Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.28 Christian Faith Book I Pt 1

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.28 Christian Faith Book I Pt 1

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 30.01.28 Christian Faith Book I Pt 1

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Exposition of the Christian Faith


On the eve of setting out for the East, to aid his uncle Valens in repelling a Gothic invasion, Gratian, the Emperor of the West, requested St. Ambrose to write him a treatise in proof of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Gratian's object in making this request was to secure some sort of preservative against the corrupting influence of Arianism, which at that time (a.d. 378) had gained the upper hand of Orthodoxy in the Eastern provinces of the Empire, owing to its establishment at the Imperial Court. In compliance with Gratian's wish, the Bishop of Milan composed a treatise, which now forms the first two Books of the De Fide. With this work the Emperor was so much pleased that on his return from the East, after the death of Valens at Hadrianople, he wrote to St. Ambrose, begging for a fresh copy of the treatise, and further, for its enlargement by the addition of a discourse on the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. The original treatise was, indeed, enlarged by St. Ambrose in 379, but the additional Books dealt, not with the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, but rather with new objections raised by the Arian teachers, and points which had either been passed over or not fully discussed already. In this way St. Ambrose's Exposition was brought into its present form.

The object of the Exposition is, as has already been indicated, to prove the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and His co-eternity, co-equality, and consubstantiality, as God the Son, with God the Father. This the author does by constant appeal to the Scriptures, both of the Old and of the New Testament, which the Arians had in many cases forced into the mould of false interpretation to make them fit their doctrine.

Besides the title of De Fide, that of De Trinitate was one by which this treatise was largely known in after ages; it is certain, though, that the former was that assigned by St. Ambrose himself.

Prefatory Note.

The notes to the first four books of the De Fide have in some instances been taken over from those in Father Hurter's Edition of the treatise (Innsbruck: Wagner), which has been used in preparing the translation of these books. These notes are distinguished by the letter "H." placed at the end.

The citations from Scripture embodied in the text have been translated as they stood in the original. This will account for any divergence from the renderings in the English Bible and Prayer-book, whilst any agreement may be set down to reminiscences of the more familiar versions. It was thought best to adopt this treatment of St. Ambrose's citations, inasmuch as the divergences are worth noticing, and indeed, in some cases, the argument rather turns upon them. The references are, throughout, made to chapters and verses in the English Bible, and not to the Vulgate, unless especially stated so to be.

The Prefaces and Summaries of Contents are based on those in Father Hurter's Edition.

Book I.


The author praises Gratian's zeal for instruction in the Faith, and speaks lowly of his own merits. Taught of God Himself, the Emperor stands in no need of human instruction; yet this his devoutness prepares the way to victory. The task appointed to the author is difficult: in the accomplishment whereof he will be guided not so much by reason and argument as by authority, especially that of the Nicene Council.

1. The Queen of the South, as we read in the Book of the Kings, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.hyperlink Likewise King Hiram sent to Solomon that he might prove him.hyperlink So also your sacred Majesty, following these examples of old time, has decreed to hear my confession of faith. But I am no Solomon, that you should wonder at my wisdom, and your Majesty is not the sovereign of a single people; it is the Augustus, ruler of the whole world, that has commanded the setting forth of the Faith in a book, not for your instruction, but for your approval.

2. For why, august Emperor, should your Majesty learn that Faith which, from your earliest childhood, you have ever devoutly and lovingly kept? "Before I formed thee in thy mother's belly I knew thee," saith the Scripture, "and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee."hyperlink Sanctification, therefore, cometh not of tradition, but of inspiration; therefore keep watch over the gifts of God. For that which no man hath taught you, God hath surely given and inspired.

3. Your sacred Majesty, being about to go forth to war, requires of me a book, expounding the Faith, since your Majesty knows that victories are gained more by faith in the commander, than by valour in the soldiers. For Abraham led into battle three hundred and eighteen men,hyperlink and brought home the spoils of countless foes; and having, by the power of that which was the sign of our Lord's Cross and Name,hyperlink overcome the might of five kings and conquering hosts, he both avenged his neighbour and gained victory and the ransom of his brother's son. So also Joshua the son of Nun, when he could not prevail against the enemy with the might of all his army,hyperlink overcame by sound of seven sacred trumpets, in the place where he saw and knew the Captain of the heavenly host.hyperlink For victory, then, your Majesty makes ready, being Christ's loyal servant and defender of the Faith, which you would have me set forth in writing.

