{216} GOD, the Origin and Cause of all things, acts by the mediation, ministration, or operation of His Son, as signified by the Son's names of Word and Wisdom. Vid. art. Eternal Son.

"It belongs to the Son," says Athanasius, "to have the things of the Father; and to be such that the Father is seen in Him, and that through Him all things were made, and that the salvation of all comes to pass and consists in Him." Orat. ii. § 24. "Men were made through the Word, when the Father Himself willed." Orat. i. § 63. "Even if God compounded the world out of materials, ... still allow the Word to work those materials, say at the bidding and in the service of God, [prostattomenos kai hypourgon]; but if by His own Word He calls into existence things which existed not, then the Word is not in the number of things not existing," &c. Orat. ii. § 22. "With whom did God speak," (saying Let us make, &c.) "so as even to speak with a command," [prostatton]? "He bids, [prostattei], and says, Let us make men ... Who was it but His Word?" c. Gent. § 46. "A Word then must exist, to whom God gives command, [entelletai ho theos]," de Decr. § 9.

The language of Catholics and heretics is very much the same on this point of the Son's ministration, with {217} this essential difference of sense, that Catholic writers mean a ministration internal to the divine substance and an instrument connatural with the Father, and Arius meant an external and created medium of operation. vid. arts. The Divine Hand and [organon]. Thus S. Clement calls our Lord "the All-harmonious Instrument ([organon]) of God." Protrept. p. 6. Eusebius, "an animated and living instrument, ([organon empsuchon],) nay, rather divine and ... vivific of every substance and nature." Demonstr. iv. 4. S. Basil, on the other hand, insists that the Arians reduced our Lord to "an inanimate instrument," [organon apsuchon], though they called Him [hypourgon teleiotaton], most perfect minister or underworker." adv. Eunom. ii. 21. Elsewhere he says, "the nature of a cause is one, and the nature of an instrument, [organon], another; ... foreign then in nature is the Son from the Father, as an instrument is from the artist who uses it." de Sp. S. n. 6 fin. vid. also n. 4. fin. and n. 20. Afterwards he speaks of our Lord as "not intrusted with the ministry of each work by particular injunctions in detail, for this were ministration," [leitourgikon], but as being "full of the Father's excellences," and "fulfilling not an instrumental, [organiken], and servile ministration, but accomplishing the Father's will like a Maker, [demiourgikos]." ibid. n. 19. And so S. Gregory, "The Father signifies, the Word accomplishes, not servilely nor ignorantly, but with knowledge and sovereignty, and, to speak more suitably, in the Father's way, [patrikos]." Orat. 30. 11. And S. Cyril, "There is nothing abject in the Son, as in a minister, [hypourgoi], as they say; for {218} the God and Father enjoins not [[epitattei]] on His Word, 'Make man,' but as one with Him, by nature, and inseparably existing in Him as a co-operator," &c., in Joann. p. 48. Explanations such as these secure for the Catholic writers some freedom in their modes of speaking; e.g. we have seen supr. that Athan. seems to speak of the Son as being directed, and ministering," [prostattomenos, kai hypourgon], Orat. ii. § 22. Thus S. Irenæus speaks of the Father being well-pleased and commanding, [keleuontos], and the Son doing and framing. Hær. iv. 38, 3. S. Basil too, in the same treatise in which are some of the foregoing protests, speaks of "the Lord ordering, [[prostassonta],] and the Word framing." de Sp. S. n. 38. S. Cyril of Jerusalem, of "Him who bids, [[entelletai],] bidding to one who is present with Him," Cat. xi. 16. vid. also [hypereton tei boulei], Justin. Tryph. 126, and [hypourgon], Theoph. ad Autol. ii. 10 (Galland. t. 2, p. 95), [exupereton thelemati], Clem. Strom. vii. p. 832.

As to those words [prostattomenos kai hypourgon], it is not quite clear that Athan. accepts them in his own person, as has been assumed supr. Vid. de Decr. § 7, and Orat. ii. § 24 and 31, which, as far as they go, are against such use. Also S. Basil objects to [hypourgos], contr. Eunom. ii. 21, and S. Cyril in Joan. p. 48, though S. Basil speaks of [ton prostattonta kurion], as noticed above, and S. Cyril of the Son's [hypotage], Thesaur. p. 255. Vid. "ministering, [hyperetounta], to the Father of all." Just. Tryph. n. 60. "The Word become minister, [hyperetes], of the Creator," Origen in Joan. t. 2, p. 67, also Constit. {219} Ap. viii. 12, but Pseudo-Athan. objects to [hypereton], de Comm. Essent. 30, and Athan. apparently, Orat. ii. § 28. Again, "Whom did He order, præcepit?" Iren. Hær. iii. 8, n. 3. "The Father bids [[entelletai]] (allusion to Ps. 33, 9), the Word accomplishes ... He who commands, [keleuon], is the Father, He who obeys, [hypakouon], the Son ... the Father willed, [ethelesen], the Son did it." Hippol. c. Noet. 14, on which vid. Fabricius's note. S. Hilary speaks of the Son as "subditus per obedientiæ obsequelam," Syn. 51. Origen contr. Cels. ii. 9. Tertul. adv. Prax. 12, fin. Patres Antioch. ap. Routh t. 2, p. 468. Prosper in Psalm 148. Hilar. Trin. iv. 16. "That the Father speaks and the Son hears, or contrariwise, that the Son speaks and the Father hears, are expressions for the sameness of nature and the agreement of Father and Son." Didym. de Sp. S. 36. "The Father's bidding is not other than His Word; so that 'I have not spoken of Myself,' He perhaps meant to be equivalent to 'I was not born from Myself.' For if the Word of the Father speaks, He pronounces Himself, for He is the Father's Word," &c. August. de Trin. i. 26. On this mystery vid. Petav. Trin. vi. 4.

