"On the Holy Spirit"
by St. Ambrose
Source Used: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 10. Translated by H. de Romestin, E. de Romestin and H.T.F. Duckworth. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.)
- In the former book 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 has anointed Me, He has sent Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and sight to the blind. And having read this from the Book of Isaiah, He says in the Gospel: Today has this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears; Luke 4:21 that He might point out that it was said of Himself.
- 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.
- 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 you shall see the Spirit descending from heaven and abiding upon Him, He it is Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John 1:33 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. John 1:32
- 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.
- And he said fittingly, abiding upon Him, John 1:33 because the Spirit inspired a saying or acted upon the prophets as often as He would, but abode always in Christ.
- 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. 1 Corinthians 2:12 And He abides in Christ, Who has received from Christ; for it is written again: He shall take of Mine: John 16:14 and elsewhere: The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 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.
- 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. Luke 4:18 And elsewhere: I am the First, and I am also for ever, and Mine hand has founded the earth, and My right hand has established the heaven; I will call them and they shall stand up together, and shall all be gathered together and shall hear. Who has declared these things to them? Because I loved you I performed your pleasure against Babylon, that the seed of the Chaldæans 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 this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, I was there when those things were done; and now the Lord God has sent Me and His Spirit. Who is it Who says: The Lord God has 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.
- 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. John 14:26 The Son sent Him, for He said: But when the Paraclete has come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth. John 15:26 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.
- 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. Galatians 1:3-4 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; Isaiah 9:6 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.
- But the Holy Spirit also was given, for it is written: I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete. John 14:16 And the Apostle says: Wherefore he that despises these things despises not man but God, Who has given us His Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:8 Isaiah, too, shows that both the Spirit and the Son are given: Thus, says he, says the Lord God, Who made the heaven and fashioned it, Who established the earth, and the things which are in it, and gives breath to the people upon it, and the Spirit to them that walk upon it. Isaiah 42:5 And to the Son: I am the Lord God, Who have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will strengthen You; and I have given You 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. Isaiah 42:6-7 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.
- 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: Your Right Hand, O Lord, is made glorious in power. Your Right Hand, O Lord, has dashed in pieces the enemy; Exodus 15:6 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. Luke 11:20 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. Matthew 12:28
- 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 fullness 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?
- 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. Romans 1:20 And he adds: His eternal power also and Godhead. Romans 1:20 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?
- 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. 2 Corinthians 3:3 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?
- 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: Your sin, O Judah, is written with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond. And it is written, he says, on your breast and on your heart. Jeremiah 17:1 The sin, therefore, is there where grace is, but the sin is written with a pen, grace is denoted by the Spirit.
- 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.
- 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 receives not the things which pertain to the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 For he knew that he who compared divine with carnal things was among natural things, and not to be reckoned among spiritual men; for they are foolishness, he says, unto him. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 And so, because he knew that these questions would arise among natural men, foreseeing the future he says: For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ, Colossians 2:9 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.
- 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: Your Right Hand, O Lord, is glorious in power, Your Right Hand, O Lord, has dashed in pieces the enemy. Exodus 15:6 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: You sent Your Spirit and the sea covered them, and the water was divided by the Spirit of Your anger. Exodus 15:10 By which is signified the unity of the Godhead, not an inequality of the Trinity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
- 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?
- 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. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 And elsewhere the Son says: Father, sanctify them in the truth. John 17:17
- But of the Son the same Apostle said: Who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 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.
- 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. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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 shows the work of His hands; and elsewhere: In the beginning You founded the earth, O Lord; and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 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.
- 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 Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which You have established. 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 You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work, and in the works of Your hands will I rejoice.
- And yet since we read that the Son is the hand (for it is written: Hath not My Hand made all these things? Isaiah 66:2 and elsewhere: I will place you in the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with Mine hand, I have placed My hand under the covering of the rock, Exodus 33:22 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.
- 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: Your hands have made me and fashioned me.
- 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 Your anger, neither chasten me in Your displeasure. Then in the forty-ninth [fiftieth] Psalm, the Lord speaks thus: I will rebuke you, and will set your sins before your face. 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 has come, will rebuke the world, concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. John 16:7-8
- 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, among 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. Matthew 10:34 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. Wisdom 7:22-23
- 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 judges all things), 1 Corinthians 2:15 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.
- He judges in a prophet, for the word of wisdom is given by the Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:8 how, then, do men deny that the Spirit can rebuke the world concerning judgment, Who removes doubt from judgment, and grants the successful issue?
- 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 among 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. 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.
- 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 condemned 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.
- 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. So no one has ever repented of trusting God, and chastity increased devotion in Sarah, and devotion chastity.
- 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: You, O Daniel, art able, forasmuch as the Holy Spirit of God is in you. Daniel 5:14 And farther on it is written: And Daniel was set over them, because an excellent Spirit was in him. Daniel 6:3 And the Spirit of Moses also was distributed to those who were to be judges. Numbers 11:25
- 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, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 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.
- 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. Matthew 10:34 For He came that He might give the Spirit; and so there is in His mouth a two-edged sword, Revelation 19:15 which is in truth the grace of the Spirit. So the Spirit is the Sword of the Word.
- 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 you 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. Ephesians 6:16-17
- 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.
- And we may behold this unity also in other passages of the Scriptures. For whereas Ezekiel says to the people of the Jews: And you have grieved Me in all these things, says the Lord; Ezekiel 16:43 Paul says to the new people in his Epistle: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom you were sealed. Ephesians 4:30 Again, whereas Isaiah says of the Jews themselves: But they believed not, but grieved the Holy Spirit; Isaiah 63:10 David says of God: They grieved the Most High in the desert, and tempted God in their hearts.
- 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. 1 Corinthians 10:9 Just was the punishment that the adversaries should feel the venom, who had not venerated the Maker.
- 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 has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14 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 offense against the Trinity.
- 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 says this: Today if you 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 always err in their heart; but they did not know My ways, as I swore in My wrath, If they shall enter into My rest. Hebrews 3:7-11
- 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. Isaiah 63:13-14 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.
- 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.
- 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 you agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Acts 5:9 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 you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Romans 8:9 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. Romans 8:10
- 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 you seek a proof of Christ Who speaks in me? 2 Corinthians 13:3 he says elsewhere: For I think that I also have the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 7:40 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 fullness of the Trinity.
- 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 has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to deal fraudulently concerning the price of the field? While it remained did it not continue your own, and when sold was it not in your power? Why have you conceived this wickedness in your heart? You have not lied unto men but unto God. Acts 5:3-4 And below he says to the wife: Why have you agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Acts 5:5
- First, we understand that he called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of the Lord. Then, since he mentioned first the Holy Spirit and added: You have 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.
