i

A SELECT LIBRARY

OF THE

NICENE AND

POST-NICENE FATHERS

OF

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

SECOND SERIES

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH WITH PROLEGOMENA AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.

VOLUMES I–VII.

UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OF

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D.,

PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK.

AND

HENRY WACE, D.D.,

PRINCIPAL OF KING’S COLLEGE, LONDON.

VOLUME V

GREGORY OF NYSSA: DOGMATIC TREATISES, ETC.

T&T CLARK

EDINBURGH

__________________________________________________

WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

iii

Editor’s Preface.

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These translations from the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa have involved unusual labour, which the Editor hopes will be accepted as a sufficient apology for the delay of the volume. The difficulty has been extreme of conveying with correctness in English the meaning of expressions and arguments which depend on some of the most subtle ideas of Greek philosophy and theology; and, in addition to the thanks due to the translators, the Editor must offer a special acknowledgment of the invaluable help he has received from the exact and philosophical scholarship of the Rev. J. H. Lupton, Surmaster of St. Paul’s School. He must renew to Mr. Lupton, with increased earnestness, the expression of gratitude he had already had occasion to offer in issuing the Translation of St. Athanasius. From the careful and minute revision which the volume has thus undergone, the Editor ventures to entertain some hope that the writings of this important and interesting Father are in this volume introduced to the English reader in a manner which will enable him to obtain a fair conception of their meaning and value.

Henry Wace.

Kings College, London, 6th November, 1892.

v

select writings and letters

OF

Gregory, bishop of nyssa.

Translated, with prolegomena, notes, and indices,

by

William Moore, M.A.,

Rector of Appleton,

Late Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford;

and

Henry Austin Wilson, M.A.,

Fellow and librarian of Magdalen College, Oxford.

vii

Preface.

————————————

That none of the Treatises of S. Gregory of Nyssa have hitherto been translated into English, or even (with one exception long ago) into French, may be partly due to the imperfections, both in number and quality, of the mss., and by consequence of the Editions, of the great majority of them. The state of the mss., again, may be owing to the suspicion diligently fostered by the zealous friends of the reputation of this Father, in ages when mss. could and should have been multiplied and preserved, that there were large importations into his writings from the hands of the Origenists—a statement which a very short study of Gregory, whose thought is always taking the direction of Origen, would disprove.

This suspicion, while it resulted in throwing doubts upon the genuineness of the entire text, has so far deprived the current literature of the Church of a great treasure. For there are two qualities in this Gregory’s writings not to be found in the same degree in any other Greek teacher, namely, a far-reaching use of philosophical speculation (quite apart from allegory) in bringing out the full meaning of Church doctrines, and Bible truths; and excellence of style. With regard to this last, he himself bitterly deplored the days which he had wasted over the study of style; but we at all events need not share that regret, if only for this reason, that his writings thereby show that patristic Greek could rise to the level of the best of its time. It is not necessarily the thing which it is, too easily, even in other instances, assumed to be. Granted the prolonged decadence of the language, yet perfects are not aorists, nor aorists perfects, the middle is a middle, there are classical constructions of the participle, the particles of transition and prepositions in composition have their full force in Athanasius; much more in Basil; much more in Gregory. It obscures facts to say that there was good Greek only in the age of Thucydides. There was good and bad Greek of its kind, in every epoch, as long as Greek was living. So far for mere syntax. As for adequacy of language, the far wider range of his subject-matter puts Gregory of Nyssa to a severer test; but he does not fail under it. What could be more dignified than his letter to Flavian, or more choice than his description of the spring, or more richly illustrated than his praises of Contemplation, or more pathetic than his pleading for the poor? It would have been strange indeed if the Greek language had not possessed a Jerome of its own, to make it speak the new monastic devotion.

But the labours of J. A. Krabinger, F. Oehler, and G. H. Forbes upon the text, though all abruptly ended, have helped to repair the neglect of the past. They in this century, as the scholars of Paris, Ghent, and Basle, though each working with fewer or more imperfect mss., in the sixteenth and seventeenth, have been better friends to Gregory than those who wrote books in the sixth to defend his orthodoxy, but to depreciate his writings. In this century, too, Cardinal Mai has rescued still more from oblivion in the Vatican—a slight compensation for all the materials collected for a Benedictine edition of Gregory, but dispersed in the French Revolution.

The longest Treatise here translated is that Against Eunomius in 13 Books. The reproduction of so much ineffectual fencing in logic over a question which no longer can trouble the Church might be taken exception to. But should men like Gregory and Basil, pleading for the spirit and for faith and for mystery against the conclusions of a hard logician, be an indifferent spectacle to us? The interest, too, in the contest deepens when we know that their opponent not only proclaimed himself, but was accepted, as a martyr to the Anomœan cause; and that he had large congregations to the very end. The moral force of Arianism was stronger than ever as its end drew near in the East, because the Homœans were broken up and there was no more complicity with the court and politics. It was represented by a man who had suffered and had made no compromises; and so the life-long work, previous to his, of Valens the bishop at last bore fruit in conversions; and the Anomœan teaching came to a head in the easily viiiunderstood formula that the ᾽Αγεννησία was the essence of the Father—an idea which in the Dated Creed Valens had repudiated.

What, then, was to be done? Eunomius seemed by his parade of logic to have dug a gulf for ever between the Ungenerate and the Generate, in other words between the Father and the Son. The merit and interest of this Treatise of Gregory consists in showing this logician as making endless mistakes in his logic; and then, that anything short of the “eternal generation” involved unspeakable absurdities or profanities; and lastly, that Eunomius was fighting by means of distinctions which were the mere result of mental analysis. Already, we see, there was floating in the air the Conceptualism and Realism of the Middle Ages, invoked for this last Arian controversy. When Eunomius retorted that this faculty of analysis cannot give the name of God, and calls his opponents atheists for not recognizing the more than human source of the term ᾽Αγέννητος, the last word of Nicene orthodoxy has to be uttered; and it is, that God is really incomprehensible, and that here we can never know His name.

This should have led to a statement of the claims of the Sacraments as placing us in heart and spirit, but not in mind, in communion with this incomprehensible God. But this would have been useless with such opponents as the Eunomians. Accuracy of doctrine and clearness of statement was to them salvation; mysteries were worse than nothing. Only in the intervals of the logical battle, and for the sake of the faithful, does Gregory recur to those moral and spiritual attributes which a true Christianity has revealed in the Deity, and upon which the doctrine of the Sacraments is built.

Such controversies are repeated now; i.e. where truths, which it requires a certain state of the affections to understand, should be urged, but cannot be, on the one side; and truths which are logical, or literary, or scientific only, are ranged on the other side; as an instance, though in another field, the arguments for and against the results of the “higher criticism” of the Old Testament exhibit this irreconcilable attitude.

Yet in one respect a great gain must have at once resulted to the Catholic cause from this long work. The counter opposition of Created and Uncreate, with which Gregory met the opposition of Generate and Ungenerate, and which, unlike the latter, is a dichotomy founded on an essential difference, must have helped many minds, distracted with the jargon of Arianism, to see more clearly the preciousness of the Baptismal Formula, as the casket which contains the Faith. Indeed, the life-work of Gregory was to defend this Formula.

The Treatise On Virginity is probably the work of his youth; but none the less Christian for that. Here is done what students of Plato had doubtless long been asking for, i.e. that his “love of the Beautiful” should be spiritualized. Beginning with a bitter accusation of marriage, Gregory leaves the reader doubtful in the end whether celibacy is necessary or not for the contemplative life; so absorbed he becomes in the task of showing the blessedness of those who look to the source of all visible beauty. But the result of this seeing is not, as in Plato, a mere enlightenment as to the real value of these visible things. There are so many more beautiful things in God than Plato saw; the Christian revelation has infinitely enriched the field of contemplation; and the lover of the beautiful now must be a higher character, and have a more chastened heart, not only be a more favoured child of light, than others. His enthusiasm shall be as strong as ever; but the model is higher now; and even an Aristotelian balance of moral extremes is necessary to guide him to the goal of a successful Imitation.

It was right, too, that the Church should possess her Phædo, or Death-bed Dialogue; and it is Gregory who has supplied this in his On the Soul and the Resurrection. But the copy becomes an original. The dialogue is between a sister and a brother; the one a saintly Apologist, the other, for argument’s sake, a gainsayer, who urges all the pleas of Greek materialism. Not only the immortality of the soul is discussed, but an exact definition of it is sought, and that in the light of a truer psychology than Plato’s. His “chariot” is given up; sensation, as the basis of all thought, is freely recognized; and yet the passions are firmly separated from the actual essence of the soul; further, the “coats of skins” of fallen humanity, as symbolizing the wrong use of the passions, take the place of the “sea-weed” on the statue of Glaucus. The grasp of the Christian philosopher of the traits of a perfect humanity, so conspicuous in his Making of Man, give him an advantage here over the pagan. As for the Resurrection of the flesh, it was a novel stroke to bring the beliefs of Empedocles, Pythagoras, Plato, and the later Platonists, into one focus as it were, and to show that the teaching of those philosophers as to the destinies of the soul recognized the possibility, or even the necessity, of the reassumption of some body. Grotesque objections to the Christian Resurrection, such as are urged nowadays, are brought forward and answered in this Treatise.

The appeal to the Saviour, as to the Inspiration of the Old Testament, has raised again a ixdiscussion as to the Two Natures; and will probably continue to do so. But before the subject of the “communication of attributes” can be entered upon, we must remember that Christ’s mere humanity (as has been lately pointed out11    Christus Comprobator, p. 99, sq.) is, to begin with, sinless. He was perfect man. What the attributes of a perfect, as contrasted with a fallen, humanity are, it is not given except by inference to know; but no Father has discussed this subject of Adam’s nature more fully than Gregory, in his treatise On the Making of Man.

The reasons for classing the Great Catechism as an Apologetic are given in the Prolegomena: here from first to last Gregory shows himself a genuine pupil of Origen. The plan of Revelation is made to rest on man’s free-will; every objection to it is answered by the fact of this free-will. This plan is unfolded so as to cover the whole of human history; the beginning, the middle, and the end are linked, in the exposition, indissolubly together. The Incarnation is the turning-point of history; and yet, beyond this, its effects are for all Creation. Who made this theology? Origen doubtless; and his philosophy of Scripture, based on a few leading texts, became, one point excepted, the property of the Church: she at last possessed a Théodicée that borrowed nothing from Greek ideas. So far, then, every one who used it was an Origenist: and yet Gregory alone has suffered from this charge. In using this Théodicée he has in some points surpassed his master, i.e. in showing in details the skilfulness (σοφία) which effected the real “touching” of humanity; and how the “touched” soul and the “touched” body shall follow in the path of the Redeemer’s Resurrection.

To the many points of modern interest in this Gregory should be added his eschatology, which occupies a large share of his thoughts. On Infants’ Early Deaths is a witness of this. In fact, when not occupied in defending, on one side or another, the Baptismal Formula, he is absorbed in eschatology. He dwells continually on the agonizing and refining processes of Purgatory. But to claim him as one who favours the doctrine of “Eternal Hope” in a universal sense is hardly possible, when we consider the passage in On the Soul and the Resurrection where he speaks of a Last Judgment as coming after the Resurrection and Purgatory.

So much has been said in a Preface, in order to show that this Volume is a step at least towards reinstating a most interesting writer, doubtless one of the most highly educated of his time, and, let it be observed as well, a canonized saint (for, more fortunate than his works, he was never branded as a heretic), in his true position.

In a first English translation of Treatises and Letters most of which (notably the books against Eunomius) have never been illustrated by a single translator’s note, and by but a handful of scholia, a few passages remain, which from the obscurity of their allusion, local or historical, are unexplained. In others the finest shades of meaning in one Greek word, insisted on in some argument, but which the best English equivalent fails to represent, cause the appearance of obscurity. But, throughout, the utmost clearness possible without unduly straining the literal meaning has been aimed at; and in passages too numerous to name, most grateful acknowledgment is here made of the invaluable suggestions of the Rev. J. H. Lupton.

It is hoped that the Index of Subjects will be of use, in lieu of an analysis, where an analysis has not been provided. The Index of Texts, all of which have been strictly verified, while it will be found to prove Gregory’s thorough knowledge of Scripture (notwithstanding his somewhat classical training), does not attempt to distinguish between citation and reminiscence; care, however, has been taken that the reminiscence should be undoubted.

The Index of Greek words (as also the quotations in foot-notes of striking sentences) has been provided for those interested in the study of later Greek.

W. M.

July, 1892.


xiii

Works on Analytical Criticism, History, and Bibliography, Consulted.

Rupp (Dr. Julius), Gregors des Bischofs von Nyssa Leben und Meinungen. Leipzig, 1834.

Möller (E. W.) Gregori Nysseni doctrinam de hominis naturâ et illustravit et cum Origenianâ comparavit. Halle, 1854.

Denys (J.), De la Philosophie d’Origéne. Paris, 1884.

Dorner (Dr. J. A.), Doctrine of the Person of Christ. Clark’s English translation. Edinburgh.

Heyns (S. P.), Disputatio Historico-Theologica de Gregorio Nysseno. Leyden, 1835.

Alzog (Dr. J.), Handbuch d. Patrologie. 3rd ed. 1876.

Ceillier (Rémi), Histoire Générale des Auteurs Sacrés et Ecclésiastiques. Paris, 1858 sqq.

Tillemont (Louis Sebastien Le Nain De), Mémoires pour servir â l’Histoire Ecclésiastique des six premiers Siécles, Vol. IX. Paris, 1693–1712.

Fabricius (J. A.), Bibliotheca Græca. Hamburg, 1718–28.

Prolegomena to the Paris edition of all Gregory’s Works, with notes by Father Fronto Du Duc, 1638.

Cave (Dr. W.), Historia Literaria. London, 1688. (Oxford, 1740.)

Du Pin (Dr. L. E.) Library of Ecclesiastical Authors. Paris, 1686.

Fessler (Joseph), Institutiones Patrologiæ: Dr. B. Jungmann’s edition. Innsbruck, 1890.

Dates of Treatises, &c., Here Translated.

(Based on Heyns and Rupp.)

331. Gregory Born.

360. Letters x. xi. xv.

361. Julian’s edict. Gregory gives up rhetoric.

362. Gregory in his brother’s monastery.

363. Letter vi. (probably)

368. On Virginity.

369. Gregory elected a reader.

372. Gregory elected Bishop of Nyssa early in this year.

374. Gregory is exiled under Valens.

375. On the Faith. On “Not three Gods.”

376. Letters vii. xiv. On the Baptism of Christ.

377. Against Macedonius.

378. Gregory Returns to his See. Letter iii.

379. On Pilgrimages.33    Rupp places this after the Council of Constantinople, 381. Letters i., v., viii., ix., xvi. are also probably after 381.

Letter ii.

380. On the Soul and the Resurrection.

On the Making of Man.

On the Holy Trinity.

381. Gregory present at the Second Council. Oration on Meletius.

382–3. Against Eunomius, Books I–XII.

383. Present at Constantinople. Letter xxi.

384. Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book.

385. The Great Catechism.

386. Letter xiii.

390. Letter iv.

393. Letter to Flavian.

394. Present for Synod at Constantinople.

395. On Infant’s Early Deaths.


1

The Life and Writings of Gregory of Nyssa.

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Chapter I.—A Sketch of the Life of S. Gregory of Nyssa.

In the roll of the Nicene Fathers there is no more honoured name than that of Gregory of Nyssa. Besides the praises of his great brother Basil and of his equally great friend Gregory Nazianzen, the sanctity of his life, his theological learning, and his strenuous advocacy of the faith embodied in the Nicene clauses, have received the praises of Jerome, Socrates, Theodoret, and many other Christian writers. Indeed such was the estimation in which he was held that some did not hesitate to call him ‘the Father of Fathers’ as well as ‘the Star of Nyssa’44    ῾Ο τῶν Πατέρων Πατήρ; ·ὁ τῶν Νυσσαέων φωστήρ, Council. Nic. II. Act. VI. Edition of Labbe, p. 477.—Nicephor. Callist. H. E. xi. 19..”

Gregory of Nyssa was equally fortunate in his country, the name he bore, and the family which produced him. He was a native of Cappadocia, and was born most probably at Cæsarea, the capital, about a.d. 335 or 336. No province of the Roman Empire had in those early ages received more eminent Christian bishops than Cappadocia and the adjoining district of Pontus.

In the previous century the great prelate Firmilian, the disciple and friend of Origen, who visited him at his See, had held the Bishopric of Cæsarea. In the same age another saint, Gregory Thaumaturgus, a friend also and disciple of Origen, was bishop of Neo-Cæsarea in Pontus. During the same century, too, no less than four other Gregories shed more or less lustre on bishoprics in that country. The family of Gregory of Nyssa was one of considerable wealth and distinction, and one also conspicuously Christian.

During the Diocletian persecution his grandparents had fled for safety to the mountainous region of Pontus, where they endured great hardships and privations. It is said that his maternal grandfather, whose name is unknown, eventually lost both life and property. After a retirement of some few years the family appear to have returned and settled at Cæsarea in Cappadocia, or else at Neo-Cæsarea in Pontus, for there is some uncertainty in the account.

Gregory’s father, Basil, who gave his name to his eldest son, was known as a rhetorician. He died at a comparatively early age, leaving a family of ten children, five of whom were boys and five girls, under the care of their grandmother Macrina and mother Emmelia. Both of these illustrious ladies were distinguished for the earnestness and strictness of their Christian principles, to which the latter added the charm of great personal beauty.

All the sons and daughters appear to have been of high character, but it is only of four sons and one daughter that we have any special record. The daughter, called Macrina, from her grandmother, was the angel in the house of this illustrious family. She shared with her grandmother and mother the care and education of all its younger members. Nor was there 2one of them who did not owe to her religious influence their settlement in the faith and consistency of Christian conduct.

This admirable woman had been betrothed in early life, but her intended husband died of fever. She permitted herself to contract no other alliance, but regarded herself as still united to her betrothed in the other world. She devoted herself to a religious life, and eventually, with her mother Emmelia, established a female conventual society on the family-property in Pontus, at a place called Annesi, on the banks of the river Iris.

It was owing to her persuasions that her brother Basil also gave up the worldly life, and retired to lead the devout life in a wild spot in the immediate neighbourhood of Annesi. Here for a while he was an hermit, and here he persuaded his friend Gregory Nazianzen to join him. They studied together the works of Origen, and published a selection of extracts from his Commentaries, which they called “Philocalia.” By the suggestions of a friend Basil enlarged his idea, and converted his hermit’s seclusion into a monastery, which eventually became the centre of many others which sprung up in that district.

His inclination for the monastic life had been greatly influenced by his acquaintance with the Egyptian monks, who had impressed him with the value of their system as an aid to a life of religious devotion. He had visited also the hermit saints of Syria and Arabia, and learnt from them the practice of a severe asceticism, which both injured his health and shortened his days.

Gregory of Nyssa was the third son, and one of the youngest of the family. He had an elder brother, Nectarius, who followed the profession of their father, and became rhetorician, and like him died early. He had also a younger brother, Peter, who became bishop of Sebaste.

Besides the uncertainty as to the year and place of his birth it is not known where he received his education. From the weakness of his health and delicacy of his constitution, it was most probably at home. It is interesting, in the case of one so highly educated, to know who, in consequence of his father’s early death, took charge of his merely intellectual bringing up: and his own words do not leave us in any doubt that, so far as he had a teacher, it was Basil, his senior by several years. He constantly speaks of him as the revered ‘Master:’ to take but one instance, he says in his Hexaemeron (ad init.) that all that will be striking in that work will be due to Basil, what is inferior will be the ‘pupil’s.’ Even in the matter of style, he says in a letter written in early life to Libanius that though he enjoyed his brother’s society but a short time yet Basil was the author of his oratory (λόγου): and it is safe to conclude that he was introduced to all that Athens had to teach, perhaps even to medicine, by Basil: for Basil had been at Athens. On the other hand we can have no difficulty in crediting his mother, of whom he always spoke with the tenderest affection, and his admirable sister Macrina, with the care of his religious teaching. Indeed few could be more fortunate than Gregory in the influences of home. If, as there is every reason to believe, the grandmother Macrina survived Gregory’s early childhood, then, like Timothy, he was blest with the religious instruction of another Lois and Eunice.

In this chain of female relationship it is difficult to say which link is worthier of note, grandmother, mother, or daughter. Of the first, Basil, who attributes his early religious impressions to his grandmother, tells us that as a child she taught him a Creed, which had been drawn up for the use of the Church of Neo-Cæsarea by Gregory Thaumaturgus. This Creed, it is said, was revealed to the Saint in a vision. It has been translated by Bishop Bull in his “Fidei Nicænæ Defensio.” In its language and spirit it anticipates the Creed of Constantinople.

Certain it is that Gregory had not the benefit of a residence at Athens, or of foreign travel. It might have given him a strength of character and width of experience, in which he was certainly deficient. His shy and retiring disposition induced him to remain at home 3without choosing a profession, living on his share of the paternal property, and educating himself by a discipline of his own.

He remained for years unbaptized. And this is a very noticeable circumstance which meets us in the lives of many eminent Saints and Bishops of the Church. They either delayed baptism themselves, or it was delayed for them. Indeed there are instances of Bishops baptized and consecrated the same day.

Gregory’s first inclination or impulse to make a public profession of Christianity is said to have been due to a remarkable dream or vision.

His mother Emmelia, at her retreat at Annesi, urgently entreated him to be present and take part in a religious ceremony in honour of the Forty Christian Martyrs. He had gone unwillingly, and wearied with his journey and the length of the service, which lasted far into the night, he lay down and fell asleep in the garden. He dreamed that the Martyrs appeared to him and, reproaching him for his indifference, beat him with rods. On awaking he was filled with remorse, and hastened to amend his past neglect by earnest entreaties for mercy and forgiveness. Under the influence of the terror which his dream inspired he consented to undertake the office of reader in the Church, which of course implied a profession of Christianity. But some unfitness, and, perhaps, that love of eloquence which clung to him to the last, soon led him to give up the office, and adopt the profession of a rhetorician or advocate. For this desertion of a sacred for a secular employment he is taken severely to task by his brother Basil and his friend Gregory Nazianzen. The latter does not hesitate to charge him with being influenced, not by conscientious scruples, but by vanity and desire of public display, a charge not altogether consistent with his character.

Here it is usual to place the marriage of Gregory with Theosebeia, said to have been a sister of Gregory Nazianzen. Certainly the tradition of Gregory’s marriage received such credit as to be made in after times a proof of the non-celibacy of the Bishops of his age. But it rests mainly on two passages, which taken separately are not in the least conclusive. The first is the ninety-fifth letter of Gregory Nazianzen, written to console for a certain loss by death, i.e. of “Theosebeia, the fairest, the most lustrous even amidst such beauty of the ἀδελφοὶ; Theosebeia, the true priestess, the yokefellow and the equal of a priest.” J. Rupp has well pointed out that the expression ‘yokefellow’ (σύζυγον), which has been insisted as meaning ‘wife,’ may, especially in the language of Gregory Nazianzen, be equivalent to ἀδελφὸς. He sees in this Theosebeia ‘a sister of the Cappadocian brothers.’ The second passage is contained in the third cap. of Gregory’s treatise On Virginity. Gregory there complains that he is “cut off by a kind of gulf from this glory of virginity” (παρθενία). The whole passage should be consulted. Of course its significance depends on the meaning given to παρθενία. Rupp asserts that more and more towards the end of the century this word acquired a technical meaning derived from the purely ideal side, i.e. virginity of soul: and that Gregory is alluding to the same thing that his friend had not long before blamed him for, the keeping of a school for rhetoric, where his object had been merely worldly reputation, and the truly ascetic career had been marred (at the time he wrote). Certainly the terrible indictment of marriage in the third cap. of this treatise comes ill from one whose wife not only must have been still living, but possessed the virtues sketched in the letter of Gregory Nazianzen: while the allusions at the end of it to the law-courts and their revelations appear much more like the professional reminiscence of a rhetorician who must have been familiar with them, than the personal complaint of one who had cause to depreciate marriage. The powerful words of Basil, de Virgin. I. 610, a. b., also favour the above view of the meaning of παρθενία: and Gregory elsewhere distinctly calls celibacy παρθενία τοῦ σώματος, and regards it as a means only to this higher παρθενια (III. 131). But the two passages above, when combined, may have led to the tradition of Gregory’s marriage. Nicephorus Callistus, for example, who first makes mention of it, must have put upon παρθενία the interpretation of his own time (thirteenth century,) 4i.e. that of continence. Finally, those who adopt this tradition have still to account for the fact that no allusion to Theosebeia as his wife, and no letter to her, is to be found in Gregory’s numerous writings. It is noteworthy that the Benedictine editors of Gregory Nazianzen (ad Epist. 95) also take the above view.

His final recovery and conversion to the Faith, of which he was always after so strenuous an asserter, was due to her who, all things considered, was the master spirit of the family. By the powerful persuasions of his sister Macrina, at length, after much struggle, he altered entirely his way of life, severed himself from all secular occupations, and retired to his brother’s monastery in the solitudes of Pontus, a beautiful spot, and where, as we have seen, his mother and sister had established, in the immediate neighbourhood, a similar association for women.

Here, then, Gregory was settled for several years, and devoted himself to the study of the Scripture and the works of his master Origen. Here, too, his love of natural scenery was deepened so as to find afterwards constant and adequate expression. For in his writings we have in large measure that sentiment of delight in the beauty of nature of which, even when it was felt, the traces are so few and far between in the whole range of Greek literature. A notable instance is the following from the Letter to Adelphus, written long afterwards:—“The gifts bestowed upon the spot by Nature, who beautifies the earth with an impromptu grace, are such as these: below, the river Halys makes the place fair to look upon with his banks, and glides like a golden ribbon through their deep purple, reddening his current with the soil he washes down. Above, a mountain densely overgrown with wood stretches, with its long ridge, covered at all points with the foliage of oaks, more worthy of finding some Homer to sing its praises than that Ithacan Neritus which the poet calls ‘far-seen with quivering leaves.’ But the natural growth of wood as it comes down the hill-side meets at the foot the plantations of human husbandry. For forthwith vines, spread out over the slopes and swellings and hollows at the mountain’s base, cover with their colour, like a green mantle, all the lower ground: and the season also was now adding to their beauty with a display of magnificent grape-clusters.” Another is from the treatise On Infants’ Early Deaths:—“Nay look only at an ear of corn, at the germinating of some plant, at a ripe bunch of grapes, at the beauty of early autumn whether in fruit or flower, at the grass springing unbidden, at the mountain reaching up with its summit to the height of the ether, at the springs of the lower ground bursting from its flanks in streams like milk, and running in rivers through the glens, at the sea receiving those streams from every direction and yet remaining within its limits with waves edged by the stretches of beach, and never stepping beyond those fixed boundaries: and how can the eye of reason fail to find in them all that our education for Realities requires?” The treatise On Virginity was the fruit of this life in Basil’s monastery.

Henceforward the fortunes of Gregory are more closely linked with those of his great brother Basil.

About a.d. 365 Basil was summoned from his retirement to act as coadjutor to Eusebius, the Metropolitan of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, and aid him in repelling the assaults of the Arian faction on the Faith. In these assaults the Arians were greatly encouraged and assisted by the proclivities of the Emperor Valens. After some few years of strenuous and successful resistance, and the endurance of great persecution from the Emperor and his Court, a persecution which indeed pursued him through life, Basil is called by the popular voice, on the death of Eusebius, a.d. 370, to succeed him in the See. His election is vehemently opposed, but after much turmoil is at length accomplished.

To strengthen himself in his position, and surround himself with defenders of the orthodox Faith, he obliges his brother Gregory, in spite of his emphatic protest, to undertake the Bishopric of Nyssa55    Now Nirse., a small town in the west of Cappadocia. When a friend expressed his surprise that he had chosen so obscure a place for such a man as Gregory, he replied, that 5he did not desire his brother to receive distinction from the name of his See, but rather to confer distinction upon it.

It was with the same feeling, and by the exercise of a like masterful will, that he forced upon his friend Gregory Nazianzen the Bishopric of a still more obscure and unimportant place, called Sasima. But Gregory highly resented the nomination, which unhappily led to a lifelong estrangement.

It was about this time, too, that a quarrel had arisen between Basil and their uncle, another Gregory, one of the Cappadocian Bishops. And here Gregory of Nyssa gave a striking proof of the extreme simplicity and unreflectiveness of his character, which without guileful intent yet led him into guile. Without sufficient consideration he was induced to practise a deceit which was as irreconcileable with Christian principle as with common sense. In his endeavours to set his brother and uncle at one, when previous efforts had been in vain, he had recourse to an extraordinary method. He forged a letter, as if from their uncle, to Basil, earnestly entreating reconciliation. The inevitable discovery of course only widened the breach, and drew down on Gregory his brother’s indignant condemnation. The reconciliation, however, which Gregory hoped for, was afterwards brought about.

Nor was this the only occasion on which Gregory needed Basil’s advice and reproof, and protection from the consequences of his inexperienced zeal. After he had become Bishop of Nyssa, with a view to render assistance to his brother he promoted the summoning of Synods. But Basil’s wider experience told him that no good would come of such assemblies under existing circumstances. Besides which he had reason to believe that Gregory would be made the tool of factious and designing men. He therefore discouraged the attempt. At another time Basil had to interpose his authority to prevent his brother joining in a mission to Rome to invite the interference of Pope Damasus and the Western Bishops in the settlement of the troubles at Antioch in consequence of the disputed election to the See. Basil had himself experience of the futility of such application to Rome, from the want of sympathy in the Pope and the Western Bishops with the troubles in the East. Nor would he, by such application, give a handle for Rome’s assertion of supremacy, and encroachment on the independence of the Eastern Church. The Bishopric of Nyssa was indeed to Gregory no bed of roses. Sad was the contrast to one of his genre spirit, more fitted for studious retirement and monastic calm than for controversies which did not end with the pen, between the peaceful leisure of his retreat in Pontus and the troubles and antagonisms of his present position. The enthusiasm of his faith on the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation brought upon him the full weight of Arian and Sabellian hostility, aggravated as it was by the patronage of the Emperor. In fact his whole life at Nyssa was a series of persecutions.

A charge of uncanonical irregularity in his ordination is brought up against him by certain Arian Bishops, and he is summoned to appear and answer them at a Synod at Ancyra. To this was added the vexation of a prosecution by Demosthenes, the Emperor’s chef de cuisine, on a charge of defalcation in the Church funds.

A band of soldiers is sent to fetch him to the Synod. The fatigue of the journey, and the rough treatment of his conductors, together with anxiety of mind, produce a fever which prevents his attendance. His brother Basil comes to his assistance. He summons another Synod of orthodox Cappadocian Bishops, who dictate in their joint names a courteous letter, apologising for Gregory’s absence from the Synod of Ancyra, and proving the falsehood of the charge of embezzlement. At the same time he writes to solicit the interest of Astorgus, a person of considerable influence at the Court, to save his brother from the indignity of being dragged before a secular tribunal.

Apparently the application was unsuccessful. Demosthenes now obtains the holding another Synod at Gregory’s own See of Nyssa, where he is summoned to answer the same charges. Gregory refuses to attend. He is consequently pronounced contumacious, and 6deposed from his Bishopric. His deposition is followed immediately by a decree of banishment from the Emperor, a.d. 376. He retires to Seleucia. But his banishment did not secure him from the malice and persecution of his enemies. He is obliged frequently to shift his quarters, and is subjected to much bodily discomfort and suffering. From the consoling answers of his friend Gregory of Nazianzen (for his own letters are lost), we learn the crushing effects of all these troubles upon his gentle and sensitive spirit, and the deep despondency into which he had fallen.

At length there is a happier turn of affairs. The Emperor Valens is killed, a.d. 378, and with him Arianism ‘vanished in the crash of Hadrianople.’ He is succeeded by Gratian, the friend and disciple of St. Ambrose. The banished orthodox Bishops are restored to their Sees, and Gregory returns to Nyssa. In66    Epist. III. (Zacagni’s collection). one of his letters, most probably to his brother Basil, he gives a graphic description of the popular triumph with which his return was greeted.

But the joy of his restoration is overshadowed by domestic sorrows. His great brother, to whom he owed so much, soon after dies, ere he is 50 years of age, worn out by his unparalleled toils and the severity of his ascetic life. Gregory celebrated his death in a sincere panegyric. Its high-flown style is explained by the rhetorical fashion of the time. The same year another sorrow awaits him. After a separation of many years he revisits his sister Macrina, at her convent in Pontus, but only to find her on her death-bed. We have an interesting and graphic account of the scene between Gregory and his dying sister. To the last this admirable woman appears as the great teacher of her family. She supplies her brother with arguments for, and confirms his faith in, the resurrection of the dead; and almost reproves him for the distress he felt at her departure, bidding him, with St. Paul, not to sorrow as those who had no hope. After her decease an inmate of the convent, named Vestiana, brought to Gregory a ring, in which was a piece of the true Cross, and an iron cross, both of which were found on the body when laying it out. One Gregory retained himself, the other he gave to Vestiana. He buried his sister in the chapel at Annesi, in which her parents and her brother Naucratius slept.

From henceforth the labours of Gregory have a far more extended range. He steps into the place vacated by the death of Basil, and takes foremost rank among the defenders of the Faith of Nicæa. He is not, however, without trouble still from the heretical party. Certain Galatians had been busy in sowing the seeds of their heresy among his own people. He is subjected, too, to great annoyance from the disturbances which arose out of the wish of the people of Ibera in Pontus to have him as their Bishop. In that early age of the Church election to a Bishopric, if not dependent on the popular voice, at least called forth the expression of much popular feeling, like a contested election amongst ourselves. This often led to breaches of the peace, which required military intervention to suppress them, as it appears to have done on this occasion.

But the reputation of Gregory is now so advanced, and the weight of his authority as an eminent teacher so generally acknowledged, that we find him as one of the Prelates at the Synod of Antioch assembled for the purpose of healing the long-continued schisms in that distracted See. By the same Synod Gregory is chosen to visit and endeavour to reform the Churches of Arabia and Babylon, which had fallen into a very corrupt and degraded state. He gives a lamentable account of their condition, as being beyond all his powers of reformation. On this same journey he visits Jerusalem and its sacred scenes: it has been conjectured that the Apollinarian heresy drew him thither. Of the Church of Jerusalem he can give no better account than of those he had already visited. He expresses himself as greatly scandalized at the conduct of the Pilgrims who visited the Holy City on the plea of religion. Writing to three ladies, whom he had known at Jerusalem, he takes occasion, from what he had witnessed there, to speak of the uselessness of pilgrimages as any aids to 7reverence and faith, and denounces in the strongest terms the moral dangers to which all pilgrims, especially women, are exposed.

This letter is so condemnatory of what was a common and authorized practice of the medieval Church that77    Notably Bellarmine: Gretser, the Jesuit, against the Calvinist Molino. Divines of the Latin communion have endeavoured, but in vain, to deny its authenticity.

The name and character of Gregory had now reached the Imperial Court, where Theodosius had lately succeeded to the Eastern Empire. As a proof of the esteem in which he was then held, it is said that in his recent journey to Babylon and the Holy Land he travelled with carriages provided for him by the Emperor.

Still greater distinction awaits him. He is one of the hundred and fifty Bishops summoned by Theodosius to the second Œcumenical Council, that of Constantinople, a.d. 381. To the assembled Fathers he brings an88    See Note 1 to the Introductory Letter to the Treatise. instalment of his treatise against the Eunomian heresy, which he had written in defence of his brother Basil’s positions, on the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation. This he first read to his friend Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, and others. Such was the influence he exercised in the Council that it is said, though this is very doubtful, that the explanatory clauses added to the Nicene Creed are due to him. Certain, however, it is that he delivered the inaugural address, which is not extant; further that he preached the funeral oration, which has been preserved, on the death of Meletius, of Antioch, the first President of the Council, who died at Constantinople; also that he preached at the enthronement of Gregory Nazianzen in the capital. This oration has perished.

Shortly before the close of the Council, by a Constitution of the Emperor, issued from Heraclea, Gregory is nominated as one of the Bishops who were to be regarded as the central authorities of Catholic Communion. In other words, the primacy of Rome or Alexandria in the East was to be replaced by that of other Sees, especially Constantinople. Helladius of Cæsarea was to be Gregory’s colleague in his province. The connexion led to a misunderstanding. As to the grounds of this there is much uncertainty. The account of it is entirely derived from Gregory himself in his Letter to Flavian, and from his great namesake. Possibly there were faults on both sides.

We do not read of Gregory being at the Synod, a.d. 382, which followed the great Council of Constantinople. But we find him present at the Synod held the following year.

This same year we have proof of the continued esteem and favour shown him by the Imperial Court. He is chosen to pronounce the funeral oration on the infant Princess Pulcheria. And not long after that also on the death of the Empress Flaccilla, or Placidia, herself. This last was a magnificent eulogy, but one, according to Tillemont, even surpassed by that of Theodoret. This admirable and holy woman, a saint of the Eastern Church, fully warranted all the praise that could be bestowed upon her. If her husband Theodosius did not owe his conversion to Christianity to her example and influence, he certainly did his adherence to the true Faith. It is one of the subjects of Gregory’s praise of her that by her persuasion the Emperor refused to give an interview to the ‘rationalist of the fourth century,’ Eunomius.

Scarcely anything is known of the latter years of Gregory of Nyssa’s life. The last record we have of him is that he was present at a Synod of Constantinople, summoned a.d. 394, by Rufinus, the powerful prefect of the East, under the presidency of Nectarius. The rival claims to the See of Bostra in Arabia had to be then settled; but perhaps the chief reason for summoning this assembly was to glorify the consecration of Rufinus’ new Church in the suburbs. It was there that Gregory delivered the sermon which was probably his last, wrongly entitled ‘On his Ordination.’ His words, which heighten the effect of others then preached, are humbly compared to the blue circles painted on the new walls as a foil to the gilded dome above. “The whole breathes a calmer and more peaceful spirit; the deep sorrow over heretics 8who forfeit the blessings of the Spirit changes only here and there into the flashes of a short-lived indignation.” (J. Rupp.)

The prophecy of Basil had come true. Nyssa was ennobled by the name of its bishop appearing on the roll of this Synod, between those of the Metropolitans of Cæsarea and Iconium. Even in outward rank he is equal to the highest. The character of Gregory could not be more justly drawn than in the words of Tillemont (IX. p. 269). “Autant en effet, qu’on peut juger de lui par ses écrits, c‘étoit un esprit doux, bon, facile, qui avec beaucoup d’élevation et de lumière, avoit néanmois beaucoup de simplicité et de candeur, qui aimoit plus le repos que l’action, et le travail du cabinet que le tumulte des affaires, qui avec cela étoit sans faste, disposé à estimer et à louer les autres et à se mettre à dessous d’eux. Mais quoiqu’ il ne cherchât que le repos, nous avons vû que son zèle pour ses frères l’avoit souvent engagé à de grands travaux, et que Dieu avait honoré sa simplicité en le faisant regarder comme le maitre, le docteur, le pacificateur et l’arbitre des églises.”

His death (probably 395) is commemorated by the Greek Church on January 10, by the Latin on March 9.

Chapter II.—His General Character as a Theologian.

The first who sought to establish by rational considerations the whole complex of orthodox doctrines.” So Ueberweg (History of Philosophy, p. 326) of Gregory of Nyssa. This marks the transition from ante-Nicene times. Then, at all events in the hands of Origen, philosophy was identical with theology. Now, that there is a ‘complex of orthodox doctrines’ to defend, philosophy becomes the handmaid of theology. Gregory, in this respect, has done the most important service of any of the writers of the Church in the fourth century. He treats each single philosophical view only as a help to grasp the formulæ of faith; and the truth of that view consists with him only in its adaptability to that end. Notwithstanding strong speculative leanings he does not defend orthodoxy either in the fashion of the Alexandrian school or in the fashion of some in modern times, who put forth a system of philosophy to which the dogmas of the Faith are to be accommodated.

If this be true, the question as to his attitude towards Plato, which is one of the first that suggests itself, is settled. Against polytheism he does indeed seek to defend Christianity by connecting it apologetically with Plato’s system. This we cannot be surprised at, considering that the definitions of the doctrines of the Catholic Church were formed in the very place where the last considerable effort of Platonism was made; but he by no means makes the New Life in any way dependent on this system of philosophy. “We cannot speculate,” he says (De Anim. et Resurrect.),…“we must leave the Platonic car.” But still when he is convinced that Plato will confirm doctrine he will, even in polemic treatises, adopt his view; for instance, he seeks to grasp the truth of the Trinity from the Platonic account of our internal consciousness, i.e. ψυχὴ, λόγος, νοῦς; because such a proof from consciousness is, to Gregory, the surest and most reliable.

The “rational considerations,” then, by which Gregory would have established Christian doctrine are not necessarily drawn from the philosophy of the time: nor, further, does he seek to rationalize entirely all religious truth. In fact he resigns the hope of comprehending the Incarnation and all the great articles. This is the very thing that distinguishes the Catholic from the Eunomian. “Receiving the fact we leave untampered with the manner of the creation of the Universe, as altogether secret and inexplicable99    Cp. Or. Cat. c. xi..” With a turn resembling the view of Tertullian, he comes back to the conclusion that for us after all Religious Truth consists in mystery. “The Church possesses the means of demonstrating these things: or rather, 9she has faith, which is surer than demonstration1010    In verba ‘faciamus hominem,’ I. p. 140..” He developes the truth of the Resurrection as much by the fulfilment of God’s promises as by metaphysics: and it has been considered as one of the proofs that the treatise What is being ‘in the image of God’? is not his that this subordination of philosophical proof to the witness of the Holy Spirit is not preserved in it.

Nevertheless there was a large field, larger even than in the next century, in which rationalizing was not only allowable, but was even required of him. In this there are three questions which Gregory has treated with particular fulness and originality. They are:—1. Evil; 2. The relation between the ideal and the actual Man; 3. Spirit.

I. He takes, to begin with, Origen’s view of evil. Virtue and Vice are not opposed to each other as two Existencies: but as Being is opposed to not-Being. Vice exists only as an absence. But how did this arise?

In answering this question he seems sometimes to come very near Manicheism, and his writings must be read very carefully, in order to avoid fixing upon him the groundless charge that he leaves evil in too near connexion with Matter. But the passages1111    De Perf. Christiani Forma, III. p. 294, he calls the ‘Prince of darkness’ the author of sin and death: In Christi Resurrect. III. p. 386, he calls Satan ‘the heart of the earth:’ and p. 387 identifies him with sin. ‘And so the real wisdom visits that arrogant heart of the earth, so that the thought great in wickedness should vanish, and the darkness should be lightened, &c.’ which give rise to this charge consist of comparisons found in his homilies and meditations; just as a modern theologian might in such works make the Devil the same as Sin and Death. The only imperfection in his view is that he is unable1212    As expressed by S. Thomas Aquinas Summ. I. Qu. xix. Art. 9, Deo nec nolente, nec volente, sed permittente….Deus neque vult fieri, neque vult non fieri, sed vult permittere mala fieri. to regard evil as not only suffered but even permitted by God. But this imperfection is inseparable from his time: for Manicheism was too near and its opposition too little overcome for such a view to be possible for him; he could not see that it is the only one able thoroughly to resist Dualism.

Evil with Gregory is to be found in the spontaneous proclivity of the soul towards Matter: but not in Matter itself. Matter, therefore, in his eschatology is not to be burnt up and annihilated: only soul and body have to be refined, as gold (this is a striking comparison) is refined. He is very clear upon the relations between the three factors, body, matter, and evil. He represents the mind as the mirror of the Archetypal Beauty: then below the mind comes body (φύσις which is connected with mind and pervaded by it, and when thus transfigured and beautified by it becomes itself the mirror of this mirror: and then this body in its turn influences and combines Matter. The Beauty of the Supreme Being thus penetrates all things: and as long as the lower holds on to the higher all is well. But if a rupture occurs anywhere, then Matter, receiving no longer influence from above, reveals its own deformity, and imparts something of it to body and, through that, to mind: for matter is in itself ‘a shapeless unorganized thing1313    De Virginit. c. xi..’ Thus the mind loses the image of God. But evil began when the rupture was made: and what caused that? When and how did the mind become separated from God?

Gregory answers this question by laying it down as a principle, that everything created is subject to change. The Uncreate Being is changeless, but Creation, since its very beginning was owing to a change, i.e. a calling of the non-existent into existence, is liable to alter. Gregory deals here with angelic equally as with human nature, and with all the powers in both, especially with the will, whose virtual freedom he assumes throughout. That, too, was created; therefore that, too, could change.

It was possible, therefore, that, first, one of the created spirits, and, as it actually happened, he who was entrusted with the supervision of the earth, should choose to turn his eyes away from the Good; he thus looked at a lower good; and so began to be envious and to have πάθη. All evil followed in a chain from this beginning; according to the principle that the beginning of anything is the cause of all that follows in its train.

10So the Devil fell: and the proclivity to evil was introduced into the spiritual world. Man, however, still looked to God and was filled with blessings (this is the ‘ideal man’ of Gregory). But as when the flame has got hold of a wick one cannot dim its light by means of the flame itself, but only by mixing water with the oil in the wick, so the Enemy effected the weakening of God’s blessings in man by cunningly mixing wickedness in his will, as he had mixed it in his own. From first to last, then, evil lies in the προαίρεσις and in nothing else.

God knew what would happen and suffered it, that He might not destroy our freedom, the inalienable heritage of reason and therefore a portion of His image in us. 1414    On Infants’ early Deaths, III. p. 336.He ‘gave scope to evil for a nobler end.’ Gregory calls it a piece of “little mindedness” to argue from evil either the weakness or the wickedness of God.

II. His remarks on the relation between the ideal and the actual Man are very interesting. It is usual with the other Fathers, in speaking of man’s original perfection, to take the moment of the first man’s residence in Paradise, and to regard the whole of human nature as there represented by the first two human beings. Gregory is far removed from this way of looking at the matter. With him human perfection is the ‘idea’ of humanity: he sees already in the bodily-created Adam the fallen man. The present man is not to be distinguished from that bodily Adam; both fall below the ideal type. Gregory seems to put the Fall beyond and before the beginning of history. ‘Under the form of narrative Moses places before us mere doctrine1515    Or. Cat. c. viii. D..’ The locus classicus about the idea and the reality of human nature is On the Making of Man, I. p. 88f. He sketches both in a masterly way. He speaks of the division of the human race into male and female as a ‘device’ (ἐπιτέχνησις), implying that it was not the first ‘organization’ (κατασκευή). He hints that the irrational element was actually provided by the Creator, Who foresaw the Fall and the Redemption, for man to sin in; as if man immediately upon the creation of the perfect humanity became a mixed nature (spirit and flesh), and his fall was not a mere accident, but a necessary consequence of this mixed nature. Adam must have fallen: there was no perfect humanity in Paradise. In man’s mixed nature of spirit and flesh nutrition is the basis of his sensation, and sensation is the basis of his thought; and so it was inevitable that sin through this lower yet vital side of man should enter in. So ingrained is the spirit with the flesh in the whole history of actual humanity that all the varieties of all the souls that ever have lived or ever shall, arise from this very mixture; i.e. from the varying degrees of either factor in each. But as Gregory’s view here touches, though in striking contrast, on Origen’s, more will be said about it in the next chapter.

It follows from this that Gregory, as Clement and Basil before him, did not look upon Original Sin as the accidental or extraordinary thing which it was afterwards regarded. ‘From a man who is a sinner and subject to passion of course is engendered a man who is a sinner and subject to passion: sin being in a manner born with him, and growing with his growth, and not dying with it.’ And yet he says elsewhere, “An infant who is just born is not culpable, nor does it merit punishment; just as he who has been baptized has no account to give of his past sins, since they are forgiven,” and he calls infants ἀπόνηροι, ‘not having in the least admitted the disease into their soul.’ But these two views can of course be reconciled; the infant at the moment of its physical birth starts with sins forgotten, just as at the moment of its spiritual birth it starts with sins forgiven. No actual sin has been committed. But then its nature has lost the ἀπαθεία; the inevitable weakness of its ancestry is in it.

III. ‘Spirit.’ Speaking of the soul, Gregory asks, ‘How can that which is incomposite be dissolved?’ i.e. the soul is spirit, and spirit is incomposite and therefore indestructible.

But care must be taken not to infer too much from this his favourite expression ‘spirit’ in connexion with the soul. ‘God is spirit’ too; and we are inclined to forget that this 11is no more than a negative definition, and to imagine the human spirit of equal prerogative with Deity. Gregory gives no encouragement to this; he distinctly teaches that, though the soul is incomposite, it is not in the least independent of time and space, as the Deity is.

In fact he almost entirely drops the old Platonic division of the Universe into Intelligible (spiritual) and Sensible, which helps to keep up this confusion between human and divine ‘spirit,’ and adopts the Christian division of Creator and Created. This difference between Creator and Created is further figured by him as that between

1. The Infinite and The Finite.

2. The Changeless and The Changeable.

3. The Contradiction-less and The Contradictory.

The result of this is that the Spirit-world itself has been divided into Uncreate and Created.

With regard, then, to this created Spirit-world we find that Gregory, as Basil, teaches that it existed, i.e. it had been created, before the work of the Six Days began. ‘God made all that is, at once’ (ἀθρόως). This is only his translation of the verse, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;’ the material for ‘heaven’ and ‘earth,’ i.e. spirits and chaos, was made in a moment, but God had not yet spoken the successive Words of creation. The souls of men, then, existed from the very beginning of creation, and in a determinate number; for this is a necessary consequence of the ‘simultaneous creation.’ This was the case with the Angels too, the other portion of the created Spirit-world. Gregory has treated the subject of the Angels very fully. He considers that they are perfect: but their perfection too is contingent: it depends on the grace of God and their own wills; the angels are free, and therefore changeable. Their will necessarily moves towards something: at their first creation the Beautiful alone solicited them. Man ‘a little lower than the Angels’ was perfect too; deathless, passionless, contemplative. ‘The true and perfect soul is single in its nature, intellectual, immaterial1616    On the Making of Man, c. xiv..’ He was ‘as the Angels’ and if he fell, Lucifer fell too. Gregory will not say, as Origen did, that human souls had a body when first created: rather, as we have seen, he implies the contrary; and he came to be considered the champion that fought the doctrine of the pre-existence of embodied souls. He seems to have been influenced by Methodius’ objections to Origen’s view. But his magnificent idea of the first man gives way at once to something more Scriptural and at the same time more scientific; and his ideal becomes a downright forecast of Realism.

Taking, however, the human soul as it is, he still continues, we often find, to compare it with God. In his great treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection, he rests a great deal on the parallel between the relation of man to his body, and that of God to the world.—‘The soul is as a cord drawn out of mud; God draws to Himself what is His own.’—He calls the human spirit ‘an influx of the divine in-breathing’ (Adv. Apollin. c. 12). Anger and desire do not belong to the essence of the soul, he says: they are only among its varying states. The soul, then, as separable from matter, is like God. But this likeness does not extend to the point of identity. Incomprehensible, immortal, it is not uncreated. The distinction between the Creator and the Created cannot be obliterated. The attributes of the Creator set down above, i.e. that He is infinite, changeless, contradictionless, and so always good, &c., can be applied only catachrestically to some men, in that they resemble their Maker as a copy resembles its original: but still, in this connexion, Gregory does speak of those ‘who do not need any cleansing at all1717    Or. Cat. c. xxvi.,’ and the context forces us to apply these words to men. There is no irony, to him or to any Father of the fourth century, in the words, ‘They that are whole need not a physician.’ Although in the treatise On Virginity, 12where he is describing the development of his own moral and religious life, he is very far from applying them to himself, he nevertheless seems to recognize the fact that since Christianity began there are those to whom they might apply.

There is also need of a certain amount of ‘rational considerations’ in advancing a Defence and a Theory of Christianity. He makes this according to the special requirements of the time in his Oratio Catechetica. His reasonings do not seem to us always convincing; but the presence of a living Hellenism and Judaism in the world required them. These two phenomena also explain what appears to us a great weakness in this work: namely, that he treats Hellenism as if it were all speculation; Judaism as if it were all facts. These two religions were too near and too practically opposed to each other for him to see, as we can now, by the aid of a sort of science of religions, that every religion has its idea, and every religion has its facts. He and all the first Apologists, with the spectacle of these two apparently opposite systems before them, thought that, in arriving at the True Religion as well, all could be done by considering facts; or all could be done by speculation. Gregory chose the latter method. A Dogmatic in the modern sense, in which both the idea and the facts of Christianity flow into one, could not have been expected of him. The Oratio Catechetica is a mere philosophy of Christianity in detail written in the philosophic language of the time. Not only does he refrain from using the historic proofs, i.e. of prophecy and type (except very sparingly and only to meet an adversary), but his defence is insufficient from another point of view also; he hardly uses the moral proofs either; he wanders persistently in metaphysics.

If he does not lean enough on these two classes of proofs, at all events that he does not lean entirely on either, may be considered as a guarantee of his excellence as a theologian pure and simple. But he is on the other hand very far from attempting a philosophic construction of Christianity, as we have seen. Though akin to modern theologians in many things, he is unlike those of them who would construct an a priori Christianity, in which the relationship of one part to another is so close that all stands or falls together. Philosophic deduction is with him only ‘a kind of instruction’ used in his apologetic works. On occasion he shows a clear perception of the historic principle. “The supernatural character of the Gospel miracles bears witness to their divine origin1818    Or. Cat. c. iii..” He points, as Origen did, to the continued possession of miraculous powers in the Church. Again, as regards moral proof, there had been so much attempted that way by the Neo-Platonists that such proof could not have exactly the same degree of weight attributed to it that it has now, at least by an adherent of the newer Hellenism. Philostratus, Porphyry, Iamblichus had all tried to attract attention to the holy lives of heathen sages. Yet to these, rough sketches as they were, the Christian did oppose the Lives of the Saints: notably Gregory himself in the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus: as Origen before him (c. Celsum, passim) had shewn in detail the difference in kind of Christian holiness.

His treatment of the Sacraments in the Oratio Catechetica is noteworthy. On Baptism he is very complete: it will be sufficient to notice here the peculiar proof he offers that the Holy Spirit is actually given in Baptism. It is the same proof, to start with, as that which establishes that God came in the flesh when Christ came. Miracles prove this; (he is not wanting here in the sense of the importance of History). If, then, we are persuaded that God is here, we must allow also that truth is here: for truth is the mark of Deity. When, therefore, God has said that He will come in a particular way, if called in a particular way, this must be true. He is so called in Baptism: therefore He comes. (The vital importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, upon which Gregory laboured for so many years, thus all comes from Baptism.) Gregory would not confine the entire force of Baptism to the 13one ritual act. A resurrection to a new immortal life is begun in Baptism, but owing to the weakness of nature this complete effect is separated into stages or parts. With regard to the necessity of Baptism for salvation, he says he does not know if the Angels receive the souls of the unbaptized; but he rather intimates that they wander in the air seeking rest, and entreat in vain like the Rich Man. To him who wilfully defers it he says, ‘You are out of paradise, O Catechumen!’

In treating the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Gregory was the first Father who developed the view of transformation, for which transubstantiation was afterwards substituted to suit the mediæval philosophy; that is, he put this view already latent into actual words. There is a locus classicusin the Oratio Catechetica, c. 37.

“Therefore from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread and was in a manner itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle, ‘is sanctified by the word of God and prayer:’ not that it advances by the process of eating to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it at once is changed into the Body, by the Word, as the Word Himself said, ‘This is My Body;’” and just above he had said: “Rightly do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the word of God is changed into the body of God the Word.” This way of explaining the mystery of the Sacrament, i.e. from the way bread was changed into the Word when Christ was upon earth, is compared by Neander with another way Gregory had of explaining it, i.e. the heightened efficacy of the bread is as the heightened efficacy of the baptismal water, the anointing oil1919    In Sermon On the Baptism of Christ., &c., a totally different idea. But this, which may be called the metabatic view, is the one evidently most present to his mind. In a fragment of his found in a Parisian ms.2020    A. 1560 fol.; also Antwerp, p. 1562 (Latinè)., quoted with the Liturgies of James, Basil, Chrysostom, we also find it; “The consecrated bread is changed into the body of the Word; and it is needful for humanity to partake of that.”

Again, the necessity of the Incarnation, drawn from the words “it was necessary that Christ should suffer,” receives a rational treatment from him. There must ever be, from a meditation on this, two results, according as the physical or the ethical element in Christianity prevails, i.e. 1. Propitiation; 2. Redemption. The first theory is dear to minds fed upon the doctrines of the Reformation, but it receives no countenance from Gregory. Only in the book in which Moses’ Life is treated allegorically does he even mention it. The sacrifice of Christ instead of the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament is not his doctrine, He develops his theory of the Redemption or Ransom (i.e. from the Devil), in the Oratio Catechetica. Strict justice to the Evil One required it. But in his hands this view never degenerates, as with some, into a mere battle, e.g. in Gethsemane, between the Rescuer and Enslaver.

So much has been said about Gregory’s inconsistencies, and his apparent inconsistencies are indeed so many, that some attempt must be made to explain this feature, to some so repulsive, in his works. One instance at all events can show how it is possible to reconcile even the most glaring. He is not a one-sided theologian: he is not one of those who pass always the same judgment upon the same subject, no matter with whom he has to deal. There could not be a harsher contradiction than that between his statement about human generation in the Oratio Catechetica, and that made in the treatises On Virginity and On the Making of Man. In the O.C. everything hateful and undignified is removed from the idea of our birth; the idea of πάθος is not applied; “only evil brings disgrace.” But in the other two Treatises he represents generation as a consequence of the Fall. This contradiction arises simply from the different standpoint in each. In the one case he is 14apologetic; and so he adopts a universally recognised moral axiom. In the other he is the Christian theologian; the natural process, therefore, takes its colouring from the Christian doctrine of the Fall. This is the standpoint of most of his works, which are polemical, not apologetic. But in the treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection he introduces even a third view about generation, which might be called that of the Christian theosophist; i.e. generation is the means in the Divine plan for carrying Humanity to its completion. Very similar is the view in the treatise On Infants’ Early Deaths; “the design of all births is that the Power which is above the universe may in all parts of the creation be glorified by means of intellectual natures conspiring to the same end, by virtue of the same faculty operating in all; I mean, that of looking upon God.” Here he is speaking to the purely philosophic instinct. It may be remarked that on this and all the operations of Divine foreknowledge in vast world-wide relations he has constantly striking passages, and deserves for this especially to be studied.

The style of Gregory is much more elegant than that of Basil: sometimes it may be called eloquent. His occasional digressions did not strike ancient critics as a fault. To them he is “sweet,” “bright,” “dropping pleasure into the ears.” But his love for splendour, combined with the lateness of his Greek, make him one of the more difficult Church writers to interpret accurately.

His similes and illustrations are very numerous, and well chosen. A few exceptions must, perhaps, be made. He compares the mere professing Christian to the ape, dressed like a man and dancing to the flute, who used to amuse the people in the theatre at Alexandria, but once revealed during the performance its bestial nature, at the sight of food. This is hardly worthy of a great writer, as Gregory was2121    His comparison of the hidden meaning of the proverb or parable (III. c. Eunom. p. 236) to the ‘turned up’ side of the peacock’s feather is beautiful in itself for language (e.g. ‘the varied painting of nature,’ ‘the half-circle shining in the midst with its dye of purple,’ ‘the golden mist round the circle’): but it rather fails as a simile, when applied to the other or the literal side, which cannot in the case of parables be said to ‘lack beauty and tint’.. Especially happy are his comparisons in the treatise On the Soul and Resurrection, by which metaphysical truths are expressed; and elsewhere those by which he seeks to reach the due proportions of the truth of the Incarnation. The chapters in his work against Eunomius where he attempts to depict the Infinite, are striking. But what commends him most to modern taste is his power of description when dealing with facts, situations, persons: he touches these always with a colour which is felt to be no exaggeration, but the truth.

Chapter III.—His Origenism.

A true estimate of the position and value of Gregory as a Church teacher cannot be formed until the question of his ‘Origenism,’ its causes and its quality, is cleared up. It is well known that this charge began to be brought against his orthodoxy at all events after the time of Justinian: nor could Germanus, the Patriarch of Constantinople in the next century, remove it by the device of supposed interpolations of partizans in the interests of the Eastern as against the Western Church: for such a theory, to be true, would still require some hints at all events in this Father to give a colour to such interpolations. Moreover, as will be seen, the points in which Gregory is most like Origen are portions of the very groundwork of his own theology. The question, then, remains why, and how far, is he a follower of Origen?

I. When we consider the character of his great forerunner, and the kind of task which Gregory himself undertook, the first part of this question is easily answered. When Christian doctrine had to be set forth philosophically, so as to be intelligible to any cultivated mind of that time (to reconcile Greek philosophy with Christian doctrine was a task which Gregory never dreamed of attempting), the example and leader in such an attempt was Origen; he 15occupied as it were the whole horizon. He was the founder of theology; the very vocabulary of it, which is in use now, is of his devising. So that Gregory’s language must have had, necessarily, a close connexion with that of the great interpreter and apologist, who had explained to his century the same truths which Gregory had to explain to his: this must have been the case even if his mind had not been as spiritual and idealizing as Origen’s. But in some respects it will be seen Gregory is even more an idealist than Origen himself. Alike, then, from purpose and tradition as from sympathy he would look back to Origen. Though a gulf was between them, and, since the Council of Nicæa, there were some things that could come no more into controversy, Gregory saw, where the Church had not spoken, with the same eyes as Origen: he uses the same keys as he did for the problems which Scripture has not solved; he uses the same great weapon of allegory in making the letter of Scripture give up the spiritual treasures. It could not have been otherwise when the whole Christian religion, which Gregory was called on to defend as a philosophy, had never before been systematically so defended but by Origen; and this task, the same for both, was presented to the same type of mind, in the same intellectual atmosphere. It would have been strange indeed if Gregory had not been a pupil at least (though he was no blind follower) of Origen.

If we take for illustration of this the most vital point in the vast system, if system it can be called, of Origen, we shall see that he had traced fundamental lines of thought, which could not in that age be easily left. He asserts the virtual freedom of the human will, in every stage and condition of human existence. The Greek philosophy of the third century, and the semi-pagan Gnosticism, in their emanational view of the world, denied this freedom. With them the mind of man, as one of the emanations of Deity itself, was, as much as the matter of which the world was made, regulated and governed directly from the Source whence they both flowed. Indeed every system of thought, not excepting Stoicism, was struck with the blight of this fatalism. There was no freedom for man at all but in the system which Origen was drawing from, or rather reading into, the Scriptures. No Christian philosopher who lived amongst the same counter-influences as Origen could overlook this starting-point of his system; he must have adopted it, even if the danger of Pelagianism had been foreseen in it; which could not have been the case.

Gregory adopted it, with the other great doctrine which in the mind of Origen accompanied it; i.e., that evil is caused, not by matter, but by the act of this free will of man; in other words, by sin. Again the fatalism of all the emanationists had to be combated as to the nature and necessity of evil. With them evil was some inevitable result of the Divine processes; it abode at all events in matter, and human responsibility was at an end. Greek philosophy from first to last had shewed, even at its best, a tendency to connect evil with the lower φύσις. But now, in the light of revelation, a new truth was set forth, and repeated again and again by the very men who were inclined to adopt Plato’s rather Dualistic division of the world into the intelligible and sensible. ‘Evil was due to an act of the will of man.’ Moreover it could no longer be regarded per se: it was relative, being a ‘default,’ or ‘failure,’ or ‘turning away from the true good’ of the will, which, however, was always free to rectify this failure. It was a στέρησις,—loss of the good; but it did not stand over against the good as an independent power. Origen contemplated the time when evil would cease to exist; ‘the non-existent cannot exist for ever:’ and Gregory did the same.

This brings us to yet another consequence of this enthusiasm for human freedom and responsibility, which possessed Origen, and carried Gregory away. The ἀποκατάστασις τῶν πάντων has been thought2222    Cf. Dallæus, de pœnis et satisfactionibus, I. IV. c. 7, p. 368., in certain periods of the Church, to have been the only piece of Origenism with which Gregory can be charged. [This of course shows ignorance of the kind of influence which Gregory allowed Origen to have over him; and which did not require him to 16select even one isolated doctrine of his master.] It has also brought him into more suspicion than any other portion of his teaching. Yet it is a direct consequence of the view of evil, which he shares with Origen. If evil is the non-existent, as his master says, a στέρησις,2323    Cf. De An. et Resurr., 227 C.D. as he says, then it must pass away. It was not made by God; neither is it self-subsisting.

But when it has passed away, what follows? That God will be “all in all.” Gregory accepts the whole of Origen’s explanation of this great text. Both insist on the impossibility of God being in ‘everything,’ if evil still remains. But this is equivalent to the restoration to their primitive state of all created spirits. Still it must be remembered that Origen required many future stages of existence before all could arrive at such a consummation: with him there is to be more than one ‘next world;’ and even when the primitive perfection is reached, his peculiar view of the freedom of the will, as an absolute balance between good and evil, would admit the possibility of another fall. ‘All may be saved; and all may fall.’ How the final Sabbath shall come in which all wills shall rest at last is but dimly hinted at in his writings. With Gregory, on the other hand, there are to be but two worlds: the present and the next; and in the next the ἀποκατάστασις τῶν πάντων must be effected. Then, after the Resurrection, the fire ἀκοίμητος, αἰωνιος, as he continually calls it, will have to do its work. ‘The avenging flame will be the more ardent the more it has to consume’ (De Animâ et Resurr., p. 227). ‘But at last the evil will be annihilated, and the bad saved by nearness to the good.’ There is to rise a giving of thanks from all nature. Nevertheless2424    Collected by Ceillier in his Introduction (Paris, 1860). passages have been adduced from Gregory’s writings in which the language of Scripture as to future punishment is used without any modification, or hint of this universal salvation. In the treatise, De Pauperibus Amandis, II. p. 240, he says of the last judgment that God will give to each his due; repose eternal to those who have exercised pity and a holy life; but the eternal punishment of fire for the harsh and unmerciful: and addressing the rich who have made a bad use of their riches, he says, ‘Who will extinguish the flames ready to devour you and engulf you? Who will stop the gnawings of a worm that never dies?’ Cf. also Orat. 3, de Beatitudinibus, I. p. 788: contra Usuarios, II. p. 233: though the hortatory character of these treatises makes them less important as witnesses.