4. Truly, I would rather take upon me the duty of exhortation to keep the Faith, than that of disputing thereon; for the former means devout confession, whereas the latter is liable to rash presumption. Howbeit, forasmuch as your Majesty has no need of exhortation, whilst I may not pray to be excused from the duty of loyalty, I will take in hand a bold enterprise, yet modestly withal, not so much reasoning and disputing concerning the Faith as gathering together a multitude of witness.hyperlink

5. Of the Acts of Councils, I shall let that one be my chief guide which three hundred and eighteen priests, appointed, as it were, after the judgment of Abraham,hyperlink made (so to speak) a trophy raised to proclaim their victory over the infidel throughout the world, prevailing by that courage of the Faith, wherein all agreed. Verily, as it seems to me, one may herein see the hand of God, forasmuch as the same number is our authority in the Councils of the Faith, and an example of loyalty in the records of old.

Chapter I.

The author distinguishes the faith from the errors of Pagans,hyperlink Jews, and Heretics, and after explaining the significance of the names "God" and "Lord," shows clearly the difference of Persons in Unity of Essence.hyperlink In dividing the Essence, the Arians not only bring in the doctrine of three Gods, but even overthrow the dominion of the Trinity.

6. Now this is the declaration of our Faith, that we say that God is One, neither dividing His Son from Him, as do the heathen,hyperlink nor denying, with the Jews, that He was begotten of the Father before all worlds,hyperlink and afterwards born of the Virgin; nor yet, like Sabellius,hyperlink confounding the Father with the Word, and so maintaining that Father and Son are one and the same Person; nor again, as doth Photinus,hyperlink holding that the Son first came into existence in the Virgin's womb: nor believing, with Arius,hyperlink in a number of diverse Powers,hyperlink and so, like the benighted heathen, making out more than one God. For it is written: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God."hyperlink

7. For God and Lord is a name of majesty, a name of power, even as God Himself saith: "The Lord is My name,"hyperlink and as in another place the prophet declareth: "The Lord Almighty is His name."hyperlink God is He, therefore, and Lord, either because His rule is over all, or because He beholdeth all things, and is feared by all, without difference.hyperlink

8. If, then, God is One, one is the name, one is the power, of the Trinity. Christ Himself, indeed, saith: "Go ye, baptize the nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."hyperlink In the name, mark you, not in the names."hyperlink

9. Moreover, Christ Himself saith: "I and the Father are One."hyperlink "One," said He, that there be no separation of power and nature; but again, "We are," that you may recognize Father and Son, forasmuch as the perfect Father is believed to have begotten the perfect Son,hyperlink and the Father and the Son are One, not by confusion of Person, but by unity of nature.hyperlink

10. We say, then, that there is one God, not two or three Gods, this being the error into which the impious heresy of the Arians doth run with its blasphemies. For it says that there are three Gods, in that it divides the Godhead of the Trinity; whereas the Lord, in saying, "Go, baptize the nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," hath shown that the Trinity is of one power. We confess Father, Son, and Spirit, understanding in a perfect Trinity both fulness of Divinity and unity of power.hyperlink

11. "Every kingdom divided against itself shall quickly be overthrown," saith the Lord. Now the kingdom of the Trinity is not divided. If, therefore, it is not divided, it is one; for that which is not one is divided. The Arians, however, would have the kingdom of the Trinity to be such as may easily be overthrown, by division against itself. But truly, seeing that it cannot be overthrown, it is plainly undivided. For no unity is divided or rent asunder, and therefore neither age nor corruption has any power over it.hyperlink

Chapter II.

The Emperor is exhorted to display zeal in the Faith. Christ's perfect Godhead is shown from the unity of will and working which He has with the Father. The attributes of Divinity are shown to be proper to Christ, Whose various titles prove His essential unity, with distinction of Person. In no other way can the unity of God be maintained.

12. "Not every one that saith unto Me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,"hyperlink saith the Scripture. Faith, therefore, august Sovereign, must not be a mere matter of performance, for it is written, "The zeal of thine house hath devoured me."hyperlink Let us then with faithful spirit and devout mind call upon Jesus our Lord, let us believe that He is God, to the end that whatever we ask of the Father, we may obtain in His name.hyperlink For the Father's will is, that He be entreated through the Son, the Son's that the Father be entreated.hyperlink

13. The grace of His submission makes for agreement [with our teaching], and the acts of His power are not at variance therewith. For whatsoever things the Father doeth, the same also doeth the Son, in like manner.hyperlink The Son both doeth the same things, and doeth them in like manner, but it is the Father's will that He be entreated in the matter of what He Himself proposeth to do, that you may understand, not that He cannot do it otherwise, but that there is one power displayed. Truly, then, is the Son of God to be adored and worshipped, Who by the power of His Godhead hath laid the foundations of the world, and by His submission informed our affections.hyperlink

14. Therefore we ought to believe that God is good, eternal, perfect, almighty, and true, such as we find Him in the Law and the Prophets, and the rest of the holy Scriptures,hyperlink for otherwise there is no God. For He Who is God cannot but be good, seeing that fulness of goodness is of the nature of God:hyperlink nor can God, Who made time, be in time; nor, again, can God be imperfect, for a lesser being is plainly imperfect, seeing that it lacks somewhat whereby it could be made equal to a greater. This, then, is the teaching of our faith-that God is not evil, that with God nothing is impossible, that God exists not in time, that God is beneath no being. If I am in error, let my adversaries prove it.hyperlink

15. Seeing, then, that Christ is God, He is, by consequence, good and almighty and eternal and perfect and true; for these attributes belong to the essential nature of the Godhead. Let our adversaries, therefore, deny the Divine Nature in Christ,-otherwise they cannot refuse to God what is proper to the Divine Nature.