- 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
- Nor does the Scripture in this place alone bear witness to the θεότης, that is, the Godhead of the Holy Spirit; but also the Lord Himself said in the Gospel: The Spirit is God. Which passage you, Arians, so expressly testify to be said concerning the Spirit, that you remove it from your copies, and would that it were from yours and not also from those of the Church! For at the time when Auxentius had seized the Church of Milan with the arms and forces of impious unbelief, the Church of Sirmium was attacked by Valens and Ursatius, when their priests [i.e. bishops] failed in faith; this falsehood and sacrilege of yours was found in the ecclesiastical books. And it may chance that you did the same in the past.
- And you have indeed been able to blot out the letters, but could not remove the faith. That erasure betrayed you more, that erasure condemned you more; and you were not able to obliterate the truth, but that erasure blotted out your names from the book of life. Why was the passage removed, For God is a Spirit, if it did not pertain to the Spirit? For if you will have it that the expression is used of God the Father, you, who think it should be erased, deny, in consequence, God the Father. Choose which you will, in each the snare of your own impiety will bind you if you confess yourselves to be heathen by denying either the Father or the Spirit to be God. Therefore your confession wherein you have blotted out the Word of God remains, while you fear the original.
- You have blotted it out, indeed, in your breasts and minds, but the Word of God is not blotted out, the Holy Spirit is not blotted out, but turns away from impious minds; not grace but iniquity is blotted out; for it is written: I am He, I am He that blot out your iniquities. Isaiah 43:25 Lastly, Moses, making request for the people, says: Blot me out of Your book, if You spare not this people. Exodus 32:32 And yet he was not blotted out, because he had no iniquity, but grace flowed forth.
- You are, then, convicted by your own confession that you cannot say it was done with wisdom but with cunning. For by cunning you know that you are convicted by the evidence of that passage, and that your arguments cannot apply against that testimony. For whence else could the meaning of that place be derived, since the whole tenour of the passage is concerning the Spirit?
- Nicodemus enquires about regeneration, and the Lord replies: Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again by water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5 And that He might show that there is one birth according to the flesh, and another according to the Spirit, He added: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, because it is born of the flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit, because the Spirit is God. Follow out the whole course of the passage, and you will find that God has shut out your impiety by the fullness of His statement: Marvel not, says He, that I said, You must be born again. The Spirit breathes where He lists, and you hear His voice, but know not whence He comes or whither He goes, so is every one who is born of the Spirit. John 3:7-8
- Who is he who is born of the Spirit, and is made Spirit, but he who is renewed in the Spirit of his mind? Ephesians 4:23 This certainly is he who is regenerated by water and the Holy Spirit, since we receive the hope of eternal life through the laver of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5 And elsewhere the Apostle Peter says: You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Acts 11:16 For who is he that is baptized with the Holy Spirit but he who is born again through water and the Holy Spirit? Therefore the Lord said of the Holy Spirit, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again by water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And therefore He declared that we are born of Him in the latter case, through Whom He said that we were born in the former. This is the sentence of the Lord; I rest on what is written, not on argument.
- I ask, however, why, if there be no doubt that we are born again by the Holy Spirit, there should be any doubt that we are born of the Holy Spirit, since the Lord Jesus Himself was both born and born again of the Holy Spirit. And if you confess that He was born of the Holy Spirit, because you are not able to deny it, but deny that He was born again, it is great folly to confess what is peculiar to God, and deny what is common to men. And therefore that is well said to you which was said to the Jews: If I told you earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? John 3:12
- And yet we find each passage so written in Greek, that He said not, through the Spirit, but of the Spirit. For it stands thus: ἀ μήν, ἀμήν, λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἐξ ὓδατος και Πνεύματος, that is, of water and the Spirit. Therefore, since one ought not to doubt that that which is born of the Spirit is written of the Holy Spirit; there is no doubt but that the Holy Spirit also is God, according to that which is written, the Spirit is God.
- But the same Evangelist, that he might make it plain that he wrote this concerning the Holy Spirit, says elsewhere: Jesus Christ came by water and blood, not in the water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit bears witness, because the Spirit is truth; for there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three are one.
- Hear how they are witnesses: The Spirit renews the mind, the water is serviceable for the laver, and the blood refers to the price. For the Spirit made us children by adoption, the water of the sacred Font washed us, the blood of the Lord redeemed us. So we obtain one invisible and one visible testimony in a spiritual sacrament, for the Spirit Himself bears witness to our spirit. Romans 8:16 Though the fullness of the sacrament be in each, yet there is a distinction of office; so where there is distinction of office, there certainly is not equality of witness.
- But perhaps reference may be made to the fact that in a later passage of the same book, the Lord again said that God is Spirit, but spoke of God the Father. For you have this passage in the Gospel: The hour now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for such also does the Father seek. God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth. John 4:23-24 By this passage you wish not only to deny the divinity of the Holy Spirit, but also, from God being worshipped in Spirit, deduce a subjection of the Spirit.
- To which point I will briefly answer that Spirit is often put for the grace of the Spirit, as the Apostle also said: For the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; Romans 8:26 that is, the grace of the Spirit, unless perchance you have been able to hear the groanings of the Holy Spirit. Therefore here too God is worshipped, not in the wickedness of the heart, but in the grace of the Spirit. For into a malicious soul wisdom does not enter, Wisdom 1:4 because no one can call Jesus Lord but in the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:3 And immediately he adds: Now there are diversities of gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:4
- Now this cannot pertain to the fullness, nor to the dividing of the Spirit; for neither does the mind of man grasp His fullness, nor is He divided into any portions of Himself; but He pours into [the soul] the gift of spiritual grace, in which God is worshipped as He is also worshipped in truth, for no one worships Him except he who drinks in the truth of His Godhead with pious affection. And he certainly does not apprehend Christ as it were personally, nor the Holy Spirit personally.
- Or if you think that this is said as it were personally of Christ and of the Spirit, then God is worshipped in truth in like manner as He is worshipped in Spirit. There is therefore either a like subjection, which God forbid that you should believe, and the Son is not worshipped; or, which is true, there is a like grace of Unity, and the Spirit is worshipped.
- Let us then here draw our inferences and put an end to the impious questionings of the Arians. For if they say that the Spirit is therefore not to be worshipped because God is worshipped in Spirit, let them then say that the Truth is not to be worshipped, because God is worshipped in truth. For although there be many truths, since it is written: Truths are minished from the sons of men; yet they are given by the Divine Truth, which is Christ, Who says: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6 If therefore they understand the truth in this passage from custom, let them also understand the grace of the Spirit, and there is no stumbling; or if they receive Christ as the Truth, let them deny that He is to be worshipped.
- But they are refuted by the acts of the pious, and by the course of the Scriptures. For Mary worshipped Christ, and therefore is appointed to be the messenger of the Resurrection to the apostles, John 20:17-18 loosening the hereditary bond, and the huge offense of womankind. For this the Lord wrought mystically, that where sin had exceedingly abounded, grace might more exceedingly abound. Romans 5:20 And rightly is a woman appointed [as messenger] to men; that she who first had brought the message of sin to man should first bring the message of the grace of the Lord.
