sonship (6-14), and how its true meaning is brought out by the other titles of the Son (15-17). Coming to the non-scriptural expressions he shews how they were forced upon the council by the evasions of the Arians (18-20), and that they express no sense not to be found in Scripture (21-24). Moreover, they had already been in use in the Church, as is shewn by extracts from Theognostus, the two Dionysii, and Origen (25-27). Lastly (28-32) he discusses the term agenetos, applied by the Arians (especially Asterius) to the Father, in contrast, not to the creation, but to the Son, who is thereby implied to be genetos. He insists on `Father' not `agenetos' as the divine title authorised by Scripture. Lastly he appends, in proof of what he states in §3, the letter of Eusebius to the people of Cæsarea, containing the creed of the council, which, for reasons there stated, we have inserted above, pp. 73-76.

The interest of the letter is principally threefold; first on account of its notice of the proceedings at Nicæa (cf. ad Afr. 5), one of the few primary sources of our knowledge of what took place there: secondly, on account of its fragments of early writers, especially the Dionysii, of whom more will be said in the introduction to the next tract. With regard to Theognostus, the quotations in this tract and in Serap. iv. 9 are important in view of the somewhat damaging accounts of his teaching in the few other writers (Gregory of Nyssa, Photius) who mention him.

Thirdly, the term agenetos demands attention. It is impossible to give its exact force in idiomatic English: the rendering `Ingenerate' adopted by Newman is perhaps the most unfortunate one imaginable. `Uncreated,' a possible substitute, is also open to objection, firstly, as not distinguishing the word from the derivatives of ktizein, poiein, demiourgein, secondly, as giving it a passive sense, which does not inherently attach to it. For lack of a better word, `Unoriginate' may perhaps be adopted. `That which has not (or cannot) come to be,' `that which is not the result of a process,'--is what the word strictly signifies'--`das Ungewordene.' It was therefore strictly applicable to the Son as well as to the Father. But throughout the earlier stages of the Arian controversy the question was embarrassed by the homophones gennetos and agennetos, generate or begotten, and unbegotten. The confusion of thought due to the resemblance of sound is reflected in the confusion of readings in the mss. Athanasius himself (Orat. i. 56) perceives the distinctive sense of agennetos. In the present tract and in Orat. i. 30, he has agenetos only in view, the idea of begetting being absent. Here (and cf. de Syn. 46, note 5) he is denying that the Father is alone agenetos, uncreated or without a `becoming.' Accordingly although the word gennethenta was consecrated and safeguarded in the Creed of Nicæa (Begotten not made), and although the distinctness of the derivatives of the two verbs was felt by Athanasius, and pointed out by others (Epiph. Hær. 64, 8), the use of either group of words was avoided by Catholics as dangerous. A clear distinction of the words and of their respective applicability is made by John Damascene Fid. Orth. I. viii. (see Lightfoot, Ignat. vol. 2, excursus on Eph. §7, Thilo, ubi supra, Introd. p. 14, and Harnack, Dg. 2, p. 193 note).

De Decretis or Defence of the Nicene Definition

Chapter I.--Introduction. The complaint of the Arians against the Nicene Council; their fickleness; they are like Jews; their employment of force instead of reason.

1. Thou hast done well, in signifying to me the discussion thou hast had with the advocates of Arianism, among whom were certain of the friends of Eusebius, as well as very many of the brethren who hold the doctrine of the Church. I hailed thy vigilance for the love of Christ, which excellently exposed the irreligion [746] of their heresy; while I marvelled at the effrontery which led the Arians, after all the past detection of unsoundness and futility in their arguments, nay, after the general conviction of their extreme perverseness, still to complain like the Jews, "Why did the Fathers at Nicæa use terms not in Scripture [747] , `Of the essence' and `One in essence?'" Thou then, as a man of learning, in spite of their subterfuges, didst convict them of talking to no purpose; and they in devising them were but acting suitably to their own evil disposition. For they are as variable and fickle in their sentiments, as chameleons in their colours [748] ; and when exposed they look confused, and when questioned they hesitate, and then they lose shame, and betake themselves to evasions. And then, when detected in these, they do not rest till they invent fresh matters which are not, and, according to the Scripture, `imagine a vain thing [749] '; and all that they may be constant to their irreligion.

Now such endeavours [750] are nothing else than an obvious token of their defect of reason [751] , and a copying, as I have said, of Jewish malignity. For the Jews too, when convicted by the Truth, and unable to confront it, used evasions, such as, `What sign doest Thou, that we may see and believe Thee? What dost Thou work [752] ? though so many signs were given, that they said themselves, `What do we? for this man doeth many miracles [753] .' In truth, dead men were raised, lame walked, blind saw afresh, lepers were cleansed, and the water became wine, and five loaves satisfied five thousand, and all wondered and worshipped the Lord, confessing that in Him were fulfilled the prophecies, and that He was God the Son of God; all but the Pharisees, who, though the signs shone brighter than the sun, yet complained still, as ignorant men, `Why dost Thou, being a man, make Thyself God [754] ?' Insensate, and verily blind in understanding! they ought contrariwise to have said, "Why hast Thou, being God, become man?" for His works proved Him God, that they might both worship the goodness of the Father, and admire the Son's Economy for our sakes. However, this they did not say; no, nor liked to witness what He was doing; or they witnessed indeed, for this they could not help, but they changed their ground of complaint again, "Why healest Thou the paralytic, why makest Thou the born-blind to see, on the sabbath day?" But this too was an excuse, and mere murmuring; for on other days as well did the Lord heal `all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease [755] ,' but they complained still according to their wont, and by calling Him Beelzebub, preferred the suspicion of Atheism [756] , to a recantation of their own wickedness. And though in such sundry times and divers manners the Saviour shewed His Godhead and preached the Father to all men, nevertheless, as kicking against the pricks, they contradicted in the language of folly, and this they did, according to the divine proverb, that by finding occasions, they might separate themselves from the truth [757] .

2. As then the Jews of that day, for acting thus wickedly and denying the Lord, were with justice deprived of their laws and of the promise made to their fathers, so the Arians, Judaizing now, are, in my judgment, in circumstances like those of Caiaphas and the contemporary Pharisees. For, perceiving that their heresy is utterly unreasonable, they invent excuses, "Why was this defined, and not that?" Yet wonder not if now they practise thus; for in no long time they will turn to outrage, and next will threaten `the band and the captain [758] .' Forsooth in these their heterodoxy has its support, as we see; for denying the Word of God, reason have they none at all, as is equitable. Aware then of this, I would have made no reply to their interrogations: but, since thy friendliness [759] has asked to know the transactions of the Council, I have without any delay related at once what then took place, shewing in few words, how destitute Arianism is of a religious spirit, and how their one business is to frame evasions.


[746] eusebeia, asebeia, &c., here translated "religion, irreligion, religious, &c. &c." are technical words throughout, being taken from S. Paul's text, "Great is the mystery of godliness," eusebeias, i.e. orthodoxy. Such too seems to be the meaning of "godly admonitions," and "godly judgments," and "this godly and well-learned man," in our Ordination Services. The Latin translation is "pius," "pietas." It might be in some respects suitably rendered by "devout" and its derivatives. On its familiar use in the controversy depends the blasphemous jest of Eudoxius, Arian Bishop of Constantinople, which was received with loud laughter in the Cathedral, and remained in esteem down to Socrates' day, "The Father is asebes, as being without devotion, the Son eusebes, devout, as paying devotion to the Father." Socr. Hist. ii. 43. Hence Arius ends his Letter to Eusebius with alethos eusebie. Theod. Hist. i. 4. [747] It appears that the Arians did not venture to speak disrespectfully of the definition of the Council till the date (a.d. 352) of this work, when Acacius headed them. Yet the plea here used, the unscriptural character of its symbol, had been suggested to Constantius on his accession, a.d. 337, by the Arian priest, the favourite of Constantia, to whom Constantine had entrusted his will, Theod. Hist. ii. 3; and Eusebius of Cæsarea glances at it, at the time of the Council, in the letter to his Church, which is subjoined to this Treatise. [748] Alexander also calls them chameleons, Socr. i. 6. p. 12. Athanasius so calls the Meletians, Hist. Arian. §79. Cyril compares them to "the leopard which cannot change his spots." Dial. ii. init. t. v. i. Aub., Naz. Or. 28. 2. On the fickleness of the Arians, vid. infra, §4. &c. Orat. ii. 40. He says, ad Ep. Ęg. 6. that they considered Creeds as yearly covenants; and de Synod. §3. 4. as State Edicts. vid. also §14. and passim. "What wonder that they fight against their fathers, when they fight against themselves?" §37. [749] Ps. ii. 1. [750] epicheirema. and so Orat. i. §44. init. but infra. §25. epicheiremata means more definitely reasonings or argumentations. [751] alogias; an allusion frequent in Athanasius, to the judicial consequence of their denying the Word of God. Thus, just below, n. 3. "Denying the Word" or Reason "of God, reason have they none." Also Orat. i. §35. fin. §40. init. §62. Orat. ii. §7. init. Hence he so often calls the Arians "mad" and "deranged;" e.g. "not aware how `mad' their `reason' is." Orat. i. §37. [752] John vi. 30. [753] Ib. xi. 47. [754] Ib. x. 33. [755] Matt. iv. 23. [756] Or ungodliness, atheotetos. Thus Aetius was called ho atheos, the ungodly. de Synod. §6; and Arius complains that Alexander had expelled him and his from Alexandria, hos anthropous atheous. Theodor. Hist. i. 4. "Atheism" and "Atheist" imply intention, system, and profession, and are so far too strong a rendering of the Greek. Since Christ was God, to deny Him was to deny God. The force of the term, however, seems to be, that, whereas the Son had revealed the "unknown God," and destroyed the reign of idols, the denial of the Son was bringing back idolatry and its attendant spiritual ignorance. Thus contr. Gent. §29. fin. he speaks of "the Greek idolatry as full of all Atheism" or ungodliness, and contrasts with it the knowledge of "the Guide and Framer of the Universe, the Father's Word," "that through Him `we may discern His Father,' and the Greeks may know `how far they have separated themselves from the truth.'" And Orat. ii. 43. he classes Arians with the Greeks, who "though they have the name of God in their mouths, incur the charge of `Atheism,' because they know not the real and true God, `the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.'" (vid. also Basil in Eunom. ii. 22.) Shortly afterwards he gives a further reason for the title, observing that Arianism was worse than previous heresies, such as Manicheism, inasmuch as the latter denied the Incarnation, but Arianism tore from God's substance His connatural Word, and, as far as its words went, infringed upon the perfections and being of the first Cause. And so ad Ep. Ęg. §17. fin. he says, that it alone, beyond other heresies, "has been bold against the Godhead Itself in a mad way (manikoteron, vid. foregoing note), denying that there is a Word, and that the Father was always Father." Elsewhere he speaks more generally, as if Arianism introduced "an Atheism or rather Judaism `against the Scriptures,' being next door to Heathenism, so that its disciple cannot be even named Christian; for all such tenets are `contrary to the Scriptures;'" and he makes this the reason why the Nicene Fathers stopped their ears and condemned it. ad Ep. Ęg. §13. For the same reason he calls the heathen atheoi, atheistical or ungodly, "who are arraigned of irreligion by Divine Scripture." contr. Gent. §14. vid. eidolon atheoteta. §46. init. Moreover, he calls the Arian persecution worse than the pagan `cruelties,' and therefore "a Babylonian Atheism," Ep. Encycl. §5. as not allowing the Catholics the use of prayer and baptism, with a reference to Dan. vi. 11, &c. Thus too he calls Constantius atheist, for his treatment of Hosius; oute ton theon phobetheis ho atheos. Hist. Arian. 45. Another reason for the title seems to have lain in the idolatrous character of Arian worship `on its own shewing,' viz. as worshipping One whom they yet maintained to be a creature. [Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2)a, sub. fin.] [757] A reference to Prov. xviii. 1. which runs in the LXX. "a man seeketh occasions, when desirous of separating himself from friends." [758] Apparently an allusion to Joh. xviii. 12. Elsewhere, he speaks of "the chief captain" and "the governor," with an allusion to Acts xxiii. 22-24. &c. Hist. Arian. §66. fin. vid. also §2. Apol. contr. Arian. §8. also §10. and 45. Orat. ii. §43. Ep. Encycl. §5. Against the use of violence in religion, vid. Hist. Arian. §33. 67. (Hil. ad Const. 1. 2.) On the other hand, he observes, that at Nicæa, "it was not necessity which drove the judges to" their decision, "but all vindicated the Truth from deliberate purpose." ad Ep. Ęg. 13. [759] diathesis. vid. also Hist. Arian. §45. Orat. ii. §4. where Parker maintains without reason that it should be translated, "external condition." vid. also Theod. Hist. i. 4. init.

Chapter II.--Conduct of the Arians towards the Nicene Council. Ignorant as well as irreligious to attempt to reverse an Ecumenical Council: proceedings at Nicæa: Eusebians then signed what they now complain of: on the unanimity of true teachers and the process of tradition: changes of the Arians.

And do thou, beloved, consider whether it be not so. If, the devil having sowed their hearts with this perverseness [760] , they feel confidence in their bad inventions, let them defend themselves against the proofs of heresy which have been advanced, and then will be the time to find fault, if they can, with the definition framed against them [761] . For no one, on being convicted of murder or adultery, is at liberty after the trial to arraign the sentence of the judge, why he spoke in this way and not in that [762] . For this does not exculpate the convict, but rather increases his crime on the score of petulance and audacity. In like manner, let these either prove that their sentiments are religious (for they were then accused and convicted, and their complaints are subsequent, and it is just that those who are under a charge should confine themselves to their own defence), or if they have an unclean conscience, and are aware of their own irreligion, let them not complain of what they do not understand, or they will bring on themselves a double imputation, of irreligion and of ignorance. Rather let them investigate the matter in a docile spirit, and learning what hitherto they have not known, cleanse their irreligious ears with the spring of truth and the doctrines of religion [763] .

3. Now it happened to Eusebius and his fellows in the Nicene Council as follows:--while they stood out in their irreligion, and attempted their fight against God [764] , the terms they used were replete with irreligion; but the assembled Bishops who were three hundred more or less, mildly and charitably required of them to explain and defend themselves on religious grounds. Scarcely, however, did they begin to speak, when they were condemned [765] , and one differed from another; then perceiving the straits in which their heresy lay, they remained dumb, and by their silence confessed the disgrace which came upon their heterodoxy. On this the Bishops, having negatived the terms they had invented, published against them the sound and ecclesiastical faith; and, as all subscribed it, Eusebius and his fellows subscribed it also in those very words, of which they are now complaining, I mean, "of the essence" and "one in essence," and that "the Son of God is neither creature or work, nor in the number of things originated [766] , but that the Word is an offspring from the substance of the Father." And what is strange indeed, Eusebius of Cæsarea in Palestine, who had denied the day before, but afterwards subscribed, sent to his Church a letter, saying that this was the Church's faith, and the tradition of the Fathers; and made a public profession that they were before in error, and were rashly contending against the truth. For though he was ashamed at that time to adopt these phrases, and excused himself to the Church in his own way, yet he certainly means to imply all this in his Epistle, by his not denying the "one in essence," and "of the essence." And in this way he got into a difficulty; for while he was excusing himself, he went on to attack the Arians, as stating that "the Son was not before His generation," and as thereby rejecting His existence before His birth in the flesh. And this Acacius is aware of also, though he too through fear may pretend otherwise because of the times and deny the fact. Accordingly I have subjoined at the end the letter of Eusebius, that thou mayest know from it the disrespect towards their own doctors shewn by Christ's enemies, and singularly by Acacius himself [767] .

4. Are they not then committing a crime, in their very thought to gainsay so great and ecumenical a Council? are they not in transgression, when they dare to confront that good definition against Arianism, acknowledged, as it is, by those who had in the first instance taught them irreligion? And supposing, even after subscription, Eusebius and his fellows did change again, and return like dogs to their own vomit of irreligion, do not the present gain-sayers deserve still greater detestation, because they thus sacrifice [768] their souls' liberty to others; and are willing to take these persons as masters of their heresy, who are, as James [769] has said, double-minded men, and unstable in all their ways, not having one opinion, but changing to and fro, and now recommending certain statements, but soon dishonouring them, and in turn recommending what just now they were blaming? But this, as the Shepherd has said, is "the child of the devil [770] ," and the note of hucksters rather than of doctors. For, what our Fathers have delivered, this is truly doctrine; and this is truly the token of doctors, to confess the same thing with each other, and to vary neither from themselves nor from their fathers; whereas they who have not this character are to be called not true doctors but evil. Thus the Greeks, as not witnessing to the same doctrines, but quarrelling one with another, have no truth of teaching; but the holy and veritable heralds of the truth agree together, and do not differ. For though they lived in different times, yet they one and all tend the same way, being prophets of the one God, and preaching the same Word harmoniously [771] .

