1. "And the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
In the preceding section, my revered brother Ambrosius, brother formed
according to the Gospel, we have discussed, as far as is at present in
our power, what the Gospel is, and what is the beginning in which the Word
was, and what the Word is which was in the beginning. We now come to consider
the next point in the work before us, How the Word was with God. To this
end it will be of service to remember that what is called the Word came
to certain persons; as "The Word of the Lord1 which came to Hosea, the
son of Beeri," and "The Word2 which came to Isaiah, the son of Amos, concerning
Judah and concerning Jerusalem," and "The Word which came to Jeremiah3
concerning the drought." We must enquire how this Word came to Hosea, and
how it came also to Isaiah the son of Amos, and again to Jeremiah concerning
the drought; the comparison may enable us to dud out how the Word was with
God. The generality will simply look at what the prophets said, as if that
were the Word of the Lord or the Word, that came to them. May it not be,
however, that as we say that this person comes to that, so the Son, the
Word, of whom we are now theologizing, came to Hosea, sent to him by the
Father; historically, that is to say, to the son of Beeri, the prophet
Hosea, but mystically to him who is saved, for Hosea means, etymologically,
Saved; and to the son of Beeri, which etymologically means wells, since
every one who is saved becomes a son of that spring which gushes forth
out of the depths, the wisdom of God. And it is nowise marvellous that
the saint should be a son of wells. From his brave deeds he is often called
a son, whether, from his works shining before men, of light, or from his
possessing the peace of God which passes all understanding, of peace, or,
once more, from the help which wisdom brings him, a child of wisdom; for
wisdom,4 it says, is justified of her children. Thus he who by the divine
spirit searches all things, and even the deep things of God, so that he
can exclaim,5 "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge
of God!" he can be a son of wells, to whom the Word of the Lord comes.
Similarly the Word comes also to Isaiah, teaching the things which are
coming upon Judaea and Jerusalem in the last days; and so also it comes
to Jeremiah lifted up by a divine elation. For Iao means etymologically
lifting up, elation. Now the Word comes to men who formerly could not receive
the advent of the Son of God who is the Word; but to God it does not come,
as if it had not been with Him before. The Word was always with the Father;
and so it is said, "And the Word was with God." He did not come to God,
and this same word "was" is used of the Word because He was in the beginning
at the same time when He was with God, neither being separated from the
beginning nor being bereft of His Father. And again, neither did He come
to be in the beginning after He had not been in it, nor did He come to
be with God after not having been with Him. For before all time and the
remotest age6 the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God.
Thus to find out what is meant by the phrase, "The Word was with God,"
we have adduced the words used about the prophets, how He came to Hosea,
to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, and we have noticed the difference, by no means
accidental, between "became" and "was." We have to add that in His coming
to the prophets He illuminates the prophets with the light of knowledge,
causing them to see things which had been before them, but which they had
not understood till then. With God, however, He is God, just because He
is with Him. And perhaps it was because he saw some such order in the Logos,
that John did not place the clause "The Word was God" before the clause
"The Word was with God." The series in which he places his different sentences
does not prevent the force of each axiom from being separately and fully
seen. One axiom is, "In the beginning was the Word," a second, "The Word
was with God," and then comes, "And the Word was God." The arrangement
of the sentences might be thought to indicate an order; we have first "In
the beginning was the Word," then, "And the Word was with God," and thirdly,
"And the Word was God," so that it might be seen that the Word being with
God makes Him God.
2. In What Way the Logos is God. Errors to Be Avoided on This Question.
We next notice John's use of the article in these sentences. He does
not write without care in this respect, nor is he unfamiliar with the niceties
of the Greek tongue. In some cases he uses the article, and in some he
omits it. He adds the article to the Logos, but to the name of God he adds
it sometimes only. He uses the article, when the name of God refers to
the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the Logos is named
God. Does the same difference which we observe between God with the article
and God without it prevail also between the Logos with it and without it?
We must enquire into this. As the God who is over all is God with the article
not without it, so "the Logos" is the source of that reason (Logos) which
dwells in every reasonable creature; the reason which is in each creature
is not, like the former called par excellence The Logos. Now there are
many who are sincerely concerned about religion, and who fall here into
great perplexity. They are afraid that they may be proclaiming two Gods,
and their fear drives them into doctrines which are false and wicked. Either
they deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own besides that of
the Father, and make Him whom they call the Son to be God all but the name,
or they deny the divinity of the Son, giving Him a separate existence of
His own, and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father,
so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to
say that God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and
so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father,7 "That they may know Thee
the only true God; "but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation
in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article),
but rather God (without article). And thus the first-born of all creation,
who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is
a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God
is the God, as it is written,8 "The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken
and called the earth." It was by the offices of the first-born that they
became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should
be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty.
The true God, then, is "The God," and those who are formed after Him are
gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype. But the archetypal image,
again, of all these images is the Word of God, who was in the beginning,
and who by being with God is at all times God, not possessing that of Himself,
but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be God, if we should
think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation
of the depths of the Father.
3. Various Relations of the Logos to Men.
Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing
the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the
true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear
that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the
level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between
Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the
minister of their divinity. To this we must add, in order to obviate objections,
that the reason which is in every reasonable creature occupied the same
relation to the reason who was in the beginning with God, and is God the
Word, as God the Word occupies to God. As the Father who is Very God and
the True God is to His image and to the images of His image-men are said
to be according to the image, not to be images of God-so He, the Word,
is to the reason (word) in every man. Each fills the place of a fountain-the
Father is the fountain of divinity, the Son of reason. As, then, there
are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords,
but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, so there are many Lo/goi, but
we, for our part, pray that that one Lo/goj may be with us who was in the
beginning and was with God, God the Logos. For whoever does not receive
this Logos who was in the beginning with God, or attach himself to Him
as He appeared in flesh, or take part in some of those who had part in
this Logos, or whoever having had part in Him falls away from Him again,
he will have his portion in what is called most opposite to reason. What
we have drawn out from the truths with which we started will now be clear
enough. First, we spoke about God and the Word of God, and of Gods, either,
that is, beings who partake in deity or beings who are called Gods and
are not. And again of the Logos of God and of the Logos of God made flesh,
and of logoi, or beings which partake in some way of the Logos, of second
logoi or of third, thought to be logoi, in addition to that Logos that
was before them all, but not really so. Irrational Reasons these may be
styled; beings are spoken of who are said to be Gods but are not, and one
might place beside these Gods who are no Gods, Reasons which are no Reasons.
Now the God of the universe is the God of the elect, and in a much greater
degree of the Saviours of the elect; then He is the God of these beings
who are truly Gods, and then He is the God, in a word, of the living and
not of the dead. But God the Logos is the God, perhaps, of those who attribute
everything to Him and who consider Him to be their Father. Now the sun
and the moon and the stars were connected, according to the accounts of
men of old times, with beings who were not worthy to have the God of gods
counted their God. To this opinion they were led by a passage in Deuteronomy
which is somewhat on this wise:9 "Lest when thou liftest up thine eyes
to heaven, and seest the sun and the moon and the whole host of heaven,
thou wander away and worship them and serve them which the Lord thy God
hath appointed to all the peoples. But to you the Lord thy God hath not
so given them." But how did God appoint the sun and the moon and all the
host of heaven to all the nations, if He did not give them in the same
way to Israel also, to the end that those who could not rise to the realm
of intellect, might be inclined by gods of sense to consider about the
Godhead, and might of their own free will connect themselves with these
and so be kept from falling away to idols and demons? Is it not the case
that some have for their God the God of the universe, while a second class,
after these, attach themselves to the Son of God, His Christ, and a third
class worship the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, wandering,
it is true, from God, but with a far different and a better wandering than
that of those who invoke as gods the works of men's hands, silver and gold,
-works of human skill. Last of all are those who devote themselves to the
beings which are called gods but are no gods. In the same way, now, some
have faith in that Reason which was in the beginning and was with God and
was God; so did Hosea and Isaiah and Jeremiah and others who declared that
the Word of the Lord, or the Logos, had come to them. A second class are
those who know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, considering
that the Word made flesh is the whole Word, and knowing only Christ after
the flesh. Such is the great multitude of those who are counted believers.
A third class give themselves to logoi (discourses) having some part in
the Logos which they consider superior to all other reason: these are they
who follow the honourable and distinguished philosophical schools among
the Greeks. A fourth class besides these are they who put their trust in
corrupt and godless discourses, doing away with Providence, which is so
manifest and almost visible, and who recognize another end for man to follow
than the good. It may appear to some that we have wandered from our theme,
but to my thinking the view we have reached of four things connected with
the name of God and four things connected with the Logos comes in very
well at this point. There was God with the article and God without the
article, then there were gods in two orders, at the summit of the higher
order of whom is God the Word, transcended Himself by the God of the universe.
And, again, there was the Logos with the article and the Logos without
the article, corresponding to God absolutely and a god; and the Logoi in
two ranks. And some men are connected with the Father, being part of Him,
and next to these, those whom our argument now brings into clearer light,
those who have come to the Saviour and take their stand entirely in Him.
And third are those of whom we spoke before, who reckon the sun and the
moon and the stars to be gods, and take their stand by them. And in the
fourth and last place those who submit to soulless and dead idols. To all
this we find analogies in what concerns the Logos. Some are adorned with
the Word Himself; some with what is next to Him and appears to be the very
original Logos Himself, those, namely, who know nothing but Jesus Christ
and Him crucified, and who behold the Word as flesh. And the third class,
as we described them a little before. Why should I speak of those who are
thought to be in the Logos, but have fallen away, not only from the good
itself, but from the very traces of it and from those who have a part in
4. That the Logos is One, Not Many. Of the Word, Faithful and True,
and of His White Horse.
"He was in the beginning with God." By his three foregoing propositions
the Evangelist has made us acquainted with three orders, and he now sums
up the three in one, saying, "This (Logos) was in the beginning with God."
In the first premiss we learned where the Logos was: He was in the beginning;
then we learned with whom He was, with God; and then who He was, that He
was God. He now points out by this word "He," the Word who is God, and
gathers up into a fourth proposition the three which went before, "In the
beginning was the Word," "The Word was with God," and "The Word was God."
Now he says, He, this (Word) was in the beginning with God. The term beginning
may be taken of the beginning of the world, so that we may learn from what
is said that the Word was older than the things which were made from the
beginning. For if "in the beginning God created heaven and earth," but
"He" was in the beginning, then the Logos is manifestly older than those
things which were made at the beginning, older not only than the firmament
and the dry land, but than the heavens and earth. Now some one might ask,
and not unreasonably, why it is not said, "In the beginning was the Word
of God, and the Word of God was with God, and the Word of God was God."
But he who asked such a question could be shown to be taking for granted
that there are a plurality of logoi, differing perhaps from each other
in kind, one being the word of God, another perhaps the word of angels,
a third of men, and so on with the other logoi. Now, if this were so with
the Logos, the case would be the same with wisdom and with righteousness.
