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Chapter 8.—The Texts of Scripture Explained Respecting the Subjection of the Son to the Father, Which Have Been Misunderstood. Christ Will Not So Give Up the Kingdom to the Father, as to Take It Away from Himself. The Beholding Him is the Promised End of All Actions. The Holy Spirit is Sufficient to Our Blessedness Equally with the Father.
15. As for that which the apostle says, “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him:” either the text has been so turned, lest any one should think that the “fashion”6666 Habitum of Christ, which He took according to the human creature, was to be transformed hereafter into the Divinity, or (to express it more precisely) the Godhead itself, who is not a creature, but is the unity of the Trinity,—a nature incorporeal, and unchangeable, and consubstantial, and co-eternal with itself; or if 25any one contends, as some have thought, that the text, “Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him,” is so turned in order that one may believe that very “subjection” to be a change and conversion hereafter of the creature into the substance or essence itself of the Creator, that is, that that which had been the substance of a creature shall become the substance of the Creator;—such an one at any rate admits this, of which in truth there is no possible doubt, that this had not yet taken place, when the Lord said, “My Father is greater than I.” For He said this not only before He ascended into heaven, but also before He had suffered, and had risen from the dead. But they who think that the human nature in Him is to be changed and converted into the substance of the Godhead, and that it was so said, “Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him,”—as if to say, Then also the Son of man Himself, and the human nature taken by the Word of God, shall be changed into the nature of Him who put all things under Him,—must also think that this will then take place, when, after the day of judgment, “He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” And hence even still, according to this opinion, the Father is greater than that form of a servant which was taken of the Virgin. But if some affirm even further, that the man Christ Jesus has already been changed into the substance of God, at least they cannot deny that the human nature still remained, when He said before His passion, “For my Father is greater than I;” whence there is no question that it was said in this sense, that the Father is greater than the form of a servant, to whom in the form of God the Son is equal. Nor let any one, hearing what the apostle says, “But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him,”6767 1 Cor. xv. 28, 24, 27 think the words, that He hath put all things under the Son, to be so understood of the Father, as that He should not think that the Son Himself put all things under Himself. For this the apostle plainly declares, when he says to the Philippians, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue6868 Subjicere all things unto Himself.”6969 Phil. iii. 20, 21 For the working of the Father and of the Son is indivisible. Otherwise, neither hath the Father Himself put all things under Himself, but the Son hath put all things under Him, who delivers the kingdom to Him, and puts down all rule and all authority and power. For these words are spoken of the Son: “When He shall have delivered up,” says the apostle, “the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down7070 Evacuaverit all rule, and all authority, and all power.” For the same that puts down, also makes subject.
16. Neither may we think that Christ shall so give up the kingdom to God, even the Father, as that He shall take it away from Himself. For some vain talkers have thought even this. For when it is said, “He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” He Himself is not excluded; because He is one God together with the Father. But that word “until” deceives those who are careless readers of the divine Scriptures, but eager for controversies. For the text continues, “For He must reign, until He hath put all enemies under His feet;”7171 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25 as though, when He had so put them, He would no more reign. Neither do they perceive that this is said in the same way as that other text, “His heart is established: He shall not be afraid, until He see His desire upon His enemies.”7272 Ps. cxii. 8 For He will not then be afraid when He has seen it. What then means, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” as though God and the Father has not the kingdom now? But because He is hereafter to bring all the just, over whom now, living by faith, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, reigns, to that sight which the same apostle calls “face to face;”7373 1 Cor. xiii. 12 therefore the words, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” are as much as to say, When He shall have brought believers to the contemplation of God, even the Father. For He says, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.”7474 Matt. xi. 27 The Father will then be revealed by the Son, “when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and all power;” that is, in such wise that there shall be no more need of any economy of similitudes, by means of angelic rulers, and authorities, and powers. Of whom that is not unfitly understood, which is said in the Song of Songs to the bride, “We will make thee borders7575 Similitudines of gold, with studs of silver, while the King sitteth at His 26table;”7676 In recubitu Cant. i. 11; see LXX. that is, as long as Christ is in His secret place: since “your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ, who is our7777 Vestra life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”7878 Col. iii. 3, 4 Before which time, “we see now through a glass, in an enigma,” that is, in similitudes, “but then face to face.”7979 1 Cor. xiii. 12
