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Commentary On The Gospel According To Saint John Volumes 1&2

That by reason of the identity of Their nature, the Son is in the Father, and the Father again is in the Son

11 Believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me

He now admits plainly, or rather enjoins on the disciples henceforth, that it is fitting that we should be no otherwise minded than as the Word of Truth Himself may desire. For He is Consubstantial with His Father, nothing whatever intervening or in any way separating One from the Other into a diversity of nature. He is One with Him, so that the Son’s nature appears in the essence of the Father, and in the essence of the Offspring appears conspicuously that of God the Father; just as one might see happen in the case of human relations. For we are in no way different in our nature from our offspring, nor are we sundered from them in an alienation of nature, although we are distinguished by a difference of outward personality; in illustration of which, let any man who has looked upon the son begotten by himself consider the history of the blessed Abraham. But in the case of men the difference is often very considerable, each one tending definitely, in a way, towards a retirement and withdrawal of himself into a peculiar line of life and manners, without feeling personally bound up in the other; although their unity of essence may be certain and evident to all. But in the case of God, Who is ever in perfect accordance with His nature, thou wilt believe it to be otherwise. The Father indeed is in individual personality Father and not Son; and again similarly He Who cometh forth from the Father is Son and not Father; and the Spirit is peculiarly Spirit. But since the Holy Trinity is united and joined together into a oneness of Godhead, there is among us One God alone: and it would be impossible to attribute to each one of the Persons here indicated the habit of secession from the others, and neither will ever withdraw into absolute separation; but we believe that each Person is in very substance exactly what we have here entitled Him. We consider that the Son, being of the Father, that is, of His essence, proceeded forth from Him in a manner ineffable, and yet abides in Him. Likewise also concerning the Holy Spirit: He proceeds in very truth from God as He is by nature, and yet is in no wise severed from His essence; but rather proceeds forth from Him, still abiding ever in Him, and is supplied to the saints through Christ; for all things come through the Son by the Holy Spirit. Such is the true and upright teaching that the wisdom of the holy fathers has taught us: thus we have been trained also by the Holy Scriptures themselves to speak and to think. And the Lord would cheer us onward to accept this unreviled faith, when he says: Believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.

Or else believe for the very works’ sake.

In these words He distinctly says that He could never have worked out and achieved those miracles which were characteristic of the Divine nature alone, if He had not been Himself essentially of that nature. And see on what sure grounds and also with what truth He makes this declaration. He does not claim credence for His words alone, although He knew no deceit, so much as for His actions. And why this is so I will tell you. There would be nothing to prevent any man, however mad and however foolish, from falsely using God-befitting words and speeches, and uttering such expressions in a most reckless manner: but who could ever display a God-befitting power of action? And to whom of created beings will the Father grant that glory which is especially His own? Do we not always say that the power of doing all things and the possession of an all-supreme might is the glory of God alone, attaching to no other being, at least to no one ever numbered among the creatures of God? Therefore it is that Christ, wishing to give a proof of His Divinity resting on cogent and unquestionable arguments, urged them to believe the evidence of His actual works that He was in the Father, and that the Father again was in Him: that is, that he bears in His own substance the nature of the Father, as being His very own Offspring and most truly His Fruit, and appearing in natural relation to Him as Son to Father. But while the Church of Christ, in perfect confidence in the rightness of her teaching, holds in this form her doctrine concerning the Only-begotten, on the other hand the ungodly heretics have attempted to seduce to a different belief those who follow after and attend to their pernicious teachings. For the miserable creatures are furious in their outcries against Christ, and consider one another not to provoke unto godliness, but to the end that each one may appear more godless than another, and may utter something yet more unseemly. For since they drink the wine of Sodom and gather the bitter clusters of Gomorrah, because they receive not from the Divine Spirit their knowledge concerning Him, nor yet by revelation from the Father, but from the dragon himself; they can conceive in their minds nothing that is sound and right, but they utter sayings which bring to absolute wretchedness the souls of those who hear them, hurling them down to Hades and the abyss below. They venture moreover to publish these opinions in books, thus stereotyping their own wickedness for all time. It ought to have been sufficient for us to have said just so much on the present passage as would have been likely to benefit those who may chance to read it, by way of establishing in absolute accuracy the true conception concerning the Son, without making any allusion whatever to the heretical writings. But as it is in no way improbable that some persons of feeble intelligence may, on chancing to meet with their miserable sayings, be carried away by them; I considered it necessary to put an end to the harm that might result from their foolish talk, by exposing the utter weakness of the slanders they wish to raise in their vehement attack on the Son, or rather, for that is the truer way of putting the case, on the whole Divine nature.

I happened then to meet with a pamphlet of our opponents, and on investigating what they had to say on the text now before us, I found, in the course of reading it, these words used after certain others: “The Son therefore being essentially encompassed by the Father, has within Himself the Father, and it is the Father Who utters the words and accomplishes the miracles. This is the interpretation of His words: The things that I speak unto you, I speak not from Myself; but the Father abiding in Me, He doeth the works.”

Such are the exact expressions of the author’s quibbling jugglery. Now since it is my duty to mention this view, which is opposed to the language of Scripture, and which may very well perplex an inexperienced mind, I make this assertion. As to their phrase, that “the Son is essentially encompassed by the Father,” I do not in the least understand what in the world it means, or what it signifies,—I speak the truth, as I feel it my duty to do,—so great is the obscurity of the expression. The real sense of the words seems ashamed of itself, and inclined to veil itself in overmuch dimness, not daring to explain itself openly and clearly. For even as he that doeth ill hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest he should be reproved, according to the Saviour’s word; even so every argument with an ill tendency is wont to move through dark ideas, and will not go towards the light of plain speaking, lest the meanness of its inherent unsoundness should be reproved. What then may we suppose to be the meaning of the Son’s being “essentially encompassed by the Father?” for I will spare no pains to discover reasonings which may sift in every possible way the real import of that which is here so dimly expressed, and which perhaps shrinks from being understood lest it may then reveal the folly of its author. If then the meaning be this, that the Son, appearing in the essence of the Father as Consubstantial with Him, displays also in His own Person the Father brilliantly shining in the nature of His Offspring, we also will assent to the truth of the statement: still, the use of the word “encompass” would perchance do more than a slight injustice in its application to the Son. But if this be not the meaning,—and surely it cannot be, for never would it be admitted that the Son is begotten of the essence of the Father by one who has vomited such blasphemy against Him, insisting that like some finite body the nature of the Son is enclosed within that of the Father,—certainly such an one will be convicted of evident blasphemy, and will be shown to be full of the most excessive madness. For while admitting in words that the Son is God, they endeavour most illogically to invest Him with properties peculiar to [created] bodies. For the being parted off by a boundary line and separated by a definitely conceived measure, the starting from a fixed origin and ceasing at a fixed limit, all this surely implies existence conditioned by place and size and fashion and form. And these are surely attributes of [created] bodies. Shall we not then in this way be thinking of Him Who is above us as though He were on a level with us as one of ourselves? Would He not then be a brother to the rest of creation, having henceforth nothing in Himself by way of superiority to it, inasmuch as this theory has come to speak of His existence as merely finite? And, being so, at least according to the foolish supposition of our opponents, why did He vainly reproach us in the words: Ye are from beneath; I am from above, and again: Ye are of this world; I am not of this world? For in saying that He Himself is “from above,” He does not simply mean that He came from heaven: else, how would He excel the holy angels, since we shall find that they also are “from above,” if we interpret the meaning in a merely local sense? But He signifies that He is the Offspring of that essence which is from above, and which is more excellent than all else in the universe. How then after this can He be speaking the truth, if He possesses the peculiar attributes of [created] bodies in common with all creation, and is “encompassed” by the Father, even as those things that are brought into existence out of nothing? For of course we are ready to agree that no created thing can be situated outside of the Father. And the inspired Psalmist also, speaking surely by the Spirit deep truths and hidden mysteries, says that the Son is all-pervading, attesting thereby His incorporeal and illimitable nature, and that as God He is confined to no one locality. For his words are: Whither can I go from Thy Spirit, and whither can I fly from Thy Presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I descend into Hades, Thou art present: if I take my wings in the morning, and go unto the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also Thy hand shall guide me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. But these heretics, in utter recklessness ranging their own opinions in antagonism to the words of the Spirit, subject the Only-begotten to limitations and boundaries, although they ought to have understood the matter from the cogent and instructive reasoning of this Scripture. For if He has filled the heavens and the uttermost parts of the earth, and therefore also the regions of Hades, is it not excessively unreasonable to apply to Him the word “encompassed,” without reflecting that if His Presence, that is, if the Spirit—for the Psalmist calls the Spirit the Presence of the Son—fills all things, it is inconceivable that Christ Himself should be “encompassed” within any boundary, even though it be in the substance of God the Father? Nay, it will be no less outrageous to limit within a confined space that which is incorporeal than to include in a measure that which exists in no finite form. For to say that He is “essentially encompassed by God the Father” is surely nought else than to imply that His essence is finite, exactly like any individual thing of the works that were made by Him: and these we shall safely and truly allow to be capable of being “encompassed”: for they are [created] bodies, even though perchance not all such as ours.

But besides, there is this also to be thought of. If we maintain that it is necessary that whatever is enfolded by anything lies entirely within the limits of that which is said to “encompass” it, will it not certainly follow that we should think of that which is “encompassed” as something less than that which “encompasses” it, and should speak of it as limited thereby, and as it were enclosed within the compass of that which is greater than itself? What sayest thou now, my friend? Here we have Christ presenting Himself before us as a Likeness of God the Father, and plainly saying: He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, and again straightway adding: I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. Let us assume then that He means, as you would understand Him to say, that “although I am the Very Image and Likeness of My Father, yet I am essentially encompassed by Him.” Surely it is acknowledged by all men that He would have us hold just such ideas concerning the Father as we would conceive concerning Himself also. Therefore it would follow that the Father also is subject to limitation, for He is in the Son: and let the heretic search if he will and find out who or what is greater than the Father; I should deem it impious to express or even to conceive such an idea. The Son can never be a Likeness of the Father in one way and not so in another. For if He has in Himself anything at all that would alter or interfere with His resemblance in all points, He would be, as a consequence of that, a partial and not a perfect Likeness. But where could you show us the Holy Scripture teaching such a doctrine as this? For most certainly we are not going to be led astray by your words so as to reject the plain truth of the Sacred statements. And I wonder how it is they did not shrink in dismay from adding to their former arguments the following: “Just as Paul had Christ speaking in him and effecting the mighty deeds, exactly in the same way also the Son had the Father speaking in Him and working the miracles; wherefore He says: Believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” After this, who will any longer allow the name of Christian to one who holds such views and thinks such thoughts concerning Christ? For behold how very evidently he maintains that Christ is no longer truly God: recklessly He invests Him with the limitations properly characteristic of creatures, proclaiming Him to be a sort of God-bearer, or one who participates in God, rather than One begotten God of God. To put it briefly, his aim is throughout the utter severance of Christ, in every way and in every respect, from the essence of God the Father; and to cut Him off altogether from that intimate relationship in nature and essence which He has with God His own Father.

