Images de page
[ocr errors]

'stantia] of the Father is indivisible as being wholly simple. Nor can it be said that the Father transferred his own Essence 'to the Son, as if forsooth He' (the Father) had so given it to Him' (the Son) as not to have power over it, for otherwise the Father ceased to be a Substance. It is plain, then, that 'without any defect the Son, when begotten, received the Essence of the Father, and thus Father and Son have the 'same Essence, and thus Father and Holy Ghost are the same thing.'

[ocr errors]


The Westerns when asked by the Greeks, at the Council of Florence, whether Essence and Person were one and the same thing, answered in like manner: We say Essence and Person are one and the same secundum rem, and differ only according to our mode of understanding, so that Person is understood to be 'constituted of Essence and Propriety.' The Proprieties are, they grant, incommunicable, or they would not be Proprieties, and when the Son is begotten by the Father, it is the same, they say, as to assert that He is begotten from the substance of the Father; for the Person is the Principle which generates, ' and the Essence is communicated so that it is not generated. The Father is the Principle which generates, for "Father" implies a 'subject. The Divine Essence is not that which generates, for it 'is not signified as a subject.... but we say that the Person of the Father is signified, therefore the Person of the Father is that 'which generates; the Essence is the Principle from which He generates. The Divine Nature is the Principle by which 'the Father generates the Son, and the Father is not communi'cated, but the Essence." The Roman Theologians, however, are by no means unanimous on the subject. Bingham tells us that one of the Schoolmen, Richard (a contemporary of Peter Lombard, and Prior of the order of S. Victor), in his sixth book De Trinitate, defined that without doubt the Substance of the Son is begotten, the Substance of the Father is un'begotten; neither is the unbegotten Substance begotten, nor 'the begotten Substance unbegotten,'-and adds that he complained of some who had forsaken the Catholic and primitive doctrine; concluding with a challenge, which will remind the English reader of that of Bishop Jewel-Let them produce authority, I do not say more than one, but at least one, which 'denies that substance begets substance.' Like Jewel's, his challenge was never answered. In fact, the whole gist of the matter lies in this point; if the system of Lombard is correct, the early Fathers opposed the opposite heresies of Arius and

1 Harduin, vol. vii. p. 17. 2 Session xvi. 3 Bingham, Sermon on the Trinity, pp. 341, 342. jeet in the 7th Chap. of his 4th Book on the Trinity: Schoolmen in his decision.

Harduin, vol. ix. pp. 869, 870. Petavius discusses this subhe follows Lombard and the

Sabellius on grounds that were wholly untenable. Arius held two Substances, but made them Essentially different; Sabellius acknowledged one only, but without those Personal distinctions, the absence of which involves the One Person acting on Himself throughout the whole work, both of the Creation and of our Redemption. In consequence, their Catholic opponents taught one Substance, which was both begetter and begotten, by such a distinction at once and union as is expressed by the term óμoovotos, and necessarily implied by that of Perichoresis.


It would seem to be one immediate and inevitable result of the system of Lombard, considered in itself, to confine the doctrine of the Perichoresis to the Persons alone, there being no union possible to that which is in no sense whatever more than one, but is simply and absolutely one, and one only;' in which case, among other results, the Doctors of the Church of Rome are, in a great part, divided against themselves, Lombard and the Councils above cited allowing it of the Persons only, S. Thomas Aquinas extending it to the Essence also. It is unquestionable that the voice of antiquity would be with the latter. If (and here the question is at once applicable to the subject before us)-if, to avoid Arianism, we do not admit a generatio essentiæ, we run great risk of falling into Sabellianism; and, accordingly, Bull does not hesitate to accuse Lombard and the fourth Lateran of this very heresy ; in that they deny the Son and Holy Ghost, he says, to be Substantial Persons, and make Them no more than mere Tρóπo vπáρğεws.3 It seems impossible that a mere protest on their part against being thought to hold that doctrine, can suffice for their acquittal from a conclusion which inevitably follows from their premises.


