{443} THE various titles of the Second Divine Person are at once equivalent and complementary to each other. Son, Word, Image, all imply relation, and suggest and teach that attribute of supereffluence which is one of the perfections of the Divine Being. (vid. Father Almighty.)

"The Son of God, as may be learnt from the divine oracles themselves, is Himself the Word of God, and the Wisdom, and the Image, and the Hand, and the Power; for God's Offspring is one, and of the generation from the Father these titles are tokens. For if you say the Son, you have declared what is from the Father by nature; and if you imagine the Word, you are thinking again of what is from Him, and what is inseparable; and, speaking of Wisdom, again you mean nothing less, what is not from without, but from Him and in Him; and if you name the Power and the Hand, again you speak of what is proper to substance; and, speaking of the Image, you signify the Son; for what else is like God but the Offspring from Him? Doubtless the things which came to be through the Word, these are founded in Wisdom; and what are laid in Wisdom, these are all made by the Hand, and came to be through the Son." Decr. § 17.

As Sonship is implied in "Image" (art. Son), so it {444} is implied in "Word" and "Wisdom." For instance, "Especially is it absurd to name the Word, yet deny Him to be Son, for, if the Word be not from God, reasonably might they deny Him to be Son; but if He is from God, how see they not that what exists from anything is son of him from whom it is?" Orat. iv. 15. Again, [aei theos en kai huios esti, logos on]. Orat. iii. 29 init. [huios tis e ho logos]; de Decr. 17. And still more pointedly, [ei me huios, oude logos], Orat. iv. 24 fin. And so "Image" is implied in Sonship: "being Son of God, He must be like Him," ii. § 17. It is implied in "Word:" [en tei idiai eikoni, hetis estin ho logos autou]. § 82, also 34 fin. On the contrary, the very root of heretical error was the denial that these titles implied each other.

All the titles of the Son of God are consistent with each other, and variously represent one and the same Person. "Son" and "Word" denote His derivation; "Word" and "Image," His Likeness; "Word" and "Wisdom," His immateriality; "Wisdom" and "Hand," His co-existence. "What else is Like God, but His Offspring from Him?" de Decr. § 17. "If He is not Son, neither is He Image." Orat. ii. § 2. "How is there Word and Wisdom, unless there be a proper Offspring of His substance?" ii. § 22. vid. also Orat. i. § 20, 21, and at great length Orat. iv. § 20, &c. vid. also Naz. Orat. 30. 20. Basil. contr. Eunom. i. 18. Hilar. de Trin. vii. 11. August. in Joann. xlviii. 6, and in Psalm. 44, (45,) 5.

It is sometimes erroneously supposed that such illustrations as these are intended to explain how the {445} Sacred Mystery in question is possible, whereas they are merely intended to show 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 trench 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 can be conceived 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 adequate. 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 exact, conveying the truth, not in the tongues of angels, but under human modes of thought and speech. vid. supr. articles Illustrations, p. 174, and Economical Language, p. 94.

It is usual with the Fathers to use the two terms "Son" and "Word" to guard and complete the ordinary sense of each other. Their doctrine is that our Lord is both, in a certain transcendent, prototypical, and singular sense; that in that high sense they are coincident with one another; that they are applied to human things by an accommodation, as far as these are shadows of Him to whom properly they really {446} belong; that, being but partially realised on earth, the ideas gained from the earthly types are but imperfect; that in consequence, if any one of them is used exclusively of Him, it tends to introduce wrong ideas respecting Him; but that their respective imperfections, as lying on different sides, when used together correct each other. The term Son, used by itself, was abused into Arianism, and the term Word into Sabellianism; the term Son might be accused of introducing material notions, and the term Word of suggesting imperfection and transitoriness. Each of them corrected the other. "Scripture," says Athan., "joining the two, has said 'Son,' that the natural and true Offspring of the Substance may be preached; but, that no one may understand a human offspring, therefore, signifying His substance a second time, it calls Him Word, and Wisdom, and Radiance." Orat. i. § 28.

Vid. also iv. § 8. Euseb. contr. Marc. ii. 4, p. 54. Isid. Pel. Ep. iv. 141. So S. Cyril says that we learn "from His being called Son that He is from Him, [to ex autou]; from His being called Wisdom and Word, that He is in Him," [to en autoi]. Thesaur. iv. p. 31. However, S. Athanasius observes, that properly speaking the one term implies the other, i.e. in its fulness. "Since the Son's Being is from the Father, therefore It is in the Father." Orat. iii. § 3. "If not Son, not Word either; and if not Word, not Son. For what is from the Father is Son; and what is from the Father, but the Word?" &c. Orat. iv. § 24 fin. On the other hand, the heretics accused Catholics of inconsistency, or of a union of opposite errors, because {447} they accepted all the Scripture images together. But Vigilius of Thapsus says, that "error bears testimony to truth, and the discordant opinions of misbelievers blend into concordance in the rule of orthodoxy." contr. Eutych. ii. init. "Grande miraculum, ut expugnatione sui veritas confirmetur." ibid. 3. vid. also i. init. and Eulogius, ap. Phot. 225, p. 759.

