Chapter 9.


Answer to intellectual objections

[Note 1] 45. BUT as it seems, a heretic is a wicked thing in truth, and in every respect his heart is depraved and goes after {192} impiety. For behold, though convicted on all points, and shown to be utterly bereft of understanding, they feel no shame; but as the hydra of Gentile fable, when its former serpents were destroyed, gave birth to fresh ones, contending against the slayer of the old by the production of new, so also they, hostile and hateful to God, as hydras, losing their life in the objections which they advance, invent for themselves other questions, Judaic and foolish, and new expedients, as if Truth were their enemy, thereby to show the rather that they are Christ's opponents in all things. After so many proofs against them, they begin again, sometimes in whispers, sometimes with the persistent iteration of gnats: "Be it so," say they; "interpret these places thus, and gain the victory in reasoning and in proof; still you must say that the Son has been begotten by the Father at His will and pleasure;" and thus it is that they deceive many, putting forward the will and the pleasure of God. Now if any orthodox believer were to say this in simplicity, there would be no cause to be suspicious of the expression, the orthodox intention prevailing over that somewhat simple use of words. But, since the phrase is from the heretics, and the words of heretics are suspicious, and, as it is written, The wicked are deceitful, and The words of the wicked are deceit, even though they but make signs, for their heart is depraved, come, let us examine this phrase also, lest, though convicted on all sides, still, as hydras, they invent a fresh word, and, by such clever language and specious evasion, they contrive a fresh sowing of that impiety of theirs in another way. For he who says, "The Son came to be at the Divine Will," has the same meaning as another who says, "Once He was not," and "The Son came into being {193 | ED. BEN. iii. § 58-60.} out of nothing," and "He is a creature." But since they are now ashamed of those phrases, the crafty ones have endeavoured to convey their meaning in another way, using the word "will," as cuttlefish put forth their blackness, thereby to confuse the innocent, and to make sure of their peculiar heresy.

46. For whence do they derive "by will and pleasure"? or from what Scripture? let these men say, who are so suspicious in their language and so inventive of impieties. For the Father, when revealing from heaven His own Word, declared, This is My beloved Son; and by David He said, My heart has burst with a good Word; and John He bade say, In the beginning was the Word; and David says in the Psalm, With Thee is the well of Life, and in Thy light shall we see light; and the Apostle writes, Who being the Radiance of His Glory, and again, Who being in the form of God, and, Who is the Image of the invisible God. All the sacred writers everywhere tell us of the being of the Word, but none of His being made "by will," nor of His making at all; but as to these men, where, I ask, did they find "will or good pleasure antecedent" to the Word of God, unless forsooth, leaving the Scriptures, they simulate the perverseness of Valentinus? For Ptolemy the Valentinian said that the Ingenerate had a pair of attributes, Thought and Will, and first He thought and then He willed; and what He thought, He could not put forth, unless when the power of the will was added. Thence the Arians taking a lesson, wish will and good-pleasure to precede the Word. As to them, then, let them rival the doctrine of Valentinus; but we, on reading the divine discourses, have only found He was applied to the Son, and of Him only did we hear as being in the Father and the Father's Image; while in the case of things made, since by nature these things once were not, but afterwards came to be, in them only did we recognise an antecedent will and pleasure, David saying in the hundred and {194} thirteenth Psalm, As for our God He is in heaven, He hath done whatsoever pleased Him; and in the hundred and tenth, The works of the Lord are great, sought out unto all His good pleasure; and again, in the hundred and thirty-fourth, Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, and in the sea, and in all deep places.

47. If then the Son be work and thing made, and one among others, let Him, as others, be said "by will" to have come to be, for Scripture shows that these are thus brought into being. And Asterius, the counsel for the heresy, acquiesces, when he thus writes, "For if it be unworthy of the Framer of all to make at pleasure, let His being pleased to act be removed equally in the case of all, that His Majesty be preserved unimpaired. Or if it be befitting God to will, then let this better way obtain in the case of the first Offspring. For it is not possible that it should be fitting for one and the same God to will in creating and also not to will." In spite of the sophist having introduced abundant impiety into these words, namely, that the Offspring and the thing made are the same, and that the Son is one offspring out of all the existing offsprings, he ends with the conclusion that the works may be fittingly said to be by will and pleasure. Therefore if the Son be other than all things, as has been above shown, or rather through Him the works came to be, let not "by will" be applied to Him; otherwise, He so came into being, just as those works consist which came to be through Him. Paul, for instance, whereas he was not before, became afterwards an Apostle by the will of God; and our own calling, whereas it once was not but took place afterwards, is preceded by will; and, as Paul himself says again, was determined according to the good pleasure of His will, and what Moses relates, Let there be Light, and Let the earth appear, and Let Us make man, is, I think, according to what has been said before, significant of the will of the {195 | ED. BEN. iii. § 60-61.} Agent. For things which once were not, but exist afterwards from external causes, these the Framer, after counselling, makes; but His proper Word begotten from Him by nature, concerning Him He did not counsel beforehand; for it is in Him that the Father makes, in Him that He frames, those other things whatever He counsels; as also James the Apostle teaches, saying, Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth. Therefore the Will of God concerning all things, whether they be begotten again, or are brought into being once only, is in His Word, in whom He both makes and begets again what seems right to Him; as the Apostle also signifies, writing to the Thessalonians: for this is the pleasure of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

48. But consider;—if in the Word Himself, through whom He makes, is in truth also His Will, and if in Christ is the pleasure of the Father, how can He, as others, come into being by will and pleasure? For if He too came, as you maintain, by will, it follows that the will concerning Him consists in some other Word, through whom He in turn comes to be; (for it has been shown that God's Will is not in the things which He brings into being, but in Him through whom and in whom all things made are brought to be,) that is, in other words, to say that the Son became such by will is all one with saying that, "Once He was not;" therefore let them make up their minds to say, "Once He was not," that, whereas an interval of time is signified by the latter formula, they may with shame perceive that also to say "by will" is to place an interval before the Son; for counselling goes before things which once were not, as in the case of all creatures. But if the Word is the Framer of the creatures, and He co-exists with the Father, how can the Father's act of counsel precede the Everlasting Son as if He were not? for if counsel precedes, how through Him are all things? Rather in that case, He too, as one among others, is by will begotten to be a Son, as we also were {196} made sons by the Word of Truth; and it remains for us, as was said, to seek another Word, through whom He too was brought to be, and was begotten together with all things, which were according to God's pleasure.

49. If then there is another Word of God, then be the Son brought into being by that Word; but if there be not, as is the truth, but all things by Him were brought to be, which the Father has willed, does not this expose the many-headed [Note 2] craftiness of these men? I mean that feeling ashamed to say "work," and "creature," and "God's Word was not before His generation," yet in another way they still maintain that He is a creature, putting forward "will," and saying, "Unless He has by will come to be, therefore God had a Son by necessity and against His good pleasure." And who is it then who imposes necessity on Him, O men most wicked, who draw everything to the purpose of your heresy? for what is contrary to will they see; but what is greater and transcends it, has escaped their perception. For as what is beside purpose is contrary to will, so what is according to nature transcends and precedes counselling. A man by counsel builds a house, but by nature he begets a son; and what, after being first willed is then built, had a beginning of being, and is external to the maker; but the son is proper offspring of the father's substance, and is not external to him; wherefore neither does he counsel concerning his making, lest he appear to counsel about himself. As far then as the Son transcends the creature, by so much does what is by nature transcend the will; and these men, on hearing of Him, ought not to measure by will what is by nature. Forgetting however that they are hearing about {197 | ED. BEN. iii. § 62-63.} God's Son, they dare to apply human contrarieties in the instance of God, namely, "necessity" and "beside purpose," to be able thereby to deny that there is a true Son of God.

50. For let them tell us themselves,—that God is good and merciful, does this attach to Him by will or not? if by will, we must consider that He began to be good, and that His not being good is possible; for to counsel and choose implies an inclination two ways, and is the property of a rational nature. But if it be too extravagant that He should be considered good and merciful at His mere will, then what they have said themselves must be retorted on them,—"therefore by necessity and not with His goodwill He is good;" and, "who is it that imposes this necessity on Him?" But if to speak of necessity in the case of God is an extravagance, and therefore it is by nature that He is good, much more is He, and more truly, Father of the Son by nature and not by will. Moreover let them answer us this:—(for against their profaneness I wish to urge a further question, bold indeed, but with a pious intent; be propitious, O Lord!) [Note 3]—the Father Himself, does He exist, first having taken counsel with Himself, then being pleased, or else before counselling? For since they are as bold in the instance of the Word, they must receive the like answer, that they may know that this their presumption reaches even to the Father Himself. If then they say that even the Father is from will, what was He before He counselled, or what gained He, as ye consider, after counselling? But if such a question be extravagant and self-destructive, and shocking even to ask, (for it is enough only to hear God's Name for us to know and understand that He is He-That-Is,) how is it not also against reason to have parallel thoughts concerning the Word of God, and to make {198} pretences of "will" and "pleasure"? for it is enough in like manner only to hear the Name of the Word, in order to know and understand, that He who not by will is God, has not by will but by nature His proper Word. And does it not surpass all conceivable madness, to entertain the bare thought, that God Himself counsels and considers and chooses and resolves to have a good pleasure, in order that He be not without Word and without Wisdom, but may have both? for it is like raising a question about one's own existence, to take measures for gaining what belongs to one's very nature.

51. There being then much blasphemy in such thoughts, it will be pious to say that things that are made have come to be "by favour and will," but the Son is not a work of will, nor has come second, as the creation, but is by God's nature the proper Offspring of God's Substance. For His being the proper Word of the Father hinders us from speculating on any act of will as previous to Himself, since He is Himself the Father's Living Will [Note 4], and Power, and is Framer of the things which seemed good to the Father. And this is what He says of Himself in the Proverbs: Will is Mine and security, Mine is understanding, and Mine strength. For as, although Himself the Wisdom, in which God prepared the heavens, and Himself Strength and Power, (for Christ is God's Power and God's Wisdom,) He here has altered the terms and said Mine is discretion, is understanding, and Mine strength, so while He says, Mine is Will, He must Himself be the Living Will of the Father; as we have learned from the Prophet also, that He is become the Angel of great Purpose, and is called the good pleasure of the Father; for thus we must refute them—using human illustrations concerning God. Therefore if the works subsist "by will and favour," and the whole creature is made "at God's good pleasure," and {199 | ED. BEN. iii. § 63-64.} Paul was called to be an Apostle by the Will of God, and our calling has come about by His good pleasure and will, and all things have been brought into being through the Word, He is external to the things which have come to be by will, but rather is Himself the Living Purpose of the Father, by whom all these things were brought to be; by whom holy David also gives thanks in the seventy-second Psalm, Thou hast holden me by my right hand; Thou shalt guide me with Thy Purpose.

