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IV.—Epistle to Dionysius Bishop of Rome.722722    Fragments of a second epistle of Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, or of the treatise which was inscribed the “Elenchus et Apologia.” [A former epistle was written when Dionysius (of Rome) was a presbyter.]

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From the First Book.

1. There certainly was not a time when God was not the Father.723723    And in what follows (says Athanasius) he professes that Christ is always, as being the Word, and the Wisdom, and the Power.

2. Neither, indeed, as though He had not brought forth these things, did God afterwards beget the Son, but because the Son has existence not from Himself, but from the Father.

And after a few words he says of the Son Himself:—

3. Being the brightness of the eternal Light, He Himself also is absolutely eternal. For since light is always in existence, it is manifest that its brightness also exists, because light is perceived to exist from the fact that it shines, and it is impossible that light should not shine. And let us once more come to illustrations. If the sun exists, there is also day; if nothing of this be manifest, it is impossible that the sun should be there. If then the sun were eternal, the day would never end; but now, for such is not really the state of the case, the day begins with the beginning of the sun, and ends with its ending. But God is the eternal Light, which has neither had a beginning, nor shall ever fail. Therefore the eternal brightness shines forth before Him, and co-exists with Him, in that, existing without a beginning, and always begotten, He always shines before Him; and He is that Wisdom which says, “I was that wherein He delighted, and I was daily His delight before His face at all times.”724724    Prov. viii. 30.

And a little after he thus pursues his discourse from the same point:—

4. Since, therefore, the Father is eternal, the Son also is eternal, Light of Light. For where there is the begetter, there is also the offspring. And if there is no offspring, how and of what can He be the begetter? But both are, and always are. Since, then, God is the Light, Christ is the Brightness. And since He is a Spirit—for says He, “God is a Spirit”725725    John iv. 24.—fittingly again is Christ called Breath; for “He,”726726    Scil. Wisdom. saith He, “is the breath of God’s power.”727727    Wisd. vii. 25.

And again he says:—

5. Moreover, the Son alone, always co-existing with the Father, and filled with Him who is, Himself also is, since He is of the Father.


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