Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.20 Tthe Holy Spirit Book III Pt 1

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.20 Tthe Holy Spirit Book III Pt 1

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 30.01.20 Tthe Holy Spirit Book III Pt 1

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Book III.

Chapter I.

Not only were the prophets and apostles sent by the Spirit, but also the Son of God. This is proved from Isaiah and the evangelists, and it is explained why St. Luke wrote that the same Spirit descended like a dove upon Christ and abode upon Him. N:ext, after establishing this mission of Christ, the writer infers that the Son is sent by the Father and the Spirit, as the Spirit is by the Father and the Son.

1. In the former bookhyperlink we have shown by the clear evidence of the Scriptures that the apostles and prophets were appointed, the latter to prophesy, the former to preach the Gospel, by the Holy Spirit in the same way as by the Father and the Son; now we add what all will rightly wonder at, and not be able to doubt, that the Spirit was upon Christ; and that as He sent the Spirit, so the Spirit sent the Son of God. For the Son of God says: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me, He hath sent Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and sight to the blind."hyperlink And having read this from the Book of Isaiah, He says in the Gospel: "To-day hath this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears;"hyperlink that He might point out that it was said of Himself.

2. Can we, then, wonder if the Spirit sent both the prophets and the apostles, since Christ said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me"? And rightly did He say "upon Me," because He was speaking as the Son of Man. For as the Son of Man He was anointed and sent to preach the Gospel.

3. But if they believe not the Son, let them hear the Father also saying that the Spirit of the Lord is upon Christ. For He says to John: "Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending from heaven and abiding upon Him, He it is Who baptizeth with the Holy Spirit."hyperlink God the Father said this to John, and John heard and saw and believed. He heard from God, he saw in the Lord, he believed that it was the Spirit Who was coming down from heaven. For it was not a dove that descended, but the Holy Spirit as a dove; for thus it is written: "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven as a dove."hyperlink

4. As John says that he saw, so, too, wrote Mark; Luke, however, added that the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove; you must not think that this was an incarnation, but an appearance. He, then, brought the appearance before him, that by means of the appearance he might believe who did not see the Spirit, and that by the appearance He might manifest that He had a share of the one honour in authority, the one operation in the mystery, the one gift in the bath, together with the Father and the Son; unless perchance we consider Him in Whom the Lord was baptized too weak for the servant to be baptized in Him.

5. And he said fittingly, "abiding upon Him,"hyperlink because the Spirit inspired a saying or acted upon the prophets as often as He would, but abode always in Christ.

6. Nor, again, let it move you that he said "upon Him," for he was speaking of the Son of Man, because he was baptized as the Son of Man. For the Spirit is not upon Christ, according to the Godhead, but in Christ; for, as the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ is both in the Father and in the Son, for He is the Spirit of His mouth. For He Who is of God abides in God, as it is written: "But we received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God."hyperlink And He abides in Christ, Who has received from Christ; for it is written again: "He shall take of Mine:"hyperlink and elsewhere: "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death."hyperlink He is, then, not over Christ according to the Godhead of Christ, for the Trinity is not over Itself, but over all things: It is not over Itself but in Itself.

7. Who, then, can doubt that the Spirit sent the prophets and apostles, since the Son of God says: "The Spirit of the Lord is. upon Me."hyperlink And elsewhere: "I am the First, and I am also for ever, and Mine hand hath rounded the earth, and My right hand hath established the heaven; I will call them and they shall stand up together, and shall all be gathered together and shall hear. Who hath declared these things to them? Because I loved thee I performed thy pleasure against Babylon, that the seed of the Chaldaeans might be taken away. I have spoken, and I have called, I have brought him and have made his way prosperous. Come unto Me and hear ye this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, I was there when those things were done; and now the Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit."hyperlink Who is it Who says: The Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit, except He Who came from the Father that He might save sinners? And, as you hear, the Spirit sent Him, lest when you hear that the Son sends the Spirit, you should believe the Spirit to be of inferior power.

8. So both the Father and the Spirit sent the Son; the Father sent Him, for it is written: "But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name."hyperlink The Son sent Him, for He said: "But when the Paraclete is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth."hyperlink If, then, the Son and the Spirit send each other, as the Father sends, there is no inferiority of subjection, but a community of power.

Chapter II.

The Son and the Spirit are alike given; whence not subjection but one Godhead is shown by Its working.