- And the apostles worshipped; and therefore they who bore the testimony of the faith received authority as to the faith. And the angels worshipped, of whom it is written: And let all His angels worship Him. Hebrews 1:6
- But they worship not only His Godhead but also His Footstool, as it is written: And worship His footstool, for it is holy. Or if they deny that in Christ the mysteries also of His Incarnation are to be worshipped, in which we observe as it were certain express traces of His Godhead, and certain ways of the Heavenly Word; let them read that even the apostles worshipped Him when He rose again in the glory of His Flesh. Matthew 28:17
- Therefore if it do not at all detract from Christ, that God is worshipped in Christ, for Christ too is worshipped; it certainly also detracts nothing from the Spirit that God is worshipped in the Spirit, for the Spirit also is worshipped, as the Apostle has said: We serve the Spirit of God, Philippians 3:3 for he who serves worships also, as it is said in an earlier passage: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. Deuteronomy 6:13
- But lest any one should perchance seem to elude the instance we have adduced, let us consider in what manner that which the prophet says, Worship His Footstool, appears to refer to the mystery of the divine Incarnation, for we must not estimate the footstool from the custom of men. For neither has God a body, neither is He other than beyond measure, that we should think a footstool was laid down as a support for His feet. And we read that nothing besides God is to be worshipped, for it is written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. How, then, should the prophet, brought up under the Law, and instructed in the Law, give a precept against the Law? The question, then, is not unimportant, and so let us more diligently consider what the footstool is. For we read elsewhere: The heaven is My throne, and the earth the footstool of My feet. Isaiah 66:1 But the earth is not to be worshipped by us, for it is a creature of God.
- Let us, however, see whether the prophet does not say that that earth is to be worshipped which the Lord Jesus took upon Him in assuming flesh. And so, by footstool is understood earth, but by the earth the Flesh of Christ, which we this day also adore in the mysteries, and which the apostles, as we said above, adored in the Lord Jesus; for Christ is not divided but is one; nor, when He is adored as the Son of God, is He denied to have been born of the Virgin. Since, then, the mystery of the Incarnation is to be adored, and the Incarnation is the work of the Spirit, as it is written, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you, and that Holy Thing Which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God, Luke 1:35 without doubt the Holy Spirit also is to be adored, since He Who according to the flesh was born of the Holy Spirit is adored.
- And let no one divert this to the Virgin Mary; Mary was the temple of God, not the God of the temple. And therefore He alone is to be worshipped Who was working in His temple.
- It makes, then, nothing against our argument that God is worshipped in Spirit, for the Spirit also is worshipped. Although if we consider the words themselves, what else ought we to understand in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but the unity of the same power. For what is must worship in Spirit and in truth? If, however, you do not refer this to the grace of the Spirit, nor the true faith of conscience; but, as we said, personally (if indeed this word person is fit to express the Divine Majesty), you must take it of Christ and of the Spirit.
- What means, then, the Father is worshipped in Christ, except that the Father is in Christ, and the Father speaks in Christ, and the Father abides in Christ. Not, indeed, as a body in a body, for God is not a body; nor as a confused mixture [confusus in confuso], but as the true in the true, God in God, Light in Light; as the eternal Father in the co-eternal Son. So not an ingrafting of a body is meant, but unity of power. Therefore, by unity of power, Christ is jointly worshipped in the Father when God the Father is worshipped in Christ. In like manner, then, by unity of the same power the Spirit is jointly worshipped in God, when God is worshipped in the Spirit.
- Let us investigate the force of that word and expression more diligently, and deduce its proper meaning from other passages. You have, it is said, made them all in wisdom. Do we here understand that Wisdom was without a share in the things that were made? But all things were made by Him. John 1:3 And David says: By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established. So, then, he himself who calls the Son of God the maker even of heavenly things, has also plainly said that all things were made in the Son, that in the renewal of His works He might by no means separate the Son from the Father, but unite Him to the Father.
- Paul, too, says: For in Him were all things created in the heavens and in the earth, visible and invisible. Colossians 1:16 Does he, then, when he says, in Him, deny that they were made through Him? Certainly he did not deny but affirmed it. And further he says in another place: One Lord Jesus, through Whom are all things. 1 Corinthians 8:6 In saying, then, through Him, has he denied that all things were made in Him, through Whom he says that all things exist? These words, in Him and with Him, have this force, that by them is understood one and like in all respects, not contrary. Which he also made clear farther on, saying: All things have been created through Him and in Him; Colossians 1:16 for, as we said above, Scripture witnesses that these three expressions, with Him, and through Him, and in Him, are equivalent in Christ. For you read that all things were made through Him and in Him.
- Learn also that the Father was with Him, and He with the Father, when all things were being made. Wisdom says: When He was preparing the heavens I was with Him, when He was making the fountains of waters. Proverbs 8:27 And in the Old Testament the Father, by saying, Let Us make, Genesis 1:26 showed that the Son was to be worshipped with Himself as the Maker of all things. As, then, those things are said to have been created in the Son, of which the Son is received as the Creator; so, too, when God is said to be worshipped in truth by the proper meaning of the word itself often expressed after the same manner it ought to be understood, that the Son too is worshipped. So in like manner is the Spirit also worshipped because God is worshipped in Spirit. Therefore the Father is worshipped both with the Son and with the Spirit, because the Trinity is worshipped.
- But does any one deny that the Godhead of the eternal Trinity is to be worshipped? Whereas the Scriptures also express the inexplicable Majesty of the Divine Trinity, as the Apostle says elsewhere: Since God, Who said that light should shine out of darkness, shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
- The apostles truly saw this glory, when the Lord Jesus on the mount shone with the light of His Godhead: The apostles, it says, saw it and fell on their face. Matthew 17:6 Do not you think that they even, as they fell, worshipped, when they could not with their bodily eyes endure the brightness of the divine splendour, and the glory of eternal light dulled the keenness of mortal sight? Or what else did they who saw His glory say at that time, except, O come let us worship and fall down before Him? For God shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
- Who is He, then, Who shined that we might know God in the face of Jesus Christ? For he said, God shined, that the glory of God might be known in the face of Jesus Christ. Whom else do we think but the manifested Spirit? Or who else is there besides the Holy Spirit to Whom the power of the Godhead may be referred? For they who exclude the Spirit must necessarily bring in another, who may with the Father and the Son receive the glory of the Godhead.
- Let us then go back to the same words: It is God Who shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. You have Christ plainly set forth. For Whose glory is said to give light but that of the Spirit? So, then, he set forth God Himself, since he spoke of the glory of God; if of the Father, it remains that He who said that light should shine out of darkness, and shine in our hearts, be understood to be the Holy Spirit, for we cannot venerate any other with the Father and the Son. If, then, you understand the Spirit, Him also has the Apostle called God; it is necessary, then, that you also confess the Godhead of the Spirit, who now deny it.
