Hilary of Poitiers
On the Trinity
I. This is the seventh book of our treatise against the wild extravagance of modern heresy. In order of place it must follow its predecessors; in order of importance, as an exposition of the mysteries of the right faith, it precedes and excels them all. I am well aware how hard and steep is the path of evangelical instruction up which we are mounting. The fears inspired by consciousness of my own incapacity are plucking me back, but the warmth of faith urges me on; the assaults of heresy heat my blood, and the dangers of the ignorant excite my compassion.
I fear to speak, and yet I cannot be silent. A double dread subdues my spirit; it may be that speech, it may be that silence, will render me guilty of a desertion of the truth. For this cunning heresy has hedged itself round with marvellous devices of perverted ingenuity. First there is the semblance of devotion; then the language carefully chosen to lull the suspicions of a candid listener; and again, the accommodation of their views to secular philosophy; and finally, their withdrawing of attention from manifest truth by a pretended explanation of Divine methods.
Their loud profession of the unity of God is a fraudulent imitation of the faith; their assertion that Christ is the Son of God a play upon words for the delusion of their hearers; their saying that He did not exist before He was born a bid for the support of the world's philosophers; their confession of God as incorporeal and immutable leads, by a display of fallacious logic, up to a denial of the birth of God from God. They turn our arguments against ourselves; the Church's faith is made the engine of its own destruction. They have contrived to involve us in the perplexing position of an equal danger, whether we reason with them or whether we refrain. For they use the fact that we allow certain of their assumptions to pass unchallenged as an argument on behalf of those which we do contradict.
2. We call to mind that in the preceding books the reader has been urged to study the whole of that blasphemous manifesto, and mark how it is animated throughout by the one aim of propagating the belief that our Lord Jesus Christ is neither God, nor Son of God. Its authors argue that He is permitted to use the names of God and of Son by virtue of a certain adoption, though neither Godhead nor Sonship be His by nature. They use the fact, true in itself, that God is immutable and incorporeal, as an argument against the birth of the Son from Him. They value the truth, that God the Father is One, only as a weapon against our faith in the Godhead of Christ; pleading that an incorporeal nature cannot be rationally conceived as generating another, and that our faith in One God is inconsistent with the confession of God from God.
But our earlier books have already refuted and foiled this argument of theirs by an appeal to the Law and the Prophets. Our defense has followed, step by step, the course of their attack. We have set forth God from God, and at the same time confessed One true God; showing that this presentation of the faith neither falls short of the truth by ascribing singleness of Person to the One true God, nor adds to the faith by asserting the existence of a second Deity. For we confess neither an isolated God, nor yet two Gods. Thus, neither denying that God is One nor maintaining that He is alone, we hold the straight road of truth. Each Divine Person is in the Unity, yet no Person is the One God.
Next, our purpose being to demonstrate the irrefragable truth of this mystery by the evidence of the Evangelists and Apostles, our first duty has been to make our readers acquainted with the nature, truly subsisting and truly born, of the Son of God; to demonstrate that He has no origin external to God, and was not created out of nothing, but is the Son, born from God. This is a truth which the evidence adduced in the last book has placed beyond all doubt. The assertion that He bears the name of Son by virtue of adoption has been put to silence, and He stands forth as a true Son by a true birth. Our present task is to prove from the Gospels that, because He is true Son, He is true God also. For unless He be true Son He cannot be true God, nor true God unless He be true Son.
3. Nothing is more harassing to human nature than the sense of impending danger. If calamities unknown or unanticipated befall us, we may need pity, yet we have been free from care; no load of anxiety has oppressed us. But he whose mind is full of possibilities of trouble suffers already a torment in his fear. I who now am venturing out to sea, am a mariner not unused to shipwreck, a traveller who knows by experience how brigands lurk in the forests, an explorer of African deserts aware of the danger from scorpions and asps and basilisks. I enjoy no instant of relief from the knowledge and fear of present danger. Every heretic is on the watch, noting every word as it drops from my mouth. The whole progress of my argument is infested with ambuscades and pitfalls and snares.
It is not of the road, of its hardness or steepness, that I complain; I am following in the footsteps of the Apostles, not choosing my own path. My trouble is the constant peril, the constant dread, of wandering into some ambush, of stumbling into some pit, of being entangled in some net. My purpose is to proclaim the unity of God, in the sense of the Law and Prophets and Apostles. Sabellius is at hand, eager with cruel kindness to welcome me, on the strength of this unity, and swallow me up in his own destruction. If I withstand him, and deny that, in the Sabellian sense, God is One a fresh heresy is ready to receive me, pointing out that I teach the existence of two Gods.
Again, if I undertake to tell how the Son of God was born from Mary, Photinus, the Ebion of our day, will be prompt to twist this assertion of the truth into a confirmation of his lie. I need mention no other heresies save one; all the world knows that they are alien from the Church. It is one that has been often denounced, often rejected, yet it preys upon our vitals still. Galatia has reared a large brood of godless assertors of the unity of God. Alexandria has sown broadcast, over almost the whole world, her denial, which is an affirmation, of the doctrine of two Gods. Pannonia upholds her pestilent doctrine that the only birth of Jesus Christ was from the Virgin.
And the Church, distracted by these rival faiths, is in danger of being led by means of truth into a rejection of truth. Doctrines are being forced upon her for godless ends, which, according to the use that is made of them, will either support or overthrow the faith. For instance, we cannot, as true believers, assert that God is One, if we mean by it that He is alone; for faith in a lonely God denies the Godhead of the Son. If, on the other hand, we assert, as we truly can, that the Son is God, we are in danger, so they fondly imagine, of deserting the truth that God is One. We are in peril on either hand; we may deny the unity or we may maintain the isolation. But it is a danger which has no terrors for the foolish things of the word. Our adversaries are blind to the fact that His assertion that He is not alone is consistent with unity; that though He is One He is not solitary.
4. But I trust that the Church, by the light of her doctrine, will so enlighten the world's vain wisdom, that, even though it accept not the mystery of the faith, it will recognize that in our conflict with heretics we, and not they, are the true representatives of that mystery. For great is the force of truth; not only is it its own sufficient witness, but the more it is assailed the more evident it becomes; the daily shocks which it receives only increase its inherent stability. It is the peculiar property of the Church that when she is buffeted she is triumphant, when she is assaulted with argument she proves herself in the right, when she is deserted by her supporters she holds the field. It is her wish that all men should remain at her side and in her bosom; if it lay with her, none would become unworthy to abide under the shelter of that august mother, none would be cast out or suffered to depart from her calm retreat. But when heretics desert her or she expels them, the loss she endures, in that she cannot save them, is compensated by an increased assurance that she alone can offer bliss.
This is a truth which the passionate zeal of rival heresies brings into the clearest prominence. The Church, ordained by the Lord and established by His Apostles, is one for all; but the frantic folly of discordant sects has severed them from her. And it is obvious that these dissensions concerning the faith result from a distorted mind, which twists the words of Scripture into conformity with its opinion, instead of adjusting that opinion to the words of Scripture. And thus, amid the clash of mutually destructive errors, the Church stands revealed not only by her own teaching, but by that of her rivals.
They are ranged, all of them, against her; and the very fact that she stands single and alone is her sufficient answer to their godless delusions. The hosts of heresy assemble themselves against her; each of them can defeat all the others, but not one can win a victory for itself. The only victory is the triumph which the Church celebrates over them all. Each heresy wields against its adversary some weapon already shattered, in another instance, by the Church's condemnation. There is no point of union between them, and the outcome of their internecine struggles is the confirmation of the faith.
5. Sabellius sweeps away the birth of the Son, and then preaches the unity of God; but he does not doubt that the mighty Nature, which acted in the human Christ, was God. He shuts his eyes to the revealed mystery of the Sonship; the works done seem to him so marvellous that he cannot believe that He who performed them could undergo a true generation. When he hears the words, "He that hath, seen Me hath seen the Father also" [John 14:9], he jumps to the blasphemous conclusion of an inseparable and indistinguishable identity of nature in Father and Son, because he fails to see that the revelation of the birth is the mode in which Their unity of nature is manifested to us.
For the fact that the Father is seen in the Son is a proof of the Son's Divinity, not a disproof of His birth. Thus our knowledge of Each of Them is conditioned by our knowledge of the Other, for there is no difference of nature between them; and, since in this respect they are One, a reverent study of the character of Either will give us a true insight into the nature of Both. For, indeed, it is certain that He, Who was in the form of God, must in His self-revelation present Himself to us in the exact aspect of the form of God. Again, this perverse and insane delusion derives a further encouragement from the words, "I and the Father are One" [John 10:30]. From the fact of unity in the same nature they have impiously deduced a confusion of Persons; their interpretation, that the words signify a single Power, contradicts the tenor of the passage. For I and the Father are One does not indicate a solitary God. The use of the conjunction and shows clearly that more than one Person is signified; and are requires a plurality of subject. Moreover, the One is not incompatible with a birth. Its sense is, that the Two Persons have the one nature in common. The One is inconsistent with difference; the are with identity.
6. Set our modern heresy in array against the delusion, equally wild, of Sabellius; let them make the best of their case. The new heretics will advance the passage, "The Father is greater than I" [John 14:28]. Neglecting the mystery of the Divine birth, and the mystery of God's emptying Himself and taking flesh, they will argue the inferiority of His nature from His assertion that the Father is the greater. They will plead against Sabellius that Christ is a Son, in so far as One can be a Son who is inferior to the Father and needs to ask for restoration to His glory, and fears to die and indeed did die. In reply Sabellius will adduce His deeds in evidence of His Divine nature; and while our novel heresy, to escape the admission of Christ's true Sonship, will heartily agree with him that God is One, Sabellius will emphatically assert the same article of the faith, in the sense that no Son exists. The one side lays stress upon the action of the Son; the other urges that in that action God is manifest; the one will demonstrate the unity, the other disprove the identity.
Sabellius will defend his position thus:-- "The works that were done could have been done by no other nature than the Divine. Sins were remitted, the sick were healed, the lame ran, the blind saw, the dead lived. God alone has power for this. The words I and the Father are One could only have been spoken from self-knowledge; no nature, outside the Father's, could have uttered them. Why then suggest a second substance, and urge me to believe in a second God? These works are peculiar to God; the One God wrought them."
His adversaries, animated by a hatred, equally venomous, for the faith, will argue that the Son is unlike in nature to God the Father:-- "You are ignorant of the mystery of your salvation. You must believe in a Son through Whom the worlds were made, through Whom man was fashioned, Who gave the Law through Angels, Who was born of Mary, Who was sent by the Father, was crucified, dead and buried, Who rose again from the dead and is at the right hand of God, Who is the Judge of quick and dead. Unto Him we must rise again, we must confess Him, we must earn our place in His kingdom." Each of the two enemies of the Church is fighting the Church's battle. Sabellius displays Christ as God by the witness of the Divine nature manifested in His works; Sabellius' antagonists confess Christ, on the evidence of the revealed faith, to be the Son of God.
7. Again, how glorious a victory for our faith is that in which Ebion -- in other words, Photinus -- both wins the day and loses it! He castigates Sabellius for denying that the Son of God is Man, and in his turn has to submit to the reproaches of Arian fanatics for failing to see that this Man is the Son of God. Against Sabellius he calls the Gospels to his aid, with their evidence concerning the Son of Mary; Arius deprives him of this ally by proving that the Gospels make Christ something more than the Son of Mary. Sabellius denies that there is a Son of God; against him Photinus elevates man to the place of Son. Photinus will hear nothing of a Son born before the worlds; against him, Arius denies that the only birth of the Son of God was His human birth.
