Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.15 Tthe Holy Spirit Book I Pt 2

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.15 Tthe Holy Spirit Book I Pt 2

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 30.01.15 Tthe Holy Spirit Book I Pt 2

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Chapter V.

The Holy Spirit, since He sanctifies creatures, is neither a creature nor subject to change. He is always good, since He is given by the Father and the Son; neither is He to be numbered amongst such things as are said to fail. He must be acknowledged as the source of goodness. The Spirit of God's mouth, the amender of evils, and Himself good. Lastly, as He is said in Scripture to be good, and is joined to the Father and the Son in baptism, He cannot possibly be denied to be good. He is not, however, said to progress, but to be made perfect in goodness, which distinguishes Him from all creatures.

62. The Holy Spirit is not, then, of the substance of things corporeal, for He sheds incorporeal grace on corporeal things; nor, again, is He of the substance of invisible creatures, for they receive His sanctification, and through Him are superior to the other works of the universe. Whether you speak of Angels, or Dominions, or Powers, every creature waits for the grace of the Holy Spirit. For as we are children through the Spirit, because "God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, Abba, Father; so that thou art now not a servant but a son;"hyperlink in like manner, also, every creature is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God, whom in truth the grace of the Holy Spirit made sons of God. Therefore, also, every creature itself shall be changed by the revelation of the grace of the Spirit, "and shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God."hyperlink

63. Every creature, then, is subject to change, not only such as has been changed by some sin or condition of the outward elements, but also such as can be liable to corruption by a hull of nature, though by careful discipline it be not yet so; for, as we have shown in a former treatise,hyperlink the nature of Angels evidently can be changed. It is certainly fitting to judge that such as is the nature of one, such also is that of others. The nature of the rest, then, is capable of change, but the discipline is better.

64. Every creature, therefore, is capable of change, but the Holy Spirit is good and not capable of change, nor can He be changed by any fault, Who does away the faults of all and pardons their sins. How, then, is He capable of change, Who by sanctifying works in others a change to grace, but is not changed Himself.

65. How is He capable of change Who is always good? For the Holy Spirit, through Whom the things that are good are ministered to us, is never evil. Whence two evangelists in one and the same place, in words in differing from each other, have made the same statement, for you read in Matthew: "If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your Father, Who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him."hyperlink But according to Luke you will find it thus written: "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"hyperlink We observe, then, that the Holy Spirit is good in the Lord's judgment by the testimony of the evangelists, since the one has put good things in the place of the Holy Spirit, the other has named the Holy Spirit in the place of good things. If, then, the Holy Spirit is that which is good, how is He not good?

66. Nor does it escape our notice that some copies have likewise, according to St. Luke: "How much more shall your heavenly Father give a good gift to them that ask Him." This good gift is the grace of the Spirit, which the Lord Jesus shed forth from heaven, after having been fixed to the gibbet of the cross, returning with the triumphal spoils of death deprived of its power, as you find it written: "Ascending up on high He led captivity captive, and gave good gifts to men."hyperlink And well does he say "gifts," for as the Son was given, of Whom it is written: "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;"hyperlink so, too, is the grace of the Spirit given. But why should I hesitate to say that the Holy Spirit also is given to us, since. it is written: "The love of God is shed forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Who is given to us."hyperlink And since captive breasts certainly could not receive Him, the Lord Jesus first led captivity captive, that our affections being set free, He might pour forth the gift of divine grace.

67. And He said well "led captivity captive." For the victory of Christ is the victory of liberty, which won grace for all, and inflicted wrong on none. So in the setting free of all no one is captive. And because in the time of the Lord's passion wrong alone had no part, which had made captive all of whom it had gained possession, captivity itself turning back upon itself was made captive, not now attached to Belial but to Christ, to serve Whom is liberty. "For he who is called in the Lord as a servant is the Lord's freedman."hyperlink

68. But to return to the point. "All," says He, "have gone aside, all together are become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, not even one."hyperlink If they except the Holy Spirit, even they themselves confess that He is not amongst all; if they do not except Him, then they, too, acknowledge that He has gone aside amongst all.