Now what could be conceived to surpass such views as these in the immense amazement they are calculated to excite? How could one refrain from shedding in torrents uncontrollable tears of love over men so utterly abandoned to ungodliness, as though they were already dead and perished? One might say, and that very appropriately: Who will give to my head water, and to mine eyes a fountain of tears, and I will weep for this people day and night? For over those who have chosen to think such thoughts as these, one might fitly shed innumerable tears. But since it is by means of the doctrines of the truth that I conceive we ought to refute their slanders, for the sake of that which is profitable to simple folk, come now, and let us answer them by saying that we have been very jealous for the Lord. For assuredly, my friends, the inspired Paul or any other among the saints, while they had in themselves Christ tabernacled in their hearts by the Spirit, very easily did such things as seemed good unto God, and appeared as workers of miraculous deeds. It is an established fact therefore, and one that thou wouldst thyself admit to be true, that being really human in nature, and different in essence from the Holy Spirit of Christ that dwelt within them, they were fearers of God, and were glorious by reason of the grace bestowed on them by Christ. And thou wilt altogether agree with us in saying that they were at one time destitute of this gift, and were called thereunto when it seemed good to God, Who directs all things well, that thus it should be. It was then not impossible that, by some untoward action, or deed not well done, the blessed Paul, or any other of those similarly favoured, should after being joined unto God be capable of losing again the grace given to him, and being thrust back again to return to the humiliation whence he had arisen. For that which is wholly adventitious and from without may easily be spurned away, and is capable of being taken back even as it was given. Now then, my good sir: for my question is coming back to thee: if it is true, according to thy ignorant notions and most impious imagination, that even as Christ was speaking and working wonders in Paul, so one must admit that the Father is in the Son; what manner of doubt can there be that He must be in no sense whatever in His nature God, but rather something different from the Father indwelling in Him, the Father being God in very truth? For thus it was that Christ was in Paul. So then, [according to you,] the Only-begotten is a sort of instrument or implement [in the hand of the Father], cunningly devised to set forth His glory, in no wise differing from a flute or a lyre, giving utterance to whatsoever the mouth of the player might breathe into it or the touch of his finger call forth in rhythmic melody. And He will be acceptable to the Father as an assistance in the performance of His wonders, as one might conceive of a saw or an axe in the hands of a skilful carpenter. And then what can be more paradoxical than this? For if He is by nature as those heretics say, He must be altogether alien from God the Father; whereas in our opinion He is by nature God, and none other than God. But if the Son is severed from the essence of the Father, as far at least as pertains to His being in nature God, surely we are correct in inferring that the Son Who sits at the Father’s right hand is placed in the same rank with the created world, and reckoned among the results of God’s workmanship, and regarded in the light of a mechanical instrument, and looked upon henceforth as a servant to ourselves rather than as a master; or indeed that He is in strict truth not actually a Son at all. For never could one regard or accept in the light of a Son a being who was placed in the rank of a mere instrument. The Father, it would appear, has begotten an instrument to show forth His wisdom and skill, and is deemed to have generated something quite different from that which He is Himself. How could this possibly happen? Surely it is the height of folly to conceive such a notion. If therefore thou refusest to surrender that opinion concerning the Son which regards Him as an instrument or a servant, and if thou art unwilling to acknowledge Him as at all in truth a Son, and deniest His ineffable generation from the essence of God the Father; thou wilt be doing injustice to the glory even of the Father Himself: for then the Father will cease to be Father in veritable reality; for how could one who had not begotten a son of his own essence be at all in his nature a father? It would follow that the Holy Trinity is altogether falsely named, if neither the Father is truly Father, nor the Son in His nature Son. And the logical sequence to this view will be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as well.

It would therefore follow in this case that we have been grossly deceived: our faith is a falsehood: the Holy Scripture is coining a lie when it calls God by the name of the Father. And if the Son is not in His nature God, as having been begotten of God the Father, we have been led astray, and together with us the citizens of the world above have erred also, even the undefiled multitude of the holy angels, when they joined us in glorifying and adoring the Son as One Who is in His nature God; being led on in some mysterious manner to sing the praise of one who (if we speak after the manner of the heretics’ accursed folly) is a God-bearing vessel, the work of God’s hands. And if the Father ever willed to withdraw from His relationship to the Son and His indwelling in Him, the Son would then be in no respect different from others who have fallen away from their original sovereignty, with nothing to distinguish Him, no trace within His nature of the Father Who begat Him; but rather one like ourselves in all things, who had only been strengthened by the Divine grace, and indeed honoured with the title of sonship, in the same degree as ourselves. Tell me then, why does He not Himself acknowledge His natural relationship to us? Why is it written: We perish for ever, whereas Thou abidest for ever? And why are we “servants” and He “Lord”? For even if we are called the sons of God, yet by acknowledging none the less our own proper nature we do not disgrace the honour done to us: but tell me the reason why—if He is like unto us and not at all superior to His creatures, inasmuch as He is not in nature God (for this is their ignorant opinion)—He does not confess His community with us in being a servant? Rather we find Him investing Himself with the honour and glory that peculiarly befit and are specially ascribed to the Divine nature, and saying to the holy disciples: Ye call Me Lord and Master, and ye say well; for so I am. This is the Saviour’s saying: but our illustrious expositors, who introduce these doctrines attacking His Divinity, accept his words and affirmation asserting that He was truly called Lord, and yet thrust Him away from His natural lordship, because they are unwilling to confess Him as in His nature God of God; though they are not bold enough to bring against Him the worst of all the charges that their accursed blasphemy implies.

For that He wills not to be reckoned among those who hold the rank of servants, or even in the category of created objects, but rather that He ever looks to the freedom inherent in Himself by nature, even at the time when He was made in the form of a servant—all this thou wilt learn in the following manner. He had arrived at Capernaum, as we read in the Gospels: the collectors of the legal tribute-money came to Peter, and said: Doth not your Master pay the half-shekel? And when Christ heard of this, it is right that we should notice the question He addressed to Peter: The kings of the earth, from whom do they receive toll or tribute? from their sons or from strangers? And after Peter had wisely and sensibly acknowledged that it was a stranger to the kingdom, as regards birth and kinship as it is reckoned among us, who would be compelled to submit to ordinances and taxation; Christ forthwith brought forward His claim that a God-befitting nature was truly existent in Himself, by adding the words: Therefore the sons are free. Whereas if He had been a fellow-servant, and not a Son truly begotten of the essence of the Father, with no intimate natural relationship to the Father; why is it that, after implying that all besides are subject to the tribute, inasmuch as their nature is foreign to that of Him Who of right receives the tribute, and they are only in the rank of servants, He has claimed freedom for Himself alone? For it is by an inaccurate use of terms that attributes, which mainly and truly are befitting to the Godhead alone, are ascribed to us; whereas in Him they are in very truth inherent. And so if any one were to investigate accurately the nature of things created, he would perceive that to that nature the title as well as the fact of slavery most appropriately belongs; whereas if any like ourselves have been decorated with the glorious name of freedom, an honour that is due to God alone is attributed to them only by an inexact use of language.

Now here again is another question I should be very glad to ask them. Will they allow to Paul the epithet of God-bearer, seeing that Christ dwells in him through the Holy Spirit, or will they be silly enough to deny this? For if they shall say that he is not in truth a God-bearer, this will be sufficient I think to persuade all men for the future to reject the nonsense they talk, and to hate them utterly, as men who shrink from saying no absurd thing. And if, avoiding this, they shall turn to the duty of saying the truth, and confess him to be truly a God-bearer, because that Christ dwells in him, will they not be convicted of very impiously saying that the Son is alien from the essence of God the Father? For Paul is no longer a God-bearer, if the Son is not in His nature God. But sometimes they blush, and say—for they are also characterised by recklessness and perverseness in argument—that the Son is truly God, yet not in His nature begotten of God. And there is no manner of doubt that any man whatever will exclaim against them on this point too; for how could one who is not in his nature begotten of God be God? Further, we add this. You say that the Son is in His nature God: how then could He Who is in His nature God be a God-bearer or a partaker of God? For no one could ever be a partaker of himself. For to what end will God dwell in God, as though in something different? For if the recipient is in nature just the same as the indweller may be conceived to be, what henceforth becomes of the need of the participation? And if in the same way that Christ dwelt in Paul, the Father also dwelt in Him, will not Christ be a God-bearer in the same way as Paul? And He will not in any other sense possess the quality of being in His nature God, through His having the need of a greater one, namely, the indwelling God. Then again this noble friend of ours goes further in his clever inventions, and by many proofs (as he seems to think them) he attempts to talk people round to his peculiar doctrine. For I think it is worth while to go through all his words in detail, and to make a direct investigation of the impious plot that he has laid, in order that he may be clearly convicted of numbering the Only-begotten among things created. And the wretched man, having buried his impiety towards Christ beneath a heap of cleverly devised conceits, confesses Him to be God, and yet, excluding Him from the Divinity that is truly and naturally His, imagines that he will elude the observation of those who are looking for the real truth.

Accordingly he writes thus: “But even as we, while we are said to be in Him, have our substance in no way mingled with His; in the same way also the Son, while He is in the Father, has His essence entirely different from the Uncreated One.”

What lamentable audacity! What extravagant language, and how full of folly, or rather of all perversity and madness! Professing themselves to be wise they in reality became fools and holding these views concerning the Only-begotten, they denied the Master that bought them as it is written. For if they say that the Word of God is a man and one like ourselves, there remains nothing that prevents them from saying that He is in God in the same way that we are: but if they believe Him to be God, and have learnt to worship Him as being so by nature, why do they not rather ascribe to Him existence in a God-befitting way in His own Father, and also the possession of the Father in Himself? For this I think would be more fitting for those who are really lovers of God to think and say. And if we find them still cherishing their shamelessness undaunted, and persisting in the words they have uttered,—saying that the Father is in the Son in the same manner as may be the case with any one of us, who have been created out of nothing and formed out of the earth by Him,—why is it not permissible for those who wish to do so, to say henceforth with impunity: He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and: I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? But I think that in this way any one would be condemned, and very properly, on a charge of the most utter folly possible. For not only is it absurd, but such a thing was never said by any of the saints in the inspired Scripture. On the other hand, they all concede to Him Who is in His nature Lord and God, the Only-begotten, an incomparable excellence above all good men; yea, verily, they proclaim aloud and say: Who among the sons of God shall be likened unto the Lord? How then is the Only-begotten any longer like us, if (according to the language of the saints) no one is His equal or His peer? Whereas if He is in God in just the same way that we are, we shall in consequence be compelled to say that the company of the saints are untruthful, and to ascribe to Him Who is in His nature Son nothing extraordinary which might distinguish Him as of a different rank from those who are sons only by adoption. Away with the loathsome idea, man! For we will not be so persuaded; God forbid! On the contrary, following the opinions of the holy fathers, we believe that we shall be well-pleasing unto God.

