{43}

Chapter 6. Authorities in support of the Council

Theognostus; Dionysius of Alexandria; Dionysius of Rome; Origen.

. 25.

1. THIS then is the sense in which the Fathers at Nica made use of these expressions; but next that they did not invent them for themselves, (since this is one of their excuses,) but spoke what they had received from their predecessors, proceed we to prove this also, to cut off even this excuse from them. Know then, O Arians, foes of Christ, that Theognostus [Note A], a learned man, did not decline the phrase "of the substance," for in the second book of his Hypotyposes, he writes thus of the Son:—

"The substance of the Son is not any thing procured from without, nor accruing out of nothing [Note B], but it sprang from the Father's substance, as the radiance of light, as the vapour [Note C] of water; for neither the radiance, nor the vapour, is the water itself or the sun itself, nor is it alien; but it is an effluence of the Father's substance, which, however, suffers no partition. For as the sun remains the same, and is not impaired by the rays poured forth by it, so neither does the Father's substance suffer change, though it has the Son as an Image of itself [Note D]." {44}

Theognostus then, after first investigating in the way of an exercise [Note E], proceeds to lay down his sentiments in the foregoing words.

2. Next, Dionysius, who was Bishop of Alexandria, upon his writing against Sabellius and expounding at large the Saviour's economy according to the flesh, and thence proving against the Sabellians that not the Father but his Word was made flesh, as John has said, was suspected of saying that the Son was a thing made and generated, and not one in substance with the Father; on this he writes to his namesake Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, to explain that this was a slander upon him [Note F]. And he assured him that he had not called the Son made, nay, did confess Him to be even one in substance. And his words run thus:—

"And I have written in another letter a refutation of the false charge they bring against me, that I deny that Christ was one in substance with God. For though I say that I have not found this term any where in Holy Scripture, yet my remarks which follow, and which they have not noticed, are not inconsistent with that belief. For I instanced a human production as being evidently homogeneous, and I observed that undeniably parents differed from their children only in not being the same individuals, otherwise {45} there could be neither parents nor children. And my letter, as I said before, owing to present circumstances I am unable to produce; or I would have sent you the very words I used, or rather a copy of it all, which, if I have an opportunity, I will do still. But I am sure from recollection that I adduced parallels of things kindred with each other; for instance, that a plant grown from seed or from root, was other than that from which it sprang, yet was altogether one in nature with it [Note G]; and that a stream flowing from a fountain, gained a new name, for that neither the fountain was called stream, nor the stream fountain, and both existed, and the stream was the water from the fountain."

. 26.

3. And that the Word of God is not a work or creature, but an offspring proper to the Father's substance and indivisible, as the great Council wrote, here you may see in the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, who, while writing against the Sabellians, thus inveighs against those who dared to say so:—

"Next, I reasonably turn to those who divide and cut into pieces and destroy that most sacred doctrine of the Church of God, the Divine Monarchy [Note H], making it certain three powers and partitive [Note 1] {46} subsistences [Note I] and godheads three. I am told that some among you who are catechists and teachers of the Divine Word, take the lead in this tenet, who are diametrically opposed, so to speak, to Sabellius's opinions; for he blasphemously says that the Son is the Father, and the Father the Son, but they in some sort preach three Gods, as dividing the Holy Unity into three subsistences foreign to each other and utterly separate. For it must needs be that with the God of the Universe, the Divine Word is one, and the Holy Ghost must repose [Note 2] and habitate in God; thus in one as in a summit, I mean the God of the Universe, must the Divine Trinity [Note K] be gathered up and brought together. For it is the doctrine of the presumptuous Marcion, to sever and divide the Divine Monarchy into three origins,—a devil's teaching, not that of Christ's true disciples and lovers of the Saviour's lessons. For they know well that a Trinity is preached by divine Scripture, but that neither Old Testament nor New preaches three Gods.

4. Equally must one censure those who hold the Son to be a work, and consider that the Lord has come into being, as one of things which really came to be; whereas the divine oracles witness to a generation suitable to Him and becoming, but not to any fashioning or making. A blasphemy then is it, not ordinary, but even the highest, to say that the Lord is in any sort a handiwork. {47} For if He came to be Son, once He was not; but He was always, if (that is) He be in the Father, as He says Himself, and if the Christ be Word and Wisdom and Power, (which, as ye know, divine Scripture says,) and these attributes be powers of God. If then the Son came into being, once these attributes were not; consequently there was a time, when God was without them; which is most extravagant. And why say more on these points to you, men full of the Spirit and well aware of the extravagances which come to view from saying that the Son is a work? Not attending, as I consider, to this circumstance, the authors of this opinion have entirely missed the truth, in explaining, contrary to the sense of divine and prophetic Scripture in the passage, the words, The Lord hath created Me a beginning of His ways unto his works [Prov. viii. 22.]. For the sense of He created, as ye know, is not one, for we must understand He created in this place, as 'He set over the works made by Him,' that is, 'made by the Son Himself.' And He created here must not be taken for made, for creating differs from making; Is not He Thy Father that hath bought thee? hath He not made thee and created thee? [Deut. xxxii. 6.] says Moses in his great song in Deuteronomy. And one may say to them, O men of great hazard, is He a work, who is the First-born of every creature, who is born from the womb before the morning star [Col. i. 15.], who said, as Wisdom, Before all the hills He begets Me? [Ps. cx. 3.] And in many passages of the divine oracles is the Son said to have been [Note 3] generated, but now here to have [Note 4] come into being; which manifestly convicts those of misconception about the Lord's generation, who presume to call His divine and ineffable generation a making [Note L]. Neither then may we divide into three Godheads the wonderful and divine Unity; nor disparage with the name of 'work' the dignity and exceeding majesty of the Lord; but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and hold that to the God of the universe the Word is united. For I, says He, and the Father are one; and, I in the Father and the {48} Father in Me. For thus both the Divine Trinity, and the holy preaching of the Monarchy, will be preserved."

