In His ineffable wisdom the Son of God deigned to communicate step by step
to His Disciples an understanding of the truths of His saving faith; for
their human hearts could not grasp it all at once. And in the discourses He
had already spoken to them He had, as I showed you in my last sermon, made
known to them many things concerning the Oneness of His own divinity with
that of the Father; making clear that there was no separation between Them;
so that even the words He spoke to them were not, He declared, His but the
Fatherís: And the word which you have heard, is not mine;
but the Fatherís who sent me (Jn. xiv. 14). In this sentence
He makes it abundantly clear that all who reject the teaching of His Only-Begotten
Son reject the teaching of the Father also; since the Son says that the
words He spoke are not His but the Fatherís; and from this it follows that
if they are the words of the Father, they are also the words of the Son;
for He declares: All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine (Jn.
xvi. 15). And in another place He says to the Father: And all
things are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them (Jn.
xvii. 10); and this manifestly because of the Oneness of the divine substance;
which recognizes nothing as part of it which does not belong to the divine
Now however following on this He immediately lays down that we must
believe that the Holy Ghost also shares in this same Oneness, when He foretells
that the fulness of His teaching shall be perfected in them by the same
Paraclete, declaring: These things have I spoken to you, abiding with
you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my
name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind,
whatsoever I shall have said to you (Jn. xiv. 25, 26). He deigned by
these words to the Blessed Apostles to forewarn them both of His own ascent
into heaven after the Passion He was to suffer, and of the descent upon
them from heaven of the Holy Spirit, when He said, These things have
I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom
the Father will send.
But the Holy Spirit was not in heaven only, and not upon earth; and
neither would the Son so ascend into heaven as to forsake the earth; neither
did the Father alone possess the throne of Heaven, whither the Son is said
to return, and whence the Holy Ghost is said to come. For the most blessed
prophet makes this acknowledgement to the Father: Whither shall I go
from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy face? If I ascend into
heaven, thou art there; if I descend into hell, thou art present.
If I take my wings early in the morning,and dwell in the uttermost parts
of the sea (Ps. cxxxviii).
If I take wings in the morning, he says, etc. It is well that
he has wings, and that taking them he may reach whither he wills. Yet,
since he dwelt in a body, in what manner could the prophet ascend into
heaven or descend into hell, or reach to the farthest parts of the sea?
What manner then of wings has he? The soul of the believer takes to itself
wings of faith, so that raised above earthly things, and dwelling wholly
in the spirit, it can comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth,
and length, and height, and depth of the knowledge of God (Eph. iii.
But heretics, not possessing these wings of faith, dispute concerning
God, and have in mind only the things of earth; and weighed down by the
burden of earthly considerations, they are led away from the loftiness
of the knowledge of divine things towards that which is carnal and fleeting.
Neither can they come to the understanding of that boundless divinity where
only the believing soul has access, which perceives, believes, confesses,
and proclaims the Unity of the adorable Trinity; and since it cannot fittingly
express this in words, in this also is it worthy of praise.
Whither then shall I go, he says, from thy spirit? Or where
shall I flee from thy face? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if
I descend into hell, thou art present. If I take my wings early in the
morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: even there also thy
hand shall lead me; and thy right hand shall hold me. This confession
likewise proclaims the undivided nature of the Trinity. Whither shall
I go, he says, from Thy Spirit? From Thy Paraclete, that is,
Whose fulness the Apostles receiving made known through the mouth of Peter
the fulfilment of the divine promise, proclaiming: This is what was
spoken of by the prophet Joel: and in the last days I shall pour out my
spirit upon all flesh (Acts ii. 16, 17).
And whither shall I flee from thy face? From the Son, therefore,
Who is the Face of the Father; since the Father is seen in the Son, according
to the words of Our Lord and Saviour Himself, Who when Philip besought
Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us, so answered:
Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip,
he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Father?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? (Jn.
Neither must the Holy Spirit be regarded as separated from the Father,
Whose Spirit He is, nor the Son be believed to be separated from Him Whose
Face He is, and Right Hand, and Power, and Wisdom. He does not say: If
I ascend into heaven Thy Spirit is there, or Thy Face and Thy Spirit are
there, but Thou, He says, art present; and with Thy Son and
with the Holy Ghost; for one and the same everywhere and forever is the
divinity of the ever adorable Trinity. But so that a clear faith and separate
belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost might be given to those who believe,
it is accordingly written that the Father sends both the Son and the Holy
Ghost; since neither He Who sends nor He ĎWho is sent can be believed to
be God, if there is a place where He is, and a place where He is not.
Let us believe in the Son speaking to us; since He is the Truth:
I am not alone, He says, because the Father is with me (Jn.
viii. i6, 29). And again, speaking of the Holy Spirit: But, He says,
if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils (Mt. ii. 28). And the
Evangelist Luke speaking: But Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned
from the Jordan (Lk. iv. 1). Accordingly, since nowhere is the divinity
of the Trinity not present, it is part of the divine plan for the redemption
of mankind that It is spoken of as both sending and being sent. For otherwise
the human mind could not grasp the Father is the Father, and the Son is
the Son, and the Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost, unless it should learn their
separateness by the naming of One as sent and One as sending.
And again Faith could not acknowledge the One Divinity of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, unless it had read that He that
was sent was in no way separate from Him Who sent Him. For the Father (as
has been said) did not forsake the Son Whom He sent; nor is the Holy Ghost,
Who was to guide the Apostles, ever shown as not present with the Father
and the Son, so that only the Son of God has become Incarnate. For, as
we read, The Word was made Flesh; not the Father or the Holy Ghost.
Just as the Son of God has fulfilled the mystery of the Incarnation without
detracting from the Oneness of the Trinity, this wondrous Omnipotence is
witness how the same Son of God has so ascended into heaven with the Body
He assumed from among men, that He would remain with His Disciples till
the end of the world. For, says He, behold I am with you all
days, even to the consummation of the world (Mt. xxviii. 20); not alone
with His Apostles, but also with His Disciples and all whosoever should
believe in Him.
We must therefore believe that God exists in no way other than He by
His own words proposes Himself to our belief. Now should we regard His
works with a disobedient spirit, but honour them with earnest faith, for
the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done with faithfulness
(Ps. xxxii. 4). If all His works are done with faithfulness, how much
more the wondrous work of His most sacred Incarnation? Let us then cease
from submitting the Divine Mystery to insulting investigations, while faith
is neglected. For the doubtings of the disbelieving, with their idle speculation,
leads to no understanding of the works of God, but loses rather the faith
that is known to be the guide to salvation and eternal life.
That this excessive probing destroys faith can readily be understood
from one kind of divine action: And God said: be light made. And light
was made. Since I do not come to know that the Creator made it out
of nothing unless I believe and confess that He made it, by impious deliberation
I call God a liar. Therefore the mind of each single person who believes
should accept with love and faith all the works of the Lord, and above
all this supreme work of the Incarnation of the Son of God (as the Sacred
Scriptures teach us) and proclaim by the loyal obedience of the tongue
what it believes with an unwavering heart. For with the heart we believe
unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation
(Rom. x. 10).
By this that He promised that the fulness of His Teaching would be bestowed
by the Holy Spirit He desired that He should be believed equal with Himself
in omnipotence. For in the Trinity there is no master and there is no servant;
God and an angel; the Creator and the creature. There is that in which
they differ, and that in which they are the same: in Person they differ,
in Nature they are the same. And yet they are not Gods, but God; for the
Oneness of God does not admit of any division.
Lastly Christ says of the Holy Spirit in this same place (John xiv.
25, 26): Whom the Father will send in my name; that is, in the Name
of God, to proclaim God, namely, as the Son. And for this reason the Son
also says of Himself: I am come in the name of the Father (Jn. v.
43); and this the Prophet had already foretold of Him; and the children
praising Him in the Gospel confirmed it when they cried out: Blessed
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord (Ps. cxvii. 26; Mt. xxix.
9). And rightly does He come in the Name of the Lord, not in the name of
a servant, for He is God. Not in His own Name: for He is the Son; and coming
as Son, His Name is that of the Father.
The Son accordingly, I repeat, proclaims of Himself: I am come in
the name of my Father. But of the Holy Ghost He says: Whom the Father
will send in my name. And when He decreed that Baptism should be conferred
in the Name of the Trinity, He did not say in the Names of, but
in the Name of. For the Father is God, and the Son is God,
and the Holy Ghost is God, as I have often made clear to Your Charity from
the testimonies of Sacred Scripture; and so One is the Name of the Trinity,
One is the Power, and One the Divinity, Which shall endure for ever and