9. And not only did the Father send the Son, but also gave Him, as the Son Himself gave Himself. For we read: "Grace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins."hyperlink If they think that He was subject in that He was sent, they cannot deny that it was of grace that He was given. But He was given by the Father, as Isaiah said: "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;"hyperlink but He was given, I dare to say it, by the Spirit also, Who was sent by the Spirit. For since the prophet has not defined by whom He was given, he shows that He was given by the grace of the Trinity; and inasmuch as the Son Himself gave Himself, He could not be subject to Himself according to His Godhead. Therefore that He was given could not be a sign of subjection in the God-head.

10. But the Holy Spirit also was given, for it is written: "I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete."hyperlink And the Apostle says: "Wherefore he that despiseth these things despiseth not man but God, Who hath given us His Holy Spirit."hyperlink Isaiah, too, shows that both the Spirit and the Son are given: "Thus," says he, "saith the Lord God, Who made the heaven and fashioned it, Who stablished the earth, and the things which are in it, and giveth breath to the people upon it, and the Spirit to them that walk upon it."hyperlink And to the Son: "I am the Lord God, Who have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will strengthen Thee; and I have given Thee for a covenant of My people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out of their fetters those that are bound."hyperlink Since, then, the Son is both sent and given, and the Spirit also is both sent and given, They have assuredly a oneness of Godhead Who have a oneness of action.

Chapter III.

The same Unity may also be recognized from the fact that the Spirit is called Finger, and the Son Right Hand; for the understanding of divine things is assisted by the usage of human language. The tables of the law were written by this Finger, and they were afterwards broken, and the reason. Lastly, Christ wrote with the same Finger; yet we must not admit any inferiority in the Spirit from this bodily comparison.

11. So, too, the Spirit is also called the Finger of God, because there is an indivisible and inseparable communion between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For as the Scripture called the Son of God the Right Hand of God, as it is said: "Thy Right Hand, O Lord, is made glorious in power. Thy Right Hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy;"hyperlink so the Holy Spirit is called the Finger of God, as the Lord Himself says: "But if I by the Finger of God cast out devils."hyperlink For in the same place in another book of the Gospel He named the Spirit of God, as you find: "But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils."hyperlink

12. What, then, could have been said to signify more expressly the unity of the Godhead, or of Its working, which Unity is according to the Godhead of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit, than that we should understand that the fulness of the eternal Godhead would seem to be divided far more than this body of ours, if any one were to sever the unity of Substance, and multiply Its powers, whereas the eternity of the same Godhead is one?

13. For oftentimes it is convenient to estimate from our own words those things which are above us, and because we cannot see those things we draw inferences from those which we can see. "For the invisible things of Him," says the Apostle, "from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by those things which are made."hyperlink And he adds: "His eternal power also and Godhead."hyperlink Of which one thing seems to be said of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; that in the same manner as the Son is called the eternal Power of the Father, so, also, the Spirit, because He is divine, should be believed to be His eternal Godhead. For the Son, too, because He ever lives, is eternal life. This Finger, then, of God is both eternal and divine. For what is there belonging to God which is not eternal and divine?

14. With this Finger, as we read, God wrote on those tables of stone which Moses received. For God did not with a finger of flesh write the forms and portions of those letters which we read, but gave the law by His Spirit. And so the Apostle says: "For the Law is spiritual, which, indeed, is written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but on fleshy tables of the heart."hyperlink For if the letter of the Apostle is written in the Spirit, what hinders us from believing that the Law of God was written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, which certainly does not stain but enlightens the secret places of our heart and mind?

14. Now it was written on tables of stone, because it was written in a type, but the tables were first broken and cast out of the hands of Moses, because the Jews fell away from the works of the prophet. And fitly were the tables broken, not the writing erased. And do you see that your table be not broken, that your mind and soul be not divided. Is Christ divided? He is not divided, but is one with the Father; and let no one separate you. from Him. If your faith fails, the table of your heart is broken. The coherence of your soul is lessened if you do not believe the unity of Godhead in the Trinity. Your faith is written, and your sin is written, as Jeremiah said: "Thy sin, O Judah, is written with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond. And it is written," he says, "on thy breast and on thy heart."hyperlink The sin, therefore, is there where grace is, but the sin is written with a pen, grace is denoted by the Spirit.

15. With this Finger, also, the Lord Jesus, with bowed head, mystically wrote on the ground, when the adulteress was brought before Him by the Jews, signifying in a figure that, when we judge of the sins of another, we ought to remember our own.