A single doctrine or group of doctrines, however, may be unduly pressed in accounting for the influence of Origen upon a kindred spirit like Gregory. Doubtless fragments of Origen’s teaching, mere details very often, were seized upon and appropriated by others; they were erected into dogmas and made to do duty for the whole living fabric; and even those details were sometimes misunderstood. ‘2525    Bunsen.What he had said with a mind full of thought, others took in the very letter.’ Hence arose the evil of ‘Origenism,’ so prevalent in the century in which Gregory lived. Different ways of following him were found, bad and good. Even the Arians could find in his language now and then something they could claim as their own. But as Rupp well says, ‘Origen is not great by virtue of those particular doctrines, which are usually exhibited to the world as heretical by weak heads who think to take the measure of everything with the mere formulæ of orthodoxy. He is great by virtue of one single thought, i.e. that of bringing philosophy into union with religion, and thereby creating a theology. With Clement of Alexandria this thought was a mere instinct: Origen gave it consciousness: and so Christendom began to have a science of its own.’ It was this single purpose, visible in all Origen wrote, that impressed itself so deeply upon Gregory. He, too, would vindicate the Scriptures as a philosophy. Texts, thanks to the labours of Origen as well as to the councils of the Church, had now acquired a fixed meaning and an importance that all could acknowledge. The new spiritual philosophy lay within them; he would make them speak its language. Allegory was with him, just as with Origen, necessary, in order to find the Spirit which inspires them. The letter must not impose itself upon us and stand for more than it is worth; just as the practical experience of evil in the world must not blind us to the fact that 17it is only a passing dispensation. If only the animus and intention is regarded, we may say that all that Gregory wrote was Origenistic.

II. But nevertheless much had happened in the interval of 130 years that divides them and this leads us to consider the limits which the state of the Church, as well as Gregory’s own originality and more extended physical knowledge, placed upon the complete filling in of the outlines sketched by the master. First and chiefly, Origen’s doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul could not be retained; and we know that Gregory not only abandoned it, but attacked it with all his powers of logic in his treatise, De Animâ et Resurrectione: for which he receives the applause of the Emperor Justinian. Souls, according to Origen, had pre-existed from eternity: they were created certainly, but there never was a time when they did not exist: so that the procession even of the Holy Spirit could in thought only be prior to their existence. Then a failure of their free wills to grasp the true good, and a consequent cooling of the fire of love within them, plunged them in this material bodily existence, which their own sin made a suffering one. This view had certainly great merits: it absolved the Deity from being the author of evil, and so was a ‘théodicée;’ it entirely got rid of the two rival principles, good and evil, of the Gnostics; and it avoided the seeming incongruity of what was to last for ever in the future being not eternal in the past. Why then was it rejected? Not only because of the objection urged by Methodius, that the addition of a body would be no remedy but rather an increase of the sin; or that urged amongst many others by Gregory, that a vice cannot be regarded as the precursor of the birth of each human soul into this or into other worlds; but more than that and chiefly, because such a doctrine contravened the more distinct views now growing up as to what the Christian creation was, and the more careful definitions also of the Trinity now embodied in the creeds. In fact the pre-existence of the soul was wrapped up in a cosmogony that could no longer approve itself to the Christian consciousness. In asserting the freedom of the will, and placing in the will the cause of evil, Origen had so far banished emanationism; but in his view of the eternity of the world, and in that of the eternal pre-existence of souls which accompanied it, he had not altogether stamped it out. He connects rational natures so closely with the Deity that each individual λόγος seems almost, in a Platonic way, to lie in the Divine which2626    c. Cels. VI. 64. he styles οὐσία οὐσιῶν, ἰδέα ἰδεῶν. They are ‘partial brightnesses (ἀπαυγάσμαπα) of the glory of God.’ He2727    In Joann., tom. 32, 18. allows them, of course, to have been created in the Scriptural sense of that word, which is certainly an advance upon Justin; but his creation is not that distinct event in time which Christianity requires and the exacter treatment of the nature of the Divine Persons had now developed. His creation, both the intelligible and visible world, receives from him an eternity which is unnatural and incongruous in relation to his other speculations and beliefs: it lingers, Tithonus-like, in the presence of the Divine Persons, without any meaning and purpose for its life; it is the last relic of Paganism, as it were, in a system which is otherwise Christian to the very core. His strenuous effort to banish all ideas of time, at all events from the intelligible world, ended in this eternal creation of that world; which seemed to join the eternally generated Son too closely to it, and gave occasion to the Arians to say that He too was a κτίσμα. This eternal pre-existence in fact almost destroyed the idea of creation, and made the Deity in a way dependent on His own world. Athanasius, therefore, and his followers were roused to separate the divinity of the Son from everything created. The relation of the world to God could no longer be explained in the same terms as those which they employed to illustrate the relations between the Divine Persons; and when once the doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Father and Son had been accepted and firmly established there could be no more favour shown by the defenders of that doctrine to the merely Platonic view of the nature and origin of souls and of matter.

Amongst the defenders of the Creed of Nicæa, Gregory, we know, stands well-nigh foremost. 18In his long and numerous treatises on the Trinity he employs every possible argument and illustration to show the contents of the substance of the Deity as transcendent, incommunicable to creation per se. Souls cannot have the attributes of Deity. Created spirits cannot claim immediate kindred with the Λόγος. So instead of the Platonic antithesis of the intelligible and sensible world, which Origen adopted, making all equal in the intelligible world, he brings forward the antithesis of God and the world. He felt too that that antithesis answers more fully not only to the needs of the Faith in the Trinity daily growing more exact and clear, but also to the facts of the Creation, i.e. its variety and differences. He gives up the preexistence of the rational soul; it will not explain the infinite variety observable in souls. The variety, again, of the material world, full as it is of the miracles of divine power, cannot have been the result of the chance acts of created natures embodying themselves therein, which the theory of pre-existence supposes. God and the created world (of spirits and matter) are now to be the factors in theology; although Gregory does now and then, for mere purposes of illustration, divide the Universe still into the intelligible and the sensible.

When once pre-existence was given up, the parts of the soul could be more closely united to each other, because the lower and higher were in their beginning no longer separated by a gulf of ages. Accordingly Gregory, reducing the three parts of man which Origen had used to the simpler division into visible and invisible (sensible and intelligible), dwells much upon the intimate relation between the two and the mutual action of one upon the other. Origen had retained the trichotomy of Plato which other Greek Fathers also, with the sanction, as they supposed, of S. Paul (1 Thess. v. 23), had adopted. ‘Body,’ ‘soul,’ and ‘spirit,’ or Plato’s ‘body,’ ‘unreasoning’ and ‘reasoning soul,’ had helped Origen to explain how the last, the pre-existent soul (the spirit, or the conscience2828    Comment. in Rom. ii. 9, p. 486., as he sometimes calls it) could ever have come to live in the flesh. The second, the soul proper, is as it were a mediating ground on which the spirit can meet the flesh. The celestial mind, ‘the real man fallen from on high,’ rules by the power of conscience or of will over this soul, where the merely animal functions and the natural appetites reside; and through this soul over the body. How the celestial mind can act at all upon this purely animal soul which lies between it and the body, Origen leaves unexplained. But this division was necessary for him, in order to represent the spirit as remaining itself unchanged in its heavenly nature, though weakened by its long captivity in the body. The middle soul (in which he sometimes places the will) is the scene of contamination and disorder; the spirit is free, it can always rejoice at what is well done in the soul, and yet is not touched by the evil in it; it chooses, convicts, and punishes. Such was Origen’s psychology. But an intimate connexion both in birth and growth between all the faculties of man is one of Gregory’s most characteristic thoughts, and he gave up this trichotomy, which was still, however, retained by some Greek fathers, and adopted the simpler division mentioned above in order more clearly and concisely to show the mutual play of spirit and body upon each other. There was soon, too, another reason why this trichotomy should be suspected. It was a second time made the vehicle of error. Apollinaris adopted it, in order to expound that the Divine Λόγος took the place, in the tripartite soul of Christ, of the ‘reasonable soul’ or spirit of other men. Gregory, in pressing for a simpler treatment of man’s nature, thus snatched a vantage-ground from a sagacious enemy. His own psychology is only one instance of a tendency which runs through the whole of his system, and which may indeed be called the dominating thought with which he approached every question; he views each in the light of form and matter; spirit penetrating and controlling body, body answering to spirit and yet at the same time supplying the nutriment upon which the vigour and efficacy of spirit, in this world at least, depends. This thought underlies his view of the material universe and of Holy Scripture, as well as of man’s nature. With 19regard to the last he says, ‘the intelligible cannot be realized in body at all, except it be commingled with sensation;’ and again, ‘as there can be no sensation without a material substance, so there can be no exercise of the power of thought without sensation2929    De Hom. Op. c. viii.; De An. et Resurr. 205..’ The spiritual or intelligent part of man (which he calls by various names, such as ‘the inner man,’ the ψυχὴ λογικὴ, νοῦς or διάνοια, τὸ ζωοποιὸν αἴτιον, or simply ψυχὴ as throughout the treatise On the Soul), however alien in its essence from the bodily and sentient part, yet no sooner is united with this earthly part than it at once exerts power over it. In fact it requires this instrument before it can reach its perfection. ‘Seeing, then, man is a reasoning animal of a certain kind, it was necessary that the body should be prepared as an instrument appropriate to the needs of his reason3030    De Hom. Op. c. viii..’ So closely has this reason been united with the senses and the flesh that it performs itself the functions of the animal part; it is the ‘mind’ or ‘reason’ itself that sees, hears, &c.; in fact the exercise of mind depends on a sound state of the senses and other organs of the body; for a sick body cannot receive the ‘artistic’ impressions of the mind and, so, the mind remains inoperative. This is enough to show how far Gregory had got from pre-existence and the ‘fall into the prison of the flesh.’

His own theory of the origin of the soul, or at least that to which he visibly inclines, is stated in the treatise, De Animâ et Resurrectione, p. 241. It is that of Tertullian and some Greek Fathers also: and goes by the name of ‘traducianism.’ The soul is transmitted in the generating seed. This of course is the opposite pole to Origen’s teaching, and is inconsistent with Gregory’s own spiritualism. The other alternative, Creationism, which a number of the orthodox adopted, namely that souls are created by God at the moment of conception, or when the body of the fœtus is already formed, was not open to him to adopt; because, according to him, in idea the world of spirits was made, and in a determinate number, along with the world of unformed matter by the one creative act ‘in the beginning.’ In the plan of the universe, though not in reality as with Origen, all souls are already created. So the life of humanity contains them: when the occasion comes they take their beginning along with the body which enshrines them, but are not created then any more than that body. Such was the compromise between spiritualism and materialism to which Gregory was driven by the difficulties of the subject. Origen with his eye unfalteringly fixed upon the ideal world, and unconscious of the practical consequences that might be drawn from his teaching, cut the knot with his eternal pre-existence of souls, which avoided at once the alleged absurdity of creationism and the grossness of traducianism. But the Church, for higher interests still than those of pure idealism, had to reject that doctrine; and Gregory, with his extended knowledge in physic and his close observation of the intercommunion of mind and body, had to devise or rather select a theory which, though a makeshift, would not contradict either his knowledge or his faith.

Yet after admitting that soul and body are born together and attaching such importance to the ‘physical basis’ of life and thought, the influence of his master, or else his own uncontrollable idealism, carries him away again in the opposite direction. After reading words in his treatise which Locke might have written we come upon others which are exactly the teaching of Berkeley. There is a passage in the De Animâ et Resurrectione where he deals with the question how an intelligent Being could have created matter, which is neither intelligent or intelligible. But what if matter is only a concourse of qualities, ἔννοιαι, or ψιλὰ νοήματα as he elsewhere calls them? Then there would be no difficulty in understanding the manner of creation. But even about this we can say so much, i.e. that not one of those things which we attribute to body is itself body: neither figure, nor colour, nor weight, nor extension, nor quantity, nor any other qualifying notion whatever: but every one of them is a thought: it is the combination of them all into a single whole that constitutes body. Seeing, then, that these 20several qualifications which complete the particular body are grasped by thought alone, and not by sense, and that the Deity is a thinking being, what trouble can it be to such a thinking agent to produce the thoughts whose mutual combination generate for us the substance of that body? and in the treatise, De Hom. Opif., c. 24, the intelligible φύσις is said to produce the intelligible δυνάμεις, and the concourse of these δυνάμεις brings into being the material nature. The body itself, he repeats (contra Fatum, p. 67), is not a real substance; it is a soulless, unsubstantial thing. The only real creation is that of spirits. Even Origen did not go so far as that Matter with him, though it exists by concomitance and not by itself, nevertheless really exists. He avoided a rock upon which Gregory runs; for with Gregory not only matter but created spirit as well vanish in idealism. There remain with him only the νοούμενα and God.

This transcendent idealism embarrasses him in many ways, and makes his theory of the soul full of inconsistency. (1) He will not say unhesitatingly whether that pure humanity in the beginning created in the image of God had a body or not like ours. Origen at all events says that the eternally pre-existing spirits were invested with a body, even before falling into the sensible world. But Gregory, while denying the pre-existence of souls in the sense of Origen, yet in many of his treatises, especially in the De Hom. Opificio, seems to point to a primitive humanity, a predeterminate number of souls destined to live in the body though they had not yet lived, which goes far beyond Origen’s in its ideal character. “When Moses,” Gregory says, “speaks of the soul as the image of God, he shows that all that is alien to God must be excluded from our definition of the soul; and a corporal nature is alien to God.” He points out that God first ‘made man in His own image,’ and after that made them male and female; so that there was a double fashioning of our nature, ἥ τε πρὸς τὸ θεῖον ὁμοιωμένη, ἥ τε πρὸς τὴν διαφορὰν ταύτην (i.e. male and female) διηρημένη. On the other hand, in the Oratio Catechetica, which contains certainly his more dogmatic statement on every point, this ideal and passionless humanity is regarded as still in the future: and it is represented that man’s double-nature is actually the very centre of the Divine Councils, and not the result of any mistake or sin; man’s soul from the very first was commingled (ἀνάκρασις is Gregory’s favourite word) with a body, in order that in him, as representing every stage of living things, the whole creation, even in its lowest part, might share in the divine. Man, as the paragon of animals, was necessary, in order that the union might be effected between two otherwise irreconcilable worlds, the intelligible and the sensible. Though, therefore, there was a Fall at last, it was not the occasion of man’s receiving a body similar to animals; that body was given him at the very first, and was only preparatory to the Fall, which was foreseen in the Divine Councils and provided for. Both the body and the Fall were necessary in order that the Divine plan might be carried out, and the Divine glory manifested in creation. In this view the “coats of skins” which Gregory inherits from the allegorical treasures of Origen are no longer merely the human body itself, as with Origen, but all the passions, actions, and habits of that body after the Fall, which he sums up in the generic term πάθη. If, then, there is to be any reconciliation between this and the former view of his in which the pure unstained humanity, the ‘image of God,’ is differentiated by a second act of creation as it were into male and female, we must suppose him to teach that immediately upon the creation in God’s image there was added all that in human nature is akin to the merely animal world. In that man was God’s image, his will was free, but in that he was created, he was able to fall from his high estate; and God, foreseeing the Fall, at once added the distinction of sex, and with it the other features of the animal which would befit the fall; but with the purpose of raising thereby the whole creation. But two great counter-influences seem always to be acting upon Gregory; the one sympathy with the speculations of Origen, the other a tendency to see even with a modern insight into the closeness of the intercommunion between soul and body. The results of these two influences cannot be altogether reconciled. His ideal and his actual man, each sketched with 21a skilful and discriminating hand, represent the interval that divides his aspirations from his observations: yet both are present to his mind when he writes about the soul. (2) He does not alter, as Origen does, the traditional belief in the resurrection of the body, and yet his idealism, in spite of his actual and strenuous defence of it in the carefully argued treatise On the Soul and Resurrection, renders it unnecessary, if not impossible. We know that his faith impelled Origen, too, to3131    He does so De Principiis I. præf. 5. C. Cels. II. 77, VIII. 49 sq. contend for the resurrection of the flesh: yet it is an almost forced importation into the rest of his system. Our bodies, he teaches, will rise again: but that which will make us the same persons we were before is not the sameness of our bodies (for they will be ethereal, angelic, uncarnal, &c.) but the sameness of a λόγος within them which never dies (λόγος τις ἔγκειται τῷ σώματι, ἀφ᾽ οὗ μὴ φθειρομένου ἐγείρεται τὸ σῶμα ἐν ἀφθαρσί& 139·, c. Cels. v. 23). Here we have the λόγοι σπερματικοὶ; which Gregory objected to as somehow connected in his mind with the infinite plurality of worlds. Yet his own account of the Resurrection of the flesh is nothing but Origenism, mitigated by the suppression of these λόγοι. With him, too, matter is nothing, it is a negative thing that can make and effect nothing: the soul, the ζωτικὴ δύναμις does everything; it is gifted by him with a sort of ubiquity after death. ‘Nothing can break its sympathetic union with the particles of the body.’ It is not a long and difficult study for it to discern in the mass of elements that which is its own from that which is not its own. ‘It watches over its property, as it were, until the Resurrection, when it will clothe itself in them anew3232    De Anim. et Resurrectione, p. 198, 199, 213 sq..’ It is only a change of names: the λόγος has become this ζωτικὴ δύναμις or ψυχὴ, which seems itself, almost unaided, to effect the whole Resurrection. Though he teaches as against Origen that the ‘elements’ are the same ‘elements,’ the body the same body as before, yet the strange importance both in activity and in substance which he attaches to the ψυχὴ even in the disembodied state seems to render a Resurrection of the flesh unnecessary. Here, too, his view of the plan of Redemption is at variance with his idealistic leanings. While Origen regarded the body, as it now is, as part of that ‘vanity’ placed upon the creature which was to be laid aside at last, Gregory’s view of the design of God in creating man at all absolutely required the Resurrection of the flesh3333    Oratio Cat. 55 A. (ὡς ἂν συνεπαρθείη τῷ θεί& 251· τὸ γή& 187·νον). Creation was to be saved by man’s carrying his created body into a higher world: and this could only be done by a resurrection of the flesh such as the Church had already set forth in her creed.

Again, however, after parting with Origen upon this point, he meets him in the ultimate contemplation of Christ’s glorified humanity and of all glorified bodies. Both steadily refuse at last ‘to know Christ according to the flesh.’ They depict His humanity as so absorbed in deity that all traces of His bodily nature vanish; and as with Christ, so finally with His true followers. This is far indeed from the Lamb that was slain, and the vision of S. John. In this heaven of theirs all individual or generic differences between rational creatures necessarily cease.

Great, then, as are their divergences, especially in cosmogony, their agreements are maintained throughout. Gregory in the main accepts Origen’s teaching, as far as he can accommodate it to the now more outspoken faith of the Church. What3434    Orig. II. 314 sq. Redepenning summarises as the groundplan of Origen’s whole way of thinking, Gregory has, with the necessary changes, appropriated. Both regard the history of the world as a movement between a beginning and an end in which are united every single spiritual or truly human nature in the world, and the Divine nature. This interval of movement is caused by the falling away of the free will of the creature from the divine: but it will come to an end, in order that the former union may be restored. In this summary they would differ only as to the closeness of the original union. Both, too, according to this, would regard ‘man’ as the final cause, and the explanation, and the centre of God’s plan in creation.

22Even in the special sphere of theology which the later needs of the Church forced into prominence, and which Gregory has made peculiarly his own, that of the doctrine of the Trinity, Gregory employs sometimes a method which he has caught from Origen. Origen supposes, not so much, as Plato did, that things below are images of things above, as that they have certain secret analogies or affinities with them. This is perhaps after all only a peculiar application for his own purpose of Plato’s theory of ideas. There are mysterious sympathies between the earth and heaven. We must therefore read within ourselves the reflection of truths which are too much beyond our reach to know in themselves. With regard to the attributes of God this is more especially the case. But Origen never had the occasion to employ this language in explaining the mystery of the Trinity. Gregory is the first Father who has done so. He finds a key to it in the3535    This is an independent division to that mentioned above. triple nature of our soul. The νοῦς, the λόγος, and the soul, form within us a unity such as that of the Divine hypostases. Gregory himself confesses that such thoughts about God are inadequate, and immeasurably below their object: but he cannot be blamed for employing this method, as if it was entirely superficial. Not only does this instance illustrate trinity in unity, but we should have no contents for our thought about the Father, Son, and Spirit, if we found no outlines at all of their nature within ourselves. Denis3636    De la Philosophie D’Origéne (Paris, 1884). well says that the history of the doctrine of the Trinity confirms this: for the advanced development of the theory of the λόγος, a purely human attribute in the ancient philosophy, was the cause of the doctrine of the Son being so soon and so widely treated: and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit came into prominence only when He began to be regarded as the principle of the purely human or moral life, as Love, that is, or Charity. Gregory, then, had reason in recommending even a more systematic use of the method which he had received from Origen: ‘Learn from the things within thee to know the secret of God; recognise from the Triad within thee the Triad by means of these matters which you realise: it is a testimony above and more sure than that of the Law and the Gospel3737    De eo quod immut., p. 30..’

He carries out elsewhere also more thoroughly than Origen this method of reading parables. He is an actual Mystic in this. The mysterious but real correspondences between earth and heaven, upon which, Origen had taught, and not upon mere thoughts or the artifices of language, the truth of a parable rests, Gregory employed, in order to penetrate the meaning of the whole of external nature. He finds in its facts and appearances analogies with the energies, and through them with the essence, of God. They are not to him merely indications of the wisdom which caused them and ordered them, but actual symptoms of the various energies which reside in the essence of the Supreme Being; as though that essence, having first been translated into the energies, was through them translated into the material creation; which was thus an earthly language saying the same thing as the heavenly language, word for word. The whole world thus became one vast allegory3838    See De iis qui præmature abripiuntur, p. 231, quoted above, p. 4.: and existed only to manifest the qualities of the Unseen. Akin to this peculiar development of the parable is another characteristic of his, which is alien to the spirit of Origen; his delight in natural scenery, his appreciation of it, and power of describing it.

With regard to the question, so much agitated, of the ᾽Αποκατάστασις, it may be said that not Gregory only but Basil and Gregory Nazianzen also have felt the influence of their master in theology, Origen. But it is due to the latter to say that though he dwells much on the “all in all” and insists much more on the sanctifying power of punishment than on the satisfaction owed to Divine justice, yet no one could justly attribute to him, as a doctrine, the view of a Universal Salvation. Still these Greek Fathers, Origen and ‘the three great Cappadocians,’ equally showed a disposition of mind that left little room for the discussions that were soon to agitate the West. Their infinite hopes, their absolute confidence in the goodness of God, 23who owes it to Himself to make His work perfect, their profound faith in the promises and sacrifice of Christ, as well as in the vivifying action of the Holy Spirit, make the question of Predestination and Grace a very simple one with them. The word Grace occurs as often in them as in Augustine: but they do not make original sin a monstrous innovation requiring a remedy of a peculiar and overwhelming intensity. Passion indeed seems to Gregory of Nyssa himself one of the essential elements of the human soul. He borrows from the naturalists many principles of distinction between classes of souls and lives: he insists incessantly on the intimate connexion between the physical growth and the development of the reason, and on the correlation between the one and the other: and we arrive at the conclusion that man in his eyes, as in Clement’s, was not originally perfect, except in possibility; that being at once reasoning and sentient he must perforce feel within himself the struggle of reason and passion, and that it was inevitable that sin should enter into the world: it was a consequence of his mixed nature. This mixed nature of the first man was transmitted to his descendants. Here, though he stands apart from Origen on the question of man’s original perfection, he could not have accepted the whole Augustinian scheme of original sin: and Grace as the remedy with him consists rather in the purging this mixed nature, than in the introduction into it of something absolutely foreign. The result, as with all the Greek Fathers, will depend on the co-operation of the free agent in this remedial work. Predestination and the ‘bad will’ are excluded by the Possibility and the ‘free will’ of Origen and Gregory.

Chapter IV.—His Teaching on the Holy Trinity.

To estimate the exact value of the work done by S. Gregory in the establishment of the doctrine of the Trinity and in the determination, so far as Eastern Christendom is concerned, of the terminology employed for the expression of that doctrine, is a task which can hardly be satisfactorily carried out. His teaching on the subject is so closely bound up with that of his brother, S. Basil of Cæsarea,—his “master,” to use his own phrase,—that the two can hardly be separated with any certainty. Where a disciple, carrying on the teaching he has himself received from another, with perhaps almost imperceptible variations of expression, has extended the influence of that teaching and strengthened its hold on the minds of men, it must always be a matter of some difficulty to discriminate accurately between the services which the two have rendered to their common cause, and to say how far the result attained is due to the earlier, how far to the later presentment of the doctrine. But the task of so discriminating between the work of S. Basil and that of S. Gregory is rendered yet more complicated by the uncertainty attaching to the authorship of particular treatises which have been claimed for both. If, for instance, we could with certainty assign to S. Gregory that treatise on the terms οὐσία and ὑπόστασις, which Dorner treats as one of the works by which he “contributed materially to fix the uncertain usage of the Church3939    See Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Div. I. vol. ii. p. 314 (English Trans.).,” but which is found also among the works of S. Basil in the form of a letter addressed to S. Gregory himself, we should be able to estimate the nature and the extent of the influence of the Bishop of Nyssa much more definitely than we can possibly do while the authorship of this treatise remains uncertain. Nor does this document stand alone in this respect, although it is perhaps of more importance for the determination of such a question than any other of the disputed treatises. Thus in the absence of certainty as to the precise extent to which S. Gregory’s teaching was directly indebted to that of his brother, it seems impossible to say how far the “fixing of the uncertain usage of the Church” was due to either of them singly. That together they did contribute very largely to 24that result is beyond question: and it is perhaps superfluous to endeavour to separate their contributions, especially as there can be little doubt that S. Gregory at least conceived himself to be in agreement with S. Basil upon all important points, if not to be acting simply as the mouth-piece of his “master’s” teaching, and as the defender of the statements which his “master” had set forth against possible misconceptions of their meaning. Some points, indeed, there clearly were, in which S. Gregory’s presentment of the doctrine differs from that of S. Basil; but to these it may be better to revert at a later stage, after considering the more striking variation which their teaching displays from the language of the earlier Nicene school as represented by S. Athanasius.

The council held at Alexandria in the year 362, during the brief restoration of S. Athanasius, shows us at once the point of contrast and the substantial agreement between the Western school, with which S. Athanasius himself is in this matter to be reckoned, and the Eastern theologians to whom has been given the title of “Neo-Nicene.” The question at issue was one of language, not of belief; it turned upon the sense to be attached to the word ὑπόστασις. The Easterns, following a use of the term which may be traced perhaps to the influence of Origen, employed the word in the sense of the Latin “Persona,” and spoke of the Three Persons as τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις, whereas the Latins employed the term “hypostasis” as equivalent to “sub-stantia,” to express what the Greeks called οὐσία,—the one Godhead of the Three Persons. With the Latins agreed the older school of the orthodox Greek theologians, who applied to the Three Persons the phrase τρία πρόσωπα, speaking of the Godhead as μία ὑπόστασις. This phrase, in the eyes of the newer Nicene school, was suspected of Sabellianism4040    It is to be noted further that the use of the terms “Persona” and πρόσωπον by those who avoided the phrase τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις no doubt assisted in the formation of this suspicion. At the same time the Nicene anathema favoured the sense of ὑπόστασις as equivalent to οὐσία, and so appeared to condemn the Eastern use., while on the other hand the Westerns were inclined to regard the Eastern phrase τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις as implying tritheism. The synodal letter sets forth to us the means by which the fact of substantial agreement between the two schools was brought to light, and the understanding arrived at, that while Arianism on the one hand and Sabellianism on the other were to be condemned, it was advisable to be content with the language of the Nicene formula, which employed neither the phrase μία ὑπόστασις nor the phrase τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις4141    S. Athanasius, Tom. ad Antioch, 5.. This resolution, prudent as it may have been for the purpose of bringing together those who were in real agreement, and of securing that the reconciled parties should, at a critical moment, present an unbroken front in the face of their common and still dangerous enemy, could hardly be long maintained. The expression τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις was one to which many of the orthodox, including those who had formerly belonged to the Semi-Arian section, had become accustomed: the Alexandrine synod, under the guidance of S. Athanasius, had acknowledged the phrase, as used by them, to be an orthodox one, and S. Basil, in his efforts to conciliate the Semi-Arian party, with which he had himself been closely connected through his namesake of Ancyra and through Eustathius of Sebastia, saw fit definitely to adopt it. While S. Athanasius, on the one hand, using the older terminology, says that ὑπόστασις is equivalent to οὐσία, and has no other meaning4242    Ad Afr. Episc. §4. S. Athanasius, however, does not shrink from the phrase τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις in contradistinction to the μῖα οὐσία: see the treatise, In illud, ‘Omnia mihi tradita sunt.’ §6., S. Basil, on the other hand, goes so far as to say that the terms οὐσία and ὑπόστασις, even in the Nicene anathema, are not to be understood as equivalent4343    S. Bas. Ep. 125 (being the confession of faith drawn up by S. Basil for the subscription of Eustathius).. The adoption of the new phrase, even after the explanations given at Alexandria, was found to require, in order to avoid misconstruction, a more precise definition of its meaning, and a formal defence of its orthodoxy. And herein consisted one principal service rendered by S. Basil and S. Gregory; while with more precise definition of the term ὑπόστασις there emerged, it may be, a more precise view of the relations of the Persons, and with the defence of the new phrase as expressive of the Trinity of Persons a more precise view of what is implied in the Unity of the Godhead.

25The treatise, De Sancta Trinitate is one of those which are attributed by some to S. Basil, by others to S. Gregory: but for the purpose of showing the difficulties with which they had to deal, the question of its exact authorship is unimportant. 4444    It appears on the whole more probable that the treatise is the work of S. Gregory; but it is found, in a slightly different shape, among the Letters of S. Basil. (Ep. 189 in the Benedictine Edition.)The most obvious objection alleged against their teaching was that which had troubled the Western theologians before the Alexandrine Council,—the objection that the acknowledgment of Three Persons implied a belief in Three Gods. To meet this, there was required a statement of the meaning of the term ὑπόστασις, and of the relation of ὀυσία to ὑπόστασις. Another objection, urged apparently by the same party as the former, was directed against the “novelty,” or inconsistency, of employing in the singular terms expressive of the Divine Nature such as “goodness” or “Godhead,” while asserting that the Godhead exists in plurality of Persons4545    In what sense this language was charged with “novelty” is not very clear. But the point of the objection appears to lie in a refusal to recognize that terms expressive of the Divine Nature, whether they indicate attributes or operations of that Nature, may be predicated of each ὑπόστασις severally, as well as of the οὐσία, without attaching to the terms themselves that idea of plurality which, so far as they express attributes or operations of the οὐσία, must be excluded from them.. To meet this, it was required that the sense in which the Unity of the Godhead was maintained should be more plainly and clearly defined.

The position taken by S. Basil with regard to the terms οὐσία and ὑπόστασις is very concisely stated in his letter to Terentius4646    S. Bas. Ep. 214, §4.. He says that the Western theologians themselves acknowledge that a distinction does exist between the two terms: and he briefly sets forth his view of the nature of that distinction by saying that οὐσία is to ὑπόστασις as that which is common to individuals is to that in respect of which the individuals are naturally differentiated. He illustrates this statement by the remark that each individual man has his being τῷ κοίνῳ τῆς οὐσίας λόγῳ, while he is differentiated as an individual man in virtue of his own particular attributes. So in the Trinity that which constitutes the οὐσία (be it “goodness” or be it “Godhead”) is common, while the ὑπόστασις is marked by the Personal attribute of Fatherhood or Sonship or Sanctifying Power4747    The differentia here assigned to the Third Person is not, in S. Basil’s own view, a differentia at all: for he would no doubt have been ready to acknowledge that this attribute is common to all Three Persons. S. Gregory, as it will be seen, treats the question as to the differentiation of the Persons somewhat differently, and rests his answer on a basis theologically more scientific.. This position is also adopted and set forth in greater detail in the treatise, De Diff. Essen. et Hypost.4848    S. Bas. Ep. 38 (Benedictine Ed.)., already referred to, where we find once more the illustration employed in the Epistle to Terentius. The Nature of the Father is beyond our comprehension; but whatever conception we are able to form of that Nature, we must consider it to be common also to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: so far as the οὐσία is concerned, whatever is predicated of any one of the Persons may be predicated equally of each of the Three Persons, just as the properties of man, quâ man, belong alike to Paul and Barnabas and Timothy: and as these individual men are differentiated by their own particular attributes, so each Person of the Trinity is distinguished by a certain attribute from the other two Persons. This way of putting the case naturally leads to the question, “If you say, as you do say, that Paul and Barnabas and Timothy are ‘three men,’ why do you not say that the Three Persons are ‘three Gods?’” Whether the question was presented in this shape to S. Basil we cannot with certainty decide: but we may gather from his language regarding the applicability of number to the Trinity what his answer would have been. He4949    De Spir. Sancto, §18. says that in acknowledging One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit, we do not enumerate them by computation, but assert the individuality, so to say, of each hypostasis—its distinctness from the others. He would probably have replied by saying that strictly speaking we ought to decline applying to the Deity, considered as Deity, any numerical idea at all, and that to enumerate the Persons as “three” is a necessity, possibly, imposed upon us by language, but that no conception of number is really applicable to the Divine Nature or to the Divine Persons, 26which transcend number5050    On S. Basil’s language on this subject, see Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Div. 1. vol. ii. pp. 309–11. (Eng. Trans.). To S. Gregory, however, the question did actually present itself as one demanding an answer, and his reply to it marks his departure from S. Basil’s position, though, if the treatise, De Diff. Essen. et Hyp. be S. Basil’s, S. Gregory was but following out and defending the view of his “master” as expressed in that treatise.

S. Gregory’s reply to the difficulty may be found in the letter, or short dissertation, addressed to Ablabius (Quod non sunt tres Dei), and in his treatise περὶ κοινῶν ἐννοίων. In the latter he lays it down that the term θεός is a term οὐσίας σημαντικόν, not a term προσώπων δηλωτικόν: the Godhead of the Father is not that in which He maintains His differentiation from the Son: the Son is not God because He is Son, but because His essential Nature is what it is. Accordingly, when we speak of “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost,” the word and is employed to conjoin the terms expressive of the Persons, not the repeated term which is expressive of the Essence, and which therefore, while applied to each of the Three Persons, yet cannot properly be employed in the plural. That in the case of three individual “men” the term expressive of essence is employed in the plural is due, he says, to the fact that in this case there are circumstances which excuse or constrain such a use of the term “man” while such circumstances do not affect the case of the Holy Trinity. The individuals included under the term “man” vary alike in number and in identity, and thus we are constrained to speak of “men” as more or fewer, and in a certain sense to treat the essence as well as the persons numerically. In the Holy Trinity, on the other hand, the Persons are always the same, and their number the same. Nor are the Persons of the Holy Trinity differentiated, like individual men, by relations of time and place, and the like; the differentiation between them is based upon a constant causal relation existing among the Three Persons, which does not affect the unity of the Nature: it does not express the Being, but the mode of Being5151    This statement strikes at the root of the theory held by Eunomius, as well as by the earlier Arians, that the ἀγεννησία of the Father constituted His Essence. S. Gregory treats His ἀγεννησία as that by which He is distinguished from the other Persons, as an attribute marking His hypostasis. This subject is treated more fully, with special reference to the Eunomian view, in the Ref. alt. libri Eunomii.. The Father is the Cause; the Son and the Holy Spirit are differentiated from Him as being from the Cause, and again differentiated inter se as being immediately from the Cause, and immediately through that which is from the Cause. Further, while these reasons may be alleged for holding that the cases are not in such a sense parallel as to allow that the same conclusion as to modes of speech should be drawn in both, he urges that the use of the term “men” in the plural is, strictly speaking, erroneous. We should, in strictness, speak not of “this or that man,” but of “this or that hypostasis of man”—the “three men” should be described as “three hypostases” of the common οὐσία “man.” In the treatise addressed to Ablabius he goes over the same ground, clothing his arguments in a somewhat less philosophical dress; but he devotes more space to an examination of the meaning of the term θεός, with a view to showing that it is a term expressive of operation, and thereby of essence, not a term which may be considered as applicable to any one of the Divine Persons in any such peculiar sense that it may not equally be applied also to the other two5252    S. Gregory would apparently extend this argument even to the operations expressed by the names of “Redeemer,” or “Comforter;” though he would admit that in regard of the mode by which these operations are applied to man, the names expressive of them are used in a special sense of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, yet he would argue that in neither case does the one Person act without the other two.. His argument is partly based upon an etymology now discredited, but this does not affect the position he seeks to establish (a position which is also adopted in the treatise, De S. Trinitate), that names expressive of the Divine Nature, or of the Divine operation (by which alone that Nature is known to us) are employed, and ought to be employed, only in the singular. The unity and inseparability of all Divine operation, proceeding from the Father, advancing through the Son, and culminating in the Holy Spirit, yet setting forth one κίνησις of the Divine will, is the reason why the idea of plurality is not suffered to attach to these names5353    See Dorner, ut sup., pp. 317–18., 27while the reason for refusing to allow, in regard to the three Divine Persons, the same laxity of language which we tolerate in regard to the case of the three “men,” is to be found in the fact that in the latter case no danger arises from the current abuse of language: no one thinks of “three human natures;” but on the other hand polytheism is a very real and serious danger, to which the parallel abuse of language involved in speaking of “three Gods” would infallibly expose us.

S. Gregory’s own doctrine, indeed, has seemed to some critics to be open to the charge of tritheism. But even if his doctrine were entirely expressed in the single illustration of which we have spoken, it does not seem that the charge would hold good, when we consider the light in which the illustration would present itself to him. The conception of the unity of human nature is with him a thing intensely vivid: it underlies much of his system, and he brings it prominently forward more than once in his more philosophical writings5454    Especially in the treatise, De Animâ et Resurrectione, and in that De Conditione Hominis. A notable instance is to be found in the former (p. 242 A.).. We cannot, in fairness, leave his realism out of account when we are estimating the force of his illustration: and therefore, while admitting that the illustration was one not unlikely to produce misconceptions of his teaching, we may fairly acquit him of any personal bias towards tritheism such as might appear to be involved in the unqualified adoption of the same illustration by a writer of our own time, or such as might have been attributed to theologians of the period of S. Gregory who adopted the illustration without the qualification of a realism as determined as his own5555    See Dorner, ut sup., p. 315, and p. 319, note 2.. But the illustration does not stand alone: we must not consider that it is the only one of those to be found in the treatise, De Diff. Essen. et Hypost., which he would have felt justified in employing. Even if the illustration of the rainbow, set forth in that treatise, was not actually his own (as Dorner, ascribing the treatise to him, considers it to have been), it was at all events (on the other theory of the authorship), included in the teaching he had received from his “master:” it would be present to his mind, although in his undisputed writings, where he is dealing with objections brought against the particular illustration from human relations, he naturally confines himself to the particular illustration from which an erroneous inference was being drawn. In our estimate of his teaching the one illustration must be allowed to some extent to qualify the effect produced by the other. And, further, we must remember that his argument from human relations is professedly only an illustration. It points to an analogy, to a resemblance, not to an identity of relations; so much he is careful in his reply to state. Even if it were true, he implies, that we are warranted in speaking, in the given case, of the three human persons as “three men,” it would not follow that we should be warranted thereby in speaking of the three Divine Persons as “three Gods.” For the human personalities stand contrasted with the Divine, at once as regards their being and as regards their operation. The various human πρόσωπα draw their being from many other πρόσωπα, one from one, another from another, not, as the Divine, from One, unchangeably the same: they operate, each in his own way, severally and independently, not, as the Divine, inseparably: they are contemplated each by himself, in his own limited sphere, κατ᾽ ἰδίαν περιγραφήν, not, as the Divine, in mutual essential connexion, differentiated one from the other only by a certain mutual relation. And from this it follows that the human πρόσωπα are capable of enumeration in a sense in which number cannot be considered applicable to the Divine Persons. Here we find S. Gregory’s teaching brought once more into harmony with his “master’s:” if he has been willing to carry the use of numerical terms rather further than S. Basil was prepared to do, he yet is content in the last resort to say that number is not in strictness applicable to the Divine ὑποστάσεις, in that they cannot be contemplated κατ᾽ ἰδίαν περιγραφήν, and therefore cannot be enumerated by way of addition. Still the distraction of the ὑποστάσεις remains; and if there is no other way (as he seems to have considered there was 28none), of making full acknowledgment of their distinct though inseparable existence than to speak of them as “three,” he holds that that use of numerical language is justifiable, so long as we do not transfer the idea of number from the ὑποστάσεις to the οὐσία, to that Nature of God which is Itself beyond our conception, and which we can only express by terms suggested to us by what we know of Its operation.

Such, in brief, is the teaching of S. Gregory on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as expressed in the treatises in which he developed and defended those positions in which S. Basil appeared to diverge from the older Nicene theologians. That the terminology of the subject gained clearness and definiteness from his exposition, in that he rendered it plain that the adoption of the Eastern phraseology was a thing perfectly consistent with the Faith confessed alike by East and West in varying terms, seems beyond doubt. It was to him, probably, rather than to S. Basil, that this work was due; for he cleared up the points which S. Basil’s illustration had left doubtful; yet in so doing he was using throughout the weapons which his “master” had placed in his hands, and arguing in favour of his “master’s” statements, in language, it may be, less guarded than S. Basil himself would have employed, but in accordance throughout with the principles which S. Basil had followed. Each bore his own part in the common work: to one, perhaps, is due the credit of greater originality; to the other it was given to carry on and to extend what his brother had begun: neither, we may well believe, would have desired to claim that the work which their joint teaching effected should be imputed to himself alone.

So far, we have especially had in view those minor treatises of S. Gregory which illustrate such variations from Athanasian modes of expression as are to be found in the writers of the “Neo-Nicene” school. These are perhaps his most characteristic works upon the subject. But the doctrine of the Trinity, as he held it, is further set forth and enforced in other treatises which are, from another point of view, much more important than those with which we have been dealing—in his Oratio Catechetica, and his more directly polemical treatises against Eunomius. In both these sections of his writings, when allowance is made for the difference of terminology already discussed, we are less struck by the divergencies from S. Athanasius’ presentment of the doctrine than by the substantial identity of S. Gregory’s reasoning with that of S. Athanasius, as the latter is displayed, for example, in the “Orations against the Arians.”

There are, of course, many points in which S. Gregory falls short of his great predecessor; but of these some may perhaps be accounted for by the different aspect of the Arian controversy as it presented itself to the two champions of the Faith. The later school of Arianism may indeed be regarded as a perfectly legitimate and rigidly logical development of the doctrines taught by Arius himself; but in some ways the task of S. Gregory was a different task from that of S. Athanasius, and was the less formidable of the two. His antagonist was, by his own greater definiteness of statement, placed at a disadvantage: the consequences which S. Athanasius had to extract from the Arian statements were by Eunomius and the Anomœans either openly asserted or tacitly admitted: and it was thus an easier matter for S. Gregory to show the real tendency of Anomœan doctrine than it had been for S. Athanasius to point out the real tendency of the earlier Arianism. Further, it may be said that by the time of S. Basil, still more by the time when S. Gregory succeeded to his brother’s place in the controversy, the victory over Arianism was assured. It was not possible for S. Athanasius, even had it been in his nature to do so, to treat the earlier Arianism with the same sort of contemptuous criticism with which Eunomius is frequently met by S. Gregory. For S. Gregory, on the other hand, it was not necessary to refrain from such criticism lest he should thereby detract from the force of his protest against error. The crisis in his day was not one which demanded the same sustained effort for which the contest called in the days of S. Athanasius. Now and then, certainly, S. Gregory also rises 29to a white heat of indignation against his adversary: but it is hardly too much to say that his work appears to lack just those qualities which seem, in the writings of S. Athanasius, to have been called forth by the author’s sense of the weight of the force opposed to him, and of the “life and death” character of the contest. S. Gregory does not under-estimate the momentous nature of the questions at issue: but when he wrote, he might feel that to those questions the answer of Christendom had been already given, that the conflict was already won, and that any attempt at developing the Arian doctrine on Anomœan lines was the adoption of an untenable position,—even of a position manifestly and evidently untenable: the doctrine had but to be stated in clear terms to be recognized as incompatible with Christianity, and, that fact once recognized, he had no more to do. Thus much of his treatises against Eunomius consists not of constructive argument in support of his own position, but of a detailed examination of Eunomius’ own statements, while a further portion of the contents of these books, by no means inconsiderable in amount, is devoted not so much to the defence of the Faith as to the refutation of certain misrepresentations of S. Basil’s arguments which had been set forth by Eunomius.

Even in the more distinctly constructive portion of these polemical writings, however, it may be said that S. Gregory does not show marked originality of thought either in his general argument, or in his mode of handling disputed texts. Within the limits of an introductory essay like the present, anything like detailed comparison on these points is of course impossible; but any one who will take the trouble to compare the discourses of S. Gregory against Eunomius with the “Orations” of S. Athanasius against the Arians,—the Athanasian writing, perhaps, most closely corresponding in character to these books of S. Gregory,—either as regards the specific passages of Scripture cited in support of the doctrine maintained, and the mode of interpreting them, or as to the methods of explanation applied to the texts alleged by the Arian writers in favour of their own opinions, can hardly fail to be struck by the number and the closeness of the resemblances which he will be able to trace between the earlier and the later representatives of the Nicene School. A somewhat similar relation to the Athanasian position, as regards the basis of belief, and (allowing for the difference of terminology) as regards the definition of doctrine, may be observed in the Oratio Catechetica.

Such originality, in fact, as S. Gregory may claim to possess (so far as his treatment of this subject is concerned) is rather the originality of the tactician than that of the strategist: he deals rather with his particular opponent, and keeps in view the particular point in discussion more than the general area over which the war extends. S. Athanasius, on the other hand (partly, no doubt, because he was dealing with a less fully developed form of error), seems to have more force left in reserve. He presents his arguments in a more concise form, and is sometimes content to suggest an inference where S. Gregory proceeds to draw out conclusions in detail, and where thereby the latter, while possibly strengthening his presentment of the truth as against his own particular adversary,—against the Anomœan or the polytheist on the one side, or against the Sabellian or the Judaizer on the other,—renders his argument, when considered per se as a defence of the orthodox position, frequently more diffuse and sometimes less forcible. Yet, even here, originality of a certain kind does belong to S. Gregory, and it seems only fair to him to say that in these treatises also he did good service in defence of the Faith touching the Holy Trinity. He shows that alike by way of formal statement of doctrine, as in the Oratio Catechetica, and by way of polemical argument, the forces at the command of the defenders of the Faith could be organized to meet varied forms of error, without abandoning, either for a more original theology like that or Marcellus of Ancyra, or for the compromise which the Homœan or Semi-Arian school were in danger of being led to accept, the weapons with which S. Athanasius had conquered at Nicæa.

30Chapter V.—Mss. And Editions.

For the 13 Books Against Eunomius, the text of F. Oehler (S. Greg. Nyss. Opera. Tom. I. Halis, 1865) has in the following translations been almost entirely followed.

The 1st Book was not in the 1st Paris Edition in two volumes (1615); but it was published three years afterwards from the ‘Bavarian Codex,’ i.e. that of Munich, by J. Gretser in an Appendix, along with the Summaries (these headings of the sections of the entire work are by some admirer of Gregory’s) and the two introductory Letters. Both the Summaries and the letters, and also nearly three-quarters of the 1st Book were obtained from J. Livineius’ transcript of the Vatican ms. made at Rome, 1579. This Appendix was added to the 2nd Paris Edition, in three volumes (1638).

In correcting these Paris Editions (for mss. of which see below), Oehler had access, in addition to the identical Munich ms. (paper, 16th century) which Gretser had used, to the following mss.:—

1. Venice (Library of S. Mark; cotton, 13 Cent., No. 69). This he says ‘wonderfully agrees’ with the Munich (both, for instance, supply the lacunæ of the Paris Edition of Book I: he concludes, therefore, that these are not due to Gretser’s negligence, who gives the Latin for these passages, but to that of the printers).

2. Turin (Royal Library; cotton, 14 Cent., No. 71).

3. Milan (Library of S. Ambrose; cotton, 13 Cent., No. 225, Plut. 1; its inscription says that it was brought from Thessaly).

4. Florence (Library Medic. Laurent.; the oldest of all; parchment, 11 Cent., No. 17, Plut. vi. It contains the Summaries).

These, and the Munich ms., which he chiefly used, are “all of the same family:” and from them he has been able to supply more than 50 lacunæ in the Books against Eunomius. This family is the first of the two separated by G. H. Forbes (see below). The Munich ms. (No. 47, on paper, 16 Cent.), already used by Sifanus for his Latin version (1562), and by Gretser for his Appendix, has the corrections of the former in its margin. These passed into the two Paris Editions; which, however, took no notice of his critical notes. When lent to Sifanus this ms. was in the Library of J. J. Fugger. Albert V. Duke of Bavaria purchased the treasures of Greek literature in this library, to found that in Munich.

For the treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection, the Great Catechetical Oration, and the Funeral Oration on Meletius, John George Krabinger’s text has been adopted. He had mss. ‘old and of a better stamp’ (Oehler) than were accessible to the Paris editors. Krabinger’s own account of them is this:—

On the Soul. 5 mss. of 16th, 14th, and 11th Cent. All at Munich. In one of them there are scholia, some imported into the text by J. Naupliensis Murmureus the copyist; and Sifanus’ corrections.

The ‘Hasselman,’ 14th Cent. J. Christopher Wolf, who annotated this treatise (Aneedota Græca, Hamburgh, 1722), says of this ms. “very carefully written.” It was lent by Zach. Hasselman, Minister of Oldenburgh.

The ‘Uffenbach,’ 14th Cent., with var. lect. in margin. Lent to Wolf by the Polish ambassador at Frankfort on Main, at the request of Zach. Uffenbach.

Catechetical Oration. 4 mss. of 16th Cent., 1 of 13th Cent., ‘much mutilated.’ All at Munich.

On Meletius. 2 mss. of 16th Cent., 1 of 10th Cent. All at Munich.

His edition of the former appeared, at Leipzic, 1837; of the two latter, at Munich, 1838; all with valuable notes.

31For the treatise Against Macedonius, the only text available is that of Cardinal Angelo Mai (Script. Vet. Nova Collectio, Rome, 1833). It is taken from the Vatican ms. ‘on silk.’ The end of this treatise is not found in Mai. Perhaps it is in the ms. of Florence.

For fourteen of the Letters, Zacagni (Præfect of the Vatican Library, 1698–1713) is the only editor. His text from the Vatican ms., No. 424, is printed in his Collectan. Monument. ret. (pp. 354–400), Rome, 1698.

He had not the use of the Medicean ms. which Caraccioli (see below) testifies to be much superior to the Vatican; there are lacunæ in the latter, however, which Zacagni occasionally fills by a happy guess with the very words supplied by the Medicean.

For the Letter to Adelphius, and that (on Church Architecture) to Amphilochius, J. B. Caraccioli (Professor of Philosophy at Pisa) furnishes a text (Florence, 1731) from the Medicean ms. The Letters in this collection are seven in all. Of the last of these (including that to Amphilochius) Bandinus says non sincerâ fide ex Codice descriptas, and that a fresh collation is necessary.

For the treatise On the Making of Man, the text employed has been that of G. H. Forbes, (his first Fasciculus was published in 1855; his second in 1861; both at Burntisland, at his private press), with an occasional preference for the readings of one or other of the mss. examined by him or by others on his behalf. Of these he specifies twenty: but he had examined a much larger number. The mss. which contain this work, he considers, are of two families.

Of the first family the most important are three mss. at Vienna, a tenth-century ms. on vellum at S. Mark’s, Venice, which he himself collated, and a Vatican ms. of the tenth century. This family also includes three of the four Munich mss. collated for Forbes by Krabinger.

The other family displays more variations from the current text. One Vienna ms. “pervetustus” “initio mutilus,” was completely collated. Also belonging to this family are the oldest of the four Munich mss., the tenth-century Codex Regius (Paris), and a fourteenth-century ms. at Christ Church, Oxford, clearly related to the last.

The Codex Baroccianus (Bodleian, perhaps eleventh century) appears to occupy an independent position.

For the other Treatises and Letters the text of the Paris Edition of 1638 (‘plenior et emendatior’ than that of 1615, according to Oehler, probably following its own title, but “much inferior to that of 1615” Canon Venables, Dict. Christ. Biog., says, and this is the judgment of J. Fessler) and of Migne have been necessary as the latest complete editions of the works of Gregory Nyssene. (All the materials that had been collected for the edition of the Benedictines of St. Maur perished in the French Revolution.)

Of the two Paris Editions it must be confessed that they are based ‘for the most part on inferior mss.’ (Oehler.) The frequent lacunæ attest this. Fronto Ducæus aided Claude, the brother of F. Morel, in settling the text, and the mss. mentioned in the notes of the former are as follows:

1. Pithoeus’ “not of a very ancient hand,” “as like F. Morel’s (No. 2.) as milk to milk” (so speaks John the Franciscan, who emended ‘from one corrupt mutilated manuscript,’ i.e. the above, the Latin translation of the Books against Eunomius made by his father N. Gulonius.)

2. F. Morel’s. (“Dean of Professors” and Royal Printer.)

3. The Royal (in the Library of Henry II., Paris), on vellum, tenth century.

4. Canter’s (“ingens codex” sent from Antwerp by A. Schott; it had been written out for T. Canter, Senator of Utrecht).

5. Olivar’s. “Multo emendatius” than (2.)

6. J. Vulcobius’, Abbot of Belpré.

7. The Vatican. For the treatise On Virginity. (The Paris Editors used Livineius’ Edition, based on (7) and (8).

8. Bricman’s (Cologne). For the treatise On Virginity. (The Paris Editors used Livineius’ Edition, based on (7) and (8).

9. Œgidius David’s, I.C. Paris. For the treatise On Virginity. (The Paris Editors used Livineius’ Edition, based on (7) and (8).

3210. The Bavarian (Munich) for Books II.–XIII. Against Eunomius and other treatises; only after the first edition of 1615.

Other important mss. existing for treatises here translated are

On Pilgrimages: ms. Cæsareus (Vienna): “valde vetustus” (Nessel, on the Imperial Library), vellum, No. 160, burnt at beginning.

mss. Florence (xx. 17: xvi. 8).

ms. Leyden (not older than fifteenth century).

On the Making of Man:

ms. Augsburgh, with twelve Homilies of Basil, the two last being wrongly attributed to Gregory (Reizer).

ms. Ambrosian (Milan). See Montfaucon, Bibl. Bibliothec. p. 498.

On Infants’ Early Deaths:

ms. Turin (Royal Library).

On the Soul and Resurrection:

mss. Augsburgh, Florence, Turin, Venice.

Great Catechetical:

mss. Augsburgh, Florence, Turin, Cæsareus.

Many other mss., for these and other treatises, are given by S. Heyns (Disputatio de Greg. Nyss. Leyden, 1835). But considering the mutilated condition of most of the oldest, and the still small number of treatises edited from an extended collation of these, the complaint is still true that ‘the text of hardly any other ancient writer is in a more imperfect state than that of Gregory of Nyssa.’

Versions of Several Treatises.

Latin.

1. Of Dionysius Exiguus (died before 556): On the Making of Man. Aldine, 1537. Cologne, 1551. Basle, 1562. Cologne, 1573. Dedicated to Eugippius.’ This Dedication and the Latin of Gregory’s Preface was only once printed (i.e. in J. Mabillon’s Analecta, Paris, 1677).

This ancient Latin Version was revised by Fronto Ducæus, the Jesuit, and Combeficius. There is a copy of it at Leyden. It stimulated J. Leünclaius (see below), who judged it “foeda pollutum barbariâ planeque perversum,” to make another. Basle, 1567.

2. Of Daniel Augentius: On the Soul. Paris 1557.

3. Of Laurent. Sifanus, I. U. Doct.: On the Soul and many other treatises. Basle, 1562 Apud N. Episcopum.

4. Of Pet. Galesinius: On Virginity and On Prayer. Rome, 1563, ap. P. Manutium.

5. Of Johann. Leünclaius: On the Making of Man. Basle, 1567, ap. Oporinum.

6. Of Pet. Morelius, of Tours: Great Catechetical. Paris, 1568.

7. Of Gentianus Hervetus, Canon of Rheims, a diligent translator of the Fathers: Great Catechetical, and many others. Paris, 1573.

8. Of Johann. Livineius, of Ghent: On Virginity. Apud Plantinum, 1574.

9. Of Pet. Fr. Zinus, Canon of Verona, translator of Euthymius’ Panoplia, which contains the Great Catechetical. Venice, 1575.

10. Of Jacob Gretser, the Jesuit: I. e. Eunom. Paris, 1618.

11. Of Nicolas Gulonius, Reg. Prof. of Greek: II.–XIII. c. Eunom. Paris, 1615. Revised by his son John, the Franciscan.

12. Of J. Georg. Krabinger, Librarian of Royal Library, Munich: On the Soul, Great Catechetical, On Infants’ Early Deaths, and others. Leipzic, 1837.

German.

1. Of Glauber: Great Catechetical, &c. Gregorius von Nyssa und Augustinus über den ersten Christlichen Religions-unterricht. Leipzic, 1781.

2. Of Julius Rupp, Königsberg: On Meletius. Gregors Leben und Meinungen. Leipzic, 1834.

3. Of Oehler: Various treatises. Bibliothek der Kirchenväter I. Theil. Leipzic, 1858–59.

4. Herm. Schmidt, paraphrased rather than translated: On the Soul. Halle, 1864.

5. Of H. Hayd: On Infants’ Early Deaths: On the Making of Man, &c. Kempton, 1874.


33Gregory of Nyssa Against Eunomius.

Letter I.

Gregory to his brother Peter, Bishop of Sebasteia.

Having with difficulty obtained a little leisure, I have been able to recover from bodily fatigue on my return from Armenia, and to collect the sheets of my reply to Eunomius which was suggested by your wise advice; so that my work is now arranged in a complete treatise, which can be read between covers. However, I have not written against both his pamphlets5656    both his pamphlets. The ‘sheets’ which Gregory says that he has collected are the 12 Books that follow. They are written in reply to Eunomius’ pamphlet, ‘Apologia Apologiæ,’ itself a reply to Basil’s Refutation. The other pamphlet of Eunomius seems to have come out during the composition of Gregory’s 12 Books: and was afterwards answered by the latter in a second 12th Book, but not now, because of the shortness of the time in which he had a copy of the ‘heretical volume’ in his hands. The two last books of the five which go under the title of Basil’s Refutation are considered on good grounds to have been Gregory’s, and to have formed that short reply to Eunomius which he read, at the Council of Constantinople, to Gregory of Nazianzen and Jerome (d. vir. illust. c. 128). Then he worked upon this longer reply. Thus there were in all three works of Gregory corresponding to the three attacks of Eunomius upon the Trinity.; even the leisure for that was not granted; for the person who lent me the heretical volume most uncourteously sent for it again, and allowed me no time either to write it out or to study it. In the short space of seventeen days it was impossible to be prepared to answer both his attacks.

Owing to its somehow having become notorious that we had laboured to answer this blasphemous manifesto, many persons possessing some zeal for the Truth have importuned me about it: but I have thought it right to prefer you in your wisdom before them all, to advise me whether to consign this work to the public, or to take some other course. The reason why I hesitate is this. When our saintly Basil fell asleep, and I received the legacy of Eunomius’ controversy, when my heart was hot within me with bereavement, and, besides this deep sorrow for the common loss of the church, Eunomius had not confined himself to the various topics which might pass as a defence of his views, but had spent the chief part of his energy in laboriously-written abuse of our father in God. I was exasperated with this, and there were passages where the flame of my heart-felt indignation burst out against this writer. The public have pardoned us for much else, because we have been apt in showing patience in meeting lawless attacks, and as far as possible have practised that restraint in feeling which the saint has taught us; but I had fears lest from what we have now written against this opponent the reader should get the idea that we were very raw controversialists, who lost our temper directly at insolent abuse. Perhaps, however, this suspicion about us will be disarmed by remembering that this display of anger is not on our own behalf, but because of insults levelled against our father in God; and that it is a case in which mildness would be more unpardonable than anger.

If, then, the first part of my treatise should seem somewhat outside the controversy, the following explanation of it will, I think, be accepted by a reader who can judge fairly. It was not right to leave undefended the reputation of our noble saint, mangled as it was by the opponent’s blasphemies, any more than it was convenient to let this battle in his behalf be spread diffusely along the whole thread of the discussion; besides, if any one reflects, these pages do really form part of the controversy. Our adversary’s treatise has two separate arms, viz. to abuse us and to controvert sound doctrine; and therefore ours too must show a double front. But for the sake of clearness, and in order that the thread of the discussion upon matters of the Faith should not be cut by parentheses, consisting of answers to their personal abuse, we have separated our work into two parts, and devoted ourselves in the first to refute these charges: and then we have grappled as best we might with that which they have advanced against the Faith. Our treatise also contains, in addition to a refutation of their heretical views, a dogmatic exposition of our own teaching; for it would be a most shameful want of spirit, when our foes make no concealment of their blasphemy, not to be bold in our statement of the Truth.

34Letter II.

To his most pious brother Gregory. Peter greeting in the Lord.

Having met with the writings of your holiness and having perceived in your tract against this heresy your zeal both for the truth and for our sainted father in God, I judge that this work was not due simply to your own ability, but was that of one who studied that the Truth should speak, even in the publication of his own views. To the Holy Spirit of truth I would refer this plea for the truth; just as to the father of lies, and not to Eunomius, should be referred this animosity against sound faith. Indeed, that murderer from the beginning who speaks in Eunomius has carefully whetted the sword against himself; for if he had not been so bold against the truth, no one would have roused you to undertake the cause of our religion. But to the end that the rottenness and flimsiness of their doctrines may be exposed, He who “taketh the wise in their own craftiness” hath allowed them both to be headstrong against the truth, and to have laboured vainly on this vain speech.

But since he that hath begun a good work will finish it, faint not in furthering the Spirit’s power, nor leave half-won the victory over the assailants of Christ’s glory; but imitate thy true father who, like the zealot Phineas, pierced with one stroke of his Answer both master and pupil. Plunge with thy intellectual arm the sword of the Spirit through both these heretical pamphlets, lest, though broken on the head, the serpent affright the simpler sort by still quivering in the tail. When the first arguments have been answered, should the last remain unnoticed, the many will suspect that they still retain some strength against the truth.

The feeling shewn in your treatise will be grateful, as salt, to the palate of the soul. As bread cannot be eaten, according to Job, without salt, so the discourse which is not savoured with the inmost sentiments of God’s word will never wake, and never move, desire.

Be strong, then, in the thought that thou art a beautiful example to succeeding times of the way in which good-hearted children should act towards their virtuous fathers.

35Book I.5757    This first Book against Eunomius was not in the 1st Paris Edition of Gregory’s works, 1615; but it was published three years later from the ‘Bavarian Codex,’ i.e. that of Munich, by J. Gretser, in an Appendix, along with the Summaries (i.e. the headings of the sections, which appear to be not Gregory’s) and the two Introductory Letters. These Summaries and the Letters, and nearly three quarters of the 1st Book were found in J. Livineius’ transcript from the Codex Vaticanus made 1579, at Rome. This Appendix was added to the 2nd Paris Edit. 1638. F. Oehler, whose text has been followed throughout, has used for the 1st Book the Munich Codex (on paper, xvith Cent.); the Venetian (on cotton, xiiith Cent.); the Turin (on cotton, xivth Cent.), and the oldest of all, the Florentine (on parchment, xith Cent.).

§1. Preface.—It is useless to attempt to benefit those who will not accept help.

It seems that the wish to benefit all, and to lavish indiscriminately upon the first comer one’s own gifts, was not a thing altogether commendable, or even free from reproach in the eyes of the many; seeing that the gratuitous waste of many prepared drugs on the incurably-diseased produces no result worth caring about, either in the way of gain to the recipient, or reputation to the would-be benefactor. Rather such an attempt becomes in many cases the occasion of a change for the worse. The hopelessly-diseased and now dying patient receives only a speedier end from the more active medicines; the fierce unreasonable temper is only made worse by the kindness of the lavished pearls, as the Gospel tells us. I think it best, therefore, in accordance with the Divine command, for any one to separate the valuable from the worthless when either have to be given away, and to avoid the pain which a generous giver must receive from one who ‘treads upon his pearl,’ and insults him by his utter want of feeling for its beauty.

This thought suggests itself when I think of one who freely communicated to others the beauties of his own soul, I mean that man of God, that mouth of piety, Basil; one who from the abundance of his spiritual treasures poured his grace of wisdom into evil souls whom he had never tested, and into one among them, Eunomius, who was perfectly insensible to all the efforts made for his good. Pitiable indeed seemed the condition of this poor man, from the extreme weakness of his soul in the matter of the Faith, to all true members of the Church; for who is so wanting in feeling as not to pity, at least, a perishing soul? But Basil alone, from the abiding5858    Reading,—
   τὸ μόνιμονἐπιτολμῶντα. This is the correction of Oehler for τὸν μόνονἐπιτολμῶν which the text presents. The Venetian ms. has ἐπιτολμῶντι
ardour of his love, was moved to undertake his cure, and therein to attempt impossibilities; he alone took so much to heart the man’s desperate condition, as to compose, as an antidote of deadly poisons, his refutation of this heresy5959    his refutation of this heresy. This is Basil’s ᾽Ανατρεπτικὸς τοῦ ἀπολογητικοῦ τοῦ δυοσεβοῦς Εὐνομίου. ‘Basil,’ says Photius, ‘with difficulty got hold of Eunomius’ book,’ perhaps because it was written originally for a small circle of readers, and was in a highly scientific form. What happened next may be told in the words of Claudius Morellius (Prolegomena to Paris Edition of 1615): ‘When Basil’s first essay against the fœtus of Eunomius had been published, he raised his bruised head like a trodden worm, seized his pen, and began to rave more poisonously still as well against Basil as the orthodox faith.’ This was Eunomius’ ‘Apologia Apologiæ:’ of it Photius says, ‘His reply to Basil was composed for many Olympiads while shut up in his cell. This, like another Saturn, he concealed from the eyes of Basil till it had grown up, i.e. he concealed it, by devouring it, as long as Basil lived.’ He then goes on to say that after Basil’s death, Theodore (of Mopsuestia), Gregory of Nyssa, and Sophronius found it and dealt with it, though even then Eunomius had only ventured to show it to some of his friends. Philostorgius, the ardent admirer of Eunomius, makes the amazing statement that Basil died of despair after reading it., which aimed at saving its author, and restoring him to the Church.

He, on the contrary, like one beside himself with fury, resists his doctor; he fights and struggles; he regards as a bitter foe one who only put forth his strength to drag him from the abyss of misbelief; and he does not indulge in this foolish anger only before chance hearers now and then; he has raised against himself a literary monument to record this blackness of his bile; and when in long years he got the requisite amount of leisure, he was travailling over his work during all that interval with mightier pangs than those of the largest and the bulkiest beasts; his threats of what was coming were dreadful, whilst he was still secretly moulding his conception: but when at last and with great difficulty he brought it to the light, it was a poor little abortion, quite 36prematurely born. However, those who share his ruin nurse it and coddle it; while we, seeking the blessing in the prophet (“Blessed shall he be who shall take thy children, and shall dash them against the stones6060    Psalm cxxxvii. 9.”) are only eager, now that it has got into our hands, to take this puling manifesto and dash it on the rock, as if it was one of the children of Babylon; and the rock must be Christ; in other words, the enunciation of the truth. Only may that power come upon us which strengthens weakness, through the prayers of him who made his own strength perfect in bodily weakness6161    ‘He asks for the intercession of Saint Paul’ (Paris Edit. in marg.)..