52. How then can the Word, being the Purpose and Good Pleasure of the Father, come into being Himself "by good pleasure and will" as every one else? unless, as I said before, in their madness they repeat that He was brought into being by Himself or by some other. Who then is it by whom He came to be? let them fashion another Word; and let them name another Christ, rivalling the doctrine of Valentinus; for Scripture it is not. And though they fashion another, yet assuredly he too comes into being through some one; and so while we are thus reckoning up and investigating the succession of causes, this many-headed heresy of the Atheists is discovered to issue in polytheism and madness unlimited; by which, wishing the Son to be a creature and from nothing, they imply the same thing in other words by putting forth "will" and "pleasure," which rightly belong to things brought into being and creatures. Is it not impious then to impute the characteristics of things that come to be to the Framer of all? and is it not blasphemous to say that Will was in the Father before the Word? for if Will precedes in the Father, the Son's words are not true, I in the Father; or even if He is in the Father, yet He will have but a second place, and it became Him not to say I in the Father, since Will was before Him, by which all things were brought into being and He Himself subsisted, as you hold. For though He excel in {200} glory, He is not the less one of the things which by Will come into being. And, as we have said before, if it be so, how is He Lord and they servants? but He is Lord of all because He is one with the Father's Lordship; and the creation is all in servitude, since it is external to the oneness of the Father, and whereas it once was not, was brought to be.

53. Moreover, if they say that the Son is by God's Will, they should say also that He came to be by God's judgment; for I consider judgment and will to be the same. For what a man counsels, about that also he has judgment; and what he has in judgment, that also he counsels. Certainly the Saviour Himself has made them correspond as being cognate, when He says, Counsel is Mine and security; Mine is judgment, and Mine strength. For as strength and security are the same, (for they mean one attribute;) so we may say that Judgment and Will are the same, which is the Lord. But these impious men are unwilling that the Son should be Word and Living Will; but they fable that there is with God, as if a habit coming and going [Note 5], after the manner of men, judgment, counsel, wisdom; and they leave nothing undone, even to putting forward the "Thought" and "Will" of Valentinus, so that they may but separate the Son from the Father, and may call Him a creature, and not the proper Word of the Father. To them then must be said what was said to Simon Magus: the impiety of Valentinus perish with you; and let everyone rather trust to Solomon, who says, that the Word is Wisdom and Judgment. For he says, The Lord by Wisdom hath founded the earth, by Judgment hath He established the heavens. And as here by Judgment, so in the Psalms, By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made. And as by the Word the heavens, so He hath made whatsoever pleased Him. And as the {201 | ED. BEN. iii. § 64-66.} Apostle writes to the Thessalonians, the will of God is in Christ Jesus.

54. The Son of God then, He is the Word and the Wisdom, He the Judgment and the Living Will; and in Him is the Good pleasure of the Father; He is Truth and Light and Power of the Father. But if the Will of God is Wisdom and Judgment, and the Son is Wisdom, he who says that the Son is "by will," says virtually that Wisdom has come into being in Wisdom, and the Son is made in the Son, and the Word created through the Word; which is incompatible with our idea of God and is opposed to His Scriptures. For the Apostle proclaims the Son to be the proper Radiance and Impress, not of the Father's will, but of His Substance Itself, saying, Who being the Radiance of His Glory and the Impress of His Subsistence. But if, as we have said before, the Father's Substance and Subsistence be not from will, neither, as is very plain, is what belongs to the Father's Subsistence from will; for such as, and so as, that Blessed Subsistence, must also be the proper Offspring from It. And accordingly the Father Himself said not, "This is The Son, brought into being at My will," nor "the Son whom I have by My favour," but simply My Son, or rather, in whom I am well pleased, meaning by this, "This is the Son by nature;" and "in Him is lodged My will about those things which please Me."

55. Now we come to the alternative in the interrogation which they put to us. "Since then the Son is by nature and not by will, is He without the good-pleasure of the Father and not with the Father's will?" No, verily; but the Son is with the pleasure of the Father, and, as He says Himself, The Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things. For as not "from will" did the Father begin to be good, nor yet is good without will and pleasure, (for what He is, that also is His pleasure,) so also that the Son {202} should exist, though it came not "from will," yet it is not without His pleasure or against His purpose. For as His own Subsistence is with His pleasure, so also the Son, as belonging to His Substance, is not without His pleasure. Be then the Son the object of the Father's pleasure and love; and thus let every one piously account of the good-pleasure and the not unwillingness of God. For by that same good-pleasure wherewith the Son is the object of the Father's pleasure, is the Father the object of the Son's love, pleasure, and honour; and one is the good-pleasure which is from the Father into the Son, so that here too we may contemplate the Son in the Father and the Father in the Son.

56. Let no one then, with Valentinus, introduce a precedent will; nor let any one, by this pretence of "counsel" intrude between the Only Father and the Only Word; for it were madness to place will and deliberation between them. For it is one thing to say, "Of will He came to be," and another, that the Father has love and good-pleasure towards His Son who belongs to Him by nature. For to say, "Of will He came to be," in the first place implies that "once He was not;" and next it implies an inclination two ways, as has been said, so that one might be at liberty to entertain the thought, that the Father had the powers even of not willing the Son. But to say of the Son, "He might not have been," is an impious presumption, reaching even to the Substance of the Father, as if what belongs to Him might not have been. For it is the same as saying, "The Father might not have been good." And as the Father is good always and by nature, so He is always generative by nature; and to say, "The Father wills the Son," and "The Word wills the Father," implies, not a precedent will, but genuineness of nature, and propriety and likeness of Substance. For as in the case of the radiance and light one might say, that there is {203 | ED. BEN. iii. § 66-67.} no will preceding radiance in the light, but it is its natural offspring, at the pleasure of the light which begat it, not by will and consideration, but in nature and truth, so also in the instance of the Father and the Son, it would be orthodox to say, that the Father loves and wills the Son, and the Son loves and wills the Father.

57. To conclude then, call not the Son a work of good pleasure, nor bring in the doctrine of Valentinus into the Church; but let Him be the Living Will, and Offspring in truth and nature, as the Radiance from the Light. For thus has the Father spoken, My heart has burst with a good Word; and the Son conformably, I in the Father and the Father in Me. But if the Word be in the Father's heart, where is will? and if the Son in the Father, where is good-pleasure? and if He be Will Himself, how is Will in Will? it is extravagant; else the Word comes into being in a word, and the Son in a Son, and Wisdom in a wisdom, as has been repeatedly said. For the Son is the Father's All; and nothing was in the Father before the Word; but in the Word is Will also, and through Him the subjects of will are carried out into effect, as holy Scriptures have shown. And I could wish that the impious men, who have so far wandered from reason as to be inquiring about will, as they used to ask their child-bearing women, "Hadst thou a son before conceiving him?" would instead ask the fathers, "Do ye become fathers by an arbitrary act of will, or because to will is natural to you?" and "Are your children like your nature and substance?" For they will reply to them, "What we beget, is like, not our good pleasure, but like ourselves; nor become we parents simply by first willing it, but to beget is proper to our nature; since we too are images of our fathers." Either then let them condemn themselves, and cease asking women about the Son of God, or let them learn from them, that the Son is begotten not by will, but {204} in nature and truth. Becoming and suitable to them is a refutation from human instances, since the perverse-minded men themselves dispute in a human way concerning the Godhead.

58. Truth is loving unto men, and cries continually, "If because of My bodily clothing ye believe Me not, yet believe the works, that ye may know that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, and I and the Father are one, and he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. But the Lord according to His wont is loving to man, and would fain help them that are fallen, as the Psalms of David speak; but the impious men, unwilling to hear the Lord's voice, nor bearing to see Him acknowledged by all as God and God's Son, go about in swarms, miserable as they are, seeking with their father the devil pretexts for their impiety. What pretexts then, and whence, will they be able to find next? unless they borrow blasphemies from Jews and Caiaphas, and take Atheism from Gentiles? for the divine Scriptures are closed to them, and from every part of them they are convicted of being insensate and Christ's enemies.

Chapter 10.

Answer to intellectual objections

59. THESE considerations encourage the faithful, and annoy the heretical, perceiving, as they do, that their heresy is suffering defeat thereby. Moreover, their further question "whether the Ingenerate be one or two," shows how heterodox are their thoughts, how treacherous and full of guile. Not for the Father's honour ask they this, but for the dishonour of the Word. Accordingly, should any one, not aware of their craft, answer, "the {205 | ED. BEN. i. § 30.} Ingenerate is one," forthwith they spirt out their own venom, saying, "Therefore the Son is among things created, and well have we said, He was not before His generation." Thus they are ready to make all kinds of disturbance and confusion, provided they can but separate the Son from the Father, and reckon the Framer of all among His own works. Now first they may be convicted on this score, that, while blaming the Nicene Bishops for their use of phrases not in Scripture, though these were not injurious, but for the subversion of their impiety, they went over to that very tactic themselves, that is, using words not in Scripture, and, that in contumely of the Lord, knowing neither what they say nor whereof they affirm. For instance, let them ask the Greeks on the subject, who have been their instructors, (for Ingenerate is a word of Greek invention, not of Scripture,) and when they have been instructed in its various significations, then they will discover that they cannot even argue properly on the subject which they have undertaken. For they have led me to ascertain four senses of the word [Note 6]: first, that by "ingenerate" is meant what has not yet come to be, but is possible to be, as wood which has not yet become, but is capable of becoming, a vessel. Secondly, the term signifies what neither has nor ever can come to be, as a triangle that is quadrangular, and an even number {206} that is odd. Thirdly, by "ingenerate" is meant, what exists, but not generated from any, nor having a father at all. Lastly, Asterius, that unprincipled sophist, the patron too of this heresy, has added in his own treatise, that what is not made, but is ever, is "ingenerate." They ought then, when they ask the question, to add in what sense they take the word "ingenerate," and then the parties questioned would be able to answer to the point.