But seeing that they brought forward, as a proof of what they think and say, that well-known saying of Paul, that in God we live, and move, and have our being, arguing that when the Son is said to be in the Father the expression lacks precision, being adopted from our everyday life; come and let us subject their statement to the requisite investigation, and so convict them of deliberately misrepresenting the mind of the holy Apostle and most foolishly perverting to their own views what was said in absolute truth. For when the blessed Paul was at Athens and saw the inhabitants abjectly devoted to polytheistic error, although the people in that city were reputed wise, he attempted to lead them back from their ancient delusion, seeking (by argumentative exhortations to true piety) skilfully to convince them of the necessity for the future of knowing one God and one only, Who bestows on those that have been made by Him the power of moving and living and having their being. For the Creator of all, being in His nature Life, implants life in all, infusing into them by an ineffable process the power of His own Individuality. For in no other way was it possible that things which had received their allotted birth out of nothing should preserve their capability of existence: for surely each would have returned to its own nature, I mean back again to non-existence, unless, by the help of its relationship to the Self-Existent One, it had overcome the weakness of its own condition at birth. Therefore the inspired Paul very rightly and properly said, by way of showing that God is the life of the universe, that in Him we live, and move, and have our being: not at all meaning what the heretics invented for themselves, in corrupting (to suit their own peculiar theories) the true signification of the Holy Scriptures; but rather saying exactly what was true, and also highly profitable for those who were just being trained up to a knowledge of God. And, if it is needful to put it even more plainly, he has never wished to imply that we, who are in our nature men, are yet contained in the essence of the Father, and appear as existing in Him; but rather that we live and move and have our being in God, that is, our life consists in Him.

For notice that Paul did not say simply and unreservedly, “We are in God,” and nothing more. This was on account of thy ignorance, my good friend, and most naturally so. But he employed different expressions, by way of interpreting the exact meaning of his words. After beginning with the statement: “We live,” he added thereto the further idea: “We move,” and thirdly he brought in the phrase: “We have our being;” presenting this also, so as to supplement the meaning of the previous words. And I think that the correct argument we shall use concerning this matter will very probably put to shame the ungodly heretic: but if he insists in his opposition, and drags round the words “in God” to the meaning which pleases himself and no one else, we will set forth the common use of the inspired Scripture. Scripture is wont occasionally to use the words “in God” in the sense of “by God.” For let that man tell us what is the meaning of a certain Psalmist’s declaration, when he says: “In God” let us do valiantly and again, addressing God: “In Thee” will we push down our enemies. For surely no one will suppose that the Psalmist means this, that he promises to accomplish something valiantly “in the essence of God,” nor even that “in that essence” we shall discover our own enemies and push them down: but he uses the words “in God” in the sense of “by [the help of] God,” and again, “in Thee” in the sense of “by Thee.” And why also did the blessed Paul say in his letter to the Corinthians: I thank my God concerning you all for the grace which was given you “in Christ Jesus” and again: But of Him are ye “in Christ Jesus,” Who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption? For will any one reasonably maintain that the Spirit-bearer says that the grace which was bestowed on the Corinthians from above was given “in the actual essence of Christ,” or to quote the authority of Paul in support of heterodoxy? Surely such a one would be evidently talking nonsense. Why therefore, setting aside the ordinary usage of terms in the Sacred Scriptures, and misrepresenting the intention of the blessed Paul, dost thou say that we are “in God,” that is, “in the essence of the Father,” because thou hearest him say to those in Athens, that in Him we live, and move, and have our being?

Yes,” says the defender of the pernicious opinions, “but if it seems to thee right and proper that the words ‘in God’ should bear and be acknowledged to bear the sense of ‘by God,’ why dost thou make so much needless ado? And why dost thou bring against us charges of blasphemy when we maintain that the Son was made ‘by the Father’? For behold, He Himself says: I am ‘in the Father,’ in the sense of ‘by the Father,’ at least according to thy explanation, Sir, and according to the common usage, which thou hast just laid before us in thy quotations from the Sacred Scriptures.”

But I say that it is necessary to defend myself again in reply to this, and lay bare their mischievous intentions and pernicious notions. For I am astonished that, after hearing gladly that it is a usage of the Sacred Scripture to use the words “in God” as equivalent to “by God,” and after approving and accepting the phrase merely for the sake of being able to say something against the glory of the Only-begotten, they have by no means become conscious of the fact that they will again be convicted of talking as foolishly as before, although they claim to be wise and acute. For if our opponents were the only ones entrusted with the duty of defending from time to time the usage of the inspired Scripture in reference to the essence of the Only-begotten, and of saying that He was made by the Father, because of this, that He says He is “in God,” and we have allowed that “in God” is to be understood in the sense of “by God;” then it might have seemed at least probable that their mischievous intention rested on grounds not altogether unreasonable. But if in truth there is nothing which can prevent us also, in our eagerness to refute by a reductio ad absurdum the unsoundness of the sentiments they hold, from carrying on the force of the meaning implied so as to make it refer to the Father Himself, and from saying plainly that since Christ also adds this: The Father is “in Me,” we must understand it in the sense of “by Me,” so that as a consequence the Father Himself also will be a creature; surely then they, having relied on arguments so very foolish, will be universally condemned as guilty of unmitigated folly. For just as the Son says that He Himself is “in” the Father, so also He said that the Father is “in” Him: and if they wish the words “in the Father” to be understood in the sense of “by the Father,” what is there that prevents us from saying that the words “in the Son” shall be understood in the sense of “by the Son”? But we will not suffer ourselves again to be drawn down with them into such an abyss of folly. For neither will we say that the Son is made by the Father, nor indeed that He from Whom are all things, namely God the Father, was brought into existence by the Son; but rather, referring the usage of the inspired Scripture in due proportion to each occasion or person or circumstance, we shall thus weave together our theory so as to make it on all essential points faultless and indisputable. For with regard to those who out of nothing have been created into being, and have been brought into existence by God, surely it would be most fitting that we should regard them and speak of them as being “in God” in the sense of “by God:” but with regard to Him Who is in His nature Son and Lord, and God and Creator of the universe, this signification could not be specially or truly suitable. The real truth is that He is naturally in the Father, and in Him from the beginning, and has Him in Himself, by reason of His showing Himself to possess identity of essence, and because He is subject to no power that can sever between Them, and divide Them into a diversity of nature.

And perhaps it might seem to minds more open to conviction that this matter has been sufficiently discussed, as indeed I think myself: yet our opponent will by no means assent to this; but he will meet us again with the objection, dishing up again the argument introduced by him at the first, that the Father is in the Son in the same manner as we are in Him.

What then,” we might say, judiciously rebuking the unsoundness and childishness of his thoughts and words, “dost thou say that the Son is in the Father even as we are in Him? Be it so. What limit to our natural capacity then,” we shall reply, “is there, that prevents us from using expressions with respect to ourselves as exalted as any of those which Christ is seen to have used? For He Himself, seeing that He is in the Father and has the Father in Himself, inasmuch as He is thereby both an Exact Likeness and Very Image of Him, uses the expressions: He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father: I and the Father are One. But with regard to ourselves, tell me, if we are in Him and if we have Him in ourselves exactly in the same way that Christ Himself is in the Father and the Father in Him, why do we not extend our necks as much as we can, and, holding our heads high above those around us, say with boldness: “I am in Christ and Christ in me: He that hath seen me hath seen Christ: I and Christ are one”? Then what would come next? No one, I think, would any longer have any just cause for alarm, or any sufficient ground for hesitation, to prevent his speaking as follows, daring henceforth to say concerning the Father Himself: “I and the Father are one.” For if the Father is one with the Son, surely such a man, having become an exact image of the Exact Image, namely of the Son, will share henceforth in all the Son’s relations to the Father Himself. Who therefore will ever descend to such a depth of madness as to dare to say: “He who hath seen me hath seen Christ: I and Christ are one”? For if thou attributest to the Son the being in the Father and the having the Father in Himself in some non-essential manner and not in His nature, and supposest that we in like manner are in Christ and Christ in us; in the first place the Son will be on the same footing as ourselves, and in the next place there is nothing that prevents us at our pleasure from passing by the Son Himself as though He were an obstacle in our way, and rushing straight on to the Father Himself, and claiming that we are so exactly assimilated to Him that nothing can be found which distinguishes us from Him. For the being said to be one with anything would naturally bear this meaning. Do ye not then see into what a depth of folly and at the same time of impiety their minds have sunk, and of what absurd arguments the wild attack upon us has consisted?

What their excuse is therefore for saying and upholding such things, and for buoying themselves up on such rotten arguments, I will now again tell. Their one endeavour is to show that the Son is altogether alien and altogether foreign to the essence of the Father. For we shall know that we are speaking the truth in saying this, by reference to the words that follow after and are closely connected with the heretic’s previous blasphemies. For he proceeds thus: “But even as we, while we are in Him, have our substance in no way mingled with His; in the same way also the Son, while He is in the Father, has His essence entirely different from the Unbegotten God.” What sayest thou, O infatuated one? Hast thou made thy blasphemy against the Son in such plain language? Will any one therefore venture to say that we are trying to heap upon the heads of the God-opposers groundless and false accusations? For see clearly, they attribute to Him no superiority whatever over those who have been made of earth and have been by Him brought into existence. And although I can scarcely endure the things which the wretched men have dared to say, I will endeavour to prove this, as being in accordance with the scope of Divine Scripture, namely, that since they deny the Son they deny at the same time the Father also, and thenceforth are without God and without hope in this world, as it is written. And to prove that we are right in saying this, the God-beloved John will come forward as a trustworthy witness on our side, for he wrote thus: He that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also. And surely the Spirit-bearer speaketh very rightly, not failing to make his statement conform fittingly to his argument. For because he knows that [God the Father] is essentially in His nature what He is said to be, namely a Father, and that not merely in name but rather in reality, he consequently says that the One is necessarily denied when the Other is denied. For concurrently in some way or other with One Who is really in His nature a Father and is so conceived of, there must always be the knowledge and manifestation of the Offspring that proceedeth from Him; and One Who has been in very truth begotten involves the Personal existence of Another capable by nature of begetting. For no sooner do we recognise a man as a father than we understand him to have begotten offspring, and we can by no means consider the idea of an offspring without implying that some father has begotten it. Thus by either term the other conception is produced in the minds of those who hear it, and so any one who denies that God is truly a Father makes out the generation of the Son to be altogether impossible, and similarly any one who does not confess the Son to be an Offspring must by implication lose all knowledge of the Father. When therefore, as from a sling, he hurls at us his unholy arguments, and maintains that the Son has His essence quite distinct from that of the Unbegotten God, why does He not openly deny that the Son is really a Son? And if there is not a Son, the Father Himself can no longer be conceived of as truly a Father. For whose Father will He be, if He has not begotten any Offspring? What we say is, that the Son is quite distinct from the Person, but not from the essence, of the Father; not being alien from Him in His nature, as forsooth these God-opposers think, but being possessed of His own Person and His own distinct subsistence, inasmuch as He is Son and not Father. But, if we understand our own mind rightly, we would not ourselves say, nor would we assent to any of the brethren who say, that He is distinct from the Father in regard to essence. For how can distinction exist in that one thing, with reference to which each individual has some special characteristic? For Peter is Peter, and not Paul, and Paul is not Peter; yet they remain without distinction in their nature. For both possess one kind of nature, and the individuals who are associated in a uniformity of nature have that same kind without any difference at all.