Athan. says that it is contrary to all our notions of religion that Almighty God cannot create, enlighten, address, and unite Himself to His creatures immediately. This seems to be implied when it was said by the Arians that the Son was created for creation, illumination, &c.; whereas in the Catholic view the Son is simply that Divine Person, who in the economy of grace is Creator, Enlightener, &c. God is represented as All-perfect, but {220} acting according to a certain divine order. Here the remark is in point about the right and wrong sense of the words "commanding," "obeying," &c.

Hence our Lord is the [boulesis] and the [boule], and [zosa boule], of the Father. Orat. iii. 63 fin. and so Cyril Thes. p. 54, who uses [boule] expressly, (as it is always used by implication,) in contrast to the [kata boulesin] of the Arians, though Athan. uses [kata to boulema], e.g. Orat. iii. 31. And so [autos tou patros thelema], Nyss. contr. Eunom. xii. p. 345.

The bearing of the above teaching of the early Fathers on the relation of the Second to the First Person in the Holy Trinity, is instructively brought out by Thomassinus in his work, de Incarnatione, from which I have made a long extract in one of my Theological Tracts:—part of it I will make use of here.

"It belongs to the Father to be without birth, but to the Son to be born. Now innascibility is a principle of concealment, but birth of exhibition. The former withdraws from sight, the latter comes forth into open day; the one retires into itself, lives to itself, and has no outward start; the other flows forth and extends itself and is diffused far and wide. It corresponds then to the idea of the Father, as being ingenerate, to be self-collected, remote, unapproachable, invisible, and in consequence to be utterly alien to an incarnation. But to the Son, considered as once for all born, and ever coming to the birth, and starting into view, it especially belongs to display Himself, to {221} be prodigal of Himself, to bestow Himself as an object for sight and enjoyment, because in the fact of being born He has burst forth into His corresponding act of self-diffusion ...

"Equally ... incomprehensible is in His nature the Son as the Father. Accordingly we are here considering a personal property, not a natural. It is especially congenial to the Divine Nature to be good, beneficent, and indulgent; and for these qualities there is no opening at all without a certain manifestation of their hiding-place, and outpouring of His condescending Majesty. Wherefore, since the majesty and goodness of God, in the very bosom of His nature, look different ways, and by the one He retires into Himself, and by the other He pours Himself out, it is by the different properties of the Divine Persons that this contrariety is solved," &c., &c. vid. Thomassin. Incarn. ii. 1, p. 89, &c. {222}


MELETIUS was Bishop of Lycopolis in the Thebais, in the first years of the fourth century. He was convicted of sacrificing to idols in the persecution, and deposed by a Council under Peter, Bishop of Alexandria and (subsequently) a martyr. Meletius separated from the communion of the Church and commenced a schism; at the time of the Nicene Council it included as many as twenty-eight or thirty Bishops; in the time of Theodoret, a century and a quarter later, it included a number of monks. Though not heterodox, they supported the Arians on their first appearance, in their contest with the Catholics. The Council of Nicæa, instead of deposing their Bishops, allowed them on their return a titular rank in their sees, but forbade them to exercise their functions.

The Meletian schismatics of Egypt formed an alliance with the Arians from the first. Athan. imputes the alliance to ambition and avarice in the Meletians, and to zeal for their heresy in the Arians. Ep. Æg. 22, vid. also Hist. Arian. 78. In like manner after Sardica the Semi-Arians attempted a coalition with the Donatists of Africa. Aug. contr. Cresc. iii. 34 (n. 38).

Epiphanius gives us another account of the circumstances under which Meletius's schism originated.