5. And thus what Moses taught, that Abraham observed; and what Abraham observed, that Noah and Enoch acknowledged, discriminating pure from impure, and becoming acceptable to God. For Abel too in this way witnessed, knowing what he had learned from Adam, who himself had learned from that Lord, who said, when He came at the end of the ages for the abolishment of sin, "I give no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye have heard from the beginning [772] ." Wherefore also the blessed Apostle Paul, who had learned it from Him, when describing ecclesiastical functions, forbade that deacons, not to say bishops, should be double-tongued [773] ; and in his rebuke of the Galatians, he made a broad declaration, "If anyone preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema, as I have said, so say I again. If even we, or an Angel from heaven should preach unto you any other Gospel than that ye have received, let him be anathema [774] ." Since then the Apostle thus speaks, let these men either anathematise Eusebius and his fellows, at least as changing round and professing what is contrary to their subscriptions; or, if they acknowledge that their subscriptions were good, let them not utter complaints against so great a Council. But if they do neither the one nor the other, they are themselves too plainly the sport of every wind and surge, and are influenced by opinions, not their own, but of others, and being such, are as little worthy of deference now as before, in what they allege. Rather let them cease to carp at what they understand not; lest so be that not knowing to discriminate, they simply call evil good and good evil, and think that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. Doubtless, they desire that doctrines which have been judged wrong and have been reprobated should gain the ascendancy, and they make violent efforts to prejudice what was rightly defined. Nor should there be any reason on our part for any further explanation, or answer to their excuses, neither on theirs for further resistance, but for an acquiescence in what the leaders of their heresy subscribed; for though the subsequent change of Eusebius and his fellows was suspicious and immoral, their subscription, when they had the opportunity of at least some little defence of themselves, is a certain proof of the irreligion of their doctrine. For they would not have subscribed previously had they not condemned the heresy, nor would they have condemned it, had they not been encompassed with difficulty and shame; so that to change back again is a proof of their contentious zeal for irreligion. These men also ought therefore, as I have said, to keep quiet; but since from an extraordinary want of modesty, they hope perhaps to be able to advocate this diabolical [775] irreligion better than the others, therefore, though in my former letter written to thee, I have already argued at length against them, notwithstanding, come let us now also examine them, in each of their separate statements, as their predecessors; for now not less than then their heresy shall be shewn to have no soundness in it, but to be from evil spirits.


[760] epispeirantos tou diabolou, the allusion is to Matt. xiii. 25, and is very frequent in Athan., chiefly with a reference to Arianism. He draws it out at length, Orat. ii. §34. Elsewhere, he uses the image for the evil influences introduced into the soul upon Adam's fall, contr. Apoll. i. §15. as does S. Irenæus, Hær. iv. 40. n. 3. using it of such as lead to back-sliding in Christians. ibid. v. 10. n. 1. Gregory Nyssen, of the natural passions and of false reason misleading them, de An. et Resurr. p. 640. vid. also Leon. Ep. 156. c. 2. [761] The Council did two things, anathematise the Arian positions (at the end of the Creed), and establish the true doctrine by the insertion of the phrases, "of the substance" and "one in substance." Athan. says that the Arians must not criticise the latter before they had cleared themselves of the former. Thus he says presently, that they were at once irreligious in their faith and ignorant in their criticism; and speaks of the Council negativing their formulæ, and substituting those which were "sound and ecclesiastical." vid. also n. 4. [762] And so S. Leo "passim" concerning the Council of Chalcedon, "Concord will be easily established, if the hearts of all concur in that faith which, &c., no discussion being allowed whatever concerning any retractation," Ep. 94. He calls such an act a "magnum sacrilegium," Ep. 157. c. 3. "To be seeking for what has been disclosed, to retract what has been perfected, to tear up what has been laid down (definita), what is this but to be unthankful for what we gained?" Ep. 162. vid. the whole of it. He says that the attempt is "no mark of a peace-maker but a rebel." Ep. 164. c. l. fin. vid. also Epp. 145, and 156, where he says, none can assail what is once determined, but "aut antichristus aut diabolus." c. 2. [763] Vid. Orat. iii. §28. [764] theomachein, theomachoi. vid. Acts v. 39; xxiii. 9. are of very frequent use in Athan. as is christomachoi, in speaking of the Arians, vid. infra passim. also antimachomenoi to soteri, Ep. Encycl. §5. And in the beginning of the controversy, Alexander ap. Socr. i. 6. p. 10. b.c.p. 12. p. 13. Theod. Hist. i. 3. p. 729. And so theomachos glossa, Basil. contr. Eunom. ii. 27. fin. christomachon. Ep. 236. init. vid. also Cyril (Thesaurus, p. 19 e. p. 24 e.). theomachoi is used of other heretics, e.g. the Manichees, by Greg. Naz. Orat. 45. §8. [765] i.e. "convicted themselves," infr. §18. init. heauton aei kategoroi, ad. Ep. Ęg. §6. i.e. by their variations, vid. Tit. iii. 11 autokatakritos [766] geneton. [767] The party he is writing against is the Acacian, of whom he does not seem to have had much distinct knowledge. He contrasts them again and again in the passages which follow with the Eusebians of the Nicene Council, and says that he is sure that the ground they take when examined will be found substantially the same as the Eusebian. vid. §6 init. et alib. §7. init. §9. circ. fin. §10. circ. fin. §13. init. tote kai nun. §18. circ. fin. §28. fin [On Acacius see Prolegg. ch. ii. §8 (2) b.] [768] propinontes vid. de Syn. §14. [769] James i. 8. [770] Hermas, Mand. ix., who is speaking immediately, as S. James, of wavering in prayer. [771] Thus S. Basil says the same of the Grecian Sects, "We have not the task of refuting their tenets, for they suffice for the overthrow of each other." Hexaem. i. 2. vid. also Theod. Græc. Affect. i. p. 707. &c. August. Civ. Dei, xviii. 41. and Vincentius's celebrated Commonitorium passim. [772] 1 John ii. 7. [773] 1 Tim. iii. 8. [774] Gal. i. 8, 9. [775] This is Athan.'s deliberate judgment. vid. de Sent. Dion. fin., ib. §24. he speaks of Arius's "hatred of the truth." Again, "though the diabolical men rave" Orat. iii. §8. "friends of the devil, and his spirits," Ad Ep. Ęg. 5. Another reason of his so accounting them, was their atrocious cruelty towards Catholics; this leads him elsewhere to break out: "O new heresy, that has put on the whole devil in irreligious doctrine and conduct!" Hist. Arian. §66, also Alexander, `diabolical,' ap Theod. Hist. i. 3, p. 731. `satanical,' ibid. p. 741. vid. also Socr. i. 9. p. 30 fin. Hilar. contr. Const. 17.

Chapter III.--Two senses of the word Son, 1. adoptive; 2. essential; attempts of Arians to find a third meaning between these; e.g. that our Lord only was created immediately by God (Asterius's view), or that our Lord alone partakes the Father. The second and true sense; God begets as He makes, really; though His creation and generation are not like man's; His generation independent of time; generation implies an internal, and therefore an eternal, act in God; explanation of Prov. viii. 22.

6. They say then what the others held and dared to maintain before them; "Not always Father, not always Son; for the Son was not before His generation, but, as others, came to be from nothing; and in consequence God was not always Father of the Son; but, when the Son came to be and was created, then was God called His Father. For the Word is a creature and a work, and foreign and unlike the Father in essence; and the Son is neither by nature the Father's true Word, nor His only and true Wisdom; but being a creature and one of the works, He is improperly [776] called Word and Wisdom; for by the Word which is in God was He made, as were all things. Wherefore the Son is not true God [777] ."

Now it may serve to make them understand what they are saying, to ask them first this, what in fact a son is, and of what is that name significant [778] . In truth, Divine Scripture acquaints us with a double sense of this word:--one which Moses sets before us in the Law, `When ye shall hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all His commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God, ye are children of the Lord your God [779] ;' as also in the Gospel, John says, `But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God [780] :'--and the other sense, that in which Isaac is son of Abraham, and Jacob of Isaac, and the Patriarchs of Jacob. Now in which of these two senses do they understand the Son of God that they relate such fables as the foregoing? for I feel sure they will issue in the same irreligion with Eusebius and his fellows.

If in the first, which belongs to those who gain the name by grace from moral improvement, and receive power to become sons of God (for this is what their predecessors said), then He would seem to differ from us in nothing; no, nor would He be Only-begotten, as having obtained the title of Son as others from His virtue. For granting what they say, that, whereas His qualifications were fore-known [781] , He therefore received grace from the first, the name, and the glory of the name, from His very first beginning, still there will be no difference between Him and those who receive the name after their actions, so long as this is the ground on which He as others has the character of son. For Adam too, though he received grace from the first, and upon his creation was at once placed in paradise, differed in no respect either from Enoch, who was translated thither after some time from his birth on his pleasing God, or from the Apostle, who likewise was caught up to Paradise after his actions; nay, not from him who once was a thief, who on the ground of his confession, received a promise that he should be forthwith in paradise.

7. When thus pressed, they will perhaps make an answer which has brought them into trouble many times already; "We consider that the Son has this prerogative over others, and therefore is called Only-begotten, because He alone was brought to be by God alone, and all other things were created by God through the Son [782] ." Now I wonder who it was [783] that suggested to you so futile and novel an idea as that the Father alone wrought with His own hand the Son alone, and that all other things were brought to be by the Son as by an under-worker. If for the toil's sake God was content with making the Son only, instead of making all things at once, this is an irreligious thought, especially in those who know the words of Esaias, `The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, hungereth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of His understanding [784] .' Rather it is He who gives strength to the hungry, and through His Word refreshes the labouring [785] . Again, it is irreligious to suppose that He disdained, as if a humble task, to form the creatures Himself which came after the Son; for there is no pride in that God, who goes down with Jacob into Egypt, and for Abraham's sake corrects Abimelek because of Sara, and speaks face to face with Moses, himself a man, and descends upon Mount Sinai, and by His secret grace fights for the people against Amalek. However, you are false even in this assertion, for `He made us, and not we ourselves [786] .' He it is who through His Word made all things small and great, and we may not divide the creation, and says this is the Father's, and this the Son's, but they are of one God, who uses His proper Word as a Hand [787] , and in Him does all things. This God Himself shews us, when He says, `All these things hath My Hand made [788] ;' while Paul taught us as he had learned [789] , that `There is one God, from whom all things; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things [790] .' Thus He, always as now, speaks to the sun and it rises, and commands the clouds and it rains upon one place; and where it does not rain, it is dried up. And He bids the earth yield her fruits, and fashions Jeremias [791] in the womb. But if He now does all this, assuredly at the beginning also He did not disdain to make all things Himself through the Word; for these are but parts of the whole.

8. But let us suppose that the other creatures could not endure to be wrought by the absolute Hand of the Unoriginate [792] and therefore the Son alone was brought into being by the Father alone, and other things by the Son as an underworker and assistant, for this is what Asterius the sacrificer [793] has written, and Arius has transcribed [794] and bequeathed to his own friends, and from that time they use this form of words, broken reed as it is, being ignorant, the bewildered men, how brittle it is. For if it was impossible for things originate to bear the hand of God, and you hold the Son to be one of their number, how was He too equal to this formation by God alone? and if a Mediator became necessary that things originate might come to be, and you hold the Son to be originated, then must there have been some medium before Him, for His creation; and that Mediator himself again being a creature, it follows that he too needed another Mediator for his own constitution. And though we were to devise another, we must first devise his Mediator, so that we shall never come to an end. And thus a Mediator being ever in request, never will the creation be constituted, because nothing originate, as you say, can bear the absolute hand of the Unoriginate [795] . And if, on your perceiving the extravagance of this, you begin to say that the Son, though a creature, was made capable of being made by the Unoriginate, then it follows that other things also, though originated, are capable of being wrought immediately by the Unoriginate; for the Son too is but a creature in your judgment, as all of them. And accordingly the origination of the Word is superfluous, according to your irreligious and futile imagination, God being sufficient for the immediate formation of all things, and all things originate being capable of sustaining His absolute hand.

These irreligious men then having so little mind amid their madness, let us see whether this particular sophism be not even more irrational than the others. Adam was created alone by God alone through the Word; yet no one would say that Adam had any prerogative over other men, or was different from those who came after him, granting that he alone was made and fashioned by God alone, and we all spring from Adam, and consist according to succession of the race, so long as he was fashioned from the earth as others, and at first not being, afterwards came to be.

9. But though we were to allow some prerogative to the Protoplast as having been deemed worthy of the hand of God, still it must be one of honour not of nature. For he came of the earth, as other men; and the hand which then fashioned Adam, is also both now and ever fashioning and giving entire consistence to those who come after him. And God Himself declares this to Jeremiah, as I said before; `Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee [796] ;' and so He says of all, `All those things hath My hand made [797] ;' and again by Isaiah, `Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself [798] .' And David, knowing this, says in the Psalm, `Thy hands have made me and fashioned me [799] ;' and he who says in Isaiah, `Thus saith the Lord who formed me from the womb to be His servant [800] ,' signifies the same. Therefore, in respect of nature, he differs nothing from us though he precede us in time, so long as we all consist and are created by the same hand. If then these be your thoughts, O Arians, about the Son of God too, that thus He subsists and came to be, then in your judgment He will differ nothing on the score of nature from others, so long as He too was not, and came to be, and the name was by grace united to Him in His creation for His virtue's sake. For He Himself is one of those, from what you say, of whom the Spirit says in the Psalms, `He spake the word, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created [801] .' If so, who was it by whom God gave command [802] for the Son's creation? for a Word there must be by whom God gave command, and in whom the works are created; but you have no other to shew than the Word you deny, unless indeed you should devise again some new notion.

"Yes," they will say, "we have another;" (which indeed I formerly heard Eusebius and his fellows use), "on this score do we consider that the Son of God has a prerogative over others, and is called Only-begotten, because He alone partakes the Father, and all other things partake the Son." Thus they weary themselves in changing and in varying their phrases like colours [803] ; however, this shall not save them from an exposure, as men that are of the earth, speaking vainly, and wallowing in their own conceits as in mire.

10. For if He were called God's Son, and we the Son's sons, their fiction were plausible; but if we too are said to be sons of that God, of whom He is Son, then we too partake the Father [804] , who says, `I have begotten and exalted children [805] .' For if we did not partake Him, He had not said, `I have begotten;' but if He Himself begat us, no other than He is our Father [806] . And, as before, it matters not, whether the Son has something more and was made first, but we something less, and were made afterwards, as long as we all partake, and are called sons, of the same Father [807] . For the more or less does not indicate a different nature; but attaches to each according to the practice of virtue; and one is placed over ten cities, another over five; and some sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel; and others hear the words, `Come, ye blessed of My Father,' and, `Well done, good and faithful servant [808] .' With such ideas, however, no wonder they imagine that of such a Son God was not always Father, and such a Son was not always in being, but was generated from nothing as a creature, and was not before His generation; for such an one is other than the True Son of God.

But to persist in such teaching does not consist with piety [809] , for it is rather the tone of thought of Sadducees and the Samosatene [810] ; it remains then to say that the Son of God is so called according to the other sense, in which Isaac was son of Abraham; for what is naturally begotten from any one and does not accrue to him from without, that in the nature of things is a son, and that is what the name implies [811] . Is then the Son's generation one of human affection? (for this perhaps, as their predecessors [812] , they too will be ready to object in their ignorance;)--in no wise; for God is not as man, nor men as God. Men were created of matter, and that passible; but God is immaterial and incorporeal. And if so be the same terms are used of God and man in divine Scripture, yet the clear-sighted, as Paul enjoins, will study it, and thereby discriminate, and dispose of what is written according to the nature of each subject, and avoid any confusion of sense, so as neither to conceive of the things of God in a human way, nor to ascribe the things of man to God [813] . For this were to mix wine with water [814] , and to place upon the altar strange fire with that which is divine.