For what reason are we saying such things as this? We confess that our object is to show that those who hold such blasphemous opinions rob the Son of the Godhead which is His by nature, when they (as we have already explained) ascribe to Him nothing more than a non-essential relationship to God the Father. Else why do they put forward ourselves in illustration of their argument, and say: “Even as we have our substance in no way mingled with His, while we are in Him; so also He Himself has His essence entirely different from God, although He is said to be in Him”? Is not their craftiness patent to all men? Will not any one be right in saying that the man who vomited forth such an abominable statement as this must surely be one of the “mockers” announced beforehand by the Spirit? For what does Jude, the disciple of the Saviour, write to us in his epistle? But ye, beloved, remember ye the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they said to you, that in the last time there shall come mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts. These are they who make separations, sensual, having not the Spirit. For no man whatsoever, who speaks in the Holy Spirit, will say anything against the glory of the Only-begotten. For I maintain that this is just the same as saying: Jesus is anathema. On the other hand, sensual and worthless men, and those whose hearts are devoid of the Holy Spirit, make separations between the Father and the Son; asserting that the latter is as essentially and completely severed from the former as are created things and each of the works made by Him, and believing Him to be in the Father only in the same way that we are in Him.

And that they who have dared to write such things have thereby reached the furthest verge of folly, let us if you please proceed to show in another way, as is quite possible, from the Divine Scripture; and let us hasten to prove to our hearers that we are in the Son in one way, whereas the Son is in His own Father in another way. For one person is not a likeness of another’s substance when he conforms himself to that other by the exercise of a virtuous will, nor is he on that account said to be in the other; but when he is in natural identity with the other, and possesses one essence with him. And let the most wise John be called in as a witness for us on this point, since he says: Yea, and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. How then, pray, do they say, and in what manner do they think fit to assert, that we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ? For if we are considered to be in Them, as having our own essence commingled with the Divine nature, that is, with the Father and the Son, and if the expression “fellowship” does not rather refer to the similarity of our wills; how can we have it with the Father and with the Son, when (according to these heretics) the Father and the Son are not Consubstantial? For in that case we must hold opinions worthy of ridicule, and say that we have cleft our own nature asunder into two parts, and given one half to the Father and the other to ourselves and to the Son, and thus we consider ourselves to be in Them. Or else we must reject such absurdity of statement, and say that by doing our best to make our own disposition brightly radiant through the exercise of a virtuous will and through conformity to the Divine and ineffable beauty, we obtain for ourselves the grace of fellowship with Them. But shall we therefore say that the Son is in the Father after a similar manner to this, and that He only possesses a non-essential and artificially-added fellowship with the One Who begat Him? And yet, if so, why in the world does He wish, through the similarity and indeed identity of their works, to lead our mind to feel the necessity of believing without any hesitation that He is Himself in the Father, and that He again has also the Father in Himself? For is it not seen by every one to be perfectly evident and true that, wishing the brilliancy of His deeds to be investigated by us, He shows Himself equal in strength to His own Father, as if the severance as regards essence and the difference as to nature no longer maintained their position; since both Himself and the Father glorify themselves by similar achievements?

For observe how we who constantly strive after conformity with God do (so to say) render ourselves worthy of fellowship with Him, not in such ways as these, but in certain other ways. For when we show pity to one another, are ardently devoted to works of love, and practise all that is truly respectable in our ordinary life, even then we can hardly venture to pronounce ourselves “in God.” And John is our witness, saying: Hereby know we that we are in Him: he that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked; and again: As for you, he says, let that abide in you which ye heard from the beginning. For if that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father. And what he means by “that which ye heard from the beginning,” which he bids to remain in us in order that we may be in God, he himself will make no less clear to us when he says: For this is the command which ye heard, from the beginning, that ye should love one another. Thou nearest how we are in God, namely, by practising love one towards another, and striving to the utmost of our power to walk in the footsteps of our Saviour, imitating His virtue. When I say virtue, I do not mean such as was shown by Him in being able to create heaven, and make angels, and set fast the earth, and spread out the sea; nor that which He exhibited when, in His ineffable and simple majesty, by a word He lulled the violence of the winds, and raised up the dead, and graciously bestowed sight on the blind, and with great authority bade the leper be cleansed: but rather that virtue which may be suitable to the capacities of our humanity. We shall find Him, as indeed Paul says, reviled by the unholy Jews, yet not reviling again; instead of that, we see Him suffering, yet not threatening, but rather committing Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. Again, we shall find Him saying: Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

So then, when we strive by such conduct as this to imitate Christ Who is our guide unto all virtue, we are said to abide both in the Father and in Him, obtaining this distinction as a reward and compensation for the worthiness of our life. But the Son does not wish us to estimate in this way the brilliance that is inherent in Him: He bids us direct our natural shrewdness of attention to the magnificence of His miracles, and infer from thence the exact resemblance which He has to His own Father; so that henceforth we may believe that, as they are Consubstantial, it is thus that He has in Himself the One Who begat Him, and that He Himself is also in the Father. Or let our opponents come forward and teach, that when the Son is conceived of as being in the Father, He too in common with ourselves has this distinction as a reward, and as a fair payment for conducting His life according to the law of the Gospel. But I suppose that even this appears to them nothing dreadful: for to men by whom no form of talking is unpractised, what expression, however extravagant and monstrous, seems unfit for use? It is possible therefore that they will say even this, that the Son is in the Father and again has also the Father in Himself on this account, namely, because He fashions Himself like to the Father by practising the virtues that are also attainable by us. And we would reply, “Why then, honoured Sirs, when Philip said: Lord, shew us the Father, did not the Christ put forward all the holy Apostles as a likeness and accurate representation of Him Whom they meant, and say, ‘Have we [all] been so long time with one another, and dost thou not know the Father?” Whereas He does not associate with Himself a single one of the others, but comparing Himself alone to the Father alone, He passes over our attributes as small matters altogether; and not willing that the Divine essence should be thought accurately imaged in human attributes, He has reserved to Himself alone the perfection of resemblance. For He says: He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. Then to these words He straightway added: Believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. For seeing that He possesses resemblance in the most absolute exactness, He must as a necessary consequence possess in Himself the Father, and be possessed (so to speak) by the Father. For think of something of the same kind, and accept it as an illustration of the words we are considering. If, for instance, any one were by chance to bring into our presence the son of Abraham or of any other man, and then were to question him as to the nature of his parent, desiring to learn precisely who and what kind of person the parent was; would not the youth employ reasonable language if he were to point to his own nature and say, “He that hath seen me hath seen my father: I am in my father, and my father is in me?” Then as a proof of his speaking the truth, would it not be fitting that he should draw attention to the identity with his father exhibited in his human doings and his physical peculiarities, and say: “Believe me for the very works’ sake, seeing that I have all the qualities and can perform all the actions which pertain to human nature?” Indeed I think every one will say and will justly allow, both that he speaks the truth and that (in alleging the identity) he puts forward an accurate indication of the relationship involved in their particular actions. Why then do not they, who pervert such things as are right, persuade their own disciples to travel on the straight path of reasoning, instead of thrusting them off from the well-trodden king’s highway, and taking an untrodden and rugged route, both deceiving themselves and destroying those who feel it their duty to follow them? We, however, not taking their road, will keep along the direct path; and, giving credit to the Sacred Scriptures, we believe that the Son, Who is in His nature begotten of God the Father, is of equal strength and Consubstantial with the Father, and essentially His Image; and therefore that He is in the Father, and the Father in Him.

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ash in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If anyone should think to discourse hereon commensurately with the extent of the meaning of what is here submitted to us, the task would be broad and deep. But if we consider what is rather profitable for the hearers, we shall think it beseems us to grasp in general wise the things signified, and to curtail the length of our discourse. For so would the meaning be most easy to be received by most men. So then, wishing to show forth that He was Consubstantial with His own Father, and that He is a Very Image of Him; carried in the Father as in an Archetype, albeit having the Archetype in Himself, as being a Very Image both naturally and essentially, and not in virtue of any shaping which implies a process of moulding and fashioning; for the Divinity transcends shape, inasmuch as it is incorporeal withal: I, He says, am in the Father and the Father is in Me. But to the end that we may not look for the identity of the resemblance and the exact conformity thereof in any other sort than as a conclusion from those prerogatives alone that attach to His nature; for it was possible therefrom to see that the similarity is essential and natural; He says: Or else, believe by reason of the works. For indeed He very rightly thought that of a surety if any man beheld Him radiant with the like mighty works to those of God the Father, He would accept Him for a really natural Image and Likeness of His essence; for nought save what is naturally of God would ever do equivalent deeds to those of God; nay, neither could the power to work wonders on any wise in equal measure with the Divine nature come to belong to any created thing. For utterly unapproachable and beyond reach to them that have been called into being out of nothing are the proper excellences of the Eternal. And in no wise was it likely that any would doubt that the Saviour’s saying would be utterly irreproachable, at least in the eyes of the right-minded; yet, as God, He was not ignorant that even what was well said would be, to them that held opposite opinions, an occasion and a pretext for strange teaching. With intent then that no place for loquacity might be left herein for them that pervert such things as are right, and lest they should say it was not of His immanent might nor of His own power that the Son became a worker of wonders, but only inasmuch as He had within Him the Father doing the works: on this account, as He Himself said and insisted, the Lord (when need arose) courted them with words that might allure their minds: for He promises herein that He will be to them that believe on Him a Supplier of what things soever they will ask, and promises that He will supply to them not merely an equal power and authority but the same with increase: for greater things, He says, than I have done, shall he do. Seest thou then how He cuts short, and profitably so, the boldness of our opponents, and by His refutations of error reins in men (as it were) when they are rushing over precipices? For anyone will say to them: “O fools and blind, whereas ye suppose the Son to have been able to effect nothing of Himself, but rather to have been supplied by the Father with the power and authority for all those things that have been wondrously accomplished; how does He promise that He will grant to them that believe on Him to effect even greater things? How shall another, by borrowing the power from Him, effect what He has not done Himself? For notice that He has not said herein that the Father will supply power to them that believe; but, Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, I will do it. But He Who as God imparts to others the power to effect even those greater things, how could He have been Himself supplied with the power by another?” So that what they say is utter nonsense, and thoughtless trash, and inventions of a devilish perversity. But no man would contemplate the power of the Son as in any wise limited, nor as extending to one thing but insufficient to reach things still greater; nay, but as doing easily whatsoever it will, and bestowing on the worthy the power to glory in thrones, it may be of equal honour, or it may be even more highly exalted. And let none suppose us to say that any of those who have set store by their faith in Him will ever have such excess of power as to be able to fashion a heaven, or to make a sun and a moon, or the brilliant choir of the stars, or peradventure to create angels, or an earth, or such things as are therein. For the aim of His words is not directed towards these things, but is bent upon the things whereon it was reasonable that so it should be; and He overpasses not the measure of the splendour that beseems mankind, in glory to wit, and holiness. For surely it is for this cause, by way of restraining His words from ranging as it were whithersoever a man might desire, and of confining Himself to those wondrous works which He did while on earth after He became man, when He draws the contrast with the greatness of the still greater deeds, that He says: “He shall do the things which I have done, and greater things than these.” For it was not because He was too weak to accomplish the greater things, that He held back His own power within the bounds of the things which He accomplished; but when He has done what was needful, and all perchance for which opportunity offered, He kindly gives us to understand by these words, that the reach of the incomprehensible greatness of His immanent power is not limited to those things. But to the end that, preserving the order of the thoughts presented to us, we may set the minds of our hearers on the contemplation of His utterance, [we will repeat that] He says: Verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father.