16. Further, that none may fall into error, let a man attend to those signs vouchsafed us by holy Scripture, whereby we may know the Son. He is called the Word, the Son, the Power of God, the Wisdom of God.hyperlink The Word, because He is without blemish; the Power, because He is perfect; the Son, because He is begotten of the Father; the Wisdom, because He is one with the Father, one in eternity, one in Divinity. Not that the Father is one Person with the Son; between Father and Son is the plain distinction that comes of generation;hyperlink so that Christ is God of God, Everlasting of Everlasting, Fulness of Fulness.hyperlink

17. Now these are not mere names, but signs of power manifesting itself in works for while there is fulness of Godhead in the Father, there is also fulness of Godhead in the Son, not diverse, but one. The Godhead is nothing confused, for it is an unity: nothing manifold, for in it there is no difference.

18. Moreover, if in all them that believed there was, as it is written, one soul and one heart:hyperlink if every one that cleaveth to the Lord is one spirit,hyperlink as the Apostle hath said: if a man and his wife are one flesh:hyperlink if all we mortal men are, so far as regards our general nature, of one substance: if this is what the Scripture saith of created men, that, being many, they are one,hyperlink who can in no way be compared to Divine Persons, how much more are the Father and the Son one in Divinity, with Whom there is no difference either of substance or of will!

19. For how else shall we say that God is One? Divinity maketh plurality, but unity of power debarreth quantity of number, seeing that unity is not number, but itself is the principle of all numbers.

Chapter III.

By evidence gathered from Scripture the unity of Father and Son is proved, and firstly, a passage, taken from the Book of Isaiah, is compared with others and expounded in such sort as to show that in the Son there is no diversity from the Father's nature, save only as regards the flesh; whence it follows that the Godhead of both Persons is One. This conclusion is confirmed by the authority of Baruch.

20. Now the oracleshyperlink of the prophets bear witness what close unity holy Scripture declares to subsist between the Father and the Son as regards their Godhead. For thus saith the Lord of Sabaoth:hyperlink "Egypt hath laboured, and the commerce of the Ethiopians and Sabeans: mighty men shall come over to thee, and shall be thy servants, and in thy train shall they follow, bound in fetters, and they shall fall down before thee, and to thee shall they make supplication: for God is in thee, and there is no God beside thee. For thou art God, and we knew it not, O God of Israel."hyperlink

21. Hear the voice of the prophet: "In Thee," he saith, "is God, and there is no God beside Thee." How agreeth this with the Arians' teaching? They must deny either the Father's or the Son's Divinity, unless they believe, once for all, unity of the same Divinity.

22. "In Thee," saith he, "is God"-forasmuch as the Father is in the Son. For it is written, "The Father, Who abideth in Me, Himself speaketh," and "The works that I do, He Himself also doeth."hyperlink And yet again we read that the Son is in the Father, saying, "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me."hyperlink Let the Arians, if they can, make away with this kinshiphyperlink in nature and unity in work.

23. There is, therefore, God in God, but not two Gods; for it is written that there is one God,hyperlink and there is Lord in Lord,hyperlink but not two Lords, forasmuch as it is likewise written: "Serve not two lords."hyperlink And the Law saith: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord thy God is one God;"hyperlink moreover, in the same Testament it is written: "The Lord rained from the Lord."hyperlink The Lord, it is said, sent rain "from the Lord." So also you may read in Genesis: "And God said,-and God made,"hyperlink and, lower down, "And God made man in the image of God;"hyperlink yet it was not two gods, but one God, that made [man]. In the one place, then, as in the other, the unity of operation and of name is maintained. For surely, when we read "God of God,"hyperlink we do not speak of two Gods.

24. Again, you may read in the forty-fourth psalmhyperlink how the prophet not only calls the Father "God" but also proclaims the Son as God, saying: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."hyperlink And further on: "God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."hyperlink This God Who anoints, and God Who in the flesh is anointed, is the Son of God. For what fellows in His anointing hath Christ, except such as are in the flesh? You see, then, that God is by God anointed, but being anointed in taking upon Him the nature of mankind, He is proclaimed the Son of God; yet is the principle of the Law not broken.