But it would be absurd that there should be a number of things equally
to be called "The Word; "and the same would apply to wisdom and to righteousness.
We shall be driven to confess that we ought not to look for a plurality
of logoi, or of wisdom, or of righteousness, if we look at the case of
truth. Any one will confess that there is only one truth; it could never
be said in this case that there is one truth of God, and another of the
angels, and another of man,-it lies ill the nature of things that the truth
about anything is one. Now, if truth be one, it is clear that the preparation
of it and its demonstration, which is wisdom, must in reason be conceived
as one, since what is regarded as wisdom cannot justly claim that title
where truth, which is one, is absent from its grasp. But if truth is one
and wisdom one, then Reason (Logos) also, which announces truth and makes
truth simple and manifest to those who are fitted to receive it, will be
one. This we say, by no means denying that truth and wisdom and reason
are of God, but we wish to indicate the purpose of the omission in this
passage of the words "of God," and of the form of the statement, "In the
beginning the Logos was with God." The same John in the Apocalypse gives
Him His name with the addition "of God," where he says:10 "And I saw heaven
opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat thereon called Faithful
and True; and in righteousness doth He judge and make war. And His eyes
are as a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He hath a
name written which no one knoweth but He Himself. And He is arrayed in
a garment sprinkled with blood, and His name is called11 Word of God. And
His armies in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in pure fine
linen. And out of His mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it He should
smite the nations, and He shall rule them with a rod of iron, and He treadeth
the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. And He hath
on His garment and on His thigh a name written: King of kings, and Lord
of lords." In this passage Logos is necessarily spoken of absolutely without
the article, and also with the addition Logos of God; had the first not
been the case (i.e., had the article been given) we might have been led
to take up the meaning wrongly,12 and so to depart from the truth about
the Logos. For if it had been called simply Logos, and had not been said
to be the Logos of God, then we would not be clearly informed that the
Logos is the Logos of God. And, again, had it been called Logos of God
but not said to be Logos absolutely, then we might imagine many logoi,
according to the constitution of each of the rational beings which exist;
then we might assume a number of logoi properly so called. Again, in his
description in the Apocalypse of the Logos of God, the Apostle and Evangelist
(and the Apocalypse entitles him to be styled a prophet, too) says he saw
the Word of God in the opened heaven, and that He was riding on a white
horse. Now we must consider what he means to convey when he speaks of heaven
being opened and of the white horse, and of the Word of God riding on the
white horse, and also what is meant by saying that the Word of God is Faithful
and True, and that in righteousness He judges and makes war. All this will
greatly advance our study on the subject of the Word of God. Now I conceive
heaven to have been shut against the ungodly, and those who bear the image
of the earthly, and to have been opened to the righteous and those adorned
with the image of the heavenly. For to the former, being below and still
dwelling in the flesh, the better things are closed, since they cannot
understand them and have neither power nor will to see their beauty, looking
down as they do and not striving to look up. But to the excellent, or those
who have their commonwealth in heaven,13 he opens, with the key of David,
the things in heavenly places and discloses them to their view, and makes
all clear to them by riding on his horse. These words also have their meaning;
the horse is white because it is the nature of higher knowledge (gnw=sij)
to be clear and white and full of light. And on the white horse sits He
who is called Faithful, seated more firmly, and so to speak more royally,
on words which cannot be set aside, words which run sharply and more swiftly
than any horse, and overhear in their rushing course every so-called word
that simulates the Word, and every so-called truth that simulates the Truth.
He who sits on the white horse is called Faithful, not because of the faith
He cherishes, but of that which He inspires, because He is worthy of faith.
Now the Lord Jehovah, according to Moses,14 is Faithful and True. He is
true also in respect of His relation to shadow, type, and image; for such
is the Word who is in the opened heaven, for He is not on earth as He is
in heaven; on earth He is made flesh and speaks through shadow, type, and
image. The multitude, therefore, of those who are reputed to believe are
disciples of the shadow of the Word, not of the true Word of God which
is in the opened heaven. Hence Jeremiah says,15 "The Spirit of our face
is Christ the Lord, of whom we said, In His shadow shall we live among
the nations." Thus the Word of God who is called Faithful is also called
True, and ill righteousness He judges and makes war; since He has received
from God the faculty of judging in very righteousness and very judgment,
and of apportioning its due to every existing creature. For none of those
who have some portion of righteousness and of the faculty of judgment can
receive on his soul such copies and impressions of righteousness and judgment
as to come short in no point of absolute righteousness and absolute justice,
just as no painter of a picture can communicate to the representation all
the qualities of the original. This, I conceive, is the reason why David
says,16 "Before Thee shall no living being be justified." He does not say,
no man, or no angel, but no living being, since even if any being partakes
of life and has altogether put off mortality, not even then can it be justified
in comparison of Thee, who art, as it were, Life itself. Nor is it possible
that one who partakes of life and is therefore called living, should become
life itself, or that one who partakes of righteousness and, therefore,
is called righteous should become equal to righteousness itself. Now it
is the function of the Word of God, not only to judge in righteousness,
but also to make war in righteousness, that by making war on His enemies
by reason and righteousness, so that what is irrational and wicked is destroyed,17
He may dwell in the soul of him who, for his salvation, so to speak, has
become captive to Christ, and may justify that soul and cast out from her
all adversaries. We shall, however, obtain a better view of this war which
the Word carries on if we remember that He is an ambassador for the truth.
while there is another who pretends to be the Word and is not, and one
who calls herself the truth and is not, but a lie. Then the Word, arming
Himself against the lie, slays it with the breath of His mouth and brings
it to naught by the manifestation of His coming.18 And consider whether
these words of the Apostle to the Thessalonians may be understood in an
intellectual sense. For what is that which is destroyed by the breath of
the mouth of Christ, Christ being the Word and Truth and Wisdom, but the
lie? And what is that which is brought to naught by the manifestation of
Christ's coming, Christ being conceived as wisdom and reason, what but
that which announces itself as wisdom, when in reality it is one of those
things with which God deals as the Apostle describes,19 "He taketh the
wise, those who are not wise with the true wisdom, in their own craftiness"?
To what he says of the rider on the white horse, John adds the wonderful
statement: "His eyes are like a flame of fire." For as the flame of fire
is bright and illuminating, but at the same thee fiery and destructive
of material things, so, if I may so say, are the eyes of the Logos with
which He sees, and every one who has part in Him; they have not only the
inherent quality of laying hold of the things of the mind, but also that
of consuming and putting away those conceptions which are more material
and gross, since whatever is in any way false flees from the directness
and lightness of truth. It is in a very natural order that after speaking
of Him who judges in righteousness and makes war in accordance with His
righteous judgments, and then after His warring of His giving light, the
writer goes on to say, "On His head are many diadems." For had the lie
been one, and of one form only, against which the True and Faithful Word
contended, and for conquering which. He was crowned, then one crown alone
would naturally have been given Him for the victory. As it is, however,
as the lies are many which profess the truth and for warring against which
the Word is crowned, the diadems are many which surround the head of the
conqueror of them all. As He has overcome every revolting power many diadems
mark His victory. Then after the diadems He is said to have a name written
which no one knows but He Himself. For there are some things which are
known to the Word alone; for the beings which come into existence after
Him have a poorer nature than His, and none of them is able to behold all
that He apprehends. And perhaps it is the case that only those who have
part in that Word know the things which are kept from the knowledge of
those who do not partake of Him. Now, in John's vision, the Word of God
as He rides on the white horse is not naked: He is clothed with a garment
sprinkled with blood, for the Word who was made flesh and therefore died
is surrounded with marks of the fact that His blood was poured out upon
the earth, when the soldier pierced His side. For of that passion, even
should it be our lot some day to come to that highest and supreme contemplation
of the Logos, we shall not lose all memory, nor shall we forget the truth
that our admission was brought about by His sojourning in our body. This
Word of God is followed by the heavenly armies one and all; they follow
the Word as their leader, and imitate Him in all things, and chiefly in
having mounted, they also, white horses. To him that understands, this
secret is open. And as sorrow and grief and wailing fled away at the end
of things, so also, I suppose, did obscurity and doubt, all the mysteries
of God's wisdom being precisely and clearly opened. Look also at the white
horses of the followers of the Word and at the white and pure linen with
which they were clothed. As linen comes out of the earth, may not those
linen garments stand for the dialects on the earth in which those voices
are clothed which make clear announcements of things? We have dealt at
some length with the statements found in the Apocalypse about the Word
of God; it is important for us to know clearly about Him.
5. He (This One) Was in the Beginning with God.
To those who fail to distinguish with care the different propositions
of the context the Evangelist may appear to be repeating himself. "He was
in the beginning with God" may seem to add nothing to "And the Word was
with God." We must observe more carefully. In the statement "The Word was
with God" we are not told anything of the when or the where; that is added
in the fourth axiom. There are four axioms, or, as some call them, propositions,
the fourth being "He was in the beginning with God." Now "The Word was
with God" is not the same thing as "He was," etc; for here we are told,
not only that He was with God, but when and where He was so: "He was in
the beginning with God." The "He," too, used as it is for a demonstration,
will be considered to refer to the Word, or by a less careful enquirer,
to God. What was noted before is now summed up in this designation "He,"
the notion of the Logos and that of God; and as the argument proceeds the
different notions are collected in one; for the notion God is not included
in the notion Logos, nor the notion Logos in that of God. And perhaps the
proposition before us is a summing up in one of the three which have preceded.
Taking the statement that the Word was in the beginning, we have not yet
learned that He was with God, and taking the statement that the Word was
with God it is not yet clear to us that He was with God in the beginning;
and taking the statement that the Word was God, it has neither been shown
that He was in the beginning, nor that He was with God.
Now when the Evangelist says, "He was in the beginning with God," if
we apply the pronoun "He" to the Word and to God (as He is God) and consider
that "in the beginning" is conjoined with it, and "with God" added to it,
then there is nothing left of the three propositions that is not summed
up and brought together in this one. And as "in the beginning" has been
said twice, we may consider if there are not two lessons we may learn.
First, that the Word was in the beginning, as if lie was by Himself and
not with any one, and secondly, that He was in the beginning with God.
And I consider that there is nothing untrue in saying of Him both that
He was in the beginning, and in the beginning with God, for neither was
He with God alone, since He was also in the beginning, nor was He in the
beginning alone and not with God, since "He was in the beginning with God."
6. How the Word is the Maker of All Things, and Even the Holy Spirit
Was Made Through Him.