11. For God creates, and to create is also ascribed to men; and God has being, and men are said to be, having received from God this gift also. Yet does God create as men do? or is His being as man's being? Perish the thought; we understand the terms in one sense of God, and in another of men. For God creates, in that He calls what is not into being, needing nothing thereunto; but men work some existing material, first praying, and so gaining the wit to make, from that God who has framed all things by His proper Word. And again men, being incapable of self-existence, are enclosed in place, and consist in the Word of God; but God is self-existent, enclosing all things, and enclosed by none; within all according to His own goodness and power, yet without all in His proper nature [815] . As then men create not as God creates, as their being is not such as God's being, so men's generation is in one way, and the Son is from the Father in another [816] . For the offspring of men are portions of their fathers, since the very nature of bodies is not uncompounded, but in a state of flux [817] , and composed of parts; and men lose their substance in begetting, and again they gain substance from the accession of food. And on this account men in their time become fathers of many children; but God, being without parts, is Father of the Son without partition or passion; for there is neither effluence [818] of the Immaterial, nor influx from without, as among men; and being uncompounded in nature, He is Father of One Only Son. This is why He is Only-begotten, and alone in the Father's bosom, and alone is acknowledged by the Father to be from Him, saying, `This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased [819] .' And He too is the Father's Word, from which may be understood the impassible and impartitive nature of the Father, in that not even a human word is begotten with passion or partition, much less the Word of God [820] . Wherefore also He sits, as Word, at the Father's right hand; for where the Father is, there also is His Word; but we, as His works, stand in judgment before Him; and, while He is adored, because He is Son of the adorable Father, we adore, confessing Him Lord and God, because we are creatures and other than He.

12. The case being thus, let who will among them consider the matter, so that one may abash them by the following question; Is it right to say that what is God's offspring and proper to Him is out of nothing? or is it reasonable in the very idea, that what is from God has accrued to Him, that a man should dare to say that the Son is not always? For in this again the generation of the Son exceeds and transcends the thoughts of man, that we become fathers of our own children in time, since we ourselves first were not and then came into being; but God, in that He ever is, is ever Father of the Son [821] . And the origination of mankind is brought home to us from things that are parallel; but, since `no one knoweth the Son but the Father, and no one knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him [822] ,' therefore the sacred writers to whom the Son has revealed Him, have given us a certain image from things visible, saying, `Who is the brightness of His glory, and the Expression of His Person [823] ;' and again, `For with Thee is the well of life, and in Thy light shall we see light [824] ;' and when the Word chides Israel, He says, `Thou hast forsaken the Fountain of wisdom [825] ;' and this Fountain it is which says, `They have forsaken Me the Fountain of living waters [826] .' And mean indeed and very dim is the illustration [827] compared with what we desiderate; but yet it is possible from it to understand something above man's nature, instead of thinking the Son's generation to be on a level with ours. For who can even imagine that the radiance of light ever was not, so that he should dare to say that the Son was not always, or that the Son was not before His generation? or who is capable of separating the radiance from the sun, or to conceive of the fountain as ever void of life, that he should madly say, `The Son is from nothing,' who says, `I am the life [828] ,' or `alien to the Father's essence,' who, says, `He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father [829] ?' for the sacred writers wishing us thus to understand, have given these illustrations; and it is unseemly and most irreligious, when Scripture contains such images, to form ideas concerning our Lord from others which are neither in Scripture, nor have any religious bearing.

13. Therefore let them tell us, from what teacher or by what tradition they derived these notions concerning the Saviour? "We have read," they will say, "in the Proverbs, `The Lord created me a beginning of His ways unto His works [830] ;'" this Eusebius and his fellows used to insist on [831] , and you write me word, that the present men also, though overthrown and confuted by an abundance of arguments, still were putting about in every quarter this passage, and saying that the Son was one of the creatures, and reckoning Him with things originated. But they seem to me to have a wrong understanding of this passage also; for it has a religious and very orthodox sense, which had they understood, they would not have blasphemed the Lord of glory. For on comparing what has been above stated with this passage, they will find a great difference between them [832] . For what man of right understanding does not perceive, that what are created and made are external to the maker; but the Son, as the foregoing argument has shewn, exists not externally, but from the Father who begat Him? for man too both builds a house and begets a son, and no one would reverse things, and say that the house or the ship were begotten by the builder [833] , but the son was created and made by him; nor again that the house was an image of the maker, but the son unlike him who begat him; but rather he will confess that the son is an image of the father, but the house a work of art, unless his mind be disordered, and he beside himself. Plainly, divine Scripture, which knows better than any the nature of everything, says through Moses, of the creatures, `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth [834] ;' but of the Son it introduces not another, but the Father Himself saying, `I have begotten Thee from the womb before the morning star [835] ;' and again, `Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee [836] .' And the Lord says of Himself in the Proverbs, `Before all the hills He begets me [837] ;' and concerning things originated and created John speaks, `All things were made by Him [838] ;' but preaching of the Lord, he says, `The Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He declared Him [839] .' If then son, therefore not creature; if creature, not son; for great is the difference between them, and son and creature cannot be the same, unless His essence be considered to be at once from God, and external to God.

14. `Has then the passage no meaning?' for this, like a swarm of gnats, they are droning about us [840] . No surely, it is not without meaning, but has a very apposite one; for it is true to say that the Son was created too, but this took place when He became man; for creation belongs to man. And any one may find this sense duly given in the divine oracles, who, instead of accounting their study a secondary matter, investigates the time and characters [841] , and the object, and thus studies and ponders what he reads. Now as to the season spoken of, he will find for certain that, whereas the Lord always is, at length in fulness of the ages He became man; and whereas He is Son of God, He became Son of man also. And as to the object he will understand, that, wishing to annul our death, He took on Himself a body from the Virgin Mary; that by offering this unto the Father a sacrifice for all, He might deliver us all, who by fear of death were all our life through subject to bondage [842] . And as to the character, it is indeed the Saviour's, but is said of Him when He took a body and said, `The Lord created me a beginning of His ways unto His works [843] .' For as it properly belongs to God's Son to be everlasting. and in the Father's bosom, so on His becoming man, the words befitted Him, `The Lord created me.' For then it is said of Him, as also that He hungered, and thirsted, and asked where Lazarus lay, and suffered, and rose again [844] . And as, when we hear of Him as Lord and God and true Light, we understand Him as being from the Father, so on hearing, `The Lord created,' and `Servant,' and `He suffered,' we shall justly ascribe this, not to the Godhead, for it is irrelevant, but we must interpret it by that flesh which He bore for our sakes: for to it these things are proper, and this flesh was none other's than the Word's. And if we wish to know the object attained by this, we shall find it to be as follows: that the Word was made flesh in order to offer up this body for all, and that we partaking of His Spirit, might be deified [845] , a gift which we could not otherwise have gained than by His clothing Himself in our created body [846] , for hence we derive our name of "men of God" and "men in Christ." But as we, by receiving the Spirit, do not lose our own proper substance, so the Lord, when made man for us, and bearing a body, was no less God; for He was not lessened by the envelopment of the body, but rather deified it and rendered it immortal [847] .


[776] katachrestikos. This word is noticed and protested against by Alexander, Socr. Hist. i. 6. p. 11 a. by the Semiarians at Ancyra, Epiph. Hær. 73. n. 5. by Basil. contr. Eunom. ii. 23. and by Cyril, Dial. ii. t. v. i. pp. 432, 3. [777] Vid. Ep. Ęg. 12. Orat. i. §5. 6. de Synod. 15, 16. Athanas. seems to have had in mind Socr. i. 6. p. 10, 11, or the like. [778] Vid. Orat. i. §38. The controversy turned on the question what was meant by the word `Son.' Though the Arians would not allow with the Catholics that our Lord was Son by nature, and maintained that the word implied a beginning of existence, they did not dare to say that He was Son merely in the sense in which we are sons, though, as Athan. contends, they necessarily tended to this conclusion, directly they receded from the Catholic view. Thus Arius said that He was a creature, `but not as one of the creatures.' Orat. ii. §19. Valens at Ariminum said the same, Jerom. adv. Lucifer. 18. Hilary says, that not daring directly to deny that He was God, the Arians merely asked `whether He was a Son.' de Trin. viii. 3. Athanasius remarks upon this reluctance to speak out, challenging them to present `the heresy naked,' de Sent. Dionys. 2. init. `No one,' he says elsewhere, `puts a light under a bushel; let them shew the world their heresy naked.' Ep. Ęg. 18. vid. ibid. 10. In like manner, Basil says that (though Arius was really like Eunomius, in faith, contr. Eunom. i. 4) Aetius his master was the first to teach openly (phaneros), that the Father's substance was unlike, anomoios, the Son's. ibid. i. 1. Epiphanius Hær. 76 p. 949. seems to say that the elder Arians held the divine generation in a sense in which Aetius did not, that is, they were not so consistent and definite as he. Athan. goes on to mention some of the attempts of the Arians to find some theory short of orthodoxy, yet short of that extreme heresy, on the other hand, which they felt ashamed to avow. [779] Deut. xiii. 18; xiv. 1. [780] John. i. 12. [781] Theod. Hist. i. 3. [782] This is celebrated as an explanation of the Anomoeans. vid. Basil. contr. Eunom. ii. 20, 21. though Athan. speaks of it as belonging to the elder Arians. vid. Socr. Hist. i. 6. [783] i.e. what is your authority? is it not a novel, and therefore a wrong doctrine? vid. infr. §13. ad Serap. i. 3. Also Orat. i. §8. `Who ever heard such doctrine? or whence or from whom did they hear it? who, when they were under catechising, spoke thus to them? If they themselves confess that they now hear it for the first time, they must grant that their heresy is alien, and not from the Fathers.' vid. ii. §34. and Socr. i. 6. p. 11 c. [784] Is. xl. 28. [785] Ib. 29 [786] Ps. c. 3. [787] Vid. infr. §17 Orat. ii. §31. 71. Irenæus calls the Son and Holy Spirit the Hands of God. Hær. iv. præf. vid. also Hilar. de Trin. vii. 22. This image is in contrast to that of instrument, organon, which the Arians would use of the Son. vid. Socr. i. 6. p. 11, as implying He was external to God, whereas the word Hand implies His consubstantiality with the Father. [788] Is. lxvi. 2. [789] mathon edidasken, implying the traditional nature of the teaching. And so S. Paul himself, 1 Cor. xv. 3, vid. for an illustration, supr. §5. init. also note 2. [790] 1 Cor. viii. 6. [791] Jer. i. 5. [792] Orat. ii. §24. fin. [793] Vid. infr. 20. Orat. i. §31. ii. §§24, 28. 37. 40. iii. §§2. 60. de Synod §§18. 19. [Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2) a.] [794] Vid. also infr. §20. de Synod. §17. [795] Vid. infr. §24. Orat. i. §15. fin. ii. §29. Epiph. Hær. 76. p. 951. [796] Jer. i. 5. [797] Is. lxvi. 2. [798] Ib. xliv. 24. [799] Ps. cxix. 73. [800] Is. xlix. 5. [801] Ps. cxlviii. 5 (LXX). [802] In like manner, `Men were made through the Word, when the Father Himself willed.' Orat. i. 63. `The Word forms matter as injoined by, and ministering to, God.' prostattomenos kai hupourgon. ibid. ii. §22. contr. Gent. 46. vid. note on Orat. ii. 22. [803] ad Serap. i. 3. [804] His argument is, that if the Son but partook the Father in the sense in which we partake the Son, then the Son would not impart to us the Father, but Himself, and would be a separating as well as uniting medium between the Father and us; whereas He brings us so near to the Father, that we are the Father's children, not His, and therefore He must be Himself one with the Father, or the Father must be in Him with an incomprehensible completeness. vid. de Synod. §51. contr. Gent. 46. fin. Hence S. Augustin says, `As the Father has life in Himself, so hath He given also to the Son to have life in Himself, not by participating, but in Himself. For we have not life in ourselves, but in our God. But that Father, who has life in Himself, begat a Son such, as to have life in Himself, not to become partaker of life, but to be Himself life; and of that life to make us partakers.' Serm. 127. de Verb. Evang. 9. [805] Is. i. 2. [806] `To say God is wholly partaken, is the same as saying that God begets.' Orat. i. §16. And in like manner, our inferior participation involves such sonship as is vouchsafed to us. [807] And so in Orat. ii. §19-22. `Though the Son surpassed other things on a comparison, yet He were equally a creature with them; for even in those things which are of a created nature, we may find some things surpassing others. Star, for instance, differs from star in glory, yet it does not follow that some are sovereign, and others serve, &c.' ii. §20. And so Gregory Nyssen contr. Eunom. iii. p. 132 D. Epiph. Hær. 76. p. 970. [808] Matt. xxv. 21, 23, 34. [809] i.e. since it is impossible they can persist in evasions so manifest as these, nothing is left but to take the other sense of the word. [810] Paul of Samosata [see Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2)a.] [811] The force lies in the word phusei, `naturally,' which the Council expressed still more definitely by `essence.' Thus Cyril says, `the term "Son" denotes the essential origin from the Father.' Dial. 5. p. 573. And Gregory Nyssen, `the title "Son" does not simply express the being from another' vid. infra. §19.), but relationship according to nature. contr. Eunom. ii. p. 91. Again S. Basil says, that Father is `a term of relationship,' oikeioseos. contr. Eunom. ii. 24. init. And hence he remarks, that we too are properly, kurios, sons of God, as becoming related to Him through works of the Spirit. ii. 23. So also Cyril, loc. cit. Elsewhere S. Basil defines father `one who gives to another the origin of being according to a nature like his own;' and a son `one who possesses the origin of being from another by generation,' contr. Eun. ii. 22. On the other hand, the Arians at the first denied that `by nature there was any Son of God.' Theod. H. E. i. 3. p. 732. [812] vid. Eusebius, in his Letter, supr. p. 73 sq.: also Socr. Hist. i. 8. Epiphan. Hær. 69. n. 8 and 15. [813] One of the characteristic points in Athanasius is his constant attention to the sense of doctrine, or the meaning of writers, in preference to the words used. Thus he scarcely uses the symbol homoousion, one in substance, throughout his Orations, and in the de Synod. acknowledges the Semiarians as brethren. Hence infr. §18. he says, that orthodox doctrine `is revered by all though expressed in strange language, provided the speaker means religiously, and wishes to convey by it a religious sense.' vid. also §21. He says, that Catholics are able to `speak freely,' or to expatiate, parresiazometha, `out of Divine Scripture.' Orat. i. §9. vid. de Sent. Dionys. §20. init. Again: `The devil spoke from Scripture, but was silenced by the Saviour; Paul spoke from profane writers, yet, being a saint, he has a religious meaning.' de Syn. §39, also ad Ep. Ęg. 8. Again, speaking of the apparent contrariety between two Councils, `It were unseemly to make the one conflict with the other, for all their members are fathers; and it were profane to decide that these spoke well and those ill, for all of them have slept in Christ.' §43. also §47. Again: `Not the phrase, but the meaning and the religious life, is the recommendation of the faithful.' ad Ep. Ęg. §9. [814] vid. Orat. iii. §35, and Isa. i. 22. [815] Vid. also Incarn. §17. This contrast is not commonly found in ecclesiastical writers, who are used to say that God is present everywhere, in substance as well as by energy or power. S. Clement, however, expresses himself still more strongly in the same way, `In substance far off (for how can the originate come close to the Unoriginate?), but most close in power, in which the universe is embosomed.' Strom. 2. circ. init. but the parenthesis explains his meaning. Vid. Cyril. Thesaur. 6. p. 44. The common doctrine of the Fathers is, that God is present everywhere in substance. Vid. Petav. de Deo, iii. 8. and 9. It may be remarked, that S. Clement continues `neither enclosing nor enclosed.' [816] In Almighty God is the perfection and first pattern of what is seen in shadow in human nature, according to the imperfection of the subject matter; and this remark applies, as to creation, so to generation. Athanasius is led to state this more distinctly in another connection in Orat. i. §21. fin. `It belongs to the Godhead alone, that the Father is properly (kurios) Father, and the Son properly (kurios) Son; and in Them and Them only does it hold that the Father is ever Father, and the Son ever Son.' Accordingly he proceeds, shortly afterwards, as in the text, to argue, `For God does not make men His pattern, but rather we men, for that God is properly and alone truly Father of His own Son, are also called fathers of our own children, for "of Him is every father-hood in heaven and on earth named,"' §23. The Semiarians at Ancyra quote the same text for the same doctrine. Epiphan. Hær. 73. 5. As do Cyril in Joan. i. p. 24. Thesaur. 32. p. 281. and Damascene de Fid. Orth. i. 8. The same parallel, as existing between creation and generation is insisted on by Isidor. Pel. Ep. iii. 355. Basil contr. Eun. iv. p. 280 A., Cyril Thesaur. 6. p. 43. Epiph. Hær. 69. 36. and Gregor. Naz. Orat. 20. 9. who observes that God creates with a word, Ps. cxlviii. 5, which evidently transcends human creations. Theodorus Abucara, with the same object, draws out the parallel of life, zoe, as Athan. that of being, einai. Opusc. iii. p. 420-422. [817] Vid. de Synod. §51. Orat. i. §15, 16. rheuste. vid. Orat. i. §28. Bas. in Eun. ii. 23. rhusin. Bas. in Eun. ii. 6. Greg. Naz. Orat. 28, 22. Vid. contr. Gentes, §§41, 42; where Athan. without reference to the Arian controversy, draws out the contrast between the Godhead and human nature. [818] S. Cyril, Dial. iv. init. p. 505 E. speaks of the thrulloumene apor& 191;oe, and disclaims it, Thesaur. 6. p. 43. Athan. disclaims it, Expos. §1. Orat. i. §21. So does Alexander, ap. Theod. Hist. i. 3. p. 743. On the other hand, Athanasius quotes it in a passage which he adduces from Theognostus, infr. §25. and from Dionysius, de Sent. D. §23. and Origen uses it, Periarchon, i. 2. It is derived from Wisd. vii. 25. [819] Matt. iii. 17. [820] The title `Word' implies the ineffable mode of the Son's generation, as distinct from material parallels, vid. Gregory Nyssen, contr. Eunom. iii. p. 107. Chrysostom in Joan. Hom. 2. §4. Cyril Alex. Thesaur. 5. p. 37. Also it implies that there is but One Son. vid. infr. §16. `As the Origin is one essence, so its Word and Wisdom is one, essential and subsisting.' Orat. iv. 1. fin. [821] `Man,' says S. Cyril, `inasmuch as he had a beginning of being, also has of necessity a beginning of begetting, as what is from him is a thing generate, but....if God's essence transcend time, or origin, or interval, His generation too will transcend these; nor does it deprive the Divine Nature of the power of generating, that it doth not this in time. For other than human is the manner of divine generation; and together with God's existing is His generating implied, and the Son was in Him by generation, nor did His generation precede His existence, but He was always, and that by generation.' Thesaur. v. p. 35. [822] Matt. xi. 27. [823] Heb. i. 3. [824] Ps. xxxvi. 9. [825] Bar. iii. 12. [826] Jer. ii. 13. Vid. infr. passim. All these titles, `Word, Wisdom, Light' &c., serve to guard the title `Son' from any notions of parts or dimensions, e.g. `He is not composed of parts, but being impassible and single, He is impassibly and indivisibly Father of the Son...for...the Word and Wisdom is neither creature, nor part of Him Whose Word He is, nor an offspring passibly begotten.' Orat. i. §28. [827] Ad Serap. 20. [828] John xiv. 6. [829] Ib. 9 [830] Prov. viii. 22, and cf. Orat. ii. throughout. [831] Eusebius of Nicomedia quotes it in his Letter to Paulinus, ap. Theodor. Hist. i. 5. And Eusebius of Cæsarea, Demonstr. Evang. v. 1. [832] i.e. `Granting that the primâ facie impression of this text is in favour of our Lord's being a creature, yet so many arguments have been already brought, and may be added, against His creation, that we must interpret this text by them. It cannot mean that our Lord was simply created, because we have already shewn that He is not external to His Father.' [833] Serap. 2, 6. Sent. Dion. §4. [834] Gen. i. 1. [835] Ps. cx. 3. [836] Ps. ii. 7. [837] Prov. viii. 25. [838] John i. 3. [839] Ib. 18 [840] peribombousin. So in ad Afros. 5. init. And Sent. D. §19. perierchontai peribombountes. And Gregory Nyssen. contr. Eun. viii. p. 234 C. hos an tous apeirous tais platonikais kalliphoniai peribombeseien. vid. also perierchontai hos hoi kantharoi. Orat. iii. fin. [841] prosopa. vid. Orat. i. §54. ii. §8. Sent. D. 4. not persons, but characters; which must also be considered the meaning of the word, contr. Apoll. ii. 2. and 10; though it there approximates (even in phrase, ouk en diairesei prosopon) to its ecclesiastical use, which seems to have been later. Yet persona occurs in Tertull. in Prax. 27; it may be questioned, however, whether in any genuine Greek treatise till the Apollinarians. [842] Heb. ii. 15. [843] Prov. viii. 22. [844] Sent. D. 9. Orat. 3, §§26-41. [845] [See de Incar. §54. 3, and note.] [846] Orat. 2, §70. [847] Cf. Orat. ii. 6. [See also de Incar. §17.]