§2. We have been justly provoked to make this Answer, being stung by Eunomius’ accusations of our brother.

If indeed that godlike and saintly soul were still in the flesh looking out upon human affairs, if those lofty tones were still heard with all their peculiar6262    ἀποκληρωθεῖσαν. This is probably the meaning, after the analogy of ἀποκλήρωσις, in the sense (most frequent in Origen), of ‘favour,’ ‘partiality,’ passing into that of ‘caprice,’ ‘arbitrariness,’ cf. below, cap. 9, τίς ἡ ἀποκλήρωσις, κ.τ.λ. ‘How arbitrarily he praises himself.’ grace and all their resistless utterance, who could arrive at such a pitch of audacity, as to attempt to speak one word upon this subject? that divine trumpet-voice would drown any word that could be uttered. But all of him has now flown back to God; at first indeed in the slight shadowy phantom of his body, he still rested on the earth; but now he has quite shed even that unsubstantial form, and bequeathed it to this world. Meantime the drones are buzzing round the cells of the Word, and are plundering the honey; so let no one accuse me of mere audacity for rising up to speak instead of those silent lips. I have not accepted this laborious task from any consciousness in myself of powers of argument superior to the others who might be named; I, if any, have the means of knowing that there are thousands in the Church who are strong in the gift of philosophic skill. Nevertheless I affirm that, both by the written and the natural law, to me more especially belongs this heritage of the departed, and therefore I myself, in preference to others, appropriate the legacy of the controversy. I may be counted amongst the least of those who are enlisted in the Church of God, but still I am not too weak to stand out as her champion against one who has broken with that Church. The very smallest member of a vigorous body would, by virtue of the unity of its life with the whole, be found stronger than one that had been cut away and was dying, however large the latter and small the former.

§3. We see nothing remarkable in logical force in the treatise of Eunomius, and so embark on our Answer with a just confidence.

Let no one think, that in saying this I exaggerate and make an idle boast of doing something which is beyond my strength. I shall not be led by any boyish ambition to descend to his vulgar level in a contest of mere arguments and phrases. Where victory is a useless and profitless thing, we yield it readily to those who wish to win; besides, we have only to look at this man’s long practice in controversy, to conclude that he is quite a word-practitioner, and, in addition, at the fact that he has spent no small portion of his life on the composition of this treatise, and at the supreme joy of his intimates over these labours, to conclude that he has taken particular trouble with this work. It was not improbable that one who had laboured at it for so many Olympiads would produce something better than the work of extempore scribblers. Even the vulgar profusion of the figures he uses in concocting his work is a further indication of this laborious care in writing6363    Photius reports very much the same as to his style, i.e. he shows a ‘prodigious ostentation:’ uses ‘words difficult to pronounce, and abounding in many consonants, and that in a poetic, or rather a dithyrambic style:’ he has ‘periods inordinately long:’ he is ‘obscure,’ and seeks ‘to hide by this very obscurity whatever is weak in his perceptions and conceptions, which indeed is often.’ He ‘attacks others for their logic, and is very fond of using logic himself:’ but ‘as he had taken up this science late in life, and had not gone very deeply into it, he is often found making mistakes.’
   The book of Eunomius which Photius had read is still extant: it is his ‘Apologeticus’ in 28 sections, and has been published by Canisius (Lectiones Antiquæ, I. 172 ff.). His ἔκθεοις τῆς τίστεως, presented to the emperor Theodosius in the year 383, is also extant. This last is found in the Codex Theodosius and in the mss. which Livineius of Ghent used for his Greek and Latin edition of Gregory, 1574: it follows the Books against Eunomius. His ‘Apologia Apologiæ,’ which he wrote in answer to Basil’s 5 (or 3) books against him, is not extant: nor the δευτερὸς λόγος which Gregory answered in his second 12th Book.

   Most of the quotations, then, from Eunomius, in these books of Gregory cannot be verified, in the case of a doubtful reading, &c.
. He has got a great mass of newly assorted terms, for which he has put certain other books under contribution, and he piles this immense congeries of words on a very slender nucleus of thought; and so he has elaborated this highly-wrought production, which his pupils in error are lost in the admiration of;—no doubt, because their deadness on the vital points deprives them of the power of feeling the distinction between beauty and the reverse:—but which is ridiculous, and of no value at all in the judgment of those, whose hearts’ insight is not dimmed with any soil of unbelief. How in the world can it contribute to the proof (as he hopes) of what he says and the establishment of the truth of his speculations, to adopt these absurd devices in his forms of speech, this new-fangled and peculiar arrange37ment, this fussy conceit, and this conceited fussiness, which works with no enthusiasm for any previous model? For it would be indeed difficult to discover who amongst all those who have been celebrated for their eloquence he has had his eye on, in bringing himself to this pitch; for he is like those who produce effects upon the stage, adapting his argument to the tune of his rhythmical phrases, as they their song to their castenets, by means of parallel sentences of equal length, of similar sound and similar ending. Such, amongst many other faults, are the nerveless quaverings and the meretricious tricks of his Introduction; and one might fancy him bringing them all out, not with an unimpassioned action, but with stamping of the feet and sharp snapping of the fingers declaiming to the time thus beaten, and then remarking that there was no need of other arguments and a second performance after that.

§4. Eunomius displays much folly and fine writing, but very little seriousness about vital points.

In these and such like antics I allow him to have the advantage; and to his heart’s content he may revel in his victory there. Most willingly I forego such a competition, which can attract those only who seek renown; if indeed any renown comes from indulging in such methods of argumentation, considering that Paul6464    Cf. 1 Corinth. ii. 1–8., that genuine minister of the Word, whose only ornament was truth, both disdained himself to lower his style to such prettinesses, and instructs us also, in a noble and appropriate exhortation, to fix our attention on truth alone. What need indeed for one who is fair in the beauty of truth to drag in the paraphernalia of a decorator for the production of a false artificial beauty? Perhaps for those who do not possess truth it may be an advantage to varnish their falsehoods with an attractive style, and to rub into the grain of their argument a curious polish. When their error is taught in far-fetched language and decked out with all the affectations of style, they have a chance of being plausible and accepted by their hearers. But those whose only aim is simple truth, unadulterated by any misguiding foil, find the light of a natural beauty emitted from their words.

But now that I am about to begin the examination of all that he has advanced, I feel the same difficulty as a farmer does, when the air is calm; I know not how to separate his wheat from his chaff; the waste, in fact, and the chaff in this pile of words is so enormous, that it makes one think that the residue of facts and real thoughts in all that he has said is almost nil. It would be the worse for speed and very irksome, it would even be beside our object, to go into the whole of his remarks in detail; we have not the means for securing so much leisure so as wantonly to devote it to such frivolities; it is the duty, I think, of a prudent workman not to waste his strength on trifles, but on that which will clearly repay his toil.

As to all the things, then, in his Introduction, how he constitutes himself truth’s champion, and fixes the charge of unbelief upon his opponents, and declares that an abiding and indelible hatred for them has sunk into his soul, how he struts in his ‘new discoveries,’ though he does not tell us what they are, but says only that an examination of the debateable points in them was set on foot, a certain ‘legal’ trial which placed on those who were daring to act illegally the necessity of keeping quiet, or to quote his own words in that Lydian style of singing which he has got, “the bold law-breakers—in open courts—were forced to be quiet;” (he calls this a “proscription” of the conspiracy against him, whatever may be meant by that term);—all this wearisome business I pass by as quite unimportant. On the other hand, all his special pleading for his heretical conceits may well demand our close attention. Our own interpreter of the principles of divinity followed this course in his Treatise; for though he had plenty of ability to broaden out his argument, he took the line of dealing only with vital points, which he selected from all the blasphemies of that heretical book6565    that heretical book, i.e. the first ‘Apology’ of Eunomius in 28 parts: a translation of it is given in Whiston’s Eunomianismus Redivivus., and so narrowed the scope of the subject.

If, however, any one desires that our answer should exactly correspond to the array of his arguments, let him tell us the utility of such a process. What gain would it be to my readers if I were to solve the complicated riddle of his title, which he proposes to us at the very commencement, in the manner of the sphinx of the tragic stage; namely this ‘New Apology for the Apology,’ and all the nonsense which he writes about that; and if I were to tell the long tale of what he dreamt? I think that the reader is sufficiently wearied with the petty vanity about this newness in his title already preserved in Eunomius’ own text, and with the want of taste displayed there in the account of his own exploits, all his labours and his trials, while he wandered over every land and every sea, and was ‘heralded’ through the whole world. If all that had to be written down over again,—and with additions, too, as the refuta38tions of these falsehoods would naturally have to expand their statement,—who would be found of such an iron hardness as not to be sickened at this waste of labour? Suppose I was to write down, taking word by word, an explanation of that mad story of his; suppose I were to explain, for instance, who that Armenian was on the shores of the Euxine, who had annoyed him at first by having the same name as himself, what their lives were like, what their pursuits, how he had a quarrel with that Armenian because of the very likeness of their characters, then in what fashion those two were reconciled, so as to join in a common sympathy with that winning and most glorious Aetius, his master (for so pompous are his praises); and after that, what was the plot devised against himself, by which they brought him to trial on the charge of being surpassingly popular: suppose, I say, I was to explain all that, should I not appear, like those who catch opthalmia themselves from frequent contact with those who are already suffering so, to have caught myself this malady of fussy circumstantiality? I should be following step by step each detail of his twaddling story; finding out who the “slaves released to liberty” were, what was “the conspiracy6666    σχέσιν. of the initiated” and “the calling out6767    τάξιν. We have no context to explain these allusions, the treatise of Eunomius being lost, which Gregory is now answering, i.e. the Apologia Apologiæ. of hired slaves,” what ‘Montius and Gallus, and Domitian,’ and ‘false witnesses,’ and ‘an enraged Emperor,’ and ‘certain sent into exile’ have to do with the argument. What could be more useless than such tales for the purpose of one who was not wishing merely to write a narrative, but to refute the argument of him who had written against his heresy? What follows in the story is still more profitless; I do not think that the author himself could peruse it again without yawning, though a strong natural affection for his offspring does possess every father. He pretends to unfold there his exploits and his sufferings; the style rears itself into the sublime, and the legend swells into the tones of tragedy.

§5. His peculiar caricature of the bishops, Eustathius of Armenia and Basil of Galatia, is not well drawn.

But, not to linger longer on these absurdities in the very act of declining to mention them, and not to soil this book by forcing my subject through all his written reminiscences, like one who urges his horse through a slough and so gets covered with its filth, I think it is best to leap over the mass of his rubbish with as high and as speedy a jump as my thoughts are capable of, seeing that a quick retreat from what is disgusting is a considerable advantage; and let us hasten on6868    Reading πρός τε τὸ πέρας. to the finale of his story, lest the bitterness of his own words should trickle into my book. Let Eunomius have the monopoly of the bad taste in such words as these, spoken of God’s priests6969    This must be the ‘caricature’ of the (Greek) Summary above. Eustathius of Sebasteia, the capital of Armenia, and the Galatian Basil, of Ancyra (Angora), are certainly mentioned, c. 6 (end). Twice did these two, once Semi-Arians, oppose Aetius and Eunomius, before Constantius, at Byzantium. On the second occasion, however (Sozomen, H. E. iv. 23, Ursacius and Valens arrived with the proscription of the Homoousion from Ariminum: it was then that “the world groaned to find itself Arian” (Jerome). The ‘accursed saint’ ‘pale with fast,’ i.e. Eustathius, in his Armenian monastery, gave Basil the Great a model for his own., “curmudgeon squires, and beadles, and satellites, rummaging about, and not suffering the fugitive to carry on his concealment,” and all the other things which he is not ashamed to write of grey-haired priests. Just as in the schools for secular learning7070    τῶν ἔξωθεν λόγων., in order to exercise the boys to be ready in word and wit, they propose themes for declamation, in which the person who is the subject of them is nameless, so does Eunomius make an onset at once upon the facts suggested, and lets loose the tongue of invective, and without saying one word as to any actual villainies, he merely works up against them all the hackneyed phrases of contempt, and every imaginable term of abuse: in which, besides, incongruous ideas are brought together, such as a ‘dilettante soldier,’ ‘an accursed saint,’ ‘pale with fast, and murderous with hate,’ and many such like scurrilities; and just like a reveller in the secular processions shouts his ribaldry, when he would carry his insolence to the highest pitch, without his mask on, so does Eunomius, without an attempt to veil his malignity, shout with brazen throat the language of the waggon. Then he reveals the cause why he is so enraged; ‘these priests took every precaution that many should not’ be perverted to the error of these heretics; accordingly he is angry that they could not stay at their convenience in the places they liked, but that a residence was assigned them by order of the then governor of Phrygia, so that most might be secured from such wicked neighbours; his indignation at this bursts out in these words; ‘the excessive severity of our trials,’ ‘our grievous sufferings,’ ‘our noble endurance of them,’ ‘the exile from our native country into Phrygia.’ Quite so: this Oltiserian7171    Oltiseris was probably the district, as Corniaspa was the village, in which Eunomius was born. It is a Celtic word: and probably suggests his half-Galatian extraction. might well be proud of what occurred, putting an end as it did to all his family pride, and casting such a slur upon his race that that far-renowned Priscus, his grandfather, from whom he gets those brilliant and most remarkable heirlooms, “the mill, and the 39leather, and the slaves’ stores,” and the rest of his inheritance in Chanaan7272    This can be no other than the district Chammanene, on the east bank of the Halys, where Galatia and Cappadocia join., would never have chosen this lot, which now makes him so angry. It was to be expected that he would revile those who were the agents of this exile. I quite understand his feeling. Truly the authors of these misfortunes, if such there be or ever have been, deserve the censures of these men, in that the renown of their former lives is thereby obscured, and they are deprived of the opportunity of mentioning and making much of their more impressive antecedents; the great distinctions with which each started in life; the professions they inherited from their fathers; the greater or the smaller marks of gentility of which each was conscious, even before they became so widely known and valued that even emperors numbered them amongst their acquaintance, as he now boasts in his book, and that all the higher governments were roused about them and the world was filled with their doings.

§6. A notice of Aetius, Eunomius’ master in heresy, and of Eunomius himself, describing the origin and avocations of each.

Verily this did great damage to our declamation-writer, or rather to his patron and guide in life, Aetius; whose enthusiasm indeed appears to me to have aimed not so much at the propagation of error as to the securing a competence for life. I do not say this as a mere surmise of my own, but I have heard it from the lips of those who knew him well. I have listened to Athanasius, the former bishop of the Galatians, when he was speaking of the life of Aetius; Athanasius was a man who valued truth above all things; and he exhibited also the letter of George of Laodicæa, so that a number might attest the truth of his words. He told us that originally Aetius did not attempt to teach his monstrous doctrines, but only after some interval of time put forth these novelties as a trick to gain his livelihood; that having escaped from serfdom in the vineyard to which he belonged,—how, I do not wish to say, lest I should be thought to be entering on his history in a bad spirit,—he became at first a tinker, and had this grimy trade of a mechanic quite at his fingers’ end, sitting under a goat’s-hair tent, with a small hammer, and a diminutive anvil, and so earned a precarious and laborious livelihood. What income, indeed, of any account could be made by one who mends the shaky places in coppers, and solders holes up, and hammers sheets of tin to pieces, and clamps with lead the legs of pots? We were told that a certain incident which befell him in this trade necessitated the next change in his life. He had received from a woman belonging to a regiment a gold ornament, a necklace or a bracelet, which had been broken by a blow, and which he was to mend: but he cheated the poor creature, by appropriating her gold trinket, and giving her instead one of copper, of the same size, and also of the same appearance, owing to a gold-wash which he had imparted to its surface; she was deceived by this for a time, for he was clever enough in the tinker’s, as in other, arts to mislead his customers with the tricks of trade; but at last she detected the rascality, for the wash got rubbed off the copper; and, as some of the soldiers of her family and nation were roused to indignation, she prosecuted the purloiner of her ornament. After this attempt he of course underwent a cheating thief’s punishment; and then left the trade, swearing that it was not his deliberate intention, but that business tempted him to commit this theft. After this he became assistant to a certain doctor from amongst the quacks, so as not to be quite destitute of a livelihood; and in this capacity he made his attack upon the obscurer households and on the most abject of mankind. Wealth came gradually from his plots against a certain Armenius, who being a foreigner was easily cheated, and, having been induced to make him his physician, had advanced him frequent sums of money; and he began to think that serving under others was beneath him, and wanted to be styled a physician himself. Henceforth, therefore, he attended medical congresses, and consorting with the wrangling controversialists there became one of the ranters, and, just as the scales were turning, always adding his own weight to the argument, he got to be in no small request with those who would buy a brazen voice for their party contests.

But although his bread became thereby well buttered he thought he ought not to remain in such a profession; so he gradually gave up the medical, after the tinkering. Arius, the enemy of God, had already sown those wicked tares which bore the Anomæans as their fruit, and the schools of medicine resounded then with the disputes about that question. Accordingly Aetius studied the controversy, and, having laid a train of syllogisms from what he remembered of Aristotle, he became notorious for even going beyond Arius, the father of the heresy, in the novel character of his speculations; or rather he perceived the consequences of all that Arius had advanced, and so got this character of a shrewd discoverer of truths not obvious; revealing as he did that the Created, 40even from things non-existent, was unlike the Creator who drew Him out of nothing.

With such propositions he tickled ears that itched for these novelties; and the Ethiopian Theophilus7373    Probably the ‘Indian’ Theophilus, who afterwards helped to organize the Anomœan schism in the reign of Jovian. becomes acquainted with them. Aetius had already been connected with this man on some business of Gallus; and now by his help creeps into the palace. After Gallus7474    Gallus, Cæsar 350–354, brother of Julian, not a little influenced by Aetius, executed by Constantius at Flanon in Dalmatia. During his short reign at Antioch, Domitian, who was sent to bring him to Italy, and his quæstor Montius were dragged to death through the streets by the guards of the young Cæsar. had perpetrated the tragedy with regard to Domitian the procurator and Montius, all the other participators in it naturally shared his ruin; yet this man escapes, being acquitted from being punished along with them. After this, when the great Athanasius had been driven by Imperial command from the Church of Alexandria, and George the Tarbasthenite was tearing his flock, another change takes place, and Aetius is an Alexandrian, receiving his full share amongst those who fattened at the Cappadocian’s board; for he had not omitted to practice his flatteries on George. George was in fact from Chanaan himself, and therefore felt kindly towards a countryman: indeed he had been for long so possessed with his perverted opinions as actually to dote upon him, and was prone to become a godsend for Aetius, whenever he liked.

All this did not escape the notice of his sincere admirer, our Eunomius. This latter perceived that his natural father—an excellent man, except that he had such a son—led a very honest and respectable life certainly, but one of laborious penury and full of countless toils. (He was one of those farmers who are always bent over the plough, and spend a world of trouble over their little farm; and in the winter, when he was secured from agricultural work, he used to carve out neatly the letters of the alphabet for boys to form syllables with, winning his bread with the money these sold for.) Seeing all this in his father’s life, he said goodbye to the plough and the mattock and all the paternal instruments, intending never to drudge himself like that; then he sets himself to learn Prunicus’ skill7575    The same phrase occurs again: Refutation of Eunomius’ Second Essay, p. 844: οἱ τῇ προυνίκου σοφί& 139· ἐγγυμνασθέντες· ἐξ ἐκείνης γὰρ δοκεῖ μοι τῆς παρασκευῆς τὰ εἰρημένα προενηνοχέναι· In the last word there is evidently a pun on προυνίκου; προφερὴς, in the secondary sense of ‘precocious,’ is used by Iamblichus and Porphyry, and προύνικος appears to have had the same meaning. We might venture, therefore, to translate ‘that knowing trick’ of short-hand: but why Prunicus is personified, if it is personified, as in the Gnostic Prunicos Sophia, does not appear. See Epiphanius Hæres. 253 for the feminine Proper name.
   The other possible explanation is that given in the margin of the Paris Edition, and is based on Suidas, i.e. Prunici sunt cursores celeres; hic pro celer scriba. Hesychius also says of the word; οἱ μισθοῦ κομίζοντες τὰ ὤνια ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγορᾶς, οὕς τινες παιδαριωνας καλοῦσιν, δρομεῖς, τραχεῖς, ὀξεῖς, εὐκίνητοι, γοργοί, μισθωτοί. Here such ‘porter’s’ skill, easy going and superficial, is opposed to the more laborious task of tilling the soil.
of short-hand writing, and having perfected himself in that he entered at first, I believe, the house of one of his own family, receiving his board for his services in writing; then, while tutoring the boys of his host, he rises to the ambition of becoming an orator. I pass over the next interval, both as to his life in his native country and as to the things and the company in which he was discovered at Constantinople.

Busied as he was after this ‘about the cloke and the purse,’ he saw it was all of little avail, and that nothing which he could amass by such work was adequate to the demands of his ambition. Accordingly he threw up all other practices, and devoted himself solely to the admiration of Aetius; not, perhaps, without some calculation that this absorbing pursuit which he selected might further his own devices for living. In fact, from the moment he asked for a share in a wisdom so profound, he toiled not thenceforward, neither did he spin; for he is certainly clever in what he takes in hand, and knows how to gain the more emotional portion of mankind. Seeing that human nature, as a rule, falls an easy prey to pleasure, and that its natural inclination in the direction of this weakness is very strong, descending from the sterner heights of conduct to the smooth level of comfort, he becomes with a view of making the largest number possible of proselytes to his pernicious opinions very pleasant indeed to those whom he is initiating; he gets rid of the toilsome steep of virtue altogether, because it is not a persuasive to accept his secrets. But should any one have the leisure to inquire what this secret teaching of theirs is, and what those who have been duped to accept this blighting curse utter without any reserve, and what in the mysterious ritual of initiation they are taught by the reverend hierophant, the manner of baptisms7676    For the baptisms of Eunomius, compare Epiphanius Hær. 765. Even Arians who were not Anomœans he rebaptized. The ‘helps of nature’ may possibly refer to the ‘miracles’ which Philostorgius ascribes both to Aetius and Eunomius.
   Sozomen (vi. 26) says, “Eunomius introduced, it is said, a mode of discipline contrary to that of the Church, and endeavoured to disguise the innovation under the cloak of a grave and severe deportment.”…His followers “do not applaud a virtuous course of life…so much as skill in disputation and the power of triumphing in debates.”
, and the ‘helps of nature,’ and all that, let him question those who feel no compunction in letting indecencies pass their lips; we shall keep silent. For not even though we are the accusers should we be guiltless in mentioning such things, and we have been taught to reverence purity in word as well as deed, and not to soil our pages with equivocal stories, even though there be truth in what we say.

But we mention what we then heard (namely that, just as Aristotle’s evil skill supplied 41Aetius with his impiety, so the simplicity of his dupes secured a fat living for the well-trained pupil as well as for the master) for the purpose of asking some questions. What after all was the great damage done him by Basil on the Euxine, or by Eustathius in Armenia, to both of whom that long digression in his story harks back? How did they mar the aim of his life? Did they not rather feed up his and his companion’s freshly acquired fame? Whence came their wide notoriety, if not through the instrumentality of these men, supposing, that is, that their accuser is speaking the truth? For the fact that men, themselves illustrious, as our writer owns, deigned to fight with those who had as yet found no means of being known naturally gave the actual start to the ambitious thoughts of those who were to be pitted against these reputed heroes; and a veil was thereby thrown over their humble antecedents. They in fact owed their subsequent notoriety to this,—a thing detestable indeed to a reflecting mind which would never choose to rest fame upon an evil deed, but the acme of bliss to characters such as these. They tell of one in the province of Asia, amongst the obscurest and the basest, who longed to make a name in Ephesus; some great and brilliant achievement being quite beyond his powers never even entered his mind; and yet, by hitting upon that which would most deeply injure the Ephesians, he made his mark deeper than the heroes of the grandest actions; for there was amongst their public buildings one noticeable for its peculiar magnificence and costliness; and he burnt this vast structure to the ground, showing, when men came to inquire after the perpetration of this villany into its mental causes, that he dearly prized notoriety, and had devised that the greatness of the disaster should secure the name of its author being recorded with it. The secret motive7777    ὑπόθεσις. of these two men is the same thirst for publicity; the only difference is that the amount of mischief is greater in their case. They are marring, not lifeless architecture, but the living building of the Church, introducing, for fire, the slow canker of their teaching. But I will defer the doctrinal question till the proper time comes.

§7. Eunomius himself proves that the confession of faith which He made was not impeached.

Let us see for a moment now what kind of truth is dealt with by this man, who in his Introduction complains that it is because of his telling the truth that he is hated by the unbelievers; we may well make the way he handles truth outside doctrine teach us a test to apply to his doctrine itself. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Now, when he is beginning to write this “apology for the apology” (that is the new and startling title, as well as subject, of his book) he says that we must look for the cause of this very startling announcement nowhere else but in him who answered that first treatise of his. That book was entitled an Apology; but being given to understand by our master-theologian that an apology can only come from those who have been accused of something, and that if a man writes merely from his own inclination his production is something else than an apology, he does not deny—it would be too manifestly absurd—7878    The μὴ is redundant and owing to οὐκ.that an apology requires a preceding accusation; but he declares that his ‘apology’ has cleared him from very serious accusations in the trial which has been instituted against him. How false this is, is manifest from his own words. He complained that “many heavy sufferings were inflicted on him by those who had condemned him”; we may read that in his book.

But how could he have suffered so, if his ‘apology’ cleared him of these charges? If he successfully adopted an apology to escape from these, that pathetic complaint of his is a hypocritical pretence; if on the other hand he really suffered as he says, then, plainly, he suffered because he did not clear himself by an apology; for every apology, to be such, has to secure this end, namely, to prevent the voting power from being misled by any false statements. Surely he will not now attempt to say that at the time of the trial he produced his apology, but not being able to win over the jury lost the case to the prosecution. For he said nothing at the time of the trial ‘about producing his apology;’ nor was it likely that he would, considering that he distinctly states in his book that he refused to have anything to do with those ill-affected and hostile dicasts. “We own,” he says, “that we were condemned by default: there was a packed7979    Εἰςφρησάντων. A word used in Aristophanes of ‘letting into court,’ probably a technical word: it is a manifest derivation from εἰσφορεῖν. What the solecism is, is not clear; Gretser thinks that Eunomius meant it for εἰσπηδᾶν panel of evil-disposed persons where a jury ought to have sat.” He is very labored here, and has his attention diverted by his argument, I think, or he would have noticed that he has tacked on a fine solecism to his sentence. He affects to be imposingly Attic with his phrase ‘packed panel;’ but the correct in language use these words, as those familiar with the forensic 42vocabulary know, quite differently to our new Atticist.

A little further on he adds this; “If he thinks that, because I would have nothing to do with a jury who were really my prosecutors he can argue away my apology, he must be blind to his own simplicity.” When, then, and before whom did our caustic friend make his apology? He had demurred to the jury because they were ‘foes,’ and he did not utter one word about any trial, as he himself insists. See how this strenuous champion of the true, little by little, passes over to the side of the false, and, while honouring truth in phrase, combats it in deed. But it is amusing to see how weak he is even in seconding his own lie. How can one and the same man have ‘cleared himself by an apology in the trial which was instituted against him,’ and then have ‘prudently kept silence because the court was in the hands of the foe?’ Nay, the very language he uses in the preface to his Apology clearly shows that no court at all was opened against him. For he does not address his preface to any definite jury, but to certain unspecified persons who were living then, or who were afterwards to come into the world; and I grant that to such an audience there was need of a very vigorous apology, not indeed in the manner of the one he has actually written, which requires another still to bolster it up, but a broadly intelligible one8080    γενικῆς., able to prove this special point, viz., that he was not in the possession of his usual reason when he wrote this, wherein he rings8181    συνεκρότει. The word has this meaning in Origen. In Philo (de Vitâ Mosis, p. 476, l. 48, quoted by Viger.), it has another meaning, συνεκρότουν ἄλλος ἄλλον, μὴ ἀποκάμνειν, i.e. ‘cheered.’ the assembly-bell for men who never came, perhaps never existed, and speaks an apology before an imaginary court, and begs an imperceptible jury not to let numbers decide between truth and falsehood, nor to assign the victory to mere quantity. Verily it is becoming that he should make an apology of that sort to jurymen who are yet in the loins of their fathers, and to explain to them how he came to think it right to adopt opinions which contradict universal belief, and to put more faith in his own mistaken fancies than in those who throughout the world glorify Christ’s name.

Let him write, please, another apology in addition to this second; for this one is not a correction of mistakes made about him, but rather a proof of the truth of those charges. Every one knows that a proper apology aims at disproving a charge; thus a man who is accused of theft or murder or any other crime either denies the fact altogether, or transfers the blame to another party, or else, if neither of these is possible, he appeals to the charity or to the compassion of those who are to vote upon his sentence. But in his book he neither denies the charge, nor shifts it on some one else, nor has recourse to an appeal for mercy, nor promises amendment for the future; but he establishes the charge against him by an unusually labored demonstration. This charge, as he himself confesses, really amounted to an indictment for profanity, nor did it leave the nature of this undefined, but proclaimed the particular kind; whereas his apology proves this species of profanity to be a positive duty, and instead of removing the charge strengthens it. Now, if the tenets of our Faith had been left in any obscurity, it might have been less hazardous to attempt novelties; but the teaching of our master-theologian is now firmly fixed in the souls of the faithful; and so it is a question whether the man who shouts out contradictions of that about which all equally have made up their minds is defending himself against the charges made, or is not rather drawing down upon him the anger of his hearers, and making his accusers still more bitter. I incline to think the latter. So that if there are, as our writer tells us, both hearers of his apology and accusers of his attempts upon the Faith, let him tell us, how those accusers can possibly compromise8282    καθυφήσουσιν. This is the reading of the Venetian ms. The word bears the same forensic sense as the Latin prævaricari. The common reading is καθυβρίσουσιν the matter now, or what sort of verdict that jury must return, now that his offence has been already proved by his own ‘apology.’

§8. Facts show that the terms of abuse which he has employed against Basil are more suitable for himself.

But these remarks are by the way, and come from our not keeping close to our argument. We had to inquire not how he ought to have made his apology, but whether he had ever made one at all. But now let us return to our former position, viz., that he is convicted by his own statements. This hater of falsehood first of all tells us that he was condemned because the jury which was assigned him defied the law, and that he was driven over sea and land and suffered much from the burning sun and the dust. Then in trying to conceal his falsehood he drives out one nail with another nail, as the proverb says, and puts one falsehood right by cancelling it with another. As every one knows as well as he does that he never uttered one word in court, he declares that he begged to be let off coming into a hostile court and was condemned by default. Could there 43be a plainer case than this of a man contradicting both the truth and himself? When he is pressed about the title of his book, he makes his trial the constraining cause of this ‘apology;’ but when he is pressed with the fact that he spoke not one word to the jury, he denies that there was any trial and says that he declined8383    ἀπαξιοῖ. such a jury. See how valiantly this doughty champion of the truth fights against falsehood! Then he dares to call our mighty Basil ‘a malicious rascal and a liar;’ and besides that, ‘a bold ignorant parvenu8484    παρέγγραπτον: for the vox nihili παράγραπτον. Oehler again has adopted the reading of the Ven. ms.,’ ‘no deep divine,’ and he adds to his list of abusive terms, ‘stark mad,’ scattering an infinity of such words over his pages, as if he imagined that his own bitter invectives could outweigh the common testimony of mankind, who revere that great name as though he were one of the saints of old. He thinks in fact that he, if no one else, can touch with calumny one whom calumny has never touched; but the sun is not so low in the heavens that any one can reach him with stones or any other missiles; they will but recoil upon him who shot them, while the intended target soars far beyond his reach. If any one, again, accuses the sun of want of light, he has not dimmed the brightness of the sunbeams with his scoffs; the sun will still remain the sun, and the fault-finder will only prove the feebleness of his own visual organs; and, if he should endeavour, after the fashion of this ‘apology,’ to persuade all whom he meets and will listen to him not to give in to the common opinions about the sun, nor to attach more weight to the experiences of all than to the surmises of one individual by ‘assigning victory to mere quantity,’ his nonsense will be wasted on those who can use their eyes.

Let some one then persuade Eunomius to bridle his tongue, and not give the rein to such wild talk, nor kick against the pricks in the insolent abuse of an honoured name; but to allow the mere remembrance of Basil to fill his soul with reverence and awe. What can he gain by this unmeasured ribaldry, when the object of it will retain all that character which his life, his words, and the general estimate of the civilized world proclaims him to have possessed? The man who takes in hand to revile reveals his own disposition as not being able, because it is evil, to speak good things, but only “to speak from the abundance of the heart,” and to bring forth from that evil treasure-house. Now, that his expressions are merely those of abuse quite divorced from actual facts, can be proved from his own writings.

§9. In charging Basil with not defending his faith at the time of the ‘Trials,’ he lays himself open to the same charge.

He hints at a certain locality where this trial for heresy took place; but he gives us no certain indication where it was, and the reader is obliged to guess in the dark. Thither, he tells us, a congress of picked representatives from all quarters was summoned; and he is at his best here, placing before our eyes with some vigorous strokes the preparation of the event which he pretends took place. Then, he says, a trial in which he would have had to run for his very life was put into the hands of certain arbitrators, to whom our Teacher and Master who was present gave his charge8585    ὑποφωνεῖν; and as all the voting power was thus won over to the enemies’ side, he yielded the position8686    Sozomen (vi. 26): “After his (Eunomius) elevation to the bishopric of Cyzicus he was accused by his own clergy of introducing innovations. Eudoxius obliged him to undergo a public trial and give an account of his doctrines to the people: finding, however, no fault in him, Eudoxius exhorted him to return to Cyzicus. He replied he could not remain with people who regarded him with suspicion, and it is said seized this opportunity to secede from communion.”, fled from the place, and hunted everywhere for some hearth and home; and he is great, in this graphic sketch8787    ὑπογραφῇ; or else ‘on the subject of Basil’s charge.’, in arraigning the cowardice of our hero; as any one who likes may see by looking at what he has written. But I cannot stop to give specimens here of the bitter gall of his utterances; I must pass on to that, for the sake of which I mentioned all this.

Where, then, was that unnamed spot in which this examination of his teachings was to take place? What was this occasion when the best then were collected for a trial? Who were these men who hurried over land and sea to share in these labours? What was this ‘expectant world that hung upon the issue of the voting?’ Who was ‘the arranger of the trial?’ However, let us consider that he invented all that to swell out the importance of his story, as boys at school are apt to do in their fictitious conversations of this kind; and let him only tell us who that ‘terrible combatant’ was whom our Master shrunk from encountering. If this also is a fiction, let him be the winner again, and have the advantage of his vain words. We will say nothing: in the useless fight with shadows the real victory is to decline conquering in that. But if he speaks of the events at Constantinople and means the assembly there, and is in this fever of literary indignation at tragedies enacted there, and means himself by that great and redoubtable athlete, then we would display the reasons why, though present on the occasion, we did not plunge into the fight.

44Now let this man who upbraids that hero with his cowardice tell us whether he went down into the thick of the fray, whether he uttered one syllable in defence of his own orthodoxy, whether he made any vigorous peroration, whether he victoriously grappled with the foe? He cannot tell us that, or he manifestly contradicts himself, for he owns that by his default he received the adverse verdict. If it was a duty to speak at the actual time of the trial (for that is the law which he lays down for us in his book), then why was he then condemned by default? If on the other hand he did well in observing silence before such dicasts, how arbitrarily8888    τίς ἡ ἀποκλήρωσις: this is a favourite word with Origen and Gregory. he praises himself, but blames us, for silence at such a time! What can be more absurdly unjust than this! When two treatises have been put forth since the time of the trial, he declares that his apology, though written so very long after, was in time, but reviles that which answered his own as quite too late! Surely he ought to have abused Basil’s intended counter-statement before it was actually made; but this is not found amongst his other complaints. Knowing as he did what Basil was going to write when the time of the trial had passed away, why in the world did he not find fault with it there and then? In fact it is clear from his own confession that he never made that apology in the trial itself. I will repeat again his words:—‘We confess that we were condemned by default;’ and he adds why; ‘Evil-disposed persons had been passed as jurymen,’ or rather, to use his own phrase, ‘there was a packed panel of them where a jury ought to have sat.’ Whereas, on the other hand, it is clear from another passage in his book that he attests that his apology was made ‘at the proper time.’ It runs thus:—“That I was urged to make this apology at the proper time and in the proper manner from no pretended reasons, but compelled to do so on behalf of those who went security for me, is clear from facts and also from this man’s words.” He adroitly twists his words round to meet every possible objection; but what will he say to this? ‘It was not right to keep silent during the trial.’ Then why was Eunomius speechless during that same trial? And why is his apology, coming as it did after the trial, in good time? And if in good time, why is Basil’s controversy with him not in good time?

But the remark of that holy father is especially true, that Eunomius in pretending to make an apology really gave his teaching the support he wished to give it; and that genuine emulator of Phineas’ zeal, destroying as he does with the sword of the Word every spiritual fornicator, dealt in the ‘Answer to his blasphemy’ a sword-thrust that was calculated at once to heal a soul and to destroy a heresy. If he resists that stroke, and with a soul deadened by apostacy will not admit the cure, the blame rests with him who chooses the evil, as the Gentile proverb says. So far for Eunomius’ treatment of truth, and of us: and now the law of former times, which allows an equal return on those who are the first to injure, might prompt us to discharge on him a counter-shower of abuse, and, as he is a very easy subject for this, to be very liberal of it, so as to outdo the pain which he has inflicted: for if he was so rich in insolent invective against one who gave no chance for calumny, how many of such epithets might we not expect to find for those who have satirized that saintly life? But we have been taught from the first by that scholar of the Truth to be scholars of the Gospel ourselves, and therefore we will not take an eye for an eye, nor a tooth for a tooth; we know well that all the evil that happens admits of being annihilated by its opposite, and that no bad word and no bad deed would ever develope into such desperate wickedness, if one good one could only be got in to break the continuity of the vicious stream. Therefore the routine of insolence and abusiveness is checked from repeating itself by long-suffering: whereas if insolence is met with insolence and abuse with abuse, you will but feed with itself this monster-vice, and increase it vastly.

§10. All his insulting epithets are shewn by facts to be false.

I therefore pass over everything else, as mere insolent mockery and scoffing abuse, and hasten to the question of his doctrine. Should any one say that I decline to be abusive only because I cannot pay him back in his own coin, let such an one consider in his own case what proneness there is to evil generally, what a mechanical sliding into sin, dispensing with the need of any practice. The power of becoming bad resides in the will; one act of wishing is often the sufficient occasion for a finished wickedness; and this ease of operation is more especially fatal in the sins of the tongue. Other classes of sins require time and occasion and co-operation to be committed; but the propensity to speak can sin when it likes. The treatise of Eunomius now in our hands is sufficient to prove this; one who attentively considers it will perceive the rapidity of the descent into sins 45in the matter of phrases: and it is the easiest thing in the world to imitate these, even though one is quite unpractised in habitual defamation. What need would there be to labour in coining our intended insults into names, when one might employ upon this slanderer his own phrases? He has strung together, in fact, in this part of his work, every sort of falsehood and evil-speaking, all moulded from the models which he finds in himself; every extravagance is to be found in writing these. He writes “cunning,” “wrangling,” “foe to truth,” “high-flown8989    σοφίστης,” “charlatan,” “combating general opinion and tradition,” “braving facts which give him the lie,” “careless of the terrors of the law, of the censure of men,” “unable to distinguish the enthusiasm for truth from mere skill in reasoning;” he adds, “wanting in reverence,” “quick to call names,” and then “blatant,” “full of conflicting suspicions,” “combining irreconcileable arguments,” “combating his own utterances,” “affirming contradictories;” then, though eager to speak all ill of him, not being able to find other novelties of invective in which to indulge his bitterness, often in default of all else he reiterates the same phrases, and comes round again a third and a fourth time and even more to what he has once said; and in this circus of words he drives up and then turns down, over and over again, the same racecourse of insolent abuse; so that at last even anger at this shameless display dies away from very weariness. These low unlovely street boys’ jeers do indeed provoke disgust rather than anger; they are not a whit better than the inarticulate grunting of some old woman who is quite drunk.

Must we then enter minutely into this, and laboriously refute all his invectives by showing that Basil was not this monster of his imagination? If we did this, contentedly proving the absence of anything vile and criminal in him, we should seem to join in insulting one who was a ‘bright particular star’ to his generation. But I remember how with that divine voice of his he quoted the prophet9090    Jeremiah iii. 3. with regard to him, comparing him to a shameless woman who casts her own reproaches on the chaste. For whom do these reasonings of his proclaim to be truth’s enemy and in arms against public opinion? Who is it who begs the readers of his book not ‘to look to the numbers of those who profess a belief, or to mere tradition, or to let their judgment be biassed so as to consider as trustworthy what is only suspected to be the stronger side?’ Can one and the same man write like this, and then make those charges, scheming that his readers should follow his own novelties at the very moment that he is abusing others for opposing themselves to the general belief? As for ‘brazening out facts which give him the lie, and men’s censure,’ I leave the reader to judge to whom this applies; whether to one who by a most careful self-restraint made sobriety and quietness and perfect purity the rule of his own life as well as that of his entourage, or to one who advised that nature should not be molested when it is her pleasure to advance through the appetites of the body, not to thwart indulgence, nor to be so particular as that in the training of our life; but that a self-chosen faith should be considered sufficient for a man to attain perfection. If he denies that this is his teaching, I and any right-minded person would rejoice if he were telling the truth in such a denial. But his genuine followers will not allow him to produce such a denial, or their leading principles would be gone, and the platform of those who for this reason embrace his tenets would fall to pieces. As for shameless indifference to human censure, you may look at his youth or his after life, and you would find him in both open to this reproach. The two men’s lives, whether in youth or manhood, tell a widely-different tale.

Let our speech-writer, while he reminds himself of his youthful doings in his native land, and afterwards at Constantinople, hear from those who can tell him what they know of the man whom he slanders. But if any would inquire into their subsequent occupations, let such a person tell us which of the two he considers to deserve so high a reputation; the man who ungrudgingly spent upon the poor his patrimony even before he was a priest, and most of all in the time of the famine, during which he was a ruler of the Church, though still a priest in the rank of presbyters9191    ἔτι ἐν τῷ κληρῳ τῶν πρεσβυτερων ιερατεύων; and afterwards did not hoard even what remained to him, so that he too might have made the Apostles’ boast, ‘Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought9292    2 Thess. iii. 8.;’ or, on the other hand, the man who has made the championship of a tenet a source of income, the man who creeps into houses, and does not conceal his loathsome affliction by staying at home, nor considers the natural aversion which those in good health must feel for such, though according to the law of old he is one of those who are banished from the inhabited camp because of the contagion of his unmistakeable9393    According to Ruffinus (Hist. Eccl. x. 25), his constitution was poisoned with jaundice within and without. disease.

46Basil is called ‘hasty’ and ‘insolent,’ and in both characters ‘a liar’ by this man who ‘would in patience and meekness educate those of a contrary opinion to himself;’ for such are the airs he gives himself when he speaks of him, while he omits no hyperbole of bitter language, when he has a sufficient opening to produce it. On what grounds, then, does he charge him with this hastiness and insolence? Because ‘he called me a Galatian, though I am a Cappadocian;’ then it was because he called a man who lived on the boundary in an obscure corner like Corniaspine9494    ἐν ἀνωνύμῳ τινι Κορνιασπινῆς ἐσχατί& 139·. Cf. μεγὰ χρῆμα ὑ& 232·ς (Herod.) for the use of this genitive. In the next sentence εἰ ἀντὶ, though it gives the sense translated in the text, is not so good as ᾗ ἀντὶ (i.e. ἐσχατία), which Oehler suggests, but does not adopt.
   With regard to Eunomius’ birthplace, Sozomen and Philostorgius give Dacora (which the former describes as on the slopes of Mt. Argæus: but that it must have been on the borders of Galatia and Cappadocia is certain from what Gregory says here): ‘Probably Dacora was his paternal estate: Oltiseris the village to which it belonged’ (Dict. Christ. Biog.; unless indeed Corniaspa, marked on the maps as a town where Cappadocia, Galatia and Pontus join, was the spot, and Oltiseris the district. Eunomius died at Dacora.
a Galatian instead of an Oltiserian; supposing, that is, that it is proved that he said this. I have not found it in my copies; but grant it. For this he is to be called ‘hasty,’ ‘insolent,’ all that is bad. But the wise know well that the minute charges of a faultfinder furnish a strong argument for the righteousness of the accused; else, when eager to accuse, he would not have spared great faults and employed his malice on little ones. On these last he is certainly great, heightening the enormity of the offence, and making solemn reflections on falsehood, and seeing equal heinousness in it whether in great or very trivial matters. Like the fathers of his heresy, the scribes and Pharisees, he knows how to strain a gnat carefully and to swallow at one gulp the hump-backed camel laden with a weight of wickedness. But it would not be out of place to say to him, ‘refrain from making such a rule in our system; cease to bid us think it of no account to measure the guilt of a falsehood by the slightness or the importance of the circumstances.’ Paul telling a falsehood and purifying himself after the manner of the Jews to meet the needs of those whom he usefully deceived did not sin the same as Judas for the requirement of his treachery putting on a kind and affable look. By a falsehood Joseph in love to his brethren deceived them; and that too while swearing ‘by the life of Pharaoh9595    Gen. xlii. 15.;’ but his brethren had really lied to him, in their envy plotting his death and then his enslavement. There are many such cases: Sarah lied, because she was ashamed of laughing: the serpent lied, tempting man to disobey and change to a divine existence. Falsehoods differ widely according to their motives. Accordingly we accept that general statement about man which the Holy Spirit uttered by the Prophet9696    Psalm cxv. 11., ‘Every man is a liar;’ and this man of God, too, has not kept clear of falsehood, having chanced to give a place the name of a neighbouring district, through oversight or ignorance of its real name. But Eunomius also has told a falsehood, and what is it? Nothing less than a misstatement of Truth itself. He asserts that One who always is once was not; he demonstrates that One who is truly a Son is falsely so called; he defines the Creator to be a creature and a work; the Lord of the world he calls a servant, and ranges the Being who essentially rules with subject beings. Is the difference between falsehoods so very trifling, that one can think it matters nothing whether the falsehood is palpable9797    ἐψεῦσθαι δοκεῖν. in this way or in that?

§11. The sophistry which he employs to prove our acknowledgment that he had been tried, and that the confession of his faith had not been unimpeached, is feeble.

He objects to sophistries in others; see the sort of care he takes himself that his proofs shall be real ones. Our Master said, in the book which he addressed to him, that at the time when our cause was ruined, Eunomius won Cyzicus as the prize of his blasphemy. What then does this detector of sophistry do? He fastens at once on that word prize, and declares that we on our side confess that he made an apology, that he won thereby, that he gained the prize of victory by these efforts; and he frames his argument into a syllogism consisting as he thinks of unanswerable propositions. But we will quote word for word what he has written. ‘If a prize is the recognition and the crown of victory, and a trial implies a victory, and, as also inseparable from itself, an accusation, then that man who grants (in argument) the prize must necessarily allow that there was a defence.’ What then is our answer to that? We do not deny that he fought this wretched battle of impiety with a most vigorous energy, and that he went a very long distance beyond his fellows in these perspiring efforts against the truth; but we will not allow that he obtained the victory over his opponents; but only that as compared with those who were running the same as himself through heresy into error he was foremost in the number of his lies and so gained the prize of Cyzicus in return for high attainments in evil, beating all who for the same prize combated the Truth; and that for this victory of blasphemy his name was blazoned loud and clear when 47Cyzicus was selected for him by the umpires of his party as the reward of his extravagance. This is the statement of our opinion, and this we allowed; our contention now that Cyzicus was the prize of a heresy, not the successful result of a defence, shews it. Is this anything like his own mess of childish sophistries, so that he can thereby hope to have grounds for proving the fact of his trial and his defence? His method is like that of a man in a drinking bout, who has made away with more strong liquor than the rest, and having then claimed the pool from his fellow-drunkards should attempt to make this victory a proof of having won some case in the law courts. That man might chop the same sort of logic. ‘If a prize is the recognition and the crown of victory, and a law-trial implies a victory and, as also inseparable from itself, an accusation, then I have won my suit, since I have been crowned for my powers of drinking in this bout.’

One would certainly answer to such a boaster that a trial in court is a very different thing from a wine-contest, and that one who wins with the glass has thereby no advantage over his legal adversaries, though he get a beautiful chaplet of flowers. No more, therefore, has the man who has beaten his equals in the advocacy of profanity anything to show in having won the prize for that, that he has won a verdict too. The testimony on our side that he is first in profanity is no plea for his imaginary ‘apology.’ If he did speak it before the court, and, having so prevailed over his adversaries, was honoured with Cyzicus for that, then he might have some occasion for using our own words against ourselves; but as he is continually protesting in his book that he yielded to the animus of the voters, and accepted in silence the penalty which they inflicted, not even waiting for this hostile decision, why does he impose upon himself and make this word prize into the proof of a successful apology? Our excellent friend fails to understand the force of this word prize; Cyzicus was given up to him as the reward of merit for his extravagant impiety; and as it was his will to receive such a prize, and he views it in the light of a victor’s guerdon, let him receive as well what that victory implies, viz. the lion’s share in the guilt of profanity. If he insists on our own words against ourselves, he must accept both these consequences, or neither.

§12. His charge of cowardice is baseless: for Basil displayed the highest courage before the Emperor and his Lord-Lieutenants.

He treats our words so; and in the rest of his presumptuous statements can there be shown to be a particle of truth? In these he calls him ‘cowardly,’ ‘spiritless,’ ‘a shirker of severer labours,’ exhausting the list of such terms, and giving with laboured circumstantiality every symptom of this cowardice: ‘the retired cabin, the door firmly closed, the anxious fear of intruders, the voice, the look, the tell-tale change of countenance,’ everything of that sort, whereby the passion of fear is shown. If he were detected in no other lie but this, it alone would be sufficient to reveal his bent. For who does not know how, during the time when the Emperor Valens was roused against the churches of the Lord, that mighty champion of ours rose by his lofty spirit superior to those overwhelming circumstances and the terrors of the foe, and showed a mind which soared above every means devised to daunt him? Who of the dwellers in the East, and of the furthest regions of our civilized world did not hear of his combat with the throne itself for the truth? Who, looking to his antagonist, was not in dismay? For his was no common antagonist, possessed only of the power of winning in sophistic juggles, where victory is no glory and defeat is harmless; but he had the power of bending the whole Roman government to his will; and, added to this pride of empire, he had prejudices against our faith, cunningly instilled into his mind by Eudoxius9898    Afterwards of Antioch, and then 8th Bishop of Constantinople (360–370), one of the most influential of all the Arians. He it was who procured for Eunomius the bishopric of Cyzicus (359). (The latter must indeed have concealed his views on that occasion, for Constantius hated the Anomœans). of Germanicia9999    A town of Commagene., who had won him to his side; and he found in all those who were then at the head of affairs allies in carrying out his designs, some being already inclined to them from mental sympathies, while others, and they were the majority, were ready from fear to indulge the imperial pleasure, and seeing the severity employed against those who held to the Faith were ostentatious in their zeal for him. It was a time of exile, confiscation, banishment, threats of fines, danger of life, arrests, imprisonment, scourging; nothing was too dreadful to put in force against those who would not yield to this sudden caprice of the Emperor; it was worse for the faithful to be caught in God’s house than if they had been detected in the most heinous of crimes.

But a detailed history of that time would be too long; and would require a separate treatment; besides, as the sufferings at that sad season are known to all, nothing would be gained for our present purpose by carefully setting them forth in writing. A second drawback to such an attempt would be found to be that amidst the details of that melancholy history we should be forced to make mention 48of ourselves; and if we did anything in those struggles for our religion that redounds to our honour in the telling, Wisdom commands us to leave it to others to tell. “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth100100    Proverbs xxvii. 2.;” and it is this very thing that our omniscient friend has not been conscious of in devoting the larger half of his book to self-glorification.

Omitting, then, all that kind of detail, I will be careful only in setting forth the achievement of our Master. The adversary whom he had to combat was no less a person than the Emperor himself; that adversary’s second was the man who stood next him in the government; his assistants to work out his will were the court. Let us take into consideration also the point of time, in order to test and to illustrate the fortitude of our own noble champion. When was it? The Emperor was proceeding from Constantinople to the East elated by his recent successes against the barbarians, and not in a spirit to brook any obstruction to his will; and his lord-lieutenant directed his route, postponing all administration of the necessary affairs of state as long as a home remained to one adherent of the Faith, and until every one, no matter where, was ejected, and others, chosen by himself to outrage our godly hierarchy, were introduced instead. The Powers then of the Propontis were moving in such a fury, like some dark cloud, upon the churches; Bithynia was completely devastated; Galatia was very quickly carried away by their stream; all in the intervening districts had succeeded with them; and now our fold lay the next to be attacked. What did our mighty Basil show like then, ‘that spiritless coward,’ as Eunomius calls him, ‘shrinking from danger, and trusting to a retired cabin to save him?’ Did he quail at this evil onset? Did he allow the sufferings of previous victims to suggest to him that he should secure his own safety? Did he listen to any who advised a slight yielding to this rush of evils101101    ‘The metropolitan remained unshaken. The rough threats of Modestus succeeded no better than the fatherly counsel of Enippius.’ Gwatkins Arians., so as not to throw himself openly in the path of men who were now veterans in slaughter? Rather we find that all excess of language, all height of thought and word, falls short of the truth about him. None could describe his contempt of danger, so as to bring before the reader’s eyes this new combat, which one might justly say was waged not between man and man, but between a Christian’s firmness and courage on the one side, and a bloodstained power on the other.

The lord-lieutenant kept appealing to the commands of the Emperor, and rendering a power, which from its enormous strength was terrible enough, more terrible still by the unsparing cruelty of its vengeance. After the tragedies which he had enacted in Bithynia, and after Galatia with characteristic fickleness had yielded without a struggle, he thought that our country would fall a ready prey to his designs. Cruel deeds were preluded by words proposing, with mingled threats and promises, royal favours and ecclesiastical power to obedience, but to resistance all that a cruel spirit which has got the power to work its will can devise. Such was the enemy.

So far was our champion from being daunted by what he saw and heard, that he acted rather like a physician or prudent councillor called in to correct something that was wrong, bidding them repent of their rashness and cease to commit murders amongst the servants of the Lord; ‘their plans,’ he said, ‘could not succeed with men who cared only for the empire of Christ, and for the Powers that never die; with all their wish to maltreat him, they could discover nothing, whether word or act, that could pain the Christian; confiscation could not touch him whose only possession was his Faith; exile had no terrors for one who walked in every land with the same feelings, and looked on every city as strange because of the shortness of his sojourn in it, yet as home, because all human creatures are in equal bondage with himself; the endurance of blows, or tortures, or death, if it might be for the Truth, was an object of fear not even to women, but to every Christian it was the supremest bliss to suffer the worst for this their hope, and they were only grieved that nature allowed them but one death, and that they could devise no means of dying many times in this battle for the Truth102102    Other words of Basil, before Modestus at Cæsarea, are also recorded; “I cannot worship any created thing, being as I am God’s creation, and having been bidden to be a God..’

When he thus confronted their threats, and looked beyond that imposing power, as if it were all nothing, then their exasperation, just like those rapid changes on the stage when one mask after another is put on, turned with all its threats into flattery; and the very man whose spirit up to then had been so determined and formidable adopted the most gentle and submissive of language; ‘Do not, I beg you, think it a small thing for our mighty emperor to have communion with your people, but be willing to be called his master too: nor thwart his wish; he wishes for this peace, if only one little word in the written Creed is erased, that of Homoousios.’ Our master answers that it is of the greatest importance that the emperor 49should be a member of the Church; that is, that he should save his soul, not as an emperor, but as a mere man; but a diminution of or addition to the Faith was so far from his (Basil’s) thoughts, that he would not change even the order of the written words. That was what this ‘spiritless coward, who trembles at the creaking of a door,’ said to this great ruler, and he confirmed his words by what he did; for he stemmed in his own person this imperial torrent of ruin that was rushing on the churches, and turned it aside; he in himself was a match for this attack, like a grand immoveable rock in the sea, breaking the huge and surging billow of that terrible onset.

Nor did his wrestling stop there; the emperor himself succeeds to the attack, exasperated because he did not get effected in the first attempt all that he wished. Just, accordingly, as the Assyrian effected the destruction of the temple of the Israelites at Jerusalem by means of the cook Nabuzardan, so did this monarch of ours entrust his business to one Demosthenes, comptroller of his kitchen, and chief of his cooks103103    This cook is compared to Nabuzardan by Gregory Naz. also (Orat. xliii. 47). Cf. also Theodoret, iv. 19, where most of these events are recorded. The former says that ‘Nabuzardan threatened Basil when summoned before him with the μαχαίρα of his trade, but was sent back to his kitchen fire.’, as to one more pushing than the rest, thinking thereby to succeed entirely in his design. With this man stirring the pot, and with one of the blasphemers from Illyricum, letters in hand, assembling the authorities with this end in view, and with Modestus104104    Modestus, the Lord Lieutenant or Count of the East, had sacrificed to the images under Julian, and had been re-baptized as an Arian. kindling passion to a greater heat than in the previous excitement, every one joined the movement of the Emperor’s anger, making his fury their own, and yielding to the temper of authority; and on the other hand all felt their hopes sink at the prospect of what might happen. That same lord-lieutenant re-enters on the scene; intimidations worse than the former are begun; their threats are thrown out; their anger rises to a still higher pitch; there is the tragic pomp of trial over again, the criers, the apparitors, the lictors, the curtained bar, things which naturally daunt even a mind which is thoroughly prepared; and again we see God’s champion amidst this combat surpassing even his former glory. If you want proofs, look at the facts. What spot, where there are churches, did not that disaster reach? What nation remained unreached by these heretical commands? Who of the illustrious in any Church was not driven from the scene of his labours? What people escaped their despiteful treatment? It reached all Syria, and Mesopotamia up to the frontier, Phœnicia, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, the Libyan tribes to the boundaries of the civilized world; and all nearer home, Pontus, Cilicia, Lycia, Lydia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Caria, the Hellespont, the islands up to the Propontis itself; the coasts of Thrace, as far as Thrace extends, and the bordering nations as far as the Danube. Which of these countries retained its former look, unless any were already possessed with the evil? The people of Cappadocia alone felt not these afflictions of the Church, because our mighty champion saved them in their trial.

Such was the achievement of this ‘coward’ master of ours; such was the success of one who ‘shirks all sterner toil.’ Surely it is not that of one who ‘wins renown amongst poor old women, and practises to deceive the sex which naturally falls into every snare,’ and ‘thinks it a great thing to be admired by the criminal and abandoned;’ it is that of one who has proved by deeds his soul’s fortitude, and the unflinching and noble manliness of his spirit. His success has resulted in the salvation of the whole country, the peace of our Church, the pattern given to the virtuous of every excellence, the overthrow of the foe, the upholding of the Faith, the confirmation of the weaker brethren, the encouragement of the zealous, everything that is believed to belong to the victorious side; and in the commemoration of no other events but these do hearing and seeing unite in accomplished facts; for here it is one and the same thing to relate in words his noble deeds and to show in facts the attestation of our words, and to confirm each by the other—the record from what is before our eyes, and the facts from what is being said.

§13. Résumé of his dogmatic teaching. Objections to it in detail.

But somehow our discourse has swerved considerably from the mark; it has had to turn round and face each of this slanderer’s insults. To Eunomius indeed it is no small advantage that the discussion should linger upon such points, and that the indictment of his offences against man should delay our approach to his graver sins. But it is profitless to abuse for hastiness of speech one who is on his trial for murder; (because the proof of the latter is sufficient to get the verdict of death passed, even though hastiness of speech is not proved along with it); just so it seems best to subject to proof his blasphemy only, and to leave his insults alone. When his heinousness on the most important points has been detected, his other delinquencies are proved potentially 50without going minutely into them. Well then; at the head of all his argumentations stands this blasphemy against the definitions of the Faith—both in his former work and in that which we are now criticizing—and his strenuous effort to destroy and cancel and completely upset all devout conceptions as to the Only-Begotten Son of God and the Holy Spirit. To show, then, how false and inconsistent are his arguments against these doctrines of the truth, I will first quote word for word his whole statement, and then I will begin again and examine each portion separately. “The whole account of our doctrines is summed up thus; there is the Supreme and Absolute Being, and another Being existing by reason of the First, but after It105105    there is the Supreme and Absolute Being, and another Being existing through the First, but after It. The language of this exposition of Eunomius is Aristotelian: but the contents nevertheless are nothing more nor less than Gnosticism, as Rupp well points out (Gregors v. Nyssa Leben und Meinungen, p. 132 sq.). Arianism, he says, is nothing but the last attempt of Gnosticism to force the doctrine of emanations into Christian theology, clothing that doctrine on this occasion in a Greek dress. It was still an oriental heresy, not a Greek heresy like Pelagianism in the next century.
   Rupp gives two reasons why Arianism may be identified with Gnosticism.

   1. Arianism holds the Λόγος as the highest being after the Godhead, i.e. as the πρωτότοκος τῆς κτίσεως, and as merely the mediator between God and Man: just as it was the peculiar aim of Gnosticism to bridge over the gulf between the Creator and the Created by means of intermediate beings (the emanations).

   2. Eunomius and his master adopted that very system of Greek philosophy which had always been the natural ally of Gnosticism: i.e. Aristotle is strong in divisions and differences, weak in ‘identifications:’ he had marked with a clearness never attained before the various stages upwards of existencies in the physical world: and this is just what Gnosticism, in its wish to exhibit all things according to their relative distances from the ᾽Αγέννητος, wanted.

   Eunomius has in fact in this formula of his translated all the terms of Scripture straight into those of Aristotle: he has changed the ethical-physical of Christianity into the purely physical; πνεύμα e.g. becomes οὐσία: and by thus banishing the spiritual and the moral he has made his ᾽Αγέννητος as completely ‘single’ and incommunicable as the τὸ πρῶτον κίνουν ἀκίνητον (Arist. Metaph. XII. 7).
though before all others; and a third Being not ranking with either of these, but inferior to the one, as to its cause, to the other, as to the energy which produced it: there must of course be included in this account the energies that follow each Being, and the names germane to these energies. Again, as each Being is absolutely single, and is in fact and thought one, and its energies are bounded by its works, and its works commensurate with its energies, necessarily, of course, the energies which follow these Beings are relatively greater and less, some being of a higher, some of a lower order; in a word, their difference amounts to that existing between their works: it would in fact not be lawful to say that the same energy produced the angels or stars, and the heavens or man: but a pious mind would conclude that in proportion as some works are superior to and more honourable than others, so does one energy transcend another, because sameness of energy produces sameness of work, and difference of work indicates difference of energy. These things being so, and maintaining an unbroken connexion in their relation to each other, it seems fitting for those who make their investigation according to the order germane to the subject, and who do not insist on mixing and confusing all together, in case of a discussion being raised about Being, to prove what is in course of demonstration, and to settle the points in debate, by the primary energies and those attached to the Beings, and again to explain by the Beings when the energies are in question, yet still to consider the passage from the first to the second the more suitable and in all respects the more efficacious of the two.”

Such is his blasphemy systematized! May the Very God, Son of the Very God, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, direct our discussion to the truth! We will repeat his statements one by one. He asserts that the “whole account of his doctrines is summed up in the Supreme and Absolute Being, and in another Being existing by reason of the First, but after It though before all others, and in a third Being not ranking with either of these but inferior to the one as to its cause, to the other as to the energy.” The first point, then, of the unfair dealings in this statement to be noticed is that in professing to expound the mystery of the Faith, he corrects as it were the expressions in the Gospel, and will not make use of the words by which our Lord in perfecting our faith conveyed that mystery to us: he suppresses the names of ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost,’ and speaks of a ‘Supreme and Absolute Being’ instead of the Father, of ‘another existing through it, but after it’ instead of the Son, and of ‘a third ranking with neither of these two’ instead of the Holy Ghost. And yet if those had been the more appropriate names, the Truth Himself would not have been at a loss to discover them, nor those men either, on whom successively devolved the preaching of the mystery, whether they were from the first eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, or, as successors to these, filled the whole world with the Evangelical doctrines, and again at various periods after this defined in a common assembly the ambiguities raised about the doctrine; whose traditions are constantly preserved in writing in the churches. If those had been the appropriate terms, they would not have mentioned, as they did, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, granting indeed it were pious or safe to remodel at all, with a view to this innovation, the terms of the faith; or else they were all ignorant men and uninstructed in the mysteries, and unacquainted with what he calls the appropriate names—those men who 51had really neither the knowledge nor the desire to give the preference to their own conceptions over what had been handed down to us by the voice of God.

§14. He did wrong, when mentioning the Doctrines of Salvation, in adopting terms of his own choosing instead of the traditional terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The reason for this invention of new words I take to be manifest to every one—namely: that every one, when the words father and son are spoken, at once recognizes the proper and natural relationship to one another which they imply. This relationship is conveyed at once by the appellations themselves. To prevent it being understood of the Father, and the Only-begotten Son, he robs us of this idea of relationship which enters the ear along with the words, and abandoning the inspired terms, expounds the Faith by means of others devised to injure the truth.

One thing, however, that he says is true: that his own teaching, not the Catholic teaching, is summed up so. Indeed any one who reflects can easily see the impiety of his statement. It will not be out of place now to discuss in detail what his intention is in ascribing to the being of the Father alone the highest degree of that which is supreme and proper, while not admitting that the being of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is supreme and proper. For my part I think that it is a prelude to his complete denial of the ‘being’ of the Only-begotten and of the Holy Ghost, and that this system of his is secretly intended to effect the setting aside of all real belief in their personality, while in appearance and in mere words confessing it. A moment’s reflection upon his statement will enable any one to perceive that this is so. It does not look like one who thinks that the Only-begotten and the Holy Ghost really exist in a distinct personality to be very particular about the names with which he thinks the greatness of Almighty God should be expressed. To grant the fact106106    i.e. of the equality of Persons., and then go into minute distinctions about the appropriate phrases107107    i.e. for the Persons. would be indeed consummate folly: and so in ascribing a being that is in the highest degree supreme and proper only to the Father, he makes us surmise by this silence respecting the other two that (to him) they do not properly exist. How can that to which a proper being is denied be said to really exist? When we deny proper being to it, we must perforce affirm of it all the opposite terms. That which cannot be properly said is improperly said, so that the demonstration of its not being properly said is a proof of its not really subsisting: and it is at this that Eunomius seems to aim in introducing these new names into his teaching. For no one can say that he has strayed from ignorance into some silly fancy of separating, locally, the supreme from that which is below, and assigning to the Father as it were the peak of some hill, while he seats the Son lower down in the hollows. No one is so childish as to conceive of differences in space, when the intellectual and spiritual is under discussion. Local position is a property of the material: but the intellectual and immaterial is confessedly removed from the idea of locality. What, then, is the reason why he says that the Father alone has supreme being? For one can hardly think it is from ignorance that he wanders off into these conceptions, being one who, in the many displays he makes, claims to be wise, even “making himself overwise,” as the Holy Scripture forbids us to do108108    Eccles. vii. 16..

