Economical Language

{91} BY "Economical," I mean language relating to matters beyond the direct apprehension of those to whom it is addressed, and which, in order to have a chance of conveying to them any idea, however faint, of the fact, must be more or less of an analogous or figurative character, as viewed relatively to the truths which it professes to report, instead of a direct and literal statement of the things which have to be conveyed. Thus a child's idea of a king is that of a man richly dressed with a crown and sceptre, sitting on a throne; thus an attempt might be made to convey to a blind man the character of scarlet contrasted with other colours by telling him that it is like the sound of a trumpet; thus, since none of us can imagine to ourselves a spirit and its properties, it is a received economy to represent Angels as bright beings with wings. Hence, again, it is an economy to speak of our Lord as sitting on the right hand of God, as if right and left were possible in Him; and, indeed, Scripture is necessarily full of economies, when speaking of heavenly things, because there is no other way of introducing into our minds even a rude idea, even any idea at all, of matters so utterly out of our experience. About such economies in the statement of revealed truths, two rules must be observed. {92}

First, while aware of their imperfection as informations, still we must keep strictly to what is told us in them, because we cannot know more exactly what is told us in them than they tell us. Thus we read, "God is a consuming fire;" now fire is a material substance, and cannot literally belong to the Divine Nature; but it is the only, or at least the truest, mode in which His nature, in a certain relation to us, can be brought home to us, and we must accept it and believe it as a substantial truth, in spite of its not being the whole truth or the exact impress of the truth. Secondly, it must be recollected that we cannot argue and deduce freely from economical language as if it were adequate and complete, and that in revealed matters we may fall into serious error, if we argue and deduce except under the magisterium of the Church. Thus it is that some Calvinists have argued against freewill from St. Peter's words in his first Epistle ("Ye, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house,") thus, "This is giving freewill a stab under the fifth rib, for can stones build themselves?" Copleston on Predestinat. p. 129. And thus it was, that Arius argued, from the economical word Son, (given us as the nearest approximation in human language to the ineffable truth itself,) that our Lord was not the everlasting God, because human sons have a beginning of existence.

Hence it is that mystery is the necessary note of divine revelation, that is, mystery subjectively to the human mind: because, when the mind goes on freely to reason from language which only partially corresponds to eternal truths, and which cannot be adequately {93} expressed in human words, it draws from one revealed information what is inconsistent with what it draws from another, and instead of saying, "This collision of deductions arises from the imperfection of our knowledge," it refuses to accept premisses which are serviceable only in the sense and to the extent in which they are intended. This is acting like a reasoner who, having learned some geometrical truths by means of arithmetic or algebra, and having found that by multiplying a quantity into itself, and again into itself, he could reach a number which in its properties was parallel to a geometrical cube, should in consequence go on to multiply once more, and then should consider that he had been brought to the absurdity of a fourth dimension in space, and should forthwith withdraw his faith from algebraical deductions altogether. Vid. art. Trinity, also Illustrations, and others.

"Such illustrations and such images," says Athanasius, "has Scripture proposed, that, considering the inability of human nature to comprehend God, we might be able to form ideas even from these, however poorly and dimly, as far as is attainable." Orat. ii. 32, [amudros], vid. also [amudra]; ii. 17.

Elsewhere, after adducing the illustration of the sun and its light, he adds, "From things familiar and ordinary we may use some poor illustration, and represent intellectually what is in our mind, since it were presumptuous to intrude upon the incomprehensible Nature." in Illud Omnia 3 fin. Vid. also 6; also Serap. i. 20, and Decr. § 12. And S. Austin, after an {94} illustration from the nature of the human mind, proceeds: "Far other are these Three and that Trinity ... When a man hath discovered something in them and stated it, let him not at once suppose that he has discovered what is above him," &c. Confess. xiii. 11. And again, "Ne hanc imaginem ita comparet Trinitati, ut omni modo existimet similem." Trin. xv. 39. And S. Basil says, "Let no one urge against what I say, that the illustrations do not in all respects answer to the matters in question. For it is not possible to apply with exactness what is little and low to things divine and eternal, except so far as to refute," &c. contr. Eunom. ii. 17.

Scripture is full of mysteries, but they are mysteries of fact, not of words. Its dark sayings or ænigmata are such, because in the nature of things they cannot be expressed clearly. Hence contrariwise, Orat. ii. § 77 fin. he calls Prov. viii. 22 an enigma, with an allusion to Prov. i. 6, Sept. In like manner S. Ambrose says, "Mare est scriptura divina, habens in se sensus profundos, et altitudinem propheticorum ænigmatum," &c. Ep. ii. 3. What is commonly called "explaining away" Scripture, is the transference of this obscurity from the subject to the words used.