Chapter IV.--Proof of the Catholic Sense of the Word Son. Power, Word or Reason, and Wisdom, the names of the Son, imply eternity; as well as the Father's title of Fountain. The Arians reply, that these do not formally belong to the essence of the Son, but are names given Him; that God has many words, powers, &c. Why there is but one Son and Word, &c. All the titles of the Son coincide in Him.

15. This then is quite enough to expose the infamy of the Arian heresy; for, as the Lord has granted, out of their own words is irreligion brought home to them [848] . But come now and let us on our part act on the offensive, and call on them for an answer; for now is fair time, when their own ground has failed them, to question them on ours; perhaps it may abash the perverse, and disclose to them whence they have fallen. We have learned from divine Scripture, that the Son of God, as was said above, is the very Word and Wisdom of the Father. For the Apostle says, `Christ the power of God and the Wisdom of God [849] ;' and John after saying, `And the Word was made flesh,' at once adds, `And we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth [850] ,' so that, the Word being the Only-begotten Son, in this Word and in Wisdom heaven and earth and all that is therein were made. And of this Wisdom that God is Fountain we have learned from [851] Baruch, by Israel's being charged with having forsaken the Fountain of Wisdom. If then they deny Scripture, they are at once aliens to their name, and may fitly be called of all men atheists [852] , and Christ's enemies, for they have brought upon themselves these names. But if they agree with us that the sayings of Scripture are divinely inspired, let them dare to say openly what they think in secret that God was once wordless and wisdomless [853] ; and let them in their madness [854] say, `There was once when He was not,' and, `before His generation, Christ was not [855] ;' and again let them declare that the Fountain begat not Wisdom from itself, but acquired it from without, till they have the daring to say, `The Son came of nothing;' whence it will follow that there is no longer a Fountain, but a sort of pool, as if receiving water from without, and usurping the name of Fountain [856] .

16. How full of irreligion this is, I consider none can doubt who has ever so little understanding. But since they mutter something about Word and Wisdom being only names of the Son [857] , we must ask then, If these are only names of the Son, He must be something else beside them. And if He is higher than the names, it is not lawful from the lesser to denote the higher; but if He be less than the names, yet He surely must have in Him the principle of this more honourable appellation; and this implies his advance, which is an irreligion equal to anything that has gone before. For He who is in the Father, and in whom also the Father is, who says, `I and the Father are one [858] ,' whom he that hath seen, hath seen the Father, to say that He has been exalted [859] by anything external, is the extreme of madness. However, when they are beaten hence, and like Eusebius and his fellows, are in these great straits, then they have this remaining plea, which Arius too in ballads, and in his own Thalia [860] , fabled, as a new difficulty: `Many words speaketh God; which then of these are we to call Son and Word, Only-begotten of the Father [861] ?' Insensate, and anything but Christians [862] ! for first, on using such language about God, they conceive of Him almost as a man, speaking and reversing His first words by His second, just as if one Word from God were not sufficient for the framing of all things at the Father's will, and for His providential care of all. For His speaking many words would argue a feebleness in them all, each needing the service of the other. But that God should have one Word, which is the true doctrine, both shews the power of God, and the perfection of the Word that is from Him, and the religious understanding of them who thus believe.

17. O that they would consent to confess the truth from this their own statement! for if they once grant that God produces words, they plainly know Him to be a Father; and acknowledging this, let them consider that, while they are loth to ascribe one Word to God, they are imagining that He is Father of many; and while they are loth to say that there is no Word of God at all, yet they do not confess that He is the Son of God,--which is ignorance of the truth, and inexperience in divine Scripture. For if God is Father of a word at all, wherefore is not He that is begotten a Son? And again, who should be Son of God, but His Word? For there are not many words, or each would be imperfect, but one is the Word, that He only may be perfect, and because, God being one, His Image too must be one, which is the Son. For the Son of God, as may be learnt from the divine oracles themselves, is Himself the Word of God, and the Wisdom, and the Image, and the Hand, and the Power; for God's offspring is one, and of the generation from the Father these titles are tokens [863] . For if you say the Son, you have declared what is from the Father by nature; and if you think of the Word, you are thinking again of what is from Him, and what is inseparable; and, speaking of Wisdom, again you mean just as much, what is not from without, but from Him and in Him; and if you name the Power and the Hand, again you speak of what is proper to essence; and, speaking of the Image, you signify the Son; for what else is like God but the offspring from Him? Doubtless the things, which came to be through the Word, these are `founded in Wisdom' and what are `founded in Wisdom,' these are all made by the Hand, and came to be through the Son. And we have proof of this, not from external sources, but from the Scriptures; for God Himself says by Isaiah the Prophet; `My hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens [864] .' And again, `And I will cover thee in the shadow of My Hand, by which I planted the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth [865] .' And David being taught this, and knowing that the Lord's Hand was nothing else than Wisdom, says in the Psalm, `In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is full of Thy creation [866] .' Solomon also received the same from God, and said, `The Lord by wisdom founded the earth [867] ,' and John, knowing that the Word was the Hand and the Wisdom, thus preached, `In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God: all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made [868] .' And the Apostle, seeing that the Hand and the Wisdom and the Word was nothing else than the Son, says, `God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the Fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the ages [869] .' And again, `There is one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him [870] .' And knowing also that the Word, the Wisdom, the Son Himself was the Image of the Father, he says in the Epistle to the Colossians, `Giving thanks to God and the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption, even the remission of sins; who is the Image of the Invisible God, the First-born of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [871] .' For as all things are created by the Word, so, because He is the Image, are they also created in Him [872] . And thus anyone who directs his thoughts to the Lord, will avoid stumbling upon the stone of offence, but rather will go forward to the brightness in the light of truth; for this is really the doctrine of truth, though these contentious men burst with spite [873] , neither religious toward God, nor abashed at their confutation.


[848] The main argument of the Arians was that our lord was a Son, and therefore was not eternal, but of a substance which had a beginning. [Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2) a.] Accordingly Athanasius says, `Having argued with them as to the meaning of their own selected term "Son," let us go on to others, which on the very face make for us, such as Word, Wisdom, &c.' [849] 1 Cor. i. 24. [850] John i. 14. [851] Vid. supr. §12. [852] Vid. supr. §1. note 2, bis. [853] alogos, asophos. Vid. infr., §26. This is a frequent argument in the controversy, viz. that to deprive the Father of His Son or substantial Word (logos), is as great a sacrilege as to deny His Reason, logos, from which the Son receives His name. Thus Orat. i. §14. fin. Athan. says, `imputing to God's nature an absence of His Word (alogian or irrationality), they are most irreligious.' Vid. §19. fin. 24. Elsewhere, he says, `Is a man not mad himself, who even entertains the thought that God is word-less and wisdom-less? for such illustrations and such images Scripture hath proposed, that, considering the inability of human nature to comprehend concerning God, we might even from these, however poorly and dimly, discern as far as is attainable.' Orat. ii. 32. vid. also iii. 63. iv. 12. Serap. ii. 2. [854] Vid. above, §1, note 6. [855] These were among the original positions of the Arians; for the former, see above, note 1; the latter is one of those specified in the Nicene Anathema. [856] And so pege xera. Serap. ii. 2. Orat. i. §14 fin. also ii. §2, where Athanasius speaks as if those who deny that Almighty God is Father, cannot really believe in Him as a Creator. If the divine substance be not fruitful (karpogonos), but barren, as they say, as a light which enlightens not, and a dry fountain, are they not ashamed to maintain that He possesses the creative energy?' Vid. also pege theotetos, Pseudo-Dion. Div. Nom. c. 2. pege ek peges, of the Son, Epiphan. Ancor. 19. And Cyril, `If thou take from God His being Father, thou wilt deny the generative power (karpogonon) of the divine nature so that It no longer is perfect. This then is a token of its perfection, and the Son who went forth from Him apart from time, is a pledge (sphragis) to the Father that He is perfect.' Thesaur. p. 37. [857] Arius said, as the Eunomians after him, that the Son was not really, but only called, Word and Wisdom, which were simply attributes of God, and the prototypes of the Son. Vid. Socr. i. 6. Theod. H. E. i. 3, and infr. Orat. ii. 37, 38. [858] John x. 30. [859] beltiousthai [860] Vid. de Syn. §15. [861] As the Arians took the title Son in that part of its earthly sense in which it did not apply to our Lord, so they misinterpreted the title Word also; which denoted the Son's immateriality and indivisible presence in the Father, but did not express His perfection. Vid. Orat. ii. §34-36. contr. Gent. 41. ad Ep. Ęg. 16. Epiph. Hær. 65. 3. Nyss. in Eun. xii. p. 349. Origen (in a passage, however, of questionable doctrine), says, `As there are gods many, but to us one God the Father, and many lords, but to us one Lord Jesus Christ, so there are many words, but we pray that in us may exist the Word that was in the beginning, with God, and was God.' In Joan. tom. ii. 3. `Many things, it is acknowledged, does the Father speak to the Son,' say the Semiarians at Ancyra, `but the words which God speaks to the Son, are not sons. They are not substances of God, but vocal energies; but the Son, though a Word, is not such, but, being a Son, is a substance.' Epiph. Hær. 73. 12. The Semiarians are speaking against Sabellianism, which took the same ground here as Arianism; so did the heresy of the Samosatene, who according to Epiphanius, considered our Lord as the internal Word, or thought. Hær. 65. The term word in this inferior sense is often in Greek rhema. Epiph. supr. and Cyril, de Incarn. Unig. init. t. v. i. p. 679. [862] `If they understood and acknowledged the characteristic idea (charaktera) of Christianity, they would not have said that the Lord of glory was a creature.' Ad Serap. ii. 7. In Orat. i. §2, he says, Arians are not Christians because they are Arians, for Christians are called, not from Arius, but from Christ, who is their only Master. Vid. also de Syn. §38. init. Sent. D. fin. Ad Afros. 4. Their cruelty and cooperation with the heathen populace was another reason. Greg. Naz. Orat. 25. 12. [863] All the titles of the Son of God are consistent with each other, and variously represent one and the same Person. `Son' and `Word,' denote His derivation; `Word' and `Image,' His Similitude; `Word' and `Wisdom,' His immateriality; `Wisdom' and `Hand,' His coexistence. `If He is not Son, neither is He Image' Orat. ii. §2. `How is there Word and Wisdom, unless He be a proper offspring of His substance? ii. §22. Vid. also Orat. i. §20. 21. and at great length Orat. iv. §20, &c. vid. also Naz. Orat. 30. n. 20. Basil. contr. Eunom. i. 18. Hilar. de Trin. vii. 11. August. in Joan. xlviii. 6. and in Psalm. xliv. (xlv.) 5. [864] Is. xlviii. 13. [865] Is. li. 16. [866] Ps. civ. 24. [867] Prov. iii. 19. [868] John i. 1-3. [869] Heb. i. 1, 2. [870] 1 Cor. viii. 6. [871] Col. i. 12-17 [872] Vid. a beautiful passage, contr. Gent. 42, &c. Again, of men, de Incarn. 3. 3; also Orat. ii. 78. where he speaks of Wisdom as being infused into the world on its creation, that it might possess `a type and semblance of its Image.' [873] diar& 191;agosin, and so Serap. ii. fin. diar& 191;egnuontai. de Syn. 34. diar& 191;eguosin heautous. Orat. ii. §23. sparattetosan heautous. Orat. ii. §64. trizeto tous odontas. Sent. D. 16.

Chapter V.--Defence of the Council's Phrases, "from the essence," And "one in essence." Objection that the phrases are not scriptural; we ought to look at the sense more than the wording; evasion of the Arians as to the phrase "of God" which is in Scripture; their evasion of all explanations but those which the Council selected, which were intended to negative the Arian formulæ; protest against their conveying any material sense.

