Novatian (Cont.)A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity. (Cont.)

Chap. XXII.48

Argument – That the Same Divine Majesty Is in Christ, He once More Asserts by Other Scriptures.

But why, although we appear to hasten to another branch of the argument, should we pass over that passage in the apostle: “Who, although He was in the form of God, did not think it robbery that He should be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking up the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore also God hath highly exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bent, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, in the glory of God the Father?” (Phi_2:6-11) “Who, although He was in the form of God,” he says. If Christ had been only man, He would have been spoken of as in “the image” of God, not “in the form” of God. For we know that man was made after the image or likeness, not after the form, of God. Who then is that angel who, as we have said, was made in the form of God? But neither do we read of the form of God in angels, except because this one is chief and royal above all – the Son of God, the Word of God, the imitator of all His Father’s works, in that He Himself worketh even as His Father. He is – as we have declared – in the form of God the Father. And He is reasonably affirmed to be in the form of God, in that He Himself, being above all things, and having the divine power over every creature, is also God after the example of the Father. Yet He obtained, this from His own Father, that He should be both God of all and should be Lord, and be begotten and made known from Himself as God in the form of God the Father. He then, although He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery that He should be equal with God. For although He remembered that He was God from God the Father, He never either compared or associated Himself with God the Father, mindful that He was from His Father, and that He possessed that very thing that He is, because the Father had given it Him.49 Thence, finally, both before the assumption of the flesh, and moreover after the assumption of the body, besides, after the resurrection itself, He yielded all obedience to the Father, and still yields it as ever. Whence it is proved that He thought that the claim of a certain divinity would be robbery, to wit, that of equaling Himself with God the Father; but, on the other hand, obedient and subject to all His rule and will, He even was contented to take on Him the form of a servant – that is, to become man; and the substance of flesh and body which, as it came to Him from the bondage of His forefathers’ sins according to His manhood, He undertook by being born, at which time moreover He emptied Himself, in that He did not refuse to take upon Him the frailty incident to humanity. Because if He had been born man only, He would not have been emptied in respect of this; for man, being born, is increased, not emptied. For in beginning to be that which He could not possess, so long as He did not exist, as we have said, He is not emptied, but is rather increased and enriched. But if Christ is emptied in being born, in taking the form of a servant, how is He man only? Of whom it could more truly have been said that He was enriched, not emptied, at the time that He was born, except because the authority of the divine Word, reposing for awhile in taking upon itself humanity, and not exercising itself with its real strength, casts itself down, and puts itself off for the time, in bearing the humanity which it has undertaken? It empties itself in descending to injuries and reproaches, in bearing abominations, in experiencing things unworthy; and yet of this humility there is present at once an eminent reward. For He has “received a name which is above every name,” which assuredly we understand to be none other than the name of God. For since it belongs to God alone to be above all things, it follows that the name which is that God’s who is above all things, is above every name; which name by consequence is certainly His who, although He was “in the form of God, thought it not robbery for Him to be equal with God.” For neither, if Christ were not God, would every knee bend itself in His name, “of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” nor would things visible and invisible, even every creature of all things, be subjected or be placed under man, when they might remember that they were before man. Whence, since Christ is said to be in the form of God, and since it is shown that for His nativity according to the flesh He emptied Himself; and since it is declared that He received from the Father that name which is above every name; and since it is shown that in His name “every knee of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, bend and bow” themselves; and this very thing is asserted to be a furtherance of the glory of God the Father; consequently He is not man only, from the fact that He became obedient to the Father, even to death, yea, the death of the cross; but, moreover, from the proclamation by these higher matters of the divinity of Christ, Christ Jesus is shown to be Lord and God, which the heretics will not have.


Chap. XXIII.50

Argument. – And This Is so Manifest, That Some Heretics Have Thought Him to Be God the Father, Others That He Was Only God Without the Flesh.

In this place I may be permitted also to collect arguments from the side of other heretics. It is a substantial kind of proof which is gathered even from an adversary, so as to prove the truth even from the very enemies of truth. For it is so far manifest that He is declared in the Scriptures to be God, that many heretics, moved by the magnitude and truth of this divinity, exaggerating His honours above measure, have dared to announce or to think Him not the Son, but God the Father Himself. [The Noetians, Hippol., p. 148, supra.] And this, although it is contrary to the truth of the Scriptures, is still a great and excellent argument for the divinity of Christ, who is so far God, except as Son of God, born of God, that very many heretics – as we have said – have so accepted Him as God, as to think that He must be pronounced not the Son, but the Father. Therefore let it be considered whether He is God or not, since His authority has so affected some, that, as we have already said above, they have thought Him God the Father Himself, and have confessed the divinity in Christ with such impetuosity and effusion – compelled to it by the manifest divinity in Christ – that they thought that He whom they read of as the Son, because they perceived Him to be God, must be the Father. Moreover, other heretics have so far embraced the manifest divinity of Christ, as to say that He was without flesh, and to withdraw from Him the whole humanity which He took upon Him, lest, by associating with Him a human nativity, as they conceived it, they should diminish in Him the power of the divine name. [Irenaeus, vol. 1. p. 527] This, however, we do not approve; but we quote it as an argument to prove that Christ is God, to this extent, that some, taking away the manhood, have thought Him God only, and some have thought Him God the Father Himself; when reason and the proportion of the heavenly Scriptures show Christ to be God, but as the Son of God; and the Son of man, having been taken up, moreover by God, that He must be believed to be man also. Because if He came to man, that He might be Mediator of God and men, it behoved Him to be with man, and the Word to be made flesh, that in His own self He might link together the agreement of earthly things with heavenly things, by associating in Himself pledges of both natures, and uniting God to man and man to God; so that reasonably the Son of God might be made by the assumption of flesh the Son of man, and the Son of man by the reception of the Word of God the Son of God. This most profound and recondite mystery, destined before the worlds for the salvation of the human race, is found to be fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, both God and man, that the human race might be placed within the reach of the enjoyment of eternal salvation.