16. And lest, again, because God wrote the Law by His Spirit, we should believe any inferiority, as it were, concerning the ministry of the Spirit, or from the consideration of our own body should think the Spirit to be a small part of God, the Apostle says, elsewhere, that he does not speak with words of human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, and that he compares spiritual things with spiritual; but that the natural man receiveth not the things which pertain to the Spirit of God.hyperlink For he knew that he who compared divine with carnal things was amongst natural things, and not to be reckoned amongst spiritual men; "for they are foolishness," he says, "unto him."hyperlink And so, because he knew that these questions would arise amongst natural men, foreseeing the future he says: "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."hyperlink

Chapter IV.

To those who contend that the Spirit because He is called the Finger is less than the Father, St. Ambrose replies that this would also tend to the lessening of the Son, Who is called the Right Hand. That these names are to be referred only to the Unity, for which reason Moses proclaimed that the whole Trinity worked in the passage of the Red Sea. And, indeed, it is no wonder that the operation of the Spirit found place there, where there was a figure of baptism, since the Scripture teaches that the Three Persons equally sanctify and are operative in that sacrament.

17. But if any one is still entangled in carnal doubts, and hesitates because of bodily figures, let him consider that he cannot think rightly of the Son who can think wrongly of the Spirit. For if some think that the Spirit is a certain small portion of God, because He is called the Finger of God, the same persons must certainly maintain that a small portion only is in the Son of God, because He is called the Right Hand of God.

18. But the Son is called both the Right Hand and the Power of God; if, then, we consider our words, there can be no perfection without power; let them therefore take care lest they think that which it is impious to say, namely, that the Father being but half perfect in His own Substance received perfection through the Son, and let them cease to deny that the Son is co-eternal with the Father. For when did the Power of God not exist? But if they think that at any time the Power of God existed not, they will say that at some time Perfection existed not in God the Father, to Whom they think that Power was at some time wanting.

19. But, as I said, these things are written that we may refer them to the Unity of the Godhead, and believe that which the Apostle said, that the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ,hyperlink which dwells also in the Father, and dwells in the Holy Spirit; and that, as there is a unity of the Godhead, so also is there a unity of operation.

20. And this may also be gathered from the Song of Moses, for he, after leading the people of the Jews through the sea, acknowledged the operation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, saying: "Thy Right Hand, O Lord, is glorious in power, Thy Right Hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy."hyperlink Here you have his confession of the Son and of the Father, Whose Right Hand He is. And farther on, not to pass by the Holy Spirit, He added: "Thou didst send Thy Spirit and the sea covered them, and the water was divided by the Spirit of Thine anger."hyperlink By which is signified the unity of the Godhead, not an inequality of the Trinity.

21. You see, then, that the Holy Spirit also co-operated with the Father and the Son, so that just as if the waves were congealed in the midst of the sea, a wall as it were of water rose up for the passage of the Jews, and then, poured back again by the Spirit, overwhelmed the people of the Egyptians. And many think that from the same origin the pillar of cloud went before the people of the Jews by day, and the pillar of fire by night, that the grace of the Spirit might protect His people.

22. Now that this operation of God, which the whole world rightly wonders at, did not take place without the work of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle also declared when he said that the truth of a spiritual mystery was prefigured in it, for we read as follows: "For our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized in Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink."hyperlink

23. For how without the operation of the Holy Spirit could there be the type of a sacrament, the whole truth of which is in the Spirit? As the Apostle also set forth, saying: "But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."hyperlink

24. You see, then, that the Father works in the Son, and that the Son works in the Spirit. And therefore do not doubt that, according to the order of Scripture, there was in the figure that which the Truth Himself declared to be in the truth. For who can deny His operation in the Font, in which we feel His operation and grace?

25. For as the Father sanctifies, so, too, the Son sanctifies, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies. The Father sanctifies according to that which is written: "The God of peace sanctify you, and may your spirit, soul, and body be preserved entire without blame in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."hyperlink And elsewhere the Son says: "Father, sanctify them in the truth."hyperlink

26. But of the Son the same Apostle said: "Who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."hyperlink Do you see that He was made sanctification? But He was made so unto us, not that He should change that which He was, but that He might sanctify us in the flesh.