- But how shamelessly do you deny this, since you have read that the Holy Spirit has a temple. For it is written: You are the temple of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells in you. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Now God has a temple, a creature has no true temple. But the Spirit, Who dwells in us, has a temple. For it is written: Your members are temples of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19
- But He does not dwell in the temple as a priest, nor as a minister, but as God, since the Lord Jesus Himself said: I will dwell in them, and will walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be My people. Leviticus 26:12 And David says: The Lord is in His holy temple. Therefore the Spirit dwells in His holy temple, as the Father dwells and as the Son dwells, Who says: I and the Father will come, and will make Our abode with him. John 14:23
- But the Father abides in us through the Spirit, Whom He has given us. How, then, can different natures abide together? Certainly it is impossible. But the Spirit abides with the Father and the Son. Whence, too, the Apostle joined the Communion of the Holy Spirit with the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God, saying: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
- We observe, then, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit abide in one and the same [subject] through the oneness of the same nature. Therefore, He Who dwells in the temple has divine power, for as of the Father and of the Son, so are we also the temple of the Holy Spirit; not many temples, but one temple, for it is the temple of one Power.
- But what do you fear? Is it that which you have been accustomed to carp at? Lest you should make three Gods. God forbid; for where the Godhead is understood as one, one God is spoken of. For neither when we call the Son God do we say there are two Gods. For if, when you confess the Godhead of the Spirit, you think that three Gods are spoken of, then, too, when you speak of the Godhead of the Son because you are not able to deny it, you bring in two Gods. For it is necessary according to your opinion, if you think that God is the name of one person, not of one nature, that you either say that there are two Gods, or deny that the Son is God.
- But let us free you from the charge of ignorance, though we do not excuse you from fault. For according to our opinion, because there is one God, one Godhead and oneness of power is understood. For as we say that there is one God, confessing the Father, and not denying the Son under the true Name of the Godhead; so, too, we exclude not the Holy Spirit from the Unity of the Godhead, and do not assert but deny that there are three Gods, because it is not unity but a division of power which makes plurality. For how can the Unity of the Godhead admit of plurality, seeing that plurality is of numbers, but the Divine Nature does not admit numbers?
- God, then, is One, without violation of the majesty of the eternal Trinity, as is declared in the instance set before us. And not in that place alone do we see the Trinity expressed in the Name of the Godhead; but both in many places, as we have said also above, and especially in the epistles which the Apostle wrote to the Thessalonians, he most clearly set forth the Godhead and sovereignty of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For you read as follows: The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, as we also do toward you, to the establishing of your hearts without blame in holiness before God and our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
- Who, then, is the Lord Who makes us to increase and abound before God and our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus? He has named the Father and has named the Son; Whom, then, has he joined with the Father and the Son except the Spirit? Who is the Lord Who establishes our hearts in holiness. For holiness is a grace of the Spirit, as, too, is said farther on: In holiness of the Spirit and belief of the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
- Who, then, do you think is here named Lord, except the Spirit? And has not God the Father been able to teach you, Who says: Upon Whomsoever you shall see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, this is He Who baptizes in the Holy Spirit? John 1:33 For the Spirit descended in the likeness of a dove, Luke 3:22 that He might both bear witness to His wisdom, and perfect the sacrament of the spiritual laver, and show that His working is one with that of the Father and the Son.
- And that you should not suppose that anything had fallen from the Apostle by oversight, but that he knowingly and designedly and inspired by the Spirit designated Him Lord, Whom he felt to be God, he repeated the same in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, saying: But the Lord direct your hearts in the love of God and in the patience of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5 If love be of God and patience of Christ, it ought to be shown Who is the Lord Who directs, if we deny that the direction is of the Holy Spirit.
- But we cannot deny it, since the Lord said of Him: I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, He will lead you into all truth. John 16:12-13 And David says of Him: Your good Spirit shall lead me into the right way.
- See what the voice of the Lord uttered concerning the Holy Spirit. The Son of God came, and because He had not yet shed forth the Spirit, He declared that we were living like little children without the Spirit. He said that the Spirit was to come Who should make of these little children stronger men, by an increase, namely, of spiritual age. And this He laid down not that He might set the power of the Spirit in the first place, but that He might show that the fullness of strength consists in the knowledge of the Trinity.
- It is therefore necessary either that you mention some fourth person besides the Spirit of whom you ought to be conscious, or assuredly that you do not consider another to be Lord, except the Spirit Who has been pointed out.
- But if you require the plain statement of the words in which Scripture has spoken of the Spirit as Lord, it cannot have escaped you that it is written: Now the Lord is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17 Which the course of the whole passage shows to have been certainly said of the Holy Spirit. And so let us consider the apostolic statement: As often as Moses is read, says he, a veil is laid over their heart; but when they shall be turned to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; but where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:15-17
- So he not only called the Spirit Lord, but also added: But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. So we all with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are formed anew into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord the Spirit; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 that is, we who have been before converted to the Lord, so as by spiritual understanding to see the glory of the Lord, as it were, in the mirror of the Scriptures, are now being transformed from that glory which converted us to the Lord, to the heavenly glory. Therefore since it is the Lord to Whom we are converted, but the Lord is that Spirit by Whom we are formed anew, who are converted to the Lord, assuredly the Holy Ghost is pointed out, for He Who forms anew receives those who are converted. For how should He form again those whom He had not received.
- Though why should we seek for the expression of words, where we see the expression of unity? For although you may distinguish between Lord and Spirit, you cannot deny that where the Lord is, there too is the Spirit, and he who has been converted to the Lord will have been converted to the Spirit. If you cavil at the letter, you cannot injure the Unity; if you wish to separate the Unity, you confess the Spirit Himself as the Lord of power.
- But perhaps, again, you may say: If I call the Spirit Lord, I shall set forth three Lords. Do you then when you call the Son Lord either deny the Son or confess two Lords? God forbid, for the Son Himself said: Do not serve two lords. Matthew 6:24 But certainly He denied not either Himself or the Father to be Lord; for He called the Father Lord, as you read: I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Matthew 11:25 And the Lord spoke of Himself, as we read in the Gospel: You call Me Master and Lord, and you do well, for so I am. John 13:13 But He spoke not of two Lords; indeed He shows that He did not speak of two Lords, when He warns them: Do not serve two lords. For there are not two Lords where the Lordship is but one, for the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, and so there is one Lord.
- Such, too, was the teaching of the Law: Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord, Deuteronomy 6:4 that is, unchangeable, always abiding in unity of power, always the same, and not altered by any accession or diminution. Therefore Moses called Him One, and yet also relates that the Lord rained down fire from the Lord. Genesis 19:24 The Apostle, too, says: The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord. 2 Timothy 1:18 The Lord rains down from the Lord; the Lord grants mercy from the Lord. The Lord is neither divided when He rains from the Lord, nor is there a separation when He grants mercy from the Lord, but in each case the oneness of the Lordship is expressed.