Chap. XXIV.51

Argument. – That These Have Therefore Erred, by Thinking That There Was No Difference Between the Son of God and the Son of Man; Because They Have Ill Understood the Scripture.

But the material of that heretical error has arisen, as I judge, from this, that they think that there is no distinction between the Son of God and the Son of man; because if a distinction were made, Jesus Christ would easily be proved to be both man and God. For they will have it that the self-same that is man, the Son of man, appears also as the Son of God; that man and flesh and that same frail substance may be said to be also the Son of God Himself. Whence, since no distinction is discerned between the Son of man and the Son of God, but the Son of man Himself is asserted to be the Son of God, the same Christ and the Son of God is asserted to be man only; by which they strive to exclude, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (Joh_1:14) And ye shall call His name Emmanuel; which is, interpreted, God with us.” (Mat_1:23) For they propose and put forward what is told in the Gospel of Luke, whence they strive to maintain not what is the truth, but only what they want it to be: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shah overshadow thee; therefore also the Holy Thing which is born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luk_1:35) If, then, say they, the angel of God says to Mary, “that Holy Thing which is born of thee,” the substance of flesh and body is of Mary; but he has set forth that this substance, that is, that Holy Thing which is born of her, is the Son of God. Man, say they, himself, and that bodily flesh; that which is called holy, itself is the Son of God. That also when the Scripture says that “Holy Thing,” we should understand thereby Christ the man, the Son of man; and when it places before us the Son of God, we ought to perceive, not man, but God. And yet the divine Scripture easily convicts and discloses the frauds and artifices of the heretics. For if it were thus only, “The Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore that Holy Thing which is born of thee shall be called the Son of God,” perchance we should have had to strive against them in another sort, and to have sought for other arguments, and to have taken up other weapons, with which to overcome both their snares and their wiles; but since the Scripture itself, abounding in heavenly fulness, divests itself of the calumnies of these heretics, we easily depend upon that that is written, and overcome those errors without any hesitation. For it said, not as we have already stated, “Therefore the Holy Thing which shall be born of thee;” but added the conjunction, for it says, “Therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee,” so as to make it plain that that Holy Thing which is born of her – that is, that substance of flesh and body – is not the Son of God primarily, but consequently, and in the secondary place;52 but primarily, that the Son of God is the Word of God, incarnate by that Spirit of whom the angel says, “The Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” For He is the legitimate Son of God who is of God Himself; and He, while He assumes that Holy Thing, and links to Himself the Son of man, and draws Him and transfers Him to Himself, by His connection and mingling of association becomes responsible for and makes Him the Son of God, which by nature He was not, so that the original cause53 of that name Son of God is in the Spirit of the Lord, who descended and came, and that there is only the continuance of the name in the case of the Son of man;54 and by consequence He reasonably became the Son of God, although originally He is not the Son of God. And therefore the angel, seeing that arrangement, and providing for that order of the mystery, did not confuse every thing in such a way as to leave no trace of a distinction, but established the distinction by saying, “Therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;” lest, had he not arranged that distribution with his balances, but had left the matter all mixed up in confusion, it had really afforded occasion to heretics to declare that the Son of man, in that He is man, is the same as the Son of God and man. But now, explaining severally the ordinance and the reason of so great a mystery, he evidently set forth in saying, “And that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;” the proof that the Son of God descended, and that He, in taking up into Himself the Son of man, consequently made Him the Son of God, because the Son of God associated and joined Him to Himself. So that, while the Son of man cleaves in His nativity to the Son of God, by that very mingling He holds that as pledged and derived which of His own nature He could not possess. And thus by the word of the angel the distinction is made, against the desire of the heretics, between the Son of God and man; yet with their association, by pressing them to understand that Christ the Son of man is man, and also to receive the Son of God and man the Son of God; that is, the Word of God as it is written as God; and thus to acknowledge that Christ Jesus the Lord, connected on both sides, so to speak, is on both sides woven in and grown together, and associated in the same agreement of both substances, by the binding to one another of a mutual alliance – man and God by the truth of the Scripture which declares this very thing. 