Nothing is more common in theology than large comparisons which are only parallel to a certain point as regards the matter in hand, especially since many doctrines do not admit of exact illustrations. Our Lord's real manhood and imputed sinfulness were alike adjuncts to His Divine Person, which was of an Eternal and Infinite Nature; and therefore His Manhood may {95} be compared to an Attribute, or to an accident, without meaning that it really was either. The Athan. Creed compares the Hypostatic Union to that of soul and body in one man, which, as taken literally by the Monophysites, became their heresy. Again S. Cyril says, "As the Bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but the body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment," &c. Catech. xxi. 3, Oxf. Tr.; but no Catholic thinks that S. Cyril held either a change in the chrism, or no change in the bread. Hence again we find the Arians arguing from John xvii. 11, that our union with the Holy Trinity is as that of the Adorable Persons with Each Other; vid. Euseb. Eccl. Theol. iii. 19, and Athanasius replying to the argument, Orat. iii. 17-25. And so "As we, receiving the Spirit, do not lose our own proper substance, so the Lord, when made man for us and bearing a body, was no less God," Decr. § 14; yet He was God made man, and we are but the temple of God. And again Athanasius compares the Incarnation to our Lord's presence in the world of nature. Incarn. 41, 42. {96}


THIS name was given from the first to Councils of the whole Church, whose definitions could not be altered, vid. art. Definitions. Athan. twice in his Decr. calls the Nicene by this name, viz. § 4 and § 27. "Are they not committing a crime to gainsay so great and ecumenical a Council?" § 4, and "the devil alone persuades you to slander the ecumenical Council," § 27; vid. also Orat. i. § 7; ad Afros 2 twice; Apol. contr. Arian. 7; ad Ep. Æg. 5; Epiph. Hær. 70, 9; Euseb. Vit. Const. iii. 6. 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. {97}


VID. arts. Semi-Arianism and Asterius for a notice of the symbol of the [homoiousion], in opposition to the orthodox [homoousion] and [ex ousias] on the one hand, and to [anomoion] on the other. Eusebius is one of the special supporters of this form of heresy. Asterius is another (vid. art. Arian Leaders); the statements set down here and under the title "Asterius" are mainly taken from what we find in their controversial works.

In his Letter to his people, supr. vol. i. p. 55, &c., Eusebius scarcely commits himself to any positive sense in which the formula "of the substance" ([ex ousias]), is to be interpreted, but only says what it does not mean. His comment on it is "of the Father, but not as a part;" where, what is not negative, instead of being an explanation, is but a recurrence to the original words of Scripture, "of the Father," of which [ex ousias] itself is the explanation; a curious inversion. He says, that the Son is not like the radiance of light so far as this, that the radiance is an inseparable accident of substance, whereas the Son is by the Father's will, [kata gnomen kai proairesin], Dem. Ev. iv. 3. (vid. art. [Boulesis]). And though he insists on our Lord being alone [ek theou], yet he {98} means in the sense which Athan. refutes, Decr. § 7, viz. that He alone was created immediately from God. It is true that he plainly condemns with the Nicene Creed the [ex ouk onton] of the Arians, "the Son was out of nothing," but an evasion was at hand here also; for he not only adds, according to Arian custom, "not as others," but he has a theory that no being whatever is out of nothing, for non-existence cannot be the cause of existence. God, he says, "proposed His own will and power as a sort of matter and substance of the production and constitution of the universe, so that it is not reasonably said, that anything is out of nothing. For what is from nothing cannot be at all. How indeed can nothing be to anything a cause of being? but all that is, takes its being from One who only is and was, who also said, 'I am that I am.'" Dem. Ev. iv. 1. Again, speaking of our Lord, "He who was from nothing would not truly be Son of God, as neither is any other of things generate." Eccl. Theol. i. 9 fin.

He distinctly asserts, Dem. Ev. iv. 2, that our Lord is a creature. "This offspring," he says, "did He first produce Himself from Himself as a foundation of those things which should succeed; the perfect handiwork, [demiourgema], of the Perfect, and the wise structure [architektonema], of the Wise," &c. It is true in his Lett. § 6, he grants that "He was not a work resembling the things which through Him came to be;" but this again is only the ordinary Arian evasion of "an offspring, not as the offsprings." E.g. "It is not without peril to say recklessly that the Son is generate out of nothing {99} similarly to the other generates." Dem. Ev. v. 1; vid. also Eccl. Theol. i. 9, iii. 2. And he considers our Lord the only Son by a divine provision similar to that by which there is only one sun in the firmament, as a centre of light and heat. "Such an Only-begotten Son, the excellent artificer of His will and operator, did the supreme God and Father of that operator Himself first of all beget, through Him and in Him giving subsistence to the operative words (ideas or causes) of things which were to be, and casting in Him the seeds of the constitution and governance of the universe; ... Therefore the Father being one, it behoved the Son to be one also; but should any one object that He did not constitute more, it is fitting for such a one to complain that He constituted not more suns, and moons, and worlds, and ten thousand other things." Dem. Ev. iv. 5 fin.; vid. also iv. 6.