"All things were made through Him." The "through20 whom "is never found
in the first place but always in the second, as in the Epistle to the Romans,21
"Paul a servant of Christ Jesus, a called Apostle, separated to the Gospel
of God which He promised before by His prophets in Holy Scriptures, concerning
His Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, deter
mined the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the
resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we received
grace and apostleship, for obedience of the faith among all the nations,
for His name's sake." For God promised aforehand by the prophets His own
Gospel, the prophets being His ministers, and having their word to speak
about Him "through whom." And again God gave grace and apostleship to Paul
and to the others for the obedience of the faith among all the nations,
and this He gave them through Jesus Christ the Saviour, for the "through
whom" belonged to Him. And the Apostle Paul says in the Epistle to the
Hebrews:22 "At the end of the days He spoke to us in His Son, whom He made
the heir of all things, 'through whom' also He made the ages," showing
us that God made the ages through His Son, the" through whom" belonging,
when the ages were being made, to the Only-begotten. Thus, if all things
were made, as in this passage also, through the Logos, then they were not
made by the Logos, but by a stronger and greater than He. And who else
could this be but the Father? Now if, as we have seen, all things were
made through Him, we have to enquire if the Holy Spirit also was made through
Him. it appears to me that those who hold the Holy Spirit to be created,
and who also admit that "all things were made through Him," must necessarily
assume that the Holy Spirit was made through the Logos, the Logos accordingly
being older than He. And he who shrinks from allowing the Holy Spirit to
have been made through Christ must, if he admits the truth of the statements
of this Gospel, assume the Spirit to be uncreated. There is a third resource
besides these two (that of allowing the Spirit to have been made by the
Word, and that of regarding it as uncreated), namely, to assert that the
Holy Spirit has no essence of His own beyond the Father and the Son. But
on further thought one may perhaps see reason to consider that the Son
is second beside the Father, He being the same as the Father, while manifestly
a distinction is drawn between the Spirit and the Son in the passage,23
"Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man. it shall be forgiven
him, but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, he shall not
have forgiveness, either in this world or in the world to come." We consider,
therefore, that there are three hypostases, the Father and the Son and
the Holy Spirit; and at the same thee we believe nothing to be uncreated
but the Father. We therefore, as the more pious and the truer course, admit
that all things were made by the Logos, and that the Holy Spirit is the
most excellent and the first in order24 of all that was made by the Father
through Christ. And this, perhaps, is the reason why the Spirit is not
said to be God's own Son. The Only-begotten only is by nature and from
the beginning a Son, and the Holy Spirit seems to have need of the Son,
to minister to Him His essence, so as to enable Him not only to exist,
but to be wise and reasonable and just, and all that we must think of Him
as being. All this He has by participation of the character of Christ,
of which we have spoken above. And I consider that the Holy Spirit supplies
to those who, through Him and through participation in Him, are called
saints, the material of the gifts, which come from God; so that the said
material of the gifts is made powerful by God, is ministered by Christ,
and owes its actual existence in men to the Holy Spirit. I am led to this
view of the charisms by the words of Paul which he writes somewhere,25
"There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit, and diversities of
ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings,
but it is the same God that worketh all in all." The statement that all
things were made by Him, and its seeming corollary, that the Spirit must
have been called into being by the Word, may certainly raise some difficulty.
There are some passages in which the Spirit is placed above Christ; in
Isaiah, for example, Christ declares that He is sent, not by the Father
only, but also by the Holy Spirit. "Now the Lord hath sent Me," He says,26
"and His Spirit." and in the Gospel He declares that there is forgiveness
for the sin committed against Himself, but that for blasphemy against the
Holy Spirit there is no forgiveness, either in this age or in the age to
come. What is the reason of this? Is it because the Holy Spirit is of more
value than Christ that the sin against Him cannot be forgiven? May it not
rather be that all rational beings have part in Christ, and that forgiveness
is extended to them when they repent of their sins, while only those have
part in the Holy Spirit who have been found worthy of it, and that there
cannot well be any forgiveness for those who fall away to evil in spite
of such great and powerful cooperation, and who defeat the counsels of
the Spirit who is in them. When we find the Lord saying, as He does in
Isaiah, that He is sent by the Father and by His Spirit, we have to point
out here also that the Spirit is not originally superior to the Saviour,
but that the Saviour takes a lower place than He in order to carry out
the plan which has been made that the Son of God should become man. Should
any one stumble at our saying that the Saviour in becoming man was made
lower than the Holy Spirit, we ask him to consider the words used in the
Epistle to the Hebrews,27 where Jesus is shown by Paul to have been made
less than the angels on account of the suffering of death. "We behold Him,"
he says, "who hath been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because
of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." And this, too,
has doubtless to be added, that the creation, in order to be delivered
from the bondage of corruption, and not least of all the human race, required
the introduction into human nature of a happy and divine power, which should
set right what was wrong upon the earth, and that this action fell to the
share, as it were, of the Holy Spirit; but the Spirit, unable to support
such a task, puts forward the Saviour as the only one able to endure such
a conflict. The Father therefore, the principal, sends the Son, but the
Holy Spirit also sends Him and directs Him to go before, promising to descend,
when the thee comes, to the Son of God, and to work with Him for the salvation
of men. This He did. when, in a bodily shape like a dove, He flew to Him
after the baptism. He remained on Him, and did not pass Him by, as He might
have done with men not able continuously to bear His glory. Thus John,
when explaining how he knew who Christ was, spoke not only of the descent
of the Spirit on Jesus, but also of its remaining upon him. For it is written
that John said:28 "He who sent me to baptize said, On whomsoever thou shalt
see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth
with the Holy Spirit and with fire." It is not said only, "On whomsoever
thou shalt see the Spirit descending," for the Spirit no doubt descended
on others too, but "descending and abiding on Him." Our examination of
this point has been somewhat extended, since we were anxious to make it
clear that if all things were made by Him, then the Spirit also was made
through the Word, and is seen to be one of the "all things" which are inferior
to their Maker. This view is too firmly settled to be disturbed by a few
words which may be adduced to the opposite effect. If any one should lend
credence to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, where the Saviour Himself
says, "My mother, the Holy Spirit took me just now by one of my hairs and
carried me off to the great mount Tabor," he will have to face the difficulty
of explaining how the Holy Spirit can be the mother of Christ when it was
itself brought into existence through the Word. But neither the passage
nor this difficulty is hard to explain. For if he who does the will of
the Father in heaven29 is Christ's brother and sister and mother, and if
the name of brother of Christ may be applied, not only to the race of men,
but to beings of diviner rank than they, then there is nothing absurd in
the Holy Spirit's being His mother, every one being His mother who does
the will of the Father in heaven.
On the words, "All things were made by Him," there is still one point
to be examined. The "word" is, as a notion, from "life," and yet we read,
"What was made in the Word was life, and the life was the light of men."
Now as all things were made through Him, was the life made through Him,
which is the light of men, and the other notions under which the Saviour
is presented to us? Or must we take the "all things were made by Him" subject
to the exception of the things which are in Himself? The latter course
appears to be the preferable one. For supposing we should concede that
the life which is the light of men was made through Him, since it said
that the life "was made" the light of men, what are we to say about wisdom,
which is conceived as being prior to the Word? That, therefore, which is
about the Word (His relations or conditions) was not made by the Word,
and the result is that, with the exception of the notions under which Christ
is presented, all things were made through the Word of God, the Father
making them in wisdom. "In wisdom hast Thou made them all," it says,30
not through, but in wisdom.
7. Of Things Not Made Through the Logos.
Let us see, however, why the words are added, "And without Him was not
anything (Gr. even one thing) made." Some might think it superfluous to
add to the words "All things were made through Him," the phrase "Without
Him was not anything made." For if everything whatsoever was made through
the Logos, then nothing was made without Him. Yet it does not follow from
the proposition that without the Logos nothing was made, that all things
were made through the Logos. It is possible that though nothing was made
without the Logos, all things were made, not through the Logos only, but
some things by Him. We must, therefore, make ourselves sure in what sense
the "all things" is to be understood, and in what sense the "nothing."
For, without a clear preliminary definition of these terms, it might be
maintained that, if all things were made through the Logos, and evil is
a part of all things, then the whole matter of sin, and everything that
is wicked, that these also were made through the Logos. But this we must
regard as false. There is nothing absurd in thinking that creatures were
made through the Logos, and also that men's brave deeds have been done
through Him, and all the useful acts of those who are now in bliss; but
with the sins and misfortunes of men it is otherwise. Now some have held
that since evil is not based in the constitution of things-for it did not
exist at the beginning and at the end it will have ceased-that, therefore,
the evils of which we spoke are the Nothing; and as some of the Greeks
say that genera and forms, such as the (general) animal and the man, belong
to the category of Nothings, so it has been supposed that all that is not
of God is Nothing, and has not even obtained through the Word the subsistence
it appears to have. We ask whether it is possible to show from Scripture
in any convincing way that this is so. As for the meanings of the word
"Nothing" and "Not-being," they would appear to be synonymous, for Nothing
can be spoken of as Not-being, and the Not-being can be described as Nothing.