Chap. XXV.55

Argument. – And That It Does Not Follow Thence, That Because Christ Died It Must also Be Received That God Died; for Scripture Sets Forth That Not Only Was Christ God, but Man Also.

Therefore, say they, if Christ is not man only, but God also – and Scripture tells us that He died for us, and was raised again – then Scripture teaches us to believe that God died; or if God does not die, and Christ is said to have died, then Christ will not be God, because God cannot be admitted to have died. If they ever could understand or had understood what they read, they would never speak after such a perilous fashion. But the folly of error is always hasty in its descent, and it is no new thing if those who have forsaken the lawful faith descend even to perilous results. For if Scripture were to set forth that Christ is God only, and that there was no association of human weakness mingled in His nature, this intricate argument of theirs might reasonably avail something. If Christ is God, and Christ died, then God died. But when Scripture determines, as we have frequently shown, that He is not only God, but man also, it follows that what is immortal may be held to have remained uncorrupted. For who cannot understand that the divinity is impassible, although the human weakness is liable to suffering? When, therefore, Christ is understood to be mingled and associated as well of that which God is, as of that which man is – for “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us” – who cannot easily apprehend of himself, without any teacher and interpreter, that it was not that in Christ that died which is God, but that in Him died which is man? For what if the divinity in Christ does not die, but the substance of the flesh only is destroyed, when in other men also, who are not flesh only, but flesh and soul, the flesh indeed alone suffers the inroads of wasting and death, while the soul is seen to be uncorrupted, and beyond the laws of destruction and death? For this also our Lord Himself said, exhorting us to martyrdom and to contempt of all human power: “Fear not those who slay the body, but cannot kill the soul.” (Mat_10:28) But if the immortal soul cannot be killed or slain in any other, although the body and flesh by itself can be slain, how much rather assuredly could not the Word of God and God in Christ be put to death at all, although the flesh alone and the body was slain! For if in any man whatever, the soul has this excellence of immortality that it cannot be slain, much more has the nobility of the Word of God this power of not being slain. For if the power of men fails to slay the sacred power of God, and if the cruelty of man fails to destroy the soul, much more ought it to fail to slay the Word of God. For as the soul itself, which was made by the Word of God, is not killed by men, certainly much rather will it be believed that the Word of God cannot be destroyed. And if the sanguinary cruelty of men cannot do more against men than only to slay the body, how much more certainly it will not have power against Christ beyond in the same way slaying the body! So that, while from these considerations it is gathered that nothing but the human nature in Christ was put to death, it appears that the Word in Him was not drawn down into mortality. For if Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, who, it is admitted, were only men, are manifested to be alive – for all they,56 says He, “live unto God;” and death in them does not destroy the soul, although it dissolves the bodies themselves: for it could exercise its power on the bodies, it did not avail to exercise it on the souls: for the one in them was mortal, and therefore died; the other in them was immortal, and therefore is understood not to have been extinguished: for which reason they are affirmed and said to live unto God, – much rather death in Christ could have power against the material of His body alone, while against the divinity of the Word it could not bring itself to bear. For the power of death is broken when the authority of immortality intervenes.


Chap. XXVI.57

Argument. – Moreover, Against the Sabellians He Proves That the Father Is One, the Son Another.

But from this occasion of Christ being proved from the sacred authority of the divine writings not man only, but God also, other heretics, breaking forth, contrive to impair the religious position in Christ; by this very fact wishing to show that Christ is God the Father, in that He is asserted to be not man only, but also is declared to be God. For thus say they, If it is asserted that God is one, and Christ is God, then say they, If the Father and Christ be one God, Christ will be called the Father. Wherein they are proved to be in error, not knowing Christ, but following the sound of a name; for they are not willing that He should be the second person after the Father, but the Father Himself. And since these things are easily answered, few words shall be said. For who does not acknowledge that the person of the Son is second after the Father, when he reads that it was said by the Father, consequently to the Son, “Let us make man in our image and our likeness;” (Gen_1:26) and that after this it was related, “And God made man, in the image of God made He him?” Or when he holds in his hands: “The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha fire and brimstone from the Lord from heaven?” (Gen_19:24) Or when he reads (as having been said) to Christ: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathens for Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy possession?” (Psa_2:7, Psa_2:8) Or when also that beloved writer says: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, until I shall make Thine enemies the stool of Thy feet?” (Psa_110:1) Or when, unfolding the prophecies of Isaiah, he finds it written thus: “Thus saith the Lord to Christ my Lord?” (Isa_45:1)58 Or when he reads: “I came not down from heaven to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me?” (Joh_6:38) Or when he finds it written: “Because He who sent me is greater than I?” (Joh_14:28) Or when he considers the passage: “I go to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God?” (Joh_20:17) Or when he finds it placed side by side with others: “Moreover, in your law it is written that the witness of two is true. I bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me beareth witness of me?” (Joh_8:17, Joh_8:18) Or when the voice from heaven is: “I have both glorified Him, and I will glorify Him again?” (Joh_12:20) Or when by Peter it is answered and said: Thou art the Son of the living God?” (Mat_16:6) Or when by the Lord Himself the sacrament of this revelation is approved, and He says: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but my Father which is in heaven? (Mat_16:16) Or when by Christ Himself it is expressed: “Father, glorify me with that glory with which I was with Thee before the world was made? (Mat_16:17) Or when it was said by the same: “Father, I knew that Thou hearest me always; but on account of those who stand around I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent me?” (Joh_11:12) Or when the definition of the rule is established by Christ Himself, and it is said: “And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee upon the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me?” (Joh_17:3, Joh_17:4) Or when, moreover, by the same it is asserted and said: “All things are delivered to me by my Father?” (Luk_10:22) Or when the session at the right hand of the Father is proved both by apostles and prophets? And I should have enough to do were I to endeavour to gather together all the passages [cap. xxi. p. 632, supra.] whatever on this side; since the divine Scripture, not so much of the Old as also of the New Testament, everywhere shows Him to be born of the Father, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made, who always has obeyed and obeys the Father; that He always has power over all things, but as delivered, as granted, as by the Father Himself permitted to Him. And what can be so evident proof that this is not the Father, but the Son; as that He is set forth as being obedient to God the Father, unless, if He be believed to be the Father, Christ may be said to be subjected to another God the Father?


