N WHICH HE DEFENDS, IN ALL ESSENTIAL POINTS, THE DOCTRINE OF
THE HOLY TRINITY.
[TRANSLATED BY DR. HOLMES.]
CHAP. I.—SATAN’S WILES AGAINST THE TRUTH. HOW THEY TAKE THE FORM OF THE PRAXEAN HERESY. ACCOUNT OF THE pUBLICATION OF THIS HERESY.
IN various ways has the devil rivalled and resisted the truth. Sometimes his aim has been to destroy the truth by defending it. He maintains that there is one only Lord, the Almighty Creator of the world, in order that out of this doctrine of the unity he may fabricate a heresy. He says that the Father Himself came down into the Virgin, was Himself born of her, Himself suffered, indeed was Himself Jesus Christ. Here the old serpent has fallen out with himself, since, when he tempted Christ after John’s baptism, he approached Him as “the Son of God;” surely intimating that God had a Son, even on the testimony of the very Scriptures, out of which he was at the moment forging his temptation: “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”3 Again: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence;4 for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee”—referring no doubt, to the Father—“and in their hands they shall bear thee up, that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone.”5 Or perhaps, after all, he was only reproaching the Gospels with a lie, saying in fact: “Away with Matthew; away with Luke! Why heed their words? In spite of them, I declare that it was God Himself that I approached; it was the Almighty Himself that I tempted face to face; and it was for no other purpose than to tempt Him that I approached Him. If, on the contrary, it had been only the Son of God, most likely I should never have condescended to deal with Him.” However, he is himself a liar from the beginning,6 and whatever man he instigates in his own way; as, for instance, Praxeas. For he was the first to import into Rome from Asia this kind of heretical pravity, a man in other respects of restless disposition, and above all inflated with the pride of confessorship simply and solely because he had to bear for a short time the annoyance of a prison; on which occasion, even “if he had given his body to be burned, it would have profiled him nothing,” not having the love of God,7 whose very gifts he has resisted and destroyed. For after the Bishop of Rome8 had acknowledged the prophetic gifts of Montanus, Prisca, and Maximilla, and, in consequence of the acknowledgment, had bestowed his peace9 on the churches of Asia and Phrygia, he, by importunately urging false accusations against the prophets themselves and their churches, and insisting on the authority of the bishop’s predecessors in the see, compelled him to recall the pacific letter which he had issued, as well as to desist from his purpose of acknowledging the said gifts. By this Praxeas did a twofold service for the devil at Rome: he drove away prophecy, and he brought in heresy; he put to flight the Paraclete, and he crucified the Father. Praxeas’ tares had been moreover sown, and had produced their fruit here also,10 while many
were asleep in their simplicity of doctrine; but these tares actually seemed to have been plucked up, having been discovered and exposed by him whose agency God was pleased to employ. Indeed, Praxeas had deliberately resumed his old (true) faith, teaching it after his renunciation of error; and there is his own handwriting in evidence remaining among the carnally-minded,1 in whose society the transaction then took place; afterwards nothing was heard of him. We indeed, on our part, subsequently withdrew from the carnally-minded on our acknowledgment and maintenance of the Paraclete.2 But the tares of Praxeas had then everywhere shaken out their seed, which having lain hid for some while, with its vitality concealed under a mask, has now broken out with fresh life. But again shall it be rooted up, if the Lord will, even now; but if not now, in the day when all bundles of tares shall be gathered together, and along with every other stumbling-block shall be burnt up with unquenchable fire.3
CHAP. II.—THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY AND UNITY, SOMETIMES CALLED THE DIVINE ECONOMY, OR DISPENSATION OF THE PERSONAL RELATIONS OF THE GODHEAD.
In the course of time, then, the Father forsooth was born, and the Father suffered,God Himself, the Lord Almighty, whom in their preaching they declare to be Jesus Christ. We, however, as we indeed always have done and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth), believe that there is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or
CHAP. III.—SUNDRY POPULAR FEARS AND PREJUDICES. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY IN UNITY RESCUED FROM THESE MISAPPREHENSIONS.
The simple, indeed, (I will not call them unwise and unlearned,) who always constitute
the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation1 (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world’s plurality of gods to the one only true God; not understanding that, although He is the one only God, He must yet be believed in with His own
CHAP. IV.—THE UNITY OF THE GODHEAD AND THE SUPREMACY AND SOLE GOVERNMENT OF THE DIVINE BEING. THE MONARCHY NOT AT ALL IMPAIRED BY THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE.
But as for me, who derive the Son from no other source but from the substance of the Father, and (represent Him) as doing nothing without the Father’s will, and as having received all power from the Father, how can I be possibly destroying the Monarchy from the faith, when I preserve it in the Son just as it was committed to Him by the Father? The same remark (I wish also to be formally) made by me with respect to the third degree in the Godhead, because I believe the Spirit to proceed from no other source than from the Father through the Son.9 Look to it then, that it be not you rather who are destroying the Monarchy, when you overthrow the arrangement and dispensa-
tion of it, which has been constituted in just as many names as it has pleased God to employ. But it remains so firm and stable in its own state, notwithstanding the introduction into it of the Trinity, that the Son actually has to restore it entire to the Father; even as the apostle says in his epistle, concerning the very end of all: “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; for He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet;”1 following of course the words of the Psalm: “Sit Thou on my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.”2 “When, however, all things shall be subdued to Him, (with the exception of Him who did put all things under Him,) then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”3 We thus see that the Son is no obstacle to the Monarchy, although it is now administered by4 the Son; because with the Son it is still in its own state, and with its own state will be restored to the Father by the Son. No one, therefore, will impair it, on account of admitting the Son (to it), since it is certain that it has been committed to Him by the Father, and by and by has to be again delivered up by Him to the Father. Now, from this one passage of the epistle of the inspired apostle, we have been already able to show that the Father and the Son are two separate Persons, not only by the mention of their separate names as Father and the Son, but also by the fact that He who delivered up the kingdom, and He to whom it is delivered up—and in like manner, He who subjected (all things), and He to whom they were subjected—must necessarily be two different Beings.
CHAP. V.—THE EVOLUTION OF THE SON OR WORD OF GOD FROM THE FATHER BY A DIVINE PROCESSION. ILLUSTRATED BY THE OPERATION OF THE HUMAN THOUGHT AND CONSCIOUSNESS.