Let them defeat one another to their hearts' content, for every victory which each of them wins is balanced by a defeat our present adversaries are granted in the matter of the Divine nature of the Son; Sabellius in the matter of the Son's revealed existence; Photinus is convicted of ignorance, or else of falsehood, in his denial of the Son's birth before the worlds. Meanwhile the Church, whose faith is based upon the teaching of Evangelists and Apostles, holds fast, against Sabellius, her assertion that the Son exists; against Arius, that He is God by nature; against Photinus, that He created the universe. And she is the more convinced of her faith, in that they cannot combine to contradict it. For Sabellius points to the works of Christ in proof of the Divinity of Him Who wrought them, though he knows not that the Son was their Author. The Arians grant Him the name of Son, though they confess not that the true nature of God dwelt in Him. Photinus maintains His manhood, though in maintaining it he forgets that Christ was born as God before the worlds. Thus, in their several assertions and denials, there are points in which each heresy is in the right in defense or attack; and the result of their conflicts is that the truth of our confession is brought into clearer light.
8. I felt that I must spare a little space to point this out. It has been from no love for amplification, but that it might serve as a warning. First, I wished to expose the vague and confused character of this crowd of heresies, whose mutual feuds turn, as we have seen, to our advantage. Secondly, in my warfare against the blasphemous doctrines of modern heresy; that is, in my task of proclaiming that both God the Father and God the Son are God, -- in other words, that Father and Son are One in name, One in nature, One in the kind of Divinity which they possess, -- I wished to shield myself from any charge which might be brought against me, either as an advocate of two Gods or of one lonely and isolated Deity.
For in God the Father and God the Son, as I have set them forth, no confusion of Persons can be detected; nor in my exposition of Their common nature can any difference between the Godhead of the One and of the Other be discerned. In the preceding book I have sufficiently refuted, by the witness of the Gospels, those who deny the subsistence of God the Son by a true birth from God; my present duty is to show that He, Who in the truth of His nature is Son of God, is also in the truth of His nature God. But this proof must not degenerate into the fatal profession of a solitary God, or of a second God. It shall manifest God as One yet not alone; but in its care to avoid the error of making Him lonely it shall not fall into the error of denying His unity.
9. Thus we have all these different assurances of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ:-- His name, His birth, His nature, His power, His own assertion. As to the name, I conceive that no doubt is possible. It is written, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. What reason can there be for suspecting that He is not what His name indicates? And does not this name clearly describe His nature?
If a statement be contradicted, it must be for some reason. What reason, I demand, is there in this instance for denying that He is God? The name is given Him, plainly and distinctly, and unqualified by any incongruous addition which might raise a doubt. The Word, we read, which was made flesh, was none other than God. Here is no loophole for any such conjecture as that He has received this name as a favor or taken it upon Himself, so possessing a titular Godhead which is not His by nature.
10. Consider the other recorded instances in which this name was given by favor or assumed. To Moses it was said, "I have made thee a god to Pharaoh." [Exodus 7:1]. Does not this addition, to Pharaoh, account for the title? Did God impart to Moses the Divine nature? Did He not rather make Moses a god in the sight of Pharaoh, who was to be smitten with terror when Moses' serpent swallowed the magic serpents and returned into a rod, when he drove back the venomous flies which he had called forth, when he stayed the hail by the same power wherewith he had summoned it, and made the locusts depart by the same might which had brought them; when in the wonders that he wrought the magicians saw the finger of God? That was the sense in which Moses was appointed to be god to Pharaoh; he was feared and entreated, he chastised and healed. It is one thing to be appointed a god; it is another thing to be God. He was made a god to Pharaoh; he had not that nature and that name wherein God consists.
I call to mind another instance of the name being given as a title; that where it is written, "I have said, Ye are gods" [Psalm 82:6]. But this is obviously the granting of a favor. I have said proves that it is no definition, but only a description by One Who chooses to speak thus. A definition gives us knowledge of the object defined; a description depends on the arbitrary will of the speaker. When a speaker is manifestly conferring a title, that title has its origin only in the speaker's words, not in the thing itself. The title is not the name which expresses its nature and kind.
11. But in this case the Word in very truth is God; the essence of the Godhead exists in the Word, and that essence is expressed in the Word's name. For the name Word is inherent in the Son of God as a consequence of His mysterious birth, as are also the names Wisdom and Power. These, together with the substance which is His by a true birth, were called into existence to be the Son of God; yet, since they are the elements of God's nature, they are still immanent in Him in undiminished extent, although they were born from Him to be His Son. For, as we have said so often, the mystery which we preach is that of a Son Who owes His existence not to division but to birth.
He is not a segment cut off, and so incomplete, but an Offspring born, and therefore perfect; for birth involves no diminution of the Begetter, and has the possibility of perfection for the Begotten. And therefore the titles of those substantive properties are applied to God the Only-begotten, for when He came into existence by birth it was they which constituted His perfection; and this although they did not thereby desert the Father, in Whom, by the immutability of His nature, they are eternally present. For instance, the Word is God the Only-begotten, and yet the Unbegotten Father is never without His Word. Not that the nature of the Son is that of a sound which is uttered. He is God from God, subsisting through a true birth; God's own Son, born from the Father, indistinguishable from Him in nature, and therefore inseparable.
This is the lesson which His title of the Word is meant to teach us. And in the same way Christ is the Wisdom and the Power of God; not that He is, as He is often regarded, the inward activity of the Father's might or thought, but that His nature, possessing through birth a true substantial existence, is indicated by these names of inward forces. For an object, which has by birth an existence of its own, cannot be regarded as a property; a property is necessarily inherent in some being and can have no independent existence. But it was to save us from concluding that the Son is alien from the Divine nature of His Father that He, the Only-begotten from the eternal God His Father, born as God into a substantial existence of His own, has had Himself revealed to us under these names of properties, of which the Father, out of Whom He came into existence, has suffered no diminution.
Thus He, being God, is nothing else than God. For when I hear the words, And the Word was God, they do not merely tell me that the Son was called God; they reveal to my understanding that He is God. In those previous instances, where Moses was called god and others were styled gods, there was the mere addition of a name by way of title. Here a solid essential truth is stated; The Word was God. That was indicates no accidental title, but an eternal reality, a permanent element of His existence, an inherent character of His nature.
12. And now let us see whether the confession of Thomas the Apostle, when he cried, "My Lord and My God" [John 20:28], corresponds with this assertion of the Evangelist. We see that he speaks of Him, Whom he confesses to be God, as My God. Now Thomas was undoubtedly familiar with those words of the Lord, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One. How then could the faith of an Apostle become so oblivious of that primary command as to confess Christ as God, when life is conditional upon the confession of the Divine unity?
It was because, in the light of the Resurrection, the whole mystery of the faith had become visible to the Apostle. He had often heard such words as, I and the Father are One, and, All things that the Father hath are Mine, and, I in the Father and the Father in Me; and now he can confess that the name of God expresses the nature of Christ, without peril to the faith. Without breach of loyalty to the One God, the Father, his devotion could now regard the Son of God as God, since he believed that everything contained in the nature of the Son was truly of the same nature with the Father. No longer need he fear that such a confession as his was the proclamation of a second God, a treason against the unity of the Divine nature; for it was not a second God Whom that perfect birth of the Godhead had brought into being.
Thus it was with full knowledge of the mystery of the Gospel that Thomas confessed his Lord and his God. It was not a title of honor; it was a confession of nature. He believed that Christ was God in substance and in power. And the Lord, in turn, shows that this act of worship was the expression not of mere reverence, but of faith, when He says, "Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed; blessed are they which have not seen, and have believed." [John 20:29]. For Thomas had seen before he believed. But, you ask, What was it that Thomas believed? That, beyond a doubt, which is expressed in his words, My Lord and my God.
No nature but that of God could have risen by its own might from death to life; and it is this fact, that Christ is God, which was confessed by Thomas with the confidence of an assured faith. Shall we, then, dream that His name of God is not a substantial reality, when that name has been proclaimed by a faith based upon certain evidence? Surely a Son devoted to His Father, One Who did not His own will but the will of Him that sent Him, Who sought not His own glory but the glory of Him from Whom He came, would have rejected the adoration involved in such a name as destructive of that unity of God which had been the burden of His teaching. Yet, in fact, He confirms this assertion of the mysterious truth, made by the believing Apostle; He accepts as His own the name which belongs to the nature of the Father. And He teaches that they are blessed who, though they have not seen Him rise from the dead, yet have believed, on the assurance of the Resurrection, that He is God.
13. Thus the name which expresses His nature proves the truth of our confession of the faith. For the name, which indicates any single substance, points out also any other substance of the same kind; and, in this instance, there are not two substances but one substance, of the one kind. For the Son of God is God; this is the truth expressed in His name. The one name does not embrace two Gods; for the one name God is the name of one indivisible nature. For since the Father is God and the Son is God, and that name which is peculiar to the Divine nature is inherent in Each, therefore the Two are One.
For the Son, though He subsists through a birth from the Divine nature, yet preserves the unity in His name; and this birth of the Son does not compel loyal believers to acknowledge two Gods, since our confession declares that Father and Son are One, both in nature and in name. Thus the Son of God has the Divine name as the result of His birth. Now the second step in our demonstration was to be that of showing that it is by virtue of His birth that He is God. I have still to bring forward the evidence of the Apostles that the Divine name is used of Him in an exact sense; but for the present I purpose to continue our enquiry into the language of the Gospels.
14. And first I ask what new element, destructive of His Godhead, can have been imported by birth into the nature of the Son? Universal reason rejects the supposition that a being can become different in nature, by the process of birth, from the being to which its birth is due; although we recognize the possibility that from parents, different in kind, an offspring sharing the nature of both, yet diverse from either, may be propagated. The fact is familiar in the case of beasts, both tame and wild. But even in this case there is no real novelty; the new qualities already exist, concealed in the two different parental natures, and are only developed by the connection. The birth of their joint offspring is not the cause of that offspring's difference from its parents. The difference is a gift from them of various diversities, which are received and combined in one frame.
When this is the case as to the transmission and reception even of bodily differences, is it not a form of madness to assert that the birth of God the Only-begotten was the birth from God of a nature inferior to Himself? For the giving of birth is a function of the true nature of the transmitter of life; and without the presence and action of that true nature there can be no birth. The object of all this heat and passion is to prove that there was no birth, but a creation, of the Son of God; that the Divine nature is not His origin and that He does not possess that nature in His personal subsistence, but draws, from what was non-existent, a nature different in kind from the Divine. They are angry because He says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." [John 3:6]. For, since God is a Spirit, it is clear that in One born from Him there can be nothing alien or different froth that Spirit from which He was born. Thus the birth of God constitutes Him perfect God.
And hence also it is clear that we must not say that He began to exist, but only that He was born. For there is a sense in which beginning is different from birth. A thing which begins to exist either comes into existence out of nothing, or develops out of one state into another, ceasing to be what it was before; so, for instance, gold is formed out of earth, solids melt into liquids, cold changes to warmth, white to red, water breeds moving creatures, lifeless objects born into living. In contrast to all this, the Son of God did not begin, out of nothing, to be God, but was born as God; nor had He an existence of another kind before the Divine. Thus He Who was born to be God had neither a beginning of His Godhead, nor yet a development up to it. His birth retained for Him that nature out of which He came into being; the Son of God, in His distinct existence, is what God is, and is nothing else.
15. Again, any one who is in doubt concerning this matter may gain from the Jews an accurate knowledge of Christ's nature; or rather learn that He was truly born from the Gospel, where it is written, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him because He not only broke the Sabbath, but said also that God was His own Father, making Himself equal with God" [John 5:18]. This passage is unlike most others in not giving us the words spoken by the Jews, but the Apostle's explanation of their motive in wishing to kill the Lord. We see that no plea of misapprehension can excuse the wickedness of these blasphemers; for we have the Apostle's evidence that the true nature of Christ was fully revealed to them. They could speak of His birth:-- He said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Was not His clearly a birth of nature from nature, when He published the equality of His nature by speaking of God, by name, as His own Father? Now it is manifest that equality consists in the absence of difference between those who are equal. Is it not also manifest that the result of birth must be a nature in which there is an absence of difference between Son and Father? And this is the only possible origin of true equality; birth can only bring into existence a nature equal to its origin. But again, we can no more hold that there is equality where there is confusion, than we can where there is difference. Thus equality, as of the image, is incompatible with isolation and with diversity; for equality cannot dwell with difference, nor yet in solitude.