Then, “What is this?” one of the hearers might say with some reason, “I mean the Son’s going to the Father in order that they who believe on Him may be able to effect things even still greater than the deeds exhibited by Himself? Surely the saying introduces some hidden subject for contemplation.” To learn what it is that He says, consider Him as perhaps meaning:—“O ministers and genuine pupils of My words, so long as I abode with you on the earth, and had My conversation as a man, I did not exhibit the power of the Godhead undimmed before you: I both spake and acted as befitted the measure of My humiliation and the condition of a slave. But thereafter, when those things shall have been beseemingly accomplished, then also will the mystery of the dispensation in the flesh be completed for Me. For almost immediately I shall suffer death and shall rise to life again. And I promise to then bestow on you the power to accomplish works still greater than My own miracles. And the time for this is even now at hand, and so is the glory of their accomplishment. For I am going to the Father, that is, to sit down with Him and to reign with Him as God of God in unveiled power and authority, [and in the fulness] of My own nature to give good things unto My friends. Whatsoever ye shall ask,” He says, “in My Name, I will do it, when the time has been completed wherein it was necessary,” He says, “that I should show Myself in the garb of humiliation. I have observed all that was requisite to the proper carrying out of the scheme of the Incarnation; and now henceforth I promise that unveiledly as God I will work the works of God, not thrusting out the Father from the glory so God-befitting, but with intent that He may be glorified in the Son.” For if the Offspring is glorified, the Parent also shall assuredly be glorified in Him. For the Son, being ever in His nature God, would Lave been declared by many other signs; yet no less also is He disclosed by receiving the prayers of the saints, and granting them whatsoever they might ask and wish. How then should not the Father be glorified in Him? For like as He would have been grievously blamed, and naturally so, if the Offspring that came forth from Him had not been in His nature God; in like manner He will be exceeding glorious in that He has for the Fruit that came forth from His essence One Who is God and can skill so well to do all things and to enable others to do them.

But if it tends to the glory of the Father that the Son should be seen possessed of God-befitting prerogatives, what manner of punishment shall fasten upon the heretic, forasmuch as he dreads not to disparage Him with shameless blasphemies in divers manners? And I will further say another thing, in no small measure (as I deem) at issue with their crude ignorances. For if we pray to the Son and seek our petitions from Him, and He pledges His promise to grant them; how could it be that He is not by nature God, and begotten of One Who is in His nature God? For if they conceive Him not so to be, and say that He was created, how shall we any longer be distinguished from those who invoke the sun, or the heaven, or any other of the creatures? For if, exceeding mischievously, ashamed of the ungainliness of their own folly, they say that albeit a creature equally with the rest of the creatures yet He hath a certain incomparable supereminence over all; notwithstanding let them be assured that none the less will they outrage the glory of the Father, that is, the Son, so long as ever they say that He is one in the number of the things that have been made. For the issue is, not whether He is haply a great or a small creature, but whether He is a creature at all, and is not rather in His nature God; which indeed is the truth.

14 If ye shall ask anything in My Name, that will I do.

Undisguisedly now He says that, being Very God, He will accept exceeding readily the prayers of His own people, and will supply right gladly what things soever they desire to receive, meaning of course spiritual gifts and such as are worthy of the heavenly munificence. And not as the minister of another’s benevolence, nor yet as subserving another’s kindness, does He say such things; but as, with the Father, having all things in His power; and as Himself being the One through Whom are all things, both from us to God-ward, and to us-ward from Him. For this cause Paul also prays on behalf of the worthy for such supplies of benefits as are by him ever mentioned in conjunction, in the following words: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; and surely no man in his senses will ever in the face of this suppose that the Father by Himself separately grants a grace, and again the Son by Himself separately and as it were in turn does so; but the grace is one and the same, albeit it is spoken of as coming through Both. Notwithstanding, it is by the Father through the Son that all good things are wrought for the worthy, and the distribution of the Divine gifts is made; through the Son, I say, not as accepted in the rank of a servant, as we have already explained, but as conceived to be Co-Giver and Co-Supplier, and moreover as being so of a truth. For the nature of the Godhead is one, and also is believed so to be. For although it is extended to Father and Son and to the Holy Spirit, yet it has no absolute and entire severance; I mean, into each of the Persons indicated. For we shall be orthodox in believing that the Son is naturally both of the Father and in the Father, and that the own Spirit of the Father and of the Son, that is, the Holy Spirit, is both of and in the Father. So then, forasmuch as the Godhead of Their nature both is and is conceived of as One, Their gifts will be supplied to the worthy through the Son from the Father in the Spirit, and our offerings will be carried to God manifestly through the mediation of the Son: for no one cometh unto the Father but through Him, as to be sure He also Himself fully confesses. So then the Son both has become and is the Door and the Way as well of our friendship as of our progress towards God the Father, and the Co-Giver as well as Distributer of His bounty, forasmuch as it proceeds from a single and common munificence. For one is the nature of the Godhead in the person and substance both of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And forasmuch as it was unwonted in a way with them of old time, and as yet foreign to their practice, to approach the Father through the Son, He teaches this also for our profit, and laying first in His own disciples a foundation as it were of the structure, He implants in them both faith in this and knowledge, and despatches to ourselves instruction both how we are to pray and wherein lies our hope. For He promises that He will Himself give us what we ask in prayer; a proof of the Godhead in His nature, and of the royal authority inherent in Him; adding this to the other proofs thereof.

15 If ye love Me, keep My commandments.

Having ordained that when men pray they must ask in His Name and promising that He will Himself supply to them that ask whatsoever they desire to receive, He takes great thought not to seem to speak falsehood, having in view the unholy slanders of such as are wont to be captious. For a man can see, and best out of the Sacred Writings themselves, that some approach and ask earnestly in His Name, and notwithstanding in no wise receive; because God is not ignorant of what is fitting for each and profitable for the askers. Therefore to the end that our Lord Jesus the Christ might clearly exhibit who they are in reference to whom the word has been spoken and stands good, and to whom is due the grace of the promise; He straightway introduced the mention of the persons who love Him, in whose ease the promise will assuredly be fulfilled, and conjoins with His saying the exactly-defined keeper of the law, showing that unto such and not unto others shall the promise of kindness and the bestowal of the spiritual blessings hold good and come to pass. For that oftentimes the bounteous hand of God is shortened in hesitation, cutting off from them that will not ask aright the consummation of their hopes, thou wilt easily understand, from what the disciple of Christ is at pains to write on this wise: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, when ye will spend it in your pleasures. Wherefore also again he says, about them that are wont to be double-minded: For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord; for [he is] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. For to them that ask for the grace that is from above, not for establishing of virtue, but for enjoyment of carnal pleasure and worldly lusts, God well-nigh shuts fast His ear, and in no wise grants them anything; for what things soever He forbids and wholly casts out by reason of the abomination that is in them, how could He grant them to any? And the spring of all sweetness, how could it give forth a bitter stream? But that unto the lovers of spiritual gifts with rich and readiest hand He distributes blessings, thou shalt easily perceive, when thou hearest Him saying unto them by the mouth of Isaiah the prophet: While thou art yet speaking, I will say, What is it? and by the voice of the Psalmist: The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayer.

So having determined and expressly declared that the enjoyment of the heavenly blessings, supplied, that is, through Him by the Father, is both due to them that love Him, and in very truth shall be theirs: He straightway goes on to describe the power of love, and instructs us excellently and irreproachably, for our profit, with intent that we should devote ourselves to the pursuit thereof. For albeit a man say that he loves God, he will not therefore straightway win the credit of truly loving, forasmuch as the power of virtue stands not in bare speech, nor is the beauty of piety towards God fashioned in naked words; but rather it is really distinguished by means of good deeds effected and an obedient temper; and the keeping of the Divine precepts best gives living expression to love towards the Divinity, and presents the picture of a virtue wholly living and true; not sketched out in mere sounds that flow from the tongue, as we have said, but gleaming as it were and altogether radiant with brilliant colours, to wit, the portraits of good works. And indeed our Lord Jesus the Christ shows us this plainly, when He says: Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; bat he that doeth the will of My Father, Which is in heaven. For the proof of faith lies not in barren words or professions, but in the qualities of acts, and indeed the Holy Scripture says that it is dead when the works do not follow therewith. For the knowledge that God is One, it says, we shall find, not only in human minds, but in the unclean devils themselves; who also shudder, even involuntarily, at the power of Him that made them. Howbeit to keep the radiance of their acts concurrent with their faith is manifestly the beauty and ornament of those only who truly love God. So then the proof of love and the most perfect definition of faith is the observance of the Evangelic decrees and the keeping of the Divine precepts. And perhaps it would be in no wise difficult to add other things hereunto, akin in their drift; only that I suppose they do not suit the present occasion. Wherefore we must once more betake ourselves to such points as are more suitable to what lies before us. If ye love Me, He says, ye will keep My commandments. For indeed thou must understand once again and call well to mind that oftentimes, when conversing with His own disciples or even with the Jews themselves, He would say: The words that I speak are not Mine, but His Who sent Me; and again: I speak not from Myself but the Father Which sent Me, He hath given Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak; and again: The things therefore which I speak, are not Mine, but His Who sent Me. And yet now again, notwithstanding He has confessed at large, up and down His discourses, that the words He addressed to us are God the Father’s, He here says they are His own commandments, which He has spoken to us. And no one that has sense will suppose that He speaks falsely, for let not this thought come into the mind of a Christian; and moreover He will of course speak truly, forasmuch as He is Himself the Truth. For it was not in the manner of one of the prophets, as if with the rank of a minister and a servant, that He conveyed the message from the Father to us; but as bearing such likeness to Him that not even in word was He haply observed to differ, but rather naturally to speak on such wise as the Father Himself might peradventure talk with us. For the exact similarity of essence leads us to believe that the Son also corresponds in His utterances to Him that begat Him; and inasmuch as He is Himself the Word and Wisdom and Purpose of God the Father, He says that He has received commandment what to say and what He shall speak. For we also ourselves individually see that our own minds well-nigh even lay a commandment on our speech uttered through words, as it proceeds to the world without, that it shall interpret what is in the mind itself. Small indeed is the force of the illustration as applied to God; but notwithstanding this, by taking the analogy of human things to assure us of the things that transcend them, we apprehend the Divine Mysteries as it were in a mirror and darkly.