But since they will have the Two to be but One, so that the Father shall be deemed to be the same as the Son, it is only right that the whole question respecting the Son should be examined, as to whether He exists, and who He is and the mode of His existence. Thus shall the truth itself5 secure its own sanction6 from the Scriptures, and the interpretations which guard7 them. There are some who allege that even Genesis opens thus in Hebrew: “In the beginning God made for Himself a Son.”8 As there is no ground for this, I am led to other arguments derived from God’s own dispensation,9 in which He existed before the creation of the world, up to the generation of the Son. For before all things God was alone—being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was He alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness)10 which the Greeks call
versing with yourself, this very process is carried on within you by your reason, which meets you with a word at every movement of your thought, at every impulse of your conception. Whatever you think, there is a word; whatever you conceive, there is reason. You must needs speak it in your mind; and while you are speaking, you admit speech as an interlocutor with you, involved in which there is this very reason, whereby, while in thought you are holding converse with your word, you are (by reciprocal action) producing thought by means of that converse with your word. Thus, in a certain sense, the word is a second person within you, through which in thinking you utter speech, and through which also, (by reciprocity of process,) in uttering speech you generate thought. The word is itself a different thing from yourself. Now how much more fully is all this transacted in God, whose image and likeness even you are regarded as being, inasmuch as He has reason within Himself even while He is silent, and involved in that Reason His Word! I may therefore without rashness first lay this down (as a fixed principle) that even then before the creation of the universe God was not alone, since He had within Himself both Reason, and, inherent in Reason, His Word, which He made second to Himself by agitating it within Himself.
CHAP. VI.—THE WORD OF GOD IS ALSO THE WISDOM OF GOD. THE GOING FORTH OF WISDOM TO CREATE THE UNIVERSE, ACCORDING TO THE DIVINE PLAN.
This power and disposition1 of the Divine Intelligence2 is set forth also in the Scriptures under the name of
CHAP. VII.—THE SON BY BEING DESIGNATED WORD AND WISDOM, (ACCORDING TO THE IMPERFECTION OF HUMAN THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE) LIABLE TO BE DEEMED A MERE ATTRIBUTE. HE IS SHOWN TO BE A PERSONAL BEING.
Then, therefore, does the Word also Himself assume His own form and glorious garb,6 His own sound and vocal utterance, when God says, “Let there be light.”7 This is the perfect nativity of the Word, when He proceeds forth from God—formed8 by Him first to devise and think out all thinks under the name of Wisdom—“The Lord created or formed9 me as the beginning of His ways;”10 then afterward begotten, to carry all into effect—“When He prepared the heaven, I was present with Him.”11 Thus does He make Him equal to Him: for by proceeding from Himself He became His first-begotten Son, because begotten before all things;12 and His only-begotten also, because alone begotten of God, m a way peculiar to Himself, from the womb of His own heart—even as the Father Himself testifies: “My heart,” says He, “hath emitted my most excellent Word.”13 The father took pleasure evermore in Him, who equally rejoiced with a reciprocal gladness in the Father’s presence: “Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten Thee;”14 even before the morning star did I
beget Thee. The Son likewise acknowledges the Father, speaking in His own person, under the name of Wisdom: “The Lord formed Me as the beginning of His ways, with a view to His own works; before all the hills did He beget Me.”1 For if indeed Wisdom in this passage seems to say that She was created by the Lord with a view to His works, and to accomplish His ways, yet proof is given in another Scripture that “all things were made by the Word, and without Him was there nothing made;”2 as, again, in another place (it is said), “By His word were the heavens established, and all the powers thereof by His Spirit”3—that is to say, by the Spirit (or Divine Nature) which was in the Word: thus is it evident that it is one and the same power which is in one place described under the name of Wisdom, and in another passage under the appellation of the Word, which was initiated for the works of God? which “strengthened the heavens;”5 “by which all things were made,”6 “and without which nothing was made.”7 Nor need we dwell any longer on this point, as if it were not the very Word Himself, who is spoken of under the name both of Wisdom and of Reason, and of the entire Divine Soul and Spirit. He became also the Son of God, and was begotten when He proceeded forth from Him. Do you then, (you ask,) grant that the Word is a certain substance, constructed by the Spirit and the communication of Wisdom? Certainly I do. But you will not allow Him to be really a substantive being, by having a substance of His own; in such a way that He may be regarded as an objective thing and a person, and so be able (as being constituted second to God the Father,) to make two, the Father and the Son, God and the Word. For you will say, what is a word, but a voice and sound of the mouth, and (as the grammarians teach) air when struck against,8 intelligible to the ear, but for the rest a sort of void, empty, and incorporeal thing. I, on the contrary, contend that nothing empty and void could have come forth from God, seeing that it is not put forth from that which is empty and void; nor could that possibly be devoid of substance which has proceeded from so great a substance, and has produced such mighty substances: for all things which were made through Him, He Himself (personally) made. How could it be, that He Himself is nothing, without whom nothing was made? How could He who is empty have made things which are solid, and He who is void have made things which are full, and He who is incorporeal have made things which have body? For although a thing may sometimes be made different from him by whom it is made, yet nothing can be made by that which is a void and empty thing. Is that Word of God, then, a void and empty thing, which is called the Son, who Himself is designated God? “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”9 It is written, “ Thou shalt not take God’s name in vain.”10 This for certain is He “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”11 In what form of God? Of course he means in some form, not in none. For who will deny that God is a body, although “GOd is a Spirit?”12 For Spirit has a bodily substance of its own kind, in its own form.13 Now, even if invisible things, whatsoever they be, have both their substance and their form in God, whereby they are visible to God alone, how much more shall that which has been sent forth from His substance not be without substance! Whatever, therefore, was the substance of the Word that I designate a Person, I claim for it the name of Son; and while I recognize the Son, I assert His distinction as second to the Father.14
CHAP.VIII.—THOUGH THE SON OR WORD OF GOD EMANATES FROM THE FATHER, HE IS NOT, LIKE THE EMANATIONS OF VALENTINUS, SEPARABLE FROM THE FATHER. NOR IS THE HOLY GHOST SEPARABLE FROM EITHER. ILLUSTRATIONS FROM NATURE.