There was another Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, in the latter part of the same century. He at one time belonged to the Semi-Arian party, but joined the orthodox, and was the first president of the second Ecumenical Council. {223}

Two Natures of Emmanuel

"TWO natures," says S. Leo, "met together in our Redeemer, and, while what belonged to each respectively remained, so great a unity was made of either substance, that from the time that the Word was made flesh in the Blessed Virgin's womb, we may neither think of Him as God without that which is man, nor as man without that which is God. Each nature certifies its own reality under distinct actions, but neither of them disjoins itself from connection with the other. Nothing is wanting from either towards other; there is entire littleness in majesty, entire majesty in littleness; unity does not introduce confusion, nor does what is special to each divide unity. There is what is passible, and what is inviolable, yet He, the Same, has the contumely whose is the glory. He is in infirmity who is in power; the Same is both the subject and the conqueror of death. God then did take on Him whole man, and so knit Himself into man and man into Himself in His mercy and in His power, that either nature was in other, and neither in the other lost its own attributes." Serm. 54, 1. "Suscepit nos in suam proprietatem illa natura, quæ nec nostris sua, nec suis nostra consumeret," &c. Serm. 72, p. 286. vid. also Ep. 165, 6. Serm. 30, 5. Cyril. Cat. iv. 9. Amphiloch. ap. Theod. Eran. i. p. 66, also pp. 60, 87, 88.

"All this belongs to the Economy, not to the Godhead. On this account He says, 'Now is My soul {224} troubled,' ... so troubled as to seek for a release, if escape were possible ... As to hunger is no blame, nor to sleep, so is it none to desire the present life. Christ had a body pure from sins, but not exempt from physical necessities, else it had not been a body." Chrysost. in Joann. Hom. 67, 1 and 2. "He used His own flesh as an instrument for the works of the flesh, and for physical infirmities and for other infirmities which are blameless," &c. Cyril. de Rect. Fid. p. 18. "As a man He doubts, as a man He is troubled; it is not His power (virtus) that is troubled, not His Godhead, but His soul," &c. Ambros. de Fid. ii. n. 56. Vid. a beautiful passage in S. Basil's Hom. iv. 5 (de Divers.), in which he insists on our Lord's having wept to show us how to weep neither too much nor too little.

"Being God, and existing as Word, while He remained what He was, He became flesh, and a child, and a man, no change profaning the mystery. The Same both works wonders, and suffers; by the miracles signifying that He is what He was, and by the sufferings giving proof that He had become what He had framed." Procl. ad Armen. p. 615. "Without loss then in what belongs to either nature and substance" (salvâ proprietate, and so Tertullian, "Salva est utriusque proprietas substantiæ," &c., in Prax. 27), "yet with their union in one Person, Majesty takes on it littleness, Power infirmity, Eternity mortality, and, to pay the debt of our estate, an inviolable Nature is made one with a nature that is passible; that, as was befitting for our cure, One and {225} the Same Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, might both be capable of death from the one, and incapable from the other." Leo's Tome (Ep. 28, 3), also Hil. Trin. ix. 11 fin. "Vagit infans, sed in cælo est," &c., ibid. x. 54. Ambros. de Fid. ii. 77. "Erat vermis in cruce sed dimittebat peccata. Non habebat speciem, sed plenitudinem divinitatis," &c. Id. Epist. i. 46, n. 5. Theoph. Ep. Pasch. 6, ap. Conc. Ephes. p. 1404. Hard.

Athanasius, Orat. iv. § 33, speaks of the Word as "putting on the first-fruits of our nature, and being blended ([anakratheis]) with it;" vid. note on Tertull. Oxf. Tr. vol. i. p. 48; and so [he kaine mixis, theos kai anthropos], Greg. Naz. as quoted by Eulogius ap. Phot. Bibl. p. 857; "immixtus," Cassian. Incarn. i. 5; "commixtio," Vigil. contr. Eutych. i. 4, p. 494 (Bibl. Patr. 1624); "permixtus," August. Ep. 137, 11; "ut naturæ alteri altera misceretur," Leon. Serm. 23, 1 (vid. supr. p. 134). There is this strong passage in Naz. Ep. 101, p. 87 (ed. 1840), [kirnamenon hosper ton physeon, houto de kai ton kleseon, kai perichorouson eis allelas toi logoi tes sumphuias]; Bull says that in using [perichorouson] Greg. Naz. and others "minùs propriè loqui." Defens. F. N. iv. 4, § 14. Petavius had allowed this, but proves the doctrine intended amply from the Fathers. De Incarn. iv. 14. Such oneness is not "confusion," for [ou sunchusin apergasamenos, alla ta duo kerasas eis hen], says Epiph. Ancor. 81 fin. and so Eulog. ap. Phot. Bibl. p. 831 fin. [ou tes kraseos sunchusin autoi delouses]. Vid. also on the word [mixis], &c. Zacagn. Monum. p. xxi.-xxvi. Thomassin. de Incarn. iii. 5, iv. 15. {226}

The Nicene Tests of Orthodoxy

WHAT were the cardinal additions, made at Nicæa, to the explicit faith of the Church, will be understood by comparing the Creed, as there recorded and sanctioned, with that of Eusebius, as they both are found (vol. i. supr. pp. 55-57) in his Letter to his people. His Creed is distinct and unexceptionable, as far as it goes; but it does not guard against the introduction of the Arian heresy into the Church, nor could it, as being a creed of the primitive age, and drawn up before the heresy. On the other hand, we see by the anathematisms appended to the Nicene Creed what it was that had to be excluded, and by the wording of the additions to the Creed, and by Eusebius's forced explanation of them, how they acted in effecting its exclusion. The following are the main additions in question:—