Every illustration, as being incomplete on one or other side of it, taken by itself, tends to heresy. The title Son by itself suggests a second God, as the title Word a mere attribute, and the title Minister a creature. All heresies are partial views of the truth, and are wrong, not so much in what they say, as in what they deny. The truth, on the other hand, is a positive and comprehensive doctrine, and in consequence necessarily mysterious and open to misconception. When Athan. implies that the Eternal Father is in the Son, though remaining what He is, as a man is in his child, he is intent only upon the point of the Son's connaturality and co-equality, which the Arians denied. In like manner he says in a later Discourse, "In the Son the Father's Godhead is beheld. The Emperor's countenance and form are in his image, and the countenance of his image is in the Emperor. For the Emperor's likeness in his image is a definitive likeness, [aparallaktos], so that he who looks upon the image, in it sees the Emperor, and again he who sees the Emperor recognises that he is in the image. The image then might say, 'I and the Emperor are one.'" Orat. iii. § 5. And thus the Auctor de Trin. refers to "Peter, Paul, and Timothy having three subsistencies {448} and one humanity." i. p. 918. S. Cyril even seems to deny that each individual man may be considered a separate substance, except as the Three Persons are such, Dial. i. p. 409; and S. Gregory Nyssen is led to say that, strictly speaking, the abstract man, which is predicated of separate individuals, is still one, and this with a view of illustrating the Divine Unity. ad Ablab. t. 2, p. 449. vid. Petav. de Trin. iv. 9.

The title "Word" implies the ineffable mode of the Son's generation, as distinct from material parallels, vid. Gregory Nyssen, contr. Eunom. iii. p. 107. Chrysostom in Joan. Hom. 2, § 4. Cyril Alex. Thesaur. 5, p. 37. Also it implies that there is but One Son. vid. Orat. i. § 16. "As the Origin is one substance, so its Word and Wisdom are one, substantial and subsisting." Athan. Orat. iv. 1 fin.

Vid. passim. All these titles, "Word, Wisdom, Light," &c., serve to guard the title "Son" from any notions of parts or dimensions, e.g. "He is not composed of parts, but being impassible and single, He is impassibly and indivisibly Father of the Son ... for ... the Word and Wisdom is neither creature, nor part of Him whose Word He is, nor an offspring passibly begotten." Orat. i. § 28.

As the Arians took the title Son in that part of its earthly sense in which it did not apply to our Lord, so they misinterpreted the title Word also; which denoted the Son's immateriality and indivisible presence in the Father, but did not express His perfection. vid. Orat. ii. § 34–36. "As our word belongs to us and is from us, and not a work external to us, so also the {449} Word of God is proper to Him and from Him, and is not made, yet not as the word of man, else one must consider God as man. Men have many words," &c. Orat. ii. § 36. vid. art. Word.

The name of Image was of great importance in correcting heterodox opinions as to the words Son and Word, which were propagated in the Ante-Nicene times, and in keeping their economical sense in the right direction. A son who had a beginning, and a word which was spoken and over, were in no sense an "Image" of the Eternal and All-perfect God. {450}


Instrument. This word, which is rightly used of our Lord's manhood relatively to His Divine Person ([toutoi chromenos organoi], Orat. iii. § 31, and [organon pros ten energeian kai ten eklampsin tes theotetos], 53), is simply heretical if taken to express the relation of His Divine Person towards His Father. In the latter relation the term is inapplicable, unless He "was different from the Father in nature and substance." Decr. § 23. vid. Basil. de Sp. S. 19 fin. In this Arians, Socr. i. 6, Eusebius, Eccl. Theol. i. 8, and Anomœans would agree. At the same time, doubtless, some early writers use it of our Lord's Divine Nature, though not in a heretical sense. vid. art. Mediation.