If any man from this shall think that I am introducing some
terfeit. Was the Word of God put forth or not? Here take your stand with me, and flinch not. If He was put forth, then acknowledge that the true doctrine has a prolation;1 and never mind heresy, when in any point it mimics the truth. The question now is, in what sense each side uses a given thing and the word which expresses it. Valentinus divides and separates his prolations from their Author, and places them at so great a distance from Him, that the AEon does not know the Father: he longs, indeed, to know Him, but cannot; nay, he is almost swallowed up and dissolved into the rest of matter.2 With us, however, the Son alone knows the Father,3 and has Himself unfolded “the Father’s bosom.”4 He has also heard and seen all things with the Father; and what He has been commanded by the Father, that also does He speak.5 And it is not His own will, but the Father’s, which He has accomplished,6 which He had known most intimately, even from the beginning. “For what man knoweth the things which be in God, but the Spirit which is in Him?”7 But the Word was formed by the Spirit, and (if I may so express myself) the Spirit is the body of the Word. The Word, therefore, is both always in the Father, as He says, “I am in the Father;”8 and is always with God, according to what is written, “And the Word was with God;”9 and never separate from the Father, or other than the Father, since “I and the Father are one.”10 This will be the prolation, taught by the truth,11 the guardian of the Unity, wherein we declare that the Son is a prolation from the Father, without being separated from Him. For God sent forth the Word, as the Paraclete also declares, just as the root puts forth the tree, and the fountain the river, and the sun the ray.12 For these are
CHAP. IX.—THE CATHOLIC RULE OF FAITH EXPOUNDED IN SOME OF ITS POINTS. ESPECIALLY IN THE UNCONFUSED DISTINCTION OF THE SEVERAL PERSONS OF THE BLESSED TRINITY.
Bear always in mind that this is the rule of faith which I profess; by it I testify that the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and so will you know in what sense this is said. Now, observe, my assertion is that the Father is one, and the Son one, and the Spirit one, and that They are distinct from Each Other. This statement is taken in a wrong sense by every uneducated as well as every perversely disposed person, as if it predicated a diversity, in such a sense as to imply a separation among the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. I am, moreover, obliged to say this, when (extolling the Monarchy at the expense of the Economy) they contend for the identity of the Father and Son and Spirit, that it is not by way of diversity that the Son differs from the Father, but by distribution: it is not by division that He is different, but by distinction; because the Father is not the same as the Son, since they differ one from the other in the mode of their being.15 For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation
and portion of the whole,x as He Himself acknowledges: “My Father is greater than I.”1 In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels.”3 Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and He who is begotten is another; He, too, who sends is one, and He who is sent is another; and He, again, who makes is one, and He through whom the thing is made is another. Happily the Lord Himself employs this expression of the person of the Paraclete, so as to signify not a division or severance, but a disposition (of mutual relations in the Godhead); for He says, “I will pray the Father, and He shall send you another Comforter. … even the Spirit of truth,”4 thus making the Paraclete distinct from Himself, even as we say that the Son is also distinct from the Father; so that He showed a third degree in the Paraclete, as we believe the second degree is in the Son, by reason of the order observed in the Economy. Besides, does not the very fact that they have the distinct names of Father and San amount to a declaration that they are distinct in personality?5 For, of course, all things will be what their names represent them to be; and what they are and ever will be, that will they be called; and the distinction indicated by the names does not at all admit of any confusion, because there is none in the things which they designate. “Yes is yes, and no is no; for what is more than these, cometh of evil.”6
CHAP. X.—THE VERY NAMES OF FATHER AND SON PROVE THE PERSONAL DISTINCTION OF THE TWO. THEY CANNOT POSSIBLY BE IDENTICAL, NOR IS THEIR IDENTITY NECESSARY TO PRESERVE THE DIVINE MONARCHY.
So it is either the Father or the Son, and the day is not the same as the night; nor is the Father the same as the Son, in such a way that Both of them should be One, and One or the Other should be Both,—an opinion which the most conceited “Monarchians” maintain. He Himself, they say, made Himself a Son to Himself.7 Now a Father makes a Son, and a Son makes a Father;2 and they who thus become reciprocally related out of each other to each other cannot in any way by themselves simply become so related to themselves, that the Father can make Himself a Son to Himself, and the Son render Himself a Father to Himself. And the relations which God establishes, them does He also guard. A father must needs have a son, in order to be a father; so likewise a son, to be a son, must have a father. It is, however, one thing to have, and another thing to be. For instance, in order to be a husband, I must have a wife; I can never myself be my own wife. In like manner, in order to be a father, I have a son, for I never can be a son to myself; and in order to be a son, I have a father, it being impossible for me ever to be my own father. And it is these relations which make me (what I am), when I come to possess them: I shall then be a father, when I have a son; and a son, when I have a father. Now, if I am to be to myself any one of these relations, I no longer have what I am myself to be: neither a father, because I am to be my own father; nor a son, because I shall be my own son. Moreover, inasmuch as I ought to leave one of these relations in order to be the other; so, if I am to be both together, I shall fail to be one while I possess not the other. For if I must be myself my son, who am also a father, I now cease to have a son, since I am my own son. But by reason of not having a son, since I am my own son, how can I be a father? For I ought to have a son, in order to be a father. Therefore I am not a son, because I have not a father, who makes a son. In like manner, if I am myself my father, who am also a son, I no longer have a father, but am myself my father. By not having a father, however, since I am my own father, how can I be a son? For I ought to have a father, in order to be a son. I cannot therefore be a father, because I have not a son, who makes a father. Now all this must be the device of the devil—this excluding and severing one from the other—since by including both together in one under pretence of the Monarchy, he causes neither to be held and acknowledged, so that He is not the Father, since indeed He has not the Son; neither is He the Son, since in like manner He has not the Father: for while He is the Father, He will not be the Son. In this way they hold the Monarchy, but they hold neither the Father nor the Son. Well, but “with God nothing is impossible.”9 True enough; who can be
ignorant of it? Who also can be unaware that “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God?”1 The foolish things also of the world hath God chosen to confound the things which are wise.”2 We have read it all. Therefore, they argue, it was not difficult for God to make Himself both a Father and a Son, contrary to the condition of things among men. For a barren woman to have a child against nature was no difficulty with God; nor was it for a virgin to conceive. Of course nothing is “too hard for the Lord.”3 But if we choose to apply this principle so extravagantly and harshly in our capricious imaginations, we may then make out God to have done anything we please, on the ground that it was not impossible for Him to do it. We must not, however, because He is able to do all things suppose that He has actually done what He has not done. But we must inquire whether He has really done it. God could, if He had liked, have furnished man with wings to fly with, just as He gave wings to kites. We must not, however, run to the conclusion that He did this because He was able to do it. He might also have extinguished Praxeas and all other heretics at once; it does not follow, however, that He did, simply because He was able. For it was necessary that there should be both kites and heretics; it was necessary also that the Father should be crucified.4 In one sense there will be something difficult even for God—namely, that which He has not done—-not because He could not, but because He would not, do it. For with God, to be willing is to be able, and to be unwilling is to be unable; all that He has willed, however, He has both been able to accomplish, and has displayed His ability. Since, therefore, if God had wished to make Himself a Son to Himself, He had it in His power to do so; and since, if He had it in His power, He effected His purpose, you will then make good your proof of His power and His will (to do even this) when you shall have proved to us that He actually did it.