60. But if still they think it fair merely to ask, "Is the Ingenerate one or two?" they must be told first of all, as ill-educated men, that many are such and nothing is such; very many things which admit of an origin, and nothing not admitting, as has been said. But if they ask, according to Asterius's meaning of the term, "that which is not a work, but was from eternity," they must be told again and again, that the Son as well as the Father is in this sense ingenerate. For He is neither in the number of things made, nor a work, but has ever been with the Father, as has already been shown, in spite of their much shuffling for the sole sake of insulting the Lord with, "He is of nothing," and "He was not before His generation." When then, after failing at every turn, they betake themselves to asking the question in the other sense of "existing, but not generated of any, nor having a father," then we shall tell them that the Ingenerate in this sense is only one, namely, the Father; and they will gain nothing by their question. For to say that God is in this sense Ingenerate, does not show that the Son is a thing made, it being evident from the above proofs that the Word is such as He is who begat Him. Therefore if God be ingenerate, His Image is not made, but an Offspring, namely, His Word and His Wisdom. For what likeness has the made to the Ingenerate? (one must not weary to use repetition); for if they will have it that the one is like {207 | ED. BEN. i. § 30-32.} the other, so that he who sees the one beholds the other, they are not far from saying that the Ingenerate is the image of creatures; the end of which is a confusion of the whole subject, an equalling of things made with the Ingenerate, and a denial of the Ingenerate by measuring Him with the works; and all in order to reduce the Son into their number.

61. However, I suppose even they will be unwilling to proceed to such lengths, that is, if they follow Asterius the sophist. For he, earnest as he is in his advocacy of the Arian heresy, and maintaining that the Ingenerate is one, runs counter to them in saying also, that the Wisdom of God is ingenerate and unoriginate; the following is a passage out of his work: "The Blessed Paul said not that he preached Christ the power of God or the wisdom of God, but, without the article, a power of God and a wisdom of God; thus preaching that the proper power of God Himself, which is natural to Him and co-existent with Him ingenerately, is something besides." And, again soon after: "However, His eternal power and wisdom, which truth argues to be unoriginate and ingenerate, this must surely be one." For though misunderstanding the Apostle's words, he considered that there were two wisdoms; yet by speaking still of an ingenerate wisdom co-existent with Him, he declares that the Ingenerate is not simply one, but that there is another ingenerate with Him. For what is co-existent co-exists not with itself, but with another. If then they agree with Asterius, let them never ask again, "Is the Ingenerate one or two," or they will have to contest the point with him; if, on the other hand, they differ even from him, let them not rest their defence upon his treatise, lest, biting one another, they be consumed one of another.

62. So much on the point of their ignorance; but who can say enough on their wicked purpose? who but would {208} justly hate them while possessed by such a madness? for when they were no longer free to say, "out of nothing," and "He was not before His generation," they hit upon this word "Ingenerate," that by saying among the simple that the Son was generate, that is, came to be, they might imply the very same phrases "out of nothing," and "He once was not;" for in such phrases things made and creatures are implied. If they have confidence in their own positions, they should stand to them, and not change about so variously; but this they will not do, from an idea that success is altogether easy, if they do but shelter their heresy under colour of the word "ingenerate." Yet after all, this term is not used in contrast with the Son, clamour as they may, but with things made; and the like may be found in the words "Almighty" and "Lord of the Powers." [Note 7] For if we say that the Father has power and lordship over all things by the Word, and the Son rules the Father's kingdom, and has the power of all, as His Word, and as the Image of the Father, it is quite plain that neither in this respect is the Son reckoned among that all, nor is God called Almighty and Lord with reference to Him, but to those things which through the Son come to be, and over which He exercises power and lordship through the Word. And therefore the Ingenerate is understood, not by contrast with the Son but with the things which through the Son come to be. And excellently: since God is not such as things that come to be, but {209 | ED. BEN. i. § 33-34.} is their Creator and Framer through the Son. And as the word "Ingenerate" signifies a relation to things created, so the word "Father" is indicative of the Son. And he who names God Maker and Framer and Ingenerate, regards and apprehends things that are created and come to be; and he who calls God Father, thereby conceives and contemplates the Son. And hence one might marvel at the obstinacy which is added to their impiety, that, whereas the term "Ingenerate" has the aforesaid good meaning, and admits of being piously used, they, in their private heresy, bring it forth for the dishonour of the Son, not having read that he who honoureth the Son honoureth the Father, and he dishonoureth the Father who dishonoureth the Son. If they had any concern at all for reverent speaking and for the honour due to the Father, it became them rather, and this were better and higher, to acknowledge and call God Father, than to give Him this name. For, in calling God ingenerate, they are, as I said before, naming Him from His works, and as Maker only and Framer, supposing that hence they may imply that the Word is a work to their own private satisfaction. But he who calls God Father, names Him from the Son, being well aware that since there is a Son, of necessity through that Son all things that have come into being were created. And they, when they call Him Ingenerate, name Him only from His works, and know not the Son any more than the Greeks. But he who calls God Father, names Him from the Word; and knowing the Word, he acknowledges Him to be Framer of all, and understands that through Him all things were made.

63. Therefore it is more pious and more accurate to denote God from the Son and call Him Father, than to name Him from His works only and call Him Ingenerate. For the latter title, as I have said, does nothing more than {210} refer to all the works, individually and collectively, which have come into being at the will of God through the Word; but the title Father, has its significance and its bearing only from the Son. And, whereas the Word surpasses things that have a beginning, by so much and more doth calling God Father surpass the calling Him Ingenerate. For the latter is unscriptural, and suspicious, as having various senses; so that when a man is asked concerning it, his mind is carried about to many ideas; but the word Father is simple and scriptural, and more accurate, and distinctly implies the Son. And "Ingenerate" is a word of the Greeks, who know not the Son; but "Father" has been acknowledged and vouchsafed by our Lord. For He, knowing Himself whose Son He was, said, I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me; and, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father, and I and the Father are One; but nowhere is He found to call the Father Ingenerate. Moreover, when He teaches us to pray, He says not, "When ye pray, say, O God Ingenerate," but rather, When ye pray, say, Our Father, who art in heaven. And it was His will that the summary of our faith should have the same force in bidding us be baptised, not into the name of Ingenerate and generate, nor into the name of Creator and creature, but into the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For with such an initiation we, too, being of the works, are henceforth made sons, and using the name of the Father, acknowledge also from that Name the Word in the Father Himself. A vain thing then is their argument about the term "Ingenerate," as is now proved, and nothing more than a fantasy. {211 | ED. BEN. i. § 34-35.}

Chapter 11.

Answer to intellectual objections

64. AS to their question whether the Word is mutable [Note 8], it is superfluous to examine it; it is enough simply to write down what they say, in order to show its daring impiety. How they trifle, appears from the following questions:—"Has He free will, or has He not? is He good from purpose according to free will, and can He, if He will, alter, being of an alterable nature? or, as wood or stone, has He no purpose of His own, free to be moved hither and thither?" It is but agreeable to their heresy thus to speak and think; for when once they have framed to themselves a God out of nothing and a created Son, of course they also adopt such terms as are suitable to the idea of a creature. However, when in their controversies with authorities of the Church they hear from them of the real and only Word of the Father, and yet venture thus to speak of Him, does not their doctrine then become the most loathsome that can be found? Is it not enough to shock a man on mere hearing, though unable to reply, and to make him stop his ears, from astonishment at the novelty of what he hears them say, which even to utter is to blaspheme? For if the Word be mutable and alterable, where will He stay, and what will be the issue of His progress? how shall the mutable possibly be like the Immutable? How should he who has seen the mutable, be considered to have seen the Immutable? in which of His states shall we be able to behold in Him the Father? for it is plain that not at all {212} times shall we see the Father in the Son, because the Son is ever altering, and is of a changing nature. For the Father is unalterable and unchangeable, and is always in the same state and always the same; but if, as they hold, the Son is alterable, and not always the same, but ever of a changing nature, how can such a one be the Father's Image, not having the likeness of His unalterableness? how can He be in the Father at all, if His moral choice is indeterminate? Nay, perhaps, as being alterable, and advancing daily, He is not perfect yet. But away with such madness of the Arians, and let the Truth shine out, and show that they are beside themselves. For must not He be perfect who is equal to God? and must not He be unalterable, who is one with the Father, and is His Son proper to His substance? and the Father's substance being unalterable, unalterable must be also the proper Offspring from it. And if nevertheless they blasphemously impute alteration to the Word, let them learn how much their own reason is in peril; for from the fruit is the tree known. For this is why he who hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father, and why the knowledge of the Son is knowledge of the Father.

65. Therefore the image of the immutable God must be unalterable; for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. And David in the Psalm says of Him, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thine hands. They shall perish, but Thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment. And as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail. And the Lord Himself says of Himself through the Prophet, See now that I, even I, am He, and I vary not. For, though it may be said that the Father is signified in these passages, yet it suits the Son also to speak them [Note 9], specially because, after becoming {213 | ED. BEN. i. § 35-36.} man, he manifests His own identity and unalterableness to any who think that by reason of the flesh He has been changed and become other than He was. More trustworthy are the sacred writers, or rather the Lord, than the perversity of the impious. For Scripture, as in the above-cited reading of the Psalter, signifying under the name of heaven and earth, that the nature of all things that come to be, and the whole creation, is alterable, and changeable, yet by excepting the Son from these, shows us thereby that He is in nowise one who had a beginning; nay teaches that He changes everything else, and is Himself not changed, in saying, Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.

66. And with reason; for things made, being from nothing, and not existing before their making, have a nature which is changeable; but the Son, being from the Father, and proper to His substance, is unchangeable and unalterable as the Father Himself. For it were sin to say that from that substance which is unalterable was begotten an alterable word and a changeable wisdom. For how is He longer the Word, if He be alterable? or can that be Wisdom which is changeable? unless forsooth, as accident is in substance [Note 10], so these would be in God; viz., as in any particular substance a certain grace and habit of virtue exists accidentally, which is called Word and Son and Wisdom, and admits of being taken from that substance or added to it. For they have often expressed this sentiment, but it is not the faith of Christians; as not declaring that there is truly a Word and Son of God, or that the wisdom spoken of is the true Wisdom. For what alters and changes, and has no stay in one and the same condition, how can that be true? whereas the Lord says, I am the Truth. If then the Lord Himself speaks thus concerning Himself, and declares His unalterableness, and the sacred {214} writers have learned and testify this, nay, and our notion of God approve of it as pious, whence did these men of impiety draw this novelty? from their heart, as from a seat of corruption, did they vomit it forth.

Chapter 12.

Answer to objections from Scripture; first, Phil. ii. 9, 10.