69. But let us consider whether He has goodness in Himself, since He is the Source and Principle of goodness. For as the Father and the Son have, so too the Holy Spirit also has goodness. And the Apostle also taught this when he said: "Now the fruit of the Spirit is peace, love, joy, patience, goodness."hyperlink For who doubts that He is good Whose fruit is goodness. For "a good tree brings forth good fruit."hyperlink

70. And so if God be good, how shall He Who is the Spirit of His mouth not be good, Who searcheth even the deep things of God? Can the infection of evil enter into the deep things of God? And from this it is seen how foolish they are who deny that the Son of God is good, when they cannot deny that the Spirit of Christ is good, of Whom the Son of God says: "Therefore said I that He shall receive of Mine."hyperlink

71. Or is the Spirit not good, Who of the worst makes good men, does away sin, destroys evil, shuts out crime, pours in good gifts, makes apostles of persecutors, and priests of sinners? "Ye were," it is said, "sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord."hyperlink

72. But why do we put them off? And if they ask for statements since they do not deny facts, let them hear that the Holy Spirit is good, for David said: "Let Thy good Spirit. lead me forth in the right way."hyperlink For what is the Spirit but full of goodness? Who though because of His nature He cannot be attained to, yet because of His goodness can be received by us, filling all things His power, but only partaken of by the just, simple in substance, rich in virtues, present to each, dividing of His own to every one, and Himself whole everywhere.

73. And with good cause did the Son of God say: "Go and baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,"hyperlink not disdaining association with the Holy Spirit. Why, then, do some take it ill that He Whom the Lord disdained not in the sacrament of baptism, should be joined in our devotion with the Father and the Son?

74. Good, then, is the Spirit, but good, not as though acquiring but as imparting goodness. For the Holy Spirit does not receive from creatures but is received; as also He is not sanctified but sanctifies; for the creature is sanctified, but the Holy Spirit sanctifies. In which matter, though the word is used in common, there is a difference in the nature. For both the man who receives and God Who gives sanctity are called holy, as we read: "Be ye holy, for I am holy."hyperlink Now sanctification and corruption cannot share the same nature, and therefore the grace of the Holy Spirit and the creature cannot be of one substance.

75. Since, then, the whole invisible creation (whose substance some rightly believe to be reasonable and incorporeal), with the exception of the Trinity, does not impart but acquires the grace of the Spirit, and does not share in it but receives it, the whole commonalty of creation is to be separated from association with the Holy Spirit. Let them then believe that the Holy Spirit is not a creature; or, if they think Him a creature, why do they associate Him with the Father? If they think Him a creature, why do they join Him with the Son of God? But if they do not think that He should be separated from the Father and the Son, they do not consider Him to be a creature, for where the sanctification is one the nature is one.

Chapter VI.

Although we are baptized with water and the Spirit, the latter is much superior to the former, and is not therefore to be separated from the Father and-the Son.

76. There are, however, many who, because we are baptized with water and the Spirit, think that there is no difference in the offices of water and the Spirit, and therefore think that they do not differ in nature. Nor do they observe that we are buried in the element of water that we may rise again renewed by the Spirit. For in the water is the representation of death, in the Spirit is the pledge of life, that the body of sin may die through the water, which encloses the body as it were in a kind of tomb, that we, by the power of the Spirit, may be renewed from the death of sin, being born again in God.

77. And so these three witnesses are one, as John said: "The water, the blood, and the Spirit."hyperlink One in the mystery, not in nature. The water, then, is a witness of burial, the blood is a witness of death, the Spirit is a witness of life. If, then, there be any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the presence of the Holy Spirit.

78. Do we live in the water or in the Spirit? Are we sealed in the water or in the Spirit. For in Him we live and He Himself is the earnest of our inheritance, as the Apostle says, writing to the Ephesians I "In Whom believing ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is an earnest of our inheritance."hyperlink So we were sealed by the Holy Spirit, not by nature, but by God, for it is written: "He Who anointed us is God, Who also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

79. We were then sealed with the Spirit by God. For as we die in Christ, in order to be born again, so, too, we are sealed with the Spirit, that we may possess His brightness and image and grace, which is undoubtedly our spiritual seal. For although we were visibly sealed in our bodies, we are in truth sealed in our hearts, that the Holy Spirit may portray in us the likeness of the heavenly image.

80. Who, then, can dare to say that the Holy Spirit is separated from the Father and the Son, since through Him we attain to the image and likeness of God, and through Him, as the Apostle Peter says, are partakers of the divine nature? In which there is certainly not the inheritance of carnal succession, but the spiritual connection of the grace of adoption. And in order that we may know that this seal is rather on our hearts than on our bodies, the prophet says: "The light of Thy countenance has been impressed upon us, O Lord, Thou hast put gladness in my heart."hyperlink

Chapter VII.