CHAP.XI.—THE IDENTITY OF THE FATHER AND THESON, AS PRAXEAS HELD IT, SHOWN TO BE FULL OF PERPLEXITY AND ABSURDITY. MANY SCRIPTURES QUOTED IN PROOF OF THE DISTINCTION OF THE DIVINE PERSONS OF THE TRINITY.
It will be your duty, however, to adduce your proofs out of the Scriptures as plainly as we do, when we prove that He made His Word a Son to Himself. For if He calls Him Son, and if the Son is none other than He who has proceeded from the other Himself, and if the Word has proceeded from the Father Himself, He will then be the Son, and not Himself from whom He proceeded. For the Father Himself did not proceed from Himself. Now, you who say that the Father is the same as the Son, do really make the same Person both to have sent forth from Himself (and at the same time to have gone out from Himself as) that Being which is God. If it was possible for Him to have done this, He at all events did not do it. You must bring forth the proof which I require of you—one like my own; that is, (you must prove to me) that the Scriptures show the Son and the Father to be the same, just as on our side the Father and the Son are demonstrated to be distinct; I say distinct, but not separate:5 for as on my part I produce the words of God Himself, “My heart hath emitted my most excellent Word,”6 so you in like manner ought to adduce in opposition to me some text where God has said, “My heart hath emitted Myself as my own most excellent Word,” in such a sense that He is Himself both the Emitter and the Emitted, both He who sent forth and He who was sent forth, since He is both the Word and God. I bid you also observe,7 that on my side I advance the passage where the Father said to the Son, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.”8 If you want me to believe Him to be both the Father and the Son, show me some other passage where it is declared, “The Lord said unto Himself, I am my own Son, to-day have I begotten myself;” or again, “Before the morning did I beget myself;”9 and likewise, “I the Lord possessed Myself the beginning of my ways for my own works; before all the hills, too, did I beget myself; “10 and whatever other passages are to the same effect. Why, moreover, could God the Lord of all things, have hesitated to speak thus of Himself, if the fact had been so? Was He afraid of not being believed, if He had m so many words declared Himself to be both the Father and the Son? Of one thing He was at any rate afraid—of lying. Of Himself, too, and of His own truth, was He afraid. Believing Him, therefore, to be the true God, I am sure that He declared nothing to exist in any other way than according to His own dispensation and arrangement, and that He had arranged nothing in any other way than ac-
cording to His own declaration. On your side, however, you must make Him out to be a liar, and an impostor, and a tamperer with His word, if, when He was Himself a Son to Himself, He assigned the part of His Son to be played by another, when all the Scriptures attest the clear existence of, and distinction in (the Persons of) the Trinity, and indeed furnish us with our Rule of faith, that He who speaks; and He of whom He speaks, and to whom He speaks, cannot possibly seem to be One and the Same. So absurd arid misleading a statement would be unworthy of God, that, widen it was Himself to whom He was speaking, He speaks rather to another, and not to His very self. Hear, then, other utterances also of the Father concerning the Son by the mouth of Isaiah: “Behold my Son, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom I am well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. “1 Hear also what He says to the Son: “Is it a great thing for Thee, that Thou shouldest be called my Son to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the dispersed of Israel? I have given Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be their salvation to the end of the earth. “2 Hear now also the Son’s utterances respecting the Father: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel unto men.”3 He speaks of Himself likewise to the Father in the Psalm: “Forsake me not until I have declared the might of Thine arm to all the generation that is to come. “4 Also to the same purport in another Psalm: “O Lord, how are they increased that trouble me !”5 But almost all the Psalms which prophesy of6 the person of Christ, represent the Son as conversing with the Father—that is, represent Christ (as speaking) to God. Observe also the Spirit speaking of the Father and the Son, in the character of7 a third Person: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. “2 Likewise in the words of Isaiah: “Thus saith the Lord to the Lord9 mine Anointed. “10 Likewise, in the same prophet, He says to the Father respecting the Son: “Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We brought a report concerning Him, as if He were a little child, as if He were a root in a dry ground, who had no form nor comeliness.”11 These are a few testimonies out of many; for we do not pretend to bring up all the passages of Scripture, because we have a tolerably large accumulation of them in the various heads of our subject, as we in our several chapters call them in as our witnesses in the fulness of their dignity and authority.12 Still, in these few quotations the distinction of Persons in the Trinity is clearly set forth. For there is the Spirit Himself who speaks, and the Father to whom He speaks, and the Son of whom He speaks.13 In the same manner, the other passages also establish each one of several Persons in His special character—addressed as they in some cases are to the Father or to the Son respecting the Son, in other cases to the Son or to the Father concerning the Father, and again in other instances to the (Holy) Spirit.
CHAP. XII.—OTHER QUOTATIONS FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE ADDUCED IN PROOF OF THE PLURALITY OF PERSONS IN THE GODHEAD.