67. SO much on objections to the sacred truth, arising out of the doctrine itself; now I go on to speak of the Scripture announcements about it, that is, viewing them not according to the perverseness of Arian heresy, but in that true sense which the Church has ever maintained [Note 11]. They say then, that the Apostle writes,—

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name; that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth: and David,

Wherefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.

Then they urge, as something acute: "If He was exalted and received grace, on a wherefore, and on a wherefore was anointed, He received the reward of His good choice; but having acted from choice, He is altogether of a mutable nature." This is what Eusebius and Arius have dared to say, nay, to write; while their partisans do not shrink from conversing about it in full market, not seeing how mad an argument they use. For if He received what He had as a reward of His good choice, and would not have had it, unless He had needed it and had His work to {215 | ED. BEN. i. § 37-38.} show for it, then having gained it from virtue and growth in good, certainly it was possible for such a being "therefore" to be Son and God, without being a real Son. For what is from another by nature, is a real offspring, as Isaac was to Abraham, and Joseph to Jacob, and the radiance to the sun; but the so-called sons from virtue and grace, have in place of nature only a grace by acquisition, and are something else besides the gift itself; as the men who have received the Spirit by participation, concerning whom Scripture saith, I have begotten and exalted children, and they have rebelled against Me. And of course since they were not sons by nature, therefore, when they changed, the Spirit was taken away from them and they were disinherited; and again on their repentance that God who thus at the beginning gave them grace, will receive them and give light, and call them sons again. This is how they speak, and it is all very clear and plain when said of those whose sonship is not natural but adoptive: but do they go so far as to maintain that such is the sense in which our Lord Jesus is the Son of God? If so, then doubtless He is neither very God nor very Son, nor like the Father, nor in anywise has He God as Father of His being according to substance, but as Father of the mere grace given to Him, and as Creator of His being, according to substance, after the similitude of all others. And being such, if this is their view, it will be manifest further that He had not the name "Son" from the first, but it was the prize of works done and of an advancement in virtue, at the time when He became man and took the form of servant; and after becoming obedient unto death, He was highly exalted, and received that Name as a grace, at which every knee should bow.

68. This line of thought is very clear, but perhaps it will be found to go somewhat further than these men would wish. For, let me ask them, supposing He was then exalted and {216} then began to be worshipped, and then was first called Son, what was He before His incarnation? Have they made up their minds on this point? I repeat, what was He before this? One must urge the question on them again, to make it understood what their impiety results in. For if the Lord be God, Son, Word, yet was not all these before He became man, then either He was something else besides these, and afterwards became partaker of these for His virtue's sake, as we have said, or they must of necessity adopt the alternative (may it fall upon their heads!) that He did not exist before that time, but is wholly man by nature, and nothing more. Are they content with such an issue of their reasoning? Why, it is the very sentiment of Samosatene and of the present Jews; it is no teaching of the Church. If this be their mind, wherefore, as being Jews, are they not circumcised with them too, instead of pretending Christianity, while they are its foes? For if He did not pre-exist, or did indeed, but afterwards was advanced, how were all things made by Him, or how, if He were not perfect, did the Father delight in Him? And He, on the other hand, if now advanced in good, how did He before that rejoice in the presence of the Father? And, if it was after His death that He received His worship, how is Abraham seen to worship Him in the tent, and Moses in the bush? and how, as Daniel saw, were myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, ministering unto Him [Note 12]? And if, as they say, He had His advancement only now, how did the Son Himself make mention of that His glory before and above the world, when He said, Glorify Thou Me, O Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. If, as they say, it was now that He was exalted, how did He before that bow the heavens and come down; and again, the Highest gave His voice? Therefore, {217 | ED. BEN. i. § 38-39.} if, even before the world was made, the Son had that glory, and was Lord of glory and the Highest, and descended from heaven, and is ever to be worshipped, it follows that He had no advance in greatness in consequence of His descent, but rather by that descent Himself bettered the things which needed bettering; and if He descended in order to their bettering, therefore He did not receive in reward the name of Son and God, but rather He Himself has made us sons of the Father, and made men gods, by Himself becoming man.

69. Before going on, then, to explain the passages of Scripture objected to us, I think so far is clear, that at least the Arian sense is quite incompatible with what the Lord has told us of Himself, as God and Son of God, of His descent from heaven, and the reason of it. He was not first man and then became God, but He was God and then became man, and that in order to make us gods. Otherwise, if only when He became man, He was called Son and God, yet before He became man, God called the ancient people sons, and made Moses a god to Pharaoh (and Scripture says of an assembly, God standeth in the congregation of gods), it is plain that He is called Son and God later than they. How then are all things through Him, and He before all? or how is He first-born of the whole creation, if He has others before Him who are called sons and gods? And how is it that those first partakers of the gift do not partake of the Word? This opinion is not true; it is a discovery of our Judaisers. For how in that case can any at all know God as their Father? for adoption there cannot be apart from the real Son, who says, No one knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. And how can there be deifying apart from the Word and before Him? yet, saith He to the brethren of these men, the Jews, If He called them gods, unto whom the Word of God came. And if all that are called sons and gods, whether in earth {218} or in heaven, were adopted and deified through the Word, and the Son Himself is the Word, it is plain that through Him are they all, and He Himself before all, or rather He Himself only is very Son, and He alone is very God from the very God, not receiving these prerogatives as a reward for His virtue, nor being something else beside them, but being all these by nature and according to substance. For He is Offspring of the Father's substance, so that one cannot doubt that after the resemblance of the unalterable Father, the Word also is unalterable.

70. Hitherto we have met their irrational conceits with the true conceptions implied in the word "Son," as the Lord Himself has enabled us, and confining ourselves to them. But it will be well next to expound the inspired passages in question, that the unalterableness of the Son and His unchangeable nature, which is the Father's, as well as their perverseness, may be still more fully proved. The Apostle then, writing to the Philippians, says, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And, being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name; that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Can anything be plainer and more express than this? He was not from a lower state advanced; but rather, existing as God, He took the form of a servant, and in taking it did not advance Himself in dignity but humbled Himself. Where then is there here any reward of virtue, or what advancement and promotion in humiliation? {219 | ED. BEN. i. § 39-41.} For if, being God, He became man, and, after descending from on high, is said to be exalted, where is He exalted, being God?—this withal being plain, that since God is highest of all, His Word must necessarily be highest also. Whither then could He be exalted higher, who is in the Father and is like the Father in all things?

71. Therefore He is beyond the need of any addition; and not such as the Arians think Him. For though the Word did descend in order to be exalted, and so it is written, yet what need was there that He should humble Himself at all, as if to seek that which He had already? And what grace did He receive who is the Giver of grace? or how did He receive that Name for worship, who is always worshipped by His Name? Nay, certainly before He became man, the sacred writers invoke Him, Save me, O God, for Thy Name's sake; and again, Some put their trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the Name of the Lord our God. And while He was worshipped by the Patriarchs, concerning the Angels it is written, Let all the Angels of God worship Him. And if, as David says in the 71st Psalm, His Name remaineth before the sun, and before the moon from one generation to another, how did He receive what He had always, even before He now received it? or how is He exalted, being, even before His exaltation, the Most High? or how did He receive the right of being worshipped, who was ever worshipped before He became man?

72. This doctrine is not a human riddle, but a divine mystery. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; but for our sakes afterwards the Word was made flesh. And the term in question, highly exalted, does not signify that the substance of the Word was exalted, for He was ever and is equal to God, but the exaltation is of the manhood. Accordingly, this is not said before the Word became flesh; that it might be plain {220} that humbled and exalted are spoken of His humanity; for where there is humble estate, there too may be exaltation; and if because of His taking flesh "humbled" is written, it is clear that "highly exalted" is also said because of that incarnation. For of this was man's nature in want, because of the degradation of the flesh and of death. Since then the Word, being the Image of the Father and immortal, took the form of a servant, and as man underwent for us death in His own flesh, that thereby He might offer Himself for us through death to the Father; therefore, also, as man, He is said because of us and for us to be highly exalted, that as by His death we all died in Christ, so again in Christ Himself we might be highly exalted, being raised from the dead, and ascending into heaven, whither the Forerunner is for us entered, not into the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. But if now for us the Christ is entered into heaven itself, though He was even before and always Lord and Framer of the heavens, for us therefore is that present exaltation also written. And as He Himself, while sanctifying all, says also that He sanctifies Himself to the Father for our sakes, not that the Word may become holy, but that He Himself may in Himself sanctify all of us, in like manner we must take the present phrase, He highly exalted Him, not that He Himself should be exalted, for He is the highest, but that He may become righteousness for us, and that we may be exalted in Him, and that we may enter the gates of heaven, which He has also opened for us, they saying who run before, Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. For here, also, not on Him were shut the gates, who is Lord and Maker of all, but because of us it is written, to whom the door of paradise was shut. And therefore in a human relation, because of the flesh which He bore, it is said of Him, Lift up, O ye gates, and shall {221 | ED. BEN. i. § 41-42.} come in, as if a man were entering; but in a divine relation on the other hand it is said of Him, since the Word was God, that He is the Lord and the King of glory. Such an exaltation, as fulfilled in us, the Spirit fore-announced in the eighty-eighth Psalm, saying, And in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted, for Thou art the glory of their strength. And if the Son be Righteousness, then He is not exalted as being Himself in need, but it is we who are exalted in that Righteousness, which is He.

78. And so too the words gave Him are not written for the Word Himself; for even before He became man, He was worshipped, as we have said, by the Angels and by the whole creation, as having the prerogative of the Father; but because of us and for us this too is written of Him. For as Christ died and was exalted as man, so, as man, is He said to take what, as God, He ever had, that even this so high a grant of grace might reach to us. For the Word was not impaired in receiving a body, that He should seek to receive a grace, but rather He deified that which He put on, nay, gave it graciously to the race of man. For as He was ever worshipped as being the Word and existing in the form of God, so, being what He ever was, though become man and called Jesus, He still has, as before, the whole creation under foot, and bending their knees to Him in this Name, and confessing that the Word's becoming flesh, and undergoing death in flesh, hath not happened against the glory of His Godhead, but to the glory of God the Father. For it is the Father's glory that man, made and then lost, should be found again; and when done to death, that He should be made alive, and should become God's temple. For whereas the powers in heaven, both Angels and Archangels, were ever worshipping the Lord, as they are now worshipping Him in the Name of Jesus, this is our grace and high exaltation, that even when He became man, the Son of God is worshipped, and the heavenly powers are {222} not startled at seeing all of us, who are of one body with Him, introduced into their realms. And this had not been, unless He who existed in the form of God had taken on Him a servant's form, and had humbled Himself, yielding His body even unto death.