- In the Psalms, too, you find: The Lord said to my Lord. And he did not therefore deny that the Father was his Lord, because he spoke of the Son as his Lord; but therefore called the Son his Lord, that you might not think Him to be the Son, but the Lord of the prophet, as the Lord Himself showed in the Gospel, when He said: If David in the Spirit called Him Lord, how is he his Son? Matthew 22:43, 45 David, not the Spirit, calls Him Lord in the Spirit. Or if they falsely infer from this that the Spirit called Him Lord, they must necessarily by a like sacrilege seem to assert that the Son of God is also the Son of the Spirit.
- So, as we do not say that there are two Lords, when we so style both the Father and the Son, so, too, we do not say that there are three Lords, when we confess the Spirit to be Lord. For as it is profane to say that there are three Lords or three Gods, so, too, is it utter profanity to speak of two Lords or two Gods; for there is one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit; and He Who is God is Lord, and He Who is Lord is God, for the Godhead is in the Lordship, and the Lordship is in the Godhead.
- Lastly, you have read that the Father is both Lord and God: O Lord my God, I will call upon You, hear me. You find the Son to be both Lord and God, as you have read in the Gospel, that, when Thomas had touched the side of Christ, he said, My Lord and my God. John 20:28 So in like manner as the Father is God and the Son Lord, so too the Son is God and the Father Lord. The holy designation changes from one to the other, the divine nature changes not, but the dignity remains unchangeable. For they are not [as it were] contributions gathered from bounty, but free-will gifts of natural love; for both Unity has its special property, and the special properties are bound together in unity.
- So, then, the Father is holy, the Son is holy, and the Spirit is holy, but they are not three Holies; for there is one Holy God, one Lord. For the true holiness is one, as the true Godhead is one, as that true holiness belonging to the Divine Nature is one.
- So everything which we esteem holy proclaims that Sole Holiness. Cherubim and Seraphim with unwearied voices praise Him and say: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of Sabaoth. Isaiah 6:3 They say it, not once, lest you should believe that there is but one; not twice, lest you should exclude the Spirit; they say not holies [in the plural], lest you should imagine that there is plurality, but they repeat thrice and say the same word, that even in a hymn you may understand the distinction of Persons in the Trinity, and the oneness of the Godhead and while they say this they proclaim God.
- We too find nothing of more worth, whereby we are able to proclaim God, than the calling Him holy. Everything is too low for God, too low for the Lord. And therefore consider from this fact also whether one ought at all to derogate from the Holy Spirit, whose Name is the praise of God. For thus is the Father praised, thus is the Son also praised, in the same manner as the Spirit also is named and praised. The Seraphim utter praise, the whole company of the blessed utter praise, inasmuch as they call God holy, the Son holy, the Spirit holy.
- How, then, does He not possess all that pertains to God, Who is named by priests in baptism with the Father and the Son, and is invoked in the oblations, is proclaimed by the Seraphim in heaven with the Father and the Son, dwells in the Saints with the Father and the Son, is poured upon the just, is given as the source of inspiration to the prophets? And for this reason in the divine Scripture all is called θεόπνευστος, because God inspires what the Spirit has spoken.
- Or if they are unwilling to allow that the Holy Spirit has all things which pertain to God, and can do all things, let them say what He has not, and what He cannot do. For like as the Son has all things, and the Father grudges not to give all things to the Son according to His nature, having given to Him that which is greater than all, as the Scripture bears witness, saying: That which My Father has given unto Me is greater than all. John 10:29 So too the Spirit has of Christ that which is greater than all, because righteousness knows not grudging.
- So, then, if we attend diligently, we comprehend here also the oneness of the Divine Power. He says: That which My Father has given unto Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One. John 10:29-30 For if we rightly showed above that the Holy Spirit is the Hand of the Father, the same is certainly the Hand of the Father which is the Hand of the Son, since the Same is the Spirit of the Father Who is the Spirit of the Son. Therefore whosoever of us receives eternal life in this Name of the Trinity, as he is not torn from the Father; so he is not torn from the Son, so too he is not torn from the Spirit.
- Again, from the very fact that the Father is said to have given to the Son, and the Spirit to have received from the Son, as it is written: He shall glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you John 16:14 (which He seems to have said rather of the office of distributing, than of the prerogative of Divine Power, for those whom the Son redeemed the Spirit also, Who was to sanctify them, received), from those very words, I say, from which they construct their sophistry, the Unity of the Godhead is perceived, not the need of a gift.
- The Father gave by begetting, not by adoption; He gave as it were that which was contained in the very prerogative of the Divine Nature, not what was lacking as it were by favour of His bounty. And so because the Son acquires persons to Himself as the Father does; so gives life as does the Father, He expressed His equality with the Father in the Unity of Power, saying: I and the Father are One. For when He says, I and the Father, equality is revealed; when He says, are One, Unity is asserted. Equality excludes confusion; Unity excludes separation. Equality distinguishes between the Father and the Son; Unity does not separate the Father and the Son.
- Therefore, when He says, I and the Father, He rejects the Sabellian, for He says that He is one, the Father another; He rejects the Photinian, for He joins Himself with God the Father. With the former words He rejects those, for He said: I and the Father; with the latter words He rejects the Arians, for He says: are One. Yet in both the former and the latter words He refutes the heretical violence (1) of the Sabellians, for He said: We are One [Substance], not We are One [Person]. And (2) of the Arians, for He said: I and the Father, not the Father and I. Which was certainly not a sign of rudeness, but of dutifulness and foreknowledge, that we might not think wrongly from the order of the words. For unity knows no order, equality knows no gradation; nor can it be laid to the Son of God that the Teacher Himself of dutifulness should offend against dutifulness by rudeness.
- It is worth while to notice in what place the Lord held this discussion, for His utterances are often [better] estimated by the kind of places in which He conversed. When about to fast, He is led (as we read) into the wilderness to render vain the devil’s temptations. For although it deserves praise to have lived temperately in the midst of abundance, yet the enticements of temptation are more frequent among riches and pleasures. Then the tempter, in order to try Him, promises Him abundance, and the Lord in order to overcome cherishes hunger. Now I do not deny that temperance can exist in the midst of riches; but although he who navigates the sea often escapes, yet he is more exposed to peril than he who will not go to sea.
- Let us consider some other points. When about to promise the kingdom of heaven, Jesus went up into a mountain. At another time He leads His disciples through the grain-fields, when about to sow in their minds the crop of heavenly precepts, so that a plentiful harvest of souls should ripen. When about to consummate the work of the flesh which He had taken, having now seen perfection in His disciples, whom He had established upon the root of His words, He enters a garden, that He might plant the young olive-trees in the house of the Lord, and that He might water the just flourishing like a palm-tree, and the fruitful vine with the stream of His Blood.