16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth: Whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: ye know Him; for He abideth with you, and shall be in you.

He mingles once more the human with the Divine, and neither reverts to the pure glory of the Godhead, nor yet altogether confines His range within the limits of humanity, but traverses both, wondrously and at the same time indistinguishably too, forasmuch as He is at once both God and man. For He was God by His nature, inasmuch as He was the Fruit of the Father and the Effulgence of His essence; and again, He was man, inasmuch as He has become Flesh. Accordingly He speaks as God and at the same time as man: for after this manner it was possible to preserve duly such forms of language as befitted the dispensation in flesh. Notwithstanding, while we are searching for the meaning of the passage before us, we say this: that at this point also, of necessity, our Lord has introduced the mention of God the Father, for the building up of their faith, and for the exceeding profit of the hearers; as indeed the argument will demonstrate as it proceeds. For when He bade us ask in His Name, and revealed, along with the other truths, a manner of praying unused among the ancients, promising withal even very earnestly that He will give whatsoever things we wish to receive: with intent that He might not seem thereby to thrust aside the Person of God the Father, nor yet to curtail the power of Him Who begat Him, the power (I mean) of satisfying the aspirations of the saints, He said that the Father would be a Co-Supplier for our profit, and would join in bestowing on us the Paraclete: adding also the words “I will ask,” as man; and referring peculiarly to the whole Divine and unspeakable nature what befits it especially, as in the Person of God the Father. For this was His custom, as we have oftentimes said already in the foregoing parts of this work.

Another Paraclete, however, is the name He gives to the Spirit that proceeds from the essence of God the Father and from that of Himself, For the kind of the essence is the same in the case of Both, not excluding the Spirit, but allowing the manner of His distinctness to be understood as lying solely in His being and subsisting in a separate personality. For the Spirit is not a Son, but we will accept in faith verily and properly to be and to subsist as That Which He is; for He is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. But [the Son] knowing that He Himself also both is in truth a Paraclete and is so named in the Sacred Writings, He calls the Spirit another Paraclete; not on the ground that the Spirit can skill to effect in the Saints something else perchance more than what He also can, Whose Spirit He both is and is called. And that the Son also Himself both was named and is a Paraclete, John will bear record, in his own compositions, when he says: These things say I unto you, that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have a Paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins. So Jesus calls the Spirit another Paraclete, willing Him to be conceived of as possessing the attributes of a proper personality; albeit having so close a likeness to Himself, and able so to work in exact correspondence what things soever He Himself might haply work, as that He might seem to be the Son Himself and no whit different: for He is His Spirit. And indeed Jesus called Him the Spirit of Truth, saying also in the discourse before us that He is Himself the Truth.

But any one will naturally say to those who suppose the Son alien to the essence of God the Father: “How is it, pray, that the Father gives the Spirit of Truth, that is, of the Son, not as foreign or alien, but as His own Spirit; notwithstanding that according to you He has the kind of His essence distinct from that of the Son, and, for of this there is no question, the Spirit is the Son’s? And once more, how is it, if it be so that the Son is of another essence, that He gives the Spirit of the Father as His own?” For it is written that He breathed on His disciples, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost So then will not a man suppose, and very rightly, or rather will he not be even firmly convinced, that the Son, being essentially partaker of the natural excellences of God the Father, has the Spirit after the same manner as the Father also would be understood to have Him: that is, not as something added or from without, for it were simple or rather mad to hold such an opinion; but as each of us has within himself his own breath, and pours it forth without from the inmost parts of his body? For indeed it was for this cause that Christ breathed on them even bodily, showing that as the breath proceeds bodily from the human mouth, so also from the Divine essence the [Spirit] from Him is in God-befitting manner poured forth. Forasmuch then as He is the Spirit both of God the Father and of the Son, how can it be but that the power They thus possess at once in division and in conjunction will be altogether one? For the Father is a Father and not a Son, and the Son is a Son and not a Father; notwithstanding, the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father; moreover, it is not the Father separately by Himself, or the Son separately by Himself, Who gives the Paraclete or the Holy Spirit, but rather He is supplied to the saints from the Father through the Son. For indeed on this account [we must understand that] when the Father is said to give, the Son also gives, through Whom are all things; and that when the Son is said to give, the Father also gives, of Whom are all things.

But that the Spirit is both Divine and not of another essence, in reference I mean to the Father and the Son, is I imagine doubtful to no one who is right-minded; and furthermore a necessary argument will convince us thereof. For if a man say that the Spirit is not of the essence of God, how then henceforward would the creature in receiving the Spirit be a partaker of God? And after what manner shall we be entitled temples of God, and be so, if we receive a created or an alien spirit, and not rather That Which is of God? And how are those who have a share of the Spirit partakers of the Divine nature, according to the words of the sacred writers, if He is in the number of the things that are made, and does not rather proceed for us from the Divine nature itself; not passing through it unto us, as something foreign to it, but so to speak becoming in us a certain quality of the Godhead, and dwelling in the saints, and remaining for ever—[as He does] if by cleansing the eye of their understanding by all goodness, and by unyielding earnestness in the pursuit of every virtue, they preserve the grace in their hearts. For Christ says that the Spirit is uncontainable and invisible for them that are in the world, that is, for those that savour of the things in the world, and choose to love the things that are on earth; yet that He is containable and easily beheld by the saints. For what reason? They who have an uncleanness hard to be washed out of them, and who have filled their own mind as it were with some unhealthy humour, do not narrowly consider the beauty of the Divine nature, nor yet accept the law of the Spirit, forasmuch as they are wholly tyrannised over by the passions of the flesh; whereas the good and sober, keeping their heart free from the evils that are in the world, voluntarily induce the Paraclete to dwell within themselves, and after receiving Him keep Him and (so far as it is attainable by men) behold Him spiritually, winning therefrom something large and great and enviable for their prize. For He will sanctify them, and will make them at once fulfillers of all good things, and will release them from the shame of man-befitting slavery, and will endue them with the prerogative of the adoption of sons. And Paul will bear witness to this, saying: And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

18 I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you

Of necessity our Lord Jesus the Christ at this point finishes the discourse touching the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity. For He has already shown before, setting forth both words and facts for assurance unto them that love Him, both that He is in His nature God and is begotten of God the Father, and is of equal might and like mind with Him. For to this end He also at one time said: What I speak, I speak not from Myself; and at another time again: If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do them, though ye believe not Me, believe My works. But besides these things it was in no small measure needful also that men should receive the right and irreproachable doctrine with reference to the Holy Spirit Himself; for so might the minds of His hearers be directed wholly unto rightness of faith. Therefore I will set forth in few words what Christ teaches us by the passage before as. By saying that “Another” shall be sent unto us from God the Father, He once more, in accordance with His careful and wise plan, renders the expression of the faith secure. For it was only likely that some, not rightly understanding what was said, would think that He meant that the Holy Spirit was not of the essence of God (as in fact some of the witless did suppose), but that He was in His nature something different; for to say “Another,” among the more ignorant sort at least, might carry the appearance of some such ground for its use. So with intent to exhibit clearly that He does not wish the kind of distinctness which the Spirit possesses to be understood in any other way, save solely in virtue of His being in a peculiar and proper sense that which His Name implies, for the Spirit is a Spirit and not a Son, even as the Son is a Son and not a Father; after saying that the Paraclete shall be sent forth, He promises that He will come Himself; showing that the Spirit is not something other than what He is Himself, forasmuch as He is a proper Spirit proceeding from the Father, and is conceived of as the Son’s, and for this cause is also called His Mind. For example, Paul says, signifying withal this very thing: But we have the Mind of Christ. So then, understanding the matter rightly and without all error, and rejecting as ungainly all perversion in any direction contrary to what is reasonable, and following the words of the inspired Scripture, we say that He is not something different from the Son so far as regards natural identity, but the same; yet with characteristics both distinct and personal. For, so understanding it, I imagine, the inspired Paul also oftentimes mingles Them and introduces Either as identical with the Other; the Paraclete, I mean, and the Son. For thou wilt find him saying: But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His, and again directly after: And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of the sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Hearest thou how he expressly confesses that they have Christ who have received His Spirit? And he says also in another place: For I think that I also have the Spirit of God. And he who spake this unto us, also says: If ye seek a proof of Christ That speaketh in Me; and oftentimes prays that in us also, who have believed, Christ may dwell by faith, howbeit himself receiving the Holy Spirit. And let no one suppose that we say that he annuls the fixity of name or person in respect of each, or that he says that the Son is not a Son but a Spirit, or at least that he does not know the Spirit as Spirit, but says He is a Son; this was not the aim in his mind, and indeed neither do we so believe. For he knows how to count the Persons of the Holy and Coessential Trinity, and teaches that each of the Persons signified subsists in His proper distinctness: notwithstanding he proclaims clearly that the Holy Trinity is fixed in absolute identity. Else how can it be that the Spirit is and is called God? For do ye not know, he says, that ye are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if, forasmuch as the Spirit dwelleth in us, we are made temples of God, how can the Spirit not be of God, i.e. of His Essence, whereas He makes God to dwell in us through Himself? So then by way of showing that the Spirit is not alien from His own Nature, the Only-begotten, having said that the Paraclete is being sent forth from the Father for the Saints, promises that He will come Himself and fill the place of a father, to the end that they be not found like some orphans destitute of the assistance of one to stand forth for them, and for this cause be found henceforth easy to be taken in the snares of the devil, and exceedingly easily assailed by the offences in the world, for all they be many and come as of necessity, by reason of the ungovernable madness of them that bring them to pass. So then for a shield and an irrefragable security unto our souls, the Father has given the Spirit of Christ, to fulfil in us His grace and presence and power. For it were impossible for a man’s soul to effect ought that is good, or to have power over its own passions, or to escape the great subtilty of the snare of the devil, if it were not fortified by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and had not Christ Himself by reason thereof within itself. And indeed the inspired Psalmist, composing for us through the wisdom that was in him his thanksgivings on this behalf, cried aloud unto God: Lord, Thou didst crown us as with a shield of favour by a shield of favour nothing else than the Holy Spirit Who shields us, and constrains us, by gifts of unexpected strength, to [the fulfilling of] the good pleasure of God. And so He promises that none the less He will be present and will help through the Spirit them that believe on Him, albeit He ascend into the very heavens, after His Revival from the dead, now to appear in the presence of God for us, according to the words of Paul.