If the number of the Trinity also offends you, as if it were not connected in the simple Unity, I ask you how it is possible for a Being who is merely and absolutely One and Singular, to speak in plural phrase, saying, “Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness;”14 whereas He ought to have said, “Let me make man in my own image, and after my own likeness,” as being a unique and singular Being? In the following passage, however, “Behold the man is become as one of us,”15 He is either deceiving or amusing us in speaking plurally, if He is One only and singular. Or was it to the angels that He spoke, as the Jews interpret the passage, because these also acknowledge not the Son? Or was it because He was at once the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, that He spoke to Himself in plural terms, making Himself plural on that very account? Nay, it was because He had already His Son close at His side, as a second Person, His own Word, and a third Person also, the Spirit in the Word, that He purposely adopted the plural phrase, “Let us make;” and, “in our image;” and, “become as one of us.” For with whom did He make man? and to whom did He make him like? (The answer must be), the Son on
the one hand, who was one day to put on human nature; and the Spirit on the other, who was to sanctify man. With these did He then speak, in the Unity of the Trinity, as with His ministers and witnesses In the following text also He distinguishes among the Persons: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him.”1 Why say “image of God?” Why not “His own image” merely, if He was only one who was the Maker, and if there was not also One in whose image He made man? But there was One in whose image God was making man, that is to say, Christ’s image, who, being one day about to become Man (more surely and more truly so), had already caused the man to be called His image, who was then going to be formed of clay—the image and similitude of the true and perfect Man. But in respect of the previous works of the world what says the Scripture? Its first statement indeed is made, when the Son has not yet appeared: “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.”2 Immediately there appears the Word, “that true light, which lighteth man on his coming into the world,”3 and through Him also came light upon the world.4 From that moment God willed creation to be effected in the Word, Christ being present and ministering unto Him: and so God created. And God said, “Let there be a firmament, … and God made the firmament;”5 and God also said. “Let there be lights (in the firmament); and so God made a greater and a lesser light.”6 But all the rest of the created things did He in like manner make, who made the former ones—I mean the Word of God. “through whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made.”7 Now if He too is God, according to John, (who says.) “The Word was God,”8 then you have two Beings—One that commands that the thing be made. and the Other that executes the order and creates. In what sense, however, you ought to understand Him to be another. I have already explained, on the ground of Personality, not of Substance—in the way of distinction, not of division.9 But although I must everywhere hold one only substance in three coherent and inseparable (Persons), yet I am bound to acknowledge, from the necessity of the case, that He who issues a command is different from Him who executes it. For, indeed, He would not be issuing a command if He were all the while doing the work Himself, while ordering it to be done by the second.10 But still He did issue the command, although He would not have intended to command Himself if He were only one; or else He must have worked without any command, because He would not have waited to command Himself.
CHAP. XIII.—THE FORCE OF SUNDRY PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE ILLUSTRATED IN RELATION TO THE PLURALITY OF PERSONS AND UNITY OF SUBSTANCE. THERE IS NO POLYTHEISM HERE, SINCE THE UNITY IS INSISTED ON AS A REMEDY AGAINST POLYTHEISM.
Well then, you reply, if He was God who spoke, and He was also God who created, at this rate, one God spoke and another created; (and thus) two Gods are declared. If you are so venturesome and harsh, reflect a while; and that you may think the better and more deliberately, listen to the psalm in which Two are described as God: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a sceptre of righteousness. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee or made Thee His Christ.”11 Now, since He here speaks to God, and affirms that God is anointed by God, He must have affirmed that Two are God, by reason of the sceptre’s royal power. Accordingly, Isaiah also says to the Person of Christ: “The Sabaeans, men of stature, shall pass over to Thee; and they shall follow after Thee, bound in fetters; and they shall worship Thee, because God is in Thee: for Thou art our God, yet we knew it not; Thou art the God of Israel.”12 For here too, by saying, “God is in Thee, and “Thou art God,” he sets forth Two who were God: (in the former expression in Thee, he means) in Christ, and (in the other he means) the Holy Ghost. That is a still grander statement which you will find expressly made in the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”13 There was One “who was,” and there was another “with whom” He was. But I find in Scripture the name LORD also applied to them Both: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand.”14 And Isaiah says this: “Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”15 Now he would
most certainly have said Thine Arm, if he had not wished us to understand that the Father is Lord, and the Son also is Lord. A much more ancient testimony we have also in Genesis: “Then the Lord rained upon Sodore and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”1 Now, either deny that this is Scripture; or else (let me ask) what sort of man you are, that you do not think words ought to be taken and understood in the sense in which they are written, especially when they are not expressed in allegories and parables, but in determinate and simple declarations? If, indeed, you follow those who did not at the time endure the Lord when showing Himself to be the Son of God, because they would not believe Him to be the Lord, then (I ask you)call to mind along with them the passage where it is written, “I have said, Ye are gods, and ye are children of the Most High;”2 and again, “God standeth in the congregation of gods;”3 in order that, if the Scripture has not been afraid to designate as gods human beings, who have become sons of God by faith, you may be sure that the same Scripture has with greater propriety conferred the name of the Lord on the true and one-only Son of God. Very well! you say, I shall challenge you to preach from this day forth (and that, too, on the authority of these same Scriptures) two Gods and two Lords, consistently with your views. God forbid, (is my reply.) For we, who by the grace of God possess an insight into both the times and the occasions of the Sacred Writings, especially we who are followers of the Paraclete, not of human teachers, do indeed definitively declare that Two Beings are God, the Father and the Son, and, with the addition of the Holy Spirit, even Three, according to the principle of the divine economy, which introduces number, in order that the Father may not, as you perversely infer, be Himself believed to have been born and to have suffered, which it is not lawful to believe, forasmuch as it has not been so handed down. That there are, however, two Gods or two Lords, is a statement which at no time proceeds out of our mouth: not as if it were untrue that the Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and each is God; but because in earlier times Two were actually spoken of as God, and two as Lord, that when Christ should come He might be both acknowledged as God and designated as Lord, being the Son of Him who is both God and Lord. Now, if there were found in the Scriptures but one Personality of Him who is God and Lord, Christ would justly enough be inadmissible to the title of God and Lord: for (in the Scriptures) there was declared to be none other than One God and One Lord, and it must have followed that the Father should Himself seem to have come down (to earth), inasmuch as only One God and One Lord was ever read of (in the Scriptures), and His entire Economy would be involved in obscurity, which has been planned and arranged with so clear a foresight in His providential dispensation as matter for our faith. As soon, however, as Christ came, and was recognised by us as the very Being who had from the beginning4 caused plurality5 (in the Divine Economy), being the second from the Father, and with the Spirit the third, and Himself declaring and manifesting the Father more fully (than He had ever been before), the title of Him who is God and Lord was at once restored to the Unity (of the Divine Nature), even because the Gentiles would have to pass from the multitude of their idols to the One Only God, in order that a difference might be distinctly settled between the worshippers of One God and the votaries of polytheism. For it was only right that Christians should shine in the world as “children of light,” adoring and invoking Him who is the One God and Lord as “the light of the world.” Besides, if, from that perfect knowledge6 which assures us that the title of God and Lord is suitable both to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, we were to invoke a plurality of gods and lords, we should quench our torches, and we should become less courageous to endure the martyr’s sufferings, from which an easy escape would everywhere lie open to us, as soon as we swore by a plurality of gods and lords, as sundry heretics do, who hold more gods than One. I will therefore not speak of gods at all, nor of lords, but I shall follow the apostle; so that if the Father and the Son, are alike to be invoked, I shall call the Father “God,” and invoke Jesus Christ as “Lord.”7 But when Christ alone (is mentioned), I shall be able to call Him “God,” as the same apostle says: “Of whom is Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever.”8 For I should give the name of” sun” even to a sunbeam, considered in itself; but if I were mentioning the sun from which the ray emanates, I certainly should at once withdraw the name of sun from the mere beam. For although I make not two suns, still I shall reckon both the sun and
its ray to be as much two things and two forms1 of one undivided substance, as God and His Word, as the Father and the Son.