1. The Creed of Eusebius says of our Lord, [ek tou patros gegennemenon]; but the Nicene says, [gennethenta ou poiethenta], because the Arians considered generation a kind of creation, as Athan. says, Orat. ii. § 20, "Ye say that an offspring is the same as a work, writing 'generated or made.'" And more distinctly, Arius in his Letter to Eusebius uses the words, [prin gennethei etoi ktisthei e horisthei e themeliothei]. Theodor. Hist. i. 4, p. 750. And to Alexander, [achronos gennetheis kai pro aionon ktistheis kai themeliotheis]. De Syn. § 16. {227} And Eusebius to Paulinus, [ktiston kai themelioton kai genneton]. Theod. Hist. i. 5, p. 752. These different words profess to be scriptural, and to explain each other; "created" being in Prov. viii. 22; "made" in the speech of St. Peter, Acts ii. 22; "appointed" or "declared" in Rom. i. 4; and "founded" or "established" in Prov. viii. 23; vid. Orat. ii. § 72, &c., vid. also § 52.

2. We read in the Nicene Creed, "from the Father, that is, from the substance of the Father," whereas in Eusebius's Letter it is only "God from God." According to the received doctrine of the Church, all rational beings, and in one sense all beings whatever, are "from God," over and above the fact of their creation, and in a certain sense sons of God, vid. supr. Arian tenets, Adam, and Eusebius. And of this undeniable truth the Arians availed themselves to explain away our Lord's proper Sonship and Divinity.

3. But the chief test at Nicæa was the word [homoousion], its special force being that it excludes the maintenance of more than one divine [ousia] or substance, which seems to be implied or might be insinuated even in Eusebius's creed; "We believe," he says, "each of these [Three] to be and to exist, the Father truly Father, the Son truly Son, the Holy Ghost truly Holy Ghost;" for if there be Three substances or res existing, either there are Three Gods or two of them are not God. The [ex ousias], important and serviceable as it was, did not exclude the doctrine of a divine emanation, and was consistent with Semi-Arianism, and with belief in two or in three substances; vid. the art. {228} [homoousion]. "It is the precision of this phrase," says Athan., "that detects their pretence, whenever they use the phrase 'from God,' and that excludes all the subtleties with which they seduce the simple. For, whereas they contrive to put a sophistical construction on all other words at their will, this phrase only, as detecting their heresy, do they dread, which the Fathers did set down as a bulwark against their impious speculations one and all," de Syn. § 45. And Epiphanius calls it [sundesmos pisteos], Ancor. 6. And again he says, "Without the confession of the 'One in substance' no heresy can be refuted; for as a serpent hates the smell of bitumen, and the scent of sesame-cake, and the burning of agate, and the smoke of storax, so do Arius and Sabellius hate the notion of the sincere profession of the 'One in substance.'" And Ambrose, "That term did the Fathers set down in their formula of faith, which they perceived to be a source of dread to their adversaries; that they themselves might unsheathe the sword which cut off the head of their own monstrous heresy." de Fid. iii. 15.

This is very true, but a question arises whether another and a better test than the homoüsion might not have been chosen, one eliciting less opposition, one giving opportunities to fewer subtleties; and on this point a few words shall be said here.

Two ways, then, lay before the Fathers at Nicæa of condemning and eliminating the heresy of Arius, who denied the proper divinity of the Son of God. By means of either of the two a test would be secured for guarding the sacred truth from those evasive professions {229} and pretences of orthodoxy, which Arius himself, to do him justice, did not ordinarily care to adopt. Our Lord's divinity might be adequately defined either (1) by declaring Him to be in and of the essence of the Father, or (2) to be with the Father from everlasting, that is, by defining Him to be either consubstantial or co-eternal with God. Arius had denied both doctrines; "He is not eternal," he says, "or co-eternal, or co-ingenerate with the Father, nor has He His being together with Him." And "The Son of God is not consubstantial with God." Syn. § 15, 16 (vid. also Epiph. Hær. 69, 7). Either course then would have answered the purpose required: but the Council chose that which at first sight seems the less advisable, the more debatable of the two; it chose the "Homoüsion" or "Consubstantial," not the Co-eternal.