. 27.

5. And concerning the everlasting co-existence of the Word with the Father, and that He is not of another substance or subsistence, but proper to the Father's, as the Bishops in the Council said, hear again from the labour-lovingt [Note M] Origen also. For what he has written as if inquiring and exercising himself, that let no one take as expressive of his own sentiments, but of parties who are disputing in the investigation, but what he [Note N] definitely declares, that is the sentiment of the labour-loving man. After his exercises [Note 5] then against the heretics, straightway he introduces his personal belief, thus:—

"If there be an image of the Invisible God, it is an invisible Image; nay, I will be bold to add, that, as being the likeness of the Father, never was it not. For else was that God, who, according to John, is called Light, (for God is Light,) without the radiance of His proper glory, that a man should presume to assert the Son's origin of existence, as if before He was not. But when was not that image of the Father's Ineffable and Nameless and Unutterable subsistence, that Expression and Word, and He that knows the Father? for let him understand well who dares to say, 'Once the Son was not,' that he is saying, 'Once Wisdom was not,' and 'Word was not,' and 'Life was not.'"

6. And again elsewhere he says:—

"But it is not innocent nor without peril, if because of our weakness of understanding we deprive God, as far as in us lies, of the Only-begotten Word ever co-existing with Him; and the Wisdom in which He rejoiced; else He must be conceived as not always possessed of joy."

See, we are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father; but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many fathers can ye assign to {49} your phrases? Not one of the understanding and wise; for all abhor you, but the devil alone [Note 6]; none but he is your father in this apostasy, who both in the beginning scattered on you the seed of this irreligion, and now persuades you to slander the Ecumenical Council [Note O], for committing to writing, not your doctrines, but that which from the beginning those who were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word have handed down to us [Note P]. For the faith which the Council has {50} confessed in writing, that is the faith of the Catholic Church; to assert this, the blessed Fathers so expressed themselves while condemning the Arian heresy; and this is a chief reason why these apply themselves to calumniate the Council. For it is not the terms which trouble them [Note 7], but that those terms prove them to be heretics, and presumptuous beyond other heresies. {51}

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Chapter 7. On the Arian Symbol "Ingenerate"

This term afterwards adopted by them; and why; three senses of it. A fourth
sense. Ingenerate denotes God in contrast to His creatures, not to His Son;
Father the scriptural title instead; Conclusion.

. 28.

1. THIS in fact was the reason, when the unsound nature of their phrases had been exposed at that time, and they were henceforth open to the charge of irreligion, that they proceeded to borrow of the Greeks the term Ingenerate [Note A], that, under shelter of it, they might reckon among the things generate and the creatures, that Word of God, by whom these very things came to be; so unblushing are they in their irreligion, so obstinate in their blasphemies against the Lord. If then this want of shame arises from ignorance of the term, they ought to learn of those who gave it them, and who have not scrupled to say that even intellect, which they derive from Good, and the soul which proceeds from intellect, though their respective origins be known, are notwithstanding ingenerate, for they understand that by so saying they do not disparage that first Origin of which the others come [Note B]. This being the case, let them {52} say the like themselves, or else not speak at all, of what they do not know. But if they consider they are acquainted with the subject, then they must be interrogated; for [Note C] the expression is not from divine Scripture [Note 8], but they are contentious, as elsewhere, for unscriptural positions. Just as I have related the reason and sense, with which the Council and the Fathers before it defined and published "of the substance," and "one in substance," agreeably to what Scripture says of the Saviour; so now let them if they can, answer on their part what has led them to this unscriptural phrase, and in what sense they call God Ingenerate?