The Apostle, however, appears to count the things which are not, not among
those which have no existence whatever, but rather among things which are
evil. To him the Not-being is evil; "God," he says,31 "called the things
that are not as things that are." And Mardochaeus, too, in the Esther of
the Septuagint, calls the enemies of Israel "those that are not," saying,32
"Deliver not Thy sceptre, O Lord, to those that are not." We may also notice
how evil men, on account of their wickedness, are said not to be, from
the name ascribed to God in Exodus:33 "For the Lord said to Moses, I am,
that is My name." The good God says this with respect of us also who pray
that we may be part of His congregation. The Saviour praises him, saying,34
"None is good but one, God the Father." The good, then, is the same as
He who is. Over against good is evil or wickedness, and over against Him
who is that which is not, whence it follows that evil and wickedness are
that which is not. This, perhaps, is what has led some to affirm that the
devil is not created by God. In respect that he is the devil he is not
the work of God, but he who is the devil is a created being, and as there
is no other creator but our God, he is a work of God. It is as if we should
say that a murderer is not a work of God, while we may say that in respect
he is a man, God made him. His being as a man he received from God; we
do not assert that he received from God his being as a murderer. All, then,
who have part in Him who is, and the saints have part in Him, may properly
be called Beings; but those who have given up their part in the Being,
by depriving themselves of Being, have become Not-beings. But we said when
entering on this discussion, that Not-being and Nothing are synonymous,
and hence those who are not beings are Nothing, and all evil is nothing,
since it is Not-being, and thus since they are called Not-being came into
existence without the Logos, not being numbered among the all things which
were made through Him. Thus we have shown, so far as our powers admit,
what are the "all things" which were made through the Logos, and what came
into existence without Him, since at no time is it Being, and it is, therefore,
8. Heracleon's View that the Logos is Not the Agent of Creation.
It was, I consider, a violent and unwarranted procedure which was adopted
by Heracleon,35 the friend, as it is said, of Valentinus, in discussing
this sentence: "All things were made through Him." He excepted the whole
world and all that it contains, excluding, as far as his hypothesis goes,
from the "all things "what is best in the world and its contents. For he
says that the aeon (age), and the things in it, were not made by the Logos;
he considers them to have come into existence before the Logos. He deals
with the statement, "Without Him was nothing made," with some degree of
audacity, nor is he afraid of the warning:36 "Add not to His words, lest
He find thee out and thou prove a liar," for to the "Nothing" he adds:
"Of what is in the world and the creation." And as his statements on the
passage are obviously very much forced and in the face of the evidence,
for what he considers divine is excluded from the all, and what he regards
as purely evil is, that and nothing else, the all things, we need not waste
our time in rebutting what is, on the face of it, absurd, when, without
any warrant from Scripture, he adds to the words, "Without Him was nothing
made," the further words, "Of what is in the earth and the creation." In
this proposal, which has no inner probability to recommend it, he is asking
us, in fact, to trust him as we do the prophets, or the Apostles, who had
authority and were not responsible to men for the writings belonging to
man's salvation, which they handed to those about them and to those who
should come after. He had, also, a private interpretation of his own of
the words: "All things were made through Him," when he said that it was
the Logos who caused the demiurge to make the world, not, however, the
Logos from whom or by whom, but Him through whom, taking the written words
in a different sense from that of common parlance.37 For, if the truth
of the matter was as he considers, then the writer ought to have said that
all things were made through the demiurge by the Word, and not through
the Word by the demiurge. We accept the "through whom," as it is usually
understood, and have brought evidence in support of our interpretation,
while he not only puts forward a new rendering of his own, unsupported
by the divine Scripture, but appears even to scorn the truth and shamelessly
and openly oppose it. For he says: "It was not the Logos who made all things,
as under another who was the operating agent," taking the "through whom"
in this sense, "but another made them, the Logos Himself being the operating
agent." This is not a suitable occasion for the proof that it was not the
demiurge who became the servant of the Logos and made the world; but that
the Logos became the servant of the demiurge and formed the world. For,
according to the prophet David,38 "God spake and they came into being,
He commanded and they were created." For the unbegotten God commanded the
first-born of all creation,39 and they were created, not only the world
and what is therein, but also all other things, whether thrones or dominions
or principalities or powers, for all things were made through Him and unto
Him, and He is before all things."
9. That the Logos Present in Us is Not Responsible for Our Sins.
One point more on the words: "Without Him was not anything made." The
question about evil must receive adequate discussion; what was said of
it has not, it is true, a very likely appearance, and yet it appears to
me that it ought not to be simply overlooked. The question is whether evil,
also, was made through the Logos, taking the Logos, now be it well noted,
in the sense of that reason which is in every one, as thus brought into
being by the reason which was from the beginning. The Apostle says:40 "Without
the law sin was dead," and adds, "But when the commandment came sin revived,"
and so teaches generally about sin that it has no power before the law
and the commandment (but the Logos is, in a sense, law and commandment),
and there would be no sin were there no law, for,41 "sin is not imputed
where there is no law." And, again, there would be no sin but for the Logos,
for "if I had not come and spoken unto them," Christ says,42 "they had
not had sin." For every excuse is taken away from one who wants to make
excuse for his sin, if, though the Word is in him and shows him what he
ought to do, he does not obey it. It seems, them, that all things, the
worse things not excepted, were made by the Logos, and without Him, taking
the nothing here in its simpler sense, was nothing made. Nor must we blame
the Logos if all things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made,
any more than we blame the master who has showed the pupil his duty, when
the instruction has been such as to leave the pupil, should he sin, no
excuse or room to say that he erred through ignorance. This appears the
more plainly when we consider that master and pupil are inseparable. For
as master and pupil are correlatives, and belong together, so the Logos
is present in the nature of reasonable beings as such, always suggesting
what they ought to do, even should we pay no heed to his commands, but
devote ourselves to pleasure and allow his best counsels to pass by us
unregarded. As the eye is a servant given us for the best purposes, and
yet we use it to see things on which it is wrong for us to look, and as
we make a wrong use of our hearing when we spend our time in listening
to singing competitions and to other forbidden sounds, so we outrage the
Logos who is in us, and use Him otherwise than as we ought, when we make
Him assist in our transgressions. For He is present with those who sin,
for their condemnation, and He condemns the man who does not prefer Him
to everything else. Hence we find it written:43 "The word which I have
spoken unto you, the same shall judge you." That is as if He should say:
"I, the Word, who am always lifting up my voice in you, I, myself, will
judge you, and no refuge or excuse will then be left you." This interpretation.
however, may appear somewhat strained, as we have taken the Word in one
sense to be the Word in the beginning, who was with God, God the Word,
and have now taken it in another sense, speaking of it, not only in reference
to the principal works of creation, as in the words, "All things were made
through Him," but as related to all the acts of reasonable beings, this
last being the Logos (reason), without whose presence none of our sins
are committed. The question arises whether the Logos in us is to be pronounced
the same being as that which was in the beginning and was with God, God
the Word. The Apostle, certainly, does not appear to make the Logos in
us a different being from the Logos who was in the beginning with God.
"Say not in thine heart," he says,44 "who shall go up into heaven; that
is to bring Christ down, or who shall go down into the abyss; that is to
bring Christ up from the dead. But what saith the Scripture? The Logos
is very nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart."
10. "That Which Was Made Was Life in Him, and the Life Was the Light
of Men." This Involves the Paradox that What Does Not Derive Life from
the Logos Does Not Live at All.
The Greeks have certain apothegms, called paradoxes, in which the wisdom
of their sages is presented at its highest, and some proof. or what appears
to be proof, is given. Thus it is said that the wise man alone, and that
every wise man, is a priest, because the wise man aloha: and every wise
man possesses knowledge as to the service of God. Again, that the wise
man alone and that every wise man is free and has received from the divine
law authority to do what he himself is minded to do, and this authority
they call lawful power of decision. Why should we say more about these
so-called paradoxes? Much discussion is devoted to them, and they call
for a comparison of the sense of Scripture with the doctrine thus conveyed.
so that we may be in a position to determine where religious doctrine agrees
with them and where it differs from them. This has been suggested to us
by our study of the words, "That which was made was life in Him; "for it
appears possible to follow the words of Scripture here and to make out
a number of thing's which partake of the character of the paradoxes and
are even more paradoxical than these sentences of the Greeks. If we consider
the Logos in the beginning, who was with God, God the Word, we shall perhaps
be able to declare that only he who partakes of this being, considered
in this character, is to be pronounced reasonable ("logical"), and thus
we should demonstrate that the saint alone is reasonable. Again, if we
apprehend that life has come in the Logos, he, namely, who said, "I am
the life," then we shall say that no one is alive who is outside the faith
of Christ, that all are dead who are not living to God, that their life
is life to sin, and therefore, if I may so express myself, a life of death.
Consider however, whether the divine Scriptures do not in many places teach
this; as where the Saviour says,45 "Or have ye not read that which was
spoken at the bush, I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the
God of Jacob. He is not God of the dead but of the living." And46 "Before
Thee shall no living being be justified." But why need we speak about God
Himself or the Saviour? For it is disputed to which of them the voice belongs
which says in the prophets,47 "As I live, saith the Lord."
11. How No One is Righteous or Can Truly Be Said to Live in Comparison
First let us look at the words, "He is not the God of the dead but of
the living." That is equivalent to saying that He is not the God of sinners
but of saints. For it was a great gift to the Patriarchs that God in place
of His own name should add their name to His own designation as God, as
Paul says,48 "Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God." He
is the God, therefore, of the fathers and of all the saints; it might be
hard to find a passage to the effect that God is the God of any of the
wicked. If, then, He is the God of the saints, and is said to be the God
of the living, then the saints are the living and the living are saints;
neither is there any saint outside the living, nor when any one is called
living is the further implication absent that in addition to his having
life he is a holy one. Near akin to this is the lesson to be drawn from
the saying,49 "I shall be well pleasing to the Lord in the land of the
living." The good pleasure of tile Lord, he appears to say, is in the ranks
of the saints, or in the place of the saints, and it is there that he hopes
to be. No one pleases God well who has not entered the rank of the saints,
or the place of the saints; and to that place every one must come who has
assumed beforehand, as it were in this life, the shadow and image of true
God-pleasing. The passage which declares that before God no living being
shall be justified shows that in comparison with God and the righteousness
that is in Him none, even of the most finished saints, will be justified.
We might take a parable from another quarter and say that no candle can
give light before the sun, not that the candle will not give light, only
it will not when the sun out-shines it. In the same way every "living"
will be justified, only not before God, when it is compared with those
who are below and who are in the power of darkness. To them the light of
the saints will shine. Here, perhaps, we have the key to the meaning of
that verse:50 "Let your light shine before men." He does not say, Let your
light shine before God; had he said so he would have given a commandment
impossible of fulfilment, as if he had bidden those lights which have souls
to let their light shine before the sun. It is not only, therefore, the
ordinary mass of the living who will not be justified before God, but even
those among the living who are distinguished above the rest, or, to put
it more truly, the whole righteousness of the living will not be justified
before God, as compared with the righteousness of God, as if I were to
call together all the lights which shine on the earth by night, and to
say that they could not give light in comparison with the rays of the sun.
We rise from these considerations to a higher level when we take the words
before our minds, "I live, saith the Lord." Life, in the full sense of
the word, especially after what we have been saying on the subject, belongs
perhaps to God and none but Him. Is this the reason why the Apostle, after
speaking of the supreme excellency of the life of God and being led to
the highest expression about it, says about God (showing in this a true
understanding of that saying, "I live, saith the Lord"); "who only hath
immortality."51 No living being besides God has life free from change and
variation. Why should we be in further doubt? Even Christ did not share
the Father's immortality; for He "tasted death for every man."
12. Is the Saviour All that He Is, to All?
We have thus enquired as to the life of God, and the life which is Christ,
and the living who are in a place by themselves, and have seen how the
living are not justified before God, and we have noticed the cognate statement,
"Who alone hath immortality ." We may now take up the assumption which
may appear to be involved in this, namely, that whatever being is gifted
with reason does not possess blessedness as a part of its essence, or as
an inseparable part of its nature. For if blessedness and the highest life
were an inseparable characteristic of reasonable being, how could it be
truly said of God that He only has immortality? We should therefore remark,
that the Saviour is some things, not to Himself but to others, and some
things both to Himself and others, and we must enquire if there are some
things which He is to Himself and to no other. Clearly it is to others
that He is a Shepherd, not a shepherd like those among men who make gain
out of their occupation; unless the benefit conferred on the sheep might
be regarded, on account of His love to men, as a benefit to Himself also.