The Holy Spirit is not a creature, seeing that He is infinite, and was shed upon the apostles dispersed through all countries, and moreover sanctifies the Angers also, to whom He makes us equal. Mary was full of the same likewise, so too, Christ the Lord, and so far all things high and low. And all benediction has its origin from His operation, as was signified in the moving of the water at Bethesda.

81. Since then, every creature is confined within certain limits of its own nature, and inasmuch as those invisible operations, which cannot be circumscribed by place and bounds, yet are closed in by the property of their own substance; how can any one dare to call the Holy Spirit a creature, Who has not a limited and circumscribed power? because He is always in all things and everywhere, which assuredly is the property of Divinity and Lordship, for: "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."hyperlink

81. And so, when the Lord appointed His servants the apostles, that we might recognize that the creature was one thing and the grace of the Spirit another, He appointed them to different places, because all could not be everywhere at once. But He gave the Holy Spirit to all, to shed upon the apostles though separated the gift of indivisible grace. The persons, then, were different, but the accomplishment of the working was in all one, because the Holy Spirit is one of Whom it is said: "Ye shall receive power, even the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth."hyperlink

82. The Holy Spirit, then, is uncircumscribed and infinite, Who infused Himself into the minds of the disciples throughout the separate divisions of distant regions, and the remote bounds of the whole world, Whom nothing is able to escape or to deceive. And therefore holy David says: "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy face."hyperlink Of what Angel does the Scripture say this? of what Dominion? of what Power? of what Angel do we find the power diffused over many? For Angels were sent to few, but the Holy Spirit was poured upon whole peoples. Who, then, can doubt that that is divine which is shed upon many at once and is not seen; but that that is corporeal which is seen and held by individuals?

83. But in like manner as the Spirit sanctifying the apostles is not a partaker of human nature; so, too, He sanctifying Angels, Dominions, and Powers, has no partnership with creatures. But if any think that the holiness of the Angels is not spiritual, but some other kind of grace belonging to the property of their nature, they will forsooth judge Angels to be inferior to men. For since themselves also confess that they would not dare to compare Angels to the Holy Spirit, and they cannot deny that the Holy Spirit is shed upon men; but the sanctification of the Spirit is a divine gift and favour, men who possess a better kind of sanctification will certainly be found to be preferred to the Angels. But since Angels come down to men to assist them, it must be understood that the nature of Angels is higher as it receives more of the grace of the Spirit, and that the favour awarded to us and to them comes from the same author.

84. But how great is that grace which makes even the lower nature of the lot of men equal to the gifts received by Angels, as the Lord Himself promised, saying: "Ye shall be as the Angels in heaven." Nor is it difficult, for He Who made those Angels in the Spirit will by the same grace make men also equal to the Angels.

85. But of what creature can it be said that it fills all things, as is written of the Holy Spirit: "I will pour My Spirit upon all flesh."hyperlink This cannot be said of an Angel. Lastly, Gabriel himself, when sent to Mary, said: "Hail, full of grace,"hyperlink plainly declaring the grace of the Spirit which was in her, because the Holy Spirit had come upon her, and she was about to have her womb full of grace with the heavenly Word.

86. For it is of the Lord to fill all things, Who says: "I fill heaven and earth."hyperlink If, then, it is the Lord Who fills heaven and earth, Who can judge the Holy Spirit to be without a share in the dominion and divine power, seeing that He has filled the world, and what is beyond the whole world, filled Jesus the Redeemer of the whole world? For it is written: "But Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, departed from Jordan,"hyperlink Who, then, except one who possessed the same fulness could fill Him Who fills all things?