25. So again, when you read, "The Lord rained from the Lord," acknowledge the unity of Godhead, for unity in operation doth not allow of more than one individual God, even as the Lord Himself has shown, saying: "Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or believe Me for the very works' sake."hyperlink Here, too, we see that unity of Godhead is signified by unity in operation.

26. The Apostle, careful to prove that there is one Godhead of both Father and Son, and one Lordship, lest we should run into any error, whether of heathen or of Jewish ungodliness, showed us the rule we ought to follow, saying: "One God, the Father, from Whom are all things, and we in Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him."hyperlink For just as, in calling Jesus Christ "Lord," he did not deny that the Father was Lord, even so, in saying, "One God, the Father," he did not deny true Godhead to the Son, and thus he taught, not that there was more than one God, but that the source of power was one, forasmuch as Godhead consists in Lordship, and Lordship in Godhead, as it is written: "Be ye sure that the Lord, He is God. It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves."hyperlink

27. "In thee," therefore, "is God," by unity of nature, and "there is no God beside Thee," by reason of personal possession of the Substance, without any reserve or difference.hyperlink

28. Again, Scripture speaks, in the Book of Jeremiah, of One God, and yet acknowledges both Father and Son. Thus we read: "He is our God, and in comparison with Him none other shall be accounted of. He hath discovered all the way of teaching, and given it to Jacob, His servant, and to Israel, His beloved. After these things He appeared upon earth, and conversed with men."

29. The prophet speaks of the Son, for it was the Son Himself Who conversed with men, and this is what he says: "He is our God, and in comparison with Him none other shall be accounted of." Why do we call Him in question, of Whom so great a prophet saith that no other can be compared with Him? What comparison of another can be made, when the Godhead is One? This was the confession of a people set in the midst of dangers; reverencing religion, and therefore unskilled in strife of argument.

30. Come, Holy Spirit, and help Thy prophets, in whom Thou art wont to dwell, in whom we believe. Shall we believe the wise of this world, if we believe not the prophets? But where is the wise man, where is the scribe? When our peasant planted figs, he found that whereof the philosopher knew nothing, for God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the strong.hyperlink Are we to believe the Jews? for God was once known in Jewry. Nay, but they deny that very thing, which is the foundation of our belief, seeing that they know not the Father, who have denied the Son.hyperlink

Chapter IV.

The Unity of God is necessarily implied in the order of Nature, in the Faith, and in Baptism. The gifts of the Magi declare (1) the Unity of the Godhead; (2) Christ's Godhead and Manhood. The truth of the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity is shown in the Angel walking in the midst of the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

31. All nature testifies to the Unity of God, inasmuch as the universe is one. The Faith declares that there is one God, seeing that there is one belief in both the Old and the New Testament. That there is one Spirit, all holy,hyperlink grace witnesseth, because there is one Baptism, in the Name of the Trinity. The prophets proclaim, the apostles hear, the voice of one God. In one God did the Magi believe, and they brought, in adoration, gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Christ's cradle, confessing, by the gift of gold, His Royalty, and with the incense worshipping Him as God. For gold is the sign of kingdom, incense of God, myrrh of burial.hyperlink

32. What, then, was the meaning of the mystic offerings in the lowly cattle-stalls, save that we should discern in Christ the difference between the Godhead and the flesh? He is seen as man,hyperlink He is adored as Lord. He lies in swaddling-clothes, but shines amid the stars; the cradle shows His birth, the stars His dominion;hyperlink it is the flesh that is wrapped in clothes, the Godhead that receives the ministry of angels. Thus the dignity of His natural majesty is not lost, and His true assumption of the flesh is proved.

33. This is our Faith. Thus did God will that He should be known by all, thus believed the three children,hyperlink and felt not the fire into the midst whereof they were cast, which destroyed and burnt up unbelievers,hyperlink whilst it fell harmless as dew upon the faithful,hyperlink for whom the flames kindled by others became cold, seeing that the torment had justly lost its power in conflict with faith. For with them there was One in the form of an angel,hyperlink comforting them,hyperlink to the end that in the number of the Trinity one Supreme Power might be praised. God was praised, the Son of God was seen in God's angel, holy and spiritual grace spake in the children.hyperlink

Chapter V.

The various blasphemies uttered by the Arians against Christ are cited. Before these are replied to, the orthodoxhyperlink are admonished to beware of the captious arguments of philosophers, forasmuch as in these especially did the heretics put their trust.

34. Now let us consider the disputings of the Arians concerning the Son of God.

35. They say that the Son of God is unlike His Father. To say this of a man would be an insult.hyperlink

36. They say that the Son of God had a beginning in time,hyperlink whereas He Himself is the source and ordainer of time and all that therein is.hyperlink We are men, and we would not be limited to time. We began to exist once, and we believe that we shall have a timeless existence. We desire after immortality-how, then, can we deny the eternity of God's Son, Whom God declares to be eternal by nature, not by grace?