27. And the Apostle also teaches that the Holy Spirit sanctifies. For he speaks thus: "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren dearly beloved of the Lord; because God chose you as first-fruits unto salvation, in sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth."hyperlink

28. So, then, the Father sanctifies, the Son also sanctifies, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies; but the sanctification is one, for baptism is one, and the grace of the sacrament is one.

Chapter V.

The writer sums up the argument he had commenced, and confirms the statement that unity is signified by the terms finger and right hand, from the fact that the works of God are the same as are the works of hands; and that those of hands are the same as those of fingers; and lastly, that the term hand applies equally to the Son and the Spirit, and that of finger applies to the Spirit and the Son.

29. But what wonder is it if He Who Himself needs no sanctification, but abounds therewith, sanctifies each man; since, as I said, we have been taught that His Majesty is so great, that the Holy Spirit seems to be as inseparable from God the Father as the finger is from the body?

30. But if any one thinks that this should be referred not to the oneness of power, but to its lessening, he indeed will fall into such madness as to appear to fashion the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as it were into one bodily form, and to picture to himself certain distinctions of its members.

31. But let them learn, as I have often said, that not inequality but unity of power is signified by this testimony; inasmuch as things which are the works of God are also the works of hands, and we read that the same are the works of fingers. For it is written: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth the work of His hands;"hyperlink and elsewhere: "In the beginning Thou didst found the earth, O Lord; and the heavens are the works of Thy hands."hyperlink So, then, the works of the hands are the same as the works of God. There is not therefore any distinction of the work according to the kind of bodily members, but a oneness of power.

32. But those which are the works of the hands are also the works of the fingers, for it is equally written: "For I will behold Thy heavens, the works of Thy fingers, the moon, and the stars, which Thou hast established."hyperlink What less are the fingers here said to have made than the hands, since they made the same as the hands, as it is written: "For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work, and in the works of Thy hands will I rejoice,"hyperlink

33. And yet since we read that the Son is the hand(for it is written: "Hath not My Hand made all these things?"hyperlink and elsewhere: "I will place thee in the cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with Mine hand, I have placed My hand under the covering of the rock,"hyperlink which refers to the mystery of the Incarnation, because the eternal Power of God took on Itself the covering of a body), it is certainly clear that Scripture used the term hand both of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

34. And again, since we read that the Spirit is the finger of God, we think that fingers [in the plural] are spoken of to signify the Son and Spirit. Lastly, that he may state that he received the sanctification both of the Son and of the Spirit, a certain saint says: "Thy hands have made me and fashioned me."hyperlink

Chapter VI.

The Spirit rebukes just as do the Father and the Son; and indeed judges could not judge without Him, as is shown by the judgments of Solomon and Daniel, which are explained in a few words, by the way; and no other than the Holy Spirit inspired Daniel.

35. Why do we reject like words when we assert the oneness of power, since the oneness of power extends so far that the Spirit rebukes, as the Father rebukes, and as the Son rebukes. For so it is written: "O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy displeasure."hyperlink Then in the forty-ninth [fiftieth] Psalm, the Lord speaks thus: "I will rebuke thee, and will set thy sins before thy face"hyperlink And in like manner the Son said of the Holy Spirit: "When I go away, I will send the Paraclete to you. And He, when He is come, will rebuke the world, concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment"hyperlink

36. But whither is the madness of faithless men leading us, so that we appear to be proving, as if it were a matter of doubt, that the Holy Spirit rebukes, whereas judges themselves are unable to judge, except through the Spirit. Lastly, that famous judgment of Solomon, when, amongst the difficulties arising from those who were contending, as one, having overlain the child which she had borne, wished to claim the child of another, and the other was protecting her own son, he both discovered deceit in the very hidden thoughts. and affection in the mother's heart, was certainly so admirable only by the gift of the Holy Spirit For no other sword would have penetrated the hidden feeling of those women, except the sword of the Spirit, of which the Lord says: "I am not come to send peace but a sword."hyperlink For the inmost mind cannot be penetrated by steel, but by the Spirit: "For the Spirit of understanding is holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively," and, farther on, "overseeing all things."hyperlink

37. Consider what the prophet says, that He oversees all things. And so Solomon also oversaw, so that he ordered that sword to be brought, because while pretending that he intended to divide the infant, he reflected that the true mother would have more regard for her son than for her comfort, and would set kindness before right, not right before kindness. But that she who feigned the feelings of a mother, blinded by the desire of gaining her end, would think little of the destruction of him in regard to whom she felt no outgoing of tenderness. And so that spiritual man, that he might judge all things (for he that is spiritual judgeth all things),hyperlink sought in the feelings the natural disposition which was concealed in the language, and questioned tenderness that he might set forth the truth. So the mother overcame by the affection of love, which is a fruit of the Spirit.