74. Behold then the foolishness of God, as men consider it because of the Cross, has become of all things most honoured. For our resurrection is stored up in it; and no longer Israel alone, but henceforth all the nations, as the Prophet foretold, are leaving their idols and acknowledging the true God, the Father of the Christ. And the delusion of demons is come to nought, and He only who is really God is worshipped in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For that the Lord, incarnate and with the Name of Jesus, is worshipped as God's Son, and the Father known through Him, is a plain proof, as has been said, that not the Word, considered as the Word, received this so great grace, but that it was we. For, because of our relationship to His Body, we too have become God's temple, and in consequence are made God's sons, so that even in us the Lord is now worshipped, and beholders report, as the Apostle says, that God is in them of a truth. As also John saith in the Gospel, As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become children of God; and in his Epistle he writes, By this we know that He abideth in us, by His Spirit which He hath given us. And this too is an evidence of His goodness towards us, that, while we were exalted because the Highest Lord is in us, and for our sake grace was given to Him, (because the Lord from whom it comes had become a man like us,) He on the other hand, the Saviour, humbled Himself in taking our body of humiliation, and took a servant's form, putting on that flesh which was enslaved to sin. And He indeed gained nothing from us for His own advancement: for the Word of God is without want and full; but rather it was we who were advanced {223 | ED. BEN. i. § 43-44.} from Him; for He is the Light, which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world.

75. In vain then do the Arians lay stress upon the conjunction wherefore, in consequence of Paul having said, Wherefore hath God highly exalted Him. For in saying this he did not imply His resurrection was any prize of virtue, or advancement for the better, but he assigned the cause why the exaltation was bestowed upon us. And what is this but that He who existed in form of God, the Son of a divine Father, humbled Himself and became a servant instead of us and in our behalf? For if the Lord had not become man, we had not been redeemed from sins, nor raised from the dead, but had remained dead under the earth; not exalted into heaven, but lying in Hades. Because of us then and in our behalf are the words, highly exalted and given.

76. This then I consider the meaning of this passage, and that especially in harmony with the sentiment of the Church. However, there is another way of handling it, not divergent but parallel; viz., that, though it does not speak of the exaltation of the Word Himself, considered as Word (for He is, as was just now said, most high and like His Father), yet by reason of His incarnation, the passage speaks of His resurrection from the dead. For after saying, He hath humbled Himself even unto death, the passage immediately adds, Wherefore He hath highly exalted Him; wishing to show, that, although as man it is recorded of Him that He died, yet, as being Life, He was exalted in the resurrection; for He who descended, is the same also who rose again. This then is the second sense of "wherefore," in the passage; the Lord's exaltation was, I have said, in order to ours; but further, it was the necessary result of the divinity which, even as regards the body, death could not detain. He descended in a body, and He rose again because it was God who was in that body. And this I say is the {224} reason, according to this interpretation, why He brought in the conjunction Wherefore; not to signify a reward of virtue nor an advancement, but the direct cause why the resurrection took place; and why, while all other men from Adam down to this time have died and remained dead, He only in integrity of being rose from the dead. The cause is this, which He Himself has already taught us, that He was God, who afterwards became man. For all other men, being merely born of Adam, died, and death reigned over them; but He, the Second Man, is from heaven, for the Word was made flesh, and such a Man is said to be from heaven and heavenly, because the Word descended from heaven; wherefore He was not held under death. For though He humbled Himself, allowing His own Body even to die, in that it was capable of death, yet it was without delay exalted from earth, because He was also God's Son in a body. Accordingly what is here said, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, answers to St. Peter's words in the Acts, Whom God raised up, having loosed the bonds of death, because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. For while Paul has written, "Whereas being in form of God He became man, and humbled Himself unto death, therefore God also hath highly exalted Him," so also Peter says, "Whereas, being God, He became man, and by signs and wonders was proved to eye-witnesses to be God, therefore it was not possible that He should be holden of death." To man it had not been possible to succeed in such a matter; for death is proper to man; wherefore the Word, being God, became flesh, that, being put to death in the flesh, He might quicken all men by His own power.

77. Here I must add one word in explanation. Since the Word is said to be exalted and to receive gifts from God, heretics think this must necessarily affect or impair the substance of the Word, but this is not so. He is said to be exalted from the lower parts of the earth, because death {225 | ED. BEN. i. § 44-45.} also is ascribed to Him. Both events are reckoned His, since it was His Body, and none other's, that was exalted from the dead and taken up into heaven. And again, the body being His, and the Word not being external to it, it is natural that when the Body was exalted, He, as man, should, because of the body, be spoken of as exalted. If then He did not become man, let this not be said of Him; but if the Word became flesh, of necessity the resurrection and exaltation, as when a man is spoken of, must be ascribed to Him, in order that the death which is ascribed to Him may be a redemption of the sins of men and an abolition of death, and that the resurrection and exaltation may for His sake remain secure for us. And both phrases run, God hath highly exalted Him, and God hath given to Him, in order to show that it is not the Father that hath become flesh, but it is His Word, who has become man and after the manner of men has received gifts from the Father, and is exalted by Him, as has been said. And it is plain, nor would any one dispute it, that what the Father gives, He gives through the Son. And it is marvellous and overwhelming verily, that the grace which the Son gives from the Father, that the Son Himself is said to receive; and that the exaltation, which the Son effects from the Father, with that the Son is Himself exalted. For He who is the Son of God, He Himself became the Son of Man; and, as Word, He gives what comes from the Father, for all things which the Father does and gives, He does and supplies through Him; and as being the Son of Man, He Himself is said, after the manner of men, to receive what proceeds from Himself, because His Body is none other than His, and is a natural recipient of grace, as has been said. For He received it as far as man's nature was exalted; which exaltation was its being deified. But such an exaltation the Word Himself always had according to the Father's Godhead and perfection, which was His. {226}

Chapter 13.

Answer to objections from Scripture; secondly, Psalm xliv. 7.

78. SUCH an explanation of the Apostle's words confutes the impious men; and what the Psalmist says admits also the same orthodox sense, which they misinterpret, but which in the Psalmist is manifestly according to piety. He says then, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, wherefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. Behold, O ye Arians, and acknowledge even hence the truth. The Psalmist speaks of us all as fellows or partakers of the Lord; but were He one of things which come out of nothing and of things made partakers, He Himself had been one of those who partake. But, since he sang of Him as the eternal God, saying, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and has declared that all other things partake of Him, what conclusion must we draw, but that He is distinct from created things, and He only the Father's veritable Word, Radiance, and Wisdom, which all things made partake, being sanctified by Him in the Spirit? And therefore He is here "anointed," not that He may become God, for He was so even before; nor that He may become King, for He had the Kingdom eternally, existing as God's Image, as the sacred Oracle shows; but, as before, in our behalf is this written. For the Israelitish kings, upon their being anointed, then became kings, not being so before, as David, as Ezekias, as Josias, and the rest; but the Saviour on the contrary, being God, and ever ruling over the Father's Kingdom, and being Himself the Dispenser of the Holy Ghost, nevertheless is here said to be anointed, that, as before, being said as man to be anointed with the Spirit, He might provide for us men, not only exaltation and resurrection, but the indwelling and intimacy of the Spirit. And, signifying this, {227 | ED. BEN. i. § 46-47.} the Lord Himself hath said by His own mouth, in the Gospel according to John, I have sent them into the world, and for their sakes do I sanctify Myself, that they may be sanctified in truth. In saying this He has shown that He is not the sanctified, but the Sanctifier; for He is not sanctified by other, but He Himself sanctifies Himself, that we may be sanctified in the Truth. He who sanctifies Himself is Lord of sanctification. How then does this take place? What does He mean but this? viz., "I, being the Father's Word, I give to Myself, when become man, the Spirit; and in the same Spirit do I sanctify Myself when become man, that henceforth in Me, who am Truth, (for Thy Word is Truth,) all men may be sanctified."

79. If then for our sake He sanctities Himself, and does this when He has become man, it is also very plain that the Spirit's descent on Him in Jordan, was a descent upon us, because of His bearing our body. And it did not take place for any advancement of the Word, but again for our sanctification, that we might share His anointing, and that of us it might be said, Know ye not that ye are God's Temple, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? For when the Lord, as man, was washed in Jordan, it was we who were washed in Him and by Him. And when He received the Spirit, we it was who by Him are made capable of receiving It. And moreover for this reason, it was not as Aaron or David or the rest, that He was anointed with oil, but in another way above all His fellows, with the oil of gladness; which He Himself interprets to be the Spirit, saying by the Prophet, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me; as also the Apostle has said, How God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost. When then were these prophecies fulfilled in Him but when on His coming in the flesh He was baptized in Jordan, and the Spirit descended on Him? And indeed the Lord Himself {228} says to His disciples, The Spirit shall take of Mine; and I will send Him; and Receive ye the Holy Ghost; but notwithstanding, He who, as the Word and Radiance of the Father, gives to others, elsewhere is said to be sanctified, because now He has become man, and the Body that is sanctified is His. From Him then we have begun to receive the unction and the seal, John saying, And ye have an unction from the Holy One; and the Apostle, And ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Therefore because of us and for us are these words.

80. What advance then in goodness, and reward of virtue or generally of conduct, is proved from this in our Lord's instance? For if He was not God, and then had become God, if not being King He was promoted to royalty, your reasoning would have had some faint plausibility. But if He is God and the throne of His kingdom is everlasting, in what way could God advance? or what was there wanting to Him who was sitting on His Father's throne? And if, as the Lord Himself has said, the Spirit is His, and takes of His, and is sent by Him, it is not the Word, considered as the Word and Wisdom, who is anointed with that Spirit which He Himself gives, but the flesh assumed by Him which is anointed in Him and by Him; that the sanctification coming to the Lord as man, may come to all men from Him. For not of Itself, saith He, doth the Spirit speak, but the Word is He who gives It to the worthy. For this is like the passage considered above; for as the Apostle has written, Who existing in form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled Himself, and took a servant's form, so David celebrates the Lord, as everlasting God and King, but sent to us and assuming our body which is mortal. For this is his meaning in the Psalm, All Thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia; and it is represented by Nicodemus and by Mary's company, when he came bringing a {229 | ED. BEN. i. § 47-48.} mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weight, and they the spices which they had prepared for the burial of the Lord's body.