37. They say that He was created.hyperlink But who would reckon an author with his works, and have him seem to be what he has himself made?

38. They deny His goodness.hyperlink Their blaspheming is its own condemnation, and so cannot hope for pardon.

39. They deny that He is truly Son of God, they deny His omnipotence, in that whilst they admit that all things are made by the ministry of the Son, they attribute the original source of their being to the power of God. But what is power, save perfection of nature?hyperlink

40. Furthermore, the Arians deny that in Godhead He is One with the Father.hyperlink Let them annul the Gospel, then, and silence the voice of Christ. For Christ Himself has said: "I and the Father are one."hyperlink It is not I who say this: Christ has said it. Is He a deceiver, that He should lie?hyperlink Is He unrighteous, that He should claim to be what He never was." But of these matters we will deal severally, at greater length, in their proper place.

41. Seeing, then, that the heretic says that Christ is unlike His Father, and seeks to maintain this by force of subtle disputation, we must cite the Scripture: "Take heed that no man make spoil of you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, and after the rudiments of this world, not according to Christ; for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of Godhead in bodily shape."hyperlink

42. For they store up all the strength of their poisons in dialetical disputation, which by the judgment of philosophers is defined as having no power to establish aught, and aiming only at destruction.hyperlink But it was not by dialectic that it pleased God to save His people; "for the kingdom of God consisteth in simplicity of faith, not in wordy contention."hyperlink


1 1 Kings x. 1.

2 1 Kings v. 1.

3 "By santification is meant the grace of regeneration, which com prises virtues inspired, including both the habit of faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now these support especially the innocent soul, so that with pious affection it nurses the doctrine revealed to it, is inclined thereto, loves it, takes it to itself, and advances in it."-Hurter ad loc. The Emperor's constant zeal in defence of the Faith against the Arians is to be regarded as due to his habit of faith and to the gifts of the Spirit. The citation is from Jeremiah i. 5.

4 Gen. xiv. 14 ff.

5 The original form of the Cross was that of the letter T. The numerical value of the sign T (Tau), in Greek arithmetic was 300. Eighteen was represented by ih, the first two letters of the name 'Ihsouj, Jesus. To St. Ambrose, therefore, it seemed that there was some mysterious power in the number 318, represented by the sign of the Cross and the first two letters of the Saviour's name, thus -TIH.

6 Joshua vi. 6.

7 Joshua vi. 13 f.

8 sc. from Scripture.

9 See the note 2 on §3. St. Ambrose is here speaking of the Oecumenical Council held at Nicaea in Bithynia, a.d. 325. Different accounts are given of the numbers present. Eusebius says there were 250 bishops in the Council; Athanasius and Socrates, "more than 300;" Sozomen "about 320." The number 318, however, is also given by Athanasius as well as by Theodoret and Epiphanius. See Robertson's History of the Church, Bk. II. ch. i. The victory over the infidel is, of course, the victory of the orthodox Catholics over Arius, and the Nicene Symbol may be regarded as the "trophy" commemorating the victory, the reality of which lay in getting the clause "of one substance with the Father" (omoousion tw Parri) subscribed to. The original Nicene Creed, it may be useful to observe, was not exactly the same in form as the sym bol which now is generally known by that name, and which is part of the Eucharistic office of the English Church. This latter is an enlargement of the original, and it appears to have been in use for a considerable time (not less than seventy years) before it was produced at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It obtained general acceptance by the middle of the sixth century. Towards the end of that century (589 a.d.) an additional clause, proclaiming the proces sion of the Holy Ghost from the Son as well as the Father, was in serted at the Council of Toledo. This insertion was repudiated by the Church in the East, and became one of the causes of the separation of Eastern from Western Christendom.

10 Or "Gentiles." The Christians regarded themselves as placed in the world much as the Hebrews had been planted in the midst of the "nations round about."

11 The Latin word is natura, which, at first sight, seems less ab struse and metaphysical than the Greek ousia, or upostasij, or the Latin essentia and substantia, though it is not really so. A man's natura, nature, is what he is at and from the beginning; "change of nature" means not an absolute change, but a reformation, a new guidance and treatment of tendencies, passions, powers-some receiving a precedence denied them before, others being suppressed and put in subjection. So God's "nature" is what He is from and to all eternity, in Himself, unchangingly and unchangeably.

12 Lit. "the nations"-gentes, ta eqnh. The Romans of the Republic used to speak of foreign peoples-especially if subject to kings-as gentes exteroe, in contradistinction to the Populus Romanus. St. Ambrose of course means those who still clung to the ancient religions, who were foreigners to the commonwealth (res publica) of the Church.