18. Now Eusebius and his fellows were at the former period examined at great length, and convicted themselves, as I said before; on this they subscribed; and after this change of mind they kept in quiet and retirement [874] ; but since the present party, in the fresh arrogance of irreligion, and in dizziness about the truth, are full set upon accusing the Council, let them tell us what are the sort of Scriptures from which they have learned, or who is the Saint [875] by whom they have been taught, that they have heaped together the phrases, `out of nothing [876] ,' and `He was not before His generation,' and `once He was not,' and `alterable,' and `pre-existence,' and `at the will;' which are their fables in mockery of the Lord. For the blessed Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews says, `By faith we understand that the ages were framed by the Word of God, so that that which is seen was not made of things which do appear [877] .' But nothing is common to the Word with the ages [878] ; for He it is who is in existence before the ages, by whom also the ages came to be. And in the Shepherd [879] it is written (since they allege this book also, though it is not of the Canon [880] ), `First of all believe, that God is one, who created all things, and arranged them, and brought all things from nothing into being;' but this again does not relate to the Son, for it speaks concerning all things which came to be through Him, from whom He is distinct; for it is not possible to reckon the Framer of all with the things made by Him, unless a man is so beside himself as to say that the architect also is the same as the buildings which he rears.

Why then, when they have invented on their part unscriptural phrases, for the purposes of irreligion, do they accuse those who are religious in their use of them [881] ? For irreligiousness is utterly forbidden, though it be attempted to disguise it with artful expressions and plausible sophisms; but religiousness is confessed by all to be lawful, even though presented in strange phrases [882] , provided only they are used with a religious view, and a wish to make them the expression of religious thoughts. Now the aforesaid grovelling phrases of Christ's enemies have been shewn in these remarks to be both formerly and now replete with irreligion; whereas the definition of the Council against them, if accurately examined, will be found to be altogether a representation of the truth, and especially if diligent attention be paid to the occasion which gave rise to these expressions, which was reasonable, and was as follows:--

19. The Council [883] wishing to do away with the irreligious phrases of the Arians, and to use instead the acknowledged words of the Scriptures, that the Son is not from nothing but `from God,' and is `Word' and `Wisdom,' and not creature or work, but a proper offspring from the Father, Eusebius and his fellows, led by their inveterate heterodoxy, understood the phrase `from God' as belonging to us, as if in respect to it the Word of God differed nothing from us, and that because it is written, `There is one God, from whom, all things [884] ;' and again, `Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new, and all things are from God [885] .' But the Fathers, perceiving their craft and the cunning of their irreligion, were forced to express more distinctly the sense of the words `from God.' Accordingly, they wrote `from the essence of God [886] ,' in order that `from God' might not be considered common and equal in the Son and in things originate, but that all others might be acknowledged as creatures, and the Word alone as from the Father. For though all things be said to be from God, yet this is not in the sense in which the Son is from Him; for as to the creatures, `of God' is said of them on this account, in that they exist not at random or spontaneously, nor come to be by chance [887] , according to those philosophers who refer them to the combination of atoms, and to elements of similar structure,--nor as certain heretics speak of a distinct Framer,--nor as others again say that the constitution of all things is from certain Angels;--but in that (whereas God is), it was by Him that all things were brought into being, not being before, through His Word; but as to the Word, since He is not a creature, He alone is both called and is `from the Father;' and it is significant of this sense to say that the Son is `from the essence of the Father,' for to nothing originate does this attach. In truth, when Paul says that `all things are from God,' he immediately adds, `and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things [888] ,' in order to shew all men, that the Son is other than all these things which came to be from God (for the things which came to be from God, came to be through His Son); and that he had used his foregoing words with reference to the world as framed by God [889] , and not as if all things were from the Father as the Son is. For neither are other things as the Son, nor is the Word one among others, for He is Lord and Framer of all; and on this account did the Holy Council declare expressly that He was of the essence [890] of the Father, that we might believe the Word to be other than the nature of things originate, being alone truly from God; and that no subterfuge should be left open to the irreligious. This then was the reason why the Council wrote `of the essence.'

20. Again, when the Bishops said that the Word must be described as the True Power and Image of the Father, in all things exact [891] and like the Father, and as unalterable, and as always, and as in Him without division (for never was the Word not, but He was always, existing everlastingly with the Father, as the radiance of light), Eusebius and his fellows endured indeed, as not daring to contradict, being put to shame by the arguments which were urged against them; but withal they were caught whispering to each other and winking with their eyes, that `like,' and `always,' and `power,' and `in Him,' were, as before, common to us and the Son, and that it was no difficulty to agree to these. As to `like,' they said that it is written of us, `Man is the image and glory of God [892] :' `always,' that it was written, `For we which live are alway [893] :' `in Him,' `In Him we live and move and have our being [894] :' `unalterable,' that it is written, `Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ [895] :' as to `power,' that the caterpillar and the locust are called `power' and `great power [896] ,' and that it is often said of the people, for instance, `All the power of the Lord came out of the land of Egypt [897] :' and there are others also, heavenly ones, for Scripture says, `The Lord of powers is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge [898] .' Indeed Asterius, by title the sophist, had said the like in writing, having learned it from them, and before him Arius [899] having learned it also, as has been said. But the Bishops discerning in this too their dissimulation, and whereas it is written, `Deceit is in the heart of the irreligious that imagine evil [900] ,' were again compelled on their part to collect the sense of the Scriptures, and to re-say and re-write what they had said before, more distinctly still, namely, that the Son is `one in essence [901] ' with the Father: by way of signifying, that the Son was from the Father, and not merely like, but the same in likeness [902] , and of shewing that the Son's likeness and unalterableness was different from such copy of the same as is ascribed to us, which we acquire from virtue on the ground of observance of the commandments. For bodies which are like each other may be separated and become at distances from each other, as are human sons relatively to their parents (as it is written concerning Adam and Seth, who was begotten of him that he was like him after his own pattern [903] ); but since the generation of the Son from the Father is not according to the nature of men, and not only like, but also inseparable from the essence of the Father, and He and the Father are one, as He has said Himself, and the Word is ever in the Father and the Father in the Word, as the radiance stands towards the light (for this the phrase itself indicates), therefore the Council, as understanding this, suitably wrote `one in essence,' that they might both defeat the perverseness of the heretics, and shew that the Word was other than originated things. For, after thus writing, they at once added, `But they who say that the Son of God is from nothing, or created, or alterable, or a work, or from other essence, these the Holy Catholic Church anathematizes [904] .' And by saying this, they shewed clearly that `of the essence,' and `one in essence,' are destructive of those catchwords of irreligion, such as `created,' and `work,' and `originated,' and `alterable,' and `He was not before His generation.' And he who holds these, contradicts the Council; but he who does not hold with Arius, must needs hold and intend the decisions of the Council, suitably regarding them to signify the relation of the radiance to the light, and from thence gaining the illustration of the truth.

21. Therefore if they, as the others, make an excuse that the terms are strange, let them consider the sense in which the Council so wrote, and anathematize what the Council anathematized; and then if they can, let them find fault with the expressions. But I well know that, if they hold the sense of the Council, they will fully accept the terms in which it is conveyed; whereas if it be the sense which they wish to complain of, all must see that it is idle in them to discuss the wording, when they are but seeking handles for irreligion. This then was the reason of these expressions; but if they still complain that such are not scriptural, that very complaint is a reason why they should be cast out, as talking idly and disordered in mind. And let them blame themselves in this matter, for they set the example, beginning their war against God with words not in Scripture. However, if a person is interested in the question, let him know, that, even if the expressions are not in so many words in the Scriptures, yet, as was said before, they contain the sense of the Scriptures, and expressing it, they convey it to those who have their hearing unimpaired for religious doctrine. Now this circumstance it is for thee to consider, and for those ill-instructed men to give ear to. It has been shewn above, and must be believed as true, that the Word is from the Father, and the only Offspring [905] proper to Him and natural. For whence may one conceive the Son to be, who is the Wisdom and the Word, in whom all things came to be, but from God Himself? However, the Scriptures also teach us this, since the Father says by David, `My heart uttered a good Word [906] ,' and, `From the womb before the morning star I begat Thee [907] ;' and the Son signifies to the Jews about Himself, `If God were your Father, ye would love Me; for I proceeded forth from the Father [908] .' And again; `Not that anyone has seen the Father, save He which is from God, He hath seen the Father [909] .' And moreover, `I and My Father are one,' and, `I in the Father and the Father in Me [910] ,' is equivalent to saying, `I am from the Father, and inseparable from Him.' And John in saying, `The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him, [911] ' spoke of what He had learned from the Saviour. Besides, what else does `in the bosom' intimate, but the Son's genuine generation from the Father?

22. If then any man conceives God to be compound, as accident [912] is in essence, or to have any external envelopement [913] , and to be encompassed, or as if there is aught about Him which completes the essence, so that when we say `God,' or name `Father,' we do not signify the invisible and incomprehensible essence, but something about it, then let them complain of the Council's stating that the Son was from the essence of God; but let them reflect, that in thus considering they utter two blasphemies; for they make God corporeal, and they falsely say that the Lord is not Son of the very Father, but of what is about Him. But if God be simple, as He is, it follows that in saying `God' and naming `Father,' we name nothing as if about Him, but signify his essence itself. For though to comprehend what the essence of God is be impossible, yet if we only understand that God is, and if Scripture indicates Him by means of these titles, we, with the intention of indicating Him and none else, call Him God and Father and Lord. When then He says, `I am that I am,' and `I am the Lord God [914] ,' or when Scripture says, `God,' we understand nothing else by it but the intimation of His incomprehensible essence Itself, and that He Is, who is spoken of [915] . Therefore let no one be startled on hearing that the Son of God is from the Essence of the Father; but rather let him accept the explanation of the Fathers, who in more explicit but equivalent language have for `from God' written `of the essence.' For they considered it the same thing to say that the Word was `of God' and `of the essence of God,' since the word `God,' as I have already said, signifies nothing but the essence of Him Who Is. If then the Word is not in such sense from God, as a son, genuine and natural, from a father, but only as creatures because they are framed, and as `all things are from God,' then neither is He from the essence of the Father, nor is the Son again Son according to essence, but in consequence of virtue, as we who are called sons by grace. But if He only is from God, as a genuine Son, as He is, then the Son may reasonably be called from the essence of God.

23. Again, the illustration of the Light and the Radiance has this meaning. For the Saints have not said that the Word was related to God as fire kindled from the heat of the sun, which is commonly put out again, for this is an external work and a creature of its author, but they all preach of Him as Radiance [916] , thereby to signify His being from the essence, proper and indivisible, and His oneness with the Father. This also will secure His true unchangableness and immutability; for how can these be His, unless He be proper Offspring of the Father's essence? for this too must be taken to confirm His identity with His own Father. Our explanation then having so religious an aspect, Christ's enemies should not be startled at the `One in essence,' either, since this term also has a sound sense and good reasons. Indeed, if we say that the Word is from the essence of God (for after what has been said this must be a phrase admitted by them), what does this mean but the truth and eternity of the essence from which He is begotten? for it is not different in kind, lest it be combined with the essence of God as something foreign and unlike it. Nor is He like only outwardly, lest He seem in some respect or wholly to be other in essence, as brass shines like gold and silver like tin. For these are foreign and of other nature, are separated off from each other in nature and virtues, nor is brass proper to gold, nor is the pigeon born from the dove [917] ; but though they are considered like, yet they differ in essence. If then it be thus with the Son, let Him be a creature as we are, and not One in essence; but if the Son is Word, Wisdom, Image of the Father, Radiance, He must in all reason be One in essence. For unless it be proved that He is not from God, but an instrument different in nature and different in essence, surely the Council was sound in its doctrine and correct in its decree [918] .

24. Further, let every corporeal reference be banished on this subject; and transcending every imagination of sense, let us, with pure understanding and with mind alone, apprehend the genuine relation of son to father, and the Word's proper relation towards God, and the unvarying likeness of the radiance towards the light: for as the words `Offspring' and `Son' bear, and are meant to bear, no human sense, but one suitable to God, in like manner when we hear the phrase `one in essence,' let us not fall upon human senses, and imagine partitions and divisions of the Godhead, but as having our thoughts directed to things immaterial, let us preserve undivided the oneness of nature and the identity of light; for this is proper to a son as regards a father, and in this is shewn that God is truly Father of the Word. Here again, the illustration of light and its radiance is in point [919] . Who will presume to say that the radiance is unlike and foreign to the sun? rather who, thus considering the radiance relatively to the sun, and the identity of the light, would not say with confidence, `Truly the light and the radiance are one, and the one is manifested in the other, and the radiance is in the sun, so that whoso sees this, sees that also?' but such a oneness and natural property, what should it be named by those who believe and see aright, but Offspring one in essence? and God's Offspring what should we fittingly and suitably consider, but Word, and Wisdom, and Power? which it were a sin to say was foreign to the Father, or a crime even to imagine as other than with Him everlastingly. For by this Offspring the Father made all things, and extended His Providence unto all things; by Him He exercises His love to man, and thus He and the Father are one, as has been said; unless indeed these perverse men make a fresh attempt, and say that the essence of the Word is not the same as the Light which is in Him from the Father, as if the Light in the Son were one with the Father, but He Himself foreign in essence as being a creature. Yet this is simply the belief of Caiaphas and the Samosatene, which the Church cast out, but these now are disguising; and by this they fell from the truth, and were declared to be heretics. For if He partakes in fulness the light from the Father, why is He not rather that which others partake [920] , that there be no medium introduced between Him and the Father? Otherwise, it is no longer clear that all things were generated by the Son, but by Him, of whom He too partakes [921] . And if this is the Word, the Wisdom of the Father, in whom the Father is revealed and known, and frames the world, and without whom the Father doth nothing, evidently He it is who is from the Father: for all things originated partake of Him, as partaking of the Holy Ghost. And being such, He cannot be from nothing, nor a creature at all, but rather a proper Offspring from the Father, as the radiance from light.


