« Prev Texts Explained; Tenthly, Matthew xi. 27; John… Next »

Chapter XXVII.—Texts Explained; Tenthly, Matthew xi. 27; John iii. 35, &c. These texts intended to preclude the Sabellian notion of the Son; they fall in with the Catholic doctrine concerning the Son; they are explained by ‘so’ in John v. 26. (Anticipation of the next chapter.) Again they are used with reference to our Lord’s human nature; for our sake, that we might receive and not lose, as receiving in Him. And consistently with other parts of Scripture, which shew that He had the power, &c., before He received it. He was God and man, and His actions are often at once divine and human.

35 (continued). For, ‘The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand;’ and, ‘All things were given unto Me of My Father;’ and, ‘I can do nothing of Myself, but as I hear, I judge30593059    John iii. 35; Matt. xi. 27; John v. 30;’ and the like passages do not shew that the Son once had not these prerogatives—(for had not He eternally what the Father has, who is the Only Word and Wisdom of the Father in essence, who also says, ‘All that the Father hath are Mine30603060    John xvi. 15; xvii. 10.,’ and what are Mine, are the Father’s? for if the things of the Father are the Son’s and the Father hath them ever, it is plain that what the Son hath, being the Father’s, were ever in the Son),—not then because once He had them not, did He say this, but because, whereas the Son hath eternally what He hath, yet He hath them from the Father.

36. For lest a man, perceiving that the Son has all that the Father hath, from the exact likeness and identity of that He hath, should wander into the irreligion of Sabellius, considering Him to be the Father, therefore He has said ‘Was given unto Me,’ and ‘I received,’ and ‘Were delivered to Me30613061    John x. 18; Mat. xxviii. 18.,’ only to shew that He is not the Father, but the Father’s Word, and the Eternal Son, who because of His likeness to the Father, has eternally what He has from Him, and because He is the Son, has from the Father what He has eternally. Moreover that ‘Was given’ and ‘Were delivered,’ and the like, do not impair30623062    Or. i. 45; ad Adelph. 4. the Godhead of the Son, but rather shew Him to be truly30633063    Or. ii. 19, n. 3. Son, we may learn from the passages themselves. For if all things are delivered unto Him, first, He is other than that all which He has received; next, being Heir of all things, He alone is the Son and proper according to the Essence of the Father. For if He were one of all, then He were not ‘heir of all30643064    Heb. i. 2.,’ but every one had received according as the Father willed and gave. But now, as receiving all things, He is other than them all, and alone proper to the Father. Moreover that ‘Was given’ and ‘Were delivered’ do not shew that once He had them not, we may conclude from a similar passage, and in like manner concerning them all; for the Saviour Himself says, ‘As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given also to the Son to have life in Himself30653065    John v. 26..’ Now from the words ‘Hath given,’ He signifies that He is not the Father; but in saying ‘so,’ He shews the Son’s natural likeness and propriety towards the Father. If then once the Father had not, plainly the Son once had not; for as 414the Father, ‘so’ also the Son has. But if this is irreligious to say, and religious on the contrary to say that the Father had ever, is it not unseemly in them when the Son says that, ‘as’ the Father has, ‘so’ also the Son has, to say that He has not ‘so30663066    Or. ii. 55, n. 8.,’ but otherwise? Rather then is the Word faithful, and all things which He says that He has received, He has always, yet has from the Father; and the Father indeed not from any, but the Son from the Father. For as in the instance of the radiance, if the radiance itself should say, ‘All places the light hath given me to enlighten, and I do not enlighten from myself, but as the light wills,’ yet, in saying this, it does not imply that it once had not, but it means, ‘I am proper to the light, and all things of the light are mine;’ so, and much more, must we understand in the instance of the Son. For the Father, having given all things to the Son, in the Son still30673067    πάλιν. vid. Or. i. 15, n. 6. Thus iteration is not duplication in respect to God; though how this is, is the inscrutable Mystery of the Trinity in Unity. Nothing can be named which the Son is in Himself, as distinct from the Father; we are but told His relation towards the Father, and thus the sole meaning we are able to attach to Person is a relation of the Son towards the Father; and distinct from and beyond that relation, He is but the One God, who is also the Father. This sacred subject has been touched upon supr. Or. iii. 9, n. 8. In other words, there is an indestructible essential relation existing in the One Indivisible infinitely simple God, such as to constitute Him, viewed on each side of that relation (what in human language we call) Two (and in like manner Three), yet without the notion of number really coming in. When we speak of ‘Person,’ we mean nothing more than the One God in substance, viewed relatively to Him the One God, as viewed in that Correlative which we therefore call another Person. These various statements are not here intended to explain, but to bring home to the mind what it is which faith receives. We say ‘Father, Son, and Spirit,’ but when we would abstract a general idea of Them in order to number Them, our abstraction really does hardly more than carry us back to the One Substance. Such seems the meaning of such passages as Basil. Ep. 8, 2; de Sp. S. c. 18; Chrysost. in Joan. Hom. ii. 3 fin. ‘In respect of the Adorable and most Royal Trinity, ‘first’ and ‘second’ have no place; for the Godhead is higher than number and times.’ Isid. Pel. Ep. 3, 18. Eulog. ap. Phot. 230. p. 864. August. in Joan. 39, 3 and 4; de Trin. v. 10. ‘Unity is not number, but is itself the principle of all things.’ Ambros. de Fid. i. n. 19. ‘A trine numeration then does not make number, which they rather run into, who make some difference between the Three.’ Boeth. Trin. unus Deus, p. 959. The last remark is found in Naz. Orat. 31, 18. Many of these references are taken from Thomassin de Trin. 17. hath all things; and the Son having, still the Father hath them; for the Son’s Godhead is the Father’s Godhead, and thus the Father in the Son exercises His Providence30683068    §§11, n. 4, 15, n. 11. over all things.