He does not say that our Lord is from the substance of the Father, but that He has a substance from the Father, "not from other substance, but from the Father." This is the Semi-Arian doctrine, which, whether confessing the Son from the substance of the Father or not, implied that His substance was not the Father's substance, but a second substance. The same doctrine is found in the Semi-Arians of Ancyra, though they seem to have confessed, "of the substance." And this is one object of the [homoousion], to hinder the confession "of the substance" from implying a second substance, which was not obviated or was even encouraged by the [homoiousion]. The Council of Ancyra, quoting the text "As the Father hath life in Himself, {100} so," &c., says "since the life which is in the Father means substance, and the life of the Only-begotten who is begotten from the Father means substance, the word 'so' implies a likeness of substance to substance." Epiph. Hær. 73, 10 fin. Hence Eusebius does not scruple to speak of "two substances," and other writers of three substances, contr. Marcell. i. 4, p. 25. He calls our Lord "a second substance," Dem. Ev. vi. Præf.; Præp. Ev. vii. 12, p. 320, and the Holy Spirit a third substance, ibid. 15, p. 325. This it was that made the Latins so suspicious of three hypostases, because the Semi-Arians, as well as they, understood [hypostasis] to mean substance. Eusebius in like manner calls our Lord "another God," "a second God," Dem. Ev. v. 4, p. 226, v. fin.; "second Lord," ibid. 3 init. 6 fin.; "second cause," Dem. Ev. v. Præf.; "not the True God." Syn. § 17, Concil. vii. art. 6, p. 409. Vid. also [heteron echousa to kat' ousian hypokeimenon], Dem. Ev. v. 1, p. 215; [kath' heauton ousiomenos], ibid. iv. 3. And so [heteros para ton patera], Eccl. Theol. i. 20, p. 90; and [zoen idian echon], ibid.; and [zon kai hyphestos kai tou patros hyparchon ektos], ibid. Hence Athan. insists so much on our Lord not being external to the Father. Once admit that He is in the Father, and we may call the Father, the only God, for then the Son is included. And so again as to the Ingenerate, the term does not exclude the Son, for He is generate in the Ingenerate. Vid. [Agenetos] and Marcellus.

The Semi-Arians, however, considering the Son as external to the Father, and this as a necessary truth, maintained, in order logically to escape Sabellianism, {101} that the [homoousion] implied a separation or divulsion of the Divine Substance into two, following the line of argument of Paul of Samosata, who seems to have stopped the reception of that formula at Antioch in the third century by arguing that it involved either Sabellianism (vid. Hilary) or materialism (vid. Athan. and Basil). E.g. Euseb. Demonstr. iv. 3, p. 148, p. 149, v. 1, p. 213-215; contr. Marcell. i. 4, p. 20; Eccl. Theol. i. 12, p. 73; in laud. Const. p. 525; de Fide i. ap. Sirmond. tom. i. p. 7; de Fide ii. p. 16; and apparently his de Incorporali. And so the Semi-Arians at Ancyra, Epiph. Hær. 73, 11, p. 858. And so Meletius, ibid. p. 878 fin., and Cyril Hier. Catech. vii. 5, xi. 18. [ou pathei pater genomenos, ouk ek sumplokes, ou kat' agnoian, ouk aporrheusas, ou meiotheis, ouk alloiotheis]. Vid. also Eusebius's letter to his people as given by Athan. Cyril, however, who had friends among the Semi-Arians and apparently took their part, could not be stronger on this point than the Nicene Fathers.

The only sense then in which the word [homoousion] could be received by such as Eusebius, would seem to be negative, unless it should rather be taken as a mere formula of peace; for he says, "We assented &c. ... without declining even the term 'Consubstantial,' peace being the object which we set before us, and maintenance of the orthodox view ... 'Consubstantial with the Father' suggests that the Son of God bears no resemblance to the creatures which have been made, but that He is in every way after the pattern of His Father alone who begat Him." Euseb. Lett. § 7. These last words can hardly be called an {102} interpretation of [homoousion], for it is but saying that [homoousion] means [homoiousion], whereas the two words notoriously were antagonistic to each other.

It must be observed too that, though the Semi-Arian [homoiousion] may be taken, as it is sometimes by Athan., as satisfying the claims of theological truth, especially when it is understood in the sense of [aparallaktos eikon], "the exact image" of the Father, (vid. Decr. § 20, Theod. Hist. i. 4,) yet it could easily be explained away. It need mean no more than a likeness of Son to Father, such as a picture to its original, while differing from it in substance. "Two men are not of like nature, but of the same nature; tin is like silver, but not of the same nature." Syn. § 47-50. Also Athan. notices that "like" applies to qualities rather than to substance. Also Basil. Ep. 8, n. 3; "While in itself," says the same Father, "it is frequently used of faint similitudes, and falling very far short of the original." Ep. 9, n. 3. But the word [homoousion] implies "the same in likeness," [tauton tei omoiosei], that the likeness may not be considered analogical. vid. Cyril. in Joan. iii. 5, p. 302. Eusebius makes no concealment that it is in this sense that he uses the word [homoiousion], for he says, "Though our Saviour Himself teaches that the Father is the only True, still let me not be backward to confess Him also the true God, as in an Image, and as possessed; so that the addition of 'only' may belong to the Father alone as Archetype of the Image ... As supposing one king held sway, and his image was carried about into every quarter, no one in his right mind would say that those who {103} held sway were two, but one, who was honoured through his image." de Eccl. Theol. ii. 23; vid. ibid. 7, pp. 109, 111.