16. And now, although we have found the sense of Scripture, as we understand it, in harmony with the conclusions of ordinary reason, the two agreeing that equality is incompatible either with diversity or with isolation, yet we must seek a fresh support for Our contention from actual words of our Lord. For only so can we check that licence of arbitrary interpretation whereby these bold traducers of the faith would even venture to cavil at the Lord's solemn self-revelation. His answer to the Jews was this:--
The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him." [John 5:19-23].
The course of our argument, as I had shaped it in my mind, required that each several point of the debate should be handled singly; that, since we had been taught that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God in name, in birth, in nature, in power, in self-revelation, our demonstration of the faith should establish each successive point in that order. But His birth is a barrier to such a treatment of the question; for a consideration of it includes a consideration of His name and nature and power and self-revelation. For His birth involves all these, and they are His by the fact that He is born. And thus our argument concerning His birth has taken such a course that it is impossible for us to keep these other matters back for separate discussion in their turn.
17. The chief reason why the Jews wished to kill the Lord was that, in calling God His Father, He had made Himself equal with God; and therefore He put His answer, in which He reproved their evil passion, into the form of an exposition of the whole mystery of our faith. For just before this, when He had healed the paralytic and they had passed their judgment upon Him that He was worthy of death for breaking the Sabbath, He had said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." [John 5:17]. Their jealousy had been inflamed to the utmost by the raising of Himself to the level of God which was involved in this use of the name of Father. And now He wishes to assert His birth and to reveal the powers of His nature, and so He says, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do.
These opening words of His reply are aimed at that wicked zeal of the Jews, which hurried them on even to the desire of slaying Him. It is in reference to the charge of breaking the Sabbath that He says, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. He wished them to understand that His practice was justified by Divine authority; and He taught them by the same words that His work must be regarded as the work of the Father, Who was working in Him all that He wrought. And again, it was to subdue the jealousy awakened by His speaking of God as His Father that He uttered those words, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do.
Lest this making of Himself equal to God, as having the name and nature of God's Son, should withdraw men's faith from the truth that He had been born, He says that the Son can do nothing but what He sees the Father do. Next, in confirmation of the saving harmony of truths in our confession of Father and of Son, He displays this nature which is His by birth; a nature which derives its power of action not from successive gifts of strength to do particular deeds, but from knowledge. He shows that this knowledge is not imparted by the Father's performance of any bodily work, as a pattern, that the Son may imitate what the Father has previously done; but that, by the action of the Divine nature, He had come to share the subsistence of the Divine nature, or, in other words, had been born as Son from the Father.
He told them that, because the power and the nature of God dwelt consciously within Him, it was impossible for Him to do anything which He had not seen the Father doing; that, since it is in the might of the Father that God the Only-begotten performs His works His liberty of action coincides in its range with His knowledge of the powers of the nature of God the Father; a nature inseparable from Himself, and lawfully owned by Him in virtue of His birth. For God sees not after a bodily fashion, but possesses, by His nature, the vision of Omnipotence.
18. The next words are, For what things soever He -- the Father -- doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. This likewise is added to indicate His birth; whatsoever and same to indicate the true Divinity of His nature. Whatsoever and same make it impossible that there should be any actions of His that are different from, or outside, the actions of the Father. Thus He, Whose nature has power to do all the same things as the Father, is included in the same nature with the Father. But when, in contrast with this, we read that all these same things are done by the Son likewise, the fact that the works are like those of Another is fatal to the supposition that He Who does them works in isolation.
Thus the same things that the Father does are all done likewise by the Son. Here we have clear proof of His true birth, and at the same time a convincing attestation of the Mystery of our faith, which, with its foundation in the Unity of the nature of God, confesses that there resides in Father and Son an indivisible Divinity. For the Son does the same things as the Father, and does them likewise; while acting in like manner He does the same things. Two truths are combined in one proposition; that His works are done likewise proves His birth; that they are the same works proves His nature.
19. Thus the progressive revelation contained in our Lord's reply is at one with the progressive statement of truth in the Church's confession of faith. Neither of them divides the nature, and both declare the birth. For the next words of Christ are, For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. Can there be any other purpose in this revelation of the manner in which God works, except that of inculcating the true birth; the faith in a subsisting Son born from the subsisting God, His Father?
The only other explanation is that God the Only-begotten was so ignorant that He needed the instruction conveyed in this showing; but the reckless blasphemy of the suggestion makes this alternative impossible. For He, knowing, as He does, everything that He is taught, has no need of the teaching. And accordingly, after the words, The Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth, we are next informed that all this showing is for our instruction in the faith; that the Father and the Son may have their equal share in our confession, and we be saved, by this statement that the Father shows all that He does to the Son, from the delusion that the Son's knowledge is imperfect.
With this object He goes on to say, And He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. We see that the Son has full knowledge of the future works which the Father will show Him hereafter. He knows that He will be shown how, after His Father's example, He is to give life to the dead. For He says that the Father will show to the Son things at which they shall marvel; and at once proceeds to tell them what these things are: For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. The power is equal because the nature is one and the same. The showing of the works is an aid, not to ignorance in Him, but to faith in us. It conveys to the Son no knowledge of things unknown, but it imparts to us the confidence to proclaim His birth, by assuring us that the Father has shown to Him all the works that He Himself can do.
The terms used in this Divine discourse have been chosen with the utmost deliberation, lest any vagueness of language should suggest a difference of nature between the Two. Christ says that the Father's works were shown Him, instead of saying that, to enable Him to perform them, a mighty nature was given Him. Hereby He wishes to reveal to us that this showing was a substantive part of the process of His birth, since, simultaneously with that birth, there was imparted to Him by the Father's love a knowledge of the works which the Father willed that He should do.
And again, to save us from being led, by this declaration of the showing, to suppose that the Son's nature is ignorant and therefore different from the Father's, He makes it clear that He already knows the things that are to be shown Him. So far, indeed, is He from needing the authority of precedent to enable Him to act, that He is to give life to whom He will. To will implies a free nature, subsisting with power to choose in the blissful exercise of omnipotence.
20. And next, lest it should seem that to give life to whom He will is not within the power of One Who has been truly born, but is only the prerogative of ungenerate Omnipotence, He hastens to add, For the Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment to the Son. The statement that all judgment is given teaches both His birth and His Sonship; for only a nature which is altogether one with the Father's could possess all things; and a Son can possess nothing, except by gift. But all judgment has been given Him for He quickens whom He will. Now we cannot suppose that judgment is taken away from the Father, although He does not exercise it; for the Son's whole power of judgment proceeds from the Father's, being a gift from Him. And there is no concealment of the reason why judgment has been given to the Son, for the words which follow are, But He hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father Which hath sent Him.
What possible excuse remains for doubt, or for the irreverence of denial? The reason for the gift of judgment is that the Son may receive an honor equal to that which is paid to the Father; and thus he who dishonors the Son is guilty of dishonoring the Father also. How, after this proof, can we imagine that the nature given Him by birth is different from the Father's, when He is the Father's equal in work, in power, in honor, in the punishment awarded to gainsayers? Thus this whole Divine reply is nothing else than an unfolding of the mystery of His birth. And the only distinction that it is right or possible to make between Father and Son is that the Latter was born; yet born in such a sense as to be One with His Father.
21. Thus the Father works hitherto and the Son works. In Father and Son you have the names which express Their nature in relation to Each other. Note also that it is the Divine nature, that through which God works, that is working here. And remember, lest you fall into the error of imagining that the operation of two unlike natures is here described, how it was said concerning the blind man, "But that the works of God may be made manifest in him, I must work the works of Him that sent Me." [John 9:3]. You see that in his case the work wrought by the Son is the Father's work; and the Son's work is God's work.
The remainder of the discourse which we are considering also deals with works; but my defense is at present only concerned with assigning the whole work to Both, and pointing out that They are at one in Their method of working, since the Son is employed upon that work which the Father does hitherto. The sanction contained in this fact that, by virtue of His Divine birth, the Father is working with Him in all that He does, will save us from supposing that the Lord of the Sabbath was doing wrong in working on the Sabbath. His Sonship is not affected, for there is no confusion of His Divinity with the Father's, and no negation of it; His Godhead is not affected, for His Divine nature is untouched. Their unity is not affected, for no difference is revealed to sever Them; and Their unity is not presented in such a light as to contradict Their distinct existence.
First recognize the Sonship of the Son; The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. Here His birth is manifest; because of it, He can do nothing of Himself till He sees it being done. He cannot be unbegotten, because He can do nothing of Himself; He has no power of initiation, and therefore He must have been born. But the fact that He can see the Father's works proves that He has the comprehension which belongs to the conscious Possessor of Divinity. Next, mark that He does possess this true Divine nature;-- For what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
And now that we have seen Him endowed with the powers of that nature, note how this results in unity, how one nature dwells in the Two;-- That all men may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. And then, lest reflection on this unity entangle you in the delusion of a solitary and self-contained God, take to heart the mystery of the faith manifested in these words, He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father Which hath sent Him.
The rage and cunning of heresy may do their worst; our position is impregnable. He is the Son, because He can do nothing of Himself; He is God, because, whatever the Father does, He does the same; They Two are One, because He is equal in honor to the Father and does the very same works; He is not the Father, because He is sent. So great is the wealth of mysterious truth contained in this one doctrine of the birth! It embraces His name, His nature, His power, His self-revelation; for everything conveyed to Him in His birth must be contained in that nature from which His birth is derived. Into His nature no element of any substance different in kind from that of His Author is introduced, for a nature which springs from one nature only must be entirely one with that nature which is its parent. An unity is that which, containing no discordant elements, is one in kind with itself; an unity constituted through birth cannot be solitary; for solitude can have but a single occupant, while an unity constituted through birth implies the conjunction of Two.
1. The Blessed Apostle Paul in laying down the form for appointing a bishop and creating by his instructions an entirely new type of member of the Church, has taught us in the following words the sum total of all the virtues perfected in him:-- "Holding fast the word according to the doctrine of faith that he may be able to exhort to sound doctrine and to convict gainsayers. For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers." [Titus 1:9-10]. For in this way he points out that the essentials of orderliness and morals are only profitable for good service in the priesthood if at the same time the qualities needful for knowing how to teach and preserve the faith are not lacking, for a man is not straightway made a good and useful pries by a merely innocent life or by a mere knowledge of preaching.
For an innocent minister is profitable to himself alone unless he be instructed also; while he that is instructed has nothing to support his teaching unless he be innocent. For the words of the Apostle do not merely fit a man for his life in this world by precepts of honesty and uprightness, nor on the other hand do they educate in expertness of teaching a mere Scribe of the Synagogue for the expounding of the Law: but the Apostle is training a leader of the Church, perfected by the perfect accomplishment of the greatest virtues, so that his life may be adorned by his teaching, and his teaching by his life. Accordingly he has provided Titus, the person to whom his words were addressed, with an injunction as to the perfect practice of religion to this effect:-- "In all things showing thyself an ensample of good works, teaching with gravity sound words that cannot be condemned, that the adversary may be ashamed, having nothing disgraceful or evil to say of us" [Titus 2:7-8].
This teacher of the Gentiles and elect doctor of the Church, from his consciousness of Christ who spoke and dwelt within him, knew well that the infection of tainted speech would spread abroad, and that the corruption of pestilent doctrine would furiously rage against the sound form of faithful words, and infusing the poison of its own evil tenets into the inmost soul, would creep on with deep-seated mischief. For it is of these that he says, "Whose word spreadeth like a cancer" [2 Timothy 2:17], tainting the health of the mind, invaded by it with a secret and stealthy contagion. For this reason, he wished that there should be in the bishop the teaching of sound words, a good conscience in the faith and expertness in exhortation to withstand wicked and false and wild gainsayings.