37. And while such is the sense of expressions like these, those which speak humanly concerning the Saviour admit of a religious meaning also. For with this end have we examined them beforehand, that, if we should hear Him asking where Lazarus is laid30693069    Vid. infr. 46; John xi. 34., or when He asks on coming into the parts of Cæsarea, ‘Whom do men say that I am?’ or, ‘How many loaves have ye?’ and, ‘What will ye that I shall do unto you30703070    Matt. xvi. 13; Mark vi. 38; Matt. xx. 32?’ we may know, from what has been already said, the right30713071    ii. 44, n. 1. sense of the passages, and may not stumble as Christ’s enemies the Arians. First then we must put this question to the irreligious, why they consider Him ignorant? for one who asks, does not for certain ask from ignorance; but it is possible for one who knows, still to ask concerning what He knows. Thus John was aware that Christ, when asking, ‘How many loaves have ye?’ was not ignorant, for he says, ‘And this He said to prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do30723072    John vi. 6..’ But if He knew what He was doing, therefore not in ignorance, but with knowledge did He ask. From this instance we may understand similar ones; that, when the Lord asks, He does not ask in ignorance, where Lazarus lies, nor again, whom men do say that He is; but knowing the thing which He was asking, aware what He was about to do. And thus with ease is their clever point exploded; but if they still persist30733073    Petavius refers to this passage in proof that S. Athanasius did not in his real judgment consider our Lord ignorant, but went on to admit it in argument after having first given his own real opinion. vid. §45, n. 2. on account of His asking, then they must be told that in the Godhead indeed ignorance is not, but to the flesh ignorance is proper, as has been said. And that this is really so, observe how the Lord who inquired where Lazarus lay, Himself said, when He was not on the spot but a great way off, ‘Lazarus is dead30743074    John xi. 14.,’ and where he was dead; and how that He who is considered by them as ignorant, is He Himself who foreknew the reasonings of the disciples, and was aware of what was in the heart of each, and of ‘what was in man,’ and, what is greater, alone knows the Father and says, ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me.30753075    John ii. 25; xiv. 11.