Accordingly, instead of [ex ousias], which was the Nicene formula, he held [metousiai], that is, "like to the Father by participation of qualities," as a creature may be; [ex autes tes patrikes] [not [ousias], but] [metousias, hosper apo peges, ep' auton procheomenes pleroumenon]. Eccl. Theol. i. 2. Whereas Athan. says, [oude kata metousian autou, all' holon idion autou gennema]. Orat. iii. § 4. Disc. n. 228.) "If ye speak of the Son as being merely such by participation, [metousiai], then call Him [homoiousion]," Syn. 53; but no, it is for creatures to possess God [metousiai], but when God is said to beget, this is all one with enunciating the [ex ousias], and a whole participation. Vid. Orat. i. § 16.

Hence St. Austin says, as quoted supr. Arian tenets, "As the Father has life in Himself, so hath He given also to the Son to have life in Himself, not by participating, but in Himself. For we have not life in ourselves, but in our God. But that Father, who has life in Himself, begat a Son such, as to have life in Himself, not to become partaker of life, but to be Himself life; and of that life to make us partakers." Serm. 127, de Verb. Evang. 9.

In Eusebius's Letter to Euphration, as quoted in the seventh Ecum. Council, he introduced the usual Arian argument against the Son's Eternity. "If they co-exist, how shall the Father be Father and the Son Son? or how the One first, and the Other second? and the {104} One ingenerate and the Other generate?" Vid. supr. Arian tenets.

And further he explained away what Catholics held of the eternity of the gennesis by insisting that God was a Father in posse from eternity, not in fact. "Our religious Emperor did at the time," at Nicæa, "prove in a speech, that our Lord was in being even according to His Divine generation, which is before all ages, since even before He was generated in fact He was in virtue with the Father ingenerately, the Father being always Father, as King always and Saviour always, being all things in virtue, and having all things in the same respects and in the same way." Eus. Lett. § 10.

Theognis too, another of the Nicene Arians, says the same, according to Philostorgius; viz. "that God even before He begat the Son was a Father, as having the power, [dunamis], of being so," Hist. ii. 15, 16; and Asterius. They are answered by Catholics, on the ground that Father and Son are words of nature, but Creator, King, Saviour, are external, or what may be called accidental to Him. Thus Athanasius observes, that Father actually implies Son, but Creator only the power to create, as expressing a [dunamis]; "a maker is before his works, but he who says Father, forthwith in Father implies the existence of the Son." Orat. iii. 6. (Disc. n. 231, supr. vol. i. p. 364.) Vid. Cyril too, Dial. ii. p. 459; Pseudo-Basil. contr. Eun. iv. 1 fin. On the other hand Origen argues the reverse way, that since God is eternally a Father, therefore eternally Creator also. "As one cannot be father without a son, nor lord {105} without possession, so neither can God be called All-powerful, without subjects of His power," Periarch. i. 2, n. 10; hence he argued for the eternity of creation, which Suarez, after St. Thomas, allows to be abstractedly possible. Vid. Theol. Tracts ii. § 11 circ. fin.

Athan. distinguishes as follows: that, as it is of the essence of a son to be of the nature of the father, so is it of the essence of a creature to be of nothing, [ex ouk onton]; therefore, while it was not impossible, from the nature of the case, for Almighty God to be always Father, it was impossible for the same reason that He should be always a Creator, impossible from incapacity, not in the Infinite, but in the finite. Orat. i. 29. Vid. ibid. § 58, where he takes "They shall perish," in the Psalm, not as a fact, but as the definition of the nature of a creature. Also ii. § 1, where he says, "It is proper to creatures and works to have said of them, [ex ouk onton] and [ouk hen prin gennethei]." Vid. Cyril. Thesaur. 9, p. 67. Dial. ii. p. 460.

It has been above shown that Eusebius held with Arians generally that our Lord was created by the God of all in order that He might create all else. And this was because the creation could not bear the Divine Hand, as the Arians also said. Vid. a clear and eloquent passage in his Eccl. Theol. i. 8, also 13, to show that our Lord was brought into being before all creation, [epi soteriai ton holon]. Vid. also Demonstr. iv. 4; Præp. vii. 15; but especially his remark, "not because the Father was not able to create, did He beget the Son, but because those things which were made were not able to sustain the power of the Ingenerate, therefore {106} speaks He through a Mediator," contra Sabell. i. p. 9.