§15. He does wrong in making the being of the Father alone proper and supreme, implying by his omission of the Son and the Spirit that theirs is improperly spoken of, and is inferior.

But at all events he will allow that this supremacy of being betokens no excess of power, or of goodness, or of anything of that kind. Every one knows that, not to mention those whose knowledge is supposed to be very profound; viz., that the personality of the Only-begotten and of the Holy Ghost has nothing lacking in the way of perfect goodness, perfect power, and of every quality like that. Good, as long as it is incapable of its opposite, has no bounds to its goodness: its opposite alone can circumscribe it, as we may see by particular examples. Strength is stopped only when weakness seizes it; life is limited by death alone; darkness is the ending of light: in a word, every good is checked by its opposite, and by that alone. If then he supposes that the nature of the Only-begotten and of the Spirit can change for the worse, then he plainly diminishes the conception of their goodness, making them capable of being associated with their opposites. But if the Divine and unalterable nature is incapable of degeneracy, as even our foes allow, we must regard it as absolutely unlimited in its goodness: and the unlimited is the same as the infinite. But to suppose excess and defect in the infinite and unlimited is to the last degree unreasonable: for how can the idea of infinitude remain, if we posited increase and loss in it? We get the idea of excess only by a comparison of limits: where 52there is no limit, we cannot think of any excess. Perhaps, however, this was not what he was driving at, but he assigns this superiority only by the prerogative of priority in time, and, with this idea only, declares the Father’s being to be alone the supreme one. Then he must tell us on what grounds he has measured out more length of life to the Father, while no distinctions of time whatever have been previously conceived of in the personality of the Son.

And yet supposing for a moment, for the sake of argument, that this was so, what superiority does the being which is prior in time have over that which follows, on the score of pure being, that he can say that the one is supreme and proper, and the other is not? For while the lifetime of the elder as compared with the younger is longer, yet his being has neither increase nor decrease on that account. This will be clear by an illustration. What disadvantage, on the score of being, as compared with Abraham, had David who lived fourteen generations after? Was any change, so far as humanity goes, effected in the latter? Was he less a human being, because he was later in time? Who would be so foolish as to assert this? The definition of their being is the same for both: the lapse of time does not change it. No one would assert that the one was more a man for being first in time, and the other less because he sojourned in life later; as if humanity had been exhausted on the first, or as if time had spent its chief power upon the deceased. For it is not in the power of time to define for each one the measures of nature, but nature abides self-contained, preserving herself through succeeding generations: and time has a course of its own, whether surrounding, or flowing by, this nature, which remains firm and motionless within her own limits. Therefore, not even supposing, as our argument did for a moment, that an advantage were allowed on the score of time, can they properly ascribe to the Father alone the highest supremacy of being: but as there is really no difference whatever in the prerogative of time, how could any one possibly entertain such an idea about these existencies which are pre-temporal? Every measure of distance that we could discover is beneath the divine nature: so no ground is left for those who attempt to divide this pre-temporal and incomprehensible being by distinctions of superior and inferior.

We have no hesitation either in asserting that what is dogmatically taught by them is an advocacy of the Jewish doctrine, setting forth, as they do, that the being of the Father alone has subsistence, and insisting that this only has proper existence, and reckoning that of the Son and the Spirit among non-existencies, seeing that what does not properly exist can be said nominally only, and by an abuse of terms, to exist at all. The name of man, for instance, is not given to a portrait representing one, but to so and so who is absolutely such, the original of the picture, and not the picture itself; whereas the picture is in word only a man, and does not possess absolutely the quality ascribed to it, because it is not in its nature that which it is called. In the case before us, too, if being is properly ascribed to the Father, but ceases when we come to the Son and the Spirit, it is nothing short of a plain denial of the message of salvation. Let them leave the church and fall back upon the synagogues of the Jews, proving, as they do, the Son’s non-existence in denying to Him proper being. What does not properly exist is the same thing as the non-existent.

Again, he means in all this to be very clever, and has a poor opinion of those who essay to write without logical force. Then let him tell us, contemptible though we are, by what sort of skill he has detected a greater and a less in pure being. What is his method for establishing that one being is more of a being than another being,—taking being in its plainest meaning, for he must not bring forward those various qualities and properties, which are comprehended in the conception of the being, and gather round it, but are not the subject itself? Shade, colour, weight, force or reputation, distinctive manner, disposition, any quality thought of in connection with body or mind, are not to be considered here: we have to inquire only whether the actual subject of all these, which is termed absolutely the being, differs in degree of being from another. We have yet to learn that of two known existencies, which still exist, the one is more, the other less, an existence. Both are equally such, as long as they are in the category of existence, and when all notions of more or less value, more or less force, have been excluded.

If, then, he denies that we can regard the Only-begotten as completely existing,—for to this depth his statement seems to lead,—in withholding from Him a proper existence, let him deny it even in a less degree. If, however, he does grant that the Son subsists in some substantial way—we will not quarrel now about the particular way—why does he take away again that which he has conceded Him to be, and prove Him to exist not properly, which is tantamount, as we have said, to not at all? For as humanity is not possible to that which does not possess the 53complete connotation of the term ‘man,’ and the whole conception of it is cancelled in the case of one who lacks any of the properties, so in every thing whose complete and proper existence is denied, the partial affirmation of its existence is no proof of its subsisting at all; the demonstration, in fact, of its incomplete being is a demonstration of its effacement in all points. So that if he is well-advised, he will come over to the orthodox belief, and remove from his teaching the idea of less and of incompleteness in the nature of the Son and the Spirit: but if he is determined to blaspheme, and wishes for some inscrutable reason thus to requite his Maker and God and Benefactor, let him at all events part with his conceit of possessing some amount of showy learning, unphilosophically piling, as he does, being over being, one above the other, one proper, one not such, for no discoverable reason. We have never heard that any of the infidel philosophers have committed this folly, any more than we have met with it in the inspired writings, or in the common apprehension of mankind.

I think that from what has been said it will be clear what is the aim of these newly-devised names. He drops them as the base of operations or foundation-stone of all this work of mischief to the Faith: once he can get the idea into currency that the one Being alone is supreme and proper in the highest degree, he can then assail the other two, as belonging to the inferior and not regarded as properly Being. He shows this especially in what follows, where he is discussing the belief in the Son and the Holy Spirit, and does not proceed with these names, so as to avoid bringing before us the proper characteristic of their nature by means of those appellations: they are passed over unnoticed by this man who is always telling us that minds of the hearers are to be directed by the use of appropriate names and phrases. Yet what name could be more appropriate than that which has been given by the Very Truth? He sets his views against the Gospel, and names not the Son, but ‘a Being existing through the First, but after It though before all others.’ That this is said to destroy the right faith in the Only-begotten will be made plainer still by his subsequent arguments. Still there is only a moderate amount of mischief in these words: one intending no impiety at all towards Christ might sometimes use them: we will therefore omit at present all discussion about our Lord, and reserve our reply to the more open blasphemies against Him. But on the subject of the Holy Spirit the blasphemy is plain and unconcealed: he says that He is not to be ranked with the Father or the Son, but is subject to both. I will therefore examine as closely as possible this statement.

§16. Examination of the meaning of ‘subjection:’ in that he says that the nature of the Holy Spirit is subject to that of the Father and the Son. It is shewn that the Holy Spirit is of an equal, not inferior, rank to the Father and the Son.

Let us first, then, ascertain the meaning of this word ‘subjection’ in Scripture. To whom is it applied? The Creator, honouring man in his having been made in His own image, ‘hath placed’ the brute creation ‘in subjection under his feet;’ as great David relating this favour (of God) exclaimed in the Psalms109109    Psalm viii. 6–8.: “He put all things,” he says, “under his feet,” and he mentions by name the creatures so subjected. There is still another meaning of ‘subjection’ in Scripture. Ascribing to God Himself the cause of his success in war, the Psalmist says110110    Psalm xlvii. 3 (LXX.)., “He hath put peoples and nations in subjection under our feet,” and “He that putteth peoples in subjection under me.” This word is often found thus in Scripture, indicating a victory. As for the future subjection of all men to the Only-begotten, and through Him to the Father, in the passage where the Apostle with a profound wisdom speaks of the Mediator between God and man as subject to the Father, implying by that subjection of the Son who shares humanity the actual subjugation of mankind—we will not discuss it now, for it requires a full and thorough examination. But to take only the plain and unambiguous meaning of the word subjection, how can he declare the being of the Spirit to be subject to that of the Son and the Father? As the Son is subject to the Father, according to the thought of the Apostle? But in this view the Spirit is to be ranked with the Son, not below Him, seeing that both Persons are of this lower rank. This was not his meaning? How then? In the way the brute creation is subject to the rational, as in the Psalm? There is then as great a difference as is implied in the subjection of the brute creation, when compared to man. Perhaps he will reject this explanation as well. Then he will have to come to the only remaining one, that the Spirit, at first in the rebellious ranks, was afterwards forced by a superior Force to bend to a Conqueror.

Let him choose which he likes of these alternatives: whichever it is I do not see how he can avoid the inevitable crime of 54blasphemy: whether he says the Spirit is subject in the manner of the brute creation, as fish and birds and sheep, to man, or were to fetch Him a captive to a superior power after the manner of a rebel. Or does he mean neither of these ways, but uses the word in a different signification altogether to the scripture meaning? What, then, is that signification? Does he lay down that we must rank Him as inferior and not as equal, because He was given by our Lord to His disciples third in order? By the same reasoning he should make the Father inferior to the Son, since the Scripture often places the name of our Lord first, and the Father Almighty second. “I and My Father,” our Lord says. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God111111    John x. 30; 2 Cor. xiii. 13.,” and other passages innumerable which the diligent student of Scripture testimonies might collect: for instance, “there are differences of gifts, but it is the same Spirit: and there are differences of administration, but it is the same Lord: and there are differences of operations, but it is the same God.” According to this, then, let the Almighty Father, who is mentioned third, be made ‘subject’ to the Son and the Spirit. However we have never yet heard of a philosophy such as this, which relegates to the category of the inferior and the dependent that which is mentioned second or third only for some particular reason of sequence: yet that is what our author wants to do, in arguing to show that the order observed in the transmission of the Persons amounts to differences of more and less in dignity and nature. In fact he rules that sequence in point of order is indicative of unlikeness of nature: whence he got this fancy, what necessity compelled him to it, is not clear. Mere numerical rank does not create a different nature: that which we would count in a number remains the same in nature whether we count it or not. Number is a mark only of the mere quantity of things: it does not place second those things only which have an inferior natural value, but it makes the sequence of the numerical objects indicated in accordance with the intention of those who are counting. ‘Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus’ are three persons mentioned according to a particular intention. Does the place of Silvanus, second and after Paul, indicate that he was other than a man? Or is Timothy, because he is third, considered by the writer who so ranks him a different kind of being? Not so. Each is human both before and after this arrangement. Speech, which cannot utter the names of all three at once, mentions each separately according to an order which commends itself, but unites them by the copula, in order that the juncture of the names may show the harmonious action of the three towards one end.

This, however, does not please our new dogmatist. He opposes the arrangement of Scripture. He separates off that equality with the Father and the Son of His proper and natural rank and connexion which our Lord Himself pronounces, and numbers Him with ‘subjects’: he declares Him to be a work of both Persons112112    he declares Him to be a work of both Persons. With regard to Gregory’s own belief as to the procession of the Holy Spirit, it may be said once for all that there is hardly anything (but see p. 99, note 5) clear about it to be found in his writings. The question, in fact, remained undecided until the 9th century, the time of the schism of the East and West. But here, as in other points, Origen had approached the nearest to the teaching of the West: for he represents the procession as from Father and Son, just as often as from one Person or the other. Athanasius does certainly say that the Spirit ‘unites the creation to the Son, and through the Son to the Father,’ but with him this expression is not followed up: while in the Roman Church it led to doctrine. For why does the Holy Spirit unite the creation with God continuously and perfectly? Because, to use Bossuet’s words, “proceeding from the Father and the Son He is their love and eternal union.” Neither Basil, nor Gregory Nazianzen, nor Chrysostom, have anything definite about the procession of the Third Person., of the Father, as supplying the cause of His constitution, of the Only-begotten, as of the artificer of His subsistence: and defines this as the ground of His ‘subjection,’ without as yet unfolding the meaning of ‘subjection.’

§17. Discussion as to the exact nature of the ‘energies’ which, this man declares, ‘follow’ the being of the Father and of the Son.

Then he says “there must of course be included in this account the energies that accompany each Being, and the names appropriate to these energies.” Shrouded in such a mist of vagueness, the meaning of this is far from clear: but one might conjecture it is as follows. By the energies of the Beings, he means those powers which have produced the Son and the Holy Spirit, and by which the First Being made the Second, and the Second the Third: and he means that the names of the results produced have been provided in a manner appropriate to those results. We have already exposed the mischief of these names, and will again, when we return to that part of the question, should additional discussion of it be required.

But it is worth a moment’s while now to consider how energies ‘follow’ beings: what these energies are essentially: whether different to the beings which they ‘follow,’ or part of them, and of their inmost nature: and then, if different, how and whence they arise: if the same, how they have got cut off from them, and instead of co-existing ‘follow’ 55them externally only. This is necessary, for we cannot learn all at once from his words whether some natural necessity compels the ‘energy,’ whatever that may be, to ‘follow’ the being, the way heat and vapour follow fire, and the various exhalations the bodies which produce them. Still I do not think that he would affirm that we should consider the being of God to be something heterogeneous and composite, having the energy inalienably contained in the idea of itself, like an ‘accident’ in some subject-matter: he must mean that the beings, deliberately and voluntarily moved, produce by themselves the desired result. But, if this be so, who would style this free result of intention as one of its external consequences? We have never heard of such an expression used in common parlance in such cases; the energy of the worker of anything is not said to ‘follow’ that worker. We cannot separate one from the other and leave one behind by itself: but, when one mentions the energy, one comprehends in the idea that which is moved with the energy, and when one mentions the worker one implies at once the unmentioned energy.

An illustration will make our meaning clearer. We say a man works in iron, or in wood, or in anything else. This single expression conveys at once the idea of the working and of the artificer, so that if we withdraw the one, the other has no existence. If then they are thus thought of together, i.e. the energy and he who exercises it, how in this case can there be said to “follow” upon the first being the energy which produces the second being, like a sort of go-between to both, and neither coalescing with the nature of the first, nor combining with the second: separated from the first because it is not its very nature, but only the exercise of its nature, and from that which results afterwards because it does not therein reproduce a mere energy, but an active being.

§18. He has no reason for distinguishing a plurality of beings in the Trinity. He offers no demonstration that it is so.

Let us examine the following as well. He calls one Being the work of another, the second of the first, and the third of the second. On what previous demonstration does this statement rest: what proofs does he make use of, what method, to compel belief in the succeeding Being as a result of the preceding? For even if it were possible to draw an analogy for this from created things, such conjecturing about the transcendent from lower existences would not be altogether sound, though the error in arguing from natural phenomena to the incomprehensible might then be pardonable. But as it is, none would venture to affirm that, while the heavens are the work of God, the sun is that of the heavens, and the moon that of the sun, and the stars that of the moon, and other created things that of the stars: seeing that all are the work of One: for there is one God and Father of all, of Whom are all things. If anything is produced by mutual transmission, such as the race of animals, not even here does one produce another, for nature runs on through each generation. How then, when it is impossible to affirm it of the created world, can he declare of the transcendent existencies that the second is a work of the first, and so on? If, however, he is thinking of animal generation, and fancies that such a process is going on also amongst pure existences, so that the older produces the younger, even so he fails to be consistent: for such productions are of the same type as their progenitors: whereas he assigns to the members of his succession strange and uninherited qualities: and thus displays a superfluity of falsehood, while striving to strike truth with both hands at once, in a clever boxer’s fashion. In order to show the inferior rank and diminution in intrinsic value of the Son and Holy Spirit, he declares that “one is produced from another;” in order that those who understand about mutual generation might entertain no idea of family relationship here: he contradicts the law of nature by declaring that “one is produced from another,” and at the same time exhibiting the Son as a bastard when compared with His Father’s nature.

But one might find fault with him, I think, before coming to all this. If, that is, any one else, previously unaccustomed to discussion and unversed in logical expression, delivered his ideas in this chance fashion, some indulgence might be shown him for not using the recognized methods for establishing his views. But considering that Eunomius has such an abundance of this power, that he can advance by his ‘irresistible’ method113113    καταληπτικῆς ἐφόδουἡ κατάληψις. These words are taken from the Stoic logic, and refer to the Stoic view of the standard of truth. To the question, How are true perceptions distinguished from false ones, the Stoics answered, that a true perception is one which represents a real object as it really is. To the further question, How may it be known that a perception faithfully represents a reality, they replied by pointing to a relative not an absolute test—the degree of strength with which certain perceptions force themselves upon our notice. Some of our perceptions are of such a kind that they at once oblige us to bestow on them assent. Such perceptions produce in us that strength of conviction which the Stoics call a conception. Whenever a perception forces itself upon us in this irresistible form, we are no longer dealing with a fiction of the imagination but with something real. The test of irresistibility (κατάληψις) was, in the first place, understood to apply to sensations from without, such sensations, according to the Stoic view, alone supplying the material for knowledge. An equal degree of certainty was, however, attached to terms deduced from originally true data, either by the universal and natural exercise of thought, or by scientific processes of proof. It is καταλέψεις obtained in this last way that Gregory refers to, and Eunomius was endeavouring to create in the supra-natural world. of proof even into the 56supra-natural, how can he be ignorant of the starting-point from which this ‘irresistible’ perception of a hidden truth takes its rise in all these logical excursions. Every one knows that all such arguing must start from plain and well-known truths, to compel belief through itself in still doubtful truths: and that none of these last can be grasped without the guidance of what is obvious leading us towards the unknown. If on the other hand that which is adopted to start with for the illustration of this unknown is at variance with universal belief, it will be a long time before the unknown will receive any illustration from it.

The whole controversy, then, between the Church and the Anomœans turns on this: Are we to regard the Son and the Holy Spirit as belonging to created or uncreated existence? Our opponent declares that to be the case which all deny: he boldly lays it down, without looking about for any proof, that each being is the work of the preceding being. What method of education, what school of thought can warrant him in this, it is difficult to see. Some axiom that cannot be denied or assailed must be the beginning of every process of proof; so as for the unknown quantity to be demonstrated from what has been assumed, being legitimately deduced by intervening syllogisms. The reasoner, therefore, who makes what ought to be the object of inquiry itself a premiss of his demonstration is only proving the obscure by the obscure, and illusion by illusion. He is making ‘the blind lead the blind,’ for it is a truly blind and unsupported statement to say that the Creator and Maker of all things is a creature made: and to this they link on a conclusion that is also blind: namely, that the Son is alien in nature, unlike in being to the Father, and quite devoid of His essential character. But of this enough. Where his thought is nakedly blasphemous, there we too can defer its refutation. We must now return to consider his words which come next in order.

§19. His acknowledgment that the Divine Being is ‘single’ is only verbal.

“Each Being has, in fact and in conception, a nature unmixed, single, and absolutely one as estimated by its dignity; and as the works are bounded by the energies of each operator, and the energies by the works, it is inevitable that the energies which follow each Being are greater in the one case than the other, some being of the first, others of the second rank.” The intention that runs through all this, however verbosely expressed, is one and the same; namely, to establish that there is no connexion between the Father and the Son, or between the Son and the Holy Ghost, but that these Beings are sundered from each other, and possess natures foreign and unfamiliar to each other, and differ not only in that, but also in magnitude and in subordination of their dignities, so that we must think of one as greater than the other, and presenting every other sort of difference.

It may seem to many useless to linger over what is so obvious, and to attempt a discussion of that which to them is on the face of it false and abominable and groundless: nevertheless, to avoid even the appearance of having to let these statements pass for want of counter-arguments, we will meet them with all our might. He says, “each being amongst them is unmixed, single, and absolutely one, as estimated by its dignity, both in fact and in conception.” Then premising this very doubtful statement as an axiom and valuing his own ‘ipse dixit’ as a sufficient substitute for any proof, he thinks he has made a point. “There are three Beings:” for he implies this when he says, ‘each being amongst them:’ he would not have used these words, if he meant only one. Now if he speaks thus of the mutual difference between the Beings in order to avoid complicity with the heresy of Sabellius, who applied three titles to one subject, we would acquiesce in his statement: nor would any of the Faithful contradict his view, except so far as he seems to be at fault in his names, and his mere form of expression in speaking of ‘beings’ instead of ‘persons:’ for things that are identical on the score of being will not all agree equally in definition on the score of personality. For instance, Peter, James, and John are the same viewed as beings, each was a man: but in the characteristics of their respective personalities, they were not alike. If, then, he were only proving that it is not right to confound the Persons, and to fit all the three names on to one Subject, his ‘saying’ would be, to use the Apostle’s words, ‘faithful, and worthy of all acceptation114114    1 Timothy i. 15..’ But this is not his object: he speaks so, not because he divides the Persons only from each other by their recognized characteristics, but because he makes the actual substantial being of each different from that of the others, or rather from itself: and so he speaks of a plurality of beings with distinctive differences which alienate them from each other. I therefore declare that his view is unfounded, and lacks a principle: it starts from data that are not granted, and then it constructs by mere logic a blasphemy upon them. It at57tempts no demonstration that could attract towards such a conception of the doctrine: it merely contains the statement of an unproved impiety, as if it were telling us a dream. While the Church teaches that we must not divide our faith amongst a plurality of beings, but must recognize no difference of being in three Subjects or Persons, whereas our opponents posit a variety and unlikeness amongst them as Beings, this writer confidently assumes as already proved what never has been, and never can be, proved by argument: maybe he has not even yet found hearers for his talk: or he might have been informed by one of them who was listening intelligently that every statement which is made at random, and without proof, is ‘an old woman’s tale,’ and powerless to prove the question, in itself, unaided by any plea whatever fetched from the Scriptures, or from human reasonings. So much for this.

But let us still scrutinize his words. He declares each of these Beings, whom he has shadowed forth in his exposition, to be single and absolutely one. We believe that the most boorish and simple-minded would not deny that the Divine Nature, blessed and transcendent as it is, was ‘single.’ That which is viewless, formless, and sizeless, cannot be conceived of as multiform and composite. But it will be clear, upon the very slightest reflection, that this view of the supreme Being as ‘simple,’ however finely they may talk of it, is quite inconsistent with the system which they have elaborated. For who does not know that, to be exact, simplicity in the case of the Holy Trinity admits of no degrees. In this case there is no mixture or conflux of qualities to think of; we comprehend a potency without parts and composition; how then, and on what grounds, could any one perceive there any differences of less and more. For he who marks differences there must perforce think of an incidence of certain qualities in the subject. He must in fact have perceived differences in largeness and smallness therein, to have introduced this conception of quantity into the question: or he must posit abundance or diminution in the matter of goodness, strength, wisdom, or of anything else that can with reverence be associated with God: and neither way will he escape the idea of composition. Nothing which possesses wisdom or power or any other good, not as an external gift, but rooted in its nature, can suffer diminution in it; so that if any one says that he detects Beings greater and smaller in the Divine Nature, he is unconsciously establishing a composite and heterogeneous Deity, and thinking of the Subject as one thing, and the quality, to share in which constitutes as good that which was not so before, as another. If he had been thinking of a Being really single and absolutely one, identical with goodness rather than possessing it, he would not be able to count a greater and a less in it at all. It was said, moreover, above that good can be diminished by the presence of evil alone, and that where the nature is incapable of deteriorating, there is no limit conceived of to the goodness: the unlimited, in fact, is not such owing to any relation whatever, but, considered in itself, escapes limitation. It is, indeed, difficult to see how a reflecting mind can conceive one infinite to be greater or less than another infinite. So that if he acknowledges the supreme Being to be ‘single’ and homogenous, let him grant that it is bound up with this universal attribute of simplicity and infinitude. If, on the other hand, he divides and estranges the ‘Beings’ from each other, conceiving that of the Only-begotten as another than the Father’s, and that of the Spirit as another than the Only-begotten, with a ‘more’ and ‘less’ in each case, let him be exposed now as granting simplicity in appearance only to the Deity, but in reality proving the composite in Him.

But let us resume the examination of his words in order. “Each Being has in fact and conception a nature unmixed, single, and absolutely one, as estimated by its dignity.” Why “as estimated by its dignity?” If he contemplates the Beings in their common dignity, this addition is unnecessary and superfluous, and dwells upon that which is obvious: although a word so out of place might be pardoned, if it was any feeling of reverence which prompted him not to reject it. But here the mischief really is not owing to a mistake about a phrase (that might be easily set right): but it is connected with his evil designs. He says that each of the three beings is ‘single, as estimated by its dignity,’ in order that, on the strength of his previous definitions of the first, second, and third Being, the idea of their simplicity also may be marred. Having affirmed that the being of the Father alone is ‘Supreme’ and ‘Proper,’ and having refused both these titles to that of the Son and of the Spirit, in accordance with this, when he comes to speak of them all as ‘simple,’ he thinks it his duty to associate with them the idea of simplicity in proportion only to their essential worth, so that the Supreme alone is to be conceived of as at the height and perfection of simplicity, while the second, in proportion to its declension from supremacy, receives also a diminished measure of simplicity, and in the case of the third Being also, there is 58as much variation from the perfect simplicity, as the amount of worth is lessened in the extremes: whence it results that the Father’s being is conceived as of pure simplicity, that of the Son as not so flawless in simplicity, but with a mixture of the composite, that of the Holy Spirit as still increasing in the composite, while the amount of simplicity is gradually lessened. Just as imperfect goodness must be owned to share in some measure in the reverse disposition, so imperfect simplicity cannot escape being considered composite.

§20. He does wrong in assuming, to account for the existence of the Only-Begotten, an ‘energy’ that produced Christ’s Person.

That such is his intention in using these phrases will be clear from what follows, where he more plainly materializes and degrades our conception of the Son and of the Spirit. “As the energies are bounded by the works, and the works commensurate with the energies, it necessarily follows that these energies which accompany these Beings are relatively greater and less, some being of a higher, some of a lower order.” Though he has studiously wrapt the mist of his phraseology round the meaning of this, and made it hard for most to find out, yet as following that which we have already examined it will easily be made clear. “The energies,” he says, “are bounded by the works.” By ‘works’ he means the Son and the Spirit, by ‘energies’ the efficient powers by which they were produced, which powers, he said a little above, ‘follow’ the Beings. The phrase ‘bounded by’ expresses the balance which exists between the being produced and the producing power, or rather the ‘energy’ of that power, to use his own word implying that the thing produced is not the effect of the whole power of the operator, but only of a particular energy of it, only so much of the whole power being exerted as is calculated to be likely to be equal to effect that result. Then he inverts his statement: “and the works are commensurate with the energies of the operators.” The meaning of this will be made clearer by an illustration. Let us think of one of the tools of a shoemaker: i.e., a leather-cutter. When it is moved round upon that from which a certain shape has to be cut, the part so excised is limited by the size of the instrument, and a circle of such a radius will be cut as the instrument possesses of length, and, to put the matter the other way, the span of the instrument will measure and cut out a corresponding circle. That is the idea which our theologian has of the divine person of the Only-begotten. He declares that a certain ‘energy’ which ‘follows’ upon the first Being produced, in the fashion of such a tool, a corresponding work, namely our Lord: this is his way of glorifying the Son of God, Who is even now glorified in the glory of the Father, and shall be revealed in the Day of Judgment. He is a ‘work commensurate with the producing energy.’ But what is this energy which ‘follows’ the Almighty and is to be conceived of prior to the Only-begotten, and which circumscribes His being? A certain essential Power, self-subsisting, which works its will by a spontaneous impulse. It is this, then, that is the real Father of our Lord. And why do we go on talking of the Almighty as the Father, if it was not He, but an energy belonging to the things which follow Him externally that produced the Son: and how can the Son be a son any longer, when something else has given Him existence according to Eunomius, and He creeps like a bastard (may our Lord pardon the expression!) into relationship with the Father, and is to be honoured in name only as a Son? How can Eunomius rank our Lord next after the Almighty at all, when he counts Him third only, with that mediating ‘energy’ placed in the second place? The Holy Spirit also according to this sequence will be found not in the third, but in the fifth place, that ‘energy’ which follows the Only-Begotten, and by which the Holy Spirit came into existence necessarily intervening between them.

Thereby, too, the creation of all things by the Son115115    There is of course reference here to John i. 3: and Eunomius is called just below the ‘new theologian,’ with an allusion of S. John, who was called by virtue of this passage essentially ὁ θεόλογος will be found to have no foundation: another personality, prior to Him, has been invented by our neologian, to which the authorship of the world must be referred, because the Son Himself derives His being according to them from that ‘energy.’ If, however, to avoid such profanities, he makes this ‘energy’ which produced the Son into something unsubstantial, he will have to explain to us how non-being can ‘follow’ being, and how what is not a substance can produce a substance: for, if he did that, we shall find an unreality following God, the non-existent author of all existence, the radically unsubstantial circumscribing a substantial nature, the operative force of creation contained, in the last resort, in the unreal. Such is the result of the teaching of this theologian who affirms of the Lord Artificer of heaven and earth and of all the Creation, the Word of God Who was in the beginning, through Whom are all things, that He owes His existence to such a baseless entity or conception as that unnameable ‘energy’ which he has just invented, and that He is circumscribed by it, as by an enclos59ing prison of unreality. He who ‘gazes into the unseen’ cannot see the conclusion to which his teaching tends. It is this: if this ‘energy’ of God has no real existence, and if the work that this unreality produces is also circumscribed by it, it is quite clear that we can only think of such a nature in the work, as that which is possessed by this fancied producer of the work: in fact, that which is produced from and is contained by an unreality can itself be conceived of as nothing else but a non-entity. Opposites, in the nature of things, cannot be contained by opposites: such as water by fire, life by death, light by darkness, being by non-being. But with all his excessive cleverness he does not see this: or else he consciously shuts his eyes to the truth.

Some necessity compels him to see a diminution in the Son, and to establish a further advance in this direction in the case of the Holy Ghost. “It necessarily follows,” he says, “that these energies which accompany these Beings are relatively greater and less.” This compelling necessity in the Divine nature, which assigns a greater and a less, has not been explained to us by Eunomius, nor as yet can we ourselves understand it. Hitherto there has prevailed with those who accept the Gospel in its plain simplicity the belief that there is no necessity above the Godhead to bend the Only-begotten, like a slave, to inferiority. But he quite overlooks this belief, though it was worth some consideration; and he dogmatizes that we must conceive of this inferiority. But this necessity of his does not stop there: it lands him still further in blasphemy: as our examination in detail has already shewn. If, that is, the Son was born, not from the Father, but from some unsubstantial ‘energy,’ He must be thought of as not merely inferior to the Father, and this doctrine must end in pure Judaism. This necessity, when followed out, exhibits the product of a non-entity as not merely insignificant, but as something which it is a perilous blasphemy even for an accuser to name. For as that which has its birth from an existence necessarily exists, so that which is evolved from the non-existent necessarily does the very contrary. When anything is not self-existent, how can it generate another?

If, then, this energy which ‘follows’ the Deity, and produces the Son, has no existence of its own, no one can be so blind as not to see the conclusion, and that his aim is to deny our Saviour’s deity: and if the personality of the Son is thus stolen by their doctrine from the Faith, with nothing left of it but the name, it will be a long time before the Holy Ghost, descended as He will be from a lineage of unrealities, will be believed in again. The energy which ‘follows’ the Deity has no existence of its own: then common sense requires the product of this to be unreal: then a second unsubstantial energy follows this product: then it is declared that the Holy Ghost is formed by this energy: so that their blasphemy is plain enough: it consists in nothing less than in denying that after the Ingenerate God there is any real existence: and their doctrine advances into shadowy and unsubstantial fictions, where there is no foundation of any actual subsistence. In such monstrous conclusions does their teaching strand the argument.

§21. The blasphemy of these heretics is worse than the Jewish unbelief.

But let us assume that this is not so: for they allow, forsooth, in theoretic kindness towards humanity, that the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit have some personal existence: and if, in allowing this, they had granted too the consequent conceptions about them, they would not have been waging battle about the doctrine of the Church, nor cut themselves off from the hope of Christians. But if they have lent an existence to the Son and the Spirit, only to furnish a material on which to erect their blasphemy, perhaps it might have been better for them, though it is a bold thing to say, to abjure the Faith and apostatize to the Jewish religion, rather than to insult the name of Christian by this mock assent. The Jews at all events, though they have persisted hitherto in rejecting the Word, carry their impiety only so far as to deny that Christ has come, but to hope that He will come: we do not hear from them any malignant or destructive conception of the glory of Him Whom they expect. But this school of the new circumcision116116    this school of the new circumcision. This accusation is somewhat discounted by Gregory’s comparison of Eunomius elsewhere to Bardesanes and Marcion, to the Manichees, to Nicholaus, to Philo (see Book XI. 691, 704, VI. 607, and especially VII. 645), and by his putting him down a scholar of Plato. But a momentary advantage, calculated in accordance with the character and capacities of the great mass of Gregory’s audience, could not be lost. The lessons of Libanius, the rhetorician, had not been thrown away on Gregory., or rather of “the concision,” while they own that He has come, resemble nevertheless those who insulted our Lord’s bodily presence by their wanton unbelief. They wanted to stone our Lord: these men stone Him with their blasphemous titles. They urged His humble and obscure origin, and rejected His divine birth before the ages: these men in the same way deny His grand, sublime, ineffable generation from the Father, and would prove that He owes His existence to a creation, just as the human race, and all that is born, owe theirs. In the eyes of the 60Jews it was a crime that our Lord should be regarded as Son of the Supreme: these men also are indignant against those who are sincere in making this confession of Him. The Jews thought to honour the Almighty by excluding the Son from equal reverence: these men, by annihilating the glory of the Son, think to bestow more honour on the Father. But it would be difficult to do justice to the number and the nature of the insults which they heap upon the Only-begotten: they invent an ‘energy’ prior to the personality of the Son and say that He is its work and product: a thing which the Jews hitherto have not dared to say. Then they circumscribe His nature, shutting Him off within certain limits of the power which made Him: the amount of this productive energy is a sort of measure within which they enclose Him: they have devised it as a sort of cloak to muffle Him up in. We cannot charge the Jews with doing this.

§22. He has no right to assert a greater and less in the Divine being. A systematic statement of the teaching of the Church.

Then they discover in His being a certain shortness in the way of deficiency, though they do not tell us by what method they measure that which is devoid of quantity and size: they are able to find out exactly by how much the size of the Only-begotten falls short of perfection, and therefore has to be classed with the inferior and imperfect: much else they lay down, partly by open assertion, partly by underhand inference: all the time making their confession of the Son and the Spirit a mere exercise-ground for their unbelieving spirit. How, then, can we fail to pity them more even than the condemned Jews, when views never ventured upon by the latter are inferred by the former? He who makes the being of the Son and of the Spirit comparatively less, seems, so far as words go perhaps, to commit but a slight profanity: but if one were to test his view stringently it will be found the height of blasphemy. Let us look into this, then, and let indulgence be shown me, if, for the sake of doctrine, and to place in a clear light the lie which they have demonstrated, I advance into an exposition of our own conception of the truth.

Now the ultimate division of all being is into the Intelligible and the Sensible. The Sensible world is called by the Apostle broadly “that which is seen.” For as all body has colour, and the sight apprehends this, he calls this world by the rough and ready name of “that which is seen,” leaving out all the other qualities, which are essentially inherent in its framework. The common term, again, for all the intellectual world, is with the Apostle “that which is not seen117117    Colossians i. 16.:” by withdrawing all idea of comprehension by the senses he leads the mind on to the immaterial and intellectual. Reason again divides this “which is not seen” into the uncreate and the created, inferentially comprehending it: the uncreate being that which effects the Creation, the created that which owes its origin and its force to the uncreate. In the Sensible world, then, is found everything that we comprehend by our organs of bodily sense, and in which the differences of qualities involve the idea of more and less, such differences consisting in quantity, quality, and the other properties.

But in the Intelligible world,—that part of it, I mean, which is created,—the idea of such differences as are perceived in the Sensible cannot find a place: another method, then, is devised for discovering the degrees of greater and less. The fountain, the origin, the supply of every good is regarded as being in the world that is uncreate, and the whole creation inclines to that, and touches and shares the Highest Existence only by virtue of its part in the First Good: therefore it follows from this participation in the highest blessings varying in degree according to the amount of freedom in the will that each possesses, that the greater and less in this creation is disclosed according to the proportion of this tendency in each118118    i.e. according as each inclines more or less to the First Good.. Created intelligible nature stands on the borderline between good and the reverse, so as to be capable of either, and to incline at pleasure to the things of its choice, as we learn from Scripture; so that we can say of it that it is more or less in the heights of excellence only in proportion to its removal from the evil and its approach to the good. Whereas119119    uncreate intelligible nature is far removed from such distinctions. This was the impregnable position that Athanasius had taken up. To admit that the Son is less than the Father, and the Spirit less than the Son, is to admit the law of emanation such as hitherto conceived, that is, the gradual and successive degradation of God’s substance; which had conducted oriental heretics as well as the Neoplatonists to a sort of pantheistic polytheism. Arius had indeed tried to resist this tendency so far as to bring back divinity to the Supreme Being; but it was at the expense of the divinity of the Son, Who was with him just as much a created Intermediate between God and man, as one of the Æons: and Aetius and Eunomius treated the Holy Ghost also as their master had treated the Son. But Arianism tended at once to Judaism and, in making creatures adorable, to Greek polytheism. There was only one way of cutting short the phantasmagoria of divine emanations, without having recourse to the contradictory hypothesis of Arius: and that was to reject the law of emanation, as hitherto accepted, altogether. Far from admitting that the Supreme Being is always weakening and degrading Himself in that which emanates from Him, Athanasius lays down the principle that He produces within Himself nothing but what is perfect, and first, and divine: and all that is not perfect is a work of the Divine Will, which draws it out of nothing (i.e. creates it), and not out of the Divine Substance. This was the crowning result of the teaching of Alexandria and Origen. See Denys (De la Philosophie d’Origene, p. 432, Paris, 1884). uncreate intelligible nature is far removed from such distinctions: it does not 61possess the good by acquisition, or participate only in the goodness of some good which lies above it: in its own essence it is good, and is conceived as such: it is a source of good, it is simple, uniform, incomposite, even by the confession of our adversaries. But it has distinction within itself in keeping with the majesty of its own nature, but not conceived of with regard to quantity, as Eunomius supposes: (indeed the man who introduces the notion of less of good into any of the things believed to be in the Holy Trinity must admit thereby some admixture of the opposite quality in that which fails of the good: and it is blasphemous to imagine this in the case either of the Only-begotten, or of the Holy Spirit): we regard it as consummately perfect and incomprehensibly excellent yet as containing clear distinctions within itself which reside in the peculiarities of each of the Persons: as possessing invariableness by virtue of its common attribute of uncreatedness, but differentiated by the unique character of each Person. This peculiarity contemplated in each sharply and clearly divides one from the other: the Father, for instance, is uncreate and ungenerate as well: He was never generated any more than He was created. While this uncreatedness is common to Him and the Son, and the Spirit, He is ungenerate as well as the Father. This is peculiar and uncommunicable, being not seen in the other Persons. The Son in His uncreatedness touches the Father and the Spirit, but as the Son and the Only-begotten He has a character which is not that of the Almighty or of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit by the uncreatedness of His nature has contact with the Son and Father, but is distinguished from them by His own tokens. His most peculiar characteristic is that He is neither of those things which we contemplate in the Father and the Son respectively. He is simply, neither as ungenerate120120    But He is not begotten. Athanasian Creed., nor as only-begotten: this it is that constitutes His chief peculiarity. Joined to the Father by His uncreatedness, He is disjoined from Him again by not being ‘Father.’ United to the Son by the bond of uncreatedness, and of deriving His existence from the Supreme, He is parted again from Him by the characteristic of not being the Only-begotten of the Father, and of having been manifested by means of the Son Himself. Again, as the creation was effected by the Only-begotten, in order to secure that the Spirit should not be considered to have something in common with this creation because of His having been manifested by means of the Son, He is distinguished from it by His unchangeableness, and independence of all external goodness. The creation does not possess in its nature this unchangeableness, as the Scripture says in the description of the fall of the morning star, the mysteries on which subject are revealed by our Lord to His disciples: “I saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven121121    Luke x. 18..” But the very attributes which part Him from the creation constitute His relationship to the Father and the Son. All that is incapable of degenerating has one and the same definition of “unchangeable.”

Having stated thus much as a preface we are in a position to discuss the rest of our adversaries’ teaching. “It necessarily follows,” he says in his system of the Son and the Spirit, “that the Beings are relatively greater and less.” Let us then inquire what is the meaning of this necessity of difference. Does it arise from a comparison formed from measuring them one with another in some material way, or from viewing them on the spiritual ground of more or less of moral excellence, or on that of pure being? But in the case of this last it has been shown by competent thinkers that it is impossible to conceive of any difference whatever, if one abstracts being from attributes and properties, and looks at it according to its bare definition. Again, to conceive of this difference as consisting in the case of the Only-begotten and the Spirit in the intensity or abatement of moral excellence, and in consequence to hint that their nature admits of change in either direction, so as to be equally capable of opposites, and to be placed in a borderland between moral beauty and its opposite—that is gross profanity. A man who thinks this will be proving that their nature is one thing in itself, and becomes something else by virtue of its participation in this beauty or its opposite: as happens with iron for example: if it is approached some time to the fire, it assumes the quality of heat while remaining iron: if it is put in snow or ice, it changes its quality to the mastering influence, and lets the snow’s coldness pass into its pores.

Now just as we cannot name the material of the iron from the quality now to be observed upon it (for we do not give the name of fire or ice to that which is tempered with either of these), so the moment we grant the view of these heretics, that in the case122122    τῆς ζωοποιοῦ δυνάμεως. of the Life-giving Power good does not reside in It essentially, but is imparted to it only, it will become impossible to call it properly good: 62such a conception of it will compel us to regard it as something different, as not eternally exhibiting the good, as not in itself to be classed amongst genuine goods, but as such that the good is at times not in it, and is at times not likely to be in it. If these existences become good only by sharing in a something superior to themselves, it is plain that before this participation they were not good, and if, being other than good, they were then coloured by the influence of good they must certainly, if again isolated from this, be considered other than good: so that, if this heresy prevails, the Divine Nature cannot be apprehended as transmissive of good, but rather as itself needing goodness: for how can one impart to another that which he does not himself possess? If it is in a state of perfection, no abatement of that can be conceived, and it is absurd to talk of less of perfection. If on the other hand its participation of good is an imperfect one, and this is what they mean by ‘less,’ mark the consequence that anything in that state can never help an inferior, but will be busied in satisfying its own want: so that, according to them, Providence is a fiction, and so is the judgment and the Dispensation of the Only-begotten, and all the other works believed to be done, and still doing by Him: for He will necessarily be employed in taking care of His own good, and must abandon the supervision of the Universe123123    τοῦ παντὸς. It is worth while to mention, once for all, the distinction in the names used by the Stoics for the world, which had long since passed from them into the common parlance. Including the Empty, the world is called τὸ πᾶν, without it, ὅλον (τὸ ὅλον, τὰ ὅλα frequently occurs with the Stoics). The πᾶν, it was said, is neither material nor immaterial, since it consists of both..

If, then, this surmise is to have its way, namely, that our Lord is not perfected in every kind of good, it is very easy to see the conclusion of the blasphemy. This being so, our faith is vain, and our preaching vain; our hopes, which take their substance from our faith, are unsubstantial. Why are they baptized into Christ124124    Τί γὰρ βαπτίζονται εἰς Χριστὸν. This throws some light on the much discussed passage, ‘Why are these baptized for the dead?’ Gregory at all events seems here to take it to mean, ‘Why are they baptized in the name of a dead Christ?’ as he is adopting partially S. Paul’s words, 1 Cor. xv. 29; as well as Heb. xi. 1 above., if He has no power of goodness of His own? God forgive me for saying it! Why do they believe in the Holy Ghost, if the same account is given of Him? How are they regenerate125125    ἀναγεννῶνται by baptism from their mortal birth, if the regenerating Power does not possess in its own nature infallibility and independence? How can their ‘vile body’ be changed, while they think that He who is to change it Himself needs change, i.e. another to change Him? For as long as a nature is in defect as regards the good, the superior existence exerts upon this inferior one a ceaseless attraction towards itself: and this craving for more will never stop: it will be stretching out to something not yet grasped: the subject of this deficiency will be always demanding a supply, always altering into the grander nature, and yet will never touch perfection, because it cannot find a goal to grasp, and cease its impulse upward. The First Good is in its nature infinite, and so it follows of necessity that the participation in the enjoyment of it will be infinite also, for more will be always being grasped, and yet something beyond that which has been grasped will always be discovered, and this search will never overtake its Object, because its fund is as inexhaustible as the growth of that which participates in it is ceaseless126126    Cf. Gregory’s theory of human perfection; De anima et Resurrectione, p. 229, 230. ‘The All-creating Wisdom fashioned these souls, these receptacles with free wills, as vessels as it were, for this very purpose, that there should be some capacities able to receive His blessings, and become continually larger with the inpouring of the stream. Such are the wonders that the participation in the Divine blessings works; it makes him into whom they come larger and more capacious.…The fountain of blessings wells up unceasingly, and the partaker’s nature, finding nothing superfluous and without a use in that which it receives, makes the whole influx an enlargement of its own proportions.…It is likely, therefore, that this bulk will mount to a magnitude wherein no limit checks the growth..

Such, then, are the blasphemies which emerge from their making differences between the Persons as to the good. If on the other hand the degrees of more or less are to be understood in this case in some material sense, the absurdity of this surmise will be obvious at once, without examination in detail. Ideas of quality and distance, weight and figure, and all that goes to complete the notion of a body, will perforce be introduced along with such a surmise into the view of the Divine Nature: and where a compound is assumed, there the dissolution also of that compound must be admitted. A teaching so monstrous, which dares to discover a smaller and a larger in what is sizeless and not concrete lands us in these and suchlike conclusions, a few samples only of which are here indicated: nor indeed would it be easy to unveil all the mischief that lurks beneath it. Still the shocking absurdity that results from their blasphemous premiss will be clear from this brief notice. We now proceed to their next position, after a short defining and confirmation of our own doctrine. For an inspired testimony is a sure test of the truth of any doctrine: and so it seems to me that ours may be well guaranteed by a quotation from the divine words.

In the division of all existing things, then, we find these distinctions. There is, as appealing to our perceptions, the Sensible world: 63and there is, beyond this, the world which the mind, led on by objects of sense, can view: I mean the Intelligible: and in this we detect again a further distinction into the Created and the Uncreate: to the latter of which we have defined the Holy Trinity to belong, to the former all that can exist or can be thought of after that. But in order that this statement may not be left without a proof, but may be confirmed by Scripture, we will add that our Lord was not created, but came forth from the Father, as the Word with His own lips attests in the Gospel, in a manner of birth or of proceeding ineffable and mysterious: and what truer witness could be found than this constant declaration of our Lord all through the Gospel, that the Very Father was a father, not a creator, of Himself, and that He was not a work of God, but Son of God? Just as when He wished to name His connexion with humanity according to the flesh, He called that phase of his being Son of Man, indicating thereby His kinship according to the nature of the flesh with her from whom He was born, so also by the title of Son he expresses His true and real relationship to the Almighty, by that name of Son showing this natural connexion: no matter if there are some who, for the contradiction of the truth, do take literally and without any explanation, words used with a hidden meaning in the dark form of parable, and adduce the expression ‘created,’ put into the mouth of Wisdom by the author of the Proverbs127127    Proverbs viii. 22 (LXX). For another discussion of this passage, see Book II. ch. 10 (beginning) with note., to support their perverted views. They say, in fact, that “the Lord created me” is a proof that our Lord is a creature, as if the Only-begotten Himself in that word confessed it. But we need not heed such an argument. They do not give reasons why we must refer that text to our Lord at all: neither will they be able to show that the idea of the word in the Hebrew leads to this and no other meaning, seeing that the other translators have rendered it by “possessed” or “constituted:” nor, finally, even if this was the idea in the original text, would its real meaning be so plain and on the surface: for these proverbial discourses do not show their aim at once, but rather conceal it, revealing it only by an indirect import, and we may judge of the obscurity of this particular passage from its context where he says, “When He set His throne upon the winds128128    Proverbs viii. 27 (LXX).,” and all the similar expressions. What is God’s throne? Is it material or ideal? What are the winds? Are they these winds so familiar to us, which the natural philosophers tell us are formed from vapours and exhalations: or are they to be understood in another way not familiar to man, when they are called the bases of His throne? What is this throne of the immaterial, incomprehensible, and formless Deity? Who could possibly understand all this in a literal sense?

§23. These doctrines of our Faith witnessed to and confirmed by Scripture passages.

It is therefore clear that these are metaphors, which contain a deeper meaning than the obvious one: so that there is no reason from them that any suspicion that our Lord was created should be entertained by reverent inquirers, who have been trained according to the grand words of the evangelist, that “all things that have been made were made by Him” and “consist in Him.” “Without Him was not anything made that was made.” The evangelist would not have so defined it if he had believed that our Lord was one among the things made. How could all things be made by Him and in Him consist, unless their Maker possessed a nature different from theirs, and so produced, not Himself, but them? If the creation was by Him, but He was not by Himself, plainly He is something outside the creation. And after the evangelist has by these words so plainly declared that the things that were made were made by the Son, and did not pass into existence by any other channel, Paul 129129    in the Canon. (Oehler’s stopping is here at fault, i.e. he begins a new paragraph with ᾽Εκδέχεται τὸν λόγον τοῦτον ὁ Παῦλος). We need not speculate whether Gregory was aware that the Epistle to the Colossians (quoted below) is an earlier ‘Gospel’ than S. John’s.follows and, to leave no ground at all for this profane talk which numbers even the Spirit amongst the things that were made, he mentions one after another all the existencies which the evangelist’s words imply: just as David in fact, after having said that “all things” were put in subjection to man, adds each species which that “all” comprehends, that is, the creatures on land, in water, and in air, so does Paul the Apostle, expounder of the divine doctrines, after saying that all things were made by Him, define by numbering them the meaning of “all.” He speaks of “the things that are seen130130    Coloss. i. 16.” and “the things that are not seen:” by the first he gives a general name to all things cognizable by the senses, as we have seen: by the latter he shadows forth the intelligible world.

Now about the first there is no necessity of going into minute detail. No one is so 64carnal, so brutelike, as to imagine that the Spirit resides in the sensible world. But after Paul has mentioned “the things that are not seen” he proceeds (in order that none may surmise that the Spirit, because He is of the intelligible and immaterial world, on account of this connexion subsists therein) to another most distinct division into the things that have been made in the way of creation, and the existence that is above creation. He mentions the several classes of these created intelligibles: “131131    Coloss. i. 16.thrones,” “dominions,” “principalities,” “powers,” conveying his doctrine about these unseen influences in broadly comprehensive terms: but by his very silence he separates from his list of things created that which is above them. It is just as if any one was required to name the sectional and inferior officers in some army, and after he had gone through them all, the commanders of tens, the commanders of hundreds, the captains and the colonels132132    ταξιάρχας καὶ λοχαγοὺς, ἑκατοντάρχους τε καὶ χιλιάρχους. The difference between the two pairs seems to be the difference between ‘non-commissioned’ and ‘commissioned’ officers., and all the other names given to the authorities over divisions, omitted after all to speak of the supreme command which extended over all the others: not from deliberate neglect, or from forgetfulness, but because when required or intending to name only the several ranks which served under it, it would have been an insult to include this supreme command in the list of the inferior. So do we find it with Paul, who once in Paradise was admitted to mysteries, when he had been caught up there, and had become a spectator of the wonders that are above the heavens, and saw and heard “things which it is not lawful for a man to utter133133    2 Corinth. xii. 4..” This Apostle proposes to tell us of all that has been created by our Lord, and he gives them under certain comprehensive terms: but, having traversed all the angelic and transcendental world, he stops his reckoning there, and refuses to drag down to the level of creation that which is above it. Hence there is a clear testimony in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is higher than the creation. Should any one attempt to refute this, by urging that neither are the Cherubim mentioned by Paul, that they equally with the Spirit are left out, and that therefore this omission must prove either that they also are above the creation, or that the Holy Spirit is not any more than they to be believed above it, let him measure the full intent of each name in the list: and he will find amongst them that which from not being actually mentioned seems, but only seems, omitted. Under “thrones” he includes the Cherubim, giving them this Greek name, as more intelligible than the Hebrew name for them. He knew that “God sits upon the Cherubim:” and so he calls these Powers the thrones of Him who sits thereon. In the same way there are included in the list Isaiah’s Seraphim134134    Isaiah vi. 6, 7., by whom the mystery of the Trinity was luminously proclaimed, when they uttered that marvellous cry “Holy,” being awestruck with the beauty in each Person of the Trinity. They are named under the title of “powers” both by the mighty Paul, and by the prophet David. The latter says, “Bless ye the Lord all ye His powers, ye ministers of His that do His pleasure135135    Psalm ciii. 21.:” and Isaiah instead of saying “Bless ye” has written the very words of their blessing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory” and he has revealed by what one of the Seraphim did (to him) that these powers are ministers that do God’s pleasure, effecting the ‘purging of sin’ according to the will of Him Who sent them: for this is the ministry of these spiritual beings, viz., to be sent forth for the salvation of those who are being saved.

That divine Apostle perceived this. He understood that the same matter is indicated under different names by the two prophets, and he took the best known of the two words, and called those Seraphim “powers:” so that no ground is left to our critics for saying that any single one of these beings is omitted equally with the Holy Ghost from the catalogue of creation. We learn from the existences detailed by Paul that while some existences have been mentioned, others have been passed over: and while he has taken count of the creation in masses as it were, he has (elsewhere) mentioned as units those things which are conceived of singly. For it is a peculiarity of the Holy Trinity that it is to be proclaimed as consisting of individuals: one Father, one Son, one Holy Ghost: whereas those existences aforesaid are counted in masses, “dominions,” “principalities,” “lordships,” “powers,” so as to exclude any suspicion that the Holy Ghost was one of them. Paul is wisely silent upon our mysteries; he understands how, after having heard those unspeakable words in paradise, to refrain from proclaiming those secrets when he is making mention of lower beings.

But these foes of the truth rush in upon the ineffable; they degrade the majesty of the Spirit to the level of the creation; they act as if they had never heard that the Word of God, when confiding to His disciples the secret of knowing God, Himself said that the life of 65136136    τοῖς ἀναγεννωμένοιςthe regenerate was to be completed in them and imparted in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and, thereby ranking the Spirit with the Father and Himself, precluded Him from being confused with the creation. From both, therefore, we may get a reverential and proper conception with regard to Him: from Paul’s omitting the Spirit’s existence in the mention of the creation, and from our Lord’s joining the Spirit with His Father and Himself in mentioning the life-giving power. Thus does our reason, under the guidance of the Scripture, place not only the Only-begotten but the Holy Spirit as well above the creation, and prompt us in accordance with our Saviour’s command to contemplate Him by faith in the blessed world of life giving and uncreated existence: and so this unit, which we believe in, above creation, and sharing in the supreme and absolutely perfect nature, cannot be regarded as in any way a ‘less,’ although this teacher of heresy attempt to curtail its infinitude by introducing the idea of degrees, and thus contracting the divine perfection by defining a greater and a less as residing in the Persons.

§24. His elaborate account of degrees and differences in ‘works’ and ‘energies’ within the Trinity is absurd.

Now let us see what he adds, as the consequence of this. After saying that we must perforce regard the Being as greater and less and that while137137    τὰς μὲν, i.e. Οὑσίος. Eunomius’ Arianism here degenerates into mere Emanationism: but even in this system the Substances were living: it is best on the whole to translate οὐσία ‘being,’ and this, as a rule, is adhered to throughout. the ones, by virtue of a pre-eminent magnitude and value, occupy a leading place, the others must be detruded to a lower place, because their nature and their value is secondary, he adds this; “their difference amounts to that existing between their works: it would in fact be impious to say that the same energy produced the angels or the stars, and the heavens or man; but one would positively maintain about this, that in proportion as some works are older and more honourable than others, so does one energy transcend another, because sameness of energy produces sameness of work, and difference of work indicates difference of energy.”

I suspect that their author himself would find it difficult to tell us what he meant when he wrote those words. Their thought is obscured by the rhetorical mud, which is so thick that one can hardly see beyond any clue to interpret them. “Their difference amounts to that existing between their works” is a sentence which might be suspected of coming from some Loxias of pagan story, mystifying his hearers. But if we may make a guess at the drift of his observations here by following out those which we have already examined, this would be his meaning, viz., that if we know the amount of difference between one work and another, we shall know the amount of that between the corresponding energies. But what “works” he here speaks of, it is impossible to discover from his words. If he means the works to be observed in the creation, I do not see how this hangs on to what goes before. For the question was about Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: what occasion was there, then, for one thinking rationally to inquire one after another into the nature of earth, and water, and air, and fire, and the different animals, and to distinguish some works as older and more honourable than others, and to speak of one energy as transcending another? But if he calls the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit “works,” what does he mean by the “differences” of the energies which produce these works: and what are 138138    κᾀκείναι αἱ ἐνεργείαι αὖται.those wonderful energies of this writer which transcend the others? He has neither explained the particular way in which he means them to “transcend” each other; nor has he discussed the nature of these energies: but he has advanced in neither direction, neither proving so far their real subsistence, nor their being some unsubstantial exertion of a will. Throughout it all his meaning hangs suspended between these two conceptions, and oscillates from one to the other. He adds that “it would be impious to say that the same energy produced the angels or the stars, and the heavens or man.” Again we ask what necessity there is to draw this conclusion from his previous remarks? I do not see that it is proved any more 139139    τῷ παρηλλάχθαι, κ.τ.λ. This is Oehler’s emendation for the faulty reading τὸ of the editions.because the energies vary amongst themselves as much as the works do, and because the works are not all from the same source but are stated by him to come from different sources. As for the heavens and each angel, star, and man, or anything else understood by the word “creation,” we know from Scripture that they are all the work of One: whereas in their system of theology the Son and the Spirit are not the work of one and the same, the Son being the work of the energy which ‘follows’ the first Being, and the Spirit the further work of that work. What the connexion, then, is between that statement and the heavens, man, angel, star, which he drags in, must be revealed by himself, or some one whom he has initiated into his profound philosophy. The blasphemy intended by his words is plain 66enough, but the way the profanity is stated is inconsistent with itself. To suppose that within the Holy Trinity there is a difference as wide as that which we can observe between the heavens which envelope the whole creation, and one single man or the star which shines in them, is openly profane: but still the connexion of such thoughts and the pertinence of such a comparison is a mystery to me, and I suspect also to its author himself. If indeed his account of the creation were of this sort, viz., that while the heavens were the work of some transcendent energy each star in them was the result of an energy accompanying the heavens, and that then an angel was the result of that star, and a man of that angel, his argument would then have consisted in a comparison of similar processes, and might have somewhat confirmed his doctrine. But since he grants that it was all made by One (unless he wishes to contradict Scripture downright), while he describes the production of the Persons after a different fashion, what connexion is there between this newly imported view and what went before?

But let it be granted to him that this comparison does have some connexion with proving variation amongst the Beings (for this is what he desires to establish); still let us see how that which follows hangs on to what he has just said, ‘In proportion as one work is prior to another and more precious than it, so would a pious mind affirm that one energy transcends another.’ If in this he alludes to the sensible world, the statement is a long way from the matter in hand. There is no necessity whatever that requires one whose subject is theological to philosophize about the order in which the different results achieved in the world-making are to come, and to lay down that the energies of the Creator are higher and lower analogously to the magnitude of each thing then made. But if he speaks of the Persons themselves, and means by works that are ‘older and more honourable’ those ‘works’ which he has just fashioned in his own creed, that is, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, it would be perhaps better to pass over in silence such an abominable view, than to create even the appearance of its being an argument by entangling ourselves with it. For can a ‘more honourable’ be discovered where there is not a less honourable? If he can go so far, and with so light a heart, in profanity as to hint that the expression and the idea ‘less precious’ can be predicated of anything whatever which we believe of the Trinity, then it were well to stop our ears, and get as quickly as possible out of hearing of such wickedness, and the contagion of reasoning which will be transfused into the heart, as from a vessel full of uncleanness.

Can any one dare to speak of the divine and supreme Being in such a way that a less degree of honour in comparison is proved by the argument. “That all,” says the evangelist, “may honour the Son, as they honour the Father.140140    John v. 23.” This utterance (and such an utterance is a law to us) makes a law of this equality in honour: yet this man annuls both the law and its Giver, and apportions to the One more, to the Other less of honour, by some occult method for measuring its extra abundance which he has discovered. By the custom of mankind the differences of worth are the measure of the amount of honour which each in authority receives; so that inferiors do not approach the lower magistracies in the same guise exactly as they do the sovereign, and the greater or less display of fear or reverence on their part indicates the greater or the less worshipfulness in the objects of it: in fact we may discover, in this disposition of inferiors, who are the specially honourable; when, for instance, we see some one feared beyond his neighbours, or the recipient of more reverence than the rest. But in the case of the divine nature, because every perfection in the way of goodness is connoted with the very name of God, we cannot discover, at all events as we look at it, any ground for degrees of honour. Where there is no greater and smaller in power, or glory, or wisdom, or love, or of any other imaginable good whatever, but the good which the Son has is the Father’s also, and all that is the Father’s is seen in the Son, what possible state of mind can induce us to show the more reverence in the case of the Father? If we think of royal power and worth the Son is King: if of a judge, ‘all judgment is committed to the Son141141    John v. 22; i. 3.:’ if of the magnificent office of Creation, ‘all things were made by Him142142    John v. 22; i. 3.:’ if of the Author of our life, we know the True Life came down as far as our nature: if of our being taken out of darkness, we know He is the True Light, who weans us from darkness: if wisdom is precious to any, Christ is God’s power and Wisdom143143    1 Cor. i. 24. “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”.

Our very souls, then, being disposed so naturally and in proportion to their capacity, and yet so miraculously, to recognize so many and great wonders in Christ, what further excess of honour is left us to pay exclusively to the Father, as inappropriate to the Son? Human reverence of the Deity, looked at in its plainest meaning, is nothing else but 67an attitude of love towards Him, and a confession of the perfections in Him: and I think that the precept ‘so ought the Son to be honoured as the Father144144    John v. 23. The Gospel enjoins honour and means love: the Law enjoins love and means honour.,’ is enjoined by the Word in place of love. For the Law commands that we pay to God this fitting honour by loving Him with all our heart and strength and here is the equivalent of that love, in that the Word as Lawgiver thus says, that the Son ought to be honoured as the Father.

It was this kind of honour that the great David fully paid, when he confessed to the Lord in a prelude145145    a prelude. See Psalm vii. 1 and Psalm xviii. 1, “fortress,” κραταίωμα; στερέωμα, LXX. of his psalmody that he loved the Lord, and told all the reasons for his love, calling Him his “rock” and “fortress,” and “refuge,” and “deliverer,” and “God-helper,” and “hope,” and “buckler,” and “horn of salvation,” and “protector.” If the Only-begotten Son is not all these to mankind, let the excess of honour be reduced to this extent as this heresy dictates: but if we have always believed Him to be, and to be entitled to, all this and even more, and to be equal in every operation and conception of the good to the majesty of the Father’s goodness, how can it be pronounced consistent, either not to love such a character, or to slight it while we love it? No one can say that we ought to love Him with all our heart and strength, but to honour Him only with half. If, then, the Son is to be honoured with the whole heart in rendering to Him all our love, by what device can anything superior to His honour be discovered, when such a measure of honour is paid Him in the coin of love as our whole heart is capable of? Vainly, therefore, in the case of Beings essentially honourable, will any one dogmatize about a superior honour, and by comparison suggest an inferior honour.

Again; only in the case of the creation is it true to speak of ‘priority.’ The sequence of works was there displayed in the order of the days; and the heavens may be said to have preceded by so much the making of man, and that interval may be measured by the interval of days. But in the divine nature, which transcends all idea of time and surpasses all reach of thought, to talk of a “prior” and a “later” in the honours of time is a privilege only of this new-fangled philosophy. In short he who declares the Father to be ‘prior’ to the subsistence of the Son declares nothing short of this, viz., that the Son is later than the things made by the Son146146    The meaning is that, if the Son is later (in time) than the Father, then time must have already existed for this comparison to be made; i.e. the Son is later than time as well as the Father. This involves a contradiction. (if at least it is true to say that all the ages, and all duration of time was created after the Son, and by the Son).

§25. He who asserts that the Father is ‘prior’ to the Son with any thought of an interval must perforce allow that even the Father is not without beginning.

But more than this: what exposes still further the untenableness of this view is, that, besides positing a beginning in time of the Son’s existence, it does not, when followed out, spare the Father even, but proves that He also had his beginning in time. For any recognizing mark that is presupposed for the generation of the Son must certainly define as well the Father’s beginning.

To make this clear, it will be well to discuss it more carefully. When he pronounces that the life of the Father is prior to that of the Son, he places a certain interval between the two; now, he must mean, either that this interval is infinite, or that it is included within fixed limits. But the principle of an intervening mean will not allow him to call it infinite; he would annul thereby the very conception of Father and Son and the thought of anything connecting them, as long as this infinite were limited on neither side, with no idea of a Father cutting it short above, nor that of a Son checking it below. The very nature of the infinite is, to be extended in either direction, and to have no bounds of any kind.

Therefore if the conception of Father and Son is to remain firm and immoveable, he will find no ground for thinking this interval is infinite: his school must place a definite interval of time between the Only-begotten and the Father. What I say, then, is this: that this view of theirs will bring us to the conclusion that the Father is not from everlasting, but from a definite point in time. I will convey my meaning by familiar illustrations; the known shall make the unknown clear. When we say, on the authority of the text of Moses, that man was made the fifth day after the heavens, we tacitly imply that before those same days the heavens did not exist either; a subsequent event goes to define, by means of the interval which precedes it, the occurrence also of a previous event. If this example does not make our contention plain, we can give others. We say that ‘the Law given by Moses was four hundred and thirty years later than the Promise to Abraham.’ If after traversing, step by step upwards147147    step by step upwards. δι᾽ ἀναλύσεως. This does not seem to be used in the Platonic (dialectic) sense, but in the N.T. sense of “return” or “retrogression,” cf. Luke xii. 36. Gregory elsewhere De Hom. Opif. xxv.), uses ἀναλύειν in this sense: speaking of the three examples of Christ’s power of raising from the dead, he says, ‘you see…all these equally at the command of one and the same voice returning (ἀναλύοντας) to life.’ ᾽Αναλύσις thus also came to mean “death,” as a ‘return.’ Cf. Ecclesiastes xi. 7., the anterior time we reach 68this end of that number of years, we firmly grasp as well the fact that, before that date, God’s Promise was not either. Many such instances could be given, but I decline to be minute and wearisome.