38. Therefore this is plain to every one, that the flesh indeed is ignorant, but the Word Himself, considered as the Word, knows all things even before they come to be. For He did not, when He became man, cease to be God30763076    Or. ii. 8, n. 3.; nor, whereas He is God does He shrink from what is man’s; perish the thought; but rather, being God, He has taken to Him the flesh, and being in the flesh deifies the flesh. For as He asked questions in it, so also in it did He raise the dead; and He shewed to all that He who quickens the dead and recalls the soul, much more discerns the secret of all. And He knew where Lazarus lay, and yet He asked; for the All-holy Word of God, who endured all things for our sakes, did this, that so carrying our ignorance, He might vouchsafe to us the knowledge of His own only and true Father, and of Himself, sent because of us for the salvation of all, than which no grace could be greater. 415When then the Saviour uses the words which they allege in their defence, ‘Power is given to Me,’ and, ‘Glorify Thy Son,’ and Peter says, ‘Power is given unto Him,’ we understand all these passages in the same sense, that humanly because of the body He says all this. For though He had no need, nevertheless He is said to have received what He received humanly, that on the other hand, inasmuch as the Lord has received, and the grant is lodged with Him, the grace may remain sure. For while mere man receives, he is liable to lose again (as was shewn in the case of Adam, for he received and he lost30773077    Or. ii. 68.), but that the grace may be irrevocable, and may be kept sure30783078    ii. 69, n. 3. by men, therefore He Himself appropriates30793079    ἰδιοποιεῖται, cf. 33, n. 5. the gift; and He says that He has received power, as man, which He ever had as God, and He says, ‘Glorify Me,’ who glorifies others, to shew that He hath a flesh which has need of these things. Wherefore, when the flesh receives, since that which receives is in Him, and by taking it He hath become man, therefore He is said Himself to have received.

39. If then (as has many times been said) the Word has not become man, then ascribe to the Word, as you would have it, to receive, and to need glory, and to be ignorant; but if He has become man (and He has become), and it is man’s to receive, and to need, and to be ignorant, wherefore do we consider the Giver as receiver, and the Dispenser to others do we suspect to be in need, and divide the Word from the Father as imperfect and needy, while we strip human nature of grace? For if the Word Himself, considered as Word, has received and been glorified for His own sake, and if He according to His Godhead is He who is hallowed and has risen again, what hope is there for men? for they remain as they were, naked, and wretched, and dead, having no interest in the things given to the Son. Why too did the Word come among us, and become flesh? if that He might receive these things, which He says that He has received, He was without them before that, and of necessity will rather owe thanks Himself to the body30803080    Infr. 51., because, when He came into it, then He receives these things from the Father, which He had not before His descent into the flesh. For on this shewing He seems rather to be Himself promoted because of the body30813081    Or. i. 38., than the body promoted because of Him. But this notion is Judaic. But if that He might redeem mankind30823082    Redemption an internal work. vid. supr. ii. 55, n. 1., the Word did come among us; and that He might hallow and deify them, the Word became flesh (and for this He did become), who does not see that it follows, that what He says that He received, when He became flesh, that He mentions, not for His own sake, but for the flesh? for to it, in which He was speaking, pertained the gifts given through Him from the Father. But let us see what He asked, and what the things altogether were which He said that He had received, that in this way also they may be brought to feeling. He asked then glory, yet He had said, ‘All things were delivered unto Me30833083    Luke x. 22..’ And after the resurrection, He says that He has received all power; but even before that He had said, ‘All things were delivered unto Me,’ He was Lord of all, for ‘all things were made by Him;’ and ‘there is One Lord by whom are all things30843084    1 Cor. viii. 6..’ And when He asked glory, He was as He is, the Lord of glory; as Paul says, ‘If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory30853085    1 Cor. ii. 8.;’ for He had that glory which He asked when He said, ‘the glory which I had with Thee before the world was30863086    Joh. xvii. 5..’