CHAP. XIV.—THE NATURAL INVISIBILITY OF THE FATHER, AND THE VISIBILITY OF THE SON WITNESSED IN MANY PASSAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. ARGUMENTS OF THEIR DISTINCTNESS, THUS SUPPLIED.
Moreover, there comes to our aid, when we insist upon the Father and the Son as being Two, that regulating principle which has determined God to be invisible. When Moses in Egypt desired to see the face of the Lord, saying, “If therefore I have found grace in Thy sight, manifest Thyself unto me, that I may see Thee and know Thee,”2 God said, “Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live: “3 in other words, he who sees me shall die. Now we find that God has been seen by many persons, and yet that no one who saw Him died (at the sight). The truth is, they saw God according to the faculties of men, but not in accordance with the full glory of the Godhead. For the patriarchs are said to have seen God (as Abraham and Jacob), and the prophets (as, for instance Isaiah and Ezekiel), and yet they did not die. Either, then, they ought to have died, since they had seen Him—for (the sentence runs), “No man shall see God, and live ;” or else if they saw God, and yet did not die, the Scripture is false in stating that God said, “If a man see my face, he shall not live.” Either way, the Scripture misleads us, when it makes God invisible, and when it produces Him to our sight. Now, then, He must be a different Being who was seen, because of one who was seen it could not be predicated that He is invisible. It will therefore follow, that by Him who is invisible we must understand the Father in the fulness of His majesty, while we recognise the Son as visible by reason of the dispensation of His derived existence;4 even as it is not permitted us to contemplate, the sun, in the full amount of his substance which is in the heavens, but we can only endure with our eyes a ray, by reason of the tempered condition of this portion which is projected from him to the earth. Here some one on the other side may be disposed to contend that the Son is also invisible as being the Word, and as being also the Spirit;5 and, while claiming one nature for the Father and the Son, to affirm that the Father is rather One and the Same Person with the Son. But the Scripture, as we have said, maintains their difference by the distinction it makes between the Visible and the Invisible. They then go on to argue to this effect, that if it was the Son who then spake to Moses, He must mean it of Himself that His face was visible to no one, because He was Himself indeed the invisible Father in the name of the Son. And by this means they will have it that the Visible and the Invisible are one and the same, just as the Father and the Son are the same; (and this they maintain) because in a preceding passage, before He had refused (the sight of) His face to Moses, the Scripture informs us that “the Lord spake face to face with Moses, even as a man speaketh unto his friend; “6 just as Jacob also says, “I have seen God face to face.”7 Therefore the Visible and the Invisible are one and the same; and both being thus the same, it follows that He is invisible as the Father, and visible as the Son. As if the Scripture, according to our exposition of it, were inapplicable to the Son, when the Father is set aside in His own invisibility. We declare, however, that the Son also, considered in Himself (as the Son), is invisible, in that He is God, and the Word and Spirit of God; but that He was visible before the days of His flesh, in the way that He says to Aaron and Miriam, “And if there shall be a prophet amongst you, I will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream; not as with Moses, with whom I shall speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, that is to say, in truth, and not enigmatically” that is to say, in image;8 as the apostle also expresses it, “Now we see through a glass, darkly (or enigmatically), but then face to face.”9 Since, therefore, He reserves to some future time His presence and speech face to face with Moses—a promise which was afterwards fulfilled in the retirement of the mount (of transfiguration), when as we read in the Gospel,” Moses appeared talking with Jesus”10—it is evident that in early times it was always in a glass, (as it were,)and an enigma, in vision and dream, that God, I mean the Son of God, appeared—to the prophets and the patriarchs, as also to Moses indeed himself. And even if the Lord did possibly11 speak with him face to face, yet it was not as man that he could behold His face, unless indeed it was in a glass, (as it were,) and by enigma. Besides, if the Lord so spake with Moses, that Moses actually discerned His face, eye to eye,12 how
comes it to pass that immediately afterwards, on the same occasion, he desires to see His face,1 which he ought not to have desired, because he had already seen it? And how, in like manner, does the Lord also Say that His face cannot be seen, because He had shown it, if indeed He really had, (as our opponents suppose.) Or what is that fade of God, the sight of which is refused, if there was one which was visible to man? “I have seen God,” says Jacob, “face to face, and my life is preserved.”2 There ought to be some other face which kills if it be only seen. Well, then, was the Son visible? (Certainly not,3) although He was the face of God, except only in vision and dream, and in a glass and enigma, because the Word and Spirit (of God) cannot be seen except in an imaginary form. But, (they say,) He calls the invisible Father His face. For who is the Father? Must He not be the face of the Son, by reason of that authority which He obtains as the begotten of the Father? For is there not a natural propriety in saying of some personage greater (than yourself), That man is my face; he gives me his countenance? “My Father,” says Christ, “is greater than I.”4 Therefore the Father must be the face of the Son. For what does the Scripture say? “The Spirit of His person is Christ the Lord.”5 As therefore Christ is the Spirit of the Father’s person, there is good reason why, in virtue indeed of the unity, the Spirit of Him to whose person He belonged—that is to say, the Father—pronounced Him to be His “face.” Now this, to be sure, is an astonishing thing, that the Father can be taken to be the face of the Son, when He is His head; for “the head of Christ is God.”6
CHAP. XV.—NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES QUOTED. THEY ATTEST THE SAME TRUTH OF THE SON’S VISIBILITY CONTRASTED WITH THE FATHER’S INVISIBILITY.