- In this passage too He was walking, as we read, in Solomon’s porch on the day of the dedication, that is, Christ was walking in the breast of the wise and prudent, to dedicate his good affection to Himself. What that porch was the prophet teaches, saying: I will walk in the midst of Your house in the innocency of my heart. So, then, we have in our own selves the house of God, we have the halls, we have also the porches, and we have the courts, for it is written: Let your waters flow abroad in your courts. Proverbs 5:16 Open, then, this porch of your heart to the Word of God, Who says to you: Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
- Let us, therefore, hear what the Word of God, walking in the heart of the wise and peaceful, says: I and My Father are One. John 10:30 He will not say this in the breast of the unquiet and foolish, for the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. 2 Corinthians 2:14 The narrow breasts of sinners do not take in the greatness of the faith. Lastly, the Jews hearing, I and the Father are One, took up stones to stone Him. John 10:31
- He who cannot listen to this is a Jew; he who cannot listen to this stones Christ with the stones of his treachery, rougher than any rock, and if you believe me, he wounds Christ. For although He cannot now feel a wound: For now henceforth we know not Christ after the flesh, 2 Corinthians 5:16 yet He Who rejoices in the love of the Church is stoned by the impiety of the Arians.
- The law of Your mouth, O Lord, is good unto me, I keep Your commandments. You have Yourself said that You are one with the Father. Because Peter believed this, he received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and without anxiety for himself forgave sins. Judas, because he believed not this, strangled himself with the cord of his own wickedness. O the hard stones of unbelieving words! O the unseemly cord of the betrayer, and the still more hideous purchase-money of the Jews! O hateful money wherewith either the just is bought for death, or sold! Joseph was sold, Jesus Christ was bought, the one to slavery, the Other to death. O detestable inheritance, O deadly sale, which either sells a brother to suffering or sets a price on the Lord to destroy Him, the Purchaser of the salvation of all.
- The Jews did violence to two things which are chief of all, faith and duty, and in each to Christ the Author of faith and duty. For both in the patriarch Joseph was there a type of Christ, and Christ Himself came in the truth of His Body, Who counted it not robbery that He should be equal with God, but took on Him the form of a servant, Philippians 2:6-7 because of our fall, that is to say, taking slavery upon Himself and not shrinking from suffering.
- In one place the sale is for twenty pieces, in the other for thirty. For how could His true price be apprehended, Whose value cannot be limited? There is error in the price because there is error in the inquiry. The sale is for twenty pieces in the Old Testament, for thirty in the New; for the Truth is of more value than the type, Grace is more generous than training, the Presence is better than the Law, for the Law promised the Coming, the Coming fulfilled the Law.
- The Ishmaelites made their purchase for twenty pieces, the Jews for thirty. And this is no trivial figure. The faithless are more lavish for iniquity than the faithful for salvation. It is, however, fitting to consider the quality of each agreement. Twenty pieces are the price of him sold to slavery, thirty pieces of Him delivered to the Cross. For although the Mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Passion must be in like manner matters of amazement, yet the fulfilment of faith is in the Mystery of the Passion. I do not indeed value less the birth from the Holy Virgin, but I receive even more gratefully the Mystery of the sacred Body. What is more full of mercy than that He should forgive me the wrongs done to Himself? But it is even fuller measure that He gave us so great a gift, that He Who was not to die because He was God, should die by our death, that we might live by His Spirit.
- Lastly, it was not without meaning that Judas Iscariot valued that ointment at three hundred pence, which seems certainly by the statement of the price itself to set forth the Lord’s cross. Whence, too, the Lord says: For she, pouring this ointment on My body, did it for My burial. Matthew 26:12 Why, then, did Judas value this at so high a rate? Because remission of sins is of more value to sinners, and forgiveness seems to be more precious. Lastly, you find it written: To whom much is forgiven the same loves more. Luke 7:47 Therefore sinners themselves also confess the grace of the Lord’s Passion which they have lost, and they bear witness to Christ who persecuted Him.
- Or because, into a malicious soul wisdom does not enter, Wisdom 1:4 the evil disposition of the traitor uttered this, and he valued the suffering of the Lord’s body at a dearer rate, that by the immensity of the price he might draw all away from the faith. And therefore the Lord offered Himself without price, that the necessity of poverty might hold no one back from Christ. The patriarchs sold Him for a small price that all might buy. Isaiah said: You that have no money go buy and drink; eat ye without money, Isaiah 55:1 that he might gain him who had no money. O traitor Judas, you value the ointment of His Passion at three hundred pence, and sell His Passion for thirty pence. Profuse in valuing, mean in selling.
- So, then, all do not buy Christ at the same price; Photinus, who buys Him for death, buys Him at one price; the Arian, who buys Him to wrong Him, at another price; the Catholic, who buys Him to glorify Him, at another. But he buys Him without money according to that which is written: He that has no money let him buy without price. Isaiah 55:1-2
- Not all, says Christ, that say unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven! Matthew 7:21 Although many call themselves Christians, and make use of the name, yet not all shall receive the reward. Both Cain offered sacrifice, and Judas received the kiss, but it was said to him, Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss? Luke 22:48 that is, you fill up your wickedness with the pledge of affection, and sow hatred with the implement of peace, and inflict death with the outward token of love.
- Let not, then, the Arians flatter themselves with the employment of the name, because they call themselves Christians. The Lord will answer them: You set forward My Name, and deny My Substance, but I do not recognize My Name where My eternal Godhead is not. That is not My Name which is divided from the Father, and separated from the Spirit; I do not recognize My Name where I do not recognize My doctrine; I do not recognize My Name where I do not recognize My Spirit. For he knows not that he is comparing the Spirit of the Father to those servants whom He created. Concerning which point we have already spoken at length.
- But to sum up, in order at the end more distinctly to gather up the arguments which have been used here and there, the evident glory of the Godhead is proved both by other arguments, and most especially by these four. God is known by these marks: either that He is without sin; or that He forgives sin; or that He is not a creature but the Creator; or that He does not give but receives worship.
- So, then, no one is without sin except God alone, for no one is without sin except God. Matthew 19:17 Also, no one forgives sins except God alone, for it is also written: Who can forgive sins but God alone? Luke 5:21 And one cannot be the Creator of all except he be not a creature, and he who is not a creature is without doubt God; for it is written: They worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, Who is God blessed forever. Romans 1:25 God also does not worship, but is worshipped, for it is written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. Deuteronomy 6:13
- Let us therefore consider whether the Holy Spirit have any of these marks which may bear witness to His Godhead. And first let us treat of the point that none is without sin except God alone, and demand that they prove that the Holy Spirit has sin.
- But they are unable to show us this, and demand our authority from us, namely, that we should show by texts that the Holy Spirit has not sinned, as it is said of the Son that He did no sin. 1 Peter 2:22 Let them learn that we teach by authority of the Scriptures; for it is written: For in Wisdom is a Spirit of understanding, holy, one only, manifold, subtle, easy to move, eloquent, undefiled. Wisdom 7:22 The Scripture says He is undefiled, has it lied concerning the Son, that you should believe it to have lied concerning the Spirit? For the prophet said in the same place concerning Wisdom, that nothing that defiles enters into her. She herself is undefiled, and her Spirit is undefiled. Therefore if the Spirit have not sin, He is God.