Here it is scarcely necessary to dwell on a statement of Gibbon, which is strange for so acute and careful a writer. He speaks as if the enemies of Arius at Nicæa were at first in a difficulty how to find a test to set before the Council which might exclude him from the Church, and then accidentally became aware that the Homoüsion was such an available term. He says that in the Council a letter was publicly read and ignominiously torn, in which the Arian leader, Eusebius of Nicomedia, "ingenuously confessed that the admission of the Homoüsion, a word already familiar to the Platonists, was incompatible with the principles of his theological system. The fortunate opportunity was eagerly embraced by the bishops who {230} governed the resolutions of the Synod," &c., ch. xxi. He adds in a note, "We are indebted to Ambrose (vid. de Fid. iii. 15,) for the knowledge of this curious anecdote." This comes of handling theological subjects with but a superficial knowledge of them; it is the way in which foreigners judge of a country which they enter for the first time. Who told Gibbon that Arius's enemies and the governing bishops did not know from the first of the Arian rejection of this word "consubstantial"? who told him that there were not other formulæ which Arius rejected quite as strongly as it, and which would have served as a test quite as well? As I have quoted above, he had publicly said, "The Son is not equal, no, nor consubstantial with God," and "Foreign to the Son in substance is the Father;" and, as to matter already provided by him for other tests, he says in that same Thalia, "When the Son was not yet, the Father was already God;" "Equal, or like Himself, He [the Father] has none" (vid. Syn. § 15), &c., &c. S. Ambrose too was not baptised till A.D. 374, a generation after the Nicene Council, and his report cannot weigh against contemporary documents; nor can his words at that later date receive Gibbon's interpretation. It was not from any dearth of tests that the Fathers chose the Homoüsion; and the question is, why did they prefer it to [sunaidion, anarchon, ageneton], &c., &c.?

The first difficulty attached to "consubstantial" was that it was not in Scripture, which would have been avoided had the test chosen been "from everlasting," "without beginning," &c.; a complaint, however, which {231} came with a bad grace from the Arians, who had begun the controversy with phrases of their own devising, and not in Scripture. But, if the word was not Scriptural, it had the sanction of various Fathers in the foregoing centuries, and was derived from a root, [ho on], which was in Scripture. Nor could novelty be objected to the word. Athanasius, ad Afros 6, speaks of the use of the word [homoousion] "by ancient Bishops, about 130 years since;" and Eusebius, supr. Decr. App. § 7, confirms him as to its ancient use in the Church: and, though it was expedient to use the words of Scripture in enunciations of revealed teaching, it would be a superstition in the Council to confine itself to them, as if the letter could be allowed to supersede the sense.

A more important difficulty lay in the fact that some fifty or sixty years before, in the Councils occasioned by the heretical doctrine of Paulus, Bishop of Antioch, the word had actually been proposed in some quarter as a tessera against his heresy, and then withdrawn by the Fathers as if capable of an objectionable sense. Paulus, who was a sharp disputant, seems to have contended that the term either gave a material character to the Divine nature, or else, as he wished himself to hold, that it implied that there was no real distinction of Persons between Father and Son. Anyhow, the term was under this disadvantage, that in some sense it had been disowned in the greatest Council which up to the Nicene the Church had seen. But its inexpedience at one time and for one purpose was no reason why it should not be expedient at another time and for another purpose, and its imposition at {232} Nicæa showed by the event that it was the fitting word, and justified those who selected it. But true as this is, still the question recurs why it was that the Nicene Fathers selected a term which was not in Scripture, and had on a former occasion been considered open to objection, while against "co-eternal" or "from everlasting" no opposition could have been raised short of the heretical denial of its truth; and further, whether it was not rather a test against Tritheism, of which Arius was not suspected. "Consubstantial" was a word needing a definition; "co-eternal" spoke for itself.

Arius, it is true, had boldly denied the "consubstantial," but he had still more often and more pointedly denied the "co-eternal." The definition of the Son's eternity a parte ante would have been the destruction of the heresy. Arius had said on starting, according to Alexander, that "God was not always a Father;" "the Word was not always." "He said," says Socrates, "if the Father begot the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence." Arius himself says to his friend Eusebius, "Alexander has driven us out of our city for dissenting from his public declaration, 'As God is eternal, so is His Son.'" Again, to Alexander himself, as quoted supr., "The Son is not eternal, or co-eternal, or co-ingenerate with the Father." Vid. also Decr. § 6. Would it not, then, have avoided all the troubles which, for a long fifty or sixty years, followed upon the reception of the Homoüsion by the Nicene Council, would it not have been a far more prudent handling of the Creed of the Church, to have said "begotten from everlasting, {233} not made," instead of introducing into it a word of doubtful meaning, already discredited, and at best unfamiliar to Catholics? This is what may be asked, and, with a deep feeling of our defective knowledge of the ecclesiastical history of the times, I answer, under correction, as follows:—