2. In truth, I am told [Note D], that the name has different senses; philosophers say that it means, first, "what has not yet, but may, come to be;" next, "what neither exists, nor can come into being;" and thirdly, "what exists indeed, but was neither generated nor had origin of being, but is everlasting and indestructible." [Note E] Now perhaps they will wish to pass over the {53} first two senses, from the absurdity which follows; for according to the first, things that already have come to be, and things that are expected to be, are ingenerate; and the second is more extravagant still; accordingly they will proceed to the third sense, and use the word in it; though here, in this sense too, their irreligion will be quite as great. For if by Ingenerate they mean what has no origin of being, nor is generated or created, but eternal, and say that the Word of God is contrary to this, who comprehends not the craft of these foes of God? who but would stone [Note F] such madmen? for, when they are ashamed to bring forward again those first phrases which they fabled, and which were condemned, the bad men have taken another way to signify them, by means of what they call Ingenerate. For if the Son be of things generate, it follows, that He too came to be from nothing; and if He has an origin of being, then He was not before His generation; and if He is not eternal, there was once when He was not [Note G]. . 29. If these are their sentiments they ought to signify their heterodoxy in their own phrases, and not to hide their perverseness under the cloke of the Ingenerate. But instead of this, the evil-minded men are busy with their craftiness after their father, the devil; for as he attempts to deceive in the guise of others, so these have broached the term Ingenerate, that they might pretend to speak piously {54} of God, yet might cherish a concealed blasphemy against the Lord, and under this covering might teach it to others.

3. However, on the detecting of this sophism, what remains to them? "We have found another," say the evil-doers; and then proceed to add to what they have said already, that Ingenerate means what has no author of being, but stands itself in this relation to things generate. Unthankful, and in truth deaf to the Scriptures! who do every thing, and say every thing, not to honour God, but to dishonour the Son, ignorant that he who dishonours the Son, dishonours the Father. For first, even though they denote God in this way, still the Word is not proved to be of things generated. For if He be viewed as offspring of the substance of the Father, He is of consequence with Him eternally. For this name of offspring does not detract from the nature of the Word, nor does Ingenerate take its sense from contrast with the Son, but with the things which come to be through the Son; and as he who addresses an architect, and calls him framer of house or city, does not under this designation allude to the son who is begotten from him, but on account of the art and science which he displays in his work, calls him artificer, signifying thereby that he is not such as the things made by him, and while he knows the nature of the builder, knows also that he whom he begets is other than his works; and in regard to his son calls him father, but in regard to his works, creator and maker; in like manner he who says in this sense that God is ingenerate, names Him from His works, signifying, not only that He is not generate, but that He is maker of things which are so; yet is aware withal that the Word is other than the things generate, and alone a proper [Note 9] offspring of the Father, through whom all things came to be and consist [Note H].

. 30.

4. In like manner, when the Prophets spoke of God as All-powerful, they did not so name Him, as if the Word were included in that All [Note 10]; (for they knew that the Son was other than things generate, and Sovereign over them Himself, according to His likeness to the Father;) but because He is Sovereign over all things which through the Son He has {55} made, and has given the authority of all things to the Son, and having given it, is Himself once more the Lord of all things through the Word. Again, when they called God, Lord of the powers [Note 11], they said not this as if the Word was one of those powers, but because, while He is Father of the Son, He is Lord of the powers which through the Son have come to be. For again, the Word too, as being in the Father, is Lord of them all, and Sovereign over all; for all things, whatsoever the Father hath, are the Son's. This then being the force of such titles, in like manner let a man call God ingenerate, if it so please him; not however as if the Word were of generate things, but because, as I said before, God not only is not generate, but through His proper Word is He the maker of things which are so. For though the Father be called such, still the Word is the Father's Image, and one in substance with Him; and being His Image, He must be distinct from things generate, and from every thing; for whose Image He is, to Him hath He it to be proper [Note 12] and to be like: so that he who calls the Father ingenerate and almighty, perceives in the Ingcnerate and the Almighty, His Word and His Wisdom, which is the Son. But these wondrous men, and prompt for irreligion, hit upon the term Ingenerate, not as caring for God's honour, but from malevolence towards the Saviour; for if they had regard to honour and blessing, it rather had been right and good to acknowledge and to call God Father, than to give Him this name; for in calling God ingenerate, they are, as I said before, calling Him from things which came to be, and as a Maker only, that so they may imply the Word to be a work after their own pleasure; but he who calls God Father, in Him withal signifies His Son also, and cannot fall to know that, whereas there is a Son, through this Son all things that came to be were created.

. 31.

5. Therefore it will be much more accurate to denote God from the Son and to call Him Father, than to name Him and call Him Ingenerate from his works only; for the latter term refers to the works that have come to be at the will of God through the Word, but the name of Father points out the proper offspring from His substance. And whereas the Word surpasses things generate, by so much and more also {56} doth calling God Father surpass the calling Him Ingenerate; for the latter is unscriptural and suspicious, as it has various senses; but the former is simple and scriptural, and more accurate, and alone 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 in the Father and the Father in Me [John xiv. 10. 9.]; and, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and, I and the Father are one [Ib. x. 30.]; but no where 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, which art in heaven [Mat. vi. 9.]. And it was His Will, that the Summary of our faith should have the same bearing. For He has bid us be baptized, not in the name of Ingenerate and generate, not into the name of uncreate and creature, but into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost [Note I]; for with such an initiation we too are made sons verily [Note K], and using {57} the name of the Father, we acknowledge from that name the Word in the Father. But if He wills that we should call His own Father our Father, we must not on that account measure ourselves with the Son according to nature, for it is because of the Son that the Father is so called by us; for since the Word bore our body and came to be [Note 13] in us, therefore by reason of the Word in us, is God called our Father. For the Spirit of the Word in us, names through us His own Father as ours, which is the Apostle's meaning when he says, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father [Gal. iv. 6.].