81. What promotion then was it to the Immortal to have assumed the mortal? or what gain is it to the Everlasting to have put on the temporal? what reward can be great to the Everlasting God and King, being as He is in the bosom of the Father? Perceive ye not, that this too was done and written because of us and for us, that us who are mortal and temporal, the Lord by becoming man might make immortal, and bring into the everlasting kingdom of heaven? Blush ye not, speaking lies against the divine oracles? For, when our Lord Jesus Christ had been among us, we indeed were profited as being rescued from sin; but He is the same: nor did He alter, by becoming man, (to repeat what I have already said,) but, as has been written, The Word of God abideth for ever. Surely as, before His becoming man, He, as being the Word, dispensed to the saints the Spirit as His own, so also after He was made man, He sanctities all by the Spirit, and says to His Disciples, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. And He gave It to Moses and to the other seventy; and through Him David prayed to the Father, saying, Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. On the other hand, when made man, He said, I will send to you the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth; and He sent Him, He the Word of God, as being faithful to His promise.

82. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, remaining unalterable, and at once gives and receives, giving as God's Word, receiving as man. As He Himself says, The glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one. Because of us then He asked for glory, and the words took and gave and highly exalted occur that we might take, and to us might be given, and we might be exalted in {230} Him; as also for us He sanctifies Himself that we might be sanctified in Him. For He says not, "Wherefore He anointed Thee in order to Thy being God or King or Son or Word;" for so He was before and is for ever, as has been shown; but rather, "Since Thou art God and King, therefore Thou wast anointed, since none but Thou couldst unite man to the Holy Ghost,—Thou, the Image of the Father, in which we were made in the beginning; for Thine is also the Spirit." For the nature of creatures could give no warranty for this, Angels having transgressed, and men disobeyed. Wherefore there was need of God, and such is the Word, that those who had come under a curse He Himself might set free. If then He was from nothing, He would not have been the Christ or Anointed One, being one among others, and merely partaking gifts with the rest. But, whereas He is God, as being Son of God, and is everlasting King, and exists as Radiance and Impress of the Father, therefore fitly is He the expected Christ, whom the Father announces to mankind by revelation to His holy Prophets; that as through Him we have come into being, so also in Him all men might be redeemed from their sins, and by Him all things might be ruled.

83. It is very plain then why, when the Lord came on earth, there was a necessity that He should not refuse to be called inferior to the Spirit, in respect of His manhood, as He really was. Thus, when the Jews said that He cast out devils in Beelzebub, He answered and said to them, for the exposure of their blasphemy, But if I through the Spirit of God cast out devils, &c. Behold, the Giver of the Spirit here says that He cast out devils in the Spirit; but this is not said, except because of His flesh. For since man's nature is not equal of itself to casting out devils, but only in power of the Spirit, therefore as man He said, But if I through the Spirit of God cast {231 | ED. BEN. i. § 48-50.} out devils. Of course too when He said, Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, He signified that the blasphemy offered to the Holy Ghost was greater than this against His humanity. Such blasphemy was theirs who said, Is not this the carpenter's son? but they who blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, and ascribe the deeds of the Word to the devil, shall have inevitable punishment. This is what the Lord spoke to the Jews, as man; but to the disciples, showing His Godhead and His majesty, and intimating that He was not inferior but equal to the Spirit, He gave the Spirit and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, and I send Him, and He shall glorify Me, and Whatsoever He heareth, that He shall speak. As then in this place the Lord Himself, the Giver of the Spirit, does not refuse to say that through the Spirit He casts out devils, as man; in like manner He the same, the Giver of the Spirit, refused not to say, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me, in respect of His having become flesh, as John hath said; that it might be shown in both these particulars, that it is we who need the Spirit's grace in our sanctification, and again it is we who are unable to cast out devils without the Spirit's power. Through whom then and from whom behoved it that the Spirit should be given but through the Son, whose also is the Spirit? and when were we enabled to receive It, except when the Word became man? and, as the passage of the Apostle shows that we should not have been redeemed and highly exalted, had not He who exists in form of God taken a servant's form, so David also shows, that not otherwise should we have partaken of the Spirit and been sanctified, save that the Giver of the Spirit, the Word Himself, had spoken of Himself as anointed with the Spirit for us. And therefore did we securely receive It, because He was declared to be anointed in the flesh; for the {232} flesh being first sanctified in Him, and He being said, as man, to have received the gift in behalf of the flesh, we have after Him the Spirit's grace, receiving out of His fulness.

84. Nor do the words, Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, which are added in the Psalm, show, as again you suppose, that the nature of the Word is mutable, but rather by their very force signify His immutability. For since of things made the nature is alterable, and the one portion of creation had transgressed and the other disobeyed, as has been said, and it is not certain how they will act, but it often happens that he who is now good afterwards alters and becomes different, and one who was but now righteous, soon is found unrighteous, therefore there was here also need of One who was unalterable, that men might have the immutability of the righteousness of the Word as an image and type for virtue. And this thought commends itself strongly to the right-minded. For since the first man Adam changed, and through sin death came into the world, therefore it became the second Adam to be unchangeable; that should the Serpent again assault, even the Serpent's deceit might be baffled, and, the Lord being unalterable and unchangeable, the Serpent might become powerless in his assaults against all. For as, when Adam had transgressed, his sin reached unto all men, so, when the Lord had become man and had overthrown the Serpent, that exceeding strength of His should extend to all men, so that each of us may say, For we are not ignorant of his devices. Good reason then that the Lord, who is everlasting and in nature immutable, loving righteousness and hating iniquity, should be anointed and Himself sent on mission, that, being and remaining the same, He might, by taking this alterable flesh, condemn sin in it, and might secure its freedom, and its ability henceforth to fulfil the righteousness of the law in itself, so as to be able to say, But we are {233 | ED. BEN. i. § 51-52.} not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us.

85. Vainly then, here again, O Arians, have ye made this supposition, and vainly alleged the words of Scripture; for the Word of God is unalterable, and is ever in one state, and that no other than the Father's; since how is He like the Father, unless He be thus? or how is all that is the Father's, the Son's also, if He has not the unalterableness and unchangeableness of the Father? Not as being subject to laws, and as being impelled this way and that, does He love this and hate that (for to say that from fear of disadvantage He chose the opposite, would only be to admit in another way that He is alterable); but, as being God and the Father's Word, He is a just judge and lover of virtue, or rather its source. Therefore being just and holy by nature, on this account He is said to love righteousness and to hate iniquity; as much as to say, that He loves and takes to Him the virtuous, and rejects and hates the unrighteous. This is only what divine Scripture says of the Father too: The Righteous Lord loveth righteousness: Thou hatest all them that work iniquity; and, The Lord loveth the gates of Sion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob; and, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated; and in Esaias, there is the voice of God again saying, I the Lord love righteousness, and I hate grasping ways. They ought then to expound those former words which relate to the Son, as these latter which relate to the Father; it is but reasonable, for the Son is the Father's Image. Else, if the former imply that the Son is alterable, the latter will imply change in the Father too. But since to hear this even supposed in controversy may have a bad effect on the mind, let us rule it at once that, when it is said that God loves righteousness and hates unrighteous grasping, this does not mean that He looks towards both the one and the other, and is capable of either, selecting the one and passing by the {234} other, as it may be, for this is characteristic of the creature, but that, as a judge, He loves and takes to Him the righteous and withdraws from the bad. It follows then to think the same concerning the Image of God also, that He loves and hates no otherwise than thus. For such must be the nature of the Image as is Its Father, though the Arians in their blindness fail to see either that Image or any other truth of the divine oracles. For when forced from the conceptions, or rather misconceptions, of their own hearts, they fall back upon passages of divine Scripture, here too, from dulness of intellect, according to their wont, they discern not their meaning; and laying down their own impiety as a sort of canon of interpretation, they wrest the whole of the divine oracles into accordance with it. And so, as soon as they give utterance to such doctrine, they deserve nothing more than to be told, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God; and if they persist in it, they must be put to silence, by the words, Render to man the things that are man's, and to God the things that are God's.

Chapter 14.

Answer to objections from Scripture; thirdly, Hebrews i. 4.

86. BUT it is written, say they, in the Proverbs, The Lord created Me the beginning of His ways, for His works; and in the Epistle to the Hebrews the Apostle says, Being made so much better than the Angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than they. And soon after, Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him that appointed Him. And in the Acts, Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, {235 | ED. BEN. i. § 52-54.} that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ. These passages they have brought forward at every turn, mistaking their sense, and fancying they proved that the Word of God was a creature and work, and one of things that were brought into being; and thus they deceive the thoughtless, putting forth the words of Scripture as their pretence, but instead of the true sense of it, sowing upon it the poison of their own heresy. For had they known, they would not have been impious against the Lord of glory, nor have wrested the good words of Scripture into a wrong direction. This is what comes of their appeal to Scripture; but after all it were well, did we know where precisely to find them, or if they knew for certain themselves where they stand. Do they, for instance, as they sometimes seem to do, hold to Caiaphas and his Jews, who look for some temporal greatness from "God dwelling upon earth?" If so, why do they quote the words of the Apostles, which are out of place with Jews? Or again, denying that the Word was made flesh, what right have they as if Manichees to appeal to the Proverbs, an Old Testament book, in their favour? Or if, for secular reasons, from ambition, lucre, or from regard of public opinion, they are forced to say in words contrary both to Jews and Manichees, that the Word was made flesh, why do they make their confession of faith by halves, instead of speaking out, and interpreting St. John's words of the incarnate presence of the Saviour, since we are to consider that they do not otherwise interpret it? For it is not seemly, while confessing that the Word became flesh, yet to be ashamed at what is written of Him, and on that account to pervert the sense.