38. He judges in a prophet, for the word of wisdom is given by the Spirit;hyperlink how, then, do men deny that the Spirit can rebuke the world concerning judgment, Who removes doubt from judgment, and grants the successful issue?

39. Daniel also, unless he had received the Spirit of God, would never have been able to discover that lustful adultery, that fraudulent lie. For when Susanna, assailed by the conspiracy of the elders, saw that the mind of the people was moved by consideration for the old men, and destitute of all help, alone amongst men, conscious of her chastity she prayed God to judge; it is written: "The Lord heard her voice, when she was being led to be put to death, and the Lord raised up the Holy Spirit of a young youth, whose name was Daniel."hyperlink And so according to the grace of the Holy Spirit received by him, he discovered the varying evidence of the treacherous, for it was none other than the operation of divine power, that his voice should make them whose inward feelings were concealed to be known.

41. Understand, then, the sacred and heavenly miracle of the Holy Spirit She who preferred to be chaste in herself, rather than in the opinion of the people, she who preferred to hazard [the reputation of] her innocence, rather than her modesty, who when she was accused was silent, when she was condemed held her peace, content with the judgment of her own conscience, who preserved regard for her modesty even in peril, that they who were not able to force her chastity might not seem to have forced her to petulance; when she called upon the Lord, she obtained the Spirit, Who made known the hidden consciousness of the elders.

42. Let the chaste learn not to dread calumny. For she who preferred chastity to life did not suffer the loss of life, and retained the glory of chastity. So, too, Abraham, once bidden to go to foreign lands, and not being held back either by the danger to his wife's modesty, nor by the fear of death before him, preserved both his own life and his wife's chastity.hyperlink So no one has ever repented of trusting God, and chastity increased devotion in Sarah, and devotion chastity.

43. And lest any one should perhaps think that, as the Scripture says, "God raised up the Holy Spirit of a young youth," the Spirit in him was that of a man, not the Holy Spirit, let him read farther on, and he will find that Daniel received the Holy Spirit, and therefore prophesied. Lastly, too, the king advanced him because he had the grace of the Spirit For he speaks thus: "Thou, O Daniel, art able, forasmuch as the Holy Spirit of God is in thee."hyperlink And farther on it is written: "And Daniel was set over them, because an excellent Spirit was in him."hyperlink And the Spirit of Moses also was distributed to those who were to be judges.hyperlink

Chapter VII.

The Son Himself does not judge or punish without the Spirit, so that the same Spirit is called the Sword of the Word. But inasmuch as the Word is in turn called the Sword of the Spirit, the highest unity of power is thereby recognized in each.

44. But what should we say of the other points? We have heard that the Lord Jesus not only judges in the Spirit but punishes also. For neither would He punish Antichrist, whom, as we read, "the Lord Jesus shall slay with the Spirit of His mouth,"hyperlink unless He had before judged of his deserts. Yet here is not a grace received, but the unity remains undivided, since neither can Christ be without the Spirit, nor the Spirit without Christ. For the unity of the divine nature cannot be divided.

45. And since that instance comes before us. that the Lord Jesus shall slay with the Spirit of His mouth, the Spirit is understood to be as it were the Sword of the Word. Lastly, in the Gospel also the Lord Jesus Himself says: "I came not to send peace but a sword."hyperlink For He came that He might give the Spirit; and so there is in His mouth a two-edged sword,hyperlink which is in truth the grace of the Spirit So the Spirit is the Sword of the Word.

46. And that you may know that there is no inequality but unity of nature, the Word also is the Sword of the Holy Spirit, for it is written: "Taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."hyperlink

47. Since, then, the Sword of the Word is the Holy Spirit, and the Sword of the Holy Spirit is the Word of God, there is certainly in Them oneness of power.

Chapter VIII.

The aforesaid unity is proved hereby, that as the Father is said to be grieved and tempted, so too the Son. The Son was also tempted in the wilderness, where a figure of the cross was set up in the brazen serpent: but the Apostle says that the Spirit also was there tempted. St. Ambrose infers from this that the Israelites were guided into the promised land by the same Spirit, and that His will and power are one with those of the Father and the Son.