If I fail in resolving this article (of our faith) by passages which may admit of dispute7 out of the Old Testament, I will take out of the New Testament a confirmation of our view, that you may not straightway attribute to the Father every possible (relation and condition) which I ascribe to the Son. Behold, then, I find both in the Gospels and in the (writings of the) apostles a visible and an invisible God (revealed to us), under a manifest and personal distinction in the condition of both. There is a certain emphatic saying by John: “No man hath seen God at any time;’‘8 meaning, of course, at any previous time But he has indeed taken away all question of time, by saying that God had never been seen. The apostle confirms this statement; for, speaking of God, he says, “Whom no man hath seen, nor can see;”9 because the man indeed would die who should see Him.10 But the very same apostles testify that they had both seen and “handled” Christ.” Now, if Christ is Himself both the Father and the Son, how can He be both the Visible and the Invisible? In order, however, to reconcile this diversity between the Visible and the Invisible, will not some one on the other side argue that the two statements are quite correct: that He was visible indeed in the flesh, but was invisible before His appearance in the flesh; so that He who as the Father was invisible before the flesh, is the same as the Son who was visible in the flesh? If, however, He is the same who was invisible before the incarnation, how comes it that He was actually seen in ancient times before (coming in) the flesh? And by parity of reasoning, if He is the same who was visible after (coming in) the flesh, how happens it that He is now declared to be invisible by the apostles? How, I repeat, can all this be, unless it be that He is one, who anciently was visible only in mystery and enigma, and became more clearly visible by His incarnation, even the Word who was also made flesh; whilst He is another whom no man has seen at any time, being none else than the Father, even Him to whom the Word belongs? Let us, in short, examine who it is whom the apostles saw. “That,” says John, “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.”12 Now the Word of life became flesh, and was heard, and was seen, and was handled, because He was flesh who, before He came in the flesh, was the “Word in the beginning with God” the Father,13 and not the Father with the Word. For although the Word was God, yet was He with God, because He is God of God; and being joined to the Father, is with the Father.14 “And we have seen His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father; “15 that is, of course,
(the glory) of the Son, even Him who was visible, and was glorified by the invisible Father. And therefore, inasmuch as he had said that the Word of God was God, in order that he might give no help to the presumption of the adversary, (which pretended) that he had seen the Father Himself and in order to draw a distinction between the invisible Father and the visible Son, he makes the additional assertion, ex abundanti as it were: “No man hath seen God at any time.’‘1 What God does he mean? The Word? But he has already said: “Him we have seen and heard, and our hands have handled the Word of life.” Well, (I must again ask,) what God does he mean? It is of course the Father, with whom was the Word, the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, and has Himself declared Him.2 He was both heard and seen and, that He might not be supposed to be a phantom, was actually handled. Him, too, did Paul behold; but yet he saw not the Father. “Have I not,” he says, “seen Jesus Christ our Lord?”3 Moreover, he expressly called Christ God, saying: “Of whom are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.”4 He shows us also that the Son of God, which is the Word of God, is visible, because He who became flesh was called Christ. Of the Father, however, he says to Timothy: “Whom none among men hath seen, nor indeed can see;” and he accumulates the description in still ampler terms: “Who only hath immortality, and dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.”5 It was of Him, too, that he had said in a previous passage: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to the only God;”6 so that we might apply even the contrary qualities to the Son Himself—mortality, accessibility—of whom the apostle testifies that “He died according to the Scriptures,”7 and that “He was seen by himself last of all,”8—by means, of course, of the light which was accessible, although it was not without imperilling his sight that he experienced that light.9 A like danger to which also befell Peter, and John, and James, (who confronted not the same light) without risking the loss of their reason and mind; and if they, who were unable to endure the glory of the Son,10 had only seen the Father, they must have died then and there: “For no man shall see God, and live.”11 This being the case, it is evident that He was always seen from the beginning, who became visible in the end; and that He, (on the contrary,) was not seen in the end who had never been visible from the beginning; and that accordingly there are two—the Visible and the Invisible. It was the Son, therefore, who was always seen, and the Son who always conversed with men, and the Son who has always worked by the authority and will of the Father; because “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do”12—“do” that is, in His mind and thought.13 For the Father acts by mind and thought; whilst the Son, who is in the Father’s mind and thought,14 gives effect and form to what He sees. Thus all things were made by tile Son, and without Him was not anything made.15
CHAP. XVI.—EARLY MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SON OF GOD, AS RECORDED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT; REHEARSALS OF HIS SUBSEQUENT INCARNATION.
But you must not suppose that only the works which relate to the (creation of the) world were made by the Son, but also whatsoever since that time has been done by God. For “the Father who loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand,”16 loves Him indeed from the beginning, and from the very first has handed all things over to Him. Whence it is written, “From the beginning the Word was with God, and the Word was God;”17 to whom “is given by the Father all power in heaven and on earth.”18 “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son”19—from the very beginning even. For when He speaks of all power and all judgment, and says that all things were made by Him, and all things have been delivered into His hand, He allows no exception (in respect) of time, because they would not be all things unless they were the things of all time. It is the Son, therefore, who has been from the beginning administering judgment, throwing down the haughty tower, and dividing the tongues, punishing the whole world by the violence of waters, raining upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone, as the LORD from the LORD. For
