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Chapter 20.—The Sender and the Sent Equal. Why the Son is Said to Be Sent by the Father. Of the Mission of the Holy Spirit. How and by Whom He Was Sent. The Father the Beginning of the Whole Godhead.

27. But if the Son is said to be sent by the Father on this account, that the one is the Father, and the other the Son, this does not in any manner hinder us from believing the Son to be equal, and consubstantial, and co-eternal with the Father, and yet to have been sent as Son by the Father. Not because the one is greater, the other less; but because the one is Father, the other Son; the one begetter, the other begotten; the one, He from whom He is who is sent; the other, He who is from Him who sends. For the Son is from the Father, not the Father from the Son. And according to this manner we can now understand that the Son is not only said to have been sent because “the Word was made flesh,”534534    John i. 3, 18, 14 but therefore sent that the Word might be made flesh, and that He might perform through His bodily presence those things which were written; that is, that not only is He understood to have been sent as man, which the Word was made but the Word, too, was sent that it might be made man; because He was not sent in respect to any inequality of power, or substance, or anything that in Him was not equal to the Father; but in respect to this, that the Son is from the Father, not the Father from the Son; for the Son is the Word of the Father, which is also called His wisdom. What wonder, therefore, if He is sent, not because He is unequal with the Father, but because He is “a pure emanation (manatio) issuing from the glory of the Almighty God?” For there, that which issues, and that from which it issues, is of one and the same substance. For it does not issue as water issues from an aperture of earth or of stone, but as light issues from light. For the words, “For she is the brightness of the everlasting light,” what else are they than, she is light of everlasting light? For what is the brightness of light, except light itself? and so co-eternal, with the light, from which the light is. But it is preferable to say, “the brightness of light,” rather than” the light of light;” lest that which issues should be thought to be darker than that from which it issues. For when one hears of the brightness of light as being light itself, it is more easy to believe that the former shines by means of the latter, than that the latter shines less. But because there was no need of warning men not to think that light to be less, which begat the other (for no heretic ever dared say this, neither is it to be believed that any one will dare to do so), Scripture meets that other thought, whereby that light which issues might seem darker than that from which it issues; and it has removed this surmise by saying, “It is the brightness of that light,” namely, of eternal light, and so shows it to be equal. For if it were less, then it would be its darkness, not its brightness; but if it were greater, then it could not issue from it, for it could not surpass that from which it is educed. Therefore, because it issues from it, it is not greater than it is; and because it is not its darkness, but its brightness, it is not less than it is: therefore it is equal. Nor ought this to trouble us, that it is called a pure emanation issuing from the glory of the Almighty God, as if itself were not omnipotent, but an emanation from the Omnipotent; for soon after it is said of it, “And being but one, she can do all things.”535535    Wisd. vii. 25–27 But who is omnipotent, unless He who can do all things? It is sent, therefore, by Him from whom it issues; for so she is sought after by him who loved and desired her. “Send her,” he says, “out of Thy holy heavens, and from the throne of Thy glory, that, being present, she may labor with me;”536536    Wisd. ix. 10 that is, may teach me to labor [heartily] in order that I may not labor [irksomely]. For her labors are virtues. But she is sent in one way that she may be with man; she has been sent in another way that she herself may be man. For, 84“entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God and prophets;”537537    Wisd. vii. 27 so she also fills the holy angels, and works all things fitting for such ministries by them.538538    [The allusion is to the Wisdom of Proverbs, and of the Book of Wisdom which Augustin regards as canonical, as his frequent citations show.—W.G.T.S.] But when the fullness of time was come, she was sent,539539    Gal. iv. 4 not to fill angels, nor to be an angel, except in so far as she announced the counsel of the Father, which was her own also; nor, again, to be with men or in men, for this too took place before, both in the fathers and in the prophets; but that the Word itself should be made flesh, that is, should be made man. In which future mystery, when revealed, was to be the salvation of those wise and holy men also, who, before He was born of the Virgin, were born of women; and in which, when done and made known, is the salvation of all who believe, and hope, and love. For this is “the great mystery of godliness, which540540    Quod, scil. sacramentum was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”541541    1 Tim. iii. 16

28. Therefore the Word of God is sent by Him, of whom He is the Word; He is sent by Him, from whom He was begotten (genitum); He sends who begot, That is sent which is begotten. And He is then sent to each one, when He is apprehended and perceived by each, in so far as He can be apprehended and perceived, in proportion to the comprehension of the rational soul, either advancing towards God, or already perfect in God. The Son, therefore, is not properly said to have been sent in that He is begotten of the Father; but either in that the Word made flesh appeared to the world, whence He says, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world;”542542    John xvi. 28 or in that from time to time, He is perceived by the mind of each, according to the saying, “Send her, that, being present with me, she may labor with me.”543543    Wisd. ix. 10 What then is born (natum) from eternity is eternal, “for it is the brightness of the everlasting light;” but what is sent from time to time, is that which is apprehended by each. But when the Son of God was made manifest in the flesh, He was sent into this world in the fullness of time, made of a woman. “For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God” (since “the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not”), it “pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe,”544544    1 Cor. i. 21 and that the Word should be made flesh, and dwell among us.545545    John i. 5, 14 But when from time to time He comes forth and is perceived by the mind of each, He is said indeed to be sent, but not into this world; for He does not appear sensibly, that is, He does not present Himself to the corporeal senses. For we ourselves, too, are not in this world, in respect to our grasping with the mind as far as we can that which is eternal; and the spirits of all the righteous are not in this world, even of those who are still living in the flesh, in so far as they have discernment in things divine. But the Father is not said to be sent, when from time to time He is apprehended by any one, for He has no one of whom to be, or from whom to proceed; since Wisdom says, “I came out of the mouth of the Most High,”546546    Ecclus. xxiv. 3 and it is said of the Holy Spirit, “He proceedeth from the Father,”547547    John xv. 26 but the Father is from no one.