If, however, the system of Lombard tend to narrow the Perichoresis, the Arians and Semi-Arians denied it altogether, for they denied the doctrine which it expresses, and from which it comes, making the Oneness of the Father and Son to be not of Essence, but of will merely: just as Nestorius afterwards made the Union of the Godhead and Manhood in Christ not a hypostatical, but a moral one. Thus, Eusebius of Cæsarea, in a passage of his Theologia Ecclesiastica, which is enough of itself to stamp him a holder of Arian doctrine, and on which Petavius has severely, but justly, animadverted, says that the Son rests in the Father's bosom, as He promised that we should

1 So Bingham: The Fathers often tell us that the three Persons are united into One Being without confusion; which is a very inconceivable thing upon the hypothesis of one single substance, mind, or spirit; for whatever things are properly united, must be substances really distinct from one another; for there is no proper union of one single substance with itself.-Sermon on Trinity, p. 336. 2 P. 1. Q. xlii. art. 5. Perrone de Trin. cap. vi Defensio, p. iv. cap. 1.

[ocr errors]


rest in the bosoms of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In another place he says, 'As the Father and Son are One, so are all men one; the unity of the Father and Son is not, as Marcellus 'thinks, of the Word made One with God, and joined to Him in His Essence. The Father is so in Him as He wills to be in us, 'not that He and the Father are onе, ka' iπóσтаow, but that 'the Father has given to the Son of His own glory, and He, in 'imitation of the Father, gives it in like manner to His own; as • He says, John xvii. 22, 23, "The glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.' S. Athanasius, as Bishop Kaye has shown, confutes their doctrine and reasoning more than once and at great length, as containing in itself the essence of their chief heretical proposition, that the Son of God is no Son nor God, but a creature. We can, however, only afford space for the following extract:

'We cannot be indissolubly united to the Father in essence, as the Son is; but we can take their indissoluble union in Essence as an example of the unity of heart which ought to subsist among believers. If it were possible that we should be as the Son in the Father, it ought to have been written, "that they may be one in Thee, as the Son is in the Father;" whereas our Saviour's words are, "As Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us." (John xvii. 21.) The words in Us show that He only is in the Father, being the only Word and Wisdom; but we are in the Son, and through Him in the Father. Christ means to say, "that by Our unity they may be one with each other, as We are one by nature and in truth; otherwise they cannot be one, unless they learn in Us what unity is." The words in Us do not mean that the disciple is in the Father, as the Son is; but are an example and image, as if it were said, "Let them learn of Us." Or again, the words may be understood to mean that they, by the power of the Father and Son, may be one, speaking the same things; for without God this cannot be. In the name of Father and Son being made one, men may hold firm the bond of love. The text, therefore, "that they may be one as We are," does not imply identity, but an image and example. The Word, therefore, has really and truly an identity of nature with the Father; it is our part to imitate Him; for He adds, "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.' Here the Lord asks something greater and more perfect on our account. It is plain that the Word was made, yeyovev, in us, since He put on our body. He adds, "Thou in Me," for I am Thy Word; and since Thou art in Me, because I am Thy Word, and I am in them through the body, and the salvation of men is perfected through Thee in Me; I ask that they may be made one according to the body in Me and its perfection, that they also may be made perfect, having unity in it, and being made one in it: so that all being borne by Me, may be one body and one spirit, and may grow up to the perfect man. All partaking of the same, are made one body, having the one Lord in themselves. The use of the word κados, "as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us," shows that Christ did not mean to express our identity or equality with the Father and Himself, but merely proposes their unity as an example.'-P. 233, &c.

1 Eccles. Theol. ii. 19, § 5, p. 86, folio.

[ocr errors]


Athanasius produces, in support of his interpretation, 1 John iv. 13: "Thereby we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit." We, therefore, are in Him, and He in us, by the grace of the Spirit given to us; and as the Spirit is the Spirit of God, therefore we, having the Spirit, are reckoned to be in God; and thus God is in us. We are not in the Father, as the Son is in the Father: we are in Him by partaking of the Spirit: but the Son does not receive of the Spirit, He supplies the Spirit to all: nor does the Spirit unite the Word to the Father, but the Spirit receives from the Word.'-Pp. 236, 237.