17. For this contemplation is held forth to us as the end of all actions, and the everlasting fullness of joy. For “we are the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”8080 1 John iii. 2 For that which He said to His servant Moses, “I am that I am; thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me to you;”8181 Ex. iii 14 this it is which we shall contemplate when we shall live in eternity. For so it is said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”8282 John xvii. 3 This shall be when the Lord shall have come, and “shall have brought to light the hidden things of darkness;”8383 1 Cor. iv. 5 when the darkness of this present mortality and corruption shall have passed away. Then will be our morning, which is spoken of in the Psalm, “In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will contemplate Thee.”8484 Ps. v. 5 Of this contemplation I understand it to be said, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;” that is, when He shall have brought the just, over whom now, living by faith, the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, reigns, to the contemplation of God, even the Father. If herein I am foolish, let him who knows better correct me; to me at least the case seems as I have said.8585 [The common explanation is better, which regards the “kingdom” that is to be delivered up, to be the mediatorial commission. When Christ shall have finished his work of redeeming men, he no longer discharges the office of a mediator. It seems incongruous to denominate the beatific vision of God by the redeemed, a surrender of a kingdom. In I. x. 21, Augustin says that when the Redeemer brings the redeemed from faith to sight, “He is said to ‘deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father.’ ”—W.G.T.S.] For we shall not seek anything else, when we shall have come to the contemplation of Him. But that contemplation is not yet, so long as our joy is in hope. For “hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it,”8686 Rom. viii. 24, 25 viz. “as long as the King sitteth at His table.”8787 Cant. i. 12 Then will take place that which is written, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy.”8888 Ps. xvi. 11 Nothing more than that joy will be required; because there will be nothing more than can be required. For the Father will be manifested to us, and that will suffice for us. And this much Philip had well understood, so that he said to the Lord, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” But he had not yet understood that he himself was able to say this very same thing in this way also: Lord, show Thyself to us, and it sufficeth us. For, that he might understand this, the Lord replied to him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” But because He intended him, before he could see this, to live by faith, He went on to say, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?”8989 John xiv. 8, 10 For “while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith, not by sight.”9090 2 Cor. v. 6, 7 For contemplation is the recompense of faith, for which recompense our hearts are purified by faith; as it is written, “Purifying their hearts by faith.”9191 Acts xv. 9 And that our hearts are to be purified for this contemplation, is proved above all by this text, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”9292 Matt. v. 8 And that this is life eternal, God says in the Psalm, “With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”9393 Ps. xci. 16 Whether, therefore, we hear, Show us the Son; or whether we hear, Show us the Father; it is even all one, since neither can be manifested without the other. For they are one, as He also Himself says, “My Father and I are one.”9494 John x. 30 Finally, on account of this very indivisibility, it suffices that sometimes the Father alone, or the Son alone, should be named, as hereafter to fill us with the joy of His countenance.
18. Neither is the Spirit of either thence excluded, that is, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son; which Holy Spirit is specially called “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.”9595 John xiv. 17 For to have the fruition of God the Trinity, after whose image we are made, is indeed the fullness of our joy, than which there is no greater. On this account the Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of as if He alone sufficed to our blessedness: and He does alone so suffice, because He cannot be divided from the Father and the Son; as the Father alone is sufficient, because He cannot be divided from the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the Son alone is sufficient because He cannot be divided from the Father and the Holy Spirit. For what does He mean by saying, “If ye love me, keep my commandments; and I will pray the Father, and He shall give 27you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive,”9696 John xiv. 15–17 that is, the lovers of the world? For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.”9797 1 Cor. ii. 14 But it may perhaps seem, further, as if the words, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter,” were so said as if the Son alone were not sufficient. And that place so speaks of the Spirit, as if He alone were altogether sufficient: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.”9898 John xvi. 13 Pray, therefore, is the Son here excluded, as if He did not teach all truth, or as if the Holy Spirit were to fill up that which the Son could not fully teach? Let them say then, if it pleases them, that the Holy Spirit is greater than the Son, whom they are wont to call less. Or is it, forsooth, because it is not said, He alone,—or, No one else except Himself—will guide you into all truth, that they allow that the Son also may be believed to teach together with Him? In that case the apostle has excluded the Son from knowing those things which are of God, where he says, “Even so the things of God knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God:”9999 1 Cor. ii. 11 so that these perverse men might, upon this ground, go on to say that none but the Holy Spirit teaches even the Son the things of God, as the greater teaches the less; to whom the Son Himself ascribes so much as to say, “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.”100100 John xvi. 6, 7
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