Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to
desolation, and house upon house shall fall.
The cause of this saying was because our Lord was accused of casting
out devils by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils; so that He
might show that His own kingdom is one and everlasting. And rightly
did He also answer Pilate: My kingdom is not of this world (Jn.
xviii. 36). And so He tells them that those who do not place their
trust in Christ, and who believe that He casts out devils through the power
of the prince of the devils, do not belong to His eternal kingdom.
And this refers to the Jewish people who, in afflictions of this kind,
seek the help of the devil to cast out the devil.
For how can a kingdom remain undivided when its faith is destroyed?
For, since the Jewish people is subject to the Law, and Christ also as
man was born under the Law, how can the kingdom of the Jews, which derives
from the Law, endure when this same people divided the law into parts;
when Christ Who was promised under the Law was rejected by the people of
the law? So in part the faith of the Jewish people turns against itself,
and so turning becomes divided, and by being divided it is brought to nothing.
And therefore the kingdom of the Church shall endure for ever; for being
one faith, it is one body: For there is One Lord, one faith, one baptism;
One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us
all (Eph. iv. 5, 6).
How great the foolishness of the impious belief, that though the Son
of God had taken flesh to crush the unclean spirits, and take away the
armour of the prince of this world, and had also given power to men to
destroy the spirits of evil, distributing his spoils in sign of triumph,
some should seek the help and protection of the power of the devil; since
it is by the Finger of God, or as Matthew says, by the Spirit
of God that devils are cast out? (Mt. xii. 28). From this we
are to understand that His kingdom is as it were the inseparable Body of
the Divinity; since Christ is the right hand of God, and the Spirit,
under the figure of a finger, seems to express to us the notion of the
Oneness Being of the Divinity.
Since His Body is One, shall His kingdom not seem to be one? For, as
you have read, in him dwelleth all the fulness of the divinity corporally
(Col. ii. 9). And what you may not deny of the Father you ought
not deny of the Spirit. Nor should a certain part appear as the instrument
of power, because of this comparison with our members; for there is no
division of an indivisible thing, and because of this the use of the term
finger is to be referred to the reality of their unity, not to a division
of power. For the Right Hand of God also says: I and the Father
are one (Jn. x. 30). Yet though divinity is undivided, the person
is distinct and separate.
When however the Spirit is called Finger operative power is signified;
for the Holy Spirit, equally with the Father and the Son, is the holy Operator
of the divine works. For David says: I will behold thy heavens,
the work of thy fingers (Ps. viii. 4). And in the thirty-second
psalm: And all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth.
And Paul says: But all these things one and the same spirit worketh,
dividing to everyone according as he will (I Cor. xii. 11). And
when He says:
But if I by the finger cast Out devils; doubtless the kingdom of
God is come upon you, saying this He shows that there is a certain
royal dominion of the Holy Spirit, which is the Kingdom of God. We
in whom the Spirit abides have also within us a royal dwelling. So
on a later occasion He says: The kingdom of God is within you (Lk.
xvii. 21). We must therefore consider the Holy Spirit as being an
equal sharer of the Divinity, and of the Divine Power, and of the Divine
Majesty; because the Lord is a Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord
is there is liberty (II Cor. iii. 17.)
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through
places without water, seeking rest, and not finding. It cannot
be doubted that this was said of the Jewish People, whom in the preceding
words the Lord severed from His Kingdom. And from this we are to
understand that heretics and schismatics are also severed from the Kingdom
of God, and from the Church. And so He makes it clearly evident that
every assembly of heretics and schismatics belongs, not to God, but to
the unclean spirit. Accordingly, the whole Jewish People is compared
to a man from whom, through the Law, an unclean spirit has gone forth.
But because he could find no resting place among the nations and Gentiles,
because of their faith in Christ (for Christ is the undoing of the unclean
spirits; for He has cooled the fiery darts of the enemy against the hearts
of the Gentiles, which before were dry and hard, but which now have begun
to be soft from the dew of the Holy Spirit in baptism) he returns to the
Jewish People, which had been swept and garnished to a legalistic but superficial
cleanness, yet remained ever more stained in its inward soul. For
it had not begun either to restrain or to cleanse its fierceness in the
sacred stream of baptism. And so not without reason did the unclean
spirit return to it; bringing with him seven other spirits more wicked
than himself; for in this impious purpose he warred against the week
of the Law, and the mystery of the eighth day.
And as the grace of the sevenfold Spirit is multiplied on us, so on
them is heaped every violence of the spirits of evil; for totality is often
signified by this number; for it was on the seventh day that, having finished
the work of creation, God rested (Gen. ii. 2). Because of this we
also have: Therefore the barren hath borne many (hepta), and
she that had many children is weakened (I King ii. 5).
Chap. 12: 10-12. And whosoever speaketh a word against the
Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that shall blaspheme against
the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him. We understand that
Christ is truly the Son of man, Who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and
born of the Virgin; that the Virgin is His sole earthly Parent. Is
the Holy Ghost then preferred before Christ, so that though sinning against
Him we yet receive pardon, but if we sin against the Holy Spirit we shall
not obtain pardon? There is no question of comparison, no discussion
of degree, where there is but oneness of power; for the Lord is great,
and of his greatness there is no end (Ps. cxliv. 3). If therefore
we believe that Oneness belongs to the Trinity, then so does indivisible
might, and undivided action; which is seen from what follows. For
since it was elsewhere said: The Father will give to you what you shall
say, here we have added: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the
same hour what you must say. So if action relates to this Unity,
so does offence. But let us return to what we proposed.
Here it seems to some that we are to understand that the same Christ
is both Son of man and Holy Spirit: saving the distinction of Persons and
their Oneness of Nature; for One and the Same Spirit is both God and the
Man Christ, as we find written: The breath of our mouth Christ the Lord
(Lam. iv. 20). The Same is Holy; for as the Father is God, and
the Son is God, and the Father is Lord, and Lord also is the Son, so also
Holy is the Father, Holy the Son, Holy the Spirit. Accordingly, the
Cherubim and Seraphim with unwearying voices exclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy,
that by this threefold name the Trinity may be signified.
If then Christ is both, what is the reason for the distinction, unless
that we may know that it is not lawful for us to deny the Divinity of Christ?
And what was it that was demanded of us in the persecutions but that we
should deny that Christ was God? And so whosoever does not confess that
God is in Christ, and that Christ is in God and from God, will not be deserving
of pardon. And whosoever does not also confess that Christ came in
the flesh is not of God; for he who has denied the Man has denied the God:
because God is in the Man, and Christ as Man is in God. Amen.