13 The original is ante tempora-"before the ages"-"before time was.' Cf. 1 Cor. viii. 6; Phil. ii. 6-8; Col. i. 15 (prwtotokoj pashj ktisewj-"first-born of all creation," which Justin Martyr interprets as meaning pro pantwn twn ktismatwn-"before all created things.") Hebrews i 1-12; Rev. i. 8, Rev. i. 18; John i. 1-3. Justin Martyr, Apology, II. 6; Dialogue with Tryphon, 61. Tempora answers to the Greek aiwnej, rendered "worlds" in Heb. i. 2.

14 Sabellius was a presbyter in the Libyan Pentapolis (Barca), who came to Rome and there ventilated his heretical teaching, early in the third century, a.d. (about 210). He appears to have maintained that there was no real distinction of Persons in the Godhead. God, he said, was one individual Person: when different divine Persons were spoken of, no more was meant than different aspects of, or the assumption of different parts by, the same subject. Sabellius thus started from the ordinary usages of the term proswron as denoting (1) a mask, (2) a character or part in a drama. The Latin persona was used in the same way. Sabellianism never counted many adherents; its professors were called Patripassians, because their doctrine was tantamount to asserting that God the Father was crucified.

15 Photinus was a Galatian, who became Bishop of Sirmium (Mitrovitz in Slavonia) in the fourth century. He taught that Jesus Christ did not exist before His mother Mary, but was begotten of her by Joseph. The man Jesus, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting, was enlightened and guided by the influence of the Logos, or Divine Reason, whereby He became the Son of God, preeminent over all other prophets and teachers.

16 Arius was a presbyter of Alexandria; the origin of his heresy, however, is, as Cardinal Newman has shown, to be sought in Syria rather than in Egypt, in the sophistic method of the Antiochene schools more than in the mysticism of the Alexandrian. It was in the year 319 that Arius began to attract attention by his heterodox teaching, which led eventually to his excommunication. He found favour, however, with men of considerable importance in the Church, such as Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Athanasius of Anazarbus, and others. The question was finally discussed in a synod of bishops convened, on the summons of the Emperor Constantine, at Nicaea in Bithynia. The acts of that Council condemned Arianism-notwithstanding which, the heresy prevailed in the East till the reign of Theodosius the Great (379-395 a.d.); and having won the acceptance of the Goths, it was predominant in Gaul and Italy during the fifth century, and in Spain till the Council of Toledo (589 a.d.), and its influence affected Christian thought for centuries afterwards-possibly it is not even yet dead.

Arius urged the following dilemma: "Either the Son is an original Divine Essence; if so we must acknowledge two Gods. Or He was created, formed, begotten; if so, He is not God in the same sense as the Father is God." Arius himself chose the latter alternative, which St. Ambrose regarded as a lapse into paganism, with its "gods many and lords many," dii majores and dii minores, and divinities begotten of gods and goddesses.

Arius's errors are summarized in the anathema appended to the original Nicene Creed. "But those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that He had no existence before He was begotten, or that He was formed of things non-existent, or who assert that the Son of God is of a different substance or essence, or is created, mutable, or variable, these men the Catholic and Apostolic Church of God holds accursed."

17 Compare Eph. i. 21; Col. i. 16. Hierarchies of "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers," were characteristic features of the Gnostic systems of the second century. The Gnostics generally thought that the world had been created by an inferior, secondary, limitary power, identified with the God of the Old Testament, whom they distinguished from the true Supreme God.

18 The A.V. of 1611 runs thus: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" (Jahveh our God is one Jahveh).

19 Ex. iii. 15.

20 "Ego Dominus; hoe est nomen meum."- Vulg., Is. xlii. 8. "I am the Lord, that is My name."-A.V. 1611, ibid.

21 The word Qeoj, "God," is derived by most authorities from qeasqai, which means "to look upon." Here we have another derivation suggested, viz., from deoj, "fear," on this ground that God inspires fear.-H. Neither derivation is correct. The best perhaps is given by Herodotus (II. 52), viz., from the verb tiqhmi, to place, set, array, the idea being that God is the principal of all order and law.