40. Also the power which He said He received after the resurrection, that He had before He received it, and before the resurrection. For He of Himself rebuked Satan, saying, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan30873087    Luke iv. 8.;’ and to the disciples He gave the power against him, when on their return He said, ‘I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven30883088    Luke x. 18, 19..’ And again, that what He said that He had received, that He possessed before receiving it, appears from His driving away the demons, and from His unbinding what Satan had bound, as He did in the case of the daughter of Abraham; and from His remitting sins, saying to the paralytic, and to the woman who washed His feet, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee30893089    Vid. ib. xiii. 16; Matt. ix. 5; Luke vii. 48.;’ and from His both raising the dead, and repairing the first nature of the blind, granting to him to see. And all this He did, not waiting till He should receive, but being ‘possessed of power30903090    Is. ix. 6, LXX..’ From all this it is plain that what He had as Word, that when He had become man and was risen again, He says that He received humanly30913091    Or. i. 45.; that for His sake men might henceforward upon earth have power against demons, as having become partakers of a divine nature; and in heaven, as being delivered from corruption, might reign everlastingly. Thus we must acknowledge this once for all, that nothing which He says that He received, did He receive as not possessing before; for the Word, as being God, had them always; but in these passages He is said humanly to have received, that, whereas the flesh received in Him, henceforth from it the 416gift might abide30923092    διαμείνῃ, Or. ii. 69, 3. surely for us. For what is said by Peter, ‘receiving from God honour and glory, Angels being made subject unto Him30933093    2 Pet. i. 17; 1 Pet. iii. 22.,’ has this meaning. As He inquired humanly, and raised Lazarus divinely, so ‘He received’ is spoken of Him humanly, but the subjection of the Angels marks the Word’s Godhead.

41. Cease then, O abhorred of God30943094    θεοστυγεῖς, supr. §16, n. 7. infr. §58, de Mort. Ar. 1. In illud Omn. 6., and degrade not the Word; nor detract from His Godhead, which is the Father’s30953095    §1, n. 11., as though He needed or were ignorant; lest ye be casting your own arguments against the Christ, as the Jews who once stoned Him. For these belong not to the Word, as the Word; but are proper to men and, as when He spat, and stretched forth the hand, and called Lazarus, we did not say that the triumphs were human, though they were done through the body, but were God’s, so, on the other hand, though human things are ascribed to the Saviour in the Gospel, let us, considering the nature of what is said and that they are foreign to God, not impute them to the Word’s Godhead, but to His manhood. For though ‘the Word became flesh,’ yet to the flesh are the affections proper; and though the flesh is possessed by God in the Word, yet to the Word belong the grace and the power. He did then the Father’s works through the flesh; and as truly contrariwise were the affections of the flesh displayed in Him; for instance, He inquired and He raised Lazarus, He chid30963096    John ii. 4. ἐπέπληττε; and so ἐπετίμησε, Chrysost. in loc. Joan. and Theophyl. ὡς δεσπότης ἐπιτιμᾷ, Theodor. Eran. ii. p. 106. ἐντρέπει, Anon. ap. Corder. Cat. in loc. μέμφεται, Alter Anon. ibid. ἐπιτιμᾶ οὐκ ἀτιμάζων ἀλλὰ διορθούμενος, Euthym. in loc. οὐκ ἐπέπληξεν, Pseudo-Justin. Quæst. ad Orthod. 136. It is remarkable that Athan. dwells on these words as implying our Lord’s humanity (i.e. because Christ appeared to decline a miracle), when one reason assigned for them by the Fathers is that He wished, in the words τί μοι καί σοι, to remind S. Mary that He was the Son of God and must be ‘about His Father’s business.’ ‘Repeliens ejus intempestivam festinationem,’ Iren. Hær. iii. 16, n. 7. It is observable that ἐπιπλήττει and ἐπιτιμᾷ are the words used by Cyril, &c. (infr. §54, note 4), for our Lord’s treatment of His own sacred body. But they are very vague words, and have a strong meaning or not, as the case may be. His Mother, saying, ‘My hour is not yet come,’ and then at once He made the water wine. For He was Very God in the flesh, and He was true flesh in the Word. Therefore from His works He revealed both Himself as Son of God, and His own Father, and from the affections of the flesh He shewed that He bore a true body, and that it was His own.


« Prev Texts Explained; Tenthly, Matthew xi. 27; John… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |