...talisman of lead...

Four discourses against the arians

CHAPTER IV.

THAT THE SON IS ETERNAL AND INCREATE.

These attributes, being the points in dispute, are first proved by direct

texts of Scripture. Concerning the 'eternal power' of God in Rom. i. 20, which

is shewn to mean the Son. Remarks on the Arian formula, 'Once the Son was

not,' its supporters not daring to speak of 'a time when the Son was not.'

11. AT his suggestion then ye have maintained and ye think, that 'there

was once when the Son was not; 'this is the first cloke of your views of

doctrine which has to be stripped off Say then what was once when the Son was

not, O slanderous and irreligious men[1]? If ye say the Father, your blasphemy

is but greater; for it is impious to say that He was 'once,' or to signify Him

by the word 'once.' For He is ever, and is now, and as the Son is, so is He,

and is Himself He that is, and Father of the Son. But if ye say that the Son

was once, when He Himself was not, the answer is foolish and unmeaning. For

how could He both be and not be? In this difficulty, you can but answer, that

there was a time when the Word was not; for your very adverb 'once' naturally

signifies this. And your other, 'The Son was not before His generation,' is

equivalent to saying, 'There was once when He was not,' for both the one and

the other signify that there is a time before the Word. Whence then this your

discovery? Why do ye, as 'the heathen, rage, and imagine vain phrases against

the Lord[2] and against His Christ?' for no holy Scripture has used such

language of the Saviour, but rather 'always' and 'eternal' and 'coexistent

always with the Father.' For, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was

with God, and the Word was God[3].' And in the Apocalypse be thus speaks[4];

'Who is and who was and who is to come.' Now who can rob 'who is' and 'who

was' of eternity? This too in confutation of the Jews hath Paul written in his

Epistle to the Romans, 'Of whom as concerning the flesh is Christ, who is over

all, God blessed for ever;' while silencing the Greeks, he has said, 'The

visible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being

understood by the things that are made, even His eternal Power and

Godhead[6];' and what the Power of God is, he teaches us elsewhere himself,

'Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God[7].' Surely in these words he

does not designate the Father, as ye often whisper one to another, affirming

that the Father is 'His eternal power.' This is not so; for he says not, 'God

Himself is the power,' but 'His is the power.' Very plain is it to all that

'His' is not 'He;' yet not something alien but rather proper to Him. Study too

the context and 'turn to the Lord;' now 'the Lord is that Spirit[8];' and you

will see that it is the Son who is signified.

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12. For after making mention of the creation, he naturally speaks of the

Framer's Power as seen in it, which Power, I say, is the Word of God, by whom

all things have been made. If indeed the creation is sufficient of itself

alone, without the Son, to make God known, see that you fill not, from

thinking that without the Son it has come to be. But if through the Son it has

come to be, and 'in Him all things consist[9],' it must follow that he who

contemplates the creation rightly, is contemplating also the Word who framed

it, and through Him begins to apprehend the Father[10]. And if, as the Saviour

also says, 'No one knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whom the Son

shall reveal Him[11],' and if on Philip's asking, 'Shew us the Father,' He

said not, 'Behold the creation,' but, 'He that hath seen Me, hath seen the

Father[12],' reasonably doth Paul,--while accusing the Greeks of contemplating

the harmony and order of the creation without reflecting on the Framing Word

within it (for the creatures witness to their own Framer) so as through the

creation to apprehend the true God, and abandon their worship of

it,--reasonably hath he said, 'His Eternal Power and Godhead[13],' thereby

signifying the Son. And where the sacred writers say, Who exists before the

ages,' and 'By whom He made the ages[1],' they thereby as clearly preach the

eternal and everlasting being of the Son, even while they are designating God

Himself. Thus, if Isaiah says, 'The Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends

of the earth[2];' and Susanna said, 'O Everlasting God[3];' and Baruch wrote,

'I will cry unto the Everlasting in my days,' and shortly after, 'My hope is

in the Everlasting, that He will save you, and joy is come unto me from the

Holy One[4];' yet forasmuch as the Apostle, writing to the Hebrews, says, 'Who

being the radiance of His glory and the Expression of His Person[5];' and

David too in the eighty-ninth Psalm, 'And the brightness of the Lord be upon

us,' and, 'In Thy Light shall we see Light[6],' who has so little sense as to

doubt of the eternity of the Son[7]? for when did man see light without the

brightness of its radiance, that he may say of the Son, 'There was once, when

He was not,' or 'Before His generation He was not.' And the words addressed to

the Son in the hundred and forty-fourth Psalm, 'Thy kingdom is a kingdom of

all ages[8],' forbid any one to imagine any interval at all in which the Word

did not exist For if every interval in the ages is measured, and of all the

ages the Word is King and Maker, therefore, whereas no interval at all exists

prior to Him[9], it were madness to say, 'There was once when the Everlasting

was not,' and 'From nothing is the Son.' And whereas the Lord Himself says, 'I

am the Truth[10],' not 'I became the Truth;' but always, 'I am,--I am the

Shepherd,--I am the Light,'--and again, 'Call ye Me not, Lord and Master? and

ye call Me well, for so I am,' who, hearing such language from God, and the

Wisdom, and Word of the Father, speaking of Himself, will any longer hesitate

about the truth, and not forthwith believe that in the phrase 'I am,' is

signified that the Son is eternal and without beginning?

13. It is plain then from the above that the Scriptures declare the Son's

eternity; it is equally plain from what follows that the Arian phrases 'He was

not,' and 'before' and 'when,' are in the same Scriptures predicated of

creatures. Moses, for instance, in his account of the generation of our

system, says, 'And every plant of the field, before it was in the earth, and

every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to

rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground[1].' And in

Deuteronomy, 'When the Most High divided to the nations[2].' And the Lord said

in His own Person, 'If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice

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because I said, I go unto the Father, for My Father is greater than I. And now

I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might

believe[3].' And concerning the creation He says by Solomon, 'Or ever the

earth was, when there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no

fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the

hills. was I brought forth[4].' And, 'Before Abraham was, I am[5].' And

concerning Jeremiah He says, 'Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew

thee[6]." And David in the Psalm says, 'Before the mountains were brought

forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, Thou art, God from

everlasting and world without end[7].' And in Daniel,' Susanna cried out with

a loud voice and said, O everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and

knowest all things before they be[8].' Thus it appears that the phrases 'once

was not,' and 'before it came to be,' and 'when,' and the like, belong to

things originate and creatures, which come out of nothing, but are alien to

the Word. But if such terms are used in Scripture of things originate, but

'ever' of the Word, it follows, O ye enemies of God, that the Son did not come

out of nothing, nor is in the number of originated things at all, but is the

Father's Image and Word eternal, never having not been, but being ever, as

the, eternal Radiance[9] of a Light which is eternal. Why imagine then times

before the Son? or wherefore blaspheme the Word as after times, by whom even

the ages were made? for how did time or age at all subsist when the Word, as

you say, had not appeared, 'through' whom 'all things have been made and

without' whom 'not one thing was made[10]?' Or why, when you mean time, do you

not plainly say, 'a time was when the Word was not?' But while you drop the

word 'time' to deceive the simple, you do not at all conceal your own feeling,

nor, even if you did, could you escape discovery. For you still simply mean

times, when you say, 'There was when He was not,' and 'He was not before His

generation.'

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