As it was abused by the Arians to mean a servant or [hypourgos], as if our Lord was a mere creature, so it was afterwards used heretically in the doctrine of the Incarnation by the Apollinarians, who looked on our Lord's manhood as merely a manifestation of God. vid. [katapetasma]. Thus [schema organikon] in Athan. in Apol. i. 2, 15, also a parallel in Euseb. Laud. Const. 13, p. 536. However, it is used freely even by Athan., e.g. Orat. iii. 31, 53, as above, and Incarn. 8, 9, 43, 44. And he uses the words [pros phanerosin kai gnosin], 41 fin., but he also insists upon our Lord's coming being not merely for manifestation, else He might have come {451} in a higher nature. ibid. 8. vid. also 44. It may be added that [phanerosis] is a Nestorian as well as Eutychian idea; vid. Orat. iii. § 30, Facund. Tr. Cap. ix. 2, 3, and the Syrian use of parsopa, Asseman. Bibl. Orient. t. 4. p. 219. Thus both parties really denied the Atonement. {452}


WHAT is strange to ears accustomed to Protestant modes of arguing, S. Athanasius does not simply expound Scripture, rather he vindicates it from the imputation of its teaching any but true doctrine. It is ever [orthos], he says, that is, orthodox; I mean, he takes it for granted that there is an existing doctrinal tradition, as a standard, with which Scripture must, and with which it doubtless does agree, and of which it is the written confirmation and record. Vid. Oxf. Trans. note, p. 431.

In Orat. ii. § 44, he says, "We have gone through thus much before coming to the passage in the Proverbs, that they may rightly read what admits in truth of a sound ([orthen]) interpretation," as if the authoritative interpretation required to be applied to Scripture, before we could assume that the doctrine conveyed by it was orthodox. And so [met' eusebeias] just below. Such phrases are frequent in Athan., e.g. [ten dianoian eusebe kai lian orthen], de Decr. 13. [kalos kai orthos], Orat. iv. 31. [gegraptai mala anankaios], de Decr. 14. [eikotos], Orat. ii. 44, iii. 53. [ten dianoian ekklesiastiken], Orat. i. 44 init. [ton skopon ton ekklesiastikon], Orat. iii. 58. [he dianoia echei ten aitian eulogon], iii. 7 fin. vid. also Orat. i. 37 init. 46; ii. 1, 9 init. 12, 53; iii. 1, 18, 19, 35, 37; iv. 30. {453}

Vid. art. Rule of Faith. This illustrates what he means when he says that certain texts have a "good," "pious," "orthodox" sense, i.e. they can be interpreted (in spite, if so be, of appearances) in harmony with the Regula Fidei. And so, [to en tais paroimiais rheton, orthen echon kai auto ten dianoian]. Orat. ii. § 44. [erkei tauta pros apodeixin orthen einai ten tou rhetou dianoian]. ibid. § 77. [to toinun legomenon hypo tou makariou Petrou orthon]. iv. § 35. vid. also iii. 7, &c. &c. {454}

[Ousia, on]

USIA, substance. The word [ousia] in its Greek or Aristotelic sense seems to have stood for an individual substance, numerically one, which is predicable of nothing but itself. Improperly, it stood for a species or genus, vid. Petav. de Trin. iv. 1, § 2, but, as Anastasius observes in many places of his Viæ dux, Christian theology innovated on the sense of Aristotelic terms. vid. c. 1, p. 20; c. 6, p. 96; c. 9, p. 150; c. 17, p. 308. There is some difficulty in determining how it innovated. Anastasius and Theorian, (Hodeg. 6, Legat. ad Arm. pp. 441, 2,) say that it takes [ousia] to mean an universal or species, but this is nothing else than the second or improper Greek use. Rather, in speaking of God, it takes the word in a sense of its own, such as we have no example of in creation, of a Being numerically one, subsisting in three persons; so that the word is a predicable, or in one sense universal, without ceasing to be individual; in which consists the mystery of the Holy Trinity. However, heretics, who refused the mystery, objected it to Catholics in its primary philosophical sense; and then, standing simply for an individual substance, when applied to Father and Son, it either implied the parts of a material subject, or it involved no real distinction of persons, i.e. Sabellianism. The former of these two alternatives is implied in Athan.'s text by the "Greek use;" the latter by the same phrase {455} as used by the conforming Semi-Arians, A.D. 363. "Nor, as if any passion were supposed of the ineffable generation, is the term 'substance' taken by the Fathers, &c., nor according to any Greek use," &c. Socr. iii. 25. Hence came such charges against Catholicism on the part of Arians as Alexander protests against, of either Sabellianism or Valentinianism, [ouk ... hosper Sabellioi kai Balentinoi dokei], &c. Theod. Hist. i. 3, p. 743. Hence Paul's argument against the Antiochene Council in Athan.'s and in Hilary's report.

By the substance of God we mean nothing more or less than God Himself. "If God be simple, as He is, it follows that in saying 'God' and naming 'Father,' we name nothing as if about ([peri]) Him, but signify His substance, and that alone." Decr. § 22.

In like manner de Synod. § 34. Also Basil, "The substance is not any one of things which do not attach, but is the very being of God." contr. Eunom. i. 10 fin. "The nature of God is no other than Himself, for He is simple and uncompounded." Cyril Thesaur. p. 59. "When we say the person of the Father, we say nothing else than the substance of the Father." August. de Trin. vii. 6. And so Numenius in Eusebius, "Let no one deride, if I say that the name of the Immaterial is substance and being." Præp. Evang. xi. 10.