To conclude the subject of the oμoovotos, we will briefly observe, although it is beyond the strict limits of our question, that the Arians of S. Augustin's time, feeling the pressure of the original Arian system, admitted the Nicene oμoovσios in word, but held another doctrine in fact; viz. that the Son was of one Substance with God in the same sense as that held by the Manichees and others, of the souls of men; who thought, not that these were of equal infinity and majesty with Him, but that they were created out of His Substance, and were thus consubstantial with Him.

The last point that remains for our notice is Bishop Kaye's account of S. Athanasius' treatise De Incarnatione.' We are glad to see this piece thus popularly brought forward. We know of none, in the whole course of early theology, which contains, for its length, so simple and lucid an account of the Divine Purpose and method of acting, in the schemes of our creation and redemption, or which more satisfactorily answers those questions as to particular portions of the Divine Economy, e. g. the modus operandi of vicarious sacrifice, and of the death and resurrection of Christ, which every inquiring mind may and ought to ask. Especially would its study, we think, be useful in these days of missionary activity, as showing how the author dealt with those who were yet strangers to the Christian covenant, Jews or Gentiles.

The De Incarnatione' commences with a statement of the Scripture account of the creation, as opposed to the notions of the philosophers. The author then shows that man was placed in paradise in a state of original righteousness, with a promise, if he continued obedient, of immortality, without death, in heaven. But the law was broken, and henceforth it became a question as to what, in the counsels of God, should become of him. Death had been threatened if he sinned, and it was unfitting that God should fail in the fulfilment of His word. Repentance alone could not have satisfied Him, because there was not only a sin to be wiped out, for which it might have

[blocks in formation]

sufficed, but also an indwelling corruption which it had no power to purify.1

To heal this corruption the Son of God, Himself God, came down, in the nature of His creature, to rescue him by His own arm from his enemy, and by engrafting him into that purity which, existing not in Him in degree, must be of more power to cleanse and to save, than the lust of the betrayer had been to pollute and to destroy, He renovated His work, not Himself suffering from the pollution of the body; but, by taking a body to be a part of Himself, and uniting it to His all-powerful and all-spotless Godhead, He purified it.2

Lastly, there was not only restoration to be bestowed, but a penalty for a wilful transgression to be paid; and that penalty was death. Here again the justice of God was amply satisfied by the death of His only-begotten Son, in whose death this penalty was paid far more completely than it could have been paid in the deaths of all men.3 So much for that death in itself: the next thing to be considered is the manner of it. He who was Life and the Lord of life could not die of infirmity; nor could the Healer of diseases die of disease: again, He must not die a private death of which few could know; nor must He inflict death on Himself: His death must be public, to show both that He had verily died, and also to prove the truth of His resurrection: and it must be the work of others; of this the cross was the most fitting instrument, both as it was part of the curse that He must bear, and also as by it were fulfilled His own declarations, Isaiah lxv. 2, Rom. x. 21, John xii. 32, and Ephes. ii. 2, and other like passages which point to the disarming of the power of Satan.

His death had this further power, that it destroyed death, and changed it evermore into dissolution or sleep, as is shown from the expressions of the Apostles, Philipp. i. 23, 2 Cor. v. 1, 2 Pet. iii. 11, 12.

As regards the time that He remained in the grave:-He might have despised the power of death, and raised His body at once had He so pleased, but men might then have said that He had not truly died, and the glory of the incorruptibility might have been obscured.

Hence the Word underwent death that His body might be seen to be dead, and on the third day He showed it to all incorruptible: had He risen later, it would not have been believed that He had raised up the same body which had died, nor would He keep His disciples longer in suspense, but, whilst His words were yet fresh in their ears, and whilst

1 Kaye, pp. 284, 285.

2 Ibid. p. 288.

3 Ibid. pp. 288-294.

« PrécédentContinuer »