48. And we may behold this unity also in other passages of the Scriptures. For whereas Ezekiel says to the people of the Jews: "And thou hast grieved Me in all these things, saith the Lord;"hyperlink Paul says to the new people in his Epistle: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom ye were sealed."hyperlink Again, whereas Isaiah says of the Jews themselves: "But they believed not, but grieved the Holy Spirit;"hyperlink David says of God: "They grieved the Most High in the desert, and tempted God in their hearts."hyperlink

49. Understand also that whereas Scripture in other places says that the Spirit was tempted, and that God was tempted, it says also that Christ was tempted; for you have the Apostle saying to the Corinthians: "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by serpents."hyperlink Just was the punishment that the adversaries should feel the venom, who had not venerated the Maker.

50. And well did the Lord ordain that by the lifting up of the brazen serpent the wounds of those who were bitten should be healed; for the brazen serpent is a type of the Cross; for although in His flesh Christ was lifted up, yet in Him was the Apostle crucified to the world and the world to him; for he says: "The world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world."hyperlink "So the world was crucified in its allurements, and therefore not a real but a brazen serpent was hanged; because the Lord took on Him the likeness of a sinner, in the truth. indeed, of His Body, but without the truth of sin, that imitating a serpent through the deceitful appearance of human weakness, having laid aside the slough of the flesh, He might destroy the cunning of the true serpent. And therefore in the Cross of the Lord, which came to man's help in avenging temptation, I, who accept the medicine of the Trinity, recognize in the wicked the offence against the Trinity.

51. Therefore when you find in the book of Moses, that the Lord being tempted sent serpents on the people of the Jews, it is necessary that you either confess the Unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Divine Majesty, or certainly when the writing of the Apostle says that the Spirit was tempted, it undoubtedly pointed out the Spirit by the name of Lord. But the Apostle writing to the Hebrews says that the Spirit was tempted, for you find this: "Wherefore the Holy Ghost saith this: Today if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts, like as in the provocation in the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works. Forty years was I near to this generation and said: They do alway err in their heart; but they did not know My ways, as I sware in My wrath, If they shall enter into My rest."hyperlink

52. Therefore, according to the Apostle, the Spirit was tempted. If He was tempted, He also certainly was guiding the people of the Jews into the land of promise, as it is written: "For He led them through the deep, as a horse through the wilderness, and they laboured not, and like the cattle through the plain. The Spirit came down from the Lord and guided them."hyperlink And He certainly ministered to them the calm rain of heavenly food, He with fertile shower made fruitful that daily harvest which earth had not brought forth, and husbandman had not sown.

53. Now let us look at these points one by one. God had promised rest to the Jews; the Spirit calls that rest His. God the Father relates that He was tempted by the unbelieving, and the Spirit says that He was tempted by the same, for the temptation is one wherewith the one Godhead of the Trinity was tempted by the unbelieving. God condemns the people of the Jews, so that they cannot attain to the land flowing with milk and honey, that is, to the rest of the resurrection; and the Spirit condemns them by the same decree: "If they shall enter into My rest." It is, then, the decree of one Will, the excellency of one Power.

Chapter IX.

That the Holy Spirit is provoked is proved by the words of St. Peter, in which it is shown that the Spirit of God is one and the same as the Spirit of the Lord, both by other passages and by reference to the sentence of the same Apostle on Ananias and Sapphira, whence it is argued that the union of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, as well as His own Godhead, is proved.

54. Perhaps, however, some one might say that this passage cannot be specially applied to the Holy Spirit, had not the same Apostle Peter taught us in another place that the Holy Ghost can be tempted by our sins, for you find that the wife of Ananias is thus addressed: "Why have ye agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?"hyperlink For the Spirit of the Lord is the very Spirit of God; for there is one Holy Spirit, as also the Apostle Paul taught, saying: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."hyperlink He first mentioned the Spirit of God and immediately adds that the Same is the Spirit of Christ. And having spoken of the Spirit, that we might understand that where the Holy Spirit is there is Christ, he added: "But if Christ be in you."hyperlink

55. Then, in the same way as we here understand that where the Spirit is there also is Christ; so also, elsewhere, he shows that where Christ is, there also is the Holy Spirit. For having said: "Do ye seek a proof of Christ Who speaketh in me?"hyperlink he says elsewhere: "For I think that I also have the Spirit of God."hyperlink The Unity, then, is inseparable, for by the testimony of Scripture where either the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit is designated, there is all the fulness of the Trinity.