- But how can He be guilty of sin Who Himself forgives sins? Therefore He has not committed sin, and if He be without sin He is not a creature. For every creature is exposed to the capability of sin, and the eternal Godhead alone is free from sin and undefiled.
- Let us now see whether the Spirit forgives sins. But on this point there can be no doubt, since the Lord Himself said: Receive the Holy Spirit. Whosesoever sins you forgive they shall be forgiven. John 20:22 See that sins are forgiven through the Holy Spirit. But men make use of their ministry for the forgiveness of sins, they do not exercise the right of any power of their own. For they forgive sins not in their own name but in that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They ask, the Godhead gives, the service is of man, the gift is of the Power on high.
- And it is not doubtful that sin is forgiven by means of baptism, but in baptism the operation is that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. If, therefore, the Spirit forgives sin, since it is written, Who can forgive sins except God alone? Mark 2:7 certainly He Who cannot be separated from the oneness of the name of the Nature is also incapable of being severed from the power of God. Now if He is not severed from the power of God, how is He severed from the name of God.
- Let us now see whether He be a creature or the Creator. But since we have above most clearly proved Him to be the Creator, as it is written: The Spirit of God Who has made me; Job 33:4 and it has been declared that the face of the earth is renewed by the Spirit, and that all things languish without the Spirit, it is clear that the Spirit is the Creator. But who can doubt this, since, as we have shown above, not even the generation of the Lord from the Virgin, which is more excellent than all creatures, is without the operation of the Spirit?
- Therefore the Spirit is not a creature, but the Creator, and He Who is Creator is certainly not a creature. And because He is not a creature, without doubt He is the Creator Who produces all things together with the Father and the Son. But if He be the Creator, certainly the Apostle, by saying in condemnation of the Gentiles, Who served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is God blessed for ever, Romans 1:25 and by warning men, as I said above, that the Holy Spirit is to be served, both showed Him to be the Creator, and because He is the Creator demonstrated that He ought to be called God. Which he also sums up in the Epistle written to the Hebrews, saying: For He that created all things is God. Hebrews 3:4 Let them, therefore, either say what it is which has been created without the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or let them confess that the Spirit also is of one Godhead with the Father and the Son.
- The writer taught also that He was to be worshipped, Whom he called Lord and God. For He Who is the God and Lord of the Universe is certainly to be worshipped by all, for it is thus written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. Deuteronomy 6:13
- Or let them say where they have read that the Spirit worships. For it is said of the Son of God: Let all the Angels of God worship Him; Hebrews 1:6 we do not read, Let the Spirit worship Him. For how can He worship Who is not among servants and ministers, but, together with the Father and the Son, has the service of the just under Him, for it is written: We serve the Spirit of God. Philippians 3:3 He is, therefore, to be worshipped by us, Whom the Apostle taught that we must serve, and Whom we serve we also adore, according to that which is written, to repeat the same words again: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.
- Although the Apostle has not omitted even this point, so as to omit to teach us that the Spirit is to be worshipped. For since we have demonstrated that the Spirit is in the prophets, no one can doubt that prophecy is given by the Spirit, and plainly when He Who is in the prophets is worshipped, the same Spirit is worshipped. And so you find: If the whole Church be assembled together, and all speak with tongues, and there come in one unlearned or unbelieving, will he not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one unlearned and unbelieving, he is convicted by all, he is judged by all. For the secrets of his heart are made manifest, and so falling down on his face he will worship God, declaring that God is in truth among you. 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 It is, therefore, God Who is worshipped, God Who abides and Who speaks in the prophets; but the Spirit thus abides and speaks, therefore, also, the Spirit is worshipped.
- And so as the Father and the Son are One, because the Son has all things which the Father has, so too the Spirit is one with the Father and the Son, because He too knows all the things of God. For He did not obtain it by force, so that there should be any injury as of one who had suffered loss; He did not seize it, lest the loss should be his from whom it might seem to have been plundered. For neither did He seize it through need, nor through superiority of greater power did He take it by force, but He possesses it by unity of power. Therefore, if He works all these things, for one and the same Spirit works all, 1 Corinthians 12:11 how is He not God Who has all things which God has?
- Or let us consider what God may have which the Holy Spirit has not. God the Father has Godhead, and the Son, too, in Whom dwells the fullness of the Godhead, has it, and the Spirit has it, for it is written: The Spirit of God is in my nostrils. Job 27:3
- God, again, searches the hearts and reins, for it is written: God searches the hearts and reins. The Son also has this power, Who said, Why do you think evil in your hearts? Matthew 9:4 For Jesus knew their thoughts. And the Spirit has the same power, Who manifests to the prophets also the secrets of the hearts of others, as we said above: for the secrets of his heart are made manifest. And why do we wonder if He searches the hidden things of man Who searches even the deep things of God?
- God has as an attribute that He is true for it is written: Let God be true and every man a liar. Romans 3:4 Does the Spirit lie Who is the Spirit of Truth? John 16:13 and Whom we have shown to be called the Truth, since John called Him too the Truth, as also the Son? And David says in the psalm: Send out Your light and Your truth, they have led me and brought me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacles. If you consider that in this passage the Son is the light, then the Spirit is the Truth, or if you consider the Son to be the Truth, then the Spirit is the light.
- God has a Name which is above every name, and has given a name to the Son, as we read that in the Name of Jesus knees should bow. Let us consider whether the Spirit has this Name. But it is written Go, baptize the nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 He has, then, a Name above every name. What, therefore, the Father and the Son have, the Holy Spirit also has through the oneness of the Name of His nature.
- It is a prerogative of God to raise the dead. For as the Father raises the dead and quickens them, so the Son also quickens whom He will. John 5:21 But the Spirit also (by Whom God raises) raises them, for it is written: He shall quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwells in you. Romans 8:11 But that you may not think this a trivial grace, learn that the Spirit also raises, for the prophet Ezekiel says: Come, O Spirit, and breathe upon these dead, and they shall live. And I prophesied as He commanded me, and the Spirit of life entered into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet an exceeding great company. Ezekiel 37:9-10 And farther on God says: You shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall open your graves, that I may bring My people out of their graves, and I will give you My Spirit, and you shall live. Ezekiel 37:13-14
- When He spoke of His Spirit, did He mention any other besides the Holy Spirit? For He would neither have spoken of His Spirit as produced by blowing, nor could this Spirit come from the four quarters of the world, for the blowing of these winds, which we experience, is partial, not universal; and this spirit by which we live is also individual, not universal. But it is the nature of the Holy Spirit to be both over all and in all. Therefore from the words of the prophet we may see how (the frame-work of the members long since fallen asunder being scattered) the bones may come together again to the form of a revived body, when the Spirit quickens them; and the ashes may come together on the limbs belonging to them, animated by a disposition to come together before being formed anew in the appearance of living.