Chap. XXVII.59

Argument. – He Skillfully Replies to a Passage Which the Heretics Employed in Defence of Their Own Opinion.

But since they frequently urge upon us the passage where it is said, “I and the Father are one,” (Joh_10:30)60 in this also we shall overcome them with equal facility. For if, as the heretics think, Christ were the Father, He ought to have said, “I and the Father are one.”61 But when He says I, and afterwards introduces the Father by saying, “I and the Father,” He severs and distinguishes the peculiarity of His, that is, the Son’s person, from the paternal authority, not only in respect of the sound of the name, but moreover in respect of the order of the distribution of power, since He might have said, “I the Father,” if He had had it in mind that He Himself was the Father. And since He said “one” thing, let the heretics understand that He did not say “one” person. For one placed in the neuter, intimates the social concord, not the personal unity. He is said to be one neuter, not one masculine, because the expression is not referred to the number, but it is declared with reference to the association of another. Finally, He adds, and says, “We are,” not “I am,” so as to show, by the fact of His saying” I and the Father are,” that they are two persons. Moreover, that He says one,62 has reference to the agreement, and to the identity of judgment, and to the loving association itself, as reasonably the Father and Son are one in agreement, in love, and in affection; and because He is of the Father, whatsoever He is, He is the Son; the distinction however remaining, that He is not the Father who is the Son, because He is not the Son who is the Father. For He would not have added “We are,” if He had had it in mind that He, the only and sole Father, had become the Son. In fine, the Apostle Paul also apprehended this agreement of unity, with the distinction of persons notwithstanding: for in writing to the Corinthians he said, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Therefore neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God who gives the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one.” (1Co_3:6, 1Co_3:7, 1Co_3:8)63 And who does not perceive that Apollos is one person and Paul another, and that. Apollos and Paul are not one and the same person? Moreover, also, the offices mentioned of each one of them are different; for one is he who plants, and another he who waters. The Apostle Paul, however, put forward these two not as being one person, but as being “one;” so that although Apollos indeed is one, and Paul another, so far as respects the distinction of persons, yet as far as respects their agreement both are “one.” For when two persons have one judgment, one truth, one faith, one and the same religion, one fear of God also, they are one even although they are two persons: they are the same, in that they have the same mind. Since those whom the consideration of person divides from one another, these same again are brought together as one by the consideration of religion. And although they are not actually the self-same people, yet in feeling the same, they are the same; and although they are two, are still one, as having an association in faith, even although they bear diversity in persons. Besides, when at these words of the Lord the Jewish ignorance had been aroused, so that hastily they ran to take up stones, and said, “For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because thou, being a man, makest thyself God,” (Joh_10:33) the Lord established the distinction, in giving them the principle on which He had either said that He was God, or wished it to be understood, and says, “Say ye of Him, whom the Father sanctified, and sent into this world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Joh_10:36) Even here also He said that He had the Father. He is therefore the Son, not the Father: for He would have confessed that He was the Father had He considered Himself to be the Father; and He declares that He was sanctified by His Father. In receiving, then, sanctification from the Father, He is inferior to the Father. Now, consequently, He who is inferior to the Father, is not the Father, but the Son; for had He been the Father, He would have given, and not received, sanctification. Now, however, by declaring that He has received sanctification from the Father, by the very fact of proving Himself to be less than the Father, by receiving from Him sanctification, He has shown that He is the Son, and not the Father. Besides, He says that He is sent: so that by that obedience wherewith the Lord Christ came, being sent, He might be proved to be not the Father, but the Son, who assuredly would have sent had He been the Father; but being sent, He was not the Father, lest the Father should be proved, in being sent, to be subjected to another God. And still after this He added what might dissolve all ambiguity, and quench all the controversy of error: for He says, in the last portion of His discourse, “Ye say, Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God.” Therefore if He plainly testifies that He is the Son of God, and not the Father, it is an instance of great temerity and excessive madness to stir up a controversy of divinity and religion, contrary to the testimony of the Lord Christ Himself, and to say that Christ Jesus is the Father, when it is observed that He has proved Himself to be, not the Father, but the Son.