56. But Peter himself in the instance we have brought forward spoke first of the Holy Spirit, and then called Him the Spirit of the Lord, for you read as follows: "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to deal fraudulently concerning the price of the field? While it remained did it not continue thine own, and when sold was it not in thy power? Why hast thou conceived this wickedness in thy heart? Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God."hyperlink And below he says to the wife: "Why have ye agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?"hyperlink

57. First, we understand that he called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of the Lord. Then, since he mentioned first the Holy Spirit and added: "Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God," you must necessarily either understand the oneness of the Godhead in the Holy Spirit, since when the Holy Spirit is tempted a lie is told to God; or, if you endeavour to exclude the oneness of the Godhead, you yourself according to the words of Scripture certainly believe Him to be God.

58. For if we understand that these expressions are used both of the Spirit and of the Father, we certainly observe the unity of truth and knowledge in God the Father and the Holy Spirit, for falsehood is discovered alike by the Holy Spirit and by God the Father. But if we have received each truth concerning the Spirit, why do you, faithless man, attempt to deny what you read? Confess, then, either the oneness of the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, or the Godhead of the Holy Spirit. Whichever you say, you will have said each in God, for both the Unity upholds the Godhead and the Godhead the Unity.


1 Bk. II. 12.

2 Isa. lxi. 1 [LXX.].

3 S. Luke iv. 21.

4 S. John i. 33.

5 S. John i. 32.

6 S. John i. 33.

7 1 Cor. ii. 12.

8 S. John xvi. 14.

9 Rom. viii. 2.

10 S. Luke iv. 18.

11 Isa. xlii. 12 ff. [LXX.].

12 S. John xiv. 26.

13 S. John xv. 26.

14 Gal. i. 3, Gal. i. 4.

15 Isa. ix. 6.

16 S. John xiv. 16.

17 1 Thess. iv. 8.

18 Isa. xlii. 5.

19 Isa. xlii. 6, Isa. xlii. 7.

20 Ex. xv. 6.

21 S. Luke xi. 20.

22 S. Matt. xii. 28.

23 Rom. i. 20.

24 Rom. i. 20.

25 2 Cor. iii. 3.

26 Jer. xvii. 1.

27 1 Cor. ii. 13, 1 Cor. ii. 14.

28 1 Cor. ii. 13, 1 Cor. ii. 14.

29 1 Cor. ii. 16.

30 Col. ii. 9.

31 Ex. xv. 6.

32 Ex. xv. 10.

33 1 Cor. x. 1, 1 Cor. x. 2, 1 Cor. x. 3, 1 Cor. x. 4.

34 1 Cor. vi. 11.

35 1 Thess. v. 23.

36 S. John xvii. 17.

37 1 Cor. i. 30.

38 2 Thess. ii. 13.

39 Ps. xix. [xviii.] 1.

40 Ps. cii. [ci.] 26.

41 Ps. viii. 3.

42 Ps. xcii. 4.

43 Isa. lxvi. 2.

44 Ex. xxxiii. 22.

45 Ps. cxix. [cxviii.] 73.

46 Ps. vi. 1.

47 Ps. l. [xlix.] 21.

48 S. John xvi. 7, John xvi. 8.

49 S. Matt. x. 34.

50 Wisd. vii. 22, Wisd. vii. 23.

51 1 Cor. ii. 15.

52 1 Cor. xii. 8.

53 Hist. Sus. [Dan. iii.], 44, 45.

54 Gen. xx. 1 ff.

55 Dan. v. 14.

56 Dan. vi. 3.

57 Num. xi. 25.

58 2 Thess. ii. 8.

59 S. Matt. x. 34.

60 Rev. xix. 15.

61 Eph. vi. 16, Eph. vi. 17.

62 Ezek. xvi. 43.

63 Eph. iv. 30.

64 Isa. lxiii. 10.

65 Ps. lxxviii. [lxvii.] 17, Ps. lxxviii. [lxvii.] 18.

66 1 Cor. x. 9.

67 Gal. vi. 14.

68 Heb. iii. 7-11.

69 Isa. lxiii. 13, Isa. lxiii. 14.

70 Acts v. 9.

71 Rom. viii. 9.

72 Rom. viii. 10.

73 2 Cor. xiii. 3.

74 1 Cor. vii. 40.

75 Acts v. 3, Acts v. 4.

76 Acts v. 5.