Guided, then, by these examples, let us examine the question before us. Our adversaries conceive of the existences of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as involving elder and younger, respectively. Well then; if, at the bidding of this heresy, we journey up beyond the generation of the Son, and approach that intervening duration which the mere fancy of these dogmatists supposes between the Father and the Son, and then reach that other and supreme point of time by which they close that duration, there we find the life of the Father fixed as it were upon an apex; and thence we must necessarily conclude that before it the Father is not to be believed to have existed always.

If you still feel difficulties about this, let us again take an illustration. It shall be that of two rulers, one shorter than the other. If we fit the bases of the two together we know from the tops the extra length of the one; from the end of the lesser lying alongside of it we measure this excess, supplementing the deficiency of the shorter ruler by a calculation, and so bringing it up to the end of the longer; a cubit for instance, or whatever be the distance of the one end from the other. So, if there is, as our adversaries say, an excess of some kind in the Father’s life as compared with the Son’s, it must needs consist in some definite interval of duration: and they will allow that this interval of excess cannot be in the future, for that Both are imperishable, even the foes of the truth will grant. No; they conceive of this difference as in the past, and instead of equalizing the life of the Father and the Son there, they extend the conception of the Father by an interval of living. But every interval must be bounded by two ends: and so for this interval which they have devised we must grasp the two points by which the ends are denoted. The one portion takes its beginning, in their view, from the Son’s generation; and the other portion must end in some other point, from which the interval starts, and by which it limits itself. What this is, is for them to tell us; unless, indeed, they are ashamed of the consequences of their own assumptions.

It admits not of a doubt, then, that they will not be able to find at all the other portion, corresponding to the first portion of their fancied interval, except they were to suppose some beginning of their Ungenerate, whence the middle, that connects with the generation of the Son, may be conceived of as starting. We affirm, then, that when he makes the Son later than the Father by a certain intervening extension of life, he must grant a fixed beginning to the Father’s existence also, regulated by this same interval of his devising; and thus their much-vaunted “Ungeneracy” of the Father will be found to be undermined by its own champions’ arguments; and they will have to confess that their Ungenerate God did once not exist, but began from a starting-point: indeed, that which has a beginning of being is not inoriginate. But if we must at all risks confess this absence of beginning in the Father, let not such exactitude be displayed in fixing for the life of the Son a point which, as the term of His existence, must cut Him off from the life on the other side of it; let it suffice on the ground of causation only to conceive of the Father as before the Son; and let not the Father’s life be thought of as a separate and peculiar one before the generation of the Son, lest we should have to admit the idea inevitably associated with this of an interval before the appearance of the Son which measures the life of Him Who begot Him, and then the necessary consequence of this, that a beginning of the Father’s life also must be supposed by virtue of which their fancied interval may be stayed in its upward advance so as to set a limit and a beginning to this previous life of the Father as well: let it suffice for us, when we confess the ‘coming from Him,’ to admit also, bold as it may seem, the ‘living along with Him;’ for we are led by the written oracles to such a belief. For we have been taught by Wisdom to contemplate the brightness148148    brightness. Heb. i. 3, ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης. of the everlasting light in, and together with, the very everlastingness of that primal light, joining in one idea the brightness and its cause, and admitting no priority. Thus shall we save the theory of our Faith, the Son’s life not failing in the upward view, and the Father’s everlastingness being not trenched upon by supposing any definite beginning for the Son.

§26. It will not do to apply this conception, as drawn out above, of the Father and Son to the Creation, as they insist on doing: but we must contemplate the Son apart with the Father, and believe that the Creation had its origin from a definite point.

But perhaps some of the opponents of this will say, ‘The Creation also has an acknowledged beginning; and yet the things in it are 69not connected in thought with the everlastingness of the Father, and it does not check, by having a beginning of its own, the infinitude of the divine life, which is the monstrous conclusion this discussion has pointed out in the case of the Father and the Son. One therefore of two things must follow. Either the Creation is everlasting; or, it must be boldly admitted, the Son is later in time (than the Father). The conception of an interval in time will lead to monstrous conclusions, even when measured from the Creation up to the Creator.’

One who demurs so, perhaps from not attending closely to the meaning of our belief, fights against it with alien comparisons which have nothing to do with the matter in hand. If he could point to anything above Creation which has its origin marked by any interval of time, and it were acknowledged possible by all to think of any time-interval as existing before Creation, he might have occasion for endeavouring to destroy by such attacks that everlastingness of the Son which we have proved above. But seeing that by all the suffrages of the faithful it is agreed that, of all things that are, part is by creation, and part before creation, and that the divine nature is to be believed uncreate (although within it, as our faith teaches, there is a cause, and there is a subsistence produced, but without separation, from the cause), while the creation is to be viewed in an extension of distances,—all order and sequence of time in events can be perceived only in the ages (of this creation), but the nature pre-existent to those ages escapes all distinctions of before and after, because reason cannot see in that divine and blessed life the things which it observes, and that exclusively, in creation. The creation, as we have said, comes into existence according to a sequence of order, and is commensurate with the duration of the ages, so that if one ascends along the line of things created to their beginning, one will bound the search with the foundation of those ages. But the world above creation, being removed from all conception of distance, eludes all sequence of time: it has no commencement of that sort: it has no end in which to cease its advance, according to any discoverable method of order. Having traversed the ages and all that has been produced therein, our thought catches a glimpse of the divine nature, as of some immense ocean, but when the imagination stretches onward to grasp it, it gives no sign in its own case of any beginning; so that one who after inquiring with curiosity into the ‘priority’ of the ages tries to mount to the source of all things will never be able to make a single calculation on which he may stand; that which he seeks will always be moving on before, and no basis will be offered him for the curiosity of thought.

It is clear, even with a moderate insight into the nature of things, that there is nothing by which we can measure the divine and blessed Life. It is not in time, but time flows from it; whereas the creation, starting from a manifest beginning, journeys onward to its proper end through spaces of time; so that it is possible, as Solomon somewhere149149    Compare Eccles. iii. 1–11; and viii. 5, “and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.” says, to detect in it a beginning, an end, and a middle; and mark the sequence of its history by divisions of time. But the supreme and blessed life has no time-extension accompanying its course, and therefore no span nor measure. Created things are confined within the fitting measures, as within a boundary, with due regard to the good adjustment of the whole by the pleasure of a wise Creator; and so, though human reason in its weakness cannot reach the whole way to the contents of creation, yet still we do not doubt that the creative power has assigned to all of them their limits and that they do not stretch beyond creation. But this creative power itself, while circumscribing by itself the growth of things, has itself no circumscribing bounds; it buries in itself every effort of thought to mount up to the source of God’s life, and it eludes the busy and ambitious strivings to get to the end of the Infinite. Every discursive effort of thought to go back beyond the ages will ascend only so far as to see that that which it seeks can never be passed through: time and its contents seem the measure and the limit of the movement and the working of human thought, but that which lies beyond remains outside its reach; it is a world where it may not tread, unsullied by any object that can be comprehended by man. No form, no place, no size, no reckoning of time, or anything else knowable, is there: and so it is inevitable that our apprehensive faculty, seeking as it does always some object to grasp, must fall back from any side of this incomprehensible existence, and seek in the ages and in the creation which they hold its kindred and congenial sphere.

All, I say, with any insight, however moderate, into the nature of things, know that the world’s Creator laid time and space as a background to receive what was to be; on this foundation He builds the universe. It is not possible that anything which has come or is now coming into being by way of creation can be independent of space or time. But the existence which is all-sufficient, everlasting, world-enveloping, is not in space, nor in time: it is before these, and 70above these in an ineffable way; self-contained, knowable by faith alone; immeasurable by ages; without the accompaniment of time; seated and resting in itself, with no associations of past or future, there being nothing beside and beyond itself, whose passing can make something past and something future. Such accidents are confined to the creation, whose life is divided with time’s divisions into memory and hope. But within that transcendent and blessed Power all things are equally present as in an instant: past and future are within its all-encircling grasp and its comprehensive view.

This is the Being in which, to use the words of the Apostle, all things are formed; and we, with our individual share in existence, live and move, and have our being150150    Acts xvii. 28; Col. i. 17.. It is above beginning, and presents no marks of its inmost nature: it is to be known of only in the impossibility of perceiving it. That indeed is its most special characteristic, that its nature is too high for any distinctive attribute. A very different account to the Uncreate must be given of Creation: it is this very thing that takes it out of all comparison and connexion with its Maker; this difference, I mean, of essence, and this admitting a special account explanatory of its nature which has nothing in common with that of Him who made it. The Divine nature is a stranger to these special marks in the creation: It leaves beneath itself the sections of time, the ‘before’ and the ‘after,’ and the ideas of space: in fact ‘higher’ cannot properly be said of it at all. Every conception about that uncreate Power is a sublime principle, and involves the idea of what is proper in the highest degree151151    καὶ τὸν τοῦ κυριωτάτου λόγον ἐπέχει·.

We have shewn, then, by what we have said that the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit are not to be looked for in the creation but are to be believed above it; and that while the creation may perhaps by the persevering efforts of ambitious seekers be seized in its own beginning, whatever that may be, the supernatural will not the more for that come within the realm of knowledge, for no mark before the ages indicative of its nature can be found. Well, then, if in this uncreate existence those wondrous realities, with their wondrous names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are to be in our thoughts, how can we imagine, of that pre-temporal world, that which our busy, restless minds perceive in things here below by comparing one of them with another and giving it precedence by an interval of time? For there, with the Father, unoriginate, ungenerate, always Father, the idea of the Son as coming from Him yet side by side with Him is inseparably joined; and through the Son and yet with Him, before any vague and unsubstantial conception comes in between, the Holy Spirit is found at once in closest union; not subsequent in existence to the Son, as if the Son could be thought of as ever having been without the Spirit; but Himself also owning the same cause of His being, i.e. the God over all, as the Only-begotten Light, and having shone forth in that very Light, being divisible neither by duration nor by an alien nature from the Father or from the Only-begotten. There are no intervals in that pre-temporal world: and difference on the score of being there is none. It is not even possible, comparing the uncreate with the uncreated, to see differences; and the Holy Ghost is uncreate, as we have before shewn.

This being the view held by all who accept in its simplicity the undiluted Gospel, what occasion was there for endeavouring to dissolve this fast union of the Son with the Father by means of the creation, as if it were necessary to suppose either that the Son was from everlasting along with the creation, or that He too, equally with it, was later? For the generation of the Son does not fall within time152152    The generation of the Son does not fall within time. On this “eternal generation” Denys (De la Philosophie d’Origéne, p. 452) has the following remarks, illustrating the probable way that Athanasians would have dealt with Eunomius: “If we do not see how God’s indivisibility remains in the co-existence of the three Persons, we can throw the blame of this difficulty upon the feebleness of our reason: while it is a manifest contradiction to admit at one and the same time the simplicity of the Uncreated, and some change or inequality within His Being. I know that the defenders of the orthodox belief might be troubled with their adversaries’ argument. (Eunom. Apol. 22.) ‘If we admit that the Son, the energy creative of the world, is equal to the Father, it amounts to admitting that He is the actual energy of the Father in Creation, and that this energy is equal to His essence. But that is to return to the mistake of the Greeks who identified His essence and His energy, and consequently made the world coexist with God.’ A serious difficulty, certainly, and one that has never yet been solved, nor will be; as all the questions likewise which refer to the Uncreated and Created, to eternity and time. It is true we cannot explain how God’s eternally active energy does prolong itself eternally. But what is this difficulty compared with those which, with the hypothesis of Eunomius, must be swallowed? We must suppose, so, that the ᾽Αγέννητος, since His energy is not eternal, became in a given place and moment, and that He was at that point the Γεννητός. We must suppose that this activity communicated to a creature that privilege of the Uncreated which is most incommunicable, viz. the power of creating other creatures. We must suppose that these creatures, unconnected as they are with the ᾽Αγέννητος (since He has not made them), nevertheless conceive of and see beyond their own creator a Being, who cannot be anything to them. [This direct intuition on our part of the Deity was a special tenet of Eunomius.] Finally we must suppose that these creatures, seeing that Eunomius agrees with orthodox believers that the end of this world will be but a commencement, will enter into new relations with this ᾽Αγέννητος, when the Son shall have submitted all things to the Father.”, any more than the creation was before time: so that it can in no kind of way be right to partition the indivisible, and to insert, by declaring that there was a time when the Author of all existence was not, this false idea of time into the creative Source of the Universe.

Our previous contention, therefore, is true, that the everlastingness of the Son is included, 71along with the idea of His birth, in the Father’s ungeneracy; and that, if any interval were to be imagined dividing the two, that same interval would fix a beginning for the life of the Almighty;—a monstrous supposition. But there is nothing to prevent the creation, being, as it is, in its own nature something other than its Creator and in no point trenching on that pure pre-temporal world, from having, in our belief, a beginning of its own, as we have said. To say that the heavens and the earth and other contents of creation were out of things which are not, or, as the Apostle says, out of “things not seen,153153    Heb. xi. 1; 2 Cor. iv. 18.” inflicts no dishonour upon the Maker of this universe; for we know from Scripture that all these things are not from everlasting nor will remain for ever. If on the other hand it could be believed that there is something in the Holy Trinity which does not coexist with the Father, if following out this heresy any thought could be entertained of stripping the Almighty of the glory of the Son and Holy Ghost, it would end in nothing else than in a God manifestly removed from every deed and thought that was good and godlike. But if the Father, existing before the ages, is always in glory, and the pre-temporal Son is His glory, and if in like manner the Spirit of Christ is the Son’s glory, always to be contemplated along with the Father and the Son, what training could have led this man of learning to declare that there is a ‘before’ in what is timeless, and a ‘more honourable’ in what is all essentially honourable, and preferring, by comparisons, the one to the other, to dishonour the latter by this partiality? The term in opposition154154    ἀντιδιαστολὴ to the more honourable makes it clearer still whither he is tending.

§27. He falsely imagines that the same energies produce the same works, and that variation in the works indicates variation in the energies.

Of the same strain is that which he adds in the next paragraph; “the same energies producing sameness of works, and different works indicating difference in the energies as well.” Finely and irresistibly does this noble thinker plead for his doctrine. “The same energies produce sameness of works.” Let us test this by facts. The energy of fire is always one and the same; it consists in heating: but what sort of agreement do its results show? Bronze melts in it; mud hardens; wax vanishes: while all other animals are destroyed by it, the salamander is preserved alive155155    is preserved alive; ξωογονεῖται. This is the LXX., not the classical use, of the word. Cf. Exod. i. 17; Judges viii. 19, &c. It is reproduced in the speech of S. Stephen, Acts vii. 19: cf. Luke xvii. 33, “shall preserve (his life).”; tow burns, asbestos is washed by the flames as if by water; so much for his ‘sameness of works from one and the same energy.’ How too about the sun? Is not his power of warming always the same; and yet while he causes one plant to grow, he withers another, varying the results of his operation in accordance with the latent force of each. ‘That on the rock’ withers; ‘that in deep earth’ yields an hundredfold. Investigate Nature’s work, and you will learn, in the case of those bodies which she produces artistically, the amount of accuracy there is in his statement that ‘sameness of energy effects sameness of result.’ One single operation is the cause of conception, but the composition of that which is effected internally therein is so varied that it would be difficult for any one even to count all the various qualities of the body. Again, imbibing the milk is one single operation on the part of the infant, but the results of its being nourished so are too complex to be all detailed. While this food passes from the channel of the mouth into the secretory ducts156156    ἀποκριτικοὺς, activè, so, the Medical writers. The Latin is ‘in meatus destinato descendit’ takes it passivè (ἀποκριτίκους)., the transforming power of Nature forwards it into the several parts proportionately to their wants; for by digestion she divides its sum total into the small change of multitudinous differences, and into supplies congenial to the subject matter with which she deals; so that the same milk goes to feed arteries, veins, brain and its membranes, marrow, bones, nerves157157    νεῦρα. So since Galen’s time: not ‘tendon.’, sinews, tendons, flesh, surface, cartilages, fat, hair, nails, perspiration, vapours, phlegm, bile, and besides these, all useless superfluities deriving from the same source. You could not name either an organ, whether of motion or sensation, or anything else making up the body’s bulk, which was not formed (in spite of startling differences) from this one and selfsame operation of feeding. If one were to compare the mechanic arts too it will be seen what is the scientific value of his statement; for there we see in them all the same operation, I mean the movement of the hands; but what have the results in common? What has building a shrine to do with a coat, though manual labour is employed on both? The house-breaker and the well-digger both move their hands: the mining of the earth, the murder of a man are results of the motion of the hands. The soldier slays the foe, and the husbandman wields the fork which breaks the clod, with his hands. How, then, can this doctrinaire lay it down that the ‘same energies produce sameness of work?’ But even if we were to grant that this view of his had any truth in it, the essential union of the Son with the Father, and of the 72Holy Spirit with the Son, is yet again more fully proved. For if there existed any variation in their energies, so that the Son worked His will in a different manner to the Father, then (on the above supposition) it would be fair to conjecture, from this variation, a variation also in the beings which were the result of these varying energies. But if it is true that the manner of the Father’s working is likewise the manner always of the Son’s, both from our Lord’s own words and from what we should have expected a priori—(for the one is not unbodied while the other is embodied, the one is not from this material, the other from that, the one does not work his will in this time and place, the other in that time and place, nor is there difference of organs in them producing difference of result, but the sole movement of their wish and of their will is sufficient, seconded in the founding of the universe by the power that can create anything)—if, I say, it is true that in all respects the Father from Whom are all things, and the Son by Whom are all things in the actual form of their operation work alike, then how can this man hope to prove the essential difference between the Son and the Holy Ghost by any difference and separation between the working of the Son and the Father? The very opposite, as we have just seen, is proved to be the case158158    Punctuating παρασκευάζεται, ἐπείδὴ, κ.τ.λ. instead of a full stop, as Oehler.; seeing that there is no manner of difference contemplated between the working of the Father and that of the Son; and so that there is no gulf whatever between the being of the Son and the being of the Spirit, is shewn by the identity of the power which gives them their subsistence; and our pamphleteer himself confirms this; for these are his words verbatim: “the same energies producing sameness of works.” If sameness of works is really produced by likeness of energies, and if (as they say) the Son is the work of the Father and the Spirit the work of the Son, the likeness in manner159159    Gregory replaces ‘sameness’ (in the case of the energies in Eunomius argument) by ‘likeness’ since the Father and the Son could not be said to be the same, and their energies, therefore, are not identical but similar. of the Father’s and the Son’s energies will demonstrate the sameness of these beings who each result from them.

But he adds, “variation in the works indicates variation in the energies.” How, again, is this dictum of his corroborated by facts? Look, if you please, at plain instances. Is not the ‘energy’ of command, in Him who embodied the world and all things therein by His sole will, a single energy? “He spake and they were made. He commanded and they were created.” Was not the thing commanded in every case alike given existence: did not His single will suffice to give subsistence to the nonexistent? How, then, when such vast differences are seen coming from that one energy of command, can this man shut his eyes to realities, and declare that the difference of works indicates difference of energies? If our dogmatist insists on this, that difference of works implies difference of energies, then we should have expected the very contrary to that which is the case; viz., that everything in the world should be of one type. Can it be that he does see here a universal likeness, and detects unlikeness only between the Father and the Son?

Let him, then, observe, if he never did before, the dissimilarity amongst the elements of the world, and how each thing that goes to make up the framework of the whole hangs on to its natural opposite. Some objects are light and buoyant, others heavy and gravitating; some are always still, others always moving; and amongst these last some move unchangingly on one plan160160    ἐπὶ τὸ ἓν., as the heaven, for instance, and the planets, whose courses all revolve the opposite way to the universe, others are transfused in all directions and rush at random, as air and sea for instance, and every substance which is naturally penetrating161161    ὐγρᾶς.. What need to mention the contrasts seen between heat and cold, moist and dry, high and low position? As for the numerous dissimilarities amongst animals and plants, on the score of figure and size, and all the variations of their products and their qualities, the human mind would fail to follow them.

§28. He falsely imagines that we can have an unalterable series of harmonious natures existing side by side.

But this man of science still declares that varied works have energies as varied to produce them. Either he knows not yet the nature of the Divine energy, as taught by Scripture,—‘All things were made by the word of His command,’—or else he is blind to the differences of existing things. He utters for our benefit these inconsiderate statements, and lays down the law about divine doctrines, as if he had never yet heard that anything that is merely asserted,—where no entirely undeniable and plain statement is made about the matter in hand, and where the asserter says on his own responsibility that which a cautious listener cannot assent to,—is no better than a telling of dreams or of stories over wine. Little then as this dictum of his fits facts, nevertheless,—like one who is deluded by a dream into thinking that he sees one of the objects of his waking efforts, and who grasps eagerly at this phantom and 73with eyes deceived by this visionary desire thinks that he holds it,—he with this dreamlike outline of doctrines before him imagines that his words possess force, and insists upon their truth, and essays by them to prove all the rest. It is worth while to give the passage. “These being so, and maintaining an unbroken connexion in their relation to each other, it seems fitting for those who make their investigation according to the order germane to the subject, and who do not insist on mixing and confusing all together, in case of a discussion being raised about Being, to prove what is in course of demonstration, and to settle the points in debate, by the primary energies and those attached to the Beings, and again to explain by the Being when the energies are in question.” I think the actual phrases of his impiety are enough to prove how absurd is this teaching. If any one had to give a description of the way some disease mars a human countenance, he would explain it better by actually unbandaging the patient, and there would be then no need of words when the eye had seen how he looked. So some mental eye might discern the hideous mutilation wrought by this heresy: its mere perusal might remove the veil. But since it is necessary, in order to make the latent mischief of this teaching clear to the many, to put the finger of demonstration upon it, I will again repeat each word. “This being so.” What does this dreamer mean? What is ‘this?’ How has it been stated? “The Father’s being is alone proper and in the highest degree supreme; consequently the next being is dependent, and the third more dependent still.” In such words he lays down the law. But why? Is it because an energy accompanies the first being, of which the effect and work, the Only-begotten, is circumscribed by the sphere of this producing cause? Or because these Beings are to be thought of as of greater or less extent, the smaller included within and surrounded by the larger, like casks put one inside the other, inasmuch as he detects degrees of size within Beings that are illimitable? Or because differences of products imply differences of producers, as if it were impossible that different effects should be produced by similar energies? Well, there is no one whose mental faculties are so steeped in sleep as to acquiesce directly after hearing such statements in the following assertion, “these being so, and maintaining an unbroken connexion in their relation to one another.” It is equal madness to say such things, and to hear them without any questioning. They are placed in a ‘series’ and ‘an unalterable relation to each other,’ and yet they are parted from each other by an essential unlikeness! Either, as our own doctrine insists, they are united in being, and then they really preserve an unalterable relation to each other; or else they stand apart in essential unlikeness, as he fancies. But what series, what relationship that is unalterable can exist with alien entities? And how can they present that ‘order germane to the matter’ which according to him is to rule the investigation? Now if he had an eye only on the doctrine of the truth, and if the order in which he counts the differences was only that of the attributes which Faith sees in the Holy Trinity,—an order so ‘natural’ and ‘germane’ that the Persons cannot be confounded, being divided as Persons, though united in their being—then he would not have been classed at all amongst our enemies, for he would mean the very same doctrine that we teach. But, as it is, he is looking in the very contrary direction, and he makes the order which he fancies there quite inconceivable. There is all the difference in the world between the accomplishment of an act of the will, and that of a mechanical law of nature. Heat is inherent in fire, splendour in the sunbeam, fluidity in water, downward tendency in a stone, and so on. But if a man builds a house, or seeks an office, or puts to sea with a cargo, or attempts anything else which requires forethought and preparation to succeed, we cannot say in such a case that there is properly a rank or order inherent in his operations: their order in each case will result as an after consequence of the motive which guided his choice, or the utility of that which he achieves. Well, then; since this heresy parts the Son from any essential relationship with the Father, and adopts the same view of the Spirit as estranged from any union with the Father or the Son, and since also it affirms throughout that the Son is the work of the Father, and the Spirit the work of the Son, and that these works are the results of a purpose, not of nature, what grounds has he for declaring that this work of a will is an ‘order inherent in the matter,’ and what is the drift of this teaching, which makes the Almighty the manufacturer of such a nature as this in the Son and the Holy Spirit, where transcendent beings are made such as to be inferior the one to the other? If such is really his meaning, why did he not clearly state the grounds he has for presuming in the case of the Deity, that smallness of result will be evidence of all the greater power? But who really could ever allow that a cause that is great and powerful is to be looked for in this smallness of results? As if God was unable to establish His own perfection in anything 74that comes from Him162162    ἐν παντὶ τῷ ἐξ αὐτοῦ.! And how can he attribute to the Deity the highest prerogative of supremacy while he exhibits His power as thus falling short of His will? Eunomius certainly seems to mean that perfection was not even proposed as the aim of God’s work, for fear the honour and glory of One to Whom homage is due for His superiority might be thereby lessened. And yet is there any one so narrow-minded as to reckon the Blessed Deity Himself as not free from the passion of envy? What plausible reason, then, is left why the Supreme Deity should have constituted such an ‘order’ in the case of the Son and the Spirit? “But I did not mean that ‘order’ to come from Him,” he rejoins. But whence else, if the beings to which this ‘order’ is connatural are not essentially related to each other? But perhaps he calls the inferiority itself of the being of the Son and of the Spirit this ‘connatural order.’ But I would beg of him to tell me the reason of this very thing, viz., why the Son is inferior on the score of being, when both this being and energy are to be discovered in the same characteristics and attributes. If on the other hand there is not to be the same163163    Reading αὑτὸς; instead of Oehler’s αὐτὸς. definition of being and energy, and each is to signify something different, why does he introduce a demonstration of the thing in question by means of that which is quite different from it? It would be, in that case, just as if, when it was debated with regard to man’s own being whether he were a risible animal, or one capable of being taught to read, some one was to adduce the building of a house or ship on the part of a mason or a shipwright as a settling of the question, insisting on the skilful syllogism that we know beings by operations, and a house and a ship are operations of man. Do we then learn, most simple sir, by such premisses, that man is risible as well as broad-nailed? Some one might well retort; ‘whether man possesses motion and energy was not the question: it was, what is the energizing principle itself; and that I fail to learn from your way of deciding the question.’ Indeed, if we wanted to know something about the nature of the wind, you would not give a satisfactory answer by pointing to a heap of sand or chaff raised by the wind, or to dust which it scattered: for the account to be given of the wind is quite different: and these illustrations of yours would be foreign to the subject. What ground, then, has he for attempting to explain beings by their energies, and making the definition of an entity out of the resultants of that entity.

Let us observe, too, what sort of work of the Father it is by which the Father’s being, according to him, is to be comprehended. The Son most certainly, he will say, if he says as usual. But this Son of yours, most learned sir, is commensurate in your scheme only with the energy which produced Him, and indicates that alone, while the Object of our search still keeps in the dark, if, as you yourself confess, this energy is only one amongst the things which ‘follow164164    only one thing amongst the things which follow, &c. The Latin translation is manifestly wrong here, “si recte a te assertum est, iis etiam quæ ad primam substantiam sequuntur aliquam operationem inesse.” The Greek is εἴπερ ἡ ἐνέργεια τῶν παρεπομένων τις εἶναι τῇ πρώτη οὐσία μεμαρτύρηται’ the first being. This energy, as you say, extends itself into the work which it produces, but it does not reveal therein even its own nature, but only so much of it as we can get a glimpse of in that work. All the resources of a smith are not set in motion to make a gimlet; the skill of that artisan only operates so far as is adequate to form that tool, though it could fashion a large variety of other tools. Thus the limit of the energy is to be found in the work which it produces. But the question now is not about the amount of the energy, but about the being of that which has put forth the energy. In the same way, if he asserts that he can perceive the nature of the Only-begotten in the Spirit (Whom he styles the work of an energy which ‘follows’ the Son), his assertion has no foundation; for here again the energy, while it extends itself into its work, does not reveal therein the nature either of itself or of the agent who exerts it.

But let us yield in this; grant him that beings are known in their energies. The First being is known through His work; and this Second being is revealed in the work proceeding from Him. But what, my learned friend, is to show this Third being? No such work of this Third is to be found. If you insist that these beings are perceived by their energies, you must confess that the Spirit’s nature is imperceptible; you cannot infer His nature from any energy put forth by Him to carry on the continuity. Show some substantiated work of the Spirit, through which you think you have detected the being of the Spirit, or all your cobweb will collapse at the touch of Reason. If the being is known by the subsequent energy, and substantiated energy of the Spirit there is none, such as ye say the Father shows in the Son, and the Son in the Spirit, then the nature of the Spirit must be confessed unknowable and not be apprehended through these; there is no energy conceived of in connexion with a substance to show even a side glimpse of it. But if the Spirit eludes apprehension, how 75by means of that which is itself imperceptible can the more exalted being be perceived? If the Son’s work, that is, the Spirit according to them, is unknowable, the Son Himself can never be known; He will be involved in the obscurity of that which gives evidence of Him: and if the being of the Son in this way is hidden, how can the being who is most properly such and most supreme be brought to light by means of the being which is itself hidden; this obscurity of the Spirit is transmitted by retrogression165165    κατὰ ἀνάλυοιν. So Plutarch, ii. 76 E. and see above (cap. 25, note 6.). through the Son to the Father; so that in this view, even by our adversaries’ confession, the unknowableness of the Fathers being is clearly demonstrated. How, then, can this man, be his eye ever so ‘keen to see unsubstantial entities,’ discern the nature of the unseen and incomprehensible by means of itself; and how can he command us to grasp the beings by means of their works, and their works again from them?

§29. He vainly thinks that the doubt about the energies is to be solved by the beings, and reversely.

Now let us see what comes next. ‘The doubt about the energies is to be solved by the beings.’ What way is there of bringing this man out of his vain fancies down to common sense? If he thinks that it is possible thus to solve doubts about the energies by comprehending the beings themselves, how, if these last are not comprehended, can he change this doubt to any certainty? If the being has been comprehended, what need to make the energy of this importance, as if it was going to lead us to the comprehension of the being. But if this is the very thing that makes an examination of the energy necessary, viz., that we may be thereby guided to the understanding of the being that exerts it, how can this as yet unknown nature solve the doubt about the energy? The proof of anything that is doubted must be made by means of well-known truths; but when there is an equal uncertainty about both the objects of our search, how can Eunomius say that they are comprehended by means of each other, both being in themselves beyond our knowledge? When the Father’s being is under discussion, he tells us that the question may be settled by means of the energy which follows Him and of the work which this energy accomplishes; but when the inquiry is about the being of the Only-begotten, whether Eunomius calls Him an energy or a product of the energy (for he does both), then he tells us that the question may be easily solved by looking at the being of His producer!

§30. There is no Word of God that commands such investigations: the uselessness of the philosophy which makes them is thereby proved.

I should like also to ask him this. Does he mean that energies are explained by the beings which produced them only in the case of the Divine Nature, or does he recognize the nature of the produced by means of the being of the producer with regard to anything whatever that possesses an effective force? If in the case of the Divine Nature only he holds this view, let him show us how he settles questions about the works of God by means of the nature of the Worker. Take an undoubted work of God,—the sky, the earth, the sea, the whole universe. Let it be the being of one of these that, according to our supposition, is being enquired into, and let ‘sky’ be the subject fixed for our speculative reasoning. It is a question what the substance of the sky is; opinions have been broached about it varying widely according to the lights of each natural philosopher. How will the contemplation of the Maker of the sky procure a solution of the question, immaterial, invisible, formless, ungenerate, everlasting, incapable of decay and change and alteration, and all such things, as He is. How will anyone who entertains this conception of the Worker be led on to the knowledge of the nature of the sky? How will he get an idea of a thing which is visible from the Invisible, of the perishable from the imperishable, of that which has a date for its existence from that which never had any generation, of that which has duration but for a time from the everlasting; in fact, of the object of his search from everything which is the very opposite to it. Let this man who has accurately probed the secret of things tell us how it is possible that two unlike things should be known from each other.

§31. The observations made by watching Providence are sufficient to give us the knowledge of sameness of Being.

And yet, if he could see the consequences of his own statements, he would be led on by them to acquiesce in the doctrine of the Church. For if the maker’s nature is an indication of the thing made, as he affirms, and if, according to his school, the Son is something made by the Father, anyone who has observed the Father’s nature would have certainly known thereby that of the Son; if, I say, it is true that the worker’s nature is a sign of that which he works. But the Only-begotten, as they say, of the Father’s unlikeness, will be excluded from operating 76through Providence. Eunomius need not trouble any more about His being generated, nor force out of that another proof of the son’s unlikeness. The difference of purpose will itself be sufficient to bring to light His alien nature. For the First Being is, even by our opponents’ confession, one and single, and necessarily His will must be thought of as following the bent of His nature; but Providence shows that purpose is good, and so the nature from which that purpose comes is shown to be good also. So the Father alone works good; and the Son does not purpose the same things as He, if we adopt the assumptions of our adversary; the difference then, of their nature will be clearly attested by this variation of their purposes. But if, while the Father is provident for the Universe, the Son is equally provident for it (for ‘what He sees the Father doing that also the Son does’), this sameness of their purposes exhibits a communion of nature in those who thus purpose the same things. Why, then, is all mention of Providence omitted by him, as if it would not help us at all to that which we are searching for. Yet many familiar examples make for our view of it. Anyone who has gazed on the brightness of fire and experienced its power of warming, when he approaches another such brightness and another such warmth, will assuredly be led on to think of fire; for his senses through the medium of these similar phænomena will conduct him to the fact of a kindred element producing both; anything that was not fire could not work on all occasions like fire. Just so, when we perceive a similar and equal amount of providential power in the Father and in the Son, we make a guess by means of what thus comes within the range of our knowledge about things which transcend our comprehension; we feel that causes of an alien nature cannot be detected in these equal and similar effects. As the observed phenomena are to each other, so will the subjects of those phenomena be: if the first are opposed to each other, we must reckon the revealed entities to be so too; if the first are alike, so too must those others be. Our Lord said allegorically that their fruit is the sign of the characters of trees, meaning that it does not belie that character, that the bad is not attached to the good tree, nor the good to the bad tree;—“by their fruits ye shall know them;”—so when the fruit, Providence, presents no difference, we detect a single nature from which that fruit has sprung, even though the trees be different from which the fruit is put forth. Through that, then, which is cognizable by our apprehension, viz., the scheme or Providence visible in the Son in the same way as in the Father, the common likeness of the Only-begotten and the Father is placed beyond a doubt; and it is the identity of the fruits of Providence by which we know it.

§32. His dictum that ‘the manner of the likeness must follow the manner of the generation’ is unintelligible.

But to prevent such a thought being entertained, and pretending to be forced somehow away from it, he says that he withdraws from all these results of Providence, and goes back to the manner of the Son’s generation, because “the manner of His likeness must follow the manner of His generation.” What an irresistible proof! How forcibly does this verbiage compel assent! What skill and precision there is in the wording of this assertion! Then, if we know the manner of the generation, we shall know by that the manner of the likeness. Well, then; seeing that all, or at all events most, animals born by parturition have the same manner of generation, and, according to their logic, the manner of likeness follows this manner of generation, these animals, following as they do the same model in their production, will resemble entirely those similarly generated; for things that are like the same thing are like one another. If, then, according to the view of this heresy, the manner of the generation makes every thing generated just like itself, and it is a fact that this manner does not vary at all in diversified kinds of animals but remains the same in the greatest part of them, we shall find that this sweeping and unqualified assertion of his establishes, by virtue of this similarity of birth, a mutual resemblance between men, dogs, camels, mice, elephants, leopards, and every other animal which Nature produces in the same manner. Or does he mean, not, that things brought into the world in a similar way are all like each other, but that each one of them is like that being only which is the source of its life. But if so, he ought to have declared that the child is like the parent, not that the “manner of the likeness” resembles the “manner of the generation.” But this, which is so probable in itself, and is observed as a fact in Nature, that the begotten resembles the begetter, he will not admit as a truth; it would reduce his whole argumentation to a proof of the contrary of what he intended. If he allowed the offspring to be like the parent, his laboured store of arguments to prove the unlikeness of the Beings would be refuted as evanescent and groundless.

So he says “the manner of the likeness follows the manner of the generation.” This, when tested by the exact critic of the meaning of any idea166166    ἐννοίας λόγον., will be found completely unintel77ligible. It is plainly impossible to say what a “manner of generation” can mean. Does it mean the figure of the parent, or his impulse, or his disposition; or the time, or the place, or the completing of the embryo by conception; or the generative receptacles; or nothing of that kind, but something else of the things observed in ‘generation.’ It is impossible to find out what he means. The impropriety and vagueness of the word “manner” causes perplexity as to its signification here; every possible one is equally open to our surmises, and presents as well an equal want of connexion with the subject before us. So also with this phrase of his “manner of likeness;” it is devoid of any vestige of meaning, if we fix our attention on the examples familiarly known to us. For the thing generated is not to be likened there to the kind or the manner of its birth. Birth consists, in the case of animal birth, in a separation of body from body, in which the animal perfectly moulded in the womb is brought forth; but the thing born is a man, or horse, or cow, or whatever it may chance to be in its existence through birth. How, therefore, the “manner of the likeness of the offspring follows the manner of its generation” must be left to him, or to some pupil of his in midwifery, to explain. Birth is one thing: the thing born is another: they are different ideas altogether. No one with any sense would deny that what he says is perfectly untrue in the case of animal births. But if he calls the actual making and the actual fashioning a “manner of the generation,” which the “manner of the likeness” of the thing produced is to “follow,” even so his statement is removed from all likelihood, as we shall see from some illustrations. Iron is hammered out by the blows of the artificer into some useful instrument. How, then, the outline of its edge, if such there happen to be, can be said to be similar to the hand of the worker, or to the manner of its fashioning, to the hammers, for instance, and the coals and the bellows and the anvil by means of which he has moulded it, no one could explain. And what can be said in one case fits all, where there is any operation producing a result; the thing produced cannot be said to be like the “manner of its generation.” What has the shape of a garment got to do with the spool, or the rods, or the comb, or with the form of the weaver’s instruments at all? What has an actual seat got to do with the working of the blocks; or any finished production with the build of him who achieved it?—But I think even our opponents would allow that this rule of his is not in force in sensible and material instances.

It remains to see whether it contributes anything further to the proof of his blasphemy. What, then, was he aiming at? The necessity of believing in accordance with their being in the likeness or unlikeness of the Son to the Father; and, as we cannot know about this being from considerations of Providence, the necessity of having recourse to the “manner of the generation,” whereby we may know, not indeed whether the Begotten is like the Begetter (absolutely), but only a certain “manner of likeness” between them; and as this manner is a secret to the many, the necessity of going at some length into the being of the Begetter. Then has he forgotten his own definitions about the beings having to be known from their works? But this begotten being, which he calls the work of the supreme being, has as yet no light thrown upon it (according to him); so how can its nature be dealt with? And how can he “mount above this lower and therefore more directly comprehensible thing,” and so cling to the absolute and supreme being? Again, he always throughout his discourse lays claim to an accurate knowledge of the divine utterances; yet here he pays them scant reverence, ignoring the fact that it is not possible to approach to a knowledge of the Father except through the Son. “No man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him167167    Matt. xi. 27..” Yet Eunomius, while on every occasion, where he can insult our devout and God-adoring conceptions of the Son, he asserts in plain words the Son’s inferiority, establishes His superiority unconsciously in this device of his for knowing the Deity; for he assumes that the Father’s being lends itself the more readily to our comprehension, and then attempts to trace and argue out the Son’s nature from that.

§33. He declares falsely that ‘the manner of the generation is to be known from the intrinsic worth of the generator’.

He goes back, for instance, to the begetting being, and from thence takes a survey of the begotten; “for,” says he, “the manner of the generation is to be known from the intrinsic worth of the generator.” Again, we find this bold unqualified generalization of his causing the thought of the inquirer to be dissipated in every possible direction; it is the nature of such general statements, to extend in their meanings to every instance, and allow nothing to escape their sweeping assertion. If then ‘the manner of the generation is to be known from the intrinsic worth of the generator,’ and there are many differences in the worth of gene78rators according to their many classifications168168    ᾽Επίνοια is the opposite of ἔννοια, ‘the intuitive idea.’ It means an “afterthought,” and, with the notion of unnecessary addition, a ‘conceit.’ Here it is applied to conventional, or not purely natural difference. See Introduction to Book XIII. for the fuller meaning of ᾽Επίνοια. to be found (for one may be born Jew, Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond, free), what will be the result? Why, that we must expect to find as many “manners of generation” as there are differences in intrinsic worth amongst the generators; and that their birth will not be fulfilled with all in the same way, but that their nature will vary with the worth of the parent, and that some peculiar manner of birth will be struck out for each, according to these varying estimations. For a certain inalienable worth is to be observed in the individual parent; the distinction, that is, of being better or worse off according as there has fallen to each race, estimation, religion, nationality, power, servitude, wealth, poverty, independence, dependence, or whatever else constitutes the life-long differences of worth. If then “the manner of the generation” is shown by the intrinsic worth of the parent, and there are many differences in worth, we shall inevitably find, if we follow this opinion-monger, that the manners of generation are various too; in fact, this difference of worth will dictate to Nature the manner of the birth.

But if he should not169169    μὴ δέχοιτο. This use of the optative, where the subjunctive with ἐαν might have been expected, is one of the few instances in Gregory’s Greek of declension from Classic usage; in the latter, when ει with the optative does denote subjective possibility, it is only when the condition is conceived of as of frequent repetition, e.g. 1 Peter iii. 14. The optative often in this Greek of the fourth century invades the province of the subjunctive. admit that such worth is natural, because they can be put in thought outside the nature of their subject, we will not oppose him. But at all events he will agree to this; that man’s existence is separated by an intrinsic character from that of brutes. Yet the manner of birth in these two cases presents no variation in intrinsic character; nature brings man and the brute into the world in just the same way, i.e. by generation. But if he apprehends this native dignity only in the case of the most proper and supreme existence, let us see what he means then. In our view, the ‘native dignity’ of God consists in godhead itself, wisdom, power, goodness, judgment, justice, strength, mercy, truth, creativeness, domination, invisibility, everlastingness, and every other quality named in the inspired writings to magnify his glory; and we affirm that everyone of them is properly and inalienably found in the Son, recognizing difference only in respect of unoriginateness; and even that we do not exclude the Son from, according to all its meanings. But let no carping critic attack this statement as if we were attempting to exhibit the Very Son as ungenerate; for we hold that one who maintains that is no less impious than an Anomœan. But since the meanings of ‘origin’ are various, and suggest many ideas, there are some of them in which the title ‘unoriginate’ is not inapplicable to the Son170170    μὴ ἀπεμφαίνειν. When, for instance, this word has the meaning of ‘deriving existence from no cause whatever,’ then we confess that it is peculiar to the Father; but when the question is about ‘origin’ in its other meanings (since any creature or time or order has an origin), then we attribute the being superior to origin to the Son as well, and we believe that that whereby all things were made is beyond the origin of creation, and the idea of time, and the sequence of order. So He, Who on the ground of His subsistence is not without an origin, possessed in every other view an undoubted unoriginateness; and while the Father is unoriginate and Ungenerate, the Son is unoriginate in the way we have said, though not ungenerate.

What, then, is that native dignity of the Father which he is going to look at in order to infer thereby the ‘manner of the generation.’ “His not being generated, most certainly,” he will reply. If, then, all those names with which we have learnt to magnify God’s glory are useless and meaningless to you, Eunomius, the mere going through the list of such expressions is a gratuitous and superfluous task; none of these other words, you say, expresses the intrinsic worth of the God over all. But if there is a peculiar force fitting our conceptions of the Deity in each of these words, the intrinsic dignities of God must plainly be viewed in connexion with this list, and the likeness of the two beings will be thereby proved; if, that is, the characters inalienable from the beings are an index of the subjects of those characters. The characters of each being are found to be the same; and so the identity on the score of being of the two subjects of these identical dignities is shown most clearly. For if the variation in a single name is to be held to be the index of an alien being, how much more should the identity of these countless names avail to prove community of nature!

What, then, is the reason why the other names should all be neglected, and generation be indicated by the means of one alone? Why do they pronounce this ‘Ungeneracy’ to be the only intrinsic character in the Father, and thrust all the rest aside? It is in order that they may establish their mischievous mode171171    See Note on ᾽Αγέννητος, p. 100. of 79unlikeness of Father and Son, by this contrast as regards the begotten. But we shall find that this attempt of theirs, when we come to test it in its proper place, is equally feeble, unfounded, and nugatory as the preceding attempts.

Still, that all his reasonings point this way, is shown by the sequel, in which he praises himself for having fittingly adopted this method for the proof of his blasphemy, and yet for not having all at once divulged his intention, nor shocked the unprepared hearer with his impiety, before the concatenation of his delusive argument was complete, nor displayed this Ungeneracy as God’s being in the early part of his discourse, nor to weary us with talk about the difference of being. The following are his exact words: “Or was it right, as Basil commands, to begin with the thing to be proved, and to assert incoherently that the Ungeneracy is the being, and to talk about the difference or the sameness of nature?” Upon this he has a long intervening tirade, made up of scoffs and insulting abuse (such being the weapons which this thinker uses to defend his own doctrines), and then he resumes the argument, and turning upon his adversary, fixes upon him, forsooth, the blame of what he is saying, in these words; “For your party, before any others, are guilty of this offence; having partitioned out this same being between Begetter and Begotten; and so the scolding you have given is only a halter not to be eluded which you have woven for your own necks; justice, as might have been expected, records in your own words a verdict against yourselves. Either you first conceive of the beings as sundered, and independent of each other172172    ἀνάρχως.; and then bring down one of them, by generation, to the rank of Son, and contend that One who exists independently nevertheless was made by means of the Other existence; and so lay yourselves open to your own reproaches: for to Him whom you imagine as without generation you ascribe a generation by another:—or else you first allow one single causeless being, and then marking this out by an act of causation into Father and Son, you declare that this non-generated being came into existence by means of itself.”

§34. The Passage where he attacks the ‘Ομοούσιον, and the contention in answer to it.

I will omit to speak of the words which occur before this passage which has been quoted. They contain merely shameless abuse of our Master and Father in God, and nothing bearing on the matter in hand. But on the passage itself, as he advances by the device of this terrible dilemma a double-edged refutation, we cannot be silent; we must accept the intellectual challenge, and fight for the Faith with all the power we have, and show that the formidable two-edged sword which he has sharpened is feebler than a make-believe in a scene-painting.

He attacks the community of substance with two suppositions; he says that we either name as Father and as Son two independent principles drawn out parallel to each other, and then say that one of these existencies is produced by the other existence: or else we say that one and the same essence is conceived of, participating in both names in turn, both being173173    Reading οὖσαν for οὐσίαν of Oehler and Migne. Father, and becoming Son, and itself produced in generation from itself. I put this in my own words, thereby not misinterpreting his thought, but only correcting the tumid exaggeration of its expression, in such a way as to reveal his meaning by clearer words and afford a comprehensive view of it. Having blamed us for want of polish and for having brought to the controversy an insufficient amount of learning, he decks out his own work in such a glitter of style, and passes the nail174174    ἐξουυχίζει, to use his own phrase, so often over his own sentences, and makes his periods so smart with this elaborate prettiness, that he captivates the reader at once with the attractions of language; such amongst many others is the passage we have just recited by way of preface. We will, by leave, again recite it. “And so the scolding you have given is only a halter, not to be eluded, which you have woven for your own necks; justice, as might have been expected, records in your own words a verdict against yourselves.”

Observe these flowers of the old Attic; what polished brilliance of diction plays over his composition; what a delicate and subtle charm of style is in bloom there! However, let this be as people think. Our course requires us again to turn to the thought in those words; let us plunge once more into the phrases of this pamphleteer. “Either you conceive of the beings as separated and independent of each other, and then bring down one of them, by generation, to the rank of Son, and contend that One who exists independently nevertheless was made by means of the Other existence.” That is enough for the present. He says, then, that we preach175175    πρεσβεύειν. So Lucian. Diog. Laert., and Origen passim. two causeless Beings. How can this man, who is always accusing us of levelling and confusing, assert 80this from our believing, as we do, in a single substance of Both. If two natures, alien to each other on the score of their being, were preached by our Faith, just as it is preached by the Anomœan school, then there would be good reason for thinking that this distinction of natures led to the supposition of two causeless beings. But if, as is the case, we acknowledge one nature with the differences of Person, if, while the Father is believed in, the Son also is glorified, how can such a Faith be misrepresented by our opponents as preaching Two First Causes? Then he says, ‘of these two causes, one is lowered’ by us ‘to the rank of Son.’ Let him point out one champion of such a doctrine; whether he can convict any single person of talking like this, or only knows of such a doctrine as taught anywhere at all in the Church, we will hold our peace. For who is so wild in his reasonings, and so bereft of reflection as, after speaking of Father and Son, to imagine in spite of that two ungenerate beings: and then again to suppose that the One of them has come into being by means of the Other? Besides, what logical necessity does he show for pushing our teaching towards such suppositions? By what arguments does he show that such an absurdity must result from it? If indeed he adduced one single article of our Faith, and then, whether as a quibble or with a real force of demonstration, made this criticism upon it, there might have been some reason for his doing so with a view to invalidate that article. But when there is not, and never can be such a doctrine in the Church, when neither a teacher of it nor a hearer of it is to be found, and the absurdity cannot be shown, either, to be the strict logical consequence of anything, I cannot understand the meaning of his fighting thus with shadows. It is just as if some phenzy-struck person supposed himself to be grappling with an imaginary combatant, and then, having with great efforts thrown himself down, thought that it was his foe who was lying there; our clever pamphleteer is in the same state; he feigns suppositions which we know nothing about, and he fights with the shadows which are sketched by the workings of his own brain.

For I challenge him to say why a believer in the Son as having come into being from the Father must advance to the opinion that there are two First Causes; and let him tell us who is most guilty of this establishment of two First Causes; one who asserts that the Son is falsely so named, or one who insists that, when we call Him that, the name represents a reality? The first, rejecting a real generation of the Son, and affirming simply that He exists, would be more open to the suspicion of making Him a First Cause, if he exists indeed, but not by generation: whereas the second, making the representative sign of the Person of the Only-begotten to consist in subsisting generatively from the Father, cannot by any possibility be drawn into the error of supposing the Son to be Ungenerate. And yet as long as, according to you thinkers, the non-generation of the Son by the Father is to be held, the Son Himself will be properly called Ungenerate in one of the many meanings of the Ungenerate; seeing that, as some things come into existence by being born and others by being fashioned, nothing prevents our calling one of the latter, which does not subsist by generation, an Ungenerate, looking only to the idea of generation; and this your account, defining, as it does, our Lord to be a creature, does establish about Him. So, my very learned sirs, it is in your view, not ours, when it is thus followed out, that the Only-begotten can be named Ungenerate: and you will find that “justice,”—whatever you mean by that,—records in your own words176176    your own words, i.e. not ours, as you say. The Codex of Turin has τοῖς ἡμετέροις, and ἡμῖν above: but Oehler has wisely followed that of Venice. Eunomius had said of Basil’s party (§34) ‘justice records in your own words a verdict against yourselves.’ ‘No,’ Gregory answers; ‘your words (interpreting our doctrine) alone lend themselves to that.’ But to change καθ᾽ ἡμῶν of the Codd. also to καθ᾽ ὑμῶν would supply a still better sense. a verdict against us.

It is easy also to find mud in his words after that to cast upon this execrable teaching. For the other horn of his dilemma partakes in the same mental delusion; he says, “or else you first allow one single causeless being, and then marking this out by an act of generation into Father and Son, you declare that this non-generated being came into existence by means of itself.” What is this new and marvellous story? How is one begotten by oneself, having oneself for father, and becoming one’s own son? What dizziness and delusion is here? It is like supposing the roof to be turning down below one’s feet, and the floor above one’s head; it is like the mental state of one with his senses stupified with drink, who shouts out persistently that the ground does not stand still beneath, and that the walls are disappearing, and that everything he sees is whirling round and will not keep still. Perhaps our pamphleteer had such a tumult in his soul when he wrote; if so, we must pity him rather than abhor him. For who is so out of hearing of our divine doctrine, who is so far from the mysteries of the Church, as to accept such a view as this to the detriment of the Faith. Rather, it is hardly enough to say, that no one ever dreamed of such an absurdity to its detriment. Why, in the case of human nature, or any other 81entity falling within the grasp of the senses who, when he hears of a community of substance, dreams either that all things that are compared together on the ground of substance are without a cause or beginning, or that something comes into existence out of itself, at once producing and being produced by itself?

The first man, and the man born from him, received their being in a different way; the latter by copulation, the former from the moulding of Christ Himself; and yet, though they are thus believed to be two, they are inseparable in the definition of their being, and are not considered as two beings, without beginning or cause, running parallel to each other; nor can the existing one be said to be generated by the existing one, or the two be ever thought of as one in the monstrous sense that each is his own father, and his own son; but it is because the one and the other was a man that the two have the same definition of being; each was mortal, reasoning, capable of intuition and of science. If, then, the idea of humanity in Adam and Abel does not vary with the difference of their origin, neither the order nor the manner of their coming into existence making any difference in their nature, which is the same in both, according to the testimony of every one in his senses, and no one, not greatly needing treatment for insanity, would deny it; what necessity is there that against the divine nature we should admit this strange thought? Having heard of Father and Son from the Truth, we are taught in those two subjects the oneness of their nature; their natural relation to each other expressed by those names indicates that nature; and so do Our Lord’s own words. For when He said, “I and My Father are one177177    John x. 30.,” He conveys by that confession of a Father exactly the truth that He Himself is not a first cause, at the same time that He asserts by His union with the Father their common nature; so that these words of His secure our faith from the taint of heretical error on either side: for Sabellius has no ground for his confusion of the individuality of each Person, when the Only-begotten has so distinctly marked Himself off from the Father in those words, “I and My Father;” and Arius finds no confirmation of his doctrine of the strangeness of either nature to the other, since this oneness of both cannot admit distinction in nature. For that which is signified in these words by the oneness of Father and Son is nothing else but what belongs to them on the score of their actual being; all the other moral excellences which are to be observed in them as over and above178178    ὄσα ἐπιθεωρεῖται τῇ φύσει. their nature may without error be set down as shared in by all created beings. For instance, Our Lord is called merciful and pitiful by the prophet179179    Psalm ciii. 8., and He wills us to be and to be called the same; “Be ye therefore merciful180180    Luke vi. 36.,” and “Blessed are the merciful181181    Matthew v. 7.,” and many such passages. If, then, any one by diligence and attention has modelled himself according to the divine will, and become kind and pitiful and compassionate, or meek and lowly of heart, such as many of the saints are testified to have become in the pursuit of such excellences, does it follow that they are therefore one with God, or united to Him by virtue of any one of them? Not so. That which is not in every respect the same, cannot be ‘one’ with him whose nature thus varies from it. Accordingly, a man becomes ‘one’ with another, when in will, as our Lord says, they are ‘perfected into one182182    John xvii. 23. “I in them, and thou in Me, that they may be perfected into one.” (R.V.),’ this union of wills being added to the connexion of nature. So also the Father and Son are one, the community of nature and the community of will running, in them, into one. But if the Son had been joined in wish only to the Father, and divided from Him in His nature, how is it that we find Him testifying to His oneness with the Father, when all the time He was sundered from Him in the point most proper to Him of all?

§35. Proof that the Anomœan teaching tends to Manichæism.

We hear our Lord saying. “I and My Father are one,” and we are taught in that utterance the dependence of our Lord on a cause, and yet the absolute identity of the Son’s and the Father’s nature; we do not let our idea about them be melted down into One Person, but we keep distinct the properties of the Persons, while, on the other hand, not dividing in the Persons the oneness of their substance; and so the supposition of two diverse principles in the category of Cause is avoided, and there is no loophole for the Manichæan heresy to enter. For the created and the uncreate are as diametrically opposed to each other as their names are; and so if the two are to be ranked as First Causes, the mischief of Manichæism will thus under cover be brought into the Church. I say this, because my zeal against our antagonists makes me scrutinize their doctrine very closely. Now I think that none would deny that we were bringing this scrutiny very near the truth, when we said, that if the created be possessed of equal power with the uncreate, 82there will be some sort of antagonism between these things of diverse nature, and as long as neither of them fails in power, the two will be brought into a certain state of mutual discord for we must perforce allow that will corresponds with, and is intimately joined to nature; and that if two things are unlike in nature, they will be so also in will. But when power is adequate in both, neither will flag in the gratification of its wish; and if the power of each is thus equal to its wish, the primacy will become a doubtful point with the two: and it will end in a drawn battle from the inexhaustibleness of their powers. Thus will the Manichæan heresy creep in, two opposite principles appearing with counter claims in the category of Cause, parted and opposed by reason of difference both in nature and in will. They will find, therefore, that assertion of diminution (in the Divine being) is the beginning of Manichæism; for their teaching organizes a discord within that being, which comes to two leading principles, as our account of it has shewn; namely the created and the uncreated.

But perhaps most will blame this as too strong a reductio ad absurdum, and will wish that we had not put it down at all along with our other objections. Be it so; we will not contradict them. It was not our impulse, but our adversaries themselves, that forced us to carry our argument into such minuteness of results. But if it is not right to argue thus, it was more fitting still that our opponents’ teaching, which gave occasion to such a refutation, should never have been heard. There is only one way of suppressing the answer to bad teaching, and that is, to take away the subject-matter to which a reply has to be made. But what would give me most pleasure would be to advise those, who are thus disposed, to divest themselves a little of the spirit of rivalry, and not be such exceedingly zealous combatants on behalf of the private opinions with which they have become possessed, and convinced that the race is for their (spiritual) life, to attend to its interests only, and to yield the victory to Truth. If, then, one were to cease from this ambitious strife, and look straight into the actual question before us, he would very soon discover the flagrant absurdity of this teaching.

For let us assume as granted what the system of our opponents demands, that the having no generation is Being, and in like manner again that generation is admitted into Being. If, then, one were to follow out carefully these statements in all their meaning, even this way the Manichæan heresy will be reconstructed seeing that the Manichees are wont to take as an axiom the oppositions of good and bad, light and darkness, and all such naturally antagonistic things. I think that any who will not be satisfied with a superficial view of the matter will be convinced that I say true. Let us look at it thus. Every subject has certain inherent characteristics, by means of which the specialty of that underlying nature is known. This is so, whether we are investigating the animal kingdom, or any other. The tree and the animal are not known by the same marks; nor do the characteristics of man extend in the animal kingdom to the brutes; nor, again, do the same symptoms indicate life and death; in every case, without exception, as we have said, the distinction of subjects resists any effort to confuse them and run one into another; the marks upon each thing which we observe cannot be communicated so as to destroy that distinction. Let us follow this out in examining our opponents’ position. They say that the state of having no generation is Being; and they likewise make the having generation Being. But just as a man and a stone have not the same marks (in defining the essence of the animate and that of the inanimate you would not give the same account of each), so they must certainly grant that one who is non-generated is to be known by different signs to the generated. Let us then survey those peculiar qualities of the non-generated Deity, which the Holy Scriptures teach us can be mentioned and thought of, without doing Him an irreverence.

What are they? I think no Christian is ignorant that He is good, kind, holy, just and hallowed, unseen and immortal, incapable of decay and change and alteration, powerful, wise, beneficent, Master, Judge, and everything like that. Why lengthen our discussion by lingering on acknowledged facts? If, then, we find these qualities in the ungenerate nature, and the state of having been generated is contrary183183    ὑπεναντίως, i.e. as logical “contraries” differ from each other. This is not an Aristotelian, but a Neo-Platonic use of the word (i.e. Ammonius, a.d. 390, &c.). It occurs so again in this Book frequently. in its very conception to the state of having not been generated, those who define these two states to be each of them Being, must perforce concede, that the characteristic marks of the generated being, following this opposition existing between the generated and non-generated, must be contrary to the marks observable in the non-generated being; for if they were to declare the marks to be the same, this sameness would destroy the difference between the two beings who are the subject of 83these observations. Differing things must be regarded as possessing differing marks; like things are to be known by like signs. If, then, these men testify to the same marks in the Only-begotten, they can conceive of no difference whatever in the subject of the marks. But if they persist in their blasphemous position, and maintain in asserting the difference of the generated and the non-generated the variation of the natures, it is readily seen what must result: viz., that, as in following out the opposition of the names, the nature of the things which those names indicate must be considered to be in a state of contrariety to itself, there is every necessity that the qualities observed in each should be drawn out opposite each other; so that those qualities should be applied to the Son which are the reverse of those predicated of the Father, viz., of divinity, holiness, goodness, imperishability, eternity, and of every other quality that represents God to the devout mind; in fact, every negation184184    ἀπεμφαίνοντα of these, every conception that ranks opposite to the good, must be considered as belonging to the generated nature.

To ensure clearness, we must dwell upon this point. As the peculiar phænomena of heat and cold—which are themselves by nature opposed to each other (let us take fire and ice as examples of each), each being that which the other is not—are at variance with each other, cooling being the peculiarity of ice, heating of fire; so if in accordance with the antithesis expressed by the names, the nature revealed by those names is parted asunder, it is not to be admitted that the faculties attending these natural “subcontraries185185    ὑπεναντίων” are like each other, any more than cooling can belong to fire, or burning to ice. If, then, goodness is inseparable from the idea of the non-generated nature, and that nature is parted on the ground of being, as they declare, from the generated nature, the properties of the former will be parted as well from those of the latter: so that if the good is found in the first, the quality set against the good is to be perceived in the last. Thus, thanks to our clever systematizers, Manes lives again with his parallel line of evil in array over against the good, and his theory of opposite powers residing in opposite natures.

Indeed, if we are to speak the truth boldly, without any reserve, Manes, who for having been the first, they say, to venture to entertain the Manichæan view, gave his name to that heresy, may fairly be considered the less offensive of the two. I say this, just as if one had to choose between a viper and an asp for the most affection towards man; still, if we consider, there is some difference between brutes186186    πλὴν ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδή ἐστι καὶ ἐν θηριοις κρίοις.. Does not a comparison of doctrines show that those older heretics are less intolerable than these? Manes thought he was pleading on the side of the Origin of Good, when he represented that Evil could derive thence none of its causes; so he linked the chain of things which are on the list of the bad to a separate Principle, in his character of the Almighty’s champion, and in his pious aversion to put the blame of any unjustifiable aberrations upon that Source of Good; not perceiving, with his narrow understanding, that it is impossible even to conceive of God as the fashioner of evil, or on the other hand, of any other First Principle besides Him. There might be a long discussion on this point, but it is beside our present purpose. We mentioned Manes’ statements only in order to show, that he at all events thought it his duty to separate evil from anything to do with God. But the blasphemous error with regard to the Son, which these men systematize, is much more terrible. Like the others, they explain the existence of evil by a contrariety in respect of Being; but when they declare, besides this, that the God of the universe is actually the Maker of this alien production, and say that this “generation” formed by Him into a substance possesses a nature foreign to that of its Maker, they exhibit therein more of impiety than the aforesaid sect; for they not only give a personal existence to that which in its nature is opposed to good, but they say that a Good Deity is the Cause of another Deity who in nature diverges from His; and they all but openly exclaim in their teaching, that there is in existence something opposite to the nature of the good, deriving its personality from the good itself. For when we know the Father’s substance to be good, and therefore find that the Son’s substance, owing to its being unlike the Father’s in its nature (which is the tenet of this heresy), is amongst the contrary predicables, what is thereby proved? Why, not only that the opposite to the good subsists, but that this contrary comes from the good itself. I declare this to be more horrible even than the irrationality of the Manichees.

But if they repudiate this blasphemy from their system, though it is the logical carrying out of their teaching, and if they say that the Only-begotten has inherited the excellences of the Father, not as being really His Son, but—so does it please these misbelievers—as re84ceiving His personality by an act of creation, let us look into this too, and see whether such an idea can be reasonably entertained. If, then, it were granted that it is as they think, viz., that the Lord of all things has not inherited as being a true Son, but that He rules a kindred of created things, being Himself made and created, how will the rest of creation accept this rule and not rise in revolt, being thus thrust down from kinship to subjection and condemned, though not a whit behind Him in natural prerogative (both being created), to serve and bend beneath a kinsman after all. That were like a usurpation, viz. not to assign the command to a superiority of Being, but to divide a creation that retains by right of nature equal privileges into slaves and a ruling power, one part in command, the other in subjection; as if, as the result of an arbitrary distribution187187    arbitrary distribution, ἀποκληρώσεως: κατ᾽ ἀποκλήρωσιν “at random,” is also used by Sextus Empiric. (a.d. 200), Clem. Alex., and Greg Naz., these same privileges had been piled at random on one who after that distribution got preferred to his equals. Even man did not share his honour with the brutes, before he received his dominion over them; his prerogative of reason gave him the title to command; he was set over them, because of a variance of his nature in the direction of superiority. And human governments experience such quickly-repeated revolutions for this very reason, that it is impracticable that those to whom nature has given equal rights should be excluded from power, but her impulse is instinct in all to make themselves equal with the dominant party, when all are of the same blood.

How, too, will it be true that “all things were made by Him,” if it is true that the Son Himself is one of the things made? Either He must have made Himself, for that text to be true, and so this unreasonableness which they have devised to harm our Faith will recoil with all its force upon themselves; or else, if this is absurdly unnatural, that affirmation that the whole creation was made by Him will be proved to have no ground to stand on. The withdrawal of one makes “all” a false statement. So that, from this definition of the Son as a created being, one of two vicious and absurd alternatives is inevitable; either that He is not the Author of all created things, seeing that He, who, they insist, is one of those works, must be withdrawn from the “all;” or else, that He is exhibited as the maker of Himself, seeing that the preaching that ‘without Him was not anything (made) that was made’ is not a lie. So much for their teaching.

§36. A passing repetition of the teaching of the Church.