19 Yet a little while and the world beholdeth Me no more; but ye behold Me: because I live, ye shall live also.

Now that the Passion is close at hand, and brings along with it the moment of His Assumption, He says that He will be invisible to the world, that is, to them that value the enjoyment of things temporal before the Divine blessings, and set more store by earthly things than by heavenly. And by way of making our belief to the end thereof kindred and consistent with what has been already said above, we shall be right in saying, that God the Father has given the Paraclete, i.e. the Holy Spirit, of course through the Son; for all things are through Him from the Father. Notwithstanding He has come, not on all indiscriminately, both evil and good, but on them on whom it was fitting He should go forth. For so far forth as touches the most rich and unstinted grace of the Giver, no man of all in the earth remained a non-partaker: For I will pour out, He says in the prophets, of my Spirit on all flesh. Yet each man is unto himself an accessory cause of his possessing or else wholly failing to get the God-given blessing. For some men, because that in no wise do they strive to cleanse their own mind by all goodness, but love exceedingly to dwell in the evils in the world, shall abide non-partakers of the Divine grace, and shall not see Christ in themselves, forasmuch as they have a heart void of the Spirit. For this cause albeit they are ranged on the side of the Protector of the orphans they are torn in pieces by simply everything that is strong enough to overreach, be it a passion or a devil, or yet any other worldly lust, and by everything that can drag them down as it were and overpower them unto sin. Howbeit, unto the holy and them that were purposed to receive Him, He said, as was likely He would, forasmuch as they were going to endure none of those ills, I will not leave you orphans, I am coming unto you. And so He says He shall be invisible and wholly unbeheld by them that mind the things in the world, after His Departure hence, I mean His Ascension into heaven. But He says He will be found visible unto the holy, forasmuch as the Holy Spirit is putting a certain Divine and spiritual flash in the eyes of their heart, and sowing therein all good knowledge.

For we shall either suppose that this is what He means by Yet a little while and the world beholdeth Me no more; but ye behold Me; or else turning aside to a different point of view—especially when there is intertwined with His words the saying Because I live, ye shall live also—we reason somewhat on this wise. For after His Revival from the dead, when He had effected for our nature the return unto that whereunto it existed from the beginning, and had made man incorruptible, He ascended, as it were by way of first-fruits and in the Temple of His own Body first, unto God the Father in heaven. But after in the meanwhile accomplishing a short time, He will descend again, as we believe, and will return again unto us, in the glory of His Father with the Holy Angels, and will set up the appalling tribunal before all men, both evil and good. For all created things shall come to judgment. And rendering becoming awards, corresponding to the life each one has led, He will say to them on the left, i.e. to those that have minded the things in the world: Depart from Me ye cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; howbeit to them on the right, i.e. to the holy and good: Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For they shall be with Christ and shall reign with Him, and shall revel in the heavenly blessings, having been made conformable to His Resurrection, and escaped the meshes of the ancient corruption, being endued with the long and ineffable life, and living endlessly with the ever-living Lord. For that they who have practised a life dear to God and exalted; shall be with Christ without ceasing, to wit contemplating His divine and unspeakable beauty, Paul will make clear where he says: For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord; and again, to them that have chosen to mortify worldly passions: For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory. So—for I will sum up the meaning of the Lord’s saying—the lovers of the evil things in the world shall go down to Hades and be banished from the presence of Christ; howbeit there shall be with Him and dwell with Him for ever the lovers of virtue, they who have kept inviolate the earnest of the Spirit, and being with Him of a surety they shall also behold His Divine Beauty without all hindrance. For, he says, the Lord shall be thine eternal Light, and God thy glory. And it is also likely that this is what the Lord means to make manifest, when we hear Him saying: Yet a little while and the world beholdeth Me no more; but ye behold Me; because I live ye shall live also. Howbeit in no wise will He speak falsely in saying that the time intervening, before His Revelation as it were, is a little while. For to God Who always is, even what is a long time with us counts utterly for nothing; and the Psalmist will testify this when he says: For a thousand years in Thy sight, O Lord, are but as yesterday that is past, and a watch in the night.

20 In that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

The meaning of the passage before us is somewhat hard to reach, and as it were demands that the inquiry applied to it be keen, and imposes very considerable delay on our discourse: howbeit we believe that Christ will once more direct us into truth. Now some, albeit among the number of those once supposed among the impious heretics to be of eminence, refusing malignantly to confess that the Son is of the essence of God the Father, and is therefore in Him, conceive that the union is an accidental one and not one of nature; and in fact they have written—belching forth thereby what proceeds from their own minds, not from the Holy Spirit—that, forasmuch as the Son is loved by the Father, and Himself loves the Father in return, it is after this sort that He is in Him. And these demented men bring as a proof hard to overthrow, the words attached to the clause before us, to wit concerning us and Him; and indeed they say, resting withal their blasphemies on the staff of a reed, that as we are said to be in Him, and have Him in ourselves, and are not united to Him in the matter of our essence, but the manner of the union is determined by our capacity to love and be loved in return; so the Son also, one of them would say, is not at all within the essence of God the Father, but being wholly distinct in the matter of His nature, and being quite differently characterised, is understood to be in the Father solely by virtue of the law of love. For it is their aim, as we said just now, to show that the Only-begotten is an effect and a creature, and produced and honoured merely with His preeminence over the rest of the creatures, notwithstanding He is external to the essence of God the Father.

But forasmuch as concerning this we have already spoken at length, assaying thereby to show to the best of our power, that the Son is by nature in the Father and that the union which He has with Him is substantial, we will forbear further for the present to extend our remarks touching this subject. Howbeit we will not wholly leave as it were the ground of the argument clear for our opponents to overrun, but will set the battle in array against them in a few words, exhibiting so far as possible at once the mischief and the ignorance of their wicked and loathsome artifice; and particularly we will say: If it is solely by reason that He is loved and loves that the Son is in the Father, and if by the same law we are in Him and He in us, and no different bond of union is discernible, whether we consider that which binds the Son to the Father, or us to Him and Him to us: in what sense or on what principle, I pray you, does He say that it is in that day we shall know the mystery of this? For seemingly we do not yet know that the Father loves the Son, and the Son also loves the Father; nor, I suppose, do we yet know our own condition, but a vain calculation mocks us, when we think that the Son loved us, and for this cause won us unto the Father, and that we also loved Him! For when He says In that day ye shall know, He shows that the time of the knowledge is not yet present; then, why did the Lord all in vain make our ears ring with His words: The Father loveth the Son? For that He Himself loves the Father, who will deny? And how, I pray you, said He also that His choosing to suffer in our behalf was a clear proof of His love to us-ward? For greater love hath no man than this, He says, that a man lay down His life for His friends. And why did He manifestly seek for love from us towards Himself, and that for this cause we should be eager to fulfil His good pleasure? For he that loveth Me, He says, will keep My commandments. For when shall we keep the Divine commandment, if at the present we make no account thereof? Forasmuch then as it is fit we believe that the Son loves the Father, and loves us and is beloved by us, how is it not consistent to conceive that the Son has purposed to signify something diverse from this, and not to define the manner of the union by the law of love; or rather that He has manifestly introduced it to us as after some different sort, when He says: In that day ye shall know that I am in My Father and ye in Me and I in you.

But peradventure the opponent will answer, that before the Passion Christ said such things as these to us, to wit that He loves the Father and is loved again by the Father, and He loves us also and we Him; but that after the Passion and the Revival from the dead, when we saw that He burst the bonds of death, we learnt that He is in the Father, forasmuch as also He is loved, and for this cause rose from the dead. For this cause also He is in us and we in Him, according to the same law of love.

But we reply: Your opposition is exceeding idle, and wholly without understanding, and a tissue of rotten words. But, excellent Sirs, consider once more that what we knew of a truth before the Resurrection from the dead, there was no need to learn after the Resurrection. For if it was only imperfectly that we believed that the Son is loved of His own Father, and Himself loves the Father, it was indeed necessary to await the Resurrection, with intent we might therefrom have the perfection of knowledge. But if the Father be worthy of belief when He says even before the Resurrection: He is My beloved Son; and if the Saviour Himself also speaks true when He says: The Father loveth the Son; and if the law of love is fittingly to be conceived in its entire perfection; why do ye foolishly strike at us with hard words? And why, thrusting aside the beauty of the Truth, do ye fashion you an unsightly lie, dragging outside of the Father’s essence the Son that is of Him and through Him, and withal inventing right rotten words, and contriving tricks of absurd argumentation? For that the Only-begotten loved us, and that we also loved Him, will be open to any one to see with utmost readiness, so he be willing to regard intently the nature of the truth: For being in the form of God the Father, He counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. Then what, I pray you, was the ground of such actions? Was it not the law of love towards us? And how is it possible to doubt? And our willingness too on behalf of Christ and readiness to abandon our very life to the persecutors, that we may not deny our own Lord, will it not supply proof to demonstration of our love to Him? But a man will also say that this either is entirely true, or will condemn the Holy Martyrs as having wrought a desperate struggle for Christ for no useful end, and endured so grievous a danger all unrecompensed. So then, whereas it is proved with all clearness that the Father has towards the Son love in perfection, and that in like sort also He loves the Father, and we Him and He us, what reason could there be in supposing that the discernment thereof is referred perchance to other times, when the Lord says: In that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

For away with their idle talkings and the pretentiousness of their God-hating speculations! But we waxing bold in the consciousness of bearing the torch of the Spirit, will not hesitate to say what seems to be right, with intent to clear up the questions at issue. So then, having said above: Because I live ye shall live also, straightway He is found to have added: In that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. Then to what man, upright and wont to think rightly, would it not be abundantly clear, that He limits a day, the time to wit of the knowledge hereof, upon which we ourselves also, renovated after His likeness, shall ascend unto eternal life, escaping from the curse of death? And something after this sort the Christ-bearer seems to me to indicate—I mean, Paul—when, revealing to us the Divine Mystery, he writes to some: For ye died and your life is hid with Christ in God; when then Christ, which is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory For He shall transform the body of our humiliation—this body assuredly, and not a diverse—to be conformable unto His glory, and shall transmute the nature of man unto the ancient type with power unspeakable, changing all things easily unto whatsoever He will, none forbidding; for He is very God That maketh all things and changeth the fashion of them, as it is written. So then at that day, or time, when ye also yourselves shall live—for I do live, albeit made man like unto you, and clad with the body which as touching its proper nature is subject to corruption—ye shall recognise clearly, He says, that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. And we shall be disposed to think that the Lord said this unto us, not with intent we might suppose that He is in the Father according to the law of love, as indeed our opponents thought fit to believe, but according to the power of a deep mystery, which is also both difficult to conceive, and hard to utter; howbeit I will essay how I may be able to expound it.