In many passages Athan. seems to make usia synonymous with hypostasis, but this mode of speaking only shows that the two terms had not their respective meanings so definitely settled and so familiarly received as afterwards. Its direct meaning is usually substance, though indirectly it came to imply subsistence. {456} He speaks of that Divine Essence which, though also the Almighty Father's, is as simply and entirely the Word's as if it were only His. Nay, even when the Substance of the Father is spoken of in a sort of contrast to that of the Son, as in the phrase [ousia ex ousias], (e.g. "His substance is the offspring of the Father's substance," Syn. § 48, and [ex ousias ousiodes kai enousios], Orat. iv. 1,) harsh as such expressions are, it is not accurate to say that [ousia] is used for subsistence or person, or that two [ousiai] are spoken of (vid. art. [physis]), except, that is, by Arians, as Eusebius (art. Eusebius). We find [physis tou logou], Orat. i. § 51 init., meaning His usia without including the idea of His Person. vid. art. [eidos].

Other passages may be brought, in which usia and hypostasis seem to be synonymous, as Orat. iii. § 65. "The Apostle proclaims the Son to be the very impress, not of the Father's will, but of His usia, saying, 'the impress of His hypostasis;' and if the Father's usia and hypostasis is not from will, it is very plain neither is from will what belongs to the Father's hypostasis." And so Orat. iv. § 1: "As there is one Origin, and therefore one God, so one is that substance and subsistence which indeed and truly and really exists." And "The Prophet has long since ascribed the Father's hypostasis to Him." Orat. iv. § 33. And [he hypostasis ousia esti, kai ouden allo semainomenon echei e auto to on ... he gar hypostasis kai he ousia hyparxis esti]. ad Afros, 4.

For the meaning in the early Fathers of [ousia, hypostasis, physis], and [eidos], vid. the author's "Theological Tracts," art. [Mia physis]. {457}


ATHAN. seems to say, Decret. § 22, and so de Synod. § 34, which is very much the same passage, that there is nothing of quality ([peri auton]) in God. Some Fathers, however, seem to say the reverse. E.g. Nazianzen lays down that "neither the immateriality of God, nor the ingenerateness, present to us His substance." Orat. 28. 9. And S. Augustine, arguing on the word ingenitus, says, that "not everything which is said to be in God is said according to substance." de Trin. v. 6. And hence, while Athan. in the text denies that there are qualities or the like belonging to Him, [peri auton], it is still common in the Fathers to speak of qualities, as in the passage of S. Gregory, just cited, in which the words [peri theon] occur. There is no difficulty in reconciling these statements, though it would require more words than could be given to it here. Petavius has treated the subject fully in his work de Deo, i. 7-11, and especially ii. 3. When the Fathers say that there is no difference between the divine 'proprietates' and essence, they speak of the fact considering the Almighty as He is; when they affirm a difference, they speak of Him as contemplated by us, who are unable to grasp the idea of Him as one and simple, but view His Divine Nature as if in projection, (if such a word may be used,) and thus divided into substance and quality as man may be divided into genus and difference. {458}


Vid. Father Almighty.


WHAT the Valentinian [probole] was, is described in Epiph. Hær. 31, 13. The Æons, wishing to show thankfulness to God, contributed together ([eranisamenous]) whatever was most beautiful of each of them, and moulding these several excellences into one, formed this Issue, [proballesthai problema], to the honour and glory of the Profound, [buthos], and they called this star and flower of the Pleroma, Jesus, &c. And so Tertullian, "a joint contribution, ex ære collatitio, to the honour and glory of the Father, ex omnium defloratione constructum," contr. Valent. 12. Accordingly Origen protests against the notion of [probole], Periarch. iv. 28, p. 190, and Athanasius Expos. § 1. The Arian Asterius too considers [probole] to introduce the notion of [teknogonia], Euseb. contr. Marc. i. 4, p. 20. vid. also Epiph. Hær. 72, 7. Yet Eusebius uses the word [proballesthai], Eccles. Theol. i. 8. On the other hand, Tertullian uses it with a protest against the Valentinian sense. Justin has [problethen gennema], Tryph. 62. And Nazianzen calls the Almighty Father [proboleus] of the Holy Spirit. Orat. 29. 2. Arius introduces the word into his creed, Syn. § 14, as an argumentum ad invidiam. Hil. de Trin. vi. 9. {459}

Primogenitus, "First-born"

[Prototokos] and Primogenitus are not exact equivalents, though Homer may use [tikto] for gigno. Primogenitus is never used in Scripture for Unigenitus. We never read there of the First-born of God, of the Father; but of the First-born of the creation, whether of the original creation or of the new.