Similarly it is to others that He is the Way and the Door, and, as all
will admit, the Rod. To Himself and to others He is Wisdom and perhaps
also Reason (Loges). It may be asked whether, as He has in Himself a system
of speculations, inasmuch as He is wisdom, there are some of those speculations
which cannot be received by any nature that is begotten, but His own, and
which He knows for Himself only. Nor should the reverence we owe to the
Holy Spirit keep us from seeking to answer this question. For the Holy
Spirit Himself receives instruction, as is clear from what is said about
the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit,52 "He shall take of mine and shall declare
it to you." Does He, then, from these instructions, take in everything
that the Son, gazing at the Father from the first, Himself knows? That
would require further consideration. And if the Saviour is some things
to others, and some things it may be to Himself, and to no other, or to
one only, or to few, then we ask, in so far as He is the life which came
in the Loges, whether he is life to Himself and to others, or to others,
and if to others, to what others. And are life and the light of men the
same thing, for the text says, "That which was made was life in Him and
the life was the light of men." But the light of men is the light only
of some, not of all, rational creatures; the word "men" which is added
shows this. But He is the light of men, and so He is the life of those
whose light he is also. And inasmuch as He is life He may be called the
Saviour, not for Himself but to be life to others, whose light also He
is. And this life comes to the Logos and is inseparable from Him, once
it has come to Him. But the Loges, who cleanses the soul, must have been
in the soul first; it is after Him and the cleansing that proceeds from
Him, when all that is dead or weak in her has been taken away, that pure
life comes to every one who has made himself a fit dwelling for the Loges,
considered as God.
13. How the Life in the Logos Copies After the Beginning.
Here, we must carefully observe, we have two things which are one, and
we have to define the difference between them. First, what is before us
in The Word in the beginning, then what is implied in The Life in Word.
The Word was not made in the beginning; there was no time when the beginning
was devoid of the Word, and hence it is said, "In the beginning was the
Word." Of life, on the other hand, we read, not that it was as the Word,
but that it was made; if at least it he the case that the life is the light
of men. For when man was not yet, there was no light of men; for the light
of men is conceived only in relation to men. And let no one annoy us with
the objection that we have put this trader the category of time, though
it be the order of the things themselves, that make them first and second
and so on, and even though there should have been no time when the things
placed by the Loges third and fourth were not in existence. As, then, all
things were made by Him, not all things were by Him, and as without Him
was nothing made, not, without Him nothing was, so what was made in Him,
not what was in Him, was life. And, again, not what was made in the beginning
was the Word, but what was in the beginning was the Word. Some of the copies,
it is true, have a reading which is not devoid of probability, "What was
made is life in Him." But if life is the same thing as the light of men,
then no one who is in darkness is living, and none of the living is in
darkness; but every one who is alive is also in light, and every one who
is in light is living, so that not he only who is living, but every one
who is living, is a son of light; and he who is a son of light is he whose
work shines before men.
14. How the Natures of Men are Not So Fixed from the First, But that
They May Pass from Darkness to Light.
We have been discussing certain things which are opposite, and what
has been said of them may serve to suggest what has been omitted. We are
speaking of life and the light of men, and the opposite to life is death;
the opposite to the light of men, the darkness of men. It is therefore
plain that he who is in the darkness of men is in death, and that he who
works the works of death is nowhere but in darkness. But he who is mindful
of God, if we consider what it is to be mindful of Him, is not in death,
according to the saying,53 "In death there is no one who remembers Thee."
Are the darkness of men, and death, such as they are by nature? On this
point we have another passage,54 "We were once darkness, but now light
in the Lord," even if we be now in the fullest sense saints and spiritual
persons. Thus he who was once darkness has become, like Paul, capable of
being light in the Lord. Some consider that some natures are spiritual
from the first. such as those of Paul and the holy Apostles; but I scarcely
see how to reconcile with such a view, what the above text tells us, that
the spiritual person was once darkness and afterwards became light. For
if the spiritual was once darkness what can the earthy have been? But if
it is true that darkness became light, as in the text, how is it unreasonable
to suppose that all darkness is capable of becoming light? Had not Paul
said, "We were once in darkness, but now are we light in the Lord," and
thus implied of those whom they consider to be naturally lost, that they
were darkness, or are darkness still, the hypothesis about the different
natures might have been admissible. But Paul distinctly says that he had
once been darkness but was now light in the Lord, which implies the possibility
that darkness should turn into light. But he who perceives the possibility
of a change on each side for the better or for the worse, will not find
it hard to gain an insight into every darkness of men, or into that death
which consists in the darkness of men.
15. Heracleon's View that the Lord Brought Life Only to the Spiritual,
Refutation of This.
Heracleon adopts a somewhat violent course when he arrives at this passage,
"What was made in Him was life." Instead of the "In Him" of the text he
understands "to those men who are spiritual," as if he considered the Logos
and the spiritual to be identical, though this he does not plainly say;
and then he proceeds to give, as it were, an account of the origin of the
matter and says, "He (the Logos) provided them with their first form at
their birth, carrying further and making manifest what had been sown by
another,55 into form and into illumination and into an outline of its own."
He did not observe how Paul speaks of the spiritual,56 and how he refrains
from saying that they are men. "A natural man receiveth not the things
of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; but the spiritual
judgeth all things." We maintain that it was not without a meaning that
he did not add the word men to the word spiritual. Spiritual is something
better than man, for man receives his form either in soul, or in body,
or in both together, not in what is more divine than these, namely, in
spirit; and it is after he has come to have a prevailing share of this
that he is called "spiritual." Moreover, in bringing forward such a hypothesis
as this, he furnishes not even the pretence of a proof, and shows himself
unable to reach even a moderate degree of plausibility for his argument
on the subject. So much, then, for him.
16. The Life May Be the Light of Others Besides.
Let us suggest another question, namely, whether the life was the light
of men only, and not of every being as well that is in blessedness. For
if the life were the same thing as the light of men, and if the light of
Christ were for men alone, then the life also would be only for men. But
such a view is both foolish and impious, since the other Scriptures testify
against this interpretation and declare that, when we are somewhat more
advanced, we shall be equal to the angels.57 The question is to be solved
on the principle that when a predicate is applied to certain persons, it
is not to be at once taken to apply to them alone. Thus, when the light
of men is spoken of, it is not the light of men only; had that been the
meaning, a word would have been added to express it; the life, it would
have read, was the light of men only. For it is possible for the light
of men to be the light of others besides men, just as it is possible that
certain animals and certain plants may form the food of men, and that the
same animals and plants should be the food of other creatures too. That
is an example from common life; it is fitting that another analogy should
be adduced from the inspired books. Now the question here before us, is
why the light of men should not be the light of other creatures also, and
we have seen that to speak of the light of men by no means excludes the
possibility that the light may be that of other beings besides man, whether
inferior to him or like him, Now a name is given to God; He is said to
be the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. He, then, who infers from
the saying, "The life was the light of men," that the light is for no other
than for men, ought also to conclude that the God of Abraham and the God
of Isaac and the God of Jacob is the God of no one else but these three
patriarchs. But He is also the God of Elijah,58 and, as Judith says,59
of her father Simeon, and the God of the Hebrews. By analogy of reasoning,
then, if nothing prevents Him from being the God of others, nothing prevents
the light of men from being the light of others besides men.
17. The Higher Powers are Men; And Christ is Their Light Also.
Another, again, appeals to the text, "Let us make man according to our
image and likeness,60 " and maintains that whatever is made according to
God's image and likeness is man. To support this, numberless instances
are adduced to show that in Scripture "man "and "angel" are used indifferently,
and that the same subject is entitled both angel and man. This is true
of the three who were entertained by Abraham, and of the two who came to
Sodom; in the whole course of Scripture, persons are styled sometimes men,
sometimes angels. Those who hold this view will say that since persons
are styled angels who are manifestly men, as when Zechariah says,61 "The
messenger of the Lord, I am with you, saith the Lord Almighty," and as
it is written of John the Baptist,62 "Behold I send My messenger before
thy face," the angels (messengers) of God are so called on account of their
office, and are not here called men on account of their nature. It confirms
this view that the names applied to the higher powers are not those of
species of living beings, but those of the orders, assigned by God to this
and to that reasonable being. "Throne" is not a species of living being,
nor "dominion," nor "principality," nor "power"; these are names of the
businesses to which those clothed with the names have been appointed; the
subjects themselves are nothing but men, but the subject has come to be
a throne, or a dominion, or a principality, or a power. In Joshua, the
son of Nun, we read63 that in Jericho there appeared to Joshua a man who
said, "I am captain of the Lord's host, now am I come." The outcome of
this is that the light of men must be held to be the same as the light
of every being endowed with reason; for every reasonable being is man,
since it is according to the image and likeness of God. It is spoken of
in three different ways. "the light of men," and simply "the light," and
"the true light." It is the light of men either, as we showed before, because
there is nothing to prevent us from regarding it as the light of other
beings besides men, or because all beings endowed with reason are called
men because they are made in the image of God.
18. How God Also is Light, But in a Different Way; And How Life Came
The Saviour is here called simply light. But in the Catholic Epistle
of this same John64 we read that God is light. This, it has been maintained,
furnishes a proof that the Son is not in substance different from the Father.
Another student, however, looking into the matter more closely and with
a sounder judgment, will say that the light which shines in darkness and
is not overtaken by it, is not the same as the light in which there is
no darkness at all. The light which shines in darkness comes upon this
darkness, as it were, and is pursued by it, and, in spite of attempts made
upon it, is not overtaken. But the light in which there is no darkness
at all neither shines on darkness, nor is at first pursued by it, so as
to prove victor and to have it recorded that it was not overtaken by its
pursuer. The third designation was "the true light." But in proportion
as God, since He is the Father of truth, is more and greater than truth,
and since He is the Father of wisdom is greater and more excellent than
wisdom, in the same proportion He is more than the true light. We may learn,
perhaps, in a more suggestive manner, how the Father and the Son are two
lights, from David, who says in the thirty-fifth Psalm,65 "In Thy light
we shall see light." This same light of men which shines in darkness, the
true light, is called, further on in the Gospel, the light of the world;
Jesus says,66 "I am the light of the world." Nor must we omit to notice
that whereas the passage might very well have run, "That which was made
was in Him the light of men, and the light of men was life," he chose the
opposite order. He puts life before the light of men, even if life and
the light of men are the same thing; in thinking of those who have part
in life, though that life is also the light of men, we are to come first
to the fact that they are living the divine life spoken of before; then
we come to their enlightenment. For life must come first if the living
person is to be enlightened; it would not be a good arrange-meat to speak
of the illumination of one not yet conceived as living, and to make life
come after the illumination. For though "life" and "the light" of men are
the same thing, the notions are taken separately. This light of men is
also called, by Isaiah, "the light of the Gentiles," where he says,67 "Behold
I have set Thee for a covenant of the generation, for a light of the Gentiles;
"and David, placing his confidence in this light, says in the twenty-sixth
Psalm,68 "The Lord is my illumination and my Saviour; whom shall I fear?
19. The Life Here Spoken of is the Higher Life, that of Reason.
As for those who make up a mythology about the aeons and arrange them
in syzygies (yokes or pairs), and who consider the Logos and Life to have
been emitted by Intellect and Truth, it may not be beside the point to
state the following difficulties. How can life, in their system, the yokefellow
of the Word, derive his origin from his yokefellow? For "what was made
in Him," he says, evidently referring to the Word, mentioned immediately
before, "was life." Will they tell us how life, the yokefellow, as they
say, of the Word, came into being in the Word, and how life rather than
the Word is the light of men. It would be quite natural if men of reasonable
minds, who are perplexed with such questions and find the point we have
raised hard to dispose of, should turn round upon us and invite us to discuss
the reason why it is not the Word that is said to be the light of men,
but life which originated in the Word. To such an enquiry we shall reply
that the life here spoken of is not that which is common to rational beings
and to beings without reason, but that life which is added to us upon the
completion of reason in us, our share in that life, being derived from
the first reason (Logos). It is when we turn away from the life which is
life in appearance only, not in truth, and when we yearn to be filled with
the true life, that we are made partakers of it, and when it has arisen
in us it becomes the foundation of the light of the higher knowledge (gnosis).