Argument. – He Proves also That the Words Spoken to Philip Make Nothing for the Sabellians.

Hereto also I will add that view wherein the heretic, while he rejoices as if at the loss of some power of seeing special truth and light, acknowledges the total blindness of his error. For again and again, and frequently, he objects that it was said, “Have I been so long time with you, and do ye not know me, Philip? He who hath seen me, hath seen the Father also.” (Joh_14:9) But let him learn what he does not understand. Philip is reproved, and rightly, and deservedly indeed, because he has said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” (Joh_14:8) For when had he either heard from Christ, or learnt that Christ was the Father? although, on the other hand, he had frequently heard, and had often learned, rather that He was the Son, not that He was the Father. For what the Lord said, “If ye have known me, ye have known my Father also: and henceforth ye have known Him, and have seen Him,” (Joh_14:7) He said not as wishing to be understood Himself to be the Father, but implying that he who thoroughly, and fully, and with all faith and all religiousness, drew near to the Son of God, by all means shall attain, through the Son Himself, in whom he thus believes, to the Father, and shall see Him. “For no one,” says He, “can come to the Father, but by me.” (Joh_14:6) And therefore he shall not only come to God the Father, and shall know the Father Himself; but, moreover, he ought thus to hold, and so to presume in mind and heart, that he has henceforth not only known, but seen the Father. For often the divine Scripture announces things that are not yet done as being done, because thus they shall be; and things which by all means have to happen, it does not predict as if they were future, but narrates as if they were done. And thus, although Christ had not been born as yet in the times of Isaiah the prophet, he said, “For unto us a child is born;” (Isa_9:6) and although Mary had not yet been approached, he said, “‘ And I approached unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son.” (Isa_8:3) And when Christ had not yet made known the mind of the Father, it is said, “And His name shall be called the Angel of Great Counsel.” (Isa_9:6, LXX) [see pp. 628, 632, supra.] And when He had not yet suffered, he declared, “He is as a sheep led to the slaughter.” (Isa_53:7) And although the cross had never yet existed, He said, “All day long have I stretched out my hands to an unbelieving people.” (Isa_65:2) And although not yet had He been scornfully given to drink, the Scripture says, “In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psa_69:21) And although He had not yet been stripped, He said, “Upon my vesture they did cast lots, and they numbered my bones: they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psa_22:18, Psa_22:17) For the divine Scripture, foreseeing, speaks of things which it knows shall be as being already done, and speaks of things as perfected which it regards as future, but which shall come to pass without any doubt. And thus the Lord in the present passage said, “Henceforth ye have known and have seen Him.” Now He said that the Father should be seen by whomsoever had followed the Son, not as if the Son Himself should be the Father seen, but that whosoever was willing to follow Him, and be His disciple, should obtain the reward of being able to see the Father. For He also is the image of God the Father; so that it is added, moreover, to these things, that “as the Father worketh, so also the Son worketh.” (Joh_5:17) And the Son is an imitator [cap. xxi. note 45, 632, supra.] of all the Father’s works, so that every one may regard it just as if he saw the Father, when he sees Him who always imitates the invisible Father in all His works. But if Christ is the Father Himself, in what manner does He immediately add, and say, “Whosoever believeth in me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father? (Joh_14:12) And He further subjoins, “If ye love me, keep my commandments; and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter.” (Joh_14:5, Joh_14:6) After which also He adds this: “If any one loveth me, he shall keep my word: and my Father will love him; and we will come unto him, and will make our abode with him.” (Joh_14:23) Moreover, also, He added this too: “But the Advocate, that Holy Spirit whom the Father will send, He will teach you, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (Joh_14:26) He utters, further, that passage when He shows Himself to be the Son, and reasonably subjoins, and says, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh_14:28) But what shall we say when He also continues in these words: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruit?” (Joh_15:1) Still He persists, and adds: “As the Father hath loved me, so also have I loved you: remain in my love. If ye have kept my commandments, ye shall remain in my love; even as I have kept the Father’s commandments, and remain in His love.” (Joh_15:9, Joh_15:10) Further, He says in addition: “But I have called you friends; for all things which I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (Joh_15:15) Moreover, He adds to all this: “But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent me.” (Joh_15:21) These things then, after the former, evidently attesting Him to be not the Father but the Son, the Lord would never have added, if He had had it in mind, either that He was the Father, or wished Himself to be understood as the Father, except that He might declare this, that every man ought henceforth to consider, in seeing the image of God the Father through the Son, that it was as if he saw the Father; since every one believing on the Son may be exercised in the contemplation of the likeness, so that, being accustomed to seeing the divinity in likeness, he may go forward, and grow even to the perfect contemplation of God the Father Almighty. And since he who has imbibed this truth into his mind and soul, and has believed of all things that thus it shall be, he shall even now see, as it were, in some measure the Father whom he will see hereafter; and he may so regard it, as if he actually held, what he knows for certain that he shall one day hold. But if Christ Himself had been the Father, why did He promise as future, a reward which He had already granted and given? For that He says, “Blessed are they of a pure heart, for they shall see God,” (Mat_5:8) it is understood to promise the contemplation and vision of the Father; therefore He had not given this; for why should He promise if He had already given? For He had given if He was the Father: for He was seen, and He was touched But since, when Christ Himself is seen and touched, He still promises, and says that he who is of a pure heart shall see God, He proves by this very saying that He who was then present was not the Father, seeing that He was seen, and yet promised that whoever should be of a pure heart should see the Father. It was therefore not the Father, but the Son, who promised this, because He who was the Son promised that which had yet to be seen; and His promise would have been superfluous unless He had been the Son. For why did He promise to the pure in heart that they should see the Father, if already they who were then present saw Christ as the Father? But because He was the Son, not the Father, rightly also He was then seen as the Son, because He was the image of God; and the Father, because He is invisible, is promised and pointed out as to be seen by the pure in heart. Let it then be enough to have suggested even these points against that heretic; a few words about many things. For a field which is indeed both wide and expansive would be laid open if we should desire to discuss that heretic more fully; seeing that bereaved, in these two particulars, as it were of his eyes plucked out, he is altogether overcome in the blindness of his doctrine.