For there are many who pretend to the faith, but are not subject to the faith, and rather set up a faith for themselves than receive that which is given, being puffed up with the thoughts of human vanity, knowing the things they wish to know and unwilling to know the things that are true; since it is a mark of true wisdom sometimes to know what we do not like. However, this will-wisdom is followed by foolish preaching, for what is foolishly learnt must needs be foolishly preached. Yet how great an evil to those who hear is foolish preaching, when they are misled into foolish opinions by conceit of wisdom! And for this cause the Apostle described them thus: There are many unruly, vain talkers and deceivers. Hence we must utter our voice against arrogant wickedness and boastful arrogance and seductive boastfulness,-- yes, we must speak against such things through the soundness of our doctrine, the truth of our faith, the sincerity of our preaching, so that we may have the purity of truth and the truth of sound doctrine.
2. The reason why I have just mentioned this utterance of the Apostle is this; men of crooked minds and false professions, void of hope and venomous of speech, lay upon me the necessity of inveighing against them, because under the guise of religion they instill deadly doctrines, infectious thoughts and corrupt desires into the simple minds of their hearers. And this they do with an utter disregard of the true sense of the apostolic teaching, so that the Father is not a Father, nor the Son, Son, nor the Faith, the Faith. In resisting their wild falsehoods, we have extended the course of our reply so far, that after proving from the Law that God and God were distinct and that very God was in very God, we then showed from the teaching of evangelists and apostles the perfect and true birth of the Only-begotten God; and lastly, we pointed out in the due course of our argument that the Son of God is very God, and of a nature identical with the Father's, so that the faith of the Church should neither confess that God is single nor that there are two Gods.
For neither would the birth of God allow God to be solitary, nor would a perfect birth allow different natures to be ascribed to two Gods. Now in refuting their vain speaking we have a twofold object, first that we may teach what is holy and perfect and sound, and, that our discourse should not by straying through any by-paths and crooked ways, and struggling out of devious and winding tunnels, seem rather to search for the truth than declare it. Our second object is that we should reveal to the conviction of all men the folly and absurdity of those crafty arguments of their vain and deceitful opinions which are adapted to a plausible show of seductive truth. For it is not enough for us to have pointed out what things are good, unless they are understood to be absolutely good by our refutation of their opposites.
3. But as it is the nature and endeavor of the good and wise to prepare themselves wholly for securing either the reality or the opportunity of some precious hope lest their preparedness should in some respects fall short of that which they look for,-- so in like manner those who are filled with the madness of heretical frenzy make it their chiefest anxiety to labor with all the ingenuity of their impiety against the truth of pious faith, in order that against those who are religious they may establish their own irreligion; that they may surpass the hope of our life in the hopelessness of their own, and that they may spend more thought over false than we spend over true teaching. For against the pious assertions of our faith they have carefully devised such objections of their impious misbelief, as first to ask whether we believe in one God, next, whether Christ also be God, lastly, whether the Father is greater than the Son, in order that when they hear us confess that God is one they may use our reply to show that Christ cannot be God.
For they do not enquire concerning the Son whether He be God; all they wish for in asking questions about Christ is to prove that He is not a Son, that by entrapping men of simple faith they may through the belief in one God divert them from the belief in Christ as God, on the ground that God is no longer one if Christ also must be acknowledged as God. Again with what subtlety of worldly wisdom do they contend when they say, If God is one, whosoever that other shall be shown to be, he will not he God. For if there be another God He can no longer be one, since nature does not permit that where there is another there should be one only, or that where there is only one there should be another. Afterwards, when by the crafty cunning of this insidious argument they have misled those who are ready to believe and listen, they then apply this proposition (as if they could now establish it by an easier method), that Christ is God rather in name than in nature, because this generic name in Him can destroy in none that only true belief in one God: and they contend that through this the Father is greater than the Son, because, the natures being different, as there is but one God, the Father is greater from the essential character of His nature; and that the Other is only called Son while He is really a creature subsisting by the will of the Father, because He is less than the Father; and also that He is not God, because God being one does not admit of another God, since he who is less must necessarily be of a nature alien from that of the person who is greater. Again, how foolish they are in their attempts to lay down a law for God when they maintain that no birth can take place from one single being, because throughout the universe birth arises from the union of two; moreover, that the unchangeable God cannot accord from Himself birth to one who is born, because that which is changeless is incapable of addition, nor can the nature of a solitary and single being contain within itself the property of generation.
4. We, on the contrary, having by spiritual teaching arrived at the faith of the evangelists and apostles, and following after the hope of eternal blessedness by our confession of the Father and the Son, and having proved out of the Law the mystery of God and God, without overstepping the limits of our faith in one God, or failing to proclaim that Christ is God, have adopted this method of reply from the Gospels, that we declare the true nativity of Only-begotten God from God the Father, because that through this He was both very God and not alien from the nature of the One very God, and thus neither could His Godhead be denied nor Himself be described as another God, because while the birth made Him God, the nature within him of one God of God did not separate Him off as another God. And although our human reason led us to this conclusion, that the names of distinct natures could not meet together in the same nature, and not be one, where the essence of each did not differ in kind; nevertheless, it seemed good that we should prove this from the express sayings of our Lord, Who after frequently making known that the God of our faith and hope was One, in order to affirm the mystery of the One God, while declaring and proving His own Godhead, said, "I and the Father are one" [John 10:30]; and, "If ye had known Me, ye would have known My Father also" [John 8:19]; and, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father also" [John 14:9]; and, "Believe Me, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father: or else believe for the very works' sake" [John 14:11].
He has signified His own birth in the name Father, and declares that in the knowledge of Himself the Father is known. He avows the unity of nature, when those who see Him see the Father. He bears witness that He is indivisible from the Father, when He dwells in the Father Who dwells in Him. He possesses the confidence of self-knowledge when He demands credit for His words from the operations of His power. And thus in this most blessed faith of the perfect birth, every error, as well that of two Gods as of a single God, is abolished, since They Who are one in essence are not one person, and He Who is not one person with Him Who is, is yet so free from difference from Him that They Two are One God.
5. Now seeing that heretics cannot deny these things because they are so clearly stated and understood, they nevertheless pervert them by the most foolish and wicked lies so as afterwards to deny them. For the words of Christ, "I and the Father are one" [John 10:30], they endeavor to refer to a mere concord of unanimity, so that there may be in them a unity of will not of nature, that is, that they may be one not by essence of being, but by identity of will. And they apply to the support of their case the passage in the Acts of the Apostles, "Now of the multitude of them that believed the heart and soul were one" [Acts 4:32], in order to prove that a diversity of souls and hearts may be united into one heart and soul through a mere conformity of will.
Or else they cite those words to the Corinthians, "Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one" [1 Corinthians 3:8], to show that, since They are one in Their work for our salvation, and in the revelation of one mystery, Their unity is an unity of wills. Or again, they quote the prayer of our Lord for the salvation of the nations who should believe in Him: "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that shall believe on Me through their Word; that they all may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us" [John 17:20-21], to show that since men cannot, so to speak, be fused back into God or themselves coalesce into one undistinguished mass, this oneness must arise from unity of will, while all perform actions pleasing to God, and unite one with another in the harmonious accord of their thoughts, and that thus it is not nature which makes them one, but will.
6. He clearly knows not wisdom who knows not God. And since Christ is Wisdom [1 Corinthians 1:24] he must needs be beyond the pale of wisdom who knows not Christ or hates Him. As, for instance, they do who will have it that the Lord of Glory, and King of the Universe, and Only-begotten God is a creature of God and not His Son, and in addition to such foolish lies show a still more foolish cleverness in the defense of their falsehood. For even putting aside for a little that essential character of unity which exists in God the Father and God the Son, they can be refuted out of the very passages which they adduce.
7. For as to those whose soul and heart were one, I ask whether they were one through faith in God? Yes, assuredly, through faith, for through this the soul and heart of all were one. Again I ask, is the faith one or is there a second faith? One undoubtedly, and that on the authority of the Apostle himself, who proclaims one faith even as one Lord, and one baptism, and one hope, and one God [Ephesians 4:5-6]. If then it is through faith, that is, through the nature of one faith, that all are one, how is it that thou dost not understand a natural unity in the case of those who through the nature of one faith are one? For all were born again to innocence, to immortality, to the knowledge of God, to the faith of hope. And if these things cannot differ within themselves because there is both one hope and one God, as also there is one Lord and one baptism of regeneration; if these things are one rather by agreement than by nature, ascribe a unity of will to those also who have been born again into them. If, however, they have been begotten again into the nature of one life and eternity, then, inasmuch as their soul and heart are one, the unity of will fails to account for their case who are one by regeneration into the same nature.
8. These are not our own conjectures which we offer, nor do we falsely put together any of these things in order to deceive the ears of our hearers by perverting the meaning of words; but holding fast the form of sound teaching we know and preach the things which are true. For the Apostle shows that this unity of the faithful arises from the nature of the sacraments when be writes to the Galatians, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." [Galatians 3:27-28]. That these are one amid so great diversities of race, condition, sex,-- is it from an agreement of will or from the unity of the sacrament, since these have one baptism and have all put on one Christ? What, therefore, will a concord of minds avail here when they are one in that they have put on one Christ through the nature of one baptism?
9. Or, again, since he who plants and he who waters are one, are they not one because, being themselves born again in one baptism they form a ministry of one regenerating baptism? Do not they do the same thing? Are they not one in One? So they who are one through the same thing are one also by nature, not only by will, inasmuch as they themselves have been made the same thing and are ministers of the same thing and the same power.
10. Now the contradiction of fools always serves to prove their folly, because with regard to the faults which they contrive by the devices of an unwise or crooked understanding against the truth, while the latter remains unshaken and immovable the things which are opposed to it must needs be regarded as false and foolish. For heretics in their attempt to deceive others by the words, I and the Father are one, that there might not be acknowledged in them the unity and like essence of deity, but only a oneness arising from mutual love and an agreement of wills -- these heretics, I say, have brought forward an instance of that unity, as we have shown above, even from the words of our Lord, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us.
Every man is outside the promises of the Gospel who is outside the faith in them, and by the guilt of an evil understanding has lost all simple hope. For to know not what thou believest demands not so much excuse as a reward, for the greatest service of faith is to hope for that which thou knowest not. But it is the madness of most consummate wickedness either not to believe things which are understood or to have corrupted the sense in which one believes.
11. But although the wickedness of man can pervert his intellectual powers, nevertheless the words retain their meaning. Our Lord prays to His Father that those who shall believe in Him may be one, and as He is in the Father and the Father in Him, so all may be one in Them. Why dost thou bring in here an identity of mind, why a unity of soul and heart through agreement of will? For there would have been no lack of suitable words for our Lord, if it were will that made them one, to have prayed in this fashion,-- Father, as We are one in will, so may they also be one in will, that we may all be one through agreement. Or could it be that He Who is the Word was unacquainted with the meaning of words? and that He Who is Truth knew not how to speak the truth? and He Who is Wisdom went astray in foolish talk? and He Who is Power was compassed about with such weakness that He could not speak what He wished to be understood?
He has clearly spoken the true and sincere mysteries of the faith of the Gospel. And He has not only spoken that we may comprehend, He has also taught that we may believe, saying, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us. For those first of all is the prayer of whom it is said, That they all may be one. Then the promotion of unity is set forth by a pattern of unity, when He says, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, so that as the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, so through the pattern of this unity all might be one in the Father and the Son.
12. But because it is proper to the Father alone and the Son that They should be one by nature because God is from God, and the Only-begotten from the Unbegotten can subsist in no other nature than that of His origin; so that He Who was begotten should exist in the substance of His birth, and the birth should possess no other and different truth of deity than that from which it issued; for our Lord has left us in no doubt as to our belief by asserting throughout the whole of the discourse which follows the nature of this complete unity. For the next words are these, "That the world may believe that Thou didst send Me" [John 17:23]. Thus the world is to believe that the Son has been sent by the Father because all who shall believe in Him will be one in the Father and the Son.