But if a man keeps steadfast to the sound doctrine, and believes that the Son is of the nature which is divine without admixture, he will find everything in harmony with the other truths of his religion, viz., that Our Lord is the maker of all things, that He is King of the universe, set above it not by an arbitrary act of capricious power, but ruling by virtue of a superior nature; and besides this, he will find that the one First Cause188188    One First Cause, μοναρχίας. In a notable passage on the Greeks who came up to the Feast (John xii. 20), Cyril (Catena, p. 307), uses the same word. “Such, seeing that some of the Jews’ customs did not greatly differ from their own, as far as related to the manner of sacrifice, and the belief in a One first Cause…came up with them to worship,” &c. Philo had already used the word so (De Charit.). Athanasius opposes it to πολυθεία (Quæst. ad Antioch. I.)., as taught by us, is not divided by any unlikeness of substance into separate first causes, but one Godhead, one Cause, one Power over all things is believed in, that Godhead being discoverable by the harmony existing between these like beings, and leading on the mind through one like to another like, so that the Cause of all things, which is Our Lord, shines in our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit; (for it is impossible, as the Apostle says, that the Lord Jesus can be truly known, “except by the Holy Spirit189189    1 Cor. xii. 3.”); and then all the Cause beyond, which is God over all, is found through Our Lord, Who is the Cause of all things; nor, indeed, is it possible to gain an exact knowledge of the Archetypal Good, except as it appears in the (visible) image of that invisible. But then, after passing that summit of theology, I mean the God over all, we turn as it were back again in the racecourse of the mind, and speed through conjoint and kindred ideas from the Father, through the Son, to the Holy Ghost. For once having taken our stand on the comprehension of the Ungenerate Light, we perceive190190    ἐνοήσαμεν: aorist of instantaneous action. that moment from that vantage ground the Light that streams from Him, like the ray co-existent with the sun, whose cause indeed is in the sun, but whose existence is synchronous with the sun, not being a later addition, but appearing at the first sight of the sun itself: or rather (for there is no necessity to be slaves to this similitude, and so give a handle to the critics to use against our teaching by reason of the inadequacy of our image), it will not be a ray of the sun that we shall perceive, but another sun blazing forth, as an offspring, out of the Ungenerate sun, and simultaneously with our conception of the First, and in every way like him, in beauty, in power, in lustre, in size, 85in brilliance, in all things at once that we observe in the sun. Then again, we see yet another such Light after the same fashion sundered by no interval of time from that offspring Light, and while shining forth by means of It yet tracing the source of its being to the Primal Light; itself, nevertheless, a Light shining in like manner as the one first conceived of, and itself a source of light and doing all that light does. There is, indeed, no difference between one light and another light, qua light, when the one shows no lack or diminution of illuminating grace, but by its complete perfection forms part of the highest light of all, and is beheld along with the Father and the Son, though counted after them, and by its own power gives access to the light that is perceived in the Father and Son to all who are able to partake of it. So far upon this.

§37. Defence of S. Basil’s statement, attacked by Eunomius, that the terms ‘Father’ and ‘The Ungenerate’ can have the same meaning.

The stream of his abuse is very strong; insolence is at the bottom of every principle he lays down; and vilification is put by him in the place of any demonstration of doubtful points so let us briefly discuss the many misrepresentations about the word Ungenerate with which he insults our Teacher himself and his treatise. He has quoted the following words of our Teacher: “For my part I should be inclined to say that this title of the Ungenerate, however fitting it may seem to express our ideas, yet, as nowhere found in Scripture and as forming the alphabet of Eunomius’ blasphemy, may very well be suppressed, when we have the word Father meaning the same thing; for One who essentially and alone is Father comes from none else; and that which comes from none else is equivalent to the Ungenerate.” Now let us hear what proof he brings of the ‘folly’ of these words: “Overhastiness and shameless dishonesty prompt him to put this dose of words191191    i.e. πατήρ, ἀγέννητος anomalously used into his attempts; he turns completely round, because his judgment is wavering and his powers of reasoning are feeble.” Notice how well-directed that blow is; how skilfully, with all his mastery of logic, he takes Basil’s words to pieces and puts a conception more consistent with piety in their place! “Anomalous in phrase,” “hasty and dishonest in judgment,” “wavering and turning round from feebleness of reasoning.” Why this? what has exasperated this man, whose own judgment is so firm and reasoning so sound? What is it that he most condemns in Basil’s words? Is it, that he accepts the idea of the Ungenerate, but says that the actual word, as misused by those who pervert it, should be suppressed? Well; is the Faith in jeopardy only as regards words and outward expressions, and need we take no account of the correctness of the thought beneath? Or does not the Word of Truth rather exhort us first to have a heart pure from evil thoughts, and then, for the manifestation of the soul’s emotions, to use any words that can express these secrets of the mind, without any minute care about this or that particular sound? For the speaking in this way or in that is not the cause of the thought within us; but the hidden conception of the heart supplies the motive for such and such words; “for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” We make the words interpret the thought; we do not by a reverse process gather192192    Putting a full stop at συναγείρομεν. Oehler otherwise. the thought from the words. Should both be at hand, a man may certainly be ready in both, in clever thinking and clever expression; but if the one should be wanting, the loss to the illiterate is slight, if the knowledge in his soul is perfect in the direction of moral goodness. “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me193193    Isaiah xxix. 13; Matthew xv. 8..” What is the meaning of that? That the right attitude of the soul towards the truth is more precious than the propriety of phrases in the sight of God, who hears the “groanings that cannot be uttered.” Phrases can be used in opposite senses; the tongue readily serving, at his will, the intention of the speaker; but the disposition of the soul, as it is, so is it seen by Him Who sees all secrets. Why, then, does he deserve to be called “anomalous,” and “hasty,” and “dishonest,” for bidding us suppress all in the term Ungenerate which can aid in their blasphemy those who transgress the Faith, while minding and welcoming all the meaning in the word which can be reverently held. If indeed he had said that we ought not to think of the Deity as Ungenerate, there might have been some occasion for these and even worse terms of abuse to be used against him. But if he falls in with the general belief of the faithful and admits this, and then pronounces an opinion well worthy of the Master’s mind194194    the Master’s mind. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matth. xviii. 6; Mark ix. 42., viz., “Refrain from the use of the word, for into it, and from it, the subverting heresy is fetched,” and bids us cherish the idea of an ungenerate Deity by means of other names,—therein he does not 86deserve their abuse. Are we not taught by the Truth Himself to act so, and not to cling even to things exceeding precious, if any of them tend to mischief? When He thus bids us to cut away the right eye or foot or hand, if so be that one of them offends, what else does He imply by this figure, than that He would have anything, however fair-seeming, if it leads a man by an inconsiderate use to evil, remain inoperative and out of use, assuring us that it is better for us to be saved by amputation of the parts which led to sin, than to perish by retaining them?

What, too, does Paul, the follower of Christ, say? He, too, in his deep wisdom teaches the same. He, who declares that “everything is good, and nothing to be rejected, if it be received with thanks195195    1 Tim. iv. 4 (R.V.),” on some occasions, because of the ‘conscience of the weak brother,’ puts some things back from the number which he has accepted, and commands us to decline them. “If,” he says, “meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth196196    1 Cor. viii. 13..” Now this is just what our follower of Paul did. He saw that the deceiving power of those who try to teach the inequality of the Persons was increased by this word Ungenerate, taken in their mischievous, heretical sense, and so he advised that, while we cherish in our souls a devout consciousness of this ungenerate Deity, we should not show any particular love for the actual word, which was the occasion of sin to the reprobate; for that the title of Father, if we follow out all that it implies, will suggest to us this meaning of not having been generated. For when we hear the word Father, we think at once of the Author of all beings; for if He had some further cause transcending Himself, He would not have been called thus of proper right Father; for that title would have had to be transferred higher, to this pre-supposed Cause. But if He Himself is that Cause from which all comes, as the Apostle says, it is plain that nothing can be thought of beyond His existence. But this is to believe in that existence not having been generated. But this man, who claims that even the Truth shall not be considered more persuasive than himself, will not acquiesce in this; he loudly dogmatizes against it; he jeers at the argument.

§38. Several ways of controverting his quibbling syllogisms.

Let us, if you please, examine his irrefragable syllogisms, and his subtle transpositions197197    Transpositions of the terms in his own false premises; τῶν σοφισμάτων ἀντιστροφὰς. The same as “the professional twisting of premisses,” and “the hooking backward and forward and twisting of premisses” below. The terms Father and ᾽Αγέννητος are transposed or twisted into each other’s place in this ‘irrefragable syllogism.’ It is ‘a reductio ad absurdum’ thus:—
   Father means ᾽Αγέννητος (Basil’s premiss),

   ∴ ᾽Αγέννητος means Father.

   The fallacy of Eunomius consists in making ‘Father’ universal in his own premiss, when it was only particular in Basil’s. “᾽Αγέννητος means the whole contents of the word Father,” which therefore cannot mean having generated a son. It is a False Conversion.

   This Conversion or ἀντιοτροφὴ is illustrated in Aristotle’s Analytics, Prior. I. iii. 3. It is legitimate thus:—

   Some B is A

   ∴ Some A is (some) B.
of the terms in his own false premisses, by which he hopes to shake that argument; though, indeed, I fear lest the miserable quibbling in what he says may in a measure raise a prejudice also against the remarks that would correct it. When striplings challenge to a fight, men get more blame for pugnaciousness in closing with such foes, than honour for their show of victory. Nevertheless, what we want to say is this. We think, indeed, that the things said by him, with that well-known elocution now familiar to us, only for the sake of being insolent, are better buried in silence and oblivion; they may suit him; but to us they afford only an exercise for much-enduring patience. Nor would it be proper, I think, to insert his ridiculous expressions in the midst of our own serious controversy, and so to make this zeal for the truth evaporate in coarse, vulgar laughter; for indeed to be within hearing, and to remain unmoved, is an impossibility, when he says with such sublime and magnificient verbosity, “Where additional words amount to additional blasphemy, it is by half as much more tranquillizing to be silent than to speak.” Let those laugh at these expressions who know which of them are fit to be believed, and which only to be laughed at; while we scrutinize the keenness of those syllogisms with which he tries to tear our system to pieces.

He says, “If ‘Father’ is the same in meaning as ‘Ungenerate,’ and words which have the same meaning naturally have in every respect the same force, and Ungenerate signifies by their confession that God comes from nothing, it follows necessarily that Father signifies the fact of God being of none, and not the having generated the Son.” Now what is this logical necessity which prevents the having generated a Son being signified by the title “Father,” if so be that that same title does in itself express to us as well the absence of beginning in the Father? If, indeed, the one idea was totally destructive of the other, it would certainly follow, from the very nature of contradictories198198    κατὰ τὴν τῶν ἀντικειμένων φύσιν. If ᾽Αγέννητος means not having a son, then to affirm ‘God is always ᾽Αγέννητος’ is even to deny (its logical contradictory) ‘God once had a Son.’, that the affirming of the one would involve the denial of the other. But if there is nothing in the world to prevent the 87same Existence from being Father and also Ungenerate, when we try to think, under this title of Father, of the quality of not having been generated as one of the ideas implied in it, what necessity prevents the relation to a Son being any longer marked by the word Father? Other names which express mutual relationship are not always confined to those ideas of relationship; for instance, we call the emperor199199    τὸν βασιλέα. autocrat and masterless, and we call the same the ruler of his subjects; and, while it is quite true that the word emperor signifies also the being masterless, it is not therefore necessary that this word, because signifying autocratic and unruled, must cease to imply the having power over inferiors; the word emperor, in fact, is midway between these two conceptions, and at one time indicates masterlessness, at another the ruling over lower orders. In the case before us, then, if there is some other Father conceivable besides the Father of Our Lord, let these men who boast of their profound wisdom show him to us, and then we will agree with him that the idea of the Ungenerate cannot be represented by the title “Father.” But if the First Father has no cause transcending His own state, and the subsistence of the Son is invariably implied in the title of Father, why do they try to scare us, as if we were children, with these professional twistings of premisses, endeavouring to persuade or rather to decoy us into the belief that, if the property of not having been generated is acknowledged in the title of Father, we must sever from the Father any relation with the Son.

Despising, then, this silly superficial attempt of theirs, let us manfully own our belief in that which they adduce as a monstrous absurdity, viz., that not only does the ‘Father’ mean the same as Ungenerate and that this last property establishes the Father as being of none, but also that the word ‘Father’ introduces with itself the notion of the Only-begotten, as a relative bound to it. Now the following passage, which is to be found in the treatise of our Teacher, has been removed from the context by this clever and invincible controversialist; for, by suppressing that part which was added by Basil by way of safeguard, he thought he would make his own reply a much easier task. The passage runs thus verbatim. “For my part I should be inclined to say that this title of the Ungenerate, however readily it may seem to fall in with our own ideas, yet, as nowhere found in Scripture, and as forming the alphabet of Eunomius’ blasphemy, may very well be suppressed, when we have the word Father meaning the same thing, in addition to200200    πρὸς τῷ. Cod. Ven., surely better than the common πρὸς τὸ, which Oehler has in his text. its introducing with itself, as a relative bound to it, the notion of the Son.” This generous champion of the truth, with innate good feeling201201    ἐλευθερία; late Greek, for ἐλευθεριότης, has suppressed this sentence which was added by way of safeguard, I mean, “in addition to introducing with itself, as a relative bound to it, the notion of the Son;” after this garbling, he comes to close quarters with what remains, and having severed the connection of the living whole202202    “the living whole.” σώματος: this is the radical meaning of σῶμα, and also the classical. Viger. (Idiom. p. 143 note) distinguishes four meanings under this. 1. Safety. 2. Individuality. 3. Living presence. 4. Life: and adduces instances of each from the Attic orators., and thus made it, as he thinks, a more yielding and assailable victim of his logic, he misleads his own party with the frigid and feeble paralogism, that “that which has a common meaning, in one single point, with something else retains that community of meaning in every possible point;” and with this he takes their shallow intelligences by storm. For while we have only affirmed that the word Father in a certain signification yields the same meaning as Ungenerate, this man makes the coincidence of meanings complete in every point, quite at variance therein with the common acceptation of either word; and so he reduces the matter to an absurdity, pretending that this word Father can no longer denote any relation to the Son, if the idea of not having been generated is conveyed by it. It is just as if some one, after having acquired two ideas about a loaf,—one, that it is made of flour, the other, that it is food to the consumer—were to contend with the person who told him this, using against him the same kind of fallacy as Eunomius does, viz., that ‘the being made of flour is one thing, but the being food is another; if, then, it is granted that the loaf is made of flour, this quality in it can no longer strictly be called food.’ Such is the thought in Eunomius’ syllogism; “if the not having been generated is implied by the word Father, this word can no longer convey the idea of having generated the Son.” But I think it is time that we, in our turn, applied to this argument of his that magnificently rounded period of his own (already quoted). In reply to such words, it would be suitable to say that he would have more claim to be considered in his sober senses, if he had put the limit to such argumentative safeguards at absolute silence. For “where additional words amount to additional blasphemy,” or, rather, indicate that he has utterly lost his reason, it is not only “by half as much more,” but by the whole as much more “tranquillizing to be silent than to speak.”

88But perhaps a man would be more easily led into the true view by personal illustrations; so let us leave this looking backwards and forwards and this twisting of false premisses203203    τὸ κατηγκυλωμένον τῆς τῶν συφισμάτων πλοκῆς. See c. 38, note 7. The false premisses in the syllogisms have been—
   1. Father (partly) means ᾽Αγέννητος

   Things which mean the same in part, mean the same in all (false premiss).

   ∴ Father means ᾽Αγέννητος (false).

   2. Father means ᾽Αγέννητος (false).

   ᾽Αγέννητος does not mean ‘having a Son.’

   ∴ Father does not mean ‘having a Son’ (false).
, and discuss the matter in a less learned and more popular way. Your father, Eunomius, was certainly a human being; but the same person was also the author of your being. Did you, then, ever use in his case too this clever quibble which you have employed; so that your own ‘father,’ when once he receives the true definition of his being, can no longer mean, because of being a ‘man,’ any relationship to yourself; ‘for he must be one of two things, either a man, or Eunomius’ father?’—Well, then, you must not use the names of intimate relationship otherwise than in accordance with that intimate meaning. Yet, though you would indict for libel any one who contemptuously scoffed against yourself, by means of such an alteration of meanings, are you not afraid to scoff against God; and are you safe when you laugh at these mysteries of our faith? As ‘your father’ indicates relationship to yourself, and at the same time humanity is not excluded by that term, and as no one in his sober senses instead of styling him who begat you ‘your father’ would render his description by the word ‘man,’ or, reversely, if asked for his genus and answering ‘man,’ would assert that that answer prevented him from being your father; so in the contemplation of the Almighty a reverent mind would not deny that by the title of Father is meant that He is without generation, as well as that in another meaning it represents His relationship to the Son. Nevertheless Eunomius, in open contempt of truth, does assert that the title cannot mean the ‘having begotten a son’ any longer, when once the word has conveyed to us the idea of ‘never having been generated.’

Let us add the following illustration of the absurdity of his assertions. It is one that all must be familiar with, even mere children who are being introduced under a grammar-tutor to the study of words. Who, I say, does not know that some nouns are absolute and out of all relation, others express some relationship. Of these last, again, there are some which incline, according to the speaker’s wish, either way; they have a simple intention in themselves, but can be turned so as to become nouns of relation. I will not linger amongst examples foreign to our subject. I will explain from the words of our Faith itself.

God is called Father and King and other names innumerable in Scripture. Of these names one part can be pronounced absolutely, i.e. simply as they are, and no more: viz.. “imperishable,” “everlasting,” “immortal,” and so on. Each of these, without our bringing in another thought, contains in itself a complete thought about the Deity. Others express only relative usefulness; thus, Helper, Champion, Rescuer, and other words of that meaning; if you remove thence the idea of one in need of the help, all the force expressed by the word is gone. Some, on the other hand, as we have said, are both absolute, and are also amongst the words of relation; ‘God,’ for instance, and ‘good,’ and many other such. In these the thought does not continue always within the absolute. The Universal God often becomes the property of him who calls upon Him; as the Saints teach us, when they make that independent Being their own. ‘The Lord God is Holy;’ so far there is no relation; but when one adds the Lord Our God, and so appropriates the meaning in a relation towards oneself, then one causes the word to be no longer thought of absolutely. Again; “Abba, Father” is the cry of the Spirit; it is an utterance free from any partial reference. But we are bidden to call the Father in heaven, ‘Our Father;’ this is the relative use of the word. A man who makes the Universal Deity his own, does not dim His supreme dignity; and in the same way there is nothing to prevent us, when we point out the Father and Him who comes from Him, the Firstborn before all creation, from signifying by that title of Father at one and the same time the having begotten that Son, and also the not being from any more transcendent Cause. For he who speaks of the First Father means Him who is presupposed before all existence, Whose is the beyond204204    ἐνεδείξατο, οὗ τὸ ἐπέκεινα. This is the reading of the Turin Cod., and preferable to that of the Paris edition.. This is He, Who has nothing previous to Himself to behold, no end in which He shall cease. Whichever way we look, He is equally existing there for ever; He transcends the limit of any end, the idea of any beginning, by the infinitude of His life; whatever be His title, eternity must be implied with it.

But Eunomius, versed as he is in the contemplation of that which eludes thought, rejects this view of unscientific minds; he will not admit a double meaning in the word ‘Father,’ the one, that from Him are all things and in the front of all things the Only-begotten Son, the other, that He Himself has no superior Cause. He 89may scorn the statement; but we will brave his mocking laugh, and repeat what we have said already, that the ‘Father’ is the same as that Ungenerate One, and both signifies the having begotten the Son, and represents the being from nothing.

But Eunomius, contending with this statement of ours, says (the very contrary now of what he said before), “If God is Father because He has begotten the Son, and ‘Father’ has the same meaning as Ungenerate, God is Ungenerate because He has begotten the Son, but before He begat Him He was not Ungenerate.” Observe his method of turning round; how he pulls his first quibble to pieces, and turns it into the very opposite, thinking even so to entrap us in a conclusion from which there is no escape. His first syllogism presented the following absurdity, “If ‘Father’ means the coming from nothing, then necessarily it will no longer indicate the having begotten the Son.” But this last syllogism, by turning (a premiss) into its contrary, threatens our faith with another absurdity. How, then, does he pull to pieces his former conclusion205205    The first syllogism was—
   ‘Father’ means the ‘coming from nothing;’

   (‘Coming from nothing’ does not mean ‘begetting a Son’)

   ∴ Father does not mean begetting a Son.

   He “pulls to pieces” this conclusion by taking its logical ‘contrary’ as the first premiss of his second syllogism; thus—

   Father means begetting a Son;

   (Father means ᾽Αγέννητος)

   ∴ ᾽Αγέννητος means begetting a Son.

   From which it follows that before that begetting the Almighty was not ᾽Αγέννητος

   The conclusion of the last syllogism also involves the contrary of the 2nd premiss of the first.

   It is to be noticed that both syllogisms are aimed at Basil’s doctrine, ‘Father’ means ‘coming from nothing.’ Eunomius strives to show that, in both, such a premiss leads to an absurdity. But Gregory ridicules both for contradicting each other.
? “If He is ‘Father’ because He has begotten a Son.” His first syllogism gave us nothing like that; on the contrary, its logical inference purported to show that if the Father’s not having been generated was meant by the word Father, that word could not mean as well the having begotten a Son206206    τὸ μὲν μὴ δύνασθαι. The negative, absent in Oehler, is recovered from the Turin Cod.. Thus his first syllogism contained no intimation whatever that God was Father because He had begotten a Son. I fail to understand what this argumentative and shrewdly professional reversal means.

But let us look to the thought in it below the words. ‘If God is Ungenerate because He has begotten a Son, He was not Ungenerate before He begat Him.’ The answer to that is plain; it consists in the simple statement of the Truth that ‘the word Father means both the having begotten a Son, and also that the Begetter is not to be thought of as Himself coming from any cause.’ If you look at the effect, the Person of the Son is revealed in the word Father; if you look for a previous Cause, the absence of any beginning in the Begetter is shown by that word. In saying that ‘Before He begat a Son, the Almighty was not Ungenerate,’ this pamphleteer lays himself open to a double charge; i.e. of misrepresentation of us, and of insult to the Faith. He attacks, as if there was no mistake about it, something which our Teacher never said, neither do we now assert, viz., that the Almighty became in process of time a Father, having been something else before. Moreover in ridiculing the absurdity of this fancied doctrine of ours, he proclaims his own wildness as to doctrine. Assuming that the Almighty was once something else, and then by an advance became entitled to be called Father, he would have it that before this He was not Ungenerate either, since Ungeneracy is implied in the idea of Father. The folly of this hardly needs to be pointed out; it will be abundantly clear to anyone who reflects. If the Almighty was something else before He became Father, what will the champions of this theory say, if they were asked in what state they propose to contemplate Him? What name are they going to give Him in that stage of existence; child, infant, babe, or youth? Will they blush at such flagrant absurdity, and say nothing like that, and concede that He was perfect from the first? Then how can He be perfect, while as yet unable to become Father? Or will they not deprive Him of this power, but say only that it was not fitting that there should be Fatherhood simultaneously with His existence. But if it was not good nor fitting that He should be from the very beginning Father of such a Son, how did He go on to acquire that which was not good?

But, as it is, it is good and fitting to God’s majesty that He should become Father of such a Son. So they will make out that at the beginning He had no share in this good thing, and as long as He did not have this Son they must assert (may God forgive me for saying it!) that He had no Wisdom, nor Power, nor Truth, nor any of the other glories which from various points of view the Only-begotten Son is and is called.

But let all this fall on the heads of those who started it. We will return whence we digressed. He says, “if God is Father because of having begotten a Son, and if Father means the being Ungenerate, then God was not this last, before He begat.” Now if he could speak here as it is customary to speak about human life, where it is inconceivable that any should acquire possession of many accomplishments all at once, instead of winning each of the objects sought after in a certain order and sequence 90of time—if I say we could reason like that in the case of the Almighty, so that we could say He possessed His Ungeneracy at one time, and after that acquired His power, and then His imperishability, and then His Wisdom, and advancing so became Father, and after that Just and then Everlasting, and so came into all that enters into the philosophical conception of Him, in a certain sequence—then it would not be so manifestly absurd to think that one of His names has precedence of another name, and to talk of His being first Ungenerate, and after that having become Father.

As it is, however, no one is so earth-bound in imagination, so uninitiated in the sublimities of our Faith, as to fail, when once he has apprehended the Cause of the universe, to embrace in one collective and compact whole all the attributes which piety can give to God; and to conceive instead of a primal and a later attribute, and of another in between, supervening in a certain sequence. It is not possible, in fact, to traverse in thought one amongst those attributes and then reach another, be it a reality or a conception, which is to transcend the first in antiquity. Every name of God, every sublime conception of Him, every utterance or idea that harmonizes with our general ideas with regard to Him, is linked in closest union with its fellow; all such conceptions are massed together in our understanding into one collective and compact whole namely, His Fatherhood, and Ungeneracy, and Power, and Imperishability, and Goodness, and Authority, and everything else. You cannot take one of these and separate it in thought from the rest by any interval of time, as if it preceded or followed something else; no sublime or adorable attribute in Him can be discovered, which is not simultaneously expressed in His everlastingness. Just, then, as we cannot say that God was ever not good, or powerful, or imperishable, or immortal, in the same way it is a blasphemy not to attribute to Him Fatherhood always, and to say that that came later. He Who is truly Father is always Father; if eternity was not included in this confession, and if a foolishly preconceived idea curtailed and checked retrospectively our conception of the Father, true Fatherhood could no longer be properly predicated of Him, because that preconceived idea about the Son would cancel the continuity and eternity of His Fatherhood. How could that which He is now called be thought of something which came into existence subsequent to these other attributes? If being first Ungenerate He then became Father, and received that name, He was not always altogether what He is now called. But that which the God now existing is He always is; He does not become worse or better by any addition, He does not become altered by taking something from another source. He is always identical with Himself. If, then, He was not Father at first, He was not Father afterwards. But if He is confessed to be Father (now), I will recur to the same argument, that, if He is so now, He always was so; and that if He always was, He always will be. The Father therefore is always Father; and seeing that the Son must always be thought of along with the Father (for the title of father cannot be justified unless there is a son to make it true), all that we contemplate in the Father is to be observed also in the Son. “All that the Father hath is the Son’s; and all that is the Son’s the Father hath.” The words are, ‘The Father hath that which is the Son’s207207    John xvi. 15. Oehler conjectures these words (῎Εχει ὁ πατὴρ) are to be repeated; and thus obtains a good sense, which the common reading, ὁ πατὴρ εἶπον, does not give.,’ and so a carping critic will have no authority for finding in the contents of the word “all” the ungeneracy of the Son, when it is said that the Son has all that the Father has, nor on the other hand the generation of the Father, when all that is the Son’s is to be observed in the Father. For the Son has all the things of the Father; but He is not Father: and again, all the things of the Son are to be observed in the Father, but He is not a Son.

If, then, all that is the Father’s is in the Only-begotten, and He is in the Father, and the Fatherhood is not dissociated from the ‘not having been generated,’ I for my part cannot see what there is to think of in connexion with the Father, by Himself, that is parted by any interval so as to precede our apprehension of the Son. Therefore we may boldly encounter the difficulties started in that quibbling syllogism; we may despise it as a mere scare to frighten children, and still assert that God is Holy, and Immortal, and Father, and Ungenerate, and Everlasting, and everything all at once; and that, if it could be supposed possible that you could withhold one of these attributes which devotion assigns to Him, all would be destroyed along with that one. Nothing, therefore, in Him is older or younger; else He would be found to be older or younger than Himself. If God is not all His attributes always, but something in Him is, and something else only becoming, following some order of sequence (we must remember God is not a compound; whatever He is is the whole of Him), and if according to this heresy He is first Ungenerate and afterwards becomes Father, then, seeing that we cannot think of Him in connexion with a heaping together of qualities, 91there is no alternative but that the whole of Him must be both older and younger than the whole of Him, the former by virtue of His Ungeneracy, the latter by virtue of His Fatherhood. But if, as the prophet says of God208208    Psalm cii. 27., He “is the same,” it is idle to say that before He begat He was not Himself Ungenerate; we cannot find either of these names, the Father and the Ungenerate One, parted from the other; the two ideas rise together, suggested by each other, in the thoughts of the devout reasoner. God is Father from everlasting, and everlasting Father, and every other term that devotion assigns to Him is given in a like sense, the mensuration and the flow of time having no place, as we have said, in the Eternal.

Let us now see the remaining results of his expertness in dealing with words; results, which he himself truly says, are at once ridiculous and lamentable. Truly one must laugh outright at what he says, if a deep lament for the error that steeps his soul were not more fitting. Whereas Father, as we teach, includes, according to one of its meanings, the idea of the Ungenerate, he transfers the full signification of the word Father to that of the Ungenerate, and declares “If Father is the same as Ungenerate, it is allowable for us to drop it, and use Ungenerate instead; thus, the Ungenerate of the Son is Ungenerate; for as the Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so reversely the Father is Ungenerate of the Son.” After this a feeling of admiration for our friend’s adroitness steals over me, with the conviction that the many-sided subtlety of his theological training is quite beyond the capacity of most. What our Teacher said was embraced in one short sentence, to the effect that it was possible that by the title ‘Father’ the Ungeneracy could be signified; but Eunomius’ words depend for their number not on the variety of the thoughts, but on the way that anything within the circuit of similar names can be turned about209209    ἐν τῇ περιόδῳ καὶ ἀναστροφῇ τῶν ὁμοίων ῥημάτων.. As the cattle that run blindfold round to turn the mill remain with all their travel in the same spot, so does he go round and round the same topic, and never leaves it. Once he said, ridiculing us, that ‘Father’ does not signify the having begotten, but the being from nothing. Again he wove a similar dilemma, “If Father signifies Ungeneracy, before He begat He was not ungenerate.” Then a third time he resorts to the same trick. “It is allowable for us to drop Father, and to use Ungenerate instead;” and then directly he repeats the logic so often vomited. “For as the Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so reversely the Father is Ungenerate of the Son.” How often he returns to his vomit; how often he blurts it out again! Shall we not, then, annoy most people, if we drag about our argument in company with this foolish display of words? It would be perhaps more decent to be silent in a case like this; still, lest any one should think that we decline discussion because we are weak in pleas, we will answer thus to what he has said. ‘You have no authority, Eunomius, for calling the Father the Ungenerate of the Son, even though the title Father does signify that the Begetter was from no cause Himself. For as, to take the example already cited, when we hear the word ‘Emperor’ we understand two things, both that the one who is pre-eminent in authority is subject to none, and also that he controls his inferiors, so the title Father supplies us with two ideas about the Deity, one relating to His Son, the other to His being dependent on no preconceivable cause. As, then, in the case of ‘Emperor’ we cannot say that because the two things are signified by that term, viz., the ruling over subjects and the not having any to take precedence of him, there is any justification for speaking of the ‘Unruled of subjects,’ instead of the ‘Ruler of the nation,’ or allowing so much, that we may use such a juxtaposition of words, in imitation of king of a nation, as kingless of a nation, in the same way when ‘Father’ indicates a Son, and also represents the idea of the Ungenerate, we may not unduly transfer this latter meaning, so as to attach this idea of the Ungenerate fast to a paternal relationship, and absurdly say ‘the Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the Son.’

He treads on the ground of truth, he thinks, after such utterances; he has exposed the absurdity of his adversaries’ position; how boastfully he cries, “And what sane thinker, pray, ever yet wanted the natural thought to be suppressed, and welcomed the paradoxical?” No sane thinker, most accomplished sir; and therefore our argument neither, which teaches that while the term Ungenerate does suit our thoughts, and we ought to guard it in our hearts intact, yet the term Father is an adequate substitute for the one which you have perverted, and leads the mind in that direction. Remember the words which you yourself quoted; Basil did not ‘want the natural thought to be suppressed, and welcome the paradoxical,’ as you phrase it; but he advised us to avoid all danger by suppressing the mere word Ungenerate, that is, the expression in so many syllables, as one which had been evilly interpreted, and besides was not to be found in Scripture; as for its meaning he declares that it does most completely suit our thoughts.

92Thus far for our statement. But this reviler of all quibblers, who completely arms his own argument with the truth, and arraigns our sins in logic, does not blush in any of his arguing on doctrines to indulge in very pretty quibbles; on a par with those exquisite jokes which are cracked to make people laugh at dessert. Reflect on the weight of reasoning displayed in that complicated syllogism; which I will now again repeat. “If ‘Father’ is the same as Ungenerate, it is allowable for us to drop it, and use Ungenerate instead; thus, the Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the Son; for as the Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so, reversely, the Father is Ungenerate of the Son.” Well, this is very like another case such as the following. Suppose some one were to state the right and sound view about Adam; namely, that it mattered not whether we called him “father of mankind” or “the first man formed by God” (for both mean the same thing), and then some one else, belonging to Eunomius’ school of reasoners, were to pounce upon this statement, and make the same complication out of it, viz.: If “first man formed by God” and “father of mankind” are the same things, it is allowable for us to drop the word “father” and use “first formed” instead; and say that Adam was the “first formed,” instead of the “father,” of Abel; for as the first formed was the father of a son, so, reversely, that father is the first formed of that son. If this had been said in a tavern, what laughter and applause would have broken from the tippling circle over so fine and exquisite a joke! These are the arguments on which our learned theologian leans; when he assails our doctrine, he really needs himself a tutor and a stick to teach him that all the things which are predicated of some one do not necessarily, in their meaning, have respect to one single object; as is plain from the aforesaid instance of Abel and Adam. That one and the same Adam is Abel’s father and also God’s handiwork is a truth; nevertheless it does not follow that, because he is both, he is both with respect to Abel. So the designation of the Almighty as Father has both the special meaning of that word, i.e., the having begotten a son, and also that of there being no preconceivable cause of the Very Father; nevertheless it does not follow that when we mention the Son we must speak of the Ungenerate, instead of the Father, of that Son; nor, on the other hand, if the absence of beginning remains unexpressed in reference to the Son, that we must banish from our thoughts about God that attribute of Ungeneracy. But he discards the usual acceptations, and like an actor in comedy, makes a joke of the whole subject, and by dint of the oddity of his quibbles makes the questions of our faith ridiculous. Again I must repeat his words: “If Father is the same as Ungenerate, it is allowable for us to drop it, and use Ungenerate instead; thus, the Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the Son; for as the Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so, reversely, the Father is Ungenerate of the Son.” But let us turn the laugh against him, by reversing his quibble; thus: If Father is not the same as Ungenerate, the Son of the Father will not be Son of the Ungenerate; for having relation to the Father only, he will be altogether alien in nature to that which is other than Father, and does not suit that idea; so that, if the Father is something other than the Ungenerate, and the title Father does not comprehend that meaning, the Son, being One, cannot be distributed between these two relationships, and be at the same time Son both of the Father and of the Ungenerate; and, as before it was an acknowledged absurdity to speak of the Deity as Ungenerate of the Son, so in this converse proposition it will be found an absurdity just as great to call the Only-begotten Son of the Ungenerate. So that he must choose one of two things; either the Father is the same as the Ungenerate (which is necessary in order that the Son of the Father may be Son of the Ungenerate as well); and then our doctrine has been ridiculed by him without reason; or, the Father is something different to the Ungenerate, and the Son of the Father is alienated from all relationship to the Ungenerate. But then, if it is thus to hold that the Only-begotten is not the Son of the Ungenerate, logic inevitably points to a “generated Father;” for that which exists, but does not exist without generation, must have a generated substance. If, then, the Father, being according to these men other than Ungenerate, is therefore generated, where is their much talked of Ungeneracy? Where is that basis and foundation of their heretical castle-building? The Ungenerate, which they thought just now that they grasped, has eluded them, and vanished quite beneath the action of a few barren syllogisms; their would-be demonstration of the Unlikeness, like a mere dream about something, slips away at the touch of criticism, and takes its flight along with this Ungenerate.

Thus it is that whenever a falsehood is welcomed in preference to the truth, it may indeed flourish for a little through the illusion which it creates, but it will soon collapse; its own methods of proof will dissolve it. But we bring this forward only to raise a smile at the very pretty revenge we might take on their Unlikeness. We must now resume the main thread of our discourse.

93§39. Answer to the question he is always asking, “Can He who is be begotten?”

Eunomius does not like the meaning of the Ungenerate to be conveyed by the term Father, because he wants to establish that there was a time when the Son was not. It is in fact a constant question amongst his pupils, “How can He who (always) is be begotten?” This comes, I take it, of not weaning oneself from the human application of words, when we have to think about God. But let us without bitterness at once expose the actual falseness of this ‘arrière pensée’ of his210210    αὐτὸ τὸ πεπλασμενον τῆς ὑπονοιας., stating first our conclusions upon the matter.

These names have a different meaning with us, Eunomius; when we come to the transcendent energies they yield another sense. Wide, indeed, is the interval in all else that divides the human from the divine; experience cannot point here below to anything at all resembling in amount what we may guess at and imagine there. So likewise, as regards the meaning of our terms, though there may be, so far as words go, some likeness between man and the Eternal, yet the gulf between these two worlds is the real measure of the separation of meanings. For instance, our Lord calls God a ‘man’ that was a ‘householder’ in the parable211211    the parable, i.e. of the Tares. Matthew xiii. 27: cf. v. 52.; but though this title is ever so familiar to us, will the person we think of and the person there meant be of the same description; and will our ‘house’ be the same as that large house, in which, as the Apostle says, there are the vessels of gold, and those of silver212212    2 Tim. ii. 20., and those of the other materials which are recounted? Or will not those rather be beyond our immediate apprehension and to be contemplated in a blessed immortality, while ours are earthern, and to dissolve to earth? So in almost all the other terms there is a similarity of names between things human and things divine, revealing nevertheless underneath this sameness a wide difference of meanings. We find alike in both worlds the mention of bodily limbs and senses; as with us, so with the life of God, which all allow to be above sense, there are set down in order fingers and arm and hand, eye and eyelids, hearing, heart, feet and sandals, horses, cavalry, and chariots; and other metaphors innumerable are taken from human life to illustrate symbolically divine things. As, then, each one of these names has a human sound, but not a human meaning, so also that of Father, while applying equally to life divine and human, hides a distinction between the uttered meanings exactly proportionate to the difference existing between the subjects of this title. We think of man’s generation one way; we surmise of the divine generation in another. A man is born in a stated time; and a particular place must be the receptacle of his life; without it it is not in nature that he should have any concrete substance: whence also it is inevitable that sections of time are found enveloping his life; there is a Before, and With, and After him. It is true to say of any one whatever of those born into this world that there was a time when he was not, that he is now, and again there will be time when he will cease to exist; but into the Eternal world these ideas of time do not enter; to a sober thinker they have nothing akin to that world. He who considers what the divine life really is will get beyond the ‘sometime,’ the ‘before,’ and the ‘after,’ and every mark whatever of this extension in time; he will have lofty views upon a subject so lofty; nor will he deem that the Absolute is bound by those laws which he observes to be in force in human generation.

Passion precedes the concrete existence of man; certain material foundations are laid for the formation of the living creature; beneath it all is Nature, by God’s will, with her wonder-working, putting everything under contribution for the proper proportion of nutrition for that which is to be born, taking from each terrestrial element the amount necessary for the particular case, receiving the co-operation of a measured time, and as much of the food of the parents as is necessary for the formation of the child: in a word Nature, advancing through all these processes by which a human life is built up, brings the non-existent to the birth; and accordingly we say that, non-existent once, it now is born; because, at one time not being, at another it begins to be. But when it comes to the Divine generation the mind rejects this ministration of Nature, and this fulness of time in contributing to the development, and everything else which our argument contemplated as taking place in human generation; and he who enters on divine topics with no carnal conceptions will not fall down again to the level of any of those debasing thoughts, but seeks for one in keeping with the majesty of the thing to be expressed; he will not think of passion in connexion with that which is passionless, or count the Creator of all Nature as in need of Nature’s help, or admit extension in time into the Eternal life; he will see that the Divine generation is to be cleared of all such ideas, and will allow to the title ‘Father’ only the meaning that the Only-begotten is not Himself without a source, but derives from That the cause of His being; though, 94as for the actual beginning of His subsistence, he will not calculate that, because he will not be able to see any sign of the thing in question. ‘Older’ and ‘younger’ and all such notions are found to involve intervals of time; and so, when you mentally abstract time in general, all such indications are got rid of along with it.

Since, then, He who is with the Father, in some inconceivable category, before the ages admits not of a ‘sometime,’ He exists by generation indeed, but nevertheless He never begins to exist. His life is neither in time, nor in place. But when we take away these and all suchlike ideas in contemplating the subsistence of the Son, there is only one thing that we can even think of as before Him—i.e. the Father. But the Only-begotten, as He Himself has told us, is in the Father, and so, from His nature, is not open to the supposition that He ever existed not. If indeed the Father ever was not, the eternity of the Son must be cancelled retrospectively in consequence of this nothingness of the Father: but if the Father is always, how can the Son ever be non-existent, when He cannot be thought of at all by Himself apart from the Father, but is always implied silently in the name Father. This name in fact conveys the two Persons equally; the idea of the Son is inevitably suggested by that word. When was it, then, that the Son was not? In what category shall we detect His non-existence? In place? There is none. In time? Our Lord was before all times; and if so, when was He not? And if He was in the Father, in what place was He not? Tell us that, ye who are so practised in seeing things out of sight. What kind of interval have your cogitations given a shape to? What vacancy in the Son, be it of substance or of conception, have you been able to think of, which shows the Father’s life, when drawn out in parallel, as surpassing that of the Only-begotten? Why, even of men we cannot say absolutely that any one was not, and then was born. Levi, many generations before his own birth in the flesh, was tithed by Melchisedech; so the Apostle says, “Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes (in Abraham),”213213    Heb. vii. 9, 10; Genesis xiv. 18. adding the proof, “for he was yet in the loins of his father, when” Abraham met the priest of the Most High. If, then, a man in a certain sense is not, and is then born, having existed beforehand by virtue of kinship of substance in his progenitor, according to an Apostle’s testimony, how as to the Divine life do they dare to utter the thought that He was not, and then was begotten? For He ‘is in the Father,’ as our Lord has told us; “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me214214    John x. 38.,” each of course being in the other in two different senses; the Son being in the Father as the beauty of the image is to be found in the form from which it has been outlined; and the Father in the Son, as that original beauty is to be found in the image of itself. Now in all hand-made images the interval of time is a point of separation between the model and that to which it lends its form; but there the one cannot be separated from the other, neither the “express image” from the “Person,” to use the Apostle’s words215215    Heb. i., nor the “brightness” from the “glory” of God, nor the representation from the goodness; but when once thought has grasped one of these, it has admitted the associated Verity as well. “Being,” he says (not becoming), “the brightness of His glory216216    Heb. i. 3. (ὢν, not γενόμενος).;” so that clearly we may rid ourselves for ever of the blasphemy which lurks in either of those two conceptions; viz., that the Only-begotten can be thought of as Ungenerate (for he says “the brightness of His glory,” the brightness coming from the glory, and not, reversely, the glory from the brightness); or that He ever began to be. For the word “being” is a witness that interprets to us the Son’s continuity and eternity and superiority to all marks of time.

What occasion, then, had our foes for proposing for the damage of our Faith that trifling question, which they think unanswerable and, so, a proving of their own doctrine, and which they are continually asking, namely, ‘whether One who is can be generated.’ We may boldly answer them at once, that He who is in the Ungenerate was generated from Him, and does derive His source from Him. ‘I live by the Father217217    John iv. 57.:’ but it is impossible to name the ‘when’ of His beginning. When there is no intermediate matter, or idea, or interval of time, to separate the being of the Son from the Father, no symbol can be thought of, either, by which the Only-begotten can be unlinked from the Father’s life, and shewn to proceed from some special source of His own. If, then, there is no other principle that guides the Son’s life, if there is nothing that a devout mind can contemplate before (but not divided from) the subsistence of the Son, but the Father only; and if the Father is without beginning or generation, as even our adversaries admit, how can He who can be contemplated only within the Father, who is without beginning, admit Himself of a beginning?

95What harm, too, does our Faith suffer from our admitting those expressions of our opponents which they bring forward against us as absurd, when they ask ‘whether He which is can be begotten?’ We do not assert that this can be so in the sense in which Nicodemus put his offensive question218218    John iii. 4., wherein he thought it impossible that one who was in existence could come to a second birth: but we assert that, having His existence attached to an Existence which is always and is without beginning, and accompanying every investigator into the antiquities of time, and forestalling the curiosity of thought as it advances into the world beyond, and intimately blended as He is with all our conceptions of the Father, He has no beginning of His existence any more than He is Ungenerate: but He was both begotten and was, evincing on the score of causation generation from the Father, but by virtue of His everlasting life repelling any moment of non-existence.

But this thinker in his exceeding subtlety contravenes this statement; he sunders the being of the Only-begotten from the Father’s nature, on the ground of one being Generated, the other Ungenerate; and although there are such a number of names which with reverence may be applied to the Deity, and all of them suitable to both Persons equally, he pays no attention to anyone of them, because these others indicate that in which Both participate; he fastens on the name Ungenerate, and that alone; and even of this he will not adopt the usual and approved meaning; he revolutionizes the conception of it, and cancels its common associations. Whatever can be the reason of this? For without some very strong one he would not wrest language away from its accepted meaning, and innovate219219    ξενίζει, intrans. N.T. Polyb. Lucian. by changing the signification of words. He knows perfectly well that if their meaning was confined to the customary one he would have no power to subvert the sound doctrine; but that if such terms are perverted from their common and current acceptation, he will be able to spoil the doctrine along with the word. For instance (to come to the actual words which he misuses), if, according to the common thinking of our Faith he had allowed that God was to be called Ungenerate only because He was never generated, the whole fabric of his heresy would have collapsed, with the withdrawal of his quibbling about this Ungenerate. If, that is, he was to be persuaded, by following out the analogy of almost all the names of God in use for the Church, to think of the God over all as Ungenerate, just as He is invisible, and passionless, and immaterial; and if he was agreed that in every one of these terms there was signified only that which in no way belongs to God—body, for instance, and passion and colour, and derivation from a cause—then, if his view of the case had been like that, his party’s tenet of the Unlikeness would lose its meaning; for in all else (except the Ungeneracy) that is conceived concerning the God of all even these adversaries allow the likeness existing between the Only-begotten and the Father. But to prevent this, he puts the term Ungenerate in front of all these names indicating God’s transcendent nature; and he makes this one a vantage-ground from which he may sweep down upon our Faith; he transfers the contrariety between the actual expressions ‘Generated’ and ‘Ungenerate’ to the Persons themselves to whom these words apply; and thereby, by this difference between the words he argues by a quibble for a difference between the Beings; not agreeing with us that Generated is to be used only because the Son was generated, and Ungenerate because the Father exists without having been generated; but affirming that he thinks the former has acquired existence by having been generated; though what sort of philosophy leads him to such a view I cannot understand. If one were to attend to the mere meanings of those words by themselves, abstracting in thought those Persons for whom the names are taken to stand, one would discover the groundlessness of these statements of theirs. Consider, then, not that, in consequence of the Father being a conception prior to the Son (as the Faith truly teaches), the order of the names themselves must be arranged so as to correspond with the value and order of that which underlies them; but regard them alone by themselves, to see which of them (the word, I repeat, not the Reality which it represents) is to be placed before the other as a conception of our mind; which of the two conveys the assertion of an idea, which the negation of the same; for instance (to be clear, I think similar pairs of words will give my meaning), Knowledge, Ignorance—Passion, Passionlessness—and suchlike contrasts, which of them possess priority of conception before the others? Those which posit the negation, or those which posit the assertion of the said quality? I take it the latter do so. Knowledge, anger, passion, are conceived of first; and then comes the negation of these ideas. And let no one, in his excess of devotion220220    ἐθελοθρησκείας, “will worship.”, blame this argument, as if it would put the 96Son before the Father. We are not making out that the Son is to be placed in conception before the Father, seeing that the argument is discriminating only the meanings of ‘Generated,’ and ‘Ungenerate.’ So Generation signifies the assertion of some reality or some idea; while Ungeneracy signifies its negation; so that there is every reason that Generation must be thought of first. Why, then, do they insist herein on fixing on the Father the second, in order of conception, of these two names; why do they keep on thinking that a negation can define and can embrace the whole substance of the term in question, and are roused to exasperation against those who point out the groundlessness of their arguments?

§40. His unsuccessful attempt to be consistent with his own statements after Basil has confuted him.

For notice how bitter he is against one who did detect the rottenness and weakness of his work of mischief; how he revenges himself all he can, and that is only by abuse and vilification: in these, however, he possesses abundant ability. Those who would give elegance of style to a discourse have a way of filling out the places that want rhythm with certain conjunctive particles221221    conjunctive particles, σύνδεσμοι. In Aristotle’s Poetics (xx. 6), these are reckoned as one of the 8 ‘parts of speech.’ The term σύνδεσμος is illustrated by the examples μὲν, ἤτοι, δὴ, which leaves no doubt that it includes at all events conjunctions and particles. Its general character is defined in his Rhetoric iii. 12, 4: “It makes many (sentences) one.” Harris (Hermes ii. c. 2), thus defines a conjunction, “A part of speech devoid of signification itself, but so formed as to help signification by making two or more significant sentences to be one significant sentence,” a definition which manifestly comes from Aristotle.
   The comparison here seems to be between these constantly recurring particles, themselves ‘devoid of signification,’ in an ‘elegant’ discourse, and the perpetually used epithets, “fools,” &c., which, though utterly meaningless, serve to connect his dislocated paragraphs. The ‘assembly’ (σύναξις, always of the synagogue or the Communion. See Suicer) of his words is brought, it is ironically implied, into some sort of harmony by these means.
, whereby they introduce more euphony and connexion into the assembly of their phrases; so does Eunomius garnish his work with abusive epithets in most of his passages, as though he wished to make a display of this overflowing power of invective. Again we are ‘fools,’ again we ‘fail in correct reasoning,’ and ‘meddle in the controversy without the preparation which its importance requires,’ and ‘miss the speaker’s meaning.’ Such, and still more than these, are the phrases used of our Master by this decorous orator. But perhaps after all there is good reason in his anger; and this pamphleteer is justly indignant. For why should Basil have stung him by thus exposing the weakness of this teaching of his? Why should he have uncovered to the sight of the simpler brethren the blasphemy veiled beneath his plausible sophistries? Why should he not have let silence cover the unsoundness of this view? Why gibbet the wretched man, when he ought to have pitied him, and kept the veil over the indecency of his argument? He actually finds out and makes a spectacle of one who has somehow got to be admired amongst his private pupils for cleverness and shrewdness! Eunomius had said somewhere in his works that the attribute of being ungenerate “follows” the deity. Our Master remarked upon this phrase of his that a thing which “follows” must be amongst the externals, whereas the actual Being is not one of these, but indicates the very existence of anything, so far as it does exist. Then this gentle yet unconquerable opponent is furious, and pours along a copious stream of invective, because our Master, on hearing that phrase, apprehended the sense of it as well. But what did he do wrong, if he firmly insisted only upon the meaning of your own writings. If indeed he had seized illogically on what was said, all that you say would be true, and we should have to ignore what he did; but seeing that you are blushing at his reproof, why do you not erase the word from your pamphlet, instead of abusing the reprover? ‘Yes, but he did not understand the drift of the argument. Well, how do we do wrong, if being human, we guessed at the meaning from your actual words, having no comprehension of that which was buried in your heart? It is for God to see the inscrutable, and to inspect the characters of that which we have no means of comprehending, and to be cognizant of unlikeness222222    A hit at the Anomœans. ‘Your subtle distinctions, in the invisible world of your own mind, between the meanings of “following” are like the unlikenesses which you see between the Three Persons.’ in the invisible world. We can only judge by what we hear.

§41. The thing that follows is not the same as the thing that it follows.

He first says, “the attribute of being ungenerate follows the Deity.” By that we understood him to mean that this Ungeneracy is one of the things external to God. Then he says, “Or rather this Ungeneracy is His actual being.” We fail to understand the ‘sequitur’ of this; we notice in fact something very queer and incongruous about it. If Ungeneracy follows God, and yet also constitutes His being, two beings will be attributed to one and the same subject in this view; so that God will be in the same way as He was before and has always been believed to be223223    ὡς εἶναι μὲν τὸν Θεὸν κατὰ ταὐτὸν ὡς εἶναί ποτε(infinitive by attraction to preceding) καὶ εἶναι πεπίστευται, but besides that will have another being accompanying, which 97they style Ungeneracy, quite distinct from Him Whose ‘following’ it is, as our Master puts it. Well, if he commands us to think so, he must pardon our poverty of ideas, in not being able to follow out such subtle speculations.

But if he disowns this view, and does not admit a double being in the Deity, one represented by the godhead, the other by the ungeneracy, let our friend, who is himself neither ‘rash’ nor ‘malignant,’ prevail upon himself not to be over partial to invective while these combats for the truth are being fought, but to explain to us, who are so wanting in culture, how that which follows is not one thing and that which leads another, but how both coalesce into one; for, in spite of what he says in defence of his statement, the absurdity of it remains; and the addition of that handful of words224224    ἐυαριθμήτων ῥηματων. But it is possible that the true reading may be εὐρύθμων, alluding to the ‘rhythm’ in the form of abuse with which Eunomius connected his arguments (preceding section). does not correct, as he asserts, the contradiction in it. I have not yet been able to see that any explanation at all is discoverable in them. But we will give what he has written verbatim. “We say, ‘or rather the Ungeneracy is His actual being,’ without meaning to contract into the being225225    οὐκ εἰς τὸ εἶναι συναιροῦντες that which we have proved to follow it, but applying ‘follow’ to the title, but is to the being.” Accordingly when these things are taken together, the whole resulting argument would be, that the title Ungenerate follows, because to be Ungenerate is His actual being. But what expounder of this expounding shall we get? He says “without meaning to contract into the being that which we have proved to follow it.” Perhaps some of the guessers of riddles might tell us that by ‘contract into’ he means ‘fastening together.’ But who can see anything intelligible or coherent in the rest? The results of ‘following’ belong, he tells us, not to the being, but to the title. But, most learned sir, what is the title? Is it in discord with the being, or does it not rather coincide with it in the thinking? If the title is inappropriate to the being, then how can the being be represented by the title; but if, as he himself phrases it, the being is fittingly defined by the title of Ungenerate, how can there be any parting of them after that? You make the name of the being follow one thing and the being itself another. And what then is the ‘construction of the entire view?’ “The title Ungenerate follows God, seeing that He Himself is Ungenerate.” He says that there ‘follows’ God, Who is something other than that which is Ungenerate, this very title. Then how can he place the definition of Godhead within the Ungeneracy? Again, he says that this title ‘follows’ God as existing without a previous generation. Who will solve us the mystery of such riddles? ‘Ungenerate’ preceding and then following; first a fittingly attached title of the being, and then following like a stranger! What, too, is the cause or this excessive flutter about this name; he gives to it the whole contents of godhead226226    He gives to it the whole contents of godhead. It was the central point in Eunomius’ system that by the ᾽Αγεννησία we can comprehend the Divine Nature; he trusts entirely to the Aristotelian divisions (logical) and sub-divisions. A mere word (γέννητος) was thus allowed to destroy the equality of the Son. It was almost inevitable, therefore, that his opponent, as a defender of the Homoousion, should occasionally fall back so far upon Plato, as to maintain that opposites are joined and are identical with each other, i.e. that γέννησις and ἀγεννησία are not truly opposed to each other. Another method of combating this excessive insistence on the physical and logical was, to bring forward the ethical realities; and this Gregory does constantly throughout this treatise. We are to know God by Wisdom, and Truth, and Righteousness. Only occasionally (as in the next section) does he speak of the ‘eternity’ of God: and here only because Eunomius has obliged him, and in order to show that the idea is made up of two negations, and nothing more.; as if there will be nothing wanting in our adoration, if God be so named; and as if the whole system of our faith will be endangered, if He is not? Now, if a brief statement about this should not be deemed superfluous and irrelevant, we will thus explain the matter.

§42. Explanation of ‘Ungenerate,’ and a ‘study’ of Eternity.

The eternity of God’s life, to sketch it in mere outline, is on this wise. He is always to be apprehended as in existence; He admits not a time when He was not, and when He will not be. Those who draw a circular figure in plane geometry from a centre to the distance of the line of circumference tell us there is no definite beginning to their figure; and that the line is interrupted by no ascertained end any more than by any visible commencement: they say that, as it forms a single whole in itself with equal radii on all sides, it avoids giving any indication of beginning or ending. When, then, we compare the Infinite being to such a figure, circumscribed though it be, let none find fault with this account; for it is not on the circumference, but on the similarity which the figure bears to the Life which in every direction eludes the grasp, that we fix our attention when we affirm that such is our intuition of the Eternal. From the present instant, as from a centre and a “point,” we extend thought in all directions, to the immensity of that Life. We find that we are drawn round uninterruptedly and evenly, and that we are always following a circumference where there is nothing to grasp; we find the divine life returning upon itself in an unbroken continuity, where no end and no parts can be recognized. Of God’s eternity 98we say that which we have heard from prophecy227227    from prophecy. Psalm x. 16. Βασιλεύσει Κύριος εἰς τὸν αἰ& 242·να, καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰ& 242·να τοῦ αἰ& 242·νος· Psalm xxix. 10. καθιεῖται Κύριος βασιλεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰ& 242·να· Psalm lxxiv. 12. ῾Ο δὲ θεὸς βασιλεὺς ἡμῶν πρὸ αἰ& 242·νος.; viz.. that God is a king “of old,” and rules for ages, and for ever, and beyond. Therefore we define Him to be earlier than any beginning, and exceeding any end. Entertaining, then, this idea of the Almighty, as one that is adequate, we express it by two titles; i.e., ‘Ungenerate’ and ‘Endless’ represent this infinitude and continuity and ever-lastingness of the Deity. If we adopted only one of them for our idea, and if the remaining one was dropped, our meaning would be marred by this omission; for it is impossible with either one of them singly228228    ἑνός τινος τούτων. to express the notion residing in each of the two; but when one speaks of the ‘endless,’ only the absence as regards an end has been indicated, and it does not follow that any hint has been given about a beginning; while, when one speaks of the ‘Unoriginate229229    ἄναρχον.,’ the fact of being beyond a beginning has been expressed, but the case as regards an end has been left quite doubtful.

Seeing, then, that these two titles equally help to express the eternity of the divine life, it is high time to inquire why our friends cut in two the complete meaning of this eternity, and declare that the one meaning, which is the negation of beginning, constitutes God’s being (instead of merely forming part of the definition of eternity230230    οὐ περὶ τὸ αΐδιον θεωρεῖσθαι), while they consider the other, which is the negation of end, as amongst the externals of that being. It is difficult to see the reason for thus assigning the negation of beginning to the realm of being, while they banish the negation of end outside that realm. The two are our conceptions of the same thing; and, therefore, either both should be admitted to the definition of being, or, if the one is to be judged inadmissible, the other should be rejected also. If, however, they are determined thus to divide the thought of eternity, and to make the one fall within the realm of that being, and to reckon the other with the non-realities of Deity (for the thoughts which they adopt on this subject are grovelling, and, like birds who have shed their feathers, they are unable to soar into the sublimities of theology), I would advise them to reverse their teaching, and to count the unending as being, overlooking the unoriginate rather, and assigning the palm to that which is future and excites hope, rather than to that which is past and stale. Seeing, I say (and I speak thus owing to their narrowness of spirit, and lower the discussion to the level of a child’s conception), the past period of his life is nothing to him who has lived it, and all his interest is centred on the future and on that which can be looked forward to, that which has no end will have more value than that which has no beginning. So let our thoughts upon the divine nature be worthy and exalted ones; or else, if they are going to judge of it according to human tests, let the future be more valued by them than the past, and let them confine the being of the Deity to that, since time’s lapse sweeps away with it all existence in the past, whereas expected existence gains substance from our hope231231    Cf. Heb. xi. 1, of faith, ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις πραγμάτων.

Now I broach these ridiculously childish suggestions as to children sitting in the market-place and playing232232    Luke vii. 32.; for when one looks into the grovelling earthliness of their heretical teaching it is impossible to help falling into a sort of sportive childishness. It would be right, however, to add this to what we have said, viz., that, as the idea of eternity is completed only by means of both (as we have already argued), by the negation of a beginning and also by that of an end, if they confine God’s being to the one, their definition of this being will be manifestly imperfect and curtailed by half; it is thought of only by the absence of beginning, and does not contain the absence of end within itself as an essential element. But if they do combine both negations, and so complete their definition of the being of God, observe, again, the absurdity that is at once apparent in this view; it will be found, after all their efforts, to be at variance not only with the Only-begotten, but with itself. The case is clear and does not require much dwelling upon. The idea of a beginning and the idea of an end are opposed each to each; the meanings of each differ as widely as the other diametric oppositions233233    κατὰ διάμετρον ἀλλήλοις ἀντικειμένων, i.e. Contradictories in Logic., where there is no half-way proposition below234234    As in A or E, both of which have the Particular below them (I or O) as a half-way to the contrary Universal. Thus—
   A I E
All men are mortal. Some men are mortal. No men are mortal.
E O A

   No men are mortal. Some men are not mortal. All men are mortal.

   But between A and O, E and I, there is no half-way.
. If any one is asked to define ‘beginning,’ he will not give a definition the same as that of end; but will carry his definition of it to the opposite extremity. Therefore also the two 99contraries235235    Beginning (Contraries) Beginningless.
   Endless (Contraries) Ending.
of these will be separated from each other by the same distance of opposition; and that which is without beginning, being contrary to that which is to be seen by a beginning, will be a very different thing from that which is endless, or the negation of end. If, then, they import both these attributes into the being of God, I mean the negations of end and of beginning, they will exhibit this Deity of theirs as a combination of two contradictory and discordant things, because the contrary ideas to beginning and end reproduce on their side also the contradiction existing between beginning and end. Contraries of contradictories are themselves contradictory of each other. In fact, it is always a true axiom, that two things which are naturally opposed to two things mutually opposite are themselves opposed to each other; as we may see by example. Water is opposed to fire; therefore also the forces destructive of these are opposed to each other; if moistness is apt to extinguish fire, and dryness is apt to destroy water, the opposition of fire to water is continued in those qualities themselves which are contrary to them; so that dryness is plainly opposed to moistness. Thus, when beginning and end have to be placed (diametrically) opposite each other236236    ὑπεναντίως διακειμένων. The same term has been used to express the opposition between Ungenerate and Generated: so that it means both Oppositions, i.e. Contraries and Contradictories., the terms contrary to these also contradict each other in their meaning, I mean, the negations of end and of beginning. Well, then, if they determine that one only of these negations is indicative of the being (to repeat my former assertion), they will bear evidence to half only of God’s existence, confining it to the absence of beginning, and refusing to extend it to the absence of end; whereas, if they import both into their definition of it, they will actually exhibit it so as a combination of contradictions in the way that has been said; for these two negations of beginning and of end, by virtue of the contradiction existing between beginning and end, will part it asunder. So their Deity will be found to be a sort of patchwork compound, a conglomerate of contradictions.

But there is not, neither shall there be, in the Church of God a teaching such as that, which can make One who is single and incomposite not only multiform and patchwork, but also the combination of opposites. The simplicity of the True Faith assumes God to be that which He is, viz., incapable of being grasped by any term, or any idea, or any other device of our apprehension, remaining beyond the reach not only of the human but of the angelic and of all supramundane intelligence, unthinkable, unutterable, above all expression in words, having but one name that can represent His proper nature, the single name of being ‘Above every name237237    Philip. ii. 9. ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα.’; which is granted to the Only-begotten also, because “all that the Father hath is the Son’s.” The orthodox theory allows these words, I mean “Ungenerate,” “Endless,” to be indicative of God’s eternity, but not of His being; so that “Ungenerate” means that no source or cause lies beyond Him, and “Endless” means that His kingdom will be brought to a standstill in no end. “Thou art the same,” the prophet says, “and Thy years shall not fail238238    Psalm cii. 27.,” showing by “art” that He subsists out of no cause, and by the words following, that the blessedness of His life is ceaseless and unending.

But, perhaps, some one amongst even very religious people will pause over these investigations of ours upon God’s eternity, and say that it will be difficult from what we have said for the Faith in the Only-begotten to escape unhurt. Of two unacceptable doctrines, he will say, our account239239    Adopting ὁ λόγος from the Venice Cod. (ἑνὶ πάντως ὁ λόγος συνενεχθήσεται). The verb cannot be impersonal: and τις above, the only available nominative, does not suit the sense very well.
   Gregory constructs this scheme of Opposition after the analogy of Logical Opposition. Beginning is not so opposed to Beginning-less, as it is to Ending, because with the latter there is no half-way, i.e. no word of definition in common.
must inevitably be brought into contact with one. Either we shall make out that the Son is Ungenerate, which is absurd; or else we shall deny Him Eternity altogether, a denial which that fraternity of blasphemers make their specialty. For if Eternity is characterized by having no beginning and end, it is inevitable either that we must be impious and deny the Son Eternity, or that we must be led in our secret thoughts about Him into the idea of Ungeneracy. What, then, shall we answer? That if, in conceiving of the Father before the Son on the single score of causation, we inserted any mark of time before the subsistence of the Only-begotten, the belief which we have in the Son’s eternity might with reason be said to be endangered. But, as it is, the Eternal nature, equally in the case of the Father’s and the Son’s life, and, as well, in what we believe about the Holy Ghost, admits not of the thought that it will ever cease to be; for where time is not, the “when” is annihilated with it. And if the Son, always ap100pearing with the thought of the Father, is always found in the category of existence, what danger is there in owning the Eternity of the Only-begotten, Who “hath neither beginning of days, nor end of life240240    Heb. vii. 3..” For as He is Light from Light, Life from Life, Good from Good, and Wise, Just, Strong, and all else in the same way, so most certainly is He Eternal from Eternal.

But a lover of controversial wrangling catches up the argument, on the ground that such a sequence would make Him Ungenerate from Ungenerate. Let him, however, cool his combative heart, and insist upon the proper expressions, for in confessing His ‘coming from the Father’ he has banished all ideas of Ungeneracy as regards the Only-begotten; and there will be then no danger in pronouncing Him Eternal and yet not Ungenerate. On the one hand, because the existence of the Son is not marked by any intervals of time, and the infinitude of His life flows back before the ages and onward beyond them in an all-pervading tide, He is properly addressed with the title of Eternal; again, on the other hand, because the thought of Him as Son in fact and title gives us the thought of the Father as inalienably joined to it, He thereby stands clear of an ungenerate existence being imputed to Him, while He is always with a Father Who always is, as those inspired words of our Master expressed it, “bound by way of generation to His Father’s Ungeneracy.” Our account of the Holy Ghost will be the same also; the difference is only in the place assigned in order. For as the Son is bound to the Father, and, while deriving existence from Him, is not substantially after Him, so again the Holy Spirit is in touch with the Only-begotten, Who is conceived of as before the Spirit’s subsistence only in the theoretical light of a cause241241    τὸν τῆς αἰτίας λόγον. This is much more probably the meaning, because of before above, than “on the score of the different kind of causation” (Non omne quod procedat nascitur, quamvis omne procedat quod nascitur. S. August.). It is a direct testimony to the ‘Filioque’ belief. “The Spirit comes forth with the Word, not begotten with Him, but being with and accompanying and proceeding from Him.” Theodoret. Serm. II.. Extensions in time find no admittance in the Eternal Life; so that, when we have removed the thought of cause, the Holy Trinity in no single way exhibits discord with itself; and to It is glory due.

101Book II.

§1. The second book declares the Incarnation of God the Word, and the faith delivered by the Lord to His disciples, and asserts that the heretics who endeavour to overthrow this faith and devise other additional names are of their father the devil.