First-born, or the beginning, is used as an epithet of our Lord five times in Scripture, and in each case it is distinct in meaning from Only-begotten. It is a word of office, not of nature. 1. St. Paul speaks of His becoming, in His incarnation, the "First-born among many brethren," Rom. viii. 29; and he connects this act of mercy with their being conformed to His Image, and gifted with grace and glory. 2. He is "the First-born of the dead," Apoc. i. 5. 3. As also in Col. i. 18. 4. Col. i. 15. "The First-born of all creation," as quasi the efficient and the formal cause whereby the universe is born into a divine adoption. 5. St. Paul speaks of the Father's "bringing the First-born into the world." To these may be added, Apoc. iii. 14, "the beginning of the [new] creation of God." In none of these passages does the phrase "First-born of God" occur. {460}

Our Lord is in three distinct respects [prototokos], First-born or Beginning, as the animating Presence of the Universe, as the Life of the Christian Church, as the first-fruit and pledge and earnest of the Resurrection.

The word never intimates in Scripture His divine nature itself. "It is nowhere written of Him in the Scriptures 'the First-born of God,' nor 'the creation of God,' but it is the words 'the Only-begotten,' and 'Son,' and 'Word,' and 'Wisdom,' that signify His relation and His belonging to the Father. But 'First-born' implies descent to the creation ... The same cannot be both Only-begotten and First-born, except in different relations; that is, Only-begotten, because of His generation from the Father, and First-born, because of His condescension to the creation, and to the brotherhood which He has extended to many." Orat. ii. § 62.

In like manner Augustine says that we must distinguish between the two titles "Only-begotten and First-born," that the Son may be with the Father Only-begotten, and Firstborn towards us. vid. the author's Theol. Tracts, Arianism, § 9, circ. fin. And St. Thomas says, "In quantum solus est verus et naturalis Dei Filius, dicitur Unigenitus, ... in quantum vero per assimilationem ad ipsum alii dicuntur filii adoptivi, quasi metaphoricè dicitur esse Primogenitus." Part I. 41, art. 3 (t. 20).

It would be perhaps better to translate "first-born to the creature," to give Athan.'s idea; [tes ktiseos] not being a partitive genitive, or [prototokos] a {461} superlative, (though he so considers it also,) but a simple appellative and [tes ktiseos] a common genitive of relation, as "the king of a country," "the owner of a house." "First-born of creation" is like "author, type, life of creation." As, after calling our Lord in His own nature "a light," we might proceed to say that He was also "a light to the creation," or "Arch-luminary," so He was not only the Eternal Son, but a "Son to creation," an "archetypal Son." Hence St. Paul goes on at once to say, "for in Him all things were made," not simply "by and for," as at the end of the verse; or as Athan. says, Orat. ii. § 63, "because in Him the creation came to be." On the distinction of [dia] and [en], referring respectively to the first and second creations, vid. In illud Omn. 2.

"His coming into the world," says Athan., "is what makes Him called 'First-born' of all; and thus the Son is the Father's 'Only-begotten,' because He alone is from Him, and He is the 'First-born of creation,' because of this adoption of all as sons." Thus he considers that "first-born" is mainly a title, connected with the incarnation, and also connected with our Lord's office at the creation. (vid. parallel of Priesthood, art. in voc.) In each economy it has the same meaning; it belongs to Him as the type, idea, or rule on which the creature was made or new-made, and the life by which it is sustained. Both economies are mentioned, Incarn. 13, 14. And so [eikon kai tupos pros areten], Orat. i. 51. (vid. art. Freedom, supr. p. 127.) And [tupon tina labontes] and [hypogrammon], iii. 20. vid. also 21. [en autoi emen protetupomenoi]. ii. 76, init. {462} He came [tupon eikonos entheinai]. 78, init. [ten tou archetupon plasin anastesasthai heautoi]. contr. Apol. ii. 5. Also [katesphragisthemen eis to archetupon tes eikonos]. Cyr. in Joan. v. 12, p. 91. [hoion apo tinos arches], Nyss. Catech. 16, p. 504, fin. And so again, as to the original creation, the Word is [idea kai energeia] of all material things. Athen. Leg. 10. [he idea ... hoper logon eirekasi]. Clem. Strom. v. 3. [idean ideon kai archen lekteon ton prototokon pases ktiseos]. Origen. contr. Cels. vi. 64, fin. "Whatever God was about to make in the creature, was already in the Word, nor would be in the things, were it not in the Word." August. in Psalm. 44, 5. He elsewhere calls the Son, "ars quædam omnipotentis atque sapientis Dei, plena omnium rationum viventium incommutabilium." de Trin. vi. 11. And so Athan. says [prototokos eis apodeixin tes ton panton dia tou huiou demiourgias kai huiopoieseos]. iii. 9, fin. vid. the contrast presented to us by the Semi-Arian Eusebius on the passage which Athan. is discussing, (Prov. viii. 22,) as making the Son, not the [idea], but the external minister of the Father's [idea] (in art. Eusebius, supra). S. Cyril says on the contrary, "The Father shows the Son what He does Himself, not as if setting it before Him drawn out on a tablet, or teaching Him as ignorant; for He knows all things as God; but as depicting Himself whole in the nature of the Offspring," &c., in Joann. v. 20, p. 222. {463}