87. But test they should object that this was said according to the flesh, though He alone from Whose flesh went forth virtue to heal all, was more than all; yet, as the Lord fills all things, so, too, we read of the Spirit: "For the Spirit of the Lord filled the whole world."hyperlink And you find it said of all who had consorted with the Apostles that, "filled with the Holy Spirit they spoke the word of God with boldness."hyperlink You see that the Spirit gives both fulness and boldness, Whose operation the archangel announces to Mary, saying: "The Holy Spirit shall come on thee."hyperlink

88. You read, too, in the Gospel that the Angel descended at the appointed time into the pool and troubled the water, and he who first went down into the pool was made whole,hyperlink What did the Angel declare in this type but the descent of the Holy Spirit, which was to come to pass in our day, and should consecrate the waters when invoked by the prayers of the priest? That Angel, then, was a herald of the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as by means of the grace of the Spirit medicine was to be applied to our infirmities of soul and mind. The Spirit, then, has the same ministers as God the Father and Christ. He fills all things, possesses all things, works all and in all in the same manner as God the Father and the Son work.

89. What, then, is more divine than the working of the Holy Spirit, since God Himself testifies that the Holy Spirit presides over His blessings, saying: "I will put My Spirit upon thy seed and My blessings upon thy children."hyperlink For no blessing can be full except through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, too, the Apostle found nothing better to wish us than this, as He himself said: "We cease not to pray and make request for you that ye may be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding walking worthily of God."hyperlink He taught, then, that this was the will of God, that rather by walking in good works and words and affections, we should be filled with the will of God, Who puts His Holy Spirit in our hearts. Therefore if he who has the Holy Spirit is filled with the will of God, there is certainly no difference of will between the Father and the Son.

Chapter VIII.

The Holy Spirit is given by God alone, yet not wholly to each person, since there is no one besides Christ capable of receiving Him wholly. Charity is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, Who, prefigured by the mystical ointment, is shown to have nothing common with creatures; and He, inasmuch as He is said to proceed from the mouth of God, must not be classed with creatures, nor with things divisible, seeing He is eternal.

90. Observe at the same time that God gives the Holy Spirit. For this is no work of man, nor girl of man; but He Who is invoked by the priest is given by God, wherein is the gift of God and the ministry of the priest. For if the Apostle Paul judged that he was not able to give the Holy Spirit himself by his own authority, and considered himself so far unequal to this office that he wished us to be filled by God with the Spirit,hyperlink who is sufficient to dare to arrogate to himself the conferring of this gift? So the Apostle uttered this wish in prayer, and did not claim a fight by any authority of his own; he desired to obtain, he did not presume to command. Peter, too, says that he is not capable of compelling or restraining the Holy Spirit. For he spoke thus: "Wherefore if God has granted them the same grace as to us, who was I that I could resist God?"hyperlink

91. But perchance they would not be moved by the example of apostles, and so let us use divine utterances; for it is written: "Jacob is My servant, I will uphold him; Israel is My elect, My soul hath upheld him, I put My Spirit upon him."hyperlink The Lord also said by Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me."hyperlink

92. Who, then, can dare to say that the substance of the Holy Spirit is created, at Whose shining in our hearts we behold the beauty of divine truth, and the distance between the creature and the Godhead, that the work may be distinguished from its Author? Or of what creature has God so spoken as to say: "I will pour out of My Spirit"?hyperlink He said not Spirit, but "of My Spirit," for we are not able to receive the fulness of the Holy Spirit, but we receive as much as our Master divides to us of His own according to His will.hyperlink For as the Son of God thought it not robbery that He should be equal to God, but emptied Himself, that we might be able to receive Him in our minds; but He emptied Himself not that He was void of His own fulness, but in order that He, Whose fulness I could not endure, might infuse Himself into me according to the measure of my capacity, in like manner also the Father says that He pours out of the Spirit upon all flesh; for He did not pour Him forth wholly, but that which He poured forth abounded for all.

93. There was therefore a pouring out upon us of the Spirit, but upon the Lord Jesus, when He was in the form of man, the Spirit abode, as it is written: "Upon Whom thou shall see the Spirit descending from heaven, and abiding upon Him, He it is Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit."hyperlink Around us is the liberality of the Giver in abundant provision, in Him abides for ever the fulness of the Spirit. He shed forth then what He deemed to be sufficient for us, and what was shed forth is not separated nor divided; but He has a unity of fulness wherewith He may enlighten the sight of our hearts according to what our strength is capable of. Lastly, we receive so much as the advancing of our mind acquires, for the fulness of the grace of the Spirit is indivisible, but is Shared in by us according to the capacity of our own nature.

94. God, then, sheds forth of the Spirit, and the love of God is also shed abroad through the Spirit; in which point we ought to recognize the unity of the operation and of the grace. For as God shed forth of the Holy Spirit, so also "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit;"hyperlink in order that we may understand that the Holy Spirit is not a work, Who is the dispenser and plenteous Fount of the divine love.