And how they will be so we are soon told,-- "And the glory which Than hast given Me I have given unto them" [John 17:22]. Now I ask whether glory is identical with will, since will is an emotion of the mind while glory is an ornament or embellishment of nature. So then it is the glory received from the Father that the Son hath given to all who shall believe in Him, and certainly not will. Had this been given, faith would carry with it no requirement, for a necessity of will attached to us would also impose faith upon us. However He has shown what is effected by the bestowal of the glory received, That they may be one, even as We are one.
It is then with this object that the received glory was bestowed, that all might be one. So now all are one in glory, because the glory given is none other than that which was received: nor has it been given for any other cause than that all should be one. And since all are one through the glory given to the Son and by the Son bestowed upon believers, I ask how can the Son be of a different glory from the Father's, since the glory of the Son brings all that believe into the unity of the Father's glory. Now it may be that the utterance of human hope in this case may be somewhat immoderate, yet it will not be contrary to faith; for though to hope for this were presumptuous, yet not to have believed it is sinful, for we have one and the same Author both of our hope and of our faith.
We will treat of this matter more clearly and at greater length in its own place, as is fitting. Yet in the meantime it is easily seen from our present argument that this hope of ours is neither vain nor presumptuous. So then through the glory received and given all are one. I hold the faith and recognize the cause of the unity, but I do not yet understand how it is that the glory given makes all one.
13. Now our Lord has not left the minds of His faithful followers in doubt, but has explained the manner in which His nature operates, saying, "That they may be one, as We are one: I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in one." [John 17:22-23]. Now I ask those who bring forward a unity of will between Father and Son, whether Christ is in us today through verity of nature or through agreement of will. For if in truth the Word has been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that He abides in us naturally, Who, born as a man, has assumed the nature of our flesh now inseparable from Himself, and has conjoined the nature of His own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which His flesh is communicated to us?
For so are we all one, because the Father is in Christ and Christ in us. Whosoever then shall deny that the Father is in Christ naturally must first deny that either he is himself in Christ naturally, or Christ in him, because the Father in Christ and Christ in us make us one in Them. Hence, if indeed Christ has taken to Himself the flesh of our body, and that Man Who was born from Mary was indeed Christ, and we indeed receive in a mystery the flesh of His body -- (and for this cause we shall be one, because the Father is in Him and He in us), -- how can a unity of will be maintained, seeing that the special property of nature received through the sacrament is the sacrament of a perfect unity?
14. The words in which we speak of the things of God must be used in no mere human and worldly sense, nor must the perverseness of an alien and impious interpretation be extorted from the soundness of heavenly words by any violent and headstrong preaching. Let us read what is written, let us understand what we read, and then fulfill the demands of a perfect faith. For as to what we say concerning the reality of Christ's nature within us, unless we have been taught by Him, our words are foolish and impious. For He says Himself, "My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him." [John 6:55-56].
As to the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubt. For now both from the declaration of the Lord Himself and our own faith, it is verily flesh and verily blood. And these when eaten and drunk, bring it to pass that both we are in Christ and Christ in us. Is not this true? Yet they who affirm that Christ Jesus is not truly God are welcome to find it false. He therefore Himself is in us through the flesh and we in Him, whilst together with Him our own selves are in God.
15. Now how it is that we are in Him through the sacrament of the flesh and blood bestowed upon us, He Himself testifies, saying, "And the world will no longer see Me, but ye shall see Me ; because I live ye shall live also; because I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you." [John 14:19-20]. If He wished to indicate a mere unity of will, why did He set forth a kind of gradation and sequence in the completion of the unity, unless it were that, since He was in the Father through the nature of Deity, and we on the contrary in Him through His birth in the body, He would have us believe that He is in us through the mystery of the sacraments? and thus there might be taught a perfect unity through a Mediator, whilst, we abiding in Him, He abode in the Father, and as abiding in the Father abode also in us; and so we might arrive at unity with the Father, since in Him Who dwells naturally in the Father by birth, we also dwell naturally, while He Himself abides naturally in us also.
16. Again, how natural this unity is in us He has Himself testified on this wise,-- He who eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. For no man shall dwell in Him, save him in whom He dwells Himself, for the only flesh which He has taken to Himself is the flesh of those who have taken His. Now He had already taught before the sacrament of this perfect unity, saying, "As the living Father sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he that eateth My flesh shall himself also live through Me." [John 6:57]. So then He lives through the Father, and as He lives through the Father in like manner we live through His flesh.
For all comparison is chosen to shape our understanding, so that we may grasp the subject of which we treat by help of the analogy set before us. This is the cause of our life, that we have Christ dwelling within our carnal selves through the flesh, and we shall live through Him in the same manner as He lives through the Father. If, then, we live naturally through Him according to the flesh, that is, have partaken of the nature of His flesh, must He not naturally have the Father within Himself according to the Spirit since He Himself lives through the Father? And He lives through the Father because His birth has not implanted in Him an alien and different nature inasmuch as His very being is from Him yet is not divided from Him by any barrier of an unlikeness of nature, for within Himself He has the Father through the birth in the power of the nature.
17. I have dwelt upon these facts because the heretics falsely maintain that the union between Father and Son is one of will only, and make use of the example of our own union with God, as though we were united to the Son and through the Son to the Father by mere obedience and a devout will, and none of the natural verity of communion were vouchsafed us through the sacrament of the Body and Blood; although the glory of the Son bestowed upon us through the Son abiding in us after the flesh, while we are united in Him corporeally and inseparably, bids us preach the mystery of the true and natural unity.
18. So we have made our reply to the folly of our violent opponents, merely to prove the emptiness of their falsehoods and so prevent them from misleading the unwary by the error of their vain and foolish statements. But the faith of the Gospel did not of necessity require our answer. The Lord prayed on our behalf for our union with God, but God keeps His own unity and abides in it.
It is not through any mysterious appointment of God that they are one, but through a birth of nature, for God loses nothing in begetting Him from Himself. They are one, for the things which are not plucked out of His hand are not plucked out of the hand of the Father [John 10:28], for, when He is known, the Father is known, for, when He is seen, the Father is seen, for what He speaks the Father speaks as abiding in Him, for in His works the Father works, for He is in the Father and the Father in Him. This proceeds from no creation but from birth; it is not brought about by will but by power; it is no agreement of mind that speaks, it is nature; because to be created and to be born are not one and the same, any more than to will and to be able; neither is it the same thing to agree and to abide.
19. Thus we do not deny a unanimity between the Father and the Son,-- for heretics are accustomed to utter this falsehood, that since we do not accept concord by itself as the bond of unity we declare Them to be at variance. But let them listen how it is that we do not deny such a unanimity. The Father and the Son are one in nature, honor, power, and the same nature cannot will things that are contrary. Moreover, let them listen to the testimony of the Son as touching the unity of nature between Himself and the Father, for He says, "When that advocate is come, Whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth front the Father, He shall testify of Me." [John 15:26].
The Advocate shall come and the Son shall send Him from the Father, and He is the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth from the Father. Let the whole following of heretics arouse the keenest powers of their wit; let them now seek for what lies they can tell to the unlearned, and declare what that is which the Son sends from the Father. He Who sends manifests His power in that which He sends. But as to that which He sends from the Father, how shall we regard it, as received or sent forth or begotten? For His words that He will send from the Father must imply one or other of these modes of sending. And He will send from the Father that Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father; He therefore cannot be the Recipient, since He is revealed as the Sender. It only remains to make sure of our conviction on the point, whether we are to believe an egress of a co-existent Being, or a procession of a Being begotten.
20. For the present I forbear to expose their licence of speculation, some of them holding that the Paraclete Spirit comes from the Father or from the Son. For our Lord has not left this in uncertainty, for after these same words He spoke thus,--
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak from Himself: but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak; and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you." [John 16:13-15].
Accordingly He receives from the Son, Who is both sent by Him, and proceeds from the Father. Now I ask whether to receive from the Son is the same thing as to proceed from the Father. But if one believes that there is a difference between receiving from the Son and proceeding from the Father, surely to receive from the Son and to receive from the Father will be regarded as one and the same thing. For our Lord Himself says, Because He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. That which He will receive,-- whether it will be power, or excellence, or teaching,-- the Son has said must be received from Him, and again He indicates that this same thing must be received from the Father.
For when He says that all things whatsoever the Father hath are His, and that for this cause He declared that it must be received from His own, He teaches also that what is received from the Father is yet received from Himself, because all things that the Father hath are His. Such a unity admits no difference, nor does it make any difference from whom that is received, which given by the Father is described as given by the Son. Is a mere unity of will brought forward here also? All things which the Father hath are the Son's, and all things which the Son hath are the Father's. For He Himself saith, "And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine." [John 17:10].
It is not yet the place to show why He spoke thus, For He shall receive of Mine: for this points to some subsequent time, when it is revealed that He shall receive. Now at any rate He says that He will receive of Himself, because all things that the Father had were His. Dissever if thou canst the unity of the nature, and introduce some necessary unlikeness through which the Son may not exist in unity of nature. For the Spirit of truth proceedeth from the Father and is sent from the Father by the Son. All things that the Father hath are the Son's; and for this cause whatever He Who is to be sent shall receive, He shall receive from the Son, because all things that the Father hath are the Son's. The nature in all respects maintains its law, and because Both are One that same Godhead is signified as existing in Both through generation and nativity; since the Son affirms that that which the Spirit of truth shall receive from the Father is to be given by Himself. So the frowardness of heretics must not be allowed an unchecked licence of impious beliefs, in refusing to acknowledge that this saying of the Lord,-- that because all things which the Father hath are His, therefore the Spirit of truth shall receive of Him,-- is to be referred to unity of nature.
21. Let us listen to that chosen vessel and teacher of the Gentiles, when he had already commended the faith of the people of Rome because of their understanding of the truth. For wishing to teach the unity of nature in the case of the Father and the Son, he speaks thus,
"But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God is in you. But if any have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead through sin, but the Spirit is life through righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Christ from the dead dwelleth in you; He Who raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit Who dwelleth in you." [Romans 8:9-11].
We are all spiritual if the Spirit of God dwells in us. But this Spirit of God is also the Spirit of Christ, and though the Spirit of Christ is in us, yet His Spirit is also in us Who raised Christ from the dead, and He Who raised Christ from the dead shall quicken our mortal bodies also on account of His Spirit that dwelleth in us. We are quickened therefore on account of the Spirit of Christ that dwelleth in us, through Him Who raised Christ from the dead. And since the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, and yet the Spirit of Christ is in us, nevertheless the Spirit Which is in us cannot but be the Spirit of God.
Separate, then, O heretic, the Spirit of Christ from the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ raised from the dead from the Spirit of God Which raises Christ from the dead; when the Spirit of Christ that dwelleth in us is the Spirit of God, and when the Spirit of Christ Who was raised from the dead is yet the Spirit of God Who raises Christ from the dead.
22. And now I ask whether thou thinkest that in the Spirit of God is signified a nature or a property belonging to a nature. For a nature is not identical with a thing belonging to it, just as neither is a man identical with what belongs to a man, nor fire with what belongs to fire itself, and in like manner God is not the same as that which belongs to God.
23. For I am aware that the Son of God is revealed under the title Spirit of God in order that we may understand the presence of the Farther in Him, and that the term Spirit of God may be employed to indicate Either, and that this is shown not only on the authority of prophets but of evangelists also, when it is said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He hath anointed Me" [Luke 4:18]. And again, "Behold My Servant Whom I have chosen, My beloved in Whom My soul is well pleased, I will put My Spirit upon Him." [Matthew 12:18]. And when the Lord Himself bears witness of Himself, "But if I in the Spirit of God cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God come upon you." [Matthew 12:28]. For the passages seem without any doubt to denote either Father or Son, while they yet manifest the excellence of nature.