[874] [Prolegg. ch. ii. §6 (2).] [875] supr. §7, note 2. [876] ex ouk onton. [877] Heb. xi. 3. [878] By aion, age, seems to be meant duration, or the measure of duration, before or independent of the existence of motion, which is in measure of time. As motion, and therefore time, are creatures, so are the ages. Considered as the measure of duration, an age has a sort of positive existence, though not an ousia or substance, and means the same as `world,' or an existing system of things viewed apart from time and motion. Vid. Theodt. in Hebr. i. 2. Our Lord then is the Maker of the ages thus considered, as the Apostle also tells us, Hebr. xi. 3. and God is the King of the ages, 1 Tim. i. 17. or is before all ages, as being eternal, or proaionios. However, sometimes the word is synonymous with eternity; `as time is to things which are under time, so ages to things which are everlasting.' Damasc. Fid. Orth. ii. 1, and `ages of ages' stands for eternity; and then the `ages' or measures of duration may be supposed to stand for the ideai or ideas in the Divine Mind, which seems to have been a Platonic or Gnostic notion. Hence Synesius, Hymn iii. addresses the Almighty as aionotoke, parent of the ages. Hence sometimes God Himself is called the Age, Clem. Alex. Hymn. Pæd. iii. fin. or, the Age of ages, Pseudo-Dion. de Div. Nom. 5. p. 580. or again, ai& 240;nios. Theodoret sums up what has been said thus: `Age is not any subsisting substance, but is an interval indicative of time, now infinite, when God is spoken of, now commensurate with creation, now with human life.' Hær. v. 6. If then, as Athan. says in the text, the Word is Maker of the ages, He is independent of duration altogether; He does not come to be in time, but is above and beyond it, or eternal. Elsewhere he says, `The words addressed to the Son in the 144th Psalm, `Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages,' forbid any one to imagine any interval at all in which the Word did not exist. For if every interval is measured by ages, and of all the ages the Word is King and Maker, therefore, whereas no interval at all exists prior to Him, it were madness to say, "There was once when the Everlasting (ai& 240;nios) was not." Orat. i. 12. And so Alexander; `Is it not unreasonable that He who made times, and ages, and seasons, to all of which belongs `was not,' should be said not to be? for, if so, that interval in which they say the Son was not yet begotten by the Father, precedes that Wisdom of God which framed all things.' Theod. Hist. i. 4. vid. also Basil de Sp. S. n. 14. Hilar. de Trin. xii. 34. [879] Herm. Mand. 1. vid. ad Afr. 5. [880] [Letter 39, and Prolegg. ch. iv. §4.] He calls it elsewhere a most profitable book. Incarn. 3. [881] Athan. here retorts, as it was obvious to do, the charge brought against the Council which gave occasion for this Treatise. If the Council went beyond Scripture in the use of the word `essence' (which however can hardly be granted), who made this necessary, but they who had already introduced the phrases, `the Son was out of nothing,' &c., &c.? `Of the essence,' and `one in essence,' were directly intended to contradict and supplant the Arian unscriptural innovations, as he says below, §20. fin. 21. init. vid. also ad Afros. 6. de Synod. §36, 37. He observes in like manner that the Arian agenetos, though allowable as used by religious men, de Syn. §40. was unscriptural, Orat. i. §30, 34. Also Epiph. Hær. 76. p. 941. Basil. contr. Eunom. i. 5. Hilar. contr. Const. 16. Ambros. Incarn. 80. [882] Vid. §10, note 3. [883] vid. ad. Afr. 5. [884] 1 Cor. viii. 6. [885] 2 Cor. v. 17. [886] Hence it stands in the Creed, `from the Father, that is, from the essence of the Father.' vid. Eusebius's Letter, infr. According to the received doctrine of the Church all rational beings, and in one sense all beings whatever, are `from God,' over and above the fact of their creation; and of this truth the Arians made use to deny our Lord's proper divinity. Athan. lays down elsewhere that nothing remains in consistence and life, except from a participation of the Word, which is to be considered a gift from Him, additional to that of creation, and separable in idea from it; vid. above, §17, note 5. contr. Gent. 42. de Incarn. 5. Man thus considered is, in his first estate, a son of God and born of God, or, to use the term which occurs so frequently in the Arian controversy, in the number, not only of the creatures, but of things generate, genneta. This was the sense in which the Arians said that our Lord was Son of God; whereas, as Athan. says, `things originate, being works, cannot be called generate, except so far as, after their making, they partake of the begotten Son, and are therefore said to have been generated also; not at all in their own nature, but because of their participation of the Son in the Spirit.' Orat. i. 56. The question then was, as to the distinction of the Son's divine generation over that of holy men; and the Catholics answered that He was ex ousias, from the essence of God; not by participation of grace, not by resemblance, not in a limited sense, but really and simply, and therefore by an internal divine act. vid. below, §22. and infr. §31. [The above note has been modified so as to eliminate the erroneous identification of gennetos and genetos.] [887] Cf. de Syn. §35. [888] 1 Cor. viii. 6. [889] When characteristic attributes and prerogatives are ascribed to God, or to the Father, this is done only to the exclusion of creatures, or of false gods, not to the exclusion of His Son who is implied in the mention of Himself. Thus when God is called only wise, or the Father the only God, or God is said to be unoriginate, agenetos, this is not in contrast to the Son, but to all things which are distinct from God. vid. Orat. iii. 8. Naz. Orat. 30, 13. Cyril. Thesaur. p 142. `The words "one" and "only" ascribed to God in Scripture,' says S. Basil, `are not used in contrast to the Son or the Holy Spirit, but with reference to those who are not God, and falsely called so.' Ep. 8. n. 3. On the other hand, when the Father is mentioned, the other Divine Persons are implied in Him, `The Blessed and Holy Trinity,' says S. Athan. `is indivisible and one in itself; and when the Father is mentioned, His Word is added, and the Spirit in the Son; and if the Son is named, in the Son is the Father, and the Spirit is not external to the Word.' ad Serap. i. 14. [890] Vid. also ad Afros. 4. Again, `"I am," to on, is really proper to God and is a whole, bounded or mutilated neither by aught before Him, nor after Him, for He neither was, nor shall be.' Naz. Orat. 30. 18 fin. Also Cyril Dial. i. p. 392. Damasc. Fid. Orth. i. 9. and the Semiarians at Ancyra, Epiph. Hær. 73. 12 init. By the `essence,' however, or, `substance' of God, the Council did not mean any thing distinct from God, vid. note 3 infr. but God Himself viewed in His self-existing nature (vid. Tert. in Hermog, 3.), nay, it expressly meant to negative the contrary notion of the Arians, that our Lord was from something distinct from God, and in consequence of created substance. Moreover the term expresses the idea of God positively, in contradistinction to negative epithets, such as infinite, immense, eternal, &c. Damasc. Fid. Orthod. i. 4. and as little implies any thing distinct from God as those epithets do. [891] aparallakton [892] 1 Cor. xi. 7. [893] 2 Cor. iv. 11. [894] Acts xvii. 28. [895] Rom. viii. 35, who shall separate. [896] Joel ii. 25. [897] Ex. xii. 41. [898] Ps. xlvi. 7. [899] vid. supr. §8, note 3. [900] Prov. xii. 20. [901] vid. ad Afros. 5, 6. ad Serap. ii. 5. S. Ambrose tells us, that a Letter written by Eusebius of Nicomedia, in which he said, `If we call Him true Son of the Father and uncreate, then are we granting that He is one in essence, homoousion,' determined the Council on the adoption of the term. de Fid. iii. n. 125. He had disclaimed `of the essence,' in his Letter to Paulinus. Theod. Hist. i. 4. Arius, however, had disclaimed homoousion already, Epiph. Hær. 69. 7. It was a word of old usage in the Church, as Eusebius of Cæsarea confesses in his Letter, infr. Tertullian in Prax. 13 fin. has the translation `unius substantiæ:' (vid. Lucifer de non Parc. p. 218.) as he has `de substantia Patris,' in Prax. 4. and Origen perhaps used the word, vid. Pamph. Apol. 5. and Theognostus and the two Dionysii, infr. §25, 26. And before them Clement had spoken of the henosis tes monadikes ousias, `the union of the single essence,' vid. Le Quien in Damasc. Fid. Orth. i. 8. Novatian too has `per substantiæ communionem,' de Trinit. 31. [902] The Arians allowed that our Lord was like and the image of the Father, but in the sense in which a picture is like the original, differing from it in substance and in fact. In this sense they even allowed the strong word aparallaktos unvarying [or rather exact] image, vid. beginning of §20. which had been used by the Catholics (vid. Alexander, ap. Theod. Hist. i. 3. p. 740.) as by the Semiarians afterwards, who even added the words kat' ousian, or `according to substance.' Even this strong phrase, however, kat' ousian aparallaktos eikon, or aparallaktos homoios, did not appear to the Council an adequate safeguard of the doctrine. Athan. notices de Syn. that `like' applies to qualities rather than to essence, §53. Also Basil. Ep. 8. n. 3. `while in itself,' says the same Father, `it is frequently used of faint similitudes and falling very far short of the original.' Ep. 9. n. 3. Accordingly, the Council determined on the word homoousion as implying, as the text expresses it, `the same in likeness,' tauton te homoiosei, that the likeness might not be analogical. vid. the passage about gold and brass, §23 below, Cyril in Joan. 1. iii. c. v. p. 302. [See below de Syn. 15, note 2.] [903] Gen. v. 3. [904] vid. Euseb.'s Letter, supr. [905] gennema, offspring; this word is of very frequent occurrence in Athan. He speaks of it, Orat. iv. 3. as virtually Scriptural. Yet Basil, contr. Eunom. ii. 6-8. explicitly disavows the word, as an unscriptural invention of Eunomius. `That the Father begat we are taught in many places: that the Son is an offspring we never heard up to this day, for Scripture says, "unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given."' c. 7. He goes on to say that `it is fearful to give Him names of our own to whom God has given a name which is above every name;' and observes that offspring is not the word which even a human father would apply to his son, as for instance we read, `Child, (teknon,) go into the vineyard,' and `Who art thou, my son?' moreover that fruits of the earth are called offspring (`I will not drink of the offspring of this vine'), rarely animated things, except indeed in such instances as, `O generation (offspring) of vipers.' Nyssen defends his brother, contr. Eunom. Orat. iii. p 105. In the Arian formula `an offspring, but not as one of the offsprings,' it is synonymous with `work' or `creature.' On the other hand Epiphanius uses it, e.g. Hær. 76. n. 8. and Naz. Orat. 29. n. 2. Eusebius, Demonstr. Ev. iv. 2. Pseudo-Basil. adv. Eunom. iv. p. 280. fin. [906] Ps. xlv. 1. [907] Ib. cx. 3. [908] John viii. 42. [909] Ib. vi. 46. [910] Ib. x. 30, and xiv. 10. [911] Ib. i. 18. [912] sumbebekos. Cf. Orat. iv. 2. also Orat. i. 36. The text embodies the common doctrine of the Fathers. Athenagoras, however, speaks of God's goodness as an accident, `as colour to the body,' `as flame is ruddy and the sky blue,' Legat. 24. This, however is but a verbal difference, for shortly before he speaks of His being, to ontos on, and His unity of nature, to monophues, as in the number of episumbebekota auto. Eusebius uses the word sumbebekos in the same way [but see Orat. iv. 2, note 8], Demonstr. Evang. iv. 3. And hence S. Cyril, in controversy with the Arians, is led by the course of their objections to observe, `There are cogent reasons for considering these things as accidents sumbebekota in God, though they be not.' Thesaur. p. 263. vid. the following note. [913] peribole, and so de Syn. §34. which is very much the same passage. Some Fathers, however, seem to say the reverse. E.g. Nazianzen says that `neither the immateriality of God nor ingenerateness, present to us His essence.' Orat. 28. 9. And S. Augustine, arguing on the word ingenitus, says, that `not every thing which is said to be in God is said according to essence.' de Trin. v. 6. And hence, while Athan. in the text denies that there are qualities or the like belonging to Him, peri auton, it is still common in the Fathers to speak of qualities, as in the passage of S. Gregory just cited, in which the words peri theon occur. There is no difficulty in reconciling these statements, though it would require more words than could be given to it here. Petavius has treated the subject fully in his work de Deo. i. 7-11. and especially ii. 3. When the Fathers say that there is no difference between the divine `proprietates' and essence, they speak of the fact, considering the Almighty as He is; when they affirm a difference, they speak of Him as contemplated by us, who are unable to grasp the idea of Him as one and simple, but view His Divine Nature as if in projection (if such a word may be used), and thus divided into substance and quality as man may be divided into genus and difference. [914] Ex. iii. 14, 15. [915] In like manner de Synod. §34. Also Basil, `The essence is not any one of things which do not attach, but is the very being of God.' contr. Eun. i. 10 fin. `The nature of God is no other than Himself, for He is simple and uncompounded.' Cyril Thesaur. p. 59. `When we say the power of the Father, we say nothing else than the essence of the Father.' August. de Trin. vii. 6. And so Numenius in Eusebius, `Let no one deride, if I say that the name of the Immaterial is essence and being.' Præp. Evang. xi. 10. [916] Athan.'s ordinary illustration is, as here, not from `fire,' but from `radiance,' apaugasma, after S. Paul [i.e. Hebrews] and the Author of the Book of Wisdom, meaning by radiance the light which a light diffuses by means of the atmosphere. On the other hand Arius in his letter to Alexander, Epiph. Hær. 69. 7. speaks against the doctrine of Hieracas that the Son was from the Father as a light from a light or as a lamp divided into two, which after all was Arian doctrine. Athanasius refers to fire, Orat. iv. §2 and 10, but still to fire and its radiance. However we find the illustration of fire from fire, Justin. Tryph. 61. Tatian contr. Græc. 5. At this early day the illustration of radiance might have a Sabellian bearing, as that of fire in Athan.'s had an Arian. Hence Justin protests against those who considered the Son as `like the sun's light in the heaven,' which `when it sets, goes away with it,' whereas it is as `fire kindled from fire.' Tryph. 128. Athenagoras, however, like Athanasius, says `as light from fire,' using also the word apo& 207;rhoia, effluence: vid. also Orig. Periarch. i. 2. n. 4. Tertull. Ap. 21. Theognostus, quoted infr. §25. [917] vid. de Syn. §41. [918] As `of the essence' declared that our Lord was uncreate, so `one in essence' declared that He was equal with the Father; no term derived from `likeness,' even `like in essence' answering for this purpose, for such phrases might all be understood of resemblance or representation. vid. §20, notes 8, 9. [919] Athan. has just used the illustration of radiance in reference to `of the essence:' and now he says that it equally illustrates `one in essence;' the light diffused from the sun being at once contemporaneous and homogeneous with its original. [920] Vid. §10 init. note 4. [921] The point in which perhaps all the ancient heresies concerning our Lord's divine nature agreed, was in considering His different titles to be those of different beings or subjects, or not really and properly to belong to one and the same person; so that the Word was not the Son, or the Radiance not the Word, or our Lord was the Son, but only improperly the Word, not the true Word, Wisdom, or Radiance. Paul of Samosata, Sabellius [?], and Arius, agreed in considering that the Son was a creature, and that He was called, made after, or inhabited by the impersonal attribute called the Word or Wisdom. When the Word or Wisdom was held to be personal, it became the doctrine of Nestorius.

Chapter VI.--Authorities in Support of the Council. Theognostus; Dionysius of Alexandria; Dionysius of Rome; Origen.

25. This then is the sense in which they who met at Nicæa made use of these expressions. But next that they did not invent them for themselves (since this is one of their excuses), but spoke what they had received from their predecessors, proceed we to prove this also, to cut off even this excuse from them. Know then, O Arians, foes of Christ, that Theognostus [922] , a learned man, did not decline the phrase `of the essence,' for in the second book of his Hypotyposes, he writes thus of the Son:--

"The essence of the Son is not one procured from without, nor accruing out of nothing [923] , but it sprang from the Father's essence, as the radiance of light, as the vapour [924] of water; for neither the radiance, nor the vapour, is the water itself or the sun itself, nor is it alien; but it is an effluence of the Father's essence, which, however, suffers no partition. For as the sun remains the same, and is not impaired by the rays poured forth by it, so neither does the Father's essence suffer change, though it has the Son as an Image of Itself [925] ."

Theognostus then, after previously investigating in the way of an exercise [926] , proceeds to lay down his sentiments in the foregoing words. Next, Dionysius, who was Bishop of Alexandria, upon his writing against Sabellius and expounding at large the Saviour's Economy according to the flesh, and thence proving against the Sabellians that not the Father but His Word became flesh, as John has said, was suspected of saying that the Son as a thing made and originated, and not one in essence with the Father; on this he writes to his namesake Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, to allege in his defence that this was a slander upon him. And he assured him that he had not called the Son made, nay, did confess Him to be even one in essence. And his words ran thus:--

"And I have written in another letter a refutation of the false charge they bring against me, that I deny that Christ was one in essence with God. For though I say that I have not found this term anywhere in Holy Scripture, yet my remarks which follow, and which they have not noticed, are not inconsistent with that belief. For I instanced human birth as being evidently homogeneous, and I observed that undeniably parents differed from their children only in not being the same individuals, otherwise there could be neither parents nor children. And my letter, as I said before, owing to present circumstances I am unable to produce; or I would have sent you the very words I used, or rather a copy of it all, which, if I have an opportunity, I will do still. But I am sure from recollection that I adduced parallels of things kindred with each other; for instance, that a plant grown from seed or from root, was other than that from which it sprang, yet was altogether one in nature with it [927] : and that a stream flowing from a fountain, gained a new name, for that neither the fountain was called stream, nor the stream fountain, and both existed, and the stream was the water from the fountain"

26. And that the Word of God is not a work or creature, but an offspring proper to the Father's essence and indivisible, as the great Council wrote, here you may see in the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, who, while writing against the Sabellians, thus inveighs against those who dared to say so:--

"Next, I may reasonably turn to those who divide and cut to pieces and destroy that most sacred doctrine of the Church of God, the Divine Monarchy [928] , making it as it were three powers and partitive subsistences [929] and god-heads three. I am told that some among you who are catechists and teachers of the Divine Word, take the lead in this tenet, who are diametrically opposed, so to speak, to Sabellius's opinions; for he blasphemously says that the Son is the Father, and the Father the Son, but they in some sort preach three Gods, as dividing the sacred Monad into three subsistences foreign to each other and utterly separate. For it must needs be that with the God of the Universe, the Divine Word is united, and the Holy Ghost must repose [930] and habitate in God; thus in one as in a summit, I mean the God of the Universe, must the Divine Triad [931] be gathered up and brought together. For it is the doctrine of the presumptuous Marcion, to sever and divide the Divine Monarchy into three origins,--a devil's teaching, not that of Christ's true disciples and lovers of the Saviour's lessons. For they know well that a Triad is preached by divine Scripture, but that neither Old Testament nor New preaches three Gods. Equally must one censure those who hold the Son to be a work, and consider that the Lord has come into being, as one of things which really came to be; whereas the divine oracles witness to a generation suitable to Him and becoming, but not to any fashioning or making. A blasphemy then is it, not ordinary, but even the highest, to say that the Lord is in any sort a handiwork. For if He came to be Son, once He was not; but He was always, if (that is) He be in the Father, as He says Himself, and if the Christ be Word and Wisdom and Power (which, as ye know, divine Scripture says), and these attributes be powers of God. If then the Son came into being, once these attributes were not; consequently there was a time, when God was without them; which is most absurd. And why say more on these points to you, men full of the Spirit and well aware of the absurdities which come to view from saying that the Son is a work? Not attending, as I consider, to this circumstance, the authors of this opinion have entirely missed the truth, in explaining, contrary to the sense of divine and prophetic Scripture in the passage, the words, `The Lord created me a beginning of His ways unto His works [932] .' For the sense of `He created,' as ye know, is not one, for we must understand `He created' in this place, as `He set over the works made by Him,' that is, `made by the Son Himself.' And `He created' here must not be taken for `made,' for creating differs from making. `Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee? hath He not made thee and created thee [933] ?'says Moses in his great song in Deuteronomy. And one may say to them, O reckless men, is He a work, who is `the First-born of every creature, who is born from the womb before the morning star [934] ,' who said, as Wisdom, `Before all the hills He begets me [935] ?' And in many passages of the divine oracles is the Son said to have been [936] generated, but nowhere to have [937] come into being; which manifestly convicts those of misconception about the Lord's generation, who presume to call His divine and ineffable generation a making [938] . Neither then may we divide into three Godheads the wonderful and divine Monad; nor disparage with the name of `work' the dignity and exceeding majesty of the Lord; but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and hold that to the God of the universe the Word is united [939] . For `I,' says He, `and the Father are one;' and, `I in the Father and the Father in Me.' For thus both the Divine Triad, and the holy preaching of the Monarchy, will be preserved."