. 32.

6. But perhaps being refuted as touching the term Ingenerate also, they will say, according to their evil nature, "It behoved, as regards our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ also, to state from the Scriptures [Note 14] what is there written of Him, and not to introduce unscriptural expressions." Yes, it behoved, say I too; for the tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture, than from other sources [Note L]; but the ill disposition and the versatile and crafty irreligion of the Eusebians, compelled the Bishops, as I said before, to publish more distinctly the terms which overthrow their irreligion; and what the Council did write has already been shewn to have an orthodox sense, while the Arians have been shewn to be corrupt in their expressions, and evil in their {58} dispositions. The term Ingenerate, having its own sense, and admitting of a religious use, they nevertheless, according to their own idea, and as they will, use for the dishonour of the Saviour, all for the sake of contentiously maintaining, like giants [Note M], their fight with God. But as they did not escape condemnation when they adduced these former phrases, so when they misconceive of the Ingenerate which in itself admits of being used well and religiously, they were detected, being disgraced before all, and their heresy every where proscribed.

7. This then, as I could, have I related, by way of explaining what was formerly done in the Council; but I know that the contentious among Christ's foes will not be disposed to change even after hearing this, but will ever search about for other pretences, and for others again after those. For as the Prophet speaks, If the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots [Jer. xiii. 23.], then will they be willing to think religiously, who have been instructed in irreligion. Thou however, Beloved, on receiving this, read it by thyself; and if thou approvest of it, read it also to the brethren who happen to be present, that they too on hearing it, may welcome the Council's zeal for the truth, and the exactness of its sense; and may condemn that of Christ's foes, the Arians, and the futile pretences, which for the sake of their irreligious heresy they have been at the pains to frame for each other; because to God and the Father is due the glory, honour, and worship with His co-existent Son and Word, together with the All-holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and unto endless ages of ages. Amen.