There is another peculiarity of Eusebius's view of the creative office of the Divine Word, in contrast with the Catholic doctrine. It is that the Word does not create from His own designs, as being Himself really the [tupos], [eikon], and [hypogramma] of those things which He is creating, but that He copies the Father's patterns as an external minister. "The Father designed ([dietupou]) and prepared with consideration, how, and of what shape, measure, and parts ... And He watching ([enatenizon]) the Father's thoughts, and alone beholding the depths in Him, went about the work, subserving the Father's orders ([neumasi]) ... As a skilful painter, taking the archetypal ideas from the Father's thoughts, He transferred them to the substances of the works." Eccl. Theol. iii. 3, pp. 164, 5.

In this Eusebius follows the Platonists; so he does, when he attributes our Lord's Priesthood to His Divine Nature, as the Word, in which case His human sufferings have no part in it.

Moreover, it is doubtful whether he held that our Lord, in becoming incarnate, took on Him a human soul as well as body. In his work against Marcellus, p. 54, he seems to grant his opponent's doctrine, when he says, [ei men psuches diken (dicha) oikon en autoi toi somati]; and at p. 55 he seems to say that, if the Word retired from the [zoopoios sarx], the [sarx] would be left [alogos]; vid. also ibid. p. 91. {107}

The Father Almighty

1. THE idea of an Almighty, All-perfect Being, in its fulness involves the belief of His being the Father of a co-equal Son, and this is the first advance which a habit of devout meditation makes towards the intellectual apprehension of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as soon as that doctrine has been received with the claim and the sanction of its having been revealed.

The Fathers speak as if it were nothing short of a necessary truth, involved in the nature of things, that One who is infinite in His attributes should subsist over again in an infinite perfect Image, Impress, Likeness, Word, or Son, for these names denote the same sacred truth. A redundatio in imaginem or in Verbum is synonymous with a generatio Filii. "Naturam et essentiale Deitatis," says Thomassin, "in suo Fonte assentiuntur omnes esse plenitudinem totius Esse. At hæc necesse est ut statim exundet nativâ fœcunditate suâ. Infinitum enim illud Esse non Esse tantum est sed Esse totum est; vivere id ipsum est intelligere, sapere; opulentiæ suæ, bonitatis, et sapientiæ rivulos undique spargere; nec rivulos tantum, sed et fontem et plenitudinem ipsam suam diffundere. Hæc enim demum fœcunditas Deo digna, Deo par est, ut a Fonte bonitatis non rivulus sed flumen effluat, nec extra effluat, sed {108} in ipsomet, cùm extra nihil sit, quo illa plenitudo capi possit." de Trin. 19, 1.

Thus Athan. says, "Let them dare to say openly … that the Fountain failed to beget Wisdom, whence it would follow that there is no longer a Fountain, but a sort of pool, as if receiving water from without, yet usurping the name of Fountain." Decr. § 15; vid. also Orat. i. § 14 and 19. And so [pege xera], Serap. ii. 2; Orat. i. § 14 fin.; also [karpogonos he ousia], ii. § 2, where Athanasius speaks as if those who deny that Almighty God is Father cannot really believe in Him as a Creator. "If our Lord be not a Son, let Him be called a work … and let God be called, not Father, but Framer only and Creator, … and not of a generative nature. But if the Divine substance be not fruitful ([karpogonos]), but barren, as they say, as a light which enlightens not, and a dry fountain, are they not ashamed to maintain that He possesses the creative energy?" Vid. also [pege theotetos], Pseudo-Dion. Div. Nom. ii. 4; [pege ek peges], of the Son, Epiphan. Ancor. 19. And Cyril, "If thou take from God His being Father, thou wilt deny the generative power [karpogonon] of the divine nature, so that It no longer is perfect. This then is a token of its perfection, and the Son who went forth from Him apart from time, is a pledge ([sphragis]) to the Father that He is perfect." Thesaur. p. 37. Vid. also [gennetikos], Orat. ii. § 2, iii. § 66, iv. § 4 fin.; [agonos], i. 14, 19, and Sent. Dion. 15 and 19; [he physike gonimotes], Damasc. F.O. i. 8; [akarpos], Cyr. Thes. p. 45; Epiph. Hær. 65, p. 609; also the [gennesis] and the [ktisis] connected together, Orat. i. 29. This doctrine {109} is briefly expressed in Orat. iv. 4, [ei agonos, kai anenergetos]. So much at least is plain at first sight, that a divine gennesis is not more difficult to our imagination than a creation out of nothing.

This is the first conclusion which we are in a position to draw under the sanction given to our reasonings by the revelation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in Unity.