24. For I think that the expression 'Spirit of God' was used with respect to Each, lest we should believe that the Son was present in the Father or the Father in the Son in a merely corporeal manner, that is, lest God might be thought to abide in one position and exist nowhere else apart from Himself. For a man or any other thing like him, when he is in one place, cannot be in another, because what is in one place is confined to the place where it is: his nature cannot allow him to be everywhere when he exists in some one position. But God is a living Force, of infinite power, present everywhere and nowhere absent, and manifests His whole self through His own, and signifies that His own are naught else than Himself, so that where they are He may be understood to be Himself. Yet we must not think that, after a corporeal fashion, when He is in one place He ceases to be everywhere, for through His own things He is still present in all places, while the things which are His are none other than His own self. Now these things have been said to make us understand what is meant by 'nature.'
25. Now I think that it ought to be clearly understood that God the Father is denoted by the Spirit of God, because our Lord Jesus Christ declared that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him since He anoints Him and sends Him to preach the Gospel. For in Him is made manifest the excellence of the Father's nature, disclosing that the Son partakes of His nature even when born in the flesh through the mystery of this spiritual unction; since after the birth ratified in His baptism this intimation of His inherent Sonship was heard as a voice bore witness from Heaven:-- "Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee." [Psalm 2:7, Luke 3:22]. For not even He Himself can be understood as resting upon Himself or coming to Himself from Heaven, or as bestowing on Himself the title of Son: but all this demonstration was for our faith, in order that under the mystery of a complete and true birth we should recognize that the unity of the nature dwells in the Son Who had begun to be also man.
We have thus found that in the Spirit of God the Father is designated; but we understand that the Son is indicated in the same way, when He says: But if I in the Spirit of God cast out devils, then has the kingdom of God come upon you. That is, He shows clearly that He, by the power of His nature, casts out devils, which cannot be cast out save by the Spirit of God. The phrase 'Spirit of God' denotes also the Paraclete Spirit, and that not only on the testimony of prophets but also of apostles, when it is said:-- "This is that which was spoken through the Prophet, It shall come to pass on the last day, saith the Lord, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy." [Acts 2:17]. And we learn that all this prophecy was fulfilled in the case of the Apostles, when, after the sending of the Holy Spirit, they all spoke with the tongues of the Gentiles.
26. Now we have of necessity set these things forth with this object, that in whatever direction the deception of heretics betakes itself, it might yet be kept in check by the boundaries and limits of the gospel truth. For Christ dwells in us, and where Christ dwells God dwells. And when the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, this indwelling means not that any other Spirit dwells in us than the Spirit of God. But if it is understood that Christ dwells in us through the Holy Spirit, we must yet recognize this Spirit of God as also the Spirit of Christ. And since the nature dwells in us as the nature of one substantive Being, we must regard the nature of the Son as identical with that of the Father, since the Holy Spirit Who is both the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God is proved to be a Being of one nature.
I ask now, therefore, how can They fail to be one by nature? The Spirit of Truth proceeds from the Father, He is sent by the Son and receives from the Son. But all things that the Father hath are the Son's, and for this cause He Who receives from Him is the Spirit of God but at the same time the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit is a Being of the nature of the Son but the same Being is of the nature of the Father. He is the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead; but this is no other than the Spirit of Christ Who was so raised. The nature of Christ and of God must differ in some respect so as not to be the same, if it can be shown that the Spirit which is of God is not the Spirit of Christ also.
27. But you, heretic, as you wildly rave and are driven about by the Spirit of your deadly doctrine the Apostle seizes and constrains, establishing Christ for us as the foundation of our faith, being well aware also of that saying of our Lord, "If a man love Me, he will also keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." [John 14:23]. For by this He testified that while the Spirit of Christ abides in us the Spirit of God abides in us, and that the Spirit of Him that was raised from the dead differs not from the Spirit of Him that raised Him from the dead. For they come and dwell in us: and I ask whether they will come as alleged, associated together and make Their abode, or in unity of nature?
Nay, the teacher of the Gentiles contends that it is not two Spirits -- the Spirits of God and of Christ -- that are present in those who believe, but the Spirit of Christ which is also the Spirit of God. This is no joint indwelling, it is one indwelling: yet an indwelling under the mysterious semblance of a joint indwelling, for it is not the case that two Spirits indwell, nor is one that indwells different from the other. For there is in us the Spirit of God and there is also in us the Spirit of Christ, and when the Spirit of Christ is in us there is also in us the Spirit of God. And so since what is of God is also of Christ, and what is of Christ is also of God, Christ cannot be anything different from what God is. Christ, therefore, is God, one Spirit with God.
28. Now the Apostle asserts that those words in the Gospel, I and the Father are one, imply unity of nature and not a solitary single Being, as he writes to the Corinthians, "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man in the Spirit of God calleth Jesus anathema." [1 Corinthians 12:3]. Perceivest thou now, O heretic, in what spirit thou callest Christ a creature? For since they are under a curse who have served the creature more than the Creator -- in affirming Christ to be a creature, learn what thou art, since thou knowest full well that the worship of the creature is accursed. And observe what follows, "And no one can call Jesus Lord, but in the Holy Spirit." [1 Corinthians 12:3].
Dost thou perceive what is lacking to thee, when thou deniest Christ what is His own? If thou holdest that Christ is Lord through His Divine nature, thou hast the Holy Spirit. But if He be Lord merely by a name of adoption thou lackest the Holy Spirit, and art animated by a spirit of error: because no one can call Jesus Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. But when thou sayest that He is a creature rather than God, although thou stylest Him Lord, still thou dost not say that He is the Lord. For to thee He is Lord as one of a common class and by a familiar name, rather than by nature. Yet learn from Paul His nature.
29. For the Apostle goes on to say, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but there is the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministrations but one and the same Lord; and there are diversities of workings but the same God, Who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for that which profiteth." [1 Corinthians 12:4-7]. In this passage before us we perceive a fourfold statement: in the diversity of gifts it is the same Spirit, in the diversity of ministrations it is the very same Lord, in the diversity of workings it is the same God, and in the bestowal of that which is profitable there is a manifestation of the Spirit. And in order that the bestowal of what is profitable might be recognized in the manifestation of the Spirit, he continues: "To one indeed is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith in the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing in the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." [1 Corinthians 12:8-10].
30. And indeed that which we called the fourth statement, that is the manifestation of the Spirit in the bestowal of what is profitable, has a clear meaning. For the Apostle has enumerated the profitable gifts through which this manifestation of the Spirit took place. Now in these diverse activities that Gift is set forth in no uncertain light of which our Lord had spoken to the apostles when He taught them not to depart from Jerusalem; "...but wait, said He, for the promise of the Father which ye heard from My lips: for John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, which ye shall also receive not many days hence." [Acts 1:4-5]. And again: "But ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost cometh upon you; and ye shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." [Acts 1:8].
He bids them wait for the promise of the Father of which they had heard from His lips. We may be sure that here we have a reference to the Father's same promise. Hence it is by these miraculous workings that the manifestation of the Spirit takes place. For the gift of the Spirit is manifest, where wisdom makes utterance and the words of life are heard, and where there is the knowledge that comes of God-given insight, lest after the fashion of beasts through ignorance of God we should fail to know the Author of our life; or by faith in God, lest by not believing the Gospel of God, we should be outside His Gospel; or by the gift of healings, that by the cure of diseases we should bear witness to His grace Who bestoweth these things; or by the working of miracles, that what we do may be understood to be the power of God, or by prophesy, that through our understanding of doctrine we might be known to be taught of God; or by discerning of spirits, that we should not be unable to tell whether any one speaks with a holy or a perverted spirit; or by kinds of tongues, that the speaking in tongues may be bestowed as a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit; or by the interpretation of tongues, that the faith of those that hear may not be imperilled through ignorance, since the interpreter of a tongue explains the tongue to those who are ignorant of it. Thus in all these things distributed to each one to profit withal there is the manifestation of the Spirit, the gift of the Spirit being apparent through these marvellous advantages bestowed upon each.
31. Now the blessed Apostle Paul in revealing the secret of these heavenly mysteries, most difficult to human comprehension, has preserved a clear enunciation and a carefully worded caution in order to show that these diverse gifts are given through the Spirit and in the Spirit (for to be given through the Spirit and in the Spirit is not the same thing), because the granting of a gift which is exercised in the Spirit is yet bestowed through the Spirit. But he sums up these diversities of gifts thus: "Now all these things worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one as He will." [1 Corinthians 12:11].
Now, therefore, I ask what Spirit works these things, dividing to each one according as He wills: is it He by Whom or He in Whom there is this distribution of gifts? But if any one shall dare to say that it is the same Person which is indicated, the Apostle will refute so faulty an opinion, for he says above, And there are diversities of workings, but the same God Who worketh all things in all. So there is one Who distributes and another in Whom the distribution is vouchsafed. Yet know that it is always God Who worketh all these things, but in such a way that Christ works, and the Son in His working performs the Father's work. And if in the Holy Spirit thou confessest Jesus to be Lord, understand the force of that threefold indication in the Apostle's letter; forasmuch as in the diversities of gifts, it is the same Spirit, and in the diversities of ministrations it is the same Lord, and in the diversities of workings it is the same God; and again, one Spirit that worketh all things distributing to each according as He will. And grasp the idea if thou canst that the Lord in the distribution of ministrations, and God in the distribution of workings, are this one and the same Spirit Who both works and distributes as He will; because in the distribution of gifts there is one Spirit, and the same Spirit works and distributes.
32. But if this one Spirit of one Divinity, one in both God and Lord through the mystery of the birth, does not please thee, then point out to me what Spirit both works and distributes these diverse gifts to us, and in what Spirit He does this. But, thou must show me nothing but what accords with our faith, because the Apostle shows us Who is to be understood, saying, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." [1 Corinthians 12:12]. He affirms that diversities of gifts come from one Lord Jesus Christ Who is the body of all. Because after he had made known the Lord in ministration, and made known also God in workings, he yet shows that one Spirit both works and distributes all these things, distributing these varieties of His gracious gifts for the perfecting of one body.
33. Unless perchance we think that the Apostle did not keep to the principle of unity in that he said, And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord, and there are diversities of workings, but the same God. So that because he referred ministrations to the Lord and workings to God, be does not appear to have understood one and the same Being in ministrations and operations. Learn how these members which minister are also members which work, when he says, Ye are the body of Christ, and of Him members indeed. For God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, in whom is the word of wisdom; secondly prophets, in whom is the gift of knowledge thirdly teachers, in whom is the doctrine of faith; next mighty works, among which are the healing of diseases, the power to help, governments by the prophets, and gifts of either speaking or interpreting, divers kinds of tongues.
Clearly these are the Church's agents of ministry and work of whom the body of Christ consists; and God has ordained them. But perhaps thou maintainest that they have not been ordained by Christ, because it was God Who ordained them. But thou shall hear what the Apostle says himself: "Now to each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ." [Ephesians 4:7]. And again, "He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens that He might fill all things. And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministering." [Ephesians 4:10-11]. Are not then the gifts of ministration Christ's, while they are also the gifts of God?
34. But if impiety has assumed to itself that because he says, The same Lord and the same God, they are not in unity of nature, I will support this interpretation with what you deem still stronger arguments. For the same Apostle says, "But for us there is one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him." [1 Corinthians 8:6]. And again, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is both through all, and in us all." [Ephesians 4:5-6]. By these words one God and one Lord it would seem that to God only is attributed, as to one God, the property of being God; since the property of oneness does not admit of partnership with another.
Verily how rare and hard to attain are such spiritual gifts! How truly is the manifestation of the Spirit seen in the bestowal of such useful gifts! And with reason has this order in the distribution of graces been appointed, that the foremost should be the word of wisdom; for true it is, And no one can call Jesus Lord but in the Holy Spirit, because but through this word of wisdom Christ could not be understood to be Lord; that then there should follow next the word of understanding, that we might speak with understanding what we know, and might know the word of wisdom; and that the third gift should consist of faith, seeing that those leading and higher graces would be unprofitable gifts did we not believe that He is God. So that in the true sense of this greatest and most noble utterance of the Apostle no heretics possess either the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge or the faith of religion, inasmuch as willful wickedness, being incapable of understanding, is void of knowledge of the word and of genuineness of faith.