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Footnotes

A. Athanasius elsewhere calls him "the admirable and excellent." ad Serap. iv. 9. He was Master of the Catechetical school of Alexandria towards the end of the 3d century, being a scholar, or at least a follower of Origen. His seven books of Hypotyposes treated of the Holy Trinity, of angels, and evil spirits, of the Incarnation, and the Creation. Photius, who gives this account, Cod. 106, accuses him of heterodoxy on these points; which Athanasius in a measure admits, as far as the wording of his treatise went, when he speaks of his "investigating by way of exercise." Eusebius does not mention him at all.
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B. Vid. above . 15. fin. "God was alone," says Tertullian, "because there was nothing external to him, extrinsecus; yet not even then alone, for He had with Him, what He had in Himself, His Reason." in Prax. 5. Non per adoptionem spiritus filius fit extrinsecus, sed natur filius est. Origen. Periarch. i. 2. n. 4.
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C. From Wisdom vii. 25. and so Origen, Periarch. i. 2. n. 5. and 9. and Athan. de Sent. Dionys. 15.
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D. It is sometimes erroneously supposed that such illustrations as this are intended to explain how the Sacred Mystery in question is possible, whereas they are merely intended to shew that the words we use concerning it are not self-contradictory, which is the objection most commonly brought against them. To say that the doctrine of the Son's generation does not intrench upon the Father's perfection and immutability, or negative the Son's eternity, seems at first sight inconsistent with what the words Father and Son mean, till another image is adduced, such as the sun and radiance, in which that alleged inconsistency is seen to exist in fact. Here one image corrects another; and the accumulation of images is not, as is often thought, the restless and fruitless effort of the mind to enter into the Mystery, but is a safeguard against any one image, nay, any collection of images being supposed sufficient. If it be said that the language used concerning the sun and its radiance is but popular not philosophical, so again the Catholic language concerning the Holy Trinity may, nay, must be economical, not adequate, conveying the truth, not in the tongues of angels, but under human modes of thought and speech.
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E. [en gumnasiai exetasas]. And so . 27. of Origen, [zeton kai gumnazon]. Constantine too, writing to Alexander and Arius, speaks of altercation, [physikes tinos gumnasias heneka]. Socr. i. 7. In somewhat a similar way, Athanasius speaks of Dionysius writing [kat' oikonomian], economically, or with reference to certain persons addressed or objects contemplated, de Sent. D. 6. and 26.
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F. It is well known that the great development of the power of the Sec of Rome was later than the age of Athanasius; but it is here in place, to state historically some instances of an earlier date in which it interfered in the general conduct of the Church. S. Clement of Rome wrote a pastoral letter to the Corinthians, at a time when they seem to have been without a Bishop. The heretic Marcion, on his excommunication at home, came to Rome upon the death of Hyginus the ninth Bishop, and was repulsed by the elders of the see. Epiph. Hr. 42. n. 1. Polycarp came to Anicetus on the question of Easter. Euseb. Hist. iv. 14. Soter, not only sent alms to the Churches of Christendom generally, according to the primitive custom of his Church, but "exhorted affectionately the brethren who came up thither as a father his children." ibid. iv. 23. Victor denounced the Asian Churches for observing Easter after the Jewish custom. ibid. v. 24. Paul of Samosata was put out of the see house at Antioch by the civil power, on the decision of "the Bishops of Italy and of Rome." ibid. vii. 30. For a consideration of this subject, as far as it is an objection to the Anglican view of ecclesiastical polity, the reader is referred to Mr. Palmer's Treatise on the Church, vii. 3 and 4. where five reasons are assigned for the early pre-eminence of the Roman Church; the number of its clergy and people, its wealth and charity, its apostolical origin, the purity of its faith, and the temporal dignity of the city of Rome. [This footnote appeared in the 1842 edition but not in this edition of 1877—NR.]
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G. The Eusebians at Nica objected to this image, Socr. i. 8. as implying that the Son was a [probole], issue or development, as Valentinus taught. Epiph. Hr. 69. 7. Athanasius elsewhere uses it himself.
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H. By the Monarchy is meant the doctrine that the Second and Third Persons in the Ever-blessed Trinity are ever to be referred in our thoughts to the First as the Fountain of Godhead, vid. p. 25. note E. and p. 33. note R. It is one of the especial senses in which God is said to be one. "We are not introducing three origins or three Fathers, as the Marcionites and Manichees, just as our illustration is not of three suns, but of sun and its radiance." Orat. iii. . 15. [infra p. 421 fin.] vid. also iv. . 1. "The Father is union, [henosis]," says S. Greg. Naz. "from whom and unto whom are the others." Orat. 42. 15. also Orat. 20. 7. and Epiph. Hr. 57. 5. Tertullian, before Dionysius, uses the word Monarchia, which Praxeas had perverted into a kind of Unitarianism or Sabellianism, in Prax. 3. Irenus too wrote on the Monarchy, i.e. against the doctrine that God is the author of evil. Eus. Hist. v. 20. [see S. Iren. fragments, p. 540 O.T.] And before him was Justin's work de Monarchi, where the word is used in opposition to Polytheism. The Marcionites, whom Dionysius presently mentions, are also specified in the above extract by Athan. vid. also Cyril. Hier. Cat. xvi. 3. [p. 206 O.T.] Epiphanius says that their three origins were God, the Creator, and the evil spirit. Hr. 42, 3.or as Augustine says, the good, the just, and the wicked, which maybe taken to mean nearly the same thing. Hr. 22. The Apostolical Canons denounce those who baptize into Three Unoriginate; vid. also Athan. Tom. ad Antioch. 5. Naz. Orat. 20. 6. Basil denies [treis archikai hypostaseis], de Sp. S. 38. which is a Platonic phrase.