The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the Life, the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wisdom, and all else that He is by nature, for this cause above all was made in the likeness of man, and shared our nature, becoming like us in all things, yet without sin. He was like us in all things, in that He took upon Him manhood in its entirety with soul and body, so that our salvation was accomplished by means of both:—He, I say, appeared on earth and “conversed with men242242    Bar. iii. 37.,” that men might no longer have opinions according to their own notions about the Self-existent, formulating into a doctrine the hints that come to them from vague conjectures, but that we might be convinced that God has truly been manifested in the flesh, and believe that to be the only true “mystery of godliness243243    1 Tim. iii. 16.,” which was delivered to us by the very Word and God, Who by Himself spake to His Apostles, and that we might receive the teaching concerning the transcendent nature of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, “through a glass darkly244244    1 Cor. xiii. 12.” from the older Scriptures,—from the Law, and the Prophets, and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of the truth fully revealed to us, reverently accepting the meaning of the things which have been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set forth by the Lord of the whole Scriptures245245    This is perhaps the force of τῶν ὅλων: “the Lord of the Old Covenant as well as of the New.” But τῶν ὅλων may mean simply “the Universe.”, which faith we guard as we received it, word for word, in purity, without falsification, judging even a slight divergence from the words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy and impiety. We believe, then, even as the Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when He said, “Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost246246    S. Matt. xxviii. 19..” This is the word of the mystery whereby through the new birth from above our nature is transformed from the corruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed from “the old man,” “according to the image of Him who created247247    Cf. Col. iii. 10” at the beginning the likeness to the Godhead. In the Faith then which was delivered by God to the Apostles we admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor addition, knowing assuredly that he who presumes to pervert the Divine utterance by dishonest quibbling, the same “is of his father the devil,” who leaves the words of truth and “speaks of his own,” becoming the father of a lie248248    Cf. S. John viii. 44.. For whatsoever is said otherwise than in exact accord with the truth is assuredly false and not true.

§2. Gregory then makes an explanation at length touching the eternal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Since then this doctrine is put forth by the Truth itself, it follows that anything which the inventors of pestilent heresies devise besides to subvert this Divine utterance,—as, for example, calling the Father “Maker” and “Creator” of the Son instead of “Father,” and the Son a “result,” a “creature,” a “product,” instead of “Son,” and the Holy Spirit the “creature of a creature,” and the “product of a product,” instead of His proper title the “Spirit,” and whatever those who fight against God are pleased to say of Him,—all such fancies we term a denial and violation of the Godhead revealed to us in this doctrine. For once for all we have learned from the Lord, through Whom comes the transformation of our nature from mortality to immortality,—from Him, I say, we have learned to what we ought to look 102with the eyes of our understanding,—that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We say that it is a terrible and soul-destroying thing to misinterpret these Divine utterances and to devise in their stead assertions to subvert them,—assertions pretending to correct God the Word, Who appointed that we should maintain these statements as part of our faith. For each of these titles understood in its natural sense becomes for Christians a rule of truth and a law of piety. For while there are many other names by which Deity is indicated in the Historical Books, in the Prophets and in the Law, our Master Christ passes by all these and commits to us these titles as better able to bring us to the faith about the Self-Existent, declaring that it suffices us to cling to the title, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” in order to attain to the apprehension of Him Who is absolutely Existent, Who is one and yet not one. In regard to essence He is one, wherefore the Lord ordained that we should look to one Name: but in regard to the attributes indicative of the Persons, our belief in Him is distinguished into belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost249249    Or, somewhat more literally, “He admits of distinction into belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being divided,” &c.; He is divided without separation, and united without confusion. For when we hear the title “Father” we apprehend the meaning to be this, that the name is not understood with reference to itself alone, but also by its special signification indicates the relation to the Son. For the term “Father” would have no meaning apart by itself, if “Son” were not connoted by the utterance of the word “Father.” When, then, we learnt the name “Father” we were taught at the same time, by the selfsame title, faith also in the Son. Now since Deity by its very nature is permanently and immutably the same in all that pertains to its essence, nor did it at any time fail to be anything that it now is, nor will it at any future time be anything that it now is not, and since He Who is the very Father was named Father by the Word, and since in the Father the Son is implied,—since these things are so, we of necessity believe that He Who admits no change or alteration in His nature was always entirely what He is now, or, if there is anything which He was not, that He assuredly is not now. Since then He is named Father by the very Word, He assuredly always was Father, and is and will be even as He was. For surely it is not lawful in speaking of the Divine and unimpaired Essence to deny that what is excellent always belonged to It. For if He was not always what He now is, He certainly changed either from the better to the worse or from the worse to the better, and of these assertions the impiety is equal either way, whichever statement is made concerning the Divine nature. But in fact the Deity is incapable of change and alteration. So, then, everything that is excellent and good is always contemplated in the fountain of excellency. But “the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father250250    S. John i. 18” is excellent, and beyond all excellency:—mark you, He says, “Who is in the bosom of the Father,” not “Who came to be” there.

Well then, it has been demonstrated by these proofs that the Son is from all eternity to be contemplated in the Father, in Whom He is, being Life and Light and Truth, and every noble name and conception—to say that the Father ever existed by Himself apart from these attributes is a piece of the utmost impiety and infatuation. For if the Son, as the Scripture saith, is the Power of God, and Wisdom, and Truth, and Light, and Sanctification, and Peace, and Life, and the like, then before the Son existed, according to the view of the heretics, these things also had no existence at all. And if these things had no existence they must certainly conceive the bosom of the Father to have been devoid of such excellences. To the end, then, that the Father might not be conceived as destitute of the excellences which are His own, and that the doctrine might not run wild into this extravagance, the right faith concerning the Son is necessarily included in our Lord’s utterance with the contemplation of the eternity of the Father. And for this reason He passes over all those names which are employed to indicate the surpassing excellence of the Divine nature251251    That nature which transcends our conceptions (ὑπερκειμένη)., and delivers to us as part of our profession of faith the title of “Father” as better suited to indicate the truth, being a title which, as has been said, by its relative sense connotes with itself the Son, while the Son, Who is in the Father, always is what He essentially is, as has been said already, because the Deity by Its very nature does not admit of augmentation. For It does not perceive any other good outside of Itself, by participation in which It could acquire any accession, but is always immutable, neither casting away what It has, nor acquiring what It has not: for none of Its properties are such as to be cast away. And if there is anything whatsoever blessed, unsullied, true and good, associated with Him and in Him, we see of necessity that the good and holy Spirit must belong to Him252252    Or “be conjoined with such attribute:” αὐτῷ probably refers, like περὶ αὐτὸν καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ just above, to Θεός or τὸ Θεῖον, but it may conceivably refer to εἴ τι μακάριον, κ.τ.λ., not 103by way of accretion. That Spirit is indisputably a princely Spirit253253    ἡγεμονικόν. Cf. Ps. li. 12 in LXX. (Spiritus principalis in Vulg., “free spirit” in the “Authorised” Version, and in the Prayer-book Version)., a quickening Spirit, the controlling and sanctifying force of all creation, the Spirit that “worketh all in all” as He wills254254    Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 6.. Thus we conceive no gap between the anointed Christ and His anointing, between the King and His sovereignty, between Wisdom and the Spirit of Wisdom, between Truth and the Spirit of Truth, between Power and the Spirit of Power, but as there is contemplated from all eternity in the Father the Son, Who is Wisdom and Truth, and Counsel, and Might, and Knowledge, and Understanding, so there is also contemplated in Him the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of Wisdom, and of Truth, and of Counsel, and of Understanding, and all else that the Son is and is called. For which reason we say that to the holy disciples the mystery of godliness was committed in a form expressing at once union and distinction,—that we should believe on the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. For the differentiation of the subsistences255255    ὑποστασέων makes the distinction of Persons256256    προσώπων clear and free from confusion, while the one Name standing in the forefront of the declaration of the Faith clearly expounds to us the unity of essence of the Persons257257    προσώπων Whom the Faith declares,—I mean, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For by these appellations we are taught not a difference of nature, but only the special attributes that mark the subsistences258258    ὑποστασέων, so that we know that neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Holy Spirit either the Father or the Son, and recognize each by the distinctive mark of His Personal Subsistence259259    ὑποστασέων, in illimitable perfection, at once contemplated by Himself and not divided from that with Which He is connected.

§3. Gregory proceeds to discuss the relative force of the unnameable name of the Holy Trinity and the mutual relation of the Persons, and moreover the unknowable character of the essence, and the condescension on His part towards us, His generation of the Virgin, and His second coming, the resurrection from the dead and future retribution.

What then means that unnameable name concerning which the Lord said, “Baptizing them into the name,” and did not add the actual significant term which “the name” indicates? We have concerning it this notion, that all things that exist in the creation are defined by means of their several names. Thus whenever a man speaks of “heaven” he directs the notion of the hearer to the created object indicated by this name, and he who mentions “man” or some animal, at once by the mention of the name impresses upon the hearer the form of the creature, and in the same way all other things, by means of the names imposed upon them, are depicted in the heart of him who by hearing receives the appellation imposed upon the thing. The uncreated Nature alone, which we acknowledge in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, surpasses all significance of names. For this cause the Word, when He spoke of “the name” in delivering the Faith, did not add what it is,—for how could a name be found for that which is above every name?—but gave authority that whatever name our intelligence by pious effort be enabled to discover to indicate the transcendent Nature, that name should be applied alike to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whether it be “the Good” or “the Incorruptible,” whatever name each may think proper to be employed to indicate the undefiled Nature of Godhead. And by this deliverance the Word seems to me to lay down for us this law, that we are to be persuaded that the Divine Essence is ineffable and incomprehensible: for it is plain that the title of Father does not present to us the Essence, but only indicates the relation to the Son. It follows, then, that if it were possible for human nature to be taught the essence of God, He “Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth260260    1 Tim. ii. 4.” would not have suppressed the knowledge upon this matter. But as it is, by saying nothing concerning the Divine Essence, He showed that the knowledge thereof is beyond our power, while when we have learnt that of which we are capable, we stand in no need of the knowledge beyond our capacity, as we have in the profession of faith in the doctrine delivered to us what suffices for our salvation. For to learn that He is the absolutely existent, together with Whom, by the relative force of the term, there is also declared the majesty of the Son, is the fullest teaching of godliness; the Son, as has been said, implying in close union with Himself the Spirit of Life and Truth, inasmuch as He is Himself Life and Truth.

These distinctions being thus established, while we anathematize all heretical fancies in the sphere of divine doctrines, we believe, even as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledging together with this faith also the dispensation that has been set on foot on behalf of men 104by the Lord of the creation. For He “being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant261261    Phil. ii. 6.,” and being incarnate in the Holy Virgin redeemed us from death “in which we were held,” “sold under sin262262    Or, “in which we were held by sin, being sold.” The reference is to Rom. vii. 7 and 14, but with the variation of ὑπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας, for ὑπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, and a change in the order of the words.,” giving as the ransom for the deliverance of our souls His precious blood which He poured out by His Cross, and having through Himself made clear for us the path of the resurrection263263    A similar phrase is to be found in Book V. With both may be compared the language of the Eucharistic Prayer in the Liturgy of S. Basil (where the context corresponds to some extent with that of either passage in S. Gregory):—καὶ ἀναστὰς τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ, καὶ ὁδοποιήσας πάσῃ σαρκὶ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν, κ.τ.λ. from the dead, shall come in His own time in the glory of the Father to judge every soul in righteousness, when “all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation264264    S. John v. 29.” But that the pernicious heresy that is now being sown broadcast by Eunomius may not, by falling upon the mind of some of the simpler sort and being left without investigation, do harm to guileless faith, we are constrained to set forth the profession which they circulate and to strive to expose the mischief of their teaching.

§4. He next skilfully confutes the partial, empty and blasphemous statement of Eunomius on the subject of the absolutely existent.

Now the wording of their doctrine is as follows: “We believe in the one and only true God, according to the teaching of the Lord Himself, not honouring Him with a lying title (for He cannot lie), but really existent, one God in nature and in glory, who is without beginning, eternally, without end, alone.” Let not him who professes to believe in accordance with the teaching of the Lord pervert the exposition of the faith that was made concerning the Lord of all to suit his own fancy, but himself follow the utterance of the truth. Since then, the expression of the Faith comprehends the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, what agreement has this construction of theirs to show with the utterances of the Lord, so as to refer such a doctrine to the teaching of those utterances? They cannot manage to show where in the Gospels the Lord said that we should believe on “the one and only true God:” unless they have some new Gospel. For the Gospels which are read in the churches continuously from ancient times to the present day, do not contain this saying which tells us that we should believe in or baptize into “the one and only true God,” as these people say, but “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” But as we were taught by the voice of the Lord, this we say, that the word “one” does not indicate the Father alone, but comprehends in its significance the Son with the Father, inasmuch as the Lord said, “I and My Father are one265265    S. John x. 30.” In like manner also the name “God” belongs equally to the Beginning in which the Word was, and to the Word Who was in the Beginning. For the Evangelist tells us that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God266266    S. John i. 1.” So that when Deity is expressed the Son is included no less than the Father. Moreover, the true cannot be conceived as something alien from and unconnected with the truth. But that the Lord is the Truth no one at all will dispute, unless he be one estranged from the truth. If, then, the Word is in the One, and is God and Truth, as is proclaimed in the Gospels, on what teaching of the Lord does he base his doctrine who makes use of these distinctive terms? For the antithesis is between “only” and “not only,” between “God” and “no God,” between “true” and “untrue.” If it is with respect to idols that they make their distinction of phrases, we too agree. For the name of “deity” is given, in an equivocal sense, to the idols of the heathen, seeing that “all the gods of the heathen are demons,” and in another sense marks the contrast of the one with the many, of the true with the false, of those who are not Gods with Him who is God267267    Or, possibly, “and the contrast he makes between the one and the many, &c. is irrelevant” (ἄλλως ἀντιδιαιρεῖ): the quotation is from Ps. xcvi. 6 (LXX.).. But if the contrast is one with the Only-begotten God268268    Cf. S. John i. 18, reading (as S. Gregory seems to have done) θεός for υἱ& 231·ς., let our sages learn that truth has its opposite only in falsehood, and God in one who is not God. But inasmuch as the Lord Who is the Truth is God, and is in the Father and is one relatively to the Father269269    καὶ ἓν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ὄντος. It may be questioned whether the text is sound: the phrase seems unusual; perhaps ἓν has been inserted in error from the preceding clause καὶ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ ὄντος, and we should read “is in the Father and is with the Father” (cf. the 2nd verse of the 1st Epistle, and verses 1 and 2 of the Gospel of S. John)., there is no room in the true doctrine for these distinctions of phrases. For he who truly believes in the One sees in the One Him Who is completely united with Him in truth, and deity, and essence, and life, and wisdom, and in all attributes whatsoever: or, if he does not see in the One Him Who is all these it is 105in nothing that he believes. For without the Son the Father has neither existence nor name, any more than the Powerful without Power, or the Wise without Wisdom. For Christ is “the Power of God and the Wisdom of God270270    1 Cor. i. 24.;” so that he who imagines he sees the One God apart from power, truth, wisdom, life, or the true light, either sees nothing at all or else assuredly that which is evil. For the withdrawal of the good attributes becomes a positing and origination of evil.

“Not honouring Him,” he says, “with a lying title, for He cannot lie.” By that phrase I pray that Eunomius may abide, and so bear witness to the truth that it cannot lie. For if he would be of this mind, that everything that is uttered by the Lord is far removed from falsehood, he will of course be persuaded that He speaks the truth Who says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me271271    S. John xiv. 10,”—plainly, the One in His entirety, in the Other in His entirety, the Father not superabounding in the Son, the Son not being deficient in the Father,—and Who says also that the Son should be honoured as the Father is honoured272272    Cf. S. John v. 23, and “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father273273    S. John xiv. 9,” and “no man knoweth the Father save the Son274274    S. Matt. xi. 27,” in all which passages there is no hint given to those who receive these declarations as genuine, of any variation275275    παραλλαγή (Cf. S. James i. 17). of glory, or of essence, or anything else, between the Father and the Son.

“Really existent,” he says, “one God in nature and in glory.” Real existence is opposed to unreal existence. Now each of existing things is really existent in so far as it is; but that which, so far as appearance and suggestion go, seems to be, but is not, this is not really existent, as for example an appearance in a dream or a man in a picture. For these and such like things, though they exist so far as appearance is concerned, have not real existence. If then they maintain, in accordance with the Jewish opinion, that the Only-begotten God does not exist at all, they are right in predicating real existence of the Father alone. But if they do not deny the existence of the Maker of all things, let them be content not to deprive of real existence Him Who is, Who in the Divine appearance to Moses gave Himself the name of Existent, when He said, “I am that I am276276    Or “I am He that is,” Ex. iii. 14.:” even as Eunomius in his later argument agrees with this, saying that it was He Who appeared to Moses. Then he says that God is “one in nature and in glory.” Whether God exists without being by nature God, he who uses these words may perhaps know: but if it be true that he who is not by nature God is not God at all, let them learn from the great Paul that they who serve those who are not Gods do not serve God277277    The reference seems to be to Gal. iv. 8..” But we “serve the living and true God,” as the Apostle says278278    1 Thess. i. 10.: and He Whom we serve is Jesus the Christ279279    There is perhaps a reference here to Col. iii. 24.. For Him the Apostle Paul even exults in serving, saying, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ280280    Rom. i. 1..” We then, who no longer serve them which by nature are no Gods281281    Cf. Gal. iv. 8, have come to the knowledge of Him Who by nature is God, to Whom every knee boweth “of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth282282    Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11..” But we should not have been His servants had we not believed that this is the living and true God, to Whom “every tongue maketh confession that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father283283    Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11..”

“God,” he says, “Who is without beginning, eternally, without end, alone.” Once more “understand, ye simple ones,” as Solomon says, “his subtlety284284    Prov. viii. 5 (Septuagint).,” lest haply ye be deceived and fall headlong into the denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten Son. That is without end which admits not of death and decay: that, likewise, is called everlasting which is not only for a time. That, therefore, which is neither everlasting nor without end is surely seen in the nature which is perishable and mortal. Accordingly he who predicates “unendingness” of the one and only God, and does not include the Son in the assertion of “unendingness” and “eternity,” maintains by such a proposition, that He Whom he thus contrasts with the eternal and unending is perishable and temporary. But we, even when we are told that God “only hath immortality285285    1 Tim. vi. 16.,” understand by “immortality” the Son. For life is immortality, and the Lord is that life, Who said, “I am the Life286286    S. John xiv. 6.” And if He be said to dwell “in the light that no man can approach unto287287    1 Tim. vi. 16.,” again we make no difficulty in understanding that the true Light, unapproachable by falsehood, is the Only-begotten, in Whom we learn from the Truth itself that the Father is288288    S. John xiv. 11. Of these opinions let the reader choose the more devout, whether we are to think of the Only-begotten in a manner worthy of the Godhead, or to call Him, as heresy prescribes, perishable and temporary.

§5. He next marvellously overthrows the unintelligible statements of Eunomius which assert that the essence of the Father is not separated or divided, and does not become anything else.

“We believe in God,” he tells us, “not separ106ated as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from being what He is, or passing from one essence to assume the guise of a threefold personality: for He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God.” From these citations the discreet reader may well separate first of all the idle words inserted in the statement without any meaning from those which appear to have some sense, and afterwards examine the meaning that is discoverable in what remains of his statement, to ascertain whether it is compatible with due reverence towards Christ.

The first, then, of the statements cited is completely divorced from any intelligible meaning, good or bad. For what sense there is in the words, “not separated, as regards the essence wherein He is one, into more than one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or changing from being what He is,” Eunomius himself could not tell us, and I do not think that any of his allies could find in the words any shadow of meaning. When he speaks of Him as “not separated in regard to the essence wherein He is one,” he says either that He is not separated from His own essence, or that His own essence is not divided from Him. This unmeaning statement is nothing but a random combination of noise and empty sound. And why should one spend time in the investigation of these meaningless expressions? For how does any one remain in existence when separated from his own essence? or how is the essence of anything divided and displayed apart? Or how is it possible for one to depart from that wherein he is, and become another, getting outside himself? But he adds, “not passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons: for He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God.” I think the absence of meaning in his statement is plain to every one without a word from me: against this let any one argue who thinks there is any sense or meaning in what he says: he who has an eye to discern the force of words will decline to involve himself in a struggle with unsubstantial shadows. For what force has it against our doctrine to say “not separated or divided into more than one as regards the essence wherein He is one, or becoming sometimes one and sometimes another, or passing from one essence to assume the guise of three persons?”—things that are neither said nor believed by Christians nor understood by inference from the truths we confess. For who ever said or heard any one else say in the Church of God, that the Father is either separated or divided as regards His essence, or becomes sometimes one, sometimes another, coming to be outside Himself, or assumes the guise of three persons? These things Eunomius says to himself, not arguing with us but stringing together his own trash, mixing with the impiety of his utterances a great deal of absurdity. For we say that it is equally impious and ungodly to call the Lord of the creation a created being and to think that the Father, in that He is, is separated or split up, or departs from Himself, or assumes the guise of three persons, like clay or wax moulded in various shapes.

But let us examine the words that follow: “He is always and absolutely one, remaining uniformly and unchangeably the only God.” If he is speaking about the Father, we agree with him, for the Father is most truly one, alone and always absolutely uniform and unchangeable, never at any time present or future ceasing to be what He is. If then such an assertion as this has regard to the Father, let him not contend with the doctrine of godliness, inasmuch as on this point he is in harmony with the Church. For he who confesses that the Father is always and unchangeably the same, being one and only God, holds fast the word of godliness, if in the Father he sees the Son, without Whom the Father neither is nor is named. But if he is inventing some other God besides the Father, let him dispute with the Jews or with those who are called Hypsistiani, between whom and the Christians there is this difference, that they acknowledge that there is a God Whom they term the Highest289289    ὕψιστον, whence the name of the sect. or Almighty, but do not admit that he is Father; while a Christian, if he believe not in the Father, no Christian at all.

§6. He then shows the unity of the Son with the Father and Eunomius’ lack of understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures.

What he adds next after this is as follows:—“Having no sharer,” he says, “in His Godhead, no divider of His glory, none who has lot in His power, or part in His royal throne: for He is the one and only God, the Almighty, God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.” I know not to whom Eunomius refers when he protests that the Father admits none to share His Godhead with Himself. For if he uses such expressions with reference to vain idols and to the erroneous conceptions of those who worship them (even as Paul assures us that there is no agreement between Christ and Belial, and no fellowship between the temple 107of God and idols290290    Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16.) we agree with him. But if by these assertions he means to sever the Only-begotten God from the Godhead of the Father, let him be informed that he is providing us with a dilemma that may be turned against himself to refute his own impiety. For either he denies the Only-begotten God to be God at all, that he may preserve for the Father those prerogatives of deity which (according to him) are incapable of being shared with the Son, and thus is convicted as a transgressor by denying the God Whom Christians worship, or if he were to grant that the Son also is God, yet not agreeing in nature with the true God, he would be necessarily obliged to acknowledge that he maintains Gods sundered from one another by the difference of their natures. Let him choose which of these he will,—either to deny the Godhead of the Son, or to introduce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as regards impiety: for we who are initiated into the mystery of godliness by the Divinely inspired words of the Scripture do not see between the Father and the Son a partnership of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the Lord hath taught us this by His own words, when He saith, “I and the Father are one291291    S. John x. 30,” and “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father292292    S. John xiv. 9.” For if He were not of the same nature as the Father, how could He either have had in Himself that which was different293293    S. John xvii. 10.? or how could He have shown in Himself that which was unlike, if the foreign and alien nature did not receive the stamp of that which was of a different kind from itself? But he says, “nor has He a divider of His glory.” Herein he speaks in accordance with the fact, even though he does not know what he is saying: for the Son does not divide the glory with the Father, but has the glory of the Father in its entirety, even as the Father has all the glory of the Son. For thus He spake to the Father “All Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine294294    S. John xvii. 10..” Wherefore also He says that He will appear on the Judgment Day “in the glory of the Father295295    S. Mark viii. 38.,” when He will render to every man according to his works. And by this phrase He shows the unity of nature that subsists between them. For as “there is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon296296    1 Cor. xv. 41.,” because of the difference between the natures of those luminaries (since if both had the same glory there would not be deemed to be any difference in their nature), so He Who foretold of Himself that He would appear in the glory of the Father indicated by the identity of glory their community of nature.

But to say that the Son has no part in His Father’s royal throne argues an extraordinary amount of research into the oracles of God on the part of Eunomius, who, after his extreme devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has not yet heard, “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God297297    Col. iii. 1.,” and many similar passages, of which it would not be easy to reckon up the number, but which Eunomius has never learnt, and so denies that the Son is enthroned together with the Father. Again the phrase, “not having lot in his power,” we should rather pass by as unmeaning than confute as ungodly. For what sense is attached to the term “having lot” is not easy to discover from the common use of the word. Those cast lots, as the Scripture tells us, for the Lord’s vesture, who were unwilling to rend His garment, but disposed to make it over to that one of their number in whose favour the lot should decide298298    Cf. S. John xix. 23, 24.. They then who thus cast lots among themselves for the “coat” may be said, perhaps, to “have had lot” in it. But here in the case of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as Their power resides in Their nature (for the Holy Spirit breathes “where He listeth299299    S. John iii. 8,” and “worketh all in all as He will300300    Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 6 and 11.,” and the Son, by Whom all things were made, visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth, “did all things whatsoever He pleased301301    Ps. cxxxv. 6.,” and “quickeneth whom He will302302    S. John v. 21,” and the Father put “the times in His own power303303    Acts i. 7.,” while from the mention of “times” we conclude that all things done in time are subject to the power of the Father), if, I say, it has been demonstrated that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alike are in a position of power to do what They will, it is impossible to see what sense there can be in the phrase “having lot in His power.” For the heir of all things, the maker of the ages304304    Cf. Heb. i. 2, He Who shines with the Father’s glory and expresses in Himself the Father’s person, has all things that the Father Himself has, and is possessor of all His power, not that the right is transferred from the Father to the Son, but that it at once remains in the Father and resides in the Son. For He Who is in the Father is manifestly in the Father with all His own might, and He Who has the Father in Himself includes all the power and might of the Father. For He has in Himself all the Father, and not merely a part of Him: and He Who has Him entirely assuredly has His power as well. With what meaning, then, Eunomius asserts that the Father has “none who has lot in His power,” those 108perhaps can tell who are disciples of his folly: one who knows how to appreciate language confesses that he cannot understand phrases divorced from meaning. The Father, he says, “has none Who has lot in His power.” Why, who is there that says that the Father and Son contend together for power and cast lots to decide the matter? But the holy Eunomius comes as mediator between them and by a friendly agreement without lot assigns to the Father the superiority in power.

Mark, I pray you, the absurdity and childishness of this grovelling exposition of his articles of faith. What! He Who “upholds all things by the word of His power305305    Heb. i. 3.,” Who says what He wills to be done, and does what He wills by the very power of that command, He Whose power lags not behind His will and Whose will is the measure of His power (for “He spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they were created306306    Ps. cxlviii. 5, or xxxiii. 9 in LXX.”), He Who made all things by Himself, and made them consist in Himself307307    Cf. Col. i. 16 and 17., without Whom no existing thing either came into being or remains in being,—He it is Who waits to obtain His power by some process of allotment! Judge you who hear whether the man who talks like this is in his senses. “For He is the one and only God, the Almighty,” he says. If by the title of “Almighty” he intends the Father, the language he uses is ours, and no strange language: but if he means some other God than the Father, let our patron of Jewish doctrines preach circumcision too, if he pleases. For the Faith of Christians is directed to the Father. And the Father is all these—Highest, Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in a word all terms of highest significance are proper to the Father. But all that is the Father’s is the Son’s also; so that, on this understanding308308    “If this is so:” i.e. if Eunomius means his words in a Christian sense., we admit this phrase too. But if, leaving the Father, he speaks of another Almighty, he is speaking the language of the Jews or following the speculations of Plato,—for they say that that philosopher also affirms that there exists on high a maker and creator of certain subordinate gods. As then in the case of the Jewish and Platonic opinions he who does not believe in God the Father is not a Christian, even though in his creed he asserts an Almighty God, so Eunomius also falsely pretends to the name of Christian, being in inclination a Jew, or asserting the doctrines of the Greeks while putting on the guise of the title borne by Christians. And with regard to the next points he asserts the same account will apply. He says He is “God of Gods.” We make the declaration our own by adding the name of the Father, knowing that the Father is God of Gods. But all that belongs to the Father certainly belongs also to the Son. “And Lord of Lords.” The same account will apply to this. “And Most High over all the earth.” Yes, for whichever of the Three Persons you are thinking of, He is Most High over all the earth, inasmuch as the oversight of earthly things from on high is exercised alike by the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, too, with what follows the words above, “Most High in the heavens, Most High in the highest, Heavenly, true in being what He is, and so continuing, true in words, true in works.” Why, all these things the Christian eye discerns alike in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. If Eunomius does assign them to one only of the Persons acknowledged in the creed, let him dare to call Him “not true in words” Who has said, “I am the Truth309309    S. John xiv. 6,” or to call the Spirit of truth “not true in words,” or let him refuse to give the title of “true in works” to Him Who doeth righteousness and judgment, or to the Spirit Who worketh all in all as He will. For if he does not acknowledge that these attributes belong to the Persons delivered to us in the creed, he is absolutely cancelling the creed of Christians. For how shall any one think Him a worthy object of faith Who is false in words and untrue in works.

But let us proceed to what follows. “Above all rule, subjection and authority,” he says. This language is ours, and belongs properly to the Catholic Church,—to believe that the Divine nature is above all rule, and that it has in subordination to itself everything that can be conceived among existing things. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Divine nature. If he assigns this property to the Father alone, and if he affirms Him alone to be free from variableness and change, and if he says that He alone is undefiled, the inference that we are meant to draw is plain, namely, that He who has not these characteristics is variable, corruptible, subject to change and decay. This, then, is what Eunomius asserts of the Son and the Holy Spirit: for if he did not hold this opinion concerning the Son and the Spirit, he would not have employed this opposition, contrasting the Father with them. For the rest, brethren, judge whether, with these sentiments, he is not a persecutor of the Christian faith. For who will allow it to be right to deem that a fitting object of reverence which varies, changes, and 109is subject to decay? So then the whole aim of one who flames such notions as these,—notions by which he makes out that neither the Truth nor the Spirit of Truth is undefiled, unvarying, or unchangeable,—is to expel from the Church the belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

§7. Gregory further shows that the Only-Begotten being begotten not only of the Father, but also impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, does not divide the substance; seeing that neither is the nature of men divided or severed from the parents by being begotten, as is ingeniously demonstrated from the instances of Adam and Abraham.

And now let us see what he adds to his previous statements. “Not dividing,” he says, “His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible.” Of such a kind as this, perhaps, is that of which the prophet says, touching the ungodly, “They weave a spider’s web310310    Is. lix. 5..” For as in the cobweb there is the appearance of something woven, but no substantiality in the appearance,—for he who touches it touches nothing substantial, as the spider’s threads break with the touch of a finger,—just such is the unsubstantial texture of idle phrases. “Not dividing His own essence by begetting and being at once begetter and begotten.” Ought we to give his words the name of argument, or to call them rather a swelling of humours secreted by some dropsical inflation? For what is the sense of “dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten?” Who is so distracted, who is so demented, as to make the statement against which Eunomius thinks he is doing battle? For the Church believes that the true Father is truly Father of His own Son, as the Apostle says, not of a Son alien from Him. For thus he declares in one of his Epistles, “Who spared not His own Son311311    Rom. viii. 32.,” distinguishing Him, by the addition of “own,” from those who are counted worthy of the adoption of sons by grace and not by nature. But what says He who disparages this belief of ours? “Not dividing His own essence by begetting, or being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible.” Does one who hears in the Gospel that the Word was in the beginning, and was God, and that the Word came forth from the Father, so befoul the undefiled doctrine with these base and fetid ideas, saying “He does not divide His essence by begetting?” Shame on the abomination of these base and filthy notions! How is it that he who speaks thus fails to understand that God when manifested in flesh did not admit for the formation of His own body the conditions of human nature, but was born for us a Child by the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest; nor was the Virgin subject to those conditions, nor was the Spirit diminished, nor the power of the Highest divided? For the Spirit is entire, the power of the Highest remained undiminished: the Child was born in the fulness of our nature312312    This, or something like this, appears to be the force of ὅλον., and did not sully the incorruption of His mother. Then was flesh born of flesh without carnal passion: yet Eunomius will not admit that the brightness of the glory is from the glory itself, since the glory is neither diminished nor divided by begetting the light. Again, the word of man is generated from his mind without division, but God the Word cannot be generated from the Father without the essence of the Father being divided! Is any one so witless as not to perceive the irrational character of his position? “Not dividing,” quoth he, “His own essence by begetting.” Why, whose own essence is divided by begetting? For in the case of men essence means human nature: in the case of brutes, it means, generically, brute nature, but in the case of cattle, sheep, and all brute animals, specifically, it is regarded according to the distinctions of their kinds. Which, then, of these divides its own essence by the process of generation? Does not the nature always remain undiminished in the case of every animal by the succession of its posterity? Further a man in begetting a man from himself does not divide his nature, but it remains in its fulness alike in him who begets and in him who is begotten, not split off and transferred from the one to the other, nor mutilated in the one when it is fully formed in the other, but at once existing in its entirety in the former and discoverable in its entirety in the latter. For both before begetting his child the man was a rational animal, mortal, capable of intelligence and knowledge, and also after begetting a man endowed with such qualities: so that in him are shown all the special properties of his nature; as he does not lose his existence as a man by begetting the man derived from him, but remains after that event what he was before without causing any diminution of the nature derived from him by the fact that the man derived from him comes into being.

Well, man is begotten of man, and the nature of the begetter is not divided. Yet Eunomius does not admit that the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, is truly of the Father, for fear forsooth, lest he should muti110late the inviolable nature of the Father by the subsistence of the Only-begotten: but after saying “Not dividing His essence by begetting,” he adds, “Or being Himself begetter and begotten, or Himself becoming Father and Son313313    The quotation does not verbally correspond with Eunomius’ words as cited above.,” and thinks by such loose disjointed phrases to undermine the true confession of godliness or to furnish some support to his own ungodliness, not being aware that by the very means he uses to construct a reductio ad absurdum he is discovered to be an advocate of the truth. For we too say that He who has all that belongs to His own Father is all that He is, save being Father, and that He who has all that belongs to the Son exhibits in Himself the Son in His completeness, save being Son: so that the reductio ad absurdum, which Eunomius here invents, turns out to be a support of the truth, when the notion is expanded by us so as to display it more clearly, under the guidance of the Gospel. For if “he that hath seen the Son seeth the Father314314    Cf. S. John xiv. 9” then the Father begat another self, not passing out of Himself, and at the same time appearing in His fulness in Him: so that from these considerations that which seemed to have been uttered against godliness is demonstrated to be a support of sound doctrine.

But he says, “Not dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible.” Most cogent conclusion! What do you mean, most sapient sir? Because He is incorruptible, therefore He does not divide His own essence by begetting the Son: nor does He beget Himself or be begotten of Himself, nor become at the same time His own Father and His own Son because He is incorruptible. It follows then, that if any one is of corruptible nature he divides his essence by begetting, and is begotten by himself, and begets himself, and is his own father and his own son, because he is not incorruptible. If this is so, then Abraham, because he was corruptible, did not beget Ishmael and Isaac, but begat himself by the bondwoman and by his lawful wife or, to take the other mountebank tricks of the argument, he divided his essence among the sons who were begotten of him, and first, when Hagar bore him a son, he was divided into two sections, and in one of the halves became Ishmael, while in the other he remained half Abraham; and subsequently the residue of the essence of Abraham being again divided took subsistence in Isaac. Accordingly the fourth part of the essence of Abraham was divided into the twin sons of Isaac, so that there was an eighth in each of his grandchildren! How could one subdivide the eighth part, cutting it small in fractions among the twelve Patriarchs, or among the threescore and fifteen souls with whom Jacob went down into Egypt? And why do I talk thus when I really ought to confute the folly of such notions by beginning with the first man? For if it is a property of the incorruptible only not to divide its essence in begetting, and if Adam was corruptible, to whom the word was spoken, “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return315315    Gen. iii. 19.,” then, according to Eunomius’ reasoning, he certainly divided his essence, being cut up among those who were begotten of him, and by reason of the vast number of his posterity (the slice of his essence which is to be found in each being necessarily subdivided according to the number of his progeny), the essence of Adam is used up before Abraham began to subsist, being dispersed in these minute and infinitesimal particles among the countless myriads of his descendants, and the minute fragment of Adam that has reached Abraham and his descendants by a process of division, is no longer discoverable in them as a remnant of his essence, inasmuch as his nature has been already used up among the countless myriads of those who were before them by its division into infinitesimal fractions. Mark the folly of him who “understands neither what he says nor whereof he affirms316316    Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7.” For by saying “Since He is incorruptible” He neither divides His essence nor begets Himself nor becomes His own father, he implicitly lays it down that we must suppose all those things from which he affirms that the incorruptible alone are free to be incidental to generation in the case of every one who is subject to corruption. Though there are many other considerations capable of proving the inanity of his argument, I think that what has been said above is sufficient to demonstrate its absurdity. But this has surely been already acknowledged by all who have an eye for logical consistency, that, when he asserted incorruptibility of the Father alone, he places all things which are considered after the Father in the category of corruptible, by virtue of opposition to the incorruptible, so as to make out even the Son not to be free from corruption. If then he places the Son in opposition to the incorruptible, he not only defines Him to be corruptible, but also asserts of Him all those incidents from which he affirms only the incorruptible to be exempt. For it necessarily follows that, if the Father alone neither begets Himself nor is begotten of Himself, everything which is not incorruptible both begets itself 111and is begotten of itself, and becomes its own father and son, shifting from its own proper essence to each of these relations. For if to be incorruptible belongs to the Father alone, and if not to be the things specified is a special property of the incorruptible, then, of course, according to this heretical argument, the Son is not incorruptible, and all these circumstances of course, find place about Him,—to have His essence divided, to beget Himself and to be begotten by Himself, to become Himself His own father and His own son.

Perhaps, however, it is waste of time to linger long over such follies. Let us pass to the next point of his statement. He adds to what he had already said, “Not standing in need, in the act of creation, of matter or parts or natural instruments: for He stands in need of nothing.” This proposition, though Eunomius states it with a certain looseness of phrase, we yet do not reject as inconsistent with godly doctrine. For learning as we do that “He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created317317    Ps. cxlviii. 5, or xxxiii. 9 in LXX.,” we know that the Word is the Creator of matter, by that very act also producing with the matter the qualities of matter, so that for Him the impulse of His almighty will was everything and instead of everything, matter, instrument, place, time, essence, quality, everything that is conceived in creation. For at one and the same time did He will that that which ought to be should be, and His power, that produced all things that are, kept pace with His will, turning His will into act. For thus the mighty Moses in the record of creation instructs us about the Divine power, ascribing the production of each of the objects that were manifested in the creation to the words that bade them be. For “God said,” he tells us, “Let there be light, and there was light318318    Gen. i. 3.:” and so about the rest, without any mention either of matter or of any instrumental agency. Accordingly the language of Eunomius on this point is not to be rejected. For God, when creating all things that have their origin by creation, neither stood in need of any matter on which to operate, nor of instruments to aid Him in His construction: for the power and wisdom of God has no need of any external assistance. But Christ is “the Power of God and the Wisdom of God319319    1 Cor. i. 24.,” by Whom all things were made and without Whom is no existent thing, as John testifies320320    Cf. S. John i. 3. If, then, all things were made by Him, both visible and invisible, and if His will alone suffices to effect the subsistence of existing things (for His will is power), Eunomius utters our doctrine though with a loose mode of expression321321    Reading ἐν ἀτονούσῃ τῇ λέξει for ἐνατονούσῃ τῇ λέξει (the reading of the Paris edition, which Oehler follows).. For what instrument and what matter could He Who upholds all things by the word of His power322322    Cf. Heb. i. 3. The quotation is not verbally exact. need in upholding the constitution of existing things by His almighty word? But if he maintains that what we have believed to be true of the Only-begotten in the case of the creation, is true also in the case of the Son—in the sense that the Father created Him in like manner as the creation was made by the Son,—then we retract our former statement, because such a supposition is a denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten. For we have learnt from the mighty utterance of Paul that it is the distinguishing feature of idolatry to worship and serve the creature more than the Creator323323    Cf. Rom. i. 26, as well as from David, when He says “There shall no new God be in thee: neither shalt thou worship any alien God324324    Ps. lxxxi. 10, LXX. The words πρόσφατος (“new”) and ἀλλότριος (“alien”) are both represented in the A.V. by “strange,” and so in R.V. The Prayer-book version expresses them by “strange” and “any other.” Both words are subsequently employed by Gregory in his argument..” We use this line and rule to arrive at the discernment of the object of worship, so as to be convinced that that alone is God which is neither “new” nor “alien.” Since then we have been taught to believe that the Only-begotten God is God, we acknowledge, by our belief that He is God, that He is neither “new” or “alien.” If, then, He is God, He is not “new,” and if He is not new, He is assuredly eternal. Accordingly, neither is the Eternal “new,” nor is He Who is of the Father and in the bosom of the Father and Who has the Father in Himself “alien” from true Deity. Thus he who severs the Son from the nature of the Father either absolutely disallows the worship of the Son, that he may not worship an alien God, or bows down before an idol, making a creature and not God the object of his worship, and giving to his idol the name of Christ.

Now that this is the meaning to which he tends in his conception concerning the Only-begotten will become more plain by considering the language he employs touching the Only-begotten Himself, which is as follows. “We believe also in the Son of God, the Only-begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds, named Son not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate.” I think that the mere reading of his exposition of his faith is quite sufficient to render its impiety plain without any investigation on our part. For though he calls Him “first-born,” yet that he may not raise any 112doubt in his readers’ minds as to His not being created, he immediately adds the words, “not uncreate,” lest if the natural significance of the term “Son” were apprehended by his readers, any pious conception concerning Him might find place in their minds. It is for this reason that after at first confessing Him to be Son of God and Only-begotten God, he proceeds at once, by what he adds, to pervert the minds of his readers from their devout belief to his heretical notions. For he who hears the titles “Son of God” and “Only-begotten God” is of necessity lifted up to the loftier kind of assertions respecting the Son, led onward by the significance of these terms, inasmuch as no difference of nature is introduced by the use of the title “God” and by the significance of the term “Son.” For how could He Who is truly the Son of God and Himself God be conceived as something else differing from the nature of the Father? But that godly conceptions may not by these names be impressed beforehand on the hearts of his readers, he forthwith calls Him “the first-born of all creation, named Son, not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate.” Let us linger a little while, then, over his argument, that the miscreant may be shown to be holding out his first statements to people merely as a bait to induce them to receive the poison that he sugars over with phrases of a pious tendency, as it were with honey. Who does not know how great is the difference in signification between the term “only-begotten” and “first-born?” For “first-born” implies brethren, and “only-begotten” implies that there are no other brethren. Thus the “first-born” is not “only-begotten,” for certainly “first-born” is the first-born among brethren, while he who is “only-begotten” has no brother: for if he were numbered among brethren he would not be only-begotten. And moreover, whatever the essence of the brothers of the first-born is, the same is the essence of the first-born himself. Nor is this all that is signified by the title, but also that the first-born and those born after him draw their being from the same source, without the first-born contributing at all to the birth of those that come after him: so that hereby325325    Hereby, i.e. by the use of the term πρωτότοκος as applicable to the Divinity of the Son. is maintained the falsehood of that statement of John, which affirms that “all things were made by Him326326    S. John i. 3.” For if He is first-born, He differs from those born after Him only by priority in time, while there must be some one else by Whom the power to be at all is imparted alike to Him and to the rest. But that we may not by our objections give any unfair opponent ground for an insinuation that we do not receive the inspired utterances of Scripture, we will first set before our readers our own view about these titles, and then leave it to their judgment which is the better.

§8. He further very appositely expounds the meaning of the term “Only-Begotten,” and of the term “First born,” four times used by the Apostle.

The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only-begotten God, Who has the pre-eminence in all things327327    Cf. Col. i. 18, is the author and cause of all good, bears witness to Him that not only was the creation of all existent things wrought by Him, but that when the original creation of man had decayed and vanished away328328    Cf. Heb. viii. 13, whence the phrase is apparently adapted., to use his own language, and another new creation was wrought in Christ, in this too no other than He took the lead, but He is Himself the first-born of all that new creation of men which is effected by the Gospel. And that our view about this may be made clearer let us thus divide our argument. The inspired apostle on four occasions employs this term, once as here, calling Him, “first-born of all creation329329    Col. i. 15.,” another time, “the first-born among many brethren330330    Rom. viii. 29.,” again, “first-born from the dead331331    Col. i. 18 (cf. Rev. i. 5).,” and on another occasion he employs the term absolutely, without combining it with other words, saying, “But when again He bringeth the first-born into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him332332    Heb. i. 6..” Accordingly whatever view we entertain concerning this title in the other combinations, the same we shall in consistency apply to the phrase “first-born of all creation.” For since the title is one and the same it must needs be that the meaning conveyed is also one. In what sense then does He become “the first-born among many brethren?” in what sense does He become “the first-born from the dead?” Assuredly this is plain, that because we are by birth flesh and blood, as the Scripture saith, “He Who for our sakes was born among us and was partaker of flesh and blood333333    Cf. Heb. i. 14,” purposing to change us from corruption to incorruption by the birth from above, the birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit. But since it was also meet that He should 113implant in our nature the power of rising again from the dead, He becomes the “first-fruits of them that slept334334    1 Cor. xv. 20.” and the “first-born from the dead335335    Col. i. 18.,” in that He first by His own act loosed the pains of death336336    Cf. Acts ii. 24. See note 2, p. 104, supra., so that His new birth from the dead was made a way for us also, since the pains of death, wherein we were held, were loosed by the resurrection of the Lord. Thus, just as by having shared in the washing of regeneration337337    The phrase is not verbally the same as in Tit. iii. 5. He became “the first-born among many brethren,” and again by having made Himself the first-fruits of the resurrection, He obtains the name of the “first-born from the dead,” so having in all things the pre-eminence, after that “all old things,” as the apostle says, “have passed away338338    Cf. 2 Cor. v. 17,” He becomes the first-born of the new creation of men in Christ by the two-fold regeneration, alike that by Holy Baptism and that which is the consequence of the resurrection from the dead, becoming for us in both alike the Prince of Life339339    Cf. Acts iii. 15, the first-fruits, the first-born. This first-born, then, hath also brethren, concerning whom He speaks to Mary, saying, “Go and tell My brethren, I go to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God340340    Cf. S. John xx. 17: the quotation is not verbal..” In these words He sums up the whole aim of His dispensation as Man. For men revolted from God, and “served them which by nature were no gods341341    Cf. Gal. iv. 8,” and though being the children of God became attached to an evil father falsely so called. For this cause the mediator between God and man342342    Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5 having assumed the first-fruits of all human nature343343    The Humanity of Christ being regarded as this “first-fruits:” unless this phrase is to be understood of the Resurrection, rather than of the Incarnation, in which case the first-fruits will be His Body, and ἀναλαβὼν should be rendered by “having resumed., sends to His brethren the announcement of Himself not in His divine character, but in that which He shares with us, saying, “I am departing in order to make by My own self that true Father, from whom you were separated, to be your Father, and by My own self to make that true God from whom you had revolted to be your God, for by that first-fruits which I have assumed, I am in Myself presenting all humanity to its God and Father.”

Since, then, the first-fruits made the true God to be its God, and the good Father to be its Father, the blessing is secured for human nature as a whole, and by means of the first-fruits the true God and Father becomes Father and God of all men. Now “if the first-fruits be holy, the lump also is holy344344    Rom. ix. 16. The reference next following may be to S. John xii. 26, or xiv. 3; or to Col. iii. 3..” But where the first-fruits, Christ, is (and the first-fruits is none other than Christ), there also are they that are Christ’s, as the apostle says. In those passages therefore where he makes mention of the “first-born” in connexion with other words, he suggests that we should understand the phrase in the way which I have indicated: but where, without any such addition, he says, “When again He bringeth the first-born into the world345345    Heb. i. 6.,” the addition of “again” asserts that manifestation of the Lord of all which shall take place at the last day. For as “at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth346346    Phil. ii. 10, 11.,” although the human name does not belong to the Son in that He is above every name, even so He says that the First-born, Who was so named for our sakes, is worshipped by all the supramundane creation, on His coming again into the world, when He “shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with equity347347    Cf. Ps. xcviii. 10..” Thus the several meanings of the titles “First-born” and “Only begotten” are kept distinct by the word of godliness, its respective significance being secured for each name. But how can he who refers the name of “first-born” to the pre-temporal existence of the Son preserve the proper sense of the term “Only-begotten”? Let the discerning reader consider whether these things agree with one another, when the term “first-born” necessarily implies brethren, and the term “Only-begotten” as necessarily excludes the notion of brethren. For when the Scripture says, “In the beginning was the Word348348    S. John i. 1,” we understand the Only-begotten to be meant, and when it adds “the Word was made flesh349349    S. John i. 14” we thereby receive in our minds the idea of the first-born, and so the word of godliness remains without confusion, preserving to each name its natural significance, so that in “Only-begotten” we regard the pre-temporal, and by “the first-born of creation” the manifestation of the pre-temporal in the flesh.

§9. Gregory again discusses the generation of the Only-Begotten, and other different modes of generation, material and immaterial, and nobly demonstrates that the Son is the brightness of the Divine glory, and not a creature.

And now let us return once more to the precise statement of Eunomius. “We believe also in the Son of God, the only begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not Ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds.” 114That he transfers, then, the sense of generation to indicate creation is plain from his expressly calling Him created, when he speaks of Him as “coming into being” and “not uncreate”. But that the inconsiderate rashness and want of training which shows itself in the doctrines may be made manifest, let us omit all expressions of indignation at his evident blasphemy, and employ in the discussion of this matter a scientific division. For it would be well, I think, to consider in a somewhat careful investigation the exact meaning of the term “generation.” That this expression conveys the meaning of existing as the result of some cause is plain to all, and I suppose there is no need to contend about this point: but since there are different modes of existing as the result of a cause, this difference is what I think ought to receive thorough explanation in our discussion by means of scientific division. Of things which have come into being as the results of some cause we recognize the following differences. Some are the result of material and art, as the fabrics of houses and all other works produced by means of their respective material, where some art gives direction and conducts its purpose to its proper aim. Others are the result of material and nature; for nature orders350350    Reading οἰκονομεῖ or οἰκοδομεῖ the generation of animals one from another, effecting her own work by means of the material subsistence in the bodies of the parents; others again are by material efflux. In these the original remains as it was before, and that which flows from it is contemplated by itself, as in the case of the sun and its beam, or the lamp and its radiance, or of scents and ointments, and the quality given off from them. For these, while remaining undiminished in themselves, have each accompanying them the special and peculiar effect which they naturally produce, as the sun his ray, the lamp its brightness, and perfumes the fragrance which they engender in the air. There is also another kind of generation besides these, where the cause is immaterial and incorporeal, but the generation is sensible and takes place through the instrumentality of the body; I mean the generation of the word by the mind. For the mind being in itself incorporeal begets the word by means of sensible instruments. So many are the differences of the term generation, which we discover in a philosophic view of them, that is itself, so to speak, the result of generation.

And now that we have thus distinguished the various modes of generation, it will be time to remark how the benevolent dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, imparts that instruction which transcends reason by such methods as we can receive. For the inspired teaching adopts, in order to set forth the unspeakable power of God, all the forms of generation that human intelligence recognizes, yet without including the corporeal senses attaching to the words. For when it speaks of the creative power, it gives to such an energy the name of generation, because its expression must stoop to our low capacity; it does not, however, convey thereby all that we include in creative generation, as time, place, the furnishing of matter, the fitness of instruments, the design in the things that come into being, but it leaves these, and asserts of God in lofty and magnificent language the creation of all existent things, when it says, “He spake the word and they were made351351    Or “were generated.” The reference is to Ps. cxlviii. 5., He commanded and they were created.” Again when it interprets to us the unspeakable and transcendent existence of the Only-begotten from the Father, as the poverty of human intellect is incapable of receiving doctrines which surpass all power of speech and thought, there too it borrows our language and terms Him “Son,”—a name which our usage assigns to those who are born of matter and nature. But just as Scripture, when speaking of generation by creation, does not in the case of God imply that such generation took place by means of any material, affirming that the power of God’s will served for material substance, place, time and all such circumstances, even so here too, when using the term Son, it rejects both all else that human nature remarks in generation here below,—I mean affections and dispositions and the co-operation of time, and the necessity of place,—and, above all, matter, without all which natural generation here below does not take place. But when all such material, temporal and local352352    διαστηματικῆς seems to include the idea of extension in time as well as in space. existence is excluded from the sense of the term “Son,” community of nature alone is left, and for this reason by the title “Son” is declared, concerning the Only-begotten, the close affinity and genuineness of relationship which mark His manifestation from the Father. And since such a kind of generation was not sufficient to implant in us an adequate notion of the ineffable mode of subsistence of the Only-begotten, Scripture avails itself also of the third kind of generation to indicate the doctrine of the Son’s Divinity,—that kind, namely, which is the result of material efflux, and speaks of Him as the “brightness of glory353353    Heb. i. 3.,” the “savour of ointment354354    The reference may be to the Song of Solomon i. 3.,” the “breath 115of God355355    Wisd. vii. 25.;” illustrations which in the scientific phraseology we have adopted we ordinarily designate as material efflux.

But as in the cases alleged neither the birth of the creation nor the force of the term “Son” admits time, matter, place, or affection, so here too the Scripture employing only the illustration of effulgence and the others that I have mentioned, apart from all material conception, with regard to the Divine fitness of such a mode of generation, shows that we must understand by the significance of this expression, an existence at once derived from and subsisting with the Father. For neither is the figure of breath intended to convey to us the notion of dispersion into the air from the material from which it is formed, nor is the figure of fragrance designed to express the passing off of the quality of the ointment into the air, nor the figure of effulgence the efflux which takes place by means of the rays from the body of the sun: but as has been said in all cases, by such a mode of generation is indicated this alone, that the Son is of the Father and is conceived of along with Him, no interval intervening between the Father and Him Who is of the Father. For since of His exceeding loving-kindness the grace of the Holy Spirit so ordered that the divine conceptions concerning the Only-begotten should reach us from many quarters, and so be implanted in us, He added also the remaining kind of generation,—that, namely, of the word from the mind. And here the sublime John uses remarkable foresight. That the reader might not through inattention and unworthy conceptions sink to the common notion of “word,” so as to deem the Son to be merely a voice of the Father, he therefore affirms of the Word that He essentially subsisted in the first and blessed nature Itself, thus proclaiming aloud, “In the Beginning was the Word, and with God, and God, and Light, and Life356356    Cf. S. John i. 1 sqq.,” and all that the Beginning is, the Word was also.

Since, then, these kinds of generation, those, I mean, which arise as the result of some cause, and are recognized in our every-day experience, are also employed by Holy Scripture to convey its teaching concerning transcendent mysteries in such wise as each of them may reasonably be transferred to the expression of divine conceptions, we may now proceed to examine Eunomius’ statement also, to find in what sense he accepts the meaning of “generation.” “Very Son,” he says, “not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds.” One may, I think, pass quickly over the violence done to logical sequence in his distinction, as being easily recognizable by all. For who does not know that while the proper opposition is between Father and Son, between generate and ungenerate, he thus passes over the term “Father” and sets “ungenerate” in opposition to “Son,” whereas he ought, if he had any concern for truth, to have avoided diverting his phrase from the due sequence of relationship, and to have said, “Very Son, not Father”? And in this way due regard would have been paid at once to piety and to logical consistency, as the nature would not have been rent asunder in making the distinction between the persons. But he has exchanged in his statement of his faith the true and scriptural use of the term “Father,” committed to us by the Word Himself, and speaks of the “Ungenerate” instead of the “Father,” in order that by separating Him from that close relationship towards the Son which is naturally conceived of in the title of Father, he may place Him on a common level with all created objects, which equally stand in opposition to the “ungenerate357357    That is, by using as the terms of his antithesis, not “Son” and “Father,” but “Son” and “Ungenerate,” he avoids suggesting relationship between the two Persons, and does suggest that the Second Person stands in the same opposition to the First Person in which all created objects stand as contrasted with Him..” “Verily begotten,” he says, “before the worlds.” Let him say of Whom He is begotten. He will answer, of course, “Of the Father,” unless he is prepared unblushingly to contradict the truth. But since it is impossible to detach the eternity of the Son from the eternal Father, seeing that the term “Father” by its very signification implies the Son, for this reason it is that he rejects the title Father and shifts his phrase to “ungenerate,” since the meaning of this latter name has no sort of relation or connection with the Son, and by thus misleading his readers through the substitution of one term for the other, into not contemplating the Son along with the Father, he opens up a path for his sophistry, paving the way of impiety by slipping in the term “ungenerate.” For they who according to the ordinance of the Lord believe in the Father, when they hear the name of the Father, receive the Son along with Him in their thought, as the mind passes from the Son to the Father, without treading on an unsubstantial vacuum interposed between them. But those who are diverted to the title “ungenerate” instead of Father, get a bare notion of this name, learning only the fact that He did not at any time come into being, not that He is Father. Still, even with this mode of conception, the faith of those who read with discernment remains free from confusion. For the expression “not to come into being” is used in an identical sense of all uncreated nature: and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equally uncreated. For it has ever been believed by 116those who follow the Divine word that all the creation, sensible and supramundane, derives its existence from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He who has heard that “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth358358    Ps. xxxiii. 6.,” neither understands by “word” mere utterance, nor by “breath” mere exhalation, but by what is there said frames the conception of God the Word and of the Spirit of God. Now to create and to be created are not equivalent, but all existent things being divided into that which makes and that which is made, each is different in nature from the other, so that neither is that uncreated which is made, nor is that created which effects the production of the things that are made. By those then who, according to the exposition of the faith given us by our Lord Himself, have believed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it is acknowledged that each of these Persons is alike unoriginate359359    τὀ μὴ γενέσθαι τι τούτων ἐπίσης ὁμολογεῖται. This may possibly mean “it is acknowledged that each of those alternatives” (viz. that that which comes into being is uncreate, and that that which creates should itself be created) “is equally untrue.” But this view would not be confined to those who held the Catholic doctrine: the impossibility of the former alternative, indeed, was insisted upon by the Arians as an argument in their own favour., and the meaning conveyed by “ungenerate” does no harm to their sound belief: but to those who are dense and indefinite this term serves as a starting-point for deflection from sound doctrine. For not understanding the true force of the term, that “ungenerate” signifies nothing more than “not having come into being,” and that “not coming into being” is a common property of all that transcends created nature, they drop their faith in the Father, and substitute for “Father” the phrase “ungenerate:” and since, as has been said, the Personal existence of the Only-begotten is not connoted in this name, they determine the existence of the Son to have commenced from some definite beginning in time, affirming (what Eunomius here adds to his previous statements) that He is called Son not without generation preceding His existence.

What is this vain juggling with words? Is he aware that it is God of Whom he speaks, Who was in the beginning and is in the Father, nor was there any time when He was not? He knows not what he says nor whereof he affirms360360    Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7, but he endeavours, as though he were constructing the pedigree of a mere man, to apply to the Lord of all creation the language which properly belongs to our nature here below. For, to take an example, Ishmael was not before the generation that brought him into being, and before his birth there was of course an interval of time. But with Him Who is “the brightness of glory361361    Cf. Heb. i. 3,” “before” and “after” have no place: for before the brightness, of course neither was there any glory, for concurrently with the existence of the glory there assuredly beams forth its brightness; and it is impossible in the nature of things that one should be severed from the other, nor is it possible to see the glory by itself before its brightness. For he who says thus will make out the glory in itself to be darkling and dim, if the brightness from it does not shine out at the same time. But this is the unfair method of the heresy, to endeavour, by the notions and terms employed concerning the Only-begotten God, to displace Him from His oneness with the Father. It is to this end they say, “Before the generation that brought Him into being He was not Son:” but the “sons of rams362362    Ps. cxiv. 4, in Septuagint.,” of whom the prophet speaks,—are not they too called sons after coming into being? That quality, then, which reason notices in the “sons of rams,” that they are not “sons of rams” before the generation which brings them into being,—this our reverend divine now ascribes to the Maker of the worlds and of all creation, Who has the Eternal Father in Himself, and is contemplated in the eternity of the Father, as He Himself says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me363363    S. John xiv. 10.” Those, however, who are not able to detect the sophistry that lurks in his statement, and are not trained to any sort of logical perception, follow these inconsequent statements and receive what comes next as a logical consequence of what preceded. For he says, “coming into being before all creation,” and as though this were not enough to prove his impiety, he has a piece of profanity in reserve in the phrase that follows, when he terms the Son “not uncreate.” In what sense then does he call Him Who is not uncreate “very Son”? For if it is meet to call Him Who is not uncreate “very Son,” then of course the heaven is “very Son;” for it too is “not uncreate.” So the sun too is “very Son,” and all that the creation contains, both small and great, are of course entitled to the appellation of “very Son.” And in what sense does He call Him Who has come into being “Only-begotten”? For all things that come into being are unquestionably in brotherhood with each other, so far, I mean, as their coming into being is concerned. And from whom did He come into being? For assuredly all things that have ever come into being did so from the Son. For thus did John testify, saying, “All things were made by Him364364    S. John i. 3.” If then the Son also came into being, according to Eunomius’ creed, He 117is certainly ranked in the class of things which have come into being. If then all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words that the Lord and Maker of all creation is “not uncreate”? Let him tell us whence he has this boldness of assertion. From what inspired utterance? What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? and how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatry365365    Rom. i. 25, where παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα may be better translated “besides the Creator,” or “rather than the Creator,” than as in the A.V.? For, were the Son created, either he would not have worshipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over all366366    Rom. ix. 5., for so he terms the Son in his Epistle to the Romans. Why then do those who divorce the Son from the essence of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on Him in mockery the fictitious title of Deity, idly conferring on one alien from true Divinity the name of “God,” as they might confer it on Bel or Dagon or the Dragon? Let those, therefore, who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that He is not God at all, that they may be seen to be nothing but Jews in disguise, or, if they confess one who is created to be God, let them not deny that they are idolaters.

§10. He explains the phrase “The Lord created Me,” and the argument about the origination of the Son, the deceptive character of Eunomius’ reasoning, and the passage which says, “My glory will I not give to another,” examining them from different points of view.

But of course they bring forward the passage in the book of Proverbs which says, “The Lord created Me as the beginning of His ways, for His works367367    Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.). The versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus (to one or more of which perhaps §9 refers), all render the Hebrew by ἐκτήσατο (“possessed”), not by ἔκτισε (“created”). But Gregory may be referring to mss. of the LXX. version which read ἐκτήσατο. It is clear from what follows that Mr. Gwatkin is hardly justified in his remark (Studies of Arianism, p. 69), that “the whole discussion on Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.), Κύριος ἔκτισέ με, κ.τ.λ., might have been avoided by a glance at the original.” The point of the controversy might have been changed, but that would have been all. Gregory seems to feel that ἐκτήσατο requires an explanation, though he has one ready..” Now it would require a lengthy discussion to explain fully the real meaning of the passage: still it would be possible even in a few words to convey to well-disposed readers the thought intended. Some of those who are accurately versed in theology do say this, that the Hebrew text does not read “created,” and we have ourselves read in more ancient copies “possessed” instead of “created.” Now assuredly “possession” in the allegorical language of the Proverbs marks that slave Who for our sakes “took upon Him the form of a slave368368    Phil. ii. 7..” But if any one should allege in this passage the reading which prevails in the Churches, we do not reject even the expression “created.” For this also in allegorical language is intended to connote the “slave,” since, as the Apostle tells us, “all creation is in bondage369369    Rom. viii. 20–1..” Thus we say that this expression, as well as the other, admits of an orthodox interpretation. For He Who for our sakes became like as we are, was in the last days truly created,—He Who in the beginning being Word and God afterwards became Flesh and Man. For the nature of flesh is created: and by partaking in it in all points like as we do, yet without sin, He was created when He became man: and He was created “after God370370    Eph. iv. 24.,” not after man, as the Apostle says, in a new manner and not according to human wont. For we are taught that this “new man” was created—albeit of the Holy Ghost and of the power of the Highest—whom Paul, the hierophant of unspeakable mysteries, bids us to “put on,” using two phrases to express the garment that is to be put on, saying in one place, “Put on the new man which after God is created371371    Eph. iv. 24.,” and in another, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ372372    Rom. xiii. 14..” For thus it is that He, Who said “I am the Way373373    S. John xiv. 6,” becomes to us who have put Him on the beginning of the ways of salvation, that He may make us the work of His own hands, new modelling us from the evil mould of sin once more to His own image. He is at once our foundation before the world to come, according to the words of Paul, who says, “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid374374    1 Cor. iii. 11.,” and it is true that “before the springs of the waters came forth, before the mountains were settled, before He made the depths, and before all hills, He begetteth Me375375    Prov. viii. 23–25 (not quite verbal, from the LXX.)..” For it is possible, accord118ing to the usage of the Book of Proverbs, for each of these phrases, taken in a tropical sense, to be applied to the Word376376    Or “to be brought into harmony with Christian doctrine” (ἐφαρμόσθῆναι τῷ λόγω).. For the great David calls righteousness the “mountains of God377377    Ps. xxxvi. 6.,” His judgments “deeps378378    Ps. xxxvi. 6.,” and the teachers in the Churches “fountains,” saying “Bless God the Lord from the fountains of Israel379379    Ps. lxviii. 26 (LXX.).”; and guilelessness he calls “hills,” as he shows when he speaks of their skipping like lambs380380    Cf. Ps. cxiv. 6. Before these therefore is born in us He Who for our sakes was created as man, that of these things also the creation may find place in us. But we may, I think, pass from the discussion of these points, inasmuch as the truth has been sufficiently pointed out in a few words to well-disposed readers; let us proceed to what Eunomius says next.