For no one utters what he does not know; nor can he believe that which he cannot utter; and thus when the Apostle preached one God, a proselyte as He was from the Law, and called to the gospel of Christ, he has attained to the confession of a perfect faith. And lest the simplicity of a seemingly unguarded statement might afford heretics any opportunity for denying through the preaching of one God the birth of the Son, the Apostle has set forth one God while indicating His peculiar attribute in these words, One God the Father, of Whom are all thing, and we in Him, in order that He Who is God might also be acknowledged as Father. Afterwards, inasmuch as this bare belief in one God the Father would not suffice for salvation, he added, And one, our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and we through Him, showing that the purity of saving faith consists in the preaching of one God and one Lord, so that we might believe in one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ. For he knew full well how our Lord had said, "For this is the will of My Father, that every one that seeth the Son and believeth on Him should have eternal life." [John 6:40]. But in fixing the order of the Church's faith, and basing our faith upon the Father and the Son, he has uttered the mystery of that indivisible and indissoluble unity and faith in the words one God and one Lord.
35. First of all, then, O heretic that hast no part in the Spirit which spoke by the Apostle, learn thy folly. If thou wrongly employest the confession of one God to deny the Godhead of Christ, on the ground that where one God exists He must be regarded as solitary, and that to be One is characteristic and peculiar to Him Who is One,-- what sense wilt thou assign to the statement that Jesus Christ is one Lord? For if, as thou assertest, the fact that the Father alone is God has not left to Christ the possibility of Godhead, it must needs be also according to thee that the fact of Christ being one Lord does not leave God the possibility of being Lord, seeing that thou wilt have it that to be One must be the essential property of Him Who is One. Hence if thou deniest that the one Lord Christ is also God, thou must needs deny that the one God the Father is also Lord. And what will the greatness of God amount to if He be not Lord, and the power of the Lord if He be not God: since it (viz., the greatness or power) causes that to be God which is Lord, and makes that Lord which is God?
36. Now the Apostle, maintaining the true sense of the Lord's saying, I and the Father are one, whilst He asserts that Both are One, signifies that Both are One not after the manner of the soleness of a single being, but in the unity of the Spirit; for one God the Father and one Christ the Lord, since Each is both Lord and God, do not yet admit in our creed either two Gods or two Lords. So then Each is one, and though one, neither is sole. We shall not be able to express the mystery of the faith except in the words of the Apostle. For there is one God and one Lord, and the fact that there is one God and one Lord proves that there is at once Lordship in God, and Godhead in the Lord. Thou canst not maintain a union of person, so making God single; nor yet canst thou divide the Spirit, so preventing the Two from being One.
Nor in the one God and one Lord wilt thou be able to separate the power, so that He Who is Lord should not also be God, and He Who is God should not also be Lord. For the Apostle in the enunciation of the Names has taken care not to preach either two Gods or two Lords. And for this reason he has employed such a method of teaching as in the one Lord Christ to set forth also one God, and in the one God the Father to set forth also one Lord. And, not to misguide us into the blasphemy that God is solitary, which would destroy the birth of the Only-begotten God, he has confessed both Father and Christ.
37. Unless perchance the frenzy of utter desperation will venture to rush to such lengths that, inasmuch as the Apostle has called Christ Lord, no one ought to acknowledge Him as aught else save Lord, and that because He has the property of Lord He has not the true Godhead. But Paul knows full well that Christ is God, for he says, "Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, Who is God over all." [Romans 9:5]. It is no creature here who is reckoned as God; nay, it is the God of things created Who is God over all.
38. Now that He Who is God over all is also Spirit inseparable from the Father, learn also from that very utterance of the Apostle, of which we are now speaking. For when he confessed one God the Father from Whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through Whom are all things; what difference, I ask, did he intend by saying that all things are from God and that all things are through Christ? Can He possibly be regarded as of a nature and spirit separable from Himself, He from Whom and through Whom are all things? For all things have come into being through the Son out of nothing, and the Apostle has referred them to God the Father, from Whom are all things, but also to the Son, through Whom are all things. And I find here no difference, since by Each is exercised the same power.
For if with regard to the subsistence of the universe it was an exact sufficient statement that things created are from God, what need was there to state that the things which are from God are through Christ, unless it be one and the same thing to be through Christ and from God? But as it has been ascribed to Each of Them that They are Lord and God in such wise that each title belongs to Both, so too from Whom and through Whom is here referred to Both; and this to show the unity of Both, not to make known God's singleness. The language of the Apostle affords no opening for wicked error, nor is his faith too exalted for careful statement. For he has guarded himself by those specially appropriate words from being understood to mean two Gods or a solitary God: for while he rejects oneness of person he yet does not divide the unity of Godhead. For this from Whom are all things and through Whom are all things, although it did not posit a solitary Deity in the sole possession of majesty, must yet set forth One not different in efficiency, since from Whom are all things and through Whom are all things must signify an Author of the same nature engaged in the same work.
He affirms, moreover, that Each is properly of the same nature. For after announcing the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, and after asserting the mystery of His inscrutable judgments and avowing our ignorance of His ways past finding out, he has yet made use of the exercise of human faith, and rendered this homage to the depth of the unsearchable and inscrutable mysteries of heaven, "For of Him and through Him and in Him are all things: to Him be glory for ever. Amen." [Romans 11:36]. He employs to indicate the one nature, that which cannot but be the work of one nature.
39. For whereas he has specially ascribed to God that all things are from Him, and he has assigned as a peculiar property to Christ, that all things are through Him, and it is now the glory of God that from Him and through Him and in Him are all things; and whereas the Spirit of God is the same as the Spirit of Christ, or whereas in the ministration of the Lord and in the working of God, one Spirit both works and divides, They cannot but be one Whose properties are those of one; since in the same Lord the Son, and in the same God the Father, one and the same Spirit distributing in the same Holy Spirit accomplishes all things. How worthy is this saint of the knowledge of exalted and heavenly mysteries, adopted and chosen to share in the secret things of God, preserving a due silence over things which may not be uttered, true apostle of Christ! How by the announcement of his clear teaching has he restrained the imaginations of human willfulness, confessing, as he does, one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ, so that meanwhile no one can either preach two Gods or one solitary God; although He Who is not one person cannot multiply into two Gods, nor on the other hand can They Who are not two Gods be understood to be one single person; while meantime the revelation of God as Father demonstrates the true nativity of Christ.
40. Thrust out now your quivering and hissing tongues, ye vipers of heresy, whether it be thou Sabellius or thou Photinus, or ye who now preach that the Only-begotten God is a creature. Whosoever denies the Son shall hear of one God the Father, because inasmuch as a father becomes a father only by having a son, this name Father necessarily connotes the existence of the Son. And again, let him who takes away from the Son the unity of an identical nature, acknowledge one Lord Jesus Christ. For unless through unity of the Spirit He is one Lord room will not be left for God the Father to be Lord. Again, let him who holds the Son to have become Son in time and by His Incarnation, learn that through Him are all things and we through Him, and that His timeless Infinity was creating all things before time was. And meanwhile let him read again that there is one hope of our calling, and one baptism, and one faith; if, after that, he oppose himself to the preaching of the Apostle, he, being accursed because he framed strange doctrines of his own device, is neither called nor baptized nor believing; because in one God the Father and in one Lord Jesus Christ there lies the one faith of one hope and baptism. And no alien doctrine can boast that it has a place among the truths which belong to one God and Lord and hope and baptism and faith.
41. So then the one faith is, to confess the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father through the unity of an indivisible nature, not confused but inseparable, not intermingled but identical, not conjoined but coexisting, not incomplete but perfect. For there is birth not separation, there is a Son not an adoption; and He is God, not a creature. Neither is He a God of a different kind, but the Father and Son are one: for the nature was not altered by birth so as to be alien from the property of its original. So the Apostle holds the faith of the Son abiding in the Father and the Father in the Son when he proclaims that for him there is one God the Father and one Lord Christ, since in Christ the Lord there was also God, and in God the Father there was also Lord, and They Two are that unity which is God, and They Two are also that unity which is the Lord, for reason indicates that there must be something imperfect in God unless He be Lord, and in the Lord unless He were God. And so since Both are one, and Both are implied under either name, and neither exists apart from the unity, the Apostle has not gone beyond the preaching of the Gospel in his teaching, nor does Christ when He speaks in Paul differ from the words which He spoke while abiding in the world in bodily form.
42. For the Lord had said in the gospels, "Work not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which abideth unto life eternal, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for Him the Father, even God, hath sealed. They said therefore unto Him, What must we do that we may work the works of God? And He said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent." [John 6:27-29]. In setting forth the mystery of His Incarnation and His Godhead our Lord has also uttered the teaching of our faith and hope that we should work for food, not that which perisheth but that which abideth for ever; that we should remember that this food of eternity is given us by the Son of Man; that we should know the Son of Man as sealed by God the Father; that we should know that this is the work of God, even faith in Him Whom He has sent.
And Who is it Whom the Father has sent? Even He Whom the Father has sealed. And Who is He Whom the Father has sealed? In truth, the Son of Man, even He who gives the food of eternal life. And further who are they to whom He gives it? They who shall work for the food that does not perish. Thus, then, the work for this food is at the same time the work of God, namely, to believe on Him Whom He has sent. But these words are uttered by the Son of Man. And how shall the Son of Man give the food of life eternal? Why, he knows not the mystery of his own salvation, who knows not that the Son of Man, bestowing food unto life eternal, has been sealed by God the Father. At this point I now ask in what sense are we to understand that the Son of Man has been sealed by God the Father?
43. Now we ought to recognize first of all that God has spoken not for Himself but for us, and that He has so far tempered the language of His utterance as to enable the weakness of our nature to grasp and understand it. For after being rebuked by the Jews for having made Himself the equal of God by professing to be the Son of God, He had answered that He Himself did all things that the Father did, and that He had received all judgment from the Father; moreover that He must be honored even as the Father. And in all these things having before declared Himself Son, He had made Himself equal to the Father in honor, power and nature.
Afterwards He had said that as the Father had life in Himself, so He had given the Son to have life in Himself, wherein He signified that by virtue of the mystery of the birth He possessed the unity of the same nature. For when He says that He has what the Father has, He means that He has the Father's self. For that God is not after human fashion of a composite being, so that in Him there is a difference of kind between Possessor and Possessed; but all that He is is life, a nature, that is, complete, absolute and infinite, not composed of dissimilar elements but with one life permeating the whole. And since this life was in such wise given as it was possessed, although the fact that it was given manifestly reveals the birth of the Recipient, it yet does not involve a difference of kind since the life given was such as was possessed.
44. Therefore after this manifold and precise revelation of the presence of the Father's nature in Himself, He goes on to say, "For Him hath the Father sealed, even God." [John 6:27]. It is the nature of a seal to exhibit the whole form of the figure graven upon it, and that an impression taken from it reproduces it in every respect; and since it receives the whole of that which is impressed, it displays also in itself wholly whoever has been impressed upon it. Yet this comparison is not adequate to exemplify the Divine birth, because in seals there is a matter, difference of nature, and an act of impression, whereby the likeness of stronger natures is impressed upon things of a more yielding nature.
But the Only-begotten God, Who was also through the mystery of our salvation the Son of Man, desiring to point out to us the likeness of His Father's proper nature in Himself, said that He was sealed by God; because the Son of Man was about to give the food of eternal life, and that we thereby might perceive in Him the power of giving food unto eternity, in that He possessed within Himself all the fullness of His Father's form, even of the God Who sealed Him: so that what God had sealed should display in itself none other than the form of the God Who sealed it. These things indeed the Lord spoke to the Jews, who could not receive His saying because of unbelief.