With some it may be that this life is only potentially and not actually
light, with those who do not strive to search out the things of the higher
knowledge, while with others it is actually light. With these it clearly
is so who act on Paul's injunction, "Seek earnestly the best gifts; "and
among the greatest gifts is that which all are enjoined to seek, namely,
the word of wisdom, and it is followed by the word of knowledge. This wisdom
and this knowledge lie side by side; into the difference between them this
is not a fitting occasion to enquire.
20. Different Kinds of Light; And of Darkness.
"And69 the light shineth in darkness and the darkness hath not overtaken
it." We are still enquiring about the light of men, since it is what was
spoken of in the preceding verse, and also, I consider, about darkness,
which is named as its adversary, the darkness also being, if the definition
of it is correct, that of men. The light of men is a generic notion covering
two special things; and with the darkness of men it is the same. He who
has gained the light of men and shares its beams will do the work of light
and know in the higher sense, being illuminated by the light of the higher
knowledge. And we must recognize the analogous case of those on the other
side, and of their evil actions, and of that which is thought to be bat
is not really knowledge, since those who exercise it have the reason (Logos)
not of light but of darkness. And because the sacred word knows the things
which produce light, isaiah says:70 "Because Thy commandments are a light
upon the earth," and David says in the Psalm,71 "The precept of the Lord
is clear, enlightening the eyes." But since in addition to the commandments
and the precepts there is a light of higher knowledge, we read in one of
the twelve (prophets),72 "Sow to yourselves for righteousness, reap to
yourselves for the fruit of life, make light for yourselves the light of
knowledge." There is a further light of knowledge in addition to the commandments,
and so we read, "Make light for yourselves," not simply light, but what
light?-the light of knowledge. For if any light that a man kindles for
himself were a light of knowledge, then the added words, "Make light for
yourselves, the light of knowledge," would have no meaning. And again that
darkness is brought upon men by their evil deeds, we learn from John himself,
when he says in his epistle,73 "If we say that we have fellowship with
Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth," and again, "He
that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even
until now," and again, "He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and
walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because darkness
hath blinded his eyes." Walking in darkness signifies evil conduct, and
to hate one's brother, is not that to fall away from that which is properly
called knowledge? But he also who is ignorant of divine things walks in
darkness, just because of that ignorance; as David says,74 "They knew not,
they understood not, they walk in darkness." Consider, however, this passage,75
"God is light and in Him is no76 darkness," and see if the reason for this
saying is not that darkness is not one, being either two, because there
are two kinds of it, or many, because it is taken distributively, individually
with reference to the many evil actions and the many false doctrines; so
that there are many darknesses, not one of which is in God. The saying
of the Saviour could not be spoken of the Holy One, "Ye are the light of
the world; "for the Holy One is light of the world (absolute, not particular),
and there is not in Him any darkness.
21. Christ is Not, Like God, Quite Free from Darkness: Since He Bore
Now some one will ask how this statement that there is no darkness in
Him can be regarded as a thing peculiar to Him, when we consider that the
Saviour also was quite without sin. Could it not be said of Him also that
"He is light, and that there is no darkness in Him"? The difference between
the two cases has been partly set forth above. We will now, however, go
a step further than we did before, and add, that if God made Christ who
knew no sin to be sin for us,77 then it could not be said of Him that there
was no darkness in Him. For if Jesus was in the likeness78 of the flesh
of sin and for sin, and condemned sin by taking ripen Him the likeness
of the flesh of sin, then it cannot be said of Him, absolutely and directly,
that there was no darkness in Him. We may add that "He79 took our infirmities
and bare our sicknesses," both infirmities of the soul and sicknesses of
the hidden man of our heart. On account of these infirmities and sicknesses
which He bore away from us, He declares His soul to be sorrowful and sore
troubled,80 and He is said in Zechariah to have put on filthy garments,81
which, when He was about to take them off, are said to be sins. "Behold,
it is said, I have taken away thy sins." Because He had taken on Himself
the sins of the people of those who believed in Him, he uses many such
expressions as these: "Far from my salvation are the words of my transgressions,"82
and "Thou knowest my foolishness, and my sins were not hid from Thee."83
And let no one suppose that we say this from any lack of piety towards
the Christ of God; for as the Father alone has immortality and our Lord
took upon Himself. for His love to men, the death He died for us, so to
the Father alone the words apply, "In Him is no darkness," since Christ
took upon Himself, for His goodwill towards men, our darknesses. This He
did, that by His power He might destroy our death and remove the darkness
which is in our soul, so that the saying in Isaiah might be fulfilled,84
"The people that sat in darkness saw a great light." This light, which
came into being in the Logos, and is also life, shines in the darkness
of our souls, and it has come where the rulers of this darkness carry on
their struggle with the race of men and strive to subdue to darkness those
who do not stand firm with all their power; that they might be enlightened
the light has come so far, and that they might be called sons of light.
And shining in darkness this light is pursued by the darkness, but not
22. How the Darkness Failed to Overtake the Light.
Should any one consider that we are adding something that is not written,
namely, the pursuit of the light by the darkness, let him reflect that
unless the darkness had pursued the light the words, "The darkness did
not overtake it," would have no meaning. John writes for those who have
wit to see what is omitted and to supply it as the context requires, and
so he wrote, "The darkness did not overtake it." If it did not overtake
it, it must first have pursued it, and that the darkness did pursue the
light is clear from what the Saviour suffered, and those also who received
His teachings, His own children, when darkness was doing what it could
against the sons of light and was minded to drive light away from men.
But since, if God be for us,85 no one, however that way minded, can be
against us, the more they humbled themselves the more they grew, and they
prevailed exceedingly. In two ways the darkness did not overtake the light.
Either it was left far behind and was itself so slow, while the light was
in its course so sharp and swift, that it was not even able to keep following
it, or if the light sought to lay a snare for the darkness, and waited
for it in pursuance of the plan it had formed, then darkness, coming near
the light, was brought to an end. In either case the darkness did not overtake
23. There is a Divine Darkness Which is Not Evil, and Which Ultimately
In connection with this subject it is necessary for us to point out
that darkness is not to be understood, every time it is mentioned, in a
bad sense; Scripture speaks of it sometimes in a good sense. The heterodox
have failed to observe this distinction, and have accordingly adopted most
shameful doctrines about the Maker of the world, and have indeed revolted
from Him, and addicted themselves to fictions and myths. We must, therefore,
show how and when the name of darkness is taken in a good sense. Darkness
and clouds and tempest are said in Exodus86 to be round about God, and
in the seventeenth Psalm,87 "He made darkness His secret place, His tent
round about Him, dark water in clouds of the air." Indeed, if one considers
the multitude of speculation and knowledge about God, beyond the power
of human nature to take in, beyond the power, perhaps, of all originated
beings except Christ and the Holy Spirit, then one may know how God is
surrounded with darkness, because the discourse is hid in ignorance which
would be required to tell in what darkness He has made His hiding-place
when He arranged that the things concerning Him should be unknown and beyond
the grasp of knowledge. Should any one be staggered by these expositions,
he may be reconciled to them both by the "dark sayings" and by the "treasures
of darkness," hidden, invisible, which are given to Christ by God. In nowise
different, I consider, are the treasures of darkness which are hid in Christ,
from what is spoken of in the text, "God made darkness His secret place,"
and (the saint) "shall understand parable and dark saying."88 And consider
if we have here the reason of the Saviour's saying to His disciples, "What
ye have heard in darkness, speak ye in the light." The mysteries committed
to them in secret and where few could hear, hard to be known and obscure,
He bids them, when enlightened and therefore said to be in the light, to
make known to every one who is made light. I might add a still stranger
feature of this darkness which is praised, namely, that it hastens to the
light and overtakes it, and so at last, after having been unknown as darkness,
undergoes for him who does not see its power such a change that he comes
to know it and to declare that what was formerly known to him as darkness
has now become light.
24. John the Baptist Was Sent. From Where? His Soul Was Sent from a
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."89 He who is sent
is sent from somewhere to somewhere; and the careful student will, therefore,
enquire from what quarter John was sent, and whither. The "whither" is
quite plain on the face of the story; he was sent to Israel, and to those
who were willing to hear him when he was staying in the wilderness of Judaea
and baptizing by the banks of the Jordan. According to the deeper sense,
however, he was sent into the world, the world being understood as this
earthly place where men are; and the careful student will have this in
view in enquiring from where John was sent. Examining the words more closely,
he will perhaps declare that as it is written of Adam,90 "And the Lord
sent him forth out of the Paradise of pleasure to till the earth, out of
which he was taken," so also John was sent, either from heaven or from
Paradise, or from some other quarter to this place on the earth. He was
sent that he might bear witness of the light. There is, however, an objection
to this interpretation, which is not to be lightly dismissed. It is written
in Isaiah:91 "Whom shall I send, and who will go to the people? "The prophet
answers: "Here am I,-send me." He, then, who objects to that rendering
of our passage which appears to be the deeper may say that Isaiah was sent
not to this world from another place, but after having seen "the Lord sitting
on a throne high and lifted up," was sent to the people, to say, "Hearing,
ye shall hear and shall not understand," and so on; and that in the same
manner John, the beginning of his mission not being narrated, is sent after
the analogy of the mission of Isaiah, to baptize,92 and to make ready for
the Lord a people prepared for Him, and to bear witness of the light. So
much we have said of the first sense; and now we adduce certain solutions
which help to confirm the deeper meaning about John. In the same passage
it is added, "He came for witness, to bear witness of the light." Now,
if he came, where did he come from? To those who find it difficult to follow
us, we point to what John says afterwards of having seen the Holy Spirit
as a dove descending on the Saviour. "He that sent me," he says,93 "to
baptize with water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shall see the
Holy Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth
with the Holy Spirit and with fire." When did He send him and give him
this injunction? The answer to titlE question will probably be that when
He sent him to begin to baptize, then He who was dealing with him uttered
this word. But a more convincing argument for the view that John was sent
from another region when he entered into the body, the one object of his
entry into this life being that he should bear witness of the truth, may
be drawn from the narrative of his birth. Gabriel, when announcing to Zacharias
the birth of John, and to Mary the advent of our Saviour among men, says:94
That John is to be "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's
womb." And we have also the saying, "For behold, when the voice of thy
salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." He
who sedulously guards himself in his dealings with Scripture against forced,
or casual, or capricious procedure, must necessarily assume that John's
soul was older than his body, and subsisted by itself before it was sent
on the ministry of the witness of the light. Nor must we overlook the text,
"This is Elijah which is to come."95 For if that general doctrine of the
soul is to be received, namely, that it is not sown at the same time with
the body, but is before it, and is then, for various causes, clothed with
flesh and blood; then the words "sent from God" will not appear to be applicable
to John alone. The most evil of all, the man of sin, the son of perdition,
is said by Paul to be sent by God:96 "God sendeth them a working of error
that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who believed
not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." But our present question
may, perhaps, be solved in this way, that as every man is a man of God,
simply because God created him, but not every man is called a man of God,
but only he who has devoted himself to God, such as Elijah and those who
are called men of God in the Scriptures, thus every man might be said in
ordinary language to be sent from God, but in the absolute sense no one
is to be spoken of in this way who has not entered this life for a divine
ministry and in the service of the salvation of mankind. We do not find
it said of any one but the saints that he is sent by God. It is said of
Isaiah as we showed before; it is also said of Jeremiah, "To whomsoever
I shall send thee thou shalt go";97 and it is said of Ezekiel,98 "I send
thee to nations that are rebellious and have not believed in Me." The examples,
however, do not expressly speak era mission from the region outside life
into life, and as it is a mission into life that we are enquiring about,
they may seem to have little bearing on our subject. But there is nothing
absurd in our transferring the argument derived from them to our question.