27. And concerning the everlasting co-existence of the Word with the Father, and that He is not of another essence or subsistence, but proper to the Father's, as the Bishops in the Council said, you may hear again from the labour-loving [940] Origen also. For what he has written as if inquiring and by way of exercise, that let no one take as expressive of his own sentiments, but of parties who are contending in investigation, but what he [941] definitely declares, that is the sentiment of the labour-loving man. After his prolusions then (so to speak) against the heretics, straightway he introduces his personal belief, thus:--

"If there be an Image of the Invisible God, it is an invisible Image; nay, I will be bold to add, that, as being the likeness of the Father, never was it not. For when was that God, who, according to John, is called Light (for `God is Light'), without a radiance of His proper glory, that a man should presume to assert the Son's origin of existence, as if before He was not? But when was not that Image of the Father's Ineffable and Nameless and Unutterable subsistence, that Expression and Word, and He that knows the Father? for let him understand well who dares to say, `Once the Son was not,' that he is saying, `Once Wisdom was not,' and `Word was not,' and `Life was not.'"

And again elsewhere he says:--

"But it is not innocent nor without peril, if because of our weakness of understanding we deprive God, as far as in us lies, of the Only-begotten Word ever co-existing with Him; and the Wisdom in which He rejoiced; else He must be conceived as not always possessed of joy."

See, we are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father; but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many fathers can ye assign to your phrases? Not one of the understanding and wise; for all abhor you, but the devil alone [942] ; none but he is your father in this apostasy, who both in the beginning sowed you with the seed of this irreligion, and now persuades you to slander the Ecumenical Council [943] , for committing to writing, not your doctrines, but that which from the beginning those who were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word have handed down to us [944] . For the faith which the Council has confessed in writing, that is the faith of the Catholic Church; to assert this, the blessed Fathers so expressed themselves while condemning the Arian heresy; and this is a chief reason why these apply themselves to calumniate the Council. For it is not the terms which trouble them [945] , but that those terms prove them to be heretics, and presumptuous beyond other heresies.


[922] Athanasius elsewhere calls him `the admirable and excellent.' ad Serap. iv. 9. He was Master of the Catechetical school of Alexandria towards the end of the third century, being a scholar, or at least a follower of Origen. His seven books of Hypotyposes treated of the Holy Trinity, of angels, and evil spirits, of the Incarnation, and the Creation. Photius, who gives this account, Cod. 106, accuses him of heterodoxy on these points; which Athanasius in a measure admits, as far as the wording of his treatise went, when he speaks of his `investigating by way of exercise.' Eusebius does not mention him at all. [His remains in Routh, Rell. iii. 409-414.] [923] Vid. above §15. fin. `God was alone,' says Tertullian, `because there was nothing external to Him, extrinsecus; yet not even then alone, for He had with Him, what He had in Himself, His Reason.' in Prax. 5. Non per adoptionem spiritus filius fit extrinsecus, sed naturâ filius est. Origen. Periarch. i. 2. n. 4. [924] From Wisdom vii. 25. and so Origen, Periarch. i. 2. n. 5. and 9. and Athan. de Sent. Dionys. 15. [925] It is sometimes erroneously supposed that such illustrations as this are intended to explain how the Sacred Mystery in question is possible, whereas they are merely intended to shew that the words we use concerning it are not self-contradictory, which is the objection most commonly brought against them. To say that the doctrine of the Son's generation does not intrench upon the Father's perfection and immutability, or negative the Son's eternity, seems at first sight inconsistent with what the words Father and Son mean, till another image is adduced, such as the sun and radiance, in which that alleged inconsistency is seen to exist in fact. Here one image corrects another; and the accumulation of images is not, as is often thought, the restless and fruitless effort of the mind to enter into the Mystery, but is a safeguard against any one image, nay, any collection of images being supposed sufficient. If it be said that the language used concerning the sun and its radiance is but popular not philosophical, so again the Catholic language concerning the Holy Trinity may, nay must be, economical, not adequate, conveying the truth, not in the tongues of angels, but under human modes of thought and speech. [926] en gumnasi& 139; exetasas. And so §27. of Origen, xeton kai gumnazon. Constantine too, writing to Alexander and Arius, speaks of altercation, phusikes tinos gumnasias heneka. Socr. i. 7. In somewhat a similar way, Athanasius speaks of Dionysius writing kat' oikonomian, economically, or with reference to certain persons addressed or objects contemplated, de Sent. D. 6. and 26. [927] The Arians at Nicæa objected to this image, Socr. i. 8. as implying that the Son was a probole, issue or development, as Valentinus taught. Epiph. Hær. 69. 7. Athanasius elsewhere uses it himself. [928] By the Monarchy is meant the doctrine that the Second and Third Persons in the Ever-blessed Trinity are ever to be referred in our thoughts to the First as the Fountain of Godhead, vid. §15. note 9, and §19, note 6. It is one of the especial senses in which God is said to be one. Cf. Orat. iii. §15. vid. also iv. §1. `The Father is union, henosis,' says S. Greg. Naz. `from whom and unto whom are the others.' Orat. 42. 15. also Orat. 20. 7. and Epiph. Hær. 57. 5. Tertullian, before Dionysius, uses the word Monarchia, which Praxeas had perverted into a kind of Unitarianism or Sabellianism, in Prax. 3. Irenæus too wrote on the Monarchy, i.e. against the doctrine that God is the author of evil. Eus. Hist. v. 20. [see S. Iren. fragment 33, Ante-Nic. Lib.] And before him was Justin's work de Monarchia, where the word is used in opposition to Polytheism. The Marcionites, whom Dionysius presently mentions, are also specified in the above extract by Athan. vid. also Cyril. Hier. Cat. xvi. 3. Epiphanius says that their three origins were God, the Creator, and the evil spirit. Hær. 42, 3. or as Augustine says, the good, the just, and the wicked, which may be taken to mean nearly the same thing. Hær. 22. The Apostolical Canons denounce those who baptize into Three Unoriginate; vid. also Athan. Tom. ad Antioch. 5. Naz. Orat. 20. 6. Basil denies treis archikai hupostaseis, de Sp. S. 38. which is a Platonic phrase. [929] And so Dionysius Alex. in a fragment preserved by S. Basil, `If because the subsistences are three, they say that they are partitive, memerismenas, still three there are, though these persons dissent, or they utterly destroy the Divine Trinity.' de Sp. S. n. 72. Athan. expresses the same more distinctly, ou treis hupostaseis memerismenas, Expos. Fid. §2. In S. Greg. Naz. we find ameristos en memerismenois he theotes. Orat. 31. 14. Elsewhere for mem. he substitutes aper& 191;egmenas. Orat. 20. 6. apexenomenas allelon kai diespasmenas. Orat. 23. 6. as infr. xenas allelon pantapasi kechorismenas. The passage in the text comes into question in the controversy about the ex hupostaseos e ousias of the Nicene Creed, of which infr. on the Creed itself in Eusebius's Letter. [930] emphilochorein [931] The word trias, usually translated Trinity, is first used by Theophilus, ad Autol. ii. 15. Gibbon remarks that the doctrine of `a numerical rather than a generical unity,' which has been explicitly put forth by the Latin Church, is favoured by the Latin language; trias seems to excite the idea of substance, trinitas of qualities.' ch. 21. note 74. It is certain that the Latin view of the sacred truth, when perverted, becomes Sabellianism; and that the Greek, when perverted, becomes Arianism; and we find Arius arising in the East, Sabellius in the West. It is also certain that the word Trinitas is properly abstract; and expresses trias or `a three,' only in an ecclesiastical sense. But Gibbon does not seem to observe that Unitas is abstract as well as Trinitas; and that we might just as well say in consequence, that the Latins held an abstract unity or a unity of qualities, while the Greeks by monas taught the doctrine of `a one' or a numerical unity. `Singularitatem hanc dico (says S. Ambrose), quod Græce monotes dicitur; singularitas ad personam pertinet, unitas ad naturam.' de Fid. v. 1. It is important, however, to understand, that `Trinity' does not mean the state or condition of being three, as humanity is the condition of being man, but is synonymous with three persons. Humanity does not exist and cannot be addressed, but the Holy Trinity is a three, or a unity which exists in three. Apparently from not considering this, Luther and Calvin objected to the word Trinity, `It is a common prayer,' says Calvin: `Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us. It displeases me, and savours throughout of barbarism.' Ep. ad Polon. p. 796. [932] Prov. viii. 22. [933] Deut. xxxii. 6. [934] Col. i. 15, and Ps. cx. 3. [935] Prov. viii. 25. [936] gegennesthai [937] gegonenai [938] gegonenai [939] This extract discloses to us (in connexion with the passages from Dionysius Alex. here and in the de Sent. D.) a remarkable anticipation of the Arian controversy in the third century. 1. It appears that the very symbol of en hote ouk en, `once He was not,' was asserted or implied; vid. also the following extract from Origen, §27. and Origen Periarchon, iv. 28. where mention is also made of the ex ouk onton, `out of nothing,' which was the Arian symbol in opposition to `of the substance.' Allusions are made besides, to `the Father not being always Father,' de Sent. D. 15. and `the Word being brought to be by the true Word, and Wisdom by the true Wisdom;' ibid. 25. 2. The same special text is used in defence of the heresy, and that not at first sight an obvious one, which is found among the Arians, Prov. viii. 22. 3. The same texts were used by the Catholics, which occur in the Arian controversy. e.g. Deut. xxxii. 6. against Prov. viii. 22. and such as Ps. cx. 3. Prov. viii. 25. and the two John x. 30. and xiv. 10. 4. The same Catholic symbols and statements are found, e.g. `begotten not made,' `one in essence,' `Trinity,' adiaireton, anarchon, aeigenes, `light from light,' &c. Much might be said on this circumstance, as forming part of the proof of the very early date of the development and formation of the Catholic theology, which we are at first sight apt to ascribe to the 4th and 5th centuries. [But see Introd. to de Sent. Dion.] [940] philoponou, and so Serap. iv. 9. [This place is referred to by Socr. vi. 13.] [941] ha men hos zeton kai gumnazon ergapse, tauta me hos autou phronountos dechestho tis, alla ton pros erin philoneikounton en to zetein, adeos horizon apophainetai, touto tou philoponou to phronema esti. ;;alla. Certe legendum all' ha, idque omnino exigit sensus. Montfaucon. Rather for adeos read ha de hos, and put the stop at zetein instead of dechestho tis. [942] Supr. §5. [943] vid. supr. §4. Orat. i. §7. Ad Afros. 2, twice. Apol. contr. Arian. 7. ad Ep. Ęg. 5. Epiph. Hær. 70. 9. Euseb. Vit. Const. iii. 6. The Council was more commonly called megale, vid. supr. §26. The second General Council, a.d. 381, took the name of ecumenical. vid. Can. 6. fin. but incidentally. The Council of Ephesus so styles itself in the opening of its Synodical Letter. [944] The profession under which the decrees of Councils come to us is that of setting forth in writing what has ever been held orally or implicitly in the Church. Hence the frequent use of such phrases as engraphos exetethe with reference to them. Thus Damasus, Theod. H. E. v. 10. speaks of that `apostolical faith, which was set forth in writing by the Fathers in Nicæa.' On the other hand, Ephrem of Antioch speaks of the doctrine of our Lord's perfect humanity being `inculcated by our Holy Fathers, but not as yet [i.e. till the Council of Chalcedon] being confirmed by the decree of an ecumenical Council.' Phot. 229. p. 801. (engraphos, however, sometimes relates to the act of subscribing; Phot. ibid. or to Scripture, Clement. Strom. i. init. p. 321.) Hence Athan. says ad Afros. 1. and 2. that `the Word of the Lord which was given through the ecumenical Council in Nicæa remaineth for ever;' and uses against its opposers the texts, `Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set' (vid. also Dionysius in Eus. H. E. vii. 7.), and `He that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death.' Prov. xxii. 28. Ex. xxi. 17. vid. also Athan. ad Epict. 1. And the Council of Chalcedon professes to `drive away the doctrines of error by a common decree, and renew the unswerving faith of the Fathers,' Act. v. p. 452. [t. iv. 1453 ed. Col.] `as,' they proceed, `from of old the prophets spoke of Christ, and He Himself instructed us, and the creed of the Fathers has delivered to us,' whereas `other faith it is not lawful for any to bring forth, or to write, or to draw up, or to hold, or to teach.' p. 456. [1460 ed. Col.] vid. S. Leo. supr. p. 5. note m. This, however, did not interfere with their adding without undoing. `For,' says Vigilius, `if it were unlawful to receive aught further after the Nicene statutes, on what authority venture we to assert that the Holy Ghost is of one substance with the Father, which it is notorious was there omitted?' contr. Eutych. v. init.; he gives other instances, some in point, others not. vid. also Eulogius, apud Phot. Cod. 23. pp. 829. 853. Yet to add to the confession of the Church is not to add to the faith, since nothing can be added to the faith. Leo, Ep. 124. p. 1237. Nay, Athan. says that the Nicene faith is sufficient to refute every heresy, ad Max. 5. fin. (also Leo. Ep. 54. p. 956. and Naz. Ep. 102. init.) excepting, however, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit; which explains his meaning. The Henoticon of Zeno says the same, but with the intention of dealing a blow at the Council of Chalcedon. Evagr. iii. 14. p. 345. Aetius at Chalcedon says that at Ephesus and Chalcedon the Fathers did not profess to draw up an exposition of faith, and that Cyril and Leo did but interpret the Creed. Conc. t. 2. p. 428. [t. iv. 1430, 1431 ed. Col. See this whole subject very amply treated in Dr. Pusey's On the Clause, And the Son, pp. 76 sqq.] Leo even says that the Apostles' Creed is sufficient against all heresies, and that Eutyches erred on a point `of which our Lord wished no one of either sex in the Church to be ignorant,' and he wishes Eutyches to take the plentitude of the Creed `puro et simplici corde.' Ep. 31. p. 857, 8. [945] Supr. §21. init.

Chapter VII.--On the Arian Symbol "Unoriginate." This term afterwards adopted by them; and why; three senses of it. A fourth sense. Unoriginate denotes God in contrast to His creatures, not to His Son; Father the scriptural title instead; Conclusion.