29. As, therefore, the Father begat, the Son is begotten; so the Father sent, the Son was sent. But in like manner as He who begat and He who was begotten, so both He who sent and He who was sent, are one, since the Father and the Son are one.548548    John x. 30 So also the Holy Spirit is one with them, since these three are one. For as to be born, in respect to the Son, means to be from the Father; so to be sent, in respect to the Son, means to be known to be from the Father. And as to be the gift of God in respect to the Holy Spirit, means to proceed from the Father; so to be sent, is to be known to proceed from the Father. Neither can we say that the Holy Spirit does not also proceed from the Son, for the same Spirit is not without reason said to be the Spirit both of the Father and of the Son.549549    [Augustin here, as in previous instances, affirms the procession of the Spirit from the Father and Son.—W.G.T.S.] Nor do I see what else He intended to signify, when He breathed on the face of the disciples, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”550550    John xx. 22 For that bodily breathing, proceeding from the body with the feeling of bodily touching, was not the substance of the Holy Spirit, but a declaration by a fitting sign, that the Holy Spirit proceeds not only from the Father, but also from the Son. For the veriest of madmen would not say, that it was one Spirit which He gave when He breathed on them, and another which He sent after His ascension.551551    Acts ii. 1–4 For the Spirit of God is one, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, the Holy Spirit, who worketh all in all.552552    1 Cor. xii. 6 But that He was given twice was certainly a significant economy, which we will 85discuss in its place, as far as the Lord may grant. That then which the Lord says,—“Whom I will send unto you from the Father,”553553    John xv. 26—shows the Spirit to be both of the Father and of the Son; because, also, when He had said, “Whom the Father will send,” He added also, “in my name.”554554    John xiv. 26 Yet He did not say, Whom the Father will send from me, as He said, “Whom I will send unto you from the Father,”—showing, namely, that the Father is the beginning (principium) of the whole divinity, or if it is better so expressed, deity.555555    [The term “beginning” is employed “relatively, and not according to substance,” as Augustin says. The Father is “the beginning of the whole deity,” with reference to the personal distinctions of Father, Son, and Spirit—the Son being from the Father, and the Spirit from Father and Son. The trinitarian relations or modes of the essence, “begin” with the first person, not the second or the third. The phrase “whole deity,” in the above statement, is put for “trinity,” not for “essence.” Augustin would not say that the Father is the “beginning” (principium) of the divine essence considered abstractly, but only of the essence as trinal. In this sense, Trinitarian writers denominate the Father “fons trinitatis,” and sometimes “fons deitatis.” Turrettin employs this latter phraseology (iii. xxx. i. 8); so does Owen (Communion with Trinity, Ch. iii.); and Hooker (Polity, v. liv.). But in this case, the guarding clause of Turretin is to be subjoined: “fons deitatis, si modus subsistendi spectatur.” The phrase “fons trinitatis,” or “principium trinitatis,” is less liable to be misconceived, and more accurate than “fons deitatis,” or “principum deitatis.”—W.G.T.S.] He, therefore, who proceeds from the Father and from the Son, is referred back to Him from whom the Son was born (natus). And that which the evangelist says, “For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified;”556556    John vii. 39 how is this to be understood, unless because the special giving or sending of the Holy Spirit after the glorification of Christ was to be such as it had never been before? For it was not previously none at all, but it had not been such as this. For if the Holy Spirit was not given before, wherewith were the prophets who spoke filled? Whereas the Scripture plainly says, and shows in many places, that they spake by the Holy Spirit. Whereas, also, it is said of John the Baptist, “And he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” And his father Zacharias is found to have been filled with the Holy Ghost, so as to say such things of him. And Mary, too, was filled with the Holy Ghost, so as to foretell such things of the Lord, whom she was bearing in her womb.557557    Luke i. 15, 41–79 And Simeon and Anna were filled with the Holy Spirit, so as to acknowledge the greatness of the little child Christ.558558    Luke ii. 25–38 How, then, was “the Spirit not yet given, since Jesus was not yet glorified,” unless because that giving, or granting, or mission of the Holy Spirit was to have a certain speciality of its own in its very advent, such as never was before? For we read nowhere that men spoke in tongues which they did not know, through the Holy Spirit coming upon them; as happened then, when it was needful that His coming should be made plain by visible signs, in order to show that the whole world, and all nations constituted with different tongues, should believe in Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit, to fulfill that which is sung in the Psalm, “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard; their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”559559    Ps. xix. 3, 4

30. Therefore man was united, and in some sense commingled, with the Word of God, so as to be One Person, when the fullness of time was come, and the Son of God, made of a woman, was sent into this world, that He might be also the Son of man for the sake of the sons of men. And this person angelic nature could prefigure beforehand, so as to pre-announce, but could not appropriate, so as to be that person itself.


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