VID. Decr. § 11. de Synod. § 51. Orat. i. § 15, 16. vid. also Orat. i. § 28. Bas. in Eun. ii. 23. [rhusin]. ibid. ii. 6. Greg. Naz. Orat. 28. 22. Vid. contr. Gentes, § 41, where Athan., without reference to the Arian controversy, draws out the contrast between the Godhead and human nature. "The nature of things generated," as having its subsistence from nothing, "is of a transitory ([rheustos], melting, dissolving, dissoluble) and feeble and mortal sort, considered by itself. Seeing then that it was transitory and had no stay, lest this should come into effect, and it should be resolved into its original nothing, God governs and sustains it all by His own Word, who is Himself God," and who, he proceeds, § 42, "remaining Himself immovable with the Father, moves all things in His own consistence, as in each case it may seem fit to His Father." vid. [Metousia], &c. {464}


"CONDESCENSION" of the Son. Vid. the author's "Tracts, Theological, &c.," to which, on a subject too large for a Note, the reader is referred.

By this term Athanasius expresses that (so to say) stooping from the height of His Infinite Majesty, which is involved in the act of the Almighty's surrounding Himself with a created universe. This may of course be sometimes spoken of as the act of the Eternal Father, but is commonly and more naturally ascribed to the Only-begotten Son. Creation was the beginning of this condescension; but creation was but an inchoate act if without conservation accompanying it. The universe would have come into being one moment only to have come to nought the next, from its intrinsic impotence, and moreover from the unendurableness on the part of the finite of contact with the Infinite, had not the Creator come to it also as a conservator.

"The Word," says Athanasius, "when in the beginning He framed the creatures, condescended to them, that it might be possible for them to come into being. For they could not have endured His absolute, unmitigated nature, and His splendour from the Father, unless, condescending with the Father's love for man, He had supported them, and brought them into subsistence." Orat. ii. 64. vid. art. [akratos]. {465}

This conservation lay in a gift over and above nature, a gift of grace, a presence of God throughout the vast universe, as a principle of life and strength; and that Presence is in truth the indwelling in it of the Divine Word and Son, who thereby took His place permanently as if in the rank of creatures, and as their First-born and Head, thereby drawing up the whole circle of creatures into a divine adoption, whereby they are mere works no longer, but Sons of God. He has thus, as it were, stamped His Image, His Sonship, upon all things according to their several measures, and became the archetype of creation and its life and goodness.

As then He is in His nature the Only Son of God, so is He by office Firstborn of all things and Eldest Son in the world of creatures. Vid. [Prototokos]. {466}


OR Accident. The point in which Arians and Sabellians agreed was that Wisdom was only an attribute, not a Person, in the Divine Nature, for both denied the mystery of a Trinity in Unity. Hence St. Athanasius charges them with holding the Divine Nature to be compounded of substance and quality or accident, the latter being an envelopment or [peribole] or [peri ton theon]. Vid. as quoted below. Decr. § 22, and so Syn. § 34, [hexin sumbainousan kai aposumbainousan]. Orat. iii. § 65. [sumbama]. Euseb. Eccl. Theol. iii. p. 150. Also Or. ii. § 38. Serap. i. 26. Naz. Orat. 31. 15 fin. For [peri ton theon], vid. Decr. § 22, de Syn. § 34. Orat. i. § 14, 27; ii. 45; iii. § 65.

Thus Eusebius calls our Lord "the light throughout the universe, moving round ([amphi]) the Father." de Laud. Const. i. p. 501. It was a Platonic idea, which he gained from Plotinus, whom he quotes speaking of his second Principle as "radiance around, from Him indeed, but from one who remains what He was; as the sun's bright light circling around it, ([peritheon],) ever generated from it, while the sun itself nevertheless remains." Evang. Præp. xi. 17. vid. Plotin. 4. Ennead. iv. c. 16.