- Do we not in the likeness of what is done recognize the oneness of the divine power? The Spirit raises after the same manner as the Lord raised at the time of His own Passion, when suddenly in the twinkling of an eye the graves of the dead were opened, and the bodies living again arose from the tombs, and the smell of death being removed, and the scent of life restored, the ashes of those who were dead took again the likeness of the living.
- So, then, the Spirit has that which Christ has, and therefore what God has, for all things which the Father has the Son also has, and therefore He said: All things which the Father has are Mine. John 16:15
- And this, again, is not a trivial matter that we read that a river goes forth from the throne of God. For you read the words of the Evangelist John to this purport: And He showed me a river of living water, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street thereof, and on either side, was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of all nations. Revelation 22:1-2
- This is certainly the River proceeding from the throne of God, that is, the Holy Spirit, Whom he drinks who believes in Christ, as He Himself says: If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believes in Me, as says the Scripture, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke He of the Spirit. John 7:37-38 Therefore the river is the Spirit.
- This, then, is in the throne of God, for the water washes not the throne of God. Then, whatever you may understand by that water, David said not that it was above the throne of God, but above the heavens, for it is written: Let the waters which are above the heavens praise the Name of the Lord. Let them praise, he says, not let it praise. For if he had intended us to understand the element of water, he would certainly have said, Let it praise, but by using the plural he intended the Powers to be understood.
- And what wonder is it if the Holy Spirit is in the throne of God, since the kingdom of God itself is the work of the Holy Spirit, as it is written: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 And when the Saviour Himself says, Every kingdom divided against itself shall be destroyed, Matthew 12:25 by adding afterwards, But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out devils, without doubt the kingdom of God has come upon you, Matthew 12:27 He shows that the kingdom of God is held undivided by Himself and by the Spirit.
- But what is more foolish than for any one to deny that the Holy Spirit reigns together with Christ when the Apostle says that even we shall reign together with Christ in the kingdom of Christ: If we are dead with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him. 2 Timothy 2:11-12 But we by adoption, He by power; we by grace, He by nature.
- The Holy Spirit, therefore, shares in the kingdom with the Father and the Son, and He is of one nature with Them, of one Lordship, and also of one power.
- Since, then, He has a share in the kingdom, what hinders us from understanding that it was the Holy Spirit by Whom Isaiah was sent? For on the authority of Paul we cannot doubt, whose judgment the Evangelist Luke so much approved in the Acts of the Apostles as to write as follows in Paul’s words: Well spoke the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying: Go to this people and say, You shall hear with the ear and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive. Acts 28:25-26
- It is, then, the Spirit Who sent Isaiah. If the Spirit sent him, it is certainly the Spirit Whom, after Uzziah’s death, Isaiah saw, when he said: I saw the Lord of Sabaoth sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the house was full of His majesty. And the Seraphim stood round about Him, each one had six wings, and with two they were covering His face, and with two they were covering His feet, and with two they were flying; and they cried out one to the other, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Sabaoth, the whole earth is full of His majesty. Isaiah 6:1-3
- If the Seraphim were standing, how were they flying? If they were flying, how were they standing? If we cannot understand this, how is it that we want to understand God, Whom we have not seen?
- But as the prophet saw a wheel running within a wheel Ezekiel 1:16 (which certainly does not refer to any appearance to the bodily sight, but to the grace of each Testament; for the life of the saints is polished, and so consistent with itself that later portions agree with the former). The wheel, then, within a wheel is life under the Law, life under grace; inasmuch as Jews are within the Church, the Law is included in grace. For he is within the Church who is a Jew secretly; and circumcision of the heart is a sacrament within the Church. But that Jewry is within the Church of which it is written: In Jewry is God known; therefore as wheel runs within wheel, so in like manner the wings were still, and the wings were flying.
- In like manner, too, the Seraphim were veiling His face with two wings, and with two were veiling His feet, and with two were flying. For here also is a mystery of spiritual wisdom. Seasons stand, seasons fly; the past stand, the future are flying, and like the wings of the Seraphim, so they veil the face or the feet of God; inasmuch as in God, Who has neither beginning nor end, the whole course of times and seasons, from this knowledge of its beginning and its end, is at rest. So, then, times past and future stand, the present fly. Ask not after the secrets of His beginning or His end, for there is neither. You have the present, but you must praise Him, not question.
- The Seraphim with unwearied voices praise, and do you question? And certainly when they do this they show us that we must not sometimes question about God, but always praise Him. Therefore the Holy Spirit is also the Lord of Sabaoth. Unless perchance the Teacher Whom Christ chose pleases not the impious, or they can deny that the Holy Spirit is the Lord of powers, Who gives whatever powers He Himself wills.
- It is now possible to recognize the oneness of the majesty and rule in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For many say that it was God the Father Who was seen at that time by Isaiah. Paul says it was the Spirit, and Luke supports him. John the Evangelist refers it to the Son. For thus has he written of the Son: These things spoke Jesus, and departed and hid Himself from them. But though He had done so great signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah might be fulfilled which he spoke, Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the Arm of the Lord been revealed? Isaiah 53:1 Therefore, they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they might not see with their eyes and understand with their heart and be converted, and I should heal them. Isaiah 6:10 These things said Isaiah when he saw His glory, and spoke of Him. John 12:36-41
- John says that Isaiah spoke these words, and revealed most clearly that the glory of the Son appeared to him. Paul, however, relates that the Spirit said these things. Whence, then, is this difference?
- There is, indeed, a difference of words, not of meaning. For though they said different things, neither was in error, for both the Father is seen in the Son, Who said, He that sees Me sees the Father also, John 14:9 and the Son is seen in the Spirit; for as no man says Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:3 so Christ is seen not by the eye of flesh, but by the grace of the Spirit. Whence, too, the Scripture says: Rise, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you. Ephesians 5:14 And Paul, when he had lost his eyesight, how did he see Christ except in the Spirit? Acts 9:8 Wherefore the Lord says: For to this end I have appeared unto you, to appoint you a minister and a witness of the things wherein you have seen Me, and of the things wherein you shall see Me. Acts 26:16 For the prophets also received the Spirit and saw Christ.
- One, then, is the vision, one the right to command, one the glory. Do we deny that the Holy Spirit is also the Lord of glory when the Lord of glory was crucified who was born from the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary? For Christ is not one of two, but is one, and was born as Son of God of the Father before the world; and in the world born as man by taking flesh.
- And why should I say that, as the Father and the Son, so, too, the Spirit is free from stain and Almighty, for Solomon called Him in Greek παντοδύναμον, πᾶνέπίσχοπον, because He is Almighty and beholds all things, Wisdom 7:22 as we showed above to be, is read in the Book of Wisdom. Therefore the Spirit enjoys honour and glory.
- Consider now lest perchance something may not beseem Him, or if this displease you, O Arian, drag Him down from His fellowship with the Father and the Son. But if you choose to drag Him down you will see the heavens reversed above you, for all their strength is from the Spirit. If you choose to drag Him down, you must first lay hands on God, for the Spirit is God. But how will you drag Him down, Who searches the deep things of God?