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On the Promised Coming of the Paraclete.
St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia
Translated by M.F. Toale, D.D.
(PL 20, Sermo. 20.)
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 nature.

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. 18, 19).

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. xiv. 9).

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 ever. Amen.