There are passages, then, in the writers of the Ante-Nicene times which suggest to us that the leading bishops in the Council were not free to act as they might wish, or as they might think best, and that the only way to avoid dangerous disputes in an assemblage of men good and orthodox, but jealous in behalf of their own local modes of thought and expression and traditional beliefs, was to meet with the utmost caution a heresy which all agreed to condemn, which all aimed at destroying. So it was, that various writers, some of them men of authority and influence, and at least witnesses to the sentiments of their day, had, in the course of the three centuries past, held the doctrine of the temporal gennesis, a doctrine which afterwards gave an excuse and a sort of shelter to the Arian misbelief. (Vid. supr. art. Arians, 3.) I am not denying that these men held with the whole Catholic Church that our Lord was in personal existence from eternity as the Word, connatural with the Father, and in His bosom; but they also held, with more or less distinctness, that He was not fully a Son from eternity, but that when, according to the Divine counsels, the creation was in immediate prospect, and with reference to it, the Word was born into Sonship, and became the Creator, the Pattern, and the Conservative Power of all {234} that was created. These writers were such as Tatian, Theophilus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus; and if the Fathers of the Nicene Council had defined unconditionally and abruptly the Son's eternity, they would have given an opening to the Arians, who disbelieved in the eternity of the Personal Word, to gain over to their side, and to place in opposition to the Alexandrians, many who substantially were orthodox in their belief. They did not venture then, as it would seem, to pronounce categorically that the gennesis was from everlasting, lest they should raise unnecessary questions:—at the same time, by making the "consubstantial" the test of orthodoxy, they provided for the logical and eventual acceptance of the Son's à parte ante eternity, on the principle, (which Athan. is continually insisting on,) "What God is, that He ever was;" and, by including among the parties anathematised at the end of the Creed "those who said that our Lord 'was not in being before He was born,'" they both inflicted an additional blow upon the Arians, and indirectly recognised the orthodoxy, and gained the adhesion, of those who, by speaking of the temporal gennesis, seemed at first sight to ascribe to our Lord a beginning of being. {235}

Omnipresence of God

ATHAN. says, Decr. § 11, "Men being incapable of self-existence, are inclosed in place, and consist in the Word of God; but God is self-existent, inclosing all things, and inclosed by none,—within all according to His own goodness and power, yet outside all in His own nature." Vid. also Incarn. § 17. This contrast is not commonly found in ecclesiastical writers, who are used to say that God is present everywhere, in substance as well as by energy or power. Clement, however, expresses himself still more strongly in the same way: "In substance far off (for how can the generate come close to the Ingenerate?), but most close in power, in which the universe is embosomed." Strom. ii. 2, but the parenthesis explains his meaning. Vid. Cyril. Thesaur. 6, p. 44. The common doctrine of the Fathers is, that God is present everywhere in substance. Vid. Petav. de Deo, iii. 8 and 9. It may be remarked that S. Clement continues, "neither inclosing nor inclosed."

Athan., however, explains himself in Orat. iii. 22, saying that when our Lord, in comparing the Son and creatures, "uses the word 'as,' He signifies those who become from afar as He is in the Father; ... for in place nothing is far from God, but only in nature all things are far from Him." When, then, he says {236} "outside all in His nature," he must mean as here "far from all things considered in His nature." He says here distinctly, "in place nothing is far from God." S. Clement, loc. cit., gives the same explanation, as above noticed. It is observable that the Tract Sab. Greg. (which the Benedictines consider not Athan.'s) speaks as Athan. does supr., "not by being co-extensive with all things, does God fill all; for this belongs to bodies, as air; but He comprehends all as a power, for He is an incorporeal, invisible power, not encircling, not encircled." 10. Eusebius says the same thing, "Deum circumdat nihil, circumdat Deus omnia non corporaliter; virtute enim incorporali adest omnibus," &c. De Incorpor. i. init. ap. Sirm. Op. t. i. p. 68. Vid. S. Ambros. "Quomodo creatura in Deo esse potest," &c. de Fid. i. 16. {237}

Paul of Samosata

MENTION of this Paul and of his sect is frequently made by Athan. There is some difficulty in determining what his opinions were. As far as the fragments of the Antiochene Acts state or imply, he taught, more or less, as follows:—that the Son's pre-existence was only in the divine foreknowledge, Routh. Rell. t. 2, p. 466; that to hold His substantial pre-existence was to hold two Gods, ibid. p. 467; that He was, if not an instrument, an impersonal attribute, p. 469; that His manhood was not "unalterably made one with the Godhead," p. 473; "that the Word and Christ were not one and the same," p. 474; that Wisdom was in Christ as in the prophets, only more abundantly, as in a temple; that He who appeared was not Wisdom, p. 475; in a word, as it is summed up, p. 484, that "Wisdom was born with the manhood, not substantially, but according to quality." vid. also p. 476, 485. All this plainly shows that he held that our Lord's personality was in His Manhood, but does not show that he held a second personality as being in His Godhead; rather he considered the Word impersonal, though the Fathers in Council urge upon him that he ought with his views to hold two Sons, one from eternity, and one in time, p. 485.

Accordingly the Synodal Letter after his deposition {238} speaks of him as holding that Christ came not from heaven, but from beneath. Euseb. Hist. vii. 30. S. Athanasius's account of his doctrine is altogether in accordance, (vid. vol. i. supr. p. 25, note 1,) viz., that Paul taught that our Lord was a mere man, and that He was advanced to His Divine power, [ek prokopes].