Eusebius could afford to use Platonic language, because he considered our Lord to be external to the {467} Divine Nature; hence he can say, (as Marcellus could not,) by way of accusation against him, [suntheton eisegen ton theon, ousian dicha logou sumbebekos de tei ousiai ton logon]. Eccl. Theol. ii. 14, p. 121. However, Athan. says the same of the Arians, vid. references, supr. in this article; also ad Afros. 8. Basil. Ep. 8, 3. Cyril. Thes. p. 134. For the Sabellians vid. Ath. Orat. iv. 2; perhaps Epiph. Hær. 73, p. 852; and Cyril. Thes. p. 145. Basil. contr. Sabell. 1. Nyssen. App. contr. Eunom. i. p. 67, &c. Max. Cap. de Carit. t. i. p. 445. Damasc. F. O. i. 13, p. 151.

"If then any man conceives as if God were composite, so as to have accidents in His substance, or any external envelopment, and to be encompassed, or as if there were aught about Him which completes the substance, so that when we say 'God,' or name 'Father,' we do not signify the invisible and incomprehensible substance, but something about it, then let them complain of the Council's stating that the Son was from the substance of God; but let them reflect, that in thus considering they commit two blasphemies; for they make God material, and they falsely say that the Lord is not Son of the very Father, but of what is about Him. But if God be simple, as He is, it follows that in saying 'God' and naming 'Father,' we name nothing as if about Him, but signify His substance itself." Athan. Decr. § 22.

And so elsewhere, he says, when resisting the Arian and Sabellian notion that the wisdom of God is only a quality in the Divine Nature, "In that case God will be compounded of substance and quality; for {468} every quality is in a substance. And at this rate, whereas the Divine Monad is indivisible, it will be considered compound, being separated into substance and accident." Orat. iv. 2. vid. also Orat. i. 36. This is the common doctrine of the Fathers. Athenagoras, however, speaks of God's goodness as an accident, "as colour to the body," "as flame is ruddy and the sky blue," Legat. 24. This, however, is but a verbal difference, for shortly before (23) he speaks of His being, [to ontos on], and His unity of nature, [to monophues], as in the number of [episumbebekota autoi]. Eusebius uses the word [sumbebekos] in the same way, Demonstr. Evang. iv. 3. And hence St. Cyril, in controversy with the Arians, is led by the course of their objections to observe, "There are cogent reasons for considering these things as accidents, [sumbebekota], in God, though they be not." Thesaur. p. 263. {469}

The [Teleion]

"PERFECT from Perfect" is often found in Catholic Creeds, and also (with an evasion) in Arian. "The Word who is perfect from the perfect Father." Orat. iii. § 52. "As radiance from light, so is He perfect Offspring from perfect." ii. § 35, also iii. § 1 circ. fin. "One from One, Perfect from Perfect," &c. Hil. Trin. ii. 8. [teleios teleion gegenneken], Epiph. Hær. 76, p. 945.

Not only the Son but the Father was [ateles], says Athan., if the Son were not eternal. "He is rightly called the eternal Offspring of the Father, for never was the substance of the Father imperfect, that what belongs to it should be added afterwards ... God's Offspring is eternal, because His nature is ever perfect." Orat. i. 14. A similar passage is found in Cyril. Thesaur. v. p. 42. Dial. ii. fin. This was retorting the objection: the Arians said, "How can God be ever perfect, who added to Himself a Son?" Athan. answers, "How can the Son be a later addition, since God is ever perfect?" vid. Greg. Nyssen. contr. Eunom. Append. p. 142. Cyril. Thesaur. x. p. 78. Also Origen, as quoted by Marcellus in Euseb. c. Marc. p. 22, [ei gar aei teleios ho theos ... ti anaballetai]; &c. As to the Son's perfection, Aetius objects, ap. Epiph. Hær. 76, p. 925, 6, that growth and consequent accession from without are essentially involved in the idea of Sonship; {470} whereas S. Greg. Naz. speaks of the Son as not [atele proteron, eita teleion, hosper nomos tes hemeteras geneseos]. Orat. 20. 9 fin. In like manner, S. Basil argues against Eunomius, that the Son is [teleios], because He is the Image, not as if copied, which is a gradual work, but as a [charakter], or impression of a seal, or as the knowledge communicated from master to scholar, which comes to the latter and exists in him perfect, without being lost to the former. contr. Eunom. ii. 16. fin.