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I. And so Dionysius Alex. in a fragment preserved by S. Basil, "If because the subsistences are three, they say that they are partitive, [memerismenas], still three there are, though these persons dissent, or they utterly destroy the Divine Trinity." de Sp. S. n. 72. Athan. expresses the same more distinctly, [ou treis hypostaseis memerismenas], Expos. Fid. . 2. In S. Greg. Naz. we find [ameristos en memerismenois he theotes]. Orat. 31. 14. Elsewhere for [mem]. he substitutes [aperrhegmenas]. Orat. 20. 6. [apexenomenas allelon kai diespasmenas]. Orat. 23. 6. as infra [xenas allelon pantapasi kechorismenas]. The passage in the text comes into question in the controversy about the [ex hypostaseos e ousias] of the Nicene Creed, of which infra on the Creed itself in Eusebius's Letter.
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K. The word [trias] translated Trinity is first used by Theophilus, ad Autol. ii. 15. Gibbon remarks that the doctrine of "a numerical rather than a generical unity," which has been explicitly put forth by the Latin Church, is "favoured by the Latin language; [trias] seems to excite the idea of substance, trinitas of qualities." ch. 21. note 74. It is certain that the Latin view of the sacred truth, when perverted, becomes Sabellianism; and that the Greek, when perverted, becomes Arianism; and we find Arius arising in the East, Sabellius in the West. It is also certain that the word Trinitas is properly abstract; and expresses [trias] or "a three," only in an ecclesiastical sense. But Gibbon does not seem to observe that Unitas is abstract as well as Trinitas; and that we might just as well say in consequence, that the Latins held an abstract unity or a unity of qualities, while the Greeks by [monas] taught the doctrine of "a one" or a numerical unity. "Singularitatem hanc dico, (says S. Ambrose,) quod Grc [monotes] dicitur; singularitas ad personam pertinet, unitas ad naturam." de Fid. v. 1. It is important, however, to understand, that "Trinity" does not mean the state or condition of being three, as humanity is the condition of being man, but is synonymous with "three persons." Humanity does not exist and cannot be addressed, but the Holy Trinity is a three, or a unity which exists in three. Apparently from not considering this, Luther and Calvin objected to the word Trinity, "It is a common prayer," says Calvin, "Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us. It displeases me, and savours throughout of barbarism." Ep. ad Polon. p. 796.
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L. This extract discloses to us, (in connexion with the passages from Dionysius Alex. here and in the de Sent. D.) a remarkable anticipation of the Arian controversy in the third century. 1. It appears that the very symbol of [en hote ouk en], "once He was not," was asserted or implied; vid. also the following extract from Origen, . 27. and Origen Periarchon, iv. 28. where mention is also made of the [ex ouk onton], "out of nothing," which was the Arian symbol in opposition to "of the substance." Allusions are made besides, to "the Father not being always Father," de Sent. D. 15. and "the Word being brought to be by the true Word, and Wisdom by the true Wisdom;" ibid. 25. 2. The same special text is used in defence of the heresy, and that not at first sight an obvious one, which is found among the Arians, Prov. viii. 22. 3. The same texts were used by the Catholics, which occur in the Arian controversy. e.g. Deut. xxxii. 6. against Prov. viii. 22. and such as Ps. cx. 3. Prov. viii. 25. and the two John x. 30. and xiv. 10. 4. The same Catholic symbols and statements are found, e.g. "begotten not made," "one in substance," "Trinity," [adiaireton, anarchon, aeigenes], light from light, &c. Much might be said on this circumstance, as forming part of the proof of the very early date of the development and formation of the Catholic theology, which we are at first sight apt to ascribe to the 4th and 5th centuries.
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M. [philoponou], and so Serap. iv. 9.
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N. [ha men hos zeton kai gumnazon egrapse, tauta me hos autou phronountos dechestho tis; alla ton pros erin philoneikounton en toi zetein, adeos horizon apophainetai, touto tou philoponou to phronema esti]. "[alla]. Cert legendum [all' ha], idque omnino exigit sensus." Montfaucon. Rather for [adeos] read [ha de hos], and put the stop at [zetein] instead of [dechestho tis].
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O. vid. supr. . 4. Orat. i. . 7. Ad Afros. 2, twice. Apol. contr. Arian. 7. ad Ep. g. 5. Epiph. Hr. 70. 9. Euseb. Vit. Const. iii. 6. The Council was more commonly called [megale] vid. supr. . 26. The second General Council, A.D. 381, took the name of ecumenical. vid. Can. 6. fin. but incidentally. The Council of Ephesus so styles itself in the opening of its Synodical Letter.
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P. The profession under which the decrees of Councils come to us is that of setting forth in writing what has ever been held orally or implicitly in the Church. Hence the frequent use of such phrases as [engraphos exetethe] with reference to them. Thus Damasus, Theod. Hist. v. 10. speaks of that "apostolical faith, which was set forth in writing by the Fathers in Nica." On the other hand, Ephrem of Antioch, speaks of the doctrine of our Lord's perfect humanity being "inculcated by our Holy Fathers, but not as yet [i.e. till the Council of Chalcedon] being confirmed by the decree of an ecumenical Council." Phot. 229. p. 801. ([engraphos], however, sometimes relates to the act of subscribing. Phot. ibid. or to Scripture, Clement. Strom. i. init. p. 321.) Hence Athan. says ad Afros. 1 and 2. that "the Word of the Lord which was given through the ecumenical Council in Nica remaineth for ever;" and uses against its opposers the texts, "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set," (vid. also Dionysius in Eus. Hist. vii. 7.) and "He that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death." Prov. xxii. 28. Ex. xxi. 17. vid. also Athan. ad Epict. 1. And the Council of Chalcedon professes to "drive away the doctrines of error by a common decree, and renew the unswerving faith of the Fathers," Act. v. p. 452. [t. iv. 1453 ed. Col.] "as," they proceed, "from of old the prophets spoke of Christ, and He Himself instructed us, and the creed of the Fathers has delivered to us," whereas "other faith it is not lawful for any to bring forth, or to write, or to draw up, or to hold, or to teach." p. 456. [1460 ed. Col.] vid. S. Leo. supr. p. 5. note M. This, however, did not interfere with their adding without undoing." "For," says Vigilius, "if it were unlawful to receive aught further after the Nicene statutes, on what authority venture we to assert that the Holy Ghost is of one substance with the Father, which it is notorious was there omitted?" contr. Eutych. v. init.; he gives other instances, some in point, others not. vid. also Eulogius, apud Phot. Cod. 23. pp. 829. 