2. A second conclusion is suggested by Thomassin's words towards the end of the above quotation, "ut effluat nec extra effluat." It is the first of truths that there is but one only Supreme Almighty Being. The Arians and others accused Catholics, in their maintenance of our Lord's Divinity, of virtually contravening this initial doctrine of all faith; as Euseb. Eccl. Theol. i. 10, p. 69; and accordingly they insisted on His being external, and thereby subordinate and inferior to God. But this was in fact to admit that He was not born from God at all, but [kekollesthai toi patri logon], Orat. iv. § 3; and Marcellus, according to Eusebius, spoke of Him as [henomenon toi theoi logon] (vid. [sumbebekos]), Athan. protesting on the other hand against the notion "that the Fountain begat not wisdom from Itself, but acquired it from without," vid. supr. Decr. § 15, and Orat. iv. § 4, and laying down the principle [ouden hen pros ton patera, ei me to ex autou]. Orat. iv. 17.

But the Son still was in as well as from the Father, and this union of distinct characteristics in the Son was signified by S. John by the word [pros], i. 1, whereas the Sabellians preferred to say [en toi theoi]. Hence {110} Basil, [ho en anthropoi logos ou pros auton einai legetai all' en autoi], c. Sabell. 1, fin., but the Divine Son was [pros ton theon], not [en toi theoi]. It was in this sense and with this explanation that Catholics held and insisted on the Divine Unity; or, as they then called it, the Monarchia: and thence they went on to the second great doctrine associated in theology with the Eternal Father, and signified by Thomassin in the above extract in the words, "ut effluat flumen Deitatis nec extra effluat." The Infinite Father of an Infinite Son must necessarily be conterminus (so to speak) with Him. A second self (still to use inaccurate language) cannot be a second God. The Monarchia of the Father is not only the symbol of the Divine Unity, but of the Trinity in that Unity, for it implies the presence of Those who, though supreme, are not [archai]. This was especially its purpose in the first centuries, when polytheistic errors prevailed. The Son and Spirit were then viewed relatively to the Father, and the Father as the absolute God. Even now statements remain in the Ritual of the old usage, as in the termination of Collects, and as in the Sunday Preface in the Mass: "Pater Omnipotens, qui cum Unigenito Filio tuo et Spiritu Sancto, Unus es Deus" instead of the "Pater, Filius, Spiritus Sanctus, Unus Deus" of the Psalmus Quicunque.

And so, "The Word," says Athan., "being the Son of the One God, is referred to Him of whom also He is." Orat. iv. § 1. [eis auton anapheretai]. vid. also Nazianz. Orat. 20. 7; Damasc. F.O. i. 8, p. 140; Theod. Abuc. Opusc. 42, p. 542. And so [anagetai], Naz. Orat. 42. 15; and {111} [hina hemas anapempsei epi ten tou patros authentian], Euseb. Eccl. Theol. i. 20, p. 84, though in an heretical sense. (Vid. a remarkable illustration of this, under Ignorance in Basil on Mark xiii. 32.) This, then, is the Catholic doctrine of the Monarchia, in opposition to the Three Archical Hypostases of Plato and others. The Son and the Spirit were viewed as the Father's possession, as one with Him yet as really distinct from Him as a man's hands are one and not one with himself; but still, in spite of this, as being under the conditions of a nature at once spiritual and infinite, therefore, in spite of this analogy, not inferior, even if subordinate to the Father. The word "parts" belongs to bodies, and implies magnitude; but as the soul has powers and properties, conscience, reason, imagination, and the like, but no parts, so each Person of the Holy Trinity must either be altogether and fully God, or not God at all.

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. 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; vid. also iv. § 1. Serap. i. 28 fin. Naz. Orat. 23. 8. Bas. Hom. 24, init. Nyssen. Orat. Cat. 3, p. 481. "The Father is unition, [henosis]," says S. Greg. Naz., "from whom and unto whom are the other Two." Orat. 42. 15; also Orat. 20. 7, {112} and Epiph. Hær. 57, 5. Tertullian, and Dionysius of Alexandria after him (Athan. Decr. § 26), uses the word Monarchia, which Praxeas had perverted into a kind of Unitarianism or Sabellianism, in Prax. 3. Irenæus too wrote on the Monarchy, i.e. against the doctrine that God is the author of evil. Eus. Hist. v. 20. And before him was Justin's work "de Monarchiâ," where the word is used in opposition to Polytheism. The Marcionites, whom Dionysius also mentions, are referred to by Athan. de Syn. § 52; vid. also Cyril. Hier. Cat. xvi. 4. Epiphanius says that their three origins were God, the Creator, and the evil spirit, Haer. 42, 3, or as Augustine says, the good, the just, and the wicked, which may be taken to mean nearly the same thing. Hær. 22. The Apostolical Canons denounce those who baptise into Three Unoriginate; vid. also Athan. Tom. ad Antioch. 5; Naz. Orat. 20. 6. Basil denies [treis archikai hypostaseis], de Sp. S. § 38.