45. But in us the preacher of the Gospel by the Spirit of Christ Who spoke through him, instills the knowledge of this His proper nature when he says, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to grasp at that He was equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant." [Philippians 2:6-7]. For He, Whom God had sealed, could be naught else than the form of God, and that which has been sealed in the form of God must needs present at the same time imaged forth within itself all that God possesses. And for this cause the Apostle taught that He Whom God sealed is God abiding in the form of God. For when about to speak of the Mystery of the body assumed and born in Him, he says, He thought it not a thing to grasp at that He was equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. As regards His being in the form of God, by virtue of God's seal upon Him, he still remained God. But inasmuch as He was to take the form of a servant and become obedient unto death, not grasping at His equality with God, He emptied Himself through obedience to take the form of a slave. And He emptied Himself of the form of God, that is, of that wherein He was equal with God -- not that He regarded His equality with God as any encroachment,-- although He was in the form of God and equal with God and sealed by God as God.
46. At this point I ask whether He Who abides as God in the form of God is a God of another kind, as we perceive in the case of seals in respect of the likenesses which stamp and those which are stamped, since a steel die impressed upon lead or a gem upon wax shapes the figure cut in it or imprints that which stands in relief upon it. But if there be any one so foolish and senseless as to think that that, pertaining to Himself, which God fashions to be God, is aught but God, and that He Who is in the form of God is in any respect anything else save God after the mystery of His Incarnation and of His humility, made perfect through obedience even unto the death of the cross, he shall hear, by the confession of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth and of every tongue, that Jesus is in the glory of God the Father. If then, when His form had become that of a slave He abides in such glory, how, I ask, did He abide when in the form of God? Must not Christ the Spirit have been in the nature of God -- for this is what is meant by 'in the glory of God' -- when Christ as Jesus, that is, born as man, exists in the glory of God the Father?
47. In all things the blessed Apostle preserves the unchangeable teaching of the Gospel faith. The Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed as God in such wise that neither does the Apostle's faith, by calling Him a God of a different order, fall away to the confession of two Gods, nor by making God the Son inseparable from the Father does it leave an opening for the unholy doctrine of a single and solitary God.
For when he says, in the form of God and in the glory of the Father the Apostle neither teaches that They differ one from another, nor allows us to think of Him as not existing. For He Who is in the form of God neither ends by becoming another God nor Himself loses His Godhead: for He cannot be severed from the form of God since He exists in it, nor is He, Who is in the form of God, not God. Just as He Who is in the glory of God cannot be aught else than God, and, since He is God in the glory of God, cannot be proclaimed as another god and one different from the true God, seeing that by reason of the fact that He is in the glory of God He possesses naturally from Him in Whose glory He is, the property of divinity.
48. But there is no danger that the one faith will cease to be such through diversity in its preaching. The Evangelist had taught that our Lord said, "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also." [John 14:9]. But has Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles, forgotten or kept back the meaning of the Lord's words, when he says, "Who is the image of the invisible God" [Colossians 1:15]? I ask whether He is the visible likeness of the invisible God, and whether the infinite God can also be presented to view under the likeness of a finite form? For a likeness must needs repeat the form of that of which it is the likeness.
Let those, however, who will have a nature of a different sort in the Son determine what sort of likeness of the invisible God they wish the Son to be. Is it a bodily likeness exposed to the gaze, and moving from place to place with human gait and motion? Nay, but let them remember that according to the Gospels and the Prophets both Christ is a Spirit and God is a Spirit. If they confine this Christ the Spirit within the bounds of shape and body, such a corporeal Christ will not be the likeness of the invisible God, nor will a finite limitation represent that which is infinite.
49. But, as it is, neither did the Lord leave us in doubt: He who hath seen Me, hath seen the Father also; nor was the Apostle silent as to His nature, Who is the image of the invisible God. For the Lord had said, "If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not" [John 10:37], teaching them to see the Father in Himself in that He did the works of the Father; that through perceiving the power of His nature they might understand the nature of that power which they perceived. Wherefore the Apostle proclaiming that this is the image of God, says,
Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in Him were all things made in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and for Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell, and through Him all things should be reconciled to Him." [Colossians 1:15-20].
So through the power of these works He is the image of God. For assuredly the Creator of things invisible is not compelled by any necessity inherent in His nature to be the visible image of the invisible God. And lest He should be regarded as the likeness of the form and not of the nature, He is styled the likeness of the invisible God in order that we may understand by His exercise of the powers (not the invisible attributes) of the Divine nature, that that nature is in Him.
50. He is accordingly the first-born of every creature because in Him all things were created. And lest any one should dare to refer to any other than Him the creation of all things in Himself, he says, All things have been created through Him and in Him, and He is before all, and far Him all things consist. All things then consist for Him Who is before all things, and in Whom are all things. Now this indeed describes the origin of created things. But concerning the dispensation by which He assumed our body, he adds, And He is the head of the body, the Church: Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead: that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell, and that through Him all things should be reconciled to Him.
The Apostle has assigned to the spiritual mysteries their material effects. For He Who is the image of the invisible God is Himself the head of His body, the Church, and He Who is the first-born of every creature is at the same time the beginning, the first born from the dead: that in all things He might have the pre-eminence, being for us the Body, while He is also the image of God, since He, Who is the first-born of created things, is at the same time the first-born for eternity; so that as to Him things spiritual, being created in the First-born, owe it that they abide, even so all things human also owe it to Him that in the First-born from the dead they are born again into eternity. For He is Himself the beginning, Who as Son is therefore the image, and because the image, is of God.
Further He is the first-born of every created thing, possessing in Himself the origin of the universe: and again He is the head of His body, the Church, and the first-born from the dead, so that in all things He has the pre-eminence. And because all things consist for Him, in Him the fullness of the Godhead is pleased to dwell, for in Him all things are reconciled through Him to Him, through Whom all things were created in Himself.
51. Do you now perceive what it is to be the image of God? It means that all things are created in Him through Him. Whereas all things are created in Him, understand that He, Whose image He is, also creates all things in Him. And since all things which are created in Him are also created through Him, recognize that in Him Who is the image there is present the nature of Him, Whose image He is. For through Himself He creates the things which are created in Him, just as through Himself all things are reconciled in Him.
Inasmuch as they are reconciled in Him, recognize in Him the nature of the Father's unity, reconciling all things to Himself in Him. Inasmuch as all things are reconciled through Him, perceive Him reconciling to the Father in Himself all things which He reconciled through Himself. For the same Apostle says, "But all things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." [2 Corinthians 5:18-19]. Compare with this the whole mystery of the faith of the Gospel. For He Who is seen when Jesus is seen, Who works in His works, and speaks in His words, also reconciles in His reconciliation. And for this cause, in Him and through Him there is reconciliation, because the Father abiding in Him through a like nature restored the world to Himself by reconciliation through and in Him.
52. Thus God out of regard for human weakness has not set forth the faith in bare and uncertain statements. For although the authority of our Lord's mere words of itself compelled their acceptance, He nevertheless has informed our reason by a revelation which explains their meaning, that we might learn to know His words, I and the Father are one, by means of that which was itself the cause of the unity in question. For in saying that the Father speaks in His words, and works through His working, and judges through His judgment, and is seen in His manifestation, and reconciles through His reconciliation, and abides in Him, while He in turn abides in the Father,-- what more fitting words, I ask, could He have employed in His teaching to suit the faculties of our reason, that we might believe in Their unity, than those by which, through the truth of the birth and the unity of the nature, it is declared that whatever the Son did and said, the Father said and did in the Son?
This says nothing of a nature foreign to Himself, or added by creation to God, or born into Godhead by a partition of God, but it betokens the divinity of One Who by a perfect birth is begotten perfect God, Who has so confident an assurance of His nature that He says, I in the Father and the Father in Me, and again, "All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine." [John 16:15]. For nought of the Godhead is lacking in Him, in Whose working and speaking and manifestation God works and speaks and is beheld. They are not two Gods, Who in their working and words and manifestation put on a semblance of unity. Neither is He a solitary God. Who in the works and words and sight of God, Himself worked and spoke and was seen as God. The Church understands this. The Synagogue does not believe, philosophy does not know, that being One of One, Whole of Whole, God and Son, He has neither by His birth deprived the Father of His completeness, nor failed to possess the same completeness in Himself by right of His birth. And whosoever is caught in this folly of unbelief is a disciple either of the Jews or of the heathen.
53. Now that you may understand the saying of the Lord, when He said, All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine, learn the teaching and faith of the Apostle who said, "Take heed lest any lead you astray through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world and not after Christ; for in Him dwelleth the fullness of Godhead bodily." [Colossians 2:8-9]. That man is of the world and savors of the teaching of men and is the victim of philosophy, who does not know Christ to be the true God, who does not recognize in Him the fullness of Godhead. The mind of man knows only that which it understands, and the world's powers of belief are limited, since it judges according to the laws of the material elements that that alone is possible which it can see or do.
For the elements of the world have come into being out of nothing, but Christ's continuity of existence did not begin in the non-existent, nor did He ever begin to exist, but He took from the beginning a beginning which is eternal. The elements of the world are either without life, or have issued out of this stage into life, but Christ is life, born to be living God from the living God. The elements of the world have been established by God, but they are not God: Christ as God of God is Himself wholly all that God is. The elements of the world, since they are within it, cannot possibly rise out of their condition and cease to be within it, but Christ, while having God within Himself through the Mystery, is Himself in God. The elements of the universe, generating from themselves creatures with a life like their own, do indeed through the exercise of their bodily functions bestow upon them from their own bodies the beginnings of life, but they are not themselves present as living beings in their offspring, whereas in Christ all the fullness of the Godhead is present in bodily shape.
54. Now I ask, whose Godhead is it whereof the fullness dwells in Him? If it be not that of the Father, what other God do you, misleading preacher of one God, thrust upon me as Him Whose Godhead dwells fully in Christ? But if it be that of the Father, inform me how this fullness dwells in Him in bodily fashion. If you hold that the Father abides in the Son in bodily fashion, the Father, while dwelling in the Son, will not exist in Himself. If on the other hand, and this is more true, the Godhead abiding in Him in bodily shape displays within Him the verity of the nature of God from God, inasmuch as God is in Him, abiding neither through condescension nor through will but by birth, true and wholly in bodily fullness according as He is; and inasmuch as, in the whole compass of His being, He was born by His divine birth to be God, and within the Godhead there is no difference or dissimilarity, except that in Christ He dwells in bodily form, and yet whatever dwells in Him bodily is according to the fullness of Godhead; why follow after the doctrines of men? Why cleave to the teaching of empty falsehoods? Why talk of 'agreement' or 'harmony of will' or 'a creature?' The fullness of Godhead dwells in Christ bodily.
55. The Apostle has herein held fast to the canon of his faith, by teaching that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ bodily; and this, in order that the teaching of the faith might not degenerate into an unholy profession of a oneness of Persons or sinful frenzy break forth into the belief of two different natures. For the fullness of Godhead which dwells in Christ in bodily fashion is neither solitary nor separable; for the fullness in bodily form does not admit any partition from the other-bodily fullness, and the indwelling Godhead cannot be regarded as also the dwelling-place of the Godhead. And Christ is so constituted that the fullness of Godhead dwells in Him in bodily fashion, and that this fullness must be held one in nature with Christ. Lay hands on every chance that offers for your quibbles, sharpen the points of your blasphemous wit. Name, at least, the imaginary being whose fullness of Godhead it is which dwells in Christ in bodily fashion. For He is Christ, and there is dwelling in Him in bodily fashion the fullness of Godhead.
56. And if you would know what it is to 'dwell in bodily fashion,' understand what it is to speak in one that speaks, to be seen in one who is seen, to work in one who works, to be God in God, whole of whole, one of one; and thus learn what is meant by the fullness of God in bodily shape. Remember, too, that the Apostle does not keep silence on the question, whose Godhead it is, which dwells fully in Christ in bodily fashion, for he says, "For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity." [Romans 1:20]. So it is His Godhead that dwells in Christ in bodily fashion, not partially but wholly, not parcelwise but in fullness; and so dwelling that the Two are one, and so one, that the One Who is God does not differ from the Other Who is God: Both so equally divine, as a perfect birth engendered perfect God. And the birth exists thus in its perfection, because the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in God born of God.