He it was who at all times came down to hold converse with men, from Adam on to the patriarchs and the prophets, in vision, in dream, in mirror, in dark saying; ever from the beginning laying the foundation of the course of His dispensations, which He meant to follow out to the very last. Thus was He ever learning even as God to converse with men upon earth, being no other than the Word which was to be made flesh. But He was thus learning (or rehearsing), in order to level for us the way of faith, that we might the more readily believe that the Son of God had come down into the world, if we knew that in times past also something similar had been done.1 For as it was on our account and for our learning that these events are described in the Scriptures, so for our sakes also were they done—(even ours, I say), “upon whom the ends of the world are come.”2 In this way it was that even then He knew full well what human feelings and affections were, intending as He always did to take upon Him man’s actual component substances, body and soul, making inquiry of Adam (as if He were ignorant),3 “Where art thou, Adam? “4—repenting that He had made man, as if He had lacked foresight;5 tempting Abraham, as if ignorant of what was in man; offended with persons, and then reconciled to them; and whatever other (weaknesses and imperfections) the heretics lay hold of (in their assumptions) as unworthy of God, in order to discredit the Creator, not considering that these circumstances are suitable enough for the Son, who was one day to experience even human sufferings—hunger and thirst, and tears, and actual birth and real death, and in respect of such a dispensation “made by the Father a little less than the angels.”6 But the heretics, you may be sure, will not allow that those things are suitable even to the Son of God, which you are imputing to the very Father Himself, when you pretend7 that He made Himself less (than the angels) on our account; whereas the Scripture informs us that He who was made less was so affected by another, and not Himself by Himself. What, again, if He was One who was “crowned with glory and honour,” and He Another by whom He was so crowned,8—the Son, in fact, by the Father? Moreover, how comes it to pass, that the Almighty Invisible God, “whom no man hath seen nor can see; He who dwelleth in light unapproachable;”9 “He who dwelleth not in temples made with hands;”10 “ from before whose sight the earth trembles, and the mountains melt like wax; “12 who holdeth the whole world in His hand “like a nest;”12 “whose throne is heaven, and earth His footstool;”13 in whom is every place, but Himself is in no place; who is the utmost bound of the universe;—how happens it, I say, that He (who, though) the Most High, should yet have walked in paradise towards the coal of the evening, in quest of Adam; and should have shut up the ark after Noah had entered it; and at Abraham’s tent should have refreshed Himself under an oak; and have called to Moses out of the burning bush; and have appeared as “the fourth” in the furnace of the Babylonian monarch (although He is there called the Son of man),—unless all these events had happened as an image, as a mirror, as an enigma (of the future incarnation)? Surely even these things could not have been believed even of the Son of God, unless they had been given us in the Scriptures; possibly also they could not have been believed of the Father, even if they had been given in the Scriptures, since these men bring Him down into Mary’s womb, and set Him before Pilate’s judgment-seat, and bury Him in the sepulchre of Joseph. Hence, therefore, their error becomes manifest; for, being ignorant that the entire order of the divine administration has from the very first had its course through the agency of the Son, they believe that the Father Himself was actually seen, and held converse with men. and worked, and was athirst, and suffered hunger (in spite of the prophet who says: “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, shall never thirst at all, nor be hungry;”14 much more, shall neither die at any time, nor be buried!), and therefore that it was uniformly one God, even the Father, who at all times did Himself the things which were really done by Him through the agency of the Son.
CHAP. XVII.—SUNDRY AUGUST TITLES, DESCRIPTIVE OF DEITY, APPLIED TO THE SON, NOT, AS PRAXEAS WOULD HAVE IT, ONLY TO THE FATHER.
They more readily supposed that the Father acted in the Son’s name, than that the Son acted in the Father’s; although the Lord says Himself, “I am come in my Father’s name;”15 and even to the Father He declares, “I have manifested Thy name unto these
men;”1 whilst the Scripture likewise says, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,”2 that is to say, the Son in the Father’s name. And as for the Father’s names, God Almighty, the Most High, the Lord of hosts, the King of Israel, the “One that is,” we say (for so much do the Scriptures teach us) that they belonged suitably to the Son also, and that the Son came under these designations, and has always acted in them, and has thus manifested them in Himself to men. “All things,” says He, “which the Father hath are mine.”3 Then why not His names also? When, therefore, you read of Almighty God, and the Most High, and the God of hosts, and the King of Israel the “One that is,” consider whether the Son also be not indicated by these designations, who in His own right is God Almighty, in that He is the Word of Almighty God, and has received power over all; is the Most High, in that He is “exalted at the right hand of God,” as Peter declares in the Acts;4 is the Lord of hosts, because all things are by the Father made subject to Him; is the King of Israel because to Him has especially been committed the destiny of that nation; and is likewise “the One that is,” because there are many who are called Sons, but are not. As to the point maintained by them, that the name of Christ belongs also to the Father, they shall hear (what I have to say) in the proper place. Meanwhile, let this be my immediate answer to the argument which they adduce from the Revelation of John: “I am the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty; “5 and from all other passages which in their opinion make the designation of Almighty God unsuitable to the Son. As if, indeed, He which is to came were not almighty; whereas even the Son of the Almighty is as much almighty as the Son of God is God.
CHAP. XVIII.—THE DESIGNATION OF THE ONE GOD IN THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES. INTENDED AS A PROTEST AGAINST HEATHEN IDOLATRY, IT DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE CORRELATIVE IDEA OF THE SON OF GOD. THE SON IS IN THE FATHER.
But what hinders them from readily perceiving this community of the Father’s titles in the Son, is the statement of Scripture, whenever it determines God to be but One; as if the selfsame Scripture had not also set forth Two both as God and Lord, as we have shown above.6 Their argument is: Since we find Two and One, therefore Both are One and the Same, both Father and Son. Now the Scripture is not in danger of requiring the aid of any one’s argument, lest it should seem to be self-contradictory. It has a method of its own, both when it sets forth one only God, and also when it shows that there are Two, Father and Son; and is consistent with itself. It is clear that the Son is mentioned by it. For, without any detriment to the Son, it is quite possible for it to have rightly determined that God is only One, to whom the Son belongs; since He who has a Son ceases not on that account to exist,—Himself being One only, that is, on His own account, whenever He is named without the Son. And He is named without the Son whensoever He is defined as the principle (of Deity)in the character of “its first Person,” which had to be mentioned before the name of the Son; because it is the Father who is acknowledged in the first place, and after the Father the Son is named. Therefore “there is one God,” the Father, “and without Him there is none else.”7 And when He Himself makes this declaration, He denies not the Son, but says that there is no other God; and the Son is not different from the Father. Indeed, if you only look carefully at the contexts which follow such statements as this, you will find that they nearly always have distinct reference to the makers of idols and the worshippers thereof, with a view to the multitude of false gods being expelled by the unity of the Godhead, which nevertheless has a Son; and inasmuch as this Son is undivided and inseparable from the Father, so is He to be reckoned as being in the Father, even when He is not named. The fact is, if He had named Him expressly, He would have separated Him, saying in so many words: “Beside me there is none else, except my Son.” In short He would have made His Son actually another, after excepting Him from others. Suppose the sun to say, “I am the Sun, and there is none other besides me, except my ray,” would you not have remarked how useless was such a statement, as if the ray were not itself reckoned in the sun? He says, then, that there is no God’ besides Himself in respect of the idolatry both of the Gentiles as well as of Israel; nay, even on account of our heretics also, who fabricate idols with their words, just as the heathen do with their hands; that is to say, they make another God and another Christ. When, therefore, He attested His own unity, the Father took care of the Son’s interests, that Christ should not be sup-