95. In like manner that you may believe that that which is shed abroad cannot be common to the creatures but peculiar to the Godhead, the name of the Son is also poured forth, as you read: "Thy Name is as ointment poured forth."hyperlink Of which saying nothing can surpass the force. For as ointment closed up in a vase keeps in its perfume, so long as it is confined in the narrow space of that vase, though it cannot reach many, it yet preserves its strength. But when the ointment has been poured out of that vase wherein it was enclosed, it spreads far and wide; so, too, the Name of Christ before His coming amongst the people of Israel was enclosed in the minds of the Jews as in some vase. For "God is known in Judah, His Name is great in Israel;"hyperlink that is, the Name which the vases of the Jews held confined in their narrow limits.

96. Even then that Name was indeed great, when it remained in the narrow limits of the weak and few, but it had not yet poured forth its greatness throughout the hearts of the Gentiles, and to the ends of the whole world. But after that He by His coming had shone throughout the whole world, He spread abroad that divine Name of His throughout all creatures, not filled up by any addition (for fulness admits not of increase), but filling up the empty spaces, that His Name might be wonderful in all the world. The pouring forth, then, of His Name signifies a kind of abundant exuberance of graces and copiousness of heavenly goods, for whatever is poured forth flows over from abundance.

97. So as wisdom which proceeds from the mouth of God cannot be said to be created, nor the Word Which is uttered from His heart, nor the power in which is the fulness of the eternal Majesty; so, too, the Spirit which is poured forth from the mouth of God cannot be considered to be created, since God Himself has shown their unity to be such that He speaks of His pouring forth of His Spirit. By which we understand that the grace of God the Father is the same as that of the Holy Spirit, and that without an y division or loss it is divided to the hearts of each. That, then, which is shed abroad of the Holy Spirit is neither severed, nor comprehended in any corporeal parts, nor divided.

98. For how can it be credible that the Spirit should be divided. by any parcelling out? John says of God: "Hereby know we that He abides in us by the Spirit which He hath given us."hyperlink But that which abides always is certainly not changed, therefore if it suffers no change it is eternal. And so the Holy Spirit is eternal, but the creature is liable to fault, and therefore subject to change. But that which is subject to change cannot be eternal, and there cannot therefore be anything in common between the Spirit and the creature, because the Spirit is eternal, but every creature is temporal.

99. But the Apostle also shows that the Holy Spirit is eternal, for: "If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the sprinkling the ashes of an heifer sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God?"hyperlink Therefore the Spirit is eternal.


88 Gal. iv. 6, Gal. iv. 7.

89 Rom. viii. 19, Rom. viii. 21.

90 De Fid. III. 3.

91 S. Matt. vii. 11.

92 S. Luke xi. 13.

93 Ps. lxviii. [lxvii.] 18.

94 Isa. ix. 6.

95 Rom. v. 5.

96 1 Cor. vii. 22.

97 Ps. xiv. [xiii.] 3.

98 Gal. v. 22.

99 S. Matt. vii. 17.

100 S. John xvi. 15.

101 Eph. v. 8.

102 Ps. cxliii. [cxlii.] 10.

103 S. Matt. xxviii. 19.

104 Lev. xix. 2.

105 1 John v. 8.

106 Eph. i. 13, Eph. i. 14.

107 Ps. iv. 6, Ps. iv. 7.

108 Ps. xxiv. [xxiii.] 1.

109 Acts i. 8.

110 Ps. cxxxix. [cxxviii.] 7.

111 Joel ii. 28.

112 S. Luke i. 28.

113 Jer. xxiii. 24.

114 S. Luke iv. 1.

115 Wisd. i. 7.

116 Acts iv. 31.

117 S. Luke i. 35.

118 S. John v. 4.

119 Isa. xliv. 3.

120 Col. i. 9.

121 Eph. v. 18.

122 Acts xi. 17.

123 Isa. xlii. 1.

124 Isa. lxi. 1.

125 Joel ii. 28.

126 Phil. ii. 6.

127 S. John i. 33.

128 Rom. v. 5.

129 Cant. i. 3.

130 Ps. lxxvi. [lxxv.] 1.

131 1 John iii. 24.

132 Heb. ix. 13, Heb. ix. 14.