They tell us that it is only the saints, and we were speaking of them,
whom God is said to send, and in this sense they may be applied to the
case of those who are sent into this life.
25. Argument from the Prayer of Joseph, to Show that the Baptist May
Have Been an Angel Who Became a Man.
As we are now engaged with what is said of John, and are asking about
his mission, I may take the opportunity to state the view which I entertain
about him. We have read this prophecy about him, "Behold, I send My messenger
(angel) before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee; "and at
this we ask if it can be one of the holy angels who is sent down on this
ministry as forerunner of our Saviour. No wonder if, when the first-born
of all creation was assuming a human body, some of them should have been
filled with love to man and become admirers and followers of Christ, and
thought it good to minister to his kindness towards man by having a body
like that of men. And who would not be moved at the thought of his leaping
for joy when yet in the belly, surpassing as he did the common nature of
man? Should the piece; entitled "The prayer of Joseph," one of the apocryphal
works current among the Hebrews, be thought worthy of credence, this dogma
will be found in it clearly expressed. Those at the beginning, it is represented,
having some marked distinction beyond men, and being much greater than
other souls, because they were angels, they have come down to human nature.
Thus Jacob says: "I, Jacob, who speak to you, arid Israel, I am an angel
of God, a ruling spirit, and Abraham and Isaac were created before every
work of God; and I am Jacob, called Jacob by men, but my name is Israel,
called Israel by God, a man seeing God, because I am the first-born of
every creature which God caused to live." And he adds: "When I was coming
from Mesopotamia of Syria, Uriel, the angel of God, came forth, and said,
I have come down to the earth and made my dwelling among men, and I am
called Jacob by name. He was wroth with me and fought with me and wrestled
against me, saying that his name and the name of Him who is before every
angel should be before my name. And I told him his name and how great he
was among the sons of God; Art not thou Uriel my eighth, and I am Israel
and archangel of the power of the Lord and a chief captain among the sons
of God? Am not I Israel, the first minister in the sight of God, and I
invoked my God by the inextinguishable name? "It is likely that this was
really said by Jacob, and was therefore written down, and that there is
also a deeper meaning in what we are told, "He supplanted his brother in
the womb." Consider whether the celebrated question about Jacob and Esau
has a solution. We read,99 "The children being not yet born, neither having
done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, not of works but of him that calleth, it was said, "The elder
shall serve the younger." Even as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau
I hated." What shall we say, then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God
forbid." If, then, when they were not yet born, and had not done any-thing
either good or evil, in order that God's purpose according to election
might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, if at such a period
this was said, how if we do not go back to the works done before this life,
can it be said that there is no unrighteousness with God when the elder
serves the younger and is hated (by God) before he has done anything worthy
of slavery or of hatred? We have made something of a digression in introducing
this story about Jacob and appealing to a writing which we cannot well
treat with contempt; but it certainly adds weight to our argument about
John, to the effect that as Isaiah's voice declares100 he is an angel who
assumed a body for the sake of bearing witness to the light. So much about
John considered as a man.
26. John is Voice, Jesus is Speech. Relation of These Two to Each Other.
Now we know voice and speech to be different things. The voice can be
produced without any meaning and with no speech in it, and similarly speech
can be reported to the mind without voice, as when we make mental excursions,
within ourselves. And thus the Saviour is, in one view of Him, speech,
and John differs from Him; for as the Saviour is speech, John is voice.
John himself invites me to take this view of him, for to those who asked
who he was, he answered, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Prepare the way of the Lord! make His paths straight!" This explains, perhaps,
how it was that Zacharias lost his voice at the birth of the voice which
points out the Word of God, and only recovered it when the voice, forerunner
of the Word, was born. A voice must be perceived with the ears if the mind
is afterwards to receive the speech which the voice indicates. Hence, John
is, in point of his birth, a little older than Christ, for our voice comes
to us before our speech. But John also points to Christ; for speech is
brought forward by the voice. And Christ is baptized by John, though John
declares himself to have need to be baptized by Christ; for with men speech
is purified by voice, though the natural way is that speech should purify
the voice which indicates it. In a word, when John points out Christ, it
is man pointing out God, the Saviour incorporeal, the voice pointing out
27. Significance of the Names of John and of His Parents.
The force that is in names may be applied in many matters, and it may
be worth our while to ask at this point what is the significance of the
names John and Zacharias. The relatives wish, as the giving of a name is
a thing not to be lightly disposed of, to call the child Zacharias, and
are surprised that Elisabeth should want him to be called John. Zacharias
then writes, "His name is John," and is at once freed from his troublesome
silence. On examining the names, then, we find "Joannes "to be "Joa" without
the "nes." The New Testament gives Hebrew names a Greek form and treats
them as Greek words; Jacob is changed into Jacobus, Symeon into Simon,
and Joannes is the same as Joa. Zacharias is said to be memory, add Elisabeth
"oath of my God," or "strength of my God." John then came into the world
from grace of God (=Joa=Joannes), and his parents were Memory (about God)
and the Oath of our God, about the fathers. Thus was he born to make ready
for the Lord a people fit for Him, at the end of the Covenant now grown
old, which is the end of the Sabbatic period. Hence it is not possible
that the rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the
seventh of our God; on the contrary, it is our Saviour who, after the pattern
of His own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of His death, and
hence also of His resurrection.101
28. The Prophets Bore Witness to Christ and Foretold Many Things Concerning
"He came for a witness that He might bear witness of the light, that
all through Him might believe."102 Some of the dissenters from the Church's
doctrine, men who profess to believe in Christ, have desired another being,
as indeed their system requires, besides the Creator, and hence cannot
allow His coming to the world to have been foretold by the prophets.103
They therefore endeavour to get rid of the testimonies of the prophets
about Christ, and say that the Son of God has no need of witnesses, but
that He brings with Him His own evidence, partly in the sound words full
of power which He proclaimed and partly in the wonderful works He did,
which were sufficient at once to convince any one whatever. Then they say:
If Moses is believed on account of his word and his works, and has no need
of any witnesses to announce him beforehand, and if the prophets were received,
every one of them, by these people, as messengers from God, how should
not one who is much greater than Moses and the prophets accomplish His
mission and benefit the human race, without prophets to bear witness about
Him? They regard it as superfluous that He should have been foretold by
the prophets, since the prophets were concerned, as these opponents would
say, that those who believed in Christ should not receive Him as a new
God, and therefore did what they could to bring them to that same God whom
Moses and the prophets taught before Jesus. To this we must say that as
there are many causes which may lead men to believe, since men who are
not moved by one argument may be by another, so God is able to provide
for men a number of occasions, any of which may cause their minds to open
to the truth that God, who is over all, has taken on Himself human nature.
It is manifest to all, how some are brought by the prophetic writings to
the admiration of Christ. They are astounded at the voices of so many prophets
before Him, which establish the place of His birth, the country of His
upbringing, the power of His teaching, His working of wonderful works,
and His human passion brought to a close by His resurrection. We must notice,
too, that Christ's stupendous acts of power were able to bring to the faith
those of Christ's own time, but that they lost their demonstrative force
with the lapse of years and began to be regarded as mythical. Greater evidential
value than that of the miracles then performed attaches to the comparison
which we now make between these miracles and the prophecy of them; this
makes it impossible for the student to cast any doubt on the former. The
prophetic testimonies do not declare merely the advent of the Messiah;
it is by no means the case that they teach this and nothing else. They
teach a great deal of theology. The relation of the Father to the Son and
of the Son to the Father may be learned not less from what the prophets
announce about Christ, than from the Apostles narrating the splendours
of the Son of God. A parallel case, which we may venture to adduce, is
that of the martyrs, who were honoured by the witness they bore Him, and
by no means conferred any favour on Him by their witnessing for the Son
of God. And how is it if, as many of Christ's true disciples were honoured
by having thus to witness for Him, so the prophets received from God as
their special gift that of understanding about Christ and announcing Him
before, and that they taught not only those living after Christ's advent
how they should regard the Son of God, but those also who lived in the
generations before Him? As he who in these times does not know the Son
has not the Father either,104 so also we are to understand it was in these
earlier times. Hence "Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and he
saw it and was glad."105 He, therefore, who declares that they are not
to testify about Christ is seeking to deprive the chorus of the prophets
of the greatest gift they have; for what office of equal importance would
be left to prophecy, inspired as it is by the Holy Spirit, if all connection
with the economy of our Lord and Master were taken away from it? For as
these have their faith well ordered who approach the God of the universe
through Mediator and High-Priest and Paraclete, and as his religion is
a halting one who does not go in through the door to the Father, so also
in the case of men of old time. Their religion was sanctified and made
acceptable to God by their knowledge and faith and expectation of Christ.
For we have observed that God declares Himself to be a witness and exhorts
them all to declare the same about Christ, and to be imitators of Him,
bearing witness of Him to all who require it. For he says,106 "Be witnesses
for Me, and I am witness, saith the Lord God, and My servant whom I have
chosen." Now every one who bears witness to the truth, whether he support
it by words or deeds, or in whatever way, may properly be called a witness
(martyr); but it has come to be the custom of the brotherhood, since they
are struck with admiration of those who have contended to the death for
truth and valour, to keep the name of martyr more properly for those who
have borne witness to the mystery of godliness by shedding their blood
for it. The Saviour gives the name of martyr to every one who bears witness
to the truth He declares; thus at the Ascension He says to His disciples:107
"You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judaea and in Samaria and
unto the uttermost parts of the earth." The leper who was cleansed108 had
still to bring the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony to those
who did not believe in the Christ. In the same way the martyrs bear witness
for a testimony to the unbelieving, and so do all the saints whose deeds
shine before men. They spend their life rejoicing in the cross of Christ
and bearing witness to the true light.