87. Thus, it is written, Having become so much better than the Angels; let us then first examine this. Now it is right and necessary, as in all divine Scripture, so here, faithfully to expound the occasion concerning which the Apostle wrote, and the person, and the thing, lest the reader, from {236} ignorance missing either these or any similar particular, should be wide of the true sense. This principle understood that earnestly inquiring eunuch, when he thus besought Philip, I pray thee, of whom doth the Prophet speak this? of himself, or of some other man? for he feared lest, expounding the lesson of the wrong person, he should wander from the right drift. And the disciples, wishing to learn the time of what was foretold, besought the Lord, Tell us, said they, when shall these things be? and what is the sign of Thy coming? And again, hearing from the Saviour the events of the end, they desired to learn the time of it, not only that they might be kept from error themselves, but that they might be able to teach others; as, for instance, when they had learned, they set right the Thessalonians, who were going wrong. When then a man knows properly these points, his understanding of the faith is right and healthy; but if he mistakes any such, forthwith he falls into heresy. Thus the party of Hymenæus and Alexander were beside the time, when they said that the resurrection had already been; and the Galatians were after the time, in making much of circumcision now. And to miss the person was the lot of the Jews and is still, who think that of one of themselves it is said, Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us; and that, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you, is spoken of one of the Prophets; and who, as to the words, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, instead of learning from Philip, conjecture them to be spoken of Esaias or some other of the Prophets which had been [Note 13]. {237 | ED. BEN. i. § 54-55.}

88. Such has been the state of mind under which Christ's enemies have fallen into their foul heresy. For had they known the person, and the thing, and the occasion to which the Apostle's words relate, they would not have expounded of Christ's divinity what belongs to His manhood, nor in their folly have committed so great an impiety [Note 14]. Now this will be readily seen, if one expounds properly the beginning of this passage. For the Apostle says, God who at sundry times and diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son; and then again shortly after he says, when He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the Angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than they. Here, first, who is spoken of? [Note 15] the Son of God; He is the person. And the time? later than the prophets, and when He took flesh. And what was the thing done? the purging of our sins. Proceeding then with his account of that economy in which we are concerned, and speaking of the last times, the Apostle is naturally led to observe that not even in the former times was God silent with men, but spoke to them by the Prophets. And, whereas the Prophets ministered, and the Law was spoken by Angels, therefore when the Son too visited the earth, and that in order to minister, he was forced to add, Having become so much better than the Angels, wishing to show that, as much as the Son excels a servant, so much also the ministry of the Son is better than the ministry of servants. Contrasting, then, the old ministry and the new, the Apostle speaks out to the Jews, writing and saying, Become so much better than the Angels. {238} This is the occasion and the drift of the passage, but here these men find two difficulties; first, they object, that the Apostle says that our Lord has "become," but to become is to come to be, that is, to have a beginning. Again, secondly, he calls Him "better than the Angels;" that is, the Son Himself is an Angel, though better than the rest. This is what they urge against the orthodox doctrine.

89. [Note 16] Now, if they insist on the Apostle's language as being the language of comparison, and on comparison as denoting a oneness of kind, so that the Son is of the nature of Angels, they will in the first place incur the disgrace of rivalling and repeating what Valentinus held, and Carpocrates, and those other heretics, of whom the former said that the Angels were one in kind with the Christ, and the latter that Angels are the framers of the world. Perchance it is under the instruction of these masters that they compare the Word of God with the Angels; yet what likeness is there between the one and the other? Surely amid such speculations, they will be moved by the Psalmist, saying, Who is he among the gods that shall be like unto the Lord? and, Among the gods there is none like unto Thee, O Lord. It is true, as they say, that comparison does belong to subjects one in kind, not to those which differ. No one, for instance, would compare God with man, or again, man with brutes, nor wood with stone, because their natures are unlike; but God is beyond comparison, and man is compared to man, and wood to wood, and stone to stone. This is true, but in such cases we speak not of better, but of "rather" and of "more;" thus Joseph was comely rather than his brethren, and Rachel than Leah; star is not better than star, but rather excels in glory; whereas {239 | ED. BEN. i. § 55-62.} in bringing together things which differ in kind, then better is used to mark the difference. Observe then, had the Apostle said, "by so much has the Son precedence of the Angels," or "by so much greater," or more honourable, you would have had a plea, as if the Son were compared with the Angels; but he does not say so, he says, better, and in saying that He is better, and differs as far as Son differs from servants, the Apostle shows that He is other than the Angels in nature.

90. And of this we have proof from divine Scripture: David, for instance, saying in the Psalm, One day in Thy courts is better than a thousand; and Solomon crying out, Receive my instruction and not silver, and knowledge beyond choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. Are not wisdom and stones of the earth different in substance and separate in nature? Are heavenly courts at all akin to earthly houses? Or is there any similarity between things eternal and spiritual, and things temporal and mortal? And this is what Esaias says, Thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My Covenant; even unto them will I give in Mine house, and within My walls, a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Therefore in like manner there is nought of kin between the Son and the Angels: so that the word better is not used to compare but to contrast, because of the difference of His nature from them. And therefore the Apostle also himself, when he interprets the word better, places its force in nothing short of the Son's excellence over things created, calling the one Son, the other servants; the one, as a Son with the Father sitting on His right; and the others as servants, standing before Him, and being sent, and fulfilling offices. Scripture, in speaking {240} thus, implies, O Arians, not that the Son is brought into being, but rather that He is other than such beings as have a beginning, and belongs to the Father, being in His bosom.

91. If indeed He be in substance other than and distinct from created things, what comparison of His substance can there be, or what likeness to them? And this Paul makes plain in this very passage, For unto which of the Angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee? And of the Angels He saith, Who maketh His Angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. Observe here the word made belongs to things that come into being, and he calls them works; but to the Son he speaks not of a making, nor of a becoming, but of eternity and kingship, and a Framer's office, exclaiming, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever; and, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine hands; they shall perish, but Thou remainest. From which words even they, were they but willing, might perceive that the Framer is other than the things framed, the former being God, the latter being creatures which have been made out of nothing. Not that, They shall perish, means as if the creation were destined for destruction, but the words indicate the nature of things created by the issue to which they tend. For things which admit of perishing, though, through the grace of their Maker, they perish not, yet have come out of nothing, and themselves witness that they once were not. And on this account, since their nature is such, it is said of the Son, Thou remainest, to show His eternity; for not having the capacity of perishing, as things have which began to be, but having eternal duration, it is foreign to Him to have it said, "He was not before His generation," but it belongs to Him to be always, and to endure together with the Father. And though the Apostle had not thus written in his Epistle to {241 | ED. BEN. i. § 55-62.} the Hebrews, still his other Epistles, and the whole of Scripture, would certainly forbid their entertaining such notions concerning the Word. But since he has here expressly written it, and, as has been above shown, the Son is Offspring of the Father's substance, and He is Framer, and other things are framed by Him, and He is the Radiance and Word and Image and Wisdom of the Father, and things are made to stand and serve in their place below the Trinity, therefore the Son is different in kind and different in substance from things created, and on the contrary belongs to the Father's substance and is one in nature with it. And hence it is that the Son too says not My Father is better than I, lest we should conceive Him to be foreign to His Father's Nature, but greater, not indeed in fulness of powers, nor in length of time, but because of His generation from the Father Himself; nay, in saying greater He again shows that He is proper to His substance.

92. At the same time, though the Apostle's words so clearly discriminate the substance of the Word from the nature of creatures, what he directly had in view, when he contrasted the one with the other, and called Him better than them, was the Lord's visitation in the flesh and the economy which He then sustained, and which showed that He was not like those former messengers; so that, as much as He excelled in nature those who were sent before by Him, by so much also the grace which came from and through Him was better than the ministry through Angels. For it is the function of servants to demand the fruits and no more; but of the Son and Master to forgive the debts and to transfer the vineyard.

93. And this is what the Apostle proceeds to show: Therefore, he says, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For the word spoken by Angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense {242} of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him. But if the Son were in the number of things created, He was not better than they, nor did disobedience involve increase of punishment because of Him; any more than in the Ministry of Angels there would be, according to each Angel, greater or less guilt in the transgressors, but the law was one, and one was its vengeance on transgressors. But, whereas the Word is not in the number of created things, but is Son of the Father, therefore, as He Himself is better and His acts better and transcendent, so also the punishment is worse. Let them contemplate then the grace which is through the Son, and let them acknowledge the witness which He gives even from His works, that He is other than things created, and alone the very Son in the Father and the Father in Him. And the Law was spoken by Angels, and perfected no one, needing the visitation of the Word, as Paul hath said; but that visitation in the flesh has perfected the work of the Father. And then, from Adam unto Moses death reigned; but the presence of the Word abolished death. And no longer in Adam are we all dying; but in Christ we are all reviving. And then from Dan to Bersabe was the Law proclaimed, and in Judea only was God known; but now, unto all the earth has gone forth their voice, and all the earth has been filled with the knowledge of God, and the disciples have made disciples of all the nations, and now is fulfilled what is written, They shall be all taught of God. And then what was revealed, was but a type; but now the truth has been manifested [Note 17]. And this again the Apostle himself {243 | ED. BEN. i. § 55-62.} describes afterwards more clearly, saying, By so much did Jesus become surety of a better testament; and again, But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. And, For the Law made nothing perfect, but was the bringing in of a better hope. And again he says, It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Both in the verse before us then, and throughout, does he ascribe the word better to the Lord, who is better and other than created things. For better is the sacrifice through Him, better the hope in Him; and also the promises through Him, not merely as great compared with small, but the one differing from the other in nature, because He who conducts this economy is better than all creatures.

94. "Better" then, as has been said, could not have been brought to pass in any other than the Son, who sits on the right hand of the Father. And what does this denote but that the Son is really Son, and that the Godhead of the Father is the same as the Son's? For, because the Son reigns in His Father's kingdom, hence is He seated upon the same throne as the Father, and because contemplated in the Father's Godhead, therefore is the Word God, and whoso beholds the Son, beholds the Father; and thus there is but one God. Sitting then on the right, yet hath He not His Father on the left; but, whatever is right and precious in the Father, that also the Son has, and He says, All things that the Father hath are Mine. Wherefore also the Son, though sitting on the right, also sees the Father on the right, though it be as having become man, that He says, {244} I saw the Lord always before My face, for He is on My right hand, therefore I shall not fall. This shows moreover, that the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son; for the Father being on the right, the Son is on the right [Note 18]; and while the Son sits on the right of the Father, the Father is in the Son. And the Angels indeed minister ascending and descending; but concerning the Son He saith, And let all the Angels of God worship Him. And when Angels minister, they say, "I am sent unto thee,'' and "the Lord has commanded;" but the Son, though He say in human fashion, "I am sent," and comes to finish the work and to minister, nevertheless says, as being Word and Image, I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; and He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and The Father that abideth in Me, He doeth the works; for whatever we behold in that Image is the Father's handiwork.