However, since there was much correspondence between Paul and Nestorius, (except in the doctrine of the personality and eternity of the Word, which the Arian controversy determined and the latter held,) it was not unnatural that reference should be made to the previous heresy of Paul and its condemnation when that of Nestorius was on trial. Yet the Contestatio against Nestorius which commences the Acts of the Council of Ephesus, Harduin. Conc. t. i. p. 1272, and which draws out distinctly the parallel between them, says nothing to show that Paul held a double personality. And though Anastasius tells us, Hodeg. c. 7, p. 108, that the "holy Ephesian Council showed that the tenets of Nestorius agreed with the doctrine of Paul of Samosata," yet in c. 20, p. 323, 4, he shows us what he means, by saying that Artemon also before Paul "divided Christ in two." Ephrem of Antioch too says that Paul held that "the Son before ages was one, and the Son in the last time another," ap. Phot. p. 814; but he seems only referring to the words of the Antiochene Acts, quoted above. Again, it is plain from what Vigilius says in Eutych. t. v. p. 731, Ed. Col. 1618, (the passage is omitted in Ed. Par. 1624,) that the Eutychians considered that Paul and Nestorius differed; the former holding that our Lord {239} was a mere man, the latter a mere man only till He was united to the Word. And Marius Mercator says, "Nestorius circa Verbum Dei, non ut Paulus sentit, qui non substantivum, sed prolatitium potentiæ Dei efficax Verbum esse definit." Part 2, p. 17. Ibas, and Theodore of Mopsuestia, though more suspicious witnesses, say the same. Vid. Facund. vi. 3, iii. 2, and Leontius de Sectis, iii. p. 504. To these authorities may be added Nestorius's express words, Serm. 12, ap. Mar. Merc. t. 2, p. 87, and Assemani takes the same view, Bibl. Orient. t. 4, p. 68, 9.

The principal evidence in favour of Paul's Nestorianism consists in the Letter of Dionysius to Paul and his answer to Paul's Ten Questions, which are certainly spurious, as on other grounds, so on some of those urged against the professed Creed of Antioch, (in my "Theol. Tracts,") but which Dr. Burton in his excellent remarks on Paul's opinions, Bampton Lectures, Note 102, admits as genuine. And so does the accurate and cautious Tillemont, who in consequence is obliged to believe that Paul held Nestorian doctrines; also Bull, Fabricius, Natalis Alexander, &c. In holding these compositions to be certainly spurious, I am following Valesius, Harduin, Montfaucon, Pagi, Mosheim, Cave, Routh, and others. {240}

Personal Acts and Offices of Our Lord

THERE are various (and those not the least prominent and important) acts and offices of our Lord, which, as involving the necessity of both His natures in concurrence and belonging to His Person, may be said to be either [theandrika] (vid. art. under that heading), or instances of [antidosis idiomaton] (vid. also art. on it). Such are His office and His acts as Priest, as Judge, &c., in which He can be viewed neither as simply God, nor as simply man, but in a third aspect, as Mediator, the two natures indeed being altogether distinct, but the character, in which He presents Himself to us by the union of these natures, belonging rather to His Person, which is composite.

Athanasius says, Orat. ii. § 16, "Since we men would not acknowledge God through His Word, nor serve the Word of God our natural Master, it pleased God to show in man His own Lordship, and so to draw all men to Himself. But to do this by a mere man beseemed not; lest, having man for our Lord, we should become worshippers of man. Therefore the Word Himself became flesh, and the Father called His Name Jesus, and so 'made' Him Lord and Christ, as much as to say, 'He made Him to rule and to reign,' that while in the name of Jesus, whom ye {241} crucified, every knee bows, we may acknowledge as Lord and King both the Son and through Him the Father." Here the renewal of mankind is made to be the act, primarily indeed of the Word, our natural Master, but not from Him, as such, simply, but as given to Him to carry out by the Father, when He became incarnate, by virtue of His Persona composita.

He says again that, though none could be "a beginning" of creation, who was a creature, yet still that such a title belongs not to His essence. It is the name of an office which the Eternal Word alone can fill. His Divine Sonship is both superior and necessary to that office of a "Beginning." Hence it is both true (as he says) that "if the Word is a creature, He is not a beginning;" and yet that that "beginning" is "in the number of the creatures." Though He becomes the "beginning," He is not "a beginning as to His substance;" vid. Orat. ii. § 60, where he says, "He who is before all, cannot be a beginning of all, but is other than all." He is the beginning in the sense of Archetype.

And so again of His Priesthood (vid. art. upon it), the Catholic doctrine is that He is Priest, neither as God nor as man simply, but as being the Divine Word in and according to His manhood.

Again S. Augustine says of judgment: "He judges by His divine power, not by His human, and yet man himself will judge, as 'the Lord of Glory' was crucified." And just before, "He who believes in Me, believes not in that which he sees, lest our hope should be in a creature, but in Him who has taken {242} on Him the creature, in which He might appear to human eyes." Trin. i. 27, 28.