Chap. XXIX.

Argument. – He Next Teaches Us That the Authority of the Faith Enjoins, After the Father and the Son, to Believe also on the Holy Spirit, Whose Operations Tie Enumerates from Scripture.

Moreover, the order of reason, and the authority of the faith in the disposition of the words and in the Scriptures of the Lord, admonish us after these things to believe also on the Holy Spirit, once promised to the Church, and in the appointed occasions of times given. For He was promised by Joel the prophet, but given by Christ. “In the last days,” says the prophet, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon my servants and my handmaids.” (Joe_2:28; Act_2:17) And the Lord said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins ye remit, they shall be remitted; and whose ye retain, they shall be retained.” (Joh_20:22, Joh_20:23) But this Holy Spirit the Lord Christ calls at one time “the Paraclete,” at another pronounces to be the “Spirit of truth.” (Joh_14:16, Joh_14:17) And He is not new in the Gospel, nor yet even newly given; for it was He Himself who accused the people in the prophets, and in the apostles gave them the appeal to the Gentiles. For the former deserved to be accused, because they had contemned the law; and they of the Gentiles who believe deserve to be aided by the defence of the Spirit, because they earnestly desire to attain to the Gospel law. Assuredly in the Spirit there are different kinds of offices, because in the times there is a different order of occasions; and yet, on this account, He who discharges these offices is not different, nor is He another in so acting, but He is one and the same, distributing His offices according to the times, and the occasions and impulses of things. Moreover, the Apostle Paul says, “Having the same Spirit; as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” (2Co_4:13) He is therefore one and the same Spirit who was in the prophets and apostles, except that in the former He was occasional, in the latter always. But in the former not as being always in them, in the latter as abiding always in them; and in the former distributed with reserve, in the latter all poured out; in the former given sparingly, in the latter liberally bestowed; not yet manifested before the Lord’s resurrection, but conferred after the resurrection. For, said He, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.” (Joh_14:16, Joh_14:17) And, “When He, the Advocate, shall come, whom I shall send unto you from my Father, the Spirit of truth who proceedeth from my Father.” (Joh_15:20) And, “If I go not away, that Advocate shall not come to you; but if I go away, I will send Him to you.” (Joh_16:7) And, “When the Spirit of truth shall come, He will direct you into all the truth.” (Joh_16:13) And because the Lord was about to depart to the heavens, He gave the Paraclete out of necessity to the disciples; so as not to leave them in any degree orphans, [Joh_14:18, Greek] which was little desirable, and forsake them without an advocate and some kind of protector. For this is He who strengthened their hearts and minds, who marked out the Gospel sacraments, who was in them the enlightener of divine things; and they being strengthened, feared, for the sake of the Lord’s name, neither dungeons nor chains, nay, even trod under foot the very powers of the world and its tortures, since they were henceforth armed and strengthened by the same Spirit, having in themselves the gifts which this same Spirit distributes, and appropriates to the Church, the spouse of Christ, as her ornaments. This is He who places prophets in the Church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works, often discrimination of spirits, affords powers of government, suggests counsels, and orders and arranges whatever other gifts there are of charismata; and thus make the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed. This is He who, after the manner of a dove, when our Lord was baptized, came and abode upon Him, dwelling in Christ full and entire, and not maimed in any measure or portion; but with His whole overflow copiously distributed and sent forth, so that from Him others might receive some enjoyment of His graces: the source of the entire Holy Spirit remaining in Christ, so that from Him might be drawn streams of gifts and works, while the Holy Spirit dwelt affluently in Christ. For truly Isaiah, prophesying this, said: “And the Spirit of wisdom and understanding shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and piety; and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill Him.” (Isa_11:2, Isa_11:3) This self-same thing also he said in the person of the Lord Himself, in another place,’ “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me, He has sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor.” (Isa_61:1) Similarly David: “Wherefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Psa_45:7) Of Him the Apostle Paul says: “For he who hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of His.” (Rom_8:9) “And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Co_3:17) He it is who effects with water the second birth as a certain seed of divine generation, and a consecration of a heavenly nativity, the pledge of a promised inheritance, and as it were a kind of handwriting of eternal salvation; who can make us God’s temple, and fit us for His house; who solicits the divine hearing for us with groanings that cannot be uttered; filling the offices of advocacy, and manifesting the duties of our defence, – an inhabitant given for our bodies and an effector of their holiness. Who, working in us for eternity, can also produce our bodies at the resurrection of immortality, accustoming them to be associated in Himself with heavenly power, and to be allied with the divine eternity of the Holy Spirit. For our bodies are both trained in Him and by Him to advance to immortality, by learning to govern themselves with moderation according to His decrees. For this is He who “desireth against the flesh,” because “the flesh resisteth against the Spirit.” (Gal_5:17) This is He who restrains insatiable desires, controls immoderate lusts, quenches unlawful fires, conquers reckless impulses, repels drunkenness, checks avarice, drives away luxurious revellings, links love, binds together affections, keeps down sects, orders the rule of truth, overcomes heretics, turns out the wicked, guards the Gospel, Of this says the same apostle: “We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God.” (1Co_2:12) Concerning Him he exultingly says: “And I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (1Co_7:40) Of Him he says: “The Spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets.” (1Co_14:32) Of Him also he tells: “Now the Spirit speaketh plainly, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, who speak lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience cauterized.” (1Ti_4:1) Established in this Spirit, “none ever calleth Jesus anathema;” (1Co_12:3) no one has ever denied Christ to be the Son of God, or has rejected God the Creator; no one utters any words of his own contrary to the Scriptures; no one ordains other and sacrilegious decrees; no one draws up different laws.64 Whosoever shall blaspheme against Him, “hath not forgiveness, not only in this world, but also not in the world to come.” (Mat_12:32) This is He who in the apostles gives testimony to Christ; in the martyrs shows forth the constant faithfulness of their religion; in virgins restrains the admirable continency of their sealed chastity; in others, guards the laws of the Lord’s doctrine incorrupt and uncontaminated; destroys heretics, corrects the perverse, condemns infidels, makes known pretenders; moreover, rebukes the wicked, keeps the Church uncorrupt and inviolate, in the sanctity of a perpetual virginity and truth.


Chap. XXX.

Argument. – In Fine, Notwithstanding the Said Heretics Have Gathered the Origin of Their Error from Consideration of What Is Written:65 Although We Call Christ God, and the Father God, Still Scripture Does Not Set Forth Two Gods, Any More than Two Lords or Two Teachers.