28. This in fact was the reason, when the unsound nature of their phrases had been exposed at that time, and they were henceforth open to the charge of irreligion, that they proceeded to borrow of the Greeks the term Unoriginate [946] , that, under shelter of it, they might reckon among the things originated and the creatures, that Word of God, by whom these very things came to be; so unblushing are they in their irreligion, so obstinate in their blasphemies against the Lord. If then this want of shame arises from ignorance of the term, they ought to have learned of those who gave it them, and who have not scrupled to say that even intellect, which they derive from Good, and the soul which proceeds from intellect, though their respective origins be known, are notwithstanding unoriginated, for they understand that by so saying they do not disparage that first Origin of which the others come [947] . This being the case, let them say the like themselves, or else not speak at all of what they do not know. But if they consider they are acquainted with the subject, then they must be interrogated; for [948] the expression is not from divine Scripture [949] , but they are contentious, as elsewhere, for unscriptural positions. Just as I have related the reason and sense, with which the Council and the Fathers before it defined and published `of the essence,' and `one in essence,' agreeably to what Scripture says of the Saviour; so now let them, if they can, answer on their part what has led them to this unscriptural phrase, and in what sense they call God Unoriginated? In truth, I am told [950] , that the name has different senses; philosophers say that it means, first `what has not yet, but may, come to be;' next, `what neither exists, nor can come into being;' and thirdly, `what exists indeed, but was neither originated nor had origin of being, but is everlasting and indestructible [951] .' Now perhaps they will wish to pass over the first two senses, from the absurdity which follows; for according to the first, things that already have come to be, and things that are expected to come to be, are unoriginated; and the second is more absurd still; accordingly they will proceed to the third sense, and use the word in it; though here, in this sense too, their irreligion will be quite as great. For if by unoriginated they mean what has no origin of being, nor is originated or created, but eternal, and say that the Word of God is contrary to this, who comprehends not the craft of these foes of God? who but would stone [952] such madmen? for, when they are ashamed to bring forward again those first phrases which they fabled, and which were condemned, the wretches have taken another way to signify them, by means of what they call unoriginate. For if the Son be of things originate, it follows, that He too came to be from nothing; and if He has an origin of being, then He was not before His generation; and if He is not eternal, there was once when He was not [953] .

29. If these are their sentiments they ought to signify their heterodoxy in their own phrases, and not to hide their perverseness under the cloke of the Unoriginate. But instead of this, the evil-minded men do all things with craftiness like their father, the devil; for as he attempts to deceive in the guise of others, so these have broached the term Unoriginate, that they might pretend to speak piously of God, yet might cherish a concealed blasphemy against the Lord, and under a veil might teach it to others. However, on the detecting of this sophism, what remains to them? `We have found another,' say the evildoers; and then proceed to add to what they have said already, that Unoriginate means what has no author of being, but stands itself in this relation to things originated. Unthankful, and in truth deaf to the Scriptures! who do everything, and say everything, not to honour God, but to dishonour the Son, ignorant that he who dishonours the Son, dishonours the Father. For first, even though they denote God in this way, still the Word is not proved to be of things originated. For again, as being an offspring of the essence of the Father, He is of consequence with Him eternally. For this name of offspring does not detract from the nature of the Word, nor does Unoriginated take its sense from contrast with the Son, but with the things which come to be through the Son; and as he who addresses an architect, and calls him framer of house or city, does not under this designation allude to the son who is begotten from him, but on account of the art and science which he displays in his work, calls him artificer, signifying thereby that he is not such as the things made by him, and while he knows the nature of the builder, knows also that he whom he begets is other than his works; and in regard to his son calls him father, but in regard to his works, creator and maker; in like manner he who says in this sense that God is unoriginate, names Him from His works, signifying, not only that He is not originated, but that He is maker of things which are so; yet is aware withal that the Word is other than the things originate, and alone a proper offspring of the Father, through whom all things came to be and consist [954] .

30. In like manner, when the Prophets spoke of God as All-ruling, they did not so name Him, as if the Word were included in that All; (for they knew that the Son was other than things originated, and Sovereign over them Himself, according to His likeness to the Father); but because He is Ruler over all things which through the Son He has made, and has given the authority of all things to the Son, and having given it, is Himself once more the Lord of all things through the Word. Again, when they called God, Lord of the powers [955] , they said not this as if the Word was one of those powers, but because while He is Father of the Son, He is Lord of the powers which through the Son have come to be. For again, the Word too, as being in the Father, is Lord of them all, and Sovereign over all; for all things, whatsoever the Father hath, are the Son's. This then being the force of such titles, in like manner let a man call God unoriginated, if it so please him; not however as if the Word were of originated things, but because, as I said before, God not only is not originated, but through His proper Word is He the maker of things which are so. For though the Father be called such, still the Word is the Father's Image, and one in essence with Him; and being His Image, He must be distinct from things originated, and from everything; for whose Image He is, His property and likeness He hath: so that he who calls the Father unoriginated and almighty, perceives in the Unoriginated and the Almighty, His Word and His Wisdom, which is the Son. But these wondrous men, and prompt for irreligion, hit upon the term Unoriginated, not as caring for God's honour, but from malevolence towards the Saviour; for if they had regard to honour and reverent language, it rather had been right and good to acknowledge and to call God Father, than to give Him this name; for in calling God unoriginated, they are, as I said before, calling Him from things which came to be, and as a Maker only, that so they may imply the Word to be a work after their own pleasure; but he who calls God Father, in Him withal signifies His Son also, and cannot fail to know that, whereas there is a Son, through this Son all things that came to be were created.

31. Therefore it will be much more accurate to denote God from the Son and to call Him Father, than to name Him and call Him Unoriginated from His works only; for the latter term refers to the works that have come to be at the will of God through the Word, but the name of Father points out the proper offspring from His essence. And whereas the Word surpasses things originated, by so much and more also doth calling God Father surpass the calling Him Unoriginated; for the latter is non-scriptural and suspicious, as it has various senses; but the former is simple and scriptural, and more accurate, and alone implies the Son. And `Unoriginated' is a word of the Greeks who know not the Son: but `Father' has been acknowledged and vouchsafed by our Lord; for He knowing Himself whose Son He was, said, `I in the Father and the Father in Me [956] ;' and, `He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;' and, `I and the Father are one [957] ;' but nowhere is He found to call the Father Unoriginated. Moreover, when He teaches us to pray, He says not, `When ye pray, say, O God Unoriginated,' but rather, `When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven [958] .' And it was His Will, that the Summary of our faith should have the same bearing. For He has bid us be baptized, not in the name of Unoriginate and Originate, not into the name of Uncreate and Creature, but into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit [959] , for with such an initiation we too are made sons verily [960] , and using the name of the Father, we acknowledge from that name the Word in the Father. But if He wills that we should call His own Father our Father, we must not on that account measure ourselves with the Son according to nature, for it is because of the Son that the Father is so called by us; for since the Word bore our body and came to be in us, therefore by reason of the Word in us, is God called our Father. For the Spirit of the Word in us names through us His own Father as ours, which is the Apostle's meaning when he says, `God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father [961] .'

32. But perhaps being refuted as touching the term Unoriginate also, they will say according to their evil nature, `It behoved, as regards our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ also, to state from the Scriptures what is there written of Him, and not to introduce non-scriptural expressions.' Yes, it behoved, say I too; for the tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture, than from other sources [962] ; but the ill disposition and the versatile and crafty irreligion of Eusebius and his fellows, compelled the Bishops, as I said before, to publish more distinctly the terms which overthrew their irreligion; and what the Council did write has already been shewn to have an orthodox sense, while the Arians have been shewn to be corrupt in their phrases, and evil in their dispositions. The term Unoriginate, having its own sense, and admitting of a religious use, they nevertheless, according to their own idea, and as they will, use for the dishonour of the Saviour, all for the sake of contentiously maintaining, like giants [963] , their fight with God. But as they did not escape condemnation when they adduced these former phrases, so when they misconceive of the Unoriginated which in itself admits of being used well and religiously, they were detected, being disgraced before all, and their heresy everywhere proscribed. This then, as I could, have I related, by way of explaining what was formerly done in the Council; but I know that the contentious among Christ's foes will not be disposed to change even after hearing this, but will ever search about for other pretences, and for others again after those. For as the Prophet speaks, `If the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots [964] ', then will they be willing to think religiously, who have been instructed in irreligion. Thou however, beloved, on receiving this, read it by thyself; and if thou approvest of it, read it also to the brethren who happen to be present, that they too on hearing it, may welcome the Council's zeal for the truth, and the exactness of its sense; and may condemn that of Christ's foes, the Arians, and the futile pretences, which for the sake of their irreligious heresy they have been at the pains to frame among themselves; because to God and the Father is due the glory, honour, and worship with His co-existent Son and Word, together with the All-holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and unto endless ages of ages. Amen.


[946] ageneton. Opportunity will occur for noticing this celebrated word on Orat. i. 30-34. where the present passage is partly rewritten, partly transcribed. Mention is also made of it in the De Syn. 46, 47. Athanasius would seem to have been but partially acquainted with the writings of the Anomoeans, whose symbol it was, and to have argued with them from the writings of the elder Arians, who had also made use of it. [On Newman's unfortunate confusion of ageneton and agenneton, see Lightfoot, as quoted in the note on Exp. Fid. §1. Newman's reasons are stated in note 7 to Orat. i. 56.] [947] Montfaucon quotes a passage from Plato's Phædrus, in which the human soul is called `unoriginate and immortal [246 a.];' but Athan. is referring to another subject, the Platonic, or rather the Eclectic [i.e. Neo-Platonic] Trinity. Thus Theodoret, `Plotinus, and Numenius, explaining the sense of Plato, say, that he taught Three principles beyond time and eternal, Good, Intellect, and the Soul of all,' de Affect. Cur. ii. p. 750. And so Plotinus himself, `It is as if one were to place Good as the centre, Intellect like an immoveable circle round, and Soul a moveable circle, and moveable by appetite.' 4 Ennead. iv. c. 16. vid. Porphyry in Cyril. contr. Julian. viii. t. ult. p. 271. vid. ibid. i. p. 32. Plot. 3 Ennead. v. 2 and 3. Athan.'s testimony that the Platonists considered their three hupostaseis all unoriginate is perhaps a singular one. In 5 Ennead. iv. 1. Plotinus says what seems contrary to it, he de arche agennetos, speaking of his tagathon. Yet Plato, quoted by Theodoret, ibid. p. 749, speaks of eite archen eite archas. [948] epei malistai, hoti malista, Orat. 1. §36. de Syn. §21. fin. hotan malista, Apol. ad Const. 23. kai malista, de Syn. §42, 54. [949] Cf. §18, n. 8. [950] And so de Syn. §46. `we have on careful inquiry ascertained, &c.' Again, `I have acquainted myself on their account [the Arians'] with the meaning of ageneton.' Orat. i. §30. This is remarkable, for Athan. was a man of liberal education, as his Orat. contr. Gent. and de Incarn. shew, especially, his acquaintance with the Platonic philosophy. Sulpicius too speaks of him as a jurisconsultus, Sacr. Hist. ii. 50. S. Gregory Naz. says, that he gave some attention, but not much, to the subjects of general education, ton enkuklion, that he might not be altogether ignorant, of what he nevertheless despised, Orat. 21. 6. In the same way S. Basil, whose cultivation of mind none can doubt, speaks slightingly of his own philosophical knowledge. He writes of his `neglecting his own weakness, and being utterly unexercised in such disquisitions;' contr. Eunom. init. And so in de Sp. §5. he says, that `they who have given time' to vain philosophy, `divide causes into principal, cooperative,' &c. Elsewhere he speaks of having `expended much time on vanity, and wasted nearly all his youth in the vain labour of pursuing the studies of that wisdom which God has made foolishness,' Ep. 223. 2. In truth, Christianity has a philosophy of its own. Thus in the commencement of his Viæ Dux Anastasius says, `It is a first point to be understood, that the tradition of the Catholic Church does not proceed upon, or follow, the philosophical definitions in all respects, and especially as regards the mystery of Christ, and the doctrine of the Trinity, but a certain rule of its own, evangelical and apostolical.' p. 20. [951] Four senses of ageneton are enumerated, Orat. i. §30. 1. What is not as yet, but is possible; 2. what neither has been nor can be; 3. what exists, but has not come to be from any cause; 4. what is not made, but is ever. Only two senses are specified in the de Syn. §46. and in these the question really lies; 1. what is, but without a cause; 2. uncreate. [952] Ballesthosan para panton, Orat. ii. §28. An apparent allusion to the punishment of blasphemy and idolatry under the Jewish Law. vid. [Ex. xix. 13. and] reference to Ex. xxi. 17, in §27, note 2. Thus, e.g. Nazianzen: `While I go up the mount with good heart, that I may become within the cloud, and may hold converse with God, for so God bids; if there be any Aaron, let him go up with me and stand near. And if there be any Nadab or Abihu, or of the elders, let him go up, but stand far off, according to the measure of his purification....But if any one is an evil and savage beast, and quite incapable of science and theology; let him stand off still further, and depart from the mount: or he will be stoned and crushed; for the wicked shall be miserably destroyed. For as stones for the bestial are true words and strong. Whether he be leopard, let him die spots and all,' &c. &c. Orat. 28. 2. [953] The Arians argued that the word unoriginate implied originate or creature as its correlative, and therefore indirectly signified Creator; so that the Son being not unoriginate, was not the Creator. Athan. answers, that in the use of the word, whether there be a Son does not come into the question. As the idea of Father and Son does not include creation, so that of creator and creature does not include generation; and it would be as illogical to infer that there are no creatures because there is a Son as that there is no Son because there are creatures. [954] The whole of this passage is repeated in Orat. i. 32. &c. vid. for this particular argument, Basil also, contr. Eunom. i. 16. [955] i.e. of hosts. [956] John xiv. 9, 10. [957] Ib. x. 30. [958] Matt. vi. 9. [959] And so S. Basil, `Our faith was not in Framer and Work, but in Father and Son were we sealed through the grace in baptism.' contr. Eunom. ii. 22. And a somewhat similar passage occurs Orat. ii. §41. [960] huiopoioumetha alethos. This strong term `truly' or `verily' seems taken from such passages as speak of the `grace and truth' of the Gospel, John i. 12-17. Again S. Basil says, that we are sons, kurios, `properly,' and protos `primarily,' in opposition to tropikos, `figuratively,' contr. Eunom. ii. 23. S. Cyril too says, that we are sons `naturally' phusikos as well as kata charin, vid. Suicer Thesaur. v. hui& 231;s. i. 3. Of these words, alethos, phusikos, kurios, and protos, the first two are commonly reserved for our Lord; e.g. ton alethos hui& 232;n, Orat. ii. §37. hemeis huioi, ouk hos ekeinos phusei kai aletheia, iii. §19. Hilary seems to deny us the title of `proper' sons; de Trin. xii. 15; but his `proprium' is a translation of idion, not kurios. And when Justin says of Christ ho monos legomenos kurios hui& 232;s, Apol. ii. 6. kurios seems to be used in reference to the word kurios, Lord, which he has just been using, kuriologein being sometimes used by him as others in the sense of `naming as Lord,' like theologein. vid. Tryph. 56. There is a passage in Justin's ad Græc. 21. where he (or the writer) when speaking of ego eimi ho hon, uses the word in the same ambiguous sense; ouden gar onoma epi theou kuriologeisthai dunaton, 21; as if kurios, the Lord, by which `I am' is translated, were a sort of symbol of that proper name of God which cannot be given. But to return; the true doctrine then is, that, whereas there is a primary and secondary sense in which the word Son is used, primary when it has its formal meaning of continuation of nature, and secondary when it is used nominally, or for an external resemblance to the first meaning, it is applied to the regenerate, not in the secondary sense, but in the primary. S. Basil and S. Gregory Nyssen consider Son to be `a term of relationship according to nature' (vid. supr. §10, note 1.), also Basil in Psalm xxviii. 1. The actual presence of the Holy Spirit in the regenerate in substance (vid. Cyril, Dial. 7. p. 638.) constitutes this relationship of nature; and hence after the words quoted from S. Cyril in the beginning of the note, in which he says, that we are sons, phusikos, he proceeds, `naturally, because we are in Him, and in Him alone.' vid. Athan.'s words which follow in the text at the end of §31. And hence Nyssen lays down, as a received truth, that `to none does the term "proper," kuriotaton, apply, but to one in whom the name responds with truth to the nature,' contr. Eunom. iii. p. 123. And he also implies, p. 117, the intimate association of our sonship with Christ's, when he connects together regeneration with our Lord's eternal generation, neither being dia pathous, or, of the will of the flesh. If it be asked, what the distinctive words are which are incommunicably the Son's, since so much is man's, it is obvious to answer, idios hui& 232;s and monogenes, which are in Scripture, and the symbols `of the essence,' and `one in essence,' of the Council; and this is the value of the Council's phrases, that, while they guard the Son's divinity, they allow full scope, without risk of entrenching on it, to the Catholic doctrine of the fulness of the Christian privileges. vid. supr. §19, note. [961] Gal. iv. 6. [962] Cf. contr. Gent. init. Incarn. 57. ad Ep. Ęg. 4. Vit. Ant. 16. And passim in Athan. [963] And so, Orat. ii. §32, kata tous mutheuomenous gigantas. And so Nazianzen, Orat. 43. 26. speaking of the disorderly Bishops during the Arian ascendancy. Also Socr. v. 10. Sometimes the Scripture giants are spoken of, sometimes the mythological. [964] Jer. xiii. 23.

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