And so again none but the Eternal Son could be [prototokos], yet He is so called only when sent, first as Creator, and then as Incarnate. Orat. ii. § 64.

The phrase [logos, hei logos esti], is frequent in Athan., as denoting the distinction between the Word's original nature and His offices. vid. Orat. i. § 43, 44, 47, 48. ii. § 8, 74. iii. § 38, 39, 41, 44, 52. iv. § 23. {243}


ATHAN. says, speaking of [agenneton], "I am told the word has different senses." Decr. § 28.

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. This is remarkable, for Athan. was a man of liberal education. 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. S. n. 5, he says, that "they who have given time" to vain philosophy, "divide causes into principal, cooperative," &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 at the commencement of his Viæ 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 of the Greeks, and especially as regards the mystery of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity, {244} but a certain rule of its own, evangelical and apostolical;" p. 20. In like manner, Damascene, speaking of the Jacobite use of [physis] and [hypostasis], says, "Who of holy men ever thus spoke? unless ye introduce to us your St. Aristotle as a thirteenth Apostle, and prefer the idolater to the divinely inspired." contr. Jacob. 10, p. 399; and so again Leontius, speaking of Philoponus, who from the Monophysite confusion of nature and hypostasis was led into Tritheism. "He thus argued, taking his start from Aristotelic principles; for Aristotle says that there are of individuals particular substances as well as one common." de Sect. v. fin.

"What our Fathers have delivered," says Athan., "this is truly doctrine; and this is truly the token of doctors, to confess the same thing with each other, and to vary neither from themselves nor from their fathers; whereas they who have not this character, are not to be called true doctors but evil. Thus the Greeks, as not witnessing to the same doctrines, but quarrelling one with another, have no truth of teaching; but the holy and veritable heralds of the truth agree together, not differ. For though they lived in different times, yet they one and all tend the same way, being prophets of the one God, and preaching the same Word harmoniously." Decr. § 4.

S. Basil says the same of the Grecian Sects: "We have not the task of refuting their tenets, for they suffice for the overthrow of each other." Hexaem. i. 2. vid. also Theod. Græc. Affect. i. p. 707, &c. August. Civ. Dei. xviii. 41, and Vincentius's celebrated Commonitorium passim. {245}

Priesthood of Christ

"THE expressions He became and He was made," says Athanasius, on Hebr. iii. 2, (vid. Orat. ii. § 8,) "must not be understood as if the Word, considered as the Word, were made, (vid. art. Personal Acts, &c.,) but because the Word, being Framer of all, afterwards was made High Priest, by putting on a body which was made.

In a certain true sense our Lord may be called a Mediator before He became incarnate, but the Arians, even Eusebius, seem to have made His mediatorship consist essentially in His divine nature, instead of holding that it was His office, and that He was made Mediator when He came in the flesh. Eusebius, like Philo and the Platonists, considers Him as made in the beginning the "Eternal Priest of the Father." Demonst. v. 3. de Laud. C. p. 503 fin. "an intermediate divine power," p. 525, "mediating and joining generated substance to the Ingenerate," p. 528.

The Arians considered that our Lord's Priesthood preceded His Incarnation, and belonged to His Divine Nature, and was in consequence the token of an inferior divinity. The notice of it therefore in Heb. iii. 1, 2, did but confirm them in their interpretation of the words made, &c. For the Arians, vid. Epiph. Hær, 69, 37. Eusebius too had distinctly declared, "Qui {246} videbatur, erat agnus Dei; qui occultabatur sacerdos Dei." advers. Sabell. i. p. 2, b. vid. also Demonst. i. 10, p. 38, iv. 16, p. 193, v. 3, p. 223, vid. contr. Marc. pp. 8 and 9, 66, 74, 95. Even S. Cyril of Jerusalem makes a similar admission, Catech. x. 14. Nay, S. Ambrose calls the Word, "plenum justitiæ sacerdotalis," de fug. Sæc. 3, 14. S. Clement Alex. before them speaks once or twice of the [logos archiereus], e.g. Strom. ii. 9 fin. and Philo still earlier uses similar language, de Profug. p. 466 (whom S. Ambrose follows), de Somniis, p. 597. vid. Thomassin. de Incarn. x. 9. Nestorius on the other hand maintained that the Man Christ Jesus was the Priest; Cyril adv. Nest. p. 64. And Augustine and Fulgentius may be taken to countenance him, de Consens. Evang. i. 6, and ad Thrasim. iii. 30. The Catholic doctrine is, that the Divine Word is Priest in and according to His manhood. vid. the parallel use of [prototokos] infr. art. in voc. "As He is called Prophet and even Apostle for His humanity," says S. Cyril Alex., "so also Priest." Glaph. ii. p. 58. And so Epiph. loc. cit. Thomassin. loc. cit. makes a distinction between a divine Priesthood or Mediatorship, such as the Word may be said to sustain between the Father and all creatures, and an earthly and sacrificial for the sake of sinners. vid. also Huet. Origenian. ii. 3, § 4, 5.

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


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