It need scarcely be said, that "perfect from perfect" is a symbol on which the Catholics laid stress, Athan. Orat. ii. 35; Epiph. Hær. 76, p. 945; but it admitted of an evasion. An especial reason for insisting on it in the previous centuries had been the Sabellian doctrine, which considered the title "Word," when applied to our Lord, to be adequately explained by the ordinary sense of the term, as a word spoken by us. Vid. on the [logos prophorikos], art. Word, a doctrine which led to the dangerous, often heretical, hypothesis that our Lord was first Word, and then Son. In consequence they insisted on His [to teleion], perfection, which became almost synonymous with His personality. Thus the Apollinarians e.g. denied that our Lord was perfect man, because his personality was not human. Athan. contr. Apoll. i. 2. Hence Justin, and Tatian, are earnest in denying that our Lord was a portion divided from the Divine substance, [ou kat' apotomen], &c. &c. Just. Tryph. 128. Tatian. contr. Græc. 5. And Athan. condemns the notion of the [logos en toi theoi ateles, gennetheis teleios]. Orat. iv. 11. The Arians then, as {471} being the especial opponents of the Sabellians, insisted on nothing so much as our Lord's being a real, living, substantial, Word, (vid. Eusebius passim,) and they explained [teleion] as they explained away "real," art. supr. Arian tenets. "The Father," says Acacius against Marcellus, "begat the Only-begotten, alone alone, and perfect perfect; for there is nothing imperfect in the Father, wherefore neither is there in the Son, but the Son's perfection is the genuine offspring of His perfection, and superperfection." ap. Epiph. Hær. 72, 7. [Teleios] then was a relative word, varying with the subject-matter, vid. Damasc. F. O. i. 8, p. 138.

The Arians considered Father and Son to be two [ousiai, homoiai], but not [homoousiai]. Their characteristic explanation of the word [teleios] was, "distinct," and "independent." When they said that our Lord was perfect God, they meant, "perfect, in that sense in which He is God"—i.e. as a secondary divinity.—Nay, in one point of view they would use the term of His Divine Nature more freely than the Catholics sometimes used it. Thus Hippolytus e.g. though really holding His perfection from eternity as the Son, yet speaks of His condescension in coming upon earth as if a kind of complement of His Sonship, He becoming thus a Son a second time; whereas the Arians holding no real condescension or assumption of a really new state, could not hold that our Lord was in any respect essentially other than He had been before the Incarnation. "Nor was the Word," says Hippolytus, "before the flesh and by Himself, perfect Son, though being {472} perfect Word [as] being Only-begotten; nor could the flesh subsist by itself without the Word, because that in the Word it has its consistence: thus then He was manifested One perfect Son of God." contr. Noet. 15. {473}

Vid. Trinity

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 only in an ecclesiastical sense expresses [trias] or "a three." 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 Græcè [monotes] dicitur; singularitas ad personam pertinet, unitas ad naturam." de Fid. v. 3. 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 {474} 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. Tract. Theol. {475}


THIS word is made the symbol of the Noetians or Sabellians by both Catholics and Arians, as if their doctrine involved or avowed Patripassianism, or that the Father suffered. Without entering upon the controversy on the subject raised by Beausobre (Hist. Manich. iii. 6, § 7, &c.), Mosheim (Ant. Constant. sæc. ii. § 68, iii. 32), and Lardner (Cred. part ii. ch. 41), we may refer to the following passages for the use of the term. It is ascribed to Sabellius, Ammon. in Caten. Joan. i. 1, p. 14; to Sabellius and perhaps Marcellus, Euseb. Eccl. Theol. ii. 5; to Marcellus, Cyr. Hier. Catech. xv. 9, also iv. 8, xi. 16; to Sabellians, Athan. Expos. F. 2, and 7 Can. Constant. and Greg. Nyssen. contr. Eun. xii. p. 305; to certain heretics, Cyril Alex. in Joann. v. 31, p. 243; Epiph. Hær. 73, 11 fin.; to Praxeas and Montanus, Mar. Merc. p. 128; to Sabellius, Cæsar. Dial. i. p. 550; to Noetus, Damasc. Hær. 57.

[autos heautou pater] is used by Athan. Orat. iv. § 2. also vid. Hipp. contr. Noet. 7. Euseb. in Marc. pp. 42, 61, 106, 119, [huion heautou ginesthai]. supr. Orat. iii. 4 init. "Ipsum sibi patrem," &c. Auct. Præd. (ap. Sirmond. Opp. t. i. p. 278, ed. Ven.) Mar. Merc. t. 2, p. 128, ed. 1673 as above. Greg. Boet. (ap. Worm. Hist. Sabell. p. 17.) Consult Zach. {476} et Apoll. ii. 11 (ap. Dach. Spicil. t. i. p. 25). Porphyry uses [autopator], but by a strong figure, Cyril. contr. Julian. i. p. 32. vid. Epiphan. in answer to Aetius on this subject, Hær. 76, p. 937. It must be observed that several Catholic Fathers seem to countenance such expressions, as Zeno Ver. and Marius Vict., not to say S. Hilary and S. Augustine. vid. Thomassin de Trin. 9. For [huiopator], add to the above references, Nestor. Serm. 12. ap. Mar. Merc. t. 2, p. 87. and Ep. ad Martyr. ap. Bevereg. Synod. t. 2. Not. p. 100.


Vid. [theomachos].



[Contributed by Dan Meardon, Cary, NC, USA]

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