And now, indeed, concerning the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, let it be sufficient to have briefly said thus much, and to have laid down these points concisely, without carrying them out in a lengthened argument. For they could be presented more diffusely and continued in a more expanded disputation, since the whole of the Old and New Testaments might be adduced in testimony that thus the true faith stands. But because heretics, ever struggling against the truth, are accustomed to prolong the controversy of pure tradition and Catholic faith, being offended against Christ; because He is, moreover, asserted to be God by the Scriptures also, and this is believed to be so by us; we must rightly – that every heretical calumny may be removed from our faith – contend, concerning the fact that Christ is God also, in such a way as that it may not militate against the truth of Scripture; nor yet against our faith, how there is declared to be one God by the Scriptures, and how it is held and believed by us. For as well they who say that Jesus Christ Himself is God the Father, as moreover they who would have Him to be only man, have gathered thence66 the sources and reasons of their error and perversity; because when they perceived that it was written [Gal_3:20; Deu_6:4] that “God is one,” they thought that they could not otherwise hold such an opinion than by supposing that it must be believed either that Christ was man only, or really God the Father. And they were accustomed in such a way to connect their sophistries as to endeavour to justify their own error. And thus they who say that Jesus Christ is the Father argue as follows: – If God is one, and Christ is God, Christ is the Father, since God is one. If Christ be not the Father, because Christ is God the Son, there appear to be two Gods introduced, contrary to the Scriptures. And they who contend that Christ is man only, conclude on the other hand thus: – If the Father is one, and the Son another, but the Father is God and Christ is God, then there is not one God, but two Gods are at once introduced, the Father and the Son; and if God is one, by consequence Christ must be a man, so that rightly the Father may be one God. Thus indeed the Lord is, as it were, crucified between two thieves,67 even as He was formerly placed; and thus from either side He receives the sacrilegious reproaches of such heretics as these. But neither the Holy Scriptures nor we suggest to them the reasons of their perdition and blindness, if they either will not, or cannot, see what is evidently written in the midst of the divine documents. For we both know, and read, and believe, and maintain that God is one, who made the heaven as well as the earth, since we neither know any other, nor shall we at any time know such, seeing that there is none. “I,” says He, “am God, and there is none beside me, righteous and a Saviour.” (Isa_43:11) And in another place: “I am the first and the last, and beside me there is no God who is as I.” (Isa_44:6, Isa_44:7) And, “Who hath meted out heaven with a Span, and the earth with a handful? Who has suspended the mountains in a balance, and the woods on scales?” (Isa_40:12) And Hezekiah: “That all may know that Thou art God alone.” (Isa_37:20) Moreover, the Lord Himself: “Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? God alone is good.” (Mat_19:17) Moreover, the Apostle Paul says: “Who only hath immortality, and dwelleth in the light that no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” (1Ti_6:16) And in another place: “But a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.” (Gal_3:20) But even as we hold, and read, and believe this, thus we ought to pass over no portion of the heavenly Scriptures, since indeed also we ought by no means to reject those marks of Christ’s divinity which are laid down in the Scriptures, that we may not, by