When characteristic attributes and prerogatives are ascribed to God, or to the Father, this is done only to the exclusion of creatures, or of false Gods, not to the exclusion of His Son who is implied in the mention of Himself. Thus when God is called only wise, or the Father the only God, or God is said to be ingenerate, [agenetos], this is not in contrast to the Son, but to all things which are distinct from God, vid. Athan. Orat. iii. 8; Naz. Orat. 30. 13; Cyril. Thesaur. p. 142. "The words 'one' and 'only' ascribed to God in Scripture," says S. Basil, "are not used in contrast to the Son or the Holy Spirit, but with reference to those who are not God, and falsely called so." Ep. 8, {113} n. 3. On the other hand, when the Father is mentioned, the other Divine Persons are implied in Him. "The Blessed and Holy Trinity," says S. Athan., "is indivisible and one with Itself; and when the Father is mentioned, His Word is present too ([prosesti]), and the Spirit in the Son; and if the Son is named, in the Son is the Father, and the Spirit is not external to the Word." ad Serap. i. 14. "I have named the Father," says S. Dionysius, "and before I mention the Son, I have already signified Him in the Father; I have mentioned the Son, and though I had not yet named the Father, He had been fully comprehended in the Son," &c. Sent. D. 17, vid. art. Coinherence.

Passages like these are distinct from that in which Athan. says that "Father implies Son," Orat. iii. § 6, for there the question is of words, but here of fact. That the words are correlative, even Eusebius does not scruple to admit in Sabell. i. (ap. Sirm. t. i. p. 8.) "Pater statim, ut dictus fuit pater, requirit ista vox filium," &c.; but in that passage no [perichoresis] is implied, which is the orthodox doctrine. Yet Petavius observes as to the very word [perichoresis] that one of its first senses in ecclesiastical writers was this which Arians would not disclaim; its use to express the Catholic doctrine here spoken of was later. Vid. de Trin. iv. 16.

3. Thirdly, from what has been said, since God, although He is One and Only, nevertheless is Father because He is God, we are led to understand that He is Father in a sense of His own, not in a mere human sense; for a Father, who was like other fathers, {114} would of course impart to a Son that which he was himself, and thus God would have a Son who could be a father, and, as God, would in His Son commence a [theogonia]; this was the objection of the Arians; but His Son is His Image, not as Father, but as God; and to be Father is not the accident of His Person, as in the case of men, but belongs necessarily to it; and His personality in the Godhead consists, as far as we know it, in His being Father and in nothing else, and can only so be defined or described; and so in a parallel way as regards the Son. The words "Father" and "Son" have a high archetypical sense, and human fathers and sons have but the shadow of it.

With us a son becomes a father because our nature is [rheuste], transitory and without stay, ever shifting and passing on into new forms and relations: but God is perfect and ever the same; what He is once, that He continues to be; God the Father remains Father, and God the Son remains Son. Moreover, men become fathers by detachment and transmission, and what is received is handed on in a succession; thus Levi before his birth was in the loins of Abraham; whereas it is by imparting Himself wholly that the Father begets the Son; and a perfect gennesis finds its termination in itself. The Son has not a Son, because the Father has not a Father. Thus the Father is the only true Father, and the Son the only true Son; the Father only a Father, the Son only a Son; being really in Their Persons what human fathers are but by function, circumstance, accident, and name. And since the Father is unchangeable as Father, in nothing does the Son {115} more fulfil the idea of a perfect Image than in being unchangeable too. Thus S. Cyril. also, Thesaur. 4, pp. 22, 23; 13, p. 124, &c.

Men differ from each other as being individuals, but the characteristic difference between Father and Son is, not that they are separate individuals, but that they are Father and Son. In these extreme statements it must be ever borne in mind that we are contemplating divine things according to our notions, not in re: i.e. we are speaking of the Almighty Father, as such; there being no real separation between His Person and His Substance.

Thus Athanasius: "'If the Son is the Father's offspring and image, and is like in all things to the Father,' say the Arians, 'then it necessarily holds that as He is begotten, so He begets, and He too becomes father of a son. And again, he who is begotten from Him, begets in his turn, and so on without limit; for this is to make the Begotten like Him that begat Him.' Authors of blasphemy! … if God be as man, let Him be also a parent as man, so that His Son should be father of another, and so in succession one from another, till the series they imagine grows into a multitude of gods. But if God be not as man, as He is not, we must not impute to Him the attributes of man. For brutes and men after that a Creator has begun their line, are begotten by succession; and the son, having been begotten of a father who was a son, becomes accordingly in his turn a father to a son, in inheriting from his father that by which he himself has come into being. Hence in such instances there is not, properly {116} speaking, either father or son, nor do the father and the son stay in their respective characters, for the son himself becomes a father, being son of his father, and father of his son. But it is not so in the Godhead; for not as man is God; for the Father is not from father; therefore doth He not beget one who shall beget; nor is the Son from effluence of the Father, nor is He begotten from a father that was begotten; therefore neither is He begotten so as to beget. Thus it belongs to the Godhead alone, that the Father is properly ([kurios]) father, and the Son properly son, and in Them, and Them only, does it hold that the Father is ever Father and the Son ever Son. Therefore he who asks why the Son has not a son, must inquire why the Father had not a father. But both suppositions are indecent and impious exceedingly. For as the Father is ever Father and never could be Son, so the Son is ever Son and never could be Father. For in this rather is He shown to be the Father's Impress and Image, remaining what He is and not changing, but thus receiving from the Father to be one and the same." Orat. i. § 21, 22. Presently he says, "For God does not make men His pattern, but rather, because God is properly and alone truly Father of His Son, we men also are called fathers of our own children, for 'of Him is every fatherhood in heaven and on earth named.'" § 23. The Semi-Arians at Ancyra quote the same text for the same doctrine. Epiphan. Hær. 73, 5. As do Cyril. in Joan. iii. p. 24; Thesaur. 32, p. 281; and Damascene de Fid. Orth. i. 8.