853. Yet to add to the confession of the Church is not to add to the faith, since nothing can be added to the faith. Leo, Ep. 124. p. 1237. Nay, Athan. says that the Nicene faith is sufficient to refute every heresy, ad Max. 5. fin. also Leo. Ep. 54. p. 956. and Naz. Ep. 102. init. excepting, however, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit; which explains his meaning. The Henoticon of Zeno says the same, but with the intention of dealing a blow at the Council of Chalcedon. Evagr. iii. 14. p. 345. Aetius at Chalcedon says that at Ephesus and Chalcedon the Fathers did not profess to draw up an exposition of faith, and that Cyril and Leo did but interpret the Creed." Conc. t. 2. p. 428. [t. iv. 1430, 1431 ed. Col.] [see this whole subject very amply treated in Dr. Pusey's On the Clause, And the Son, pp. 76 sqq.] Leo even says that the Apostles' Creed is sufficient against all heresies, and that Eutyches erred on a point "of which our Lord wished no one of either sex in the Church to be ignorant," and he wishes Eutyches to take the plenitude of the Creed "puro et simplici corde." Ep. 31. p. 857, 8.
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A. [ageneton]. Opportunity will occur for noticing this celebrated word on Orat. i. 30-34. where the present passage is partly re-written, partly transcribed. Mention is also made of it in the De Syn. 46, 47. Athanasius would seem to have been but partially acquainted with the writings of the Anomœans, whose symbol it was, and to have argued with them from the writings of the elder Arians, who had also made use of it.
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B. Montfaucon quotes a passage from Plato's Phdrus, in which the human soul is called "ingenerate and immortal;" but Athan. is referring to another subject, the Platonic, or rather the Eclectic Trinity. Thus Theodoret, "Plotinus, and Numenius, explaining the sense of Plato, say, that he taught Three principles beyond time and eternal, Good, Intellect, and the Soul of all," de Affect. Cur. ii. p. 750. And so Plotinus himself, "It is as if one were to place Good as the centre, Intellect like an immoveable circle round, and Soul a moveable circle, and moveable by appetite." 4 Ennead. iv. c. 16. vid. Porphyry in Cyril. contr. Julian. viii. t. ult. p. 271. vid. ibid. i. p. 32. Plot. 3. Ennead. v. 2 and 3. Athan.'s testimony that the Platonists considered their three [hypostaseis] all ingenerate is perhaps a singular one. In 5 Ennead. iv. 1. Plotinus says what seems contrary to it, [he de arche agennetos], speaking of His [tagathon]. Yet Plato, quoted by Theodoret, ibid. p. 749, speaks of [eite archen eite archas].
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C. [epei malistai hoti malista], Orat. i. . 36. de Syn. . 21. fin. [hotan malista], Apol. ad Const. 23. [kai malista], de Syn. . 42. 54.
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D. And so de Syn. . 46. "we have on careful inquiry ascertained, &c." Again, "I have acquainted myself on their account [the Arians'] with the meaning of [ageneton]." Orat. i. . 30. [infra p. 225] This is remarkable, for Athan. was a man of liberal education, as his Orat. contr. Gent. and de Incarn. shew, especially his acquaintance with the Platonic philosophy. Sulpicius too speaks of him as a jurisconsultus, Sacr. Hist. ii. 50. S. Gregory Naz. says, that he gave some attention, but not much, to the subjects of general education, [ton enkuklion], that he might not be altogether ignorant, of what he nevertheless despised, Orat. 21. 6. In the same way S. Basil, whose cultivation of mind none can doubt, speaks slightingly of his own philosophical knowledge. He writes of his "neglecting his own weakness, and being utterly unexercised in such disquisitions;" contr. Eunom. init. And so in de Sp. . 5. he says, that "they who have given time" to vain philosophy, "divide causes into principal, co-operative," &c. Elsewhere he speaks of having "expended much time on vanity, and wasted nearly all his youth in the vain labour of pursuing the studies of that wisdom which God has made foolishness," Ep. 223. 2. In truth, Christianity has a philosophy of its own. Thus in the commencement of his Vi Dux Anastasius says, "It is a first point to be understood, that the tradition of the Catholic Church does not proceed upon, or follow, the philosophical definitions in all respects, and especially as regards the mystery of Christ, and the doctrine of the Trinity, but a certain rule of its own, evangelical and apostolical." p. 20.
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E. Four senses of [ageneton] are enumerated, Orat. i. . 30. [infra pp. 225, 226] 1. What is not as yet, but is possible; 2. what neither has been, nor can be; 3. what exists, but has not come to be from any cause; 4. what is not made, but is ever. Only two senses are specified in the de Syn. . 46. and in these the question really lies; 1. what is, but without a cause; 2. uncreate.
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F. [Ballesthosan para panton], Orat. ii. . 28. [infra p. 319] An apparent allusion to the punishment of blasphemy and idolatry under the Jewish Law. vid. reference to Ex. xxi. 17, in page 49, note P. Thus, e.g. Nazianzen: "While I go up the mount with good heart, that I may become within the cloud, and may hold converse with God, for so God bids; if there be any Aaron, let him go up with me and stand near. And if there be any Nadab or Abiud, or of the elders, let him go up, but stand far off, according to the measure of his purification … But if any one is an evil and savage beast, and quite incapable of science and theology; let him stand off still further, and depart from the mount; or he will be stoned and crushed; for the wicked shall be miserably destroyed. For as stones for the bestial are true words and strong. Whether he be leopard, let him die spots and all," &c. &c. Orat. 28. 2.