corrupting the authority of the Scriptures, be held to have corrupted the integrity of our holy faith. And let us therefore believe this, since it is most faithful that Jesus Christ the Son of God is our Lord and God; because “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God.” (Joh_1:1, Joh_1:2) And, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us.” (Joh_1:14) And, “My Lord and my God.” (Joh_20:28) And, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom according to the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for evermore.” (Rom_9:5) What, then, shall we say? Does Scripture set before us two Gods? How, then, does it say that “God is one?” Or is not Christ God also? How, then, is it said to Christ,” My Lord and my God?” Unless, therefore, we hold all this with fitting veneration and lawful argument, we shall reasonably be thought to have furnished a scandal to the heretics, not assuredly by the fault of the heavenly Scriptures, which never deceive; but by the presumption of human error, whereby they have chosen to be heretics. And in the first place, we must turn the attack against them who undertake to make against us the charge of saying that there are two Gods. It is written, and they cannot deny it, that “there is one Lord.” (Deu_6:4) What, then, do they think of Christ? – that He is Lord, or that He is not Lord at all? But they do not doubt absolutely that He is Lord; therefore, if their reasoning be true, here are already two Lords. How, then, is it true according to the Scriptures, there is one Lord? And Christ is called the “one Master.” (Mat_23:8-10) Nevertheless we read that the Apostle Paul also is a master.68 Then, according to this, our Master is not one, for from these things we conclude that there are two masters. How, then, according to the Scriptures, is “one our Master, even Christ?” In the Scriptures there is one “called good, even God;” but in the same Scriptures Christ is also asserted to be good. There is not, then, if they rightly conclude, one good, but even two good. How, then, according to the scriptural faith, is there said to be only one good? But if they do not think that it can by any means interfere with the truth that there is one Lord, that Christ also is Lord, nor with the truth that one is our. Master, that Paul also is our master, or with the truth that one is good, that Christ also is called good; on the same reasoning, let them understand that, from the fact that God is one, no obstruction arises to the truth that Christ also is declared to be God.





48 According to Pamelius, ch. xvii.

49 [Not “a seipso Deus.” See Bull, Defens., vol. v. p. 685.]

50 According to Pamelius, ch. xvii.

51 According to Pamelius, ch. xix.

52 “The miraculous generation is here represented as the natural, but by no means as the only cause for which He who had no human father was to receive the name of God’s Son.” – Oosterzee, in loco, on Luke. – Tr.

53 Principalitas.

54 The edition of Pamelius reads: ut sequela nominis in Filio Dei et hominis sit. The words Dei et were expelled by Welchman, whom we have followed.

55 According to Pamelius, ch. xx.

56 [Luk_20:38. A solemn admonition is found in the parallel Scripture, Mat_22:29, which teaches us how much we ought to find beneath the surface of the Holy Writ.]

57 According to Pamelius, ch. xxi.

58 Some transcriber has written Κυρίῳ for Κύρῳ, “the Lord” for “Cyrus,” and the mistake has been followed by the author.

59 According to Pamelius, ch. xxii.

60 scil. “unum,” Gr. ἕν.

61 Original, “unas.” Scil. person.

62 Neuter.

63 scil. ἕν.

64 [To commit any one of these errors, he thinks, is to prove one’s self “sensual, having not the Spirit.” Jud_1:19; Rom_8:7]

65 “There is one God.”

66 Scil. from Scripture.

67 [“Non semper pendebit inter latrones Christus: aliquando resurget Crucifixa Veritas.” – Sebastian Castalio.]

68 διδάσκαλος.