Again: "As men create not as God creates, as their {117} being is not such as God's being, so men's generation is in one way, and the Son is from the Father in another. For the offspring of men are portions of their fathers, since the very nature of bodies is to be dissoluble, and composed of parts; and men lose their substance in begetting, and again they gain substance from the accession of food. And on this account men in their time become fathers of many children; but God, being without parts, is Father of the Son without partition or passion; for of the Immaterial there is neither effluence nor accession from without, as among men; and being uncompounded in nature, He is Father of One Only Son. This is why the Son is Only-begotten, and alone in the Father's bosom, and alone is acknowledged by the Father to be from Him, saying, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." de Decr. § 11. The parallel, with which this passage begins, as existing between creation and generation, is insisted on by Isidor. Pel. Ep. iii. 355; Basil. contr. Eun. iv. 1, p. 280, A; Cyril. Thesaur. 6, p. 43; Epiph. Hær. 69, 36; and Gregor. Naz. Orat. 20. 9, who observes that God creates with a word, Ps. cxlviii. 5, which evidently transcends human creations. (Vid. also supr. 1st part of this art.) Theodorus Abucara, with the same object, draws out the parallel of life, [zoe], as Athan. that of being, [einai]. Opusc. iii. p. 420-422.

The word [kurios], used in the first of these passages, also occurs on the same subject in Serap. i. § 16. "The Father, being one and only, is Father of a Son one and only; and in the instance of Godhead only have the names Father and Son a stay and a perpetuity; {118} for of men if any one be called father, yet he has been son of another; and if he be called son, yet is he called father of another; so that in the case of men the names father and son do not properly ([kurios]) hold." Vid. the whole passage. Also ibid. iv. 4 fin. and 6; vid. also [kurios], Greg. Naz. Orat. 29. 5; [alethos], Orat. 25. 16; [ontos], Basil. contr. Eunom. i. 5, p. 215.

[Ho men pater, pater esti]. Orat. iii. § 11. And so, "In the Godhead only, [ho pater kurios esti pater, kai ho huios kurios huios]." Serap. i. 16. He speaks of "receding from things generate, casting away created images, and ascending to the Father." Again of men "not being in nature and truth benefactors," Almighty God being Himself the type and pattern, &c. Vid. Nic. § xi.; Syn. § 51; Orat. iii. § 19. And so S. Cyril, [to kurios tikton ex heautou to theion estin, hemeis de kata mimesin]. Thesaur. 13, p. 133, [pater kurios, hoti me kai huios; hosper kai huios kurios, hoti me kai pater]. Naz. Orat. 29. 5; vid. also 23, 6 fin. 25, 16; vid. also the whole of Basil. adv. Eun. ii. 23. "One must not say," he observes, "that these names properly and primarily, [kurios kai protos], belong to men, and are given by us but by a figure [katachrestikos] (vol. i. p. 19, note 2) to God. For our Lord Jesus Christ, referring us back to the Origin of all and True Cause of beings, says, 'Call no one your father upon earth, for One is your Father, which is in heaven.'" He adds, that if He is properly and not metaphorically the Father even of us, much more is He the [pater tou kata physin huiou]. Vid. also Euseb. contr. Marc. i. 4, p. 22. Eccl. {119} Theol. i. 12 fin.; ii. 6. Marcellus, on the other hand, contrasting Son and Word, said that our Lord was [kurios logos], not [kurios huios]. ibid. ii. 10 fin.

S. Basil says in like manner that, though God is Father [kurios] (properly), yet it comes to the same thing though we were to say that He is [tropikos] and [ek metaphoras], figuratively, Father; contr. Eun. ii. 24; for in that case we must, as in other metaphors used of Him (anger, sleep, flying), take that part of the human sense which can apply to Him. Now [gennesis] implies two things—passion, and relationship, [oikeiosis physeos]; accordingly we must take the latter as an indication of the divine sense of the term. On the terms Son, Word, &c., being figurative, or illustrative, and how to use them, vid. also de Decr. § 12; Orat. i. § 26, 27, ii. § 32, iii. § 18, 67; Basil. contr. Eunom. ii. 17; Hil. de Trin. iv. 2. Vid. also Athan. ad Serap. i. 20, and Basil. Ep. 38, n. 5, and what is said of the office of faith in each of these.

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


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