22 S. Matt. xxviii. 19.

23 A similar argument in Gal. iii. 16.

24 S.John x. 30.

25 Cf. S. Matt. v. 48.

26 Athanasian Creed, clause 4.

27 Or "perfect fulness of Divinity, and perfect unity of power."

28 S. Matt. xii. 25; Ps. cii. 25-27; Dan. iv. 3.

29 S. Matt. vii. 21.

30 Ps. lxix. 9. Cf. S. John ii. 17.

31 S. John xv. 16; S. Luke xi. 9, Luke xi. 10.

32 S. John xvi. 23, John xvi. 24, and John xiv. 14; S. Matt. vii. 7, Matt. vii. 8; S. Mark xi. 24.

33 S. John v. 19, John v. 30.

34 S. John i. 3; Heb v. 7-10.

35 Vide, e.g., Ps. xxv. 8; Jer. x. 10; James i. 17, James i. 18; Dan. ix. 9, Dan ix. 10; S. Luke i. 37.

36 Dan. ix. 7; Ex. xxxiv. 6.

37 See James i. 13; S. Luke xviii. 27; Ps. xc. 2-4; Ps. lxxxix. 6.

38 S. John i. 1, John i. 14; John xx. 31; Rom. i. 4; S. Matt. xxviii. 18; 1 Cor. i. 24; Col. ii. 3.

39 Begetter and begotten must be personally distinct.

40 Col. i. 19; Col. ii. 9.

41 Acts iv. 32.

42 1 Cor. vi. 17.

43 Gen. ii. 24; S. Matt. x. 8.

44 Acts xvii. 26; Gal. iii. 28.

45 Rom. iii. 2; Acts vii. 38. The Hebrew word translated "burden" in the A.V.-e.g. Isa. xiii. 1-may be rendered "oracle." The "oracles" of the Hebrew prophets were of a different order from those of Delphi or Lebadeia, which are rather comparable to the "oracles" of such persons as the witch of Endor.

46 Or "the Lord of Hosts." Cf. Isa. vi. 3, and the Te Deum, verse 5 (the Trisagion).

47 Isa. xlv. 14. St. Ambrose's version differs somewhat from the A.V.

48 S. John xiv. 10.

49 S. John xiv. 10.

50 Latin proprietas, Greek oikeiothj.

51 Isa. xlv. 18; 1 Cor. viii. 4, 1Cor. viii. 6.

52 or "Jehovah in Jehovah."

53 S. Matt. vi. 24.

54 Deut. vi. 4.

55 Gen. xix. 24.

56 Gen. i. 6, Gen. i. 7.

57 Gen. i. 26, Gen. i. 27.

58 Nicene Creed.

59 Ps. xlv. in Bible and Prayer-book.

60 Ps. xlv. 6.

61 Ps. xlv. 7.

62 S. John x. 38; John xiv. 11.

63 Cor. viii. 6. The Greek runs: "eie qe o sopathr, ec ou ta panta kai hmeij sij auton." Vulg.-"Nobis tamen unus Deus Pater, ex quo omnia et nos in illum.

64 Ps. c. 3.

65 The original is "non est Deus proeter te-per proprietatem substantioe." It must be remembered St. Ambrose was a civil magistrate before he was made bishop. His mind would be disposed therefore to regard things under a legal aspect.

66 1 Cor. i. 27. The "peasant" is Jeremiah. See Jer. xxiv., but the prophet is not there spoken of as planting figs. The quotation in §28 is Baruch iii. 36-38.

67 "In Jewry is God known."-Ps. lxxvi. 1. Yet they deny the Son, and therefore know not the Father.-Matt. xi. 27. Cf. S. John i. 18.

68 The Spirit here spoken of is, according to Hurter's interpretation, not the Third Person of the Trinity, but the Triune God, Who is a Spirit (John iv. 24; 2 Cor. iii. 17).

69 Hymns A. and M. 76, stanza 4.

70 Phil. ii. 7.

71 Rev. i. 16; xxii. 16: S. Matt. ii. Cf. Num. xxiv. 17.

72 Dan. iv. 17.

73 Dan. iv. 22.

74 Hosea xiv. 5.

75 Dan. iv. 28.

76 S. Luke xxii. 43.

77 Dan. iv. 25. In the number of the three children was shadowed forth the number of Persons in the Trinity, whilst in the Angel, who was one, was.shown the Unity of power or nature. In another way, too, St. Ambrose points out, was the Trinity typified in that event, inasmuch as God was praised, the Angel of God was present, and the Spirit, or the Grace of God spake in the children.-H.

78 In the original Catholic, i.e. "Catholics." Heresies might become widespread-the Arian heresy, indeed, counted numerous adherents in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries-but they took their rise in some member or other of the ecclesiastical body, in some one of the many local churches which together made up the one oecumenical church. On the other hand, the primitive teaching, received from the apostolic age, had been delivered without difference in every place to which it had penetrated. It was acknowledged and established before sects and heresies; its original was divine, theirs only human; it rested on the rock of Christ's authority, speaking through His apostles, whilst they were built on the sands of preeminence in sophistry and captious interpretation; it was for all times and places, therefore, but they were only for a season. In this belief those who clave to the teaching of the apostles claimed for themselves the name of "Catholics," and for the oecumenical church of which they were members that of "Catholic and Apostolic." To avoid any misunderstanding, I have used the term "orthodox," which will stand very well for "Catholic," inasmuch as "the right faith" is for all, without difference, to hold-in a word, universal, or, as it is in Greek, kaq olou (whence kaqolikoj, Catholicus, Catholic).