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G. The Arians argued that the word Ingenerate implied generate or creature as its correlative, and therefore indirectly signified Creator; so that the Son being not ingenerate, was not the Creator. Athan. answers, that in the use of the word, whether there be a Son does not come into the question. As the idea of Father and Son does not include creation, so that of creator and creature does not include generation; and it would be as illogical to infer that there are no creatures because there is a Son, as that there is no Son because there are creatures. Or, more closely, as a thing generate, though not the Father, is not therefore Son, so the Son though not Ingenerate is not therefore a thing generate. vid. p. 33, note R.
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H. The whole of this passage is repeated in Orat. i. 33. &c. vid. for this particular argument, Basil also, contr. Eunom. i. 16.
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I. And so St. Basil, "Our faith was not in Framer and Work, but in Father and Son were we sealed through the grace in baptism." Contr. Eunom. ii. 22. And a somewhat similar passage occurs Orat. ii. . 41.
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K. [huiopoioumetha alethos]. This strong term "truly" or "verily" seems taken from such passages as speak of the "grace and truth" of the Gospel, John i. 12-17. Again St. Basil says, that we are Sons, [kyrios] "properly," and [protos] "primarily," in opposition to [tropikos], "figuratively," contr. Eunom. ii. 23. St. Cyril too says, that we are sons "naturally" [physikos] as well as [kata charin], vid. Suicer Thesaur. v. [huios]. i. 3. Of these words, [alethos, physikos, kyrios], and [protos], the first two are commonly reserved for our Lord; e.g. [ton alethos huion], Orat. ii. . 37. [hemeis huioi, ouk hos ekeinos physei kai aletheiai], iii. . 19. Hilary seems to deny us the title of "proper" sons; de Trin. xii. 15; but his "proprium" is a translation of [idion], not [kyrios]. And when Justin says of Christ, [ho monos legomenos kyrios huios], Apol. ii. 6. [p. 62 O.T.] [kyrios] seems to be used in reference to the word [kyrios] Lord, which he has just been using, [kyriologein], being sometimes used by him as others in the sense of "naming as Lord," like [theologein]. vid. Tryph. 56. [p. 141 O.T.] There is a passage in Justin's ad Grc. 21. where he (or the writer) when speaking of [ego eimi ho on], uses the word in the same ambiguous sense; [ouden gar onoma epi theou kyriologeisthai dunaton], 21; as if [kyrios], the Lord, by which "I am" is translated, were a sort of symbol of that proper name of God which cannot be given. But to return; the true doctrine then is, that, whereas there is a primary and secondary sense in which the word Son is used, primary when it has its formal meaning of continuation of nature, and secondary when it is used nominally, or for an external resemblance to the first meaning, it is applied to the regenerate, not in the secondary sense, but in the primary. St. Basil and St. Gregory Nyssen consider Son to be "a term of relationship according to nature," (vid, supr. p. 16, note K,) also Basil in Psalm 28, 1. The actual presence of the Holy Spirit in the regenerate in substance, (vid. Cyril. Dial. 7. p. 638.) constitutes this relationship of nature; and hence after the words quoted from St. Cyril in the beginning of this note, in which he says, that we are sons, [physikos], he proceeds, "naturally, because we are in Him, and in Him alone," vid. Athan.'s words which follow in the text at the end of . 31. And hence Nyssen lays down, as a received truth, that "to none does the term 'proper,' [kyriotaton], apply, but to one in whom the name responds with truth to the nature," contr. Eunom. iii. p. 123. And he also implies, p. 117, the intimate association of our sonship with Christ's, when he connects together regeneration with our Lord's eternal generation, neither being [dia pathous], or, of the will of the flesh. If it be asked, what the distinctive words are which are incommunicably the Son's, since so much is man's, it is obvious to answer, [idios huios] and [monogenes], which are in Scripture, and the symbols "of the substance," and "one in substance," of the Council; and this is the value of the Council's phrases, that, while they guard the Son's divinity, they allow full scope, without risk of entrenching on it, to the Catholic doctrine of the fulness of the Christian privileges. vid. supr. p. 32. note Q.
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L. "The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the truth: yet there are also many treatises of our blessed teachers composed for this purpose." contr. Gent. init. "For studying and mastering the Scriptures, there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and virtue according to Christ," Incarn. 57. "Since divine Scriptures is more sufficient than any thing else, I recommend persons who wish to know fully concerning these things," (the doctrine of the blessed Trinity,) "to read the divine oracles," ad Ep. g. 4. [Hist. tracts p. 130 O.T.] "The Scriptures are sufficient for teaching; but it is good for us to exhort each other in the faith, and to refresh each other with discourses." Vit. S. Ant. 16. And passim in Athan.
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M. And so, Orat. ii. . 32. [infra p. 325] [kata tous mutheuomenous gigantas]. And so Nazianzen, Orat. 43. 26. speaking of the disorderly Bishops during the Arian ascendancy. Also Socr. v. 10. p. 268. d. Sometimes the Scripture giants are spoken of, sometimes the mythological.
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Margin Notes

1. [memerismenas].
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2. [emphilochorein].
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3. [gegennesthai].
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4. [gegonenai].
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5. vid. p. 44, note E.
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6. supr. p. 9. note S.
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7. supr. . 21. init.
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8. supr. p. 31. note P.
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9. [idion].
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10. [hena ton panton].
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11. i.e. of hosts.
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12. [ten idioteta].
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13. [gegonen en hemin].
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14. supr. p. 52.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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