“Existing in the Beginning,” he says, “not without beginning.” In what fashion does he who plumes himself on his superior discernment understand the oracles of God? He declares Him Who was in the beginning Himself to have a beginning: and is not aware that if He Who is in the beginning has a beginning, then the Beginning itself must needs have another beginning. Whatever He says of the beginning he must necessarily confess to be true of Him Who was in the beginning: for how can that which is in the beginning be severed from the beginning? and how can any one imagine a “was not” as preceding the “was”? For however far one carries back one’s thought to apprehend the beginning, one most certainly understands as one does so that the Word which was in the beginning (inasmuch as It cannot be separated from the beginning in which It is) does not at any point of time either begin or cease its existence therein. Yet let no one be induced by these words of mine to separate into two the one beginning we acknowledge. For the beginning is most assuredly one, wherein is discerned, indivisibly, that Word Who is completely united to the Father. He who thus thinks will never leave heresy a loophole to impair his piety by the novelty of the term “ungenerate.” But in Eunomius’ next propositions his statements are like bread with a large admixture of sand. For by mixing his heretical opinions with sound doctrines, he makes uneatable even that which is in itself nutritious, by the gravel which he has mingled with it. For he calls the Lord “living wisdom,” “operative truth,” subsistent power, and “life”:—so far is the nutritious portion. But into these assertions he instils the poison of heresy. For when he speaks of the “life” as “generate” he makes a reservation by the implied opposition to the “ungenerate” life, and does not affirm the Son to be the very Life. Next he says:—“As Son of God, quickening the dead, the true light, the light that lighteneth every man coming into the world381381    Cf. S. John i. 9, good, and the bestower of good things.” All these things he offers for honey to the simple-minded, concealing his deadly drug under the sweetness of terms like these. For he immediately introduces, on the heels of these statements, his pernicious principle, in the words “Not partitioning with Him that begat Him His high estate, not dividing with another the essence of the Father, but becoming by generation glorious, yea, the Lord of glory, and receiving glory from the Father, not sharing His glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath said, ‘My glory will I not give to another.382382    Is. xlii. 8.’” These are his deadly poisons, which they alone can discover who have their souls’ senses trained so to do: but the mortal mischief of the words is disclosed by their conclusion:—Receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath said, ‘My glory will I not give to another.’ Who is that “other” to whom God has said that He will not give His glory? The prophet speaks of the adversary of God, and Eunomius refers the prophecy to the only begotten God Himself! For when the prophet, speaking in the person of God, had said, “My glory will I not give to another,” he added, “neither My praise to graven images.” For when men were beguiled to offer to the adversary of God the worship and adoration due to God alone, paying homage in the representations of graven images to the enemy of God, who appeared in many shapes amongst men in the forms furnished by idols, He Who healeth them that are sick, in pity for men’s ruin, foretold by the prophet the loving-kindness which in the latter days He would show in the abolishing of idols, saying, “When My truth shall have been manifested, My glory shall no more be given to another, nor My praise bestowed upon graven images: for men, when they come to know My glory, shall no more be in bondage to them that by nature are no gods.” All therefore that the prophet says in the person of the Lord concerning the power of the adversary, this fighter against God, refers to the Lord Himself, Who spake these words by the prophet! Who among the tyrants is recorded to have been such a persecutor of the faith as this? Who maintained such blasphemy as this, that He Who, as we believe, was manifested in the flesh for the salvation of our souls, is not very God, but the adversary of God, who puts his 119guile into effect against men by the instrumentality of idols and graven images? For it is what was said of that adversary by the prophet that Eunomius transfers to the only-begotten God, without so much as reflecting that it is the Only-begotten Himself Who spoke these words by the prophet, as Eunomius himself subsequently confesses when he says, “this is He Who spake by the prophets.”

Why should I pursue this part of the subject in more detail? For the words preceding also are tainted with the same profanity—“receiving glory from the Father, not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory of the Almighty God is incommunicable.” For my own part, even had his words referred to Moses who was glorified in the ministration of the Law,—not even then should I have tolerated such a statement, even if it be conceded that Moses, having no glory from within, appeared completely glorious to the Israelites by the favour bestowed on him from God. For the very glory that was bestowed on the lawgiver was the glory of none other but of God Himself, which glory the Lord in the Gospel bids all to seek, when He blames those who value human glory highly and seek not the glory that cometh from God only383383    Cf. S. John v. 44. For by the fact that He commanded them to seek the glory that cometh from the only God, He declared the possibility of their obtaining what they sought. How then is the glory of the Almighty incommunicable, if it is even our duty to ask for the glory that cometh from the only God, and if, according to our Lord’s word, “every one that asketh receiveth384384    S. Matt. vii. 8?” But one who says concerning the Brightness of the Father’s glory, that He has the glory by having received it, says in effect that the Brightness of the glory is in Itself devoid of glory, and needs, in order to become Himself at last the Lord of some glory, to receive glory from another. How then are we to dispose of the utterances of the Truth,—one which tells us that He shall be seen in the glory of the Father385385    S. Mark viii. 38., and another which says, “All things that the Father hath are Mine386386    S. John xvi. 15”? To whom ought the hearer to give ear? To him who says, “He that is, as the Apostle says, the ‘heir of all things387387    Heb. i. 2.’ that are in the Father, is without part or lot in His Father’s glory”; or to Him Who declares that all things that the Father hath, He Himself hath also? Now among the “all things,” glory surely is included. Yet Eunomius says that the glory of the Almighty is incommunicable. This view Joel does not attest, nor yet the mighty Peter, who adopted, in his speech to the Jews, the language of the prophet. For both the prophet and the apostle say, in the person of God,—“I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh388388    Joel ii. 28; Acts ii. 17..” He then Who did not grudge the partaking in His own Spirit to all flesh,—how can it be that He does not impart His own glory to the only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, Who has all things that the Father has? Perhaps one should say that Eunomius is here speaking the truth, though not intending it. For the term “impart” is strictly used in the case of one who has not his glory from within, whose possession of it is an accession from without, and not part of his own nature: but where one and the same nature is observed in both Persons, He Who is as regards nature all that the Father is believed to be stands in no need of one to impart to Him each several attribute. This it will be well to explain more clearly and precisely. He Who has the Father dwelling in Him in His entirety—what need has He of the Father’s glory, when none of the attributes contemplated in the Father is withdrawn from Him?

§11. After expounding the high estate of the Almighty, the Eternity of the Son, and the phrase “being made obedient,” he shows the folly of Eunomius in his assertion that the Son did not acquire His sonship by obedience.

What, moreover, is the high estate of the Almighty in which Eunomius affirms that the Son has no share? Let those, then, who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight389389    Is. v. 21., utter their groundling opinions—they who, as the prophet says, “speak out of the ground390390    Is. xxix. 4..” But let us who reverence the Word and are disciples of the Truth, or rather who profess to be so, not leave even this assertion unsifted. We know that of all the names by which Deity is indicated some are expressive of the Divine majesty, employed and understood absolutely, and some are assigned with reference to the operations over us and all creation. For when the Apostle says “Now to the immortal, invisible, only wise God391391    Cf. 1 Tim. i. 17,” and the like, by these titles he suggests conceptions which represent to us the transcendent power, but when God is spoken of in the Scriptures as gracious, merciful, full of pity, true, good, Lord, Physician, Shepherd, Way, Bread, Fountain, King, Creator, Artificer, Protector, Who is over all and through all, Who is all in all, these and similar titles contain the declaration of the operations of the Divine loving-kindness in the creation. Those then who enquire precisely into the meaning of the term “Almighty” will find that it declares nothing 120else concerning the Divine power than that operation which controls created things and is indicated by the word “Almighty,” stands in a certain relation to something. For as He would not be called a Physician, save on account of the sick, nor merciful and gracious, and the like, save by reason of one who stood in need of grace and mercy, so neither would He be styled Almighty, did not all creation stand in need of one to regulate it and keep it in being. As, then, He presents Himself as a Physician to those who are in need of healing, so He is Almighty over one who has need of being ruled: and just as “they that are whole have no need of a physician392392    Cf. S. Matt. ix. 12, and parallel passages.,” so it follows that we may well say that He Whose nature contains in it the principle of unerring and unwavering rectitude does not, like others, need a ruler over Him. Accordingly, when we hear the name “Almighty,” our conception is this, that God sustains in being all intelligible things as well as all things of a material nature. For this cause He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, for this cause He holdeth the ends of the earth in His hand, for this cause He “meteth out leaven with the span, and measureth the waters in the hollow of His hand393393    Cf. Is. xl. 12 and 24. The quotation is not verbally from the LXX.”; for this cause He comprehendeth in Himself all the intelligible creation, that all things may remain in existence controlled by His encompassing power. Let us enquire, then, Who it is that “worketh all in all.” Who is He Who made all things, and without Whom no existing thing does exist? Who is He in Whom all things were created, and in Whom all things that are have their continuance? In Whom do we live and move and have our being? Who is He Who hath in Himself all that the Father hath? Does what has been said leave us any longer in ignorance of Him Who is “God over all394394    Rom. ix. 5.,” Who is so entitled by S. Paul,—our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, as He Himself says, holding in His hand “all things that the Father hath395395    S. John xvi. 15,” assuredly grasps all things in the all-containing hollow of His hand and is sovereign over what He has grasped, and no man taketh from the hand of Him Who in His hand holdeth all things? If, then, He hath all things, and is sovereign over that which He hath, why is He Who is thus sovereign over all things something else and not Almighty? If heresy replies that the Father is sovereign over both the Son and the Holy Spirit, let them first show that the Son and the Holy Spirit are of mutable nature, and then over this mutability let them set its ruler, that by the help implanted from above, that which is so overruled may continue incapable of turning to evil. If, on the other hand, the Divine nature is incapable of evil, unchangeable, unalterable, eternally permanent, to what end does it stand in need of a ruler, controlling as it does all creation, and itself by reason of its immutability needing no ruler to control it? For this cause it is that at the name of Christ “every knee boweth, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth396396    Cf. Phil. ii. 10.” For assuredly every knee would not thus bow, did it not recognize in Christ Him Who rules it for its own salvation. But to say that the Son came into being by the goodness of the Father is nothing else than to put Him on a level with the meanest objects of creation. For what is there that did not arrive at its birth by the goodness of Him Who made it? To what is the formation of mankind ascribed? to the badness of its Maker, or to His goodness? To what do we ascribe the generation of animals, the production of plants and herbs? There is nothing that did not take its rise from the goodness of Him Who made it. A property, then, which reason discerns to be common to all things, Eunomius is so kind as to allow to the Eternal Son! But that He did not share His essence or His estate with the Father—these assertions and the rest of his verbiage I have refuted in anticipation, when dealing with his statements concerning the Father, and shown that he has hazarded them at random and without any intelligible meaning. For not even in the case of us who are born one of another is there any division of essence. The definition expressive of essence remains in its entirety in each, in him that begets and in him who is begotten, without admitting diminution in him who begets, or augmentation in him who is begotten. But to speak of division of estate or sovereignty in the case of Him Who hath all things whatsoever that the Father hath, carries with it no meaning, unless it be a demonstration of the propounder’s impiety. It would therefore be superfluous to entangle oneself in such discussions, and so to prolong our treatise to an unreasonable length. Let us pass on to what follows.

“Glorified,” he says, “by the Father before the worlds.” The word of truth hath been demonstrated, confirmed by the testimony of its adversaries. For this is the sum of our faith, that the Son is from all eternity, being glorified by the Father: for “before the worlds” is the same in sense as “from all eternity,” seeing that prophecy uses this phrase to set forth to us God’s eternity, when it speaks of Him as “He that is from before the worlds397397    Ps. lv. 19 (LXX.)..” If then to exist before the worlds is beyond all begin121ning, he who confers glory on the Son before the worlds, does thereby assert His existence from eternity before that glory398398    Reading αὐτῆς, with Oehler. The general sense is the same, if αὐτῷ be read; “does yet more strongly attest His existence from all eternity.”: for surely it is not the non-existent, but the existent which is glorified. Then he proceeds to plant for himself the seeds of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; not with a view to glorify the Son, but that he may wantonly outrage the Holy Ghost. For with the intention of making out the Holy Spirit to be part of the angelic host, he throws in the phrase “glorified eternally by the Spirit, and by every rational and generated being,” so that there is no distinction between the Holy Spirit and all that comes into being; if, that is, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord in the same sense as all the other existences enumerated by the prophet, “angels and powers, and the heaven of heavens, and the water above the heavens, and all the things of earth, dragons, deeps, fire and hail, snow and vapour, wind of the storm, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, worms and feathered fowls399399    Cf. Ps. cxlviii. 2–10..” If, then, he says, that along with these the Holy Spirit also glorifies the Lord, surely his God-opposing tongue makes out the Holy Spirit Himself also to be one of them.

The disjointed incoherencies which follow next, I think it well to pass over, not because they give no handle at all to censure, but because their language is such as might be used by the devout, if detached from its malignant context. If he does here and there use some expressions favourable to devotion it is just held out as a bait to simple souls, to the end that the hook of impiety may be swallowed along with it. For after employing such language as a member of the Church might use, he subjoins, “Obedient with regard to the creation and production of all things that are, obedient with regard to every ministration, not having by His obedience attained Sonship or Godhead, but, as a consequence of being Son and being generated as the Only-begotten God, showing Himself obedient in words, obedient in acts.” Yet who of those who are conversant with the oracles of God does not know with regard to what point of time it was said of Him by the mighty Paul, (and that once for all), that He “became obedient400400    Phil. ii. 8.”? For it was when He came in the form of a servant to accomplish the mystery of redemption by the cross, Who had emptied Himself, Who humbled Himself by assuming the likeness and fashion of a man, being found as man in man’s lowly nature—then, I say, it was that He became obedient, even He Who “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses401401    Cf. S. Matt. viii. 17.,” healing the disobedience of men by His own obedience, that by His stripes He might heal our wound, and by His own death do away with the common death of all men,—then it was that for our sakes He was made obedient, even as He became “sin402402    2 Cor. v. 21.” and “a curse403403    Gal. iii. 13.” by reason of the dispensation on our behalf, not being so by nature, but becoming so in His love for man. But by what sacred utterance was He ever taught His list of so many obediences? Nay, on the contrary every inspired Scripture attests His independent and sovereign power, saying, “He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created404404    Ps. cxlviii. 5.”:—for it is plain that the Psalmist says this concerning Him Who upholds “all things by the word of His power405405    Heb. i. 3.,” Whose authority, by the sole impulse of His will, framed every existence and nature, and all things in the creation apprehended by reason or by sight. Whence, then, was Eunomius moved to ascribe in such manifold wise to the King of the universe the attribute of obedience, speaking of Him as “obedient with regard to all the work of creation, obedient with regard to every ministration, obedient in words and in acts”? Yet it is plain to every one, that he alone is obedient to another in acts and words, who has not yet perfectly achieved in himself the condition of accurate working or unexceptionable speech, but keeping his eye ever on his teacher and guide, is trained by his suggestions to exact propriety in deed and word. But to think that Wisdom needs a master and teacher to guide aright Its attempts at imitation, is the dream of Eunomius’ fancy, and of his alone. And concerning the Father he says, that He is faithful in words and faithful in works, while of the Son he does not assert faithfulness in word and deed, but only obedience and not faithfulness, so that his profanity extends impartially through all his statements. But it is perhaps right to pass in silence over the inconsiderate folly of the assertion interposed between those last mentioned, lest some unreflecting persons should laugh at its absurdity when they ought rather to weep over the perdition of their souls, than laugh at the folly of their words. For this wise and wary theologian says that He did not attain to being a Son as the result of His obedience! Mark his penetration! with what cogent force does he lay it down for us that He was not first obedient and afterwards a Son, and that we ought not to think that His obedience was prior to His generation! Now if he had not added this defining clause, who without it would have been sufficiently silly and 122idiotic to fancy that His generation was bestowed on Him by His Father, as a reward of the obedience of Him Who before His generation had showed due subjection and obedience? But that no one may too readily extract matter for laughter from these remarks, let each consider that even the folly of the words has in it something worthy of tears. For what he intends to establish by these observations is something of this kind, that His obedience is part of His nature, so that not even if He willed it would it be possible for Him not to be obedient.

For he says that He was so constituted that His nature was adapted to obedience alone406406    If this phrase is a direct quotation from Eunomius, it is probably from some other context: its grammatical structure does not connect it with what has gone before, nor is it quite clear where the quotation ends, or whether the illustration of the instrument is Eunomius’ own, or is Gregory’s exposition of the statement of Eunomius., just as among instruments that which is fashioned with regard to a certain figure necessarily produces in that which is subjected to its operation the form which the artificer implanted in the construction of the instrument, and cannot possibly trace a straight line upon that which receives its mark, if its own working is in a curve; nor can the instrument, if fashioned to draw a straight line, produce a circle by its impress. What need is there of any words of ours to reveal how great is the profanity of such a notion, when the heretical utterance of itself proclaims aloud its monstrosity? For if He was obedient for this reason only that He was so made, then of course He is not on an equal footing even with humanity, since on this theory, while our soul is self-determining and independent, choosing as it will with sovereignty over itself that which is pleasing to it, He on the contrary exercises, or rather experiences, obedience under the constraint of a compulsory law of His nature, while His nature suffers Him not to disobey, even if He would. For it was “as the result of being Son, and being begotten, that He has thus shown Himself obedient in words and obedient in acts.” Alas, for the brutish stupidity of this doctrine! Thou makest the Word obedient to words, and supposest other words prior to Him Who is truly the Word, and another Word of the Beginning is mediator between the Beginning and the Word that was in the Beginning, conveying to Him the decision. And this is not one only: there are several words, which Eunomius makes so many links of the chain between the Beginning and the Word, and which abuse His obedience as they think good. But what need is there to linger over this idle talk? Any one can see that even at that time with reference to which S. Paul says that He became obedient (and he tells us that He became obedient in this wise, namely, by becoming for our sakes flesh, and a servant, and a curse, and sin),—even then, I say, the Lord of glory, Who despised the shame and embraced suffering in the flesh, did not abandon His free will, saying as He does, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up407407    S. John ii. 19;” and again, “No man taketh My life from Me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again408408    S. John x. 18”; and when those who were armed with swords and staves drew near to Him on the night before His Passion, He caused them all to go backward by saying “I am He409409    S. John xviii. 5–6.,” and again, when the dying thief besought Him to remember him, He showed His universal sovereignty by saying, “To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise410410    S. Luke xxiii. 43..” If then not even in the time of His Passion He is separated from His authority, where can heresy possibly discern the subordination to authority of the King of glory?

§12. He thus proceeds to a magnificent discourse of the interpretation of “Mediator,” “Like,” “Ungenerate,” and “generate,” and of “The likeness and seal of the energy of the Almighty and of His Works.”

Again, what is the manifold mediation which with wearying iteration he assigns to God, calling Him “Mediator in doctrines, Mediator in the Law411411    Here again the exact connexion of the quotation from Eunomius with the extracts preceding is uncertain.”? It is not thus that we are taught by the lofty utterance of the Apostle, who says that having made void the law of commandments by His own doctrines, He is the mediator between God and man, declaring it by this saying, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus412412    Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5;” where by the distinction implied in the word “mediator” he reveals to us the whole aim of the mystery of godliness. Now the aim is this. Humanity once revolted through the malice of the enemy, and, brought into bondage to sin, was also alienated from the true Life. After this the Lord of the creature calls back to Him His own creature, and becomes Man while still remaining God, being both God and Man in the entirety of the two several natures, and thus humanity was indissolubly united to God, the Man that is in Christ conducting the work of mediation, to Whom, by the first-fruits assumed for us, all the lump is potentially united413413    Cf. Rom. xi. 16. Since, then, a mediator is not a mediator of one414414    Gal. iii. 20., and God is one, not divided among the Persons in Whom we have been taught to believe (for the Godhead in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one), the Lord, therefore, becomes a mediator once for all betwixt 123God and men, binding man to the Deity by Himself. But even by the idea of a mediator we are taught the godly doctrine enshrined in the Creed. For the Mediator between God and man entered as it were into fellowship with human nature, not by being merely deemed a man, but having truly become so: in like manner also, being very God, He has not, as Eunomius will have us consider, been honoured by the bare title of Godhead.

What he adds to the preceding statements is characterized by the same want of meaning, or rather by the same malignity of meaning. For in calling Him “Son” Whom, a little before, he had plainly declared to be created, and in calling Him “only begotten God” Whom he reckoned with the rest of things that have come into being by creation, he affirms that He is like Him that begat Him only “by an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense.” Accordingly, we must first distinguish the significations of the term “like,” in how many senses it is employed in ordinary use, and afterwards proceed to discuss Eunomius’ positions. In the first place, then, all things that beguile our senses, not being really identical in nature, but producing illusion by some of the accidents of the respective subjects, as form, colour, sound, and the impressions conveyed by taste or smell or touch, while really different in nature, but supposed to be other than they truly are, these custom declares to have the relation of “likeness,” as, for example, when the lifeless material is shaped by art, whether carving, painting, or modelling, into an imitation of a living creature, the imitation is said to be “like” the original. For in such a case the nature of the animal is one thing, and that of the material, which cheats the sight by mere colour and form, is another. To the same class of likeness belongs the image of the original figure in a mirror, which gives appearances of motion, without, however, being in nature identical with its original. In just the same way our hearing may experience the same deception, when, for instance, some one, imitating the song of the nightingale with his own voice, persuades our hearing so that we seem to be listening to the bird. Taste, again, is subject to the same illusion, when the juice of figs mimics the pleasant taste of honey: for there is a certain resemblance to the sweetness of honey in the juice of the fruit. So, too, the sense of smell may sometimes be imposed upon by resemblance, when the scent of the herb camomile, imitating the fragrant apple itself, deceives our perception: and in the same way with touch also, likeness belies the truth in various modes, since a silver or brass coin, of equal size and similar weight with a gold one, may pass for the gold piece if our sight does not discern the truth.

We have thus generally described in a few words the several cases in which objects, because they are deemed to be different from what they really are, produce delusions in our senses. It is possible, of course, by a more laborious investigation, to extend one’s enquiry through all things which are really different in kind one from another, but are nevertheless thought, by virtue of some accidental resemblance, to be like one to the other. Can it possibly be such a form of “likeness” as this, that he is continually attributing to the Son? Nay, surely he cannot be so infatuated as to discover deceptive similarity in Him Who is the Truth. Again, in the inspired Scriptures, we are told of another kind of resemblance by Him Who said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness415415    Gen. i. 26.;” but I do not suppose that Eunomius would discern this kind of likeness between the Father and the Son, so as to make out the Only-begotten God to be identical with man. We are also aware of another kind of likeness, of which the word speaks in Genesis concerning Seth,—“Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image416416    Gen. v. 3.”; and if this is the kind of likeness of which Eunomius speaks, we do not think his statement is to be rejected. For in this case the nature of the two objects which are alike is not different, and the impress and type imply community of nature. These, or such as these, are our views upon the variety of meanings of “like.” Let us see, then, with what intention Eunomius asserts of the Son that “especial likeness” to the Father, when he says that He is “like the Father with an especial likeness, in a peculiar sense, not as Father to Father, for they are not two Fathers.” He promises to show us the “especial likeness” of the Son to the Father, and proceeds by his definition to establish the position that we ought not to conceive of Him as being like. For by saying, “He is not like as Father to Father,” he makes out that He is not like; and again when he adds, “nor as Ungenerate to Ungenerate,” by this phrase, too, he forbids us to conceive a likeness in the Son to the Father; and finally, by subjoining “nor as Son to Son,” he introduces a third conception, by which he entirely subverts the meaning of “like.” So it is that he follows up his own statements, and conducts his demonstration of likeness by establishing unlikeness. And now let us examine the discernment and frankness which he displays in these distinctions. After saying that the Son is like the Father, he guards the statement by adding that we ought not to think that the Son is like the Father, “as Father to Father.” Why, what man on 124earth is such a fool as, on learning that the Son is like the Father, to be brought by any course of reasoning to think of the likeness of Father to Father? “Nor as Son to Son”:—here, again, the acuteness of the distinction is equally conspicuous. When he tells us that the Son is like the Father, he adds the further definition that He must not be understood to be like Him in the same way as He would be like another Son. These are the mysteries of the awful doctrines of Eunomius, by which his disciples are made wiser than the rest of the world, by learning that the Son, by His likeness to the Father, is not like a Son, for the Son is not the Father: nor is He like “as Ungenerate to Ungenerate,” for the Son is not ungenerate. But the mystery which we have received, when it speaks of the Father, certainly bids us understand the Father of the Son, and when it names the Son, teaches us to apprehend the Son of the Father. And until the present time we never felt the need of these philosophic refinements, that by the words Father and Son are suggested two Fathers or two Sons, a pair, so to say, of ungenerate beings.

Now the drift of Eunomius’ excessive concern about the Ungenerate has been often explained before; and it shall here be briefly discovered yet again. For as the term Father points to no difference of nature from the Son, his impiety, if he had brought his statement to a close here, would have had no support, seeing that the natural sense of the names Father and Son excludes the idea of their being alien in essence. But as it is, by employing the terms “generate” and “ungenerate,” since the contradictory opposition between them admits of no mean, just like that between “mortal” and “immortal,” “rational” and “irrational,” and all those terms which are opposed to each other by the mutually exclusive nature of their meaning,—by the use of these terms, I repeat, he gives free course to his profanity, so as to contemplate as existing in the “generate” with reference to the “ungenerate” the same difference which there is between “mortal” and “immortal”: and even as the nature of the mortal is one, and that of the immortal another, and as the special attributes of the rational and of the irrational are essentially incompatible, just so he wants to make out that the nature of the ungenerate is one, and that of the generate another, in order to show that as the irrational nature has been created in subjection to the rational, so the generate is by a necessity of its being in a state of subordination to the ungenerate. For which reason he attaches to the ungenerate the name of “Almighty,” and this he does not apply to express providential operation, as the argument led the way for him in suggesting, but transfers the application of the word to arbitrary sovereignty, so as to make the Son to be a part of the subject and subordinate universe, a fellow-slave with all the rest to Him Who with arbitrary and absolute sovereignty controls all alike. And that it is with an eye to this result that he employs these argumentative distinctions, will be clearly established from the passage before us. For after those sapient and carefully-considered expressions, that He is not like either as Father to Father, or as Son to Son,—and yet there is no necessity that father should invariably be like father or son like son: for suppose there is one father among the Ethiopians, and another among the Scythians, and each of these has a son, the Ethiopian’s son black, but the Scythian white-skinned and with hair of a golden tinge, yet none the more because each is a father does the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian’s account, nor does the Ethiopian’s body change to white on account of the Scythian,—after saying this, however, according to his own fancy, Eunomius subjoins that “He is like as Son to Father417417    This is apparently a quotation from Eunomius in continuation of what has gone before..” But although such a phrase indicates kinship in nature, as the inspired Scripture attests in the case of Seth and Adam, our doctor, with but small respect for his intelligent readers, introduces his idle exposition of the title “Son,” defining Him to be the image and seal of the energy418418    The word employed is ἐνέργεια; which might be translated by “active force,” or “operation,” as elsewhere. of the Almighty. “For the Son,” he says, “is the image and seal of the energy of the Almighty.” Let him who hath ears to hear first, I pray, consider this particular point—What is “the seal of the energy”? Every energy is contemplated as exertion in the party who exhibits it, and on the completion of his exertion, it has no independent existence. Thus, for example, the energy of the runner is the motion of his feet, and when the motion has stopped there is no longer any energy. So too about every pursuit the same may be said;—when the exertion of him who is busied about anything ceases, the energy ceases also, and has no independent existence, either when a person is actively engaged in the exertion he undertakes, or when he ceases from that exertion. What then does he tell us that the energy is in itself, which is neither essence, nor image, nor person? So he speaks of the Son as the similitude of the impersonal, and that which is like the non-existent surely has itself no existence at all. This is what his juggling with idle opinions comes to,—belief in nonentity! for that which is like nonentity surely 125itself is not. O Paul and John and all you others of the band of Apostles and Evangelists, who are they that arm their venomous tongues against your words? who are they that raise their frog-like croakings against your heavenly thunder? What then saith the son of thunder? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God419419    S. John i. 1.” And what saith he that came after him, that other who had been within the heavenly temple, who in Paradise had been initiated into mysteries unspeakable? “Being,” he says, “the Brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His person420420    Heb. i. 3..” What, after these have thus spoken, are the words of our ventriloquist421421    Cf. the use of ἐγγαστρίμυθος in LXX. (e.g. Lev. xix. 31, Is. xliv. 25).? “The seal,” quoth he, “of the energy of the Almighty.” He makes Him third after the Father, with that non-existent energy mediating between them, or rather moulded at pleasure by non-existence. God the Word, Who was in the beginning, is “the seal of the energy”:—the Only-begotten God, Who is contemplated in the eternity of the Beginning of existent things, Who is in the bosom of the Father422422    S. John i. 18, Who sustains all things, by the word of His power423423    Cf. Heb. i. 3, the creator of the ages, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom are all things424424    Cf. Rom. xi. 36, Who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and hath meted out heaven with the span, Who measureth the water in the hollow of his hand425425    Cf. Isa. xl. 12–22., Who holdeth in His hand all things that are, Who dwelleth on high and looketh upon the things that are lowly426426    Cf. Ps. cxxxviii. 6., or rather did look upon them to make all the world to be His footstool427427    Cf. Isa. lxvi. 1, imprinted by the footmark of the Word—the form of God428428    Cf. Phil. ii. 5 is “the seal” of an “energy.” Is God then an energy, not a Person? Surely Paul when expounding this very truth says He is “the express image,” not of His energy, but “of His Person.” Is the Brightness of His glory a seal of the energy of God? Alas for his impious ignorance! What is there intermediate between God and His own form? and Whom does the Person employ as mediator with His own express image? and what can be conceived as coming between the glory and its brightness? But while there are such weighty and numerous testimonies wherein the greatness of the Lord of the creation is proclaimed by those who were entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel, what sort of language does this forerunner of the final apostasy hold concerning Him? What says he? “As image,” he says, “and seal of all the energy and power of the Almighty.” How does he take upon himself to emend the words of the mighty Paul? Paul says that the Son is “the Power of God429429    1 Cor. i. 24.”; Eunomius calls Him “the seal of a power,” not the Power. And then, repeating his expression, what is it that he adds to his previous statement? He calls Him “seal of the Father’s works and words and counsels.” To what works of the Father is He like? He will say, of course, the world, and all things that are therein. But the Gospel has testified that all these things are the works of the Only-begotten. To what works of the Father, then, was He likened? of what works was He made the seal? what Scripture ever entitled Him “seal of the Father’s works”? But if any one should grant Eunomius the right to fashion his words at his own will, as he desires, even though Scripture does not agree with him, let him tell us what works of the Father there are of which he says that the Son was made the seal, apart from those that have been wrought by the Son. All things visible and invisible are the work of the Son: in the visible are included the whole world and all that is therein; in the invisible, the supramundane creation. What works of the Father, then, are remaining to be contemplated by themselves, over and above things visible and invisible, whereof he says that the Son was made the “seal”? Will he perhaps, when driven into a corner, return once more to the fetid vomit of heresy, and say that the Son is a work of the Father? How then does the Son come to be the seal of these works when He Himself, as Eunomius says, is the work of the Father? Or does he say that the same Person is at once a work and the likeness of a work? Let this be granted: let us suppose him to speak of the other works of which he says the Father was the creator, if indeed he intends us to understand likeness by the term “seal.” But what other “words” of the Father does Eunomius know, besides that Word Who was ever in the Father, Whom he calls a “seal”—Him Who is and is called the Word in the absolute, true, and primary sense? And to what counsels can he possibly refer, apart from the Wisdom of God, to which the Wisdom of God is made like, in becoming a “seal” of those counsels? Look at the want of discrimination and circumspection, at the confused muddle of his statement, how he brings the mystery into ridicule, without understanding either what he says or what he is arguing about. For He Who has the Father in His entirety in Himself, and is Himself in His entirety in the Father, as Word and Wisdom and Power and Truth, as His express image and brightness, Himself is all things in the Father, and does not come to be the image and seal and likeness of certain other things discerned in the Father prior to Himself.

126Then Eunomius allows to Him the credit of the destruction of men by water in the days of Noah, of the rain of fire that fell upon Sodom, and of the just vengeance upon the Egyptians, as though he were making some great concessions to Him Who holds in His hand the ends of the world, in Whom, as the Apostle says, “all things consist430430    Col. i. 17.,” as though he were not aware that to Him Who encompasses all things, and guides and sways according to His good pleasure all that hath already been and all that will be, the mention of two or three marvels does not mean the addition of glory, so much as the suppression of the rest means its deprivation or loss. But even if no word be said of these, the one utterance of Paul is enough by itself to point to them all inclusively—the one utterance which says that He “is above all, and through all, and in all431431    Eph. iv. 6. The application of the words to the Son is remarkable..”

§13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, “The Father judgeth no man,” and further speaks of the assumption of man with body and soul wrought by the Lord, of the transgression of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of the dead.

Next he says, “He legislates by the command of the Eternal God.” Who is the eternal God? and who is He that ministers to Him in the giving of the Law? Thus much is plain to all, that through Moses God appointed the Law to those that received it. Now inasmuch as Eunomius himself acknowledges that it was the only-begotten God Who held converse with Moses, how is it that the assertion before us puts the Lord of all in the place of Moses, and ascribes the character of the eternal God to the Father alone, so as, by thus contrasting Him with the Eternal, to make out the only-begotten God, the Maker of the Worlds, to be not Eternal? Our studious friend with his excellent memory seems to have forgotten that Paul uses all these terms concerning himself, announcing among men the proclamation of the Gospel by the command of God432432    Cf. Rom. xvi. 26. Thus what the Apostle asserts of himself, that Eunomius is not ashamed to ascribe to the Lord of the prophets and apostles, in order to place the Master on the same level with Paul, His own servant. But why should I lengthen out my argument by confuting in detail each of these assertions, where the too unsuspicious reader of Eunomius’ writings may think that their author is saying what Holy Scripture allows him to say, while one who is able to unravel each statement critically will find them one and all infected with heretical knavery. For the Churchman and the heretic alike affirm that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son433433    S. John v. 22,” but to this assertion they severally attach different meanings. By the same words the Churchman understands supreme authority, the other maintains subservience and subjection.

But to what has been already said, ought to be added some notice of that position which they make a kind of foundation of their impiety in their discussions concerning the Incarnation, the position, namely, that not the whole man has been saved by Him, but only the half of man, I mean the body. Their object in such a malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to show that the less exalted statements, which our Lord utters in His humanity, are to be thought to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that so they may show their blasphemy to have a stronger case, if it is upheld by the actual acknowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it is that Eunomius says, “He who in the last days became man did not take upon Himself the man made up of soul and body.” But, after searching through all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as this, that the Creator of all things, at the time of His ministration here on earth for man, took upon Himself flesh only without a soul. Under stress of necessity, then, looking to the object contemplated by the plan of salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to the inspired Scriptures, I will endeavour to confute the impious falsehood which is being fabricated with regard to this matter. The Lord came “to seek and to save that which was lost434434    Cf. S. Luke xix. 10.” Now it was not the body merely, but the whole man, compacted of soul and body, that was lost: indeed, if we are to speak more exactly, the soul was lost sooner than the body. For disobedience is a sin, not of the body, but of the will: and the will properly belongs to the soul, from which the whole disaster of our nature had its beginning, as the threat of God, that admits of no falsehood, testifies in the declaration that, in the day that they should eat of the forbidden fruit, death without respite would attach to the act. Now since the condemnation of man was twofold, death correspondingly effects in each part of our nature the deprivation of the twofold life that operates in him who is thus mortally stricken. For the death of the body consists in the extinction of the means of sensible perception, and in the dissolution of the body into its kindred elements: but “the soul that sinneth,” he saith, “it shall die435435    Ezek. xviii. 20..” Now sin is nothing else than 127alienation from God, Who is the true and only life. Accordingly the first man lived many hundred years after his disobedience, and yet God lied not when He said, “In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die436436    Cf. Gen. ii. 17.” For by the fact of his alienation from the true life, the sentence of death was ratified against him that self-same day: and after this, at a much later time, there followed also the bodily death of Adam. He therefore Who came for this cause that He might seek and save that which was lost, (that which the shepherd in the parable calls the sheep,) both finds that which is lost, and carries home on His shoulders the whole sheep, not its skin only, that He may make the man of God complete, united to the deity in body and in soul. And thus He Who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, left no part of our nature which He did not take upon Himself. Now the soul is not sin though it is capable of admitting sin into it as the result of being ill-advised: and this He sanctifies by union with Himself for this end, that so the lump may be holy along with the first-fruits. Wherefore also the Angel, when informing Joseph of the destruction of the enemies of the Lord, said, “They are dead which sought the young Child’s life437437    S. Matt. ii. 20. The word ψυχήν may be rendered by either “life” or “soul.”,” (or “soul”): and the Lord says to the Jews, “Ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth438438    S. John viii. 40. This is the only passage in which our Lord speaks of Himself by this term..” Now by “Man” is not meant the body of a man only, but that which is composed of both, soul and body. And again, He says to them, “Are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day439439    S. John vii. 20?” And what He meant by “every whit whole,” He showed in the other Gospels, when He said to the man who was let down on a couch in the midst, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” which is a healing of the soul, and, “Arise and walk440440    Cf. S. Luke v. 20, 23, and the parallel passages in S. Matt. ix. and S. Mark ii.,” which has regard to the body: and in the Gospel of S. John, by liberating the soul also from its own malady after He had given health to the body, where He saith, “Thou art made whole, sin no more441441    S. John v. 14,” thou, that is, who hast been cured in both, I mean in soul and in body. For so too does S. Paul speak, “for to make in Himself of twain one new man442442    Eph. ii. 15..” And so too He foretells that at the time of His Passion He would voluntarily detach His soul from His body, saying, “No man taketh” my soul “from Me, but I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again443443    Cf. S. John x. 17, 18. Here again the word ψυχήν is rendered in the A.V. by “life.”.” Yea, the prophet David also, according to the interpretation of the great Peter, said with foresight of Him, “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption444444    Ps. xvi. 8. Acts ii. 27, 31.,” while the Apostle Peter thus expounds the saying, that “His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption.” For His Godhead, alike before taking flesh and in the flesh and after His Passion, is immutably the same, being at all times what It was by nature, and so continuing for ever. But in the suffering of His human nature the Godhead fulfilled the dispensation for our benefit by severing the soul for a season from the body, yet without being Itself separated from either of those elements to which it was once for all united, and by joining again the elements which had been thus parted, so as to give to all human nature a beginning and an example which it should follow of the resurrection from the dead, that all the corruptible may put on incorruption, and all the mortal may put on immortality, our first-fruits having been transformed to the Divine nature by its union with God, as Peter said, “This same Jesus Whom ye crucified, hath God made both Lord and Christ445445    Acts ii. 36. A further exposition of Gregory’s views on this passage will be found in Book V.;” and we might cite many passages of Scripture to support such a position, showing how the Lord, reconciling the world to Himself by the Humanity of Christ, apportioned His work of benevolence to men between His soul and His body, willing through His soul and touching them through His body. But it would be superfluous to encumber our argument by entering into every detail.

Before passing on, however, to what follows, I will further mention the one text, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up446446    S. John ii. 19.” Just as we, through soul and body, become a temple of Him Who “dwelleth in us and walketh in us447447    Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 16.,” even so the Lord terms their combination a “temple,” of which the “destruction” signifies the dissolution of the soul from the body. And if they allege the passage in the Gospel, “The Word was made flesh448448    S. John i. 14,” in order to make out that the flesh was taken into the Godhead without the soul, on the ground that the soul is not expressly mentioned along with the flesh, let them learn that it is customary for Holy Scripture to imply the whole by the part. For He that said, “Unto Thee shall all flesh come449449    Ps. lxv. 2.,” does not mean that the flesh will be presented before the Judge apart from the souls: and when we read 128in sacred History that Jacob went down into Egypt with seventy-five souls450450    Acts vii. 14. Cf. Gen. xlvi. 27, and Deut. x. 22. we understand the flesh also to be intended together with the souls. So, then, the Word, when He became flesh, took with the flesh the whole of human nature; and hence it was possible that hunger and thirst, fear and dread, desire and sleep, tears and trouble of spirit, and all such things, were in Him. For the Godhead, in its proper nature, admits no such affections, nor is the flesh by itself involved in them, if the soul is not affected co-ordinately with the body.

§14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by Eunomius, and by the Church, touching the Holy Spirit; and to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three Gods, but one God. He also discusses different senses of “Subjection,” and therein shows that the subjection of all things to the Son is the same as the subjection of the Son to the Father.

Thus much with regard to his profanity towards the Son. Now let us see what he says about the Holy Spirit. “After Him, we believe,” he says, “on the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth.” I think it will be plain to all who come across this passage what object he has in view in thus perverting the declaration of the faith delivered to us by the Lord, in his statements concerning the Son and the Father. Though this absurdity has already been exposed, I will nevertheless endeavour, in few words, to make plain the aim of his knavery. As in the former case, he avoided using the name “Father,” that so he might not include the Son in the eternity of the Father, so he avoided employing the title Son, that he might not by it suggest His natural affinity to the Father; so here, too, he refrains from saying “Holy Spirit,” that he may not by this name acknowledge the majesty of His glory, and His complete union with the Father and the Son. For since the appellation of “Spirit,” and that of “Holy,” are by the Scriptures equally applied to the Father and the Son (for “God is a Spirit451451    S. John iv. 24,” and “the anointed Lord is the Spirit before our face452452    Cf. Lam. iv. 20 in LXX.,” and “the Lord our God is Holy453453    Ps. xcix. 9.,” and there is “one Holy, one Lord Jesus Christ454454    Cf. the response to the words of the Priest at the elevation the Gifts in the Greek Liturgies.”) lest there should, by the use of these terms, be bred in the minds of his readers some orthodox conception of the Holy Spirit, such as would naturally arise in them from His sharing His glorious appellation with the Father and the Son, for this reason, deluding the ears of the foolish, he changes the words of the Faith as set forth by God in the delivery of this mystery, making a way, so to speak, by this sequence, for the entrance of his impiety against the Holy Spirit. For if he had said, “We believe in the Holy Spirit,” and “God is a Spirit,” any one instructed in things divine would have interposed the remark, that if we are to believe in the Holy Spirit, while God is called a Spirit, He is assuredly not distinct in nature from that which receives the same titles in a proper sense. For of all those things which are indicated not unreally, nor metaphorically, but properly and absolutely, by the same names, we are necessarily compelled to acknowledge that the nature also, which is signified by this identity of names, is one and the same. For this reason it is that, suppressing the name appointed by the Lord in the formula of the faith, he says, “We believe in the Comforter.” But I have been taught that this very name is also applied by the inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost alike. For the Son gives the name of “Comforter” equally to Himself and to the Holy Spirit455455    S. John xiv. 16; and the Father, where He is said to work comfort, surely claims as His own the name of “Comforter.” For assuredly he Who does the work of a Comforter does not disdain the name belonging to the work: for David says to the Father, “Thou, Lord, hast holpen me and comforted me456456    Ps. lxxvi. 17.,” and the great Apostle applies to the Father the same language, when he says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation457457    2 Cor. i. 3–4.”; and John, in one of his Catholic Epistles, expressly gives to the Son the name of Comforter458458    1 S. John ii. 1. (The word is in the A.V. rendered “advocate.”). Nay, more, the Lord Himself, in saying that another Comforter would be sent us, when speaking of the Spirit, clearly asserted this title of Himself in the first place. But as there are two senses of the word παρακαλεῖν459459    From which is derived the name Paraclete, i.e. Comforter or Advocate.,—one to beseech, by words and gestures of respect, to induce him to whom we apply for anything, to feel with us in respect of those things for which we apply,—the other to comfort, to take remedial thought for affections of body and soul,—the Holy Scripture affirms the conception of the Paraclete, in either sense alike, to belong to the Divine nature. For at one time Paul sets before us by the word παρακαλεῖν the healing power of God, as when he says, “God, Who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus460460    2 Cor. vii. 6.”; and at another time he uses this word in its other meaning, when he says, writing to the Corinthians, “Now we are am129bassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God461461    2 Cor. v. 20..” Now since these things are so, in whatever way you understand the title “Paraclete,” when used of the Spirit, you will not in either of its significations detach Him from His community in it with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, he has not been able, even though he wished it, to belittle the glory of the Spirit by ascribing to Him the very attribute which Holy Scripture refers also to the Father and to the Son. But in styling Him “the Spirit of Truth,” Eunomius’ own wish, I suppose, was to suggest by this phrase subjection, since Christ is the Truth, and he called Him the Spirit of Truth, as if one should say that He is a possession and chattel of the Truth, without being aware that God is called a God of righteousness462462    The text reads, “that God is called righteousness,” but the argument seems to require the genitive case. The reference may be to Ps. iv. 1.; and we certainly do not understand thereby that God is a possession of righteousness. Wherefore also, when we hear of the “Spirit of Truth,” we acquire by that phrase such a conception as befits the Deity, being guided to the loftier interpretation by the words which follow it. For when the Lord said “The Spirit of Truth,” He immediately added “Which proceedeth from the Father463463    S. John xv. 26,” a fact which the voice of the Lord never asserted of any conceivable thing in creation, not of aught visible or invisible, not of thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, nor of any other name that is named either in this world or in that which is to come. It is plain then that that, from share in which all creation is excluded, is something special and peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids us believe in “the Guide of godliness.” Let a man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and Titus, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those by whom we have been led into the way of the faith. For if we are to believe in “that which guides us to godliness,” along with the Father and the Son, all the prophets and lawgivers and patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, and teachers, have equal honour with the Holy Spirit, as they have been “guides to godliness” to those who came after them. “Who came into being,” he goes on, “by the only God through the Only-begotten.” In these words he gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father “only God,” who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? what apostle? what prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are the children of God? For thus He expressly ascribes the birth of the children of God to the Spirit, saying, that as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. But as many as are born of the Spirit are called the children of God464464    With this passage cf. S. John i. 12, iii. 6; Rom. viii. 14; 1 S. John iii. 3.. So also when the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had imparted to them the Holy Spirit, John says, “Of His fulness have all we received465465    S. John xx. 21, and i. 16..” And that “in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead466466    Col. ii. 9.,” the mighty Paul attests: yea, moreover, through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to the manifestation of the Divine appearance vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat “on the throne high and lifted up467467    Is. vi. 1.;” the older tradition, it is true, says that it was the Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist John refers the prophecy to our Lord, saying, touching those of the Jews who did not believe the words uttered by the prophet concerning the Lord, “These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spoke of Him468468    S. John xii. 41. The “older tradition” means presumably the ancient interpretation of the Jews..” But the mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the Holy Spirit in his speech made to the Jews at Rome, when he says, “Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet concerning you, saying, Hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand469469    Cf. Acts xxviii. 25, 26. The quotation is not verbal.,” showing, in my opinion, by Holy Scripture itself, that every specially divine vision, every theophany, every word uttered in the Person of God, is to be understood to refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence when David says, “they provoked God in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert470470    Cf. Ps. lxxviii. 40.,” the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit the despite done by the Israelites to God, in these terms: “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me471471    Heb. iii. 7.,” and goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to God, to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those who keep repeating against us the phrase “three Gods,” because we hold these views, have per130haps not yet learnt how to count. For if the Father and the Son are not divided into duality, (for they are, according to the Lord’s words, One, and not Two472472    S. John x. 30) and if the Holy Ghost is also one, how can one added to one be divided into the number of three Gods? Is it not rather plain that no one can charge us with believing in the number of three Gods, without himself first maintaining in his own doctrine a pair of Gods? For it is by being added to two that the one completes the triad of Gods. But what room is there for the charge of tritheism against those by whom one God is worshipped, the God expressed by the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost?

Let us however resume Eunomius’ statement in its entirety. “Having come into being from the only God through the Only-begotten, this Spirit also—” What proof is there of the statement that “this Spirit also” is one of the things that were made by the Only-begotten? They will say of course that “all things were made by Him473473    Cf. S. John i. 3,” and that in the term “all things” “this Spirit also” is included. Our answer to them shall be this, All things were made by Him, that were made. Now the things that were made, as Paul tells us, were things visible and invisible, thrones, authorities, dominions, principalities, powers, and among those included under the head of thrones and powers are reckoned by Paul the Cherubim and Seraphim474474    Cf. Col. i. 16; but the enumeration varies considerably.: so far does the term “all things” extend. But of the Holy Spirit, as being above the nature of things that have come into being, Paul said not a word in his enumeration of existing things, not indicating to us by his words either His subordination or His coming into being; but just as the prophet calls the Holy Spirit “good,” and “right,” and “guiding475475    The last of these epithets is from Ps. li. 14 (πνεῦμα ἡγεμονικὸν, the “Spiritus principalis” of the Vulgate, the “free spirit” of the English version); the “right spirit” of ver. 12 being also applied by S. Gregory to the Holy Spirit, while the epithet “good” is from Ps. cxlii. 10.” (indicating by the word “guiding” the power of control), even so the apostle ascribes independent authority to the dignity of the Spirit, when he affirms that He works all in all as He wills476476    Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 11.. Again, the Lord makes manifest the Spirit’s independent power and operation in His discourse with Nicodemus, when He says, “The Spirit breatheth where He willeth477477    S. John iii. 8.” How is it then that Eunomius goes so far as to define that He also is one of the things that came into being by the Son, condemned to eternal subjection. For he describes Him as “once for all made subject,” enthralling the guiding and governing Spirit in I know not what form of subjection. For this expression of “subjection” has many significations in Holy Scripture, and is understood and used with many varieties of meaning. For the Psalmist says that even irrational nature is put in subjection478478    Ps. viii. 7, 8., and brings under the same term those who are overcome in war479479    Ps. xlvii. 3., while the apostle bids servants to be in subjection to their own masters480480    Tit. ii. 9., and that those who are placed over the priesthood should have their children in subjection481481    1 Tim. iii. 4., as their disorderly conduct brings discredit upon their fathers, as in the case of the sons of Eli the priest. Again, he speaks of the subjection of all men to God, when we all, being united to one another by the faith, become one body of the Lord Who is in all, as the subjection of the Son to the Father, when the adoration paid to the Son by all things with one accord, by things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, redounds to the glory of the Father; as Paul says elsewhere, “To Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father482482    Cf. Phil. ii. 10, 11, a passage which is apparently considered as explanatory of 1 Cor. xv. 28..” For when this takes place, the mighty wisdom of Paul affirms that the Son, Who is in all, is subject to the Father by virtue of the subjection of those in whom He is. What kind of “subjection once for all” Eunomius asserts of the Holy Spirit, it is thus impossible to learn from the phrase which he has thrown out,—whether he means the subjection of irrational creatures, or of captives, or of servants, or of children who are kept in order, or of those who are saved by subjection. For the subjection of men to God is salvation for those who are so made subject, according to the voice of the prophet, who says that his soul is subject to God, since of Him cometh salvation by subjection483483    Cf. Ps. lxii. 1 (LXX.)., so that subjection is the means of averting perdition. As therefore the help of the healing art is sought eagerly by the sick, so is subjection by those who are in need of salvation. But of what life does the Holy Spirit, that quickeneth all things, stand in need, that by subjection He should obtain salvation for Himself? Since then it is not on the strength of any Divine utterance that he asserts such an attribute of the Spirit, nor yet is it as a consequence of probable arguments that he has launched this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it must be plain at all events to sensible men that he vents his impiety against Him without any warrant whatsoever, unsupported as it is by any authority from Scripture or by any logical consequence.

131§15. Lastly he displays at length the folly of Eunomius, who at times speaks of the Holy Spirit as created, and as the fairest work of the Son, and at other times confesses, by the operations attributed to Him, that He is God, and thus ends the book.

He goes on to add, “Neither on the same level with the Father, nor connumerated with the Father (for God over all is one and only Father), nor on an equality with the Son, for the Son is only-begotten, having none begotten with Him.” Well, for my own part, if he had only added to his previous statement the remark that the Holy Ghost is not the Father of the Son, I should even then have thought it idle for him to linger over what no one ever doubted, and forbid people to form notions of Him which not even the most witless would entertain. But since he endeavours to establish his impiety by irrelevant and unconnected statements, imagining that by denying the Holy Spirit to be the Father of the Only-begotten he makes out that He is subject and subordinate, I therefore made mention of these words, as a proof of the folly of the man who imagines that he is demonstrating the Spirit to be subject to the Father on the ground that the Spirit is not Father of the Only-begotten. For what compels the conclusion, that if He be not Father, He must be subject? If it had been demonstrated that “Father” and “despot” were terms identical in meaning, it would no doubt have followed that, as absolute sovereignty was part of the conception of the Father, we should affirm that the Spirit is subject to Him Who surpassed Him in respect of authority. But if by “Father” is implied merely His relation to the Son, and no conception of absolute sovereignty or authority is involved by the use of the word, how does it follow, from the fact that the Spirit is not the Father of the Son, that the Spirit is subject to the Father? “Nor on an equality with the Son,” he says. How comes he to say this? for to be, and to be unchangeable, and to admit no evil whatsoever, and to remain unalterably in that which is good, all this shows no variation in the case of the Son and of the Spirit. For the incorruptible nature of the Spirit is remote from corruption equally with that of the Son, and in the Spirit, just as in the Son, His essential goodness is absolutely apart from its contrary, and in both alike their perfection in every good stands in need of no addition.

Now the inspired Scripture teaches us to affirm all these attributes of the Spirit, when it predicates of the Spirit the terms “good,” and “wise,” and “incorruptible,” and “immortal,” and all such lofty conceptions and names as are properly applied to Godhead. If then He is inferior in none of these respects, by what means does Eunomius determine the inequality of the Son and the Spirit? “For the Son is,” he tells us, “Only-begotten, having no brother begotten with Him.” Well, the point, that we are not to understand the “Only-begotten” to have brethren, we have already discussed in our comments upon the phrase “first-born of all creation484484    See above, §8 of this book..” But we ought not to leave unexamined the sense that Eunomius now unfairly attaches to the term. For while the doctrine of the Church declares that in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost there is one power, and goodness, and essence, and glory, and the like, saving the difference of the Persons, this man, when he wishes to make the essence of the Only-begotten common to the creation, calls Him “the first-born of all creation” in respect of His pre-temporal existence, declaring by this mode of expression that all conceivable objects in creation are in brotherhood with the Lord; for assuredly the first-born is not the first-born of those otherwise begotten, but of those begotten like Himself485485    Or, “not the first-born of beings of a different race, but of those of his own stock.”. But when he is bent upon severing the Spirit from union with the Son, he calls Him “Only-begotten, not having any brother begotten with Him,” not with the object of conceiving of Him as without brethren, but that by the means of this assertion he may establish touching the Spirit His essential alienation from the Son. It is true that we learn from Holy Scripture not to speak of the Holy Ghost as brother of the Son: but that we are not to say that the Holy Ghost is homogeneous486486    ὁμογενῆ, “of the same stock”: the word being the same which (when coupled with ἀδελφὸν) has been translated, in the passages preceding, by “begotten with.” with the Son, is nowhere shown in the divine Scriptures. For if there does reside in the Father and the Son a life-giving power, it is ascribed also to the Holy Spirit, according to the words of the Gospel. If one may discern alike in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the properties of being incorruptible, immutable, of admitting no evil, of being good, right, guiding, of working all in all as He wills, and all the like attributes, how is it possible by identity in these respects to infer difference in kind? Accordingly the word of godliness agrees in affirming that we ought not to regard any kind of brotherhood as attaching to the Only-begotten; but to say that the Spirit is not homogeneous with the Son, the upright with the upright, the good with the good, the life-giving with the life-giving, this has been clearly demonstrated by logical inference to be a piece of heretical knavery.

Why then is the majesty of the Spirit curtailed by such arguments as these? For there is nothing 132which can be the cause of producing in him deviation by excess or defect from conceptions such as befit the Godhead, nor, since all these are by Holy Scripture predicated equally of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, can he inform us wherein he discerns inequality to exist. But he launches his blasphemy against the Holy Ghost in its naked form, ill-prepared and unsupported by any consecutive argument. “Nor yet ranked,” he says, “with any other: for He has gone above487487    ἀναβέβηκε: the word apparently is intended by Eunomius to have the force of “transcended”; Gregory, later on, criticizes its employment in this sense. all the creatures that came into being by the instrumentality of the Son in mode of being, and nature, and glory, and knowledge, as the first and noblest work of the Only-begotten, the greatest and most glorious.” I will leave, however, to others the task of ridiculing the bad taste and surplusage of his style, thinking as I do that it is unseemly for the gray hairs of age, when dealing with the argument before us, to make vulgarity of expression an objection against one who is guilty of impiety. I will just add to my investigation this remark. If the Spirit has “gone above” all the creations of the Son, (for I will use his own ungrammatical and senseless phrase, or rather, to make things clearer, I will present his idea in my own language) if he transcends all things wrought by the Son, the Holy Spirit cannot be ranked with the rest of the creation; and if, as Eunomius says, he surpasses them by virtue of priority of birth, he must needs confess, in the case of the rest of creation, that the objects which are first in order of production are more to be esteemed than those which come after them. Now the creation of the irrational animals was prior to that of man. Accordingly he will of course declare that the irrational nature is more honourable than rational existence. So too, according to the argument of Eunomius, Cain will be proved superior to Abel, in that he was before him in time of birth, and so the stars will be shown to be lower and of less excellence than all the things that grow out of the earth; for these last sprang from the earth on the third day, and all the stars are recorded by Moses to have been created on the fourth. Well, surely no one is such a simpleton as to infer that the grass of the earth is more to be esteemed than the marvels of the sky, on the ground of its precedence in time, or to award the meed to Cain over Abel, or to place below the irrational animals man who came into being later than they. So there is no sense in our author’s contention that the nature of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of the creatures that came into being subsequently, on the ground that He came into being before they did. And now let us see what he who separates Him from fellowship with the Son is prepared to concede to the glory of the Spirit: “For he too,” he says, “being one, and first and alone, and surpassing all the creations of the Son in essence and dignity of nature, accomplishing every operation and all teaching according to the good pleasure of the Son, being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth.” He speaks of the Holy Ghost as “accomplishing every operation and all teaching.” What operation? Does he mean that which the Father and the Son execute, according to the word of the Lord Himself Who “hitherto worketh488488    S. John v. 17” man’s salvation, or does he mean some other? For if His work is that named, He has assuredly the same power and nature as Him Who works it, and in such an one difference of kind from Deity can have no place. For just as, if anything should perform the functions of fire, shining and warming in precisely the same way, it is itself certainly fire, so if the Spirit does the works of the Father, He must assuredly be acknowledged to be of the same nature with Him. If on the other hand He operates something else than our salvation, and displays His operation in a contrary direction, He will thereby be proved to be of a different nature and essence. But Eunomius’ statement itself bears witness that the Spirit quickeneth in like manner with the Father and the Son. Accordingly, from the identity of operations it results assuredly that the Spirit is not alien from the nature of the Father and the Son. And to the statement that the Spirit accomplishes the operation and teaching of the Father according to the good pleasure of the Son we assent. For the community of nature gives us warrant that the will of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, and thus, if the Holy Spirit wills that which seems good to the Son, the community of will clearly points to unity of essence. But he goes on, “being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, and declaring to those who are instructed, and guiding into truth.” If he had not previously said what he has concerning the Spirit, the reader would surely have supposed that these words applied to some human teacher. For to receive a mission is the same thing as to be sent, and to have nothing of one’s own, but to receive of the free favour of him who gives the mission, and to minister his words to those who are under instruction, and to be a guide into truth for those that are astray. All these things, which Eunomius is good enough to allow to the Holy Spirit, belong to the present pastors and teachers of the Church,—to be sent, to receive, 133to announce, to teach, to suggest the truth. Now, as he had said above “He is one, and first, and alone, and surpassing all,” had he but stopped there, he would have appeared as a defender of the doctrines of truth. For He Who is indivisibly contemplated in the One is most truly One, and first Who is in the First, and alone Who is in the Only One. For as the spirit of man that is in him, and the man himself, are but one man, so also the Spirit of God which is in Him, and God Himself, would properly be termed One God, and First and Only, being incapable of separation from Him in Whom He is. But as things are, with his addition of his profane phrase, “surpassing all the creatures of the Son,” he produces turbid confusion by assigning to Him Who “breatheth where He willeth489489    S. John iii. 8,” and “worketh all in all490490    1 Cor. xii. 6.,” a mere superiority in comparison with the rest of created things.

Let us now see further what he adds to this “sanctifying the saints.” If any one says this also of the Father and of the Son, he will speak truly. For those in whom the Holy One dwells, He makes holy, even as the Good One makes men good. And the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are holy and good, as has been shown. “Acting as a guide to those who approach the mystery.” This may well be said of Apollos who watered what Paul planted. For the Apostle plants by his guidance491491    If we read κατηχσέως for the καθηγησέως of Oehler’s text we have a clearer sense, “the Apostle plants by his instruction.”, and Apollos, when he baptizes, waters by Sacramental regeneration, bringing to the mystery those who were instructed by Paul. Thus he places on a level with Apollos that Spirit Who perfects men through baptism. “Distributing every gift.” With this we too agree; for everything that is good is a portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “Co-operating with the faithful for the understanding and contemplation of things appointed.” As he does not add by whom they are appointed, he leaves his meaning doubtful, whether it is correct or the reverse. But we will by a slight addition advance his statement so as to make it consistent with godliness. For since, whether it be the word of wisdom, or the word of knowledge, or faith, or help, or government, or aught else that is enumerated in the lists of saving gifts, “all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will492492    1 Cor. xii. 11.,” we therefore do not reject the statement of Eunomius when he says that the Spirit “co-operates with the faithful for understanding and contemplation of things appointed” by Him, because by Him all good teachings are appointed for us. “Sounding an accompaniment to those who pray.” It would be foolish seriously to examine the meaning of this expression, of which the ludicrous and meaningless character is at once manifest to all. For who is so demented and beside himself as to wait for us to tell him that the Holy Spirit is not a bell nor an empty cask sounding an accompaniment and made to ring by the voice of him who prays as it were by a blow? “Leading us to that which is expedient for us.” This the Father and the Son likewise do: for “He leadeth Joseph like a sheep493493    Ps. lxxx. 1.,” and, “led His people like sheep494494    Ps. lxxvii. 20.,” and, “the good Spirit leadeth us in a land of righteousness495495    Cf. Ps. cxliii. 10..” “Strengthening us to godliness.” To strengthen man to godliness David says is the work of God; “For Thou art my strength and my refuge496496    Cf. Ps. xxxi. 3,” says the Psalmist, and “the Lord is the strength of His people497497    Ps. xxviii. 8.,” and, “He shall give strength and power unto His people498498    Ps. lxviii. 35..” If then the expressions of Eunomius are meant in accordance with the mind of the Psalmist, they are a testimony to the Divinity of the Holy Ghost: but if they are opposed to the word of prophecy, then by this very fact a charge of blasphemy lies against Eunomius, because he sets up his own opinions in opposition to the holy prophets. Next he says, “Lightening souls with the light of knowledge.” This grace also the doctrine of godliness ascribes alike to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. For He is called a light by David499499    Ps. xxvii. 1., and from thence the light of knowledge shines in them who are enlightened. In like manner also the cleansing of our thoughts of which the statement speaks is proper to the power of the Lord. For it was “the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person,” Who “purged our sins500500    Heb. i. 3..” Again, to banish devils, which Eunomius says is a property of the Spirit, this also the only-begotten God, Who said to the devil, “I charge thee501501    Cf. S. Mark ix. 25,” ascribes to the power of the Spirit, when He says, “If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils502502    S. Matt. xii. 28.,” so that the expulsion of devils is not destructive of the glory of the Spirit, but rather a demonstration of His divine and transcendent power. “Healing the sick,” he says, “curing the infirm, comforting the afflicted, raising up those who stumble, recovering the distressed.” These are the words of those who think reverently of the Holy Ghost, for no one would ascribe the operation of any one of these effects to any one except to God. If then heresy affirms that those things which it belongs to none save God alone to effect, are wrought by the power of the Spirit, we have in support of the truths for which we are contending the witness even of our adversaries. How does the Psalmist seek his healing 134from God, saying, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed503503    Ps. vi. 3.!” It is to God that Isaiah says, “The dew that is from Thee is healing unto them504504    Is. xxvi. 19 (LXX.)..” Again, prophetic language attests that the conversion of those in error is the work of God. For “they went astray in the wilderness in a thirsty land,” says the Psalmist, and he adds, “So He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to the city where they dwelt505505    Ps. cviii. 4–7.:” and, “when the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion506506    Ps. cxxvi. 1..” In like manner also the comfort of the afflicted is ascribed to God, Paul thus speaking, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation507507    2 Cor. i. 3, 4..” Again, the Psalmist says, speaking in the person of God, “Thou calledst upon Me in trouble and I delivered thee508508    Ps. lxxxi. 17..” And the setting upright of those who stumble is innumerable times ascribed by Scripture to the power of the Lord: “Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall, but the Lord was my help509509    Ps. cxviii. 13.,” and “Though he fall, he shall not be cast away, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand510510    Ps. xxxvii. 24.,” and “The Lord helpeth them that are fallen511511    Ps. cxlvi. 8..” And to the loving-kindness of God confessedly belongs the recovery of the distressed, if Eunomius means the same thing of which we learn in prophecy, as the Scripture says, “Thou laidest trouble upon our loins; Thou sufferedst men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, and Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place512512    Ps. lxvi. 10, 11..”

Thus far then the majesty of the Spirit is demonstrated by the evidence of our opponents, but in what follows the limpid waters of devotion are once more defiled by the mud of heresy. For he says of the Spirit that He “cheers on those who are contending”: and this phrase involves him in the charge of extreme folly and impiety. For in the stadium some have the task of arranging the competitions between those who intend to show their athletic vigour; others, who surpass the rest in strength and skill, strive for the victory and strip to contend with one another, while the rest, taking sides in their good wishes with one or other of the competitors, according as they are severally disposed towards or interested in one athlete or another, cheer him on at the time of the engagement, and bid him guard against some hurt, or remember some trick of wrestling, or keep himself unthrown by the help of his art. Take note from what has been said to how low a rank Eunomius degrades the Holy Spirit. For while on the course there are some who arrange the contests, and others who settle whether the contest is conducted according to rule, others who are actually engaged, and yet others who cheer on the competitors, who are acknowledged to be far inferior to the athletes themselves, Eunomius considers the Holy Spirit as one of the mob who look on, or as one of those who attend upon the athletes, seeing that He neither determines the contest nor awards the victory, nor contends with the adversary, but merely cheers without contributing at all to the victory. For He neither joins in the fray, nor does He implant the power to contend, but merely wishes that the athlete in whom He is interested may not come off second in the strife. And so Paul wrestles “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places513513    Eph. vi. 12.,” while the Spirit of power does not strengthen the combatants nor distribute to them His gifts, “dividing to every man severally as He will514514    1 Cor. xii. 11.,” but His influence is limited to cheering on those who are engaged.

Again he says, “Emboldening the faint-hearted.” And here, while in accordance with his own method he follows his previous blasphemy against the Spirit, the truth for all that manifests itself, even through unfriendly lips. For to none other than to God does it belong to implant courage in the fearful, saying to the faint-hearted, “Fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed515515    Is. xli. 10.,” as says the Psalmist, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me516516    Ps. xxiii. 4..” Nay, the Lord Himself says to the fearful,—“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid517517    S. John xiv. 27,” and, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith518518    S. Matt. viii. 26.?” and, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid519519    S. Mark vi. 50,” and again, “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world520520    S. John xvi. 33.” Accordingly, even though this may not have been the intention of Eunomius, orthodoxy asserts itself by means even of the voice of an enemy. And the next sentence agrees with that which went before:—“Caring for all, and showing all concern and forethought.” For in fact it belongs to God alone to care and to take thought for all, as the mighty David has expressed it, “I am poor and needy, but the Lord careth for me521521    Ps. xl. 20..” And if what remains seems to be resolved into empty words, with sound and without sense, let no one find fault, seeing that in most of what he says, so far as any sane meaning is concerned, he is feeble and untutored. For what on earth he means when he says, “for the onward leading of the better disposed and the guardianship of the more faithful,” neither he himself, nor they who senselessly admire his follies, could possibly tell us.

135Book III.

§1. This third book shows a third fall of Eunomius, as refuting himself, and sometimes saying that the Son is to be called Only-begotten in virtue of natural generation, and that Holy Scripture proves this from the first; at other times, that by reason of His being created He should not be called a Son, but a “product,” or