95. And now coming, secondly, to the expression become, which here occurs, neither does this show that the Son is created, as you suppose. If indeed it were simply become and no more, a case might stand for the Arians; but whereas they are forestalled with the word Son throughout the passage, showing that He is other than things created, so again not even the word become occurs absolutely, but better is immediately subjoined to it. For the writer thought the expression immaterial, knowing that in the case of one who was confessedly a genuine Son, to say become is the same with saying that He had only in some sense been made, and that He is in a {245 | ED. BEN. i. § 55-62.} certain relation better. For it matters not, should we speak of what is really generate, as "become" or "made;" but on the contrary, things made, God's handiwork as they are, cannot be called generate, except so far as after their making they partake of the Son who is the true Generate, and are therefore said themselves to have been generated also, not at all because of their own nature, but because of their participation of the Son in the Spirit. And this again divine Scripture recognises; for it not only says in the case of things really made, All things came to be through Him, and without Him there was not anything made, and, In Wisdom hast Thou made them all; but in the case of sons also who are really generate, To Job there came seven sons and three daughters, and Abraham was an hundred years old when there became to him Isaac his son; and Moses said, If to any one there come sons. Therefore, since the Son is other than things created, and is alone the proper Offspring of the Father's substance, this plea of the Arians from the word become is worth nothing.

96. The quarrel then between us and them turns on the previous question, whether the Son is a real Son, or in name only, not in fact. If He is already known to be the genuine Offspring of the Father, then "become" will do His divine greatness no harm; but certainly, if Sonship has still to be proved as His own, then this expression, as far as it goes, may be used as an argument against His possessing it. But, if it is to prevail, let them not in mere consistency separate Him and the other inhabitants of heaven. If He is to be accounted an Angel, and has come to be such as the rest have, let Him share their nature; if they are sons, let Him be creature; if He stands before the Throne, let them all, as well as Him, be on the Right Hand. This must be, if Arius can bring Scripture on his side; but if, on the other hand, Paul, as I have already quoted him, distinguishes the Son from things made, saying, {246} To which of the Angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son? and the One frames heaven and earth, but they come into being by Him, and He sitteth with the Father, but they stand-by ministering, who does not see that he has not used the word become of the substance of the Word, but of that special ministration to which He condescended? For as, being the Word, He became flesh, so when become man, He became by so much better in His ministry than the ministry which came by the Angels, as Son excels servants and Framer things framed. Let them cease therefore to take the word become to relate to the substance of the Son, for He is not one of things that have come to be; and let them acknowledge that it is indicative of His ministry, and of the economy of which His coming was a condition.

97. Moreover, that He is said to have become our surety, in the passage which I just now quoted, explains in what sense the word become is to be taken. He became our surety by taking flesh; then it was therefore that He became better than the Angels, viz., when He visited the earth and was born of Mary. Paul then does not speak of the Son, Wisdom, Radiance, Image of the Father, coming to be, but of His coming to be the minister of the covenant, in which death, which once ruled, is abolished; for here also the ministry which is through Him has become better, in that 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 for sin condemned sin in the flesh, ridding it of the trespass, in which, being continually held captive, it admitted not the Divine Mind. And having rendered the flesh capable of the Word, He made us walk, no longer according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and say again and again, "But we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit," and, "For the Son of God came into the world, not to judge the world, but {247 | ED. BEN. i. § 55-62.} to redeem all men and that the world might be saved through Him." Formerly the world, as guilty, was under judgment from the Law; but now the Word has taken on Himself the judgment, and having suffered in the body for all, has bestowed salvation upon all. With a view to this, hath John exclaimed, The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Better is grace than the Law, and truth than the shadow.

98. To conclude: If they still carry on the contest, it will be natural to meet them with the force of those similar expressions which are used concerning the Father Himself. This may serve to prevail with them to refrain their tongue from evil, or may teach them the depth of their folly. Now it is written, Become my strong rock and house of defence, that Thou mayest save me. And again, The Lord became a defence for the poor, and like passages, which are found in divine Scripture. If then they apply these passages to the Son, which perhaps is nearest the truth, then let them acknowledge that the sacred writers ask Him, as not being a creature, to become to them a strong rock and house of defence; and for the future let them understand become, and He made, and He created, of His incarnate presence. For then did He become a strong rock and house of defence, when He bore our sins in His own body upon the tree, and said, Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

99. However, if they are unwilling thus to interpret, and therefore refer these passages to the Father, will they, when it is here also written, "Become" and "He became," venture so far as to affirm that God has come into being? Yea, they will dare, as they thus argue concerning His Word; for the course of their argument carries them on to conjecture the same things concerning the Father, as they devise concerning His Word. But far be such a notion ever from the thoughts of all the faithful! for neither {248} is the Son in the number of things made, nor do the words of Scripture in question, Become, and He became, denote beginning of being, but that succour in Him which comes to the needy. For God is always, and one and the same; but men came into being afterwards through the Word, when the Father Himself willed it; and God is invisible and inaccessible to created things, and especially to men upon earth. When then men in infirmity invoke Him, when in persecution they ask help, when under injuries they pray, then the Invisible, being a lover of man, shines forth upon them with His beneficence, which He exercises through and in His proper Word. And forthwith the divine manifestation is made to every one according to his need, and He becomes to the weak in health, and to the persecuted, a refuge and house of defence; and to the injured He says, While Thou speakest I will say here I am. Moreover the usage of men recognises this, and every one will confess its propriety. Often succour comes from man to man; one has undertaken toil for the injured, as Abraham for Lot; and another has opened his home to the persecuted, as Abdias to the sons of the prophets; and another has entertained a stranger, as Lot the Angels; and another has supplied the needy, as Job those who begged of him. As then, should one and the other of these benefited persons say, "Such a one became an assistance to me," and another "and to me a refuge," and "to another a supply," yet in so saying would not be speaking of the origination or of the substance of their benefactors, but of the beneficence coming to themselves from them, so also when the sacred writers say concerning God, He became, and become Thou, they do not denote any original becoming, for God is unoriginate and ingenerate, but the salvation which comes to pass in the case of men from Him.

100. This being so understood, it is parallel also respecting the Son, that whatever, and however often, a phrase {249 | ED. BEN. i. § 63-64.} occurs, such as became and become, it should ever be taken in the same sense: for when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and came to minister and to bestow salvation on all, then He became to us salvation, and became life, and became propitiation; then His economy in our behalf became better than the Angels, and He became the Way and became the Resurrection. And as the words Become my strong rock do not denote that the substance of God Himself became, but His loving-kindness, as has been said, so also here the having become better than the Angels, and He became, and by so much is Jesus become a better surety, do not signify that the substance of the Word is created (perish the thought!), but the beneficence which towards us came through His incarnation; unthankful though the heretics be, and obstinate in behalf of their impiety.

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1. This chapter is transferred here from the end of the third Oration (iii. § 58-67) as being there a sort of Postscript, and properly belonging to the series of intellectual objections and their answers, with which the work opens, and that both in respect to its subject and its language.
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2. The allusion, as before, is to the hydra, with its ever-springing heads, as explained at the beginning of this chapter, and infr. n. 52, and with a special allusion to Asterius, who, supr. p. 87, is called [polukephalos sophistes].
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3. Vid. App. Athanasius.
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4. Vid. [boule].
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5. Vid. [sumbebekos].
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6. The two first senses here given answer to the two first mentioned, supr. p. 50, and, as he there says, are plainly irrelevant. The third there given, which, as he there observes, is ambiguous and used for a sophistical purpose, is here divided into third and fourth, answering to the two senses which alone are assigned in supr. p. 53, and on them the question turns. This is an instance, of which many occur, how Athan. used his former writings and worked over again his former ground, and simplified or cleared what he had said. In Decr. Nic. supr. p. 50 (A.D. 350) we have three senses of [agenneton], two irrelevant and the third ambiguous; here (A.D. 358) he divides the third into two; in Arim. (A.D. 359) he rejects and omits the two first, leaving the two last, which are the critical senses.
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7. The passage which follows is written with his de Decr. before him. At first he but uses the same topics, but presently he incorporates into this Discourse an actual portion of his former work, with only such alterations as an author commonly makes in transcribing. This, which is not unfrequent with Athan., shows us the care with which he made his doctrinal statements, though they seem at first sight written off. It also accounts for the diffuseness and repetition which might be imputed to his composition, what seems superfluous being often only the insertion of an extract from a former work.
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8. [treptos], not, changeable, but of a moral nature capable of improvement or the reverse. Arius maintained this in the strongest terms at starting. "On being asked whether the Word of God is capable of altering as the devil altered, they scrupled not to say, 'Yea, He is capable.'" Alex. ap, Socr. i. 6, p. 11.
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9. Vid. supr. p. 6.
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10. Vid. supr. p. 200. Also App. [sumbebekos].
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11. [ekdikesai]. It is observable that Athan. does not deny that Scripture can be read wrongly (as if it always spoke for itself, and carried with it its own interpretation), but only says it admits of an orthodox sense. Vid. [orthos], &c.
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12. All this implies a traditional and authoritative interpretation of the books of the Old Testament.
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13. The more common evasion on the part of the Jews was to interpret the prophecy of their own sufferings in captivity. It was an idea of Grotius that the prophecy received a first fulfilment in Jeremiah, vid. Justin. Tryph. 72, et al. Iren. Hær. iv. 33. Tertull. in Jud. ii. 13. Euseb. Dem. iii. 2, &c.
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14. This implies, as above, that the truths of Scripture are not to be picked out and ascertained from the sacred text by induction, but can no otherwise be learned than by coming to Scripture after a definite instruction.
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15. Vid. p. 29, infr, p. 257, Sent. Dion. § 4.
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16. There is apparently much confusion in the arrangement of the paragraphs that follow; though the appearance may perhaps arise from Athan.'s incorporating some passage from a former work into his text; vid. supr. p. 208, note. Attempts have been made here to make the order more simple.
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17. Parts of this chapter are much more finished in style than the general course of his Orations. It may be indeed only the natural consequence of his warming with his subject, but this eloquent passage looks very like an insertion. Some words of it are found in Sent. D. 11, written a few years sooner. He certainly transcribed himself in other places, as S. Leo, e.g., repeats himself in another controversy.
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18. Nec ideo tamen quasi humanâ formâ circumscriptum esse Deum Patrem arbitrandum est, ut de illo cogitantibus dextrum aut sinistrum latus animo occurrat; aut id ipsum quod sedens Pater dicitur, flexis poplitibus fieri putandum est, ne in illud incidamus sacrilegium, &c. August. de Fid. et Symb. 14. Does this passage of Athan.'s show that the Anthropomorphites were stirring in Egypt already?
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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