Now I hold that the mind of any man on earth is very far from equal to the accurate exposition hereof; notwithstanding, in the fervour of love, albeit with powers of sight and utterance but little whetted, let us now consider the aim of the Incarnation of the Only-begotten. Let us, I pray you, examine the cause, wherefore, being as God in the form of God the Father, He counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and endured the cross despising the shame. For in this way the depth of the mysteries before us will be manifest, so far as is possible, howbeit hardly so. But we shall learn how the Son is in the Father, naturally, that is, and not by virtue of the relation of being loved and loving as invented by our opponents; and we again in Him after the same sort, and He in us. Well then, one cause the wise Paul expounded was a true and most general cause of the Incarnation of the Only-begotten, when he said: For God the Father was pleased to gather together in one all things in Christ; and “gathering in one,” both the name and the thing, plainly involves the bringing back again and resumption of the things that have digressed to an unconformable end unto what they were in the beginning. Then desiring to put before us in a clear light the methods of the gathering in detail, at one time he said: For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and at another again: Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death He might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. And herein we have two methods of the gathering together which Paul expounded the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Only-begotten as of necessity involving; but a further method, inclusive of the others, was set forth by the wise Evangelist John. For he writes thus touching Christ: He came unto His own, and they that were His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. So then it is abundantly evident and manifest I conceive unto all, that it was for these causes especially that, being by nature God and of God, the Only-begotten has become man; namely with intent to condemn sin in the flesh, and by His own Death to slay Death, and to make us Sons of God, regenerating in the Spirit them that are on earth unto supernatural dignity. For it was, I trow, exceeding good, after this sort to gather together again into one and to recover unto the ancient estate the sore-stumbled race, to wit, the human.

Again, let us set each of the causes just given side by side with the Lord’s saying, and thereupon make such remarks that seem fit. For we must inquire in what sense it may be seemly to conceive that God the Father condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in likeness of sinful flesh. For albeit the Son were by nature God and had shone forth from His essence and possessed naturally the immutability of His proper being, and for this cause in no wise could stumble into sin, or turn aside anywhither into what is not right, the Father caused him voluntarily to descend into the flesh that is subject to sin, with intent that making very flesh His own, He might bring it over unto His own natural property, to wit, sinlessness. For, I conceive, we shall not be right in believing that it was with intent to effect this for the Temple of His own Body alone that the Only-begotten has been made man; for where were the glory and profit of His Advent unto us to be seen, if He accomplished the salvation of His own Body alone? But we believe rather that it was to secure the benefits for all nature through Himself and in Himself first as in the firstfruits of humanity, that the Only-begotten has become like us. For like as we have followed after not only death but all the sufferings of the flesh, undergoing this suffering in the first man by reason as well of the transgression as of the divine curse; after the same sort, I conceive, shall we all of us follow Christ, as He saves in many ways and sanctifies the nature of the flesh in Himself. Wherefore also Paul said: And as we love the image of the earthy, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly. For the image of the earthy, to wit of Adam, is to be in sufferings and corruption; and the image of the heavenly, to wit of Christ, is to be in impassibility and incorruption. So then the Word being God by nature condemned sin in His own flesh, by charging it to cease its activity, or rather so amending it as that it should move after the good pleasure of God, and no longer at its own will; and so whereas the body was natural, He made it spiritual. This then is one method of the gathering together; but the method that is most befitting and appropriate to the drift of the passage before us shall follow it. And it will be our task to speak touching eternal life and the slaying of Death, and how the Only-begotten removed from human nature the corruption that came of the transgression. Therefore forasmuch as the children are partakers of blood and flesh, He also in like manner took part in the same with intent to slay Death, and that He that created all things unto immortality and made the generations of the world healthful, according as it is written, might remould once more the fashion of things unto their ancient estate.

And once again, albeit my argument be more minute than behoves, yet, as it needs must, it shall proceed, setting forth the ancient condition of our estate. For I conceive the sincere purpose to grasp the meaning of the words before us, will wholly escape the dangers that come of mere loitering. So then this rational creature upon earth, I mean man, was made from the beginning after the image of Him that created him, according to the Scriptures; and the meaning of image is various. For an image may be, not after one sort, but after many; howbeit the element of the likeness to God that made him, which is far the most manifest of all, was his incorruptibility and indestructibility. But never, I conceive, would the creature have been sufficient unto himself to be so, merely by virtue of the law of his own nature; for how could he that is of the earth in his own nature have been shown to possess the glory of incorruption, unless it were from the God that is by nature both incorruptible and indestructible and ever the same, that he was enriched with this boon in like manner as with all others? For what hast thou that thou didst not receive? saith somewhere unto us the inspired Paul, with exceeding reason and truth. With intent then that what was once brought into being out of that which is not, might not, by sinking back to its own original, once more vanish into nothing, but rather be preserved evermore—for this was the aim of Him that created it—God makes it partaker of His own nature. For He breathed into his face the breath of life, i.e. the Spirit of the Son, for He is Himself the Life with the Father, holding all things together in being. For the things that are receptive of life both move in Him and live, according to the words of Paul.

And let none of us found hereupon any words of false teaching, by supposing that we said that the Divine inbreathing has become a soul unto the living creature; for this we deny, guided unto the truth of the matter by such reasoning as this. If any suppose that the Divine inbreathing became a soul, let him tell us whether it was turned aside from its own nature and has been made into a soul, or has it remained in its own identity? For if they say it has been on anywise changed and that it traversed the law of its own nature, they will be convicted of blasphemy; for they will say that the immutable and ever-unchanging Nature is altogether mutable; whereas if it was in no wise turned aside, but has ever remained what it always was, after coming forth from God, to wit His inbreathing, how did it deflect unto sin, and become susceptible of so great diversity of passions? For, I trow, they would not say that there is, in anywise, in the Divine Nature the possibility of transgression. But to get over the words due to the subject before us without using lengthy proofs, I say we must repeat this once again and say,—that no one, I imagine, rightly minded would suppose that the Breath which proceeded from the Divine Essence became the creature’s soul, but that after the creature was ensouled, or rather had attained unto the propriety of its perfect nature by means of both, soul and body to wit, then like a stamp of His own Nature the Creator impressed on it the Holy Spirit, i. e. the Breath of Life, whereby it became moulded unto the archetypal Beauty, and completed after the image of Him that created it, enabled unto every form of excellence, by virtue of the Spirit given to dwell in it. But whereas, being free of will, and entrusted with the reins of its own purposes—for this also is an element in the image, forasmuch as God has power over His own purposes—it turned and has fallen—but how this came to pass the Holy Scripture must teach you, for the account of it therein is plain—God the Father both determined and took in hand to gather together once more in Christ the nature of man unto its ancient estate, and willing it accomplished it withal. So then it naturally follows that we should observe how it has come to pass. It was not otherwise possible for man, forasmuch as he was of a nature that was perishing, to escape death, save by recovering that ancient grace, and partaking once more in God Who holdeth all things together in being and preserveth them in life through the Son in the Spirit. Therefore He hath become partaker of blood and flesh, i.e. He hath become man, being by nature Life, and begotten of the Life that is by nature, i.e. of God the Father—to wit, His Only-begotten Word, with intent that ineffably and inexpressibly and as He alone could skill to do, uniting Himself with the flesh that by the law of its own nature was perishing, He might bring it back unto His own Life and make it through Himself partaker of God the Father. For He is Mediator between God and men, according as it is written, knit unto God the Father naturally as God and of Him, and again unto men as man; and withal having in Himself the Father and being Himself in the Father; for He is the impress and effulgence of His Person, and not distinct from the Essence, whereof He is impress and wherefrom He proceeds as effulgence; but both being Himself in It, and having It in Himself; and again having us in Himself according as He wears our nature and our body has become entitled the Body of the Word. For the Word was made flesh, according to the utterance of John. And He wears our nature, remoulding it unto His own Life. And He is also Himself in us; for we have all been made partakers of Him, and have Him in ourselves through the Spirit; for, for this cause we have Both, being made partakers of the Divine Nature, and are entitled sons, after this sort having in us also the Father Himself through the Son, And Paul will testify hereof where he says: Because ye are sons God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. For His Spirit is not something diverse from the Son, I mean as touching the law of identity, to wit, identity of nature.

This being the result of the progress of our discourse of these things, let us now take the meaning of what has been set forth, and adapt it to the interpretation of our Saviour’s words: For in that day ye shall know, He says, that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. For I live Myself, He says, for I am Life by nature, and have shown the Temple of My own Body alive; but when ye also yourselves, albeit ye are of a corruptible nature, shall behold yourselves living in like manner as I do, then indeed ye shall know exceeding clearly, that I, being Life by nature, did knit you through Myself unto God the Father, Who is also Himself by nature Life, making you partakers as it were and sharers in His Incorruption. For naturally am I in the Father—for I am the Fruit of His Essence and Its real Offspring, subsisting in It, having shone forth from It, Life of Life—and ye are in Me and I in you, forasmuch as I appeared as a man Myself, and made you partakers of the Divine Nature by putting My Spirit to dwell in you. For Christ is in us through the Spirit, converting that which has a natural tendency to corruption into incorruption, and transferring it from the condition of dying unto that which is otherwise. Wherefore also Paul says that He that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, through His Spirit that dwelleth in you. For albeit the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, yet He comes through the Son, and is His Own; for all things are through the Son from the Father. For that it was through the Spirit we were wrought anew unto eternal life, the Divine Psalmist will bear us record, when he cries as unto the God of all: When Thou openest Thine Hand, all things shall be filled with goodness; when Thou turnest away Thy Face they shall be troubled; Thou shalt take away their breath and they shall fail and shall turn again to their dust. Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be made, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. Hearest thou how the transgression that was in Adam, and the “turning away” as it were from the Divine precepts, sore troubled the nature of man, and made it return to its own earth? But when God sent forth His Spirit, and made us partakers of His own Nature, and through Him renewed the face of the earth, we were transfigured unto newness of life, casting off the corruption that comes of sin, and once more grasping eternal life, through the grace and love towards mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom unto God the Father, be glory with the Holy Spirit unto the ages. Amen.

CHAPTERS IN THE TENTH BOOK

1.              That in nothing is the Son inferior to God the Father, but rather equal to and like Him in nature; on the words: If ye loved Me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.

2.              That the Son is Consubstantial with God the Father, and not of an alien or foreign nature; on the words: I am the Vine, ye are the branches, and My Father is the husbandman.








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