29. The Six Testimonies of the Baptist Enumerated. Jesus' "Come and
See." Significance of the Tenth Hour.
Accordingly John came to bear witness of the light, and in his witness-bearing
he cried, saying,109 "He that cometh after me exists before me; for He
was before me; for of His fulness we have all received and grace for grace,
for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus
Christ. No one hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten God, who is
in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." This whole speech is
from the mouth of the Baptist bearing witness to the Christ. Some take
it otherwise, and consider that the words from "for of His fulness" to
"He hath declared Him" are from the writer, John the Apostle. The true
state of the case is that John's first testimony begins, as we said before,
"He that cometh after me," and ends, "He hath declared Him," and his second
testimony is that spoken to the priests and levites sent from Jerusalem,
whom the Jews had sent. To them he confesses and does not deny the truth,
namely, that he is not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet, but "the
voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord,
as saith Isaiah the prophet."110 After this there is another testimony
of the same Baptist to Christ, still teaching His superior nature, which
goes forth into the whole world and enters into reasonable souls. He says,111
"There standeth One among you whom you know not, even He that cometh after
me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose." Consider if,
since the heart is in the middle of the whole body, and the ruling principle
in the heart, the saying, "There standeth One among you whom you know not,"
can be understood of112 the reason which is in every man. John's fourth
testimony of Christ after these points to His human sufferings. He says,113
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is
He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who exists before me, for He was
before me. And I knew Him not, but that He should be made manifest to Israel,
therefore am I come baptizing with water." And the fifth testimony is recorded
in the words,114 "I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven,
and it abode upon Him, and I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize
with water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shall see the Spirit
descending and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the
Holy Spirit. And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of
God." In the sixth place John witnesses of Christ to the two disciples:115
"He looked on Jesus as He walked and saith, Behold the Lamb of God.': After
this testimony the two disciples who heard it followed Jesus; and Jesus
turned and beheld them following, and saith unto them, "What seek ye? "Perhaps
it is not without significance that after six testimonies John ceases from
his witness-bearing and Jesus brings forward in the seventh place His "What
seek ye? "Very becoming in those who have been helped by John's testimony
is the speech in which they address Christ as their Master, and declare
their wish to see the dwelling of the Son of God; for they say to Him,
"Rabbi," which answers to "Master," in our language, "where dwellest Thou?
"And since every one that seeketh findeth, when John's disciples seek Jesus'
dwelling, Jesus shows it to them, saying, "Come and see." By the word "Come"
He exhorts them perhaps to the practical part of life, while the "see"
is to suggest to them that that speculation which comes in the train of
right conduct will be vouchsafed to those who desire it; in Jesus' dwelling
they will have it. After they had asked where Jesus dwells, and had followed
the Master and had seen, they desired to stay with Him and to spend that
day with the Son of God. Now the number ten is a sacred one, not a few
mysteries being indicated by it; and so we are to understand that the mention
of the tenth hour as that at which these disciples turned in with Jesus,
is not without significance. Of these disciples, Andrew, the brother of
Simon Peter, is one; and he having profited by this day with Jesus and
having found his own brother Simon (perhaps he had not found him before),
told him that he had found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, Christ.
It is written that "he that seeketh findeth." Now he had sought where Jesus
dwelt, and had followed Him and looked upon His dwelling; he stays with
the Lord "at the tenth hour," and finds the Son of God, the Word, and Wisdom,
and is ruled by Him as King. That is why he says, "We have found the Messiah,"
and this a thing which every one can say who has found this Word of God
and is ruled as by a king, by His Divinity. As a fruit he at once brings
his brother to Christ, and Christ deigned to look upon Simon, that is to
say, by looking at him to visit and enlighten his ruling principle; and
Simon by Jesus' looking at him was enabled to grow strong, so as to earn
a new name from that work of firmness and strength, and to be called Peter,
30. How John Was a Witness of Christ, and Specially of "The Light."
It may be asked why we should have gone through all this when the verse
before us is, "He came for wireless, that he might bear witness of the
light." But it was necessary to give John's testimonies to the light, and
to show the order in which they took place, and also, in order to show
how effective John's testimony proved, to set forth the help it afforded
afterwards to those to whom he bore it. But before all these testimonies
there was an earlier one when the Baptist leaped in the womb of Elisabeth
at the greeting of Mary. That was a testimony to Christ and attested His
divine conception and birth. And what more need I say? John is everywhere
a witness and forerunner of Christ. He anticipates His birth and dies a
little before the death of the Son of God, and thus witnesses not only
for those at the time of the birth, but to those who were expecting the
freedom which was to come for man through the death of Christ. Thus, in
all his life, he is a little before Christ, and everywhere makes ready
for the Lord a people prepared for Him. And John's testimony precedes also
the second and diviner coming of Christ, for we read,116 "If ye will receive
it, this is Elijah which is to come. He that hath ears to hear let him
hear." Now, there was a beginning, in which the Word was,-and we saw from
Proverbs that that beginning was wisdom.-and the Word was in existence,
and in the Word life was made, and the life was the light of men; and all
this being so, I ask why the man who came, sent from God, whose name was
John, why he came for witness to bear witness especially of the light?
Why did he not come to bear witness of the life, or of the Word, or about
the beginning. or about any other of the many aspects in which Christ appears?
Consider here the texts, "The people which sat in darkness saw a great
light," and "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness overtook it
not," and consider how those who are in darkness, that is, men, have need
of light. For if the light of men shines in darkness, and there is no active
power in darkness to attain to it, then we must partake of other aspects
of Christ; at present we have no real share of Him at all. For what share
have we of life, we who are still in the body of death, and whose life
is hid with Christ in God?117 "For when Christ who is our life shall appear,
then shall we also appear with Him in glory." It was not possible, therefore,
that he who came should bear witness about a life which is still hid with
Christ in God. Nor did he come for witness to bear witness of the Word,
for we know the Word who was in the beginning with God and who is God the
Word; for the Word was made flesh on the earth. And though the witness
had been, at least apparently, about the Word, it would in fact have been
about the Word made flesh and not about the word of God. He did not come,
therefore, to bear witness of the Word. And how could there be any witness-bearing
about wisdom, to those who, even if they appear to know something, cannot
understand pure truth, but behold it through a glass and in an enigma?
It is likely, however, that before the second and diviner advent of Christ,
John or Elias will come to bear witness about life a little before Christ
our life is made manifest, and that then they will bear witness about the
Word, and offer also their testimony about wisdom. Some inquiry is necessary
whether a testimony such as that of John is to precede each of the aspects
of Christ. So much for the words, "He came for witness, to bear witness
of the light." What we are to understand by the further words, "That all
might believe through Him," may be considered later.
1 Hos. i. 1.
2 Isa. ii. 1.
3 Jer. xiv. 1.
4 Matt. xi. 19.
5 Rom. xi. 33.
6 Omitting to, with Jacobi.
7 John xvii. 3.
8 Ps. l. 1.
9 Deut. iv. 19, quoted apparently from memory.
10 Apoc. xix. 11-16.
11 In the Greek the article is here omitted.
12 Reading parekdecasqai with Huet.
13 Philipp. iii. 20.
14 Deut. xxxii. 4.
15 Lam. iv. 20.
16 Ps. cxliii. 2.
17 Omitting legesqai, with Jacobi.
18 2 Thess. ii. 8.
19 1 Cor. iii. 19.
20 see R. V. Margin, John i. 3.
21 Rom. i. 1-5.
22 i. 1,2.
23 Matt. xii. 32.
24 Reading pro pautwn, with Jacobi.
25 1 Cor. xii. 4-6.
26 Isa. xlviii. 16.
27 ii, 9.
28 John i. 32.
29 Matt. xii. 50.
30 Ps. civ. 24.
31 Rom. iv. 17.
32 Esth. iv. 22.
33 Exod. iii. 14, 15.
34 Mark x. 18.
35 On the fragments of Heracleon in this work of Origen,
see Texts and Studies, vol. i, part iv. by A. E. Brooke, M.A.
36 Prov. xxx, 6.
37 Accepting Jacobi's and Brook's correction para thn.
38 Ps. cxlviii. 5.
39 Coloss. i. 15, 16.
40 Rom. vii. 8, 9.
41 Rom. v. 13.
42 John xv. 22.
43 John xii. 48.
44 Rom x. 6-8.
45 Mark xii. 26.
46 Ps. cxliii. 2.
47 Numb xiv. 28.
48 Heb. xi. 16.
49 Ps. cxvi. 9.
50 Matt. v. 16.
51 1 Tim. iv. 16.
52 John xvi. 14, 15.
53 Ps. vi. 6.
54 Ephes. v. 8.
55 The demiurge.
56 1 Cor. ii. 14, 15.
57 Matt. xxii. 30.
58 2 Kings ii. 14.
59 Judith ix. 2.
60 Gen. i. 26.
61 Zechar i ; Hagg. i. 13.
62 Mal. iii. 1; Mark i. 2.
63 v. 13, 14.
64 i. 5.
65 Ps. xxxvi. 10. 4 viii. 12.
66 viii. 12.
67 Isa. xlii. 6.
68 Ps. xxvii. 1.
69 i. 5.
70 xxvi. 9.
71 xix. 9.
72 Hosea x. 12.
73 1 John i. 6; ii. 9. 11.
74 Ps. lxxxii. 5.
75 1 John i. 5.
76 oudemia, not one.
77 2 Cor. v. 21.
78 Rom. viii, 3.
79 Matt. viii. 17.
80 Matt. xxvi. 38.
81 Zech. iii. 4.
82 Ps. xxii. 1.
83 Ps. lxix. 5.
84 ix. 2.
85 Rom. viii. 31.
86 xix. 9. 16.
87 Ps. xviii. 11.
88 Prov. i. 6.
89 John i. 6.
90 Gen. iii. 23
91 vi. 1, 9.
92 Luke i. 17.
93 John i. 33.
94 Luke i. 13, 15.
95 Matt. xi. 14.
96 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12.
97 Jer. i. 7.
98 Ezek. ii. 3.
99 Rom. ix. 11-14
100 Isa. xl. 3.
101 Origen appears to be pointing to the fact that the
Christian rest which is connected in its origin with the resurrection of
Christ is not held as the Jewish Sabbath rest on the seventh but on the
first day of the week. John marking the end of the old period is the son
of Elisabeth the oath, or seventh, of God, and is thus connected with the
seventh day; but not so Jesus.
102 John i, 7.
103 The Old Testament belongs to the Creator, the Demiurge.
104 1 John ii. 23.
105 John viii. 56.
106 Isa. xliii. 10.
107 Acts i. 8.
108 Matt. viii. 4.
109 i. 7, 15-18.
110 i. 23.
111 i. 26
112 Reading kata for kai.
113 i. 29-31.
114 i. 32-34.
115 i. 35-38.
116 Matt. xi. 14, 15.
117 Coloss. iii. 3,