79 It would constitute an insult, as suggesting that the man was a bastard, or supposititious.

80 Thus the Arians were anathematized by the Nicene Council as "those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not."

81 The original was: "Cum conditor ipse sit temporum," which, rendered more closely word for word, is, "whereas He Himself is the ordainer of times," or "ages." The Latin tempora is the equivalent of the Greek aiwnej, which is commonly rendered "worlds" in the A.V. of the New Testament, e.g. Heb. i. 2; Rom. xii. 2; 1 Cor. i. 20; 1 Cor. ii. 6; 2 Cor. iv. 4; Gal. i. 4; 2 Tim. iv. 10. But aiwn also means "age"-"for ever and ever" is the rendering of eij aiwnaj aiwnwn ("unto ages of ages") or eij ton aiwna. The term denotes the world as a complex, the parts of which are presented to us in succession of time, from which notion is derived its use to denote a selection of the parts so presented, collectively termed an "age" or "time." Another word rendered "world" in the N.T. is kosmoj, which frequently occurs in St. John; and St. Paul also has it, in conjunction with aiwn in Eph. ii. 2. "According to the course (aiwna) of this world (kosmou)." Kosmoj means the world as an ordered whole, as opposed to a chaos. The use of "world" to translate both kosmoj and aiwn may be justified on the ground that we cannot think of time void of objects and events, whilst, on the other hand, we know not-at least, have never observed-any objects and events not in time. For us "time" is a necessary form of thought.

82 The Arians asserted that the Son had no existence before He was begotten and that He was "formed out of nothing" or "out of things non-existent;" i.e. that He owed His existence to the Father's absolute fiat, just as much as the light (Gen. i. 3). Furthermore, the Son's will was mutable; He might have fallen like Satan. The Father, foreseeing that the Son would not fall, bestowed on Him the titles of "Son" and "Logos."

83 Arius' arguments against believing in Christ as the Almighty Power of God were based on the N.T. records of Christ's agony and prayer in view of death, which he thought must imply, not only changeableness of will, but also limitation of power. Had Christ been omnipotent, like the Father, He would bare had no fears for Himself, but would rather have imparted strength to others.

84 Arius' teaching on this head appears to be fairly enough represented by Athanasius: "When God, being purposed to establish created Nature, saw that it could not bear the immediate touch of the Father's hand, and His operation, He in the first place made and created a single Being only, and called Him `Son

0' and `Logos

0' to the end that by His intermediate ministry all things might henceforth be brought into existence." Contra Arianos, Oratio II. §24.

85 Christ, according to the Arians, was not truly God, though He was called God. Again, He was only so called in virtue of communication of grace from the Father. Thus He obtained His title and dignity, though the name of God was used, in speaking of Him in a transference, such as we find in Ps. lxxxii. 6; though Christ's claim to such a title far transcended any other.

86 S. John x. 30.

87 Num. xxiii. 19.

88 It would, I think, be unfair to construe this passage into an absolute condemnation of all the results of human activity, arrived at without any conscious dependence on what we mean by revelation. We must remember, too, what "philosophy" was in the world into which St. Paul was born. It was no longer the golden age of philosophic activity-with the exception of Stoicism, there was hardly a school which exerted any elevating moral influence. Besides, the "philosophy" of which St. Paul was especially thinking when he wrote tile passage cited (Col. iii. 8, 9) was hardly worthy of the name. It was one of the earliest forms of Gnosticism, and among other practices inculcated worship of angels i.e. of created beings-"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers." See Col. i. 16-18; Eph. i. 20-22. Such "philosophies," falsely so-called, would tend to bring philosophy in general into disfavour with the teachers of the Church. Yet we find Eusebius, in the fourth century, calling the Faith "the true philosophy" (H. E. IV. 8). The adoption of the term to denote what St. Luke called "the way" (Acts xix. 23) appears to have been due to the action of apologists like Justin Martyr, who set themselves to meet the wise of this world with their own weapons, on their own ground.

89 The original conception of Dialectic, as exhibited, for instance, in Plato's Republic, hardly answers to this. According to Plato, the aim of Dialectic, so far from being destructive, was distinctly edifying. The Dialectic method, as its name implies, was one which took the external form of question and answer. It had a definite, positive object, viz., tile attainment by force of pure reason to the clear vision of the Absolute Good, the ultimate cause of knowledge and existence. The sphere of Dialectic was pure reason, then, and its object the ultimate truth of things. (Republic, VII. p. 532.) The method which St. Ambrose here calls "Dialectic" would have been more correctly entitled "Elenchus."

90 1 Cor. iv. 20. Cf.1 Cor. ii. 4, 1 Cor. ii. 5.